Why don’t the white saviors let the BIPOC take their jobs?

“White Brandeis Dean Kate Slater posts epic critical race theory rant: ‘I hate whiteness’” (New York Post):

A white Brandeis University administrator defended critical race theory in a social media post that included how she hated “whiteness.”

“Yes, all white people are racist in that all white people have been conditioned in a society where one’s racial identity determines life experiences/outcomes and whiteness is the norm and default,” Kate Slater, assistant dean of Graduate Student Affairs, posted on Instagram.

“That includes me!” added Slater, who describes herself on her personal website as a white anti-racist scholar and educator.

From kateslater.com:

Previously, she was the Associate Director & Manager of Programs at the Institute for Recruitment of Teachers, a nonprofit that promotes racial equity in the American educational sector. She is also a lecturer at the University of New Hampshire for the course Teaching Race, which explores the history of race and racism in America. Her doctoral research centers the experiences of underrepresented minorities students in higher education, and in particular, at predominantly White institutions.

I believe that a core pillar of racial justice work is the redistribution of resources to people of color. I donate 75% of all facilitation / training / writing fees to individuals, nonprofits, and mutual aid organizations that focus on the uplift of BIPOC communities.

Wouldn’t “the experiences of underrepresented minorities students in higher education” be improved if they could see administrators who looked like them? And wouldn’t “the uplift of BIPOC communities” be greater if Dr. Slater resigned and let the Brandeis bureaucrats replace her with a BIPOC?

It makes sense to me that there are white saviors. But white savior was not traditionally a paid role. I don’t understand how there can white saviors who say that they’re passionate about improving equity as measured by skin color and who simultaneously collect a paycheck that rightfully belongs to a person with darker skin.

Along the same lines, the Maskachusetts Senator Ed Markey, an old white guy, claims to be somehow an advocate for women and people of color. From March 8, 2020:

  • Gender based discrimination impacts all aspects of a woman’s life from the personal to the professional and the political. We will fight for social and economic justice and guarantee women’s rights and autonomy
  • Women still make 77 cents on average to a man’s dollar. Black women make 63 cents to a white man’s dollar. Latinas make 53 cents to a white man’s dollar. If we closed the gender pay gap, we could cut the poverty rate for working women and their families in half.
  • Women hold fewer than 25% of seats in Congress. And even though a record number of women ran for the presidency this year, we still have yet to elect our first female president.

From September 1, 2020:

  • Racial justice means dismantling the systemic and structural racism that is killing communities of color, and listening to and fighting alongside these communities to achieve true dignity and justice for all.

He says that he wants to “[dismantle] systemic and structural racism” and help Latinas and Black women earn more. Wouldn’t the most obvious first step be for him to resign on condition that Governor Baker appoint a Latina or Black woman to replace him?

Finally, let’s consider one of the oldest and whitest white saviors… Joe Biden. “Joe Biden Calls For U.S. To ‘Root Out Systemic Racism’ In Speech To Congress” (HuffPost April 28, 2021), for example. He also says that he wants to “empower women” (campaign site). Shouldn’t he resign in favor of Kamala Harris, who identifies as a woman of color?

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University of Maskachusetts casts out three heretics

“‘It’s Been Devastating’: UMass Amherst Students Suspended For Not Wearing Masks Off-Campus” (CBS):

Andover parents Kristin and Scott are speaking out on behalf of their daughter. She along with two of her friends are freshmen at UMass Amherst. A picture posted on social media of the three friends not wearing masks outside was handed over to the university and that has landed them in serious trouble.

“There was a photo sent to the administration of these girls outside off campus on a Saturday. This is why they lost a whole semester of their schooling,” Kristin said.

Since their suspension, the students have been studying remotely at their homes. However, last week they were cut off from virtual learning. They were not allowed to take their finals, so parents say their kids’ semester was a total loss, both financially and academically.

“That negates this whole semester $16,000 of money and they have to reapply for next semester. But they missed housing registration,” Scott said.

UMass Amherst released a statement saying: “Students received a number of public health messages this semester that emphasized the importance of following public health protocols and the consequences for not complying, and those messages were also shared on UMass social media channels.”

The Instagram post that betrayed their refusal to observe all of the rituals of the Church of Shutdown all of the time:

(Maybe they can be replaced with masked BIPOC?)

Given the depicted weather it seems that these three might well have been vaccinated at the time the photo was taken.

Stockholm Syndrome among the other invulnerable-to-covid 20-year-olds:

Students on campus say the rules have been tight this year but for good reason. “Maybe a little harsh but like I understand it because you’re not supposed to be doing that,” one student told WBZ Friday night.

The spirited hippies of the 1960s who said “Don’t trust anyone over 30” have been succeeded by college students happy to do whatever Dr. Fauci (age 80, i.e., pretty close to the median age for a COVID-19 death in Maskachusetts) tells them to.


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USC pays out $1.1 billion: should universities shut down health clinics?

I’ve long been an advocate for universities shutting down dormitories. Why take responsibility for what 18-22-year-olds do when they’re not in class? Build shared spaces for students to work together, not spaces for students to sleep together, party, etc. This goes double for the Age of Coronapanic. In addition to purporting to be students’ educators, universities have taken it on themselves to become students’ jailers (see College Today: Exercise by going to your twice-weekly COVID-19 test).

Recently we’ve learned that University of Southern California has lost 20 percent of its endowment as a predictable consequence of running its own health clinic: “USC agrees to $1.1 billion in settlement with hundreds of women alleging abuse by gynecologist” (NBC):

A Los Angeles County Superior Court approved a deal Thursday that would give 710 women who alleged that they were abused by Tyndall an $852 million settlement. That is in addition to a $215 million settlement that was given final approval last year as part of a different federal class action lawsuit.

(That’s $1.55 million to each survivor, equivalent to 33.3 years of median pre-tax earnings of Americans who work full-time and identify as “women”. Since the money will be tax-free and the typical American who identifies as a “woman” does not work full-time year after year (see “Women with elite education opting out of full-time careers” (Vanderbilt) for example), $1.55 million is more than a median American woman would earn via a lifetime of W-2 wages.)

The university administrators haven’t lost their ability to lie. From “U.S.C. Agrees to Pay $1.1 Billion to Patients of Gynecologist Accused of Abuse” (NYT):

In a letter to students and alumni, the president of the university Carol L. Folt said, “These events have been devastating for our entire community.”

Dr. Folt also said the university would fund the settlement over two years through a combination of “litigation reserves, insurance proceeds, deferred capital spending, sale of nonessential assets, and careful management of nonessential expenses.” She added that no philanthropic gifts, endowment funds or tuition would be redirected to pay the costs.

This makes as much sense as saying “I didn’t use our household funds to pay for that case of booze; I used money that I won from a scratch-off lottery ticket.”

Readers: What is the upside for a university or college in running its own clinic? Given that academic administrators are selected for their skill at harvesting tax dollars (tuition subsidies, student loans, research grants), how could anyone ever have expected them to properly supervise something complex such as health care delivery? If the goal is to have convenient primary care available, wouldn’t it make more sense to offer low-cost leases to unaffiliated providers?

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Harvard and MIT: Love Asians, but don’t let them into your school

My inbox has been filling up lately with emails regarding purported hate crimes against Asian-Americans. Somewhat curiously, these emails are coming from institutions that explicitly discriminate against Asian-Americans (see “A Ceiling on Asian Student Enrollment at MIT and Harvard?”, for example, and Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard).

Harvard graduate Tom Lehrer wrote about this in his song “National Brotherhood Week“:

it’s Fun to eulogize the
People you despise
As long you don’t let them in your school.

From Larry Bacow, President of Harvard:

For the past year, Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders have been blamed for the pandemic—slander born of xenophobia and ignorance. … Footage of individuals being targeted and assaulted has driven home a rise in aggression and violence across the nation. Today, we continue to reel in the wake of eight murders in Georgia—six of the victims of Asian descent—and to contend with events that shock the collective conscience.

(If only six of the victims were of Asian descent, what’s El Presidente’s theory for how this was an anti-Asian hate crime? The murderer hated Asians, but was not intelligent enough to distinguish between Asians and non-Asians?)

Harvard must stand as a bulwark against hatred and bigotry. We welcome and embrace individuals from every background because it makes us a better community, a stronger community.

I long for the day when I no longer have to send such messages. It is our collective responsibility to repair this imperfect world. To Asians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islanders in our community: We stand together with you today and every day going forward.

(Is there, in fact, anyone who blames “Pacific Islanders” for COVID-19 or coronapanic? Readers: Have you heard someone curse Samoans, Fijians, or Tongans for causing the deaths of 82-year-olds in Maskachusetts?)

From Martha Tedeschi, director of the Harvard Art Museums, where the paychecks keep coming despite the museum being closed.

I am reaching out to the extended museum family of the Harvard Art Museums in the face of Wednesday’s breaking—and heartbreaking—news of the deadly shootings and violence against women of Asian descent in Atlanta. I want to state my own shock and horror—sentiments I know so many of you share—that once again we are confronted by a wave of racist violence that makes it impossible for so many communities in this country to feel safe. Anti-Asian hostility has a long history in the United States. … want to say emphatically that the Harvard Art Museums stand firmly against Anti-Asian racism. It feels only moments ago that I was writing to you about the murder of George Floyd and so many others and the importance of banding together in support of our black and brown communities.

(Do we think that George Floyd, with his minimal employment history, would have been a likely customer for a $20 ticket to Martha Tesdeschi’s museum? If not, what qualifies Martha Tedeschi to talk about those in Mr. Floyd’s socioeconomic stratum?)

What if we go downmarket and down the river? From L. Rafael Reif, President of MIT:

This message is for everyone. But let me begin with a word for the thousands of members of our MIT family – undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, staff, faculty, alumni, parents and Corporation members – who are Asian or of Asian descent: We would not be MIT without you.

(But, as noted above, “we also don’t want too many of you”?)

Bizarrely, for a school that claims credentials are important enough to spend years and hundreds of thousands of dollars acquiring, the president of MIT, with no credentials in criminology or political science, claims expertise in criminology and political science:

Across the country, a cruel signature of this pandemic year has been a terrible surge in anti-Asian violence, discrimination and public rhetoric. I know some of you have experienced such harm directly. The targets are very often women and the elderly.

These acts are especially disturbing in the context of several years of mounting hostility and suspicion in the United States focused on people of Chinese origin. The murders in Georgia Tuesday, including among the victims so many Asian women, come as one more awful shock.

Lumped in with the discussion regarding spa workers, because she happened to have identified (maybe?) as an Asian female:

Earlier this month, we lost an extraordinary citizen of MIT, ChoKyun Rha ’62, SM ’64, SM ’66, SCD ’67, a professor post-tenure of biomaterials science and engineering, at the age of 87. Raised in Seoul in a family that expected her to become a doctor, she came to MIT because she wanted to be an engineer. In 1974, she joined our faculty; in 1980, she became the first Asian female faculty member to earn tenure at MIT. Dr. Rha went on to build a remarkable career as a teacher, a mentor and a scholar.

It is difficult to imagine how alone she must have felt in her early years at MIT, when women students and Asian students numbered in just dozens. But the trail she and so many others blazed helped lead to the rich diversity of MIT we treasure today.

Is this an example of “All Look Same”? In the context of killings of spa workers in Atlanta, what’s the relevance of someone who defied her family by becoming an engineer rather than a doctor and never lived in Atlanta?

(Also, Rafael Reif says that she must have felt alone (how can he know?). If so, given that she stayed at MIT for four degrees and to work as a professor, isn’t that equivalent to calling her stupid? An intelligent person would have left MIT, presumably, and gone somewhere where she didn’t feel alone.)

Circling back to the title of this post… if the presidents of Harvard and MIT love Asians so much, why won’t they let them into their respective schools?

(If the answer is, “we just can’t find enough Asians whose personalities we like, notwithstanding their superb academic achievements,” here are some numbers from “The Rise of Asian Americans” (Pew, 2012): “The modern immigration wave from Asia is nearly a half century old and has pushed the total population of Asian Americans—foreign born and U.S born, adults and children—to a record 18.2 million in 2011, or 5.8% of the total U.S. population, up from less than 1% in 1965.”


Readers: Are you getting a lot of email from bureaucrats expressing their new-found love for Asians?

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Do we need neutral and reliable credential tests for high school and college graduates?

Coronapanic has shut down America’s schools and/or turned them into pale online shadows of their former selves. It is now exactly one year since unionized public schools in Maskachusetts shut down, for example, and they’re not back to fully open. Many colleges remain shut.

Our MIT ground school moved from a three-day in-person class to a five-day online class. We have an objective measurement of student learning: the FAA knowledge test and/or the practice tests offered by companies such as King. Educational outcomes as measured by these tests were lower compared to when the class was in person. Apparently it is not compelling to stare at a screen for hour after hours.

Given that nobody can tell who has learned what anymore, could this be the time to develop and market neutral third-party assessments. From “Universities and Economic Growth”:

I once asked a group of professors at Makerere University in Uganda “How come more people fail the Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer test than your most advanced computer science course?” It would seem that the answer is that the MCSE, which tests the ability to do basic Windows administration, is graded by an impartial computer system.

For young people who want to prove that, contrary to appearances, they actually learned something during the Age of Panic and Shutdown, why not a test of the stuff that high schools and/or colleges are supposed to teach?

For high schools, I guess one could argue that we already have AP tests. But not every high school student takes AP classes. The book Academically Adrift describes the use of the Collegiate Learning Assessment. New York State has the Regents exams. Perhaps these could be adapted for nationwide use?

Readers: What do you think? Has the shutdown produced enough uncertainty that this old idea can thrive?

The Southside elementary school in Sarasota, which my local source says is the place that you’d want your kids to go (NYT says Florida schools are generally more effective than the U.S. average).

Will there be a nationwide high school achievement test in place by the time these 5th graders get their diplomas?


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The mostly-non-white liberal arts college in Maine

We received a copy of Bowdoin magazine, the official publication of the liberal arts college in Brunswick, Maine featured in these aerial photos. I emailed the intended recipient, an alumna of this $72,000/year school:

From reading your alumni magazine and looking at the photos, I learned that Bowdoin has 0% white male students, graduates, and faculty.

The front and back covers:

There is a white person among the illustrator’s conception of students at elite schools, but the gender ID is unclear (big earring in one ear; female fashion model-style legs?):

No better place to learn about Africa than the central Maine coast:

Choosing to live in an all-white state means that you can “fight for [racial inequity] causes” by putting a sign on your lawn (text at top left):

From a student who has some ancestry from India:

(Her parents might be hoping that she isn’t able to deliver on her “progressive” goals, at least with respect to taxation. Indian-Americans have a median household income that is 2X what white Americans earn.)

A professor writes about Willie Horton:

Anthony Walton, Bowdoin professor:

Hide in home bunker from COVID-19. Watch direct deposit paychecks pile up.

His self-designated doppelganger, from Wikipedia:

William R. Horton (born August 12, 1951) is an American convicted felon who, while serving a life sentence for murder (without the possibility of parole), was the beneficiary of a Massachusetts weekend furlough program. He did not return from his furlough, and ultimately committed assault, armed robbery, and rape before being captured and sentenced in Maryland where he remains incarcerated.

What else is in here? Alumni created a “beer celebrating racial justice” (but where does racial justice exist?). “Maine outlawed racial slurs as place names in 1977,” but five Maine islands were only renamed in 2020 (43 years after the law was passed). “In 2019, Maine passed a law banning Native American mascots” (e.g., a school with a sports team named after a tribe).

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College Today: Exercise by going to your twice-weekly COVID-19 test

“Amid COVID Outbreak, UMass Amherst Prohibits Students From Leaving Dorms for Walks” (NBC):

For the foreseeable future, all UMass Amherst classes will take place remotely, and students in dormitories and off-campus housing are instructed not to leave their residences except for meals, COVID testing twice per week and medical appointments.

The university says students can use trips for food and twice-weekly COVID testing at the Mullins Center as opportunities to take walks to support their health. Another option is virtual fitness classes.

Students living in the same residence hall are not allowed to hang out in each others’ rooms, and no guests are allowed in residence halls until further notice. Students are also not allowed to gather in any spaces during this time, UMass Amherst says.

All athletic practices and competitions have been canceled.

Students who violate campus restrictions or fail to comply with directives will face disciplinary action, according to the university’s website. Punishment may include removal from residence halls and/or suspension.

And on the other coast… “UC Berkeley bans campus residents from outdoor exercise as part of clampdown after COVID surge” (Mercury News):

The lockdown, imposed on Feb. 1 and expected to be lifted on Feb. 8 before being extended that day, even bans students from getting outside exercise. And to enforce it, the university is increasing its security presence.

The new restrictions will affect about 2,000 students, a “significant number” of whom are in quarantine, according to the university.

Under the restrictions, students can only leave their rooms for medical care, in case of emergency, to comply with testing requirements, to use the bathroom on their floor and to get food from a nearby outdoor kiosk, according to an email sent to students from the UC’s medical director and other campus officials.

Additional campus security officers will be patrolling outside the residence halls and students may be required to show their campus IDs more frequently. All students must be tested twice a week.

“Be aware that students are subject to serious residential conduct sanctions for not complying with campus directives including being disqualified from housing and suspended from the University,” the email stated. “We don’t wish for residents to be alarmed by this increased UCPD presence, but we must ensure the health of our community.”

If back in April 2020, a few weeks into coronapanic, someone had said that Americans would one day pay $50,000+/year for this experience (surveillance, regular medical testing for an infection that is typically irrelevant to the young, periodic absolute lockdowns), would we have believed him/her/zir/them?


  • COVID-19 and the MIT community: “I hope that Ms. Meredith is never sentenced to prison here in the Land of Freedom (TM), but if she does become part of the world’s largest imprisoned population, it sounds as though she has the right attitude for life in the Big House.”
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Our apolitical science-driven physicians

From the New England Journal of Medicine, i.e., the folks whom we can trust to give us science-informed advice on masks and vaccines, untainted by a political point of view… “Failed Assignments — Rethinking Sex Designations on Birth Certificates” (December 17, 2020):

We believe that it is now time to update the practice of designating sex on birth certificates, given the particularly harmful effects of such designations on intersex and transgender people.

Recognizing that the birth certificate has been an evolving document, with revisions reflecting social change, public interest, and privacy requirements, we believe it is time for another update: sex designations should move below the line of demarcation.

Designating sex as male or female on birth certificates suggests that sex is simple and binary when, biologically, it is not. Sex is a function of multiple biologic processes with many resultant combinations. About 1 in 5000 people have intersex variations.

Assigning sex at birth also doesn’t capture the diversity of people’s experiences. About 6 in 1000 people identify as transgender, meaning that their gender identity doesn’t match the sex they were assigned at birth. Others are nonbinary, meaning they don’t exclusively identify as a man or a woman, or gender nonconforming, meaning their behavior or appearance doesn’t align with social expectations for their assigned sex.

Moving sex designations below the line of demarcation wouldn’t imperil programs that support women or gender minorities, it would simply require that programs define sex in ways that are tailored to their goals.

Moving sex designations below the line of demarcation may not solve many of the problems that transgender and intersex people face. Controversies regarding bathrooms, locker rooms, and sports participation will continue, regardless of legal sex designations.

Today, the medical community has a duty to ensure that policymakers don’t misinterpret the science regarding sex and that medical evaluations aren’t being misused in legal contexts.

Also, “A Test of Diversity — What USMLE Pass/Fail Scoring Means for Medicine” (June 18, 2020):

The stakes are high for all students taking this first Step examination of the three required for medical licensure. But students from racial and ethnic groups that are underrepresented in medicine experience great angst.

Recently, the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) decided to change score reporting from a three-digit numerical score for the Step 1 exam (the mean score for first-time takers was 230 in 2018) to a pass-or-fail outcome. … Although the effect on trainees from underrepresented groups remains uncertain, we believe that the change is a critical step toward diversifying the medical profession — particularly the most competitive, and simultaneously least diverse, medical specialties — opening a world of possibilities for physicians and patients alike.

The odds are stacked against students from underrepresented minority groups starting early in their scholastic journeys. Beginning in grade school, they may be subject to teachers’ racial and ethnic biases that can hinder their achievement. Socioeconomic factors such as neighborhood poverty and parental educational attainment may limit their access to high-quality schools, test-preparation resources, and supportive mentorship, widening the achievement chasm.

The medical examination system poses challenges that are especially burdensome to students of color and those with lower socioeconomic status. Step 1, much like the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), places a financial burden on students that includes the cost of the exam ($645 in 2020) and the study materials required to prepare for it.

As with the MCAT, scores on Step 1 are lower among black, Hispanic, Asian-American, and female students than among their white male counterparts. Although this disparity has multiple causes, historically disadvantageous early education in minority communities probably plays an important role for members of underrepresented minority groups.

… we believe that holistic review will be a tide that raises all ships equitably.

The last sentence is my favorite. There are a limited number of slots for training the most lucrative and cushiest specialties, but everyone will have a better chance of obtaining a slot after this change.

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The $70 billion travel sports industry (rich whites and Asians getting their kids into college)

Playing to Win, a short Michael Lewis book that is free to listen to for Audible subscribers, is a fascinating look into a strange corner of the U.S. economy: the $70 billion/year travel sports industry.

The primary motivation for kids’ travel sports is the parental desire for their children to get into elite colleges, which may reserve 25-33 percent of their spots for recruited athletes. (I.e., white privilege permeates America, but it is available only to whites with degrees from elite universities). The statistics that we see for selective university admissions lump together athletes and non-athletes. The chance of a white or Asian child getting into without an athletic coach’s recommendation is actually worse than the statistics suggest.

What does it cost? Lewis describes the typical athlete starting at age 11 or 12 and the parents spend $20,000 to $30,000 per year (plus a huge amount of time driving, flying, and spectating). In other words, at least $150,000 of which a small percentage might be recouped via an athletic scholarship. These costs mean that only one sport remains open to the half of Americans whose families are below the median income: football. This is because football is the only sport in which the good teams remain associated with public high schools. Travel sports is how upper-middle-class and rich whites/Asians compensate in a world where college admissions starts with a sort-by-skin-color and victimhood status.

Can individuals tap into this river of cash? Oh yes! The best is volleyball. Lewis describes a volleyball coach who organized a weekend tournament and made $1 million renting a convention center and filling it with nets. Sports for “girls” (however that term might be defined) are better than sports for athletes who identify as “boys” because the parents of the “girls” are less likely to allow the “girls” to travel unsupervised. At least one parent comes along with the athlete and books an additional hotel room then buys a ticket to the event. From the leagueapps.com web site, a presumably typical document requiring participants to book their hotels through the event organizer:

(LeagueApps says that they have processed more than $1 billion in payments.)

Lewis’s own daughter gets into the liberal arts college of her choice after a softball coach watches her play. What is a stressful admissions process for her classmates is a brief conversation with the coach in the spring of her junior year of high school.


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“It is better to report someone who’s innocent than to not report someone who’s guilty.”

My mole at Penn State was sentenced to attend a mandatory-for-all-students sexual assault training program. After being shown this video (try to guess the skin color and gender ID of the perpetrator of the assault!), the assembled students were reminded “It is better to report someone who’s innocent than to not report someone who’s guilty.”

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