Diversity Through Segregation

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Discussion

Matt Taibi:

"“Diversity through segregation” sounds like another idea clipped from poor over-invoked George Orwell, but it surged in recent weeks as the Smithsonian-style conception of “antiracism” caught fire.

In the media context, diversity consultants recently invited Intercept employees to a “Safe Space Conversation” that would feature “two breakout groups – one for those who identify as people of color and one for those who identify as white.”

The same strategy is used in DiAngelo’s version of antiracist training. A theater employee forced to go through her program described the shock of being separated into “affinity groups” in this episode of the Blocked and Reported podcast. If you’re wondering what employees who “identify as white” can learn from being put in a room without minority co-workers and urged to “express themselves sincerely and honestly,” you’re not alone. Is “learning to speak in the absence of Black people” a muscle any sane person believes needs development?

At Princeton, the situation was even more bizarre. On July 4th, hundreds of faculty members and staff at Princeton University signed a group letter calling for radical changes.

Some demands seem reasonable, like requests to remedy University-wide underrepresentation among faculty members of color. Much of the rest of the letter read like someone drunk-tweeting their way through a Critical Theory seminar. Signatories asked the University to establish differing compensation levels according to race, demanding “course relief,” “summer salary,” “one additional semester of sabbatical,” and “additional human resources” for “faculty of color,” a term left undefined. That this would be grossly illegal didn’t seem to bother the 300-plus signatories of one of America’s most prestigious learning institutions.

The Princeton letter didn’t make much news until a Classics professor named Joshua Katz wrote a public “Declaration of Independence” from the letter. Playing the same role as the Dover science teacher who feebly warned that teaching Intelligent Design would put the district at odds with a long list of Supreme Court decisions, Katz said it boggled his mind that anyone could ask for compensation “perks” based on race, especially for “extraordinarily privileged people already, let me point out: Princeton professors.” (https://taibbi.substack.com/p/the-left-is-now-the-right)