I don’t have much to say about a Harvard 3L student who expressed in an email that she has doubts about the intelligence of blacks on a genetic level (what did she say exactly, and who leaked it?), and has now had a personal email exposed for all to see, and could suffer potential career implications. I suspect there are many people who think and have thought the same. Personally, I don’t think the argument holds up (though I think there are obviously genetic differences between groups of people, skin color and susceptibility to certain diseases being two).
But instead of having that debate out in the open, it will stay pushed down if the dean of the law school’s response is any indication:
‘We seek to encourage freedom of expression, but freedom of speech should be accompanied by responsibility. This is a community dedicated to intellectual pursuit and social justice. The circulation of one student’s comment does not reflect the views of the school or the overwhelming majority of the members of this community.’
It looks like Minow is taking a particularly narrow view of intellectual pursuit. My guess is that does potentially reflect the views of some members of the school (we know of at least one).
In addition, one could take the political angle, and argue that Minow is using the terms ‘community’ and ‘social justice’ to placate certain people who might be reading her communication; for these are words used to indicate a certain politically left fellow-feeling. This is damage control.
I also suspect it’s motivated by guilt, a guilt based on the knowledge that many black students are often socially and culturally at a disadvantage when competing at Harvard Law.
Addition: A friend suggests that the real target of grievance here is not even excessive relativism nor backing our way into ideas with such obvious internal contradictions (e.g the intolerance of those who preach tolerance), but simply the growing progressive political platform that benefits from it, and the mixing of such idealism with politics, and the ideas of class, gender, anti-and sub-nationalism, protest and identity politics that become self-fulfilling prophecies.
Also On This Site: Revisiting Larry Summers: What Did He Say Again?…
This is law school, where analysis, and critical thinking are key…the humanities have arguably become grounds for all manner of race and identity politics, and desperate attempts to serve some direct social purpose: Roger Scruton In The American Spectator Via A & L Daily: Farewell To Judgment…Martha Nussbaum saw this coming a while ago, but is her platform broad enough to define liberal education?: From The Harvard Educational Review-A Review Of Martha Nussbaum’s ‘Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education.’