Some figures for philosophy in this survey, 2016/2017 (N = 1115).
* Only 6.1% of philosophers employed at UK universities are disabled – compare, 16-19% of UK working age adults are disabled.
* 95.2% of philosophers employed in UK universities are white – compare, 81.9% of UK population are white. There are only three non-STEM disciplines with an even whiter faculty. They are sports, history and classics (with around 96% white faculty).
* 70.3% of philosophers employed in UK universities are male. No other non-STEM subject has this low representation of women. To compare, Economics has 29.8% women, Theology has 36.7% women, Sports 36.4% and Politics 37.1%, all these are higher than philosophy, where only 29.7% are women).
Many thanks to commenter Prime for the link to this powerful piece by Michael Harriot.
Many people were surprised when President Donald Trump suggested that NFL team owners fire players who quietly choose to sit out the national anthem before games, but I was not one of them.
Even though they thought they’d solved the anthem problem by blackballing protest starter Colin Kaepernick, the residual insolence displayed by the players roiled white people to no end because their protest was so disrespectful—not to a 250-year-old cloth logo or a Francis Scott Key bar song. Taking a knee is disrespectful to whiteness. It is not that white people can’t understand Kaepernick’s point of view; it’s that—to them—any other point of view is nonexistent.
For future reference, we have put together this handy-dandy checklist for designing a protest that white people will find inoffensive and respectable.
The Journal of Political Philosophy just published a symposium on Black Lives Matter, which initially sounds like a great idea. However, Chris Lebron writes (in an open letter to the journal):
So, if you might – please do – try to imagine my distaste when it was brought to my attention that your journal published a philosophical symposium on ‘black lives matter’ with not one philosopher of color represented, without one philosopher of color to convey her or his contextualized sense of a movement that is urgently and justifiably about context.
Melvin Rogers has also written to the journal:
I do not typically claim that persons of color have an intellectual monopoly on issues affecting their life chances, but given the meaning and purpose of the movement it seems especially egregious that a person of color was not included.
So I write to find out how it is that these group of papers, only one of which mentions Black Lives Matter, came to be classified under a heading titled Symposium on “Black Lives Matter”? This question is especially important since I have now come to understand that the authors did not know they would be classified as such.
I very much urge you to read the whole of both open letters, linked to above. They lay out with beautiful clarity just why the composition of the symposium is a problem, and correct some widespread misunderstandings of this kind of criticism.
The journal has replied in an open letter. Here’s the start of it:
We, the Editors, sincerely apologise for the oversight in not
including a Black author in a Symposium explicitly entitled ‘Black
Lives Matter’. We accept the point eloquently and forcefully made by
our colleagues that this is an especially grave oversight in light of
the specific focus of Black Lives Matter on the extent to which
African-Americans have been erased and marginalised from public life.
Part of the mission of the JPP is to raise awareness of ongoing
injustices in our societies. We appreciate and encourage having an
engaged and politically active scholarly community willing to hold
everyone working in the profession to account.
There’s a really interesting new piece by Jason Stanley over at the The Stone in the New York Times on Trump and authoritarian propaganda. Excerpted below; the whole piece is here.
Trump regularly says that America’s “inner cities” are filled with Americans who are impoverished, and of African-American descent. According to Trump, these are places of unprecedented horror. In a tweet on Aug. 29, 2016, Trump wrote: “Inner-city crime is reaching record levels. African-Americans will vote for Trump because they know I will stop the slaughter going on!”
This has continued as one of the central themes in his campaign; there is supposedly an unprecedented wave of violent slaughter. In November 2015, Trump tweeted an image of the following statistics about race and murder from 2015, supposedly from a source called the “Crime Statistics Bureau of San Francisco,” which does not appear to exist. It included wildly inaccurate figures that indicated that a large majority of white people killed were being killed by black people.
In the United States, around 14 percent of the population is of African-American descent. White Americans make up around 75 percent. If 81 percent of white American citizens who were murdered in 2015 were murdered by a small minority group of American citizens with some kind of vaguely generalizable profile, it may be worth addressing in policy. However, F.B.I. statistics from 2014 tell us that 15 percent of whites are killed by their black fellow Americans, and 82 percent of white Americans are killed by their white fellow American citizens. Fact checkers of Trump’s tweet were displeased.
. . . The chief authoritarian values are law and order. In Trump’s value system, nonwhites and non-Christians are the chief threats to law and order. Trump knows that reality does not call for a value-system like his; violent crime is at almost historic lows in the United States. Trump is thundering about a crime wave of historic proportions, because he is an authoritarian using his speech to define a simple reality that legitimates his value system, leading voters to adopt it. Its strength is that it conveys his power to define reality. Its weakness is that it obviously contradicts it . . . Denouncing Trump as a liar, or describing him as merely entertaining, misses the point of authoritarian propaganda altogether. Authoritarian propagandists are attempting to convey power by defining reality. The reality they offer is very simple. It is offered with the goal of switching voters’ value systems to the authoritarian value system of the leader.
Yesterday, Shaun King at the New York Daily News announced a national boycott against “police brutality, racial violence and systemic injustice in America.” The boycott will start December 5, the anniversary of the 1955 start of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Here are some of the key features of the planned boycott, from the King article linked above:
1. We will not be releasing the names of the cities, states, businesses, and institutions that we will be boycotting until Dec. 5, 2016. Between now and then, we hope that cities and states around the country will begin to enact emergency legislation and policies to prevent police brutality and racial violence. Furthermore, we do not want any potential institutions to somehow undermine our efforts.
2. We can tell you this, our boycott will be national. That means we will be boycotting:
- Entire cities and states much like what you see being done in North Carolina right now over the anti-LGBT House Bill 2.
- Particular brands and corporations who partner with and profit from systemic oppression.
- Particular brands and corporations headquartered in cities and states notorious for police brutality and racial violence, which say and do little to nothing about it.
- Particular institutions, including banks, which fund, underwrite, inform, train or otherwise support systemic oppression and brutality.
8. We do expect this boycott to last for months, or even years, not days or weeks.
It’s worth reading the whole article to learn about the background and the other details. So, here it is again.
For those of us who intend to support the boycott, some planning is in order. We won’t know which particular cities/companies/institutions are subject to boycott until the day is upon us. But we can make some reasonable conjectures.
Here are a couple of small things philosophers can do to show solidarity with the movement. It is highly plausible that Baltimore will be among the boycotted cities. The 2017 Eastern APA will be held in Baltimore in early January. Philosophers who are in a position to do so may wish to hold off on pre-registering for the APA and purchasing airline tickets to Baltimore until we know whether or not Baltimore is subject to boycott. And, if Baltimore is targeted, those philosophers who are able to skip the meeting should seriously consider doing so. Further, philosophers, especially APA members, should consider writing to the APA to inform the Association that they will be joining in the boycott and hence will miss the Baltimore meeting if Baltimore is boycotted. They should therefore urge the Association to develop both an official position and a clear plan in case Baltimore is boycotted. Finally, we should speak with our colleagues in other disciplines and urge them to take similar tacks with their professional associations, who will similarly have meetings planned in cities that are likely to be boycotted.
(h/t SE for the links)
The latest episode of The UnMute Podcast by Myisha Cherry is an interview with Paul Taylor on “black invisibility, art and politics, authenticity and cultural appropriation, beauty and race, and much more.”
You can also check out previous episodes (with Linda Alcoff, Tom Digby, Nancy Bauer, and others) here.
First, there is extensive evidence (including in the datasets Fryer considers) of large racial disparities in who gets stopped by police, even controlling for differences in crime rates (perhaps especially under policies like New York City’s “Stop-and-Frisk”). Because of this, the “hit rate”—or the percent of times a stop ends with a confirmation of wrong-doing—is often higher for whites than blacks. Even if police pulled the trigger without “bias,” this disparity in stops would produce vastly unequal death rates.
This means that when we start the analysis by looking at encounters with police, we have already washed away some of the relevant racial bias. The unique data on police-citizen encounters Fryer relies on from Houston allows him in effect to “control” for the propensity to come into contact with the police in the first place. This is likely part of the reason he finds no evidence of bias in lethal interactions, while others have shown substantial racial disparities. For example, in a 2015 Plos One article, Cody T. Ross estimates that black Americans’ probability of being shot by the police is 3 times the rate for whites—and the disparity goes up to more than 20 in some counties. Similar community-level disparities that are unexplained by differences in crime rates emerge from a recent report from the Center for Policing Equity.
Anti-black racism in America is much closer than some of us might realize to British colonialism in India. The very same sorts of arguments that were used to justify British colonialism in India can now be found within certain conservative narratives in America and are being used to justify anti-Black racism. We have suffered the dire consequences of a racist British occupation. We cannot allow our fellow Black citizens to suffer in kind from American racism.
At the very moment these commentators often join Reynolds in seeking justice for her boyfriend and equal deployment of the law to rightly punish the officer, they remind us of the unequal status of black folks.
We would never expect others to display such composure in the face of such traumatic circumstances. We would not penalize their failure of self-control by tying it to untrustworthiness. In fact, we think, and rightly, that emotional eruptions at precisely this moment are appropriate. We think this, I suggest, because the gravity of the situation often elicits this from us. You have just lost a loved one, under horrific circumstances, and by one who is otherwise meant to protect and serve. It makes prefect sense to come undone in that moment, since the emotional eruption is often, at any rate, a judgment of value about the entire event.
When she speaks at public meetings, Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw has a trick. She asks everyone to stand up until they hear an unfamiliar name. She then reads the names of unarmed black men and boys whose deaths ignited the Black Lives Matter movement; names such as Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Trayvon Martin. Her audience are informed and interested in civil rights so “virtually no one will sit down”, Crenshaw says approvingly. “Then I say the names of Natasha McKenna, Tanisha Anderson, Michelle Cusseaux, Aura Rosser, Maya Hall. By the time I get to the third name, almost everyone has sat down. By the fifth, the only people standing are those working on our campaign.”
Read the whole article!