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THE BLOG

The Google Memo: What Does the Research Say About Gender Differences?

The recent Google Memo on diversity, and the immediate firing of its author, James Damore, have raised a number of questions relevant to the mission of Heterodox Academy. Large corporations deal with many of the same issues that we wrestle with at universities, such as how to seek truth and achieve the kinds of diversity we want, being cognizant that we are tribal creatures often engaged in motivated reasoning, operating within organizations that are at risk of ideological polarization.

In this post, we address the central empirical claim of Damore’s memo, which is contained in its second sentence.

Microaggressions, Macro Debate

The concept of microaggressions gained prominence with the publication of Sue et al.’s 2007, “Racial Microaggressions in Everyday Life,” which defined microaggressions as communicative, somatic, environmental or relational cues that demean and/or disempower members of minority groups in virtue of their minority status. Microaggressions, they asserted, are typically subtle and ambiguous. Often, they are inadvertent or altogether unconscious. For these reasons, they are also far more pervasive than other, more overt, forms of bigotry (which are less-tolerated in contemporary America).

The authors propose a tripartite taxonomy of microaggressions:

Microassaults involve explicit and intentional racial derogation;
Microinsults involve rudeness or insensitivity towards another’s heritage or identity;
Microinvalidations occur when the thoughts and feelings of a minority group member seem to be excluded, negated or nullified as a result of their minority status.
The authors then present anecdotal evidence suggesting that repeated exposure to microaggressions is detrimental to the well-being of minorities. Moreover, they assert, a lack of awareness about the prevalence and impact of microaggressions among mental health professionals could undermine the practice of clinical psychology—reducing the quality and accessibility of care for those who may need it most.

Our First Anniversary: Visions of the Academy in 2025

Introduction Heterodox Academy turns one year old today. To mark the occasion, we’re publishing our members’ answers to a simple question: “What change would you like to see in universities or in your academic field by 2025?”. Our membership is politically diverse, but as you’ll see below, we have a widely shared desire to protect and restore..

Which will be America’s first Heterodox University?

Calling all college students: Do you love the intellectual climate on your campus? Or do you sometimes wish that a broader range of viewpoints was represented in the classroom, and by invited speakers? Are some students reluctant to speak up in class because they are afraid they’ll be shunned if they question the dominant viewpoint?..

A Racism Hoax at Oberlin: Free chapter from Howard Schwartz’s upcoming book

HXA member Howard Schwartz, Emeritus Professor at Oakland University in Michigan, provides readers an advanced chapter from his upcoming book Political Correctness and the Destruction of Social Order: Chronicling the Rise of the Pristine Self by Palgrave Macmillan. The book develops a psychoanalytic theory of political correctness and the pristine self, which is a self touched by..

Sharing Blame/Credit for the 1994 Crime Bill

Guest post by Dan Subotnik, Professor of Law at Touro Law Center.  Owing to its huge impact on minorities, the 1994 Crime Bill is back on the table. Proponents of the law claim that it helped lead to a sharp reduction in crime, especially in minority communities.  Opponents hold that the law supports America’s carceral..

The amazing 1969 prophecy that racial preferences would cause the exact grievances of protesters today

Universities are among the most progressive and anti-racist institutions in American society. Many Americans therefore found it confusing to see dozens of our top universities racked by racial protests since last September. To add to the puzzle, many of the most high-profile actions occurred at universities widely perceived to be the most devoted to social..