Does Your Worth Depend On Your Immutable Characteristics?
For FAIR’s Substack, Julian Adorney writes about why some Social Justice Fundamentalists think your worth depends on your immutable characteristics.
Ultimately, Social Justice Fundamentalism offers a bleak worldview of demographic groups fighting it out in a zero-sum world, and this, more than anything, explains the witch hunt against white women. As Robin DiAngelo and Özlem Sensoy put it in their book Is Everyone Really Equal? "those in dominant groups are not disadvantaged by the oppression, but in fact benefit from it." If X group benefits from the oppression of Y group, then it follows that helping Y group will involve—and perhaps even require—removing certain privileges or rights from X group. The SJF movement turned against white women for the same reason it's now turning against Asians: any group can be safely made into a pariah by the simple accusation of being "dominant" or "privileged."
Canceling the anthropology talk doesn’t stop the talk
For The Eternally Radical Idea, FAIR’s chairman of the board Angel Eduardo and Greg Lukianoff write about why we have to learn to discuss difficult and contentious topics intelligently.
Apart from the damage done to people’s lives and reputations, as well as to the credibility of many of our institutions, cancellations like this have another cost we often don’t register. It's a version of the Streisand Effect: Whereas the panel could have come and gone, and we could have benefitted from anthropologists hashing it out, the topic is now a protracted series of conversations about the conversation that didn't happen and why.
All of this in lieu of just having the talk—which, by the way, would have been far more interesting and nuanced than critics likely anticipated. “Lively contestation would have been welcomed by the panelists,” they wrote in their statement, “and may even have occurred between us, as our own political commitments are diverse.” We have to learn to discuss difficult and contentious topics intelligently.
Literary Submission Policies Shouldn’t be Color-Coded
For Quillette, FAIR’s Managing Director of Legal Advocacy Leigh Ann O’Neill and FAIR in the Arts Coordinator Brent Morden write about why literary submission policies shouldn’t be color-coded.
These race-based fee structures violate Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin by universities and colleges that accept federal funding. In the case of public universities, race-based fees also run afoul of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. And yet, this sort of overtly race-based treatment has continued largely unnoticed and unchallenged.
At the Foundation Against Intolerance & Racism (FAIR)—where the two of us serve as managing director of legal advocacy, and managing director of FAIR in the Arts, respectively—we’re actively working to change that. And we’ve already had some success.
There’s no Republican or Democrat way to teach reading
For The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Robert Pondiscio writes about the misimpression that teaching children to read is a partisan project.
Yet negative polarization, a chronic problem in our sector, reliably thwarts progress even when people of good will rally around effective practice across party lines. E.D. Hirsch, Jr., among the most important education theorists of the past half century, has described himself as “practically a socialist,” yet his work was championed by conservatives, particularly Bill Bennett, Checker Finn, and (at the time) Diane Ravitch. Hirsch’s many voluble critics were never able to see past what they mindlessly derided as a “dead, white male curriculum” and couldn’t be bothered to acquaint themselves with even the most rudimentary basics of how language proficiency is achieved. More accurately, they refused to be bothered because it would force them to grapple with their social and political priors, to which they attached far greater importance than the comparatively trivial matter of whether or not children learned to read.
‘Antiracism’ Was Never the Right Answer
For The New York Times, Pamela Paul writes about why antiracism was never the right answer.
Contra Kendi, there are conscientious people who advocate racial neutrality over racial discrimination. It isn’t necessarily naïve or wrong to believe that most Americans aren’t racist. To believe that white supremacists exist in this country but that white supremacy is not the dominant characteristic of America in 2023 is also an acceptable position.
And while a cartoon version of colorblindness isn’t desirable or even possible, it is possible to recognize skin color but not form judgments on that basis. A person can worry that an emphasis on racial group identity can misleadingly homogenize diverse groups of people, at once underestimating intraracial differences and overemphasizing interracial ones. The Black left-wing scholar Adolph Reed, for example, decried the emphasis on race-based policies. “An obsession with disparities of race has colonized the thinking of left and liberal types,” Reed said in an interview with The New York Times. “There’s this insistence that race and racism are fundamental determinants of all Black people’s existence.”
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