Academic Freedom, Racism & Bad Social Science
May 14, 2015 5 Comments
- He is free to say what he wishes, and I defend this right
- I think his words are racist; to me, the plain meaning of racist is believing you know everything about someone else, including their motives, based on the color of their skin
- When he identifies himself as a professor (and social scientist), then it is reasonable to expect evidence to back up claims, which he does not provide. The more sweeping the claims (“Every Asian student”…”Virtually every black”…) the more one should expect evidence, especially from a professor
Our students deserve our best, and at least the benefit of the doubt. In this case, a professor makes claims about his students to justify his broader views about macro issues such as the role of racism versus other etiologies in explaining poor life outcomes among African Americans. The students deserve better. And coming on the heels of the noose incident at Duke this Spring, and subsequent adjudication that concluded the act was caused by “a lack of cultural awareness” this has been a very hard year at Duke for many black students.
I just want to say to our black students that I am sorry, and that I am glad that you are at Duke.