“The academy is a different place today than it was only a year ago and was different a year ago than it was five years before.”
Even people who consider themselves liberal are, in many cases, not woke enough for the new left.
Ed Whelan writes at National Review:
Georgetown Law Professor Decries ‘Maoist Takeover’ of Academia
In a courageous Quillette essay titled “Georgetown’s Cultural Revolution,” Georgetown law professor Lama Abu-Odeh reflects on what the recent brouhaha at Georgetown law school over a professor’s statements about the performance of black law students illustrates about the broader trend in American academia. Professor Abu-Odeh’s observations are all the more noteworthy as she is a Palestinian Muslim feminist leftist.
According to Abu-Odeh, when nearly all non-black faculty signed a letter that “acknowledge[d] the many levels at which [they] must confront ongoing white supremacist notions underlying ideas of merit that may contaminate assessment and performance” (she’s quoting the letter), “two white professors of the boomer generation with plenty of progressive credentials pushed back”—but only very weakly. Of these weak statements and the silence they received, Abu-Odeh observes:
The silence to my mind is telling. It speaks of the lack of resources within progressive thinking that could be drawn upon to resist the trend that has bedeviled American academia over the past few years. The academy is a different place today than it was only a year ago and was different a year ago than it was five years before. Terror and dread fill academic workers, professors, and staff alike, and it is everywhere. Neither the call for distinguishing between unconscious bias and structural racism; nor for dismantling “merit” so that “minorities” succeed, seem able to do the work the authors of these emails want them to do.
They fail to deliver responses of the kind, “Let’s just talk about this. Maybe the problem is overdetermined and is not reducible to ‘unconscious bias.’” What they beget instead is a combination of dread and virtuous self-congratulation. These two sentiments, dread married to virtue, constitute to my mind the affective embodiment of progressive ideology prevalent among white liberals as developed in its most privileged space: academia. They are typical. They are two faces of the same coin: flip and you see dread, flip again and you see virtue.
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