Reverse, projective, commutative racism

Jordan Ellenberg is hyperventilating over the shocking racism of science fiction from 100 years ago:

[…] I’m stopped short by, well, how super-racist a lot of these stories are? I hadn’t remembered this at all. Like, you write a story (“Awlo of Ulm”) about a guy who makes himself smaller than an atom and discovers an entirely new subnuclear universe, and the wildest thing you can imagine finding there is… that the black-skinned subnuclear people are cannibalistic savages, and the yellow-skinned, slant-eyed ones are hyperrational, technically advanced, and cruel, and the white-skinned ones are sort of feudal and hapless but really standup guys when you get to know them?

I’m completely with you, Professor — these stereotypes have no grounding in reality whatsoever. (But didja have to do that SJW uptalk in writing as well?) You’re in good company, too; racism is without a doubt the worst thing in the world, but there is a cure!

Say, Prof. Ellenberg, how’d you like to have a reverse mentor?

Male, pale and stale university professors are to be given “reverse mentors” to teach them about unconscious bias, under a new Government funded scheme.

Under the project, white men in senior academic posts will be assigned a junior female colleague from an ethnic minority as a mentor.

Prof John Rowe, who is overseeing the project at Birmingham University, said he hoped the scheme will allow eminent professors to confront their own biases and leave them “feeling quite uncomfortable”.

In all seriousness, the article left out a crucial detail: How will this project be administratively enforced? I expect the majority of the “male, pale and stale” professors to be thrilled to have an opportunity to be berated by a vibrant diversity hire, but what about the occasional retrograde holdout? Will attendance be taken? Will the minority mentors be expected to snitch on no-shows? Will they entrap their prey into uttering the ineffable?


2 thoughts on “Reverse, projective, commutative racism

  1. I left a comment on Ellenberg’s post that I suspect you might enjoy, assuming he lets it through. The term “presentism” and its characterization as functionally being a form of racism (SWPL Supremacy, so to speak) applied to the past, is due to Moldbug IIRC.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like it! And to his credit, he let it through. The observation about short stories relying on stereotypes is a good one. Conversely, when films go out of their way to cast a black or a female blond as a nuclear scientist, it tends to grate and distract from the plot line.


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