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Online Mob Forces Editor-in-Chief of Major Psychology Journal To Resign Over Contrived Racism Accusations

Online Mob Forces Editor-in-Chief of Major Psychology Journal To Resign Over Contrived Racism Accusations

The petition mob made short work of taking down Klaus Fiedler.

Klaus Fiedler, the esteemed former editor in chief of Perspectives on Psychological Science (PoPS), was forced to resign earlier this month after he accepted commentary criticizing a paper by Steven Roberts, a black associate professor of psychology at Stanford University.

Aaron Sibarium broke the story at the Washington Free Beacon:

[T]he editor, the prominent German psychologist Klaus Fiedler stirred up controversy by agreeing to publish trenchant critiques of a 2020 article by Steven Roberts … who had argued, among other things, that “color-blind leadership” promotes “structural inequality.”

The conflict may have been aggravated by Fiedler’s unusual—another commentator suggests naïve—editorial approach, according to the editors at Quillette. After he became editor-in-chief at the journal, Fiedler, who is warmly praised and defended here and here, accepted a piece criticizing Roberts’s article. He then solicited and accepted three more submissions disagreeing with Roberts, including one from Rutgers University’s Professor of Psychology, Lee Jussim, who details the chain of events here. There was now a total of four authors slated to oppose Roberts’s views on “systemic racism” in his field.

The prospective piling on obviously put Roberts on the defensive. But Fiedler invited him to reply to his critics, which he did—in a response that accused Jussim of drawing on “racist tropes,” says Jussim.

Roberts was talking about a line Jussim quoted from Fiddler on the Roof, where Tevye the milkman recalls a dispute over the sale of horse that turned out to be a mule. Roberts says “mule” was once a racial epithet referring to blacks—and its use as an analogy is evidence of Jussim’s racism.

I have no idea what he is talking about and neither does hardly anyone else. Jussim told The Chronicle of Higher Education that he too was “unaware of that history”: “It’s absurd because obviously the origin is Fiddler on the Roof,” he said. “It refers to an idea. It doesn’t refer to people.”

At this point the discourse quickly deteriorated. According to the Free Beacon:

Though Roberts … was invited to reply to the critiques … he pulled his paper after becoming convinced that the debate was “rigged” against him, he told the Chronicle of Higher Education. He then published the paper on a preprint service, PsyArXiv, on December 2, along with his email exchanges with Fiedler, which he claimed provided evidence of his unfair treatment—and, he implied, of Fiedler’s own racism.

Fiedler told the Free Beacon that Roberts’s decision to publish private correspondence was unprofessional and unprecedented. “I never saw something like that,” he said.

The criticisms made by Jussim and the other authors were “unsound, unscientific, ad hominem, and racist,” Roberts wrote on PsyArXiv. The preprint went viral almost immediately, with several prominent psychologists—including Linda Skitka, the former president of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology—calling on Fiedler to resign.

That same day, those calls to resign materialized in a petition and open letter addressed to the leadership of the Association for Psychological Science (APS), the body that publishes PoPS. It targeted both Fiedler and the journal’s other editors, alleging “racism, general editorial incompetence, and abuse of power” against Roberts and calling not only for Fiedler’s resignation but also for “immediate, meaningful, systemic change from APS leadership.”

The petition mob made short work of taking down Fiedler. As Jussim  recounts, within three days, over 1200 signatories had shown their support for the letter.

And unlike Roberts, Fiedler was not afforded the opportunity to respond:

Without discussing the events with Fiedler, and without investigating whether the story Roberts posted online is the whole story, and without verifying that the email exchanges between Roberts and Fiedler that Roberts posted were complete, APS issued Fiedler an ultimatum: Resign or be fired.

Justice was swift: By December 6th,  Fiedler had resigned, and by December 20th, Jussim reports further, “the entire set of associate editors at PoPS resigned. About 1/3 of the consulting editors (those tasked with reviewing many papers) has also resigned,” he says.

Ironically, while woke anti-racists insist we must all “have a conversation” about race, they are so often the first to sign a petition to shut that conversation down when challenged with arguments they can’t answer.

Some petitions have a legitimate purpose, as with petitions to the government or to a court that seek due process. But there is no such civic virtue in the petitions typically launched in the academic community. They invariably appeal to their members’ basest instincts to choose a side, and that side better be the side of the woke good.

We’ve reported here on them on many occasions, to name a few:

These petitions and “open letters” are not calls for due process.  They are a summons to the mob to deny it to anyone — this time it was Fiedler — who dares oppose its woke ideology.



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“Resign or be fired.”

He should have made them fire him.

    herm2416 in reply to TheOldZombie. | December 29, 2022 at 8:23 am

    “Make me” would be my first response. Second response would be EEOC because I was not given the same luxury of rebuttal.

    Bully me, and I will dig my heels in even harder.

      Gremlin1974 in reply to herm2416. | December 29, 2022 at 6:52 pm

      Exactly and until people stop acting like whipped dogs and start filing complaints to defend themselves, then it will just continue.

    JohnSmith100 in reply to TheOldZombie. | December 29, 2022 at 8:22 pm

    Sorry , did not intend down vote. I agree, I think that litigation would have been easier if he was fired, but he should sue them. Also, people and organization involved shoud be sued.

The Gentle Grizzly | December 29, 2022 at 8:21 am

“Though Roberts … was invited to reply to the critiques … he pulled his paper after becoming convinced that the debate was “rigged” against him, he told the Chronicle of Higher Education. He then published the paper on a preprint service, PsyArXiv, on December 2, along with his email exchanges with Fiedler, which he claimed provided evidence of his unfair treatment—and, he implied, of Fiedler’s own racism.”

He used the same fall-back so ,any use when called out: he played the race card.

Ho hum. What else is new?

    The sad thing is that non-whites have been conditioned to use it, and whites have been conditioned to accept it. Calling me racist doesn’t make me racist; it makes you a name caller.

      RITaxpayer in reply to herm2416. | December 29, 2022 at 8:54 am

      “Mules” is a racist term for “blacks?”

      Put me down on the list as another who never heard that one before.

        henrybowman in reply to RITaxpayer. | December 29, 2022 at 9:18 am

        The Ministry of Truth says so, so of course, it is truth.

        Otto Kringelein in reply to RITaxpayer. | December 29, 2022 at 10:43 am

        You never heard that one before and evidently nobody else has heard of that one before because it simply isn’t true that the term “mule” was ever used as a racist term for “blacks”. Its all just just playing the “Blacks as Eternal Victims” narrative that the woke is so fond of.

          The Gentle Grizzly in reply to Otto Kringelein. | December 29, 2022 at 3:44 pm

          “Water buffalo” was yelled at some loud black “women of size” decades ago.

          It was deemed racist by tribal chieftains black leaders.

          But, mules? Nope.

        Milhouse in reply to RITaxpayer. | December 29, 2022 at 10:49 am

        I’ve never heard of it either, but even if it were true that would not mean one shouldn’t use it to mean an actual mule! We still use “monkey” to refer to actual monkeys!

          The Gentle Grizzly in reply to Milhouse. | December 29, 2022 at 10:56 am

          Monkey was also used as a term of endearment for very young children that climbed trees and were good on the Jungle Jim, or whatever they are called now.

          henrybowman in reply to Milhouse. | December 29, 2022 at 7:44 pm

          If I were going to insult someone by calling them a mule, it would have to be a Mexican. At least “drug mule” is term that makes sense.

        The Gentle Grizzly in reply to RITaxpayer. | December 29, 2022 at 10:55 am

        “Negro” became racist when Jesse Jackson said it was. Whites danced when he pulled his marionette strings and things gave declined since.

        WestRock in reply to RITaxpayer. | December 29, 2022 at 7:54 pm

        Everyone knows “Two Mules for Sister Sara” is a story about a cowboy who wrangles up a couple of people of color to tend to a nun’s every need. I’m surprised that film hasn’t been memory-holed by now. 🤦🏻‍♂️

      The Gentle Grizzly in reply to herm2416. | December 29, 2022 at 10:53 am

      Whites need to break out of thst conditioning. Say, “enough! You don’t know what I’m thinking. You know nothing about me!”

Well that was easy. Once on all fours, it is hard to stand up again.

I came to the conclusion years ago that anyone making the claim of “Racist!” is admitting that they have no valid argument to offer.

    Milhouse in reply to Rusty Bill. | December 29, 2022 at 10:52 am

    Not so. Actual racists do exist, in significant numbers. And they come in all colors and flavors. So a claim of “racist” may be true; but often it isn’t.

    Venomous spiders also exist, but most reported sightings of them are inaccurate.

Why do I get the feeling that we’re replaying Germany of the early ’30s

Colonel Travis | December 29, 2022 at 9:14 am

Will the last adult in the room please turn out the lights.

When did these so called leaders become nutless ballsacks?? They couldn’t fall over themselves fast enough to placate the race mob 🙄

Classically an ad hominem argument is one tailored to appeal to the man, not an argument deprecating him. The latter would be an argument contra hominem, if they named it.

An example saved off the internet long ago :

“Some time since I had a pleasant discussion with a university professor who held that faith and knowledge are in inverse ratio. As the area of knowledge enlarges, he claimed that of faith diminishes correspondingly. Once people accepted by faith what has since become known, and science has thus made faith superfluous in all such things. The professor admitted, however, it was not likely that knowledge would ever entirely banish faith; there would still remain some unexplored regions where faith could find room, and so preachers could still find a field for their activities. I came back at this professor with an argumentum ad hominem, “Is it true,” said I, “that the more knowledge your wife has of you, the less faith she has in you? And is it true that the more you know of her, the less faith you have in her? In your home are faith and knowledge in inverse ratio? If so, I pity you both.” It is not true that knowledge excludes faith. The more you know of your family physician, the more faith you have in him. The more soldiers know of their general, the greater their faith in him; else the army is in a bad way. The more we know of our friends the more faith we have in them. The greater a man’s knowledge of nature, the greater his faith in nature. Intelligent faith is not weaker than ignorant faith.”

    paracelsus in reply to rhhardin. | December 29, 2022 at 10:06 am

    I’ve always considered an ad hominem argument to be a personal attack: an argument against the person himself rather than an argument attacking his argument.

    Leftists change the meanings of words so that there is no common ground for argument or agreement.

    ad hominem

    hŏm′ə-nĕm″, -nəm


    — Attacking a person’s character or motivations rather than a position or argument.
    — Appealing to the emotions rather than to logic or reason.
    — Of or relating to ad hominem.

    The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

    henrybowman in reply to rhhardin. | December 29, 2022 at 7:40 pm

    That’s just a fallacious argument using two different meanings of the word “faith.”
    When I was just getting to know my wife, I had faith that she would always do right by me, not waste my money, and so on.
    Now that we have been together this long, I no longer need faith. I know.

This makes the old pun, “Race card, don’t leave home without it”, a must for every liberal.

Although I commend Ms. Coleman on her article and agree with her analysis of this situation, it seems to be another instance of the woke eating their own. The psychological community is to human psychology what Merriam-Webster dictionary is to the English language: a willing tool of the woke. They redefine all sorts of psychological terms, meanings and definitions to reflect the woke/LGBT+/socialist values of the moment. You won’t see me wasting any ink to lend support to a member of the APA or its kin.

I think we need a list of all animals, objects and concepts that blacks and their white handlers think are somehow associated with blacks in some fashion.

    MajorWood in reply to puhiawa. | December 29, 2022 at 11:02 pm

    And yet, making such a list is racist in itself. The best way to mess with a liberals mind is to create a situation which is ambiguous and could possibly be taken as racist, and then watch them go whole hog to commit to the most racist interpretation possible, whereupon you announce an alternative which is more plausible and has no race base at all. They out themselves, every time.

I don’t know if this is true or not, but some scholars do believe that the ties between mules and African Americans has been clearly established.

How high school. Social “sciences” are anything but.

For The Sokal Hoax the guy had to publish deliberate vs. incidental nonsense. How times have changed. (Get the book. Well worth it.)

And this is why these soft “sciences” like psychology have cast off any basis in logic, reason or actual science to become playgrounds of emotional and hyper-infantile proclamations that spurn actual empirical data because it doesn’t support what they want to be true.

Consider the unquestioning, unhesitating support for pushing children into a transgender pathway if they, for whatever reason, express any unhappiness with their sex. Regardless of any actual mental illnesses or conditions that might be causing this, they disregard those because they all want to be brave pioneers of having children alter themselves chemically and physically even when there is no scientific data to support their belief this helps children at all.

The field of Psychology has become a joke, unworthy of support, since it has cast itself off from a data-based scientific basis.

    henrybowman in reply to Tom Morrow. | December 29, 2022 at 7:46 pm

    “pushing children into a transgender pathway if they, for whatever reason, express any unhappiness with their sex.”

    It’s worse than that. If the child expresses any spiritual discomfort or anomie at all, the suggestion is offered out of the blue: have you considered that maybe you’re the wrong sex?

Live by the sword, die by the sword.

Two current goings-on in academe are equally disturbing—:
1) mob mentality with these cancel culture petitions, and
2) academics who too easily cave in to the mob in response to petitions

Case in point: I admired everything about Ilya Shapiro’s recent run-in with Georgetown Law over an inelliigantly-worded tweet on a SCOTUS justice nominee, then his appropriate rejection of Georgetown’s job offer, then his later happy affiliation with Manhattan Institute, one of my personally favorite think tanks. The only error Shapiro made IMO was his groveling apology for the original tweet, which should have in no way been considered offensive to any reasonable person..