Real missed opportunity not naming the YouTube channel Freddie DeBloegger tbh

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My favorite moment, 3:55: "Academia is a weird world with a lot of turfs and stuff -- that T-U-R-F".

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My wife (kindergarten teacher) came home with a saying popular at her school the other day:

Those who can't do, teach. Those who can't teach, teach gym. And those who can't teach gym run the DEI workshops.

Joking aside, you explained how this works with grant applications. Something pretty similar seems to be happening in the Teacher-to-Principal pipeline. You need to have the hot stuff on your resume. This means you run anti-racism and DEI new teacher training seminars at your school. It means you take time off to go to training seminars yourself. Check those boxes or your resume gets put in the trash.

We're left with a system where those who are most inclined to like this stuff end up in administration themselves. And the cycle continues.

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Having been an academic at public universities for most of my career and being a bleeding-heart liberal, I am nonetheless appalled by what academia has become. I read this ( https://www.aei.org/research-products/report/other-than-merit-the-prevalence-of-diversity-equity-and-inclusion-statements-in-university-hiring/ ) today. Granted, the American Enterprise Institute is not my go-to source as a rule, but don't kill the messenger. My reaction was "My God! I can't believe that, were I to apply for an academic position today, I might have to bow to the thought police to even be considered for a position." Read it and weep:

"In 2018, Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Heather Mac Donald drew attention, in a Los Angeles Times op-ed, to the decision at the University of California, Los Angeles, (UCLA) to require statements from all faculty applicants documenting their contributions to DEI, which would be weighted with the rest of their application portfolio. Since Mac Donald’s warning, the University of California (UC) system has likely become the leading university system embracing mandatory DEI statements from faculty applicants.

As of 2019, eight out of 10 UC campuses required these statements. A joint task force recommended that DEI requirements be standardized across the UC system. At the University of California, Berkeley, administrators published a sample “Rubric for Assessing Candidate Contributions to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging,” which provides guidance for search committees evaluating applicants. Under this rubric, applicants are evaluated on a 1–5 scale for knowledge of DEI, track record of DEI, and plans for advancing DEI. And UCLA’s decision noted that diversity statements were becoming more common nationally and that growth would continue. "

Charlie Sykes of The Bulwark provides a synopsis here: https://morningshots.thebulwark.com/p/whos-afraid-of-free-speech [scroll down to the heading "The Diversity Loyalty Oaths"]

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Everything you say here is true, important, and well-articulated. So, thank you. I would just add one broader aspect of what seems to make CRT so particularly "hot" right now:

Because it is both far-reaching in its claims and purposely muddy on the details, CRT has the ability to immediately draw criticism from its opponents, without providing a clear, digestible line of attack. In theory, your opponents are left looking like reactionary simpletons and you're left to frolic in the glow of inscrutable mystique.

This is (at least part of) the power that figures like Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol drew from in the Pop Art movement. It's not that their work intrinsically spoke to art-lovers' desires for boundary-pushing . But it did have the power to provoke immediate resistance from the old guard about what is and isn't art. By the time the old guard realized that this was actually a difficult distinction to make, it was too late. The authority-provoking flame was already burning too bright to be extinguished.

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Tangential at best, but thinking of all this imo loony DEI stuff reminded me of a Kurt Vonnegut short story [http://www.tnellen.com/cybereng/harrison.html] I taught long ago and far away, which begins as follows:


THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren't only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.

Some things about living still weren't quite right, though. April for instance, still drove people crazy by not being springtime. And it was in that clammy month that the H-G men took George and Hazel Bergeron's fourteen-year-old son, Harrison, away.

It was tragic, all right, but George and Hazel couldn't think about it very hard. Hazel had a perfectly average intelligence, which meant she couldn't think about anything except in short bursts. And George, while his intelligence was way above normal, had a little mental handicap radio in his ear. He was required by law to wear it at all times. It was tuned to a government transmitter. Every twenty seconds or so, the transmitter would send out some sharp noise to keep people like George from taking unfair advantage of their brains. ....

George and Hazel were watching television. .... On the television screen were ballerinas. .... They weren't really very good-no better than anybody else would have been, anyway. They were burdened with sashweights and bags of birdshot, and their faces were masked, so that no one, seeing a free and graceful gesture or a pretty face, would feel like something the cat drug in.


That's equity of outcomes, folks!

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I'm interested in the mechanics of how someone's work becomes "hot," one of the texts "worth" mentioning in grants/scholarly work etc. to prove your chops. And is it possible to defy that trend or fad and still succeed?

Also, I appreciated the autumnal background (pumpkin). You'll be a YouTuber yet, deBoer!

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I’ve found that simply citing the CRT Wikipedia works to disabuse someone of the view that CRT is only legal studies: “In addition to law, critical race theory is taught and applied in the fields of education, political science, women's studies, ethnic studies, communication, sociology, and American studies.”

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The point about how interdisciplinarity in academia is rhetorically praised but in practice punished is a good one. That contradiction has always confused me until I realized it was by design; that is, that contradiction is the result of conflicting personal agendas/incentives.

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Well done. Academic careers are grant-driven. If the grants are available professors will come to the topics and when they come the results will be written, presented and cited. And someone clever will present this as a public intellectual and get paid a lot of $$$ to go around to campuses and make presentations.

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Am I correct to infer that public school curricula are treated like a petri dish for academic and think tank research?

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Yes, this. Also links directly to the general concept/vocabulary diffusion among the broader PMC or whatever you want to call it - as a member of that class in my 30s, we learned all these concepts in HS/college and it’s now essentially etiquette to incorporate them to some degree in formal/professional settings like published writing and job interviews. There’s a conformism aspect that spreads very quickly (which I recognize even as I agree with most of the concepts!)

That makes it both less organic and less profound than its advocates claim, but also less philosophical or sinister than its critics fear. And mostly shows how the particular issue being debated right now is about language more than anything else.

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The "this isn't CRT" stuff is so annoying.

First, CRTers are weird about who counts as a CRTer. Apparently, you have to have some set of assumptions and beliefs to count as a CRTer, but from what I can tell, they're not rigorously definable or even laid out as principles. So the moves to designate someone as a real CRTer and someone who is not are often opaque.

I would imagine that this happened just so that CRTers could say they have a particular paradigm, but its weird combination of persnickety gate-keeping and definitional amorphousness then led to its useful second feature, which is the technically correct but substantively irrelevant fact that you can say Chris Rufo is wrong about what CRT is. Yes, Rufo is wrong about what CRT is. It turns out that convergent interest theory is a big, dumb part of CRT. And that dummy instead labels as "CRT" ideas like "America fundamentally white supremacist", and "if you're not actively antiracist, then you're racist", and "disparate impact is racist." But those ideas are quite worrisome and far from obviously true to a huge number of people in America!

It reminds me of that Simpsons episode where Lisa is sentenced to Monster Island, but she's told not to worry, because "it's just a name." Sure, it has monsters on it, but it's really a peninsula! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAS3DsmLfKY

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