JeffersonThe Columbia Missourian ran a piece last week about a student protest at Mizzou, a campus “plagued with questions regarding sexual assault and racism,” according to the Missourian.  The goal of the protesters is to have a dialogue about the culture on campus but, more recently, to get rid of a statue of Thomas Jefferson and possibly a tombstone for Jefferson as well because each is “a symbol of violence to many students. We talk about wanting to fix the culture of sexual violence and racism on campus, but that sits here. What really are the values of the University of Missouri?” according to student Reuben Faloughi.

The protests began, according to Carl Kenney, when students on campus demanded the university alleviate their anxiety about the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson and the grand jury’s decision regarding indictment. It is not clear how the University could affect their anxiety over facts and the justice system, which ultimately the US DOJ concluded acted appropriately in the case. But these anxious students most recently blocked the car holding University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe in Saturday’s Homecoming Parade because of some incidents, perpetrated by individuals on campus recently, that they believe demonstrate the pervasive racist culture on campus. See Kenney’s article for more details.

Kenney applauded Chancellor Loftin’s recent decision to require diversity training for all students and faculty.

“Loftin’s decision reflects his awareness and sensitivity regarding how implicit bias and racism transcends the student body. His action is a bold statement that makes shifting the campus culture a priority that everyone must claim.”

That’s a lot of fancy liberal terms there so let’s break it  down.

Implicit Bias, according to the Kirwan Institute is bias “Residing deep in the subconscious, these biases are different from known biases that individuals may choose to conceal for the purposes of social and/or political correctness.  Rather, implicit biases are not accessible through introspection.”

So this bias that runs through and beyond (transcends) the student body is not conscious and cannot even be discovered through examining one’s own thoughts. It is very very hidden. Kirwan explains further.

  • Implicit biases are pervasive.  Everyone possesses them, even people with avowed commitments to impartiality such as judges.
  • Implicit and explicit biases are related but distinct mental constructs.  They are not mutually exclusive and may even reinforce each other.
  • The implicit associations we hold do not necessarily align with our declared beliefs or even reflect stances we would explicitly endorse.
  • We generally tend to hold implicit biases that favor our own ingroup, though research has shown that we can still hold implicit biases against our ingroup.

Bullet four is very interesting because you can apparently have an implicit bias that goes against groups that you consciously choose to belong to.

Kirwan sites a study of pediatricians who displayed implicit bias against African Americans in their prescription of pain killers which they prescribed in lower numbers for blacks in theoretical case studies as proof that such biases exist. The study actually showed that these same pediatricians exhibited no treatment differences for three other cases (UTI, athsma and ADHD) between the races. No explanation was given in the study findings as to why the doctors may have been reluctant to prescribe narcotics for black patients although it was suggested this might be due to a belief that such medications are likely to be abused more by African Americans. Perhaps the results from National Survey on Drug Use and Health might explain what put that thought into their subconscious. According to that study, “between 2002 and 2013, the rate of current illicit drug use increased from 8.5 to 9.5 percent for whites. Among blacks, the rate increased from 8.7 percent in 2003 and 2004 to 10.5 percent in 2013.”

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Not to worry. These biases can be fixed according to Kirwan:

  • Implicit biases are malleable.  Our brains are incredibly complex, and the implicit associations that we have formed can be gradually unlearned through a variety of debiasing techniques.

Perhaps Loftin read the Kirwan website and is counting on the diversity training to do the “debiasing” necessary. Too bad he didn’t read these other articles on diversity training, its impact on corporate America, and the court’s view.

The Corporate Diversity Scam

Under the guise of “diversity training,” the intolerance of the political Left has penetrated corporate America. Initially implemented to both insulate companies from lawsuits while fostering a more harmonious working environment, corporate diversity training has turned the twenty-first century workplace into a war zone. Throughout the last decade, corporate diversity departments and well-paid external “diversity consultants” have instituted training programs specifically designed to enforce political correctness in corporations.

The demand for conformity inherent to these programs is undeniable. Despite their stated purpose, corporate “diversity” departments have demonstrated a fundamental lack of tolerance for any diversity in employee thought and have made basic decency in the workplace a matter of swallowing political correctness. Employing behavior modification techniques popular with totalitarian regimes, they have spent the last decade intimidating and indoctrinating employees.

If any employees’ responses “indicate confusion or bias” or seem incompatible with the ideology being presented by the workshop, facilitators are urged to “waste no time in seeking help from a diversity consultant, corporate attorney or other human resource facilitators.”1  In other words, Maoist self-criticism circles have come to the office.[Will they be coming to MU?]

The corporate diversity industry has created a sanctuary where careerist radicals can continue to spew their racially divisive message even as mainstream America continues to reject their politics. Nearly all of the early leaders of the diversity industry are products of sixties leftism. Marilyn Loden, Elsie Cross, Judith Katz, Mark Chesler, Lillian Roybal Rose, Tom Kochman, and Price Cobbs all developed their ideology through experiences in higher education, race relations, and the civil rights movement.5

Competitive Enterprise Institute “Diversity Training Backfires

Major employers have paid out millions of dollars in discrimination claims because of diversity-training programs.  One Fortune 500 company paid out tens of millions of dollars in response to a class-action racial discrimination suit by minority employees, which was fueled by remarks management employees made after undergoing mandatory diversity training (they joked about jelly beans used in the training to represent minority employees.  That, coupled with a poor quality recording in which a manager’s reference to “Saint Nicholas” was misinterpreted as the N-word, created a furor).

Diversity training often triggers workplace conflict and lawsuits, by compelling employees to talk about contentious racial or sexual issues, with resulting acrimony, and remarks that are misinterpreted or perceived as racially or sexually biased.  For example, in Stender v. Lucky Stores (1992), statements made by managers during sensitivity training were held by a court to be admissible as evidence of discriminatory intent within the organization.  That prevented the employer from getting a lawsuit dismissed.

Many judges take a dim view of diversity training in general.  In Fitzgerald v. Mountain States Tel & Tel. Co. (1995), where employee reactions to diversity training gave rise to a lawsuit, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals noted that “diversity training sessions generate conflict and emotion” and that “diversity training is perhaps a tyranny of virtue.”

Or consider the diversity training that Leona Salazar was forced to participate in while employed by the County of Los Angeles described here.

According to the instructor, black youth adopted this “look” [droopy pants] because it’s part of their “heritage” even though it reflected a negative segment of the population, namely, prisoners.

Well, I’d never heard of anything so stupid.  So, in my inimitable fashion, I raised my hand during the seminar and asked the following:  “My father came to the United States in 1924 from Germany.  Based on your analysis, would it be okay for me to don a swastika because, even though it reflects a negative segment of the German population, it is part of my heritage?”

After stunned silence from fellow attorneys, the instructor attempted to explain away why my example was not analogous to the droopy pants look even though I knew I was spot on.  Afterwards, several of my co-workers absolutely agreed with my analogy.

Hopefully MU won’t consider hiring African American diversity instructor Glenn Singelton. Arlington Public Schools hired him in 2007 as a way of addressing the minority achievement gap in the district.  One of Singelton’s theories was that  studying is “acting white,” which if followed, of course would only widen the achievement gap. Another Superintendent got in trouble for repeating Singleton’s statement that black people are loud. CEI reported, “Under Singleton’s influence, the Seattle Schools defined “individualism” as a form of “cultural racism,” said that only whites can be racist, and claimed that planning ahead (“future time orientation”) is a white characteristic that it is racist to expect minorities to exhibit.” Even the Supreme Court was not happy with Singelton’s racebaiting. Four of the 9 justices cited Seattle’s wacky, Singleton-influenced, definitions of racism in the course of their opinions in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1.

The protester asked, “What really are the values of the University of Missouri,” a worthwhile question.  Instead of valuing peace at all costs by placating a noisy, but ill informed group, would the University be better served by a decent dialogue between protesters and professors from the history department. If one of the complaints is the pain caused by the Jefferson statute, perhaps a better understanding of Jefferson would “ease their anxiety” or at least expose them to the complexity of the man and the context of the time of his writings.

The Rutherford Institute which is “dedicated to the defense of civil liberty and human rights” reviewed Cynthia Burton’s  Jefferson Vindicated, which examined the accusations hurled at Jefferson as being a racist and a rapist. Dave Caddell, reviewer wrote,

“the original attacks [against Jefferson] were alleged by political enemies of Jefferson while he was President, rather than credible witnesses to Jefferson’s habits and conduct. Burton’s claims here seem accurate since Federalists such as Alexander Rind (Loyalist turned Federalist) were notorious for disseminating anti-Jefferson rhetoric during this time.

the first person to specifically assert that Jefferson had a relationship with a slave was James Thomas Callender—otherwise known as “Scandalmonger”—in his September 1, 1802 charge written in “The Recorder,” a Richmond, Virginia newspaper.

Beginning with an assault on the relevance of the DNA test, Burton submits that the test is far from conclusive because the DNA was not taken from Thomas Jefferson or any of his descendants. Indeed, since Jefferson did not have a son to pass along his Y chromosome, blood was collected from descendants of Jefferson’s uncle (Field Jefferson), descendants of Jefferson’s Carr nephews and other test subjects for comparison. Moreover, only one descendent of Eston Hemings—Jefferson’s alleged son by Sally Hemings—was tested. And while the DNA tests conducted on the aforementioned blood samples confirm that Eston Hemings’ father was a Jefferson male, they do not prove that Thomas Jefferson was the father.

Even though all this evidence is striking, Burton goes on to provide a potentially devastating blow to the suggestion that Jefferson fathered Eston Hemings—a blow observed by both science and the freeing gates of common sense. Through her relentless research and some common sense, Burton illustrates that given Jefferson’s age, health and character, it is ridiculous to conclude that Jefferson was Eston Hemings’ father.  Foremost, it is inconsistent with modern medical research to suggest that Thomas Jefferson fathered a child at the age of 64—Jefferson’s age when Eston Hemings was born. As Burton points out, not only would this be unlikely today, it would be against overwhelming odds in the early 1800s. On top of Jefferson’s age, he suffered from severe bouts of rheumatism, which caused him unbearable pain in his back, legs and hips and severely restricted his mobility. Compounding his health problems even further is the fact that Jefferson seemed to suffer from severe urological problems, trauma to his urethra and probable impotence as a result of constant horseback riding.

The book does offer a possible explanation for the genetic ties to a Jefferson.

“the probable candidate, among several, is Jefferson’s younger brother, Randolph Jefferson. Using the history made available by individuals who were present at Monticello during the early 1800s, Burton paints a portrait illuminating Randolph Jefferson as a man who partied with the slaves, drank a lot and maintained close friendships with other white men who had black mistresses. Significantly, Burton acknowledges the testimony of Edmund Bacon, the overseer of Monticello at the time, who claims to have witnessed a man—who was not Thomas Jefferson—leaving Sally Hemings’ room “many a morning.”

Jefferson was well known for his pro-abolition stance and he struggled with trying to get a country that promised liberty off the ground at a time when the pro-slavery faction was prepared to scuttle the whole thing if slavery were abolished in the process.  Jefferson led the effort in 1778 to ban slave importation in Virginia becoming one of the first jurisdictions in the world to do so. Hardly the work of a man who enjoyed slavery. Then, as President, he led the effort to criminalize the international slave trade getting a bill passed by Congress which he signed into law on March 2, 1807. I hope those few facts begin to alleviate the pain of those walking by his bronze statue. Imagine how much better they would feel if they learned even more.

Shifting the campus culture towards a lifelong pursuit of truth would be a good priority. A little better historical training might be less expensive for the University and serve a greater purpose in the long run than the track they are currently on.

Anne Gassel

Anne has been writing on MEW since 2012 and has been a citizen lobbyist on Common Core since 2013. Some day she would like to see a national Hippocratic oath for educators “I will remember that there is an art to teaching as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy and understanding are sometimes more important than policy or what the data say. My first priority is to do no harm to the children entrusted to my temporary care.”

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