The Art Institute of Chicago fired more than 150 volunteers and suspended its decades-old docent program after the famed museum hired a woke consulting firm that advised the cultural institution to ditch the ‘wealthy white’ guides and prioritize ‘equity and diversity.’
Even worse, the mostly elderly docents, who are well-versed on the the exhibits at nearly 150-year-old museum on Lake Michigan, were terminated by email on Sept 3 because it wanted to ‘rebuild our program from the ground up.’
The museum – featured prominently in the 1986 hit film Ferris Beuller’s Day Off – hired The Equity Project, a Colorado-based consulting firm, which found the program was outdated and would often skew towards wealthy white women and had too many barriers preventing people of color from entering the program.
‘Sometimes equity requires taking bold steps and actions,’ said Equity Project executive producer Monica Williams. ‘You really have to dismantle and disrupt the systems that have been designed to hold some up and others out.’
A geophysicist and professor at the University of Chicago who was scheduled to talk about climate change at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was blocked from speaking after faculty members and graduate students protested. The angry response was not because of the content of his proposed speech but because Dorian Abbot, who is white, has written in the past about his belief that while diverse selection pools are a good thing, the best person should win the prize based not on race but on merit.
Abbot’s past writings put him at odds with popular ideologies of leftists, like affirmation action and programs to promote diversity.
“Besides freedom of speech, we have the freedom to pick the speaker who best fits our needs,” Robert van der Hilst, the head of the earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences department at M.I.T., said in a New York Times report. “Words matter and have consequences.”
We’ve all been in situations where we had to make tough ethical decisions. Why not dodge that pesky responsibility by outsourcing the choice to a machine learning algorithm?
That’s the idea behind Ask Delphi, a machine-learning model from the Allen Institute for AI. You type in a situation (like “donating to charity”) or a question (“is it okay to cheat on my spouse?”), click “Ponder,” and in a few seconds Delphi will give you, well, ethical guidance.
The project launched last week, and has subsequently gone viral online for seemingly all the wrong reasons. Much of the advice and judgements it’s given have been… fraught, to say the least.
For example, when a user asked Delphi what it thought about “a white man walking towards you at night,” it responded “It’s okay.”
But when they asked what the AI thought about “a black man walking towards you at night” its answer was clearly racist.
Technology rarely invents new societal problems. Instead, it digitizes them, supersizes them, and allows them to balloon and duplicate at the speed of light. That’s exactly the problem we’ve seen with location-based, crowd-sourced “public safety” apps like Citizen.
These apps come in a wide spectrum—some let users connect with those around them by posting pictures, items for sale, or local tips. Others, however, focus exclusively on things and people that users see as “suspicious” or potentially hazardous. These alerts run the gamut from active crimes, or the aftermath of crimes, to generally anything a person interprets as helping to keep their community safe and informed about the dangers around them.
These apps are often designed with a goal of crowd-sourced surveillance, like a digital neighborhood watch. A way of turning the aggregate eyes (and phones) of the neighborhood into an early warning system. But instead, they often exacerbate the same dangers, biases, and problems that exist within policing. After all, the likely outcome to posting a suspicious sight to the app isn’t just to warn your neighbors—it’s to summon authorities to address the issue.
And even worse than incentivizing people to share their most paranoid thoughts and racial biases on a popular platform are the experimental new features constantly being rolled out by apps like Citizen. First, it was a private security force, available to be summoned at the touch of a button. Then, it was a service to help make it (theoretically) even easier to summon the police by giving users access to a 24/7 concierge service who will call the police for you. There are scenarios in which a tool like this might be useful—but to charge people for it, and more importantly, to make people think they will eventually need a service like this—adds to the idea that companies benefit from your fear.
These apps might seem like a helpful way to inform your neighbors if the mountain lion roaming your city was spotted in your neighborhood. But in practice they have been a cesspool of racial profiling, cop-calling, gatekeeping, and fear-spreading. Apps where a so-called “suspicious” person’s picture can be blasted out to a paranoid community, because someone with a smartphone thinks they don’t belong, are not helping people to “Connect and stay safe.” Instead, they promote public safety for some, at the expense of surveillance and harassment for others.
A Seattle elementary school canceled its annual Pumpkin Parade because it “marginalizes students of color who don’t celebrate the holiday.”
The ‘Racial Equity Team’ at Benjamin Elementary school in Seattle canceled the parade and said students cannot dress up in costumes this year.
Instead, the children will participate in “inclusive” events like “thematic units of study about the fall” and reviewing “autumnal artwork,” the New York Post reported.
“There are numerous community and neighborhood events where students and families who wish to can celebrate Halloween,” a Seattle Public Schools spokeswoman said in a statement provided to KTTH Radio talk show host Jason Rantz. “Historically, the Pumpkin Parade marginalizes students of color who do not celebrate the holiday. Specifically, these students have requested to be isolated on campus while the event took place.
A leading higher education trade union in Britain has drawn criticism after supporting so-called trans-racialism, in which people can self-identify as another race.
Last week, the Edinburgh branch of the University and College Union (UCU) wrote on social media to reassert its position in favour of “trans inclusion”, saying that “liberation cannot be built on exclusion”.
The post linked to a 2019 document entitled “UCU position on trans inclusion”, in which the union argued for its members to be able to self-identify as “being black, disabled, LGBT+ or women”.
A staff member at Edinburgh University, who declined to be named out of fear of drawing the ire of the union, told The Times that the issue of trans rights was being “weaponised” in order to force out academics who fail to follow the party line.
New York City mayor Bill de Blasio (D.) on Friday ordered the total elimination of the city’s advanced-learning programs in public schools. The move is a major concession in the closing months of the mayor’s term to racial-equity activists who have long called for getting rid of the classes.
The classes, known as “gifted and talented” programs, group together elementary school students who perform well on an admissions exam they take when they’re four years old. Under de Blasio’s overhaul, the programs will be phased out, with the current cohort of enrollees being the last to learn in gifted classes through elementary school.
Critics of the gifted and talented programs say they enforce racial segregation in schools and stand in the way of racial equity. The gifted classes comprise about three-quarters white and Asian students, according to the New York Times. But an April poll found that a majority of New Yorkers support the programs.
“The era of judging four-year-olds based on a single test is over,” de Blasio said in a statement. The mayor proposed an alternative to the gifted and talented programs that would see students assessed at the third grade and offered “accelerated instruction” in classes with other students receiving standard instruction.
This is the state of American academia today: Gordon Klein has taught courses in business law, tax law, and financial analysis at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management for no fewer than forty years. He is a respected academic who has been on CNBC and quoted in the Wall Street Journal for his economic expertise. But now, after being suspended, he has filed suit in California Superior Court against the university regents over his suspension. Klein has a good case: He was suspended from teaching at UCLA for the crime of refusing to discriminate and treat his black students differently from how he treated others.
“I was suspended from my job,” Klein explained, “for refusing to treat my black students as lesser than their non-black peers.” His ordeal began on June 2, 2020, when “a non-black student in my class on tax principles and law emailed me to ask that I grade his black classmates with greater ‘leniency’ than others in the class.”
In a sane society, a “non-black student” who demanded that black students be graded with greater “leniency” than others would be castigated as a racist. But in the Left’s funhouse mirror ethics, war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength, and treating students differently based on race is racial justice.
The student wrote to Klein: “We are writing to express our tremendous concern about the impact that this final exam and project will have on the mental and physical health of our Black classmates.” Klein believes that the student was using an online racial justice form letter: “There was no project in this class, and it was unclear to me who the ‘we’ in this case was. I suspected the student simply used a form letter he found online and neglected to change the subject.”
The letter went on to claim that black students were too traumatized by racism to do well on the final exam: “The unjust murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, the life-threatening actions of Amy Cooper and the violent conduct of the [University of California Police Department] have led to fear and anxiety which is further compounded by the disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on the Black community. As we approach finals week, we recognize that these conditions place Black students at an unfair academic disadvantage due to traumatic circumstances out of their control.” It concluded: “This is not a joint effort to get finals canceled for non-Black students, but rather an ask that you exercise compassion and leniency with Black students in our major.”
Klein notes that “in a subsequent conversation with a university investigator,” the student who wrote the letter made it clear that he “intended that the requested adjustments apply to Black students and not the class generally.” To strengthen the case, the student invoked the Anderson School of Management’s “Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion” agenda, which stresses that a “commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion as fundamental to achieving Anderson’s mission.”
As the UK celebrates its 34th year of Black History Month with a theme “Proud to Be”, a taxpayer-funded advertisement featured on a prominent website labeled white people “genetically defective descendants of albino mutants”.
The Black History Month website that called white people genetically defective mutants has since deleted its anti-white propaganda after The Telegraph contacted them for a comment. It was later discovered that the website is managed by Ian Thomas, a white man. How ironic.
The campaigners are now distancing themselves from ‘loopy’ material on the website run by the white publisher according to The Telegraph‘s investigation team.
The website has a long history of promoting provocative and racist content against white people.