Friday Ephemera
The Lockdown Diaries (4)

Garbage Detected

At the University of North Texas, a small act of mockery proves revealing:

When [maths professor, Nathaniel] Hiers noticed “a stack of flyers” on microaggressions in the department faculty lounge in November, he read them and found the ideas wanting. Then he wrote “Don’t leave garbage lying around” in jest on a chalkboard, with arrows pointing to the flyers.

Those of a delicate disposition may wish to avoid this image of un-woke waywardness.

Do remember to breathe.

Needless to say, such demurral – promptly construed as “upsetting” and even “threatening” - could not go unpunished:

Hiers claims that the reasons he was given for his firing trace back to the microaggression fliers: He wouldn’t subject himself to “additional diversity training” or retract his criticism of the fliers, and his “actions and response are not compatible with the values of this department.”

Professor Hiers’ claim regarding the reason for his firing appears to be confirmed, in writing, by the maths department chairman Ralf Schmidt, who cites the incident as pivotal in his decision and describes Hiers’ mockery of the flyers as “cowardly.”

The department-endorsed leaflets insist that statements such as “I believe the most qualified person should get the job” are in fact racist, sexist “microaggressions” and, in ways somewhat unclear, terribly oppressive, even a grave health risk, allegedly “targeting” the “marginalised group membership” of theoretical persons. Persons who, we’re told, consequently endure all manner of hardships, from poverty and migraines to heart disease and eating disorders. And so, it turns out that airing a belief in the importance of competence - as opposed to a preoccupation with a person’s sex or skin colour – is some kind of malevolent incantation, a powerful curse.

Professor Hiers is now suing the University of North Texas.