Social Justice Professor Insists White Men Should Not be Hired

Piper Harron is a mathematics professor at the University of Hawaii.  She posted an article on an American Mathematical Society blog (where she is one of the editors) arguing that white men should resign their positions in academia and no longer be hired. 

Let’s have a look at this expression of social justice.

Harron writes:

Not to alarm you, but I probably want you to quit your job, or at least take a demotion. Statistically speaking, you are probably taking up room that should go to someone else. If you are a white cis man (meaning you identify as male and you were assigned male at birth) you almost certainly should resign from your position of power. That’s right, please quit. Too difficult? Well, as a first step, at least get off your hiring committee, your curriculum committee, and make sure you’re replaced by a woman of color or trans person. Don’t have any in your department?  HOW SHOCKING.

First, I am a male not because I identify as male or because I was assigned male at birth.  I am a male because of my genetics, anatomy, and physiology.  It’s how I was born.  That this may conflict with Herron’s crackpot notions of postmodernism is not my problem.

Second, people who serve on hiring committees or curriculum committees don’t have the power to dictate who will replace them.  Thus, there is no way for an evil white male to “make sure you’re replaced by a woman of color or trans person.”

Third, Herron implies the evil white men are preventing women of color or trans people from joining their departments.  But Herron provides no evidence of this.  She would need to show a history of a department having numerous applicants who were women of color or trans people and a consistent history such applications being passed over in order to hire white men to even raise a justification for a closer look.

Clearly, Herron has been indoctrinated in postmodern, neo-Marxist ideology.  As such, she views the world through a tribalistic “us vs. them” filter.   She lashes out at one tribe and because this tribe has become the bogeyman, she postures with a proposal  that rationalizes retribution.  This is the standard Marxist technique of pitting people against each other.

Herron continues this approach:

Remember that you live in a world where people don’t succeed in a vacuum; most success happens on the backs of others who did not consent. You have no idea how successful you would have been if you were still you, but with an additional marginalization (not white, or not male, or not cis gender, or with a disability, etc).

What we need to remember is that this is standard neo-Marxist propaganda, once again trying to poison society with pills of bitterness and resentment.  While Herron believes all white males owe their success to their skin color, she is just projecting her own racial lens on to others.

Herron then goes on some tangent complaining about ” the cis het family.”  This is not surprising, given that Marxists have a long history of hating on the family structure.  It has always posed as a serious obstacle to their crackpot notions of a better future.  Anyway, I think Herron is trying to make some analogy, but she does a poor job of explaining it. So let’s skip it.

She then goes for the jugular:

What can universities do? Well, that’s easier. Stop hiring white cis men (except as needed to get/retain people who are not white cis men) until the problem goes away. If you think this is a bad or un-serious idea, your sexism/racism/transphobia is showing.

Wrong.  Social justice neo-Marxists typically shield their irrational views by insisting that any disagreement/criticism is an expression of sexism/racism/transphobia.  Y’gotta love the Orwellian hubris.  For the only one showing racism here is Dr. Piper Herron.  She is the one a) advocating a racial litmus hiring criterion that b) discriminates against one race.  Now, I realize that social justice advocates deny that people who are “oppressed” can be racist, but that is an argument that plays only to those who are indoctrinated by neo-Marxist, postmodernist, ideology.  Those of us who favor critical thinking over socio-political ideology recognize that the claim “Stop hiring white cis men” is a form of anti-white discrimination.  And being anti-white is one expression of racism.

Sorry Dr. Herron, but your idea is bad for many reasons that have nothing to do with sexism/racism/transphobia.

  1. It’s a form of thinking that encourages and enshrines tribalism and tribalism has a long, documented history of being a “bad idea.”
  2. It’s a form of thinking the owes itself to ideology. That is, only those who have been indoctrinated in postmodernist, neo-Marxist ideology would think it a good idea. And postmodernist, neo-Marxist ideology is not a fertile ground for good ideas.  On the contrary, it has a history of spawning bad idea after bad idea.
  3. It’s a bad idea because it is racist.
  4. It’s a bad idea because it’s the type of thinking that depends on scapegoats.
  5. It’s a bad idea because it leads to subjective, mushy hiring decisions that are fertile ground for cronyism and corruption.

In fact, along those lines, consider the world Herron wants to live in:

If you are on a hiring committee, and you are looking at applicants and you see a stellar white male applicant, think long and hard about whether your department needs another white man. You are not hiring a researching robot who will output papers from a dark closet. You are hiring an educator, a role model, a spokesperson, an advisor, a committee person. When you hire a non-marginalized person, you are not just supporting this one applicant whom you like, you are rewarding a person who has been rewarded his whole life. You are justifying the system that makes his application look so good. You are not innocent. You are perpetuating a system that requires your participation if not your consent.

In other words, instead of reading the lines and considering the evidence, read between the lines and treat this application as if you are fighting against a sinister conspiracy.  What could possibly go wrong?  Look, we don’t overlook a stellar candidate because he does not belong to the right tribe.  On the contrary, we focus on what makes the candidate stellar because that gets us closer to being objective and fair.  It’s not the perfect solution and has its flaws, but the alternative that Herron offers, where hiring decisions are made in the light of ideology and subjective intangibles, is the very approach that gives us things like Lysenkoism and incompetent bureaucracies.

Finally, Herron writes:

When your female students of color have no role models in your department, that’s not “meritocracy”; that’s on you. Again, if you think the “great mathematicians” are disproportionately male because of meritocracy, then your sexism is showing.

What makes a great mathematician great is not his/her sex, but his/her discoveries.  It’s the discovery, the new knowledge, that can be shared with all humanity, across all tribes, that makes people great.

The problem with Dr. Herron is that she does not come across as someone who has devoted their life to mathematical discovery.  On her own blog, she writes:

I spend most of my time dealing with childcare, worrying about politics, or researching the history of social injustice.

I applaud her for devoting time to childcare, but all that time spent worrying about politics and researching the history of social injustice is time that could have been spent on mathematical research.  She had a choice.  Politics and social justice ideology.  Or math.  She chose to spend most of her time on the thing that most interests her and it is not the math.

Look, I can’t help but think that part of the posting is just Herron trolling.  It looks like she has got noticed by some right wing blogs, meaning she can now play victim even more.  But the bottom line is that making hiring decisions on the basis of racial scapegoating and ideology is simply wrong.  And the fact that Herron’s ideology allows her to deny this based on her “ends justify the means” approach doesn’t change that equation for those of us who value reason and fairness.  It merely exposes just how extreme and authoritarian the Social Justice types are.

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13 Responses to Social Justice Professor Insists White Men Should Not be Hired

  1. Travis says:

    Mike, aren’t you worried that if you keep reading the inane and insane drivel these people keep cranking out, your brain might literally start to ooze out your ears? I don’t know how you can do it. Each day another SJW says something that not only runs completely against the grain of reality, but also contains a hilarious amount of irony and hypocrisy, to which the authors are apparently completely and hopelessly blind.

  2. Regual Llegna says:

    Personally, i have no problem with tribalism if the tribe is the family and a family bond is included a priori but in the SJWs idelogy their tribalism drowns in anti-“white” (successfull) people and bigotry of low spectations (only “my” social actvism can “fix” the lives of the “oppresed”).

    Is like the anti-Israel groups when they are asked where to move the israelis after they erase the present Israel as a nation. They don’t know or say to the nations in Europe without thinking about the consequences for europeans and israelis.

    Or the objetives ideas of the gnu atheists that they think should be used to erase all that is a religion and beliefs outside they relativistic claim for “education” (never they talk, with honestity, about the knowledge imparted in this theoretical “education”).

    Or how “socialism and marxism had nothing to do with communism and facism” classical marxist “correction”.

  3. Dhay says:

    This was originally drafted as a response to Michael’s 06 May post entitled “More Postmodern Attacks on Science”; but the ideas expressed apply equally to this thread; so here it is.

    > … address the chronic underrepresentation of … , Indigenous people, …

    https://shadowtolight.wordpress.com/2017/05/06/more-postmodern-attacks-on-science/

    I looked up “indigenous” and found that I am one of the indigenous people of Britain. I wonder whether “Indigenous”, like “Black”, “August” and “Science and Reason”, is one of those words which take on a different meaning when capitalised.

    *

    > … ensure the demographics of those given the awards reflect the demographics of those academics eligible to receive them.

    OK, so after a while there’s more Indigenous person (etc) chairholders, but there’s a couple of problems: people from the families of the economic underclass, the (in the US) RustBelters or (anywhere) the families of mothers holding down three jobs just to keep those families fed, clothed and housed don’t normally get a look-in at becoming academics hence eligible for a share in the privilege of the academic elite, however intelligent themselves; in another generation the pool of academics eligible to be chosen to be chairholders will mostly be the privileged children of the present (or near-future, newly selected, short-term fixed) privileged elite.

    Have you thereby abolished privilege in academia? Where’s the children of those rust-belters (or their Canadian equivalents); or the children of the three-jobber; or …

    Let’s turn to look at the effectiveness of that proposed short-term fix, and see whether it does fix much.

    When I went on an inclusivity course for my Church a year or three back, it was suggested that if the people in a church had different demographics from those in the streets outside that church, that church was not inclusive.

    Apply that principle to academies and academics: that “ensure the demographics of those given the awards reflect the demographics of those academics eligible to receive them” looks sort of similar, but actually falls well below that standard. It fixes but the top tier of a hierarchy of inequalities which could and arguably should be fixed. It barely scratches the surface.

    It aims to fix that (for each university) the demographics of those being given the awards do not currently reflect the demographics of those academics eligible to receive them. What about how the demographics of academics at elite universities differ from the demographics of academics at non-elite universities.

    What about how universities differ from each other in their academics’ demographics.

    What about how the academics differ from their students’ demographics.

    What about how the students’ demographics differ from the university towns’ demographics.

    What about how student and university town demographics differ from the demographics of other towns in the area; and from the country as a whole.

    Even with positive discrimination that poor black woman waiting at your table, then hurrying on to the third job as a cleaner – however bright she might be, and however bright her intersectional LGBTQ2S* daughter might also be, neither are going to get one of those awards. Nor even a post in academia. Everyone in academia is very, very privileged, with just the level of privilege varying. Those wishing to level the academic playing-field should reflect it is a playing-field unattainable to many, perhaps to most, for socio-economic reasons.

    So, yeah, while sorting out the inequality of eg black women being under-represented in academia, and in Canada’s prestigious Chairs, how about sorting out the exclusion from academia of those Rust-Belters – and that poor black woman waiting at your table – and their children and grand-children.

    *

    Oh, and while you are sorting out the inequality of black women being under-represented in academia, and in Canada’s prestigious Chairs, how about sorting out the under-representation of Conservatives and Christians in academia.

    Some moaners about privilege, some warriors against perceived privilege in others, they just don’t realise how privileged they themselves are.

    *

    When the revolution comes, comrades, these people will be first against the wall.

  4. TFBW says:

    Briefly, I see two problems with this post. One is that the opening hyperlink is broken. That’s a technical detail, easily fixed. The other is that the title is misleading. Specifically, having looked at the article, I cannot agree that Piper Harron has argued anything. She has asserted, demanded, expressed moral entitlement, vilified, disparaged, and pontificated, but she has not constructed a chain of reasoning which might be deemed an argument, even loosely speaking. I suggest “insists” as a fair and accurate substitute term.

  5. Dhay says:

    Until it’s fixed note the hyperlink destination is: http://blogs.ams.org/inclusionexclusion/2017/05/11/get-out-the-way/

    *

    Don’t even get me started on how SJA demographics differ from the the World’s. Social Justice Advocates like Piper Harron might or might not be weird, but they are definitely WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic), and that means they have immense levels of privilege compared to, say, a Masai grandmother — indeed, compared to just about everyone in the World who is not WEIRD.

    *

    Following the link above, you will find a very striking cartoon, the one captioned “Describe what you can bring to this company.” When I first saw it in Private Eye magazine No. 1442, 21 April – 4 May 2017, page 17, I noted it as impactful and outstanding in getting its message across, so I can understand why Harron copied it (from Private Eye or elsewhere) into her “Get Out of the Way” post on the American Mathematical Society blog.

    Er, Private Eye will have got permission to use the cartoon and will have paid the cartoonist for its use; did Harron do either?

  6. mechanar says:

    and they still wonder why every single Socialist state in the world has always collapsed

  7. GRA says:

    On Piper’s personal site she lists here interests as follows: Calculus II, intersectional radical feminism, Number Theory, anti-racism, etc.

    She received her master’s & doctorate at Princeton University with her dissertation entitled “The Equidistribution of Lattice Shapes of Rings of Integers of Cubic, Quartic, and Quintic Number
    Fields: an Artist’s Rendering.”

    Her “liberated CV” (she has a “professional CV” as well) lists some interesting “experiences”. I suggest to check them out. http://www.theliberatedmathematician.com/cv/. Here are the “experiences” during her master’s years:

    “survived external and internalized misogyny
    survived external and internalized racism
    survived pervasive and internalized cult of genius mythology”

    A vast majority of her teaching has been in Calculus II, with additional courses in Calculus III and Intro to Number Theory once being employed by University of Hawaii.

    Also, she’s currently a temporary assistant professor at the university. I’m not sure where that falls within the hierarchy of teaching positions and if she receives any medical benefits. Is it it equal to adjunct? Above a lecturer?

  8. Michael says:

    Briefly, I see two problems with this post. One is that the opening hyperlink is broken. That’s a technical detail, easily fixed. The other is that the title is misleading. Specifically, having looked at the article, I cannot agree that Piper Harron has argued anything. She has asserted, demanded, expressed moral entitlement, vilified, disparaged, and pontificated, but she has not constructed a chain of reasoning which might be deemed an argument, even loosely speaking. I suggest “insists” as a fair and accurate substitute term.

    Fixed. 🙂

  9. mechanar says:

    and they still wonder why every single Socialist state failed

  10. Michael says:

    Also, she’s currently a temporary assistant professor at the university. I’m not sure where that falls within the hierarchy of teaching positions and if she receives any medical benefits. Is it it equal to adjunct? Above a lecturer?

    I would guess that it’s a fulltime, non-tenure track position with benefits. I would further guess she has a 1,2, or 3 year contract. The question is whether it’s a position that is renewable. If it is, imagine being the one telling her she did not get rehired. In fact, maybe that’s the main reason for her writing this blog entry. 😉

  11. TFBW says:

    … imagine being the one telling her she did not get rehired.

    My ideal scenario: tell her that she has been replaced, listen to the inevitable diatribe about how this is all racism and sexism, then inform her that she has been replaced by another black woman, so it’s neither sexist nor racist. In fact, the only significant difference with the new hire is that she’s better qualified — and an outspoken Trump supporter.

  12. Dhay says:

    Piper Herron > When your female students of color have no role models in your department, that’s not “meritocracy”; that’s on you. Again, if you think the “great mathematicians” are disproportionately male because of meritocracy, then your sexism is showing.

    Really? Do the mathematical abilities of more able boys decline compared to the more able girls after age 13? If they don’t, a meritocratic approach to recruitment seems, on the figures below, to indicate that male maths professors should outnumber female maths professors 13 to 1:

    Research on intellectually-talented children is still, in many ways, in its infancy. The definition of giftedness itself is a matter of debate. Harvard developmental psychologist Howard Gardner, for instance, has proposed theories of multiple types of intelligence that deemphasize IQ …
    Still, the literature to date supports a number of generalizations on intellectually talented children. As measured by IQ and other measures of general intelligence, America’s gifted children:
    * …
    * Are predominantly male in mathematical reasoning ability. At the high end of the distribution, boys, by age 13, outnumber girls by a margin of 13 to 1.
    * …

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/how-america-turned-against-smart-kids/

    Or perhaps Herron is advocating that maths professors should not be recruited from those at the high end of the distribution of mathematical ability.

  13. pennywit says:

    She received her master’s & doctorate at Princeton University with her dissertation entitled “The Equidistribution of Lattice Shapes of Rings of Integers of Cubic, Quartic, and Quintic Number Fields: an Artist’s Rendering.”

    I have no idea what that means. Does it refer to mathematical interpretation of art? That is, I know that some folks research what shapes/patterns, mathematically, are most pleasing to the eye. I think that would be a fascinating study.

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