Invasion of the Infinite Realm 7

The brilliant researcher – and self-declared atheist and conservative – Heather Mac Donald writes:

Another academic year, another fattening of campus diversity bureaucracies. Most worrisomely, the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields are now prime targets for administrative diversity encroachment, with the commercial tech sector rapidly following suit.

The pursuit of discovery and understanding in the Infinite Realm of the mind is a venture in liberation. It does not matter there whether your body is strong or weak, what color your skin is, or what you feel. You hunger for nothing but knowledge. No other appetites – alimentary, sexual, hubristic – vex you there.

To enter it, you turn to the study of science, technology, engineering, mathematics. The study of the humanities will not get you through the door.

There are people – most perhaps – who do not want to leave bodily hungers, emotion, the self and its desires behind. If they visit the Infinite Realm at all, it is to view it from the deck of a cruise ship of the Studies Line, named Women Studies, Black Studies, Latino Studies, Diversity Studies, Gender Studies, Protest Studies, Oppression Studies, Peace Studies, Studies Without Borders.

And the glimpse they have of the Infinite Realm disturbs them. They see who goes in. For whom the door opens. The privileged.

And look – they are almost all men, too many of them white. You can tell they are unfeeling. They do not cast a compassionate glance at the tourist crowds leaning on the rails of the Studies ships, victims of exclusion oppression, yearning to be let in.

Oh, that unassailable citadel! Oh, that locked door! However many voyagers on the Studies ships were to batter it, it would not yield.

But the will of so many people, documented and undocumented, must not be frustrated.  If more women and “people of color” are not admitted in equal numbers to the white men, then the Infinite Realm must be changed. It can still be called the realm of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, but it must become a place where your body, your color, your sex, and above all your feelings matter. It must be feminized, diversified, gendered. It must become a temple where the new gods Diversity, Inclusion, Compassion preside.

The most significant new diversity sinecure has been established at the University of California, Los Angeles, where the engineering school just minted its first associate dean of diversity and inclusion. The purpose of this new position is to encourage engineering faculty to hire more females and underrepresented minorities, reports the Daily Bruin, UCLA’s student newspaper. “One of my jobs,” the new dean, Scott Brandenberg, told the paper, is “to avoid implicit bias in the hiring process.”

The new engineering-diversity deanship supplements the work of UCLA’s lavishly paid, campus-wide Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Jerry Kang, whose 2016 salary was $444,000. Kang, one of the most influential proponents of the “implicit-bias” concept, already exerts enormous pressure throughout the university to hire for “diversity”. Even before his vice chancellorship was created, any UCLA professor hoping for the top rank of tenure had to write a “contributions to diversity” essay detailing his efforts to rectify any racial and gender imbalances in his department.

The addition of a localized diversity bureaucrat within the engineering school can only increase the focus on gender and race in hiring and admissions decisions. (Brandenberg, of course, expresses fealty to California’s beleaguered ban on racial and gender preferences in government. But it would be naive to think that the ubiquitous mandate to increase “diversity” does not inevitably tip the scale in favor of alleged victim groups.)

No evidence exists that implicit bias is a factor in the engineering school’s gender and racial composition. Its percentage of female undergraduate and graduate students – about one quarter – matches the national percentage reported by the American Society for Engineering Education. I asked the school’s spokesman, Amy Akmal, if UCLA Engineering was aware of any examples of the most qualified candidate being overlooked or rejected in a hiring search because of implicit bias; she ignored this fundamental question. (She also ignored a question about the new dean’s salary.)

Every science department in the country relentlessly strives to improve its national ranking through hiring the most prestigious researchers. It would be deeply contrary to their interests to reject a superior candidate because of gender or race. And given the pools of federal and private science funding available on the basis of gender and race, hiring managers have added incentive to favor “diverse” applicants. Contrary to the idea that females are being discriminated against in hiring, Wendy Williams and Stephen Ceci found that female applicants for STEM tenure-track positions enjoyed a two-to-one advantage over similarly qualified males in paired resume experiments.

The director of UCLA’s Women in Engineering program trotted out the usual role model argument for gender-and race-conscious decision-making. Audrey Pool O’Neal told the Daily Bruin that she never saw anyone who looked like her (black and female) when she was an undergraduate and graduate student. “When I do teach classes, the female students let me know how much they appreciate seeing a woman in front of their classroom,” O’Neal said.

Why not appreciate seeing the best-trained scholar in front of your classroom? Any female who thinks that she needs a female in front of her in order to learn as much as she can, or to envision a career in a particular field, has declared herself a follower rather than a pioneer – and a follower based on a characteristic irrelevant to intellectual achievement. If it were really the case that a role model of the same gender is important to moving ahead, it would be impossible to alter the gender balance of a field, assuming such a mission to be worthwhile, which – absent a finding of actual discrimination – it is not. Marie Curie did not need female role models to investigate radioactivity; she was motivated by a passion to understand the world. That should be reason enough to plunge headlong into the search for knowledge.

The Columbia University Medical Center has just pledged $50 million to diversify its faculty and student body, reports the Wall Street Journal, part of a new $100 million diversity drive across the entire university. Never mind that Columbia University has already fruitlessly spent $85 million since 2005 toward the same end. Never mind that there is a huge gap between the MCAT scores of blacks and whites, which will affect the quality of subsequent hiring pools. Columbia’s vice provost for faculty diversity and inclusion regurgitates another classic of diversity boilerplate to justify this enormous waste of funds. “The reality is that you can’t really achieve excellence without diversity. It requires diverse thought to solve complex problems,” says vice provost Dennis Mitchell.

Mitchell’s statement is ludicrous on multiple fronts.Aside from the fact that the one thing never sought in the academic diversity hustle is “diverse thought”,  do Mitchell and his compatriots in the diversity industry believe that females and underrepresented minorities solve analytical problems differently from males, whites, and Asians? A core plank of left-wing academic thought is that gender and race are “socially constructed”. Why then would females and underrepresented minorities think differently if their alleged differences are simply a result of oppressive social categories?

Columbia’s science departments do not have 50/50 parity between males and females, which, according to Mitchell, keeps them from achieving “excellence”. Since 1903, Columbia faculty members have won 78 Nobel Prizes in the sciences and economics. The recipients were overwhelmingly male (and white and Asian); somehow, they managed to do groundbreaking work in science despite the relatively non-diverse composition of their departments.

The only thing that the academic diversity racket achieves is to bid up the salaries of plausibly qualified candidates, and redistribute those candidates to universities that can muster the most resources for diversity poaching. The dean of UCLA Engineering, Jayathi Murthy, laments that of the 900 females admitted to the undergraduate engineering program in 2016, only about 240 accepted the offer. “There are (about) 660 women there that are going somewhere else and the question is . . . is there an opportunity for us to do something differently,” she told the Daily Bruin.

Presumably, those 660 non-matriculants are getting engineering degrees at other institutions. If the goal (a dubious one) is to increase the number of female engineers overall, then it doesn’t matter where they graduate from. But every college wants its own set of “diverse” students and faculty, though one institution’s gain is another’s presumed loss.

The pressure to take irrelevant characteristics like race and sex into account in academic science is dangerous enough. But Silicon Valley continues to remake itself in the image of the campus diversity bureaucracy. Dell Technologies announced in September a new “chief diversity and inclusion officer” position. Per the usual administrator shuffle, the occupant of this new position, Brian Reaves, previously served as head of diversity and inclusion for software company SAP. Reaves will engage the company’s “leaders” in “candid conversations about the role of gender and diversity in the workplace,” said Dell chief customer officer Karen Quintos in a press statement. “Candid” means: you are free to confess your white cis-male privilege. “Candid” does not mean questioning Dell’s diversity assumptions, as this summer’s firing of computer engineer James Damore from Google made terrifyingly clear to any other potential heretics. …

Official scientific organizations have all turned obsessively to the diversity agenda. Any academic scientist who wants to move up in administration – or apply for grants, leave, or access to the conference circuit – must be on a crusade against his fellow scientists’ microaggressions and implicit bias. This is good news for the diversity industry, but bad news for America’s scientific competitiveness.

So why are scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians laughing?

Because, fortunately, university faculties of the STEM fields are not the Infinite Realm itself. Nor are the campuses of the Silicon Valley technology giants.

Funny that. The army of diversity administrators grows and grows. More and more STEM faculties in more and more universities appoint more and more diversity officers. But the frustration remains. Because that castle, which the people on the Studies cruises were told was the Infinite Realm, and which has been commandeered by the diversity police, and now has a day care annex, a free clinic, a gym, a safe place with coloring-in books and stuffed animal toys, a diner, unisex bathrooms, and 50 offices for diversity administrators (none for scientists, technologists, engineers or mathematicians), was not the real thing.

Truth is, the Infinite Realm is abstract. No matter who you are, of what tribe or caste or clan or breed or birth, if you can think you can enter. For the Infinite Realm is in your own head or else it does not exist for you at all. And no diversity officer, or law, or politically correct opinion, or Antifa riot, or grant from George Soros, can make any difference to that immutable fact.

Posted under education, liberty, Race, Sex by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, November 15, 2017

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This post has 7 comments.

  • Robert Kantor

    “If the underrepresentation of certain minority groups in STEM fields is a social ill requiring correction, doesn’t it also follow that the overrepresentation of other minority groups in STEM fields is a social ill requiring correction?
    The diversicrats seem to believe that group differences are predominantly due to bias and prejudice and that in a just society all groups (racial, ethnic, and sexual) would perform equally well. If this assumption is correct, doesn’t it follow that there is no such thing as diversity?”

    Several points to be made:
    Why do so many CROs and other big shots in the technical world call for the need for more diversity when they know that there really is no need for “diversity (i.e., women and blacks), that the most skilled computer people are to be found among white and Asian men?

    Women have achieved parity with men in medical school and near parity in law school. Why should a woman want to leave these highly lucrative fields to become a programmer or physicist where the pay scales are much lower?

    The demand for diversity (i.e., sexual and racial parity in all things) is a dangerous totalitarian movement. Perhaps the best way to slow it down is to point out that there are too many Jews and Chinese in math and physics departments and demand that at least 70 percent them be replaced at once by blacks and Hispanics. How many Jews would think this is a good idea?

    • All good points. I especially like the first one. Pure logic. Thanks, Robert!

    • liz

      How many Jews would think this is a good idea? Sadly, judging from so many apparently suicidal (leftist) Jewish groups (like those in the BDS movement), there are many who would. And it probably won’t be long before Muslims actually DO start demanding that Jews be replaced with, of course, more Muslims in these fields, pointing to the numbers as proof that Jews are Nazis and Islamophobes.

      • Jeanne Shockley

        Sadly, this is a good point.

  • Jeanne Shockley

    Depressing as the article is, I was given hope by the last paragraph and its enduring truth. Now…lest anyone think that diversity hiring doesn’t start until the college level, my county’s BOE has had for at least a decade an entire department devoted year-round to the goal of persuading black teachers to work in our public school system. They go all around the US promoting the county. Great benefits, great pay, small class size, local university, neat city hubs, moderate weather, near the beach… They continue to fail and continue to catch flak for that failure from those “socially aware” for profit groups. Oh gawd, the public schools…now I am depressed again.

    • liz

      Depressing is right. Public schools are a perfect example of the consequences of Progressive social engineering.

  • liz

    Well, just like the Left has invaded, hijacked, and ruined everything else, now it’s time to ruin science, too! Science and technology are headed down the drain, but at least they will do it inclusively and with diversity!
    What a great feeling, doing penance for our sin of white privilege by sacrificing our once high standards and quality of life on the altar of sacred diversity, for the greater good!