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Thread: "How are you diverse?" Is Academia beyond hope?

  1. Top | #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    Such questions should be illegal and bring down the wrath of the EEOC on anyone using them.

    Of course, since it's politically correct discrimination nothing will be done.
    Since unequal outcomes is used as proof of discrimination, not actively discriminating against white men would be considered the discrimination.

  2. Top | #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by laughing dog View Post
    Where I work, we are not supposed to know the gender or the race of an applicant when we evaluate their application. Sometimes we can make a pretty good guess about the gender from the name.
    At a previous place of employment, a large round of promotions was held where all gender and ethnicity markers were stripped from applications by a contracted third party (including names). Promotion decisions were then made on a blind basis from the quality of the application.

    In previous years, women who had applied for promotions were more likely to be promoted than men who had applied. The organisation, of course, did not think there was any discrimination, but that men were more likely to 'throw their hat in the ring' than women. That is, translated, 'we reckon lower quality men apply for promotion'. The blind promotion round resulted in women not being promoted disproportionately over men.

    They're no longer doing blind promotions.

  3. Top | #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toni View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Metaphor View Post
    http://www.bioethics.net/2015/01/how...-insecurities/



    In fairness, the question is literally incoherent. Individuals are not diverse; diversity is an emergent property of a collection.



    Emphasis mine.

    It ought seem patently obvious why you were interviewed: because academia has a diversity monomania, and any department that hires a black woman will have ticked that box. You have already answered your own question.



    Individuals are not diverse.



    Incredibly, this academic is now complaining about her special treatment whilst endorsing it.

    “Oh, Shouldn’t You Be Able to Get a Job Anywhere?”

    I accepted one of the jobs that I was offered and I am grateful for the opportunity. But my position is only for 1 year so that means that I began my new position in August and in the following month I had to start the job search process all over again once schools starting advertising open positions in September. I was in my new job for one moth, getting acclimated to moving across the country, getting to know faculty and students at my new university, etc. and I had to start writing statements about my diversity for a whole new batch of applications almost immediately.


    Since getting a job and not being homeless is something rather important to me, being on the job market is a big part of my life so I frequently discuss my job market experiences with friends, family, colleagues, and on social media. One frequent response to my musings on the job market from my colleagues who have been on the job market is “oh, shouldn’t you be able to get a job anywhere?” There are certain contextual clues that lead me to believe that what they really mean when they say this is “you are diverse, shouldn’t that give you an extra edge over the competition?” I doubt this is true. If it were true there would likely already be more diversity in bioethics and philosophy. There are many qualified and diverse applicants so why aren’t these people in full time academic positions? Why is there still a need to make applicants write statements proclaiming their diversity? Probably because there is still a need for diverse faculty.

    What is more important is how these kinds of remarks make me feel about the good that has come from my job search. I feel very fortunate to even interview for jobs that will allow me to do what I love but the sentiment that my diversity gives me an advantage over the competition makes me question if my only qualification for some academic positions is my diversity. People of color frequently have this doubt in many other areas of their lives. Did I get this [insert really great opportunity] because my employers believe in my abilities to do the job well or because they needed a brown face on staff?

    Well, yes. You'll forever have to wonder if you got it on your own merits.

    I could be receiving job opportunities because I am qualified and search committees believe in my ability to perform the job well or they believe in my ability to perform the job well and I am diverse. When you are diverse and colleges and universities have made it clear that diversity is something that they are actively pursuing (or so they say), you never know. But the possibility that you are being used to satisfy either an interview quota or a hired faculty quota adds a unique component to the job search for diverse applicants that deserves more attention. Applicants who have been deemed diverse are thrown into a system that seemingly values their diversity but then that value is determined by individuals with biases and individuals who are forced to meet certain standards determined by their bosses and HR departments. We’re asked to identify, prove, and convince others that unchosen features of our being adds to the value of our candidacy when those very same unchosen features can be used against us. And in the instance that our unchosen features contribute to our appeal as a scholar and colleague, then we are left wondering if our unchosen features override our accomplishments. If this is the nature of the academic market and despite my accomplishments I am merely a box to be checked by a search committee, then my value is not as a productive colleague but rather as a quota.
    Well, I guess you don't doubt yourself enough to give up a position you're not sure you earned on merit.

    The white heteropatriarchy is such a cunning beast. Even when it discriminates against white men to favour black women, it's still black women who are the victims.
    I’ve never heard anyone accuse HR of being overly intelligent or thoughtful.

    Also, WTF about the statement about what a burden it is to look for a job in academia! Most candidates would kill for the chance at 59 interviews.
    Of course they would, but a lot of white men will never get the chance, even when they are of equal quality with 'diverse' candidates.

    And it's for the same reason that school leavers who get accepted into multiple Ivy League universities are almost always black. Academia is not interested in high-achieving non-minorities (or high-achieving Asians).

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    They want to appear inclusive. Appear being the operative word.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Metaphor View Post
    They're no longer doing blind promotions.
    That is really a sad testament to our society and the Newspeak redefinition of terms like "discrimination".

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    So, one question about diversity out of 59 interviews and now the question is being asked if academia is "beyond hope"?

    Hyperbole much?
    When conservatives realize they cannot win democratically, they will not abandon conservatism. They will abandon democracy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZiprHead View Post
    So, one question about diversity out of 59 interviews and now the question is being asked if academia is "beyond hope"?

    Hyperbole much?

    I don't think you read the OP. If you had, the point was that she got asked it multiple times, and asked to give verbal and written responses to it.

    Academia may be beyond hope not because the woman in the OP got 59 interviews and got asked incoherent questions which ought have no bearing on her quality as a potential academic. Academia may be beyond hope because the experience in the OP is an individual instance of academia's systemic and open discrimination against white men in fulfillment of its diversity monomania.

    The woman in the OP is not diverse. But she, and the entire academy, seem to believe she is. They seem to believe an individual can be diverse, and that white maleness is the solid, blank, default printer paper to be decorated by other genders and ethnicities.

    "How are you diverse" is not only insulting to the people who academia ordinarily (yet incoherently) regards as "diverse", it's also an insult to the people who academia does not regard as "diverse" (white men).

    You may endorse open discrimination by race and sex, but I don't.

  8. Top | #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by barbos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Pechtel View Post
    Such questions should be illegal and bring down the wrath of the EEOC on anyone using them.
    There are a lot of questions which should be illegal starting with "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" and then the rest of these in these books they use.
    What's so horrible about that?

  9. Top | #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by barbos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Toni View Post
    Also, WTF about the statement about what a burden it is to look for a job in academia! Most candidates would kill for the chance at 59 interviews.
    These are Skype/phone interviews. Most people would commit a suicide after 59 in person interviews. And you don't find it ridiculous that people have to go through 60-100 interviews to get a 1 year long job?
    Basically she spent a month of her life on interviews plus god knows how much for preparing. And what exactly these people are trying to accomplish considering hundreds of candidates for a job? Are they saying that only few out of 100 are qualified?
    I don't understand the process that she's describing. At the university I'm most familiar with, a department seeking to hire a tenure track position writes up its job description and gives it to HR, where it is posted in appropriate journals, publications, etc. Qualifications, including degrees required are included in the job posting. Note: this is a state university so one of the postings is to the state HR site where applicants can look for positions within the state university system. HR screens candidates by very broad qualifications,including degrees held and (and if required, experience). I am certain that they also screen for things like not be convicted of recent felonies, etc. The list of applicants who meet the basic job requirements is forwarded to the hiring committee which is comprised of people in the department. From there, the hiring committee narrows down the list of prospective candidates to a manageable number. This is largely determined by the number of people that they will be allowed to invite to travel to campus (and put up into accommodations, etc.) plus some extra because it's frequently the case that some one of the top 3 or 4 have been offered a job or are otherwise unavailable. I'm certain that there are cases where there are skype interviews at some universities but that's not normally how it's done here: they are done in person but often, the committee does do a phone interview with top candidates to help them narrow down the list to the number they can actually invite for an in person interview. BTW, interviews are a two way proposition. Not everybody who is offered a position decides to take that position. Occasionally, someone uses an offer at one university to boost their standing at the university where they are currently employed or as a bargaining chip when they are negotiating salary.

    Some areas have many more candidates applying than openings--as in several hundred for a single position. It is actually rough trying to figure out which Ph.D. with the same number of years of experience is likely to actually want to interview. And even harder to figure out which one will turn out to be as good or better than their interviews and application packet and who turns out to be a pain in the ass prima donna who is bad with students and colleagues.

    Yes it's rough in academia right now.

    And yes, I'm sure she's right that in some cases, she's being used as a 'diversity candidate' to fulfill some requirement that they seek out and interview some minotirity candidates before they select the guy who graduated from wherever they most like to hire candidates from. Surprisingly, it's not generally Harvard. In fact, the last time someone from Harvard applied at this small university in the middle of flyover country, the general reaction was how badly did he screw up?

  10. Top | #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metaphor View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ZiprHead View Post
    So, one question about diversity out of 59 interviews and now the question is being asked if academia is "beyond hope"?

    Hyperbole much?

    I don't think you read the OP. If you had, the point was that she got asked it multiple times, and asked to give verbal and written responses to it.

    Academia may be beyond hope not because the woman in the OP got 59 interviews and got asked incoherent questions which ought have no bearing on her quality as a potential academic. Academia may be beyond hope because the experience in the OP is an individual instance of academia's systemic and open discrimination against white men in fulfillment of its diversity monomania.

    The woman in the OP is not diverse. But she, and the entire academy, seem to believe she is. They seem to believe an individual can be diverse, and that white maleness is the solid, blank, default printer paper to be decorated by other genders and ethnicities.

    "How are you diverse" is not only insulting to the people who academia ordinarily (yet incoherently) regards as "diverse", it's also an insult to the people who academia does not regard as "diverse" (white men).

    You may endorse open discrimination by race and sex, but I don't.
    I still say the key is to point to ACTUAL diversity. Diversity of mind and of experience and to point out how superficial it is to pretend somebody adds "diversity" just because of their skin colour.

    A recent immigrant who speaks 3 languages but is just now learning English, grew up in a jungle, under communism or some other non-democratic system, and knows how to carve a canoe out of a log.... THAT'S diversity, regardless of skin colour. Instead we get another person who has almost entirely the same life experiences, language, ideas, opinions, politics, etc but happens to have dark skin or narrow eyes, and we pretend that's "diverse". Another open question is whether or not diversity really is necessarily something to look for.

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