On the surface this latest addition to woke Newspeak would seem to be an oxymoron. But this might be too quick. A conscript is a conscript, but he does have an opportunity to learn a trade. And compulsory education – where we all learned to read, write, and do arithmetic – has by no means been restricted to Indian Residential Schools. Nevertheless, as applied to EDI and anti-racism training, the term seems to stick in the craw.
I think the difference is that learning a trade, or how to read, doesn’t smack of indoctrination, whereas EDI and anti-racism training does. We can tell that they do because there’s an indisputable fact of the matter whether 2 plus 2 equals 4, whereas there’s no such fact of the matter that trans women are women, or that the Indian Residential School was an exercise in genocide.
Of course one might argue – in fact it has been argued – that the facticity of 2 plus 2 equalling 4 hangs on our believing it being among the sine qua non of being able to function effectively in the polity in which our children are embedded. And so the same can be said of believing trans women are women and/or that the Indian Residential School was an exercise in genocide.
But that’s precisely what those opposed to mandatory EDI and anti-racism training reject. In fact it’s their position that among the sine qua non of being able to function effectively in the polity to which they belong is the capacity to critique these claims. So for them the issue is not whether courses in EDI and anti-racism should be mandatory. It’s whether one can deny that trans women are women or that the Indian Residential School was an exercise in genocide and still pass the course. And that the answer is no would seem suggest that to call the course education is a blatant misnomer.
Some defenders of these courses argue that one can pass the course and still privately hold on to her transphobic and racist bigotries. So no harm no foul. This is the same defence proffered by the ‘educators’ in Nazi Germany, in Russia during its revolution, in China under the Cultural Revolution … So what’s the rub? The rub is twofold. Feigned orthodoxy destroys the soul. And orthodoxy, be it feigned or not, destroys a polity.
Categories: Everything You Wanted to Know About What's Going On in the World But Were Afraid to Ask, Social and Political Philosophy, Why My Colleagues Are Idiots
You seem to be conflating mandatory Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion and anti-racism training with indoctrination, without acknowledging that these courses may be intended to raise awareness and promote critical thinking rather than impose a specific viewpoint. You also seem to imply that the fact that there are no indisputable facts regarding trans women or the First Nations Indian Residential School means that these topics cannot be taught or discussed in an educational setting, which is a false dichotomy.
Furthermore, your argument that mandatory EDI and anti-racism training necessarily destroys the soul and a polity is an overgeneralization and unsupported by evidence. It’s also safe to say it’s a false equivalence to compare these courses with the actions of authoritarian regimes in Nazi Germany, Russia, and China.
Which isn’t to say that I disagree with your premise completely, just the execution.
I’m sorry, but you clearly didn’t understand this entry. Perhaps you could read it again and take a little more trouble parsing what it actually says. I certainly did NOT say “these topics cannot be taught or discussed in an educational setting.” Nor did I say that “mandatory EDI and anti-racism training necessarily destroys the soul and the polity.” What I said was that “FEIGNED orthodoxy destroys the soul. And orthodoxy, be it feigned or not, destroys a polity.” You just need to learn to read more carefully.
1) In response to the U of L Former Student: “courses intended to raise awareness and promote critical thinking” are compatible with propaganda. In fact, SAYING that mandatory EDI/anti-racism courses are “intended to raise awareness and promote critical thinking” can itself be propaganda.
2) In some cases, punishment is meted out to those who do not complete mandatory EDI/Antiracism training. Examples:
– University of Guelph: Jessica Smith, CTV Kitchener*, reports on the 2020 implementation of EDI/Antiracism training at U of Guelph.
“Students are expected to compete the training by the end of this semester. There is no penalty for not completing it, but students will not be able to participate in any university-sponsored activities until it’s done.”
If Smith has reported correctly, then:
a) “There is no penalty for not completing it”
b) “students will not be able to participate in any university-sponsored activities until it’s done”
(b) is punishment, and so falsifies (a)
[Note that to complete the test, you have to give the correct answers: Khan reports: “Participants are required to pass a quiz after they complete the training module.”
Khan, Anam. “University of Guelph officially launches mandatory anti-oppression, anti-racism training,” GuelphToday.com, Sept. 10, 2020, https://www.guelphtoday.com/local-news/university-of-guelph-officially-launches-mandatory-anti-oppression-anti-racism-training-2700292, accessed April 16, 2023]
Being barred from participating in any university-sponsored activities can be an impediment to the student’s eligibility for certain scholarships on which she might depend to fund her education, and might negatively impact her CV and future education and career prospects. She is effectively blacklisted.
– Indeed, at the perhaps unfortunately named Principles of Belonging: Anti-Oppression & Anti-Racism Training Module, University of Guelph is the following statement:
“*This module is mandatory for Students. Students who wish to apply or join University supported employment and volunteer activities including but not limited to student Athletics, Student Affairs’ student staff positions, and volunteer student activities including the Peer Helper Program, must show they have completed the module. For the purpose of this module, “Student” means new incoming undergraduate students, any undergraduate varsity student athletes or student executives of teams in the Gryphon Clubs program, any undergraduate student employed through Student Affairs, and any undergraduate student participating in Student Experience programs and/or volunteer activities, such as Peer Helpers. Questions regarding this module should be directed to the Office of Diversity and Human Rights”
*Smith, Jessica. “University of Guelph launches antiracism module for students and staff, CTV News Kitchener, September 17, 2020, https://kitchener.ctvnews.ca/university-of-guelph-launches-anti-racism-module-for-students-and-staff-1.5109866 , accessed April 16, 2023
**Principles of Belonging: Anti-Oppression & Anti-Racism Training Module, University of Guelph, https://www.uoguelph.ca/diversity-human-rights/educational-resources-training/principles-belonging-anti-oppression-anti-racism, accessed April 16, 2023
3) It does not follow that because someone refuses mandatory training she is unaware of or opposed to EDI/anti-racist efforts tout court. She may oppose illiberal approaches such as the mandate.
Example: Jonathan Haidt* says, “So I’m going to resign from SPSP [Society for Personality and Social Psychology] at the end of this year , when my membership dues run out, if the policy on mandatory statements stays in place for future conventions.”
And he says, “I believe that anti-racism has a place at SPSP, and I said so to King. Let there be speakers, panels, and discussions of this morally controversial and influential idea at our next conference! But to adopt it as the official view and mission of SPSP and then to force us all to say how our work advances it, as a precondition to speaking at the conference? I thought this was wrong for two reasons:…”
*Haidt, Jonathan. “Two Fiduciary Duties of Professors,” Heterodox: The Blog, September 20, 2022, https://heterodoxacademy.org/blog/the-two-fiduciary-duties-of-professors/
4) “Feigned orthodoxy” likely doesn’t destroy the soul of a psychopath. I wrote here about the claimed ( 2021 meta study) significantly-greater-than-the-general-public prevalence of psychopathic traits in the university student population and its implications for diversity training. http://keepinganeyeonedi.ca/2022/12/30/friday-reading-list-30-12-22/
The problem of psychopathy might pose an interesting conundrum for mandatory EDI/anti-racism training: (Refer to the Jessica Smith CTV article under (2) above)
Smith writes, “Since the module was launched last week, Naidoo-Harris says more than 2,000 users have signed up for the training. She said it’s an encouraging sign as they work to create a more compassionate community on campus.”
What is the measure for a more compassionate community? And how would one measure it? And, by that measure, which community on campus is more compassionate — the community of people who complete the training or the community of people who refuse?
From Diversity for Social Impact: ” Inclusivity is about creating an environment where everyone can be themselves and contribute their unique perspectives and talents… Being open to learning about others’ beliefs and experiences without judgment…It means that whatever benefits afforded to others must be afforded to everyone…”
A mandatory course that, if not completed, results in being excluded from something – doesn’t seem very inclusive…
Yeah, I kinda noticed that myself!