Singleton, who holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Stanford, and who did stints in advertising and college admissions before founding what’s now known as Courageous Conversation in 1992, talks about white culture in similar ways. There is the myth of meritocracy. And valuing “written communication over other forms,” he told me, is “a hallmark of whiteness,” which leads to the denigration of Black children in school. Another “hallmark” is “scientific, linear thinking. Cause and effect.” He said, “There’s this whole group of people who are named the scientists. That’s where you get into this whole idea that if it’s not codified in scientific thought that it can’t be valid.” He spoke about how the ancient Egyptians had “ideas about how humanity works that never had that scientific-hypothesis construction” and so aren’t recognized. “This is a good way of dismissing people. And this,” he continued, shifting forward thousands of years, “is one of the challenges in the diversity-equity-inclusion space; folks keep asking for data. How do you quantify, in a way that is scientific — numbers and that kind of thing — what people feel when they’re feeling marginalized?” For Singleton, society’s primary intellectual values are bound up with this marginalization.Another NY Times article quoted geology professor Phoebe A. Cohen:
What, she was asked, of the effect on academic debate? Should the academy serve as a bastion of unfettered speech?Cohen now complains that her views were tweeted out of context.
“This idea of intellectual debate and rigor as the pinnacle of intellectualism comes from a world in which white men dominated,” she replied.
Intellectual debate and the concept of “rigor” are often seen as the pinnacle -- that is, the most ideal form -- of intellectualism today in American higher education, a type of discourse that is prioritized and prized in a system that was created by and for white men. ...As I can see, her opinions are just as ignorants and misguided as they appear. She wrote all this to justify censoring a White man giving a science lecture, because he previously expressed some mainstream pro-meritocracy opinions.
For centuries, a very thin slice of our society -- primarily white, Christian, wealthy, non-disabled, cisgender men -- has defined rigor in Western education systems. ...
As you can see, it took me much more than a sentence to accurately express my point of view, because these issues are complex and require context and nuance, which The New York Times reporter didn’t include.