Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Marquette Provost Touts “Critical Thinking,” Then Repeats Politically Correct Clichés

That Marquette’s administration is dominated by politically correct leftists is shown by the fact that Provost Dan Myers took to the Marquette Tribune to argue against conservative speaker Ben Shapiro, who appeared on campus last week.

Myers claims to be making a plea for “critical thinking,” but in fact simply demands that people not critically examine politically correct shibboleths. He focusses on the notion of “institutional racism,” a notion that Shapiro challenged.
There is a lot to address there, but let’s focus on three critical questions before we express agreement. First, has the institutionalized racism of yesteryear really disappeared? Take one instance in our own world of higher education. It is widely accepted that back in the bad ol’ days, universities had racist recruitment and admissions practices that severely disadvantaged African Americans. That disadvantage is gone in our new enlightened era, Shapiro says.

But is it? Consider this: Almost all universities have long had recruitment and admissions practices that target legacy students (the children and relatives of its alumni). If the parents or grandparents were admitted using a racist standard, then doesn’t the legacy advantage replicate that racism in the next generation? Haven’t these legacy practices built racism into the access to higher education? Maybe it’s possible that racial advantages still exist more than we think.
Does Marquette target legacy students? If so, Dan Myers, you are the Provost, why don’t you stop it?

But of course, targeting legacy students is not racial discrimination, even if it has a differential racial impact. Universities target good athletes too, and (at least in “revenue sports”) this benefits blacks. But that’s not racial discrimination either.

Then there is the huge advantage racial minorities have with affirmative action. It typically is (as Shapiro reported) in the range of 250 SAT points (Verbal plus Quantitative).

School Choir

Myers then offers an example of a bad person: a choir director who systematically excluded black students from a highly desirable program.

Myers seems not to understand that this simply isn’t “institutional racism.” There was nothing about the “institution” of the choir that discriminated against blacks, but rather one bad person who did.

And Myers admits he is now dead. So much for this as any sort of example of contemporary racism, institutional or otherwise.

Individual Agency

Myers continues:
By denying institutional racism, Shapiro can boil racial differences down to individual agency: if Black people just tried harder and made better choices, they’d do just as well as Whites. Simply finish high school, avoid early pregnancy and get a job. If you do, you’ll be OK. Seems reasonable, but let’s pause again. Does everyone (regardless of race, income, where they live and family circumstances) have the same chance to finish high school? Does every high school produce the same results (learning, skills and chances of getting into college)? Does everyone have the same chance of getting a job? If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” we must rethink whether individual agency is the only thing that matters.
Myers is oblivious to the fact that he is demeaning black people. They are, he seems to be saying, so beaten down that they are unable to make good decisions. For example, today about 72% of all black kids are born out of wedlock. Poor beaten down black folks can’t make good decisions about sex, birth control and marriage, according to Myers.

But in 1955, only 20% of black babies were born out of wedlock. Why could blacks make good decisions in the 1950s, before the civil rights legislation of the 60s, but can’t now? The generation of blacks that had kids in wedlock in the 50s was the generation that marched with Martin Luther King. What has happened in the black community? It hasn’t been the rise of “institutional racism.”

That blacks are, on average, in poorer schools than whites is certainly true. But it is leftists like Myers that are the staunch defenders of poorly performing public school monopolies in central cities, and the opponents of charter schools and vouchers schools.

It is, in other words, the people who whine about “institutional racism” who are defenders of the clearest form of institutional racism that harms black kids: the inner city public school monopoly.

Unemployment

Myers goes on to talk about unemployment, and claims that if the “jobs were there” black people would take them. He points to the fact that the black unemployment rate is consistently higher than the white unemployment rate.

But is this “institutional racism?”

In the first place, because blacks tend to have less human capital than whites (because of poorer education), they are at a disadvantage.

Secondly, because blacks tend to have less human capital, they are more likely to be lured into dependency on government programs, which compete too well with actual employment. (The same thing happens with poorly educated whites, but it is less noticed.)

Here are the data on dependency on means-tested programs, by race.

Here are the data on dependency and family structure. Married couple families are quite unlikely to be dependent on government programs.

One of the many things that politically correct types won’t talk about is the fact that the black/white gap in unemployment was, in an era where “institutional racism” was undeniable, nonexistent. This chart, from the linked article, tells the story:


Hypocrisy on Critical Thinking

But the most blatant, bizarre thing about Myers and his bureaucrats is that, instead of promoting critical thinking, they have promoted one-sided political correctness.

Critical thinking involves confronting diverse, often conflicting ideas. But the programming coming out of Myers office (and offices under his control) this year has consisted of nothing but leftist indoctrination.

And Myers, uncomfortable with Shapiro challenging his one-sided programming, goes to the Tribune to try to debunk Shapiro.

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4 Comments:

Blogger CS said...

I thought Shapiro's talk was rather weak because he did not trouble to deal with such points you have made here, e.g., that high black unemployment is a relatively new phenomenon, apparently attributable to the rise of the welfare state, of which blacks have been the greatest beneficiary.

High black youth unemployment is presumably due also to competition for low-skill jobs from illegal immigrants, the flood of whom the "racist" Trump administration has the announced intention to end.

That the "anti-racist" "Left" violently oppose Trump's stated objectives on immigration reveal the truth about the "left" and it's "anti-racism." They are not left at all or anti-racist, rather they are are agents or dupes of the globalist elite, intent on destroying the nation state.

Although entirely beside the point, I do like the fact that you use "data" as a plural noun.

4:29 PM  
Blogger Mary Jarvis said...

The frightening reality is that Dan Myers is a very smart man and is, no doubt, well aware of all of the above. He is merely fanning the flames of mindless activism among students. To what end, one wonders?

5:11 AM  
Blogger CS said...

"To what end...?"

Why, to negate the effect of a higher education, of course.

The professors seek to teach students how to think, the administration is there to insure that students are indoctrinated with New World Order memes that prevent them from thinking, e.g., white self-assertion is racism, colored self-assertion is anti-racism; hetersexual self-assertion is misogyny, homophobia, etc., homosexual self-assertion is liberationist, etc. On a personal level, the university administrator's goal is to do the job for which he has been appointed in the hope it will take him or her to the next level in the hierarchy.

Traditionally, universities were self-governing communities of scholars — think back to the time that the scholars of the University of Cambridge refused James II's command that they admit a Benedictine monk an MA of the University without his taking the oath of allegiance. Then it was the scholars of the university, Sir Isaac Newton included, who faced down the bully, Judge Jeffreys, before whom they were summoned to account for their insolence.

But today, all universities have an "administration" comprising high paid stooges of the ruling elite whose job it is to counter any serious effect the faculty may have in inculcating students with independence of mind, resorting as necessary to the expulsion of stiff-necked scholars who won't adopt the desired group think.

3:54 PM  
Blogger BuckeyeCat said...

The end, I suggest, is exactly what it appears to be. Dan Myers has no interest in liberal education in the traditional sense. The goal in that case is to free the mind of unexamined assumptions in order to pursue what is true and good. A liberal education asks us to assume that even our most cherished beliefs might be mistaken. How did we come to believe what we do about life's important questions? The classical realist evaluation of human nature, knowledge, reality, ethics, and so on, has withstood centuries of objections from new ideologies and from politicized social action "justice" approaches to education.

Myers goal is in conformity with his presuppositions about the nature of reality, truth, the good and human nature. Education at Marquette many years ago might have helped him see past his a priori politicized outlook. He harbors a notion of "justice" that has nothing to do with the classical or Christian virtue of that name. Postmodern egalitarianism in a denatured world, a world without real natures and essences, has informed much of his thought. Whatever Christian terms can be co-opted and morphed in meaning to accommodate the social engineering projects he favors are still used in Marquette PR literature. But actual analytic thinking, free speech, fair presentation of opposing views--these are dangerous impediments to the world he wants to use Marquette to help usher in.

Did he really say that healthy skepticism is fundamental to a worthwhile education? Has anybody kept a running count on his reactions to "healthy skepticism" when it's directed at his own race-class-gender assumptions? Ah, but by definition, any skepticism about his own ideological views would have to be an unhealthy skepticism. Well, that makes sense.

4:49 PM  

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