One year ago, Harvard University was celebrating the hiring of an African-American woman for its 30th president, a crowning achievement in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) for America.
But the achievement was dubious, if not outright shameful.
At her introduction, new president Claudine Gray was given a standing ovation and lauded for her accomplishments.
“Claudine has proven herself a first-class academic leader as well as a rigorous scholar in her own right,” Henry Louis Gates Jr., director of Harvard’s Center for African American Research, a DEI think-tank, said at the time of her introduction, according to Yahoo News.
“And under her leadership, Harvard will continue to be a model in upholding the highest standards of academic excellence, advancing the frontiers of knowledge while also advancing strategies of inclusion,” Gates added.
That’s at least how liberals hoped that the self-reinforcing delusion of DEI would work.
The reality has been a bit different.
Twelve months later, Harvard is refusing to terminate Gay after an avalanche of credible accusations regarding plagiarism raise doubts about the rigors of her scholarly work and her own standards of academic excellence.
The fracas, which followed Gay’s congressional testimony in which she failed to definitively condemn anti-semitism, serves to show how the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) policies Gates touted are drawing to a stuttering, sputtering and noisy end – at least outside of Harvard.
By not acting to fire Gay, said the Wall Street Journal’s Jason Riley, Harvard is raising uncomfortable anxieties among liberal elites about the entire “diversity enterprise.”
It’s become so alarming that even liberal progressives are starting to take notice and ask hard questions.
The Atlantic’s Eliot Cohen, who is a Harvard Ph.D., said the plagiarism charge against Gay is “clear” and uncontroverted.
Cohen said the school has “betrayed the values that the university once cherished and that it still proclaims” by keeping Gay.
The Atlantic, founded in 1857, is one of the oldest progressive franchises in the country.
Not to be outdone, Associate Editor Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post, blasted Gay for plagiarizing “the least academic” part of her papers – when Gay allegedly plagiarized the acknowledgement section from another scholar’s work.
Acknowledgments, said Marcus, “are the easiest, and most fun part” of writing.
Marcus, as a true leftist, still set much of the blame for the criticism of Gay on “conservative” politics, but she did ask the salient question:
“What does it say about a person who chooses to appropriate another’s language for this most personal task [of acknowledgements]?”
It says, quite frankly, Claudine Gay wasn’t qualified to even write a book, never mind to lead Harvard University.
That Marcus is blind to the fact that Gay plagiarized not simply out of laziness, but because she was unqualified, is perhaps the strongest indictment of the DEI acolytes who have foisted these unequal policies on America.
Writing for the New York Times, Columbia’s John McWhorter, an associate professor of linguistics, said that by keeping Gay on as president, Harvard “risks conveying the impression of a double standard at a progressive institution for a Black woman.”
McWhorter, who is black, said it gives the appearance that Gay was chosen by Harvard simply because of her race, which, of course, is exactly the case.
But then McWhorter, who is opposed to “woke racism,” put it even more bluntly.
“Are we to let pass a tacit idea that for Black scholars and administrators, the symbolism of our Blackness, our ‘diverseness,’ is what matters most about us?” asked McWhorter. “I am unclear where the Black pride (or antiracism) is in this.”
McWhorter is simply being polite in not saying clearly what we all know is true.
“Diverseness” is all that matters to DEI acolytes.
There is no pride in DEI. There is only politics; shameful politics, at that.
DEI was always going to end shamefully: Hiring people to do a job based on the color of their skin, their gender and/or their sexual orientation is as shameful as excluding someone for the same reasons.
It’s just not as obviously shameful.
And even some liberals are seeing that now.