Williams Political Science Professor Darel Paul writes about “Listening at the Great Awokening.” This is a brilliant article, worth reading in full. Relevant controversies at Williams include The Taco Six, Self-CARE Now, UL/Derbyshire, Green/Love Black Joy, and White Male Vigilantes. Alas, I don’t fully trust our busy readership to find the time to do so! So, we will spend two weeks going through the entire article. Day 9.
Sensoy and DiAngelo identify whiteness as the primary barrier to hiring non-white faculty in North American higher education. They use the term whiteness as a label for “a range of unnamed and exclusionary institutional practices” that are “intrinsically linked to dynamic relations of white racial domination.” Never mind that whites make up the same percentage of US college and university professors as they are a percentage of the general population, while persons of Asian descent make up 11% of all professors, despite being only 5% of the country’s population.
1) Again, this article (pdf) is not just (only!) some random SJW nonsense. It was distributed by Dean of the Faculty Denise Buell to Williams professors.
2) Imagine that Buell distributed an article entitled ““We Are All for Diversity, but . . .”: How Faculty Hiring Committees Reproduce Jewishness and Practical Suggestions for How They Can Change.” That might lead to some interesting conversations!
3) My sense is that the Williams faculty is at least 11% Asian, although I can’t find the latest data.
Sensoy and DiAngelo are nonetheless intent to “unsettle whiteness” and disturb, not only in order to promote the hiring of job candidates of color but to radically transform the university itself. Practices of whiteness they seek to unsettle include:
“research in the form of peer-reviewed journal publications and the acquisition of grant monies … [as] barometers of the most-valued work driving salary and career progression”;
“White European enlightenment epistemology … the privileging of particular forms of knowledge over others (e.g. written over oral, history over memory, rationalism over wisdom)”;
“a call for a general position in any field … [this] reinforces the idea that some aspects of the job are core, foundational, and thus presumed neutral, while other aspects are additional, extra, and specialized”;
“counting only candidates’ output (the number of publications) and not input (the time it takes to build the relationships that grant access) … such as relationships with communities and activism/advocacy work”;
“the discourse of merit”;
“bas[ing] quality solely on factors such as the tier of publication … Might we instead consider research that does not further the cause of racial justice to be, in fact, lesser quality research?”
In the view of Sensoy and DiAngelo, none of these practices seek out academic quality on fair and objective, if debatable, grounds. They are instead the socially constructed racist values of white culture and, for that reason, must at minimum be unsettled and at maximum abolished. Sensoy and DiAngelo want “traditional fields” with their “old classifications” to be swept up into “forward thinking” through “an interrogation of … disciplinary fields and their borders.” As they “decolonize predominantly white university campuses”―aka “white/settler–colonial institutions”―and pursue the “decolonization of the academy,” Sensoy and DiAngelo call for a transvaluation of all academic values. Their aim is to eradicate the traditional mission of academia and the nature of the academic life. Their goal is to turn the decolonized university into a radical fundamentalist sect.
Would Denise Buell be willing to engage Darel Paul in a public debate?