John McWhorter has written a piece for The Atlantic about the current climate at United States universities and there is cause for alarm. McWhorter claims that he receives dozens of emails from various academics, all of whom are worried about losing their career at any moment. Their fears are not related to the COVID-19 pandemic, though.
They are worried about the liberalism that is running rampant on their campuses. The modern leftist does not allow disagreements to take place. You see, no one can have a difference of opinion anymore. McWhorter has referred to the new way of doing things as a form of Maoism. The struggle sessions that take place are right out of the Cultural Revolution.
“I routinely discuss the fallacy of assuming that disparity implies discrimination, which is just a specific way of confusing correlation for causality. Frankly, I’m now somewhat afraid to broach these topics … since according to the new faith, disparity actually is conclusive evidence of discrimination,” said one statistics professor.
Even medieval studies are being affected at the moment. According to an assistant professor in this field, students have become “unspeakably mean and disingenuous once they have you in their sights”. He describes a campus that is full of students who are currently “mounting PR campaigns to get academics and grad students fired, removed from programs, expelled from scholarly groups, or simply to cease speaking.”
The most alarming aspect for McWhorter was the number of letters that sounded as if they had been written by Maoist China residents or Stalinist Russia. One history professor claims that their school’s administration is giving serious consideration to establishing a hotline for anonymous complaints about “biases”. A professor who was found to be “privileging the white male perspective” was even forced to sit in a listening circle.
The new culture focuses on “cancellation” and the totality of what a professor has accomplished gets lost in the shuffle. Multiple philosophy professors have been driven from their posts and a quote that one of them had to offer should scare anyone who is worried about the current state of affairs. America’s secondary educational system is under attack and there is no end in sight.
The professor who stepped down blames the “accelerating creep of what felt to me a pretty stifling orthodoxy. The hiring market was dominated by a concern for diversity statements, the ability to teach fairly ideologically-slanted courses on philosophy and critical race theory or philosophy and gender, etc.; and more generally it felt progressively less like a profession where I could opt out of those trends while still being a competitive job applicant.”
Northwestern U. law school had a town hall meeting online recently. Everybody began w/ a ritual denunciation of themselves as racist. Reader: "Prof. Speta is not a racist. He is a wonderful man universally loved by students. It makes me sad that he is forced to say otherwise." pic.twitter.com/O45UX8ver2
— Rod Dreher (@roddreher) September 1, 2020
Some might want to write off these complaints. They are going to blame the conservative crowd for what is being said here but there’s just one problem with that mindset. None of these professors are conservatives! Many of them consider themselves to be left of center. Unless you are a member of the far left, academia does not want much to do with you. The poll that was taken for this piece encompasses the opinions of 445 academics.
Whether this issue is really as widespread as these professors claim remains to be seen. More than half of these respondents say that they would be worried about expressing their views on any sort of complex issue. Contentious topics are often discussed on college campuses and that’s why discourse cannot be controlled like this. The idea that these conversations can be controlled is leaving many professors scratching their heads.
How long do we have before these types of student meltdowns are taking place on a regular basis? Northwestern Law professors have already been forced to call themselves racists by their students. Were any of the professors actually brave enough to say no? We are unsure. Will professors be willing to stand up for themselves in the future? If they want to keep their jobs, they may not be able to.