Prof: Viewpoint Diversity Just ‘Trojan Horse’ for Racism

Barb Wire

By Toni Airaksinen

A sociology professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville recently argued that calls for diversity of thought are, in fact, “a Trojan horse for white identity politics.”

Three faulty premises many conservatives believe about diversity of thought,” published Friday by Inside Higher Ed, was written by Professor Victor Ray, who teaches women’s studies and ethnic studies classes.

While supporters of viewpoint diversity say they wish to ensure that students are exposed to multiple sides of a debate, Ray ascribes more nefarious motives to their advocacy, claiming that they actually seek to promote a “reactionary status quo” of “conservative” racist and misogynistic thought.

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“Conservative ideas are hegemonic. The (empty) call for so-called diversity of thought is a Trojan horse for white identity politics,” writes Ray, who cites no individual advocates or nonprofits to back-up his sweeping claim.

Ray then goes on to complain that “the majority of people advocating for [diversity of thought] are white men,” and suggests that their calls for viewpoint diversity are simply power-grabs to help them remain at the “top of the organizational hierarchy.”

In his missive, he outlines three “faulty premises” that free speech advocates and conservatives allegedly deploy to encourage diversity of thought, starting with their claim to be acting in “good faith.”

“Robust debate in the search of truth is a general academic principle. The key here is that [diversity of thought] is a political project aimed at making racist and misogynist ideas acceptable,” Ray contends.

He then suggests that supporters of viewpoint diversity are simply looking for ways to infiltrate classrooms with conservative values, even though such advocates come from all political and philosophical backgrounds.

“The second false premise that promoters of so-called diversity of thought rely upon is that conservative ideas are marginalized in higher education when, in fact, they are ubiquitous,” he asserts, going on to claim that there’s a “political dominance of conservative thought in higher education.”

The last “faulty premise” that Ray attributes to viewpoint diversity advocates is “the very idea that conservative thought is diverse.”

“What is diverse about a body of thought reliably in support of a reactionary status quo?” asks Ray, asserting that these advocates go out of their way to “denigrate people of color or women” and attack “trans people for simply existing.”

Campus Reform reached out to Ray to ask if he’s ever met any viewpoint diversity advocates in real life, but he didn’t respond in time for publication.

Ray authors “Conditionally Accepted” at Inside Higher Ed, a career advice column for marginalized professors. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen

First published at Campus Reform

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

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