Category Archive 'Diversity'
08 Aug 2017

We Knew This Was Coming

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James Damore (Facebook photo)

Well, surprise, surprise! Bloomberg reports that Google has fired the software engineer who wrote the memo criticizing that company’s diversity policies that recently went viral.

Alphabet Inc.’s Google has fired an employee who wrote an internal memo blasting the web company’s diversity policies, creating a firestorm across Silicon Valley.

James Damore, the Google engineer who wrote the note, confirmed his dismissal in an email, saying that he had been fired for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.” He said he’s “currently exploring all possible legal remedies.”

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Business Insider predicts that Mr. Damore will find no legal remedy.

The problem is that US labor law is well-settled in this area: In the vast majority of US states, employees have almost no rights to free speech at work. …

The First Amendment to the US Constitution prevents the government from restricting your speech. It doesn’t restrict your employer from controlling your speech when you are at work. As the government is not involved in this case, Damore is already on shaky ground if he files a lawsuit arguing a free speech case.

More importantly, Damore’s speech has not been restricted. He can continue to express his opinion. Indeed, his opinion has already been published far more widely than he can have hoped. His speech is on steroids right now! His legal problem is that he does not have a constitutional right to a job at Google. If he is an “at-will” employee — i.e. an ordinary employee not governed by a special contract, like a film star might have — then Google has every right to demand that he leave.

You can read a lengthy legal paper on this issue by Prof. Eugene Volokh, of the UCLA Law School, here. It can be summed up in one paragraph:

    “Of course, employee speech can always be restricted by private employers, who are not bound by the First Amendment. This cannot, however, authorize greater restrictions by the government. A householder is entitled to kick out dinner guests who say certain things. A commercial landlord can refuse to rent to tenants who put up certain posters. A newspaper publisher can refuse to publish articles with which he disagrees. A private university may restrict what its faculty say in class, or even what its students say on campus. Speech on private property can generally be controlled by the private property owner.

As Google Site Reliability Manager Paul Cowan warned internally at Google — his posts were screengrabbed by Breitbart — “freedom of speech is the right to freely express an opinion. It is most assuredly not the right to express an opinion with freedom from the consequences.”

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But he does have at least two job offers, Heavy reports:

Damore also has a couple job offers to consider. One offer came from Gab, a company founded in 2016 that says it is “an ad-free social network for creators who believe in free speech, individual liberty, and the free flow of information online.” It has become popular among those in the alt right, including some who have been banned from Twitter.

And Wikileaks’ Julian Assange tweeted Tuesday, “Censorship is for losers. @WikiLeaks is offering a job to fired Google engineer James Damore.

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This is a real pain in the ass. I use Chrome all the time, and now I have to switch to Safari or Opera. I guess I’ll also soon find out if Duck Duck Go is any good as a search engine.

06 Aug 2017

Samizdat Critique of Google Diversity Policies Went Viral

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Gizmodo published the 10-page critique of Google’s Diversity policies written by a white male software engineer that recently went viral within the company.

His conclusions were:

De-moralize diversity.

As soon as we start to moralize an issue, we stop thinking about it in terms of costs and benefits, dismiss anyone that disagrees as immoral, and harshly punish those we see as villains to protect the “victims.”

Stop alienating conservatives.

Viewpoint diversity is arguably the most important type of diversity and political orientation is one of the most fundamental and significant ways in which people view things differently.

In highly progressive environments, conservatives are a minority that feel like they need to stay in the closet to avoid open hostility. We should empower those with different ideologies to be able to express themselves.

Alienating conservatives is both non-inclusive and generally bad business because conservatives tend to be higher in conscientiousness, which is require for much of the drudgery and maintenance work characteristic of a mature company.

Confront Google’s biases.

I’ve mostly concentrated on how our biases cloud our thinking about diversity and inclusion, but our moral biases are farther reaching than that.

I would start by breaking down Googlegeist scores by political orientation and personality to give a fuller picture into how our biases are affecting our culture.

Stop restricting programs and classes to certain genders or races.

These discriminatory practices are both unfair and divisive. Instead focus on some of the non-discriminatory practices I outlined.

Have an open and honest discussion about the costs and benefits of our diversity programs.

Discriminating just to increase the representation of women in tech is as misguided and biased as mandating increases for women’s representation in the homeless, work-related and violent deaths, prisons, and school dropouts.

There’s currently very little transparency into the extend of our diversity programs which keeps it immune to criticism from those outside its ideological echo chamber.

These programs are highly politicized which further alienates non-progressives.

I realize that some of our programs may be precautions against government accusations of discrimination, but that can easily backfire since they incentivize illegal discrimination.

Focus on psychological safety, not just race/gender diversity.

We should focus on psychological safety, which has shown positive effects and should (hopefully) not lead to unfair discrimination.

We need psychological safety and shared values to gain the benefits of diversity

Having representative viewpoints is important for those designing and testing our products, but the benefits are less clear for those more removed from UX.

De-emphasize empathy.

I’ve heard several calls for increased empathy on diversity issues. While I strongly support trying to understand how and why people think the way they do, relying on affective empathy—feeling another’s pain—causes us to focus on anecdotes, favor individuals similar to us, and harbor other irrational and dangerous biases. Being emotionally unengaged helps us better reason about the facts.

Prioritize intention.

Our focus on microaggressions and other unintentional transgressions increases our sensitivity, which is not universally positive: sensitivity increases both our tendency to take offense and our self censorship, leading to authoritarian policies. Speaking up without the fear of being harshly judged is central to psychological safety, but these practices can remove that safety by judging unintentional transgressions.

Microaggression training incorrectly and dangerously equates speech with violence and isn’t backed by evidence.

Be open about the science of human nature.

Once we acknowledge that not all differences are socially constructed or due to discrimination, we open our eyes to a more accurate view of the human condition which is necessary if we actually want to solve problems.

Reconsider making Unconscious Bias training mandatory for promo committees.

We haven’t been able to measure any effect of our Unconscious Bias training and it has the potential for overcorrecting or backlash, especially if made mandatory.

Some of the suggested methods of the current training (v2.3) are likely useful, but the political bias of the presentation is clear from the factual inaccuracies and the examples shown.

Spend more time on the many other types of biases besides stereotypes. Stereotypes are much more accurate and responsive to new information than the training suggests (I’m not advocating for using stereotypes, I [sic] just pointing out the factual inaccuracy of what’s said in the training).

RTWT

They ought to hire Curtis Yarvon to write one of these.

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But don’t hold your breath waiting for Google to adopt this (probably now unemployed) software engineer’s proposals. There was an immediate official response from Google’s new Vice President of Diversity, Integrity & Governance, Danielle Brown (quoted below in part):

I’m Danielle, Google’s brand new VP of Diversity, Integrity & Governance. I started just a couple of weeks ago, and I had hoped to take another week or so to get the lay of the land before introducing myself to you all. But given the heated debate we’ve seen over the past few days, I feel compelled to say a few words.

Many of you have read an internal document shared by someone in our engineering organization, expressing views on the natural abilities and characteristics of different genders, as well as whether one can speak freely of these things at Google. And like many of you, I found that it advanced incorrect assumptions about gender. I’m not going to link to it here as it’s not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages.

Diversity and inclusion are a fundamental part of our values and the culture we continue to cultivate. We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company, and we’ll continue to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul. As Ari Balogh said in his internal G+ post, “Building an open, inclusive environment is core to who we are, and the right thing to do. ‘Nuff said. “

04 Aug 2017

Majority of Harvard Class of 2021 Non-White

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Harvard 1897 Football Team

Earlier this Spring, it was announced that the closing line of Harvard’s Alma Mater “Fair Harvard” would be changed from “‘Til the stock of the Puritans die.” The stock of the Puritans has not totally died, but it has obviously surrendered primacy of representation at the ancient university it founded in 1636 to strangers and aliens.

Washington Times:

Harvard University’s incoming freshman class will be unlike any since its founding in 1636 — the majority of students are non-white.

The institution, which has made a concerted effort in recent years to become more diverse, confirmed that 50.8 percent of its class of 2021 are non-white.

The institution, which has made a concerted effort in recent years to become more diverse, confirmed that 50.8 percent of its class of 2021 are non-white.

Maybe “the stock of the Puritans” ought to have a go at taking over Howard and Tuskegee.

20 Jul 2017

Kings College Replaces Portraits of White Founders With “Wall of Diversity”

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Sir Frederick Mott and Sir Henry Maudsley founded the Institute of Psychiatry in 1924.

Telegraph:

King’s College London is to swap portraits of some of its founding fathers with a “wall of diversity” amid pressure from students, a dean says.

The plans to move portraits of former faculty staff from the main entrance wall and replace them with more BME [“Black and Minority Ethnic”] scholars are being implemented by the world famous Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, following concern among academics that the current classroom environment is too “intimidating” for ethnic minorities.

The proposals were unveiled by Professor Patrick Leman, the Institute’s dean of education, who said that the faculty should not just be filled with “busts of 1920s bearded men” but rather more modern, diverse scholars so that the Institute feels less “alienating”.

Founded in 1924 as a hospital medical school, the Institute owes its existence to a donation from Dr Henry Maudsley, a pioneering British psychiatrist, and neurologist Sir Frederick Mott, who drew up plans for university courses for training in the field of psychiatry in 1896.

Their busts, which are believed to be the subject of Professor Leman’s remarks, were placed in the Institute in recognition of their work.

It comes two years after King’s sparked controversy for removing a photograph of Lord Carey, the former of Archbishop of Canterbury, in response to his opposition to gay marriage.

Facing widespread criticism at the time, the university defended its review of a “window display policy” on the grounds that some images had been unrepresentative of the “diversity of our university community”.

Professor Leman, who describes himself as “tribal Labour” in blogs, added that portraits lining the main entrance are “almost entirely white middle-aged men” and will be replaced with a “wall of diversity”.

He added that all current portraits of former deans would be “taken down” and rehung, with some being placed in less prominent positions, in comments that could be interpreted as them being sidelined by the Institute.

Meanwhile, teaching materials, such as diagrams of the human anatomy, will be changed to feature a “range of ethnic groups”, rather than just the “standard white male”.

Prof Leman said the plans had been backed by the faculty’s student body, which has been “exceptionally good” in pushing for a diversification of the curriculum.

“We’re trying to reflect the diversity in terms of students we have, but also trying to be more inter-cultural, more international in terms of how we develop the science,” he told The Telegraph.

“A great deal of medical, psychological research has been of white, male, North American or European students…so increasingly we try and broaden it to include more recent research from Asia, Africa, and from other parts of the world.

RTWT

25 May 2017

Peter Salovey’s False Narrative

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Heather MacDonald debunks Peter Salovey’s sanctimonious PC nonsense.

Yale University’s president recently provided a window into the modern university’s self-conception—an understanding embraced by both liberals and conservatives but flawed in essential ways. A primary purpose of a Yale education, President Peter Salovey told Yale’s freshman class last year, is to teach students to recognize “false narratives.” Such narratives, Salovey claimed, are ubiquitous in American culture: “My sense is that we are bombarded daily by false narratives of various kinds, and that they are doing a great deal of damage.” Advocates may “exaggerate or distort or neglect crucial facts,” Salovey said, “in ways that serve primarily to fuel your anger, fear, or disgust.” (Salovey repeated this trilogy of “anger, fear, and disgust” several times; it was impossible not to hear a reference to Donald Trump, though Salovey tried to stay nonpartisan.)

According to Salovey, the Yale faculty is a model for how to respond to false narratives: they are united by a “stubborn skepticism about narratives that oversimplify issues, inflame the emotions, or misdirect the mind,” he said.

Two things can be said about Salovey’s theme: first, it is hilariously wrong about the actual state of “stubborn skepticism” at Yale. Second, and more important, Salovey mistakes the true mission of a college education.

To assess whether Yale is, in fact, a bastion of myth-busting, it is necessary to return to one of the darkest moments in Yale’s history: the university’s response to a shocking mass outbreak of student narcissism in October 2015. The wife of a college master had sent an e-mail to students, suggesting that they were capable of deciding for themselves which Halloween costume to wear and didn’t need oversight from Yale’s diversity commissars. (Halloween costumes have been the target of the PC police nationally for allegedly “appropriating” minority cultures.)

The e-mail sparked a furor among minority students across Yale and beyond, who claimed that it threatened their very being. In one of many charged gatherings that followed, students surrounded the college master, berating him for the pain that his wife had caused them. One female student was captured on video violently gesturing at the master and shrieking, “Be quiet!” as he gently tries to answer her tirade. She then screams: “Why the fuck did you accept this position [of college master]? Who the fuck hired you?”

Of all the Black Lives Matter–inspired protests that were sweeping campuses at that moment, Yale’s shrieking-girl episode was the most grotesque. In reaction, Yale groveled. President Salovey sent around a campus-wide letter declaring that he had never been as “simultaneously moved, challenged, and encouraged by our community—and all the promise it embodies—as in the past two weeks.” He proclaimed the need to work “toward a better, more diverse, and more inclusive Yale”—implying that Yale was not “inclusive” —and thanked students for offering him “the opportunity to listen to and learn from you.” That the shrieking girl had refused to listen to her college master—or to give him an opportunity to speak—was never mentioned; she suffered no known repercussions for her outrageous incivility. Salovey went on to pledge a reinforced “commitment to a campus where hatred and discrimination have no place,” implying that hatred and discrimination currently did have a place at Yale. Salovey announced that the entire administration, including faculty chairs and deans, would receive training on how to combat racism at Yale and reiterated a promise to dump another $50 million into Yale’s already all-consuming diversity efforts.

If ever there were a narrative worthy of being subjected to “stubborn skepticism,” in Salovey’s words, the claim that Yale was the home of “hatred and discrimination” is it. There is not a single faculty member or administrator at Yale (or any other American college) who does not want minority students to succeed. Yale has been obsessed with what the academy calls “diversity,” trying to admit and hire as many “underrepresented minorities” as it possibly can without totally eviscerating academic standards. There has never been a more tolerant social environment in human history than Yale (and every other American college)—at least if you don’t challenge the reigning political orthodoxies. Any Yale student who thinks himself victimized by the institution is in the throes of a terrible delusion, unable to understand his supreme good fortune in ending up at one of the most august and richly endowed universities in the world.

But the ubiquitous claim that American campuses are riven with racism is not, apparently, one of the “false narratives” that Salovey had in mind. Not only did the president endorse that claim, but the husband-and-wife team who had triggered the Halloween costume furor penned a sycophantic apology to minority students in their residential college: “We understand that [the original e-mail] was hurtful to you, and we are truly sorry,” wrote Professors Nicholas and Erika Christakis. “We understand that many students feel voiceless in diverse ways and we want you to know that we hear you and we will support you.” Yale’s minority students may “feel” voiceless, but that feeling is just as delusional as the feeling that Yale is not “inclusive.”

So Salovey’s claim that Yale resolutely seeks out and unmasks “false narratives” is itself a false narrative.

RTWT

19 Apr 2017

Diversity Hiring By American Universities

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Dr. Kaia Shivers, Ph.D. Rutgers University, M.A. Clark Atlanta University, B.S. Florida A&M University, Clinical Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies, New York University: “The two main objectives in teaching is…”

“Alex Southwell” (a pseudonym) shares a diversity at today’s American universities horror story.

I was appointed by the dean of General Studies [at Hudson University] to serve as the chair for a writing hiring committee, a committee charged with hiring one full-time writing professor, who not only could teach first-year writing classes but also offerings in journalism. The committee of three met late in the fall semester to discuss the first group of candidates, before undertaking the second set of Skype interviews. I mentioned that I had received an email from one of the candidates and shared it with the committee members. After reading the email aloud, I argued that the missive effectively disqualified the candidate. The writing was riddled with awkward expression, malapropisms, misplaced punctuation, and other conceptual and formal problems. Rarely had a first-year student issued an email to me that evidenced more infelicitous prose. I asked my fellow committee members how we could possibly hire someone to teach writing who had written such an email, despite the fact that it represented only a piece of occasional writing. The candidate could not write. I also pointed back to her application letter, which was similarly awkward and error-laden. My committee colleagues argued that “we do not teach grammar” in our writing classes. Sure, I thought. And a surgeon doesn’t take vital signs or draw blood. That doesn’t mean that the surgeon wouldn’t be able to do so when required. …

The committee went on to hire the woman in question. Since assuming her position, the new hire posted an official faculty profile linked from Hudson’s General Studies program page. Her faculty profile page betrays the same awkward prose, poor incorporation of quotes, and other problems of expression typical of first-year student writers, but usually not professors. The profile also includes a glaring grammatical error. I strongly believe that her official evaluations are likely as bad as her RateMyProfessors.com reviews.

To be perfectly clear, I am not arguing against the diversification of the faculty and student populations within Hudson’s General Studies program and beyond. Rather, I am suggesting that the diversity initiatives recently introduced by the university and our program have been hastily and thoughtlessly administered and mistakenly construed, to the detriment of academic integrity and real equity. Qualified academics can be found among all population groups. The university must ensure that those selected are qualified, first and foremost, not by their identities per se, but by what they know and are able to do and teach. It is sheer cynicism to suppose that qualified candidates cannot be found among minority groups. Blatant tokenism in hiring and promotion jeopardizes the integrity of higher education and also undermines the objectives that diversity initiatives aim to promote.

RTWT

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Advice Goddess identifies the diversity hire:

The professor mentioned — who writes “The two main objectives in teaching is …” — appears to be Kaia Shivers and the school appears to be NYU. The program is their “Liberal Studies” program.

I’ve preserved a screenshot of Kaia Shivers’ online page from NYU. …

The first line of a paper she published has a similar error in the first line — one that would disqualify a person from being my assistant. It should also disqualify a person from becoming a professor, and the notion that skin color would give a person pass is one of the most disgustingly racist things I can think of.

    Negotiating Identity in Transnational Spaces: Consumption of Nollywood Films in the African Diaspora of the United States

    Kaia Niambi Shivers

The only wonder is that Yale has not (so far) hired her as a dean.

Hat tip to the Barrister.

31 Mar 2017

Yale English Department: Out With Shakespeare, In With Toni Morrison

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Oldest College Daily:

English Department faculty voted Tuesday to change the requirements for the major in an effort to increase the curriculum’s diversity, represent more literary periods and make the major more flexible.

The department’s 30 voting faculty were “overwhelmingly in favor” of reform, according to English professor Leslie Brisman. The revised curriculum, which has yet to be finalized, places equal importance on every major historical period from medieval to contemporary, rather than requiring students to take three pre-1800 courses before studying modern literature, and cuts the number of required courses from 14 to 12. The proposed changes would also double the number of ways to fulfill the major’s central requirements, allowing students to take English 127 and 128, an American literature introductory sequence, in place of the long-standing “Major English Poets” sequence.

The decision, which the department has not formally announced, comes nearly one year after 160 students signed a petition calling for the department to “decolonize” its course offerings.

“The solution we ended up with makes an implicit promise to students, which the department is deeply committed to honoring: that is, that students should and will encounter a broad diversity of texts, writers and traditions within every period,” English professor Catherine Nicholson said. “The form that diversity takes will vary across time, of course, which is part of the point, but no period will simply and exclusively focus on the writing representations of aristocratic white men.”

These requirements will apply to undergraduates in the class of 2021 and onward, according to acting English Department Chair Ruth Yeazell GRD ’71.

Rather than impose a “diversity requirement” or a “contemporary literature requirement,” Brisman said, the department voted to create a new English 128 course called “World Anglophone Literature,” which may have a historical breadth as well as an emphasis on contemporary literature. He explained the decision to elevate English 127 and 128 to a status equivalent to that of English 125 and 126 was intended to “tear down the barrier between canonical and noncanonical authors” while removing poetry from its “privileged position” within the Yale English Department.

Brisman said the department aims to better respond to student interest in diversity by increasing the number of courses featuring works by women and people of color, as well as authors who wrote in English but lived in non-English speaking countries. Several courses on the early histories of racial and religious differences are in the works, Nicholson said, adding that she and a colleague are discussing a cross-period course on early female writers.

Director of Undergraduate Studies and English professor Jessica Brantley said the department periodically revises the curriculum, but the past year’s conversations have taken on “added urgency” because of campus and national discussions about inclusion. She added that the new major better reflects the work and spirit of the department as well as the needs and desires of its students.

“We’ve constructed a curriculum that has inclusion as its goal, embedded in the structures of its requirements, and I’m very excited to implement and develop that curriculum further,” Brantley said.

Previously, English majors had four historical distribution requirements: three pre-1800 and one pre-1900. The revised requirements aim to make the department’s commitment to historical range better reflect its “actual sense of what’s important and why” by including every major historical period and valuing each equally, Nicholson said.

Faculty members debated between requiring students to take four out of five historical periods — medieval, Renaissance, 18th century, 19th century and 20th/21st century — or combining the 18th and 19th centuries into a unit and requiring students to take all four periods. Nicholson said the final decision to require four out of four periods reflects the fact that faculty members want students to encounter the broadest possible range of materials and writers.

“In sum, the new requirements give further guidance to students about sampling the variety of English literature of all kinds and periods, but they also allow more choice in shaping a major that suits the student’s particular interests,” Brisman said. …

Brisman said student feedback informed the process, since faculty members acknowledged during the negotiations that requiring three pre-1800 courses and one pre-1900 course made it look as though the department valued those courses more than contemporary or diversity literature.

“We hope that the new structure of requirements will give our students a strong foundation in the history of writing in English over the millennia, while introducing them to writers and periods whose cultures and perspectives might initially seem remote from their own,” Yeazell said.

Adriana Miele ’16, one of the petition’s signatories and a former opinion columnist for the News, said her experiences as one of the few nonwhite students in the English major showed her that the department needed to broaden its approach to literature. Still, Miele said she worries that the English Department’s push for diversity may be only superficial.

“The fact that there are so few nonwhite scholars [in the department] makes me really skeptical of any advancements that can be made,” Miele said. “But it’s definitely moving in the right direction.”

English major Frances Lindemann ’19 called the change “fantastic and long overdue.” She added that it would be impossible to represent all groups of people in a semesterlong course, but requiring a single sequence and calling it “Major English Poets” falsely suggests this collection of authors is the most important and the only one worth studying. Lindemann said she would like to see the department develop a more inclusive range of prerequisite options to make students feel more welcome in the major.

Some students acknowledged that the new requirements shift attention away from poetry. Brisman said he hopes students will continue to gravitate toward classes focusing on Milton and Shakespeare, but he suspects students overall will move away from canonical authors toward other, less canonical ones.

Full story.

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What can one say, looking on as those specially charged with the preservation and transmission of our civilization decline to defend it and surrender spinelessly to the whims and vanity of the barbarous young?

It obviously never occurred to any of the leading faculty members of the Yale English Department (in my day universally regarded as the best in the country, possibly in the world) to quote that notable representative of diversity W.E.B. DuBois:

I sit with Shakespeare, and he winces not. Across the color line I move arm and arm with Balzac and Dumas, where smiling men and welcoming women glide in gilded halls. From out of the caves of evening that swing between the strong-limbed Earth and the tracery of stars, I summon Aristotle and Aurelius and what soul I will, and they come all graciously with no scorn nor condescension. So, wed with Truth, I dwell above the veil. Is this the life you grudge us, O knightly America? Is this the life you long to change into the dull red hideousness of Georgia? Are you so afraid lest peering from this high Pisgah, between Philistine and Amalekite, we sight the Promised Land?”

What a thing it is to live in a time when those appointed to the most prestigious position in the land devoted to the study of the Canon of the English Language are not prepared to tell the ignorant young that “Yes, this collection of authors really is the most important and, by far, the most worth studying. And if you do not care to study these authors, you will not receive a degree in English from this department.”

06 Feb 2017

This Year’s Superbowl Propaganda Fest

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John Nolte is perfectly correct: “Liberals eventually ruin everything.” Last night’s Superbowl featured a series of political propaganda advertising spots.

Coke and Airbnb competed in the nausea-inducing sweepstakes with ads extolling the beauties of “diversity.”

84 Lumber, whose first ad, featuring a Mexican mother and daughter dismayed at confronting Trump’s Wall, was declined by Fox as “too controversial,” ran a minute-and-a-half spot titled “The Journey Begins,” showing the same mother and daughter starting out hopefully and passing through desert, river, and mountains in the direction of El Norte, presumably in search of the land of the generous welfare check.

Audi, as Jack Baruth explicated at length, served up a lesson on the natural superiority of the community of fashion, cloaked as a lecture on Feminism.

All in all, the amount of political virtue-signalling from big, ugly fat cat corporations was simply appalling. Yesterday was one of those days where you wondered if the citizens of Hitler’s Germany were as much bombarded with get-in-line, Gleichschaltung prop as we are.

Liberal “diversity” is such a crock. I’m old enough to remember 1950s America very well. People, like myself, living outside the big cities and the South, never ran into people of other races at all, but we still had plenty of diversity. Go watch one of those old war movies in which the soon-to-be-embattled platoon is shown to be made up of the farmboy from Kansas, the guy with the thick Brooklyn accent, the strong Polack, the ready-with-his-fists Irishman, and the intellectual Jew. My own small town had a population pretty much only made up of turn-of-the-last-century Roman Catholic immigrants, and we still had more than enough diversity to fuel all the mutual dislike anybody needs.

In the old days, newly arrived immigrants came to America, lived in enclaves of their own, and took the worst jobs. Today, some Hindu or Mussulman hops of the plane from Bombay and sends his offspring to Harvard or Yale. The first generation in the country does not line up to work with a pick and shovel in the coal mines, to lay track for the railroads, or to do the heavy lifting in the mill. That first generation can be found teaching the US Constitution (from a left-wing point of view) at Yale Law School (Akhil Amar) or telling Americans what to think about Foreign Policy on CNN (Fareed Zakaria).

No wonder so many people are experiencing a wave of Nativist revulsion. Suddenly, it’s the turn of every personage of color from every remote continent or clime to be welcomed heartily to America, and granted immediate entrée to the national establishment in a way that it was never the turn of Scots Irish who’ve been living here for centuries or the Germans or the Scandinavians or the Irish and Southern and Eastern Roman Catholics who arrived somewhat later. Those people are never counted as diverse, and simply get lectured to by their betters and advised to apology for their white privilege.

27 Nov 2016

Public Assistance Barbie

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publicassistancebarbie

Empire News (a humor site):

In a bold move today that is sure to create controversy among fans of the company, Mattel announced its new Barbie doll; ‘Public Assistance Barbie’ will be marketed directly to inner-city youths and children of welfare recipients.

”Since 1959 Barbie dolls have been through major changes to reflect the times we live in. Today with over 40% of Americans on some sort of public assistance, we felt the time was right for ‘Public Assistance Barbie,” said Mattel spokesman Rick Reynolds. “After doing research on people receiving assistance, we have come out with what we think is a fair and sensitive portrayal of that kind of person with our new doll. Each Public Assistance Barbie will come with a new Cadillac, Puma sweats, a pack of Newports, an Obama phone, an EBT card, and a rack of Budweiser. She will also come in three styles: heavily tattooed and pierced, pregnant and smoking, and a ‘black eye’ version from when drunken Ken beat her for not paying the cable bill. Public Assistance Barbies will be on the shelves in time for your holiday purchases, and will come in special theft-deterrent boxes. EBT cards cannot be used to purchase, unfortunately.”

Read the whole thing.

25 Sep 2016

Yale Snowflakes Got New Residential College Head

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laurie-santos
Current Head of Silliman College: Laurie Santos, Harvard ’97 A.B psychology & biology, ’03 Ph.D. psychology.

A Yale alumn I know from Silliman (I was in Berkeley myself) passes along an email:

Excerpt below from actual email I received from actual grown-up in an important position at a once-prestigious Ivy League university (“HoC Santos,” who is the new don’t-call-it-Master of Silliman). Am I just old and out of it, or is it fundamentally undignified for someone in that sort of role to adopt the tone of a perky 19-year-old sorority social-events chair at some perfectly-okay state university somewhere out in flyover country?

    “Our first ever Sing-Along will take you back to the days of flannel clothing, huge scrunchies and boy bands. It will be the ultimate celebration of all things ‘90s! From the Britney to Backstreet Boys, with plenty of Alanis and Nirvana mixed in, this is how we Sillimanders do it, even as we smell like teen spirit cuz we’re livin’ la vida loca.
    8-9:30pm in Silliflicks. Word to your mutha.”

There was no email, not even any PCs, back when I was an undergraduate at Yale. In those days, all Yale Residential College Masters were middle-aged White Anglo-Saxon Protestant males and distinguished scholars. In Silliman’s case, the Master was one Elias Clark, a law professor with a background which included Yale and Andover and WWII military service.

Somehow, I cannot really picture Master Clark sending out to the Silliman Salamanders of my day a mimeograph announcement of a college shindig celebrating the music and pop stars of the 1950s couched in the Beatnik vernacular of Maynard G. Krebs. Still less, his screwing up and inadvertently forwarding such a missive to graduated alumni.

Professor Santos may very likely have been specifically chosen to make the Snowflakes of Color of Silliman College feel safer from improper Halloween costuming and more comfortable and at home there, which we all learned last year is the most essential function of the heads of Yale residential colleges.

Former Associate Masters Nicholas and Erika Christakis fell afoul of diverse student sensivities, when La Christakis responded to an admonitory Intercultural Affairs Council email edict warning students sternly against such Halloween transgressions as wearing blackface, sombreros, or turbans with a skeptical email of her own wondering aloud about the propriety and necessity of such politically correct pronunciamentos.

In response to Erika Christakis’s chin-stroking email, students went absolutely wild. Nicholas Christakis was confronted, shouted down, told he was not doing his job properly, and urged to resign. An African-American dean was similarly mobbed and lectured on his responsibility to be on the side of his own people. There were marches, one of which occurred at Midnight and featured the delivery of some pretty outrageous demands to the timid Yale President Peter Salovey at his house on Hillhouse Avenue.

The Yale Administration announced that it was firmly behind the free speech rights of the Christakises, which announcement was followed by Erika’s rapid departure in under a month, immediately thereafter by husband Nicholas’s departure on sabbatical, and finally (surprise! surprise!) by the announcement of his resignation during the summer. Yale was ever so solidly behind them. Adieu! Christakises and Adieu! the title of Master itself.

President Salovey previously announced that Yale would pay $50 million in Danegeld for more privileged-victim-group faculty recruitment and development (aka remedial education) and whatever else our contemporary Danes might desire. Yale’s concessions and surrenders will be continuing.

eliasclark
Master of Silliman College 1962-1981, Charles Elias “Eli” Clark, Andover ’39, Yale ’43 B.A. American history, Army Air Corps pilot 1944-1945, Yale Law ’47, Yale M.A. ’58.

04 Nov 2015

Yale Plans Spending on “Diversity”

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AffirmativeActionCartoon

Yale News:

Yale will devote $50 million in resources over the next five years to enhance the excellence of its faculty by building diversity university-wide, President Peter Salovey and Provost Ben Polak announced in a Nov. 3 email.

“Yale’s education and research missions are propelled forward by a faculty that stands at the forefront of scholarship, research, practice, mentoring, and teaching. An excellent faculty in all of these dimensions is a diverse faculty, and that diversity must reach across the whole of Yale — to every school and to every department,” wrote the President and Provost.

‘This commitment has been and continues to be one of the university’s most important,” they continued. “Over the past three decades several Yale initiatives helped to foster a more diverse and more inclusive faculty, and all of our schools have worked diligently in recent years to contribute toward this goal. We are grateful for this collective effort, and for the resources that have already been invested. But we can and should do more.”

Whole thing.

Diversity is right up there with Recycling and Climate Change at the top of the hierarchy of ideas which succeed in infatuating the supposedly well-educated elites despite their obvious puerile absurdity.

“Diversity” to Yale simply means hiring more questionably qualified blacks, women, and queers specifically to teach in bogus, intellectually fraudulent fields recently invented to flatter group egos, sow group divisions, and fan the fires of group grievances.

Tuition and room and board at Yale these days (Lord!) costs $63,250 per annum. For roughly $25 million Yale could give 100 full four-year scholarships to 100 veterans of military service. The kind of Americans who serve in the military would be a lot more meaningfully “diverse” in social background, life experience, and philosophic outlook than a bunch narcissistic purveyors of cultural studies and their presence a lot more enriching.

If Yale wanted real diversity, the administration would start hiring a few conservative and Republican faculty and administrators and would give undergraduate organizations and social groups on the Right access to meeting places instead of actively persecuting them and trying to drive them out of existence.

01 Nov 2015

Academia’s Fraudulent Diversity

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Cornell Faculty Political Donations 2011-2014

Arthur C. Brooks, in the New York Times of all places, questions Academia’s double-standard on diversity.

One of the great intellectual and moral epiphanies of our time is the realization that human diversity is a blessing. It has become conventional wisdom that being around those unlike ourselves makes us better people — and more productive to boot.

Scholarly studies have piled up showing that race and gender diversity in the workplace can increase creative thinking and improve performance. Meanwhile, excessive homogeneity can lead to stagnation and poor problem-solving.

Unfortunately, new research also shows that academia has itself stopped short in both the understanding and practice of true diversity — the diversity of ideas — and that the problem is taking a toll on the quality and accuracy of scholarly work. This year, a team of scholars from six universities studying ideological diversity in the behavioral sciences published a paper in the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences that details a shocking level of political groupthink in academia. The authors show that for every politically conservative social psychologist in academia there are about 14 liberal social psychologists.

Why the imbalance? The researchers found evidence of discrimination and hostility within academia toward conservative researchers and their viewpoints. In one survey cited, 82 percent of social psychologists admitted they would be less likely to support hiring a conservative colleague than a liberal scholar with equivalent qualifications.

This has consequences well beyond fairness. It damages accuracy and quality. As the authors write, “Increased political diversity would improve social psychological science by reducing the impact of bias mechanisms such as confirmation bias, and by empowering dissenting minorities to improve the quality of the majority’s thinking.”

One of the study’s authors, Philip E. Tetlock of the University of Pennsylvania, put it to me more bluntly. Expecting trustworthy results on politically charged topics from an “ideologically incestuous community,” he explained, is “downright delusional.”

Read the whole thing.

Diversity with respect to supposed victim’s groups, pace Mr. Brooks, is simply a load of crap. Everyone is a victim some of the time, in some respects. The children of the very rich have, by enormously disproportionate margins, extraordinarily selfish, often really neglectful, parents and are commonly burdened with expectations and obligations which most of humanity is spared.

Imagine growing up as George W. Bush with the living image of Frank Merriwell, captain of the Yale Baseball Team, Youngest Navy Pilot in WWII, as a father. You would be expected to live up to an absolutely impossible scale of human perfection. It’s no wonder that the poor chap originally took to drink. The astonishing thing is that he ever dried out.

Being African-American, being “Hispanic”, being a sexual pervert, even if you are actually from a privileged background makes you a highly valued, eagerly recruited representative of “Diversity,” but nobody gives a good goddamn about the diversity of being of a Belgian, Finn, Ukrainian or from any kind of poor, white working class or rural background.

Go watch one of the old-time Hollywood war movies. You didn’t need Sidney Poitier to achieve American diversity. There would be the Protestant blond farmer from Iowa, the Texas cowboy, and the rustic Southerner. Then, there’d be the Catholic Polack coal-miner, the funny little Italian, the tough Mick, and the heavily-accented prole from Brooklyn. And, as the really odd man out, you’d frequently have the very different too-small, too pacifistic, too-urban, or too-intellectual Jewish member of the platoon. There was plenty of diversity, in some ways more authentically than today, back in the Bad Old Days before today’s accredited forms of diversity were recognized and officially established.

Diversity? Places like Yale will really have diversity, when in addition to the university-provided Black Student Center, Women’s Student Center, Hispanic Student Center, and LBGT Center, there is a Conservative Center, a Redneck Center, and Gun Owner’s Center.

13 Oct 2015

Yale Holds 14th Annual Eid Banquet in Former Freshman Commons

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EidYale

Yale University, founded in 1701 as a collegiate school to prepare young men for the Congregational ministry in Connecticut, I learned today, has been holding lavish Eid (the feast held at the end of a month of fasting by the followers of Mahound) Banquets for the past fourteen years.

This Buzzfeed article, written relying on slang and cultural references post-pubescents are unlikely to understand, particularly singled out female Saracens for praise, alleging that a group of young women of differing races and nationalities who posed for photographs in various traditional ethnic get-ups were “flawless,” “taking charge,” and expressing simultaneously religious convictions and a slang obscenity addressed to people questioning a supposed right to combine a Yale education with affiliation with a sect theologically committed to the forcible conversion or extermination of Congregationalists.

An African young lady named Emi Mahmoud was lauded as “the Number One Poet in the World” having been declared “champion” of the “2015 World Poetry Slam.” I looked it up and discovered that this event, held in Albuquerque, involved 72 of the “best women poets in slam” competing over two nights for a championship. Despite the presence of lots of FAQs, I was completely unable to determine what a slam is.

Bien pensant institutions like Yale absolutely preen over the diversity of it all, having representatives of all sorts of tribes and cultures on campus, studying away for credentials which operate as pass keys into the upper reaches of haute bourgeois Western consumerist society. The presence of all these exotic specimens at Yale simultaneously demonstrates the global reach of Mother Yale, the truly magnificent tolerance and condescension of her administrative authorities, and the inevitable universal triumph of their values and the system they so comfortably preside over.

Personally, I think the ten Congregationalist ministers who met in Saybrook and pooled their books to found that collegiate school in 1701 are spinning in their graves.

25 Jan 2015

Students at Berkeley Angry: No Trannies Made Raphael’s School of Athens!

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Plato and Aristotle, Detail from Raphael’s The School of Athens

Rodrigo Kazuo and Meg Perret found their classroom environment at Berkeley hostile, even when their professor was lecturing on Karl Marx (!), because the Western canon is exclusively composed of works by dead, white, European males, not a single person of color or transgendered individual makes the cut.

We are calling for an occupation of syllabi in the social sciences and humanities. This call to action was instigated by our experience last semester as students in an upper-division course on classical social theory. Grades were based primarily on multiple-choice quizzes on assigned readings. The course syllabus employed a standardized canon of theory that began with Plato and Aristotle, then jumped to modern philosophers: Hobbes, Locke, Hegel, Marx, Weber and Foucault, all of whom are white men. The syllabus did not include a single woman or person of color.

We have major concerns about social theory courses in which white men are the only authors assigned. These courses pretend that a minuscule fraction of humanity — economically privileged white males from five imperial countries (England, France, Germany, Italy and the United States) — are the only people to produce valid knowledge about the world. This is absurd. The white male syllabus excludes all knowledge produced outside this standardized canon, silencing the perspectives of the other 99 percent of humanity.

The white male canon is not sufficient for theorizing the lives of marginalized people. None of the thinkers we studied in this course had a robust analysis of gender or racial oppression. They did not even engage with the enduring legacies of European colonial expansion, the enslavement of black people and the genocide of indigenous people in the Americas. Mentions of race and gender in the white male canon are at best incomplete and at worst racist and sexist. We were required to read Hegel on the “Oriental realm” and Marx on the “Asiatic mode of production,” but not a single author from Asia. We were required to read Weber on the patriarchy, but not a single feminist author. The standardized canon is obsolete: Any introduction to social theory that aims to be relevant to today’s problems must, at the very least, address gender and racial oppression.

The exclusions on the syllabus were mirrored in the classroom. Although the professor said he wanted to make the theory relevant to present issues, the class was out of touch with the majority of students’ lives. The lectures often incorporated current events, yet none of the examples engaged critically with gender or race. The professor even failed to mention the Ferguson events, even though he lectured about prisons, normalizing discourse and the carceral archipelago in Foucault’s “Discipline and Punish” the day after the grand jury decision on the murder of Michael Brown.

Furthermore, the classroom environment felt so hostile to women, people of color, queer folks and other marginalized subjects that it was difficult for us to focus on the course material. Sometimes, we were so uncomfortable that we had to leave the classroom in the middle of lecture. For example, when lecturing on Marx’s idea of the “natural division of labor between men and women,” the professor attributed some intellectual merit to this idea because men and women are biologically distinct from each other, because women give birth while men do not. One student asked, “What about trans* people?” to which the professor retorted, “There will always be exceptions.” Then, laughing, the professor teased, “We may all be transgender in the future.” Although one might be tempted to dismiss these remarks as a harmless attempt at humor, mocking trans* people and calling them “exceptions” is unacceptable.

Read the whole thing.

Myself, I’d argue that Plato may very possibly have swung both ways, and that Michel Foucault was a commie pervert who doesn’t belong in any serious version of the Western canon, but who should qualify perfectly as an excellent (and eminently repulsive) representative of all of the “marginalized” groups there are.

I’d suggest, additionally, that if you think “Plato and Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Hegel, Marx, Weber and Foucault” came from “England, France, Germany, Italy and the United States,” you probably need to acquire greater personal familiarity with the lives and ideas (and countries of origin) of the philosophers conventionally included in the Western canon, before you will be qualified to dispute over exactly who does, and who does not, deserve to be included.

Hat tip to Campus Reform.

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