Why a “Philosopher of Color” Declines to Contribute

Georgetown professor Rebecca–“suck my giant queer cock”–Kukla recently encouraged “scholars of color” to contribute to a special issue of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal on Trump and the 2016 election. Of course, in her editorial, Kukla makes no secret of what her own take is on this event. For example, she warns of the harmful impact Trump’s policies will have on the environment, and on “socially vulnerable and stigmatized Americans”. In any case, it turns out that all scholars of color declined her invitation, but at least one of them, professor Sean A. Valles, was kind enough to explain why he declined. Since his explanation was published on the blog supplement to the special issue, we can easily quote from it (note that, in what follows, “Philosopher of Color” does not mean “philosopher of color”, but, rather, “colored philosopher”):

Academics of color tend to get assigned to more committees and miscellaneous departmental service tasks, particularly being asked to “diversify” committees with our presence (…) Whether we like it or not, our days get filled with work other than the research output that is valued above all else by Academia. Perhaps most importantly, we disproportionately occupy untenured positions.

Our profession perpetuates many of the same explicit and implicit racist structures/biases that I and others critique in the Trump era (adulation of White men of dubious merit, dog whistle invocations of Western culture, blindness to structural racism/sexism/heterosexism, etc.). That makes it feel…different…to critique the Trump era from the position of a Philosopher of Color.

I don’t pretend to know how many of my fellow Philosophers of Color have been effectively dissuaded from submitting to this issue by such considerations, but contributing to this special issue would be a pretty quick way of transforming oneself from a hate crime target into a hate crime prime target.

This is what I take to be the core of an explanation that has been described as “powerful”, “emotionally difficult”, “brave”, “insightful”, and “challenging” by the editor (Kukla) herself. But does the explanation make much sense? Let us look at each of Valles’s reasons in turn.

First reason: we’re too busy, because we’re being asked to “diversify committees with our presence”.

This may be the only reason I can sympathize with, but it’s hardly decisive, as Valles admits. Note, for example, that women are also overrepresented in committees, but women still found time to contribute to, and edit, the special issue. In fact, Valles himself found time to write a rather lengthy explanation. Moreover, the complaint raises a question: why is there significant “underrepresentation of Philosophers of Color” (and women) in the profession while philosophers of color (and women) are overrepresented in university committees? Do these committees have no influence at all on how universities are run?

Second reason: we are not tenured.

But as Valles indicates in the beginning of his commentary, he himself is a tenured Associate Professor. So this cannot be among his personal reasons for declining to contribute.

Third reason: as philosophers of color, we feel “different” about criticizing Trump.

So what?

Fourth reason: if we contribute, we’ll quickly become “prime” targets of hate crimes.

Valles mentions the fear of having swastikas painted on his “car/office/home door” three times in the commentary, but without reference to a particular case. How often have philosophers of color had swastikas painted on their office door because of an article in The Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal or a similar academic journal? The news doesn’t seem to have reached the pop philosophy blogs, let alone the mainstream media, and yet both can be expected to pay attention to such incidents. (Note, too, that there are plenty of reasons to be skeptical about the alleged rise of hate crimes in the wake of Trump’s election and… Obama’s election.)

In short, of the four reasons mentioned in the commentary, only one–the first reason–seems to make sense, but this reason, by itself, does not explain why Valles declined, even by his own lights. As he himself writes: “[n]one of the above factors was individually sufficient to dissuade me from submitting an article to this special issue”.

What we have here, then, is not a “powerful” and “insightful” explanation. Rather, it seems to be another case of someone trapped in victim mentality in spite of all the opportunities he has been offered.

Bob le flambeur

Bob le flambeur is a professional philosopher who enjoys the finer things in life, but who is afraid that his opinions about politically sensitive topics are becoming unaffordable. Hence, he has decided to go underground.

View All Posts

16 Comments

  1. Trump is basically right, though: given the bang-up job the Democrat “progressives” have been doing for/to the black and minority communities for the last half-century-plus, what do they have to lose by ditching the progs and learning from the likes of Sowell, Justice Thomas and Jason Riley? Why are progs so idiotically slow to figure this out before it’s too late? And eventually it will be too late (as far as any last shreds of their intellectual credibility are concerned)….

  2. “I am a millennial Jewish-Chicano-Irish-Alsatian-Purépecha Indian applied philosopher of population health, happily employed as a tenured Associate Professor.”

    Ah, yes. A highly, highly oppressed racial category. And when you look at his face, it just screams “philosopher of color” and “Jewish-Chicano-Irish-Alsatian-Purepecha Indian”, doesn’t it?

    • Exactly. There is a lot in this case to support the idea that we are living in a victimhood culture. From a sociological point of view, it is worth reading the commentary in full (as you obviously did).

  3. “I am at relatively low career risk compared to many of my Philosopher of Color colleagues, and risk is the first of several reasons why this issue ended up without any articles by Philosophers of Color.”

    LOL. Yes, academics are just looking for excuses to punish or fire “philosophers of color”.

  4. “Rather infamously, Philosophers of Color remain vastly underrepresented at even the early stage of doctoral completion (Schwitzgebel 2016).”

    I wonder if that has anything to do with the well-established lower IQs of “people of color” compared to whites, the same lower IQs that correlate with lower professional success across the board, higher rates of criminality, higher rates of illegitimacy, etc. I wonder if we used IQ as a metric instead of sheer population percentages whether “philosophers of color” would be “underrepresented”, let alone “infamously” so.

    But speaking of “representation”, Valles is a Jew. (One wonders how much of his genetic background is Jewish.) And Jews are vastly _overrepresented_ in philosophy and academia in general. But for some reason, that’s not “infamous”. Why is that?

  5. “Regular Members of the American Philosophical Association (non-student, non-emeritus, etc.) who report their race/ethnicity, only 0.6% report being American Indian or Alaska Native (I am one of seventeen people in that category), but we make up 1.7% of the US population (Humes, Jones, and Ramirez 2011; American Philosophical Association 2016).”

    So, Valles is concerned about the (roughly) 1% mismatch in the case of Amerindians. But Valles is also Jewish. Jews are about 1.5% of the US population. What is the percentage of Jews in philosophy? 10%? 20%? More? Is Valles concerned about _that_ mismatch? If not, why not?

    Is Valles part of the underrepresented group or the overrepresented group? The mind boggles.

  6. “does not explain why Valles declined, even by his own lights.”

    I can guess why. He’s just already so cool he has no need to contribute. Even if it wouldn’t be embarrassing it’s more fun to explain why he won’t. He’s letting us know he’s already nicely set up and he’s got cooler stuff to do. (When he’s not hiding from the peasants with pitchforks, scrubbing another swastika off the door.) An Eskimo-Hottentot-whatever is already in the very top 0.01% of the whole academic scene. (He’d be even higher status if in addition he said he was a woman or told people to suck his queer cock, of course.) Noblesse doesn’t oblige in his case though. He has to tell us how hard it’s all been for him, like what’s-her-name (that N Sesardic wrote about a while back). He can’t even be bothered to communicate with his inferiors, except to tell them why he can’t be bothered. He has to rub our faces in it just a bit.

    The oppressed don’t get represented, don’t get ‘special invitations’ to let everyone know their deep thoughts in fancy journals. Obviously! I have a hard time believing that they don’t all know this. (Doesn’t everyone know this, even “people of color” who aren’t philosophers?) Kukla publishing her invitation is just displaying the power that her group has over its enemies. Then this little prince whining is doing more of the same–and maybe he’s doing it to her, a bit, letting her know he’s cooler than her lame little publication? That’s one possibility given that she seems to immediately submit to him, basically licking his boots, thanking him for his “insightful” insults to the profession as a whole. (Not sure though. One rich academic leftist Jew speaking to another. Who’s the most ‘oppressed’ in their picture? Maybe the queer one? But he does have some extra diversity points it seems.) Leftists seem not to realize that their protests aren’t (and couldn’t be) ways of seeking power for the powerless. Protests are displays of power. Only people with lots of power (i.e., threat of harm to others) get to hold protests or even publicly voice their real interests and beliefs. So what they’re doing here is showing that, even though Trump won and the dumb gentile fly-over little people thought they had their say for five minutes, nothing has changed. Even in philosophy, you’d better think twice before you cross these helpless little victims. You might get a different kind of ‘special’ treatment from Kukla and the rest of them. (“Suck my giant queer cock”.) But it does seem a lot of Leftists really don’t grasp this. Most of their behavior is pretty obviously just about showing how much power and privilege they have, but lots seem to think they’re disempowered victims.

  7. Bottom line: if “philosophers of color” want to be in a journal but aren’t, it’s whitey’s fault. If philosophers of color are invited to be in a journal but decide they don’t want contribute, it’s whitey’s fault.

    And we get lectured about this from a Jewish guy who seems very, very worried about swastikas. Interesting.

    • The bottom line is the whole point. If you take yourself to be a beneficiary of the victimhood culture, and you’ve no moral qualms about it, you don’t want your status to be one that can easily be lost—it should be a status conferred by ‘structures’ and ‘biases’ that are almost impossible to detect, let alone correct.

  8. “And Jews are vastly _overrepresented_ in philosophy and academia in general. But for some reason, that’s not “infamous”. Why is that?”

    And we could extrapolate. Given that they’re about 2% or less of the population, but way more than that within the profession–20%? 30%–and given that much larger minorities like blacks and hispanics really are seriously under-represented, the non-Jewish whites that they demonize must also be _seriously_ under-represented. Especially if we focus on the non-‘ethnic’ whites. WASP or Anglo-Celtic-Germanic types.

    I wonder whether there’s something just a bit hopeful here. We often wonder about the sick weird alliance of Leftists and Muslims. But serious consistent Leftism naturally develops into something like National Socialism. (Who are the hated ‘1%’ exactly? Who is it exactly who runs the banks, the corporations, the media, the whole ‘system’?) Muslims might eventually drive a wedge here. After all, the average Muslim even in the West has attitudes towards Jews that fall somewhere within the spectrum of disagreements between Left-wing and Right-wing Nazis. Muslims, on the whole, really do _not_ like Jews and they have none of the deep inhibitions or guilt that non-Jewish whites feel about the topic. At least that’s how it seems to me–break the ice with even a seemingly assimilated mild-mannered Muslim and you’re quite likely to hear that the US is just a puppet for ZOG. (I’ve had numerous Muslim students confidently assert in class that the Holocaust is a myth. They couldn’t wait to get into it. I had to quickly change the subject.)

    Over time, as the Leftists and the Muslims get to know each other better, I imagine they’ll tend to talk about this stuff and new tendencies within the alliance will develop. And I really doubt that a bunch of blue-haired transsexuals with humanities degrees are going to persuade the majority of their Muslim fellow travelers to change their minds about Jews (or anything else). More likely the Leftists will tend to conform to what the Muslims want. (Besides, he Muslims are generally brown and oppressed and have a rich cultural heritage, right? And it’s Islamophobic to disagree with them too much.) This could take a while, but if the alliance holds for a few generations I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Nazi-ish Left in Muslim or Third World form. It would make perfect sense.

    We’re already seeing this to some extent with the BDS thing. Apparently there’s now a bill making it illegal to support BDS! (http://www.unz.com/article/bill-making-it-a-federal-crime-to-support-bds-sends-shockwaves-through-progressive-community/) And then Jews will have to choose. Reject Leftism, or reject Muslims. We might see a split between Leftist Jews who really do ‘internalize anti-semitism’ (which has also already happened to some extent) and others who don’t want the anti-white stuff taken to its logical (Nazi) conclusions. Maybe that’s all just wishful thinking. But the logic of anti-whiteness and anti-privilege has to extend to the most powerful and privileged white (or ‘white’) elite or else it has to be shut down. Either scenario would have some benefits for the silent majority. There’s not much going on politically that isn’t awful but I do look forward to seeing elite Leftist Jews trying to control the anti-Jewish implications of Leftism _and_ the anti-Jewish implications of Islam at the same time. Let them tell the Muslims how hard it is to be Jewish in America, and how easy it is to be “white”.

    • Yeah, I really don’t understand the Jews intense subversion of white culture. Whites are very tolerant and really haven’t cared about the fact that Jews occupy a tremendous number of highly influential positions in their societies. As you point out, the Muslims will not be nearly as tolerant. And I don’t think that other non-whites will do much to come to their defense. So, it seems very strange that they would keep pushing and pushing to destroy the white societies that they live in. But they do.

  9. Profane egotists like Valles and Kukla identify as Jews (and are rewarded with fawning sympathy), while everyone knows they probably couldn’t even name the Ten Commandments.

    Just another example of how professional philosophy is a lie.

    • I think it’s a lot more accurate and explanatory to understand Jews as a cultural and racial group rather than followers of the religion of Judaism. Thinking of Jews as aggressive, manipulative, cunning, highly skilled in language, enterprising, nepotistic, fiercely protective and defensive about their own kind, subversive to traditional sexual norms of white cultures, and generally anti-white seems to illuminate their actions fairly well, and I don’t know if any of those things are particularly tied to the religion of Judaism itself.

    • “Thinking of Jews as aggressive, manipulative, cunning, highly skilled in language, enterprising, nepotistic, fiercely protective and defensive about their own kind, subversive to traditional sexual norms of white cultures, and generally anti-white seems to illuminate their actions fairly well…”

      Generally anti-white, along with all those other things? Huh. And is this “Jews” or “many Jews” or “some Jews” or “some prominent Jews” or . . . ?

      “I think it’s a lot more accurate and explanatory to understand Jews as a cultural and racial group… ”

      Racial, too? Like there’s a genetic thing going on over and above the obvious cultural thing? Like there’s a gene for Jewishness or something to that effect?

  10. “Racial, too? Like there’s a genetic thing going on over and above the obvious cultural thing?”

    Yes, there is a “genetic thing going on”. Look into it.

Leave a Reply (Be sure to read our comment disclaimer)