“Comically childish” is how Matthew Foldi describes the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) lessons forced on professors of the University of Memphis and paid for by Tennessee taxpayers. Foldi explains in Spectator World that “One Memphis professor told me the sessions were “infantilizing.” I went through the entire DEI programming myself and can confirm that it seemed more like it was geared towards kindergartners in San Francisco than professors in middle America.” He writes:
The seminar promises that “by the end of this course you will be able to define diversity, identify behaviors that contribute to a hostile work environment, examine strategies to increase your diversity awareness.” The Memphis professor warned me that the seminars were “patronizing,” and he was right — at times comically so. In one seminar, we learned about email etiquette. “Before you send any email to anyone, always read through the message to make sure you will not offend the recipient.” Thanks!
In another seminar, we learned what complicated words like “motivation,” “skills” and “active listening” mean. In another instance, we were told to “avoid sarcasm,” lest we be accused of discrimination. We were also told that we should at times avoid eye contact when we are conversing with members of cultures that don’t like eye contact. This is because we are told we must practice “cultural relativism: the idea that we should view others’ cultures through their lens and not our cultural lens.” We learned what this term means with text overlaying an Indian woman on a boat.
The irony of the required program explaining basic definitions wasn’t lost on the professor. “They explain mundane terms like ‘culture’ to well-educated people, but then change the definition of ‘racism’ in a casual way to make it seem like what they’re saying isn’t radical CRT praxis.” Here he’s referring to one of the post-lesson quizzes where “racism” is defined as being different from prejudice and discrimination because of “oppression.” I would note that anyone who casually uses “praxis” in a sentence probably doesn’t need to have terms like “skills” defined to them. For those who want to make their own diversity seminars at home, notice that the “cultural relativism” slide appears to be a picture of the Ganges River with a woman photoshopped over it.
The University of Memphis sits in one of the reddest states in America, yet is constantly on the front lines of pushing programming at odds with the Tennessee taxpayers who keep it afloat. In the past, my reporting on how the school was bribing professors to inject the school’s principles of social justice into their courses led to Governor Bill Lee calling the school and axing the program. However, Memphis’s left-wing bureaucratic deep state has continued since then.
Cherise Trump, whose group Speech First recently rolled out model legislation to combat DEI in classrooms, told me that “by mandating DEI seminars for all faculty, the University of Memphis is using coercion to actively suppress viewpoint and academic diversity, intellectual exploration and equal opportunity for those that dare question the prevailing orthodoxy. ”
Trump’s remarks echo the point made by the Memphis professor. “In reality, these seminars divert much needed resources and attention away from a department’s academic rigor and actually encourage the exact opposite of what DEI claims to stand for,” she said.
The final seminar concludes with the lecturer telling listeners that they are welcome to “repeat this course if needed.” I doubt there will be many who take her up on the offer.
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