Hath not a half Korean eyes? II. Social justice for me but not for thee

My last comment at the blog of Dr. John G. Stackhouse, Jr., Sangwoo Youtong Chee Professor of Theology at Regent College, was not approved.  I was arguing there that affirmative action has been detrimental to academic standards but also creates social injustices against Jews, Asians and white men, while shifting preferential treatment from white men to white women.  I also argued that the long term effects of affirmative action and feminized education is that boys and young men are dropping out of the picture–that the issue of our day is no longer fairness to women but finding a way of encouraging boys and young men in education again.  Finally, I became a little personal.  I revealed my own personal frustration with affirmative action.  I was discouraged from seeking employment in the academics because the selection of candidates was based not on academic merit but on being a member of preferred gender or race.  I figured that dropping out of the rat race, I would be doing myself and others a favor, because I would not have to compete with other white males over the few jobs that weren’t given to preferred diversity candidates.

Prof. Stackhouse, Sangwoo Youtong Chee Professor of Theology at Regent College, maintains that diversity is necessary in the academy, especially a place like Regent College.  While I may grant this premise to a certain extent, I said that diversity should never trump high academic standards in the hiring process–which many academics recognize as a serious problem–but not Stackhouse. He trivialized my concerns, said that he felt bad for the victims, and then said that he too has suffered:

I feel badly for each and every one of those victims and, as I wrote before, I have myself been victimized by that process. (No, P. W. Dunn, I am not singing the blues, but you have no idea what it has been like for me as a privileged white male to make his way in the academy over the last three decades. So please stop assuming that it has been Easy Street just because I have managed to secure employment.) But no major social change occurs without problems. That’s what happens in the Real World.

I found this actually quite amusing.  The power structures exploiting the glut of white male PhD’s is a well acknowledge problem in the academy and while even some other progressives are apologetic about the injustice to the burros of Academia, Stackhouse’s response is like, I’m sorry, but you know, I’ve suffered more than you.  In our society today it is all about who can portray themselves as the biggest victim, harboring the centuries of injustice and rancour.  So naturally, Stackhouse, when confronted with the serious injustice caused by the social engineering of affirmative action, has to portray himself as a bigger victim.  I therefore responded:

Prof. Stackhouse: Thanks for this reply.

You know I didn’t realize the degree to which full-time professors with tenure suffer because they are privileged white males. Please tell us more so that I might have some appropriate empathy for your situation. I think that you must obviously be a much bigger victim than I could ever be.

As an insufficiently diverse person, I should just be happy that other people, who may be inferior scholars, will be given preference for academic jobs because they have the correct biological plumbing or skin colour. That’s like the story I heard when the full time faculty learned that the white male adjuncts had no real jobs–they said, well let them eat cake!

To institute social change which makes victims is one thing: the ends justify the means, don’t they? But then do you expect the victims to go away quietly? What do you think is the appropriate response to people or from people who have become the victims? Your response is to say to them that they have no idea how much YOU have suffered and then expect them to play nice? But many of my people–young white male scholars are made to suffer silently because they have been the beneficiaries of many years, excuse me, centuries, of discrimination against our women? But I wonder, do you think that Asians who have been the victims of affirmative action should also shut up? How does that square with the notion of fairness towards minorities? One of my big problems with affirmative action as a means of ending discrimination is that it perpetuates unfairness. That’s why the Asians are the new Jews. It seems that the advocates of fairness weren’t upset that unfairness existed–they were upset because they weren’t benefiting from it.

I had invited Stackhouse to explain how he as a full-time professor has suffered injustice from affirmative action, and he tacitly refused to elaborate, other than being passed over for a research grant.  I am pretty sure why he didn’t elaborate.  It was because he would have only strengthened my case further that affirmative action in its quest for diversity undermines the rewarding of merit.  Therefore, he chose instead to attack me personally, my career, and my blog (1st edition):

You certainly make it clear when dialogue is a waste of time. Your rage and bitterness simply render conversation impossible. I’m frankly glad you’re not in the academy where you can influence people. I hope you’re good at making people money as the “righteous investor” you advertise yourself to be, but I think we’re done listening to you on this subject.

My first reaction is that this is a form of childish backlash.  Stackhouse has his little diversity project at Regent College and he doesn’t want anyone to challenge it.  Though I am used to a level of attack in blogging, I didn’t expect such a public reprimand from someone who is so brilliant and well-established as Prof. Stackhouse.  So here is my response which he blocked:

I’m sorry Prof. Stackhouse.  I thought I was adding a diverse voice to this discussion.  Mea culpa.

But since you are trying to promote diversity, I think that you have serious problem when you want to define away certain kinds of diverse opinions.  It makes it look like you are the one who is making discussion impossible, because when someone disagrees, he is accused of rage and bitterness, unhappiness, weirdness, lack of both focus and intelligibility. Since rage and bitterness are both great sins, you are now perfectly justified in excluding me permanently from both the discussion and the academy, at least as far as it depends upon you.

But if you’ve suffered, I’d like to hear about it.  I’ve opened up to you and your readers at great risk.  I am now on your blacklist, at least as potential faculty at Regent College (I said above that this was going to happen), which has a very large evangelical base.  Well, too bad for me I guess.

But I’m not quite sure why you’ve chosen to bring up my blog, the Righteous Investor and my recent attempt at DIY investing.  Are you saying, “Well you better be good at that because you can kiss your academic career goodbye”?  This is precisely why I’ve claimed that most young white scholars who become victims of affirmative action are reticent to speak what is in their hearts: not only will they be accused of rage and bitterness, as well as sexism and racism, but they will be permanently banned from academics.  Diversity is such a wonderful thing!

Prof. Stackhouse wrote to me an offline message that he had to screen my comment because I was so angry that my contributions were so extreme and vitriolic that they were not helpful to the conversation.  He suggested that I get counseling and that he would not allow me to comment again on his blog until I could speak the truth in love.


Hath not a half Korean eyes? Part One

Hath not a half Korean eyes? II Social justice for me but not for thee

Hath not a half Korean eyes? III A dead lamb doesn’t fear a knife

Hath not a half Korean eyes? IV Conservatism is a mental illness

Hath not a half Korean eyes? V Principled meritocracy

Hath not a half Korean eyes? VI Alumnus squashed


Hath not a half Korean eyes? Part I

Prof. John Stackhouse sitting atop his endowed perch as Regent College’s Sangwoo Youtong Chee Professor of Theology, has declared me unfit to teach in the academy:

You certainly make it clear when dialogue is a waste of time. Your rage and bitterness simply render conversation impossible. I’m frankly glad you’re not in the academy where you can influence people. I hope you’re good at making people money as the “righteous investor” you advertise yourself to be, but I think we’re done listening to you on this subject.

Why did he do this?  Well, he wrote a blog post in celebration “International Woman’s Day: Who needs it?”  A theology student then challenged him about the lack of female representation on the faculty and board of Regent College.  Then Prof Stackhouse went into full apologetic mode, saying that despite actively recruiting diverse faculty, Regent College remains underrpresented.  This is where I came in as a half Korean who has never been recruited for anything in academics (well except my current writing project for on the Acta Pauli in CChrSA–but that wasn’t based upon being a half Korean), but especially never ever the prestigious Regent College Faculty.  So I wrote:

I left academics precisely over issues like affirmative action. I entered the job market at a time when hundreds of resumes of men were being thrown in the garbage to consider the handful of women scholars; such preferential hiring could not but have a detrimental affect on the quality of educational institutions. One result is that if you are female, you are now more likely to go to university. A lot of people are going to be offended by what I say, but they will have a hard time defending, based on academic standards, the narrowing of the hiring pool to the small percentage of female candidates.

I was asked if I really believed this to be true.  So I wrote:

I for one do not believe that the sacrifice of quality at the altar of diversity has been beneficial to academic standards in higher learning. Before I started job hunting, one of the colleagues in my field, explained to me how they did a job search at his California University (this was in circa 1994). He testified that they would receive maybe 100 applications. They would take the 95 or so from men and file them in the trash. Then they would choose three from the five women applicants and interview them, and then choose the best candidate from those three.

This means then that a woman can find a job in academics quite easily and men have a much harder time. This scenario is confirmed even by Prof. Stackhouse’s own confession above. Faculties will go out of their way to “recruit” women, but to hire a man, they just have to post the position and the applications come in.

The same holds true for racial minorities of the correct sort–forget it if you are either Jewish or Asian; that won’t help, because these are over-represented minorities–in fact only the best Chinese or Jewish kids can even get into some schools.

Now imagine if they did this with the NBA. Ok. We are going to give half-Korean men (they are underrepresented in the NBA, quelle horreur!) and females the preference for hiring. How long would it be before people would stop even watching the NBA and just start watching European league basketball instead? But in academics they’ve been selecting the team not to win championships (based strictly on the people with the best talent and the strongest dossier) but to create diversity–then telling the entire world that the team is better because of it. Well perhaps the faculty page on the website looks less monolithic, but I would rather watch European league academics where the concept of diversity has been much slower in catching on.

Then, I was accused of believing that “Europeans-based races excell intellectually and academically over other races”:  I said that I wasn’t saying that whites were smarter than half Koreans or other diversified people–the thought never occurred to me.  I was only arguing that preferential hiring would have a negative effect on academic standards.  Then, it suggested that I held to the assumption that women and minorities were second rate by academic standards, I said:

If women and minorities are not second rate, then there is no need to give their applications preferential treatment. They can compete in the general pool of applicants. I don’t agree with the assumption either and so I believe that preferential hiring must stop.

This discussion led to Prof. Stackhouse to start another blog post called, On Behalf of Diversity in Academic Hiring:  Part One; I think perhaps he thought by opening up another post, he could then get me to focus my bitterness and rage against something other than his post celebrating International Women’s Day.   This was a brilliant move on his part.  This will be discussed in part two of this series.

Hath not a half Korean eyes? Part One

Hath not a half Korean eyes? II Social justice for me but not for thee

Hath not a half Korean eyes? III A dead lamb doesn’t fear a knife

Hath not a half Korean eyes? IV Conservatism is a mental illness

Hath not a half Korean eyes? V Principled meritocracy

Hath not a half Korean eyes? VI Alumnus squashed

Heaven and Hell in a stereotypical North American campus

There is this joke making fun of the different nationalities in Europe, and I think it pretty much fits the national stereotypes to the teeth, and that is why people around the world find it hilarious; in Kenya, a Kikuyu once told me this joke and he thought it was very funny (then proceeded to tell me a joke making fun of Kikuyus, while laughing hysterically):

Heaven is a place where:
The lovers are Italian
The cooks are French
The mechanics are German
The police are English
The government is run by the Swiss

Hell is a place where:
The lovers are Swiss
The cooks are English
The mechanics are French
The police are German
The government is run by the Italians

Wouldn’t it be great if here in America we could make light humor about our stereotypical differences, instead of it being so PC all the time?

So for example on today’s university campus:  Heaven is where the half Koreans are the comedians, the liberals are the English students, the conservatives are doing ROTC or business school, and the Chinese are studying engineering; hell is where the half Koreans are the basketball players, the liberals are the comedians or ROTC or business school, and the Chinese are the English students.  But I don’t think I will go any further than that, lest I offend.   Perhaps I’ve stepped over the line already.

More notes on affirmative action: Prof. Ian Hunter

I’d like to add to my view in the discussion at Prof. Stackhouse’s blog on how affirmative action has degraded educational standards, with a note from retired Professor of law at University of Western Ontario, Ian Hunter, who wrote an article entitled “Academia’s road to ruin” (The Next City, 1999).  He wrote the following lines about affirmative action:

My former colleagues have witnessed 15 years of affirmative action hirings, where merit is secondary to an applicant’s race, gender, even sexual proclivity. No academic institution can pursue a deliberate policy of hiring mediocrity and expect to build a meritocracy.

The hiring policy at York University — that pons asinorum of Canadian higher education — is, alas, fairly typical. In academic units in which 45 per cent or less of the tenure-stream faculty are women, a female candidate must be offered the position unless there is a “demonstrably superior male candidate.” Every hiring committee, even more every dean, knows that proving “demonstrable superiority” is a steep hill to climb. How much easier, how much better for one’s career prospects, to avoid trouble, to avoid confrontation, to avoid the accusation of chauvinism, and to just go along with the university’s stated policy of “encouraging diversity.” So let us have the “diversity” candidate, although perhaps not the “best” candidate. A decade and a half of such hiring decisions have reduced Canadian universities to the intellectual backwaters they now are.

Prof. Hunter wrote later that many who responded, but only a slim minority in defense of the university (in “Can The Universities Be Saved?  So It’s Agreed Our Universities Are A Farce. But What Can Be Done About It?” (Report newsmagazine, Jan 24, 2000; emphasis mine):

The reaction came all right, but the magnitude and depth of it surprised me. First, portions of The Next City article were reprinted in the Montreal Gazette and Halifax Chronicle Herald. Second, The Next City received more letters about it than about any other article in the magazine’s four years of publication. Most remarkably, the letters that flooded in all said essentially the same thing. They said: “Yes, what you say is true, but you understate the institutional corruption. Now let me tell you how bad things are here.” It was as though the letters had been composed from a common template. The response came from professors (emeritus professors predominating, perhaps because they are free to speak without fear of reprisal), from Newfoundland to Victoria, and many universities between.

Now I emphasized part of the text because it requires a certain kind of courage to say that the preferential hiring of women and certain visible minorities has been detrimental to education.  Prof. Hunter said in 2000 that retired professors do not fear speaking out against affirmative action and the other problems of the university.  The academy isn’t a forgiving community and it has a long memory.

Notes on affirmative action

At Prof. Stackhouse’s blog, the discussion concerning diversity continues.  I want to strengthen my point that affirmative action has (1) watered down academic standards; (2) is discrimination against certain minorities (particularly Asians and Jews).  Here are some of the articles that I found:

When Affirmative Action Is A Quota System (at the American Thinker)

By Russell Eisenman

A university professor, Eisenmann claims that affirmative action has become a quota system that is basically un-American and leads to resentment.  The Ku Klux Klan could  have invented it as system to make whites hate blacks.

By the way, it may be that some elite schools can do their affirmative action hiring and hire a top candidate. But, this is certainly not the case for most schools. In my experiences, and in that of colleagues I have discussed this with, when affirmative action hiring is done, the dilemma is always that there are better qualified candidates not within the quota category. Sometimes, the person hired, because they have the right skin color or sex, is markedly less qualified than some of the other applicants.

Should Colleges Have Quotas for Asian Americans? (Washington Post, 2004)

By Jay Mathews

Matthews’ article writes about Chinese-American Ed Chin who has been very critical of the quota system of Ivy League schools.  But Matthews, against Chin, concludes its ok for the best schools to discriminate against Asians, because they can get into other schools.   But dear Mr. Matthews, racial preferences have made it more difficult for Asians to get into other schools as well.

And yet the recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions on affirmative action preserved the system at most selective private schools in which Asian American students with very high tests scores are passed over in favor of African American and Hispanic students with lower scores because the schools want significant numbers of all ethnicities on campus. Supporters of such policies say a diverse student body helps everyone learn to live in the real world, and there are plenty of other fine colleges that take students, Asian American or otherwise, whom they reject.Whenever I raised this point, Chin would accuse me, rightly, of shrugging off the American commitment to fair play for individuals. He cited comments made by Abigail Thernstrom, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a Massachusetts state school board member. “I think these racial preferences are very pernicious,” she said in an interview on a PBS Web site after voters banned the use of affirmative action based on race in University of California admissions. “I don’t think they do black students much good. I think they’re poisonous in terms of race relations. And I do not think they are fair to the Asian student, for instance, who has worked very, very hard and is kept out of a Berkeley because a student with a slightly different skin color has gotten in as a consequence of racial identity.”

The Asian-Jewish connection: Is it really kosher to call Asians the “new Jews”? (SF Gate, 2010) by Jeff Yang; The New Jews? by Jennifer Rubin (Weekly Standard, 2008).  Rubin writes to belie Matthew’s point above:

In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court cases concerning racial preference policies at the University of Michigan’s law school (Grutter v. Bollinger) and undergraduate school (Gratz v. Bollinger) highlighted further evidence of great disparities between groups. At Michigan’s law school, the admission rates of “preferred” minorities miraculously held steady between 10 percent and 17 percent in the years for which data were provided. According to Peter Schmidt’s Color and Money, “Among applicants with certain grade point average and LSAT-score combinations, the university was admitting virtually every black applicant while white and Asian American applicants had a less than 1 in 40 chance of getting in.”

The article that first made me aware of the problem of discrimination against Asians, was in the American Thinker in 2005:  Asian Americans and Affirmative Action, by James Chen, who writes about the extraordinary measures that Asian parents will go to in order to overcome discrimination of their children, even moving to “white” areas so that their children will have a better chance of graduating close to the top of their high school class.  Chen’s article infuriated me.  I realized that all of the job post advertising women and minorities are encouraged to apply did not at all mean me, since if a university will discriminate against students applying to a school, how much more will they be willing to do so when hiring a professor?