Monday, April 2, 2018
Darkness at Penn, take 2
The following article appeared in Powerline on April 1st
By Scott Johnson
Professor Amy Wax is of course the Robert Mundheim Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She earned an M.D. degree from Harvard in addition to her J.D. degree from Columbia Law School. She holds an endowed chair at the law school. She must be one of the most prominent members of the faculty. Yet she is the subject of a campaign of vilification and stigmatization for violating the reigning academic taboos. In the world of 1984, she is guilty of thought-crime.
Those of us following the saga of Amy Wax have drawn on literary metaphors to capture the heart of the story. I wrote about Professor Wax’s saga most recently in “Darkness at Penn.” I drew on Arthur Koestler. Roger Kimball retells the story so far in the New Criterion editorial “Fahrenheit 451 updated.” Roger draws on Ray Bradbury, Charles Dickens and George Orwell as he puts his knowledge of the academic and cultural issues to good use. He not only rises to the defense of Professor Wax, he also calls out Theodore Ruger, the sniveling Dean and Bernard G. Segal Professor at Penn Law School.
Toward the end of his editorial Roger alludes to Richard Sander’s pioneering 2004 Stanford Law Review article “A systemic analysis of affirmative action in American law schools.” Professor Sander incorporated his research on the effects of law school affirmative action in chapters 4 and 5 of Mismatch: How Affirmative Action Hurts Students Its Intended to Help, and Why Universities Won’t Admit It, the outstanding book he wrote with Stuart Taylor, Jr.
Sander describes himself as a former community organizer. He is now a professor of law at UCLA. He became interested in the subject of “affirmative action” in law schools when he joined the UCLA Law School faculty. Sander and Taylor each contributed his own preface to the book; in his preface, Professor Sander refers to “the culture of secrecy and double-talk” with which the subject of the book is enshrouded in academia.
Sander himself wrote chapters 4 and 5 of the book. Chapter 4 discusses Sander’s research on the effects of “affirmative action” (racial preferences) in law schools. Chapter 5 of the book is Sander’s extraordinary account of the lengths to which supporters of law school “affirmative action” went to suppress the publication of his Stanford Law Review article in which his research first appeared. It is worth the price of admission to the book.
The book came out to wide acclaim in October 2012. You might want to pick up a copy before it becomes a collector’s item, or (to take up Roger’s allusion to Ray Bradbury) the “firemen” get to it.
What we have in the case of Professor Wax here is another episode illustrating the true meaning of “diversity,” or the ideology of “diversity,” with which we have all become familiar. As a wholly owned subsidiary of “multiculturalism,” the ideology of “diversity” adheres to certain tenets: (a) outcomes must be equal among racial and ethnic groups, except when they accrue to the advantage of a racial or ethnic “minority” (including women); (b) disparate outcomes among racial and ethnic groups represent some form of institutional bias to be rectified by the authorities; (c) all cultures are equal, except for that of the United States, which is eternally guilty of racism under (a) and (b) above; (d) the expression of views disagreeing with (a) through (c) must be suppressed or, if it cannot be suppressed, must be stigmatized as “racist.”
NOTE: Professor Sander is speaking at Middlebury on Tuesday. We will have to see what happens next.