Heather McDonald: On Micro-Aggressions

Aug 24, 2015 by

janet napolitano

Janet Napolitano believes that she presides over a faculty of bigots

An Interview with Heather McDonald: On Micro-Aggressions

Michael F. Shaughnessy –

1) Heather, you just recently posted a most excellent piece in the City Journal. I have the link here:


How did this entire travesty start?

It is difficult to assign a specific origin to the academy’s diversity and anti-racism obsessions. Identity studies have been a feature of higher education since the 1980s, leading to ever-greater politicization. But the grotesquely expensive diversity bureaucracy and the time consuming diversity trainings grew to astounding proportions only in the 2000s. UCLA recently hired its first vice chancellor of diversity equity and inclusion at the shameful salary of $354,000.

2) Apparently Janet Napolitano has certain implicit beliefs about the faculty in the State of California. Can you hypothesize some?

Janet Napolitano believes that she presides over a faculty of bigots who will turn down the most qualified candidate for their department simply because that candidate happens to be female or an “underrepresented minority” (URM).

3) The term “alleged racism” seems to be one of those terms that is loosely bandied about- but without any proof, data, or evidence. Do we need to tolerate this kind of thing?

No, we do not need to tolerate the alleged racism concept. We should point out that being a female or URM is an enormous advantage on the academic hiring market and in college admissions. Every faculty search is a desperate struggle to find and hire whatever remotely qualified female and minority candidates are out there who haven’t been snapped up by more well-endowed competitors.

4) Apparently there are some publications such as ” Fostering Inclusive Excellence: Strategies and Tools for Department Chairs and Deans “. What is included in this and what are some of the tools and strategies?

Attendees at the “Inclusive Excellence” seminar were subjected to an “interactive theater scenario” that showed white male Computer Science professors on a fictional hiring committee belittling females and failing to “value diversity.” Attendees also received an equally delusional handout on “Identifying Implicit Bias” whose theme is that females and URMs are scrutinized more closely by hiring committees.

5) If I wanted to recognize “micro-aggressions” what would I need to do and what steps would I have to take if I were teaching in California?

UC has warned against such microaggressions as the phrases: “I believe the most qualified person should get the job,” or “America is the land of opportunity.” Presumably, a professor who has heard such a damaging utterance should create a “safe space” for the survivors.

6) There seems to be an element of “darned if you do, darned if you don’t” to this scenario. Can you give us one example?

Anyone who says: “When I look at you, I don’t see color,” or, “There is only one race, the human race” is guilty of denying “the individual as a racial/cultural being,” per UC’s “Tool.” But diversity ideologues at the same time reject the genetic basis of racial categories and endlessly proclaim that race is merely a “social construct.”

7) Apparently , Janet Napolitano also wants to be kept informed of the ” tenor of the conversations” in these trainings. I guess that all the faculty should just shake their heads and say ” I agree with this ” in Dilbert like fashion. Right or wrong?

No, faculty should protest this misallocation of taxpayer resources with all the eloquence available to them. The university is supposed to be the one institution in our society committed to evidence and reason, yet it is living the lie that it is rife with racism and sexism. Faculty have tenure, allegedly, to protect their freedom of expression. They should use it.

8) This entire thing reminds me of the “communist hunting” scenario of the 40’s when McCarthy thought there were communists all around. Am I off on this?

McCarthy may have greatly exaggerated the Communist infiltration of the U.S. government. But the Soviet Union existed and was indisputably a threat. In chasing phantom racism and sexism, the university bureaucracy is in the grip of utter delusion.

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