Guest Post. Saturday Morning Pam-toons. Why would I lie on my mandatory diversity pledge?

Universities Canada principles on equity, diversity and inclusion, October 26, 2017

“Universities Canada make an explicit public commitment to seven principles [on equity, diversity, and inclusion],” available here. (accessed 11 February 2022)


A Guide to Preparing Your Diversity Statement,” Algonquin College, Ottawa, Canada, accessed 11 February 2022.

Excerpt:

“If you have been invited for a faculty interview, you may be requested to also provide a written response to the following statement:

Please submit a description, approximately two pages, of how you will through your past, present, and planned contributions to equity, diversity, and/or inclusion in teaching, research and/or service support a diverse and inclusive community at Algonquin College.

Sample AC [Algonquin College] Diversity Statement provided for career applicants, pdf link. Excerpt (confession?):

“As a British born, white, educated, wealthy Canadian woman, I am just beginning to recognize and acknowledge my privilege and its related power to either engage others or cause further harm.”


Christopher J. Ferguson, “Do Diversity Statements Help Diversity? Does requiring diversity statements from university faculty help students?”, Psychology Today, October 31, 2021, accessed 11 February 2022.

KEY POINTS

  • Requiring diversity statements for faculty applicants is becoming more common.
  • At present, little evidence suggests diversity statements work to promote diversity, student success, or harmony among diverse groups.
  • Diversity statements may mainly serve to promote ideological homogeneity within universities.

Cause for concern?

The Loyalty Oath Controversy 1949-1951, University of California History Digital Archives, 2006, Accessed 11 February 2022.

Summary of Loyalty Oath Events (timeline).


The Algonquin College Applicant Diversity Statement Sample in its entirety for posterity :


Saturday Morning Pam-toons. Why would I lie on my mandatory diversity pledge?

The following suggests a reason one might lie on his/her diversity statement: Saturday Morning Pam-toons. The Safest Place for the Heretic is Holding Torquemada’s Robes.

And another reason one might lie, or hide behind the Inquisitor’s robes: Be Your Authentic Self



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6 replies

  1. 1) Diversity statements don’t help students and they don’t foster diversity of viewpoints at the university. They do provide jobs for senior DEI-crats at various levels, and the staffs so necessary for any empire to blossom with “the force that through the green fuze drives the flower” (Thomas). They are therefore here to stay. The “product” of the university is, of course, diversity.

    2) White women, so used to being able to get pretty much a free pass under the Old Diversity rules are going to find they don’t tick enough boxes when their diversity statements are parsed. (This isn’t new: June Callwood, a Toronto saint, got purged from Nellie’s in 1991 for being white.) But an applicant who calls himself a trans-woman who is sexually attracted to women will tick 3 boxes, just for existing!

    3) A commenter at another WordPress site I frequent expressed fear for her son who, being white, straight, and not even obese, doesn’t tick any boxes. I advised her (->him) to learn to do something that makes him in demand in the wealth-producing part of the private sector. Avoid academia and the civil service, obviously, but also avoid those parasitic parts of the private sector, like the law and health care, which don’t create wealth. Only shareholders with their own money at stake will be motivated to thwart the efforts of the DEI crowd to destroy wealth. Only shareholders will pay what it takes to retain those who produce wealth, and to fire those who can’t or won’t. No matter what their own drones say.

    Cheerfully going forward into the brave new world.

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  2. I looked at some examples of what were supposed to be good diversity statements and most of them provided information that, in my opinion, should be not be considered when hiring someone. Such information included information on the person’s racial background, religion, socioeconomic background, disability status, or sexuality. People should know that potential employers should not ask about such things during the hiring process, nor should such information be volunteered.

    Some information in a diversity statement that might be relevant to an academic position could be included in a cover letter or teaching philosophy statement. The rest will either be information the search committee doesn’t need to know or it will be a bunch of pointless platitudes.

    A page on writing diversity statements recommended that readers answer the following question in their statement:

    “Are you personally diverse in any way that might be relevant to your work?”

    Are they really suggesting that people draw attention to their sex, class, sexual orientation, or race here? That should not be relevant and it’s illegal for employers to ask about any of that.

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    • Excellent point. No, they can’t ask you. But if you don’t spill, unasked, in hopes of elbowing your way to the top of the short list, your interview will be frosty. New researchers might as well learn to play the game. An established McGill chemistry professor lost a couple of grants last year because he refused to describe in the applications how he would use DEI criteria to hire his research associates to be funded under the grants. He insisted that he would hire only on merit.

      In the States, for many faculty appointments, you have to file a diversity statement with your initial application. That statement is examined by low-level DEI bureaucrats with no content expertise before the “passing” applications are sent on to the Departmental search committee. This sounds like it can’t possibly be true, yet news stories posted on Why Evolution is True say it is. Needless to say, an industry has grown up to coach post-docs on how to write statements that will increase the chances that their research record will even get seen by people who can evaluate it.

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      • Yes. It all just seems out of line to me. When hiring, it’s illegal to discriminate against someone based on their race, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, or disability. But, at least in academia, you must write a statement where you discuss exactly those topics and there will be serious pressure to disclose things that it’s illegal (or unethical) for the employer to consider when making the hiring decision.

        I’ve noticed there are consultants one can go to for help with diversity statements. So I guess those folks benefit from this. Otherwise, I don’t see why they are required. If a candidate is truly racist, they’re not going to put that in their diversity statement. He or she will just write the usual stuff about creating an inclusive classroom, etc. etc.

        I’m glad I have a teaching position now as I’m not sure I could write a good diversity statement. It’s not that I’m a racist #$#@ – I simply treat all students with respect and I want all of them to succeed. I’ll spend a lot of time helping out any student who asks for it. I also do a lot of community outreach and education in my field, but I don’t target specific groups. I’ve also overcome obstacles in my life, but none of those are the business of strangers on a hiring committee.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Assume both of the following articles, (1) and (2), are true. (And note that the survey sample in each article is roughly the same size.)

    1) Scott Jaschik, “Do Applicants Lie About Their Race? Some college applicants do lie about their race, survey finds.”, Inside Higher Ed, October 25, 2021, accessed 12, February, 2022, https://www.insidehighered.com/admissions/article/2021/10/25/survey-asks-if-applicants-are-truthful-about-race

    Jaschik reports that 34% of surveyed white college applicants admitted to lying about being a racial minority on their college or university application. “More than three-fourths of those who lied (77 percent) said they were admitted to colleges that they lied to. And 85 percent of them said they believed their lie helped them.”

    (The survey doesn’t include those who honestly misidentify as a racial minority or those who honestly misidentify as white.)

    Jaschik also mentions a case where a person of one non-white race pretends to be of another non-white race which is desired by particular recruiters, “The issue of students lying about their ethnic or racial identity has come up before. In 2016, an Indian American man published a book about pretending to be Black to earn admission to medical schools that wouldn’t have given him the time of day with his college grades (and an Asian background). But, the book recounts, he had no problem getting interest from top medical schools as a (faux) Black American.”

    2) Sonia Kang, Katy DeCelles, Andras Tilscik, and Sora Jun, “The Unintended Consequences of Diversity Statements,” March 29, 2016, Accessed 12 February 2022, https://hbr.org/2016/03/the-unintended-consequences-of-diversity-statements

    Here’s a reverse case of the kind of racial lying surveyed for in article (1). Kang et al note that some racial minorities practice “resume whitening”, in which job applicants downplay or hide racial cues on their resumes in order to increase their odds of getting a call-back for an interview. Kang et al find that racial minorities do whiten less when applying for jobs that include pro-diversity statements.

    The authors find that “The whitened versions of both the black and Asian resumes were more than twice as likely to result in a callback as unwhitened resumes, even though the listed qualifications were identical — in line with other studies showing lower callback rates for minority applicants. Most importantly, the discrimination against unwhitened resumes was no smaller for purportedly pro-diversity employers than for employers that didn’t mention diversity in their job ad….A critical implication of our studies is that to the extent that pro-diversity statements encourage job applicants to let their guard down and disclose more racial information, these statements may be doing more harm than good.”

    The authors suggest their findings indicate that organizations have more work to do to recognize bias and embrace diversity.

    3) There’s some tension between the findings reported in these articles. One explanation for this tension might be that colleges and universities, (1), are more eager than business organizations, (2), to recruit racial minorities. And what would follow from this apparent asymmetry is that each organization has its own particular bias, and not that one is biased and the other isn’t. (Bias isn’t itself good or bad.)

    But might it be the case that racial minorities do not lose many of their admissions or employment opportunities to whites simpliciter, but rather to whites dissimulating as racial minorities? Well, there is some evidence this happens.

    Self-identification of indigeneity is encouraged by many universities, and it’s been coming to light that some of those self-identities are false or dubious – or otherwise contested.

    See, Chris Andersen, “Indigenous identity fraud is encouraged in academia. Here’s how to change that,” CBC News, November 04, 2021, accessed 12 February 2022, https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/opinion-chris-andersen-indigenous-identity-fraud-1.6236018

    I’ll leave you to reckon with Andersen’s proposed “Ethical Approach” (3 suggestions) to Indigeneity claims, if you’re interested in reading the article.

    (By the way, Andersen — as opposed to “son” — is a Danish name. As in Hans Christian Andersen and author of the Emperor’s New Clothes. How funny Andersen is interested in calling out identity fraud. I guess blood does run deep — although he might be adopted. If not, he and I share Danish heritage. Here’s Andersen’s profile: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/author/chris-andersen-1.6236021)

    Anyway. Entwined with an emphasis on diversity are issues of (honesty and) identity/self-identity. And the tendrils are legion. E.g.:

    i) What if for every person who mistakenly identifies as a racial minority, there’s another who qualifies as a racial minority but mistakenly believes she is white? Let’s say she is cosmetically white, but her absentee mother is black. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2017/11/20/my-mother-spent-her-life-passing-as-white-discovering-her-secret-changed-my-view-of-race-and-myself/

    Is it an injustice for the person who mistakenly thinks she’s white to be passed over for some position or funding she’d qualify for if only she knew? If she’s poor white trash?

    I met Messianic Jewish Rabbis who serve a number of people who only late in life are discovering that they are in fact Jewish and not Mennonite — the Mennonite community having smuggled in Jewish refugees AS Mennonites when the Canadian government refused Jews (and the children aren’t told as children might inadvertently tattle). So Chris Andersen’s snarky statement about later learning of one’s Indigenous Identity is false:

    “We cannot rely on shame or embarrassment to prevent “late-onset Indigenous identity claims,” since anyone with dignity or integrity wouldn’t have made the claims to begin with.”

    ii) How about trans-racial individuals such as Rachel Dolezal? https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/dec/13/rachel-dolezal-i-wasnt-identifying-as-black-to-upset-people-i-was-being-me

    See, Rebecca Tuvel’s Defense of Transracialism, https://philpapers.org/archive/TUVIDO.pdf

    Abstract: Former NAACP chapter head Rachel Dolezal’s attempted transition from the white to the black race occasioned heated controversy. Her story gained notoriety at the same time that Caitlyn Jenner graced the cover of Vanity Fair, signaling a growing acceptance of transgender identity. Yet criticisms of Dolezal for misrepresenting her birth race indicate a widespread social perception that it is neither possible nor acceptable to change one’s race in the way it might be to change one’s sex. Considerations that support transgenderism seem to apply equally to transracialism. Although Dolezal herself may or may not represent a genuine case of a transracial person, her story and the public reaction to it serve helpful illustrative purposes.

    (So much for those who embrace “different ways of being” talk, and the fluidity of identity (particularly sexual). Might I believe myself one race at the time I apply, and realise I’m another when I attend classes? These shifts in identity perception DO occur when students are introduced to new theoretical frameworks. E.g. I recognised myself in Marx’s work.)

    iii) If diversity and identity are part and parcel of competitions for jobs, grants, scholarship, and so on, can applicants be faulted for finding every advantage to win?

    For a very interesting read on this matter, see: Scott Jaschik, “Helping an Applicant Stretch His Ethnic Identity,” Inside Higher Ed, March 5, 2018, accessed 13 February 2022, https://www.insidehighered.com/admissions/article/2018/03/05/college-counselor-raises-dilemma-student-who-wants-rely-latin-american

    “Mark H. Sklarow, chief executive officer of the Independent Educational Consultants Association, [….predicts] the issues raised by this case would become more common. ‘This will become murkier and murkier as increasingly our population is more diverse.'”

    iv) And with the current DNA-genealogy craze, might people sincerely report membership to a racial minority group based on their test results? And who, and on what authority, does another judge whether DNA results are admissible or non-? And can/should one investigate another’s self-identification (only then revealing that person’s self-identification rests on a mail-in saliva DNA test?) Should applications include a DNA sample?

    v) If you and I are black, but I’m raised in a white neighbourhood and you in a black one, does only one of us count as having a black ‘’lived experience” – and who — and on whose authority — vets? (John McWhorter touches on this notion is his book “Woke Racism.”)

    vi) Can one pad her diversity statement with Sunday school songs and years of Sesame Street: “Jesus loves the little children…be they yellow, black, or white, all are precious in his sight…”; “These are the people in your neighbourhood, in your neighbourhood…” ? Translate: For a decade, I participated in musical performances for children, celebrating global and local diversity, love, and equality for all. (You’re welcome.) What’s wrong with this kind of padding? Is it dishonest? Oh? How so?

    vii) In the case where self-identity might be vetted for its legitimacy, who vets the “vetters” (and vets the vetters of the vetters … infinite regress)?

    In his second of three “ethical approaches” to Indigenous identity claims, Chris Andersen (see article on Indigenous identity fraud earlier this comment), says,

    “Non-Indigenous administrators should prioritize hiring community-connected Indigenous scholars into upper administrative positions, and provide the resources and authoritative space necessary to create Indigenous-led committees to vet matters of Indigenous identity.”

    These arguments run into circularity problems. One is Indigenous just in case one is Indigenous.

    And so on.

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  4. If a person admits to being a liar, with the claim to have lied on his application, why should we believe that his claim to have done so is true? Conversely, even someone who had not lied on his application might be motivated to lie on an anonymous survey, merely for the fun of messing up the affirmative-action machine.

    Still, though, wouldn’t it be fun for a college administrator to believe that the in-coming first-year class was going to be 60% Black, 38% Indigenous, and 1% each white and Asian? Then for the prof in every class to look out onto a sea of grinning white and Asian faces, the affinity housing and Black-only safe spaces filling with cobwebs.

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