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Elsewhere (298)

From the archives, Amy Wax on the contortions of “affirmative action”: 

On the one hand, all good people are for affirmative action. That’s a sign of virtue. On the other hand, to talk about the predicate, the reason that affirmative action is needed, which is that there are these gaps in educational achievement and proficiency, is verboten. So, we kind of twisted ourselves in knots that we have to embrace something but deny the factual underpinning of it.

And Heather Mac Donald on pantomime claims of “systemic racism” and their corrosive and farcical effects:

It has been taboo to hint at the reason that the millions of dollars already expended on campus diversity initiatives have yet to engineer exact proportional representation of blacks in the student body and on the faculty: the vast academic skills gap. Now this truth will be even more professionally lethal to anyone who dares mention it. The highest reaches of the university have declared as a matter of self-evident fact that systemic racism is the defining feature of American society, one that explains every inequality. Fighting against that racism has now officially become colleges’ reason for being…

The dean of the Jacobs School of Engineering at the University of California, San Diego, pronounced himself “absolutely dedicated” to turning the engineering school into an “anti-racist organisation.” Doing so “crucially includes unconscious bias work we must do within ourselves,” he added. How that work will interact with research on nanoparticles and viral transmission, say, was unspecified… The chairman of the earth and planetary sciences department at the University of California at Davis announced an “anti-racist reading group” for faculty and students. The group’s purpose was to confront the “structural racism that pervades” the field of geology. Such structural racism in the study of igneous rocks is apparently so obvious that the chair did not bother to elaborate further. Failure to attend the reading group would undoubtedly count against any faculty member during his promotional review, as a sign of insufficient enthusiasm for “diversity.”

Worth reading in full. As Ms Mac Donald notes, with the question of disparities in academic performance effectively short-circuited, and “systemic” but unspecified “racism” the go-to explanation, the all-but mandatory conclusion, any hope of addressing underlying behaviour and suboptimal choices recedes even further. Instead, we can look forward to more unearned resentment and grandiose entitlement, quotas for the unqualified, and more pretentious self-incrimination. In the name of “social justice.”

As usual, feel free to share your own links and snippets, on any subject, in the comments.