FRIDAY, MARCH 12, 2021
Our Town's high elite, born to lose: We seldom make predictions here. Today, we'll at least author a guess.
Our educated guess would be this:
Tucker Carlson will start tonight's show with the events described in this Washington Post news report. We saw him work with a somewhat similar set of events just this past Wednesday night.
We're linking you to the news report in today's Washington Post. But those recent events have been widely reported, even across the pond.
Before we discuss those recent events, we'll offer a confession:
We have no opinion about any aspect of Georgetown University's Law School. We don't know squat about its professors or about its students. We don't know much about law.
We do have a few provisional opinions about recent events which have rocked the school. One adjunct professor has been "terminated." Another has been placed on leave.
What has happened at Georgetown Law? Hard-copy headline included, the news report in this morning's Post starts with this basic outline:
LUMPKIN (3/12/21): Law professor fired over ‘reprehensible’ remarks
A Georgetown law professor was terminated and a second was placed on leave after a video clip showed a conversation between the pair that included what an official called “reprehensible” statements about Black students, officials said Thursday.
The conversation between adjunct professors Sandra Sellers and David Batson had triggered an investigation by Georgetown University’s Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Affirmative Action. The school’s Black Law Students Association had called for Sellers’s firing.
The video clip—which was shared on Twitter this week—showed Sellers discussing student performance.
“I hate to say this. I end up having this angst every semester that a lot of my lower ones are Blacks,” Sellers said in the video. “Happens almost every semester. And it’s like, ‘Oh, come on.’ You get some really good ones, but there are also usually some that are just plain at the bottom. It drives me crazy.”
The conversation was being recorded. Apparently, the professors didn't know that. Here's the part of the episode we find most striking:
Sellers' quoted statement has been attacked as "reprehensible" and "abhorrent" by the law school's dean.
Needless to say, her statement has also been attacked as "racist." To see a journalist go from zero to racist in maybe ten words, just drink in this dunking at Slate.
That said, we see no one saying that Sellers' statement, such as it is, is factually inaccurate. Questions of accuracy don't seem to have arisen in this high-volume dispute.
No one is saying the statement is false. People have gone straight to racist.
For the record, Sellers has been an adjunct professor at Georgetown Law for the past twenty years. We don't know how the adjunct system works, but it seems that no one thought she was reprehensibly racist until she uttered those recent words.
Batson has merely been suspended; we'll review his career below.
For now, let's consider what Sellers said. Is there any possible way her statement could be accurate in some sense, to some degree or another?
As noted, we have never set foot at Georgetown Law School. We have no idea how competent its various students are.
That said, we're all living in the wake of hundreds of years of brutal racial history. That brutal history has had many gruesome effects. You can't run a society the way ours was run and expect to emerge free of harm.
By conventional reckoning, one effect of that brutal history is put on display in our so-called "achievement gaps." On average, our white kids score substantially higher in reading and math—on average!—than our black kids do.
That doesn't mean that they're better people. It simply means that, on average, they're somewhat better at math.
The liberal world has spent the past sixty years looking for ways to claim that these punishing gaps are illusory. We'd be inclined to assume that they aren't.
So too with the substantial achievement gaps which exist, on average, between our Asian-American kids, who score higher, and our white kids who, on average, don't perform as well.
We'd assume that those gaps are also real—that those gaps are real on average. Let's try to reason from there:
Stating the obvious, when schools like Georgetown engage in certain (perfectly sensible) forms of "affirmative action," a possibility is created—the possibility that the white students who get admitted may be higher performing academically than the black kids who get admitted.
Higher performing on average! And does that mean that they're better people? Everyone knows that it doesn't!
In Sellers' assessment, some of her black students rank among the best students she has. On balance, though, she seems to be saying that a discouraging number of her black students are at the lower end of Georgetown's scale.
Georgetown Law is a quality school. If some kid is performing toward the lower end of its scale, that doesn't mean that he or she is a lousy student. It means he isn't as good a student as most of his classmates are.
For the record, we have no idea if Sellers' assessment is accurate—how could we possibly know?. But yes, her assessment could be accurate. On what planet are we supposed to think that this couldn't be true?
Statements like Sellers' may seem embarrassing; also, such statements may hurt. This is one of the prices being paid for our brutal racial history, but that doesn't mean that Sellers' statement has to be false, or that it has to be racist.
Here in the streets of Our Town, we go from discomfort to claims of racism in a social media minute. And as at Smith College, so too here:
Up jumps the president and/or the dean, huffing and puffing and blowing things down. Tucker Carlson then goes on TV and a few more Trump voters get born.
(If you think this doesn't happen, what planet are you living on?)
Reaction to this unfortunate incident is straight outta Chairman Mao. Sellers was forced to admit to her WrongThink. Batson has been suspended for failing to report his colleague for her ideological crimes.
Our American history has been brutal. Terrible prices are still being paid. That said:
On their face, reactions like these don't exactly make sense. Meanwhile, our tribe has spent the past sixty years looking for ways to pretend that academic gaps don't exist.
(Academic gaps on average.)
Alas! Almost surely, academic gaps do exist, and pretty much everyone knows it.
Those gaps are one price that is being paid for our brutal history. The price we progressives and liberals pay for our decades of unrelenting dumbness (and insincerity) will be seized by Tucker tonight, seized as a form of tribute.
Professor Kendi says it's racist just to report or discuss those gaps! Perhaps in reaction to such stresses, the Post and the Times have agreed not to do so. As they do this, they throw the interests of millions of low-income kids under a big yellow bus.
But then, who cares about them?
Tucker is going to start here tonight. Because Our Town's conduct makes so little sense, new Trump voters will likely be born.
Concerning Professor Batson: A name-calling dean has suspended Professor Batson. The running-dog Batson failed to report his colleague's WrongSpeak crimes.
Eventually, Batson himself may be frog-marched away. According to Georgetown itself, his background once went like this:
Professor Batson, Senior Alternative Dispute Resolution Specialist and ADR Counsel with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, serves as a mediator, consultant on effective public/private collaboration, trainer, and dispute systems designer, providing support for the resolution of conflicts to representatives of government, regulated industry, and the public.
Professor Batson has over 30 years of conflict resolution experience spanning all major environmental programs. As former Senior Counsel with EPA’s Office of Enforcement, he negotiated numerous legal actions, including several of the nation’s largest settlements for noncompliance with environmental laws and regulations. He also served as primary counsel for development of regulations and enforcement policy pursuant to the CWA, SDWA, and CERCLA. As EPA ADR Counsel, Professor Batson represented the Agency in legislative endeavors, including reauthorization of CERCLA and enactment of the ADR Act of 1996. He also drafted the first national policy on the use of ADR in federal litigation and serves as a federal subject matter expert on confidentiality and ethics in ADR practice.
As an ADR professional, Professor Batson has convened and mediated over 500 matters, from settlements of administrative litigation to hazardous waste disputes involving over 1200 parties. He has also facilitated numerous public meetings and public policy initiatives, including restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and implementation of the National Ocean Policy. Professor Batson’s expertise and skill as an advocate and ADR professional have been recognized with numerous awards from the US Attorney General, the General Counsels of OSHA and FAA, and the EPA Administrator.
A highly regarded trainer and lecturer, Professor Batson has spoken and conducted a wide variety of training on environmental programs, negotiation, and the effective use of ADR for private organizations, federal and state agencies, professional associations, and foreign governments, including several in Eastern Europe and the Far East, Russia, Canada, and Brazil...
He was once an impressive person. For failing to inform on the running-dog Sellers, he'll now be frog-marched away by a panderstrong dean.
New Trump voters will be born. This is the way the stars in Our Town insist on refusing to win.