By Professor Doom
It’s no secret identity politics is a big factor in success these days; I mean, we’ve people “self-identifying” as black or American Indian, and scoring pretty good jobs just on the basis of that identification. Granted, this only holds until the “true” identity, whatever that means, is found out, but not every such faker is found, I assure the gentle reader. Moreover, steps are usually taken to make sure the identity is legit, or, hopefully, to make sure the hire is more obviously the correct race or gender. This was especially true when it came to hiring females, though we can’t be so sure of that anymore (not that we should care).
Higher education has descended to the point where you can’t hire a physicist if he’s a white male, it’s only natural to push a little harder to make sure only the most politically correct races and genders occupy all professorial positions. Every institution I’ve been at has given preferential treatment to “preferred” genders and races when it comes to the hiring committees. However, it’s still possible to hire the “wrong sort” of people, and after the hire there’s generally no more discussion of race and gender.
Those days are over, as now the identity politics police are now targeting people who’ve already been hired…strictly on the basis of race. Do they no longer teach the meaning of the word “hypocrisy” in schools?
Well, here goes:
Now, the above article focuses on the white-ness of the professor, but this whole thing is ridiculous.
Admin: “We gave you a number of female candidates for the position. Why did you hire the male candidate?”
Me: “The females all received many offers from other schools, involving hiring bonuses. We just couldn’t compete, so had to go with the guy.”
Admin: “Fine. We’ll offer larger bonuses to female candidates next time.”
--I assure the gentle reader, we really need to stop basing our hiring decisions like this.
Pomona got a professor with the right gender, that’s something of a coup right there. Alas she’s just not black enough, although truth be told this seems a worthy scholar despite her lack of human stain:
She started her career with a bang, spending six years (!) in participant observation of black street gangs, resulting in a dissertation that was honored as the best of the year by the American Sociological Association, and which resulted in a book, On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City. While she was generally sympathetic to her subjects (and could not have gained access to them otherwise), Goffman ran into a firestorm of criticism, partly because she reported unflattering things about black people, and partly because she did what was necessary to gain access, including destroying some of her notes that could have implicated some of her subjects.
So, she’s honest, brave, well respected, and a scholar. She’s probably eloquent, too. Can we just overlook her skin color here? Nope:
“This practice is detrimental to Pomona’s goal of supporting students of color.”
The collective of “Sociology students, alumni, and allies” open their letter by expressing their “anger” and “concern” regarding Goffman’s hire, calling it a “failure” to address the lack of professors of color on campus.
Like most progressive demands, it ignores reality. There’s a huge glut of Ph.D.s, and only a handful of legitimate academic jobs open up every year. Much like I noticed on the hiring committee, applicants with the “right” race/gender combination get offers and bonuses wherever they apply. White/male scum take whatever they get offered…and they only get those offers after the preferred race/gender combos get their pick.
It’s quite possible Pomona offered a big hiring bonus to “professors of color” who applied, but, bottom line, those professors were offered bigger bonuses elsewhere (assuming any at all applied to Pomona). So they did the best they could.
Further, they argue that because the majority (56.7 percent) of students in the Sociology department are now people of color, it is problematic for the department to continue hiring white people.
Wait…not to be elitist here, but Sociology isn’t exactly a high demand field. Shouldn’t these students ask why they’re being shuttled into coursework that will not pay for itself?
Sociology usually isn’t a major department on schools; I took a course in it, and sure didn’t notice any preponderance of the preferred minority there. My friends in academia were surprised when I mentioned Pomona’s weird distribution. How did it happen this way? Well, turns out Pomona is part of a family of schools, where students are more or less sorted:
Pomona is a sister college of Claremont McKenna College, where Heather Mac Donald was violently prevented from speaking, and Harvey Mudd College, the formerly highly-regarded engineering and sciences college, where black students caused classes to be cancelled by a sit-in protesting the workload they face and demanding money for pet campus race-based organizations.
The campuses are not just sorted, but being taken over by this ideology, which inevitably ends in a circular firing squad of self-destruction. Consider what’s happening at Mudd College: students get a reduced workload, and an identity politics takeover.
Then what? Employers quickly realize “Oh, they have engineering degrees, but Mudd is a fake school so I’m not going to hire from there.”
Will all those unemployable ideologues with fake engineering degrees feel like winners? I doubt it.
The students demand that the school not only rescind its offer to hire Goffman, but also explain the rationale for extending the offer originally, additionally insisting on the creation of “influential student positions on the hiring committee” to prevent this type of situation from happening again.
“The hiring of Alice Goffman has already, and will continue to discourage students of color, and especially women of color, from entering the Sociology Department and academia for years to come,” say the 128 signatories, who are keeping their names redacted for fear of “the violence inflicted on communities of color by various publications, namely the .”
It’s so weird. When I was a student, the vast majority of my courses were taught by “non straight/white/males.” Other than language issues, I was never discouraged by the skin color of my professors, and it never occurred to me that, say, an Asian professor couldn’t possibly discuss the ideas of Newton, an Englishman, when it came to calculus or whatever.
Pomona probably won’t dismiss the professor, but there’s a real chilling effect here: other schools see what’s happening, and will doubtless make it even more clear to hiring committees to not even consider people with white skin for positions. While I often criticize admin, I don’t blame them now: if extending their racist and bigoted hiring policies cuts down on the rioting and protests, I concede those policies are defensible.
That said, I really wish admin would consider long term strategies for reducing rioting, such as bringing back entrance exams and other ideas to restrict higher education to people more interested in learning than rioting.