Social Justice Philosophers On Display

As we have seen, a common trait of social justice activists is the need to silence opposing viewpoints.  A recent example comes with a twist – social justice activists are attacking each other and dragging their world of academic publishers into their outrage.

An article in the current issue of the feminist philosophy journal Hypatia has created such a controversy over the past several days that the members of its board of associate editors have now issued an apology for publishing it.

The article is “In Defense of Transracialism” by Rebecca Tuvel, an assistant professor of philosophy at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. In the paper, Professor Tuvel takes up the question of whether the considerations that support accepting transgender individuals’ decisions to change sexes, which she endorses, provide support for accepting transracial individuals’ decisions to change races. She defends an affirmative answer to that question.

Seems reasonable to me.  I don’t see how it is that the logic behind transgenderism fails to extend elsewhere, such a transracialism.  If anyone out there is capable of making such a clear distinction, feel free to do so in the comments section.

The interesting thing here is that Tuvel is a social justice activist who is quite serious about her position.

Yet her article offended and outraged other social justice philosophers:

The result has been an eruption of complaints from a number of philosophers and other academics, expressed mainly on Facebook and Twitter. Among the complaints is the charge that the paper is anti-transgender.

Hmmm.  If being “anti-transgender” is a “charge,” then it would seem the world of philosophy itself has become a world of indoctrination.  For the “charge” here sounds to me like a charge of heresy.

Check out the outrage:

Nonetheless, in one popular public Facebook post, Nora Berenstain, an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Tennessee, says the essay contains “discursive transmisogynistic violence.” She elaborates:

“Tuvel enacts violence and perpetuates harm in numerous ways throughout her essay. She deadnames a trans woman. She uses the term “transgenderism.” She talks about “biological sex” and uses phrases like “male genitalia.” She focuses enormously on surgery, which promotes the objectification of trans bodies. She refers to “a male-to- female (mtf) trans individual who could return to male privilege,” promoting the harmful transmisogynistic ideology that trans women have (at some point had) male privilege. In her discussion of “transracialism,” Tuvel doesn’t cite a single woman of color philosopher, nor does she substantively engage with any work by Black women, nor does she cite or engage with the work of any Black trans women who have written on this topic.”

Is there any evidence that getting some philosophical paper pubished in some obscure feminist philosophy journal constitutes “violence?”  Sounds like someone is jumping the shark to me.  But then again, social justice activists need words to qualify as violence to rationalize their censorship – the end justifies the means.

Anyway, don’t overlook some of those social justice truths:  terms like“biological sex” and  “male genitalia” are bad, while the whole notion of trans-women ever having had “male privilege” when they were men is “harmful transmisogynistic ideology.”

So the social justice warriors circulated an open letter and solicited signatures.  The letter read:

It is difficult to imagine that this article could have been endorsed by referees working in critical race theory and trans theory, which are the two areas of specialization that should have been most relevant to the review process. A message has been sent, to authors and readers alike, that white cis scholars may engage in speculative discussion of these themes without broad and sustained engagement with those theorists whose lives are most directly affected by transphobia and racism.

Of course, the journal editors folded in record time and are now apologizing for their misconduct:

We, the members of Hypatia’s Board of Associate Editors, extend our profound apology to our friends and colleagues in feminist philosophy, especially transfeminists, queer feminists, and feminists of color, for the harms that the publication of the article on transracialism has caused. The sources of those harms are multiple

As for the author, she writes:

But so much wrath on electronic media has been expressed in the form of ad hominem attacks. I have received hate mail. I have been denounced a horrible person by people who have never met me. I have been warned that this is a project I should not have started and can only have questionable motivations for writing. Many people are now strongly urging me and the journal to retract the article and issue an apology. They have cautioned me that not doing so would be devastating for me personally, professionally, and morally. From the few who have expressed their support, much has been said to me about bullying culture, call-out culture, virtue-signaling, a mob mentality, and academic freedom.

So once again, we can see the Light of the secular approach – reason and evidence leading to yet another social justice witch hunt.  In this case, it’s hard to keep track of which is the best way to virtue signal.

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5 Responses to Social Justice Philosophers On Display

  1. Regual Llegna says:

    All this is because by accepting “transracialism” the same way that “transgenderism”, they know that they will have to go along with the “color blind” argument, the term race will become nothing, then by poiting racism they will create more racism.

    Accepting one argument will invalidate the importance of the other in other instances, this is because the inherent relativism in their marxism ideology.

    And will prove the slippery slope argument of the objetivists world view, christians and the oppositors of the “diversity” is a real thing, not a fallacy, that means that in this case being “trans-anything” is only about living bound only to personal desire and that whatever they want to be others will be obliged/forced by goverments on international level (by liberals laws, exept muslims aparently) to accept that as fact or else there will be punishments.

  2. Regual Llegna says:


    The most sad part is that the defense of the liberals is about how they don’t damage free speech becoause the goverment don’t make punishments or arrest to Robert Spencer, as in most other cases of liberals shutting down free speech.

    But upholding free speech and all others rights by Constitution is not about the goverment, it never was, but upholded by the people, because the people don’t supposed to need a goverment to tell them what is right. Because rights appeal to the individual conscience, rights are eroded when people think that they are simply basic laws or obligations.

  3. Regual Llegna says:

    All this is about controlling the narrative. The opposition is labeled as …buzzwords… simply evil/demonic.

    Liberals marxism/atheism is a religion without culture or meaning, that is the reason the mayority can’t see that is a religious ideology, the dogma is every time the same, is all about fighting the gropu or person labeled as “oppresor” (fill perfectly the definition of some sort of demon every time), this don’t exist without some sort of enemy, like the right wingers or christians, or a continuous threat, like climate change or hate speech or racism or nazism or fascism.

    For the liberals christian, white, male, right winger, alt-right, cretionists, climate change skeptic, pro-life, nationalist, capitalist, etc… for then those are SLURS, for then those are the labels of the source of all that is wrong with the humanity: “the oppresor”, and their and their saviors are always left-wing politicians, socialists and relativists in every area of human knowledge.

    Their fight against the “oppresor” is their very life goal and their very reward. At the end they will show you that they cannot make opposition with any honour for they own values. They return to the thinking that might translate to good for everyone.

  4. Kevin says:

    “She uses the term “transgenderism.” She talks about “biological sex” and uses phrases like “male genitalia.””

    Progressives have gone so far off the deep end that not only do they declare biological reality to be “violence”, but even progressive fantasy concepts like transgenderism are apparently now not progressive enough – now we are expected to simply pretend that male and female do not exist, while accepting them as their gender of choice, even though neither choice exists.

    I can’t decide whether the author of the “transracial” piece or her detractor is more of a lunatic.

    I also love the irony that it is a flaw to not cite “people of color” or particular demographics of women (while remembering that women do not exist). White people aren’t good enough.
    Imaginary demographic checkboxes are treated as stereotypes and are assumed to provide insight based on those checkboxes not being white or male (which doesn’t exist). It’s literally no different than assuming a black man is good at sports, which they would scream is racism.

    Progressives are so bigoted they will never be able to overcome it.

  5. Dhay says:

    I see a strong and reasoned criticism of the ‘Letter to Hypatia’ and supporting Rebecca Tuvel:

    All in all, it’s remarkable how many basic facts this letter gets wrong about Tuvel’s paper. Either the authors simply lied about the article’s contents, or they didn’t read it at all. Every single one of the hundreds of signatories on the open letter now has their name on a document that severely (and arguably maliciously) mischaracterizes the work of one of their colleagues.

    Looks like a sober and nuanced philosophical paper is being hate-freaked.

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