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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.

Last Week Was Not A Typical Week at Heterodox Academy

Heterodox Academy membership has been steadily growing, as more academics become aware of the many benefits viewpoint diversity provides students, professors, and administrators. In a typical week, however, we add somewhere between 10 and 15 new members, but last week we inducted 53. Though we can’t be certain, this interest was likely motivated by media appearances..

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.

We Champion Racial, Gender and Cultural Diversity–Why Not Viewpoint Diversity?

HXA member Dr. Clay Routledge, social psychologist and professor of Psychology at North Dakota State University, has crafted an important and informative piece in Scientific American on the lack of viewpoint diversity when we champion diversity on campus. Routledge gets right into the main issue, that “Conservatives have little influence in the scholarly disciplines that..

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?..

The False Promise of a “Conversation” About Race

HXA member John McWhorter published a thought provoking (and provocative) piece in The Chronicle of Higher Education this week. It is behind a paywall, but we wanted to convey some of the key ideas to our audience. The article posits that the ongoing call for a conversation about race is more about the need for..