Calling them transphobic is exactly like dropping a nuclear bomb on them!


I think I know what a metaphor is. It’s where you use a word or phrase that is symbolic of a situation, but isn’t literally a description. It is a comparison of one thing with another thing. You can use a metaphor to relate something abstract or unfamiliar to a concept a person is more comfortable with; hence the too-frequent comparison of the genome to a blueprint. From that example, you can see that a metaphor isn’t necessarily true, and can be misleading.

Another use of the metaphor is for exaggeration. For instance, if a student failed my genetics class, they could make the excuse “The prof was slaughtering students left and right! It was a Holocaust in there!” Perhaps it would be used for comic effect, but even at that, it’s dangerous: the student has both exaggerated the consequences of the course, and has seriously minimized the outcomes of the actual Holocaust. I trust most of you would be conscious of error in making that comparison. The result would not be to think the student is amusing, or to think that I was actually a brutal, unfeeling teacher, but to think that the student was a privileged young asshole. (None of my students have ever said such a thing — this is a purely hypothetical example.)

So what are we to think of the phrase “witch hunt”? There were real witch hunts, although there have never been any people with Satanic powers. As many as a hundred thousand innocent people in early modern Europe and America were falsely accused, tortured, and murdered in horrific ways. People still get accused of witchcraft, the Bible is still used to justify killing people for consorting with the Devil (who does not exist), and there are still benighted parts of the world where people are brutalized and killed for an imaginary crime. Every time you use the phrase “witch hunt” to describe an activity that has no chance of a victim ending up hanged or on fire, you’re diminishing the horror and desensitizing people to an openly evil history and an ongoing crime.

Yet for some reason it has become the first resort in any argument about merely academic dissent. Here’s a fantastic example: an academic wrote an article comparing “transracialism” to “transgenderism”. This is a bad, misleading metaphor, rather like comparing DNA to a blueprint, and people objected. I think it’s fair that sloppy scholarship ought to be vigorously criticized. So a letter was written.

While it is not the aim of this letter to provide an exhaustive list of problems that this article exhibits or to provide a critical response, we would like to note a few points that are indicative of the larger issues. We believe that this article falls short of scholarly standards in various areas:

1. It uses vocabulary and frameworks not recognized, accepted, or adopted by the conventions of the relevant subfields; for example, the author uses the language of “transgenderism” and engages in deadnaming a trans woman;

2. It mischaracterizes various theories and practices relating to religious identity and conversion; for example, the author gives an off-hand example about conversion to Judaism;

3. It misrepresents leading accounts of belonging to a racial group; for example, the author incorrectly cites Charles Mills as a defender of voluntary racial identification;

4. It fails to seek out and sufficiently engage with scholarly work by those who are most vulnerable to the intersection of racial and gender oppressions (women of color) in its discussion of “transracialism”. We endorse Hypatia’s stated commitment to “actively reflect and engage the diversity within feminism, the diverse experiences and situations of women, and the diverse forms that gender takes around the globe,” and we find that this submission was published without being held to that commitment.

Savage! Vicious! In an academic way, anyway. It never quite rises to the level of suggesting the rack, thumbscrews, or drawing and quartering, though. And yet, in an article titled This Is What a Modern-Day Witch Hunt Looks Like, it’s bluntly stated that…

This is a witch hunt.

Well.

Really?

It sort of takes one’s breath away. I guess you can call me Matthew Hopkins, the Witch-finder General, since I sometimes write strongly worded, angry criticisms of bad politics and stupid science, which is now apparently completely equivalent to the torture-murder of innocent women. We’re supposed to completely ignore the fact that poor scholarship of the sort being criticized actually does real harm to people, people who are often already marginalized and oppressed.

At least there’s one funny bit here. These same people who like to fling about the phrase “witch hunter” with indiscriminate abandon, and casually minimize the suffering of accused “witches”, are sensitive to another word: go ahead, call them “transphobic” and watch them squawk. How dare you insult them?

Comments

  1. Dauphni says

    The pope did say trans people were just as dangerous as nuclear weapons, so, you know…

  2. Siobhan says

    My favourite part about the entire affair is all of the “academics” coming out of the woodwork to say that a lack of relevant citations is totally defensible.

  3. JScarry says

    Seriously? This is your “Dear Muslima” moment. You really shouldn’t comment on things until you understand them.

  4. Siobhan says

    @JScarry

    You really shouldn’t comment on things until you understand them.

    What doesn’t he understand? Are you upset that he’s capitulated to the insidious trans activists? WooooOOOOOoooo *spooky fingers*

    In what other area of scholarship is it even remotely acceptable to write about a topic without citing works relevant to it? I think the answer to that question tells us the vast majority of what we need to know.

  5. says

    Aside from picking on the use of the term “witch hunt”, it would be nice to see actual engagement with the points brought up in the linked article about the merit of the letter’s complaints. I was curious and had to read it.

  6. wzrd1 says

    @Dauphni, that’s trivially proved false. If a trans person falls onto your foot, you’d simply help the person up. If a nuclear warhead were dropped on your foot, you’d be limping badly at a minimum, more likely, have a crushed foot.
    Of course, the idiots complaining of witch hunts would then say that nuclear warheads are transuranic and don’t count or something. Those would likely end up getting tripped with my cane.

    @Siobahan, those “academics” would be swiftly informed that any writings from them would be regarded as highly suspect, due to that preference for a lack of relevant citations, which is the polar opposite in science. Lack of citations is the hallmark of opinion, not academic rigor.

    @JScarry, so my rebuking your harshly is directly equal with my piling several hundred pounds of stones upon your chest, incrementally, until you confess or you are crushed to death?
    I invited anyone who says that is true to test that theory, with themselves as the experimental subject. Speaking from personal experience, I’ve been rebuked many times, frequently correctly. I’ve also had a massive object fall and pin me to the floor, sitting squarely upon my chest. The former’s consequences were simply a loss of reputation if I didn’t refute the rebuke or learn from it. In the latter, I was in a literally life threatening situation and thankfully, my coworkers swiftly removed the mass from my chest before I was asphyxiated.

  7. says

    @Siobhan #4

    To be fair, much of the academic literature on trans stuff is bad (exhibit A: this paper by Tuvel), and we wouldn’t want citations to it to be required.

    But on the other hand, the structure of Tuvel’s argument is basically “We can’t think of any good arguments as to why transgender and transracial are different.” And clearly she should have engaged the literature to find arguments.

  8. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    ahem, excuse me, please. I understood “witch hunt” to describe the accusation of innocent people with horrific crimes, capturing innocents and executing them horrifically. ??
    While that may have happened (it actually DID happen), for people to claim innocence by calling their accusers “witch hunters” is almost the exact inverse of it. That is, guilty person claiming their accusers are “w.h” as a way to claim innocence without technically lying.
    The only way to use the phrase properly is when discussing the history of the event. No other.
    bah humboggggh.
    ?

  9. Siobhan says

    @Siggy

    To be fair, much of the academic literature on trans stuff is bad (exhibit A: this paper by Tuvel), and we wouldn’t want citations to it to be required.

    I don’t disagree! But Tuvel still couldn’t find anybody who actually argued the supposed “arguments made by trans people”?

    To me that looks like “arguments cis people think trans people make about themselves.”

    Also known as strawmanning. =/

    She could’ve at least cited somebody from the (regrettably named) International Journal of Transgenderism. Or, hell, even other publications from Hypatia: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/hypa.2009.24.issue-3/issuetoc

  10. says

    @Brian Pansky #11, yeah, Siobhan is linked in the OP.

    @Siobhan #10,
    Totally agree that more citations were in order, especially for this paper. But I think the more fundamental problem is that Hypatia clearly didn’t have any editors/referees with literacy in trans issues. Even if those referees had recognized the need for more citations, I am not confident that they would have been able to recommend good ones.

  11. Siobhan says

    @Brian Pansky

    That piece is more about Singal than it is about Tuvel.

    Paradoxically, this piece which claims to be Singal goes into more depth about the problems of Tuvel’s article:

    http://www.splicetoday.com/writing/is-jesse-singal-a-bigot

    And (I can’t believe I’m saying this) you can also see a dialogue on r/askphilosophy here that’s respectful: https://www.reddit.com/r/askphilosophy/comments/6aiatc/the_refutations_of_tuvels_in_defense_of/

    and this essay which is also about Tuvel’s piece:
    https://www.patreon.com/posts/on-tuvel-and-and-10058831

  12. says

    Ophelia Benson has talked extensively about this.
    The author is supportive of Trans people and the article is not transphobic.
    The open letter cited above misrepresents the article, and misses the mark on points.
    The article examines the arguments for gender and racial identities, both of which are social constructs, and she dismisses some of the theories of racial identity proposed by some of the people signing the open letter.

    Perhaps they should do as academic do and publish scholarly critiques of the article?

    Perhaps they should not have shared lists of her courses, discussed how to harass her, and wondered how to get an untenured junior professor fired?

    The journal has a clear retraction policy, and nothing in the open letter falls into these categories, yet some associate editors wants it retracted, a fine and scholarly way to treat your authors.

  13. A Masked Avenger says

    The lack of citations and the deadnaming are enough to seriously question the author’s scholarship. If someone wrote about Jon Stewart’s impact on the political discourse but insisted on calling him “Jonathan Liebowitz,” it would be eminently reasonable to suspect an antisemitic agenda. Likewise calling Kaitlyn Jenner “Bruce” or Yusuf Islam “Cat Stevens.” As would referring to trans people as “boys who want to become girls” and other such question-begging.

    (I haven’t read the paper, and am not making claims about its specific contents.)

  14. cartomancer says

    There is another sense in which “Witch Hunt” has some metaphorical merit, albeit where it tends to distort the historical picture of how European witch hunting generally happened. This is the sense that the hunt has its own escalating momentum – once you’ve found one witch you don’t just stop, like you would with most judicial actions, you go out actively looking for more of them. You force the ones you’ve got to confess to name their accomplices, then do the same with those people. Because witches operate in covens. They’re not just lone trouble-makers, they’re an underground conspiracy run by the devil to overturn European civilization. They’re hiding in plain sight, they look just like respectable people, and they’re recruiting!

    This is the sense in which Arthur Miller used the concept in The Crucible as a metaphor for the McCarthyite purges.

    It’s a well-known dynamic, but it was the exception rather than the norm for Early Modern witch panics. It depended on widespread belief in a particular kind of theology – the sort of gloomy millenarian theology arising out of post-black-death social anxiety that emphasised the importance of the Devil in human affairs and the acquiescence of God in his activities. This was the sort of theology that many of the great witchfinding manuals, such as the Malleus and Nicolas Remy’s Three Books, promoted, and only really took root in Germany. But most witch trials were isolated affairs, and did not blow up into extensive searches aimed at purging unseen witches from society. It’s the big, gory, extensive ones that have tended to shape our ideas of these things.

  15. Siobhan says

    @sorenkongstad

    Perhaps they should do as academic do and publish scholarly critiques of the article?

    Maybe “academics” can do as academics do and actually understand that the complaint was that the premises of Tuvel’s piece HAVE ALREADY BEEN CHALLENGED? https://docs.google.com/document/d/1icoJ8jx08pApchnn4uAh8pRWtzFNCLRCokILByD8LvA/edit

    As I and many others have said, if trans and critical race scholarship were taken seriously by Tuvel and Hypatia, “In Defence of Transracialism” never would have seen the light of day.

    The onus was on her, and that Journal, to investigate the existing body of scholarship. It is not on the existing body of scholarship to tailor-suit yet another refutation of already refuted nonsense.

  16. says

    So is racial identity a settled subject? I know some claim that race identity differs on gender identity because of the additional complication of ancestry, I would say that it is still something reasonable people can disagree on?

    Which points in the article amounts to fraud or other errors grave enough to merit retraction?

    Indeed which points merit calls for firing her?

  17. Siobhan says

    @sorenkongstad

    Indeed which points merit calls for firing her?

    Who the actual fuck has called for firing her? Not the open letter, nor I, have suggested such a thing.

  18. says

    And I am sorry but how can citing transgender authors be a necessary condition? By statistics alone the number of people in that group must be small, and how is it even possible to seriously entertain the thought that to make a philosophical paper, you must cite people with lived experiences?

    Does the arguments not stand on their own? Does she dismiss the lived experiences? And what about the lived experience of people identifying as a race different than the one society assigns them, are their experience less valid than transgendered people’s?

  19. says

    @Sorenkongstad

    The first response of academics was to write an open letter which did not criticize or even name Tuvel, but rather addressed and criticized Hypatia, the journal. Jesse Singal got a hold of this and characterized it as a witch hunt of Tuvel. I note that Singal’s article does not at any point mention harassment or calls to fire Tuvel. This leads me to believe that any harassment Tuvel received came later, after Jesse Singal brought her to widespread attention.

    In other words, the academic critics did do as academics do, writing mild-mannered critiques, and not focusing on any one person.

  20. Siobhan says

    @sorenkingstad

    And I am sorry but how can citing transgender authors be a necessary condition?

    I don’t know, if I want to write an article about particle physics, is it necessary for me to cite the existing work on particle physics? Or should Deepak Chokra be entitled to a slot in Physics because he pens a bunch of claptrap that has the word “quantum” in it?

    I’d say it’s unreal how arrogant that question is, but considering from whence you came I fully believe it.

  21. says

    Transgender people are experts on the lived experience of being transgender. However being transgender does not make you an expert on transracial identity politics, indeed it does not make you an expert on transgender identity politics.

    And the paper did not refute, or even try to refute transgender politics, but made an argument concerning transracial politics. Yet it is the perceived lack of transgender or minority race citations that were pointed out, not the lack of transracial academic references

  22. sacharissa says

    “Witch hunt” is a common, if overused figure of speech. No-one takes it as a serious equivalence with actual witch hunting.

    One criticism of Tuvel’s article that you don’t mention is this: she uses terms like “biological sex” and “male genitalia”. Is mentioning these things forbidden in biology courses. I know sex is more complex than many realise but it is concerning when these terms are declared forbidden in a scholarly paper.

    As for why witch hunt might be appropriate. There is much in transgender theory which makes very little sense. I have also observed that many trans people do not stick to the version put forward by activists and some openly dissent. Even trans activists change their position. “Transgenderism” was used by Julia Serano and a commenter above mentions that Tuvel could have cited the “International Journal of Transgenderism”. Caitlyn Jenner talks openly of being Bruce. Therefore it is not outrageous for others to mention that Caitlyn was once Bruce. It is not as though Tuvel refused to use Jenner’s new name or dug out the birth name of a trans person who does does not want it known.

    As for why “witch hunt” is apt. I frequently read descriptions of womanhood from trans sources that I and other women I speak to do not recognise. There is also some tension between trans rights and women’s rights, which need careful consideration. However, every time a woman speaks out about this she is immediately faced with backlash that threatens disciplinary action, uses harassment and bullying. I have seen thoughful articles pulled following. I am not just talking about those women who are hostile to trans people. It’s often those who simply dissent on specific points or are concerned about how legal changes could impact vulnerable women. This is comparable to a witch hunt and victims seem to always be female. This is something that we should be able to discuss but I would certainly be afraid to do so publicly.

  23. Siobhan says

    @sorenkongstad

    However being transgender does not make you an expert on transracial identity politics, indeed it does not make you an expert on transgender identity politics.

    No, but because a god damn PhD in gender variance makes you a fucking expert in gender variance. Did you click on the 13-page list of citations I provided by trans scholars?

    You are willfully obtuse and frankly fucking absurd.

  24. Siobhan says

    @sacharissa

    Is mentioning these things forbidden in biology courses.

    Oh look, a straw farmer.

  25. says

    Ophelia Benson has talked extensively about this.
    The author is supportive of Trans people and the article is not transphobic.

    Ophelia Benson is a huge transphobe and TERF of the first water, who does extraordinary verbal acrobatics to avoid admitting this at all costs. Anyone she defends as ‘not transphobic’ I would immediately consider suspect at best.

    The reason she’s not still on this blog network is when I asked her point-blank whether or not she believes trans women are women, she had a HUGE multi-post ‘WHAT EVEN IS WIMMENS’ meltdown, screamed at everyone, lied about me, and finally took her ball and flounced home.

  26. says

    Oh there are more cis people than trans people? I’m sure that will be tied to some logic and reasoning any time now…any time now…
    Also philosophical exercises divorced from the specific reality they seek to address are mere masterbation.

  27. says

    One criticism of Tuvel’s article that you don’t mention is this: she uses terms like “biological sex” and “male genitalia”. Is mentioning these things forbidden in biology courses.

    No. Is Tuvel’s article a biology course?

    I use those terms myself in a specific sense: we can talk about the male genitalia of a fruit fly without getting involved in the more complex phenomena of sex in people. I also prefer the term “gametic sex”, because when you’re doing crosses, all you care about is that you get an organism that produces sperm and an organism that produces eggs.

    As for why “witch hunt” is apt.

    Strangely, you then fail to justify why it is apt. Did you read the OP?

    I frequently read descriptions of womanhood from trans sources that I and other women I speak to do not recognise.

    I am sure that is true. But the thing is that women’s experiences are all different. Christina Hoff Sommers writes about women in a way that denies many of their experiences, too — she is a woman, and the feminists she disparages are also women.

    There is also some tension between trans rights and women’s rights, which need careful consideration.

    I’ll say.

    However, every time a woman speaks out about this she is immediately faced with backlash that threatens disciplinary action, uses harassment and bullying.

    When a creationist speaks out, they are faced with a backlash from people like me. Is this an argument that I should not criticize them?

    Yes, when people publish poorly researched articles in scholarly journals, they should be criticized. Bullying, no: but I’ve noticed that any time some people get criticized, they claim to be getting bullied — if Tuvel is experienced sustained abuse and harassment, that is deplorable and I agree that that should be stopped. If she’s being told that she’s wrong, that is not bullying.

    I have seen thoughful articles pulled following. I am not just talking about those women who are hostile to trans people. It’s often those who simply dissent on specific points or are concerned about how legal changes could impact vulnerable women.

    You’re not being very specific here. Legal changes that might harm vulnerable women ought to be considered from the perspective of all women, including transgender women.

    This is comparable to a witch hunt and victims seem to always be female. This is something that we should be able to discuss but I would certainly be afraid to do so publicly.

    There you go again. Are stakes, fire, dunking poles, or crushing with large rocks involved? Are people being tortured? Then avoid the “witch hunt” metaphor.

    I suspect that the reason most “victims” are female is that most active feminist scholars are women, for some reason.

    It looks to me that you are discussing this, although rather poorly. Tuvel was discussing it, rather poorly. Is it possible that the problem here is that you want a pass on poor discussions?

  28. says

    There is also some tension between trans rights and women’s rights,

    Is this actually true? Can anyone indicate to me a single case where trans and women’s rights are at odds that is NOT predicated on the assumption that trans women are men?

    Nobody ever even notices trans men, somehow.

  29. Siobhan says

    @abbeycadabra

    Nobody ever even notices trans men, somehow.

    *puts on TERF bangs*

    In The TERF Mythology, trans men can still be accommodated in women’s spaces because the violence trans men experience is evidence that they’re “actually” women.

    Of course, that trans women are subject to comparable-or-worse rates of violence doesn’t count because mumble mumble feeeeemales mumble disingenous-misreading-of-Cecilia-Dhejne mumble.

    *takes off TERF bangs*

    Can anyone indicate to me a single case where trans and women’s rights are at odds that is NOT predicated on the assumption that trans women are men?

    Theoretically, since TERFs often cite “socialized experiences” as one of the major incentives of what they call “female only” spaces, they should be excluding infertile women, women who don’t menstruate for one reason or another, or women who’ve been lucky enough to avoid sexualized violence. That they don’t is a rather obvious demonstration that “experiences” is just a convenient fig-leaf. Bottom line is they not only want to exclude trans women from their spaces, they want to do so without being questioned as to their justification.

    Which I’d be okay with, if their spaces were just coffee chat groups or something. As it is, they want to position themselves in positions of crisis resources, which in that particular scenario grants a great deal more traction for interrogating the motives of trans exclusion.

    You know, like how Christians position themselves in crisis resources and try to use that as an opportunity to convert people.

  30. dalmeida says

    I must say I feel torn about this particular issue.

    I’m sidestepping Segel’s “witch hunt” metaphor, which I agree is at the very least silly. I’ve also read on some helpful background information about Segel’s problematic history on reporting on trans issues, and it was very valuable for context. But let’s be clear here that the open letter in response to Tuvel’s article was not simply academia working as it should, nor was it just good old criticism of shoddy scholarship. While the open letter suggested that there were problems with the paper (which is totally fair game), it also demanded its retraction. And that is where it got weird to me. What could possibly justify retracting a paper in philosophy?

    I’ve read Shannon Winnubst’s piece for perspective (http://www.chronicle.com/article/Why-Tuvel-s-Article-So/240029), and the only argument offered for why the paper should be retracted is this:

    “The fundamental problem with Tuvel’s article isn’t her ability to construct a rational argument but rather the omission of any sustained engagement with the well-developed, interdisciplinary scholarship on race and gender, particularly by black and trans scholars.”

    While I can understand the criticism and sympathize with it (who in academia does not get frustrated when their work is not cited or recognized as relevant?), I think that using this as a basis for calling for a paper to be retracted opens a dangerous precedent. If the paper presented a rational argument and did not present clear factual falsehoolds about data or about sources (for instance, saying a source says something it does not), then why should it be *retracted*? Criticize the paper’s failures away, write in academic blogs, or even write a rebuttal paper! Call out the editors of the journal for their reviewing practices (which the letter does) if you think they are broken! But asking for the retraction of a paper *solely* because it *failed to cite* relevant literature? That goes way beyond the healthy and robust discussions that are necessary in academia, and comes dangerously close to censorship.

  31. The Mellow Monkey says

    chris61

    So what ARE the arguments as to why they are different?

    Race and gender are different in a variety of ways. Going back throughout history, we have records of gender being understood as an internal experience in many cultures. Literally some of the earliest written records in human history from Mesopotamia refer to folks we’d understand to not be cis in modern western society. Yet we do not have similar records regarding race, because race as it’s understood now is largely the invention of colonialism. A POC’s race (and especially so for Black people) is imposed from outside, based on perceived characteristics, in order to maintain existing power structures. So these are two concepts that are cultural constructs, but the same can be said for planets (behold, Pluto’s fall from grace!) and chairs. Yet it would be a very odd position to try to argue that planets and chairs are the same, right?

    Riley wrote an excellent piece on Hood Feminism about this exact question:

    Black people more than anyone else are accepting, and those who are pale as chalk and 99.9% white can get in if they claim a bit of Blackness, making it easy for Dolezal to slip in past the doors and achieve a position in the Black community that trans women are not afforded in the woman community, nor trans men afforded in the man community. By penetrating Blackness like a virus, she attained a teaching position in Africana Studies, teaching numerous classes, she ripped away positions from Black people who have trouble getting the foot in the door at these universities. Black people, who are already overwhelmingly living in poverty were passed up by someone passing themselves off as light skin. She was exalted and held above the people she imitated, an experience that white people have no matter where they go in the world, no matter what culture they invade and overtake, whiteness and white features are loved and desired in PoC communities, assuring her seat of power amongst them.

    But cis men and women are not passed over for jobs because trans people exist. Many trans women can’t find jobs at all. Trans men and trans women are not considered more attractive than cis men and women, respectively, and there is no desire, want or love of trans people in the cis community.

    A white woman may, thanks to white supremacy and racist beauty standards, declare herself to be a Black woman and still retain her white privilege even within spaces focused on Blackness. Trans women do not have such a privilege; they are not granted positions of power owing to their assigned at birth gender.

    Ijeoma Oluo did an interview with Rachel Dolezal that skewers the disconnect of treating all social constructs as the same:

    “Race is just a social construct” is a retort I get quite often from white people who don’t want to talk about black issues anymore. A lot of things in our society are social constructs—money, for example—but the impact they have on our lives, and the rules by which they operate, are very real. I cannot undo the evils of capitalism simply by pretending to be a millionaire.

    If it’s still not clear to you how gender and race are different, I’d suggest taking a lot of time listening to people who are well versed in this, especially women and femmes of color. The above linked articles are a good starting point.

  32. says

    @dalmeida #33,
    Open letter are in fact, an occasional occurrence academia. You usually wouldn’t hear about it because the mainstream doesn’t give a shit about obscure academic controversies, except when they can be leveraged into a narrative about PC police attacking academic freedom. (See Serano.) And calling for retraction is not uncommon either, when a paper is particularly flawed. Whether the paper actually gets retracted is something the journal can decide for themselves, and it is not wrong for critics to raise the possibility.

    It’s understandable that some people think the open letter is shrill, since it doesn’t fit their preconceived notions of how academia works. But Jesse Singal, isn’t he a science journalist? He really should have had a better read on the situation.

  33. says

    @Chris61 #9

    So what ARE the arguments as to why they are different?

    That’s a really good question: what are the relevant similarities/differences that cause the transgender/transracial analogy to work or not work? It sure would be nice if Tuvel’s paper had an introduction explaining the issue in depth. It does not do that. It simply asserts that they are analogous, and addresses only the most obvious and terrible arguments as to why they’re different. Seriously, it’s fine that Tuvel chose to ask the question, but not fine that the paper was accepted, and now blog commenters and the like are expected to come up with the research that she did not.

    Really at first glance, there is little reason to think racial and gender identity are the same. A friend notes:

    ‘person named “Aidan”‘, ‘United States Senator’, ‘chess grandmaster’, ‘convicted felon’, ‘Nobel laureate in literature’, ‘York Rite Freemason’, ‘Anglican bishop’, ‘citizen of Uruguay’, and ‘Smith College alumna’ are all socially constructed categories, and their recognized criteria of membership are quite diverse, and this fact is not generally regarded as problematic.

  34. says

    There’s a whole website called RetractionWatch. It’s part of a process of post-publication peer review.

    Publication isn’t a magical transformation that makes a set of ideas inviolable.

  35. says

    @The Mellow Monkey

    A white woman may, thanks to white supremacy and racist beauty standards, declare herself to be a Black woman and still retain her white privilege even within spaces focused on Blackness.

    So would it then be okay for a person born white to declare themselves to be black so long as they’d undergone extensive physical alterations to appear “more black?”

    Does a person who is mixed race have white privilege because they have a certain degree of “white features” which appeal to racist beauty standards? If so, what is the maximum percentage of white ancestry a mixed race person is allowed to have and still be welcome in spaces focused on Blackness? 50%? 40%?

    From the article:

    1.

    Trans people have historically experienced violence.

    This doesn’t strike me as a strong argument, because if this is the basis for the “legitimacy” of trans people as an identity (I don’t think it is, trans people would still be trans in a reality where they didn’t experience violence), all Rachel Dolezal would need to legitimize her identity would be to get beaten up. Which seems like kind of an arbitrary standard.

    2.

    Because the transitioning is the crux of the violence, being trans produces in a lowering of status in the eyes of the respective group one transitions to.

    Similar to the 1st point, I don’t think the legitimacy of the trans identity is based on their oppression (trans people are still trans if they’re not oppressed), and I therefore can’t dismiss the legitimacy of a transracial person’s based on their lack of oppression.

    3.

    Race isn’t the same as gender.

    The distinction the author makes doesn’t strike me as particularly convincing. The history of gender as a social construct isn’t a holy thing. It’s not correct just because it happened in the past. And the author concedes that today both race and gender are similar, in that they both have an internal component (how you view yourself) and an external component (how society views you).

    4.

    The respective communities are affected differently.

    See #1 and #2

    5.

    Anyone can be transgender. But only white people can change their race.

    Obviously untrue. A black person can declare themselves to be white and face no consequences besides mockery (something Dolezal faced as well). There exists no law against this.

  36. dalmeida says

    @Siggy #35. I know open letters are common in academia (I’m in academia myself) and I have no qualms with the open letter in question *except* for the fact that it called for a retraction *solely* because the authors of the letter thought the article did not “engage with relevant literature”. And to be clear, I sympathize with the letter writer’s arguments; I think they are entirely correct in publishing an open letter, I think they are entirely correct in calling out the journal editors if they felt the review process failed, and I think they are entirely correct in criticizing the author for whatever flaws they see in her paper, including pointing out her apparent privilege-based obliviousness in ignoring scholarship by POC and trans scholars on the topic. That is all fine and healthy. The part that I really cannot get behind is the calls for retraction *on the basis of the arguments that the letter writers are using*.

    @PZ #37. Retractions are part of the academic process, sure. Had Tuvel fabricated or grossly misanalysed data, grossly distorted other authors’ views or reproduced such misrepresentations knowingly, or made policy recommendations on the basis of such kind of information (i.e., things that are factually and knowingly false), or even failed to present a rational argument, then sure retract away. But as far as I can tell (and I may be wrong and would be happy to stand corrected), the letter writers are not accusing Tuvel of any of these things. Have you ever seen a rationally argued paper retracted *only* because it did not “engage” with a specific set of authors? That is not a standard for retraction that I have ever seen, and is a standard that I would find troubling if applied to many (most?) disciplines.

  37. says

    My point @38 is not to attempt to delegitimize trans people by using Dolezal and “trans-racialism” as a weapon. It’s just that I’m having trouble dismissing the idea of trans-racialism while still being consistent in my views.

  38. archangelospumoni says

    Dr. Myers
    Many thanks for the link in #37. As always, keep up the good work.

    s/
    Archangelo Spumoni

  39. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @sacharissa, #24:

    “Witch hunt” is a common, if overused figure of speech. No-one takes it as a serious equivalence with actual witch hunting.

    Which is a problem. Witch hunting exists. Actual witch-hunting inevitably involves theft of lands/homes, torture, exile, and/or murder. When people write something that ends up being published, and later a critique of that written work is also published, calling the fact that someone published a critique of your work a “witch hunt” targeting you is an expression of grotesque privilege AND a problem.

    Thus the OP.

    You’re not winning any arguments here.

  40. says

    @dalmeida #39
    I don’t really see the issue. If you disagree on whether the article should be retracted, then you can disagree and that’s fine. The academic philosopher I know is ambivalent about it, and I am as well. But it isn’t taboo to request that an article be retracted. There aren’t clear standards for when a paper should be retracted, and nobody knows Hypatia’s policies on the matter.

    @Jessie Foster,
    Part of the problem is that the only example given of “transracialism” is Dolezal. That would be like trying to address “transgenderism” by referring solely to the example of Caitlyn Jenner. In interviews, Dolezal has referred to many people contacting her to say that her story resonated with them. So my question is, what are those people like? How are they different from Dolezal herself? These questions interest me as a mixed race person.

  41. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    First sacharissa, #24, then abbeycadabra responds:

    There is also some tension between trans rights and women’s rights,

    Is this actually true? Can anyone indicate to me a single case where trans and women’s rights are at odds that is NOT predicated on the assumption that trans women are men?

    Well, no. In important senses it is not actually true.

    There absolutely is some tension between many advocates for trans rights and many advocates for women’s rights. That’s not the same thing as tension between the rights themselves.

    On the other hand, there are important senses in which this is true: but the senses in which it is true are the same as the senses in which there is tension between the rights of communities of color and their members versus the rights of women (collectively and individually): if a woman member of the KKK wants to access a shelter for victims of intimate partner violence, she can go off all she wants on how she’s triggered by the presence of people with dark skin. Does the fact that she’s a member of the KKK mean she’s not entitled to escape her abusive intimate partner? Of course not. But it does require careful thought, policy making, engagement, and action on the part of the (mainly women) who run these shelters.

    Yes, the existence of racism and the existence of irrational fears that cannot be (quickly) educated away makes running a multi-racial shelter more difficult on a practical level. Yes, the existence of trans* oppression and the accompanying irrational fears makes running a trans*-inclusive shelter more difficult on a practical level.

    The difference is that as a larger community we’ve come to the decision that one should not be denied safe shelter on the basis of one’s race. We have not come to a parallel decision that one should not be denied safe shelter on the basis of being trans*.

    Thus when a member of the KKK demands that women of color be kicked out of the shelter so that she can feel safe, we act as if there is no conflict between women’s rights and the rights of people of color: the KKK member isn’t being denied shelter on the basis of race or gender, she’s being denied shelter on the basis of behavior that makes the setting less just and less accessible and sometimes even less safe for others on the basis of those others’ race(s).

    The conflict – such as it is – isn’t different around trans*-inclusion. It’s just that people haven’t made the same commitment to a gender-just world.

    Nobody ever even notices trans men, somehow.

    Goodness gracious is this ever ridiculously untrue. Yes, there are many contexts in which MtF folks receive more attention, but this is usually negative attention generated by trans*-phobes who aren’t actually generating/paying attention to actual MtF people and their lives, but are generating/paying attention to anti-trans* myths of MtF folk as if those myths had actual real-life relevance as anything other than an example of how trans*-oppression is enacted by non-trans* folk.

    Because of this dynamic, on a local-community level where much of the most important activism and education take place, a large number of the leaders who receive attention are FtM and/or intersex. It’s only in widespread, non-trans media that MtF people appear to get more attention, and even there I’m not sure that it’s true that MtF people get more screen time/column inches. I’ve yet to see a good study proving that.

  42. Holms says

    The article by Tuvel with full references, for those that want to see what the furor is about; and here is the open letter with signatories preserved.

    A comment by one David Wallace discusses the specific criteria Hypatia and the Code of Publication Ethics use for retraction decisions. The conclusion reached is that the case for retraction falls short of what is required. That can be found here for those that wish to check the reasoning.

  43. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @the Mellow Monkey:

    I noted this quote in what you wrote:

    Black people more than anyone else are accepting, and those who are pale as chalk and 99.9% white can get in if they claim a bit of Blackness

    I wrote about this a month ago in my post on the One Drop Rule. It’s interesting to see it come up again here.

  44. hemidactylus says

    I think the term “transracial” goes too far and thus is ill put, but I am fascinated by enculterated identification. My go to argument is how a non-Iberian immigrant could wind up in Cuba, Mexico, or Chile and produce Hispanic descendants a few generations down the line. At what point does that occur? Sorites? And Cubans and other Latinx Caribbean populations vary on the constructed “Afro-Euro” spectrum.

    Surely race itself is so constructed by people referring to physical appearances. That said people get enculturated inside these constructs. And said enculturation could cause confusion and conflict when evaluated by others as such self-identification violates expectations. Or identification itself might not capture cases of affinity or affiliation. In my own lived experience I recall bigots ready to beat me down as a white kid listening to hiphop as I fueled my vehicle at a convenience store. I felt threatened and couldn’t understand the reaction. A black kid at a heavy metal concert ready to enter a mosh pit might hold similar reservations or if they jammed Slayer amongst people who would judge them for that. Transracialism doesn’t capture these moments but crossover does.

    And there are people who seem to identify more or less across the imposed boundaries and they are judged for that on both sides of the aisle. The folks feeling the brunt most are interracial couples and their kids. Having had interracial relationships I have some experience with some of that. I feel things have gotten better, but that could be my naive privilege preference warping my judgement.

    And growing up with hiphop helped my outlook.
    Was it cultural appropriation for me to embrace the angered political messages of Public Enemy or the more nuanced KRS One? Was Nu Metal incorporation of hiphop into metal cultural appropriation or brilliant crossover as when Ice T incorporated his love of metal several times in his career? And I am old school enough to be able to point out that the Godfather of electro music Afrika Bambaataa appropriated German techno pioneers Kraftwerk in his music. Japanese Yellow Magic Orchestra have influenced hiphop. And hiphop “cough” sampled heavily from all sorts of music. Was that borrowing legal “fair use”. Bob James was sampled heavily.

  45. The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says

    Crip Dyke @ 46:

    I started wondering about questions like this early. My favorite teacher in junior high had features that if you just saw a life mask of him, you would unhesitatingly call African-American (nowadays). I suppose his skin was a little darker than my fishbelly white, but not much, and covered with freckles. Extremely curly reddish hair, gray–almost white–eyes, and a thoroughly Norwegian last name. I’ve often wondered what he went through in 1963. He wouldn’t have been allowed to identify as “white” I’m sure…but now would he be allowed to identify as “black”?

  46. The Mellow Monkey says

    Jessie Foster

    Does a person who is mixed race have white privilege because they have a certain degree of “white features” which appeal to racist beauty standards? If so, what is the maximum percentage of white ancestry a mixed race person is allowed to have and still be welcome in spaces focused on Blackness? 50%? 40%?

    Light privilege exists, owing to colorism (the ranking of lighter skin as better than darker skin). It’s part of white supremacy, internalized by many POC and particularly harmful to darker skinned Black people. Multiracial identities are legitimate, but also complex. Blood quantum does not measure someone’s participation or acceptance in a particular place–many NDNs would be considered white, but are still Indians and enrolled members in their nations, for example–but if you are white passing you do have white privilege and that is something that matters. I need to deal with the privilege my white skin gives me. Denying the existence of that privilege would only increase any harm I may cause.

    Obviously untrue. A black person can declare themselves to be white and face no consequences besides mockery (something Dolezal faced as well). There exists no law against this.

    Perhaps the next time one of my darker skinned relatives gets pulled over by the police and harassed, they should try declaring themselves white? Do you think that would work? It would not, because what the author was describing there was how white privilege works, not a legal reality.

    My point @38 is not to attempt to delegitimize trans people by using Dolezal and “trans-racialism” as a weapon. It’s just that I’m having trouble dismissing the idea of trans-racialism while still being consistent in my views.

    If you’re genuinely trying to understand, then you need to go and learn a whole lot more on how white privilege works and how white supremacy imposes racial categories. You’re not going to actually learn anything through these gotcha-style questions.

  47. says

    I followed this issue closely when it arose in the Philosophy blogosphere, and as I understood it, the claim that it was a “witch-hunt” was not based on the criticisms of the content of the paper but rather on the hate mail, the public insults, and the demands for a public mea culpa Tuvel — an untenured and very progressive female philosopher — received from senior feminist philosophers, including two members of her own dissertation committee.

  48. says

    Holms @45,
    I don’t think you should be linking a page that names all the signatories (and a trans hate blog too). If it were my blog comments, I would redact the link.

  49. Holms says

    #51
    /baffle
    It’s an open letter, the express point of which was to accumulate names registering their opposition to Tuvel’s article. They signed it knowing so, and intending to have their names and academic associations in the open!

  50. says

    @Holms, if you look at the letter itself, they do not publicly list the names. I don’t know why that is but I heard it was deliberate, and I would defer to their decision.

  51. Holms says

    The letter did publicly list the names until signing was closed. That’s how the names are known – someone went there and hit ctrl+a ctrl+c ctrl+v.

  52. says

    More seriously, I’m pretty sure all complex concepts (what I’d call constructs) can be … Because they’re all built out of more than one thing, so the possibility always remains to change some of the variables but not others. …. See my blog post about what things are.

    Then (separately, perhaps) comes the challenge of what to name all the things/categories/spectrums etc. (and you get new words like “blackness”, perfect for making puns!).

  53. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Peter Alward:

    That there were inappropriate responses is not the issue we’re currently discussing. Many of us have conceded that there were inappropriate and even condemnable responses – and we’ve condemned them.

    However, if you don’t understand why having someone on your dissertation committee publicly call for an admission of error and/or apology is different than torturing someone to death, you’re less capable of thought than you seem.

    Moreover, while some of the responses are condemnable and were condemned, any possibility that condemnable behavior may have motivated resort to the “witch hunt” metaphor is rendered irrelevant when people who AREN’T calling for your death are lumped in to a group labeled “witch hunters”.

  54. says

    How would “racial dysphoria” work? The brain contains maps of your body in the brainstem. Those maps are involved in very basic aspects of consciousness, the feeling of the self-as-object. Social maps are rooted in a copy of the body map. Having your feeling of the body-map altered relative to the rest of human kind is a very different and intimate kind of identity shift.

    Body first, then copies of other bodies in evolution order. There is no racial equivalent of trans. If one takes the characteristics they do share chances are the same category contains otherkin.

  55. dalmeida says

    @Siggy #43. To be clear, I don’t think it is taboo to ask for retractions, nor have I argued that. My point is very specifically about asking for a retraction *on the basis of what the letter writers are complaining about*. I think that calling for a paper retraction based on the standards they are trying to ascertain in their letter is a fundamentally problematic idea. I can get behind the rest of their complaints, but the call for retraction to me was quite problematic.

    @Holms #45, thanks for the link to the Daily Nous article and comment section. It’s very informative.

  56. says

    @The Mellow Monkey

    Perhaps the next time one of my darker skinned relatives gets pulled over by the police and harassed, they should try declaring themselves white?

    I don’t think this addresses my point. I said there are no consequences for a black person to declare themselves to be white besides mockery. Unless your dark skinned relatives are being pulled over BECAUSE they have declared themselves to be white, this isn’t a relevant thing to bring up. The example you gave would be a consequence of being dark skinned, not a consequence of being dark skinned AND declaring yourself to be light skinned.

    If you’re genuinely trying to understand

    I read the article you linked. The arguments presented seemed very weak to me, and I explained why in #38. I understand if you don’t have the time to respond to the entire thing, but I also don’t think it’s fair for you to assign more homework without grading what I’ve already turned in.

  57. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Dalmeida, #39:
    2 things. First, addressing this:

    Have you ever seen a rationally argued paper retracted *only* because it did not “engage” with a specific set of authors?

    When you’re arguing that Phenomenon #1 can be compared informatively with Phenomenon #2 and you fail to show that you actually understand P#1 because your interpretation of the data is completely different from the current consensus of experts in the relevant field AND you don’t even bother to cite experts that agree with the consensus to provide a sense of the current consensus AND you don’t bother to explain precisely why you’ve chosen to interpret the data differently than is the current consensus, THEN, yes, it’s possible to write something that does not deserve publication and, if published, might reasonably be retracted.

    Think of the creationists who cherry pick data and present a case that is internally consistent while failing to address the fact that, if their hypothesis is true it would conflict with scads of well-validated observations.

    The paper can contain “rational argument” in the sense that the premises lead to the conclusion if the premises happen to be true, and still deserve retraction because the premises conflict with reality and there is no attempt made to explain why we should accept the premises given these conflicts.

    Secondly:

    I’m sidestepping Segel’s “witch hunt” metaphor, which I agree is at the very least silly. I’ve also read on some helpful background information about Segel’s problematic history on reporting on trans issues, and it was very valuable for context. But let’s be clear here that the open letter in response to Tuvel’s article was not simply academia working as it should, nor was it just good old criticism of shoddy scholarship.

    Fuck that shit.

    Write your own blog post if you want to discuss whether or not the open letter was “simply” academia working as it should.

    You are side-stepping the witch hunt metaphor? This is a deliberate effort to make criticism == evil. That undermines academia’s ability to work as it should far more than whatever failings the open letter might contain. Not only that, but it’s the use of power to deliberately attack the marginalized at the moment that the marginalized speak up to say that the establishment is perpetuating harmful myths about the marginalized and their (our) experiences.

    The fact that you consider your time better spent telling us the failings of the open letter (as you perceive them) than critiquing a deliberate effort to make criticism == evil tells me quite a bit about your priorities. Please link to the comments you’ve contributed on other blogs or in other discussion fora where you took the time to oppose the use of “witch hunt” in these and similar circumstances … or concede that your priorities actually are what they appear to be from your participation in this thread.

  58. Holms says

    #62
    You would do well to read the specific criteria Hypatia uses to decide whether to retract. I linked to a discussion involving said criteria at #35 and hey, why not also here.

  59. A. Noyd says

    Crip Dyke (#62)

    Not only that, but it’s the use of power to deliberately attack the marginalized at the moment that the marginalized speak up to say that the establishment is perpetuating harmful myths about the marginalized and their (our) experiences.

    Even worse, the attack relies on insisting that the actual power structure is inverted. The attackers are casting themselves as the marginalized and their critics as the ones using power to attack them. I’m not sure how a reasonable person sees that as anything other than completely fucking absurd. It’s like white people saying they’re the only ones discriminated against these days or MRAs claiming we live in a matriarchy.

  60. dalmeida says

    @Crip Dyke, #62:

    > The paper can contain “rational argument” in the sense that the premises lead to the conclusion if the premises happen to be true, and still deserve retraction because the premises conflict with reality and there is no attempt made to explain why we should accept the premises given these conflicts.

    That’s where I think all the comparisons that I have been seeing with Biology are misleading. Speculative philosophy is not a scientific discipline like Biology is, where there are very specific methods of data collection and theories that try to make sense of a body of “objective” data. The vast majority of philosophy papers I have ever read try to clarify the structure of certain arguments to see whether they are valid, not to check whether they are sound (although some may also argue for the soundness of particular arguments). The idea being that it is first important to have a valid argument in hand before we can investigate the “truth” of the premises, which very often falls outside of the domain of pure philosophy. Tuvel’s article seems to me to fall exactly into that category.

    As for why I chose to sidestep the issue of “witch hunt”, it was simply because I already agree with what PZ wrote, and had nothing to add. The only part of his post I took issue with was his characterization of the letter as being a straightforward exercise in criticizing bad scholarship. I think it went beyond that when it called for a retraction *for the reasons the letter offered*, and thus was offering a slightly different perspective on an admittedly thorny issue.

    At any rate, @Holms #45 provided with a link to a very good discussion on this that was very instructive to read: http://dailynous.com/2017/05/01/philosophers-article-transracialism-sparks-controversy/

    I have really nothing further to add to this discussion, and so I will respectfully end my participation in this thread, and go back to lurker mode.

  61. says

    And now I will confess to a cardinal sin and then talk about something else.
    I admit that I didn’t read the article first but read the comments here. And then I clicked over to the article and whoomp!
    Right there it is. At the top of the article. A picture. A pretty big one. A pretty big, pretty nice picture of a pretty pretty, pretty certainly cis, pretty white lady, pretty young white lady.
    A pretty pretty white cis young lady being defended from all the nasty black people, and the nasty trans people, and the super nasty black trans people just because she, by virtue of being an objective philosopher, told them that they are all wrong and that obviously another cis white lady was totally right.
    Can’t get any worse, I thought, but then I remembered I had already read the comment here.

  62. emergence says

    With regards to this business of comparing being transgender to wanting to be another race, I think that an actual practical comparison is in order. With transgender people, you have individuals who identify as a gender other than the one they were assigned at birth, whose gender identity is as genuine as their cis counterparts, who experience intense psychological distress if they are made to conform to traditional gender roles, and whose psychological distress is sharply reduced if they are able to transition socially and medically to their preferred gender. There simply isn’t any widespread equivalent to this for people who want to be another race. People who try to insert themselves into a racial group that they weren’t born into aren’t doing it for the same reasons that trans people transition to their preferred gender.

  63. francisf says

    Here is my understanding of what went down. An untenured professor had a refereed journal article that a group of people objected to for reasons that are under debate but I think they didn’t like her conclusion. Rather than writing journal articles in response, or contacting the editors through official channels, they wrote an open letter calling for the retraction.

    Has this ever happened in any field? (please give at least one example if you say yes).

    When a subset of a community including potential tenure reviewers does some type of public call out like this, what would you call it? The author’s advisor (a respected feminist Professor of Philosophy at an elite university) who said this was a tightly written argument she said she was hesitant to “face the wrath of the “mean girls””. That suggests what I would call it: bullying.

  64. hemidactylus says

    #69-emergence

    I agree there are substantial differences between gender and racial identity for the most part, especially per malleability. Gender identification is often deeper seated in how the brain develops and similarly to being lesbian or gay is just how someone becomes themselves. Such things are inborn. But some people are more fluid than others.

    I would hazard that racial identification involves brain development in a more superficial way for people who more clearly fit into culturally assigned categories due to distinct physical appearance. For people of mixed group background it’s more complicated. I’ve known people who have Asian, Afro, and Euro ancestry and cultural impositions of identity versus personal preferences are a thing I will not pretend to understand.

    Beyond the cases where people have overt appearance people may identify outside their assigned boundaries. The label of “transracialism” seems to go too far to apply to those border crossing cases. But I assert they exist. Can such individuals exist without controversy? If race is at least partially a cultural construct can people be granted leeway to self-identify without causing offense if they are sincere? There is some point to be made for how people enculturate.

    To a lesser degree people affiliate or have affinities that cross boundaries. And they could encounter bidirectional pushback for such perceived transgressions, I am personally in favor of such deliberate boundary crossing as it waters down perceived taboos. But such boundary crossing can result in distress for that person who is misunderstood. Maybe my wiring is askew. But anyone who gets beat down because their appearance to others mismatches in a manner that violates expectation in how they should conduct themselves is a victim of injustice just as much as someone who suffers for gender identity.

  65. francisf says

    #71 crossing boundaries is exactly what prompted the letter. Do you think it is healthy for academics if tenured professors are in the practice of writing open shame letters when they don’t approve of research done by junior professors that cross boundaries? (it sounds like you don’t think that is healthy) Do you think male professors should have used that mechanism on junior Feminist or Black History professors crossing boundaries in the 1960s? (I doubt it).

  66. hemidactylus says

    #72- I was awkwardly trying to say there’s more to transgender identity than “transracial” identity because I think transgender identity is much deeper and from what I understand based more on brain development and comes from within where so called “transracial” identity is more enculturated and superficial. That’s not to say there’s not various transgender cultures where people interact with others who are also transgender. Or that some transgendered people lack fluidity just as gay and lesbian (or straight) identities aren’t always set in stone especially if graded into bisexuality. But these identities seem to me more deep seated than racial crossover.

    And racial identity has some externally forced biological bases in how physical characteristics influence how people see and group themselves and how others group and treat them. But the latter is more a matter of enculturation than being transgender. African-American friends complained in my presence that African and Caribbean born blacks often identify not as African American. The enculturation and ethnicity is different for them, regardless of how similarly appearing others might view things.

    More contentiously a white person could more closely identify with or have affinity with blacks or vice versa if that was their upbringing. Such boundary crossing could cause offense, but I think such cases exist. I have met people who appear black or white but seem to identify or affiliate otherwise.

  67. francisf says

    #73 That sounds like a reasoned argument. You have more thoughts than I do on it but I hesitate to say we should shame and disparage all people that say they are transracial just because of a knee-jerk reaction against it. Why should it prompt the nuclear response to even have such an argument? When discussing hypotheses becomes verboten and career-ending, who does this serve?

  68. Siobhan says

    @francisf

    To be clear, “all the people” claiming to be transracial is Rachel Dolezal.

  69. jean-nicolasdenonne says

    “Here’s a fantastic example: an academic wrote an article comparing “transracialism” to “transgenderism”. This is a bad, misleading metaphor, rather like comparing DNA to a blueprint, and people objected.”

    I just read Tuvel’s article and I do not see where Tuvel used “transracialism” as a metaphor for “transgenderism”.

    She studied some arguments against “transracialism” and rejected them. In the process of rejecting said arguments, she highlights similarities with arguments against “transgenderism” and re-uses rebuttals to those “against transgenderism” arguments to rebut the arguments against “transracialism”.

    You can disagree with her arguments in support of “transracialism” (I certainly do), you can disagree with her arguments in support of “transgenderism” (some certainly do and their arguments look a lot like the arguments against “transracialism” analysed by Tuvel) or you can object that the 2 situations are not at all analogous (which I fail to build a convincing case for)

    So far, the most convincing argument against the article I manage to get is the “ideal theory” one as proposed by Lisa Guenther on her facebook page and it is a charge against the whole field of philosophy, not just Tuvel’s article which is just exemplary of it.

    What surprises me, then, is the calls for the retraction of the article (which seems a pretty drastic move in academia) rather than demand a response right for a critique of the article, its methodology or presenting counter-arguments or a critique western philosophy’s methods when it comes to issues impacting vulnerable minorities.

    We definitely are on the same page about the lazy trope of witch hunts, though.

  70. francisf says

    #75 given the level of vilification against Dolezal who would come forward? It’s like saying there are no gays in Saudi Arabia. I myself had a knee-jerk reaction against her when I read about it, but I am trained to be kind and keep and open mind and I see no reason not to continue to do so. How many of these people were doing it for personal gain as opposed to real identity? I have no doubt many people who claim sincerity are lying in many contexts, but I don’t want to challenge a person’s self-narrative without thought or direct evidence. I am especially allergic to received wisdom being used to silence people in the intellectual sphere. Really are these people all just opportunists? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passing_(racial_identity)

    Here is one of the more interesting cases. Do you think he wasn’t sincere? If so, why? http://www.snopes.com/movies/actors/ironeyes.asp

  71. Siobhan says

    @francisf

    #75 given the level of vilification against Dolezal who would come forward

    Dolezal is now coasting comfortably off her capitalization of this entire affair. Not exactly an effective cautionary tale.

    The fact that you think coming out as trans doesn’t come with its own level of vilification doesn’t endear me to you. It does, and yet we come out anyway.

  72. Vivec says

    This comment section is yet another reminder of how glad I am that Benson left the network. It’s nice to see weird transphobic fuckery reserved to a few commentators rather than seeing it espoused by an actual blogger and their commentariat.

  73. francisf says

    #78 I didn’t mean to imply that coming out as trans was without a lot of negative issues. But I believe you took quite a leap there. In my circles that is more accepted than people with racial identity issues. Maybe your circles are different. As to whether transracial identity “should” be accepted, I personally am hesitant to question people’s self-narrative.

  74. Holms says

    #79
    One of the more cowardly posts I have seen. No engagement on any point beyond vague dismissal and no names named except a person that is likely not reading.

  75. francisf says

    #37 Thanks for the retraction watch pointer. Those retractions are for papers that are fraudulent or have objectively incorrect results. Has there ever been a paper in any field retracted for missing references? Let’s say 1880-2017 in any refereed journal in any subject. Also, how do you feel about the words “punching down” and “bullying” when applied to the letter.

  76. francisf says

    One interesting thing I have learned in all the discussion about this is when people go to “SJW” or “transphobic” in avoiding engagement, they are engaging in “epistemic violence” (not sarcasm– it’s a good term and concept if arguablely unfortunately named). I would ask people that resort to that to try instead engaging with what people actually say. I also learned another racist epithet in all this. “Becky”. It’s interesting how happy some internet users are to go there Some of the very open racism visible does remind me of the 1960s, and not in a good way.

  77. A. Noyd says

    francisf (#83)

    I would ask people that resort to that to try instead engaging with what people actually say. I also learned another racist epithet in all this. “Becky”.

    You would ask? And who the fuck are you, anyway? Nobody here much likes tone-trolling, strawmanning sealions who show up for one thread and start trying to throw their weight around.

    Also, if you think “Becky” is a racist term, you either don’t know what it means or you don’t know what “racism” means in a social justice context. (Or both, I suppose.) Either way, it shows just how far out of your depth you are.

  78. francisf says

    #84 I have looked at the use of “Becky” in the Tuvel discussions and it is usually used as epistemic violence just like “thug” is in Trump circles. It is my opinion that both terms are used as dehumanizing terms to avoid discussion. Are you saying it is certainly not racist? It is a debate at least I think is a fact. http://www.complex.com/life/2016/04/beyonce-lemonade-becky

  79. says

    Once again, racism is prejudice PLUS power. Becky doesn’t play into centuries of demeaning stereotypes of white women. White women named Becky are not turned down for jobs like Shaniqua is. This is just the usual plaintive White Tears, bitterly resenting any attempt to dent white privilege, like shouting “reverse racism!” every time someone criticises a white person.

  80. says

    @francisf
    If someone wants to use SJW I encourage it, same with transphobic. What matters is if the terms can be unpacked into thier associated meanings. In my experience people who sling SJW can’t really defend why the social justice they encounter is illegitimate so they tend to be no real threat around here.

    Given the social dynamics at play and lack of relevant examples I think your comment simply labels transphobic as a term to avoid without reason. Same for becky. If it’s got a meaning let the meaning and examples be made relevant here. Otherwise I see you as an enabler of those who want people to stop pointing out transphobia.

  81. says

    @CatieCat
    You point out what I suspected. More whiners unable to deal with criticism. As if racial and gender minorities aren’t already getting precisely the attention that my fellow white people now act so afraid of. As if philosophizing detached from reality was not already a social tool used against people with less social power. I’d be happy if the social dynamic pressured people to make their mental masterbation match the reality it claims to be thinking about.

    They need get a fucking spine at multiple levels.

  82. francisf says

    I would agree that racism is a common (in the US the most common) vehicle for the abuse of power. But I would also claim that the attempt to silence people by declaring their opinions invalid based on their race, gender, birth-gender is a common tool used to abuse power within academics. The dehumanizing “Becky” is a short-hand when the person being targeted happens to be a white female by birth. Look at the way “SJW” is used commonly on the internet and it’s a way to dehumanize leftist females. I object to this in all contexts. Thankfully I have not seen “thug” used by an academic (yet).

    For black scholars that say things that upset established power structures, the usual strategy is to ignore them. Basically erasure. A recent example is Michelle Alexander. Her solution is to just get in people’s face and write books. It looks like that is the strategy Tuvel will take as well: hard to erase a book. This is independent of Tuvel’s ideas; to me this is a battle for whether academics will catch the anti-intellectual disease infecting the US at present.

  83. Ichthyic says

    to me this is a battle for whether academics will catch the anti-intellectual disease infecting the US at present.

    you must be new to academia. This has been going on for a long, long time. I think the only difference is that it used to be something that happened more “behind the scenes”, and now people are being wayy more up-front with it. There is not the social stigma associated with identity politics in academia that there used to be.

    I can’t say if that is a good or a bad thing, frankly, as these kinds of issues are rarely resolved by reasoned debate anyway, academia or no, then or now.

  84. Ichthyic says

    What silencing?

    In the 90s I watched the “anti-PC” crowd (which basically evolved into anti-SJW) effectively silence debate on established affirmative action programs, with the result that they got what they wanted and many major affirmative action programs were removed, at least in CA, in the 1980s/90s.

    surely you’ve seen how the “slymepitters” utilize bullying tactics to silence people in places where they comment frequently?

    I do believe that is the kind of thing Francis is referring to.

  85. says

    Not only is there no silencing* that I can see, you have yet to explain why “becky” is a problem and why it’s a problem here. Dehumanizing is just a word unless tied to the means of removal of humanity.

    How is the differential use of SJW on female leftists relevant here?

    I also do not accept that ignoring is the typical response to black scholars upsetting established power structures without some evidence.

    *Just how the fuck do you propose to do criticism meant to stop specific human behavior as a social goal? Associated bad feelings is the point.

  86. says

    @Ichthyic
    I can see that. Like CatieCat I think that history and the current power structure is a critical factor creating the difference. I would not be surprised if we discovered that bullying felt very similar to rational harsh public criticism. Yet we need a way to change the behavior of the group when there is a problem.

    I’m sure bigots feel silenced when people don’t respect thier bigotry. And I’m sure it sucks when society pulls support of them in response (like firing, or refusing to rehire, or disinviting…). But this is part of how the social tools work, using them rationally and in parallel with other tools at a group level is what matters.

  87. francisf says

    I started as a grad student in the 1980s so one thing I am not is new. I would say abuse of power structures to feed benefits and resources to allies is definitely the default. This is not to say it is worse than non-academics, just hardly an ivory tower. Bullying is indeed nothing new. When bullying becomes for the first time also open to minorities, and some use it, it does at least have a satisfying payback aspect I do enjoy.

    What is new, to my knowledge, and I have asked for correction if wrong, is the letter call for withdrawal of a paper without it being objectively incorrect, fraudulent, or stolen. This is why I am having a “line in the sand” reaction to it.

    All the bullying and other power abuses present in many other parts of academics I accept are real and probably the biggest reason academics doesn’t have more impact (hardly a meritocracy or a lab for new ideas that challenge old ones). One could argue that at least this bullying is out in the open and more honest than that already there, and I might be sympathetic to that.

  88. says

    Where is the bullying here?

    I would not care if no one has ever asked for a retraction before and now some people are. All that matters to me is if stated reasons are bad. Previous history is irrelavent to me unless someone can make a case that it’s otherwise.

  89. francisf says

    According to many philosophers that have entered the fray, the stated reasons are bad. According to the letter writers the reasons are good. According to people such as myself who read the letter and were unconvinced and read the paper and found it logical and readable, it’s hard to have an opinion in the Philosophical discipline. If an assistant professor of any race/religion/gender in any profession is dog piled in such a public letter, and it’s true that many established people in the field say that letter is out of line, I will call the letter bullying and defend that author with all of my strength. If it’s a tenured professor I will let them take care of herself. This is a pretty clear attempt to terminate the career of a young professor, and I think it’s a clear abuse of power.

  90. says

    Can you actually talk about the reasons at all? Why are you here? “It’s hard” does not change the fact that you chose to speak publicly about it.

    You replaced a term with a non-literalism of a kind with “witch hunt” here. I see no dogs piling. You bring us back on topic in a way you did not intend and that I find unsurprising. You appear to feel negatively about it but seem to have no good reasons.

    Again, the value of these things is in unpacking them into something useful. At the moment you are the opposite of useful so you are being treated as such.

    Why is it an abuse of power? Why is this a clear attempt to get someone fired? These are reasonable questions.

  91. francisf says

    It is an untenured Assistant Professor. In practice in universities there are the main demographic fired in any job; the job security of all other employees is pretty good. It is not very good for an assistant prof and her future is in the hands of various anonymous tenure letter writers, many of whom are on that letter. The currency of Assistant Professors is their ideas in the form of articles and books. This call out appears to be intended to shame the professor into changing her line of inquiry, shame journal articles, and give a call out that “right thinking people” should not even engage with her ideas. Then there is the complaint of certain authors’ works not being engaged. This is a very valid complaint, and it is handled all the time, and never in the history of academics as far as I know been handled with a call for retraction. If the authors of the letter can actually articulate views that disagree with Tuvel, and I expect that they can, then they can submit their own articles. That is how academics works. We can advocate change how it works, that is a valid thing to try, but it makes all stake-holders in academics key players in this debate. On a more general note, I will always side with grad students getting attacked by professors, and assistant professors being attacked by tenured professors. The power dynamic there is as clear as it is anywhere in our society.

  92. says

    You suck at this. From one human being to another I get to ask you why you believe what you do.

    You literally give no reason for why thus is a “call out”, shaming to stop a line of inquiry instead of stopping other things associated with this inquiry, or what is meant by “right thinking”. I don’t care about your surface impressions, I want the substance attached to them.

    That untenured assistant professors are in a socially precarious position does not mean anyone is trying to get them fired, at given the current university social dynamics all you can do is scare monger about possibilities. Why is this specific criticism an attempt to get someone fired? Even of some people are trying to get them fired that takes nothing from the substance of criticisms. You seem unable to tell them apart.

    Non-tenured assistant professors get critisized, simply pointing at the possibility means nothing. You make no real arguments about power imbalances and social forces behind the criticism, you simply assert them. To tell the difference between someone concerned about the criticism female academics recieve and someone shielding themselves (or others) from criticism with a female academic I need to see you discuss the specific power imbalances here. It’s in your perception, not mine.

    People get critisized going down the academic power structure. Sometimes it’s an abuse of authority. You show nothing of worth here.

  93. francisf says

    The specific criticism is not the issue. The form of the criticism and the author list of that criticism is. Here is my argument: a public letter of this form including many tenured people in her her field saying an assistant professor’s work is so bad it constitutes grounds for withdrawal is the most aggressive action ever taken by a group of academics against a junior professor in the history of academics. Now maybe the most aggressive action ever is not an effort to get her fired, but that is my opinion after decades in academics. So 1) do you agree that this is the most aggressive action ever against a junior academic? and 2) is it reasonable to think the most aggressive action ever against a junior member of an industry to think that’s an attempt to get her fired.

  94. rq says

    many tenured people in her her field saying an assistant professor’s work is so bad it constitutes grounds for withdrawal

    Here’s a thought: maybe they have good reason for that.

  95. says

    None of the above. You suck at showing how and why the form of the criticism is a problem too.

    So far that’s an assertion, not an argument. I need “…the most aggressive action ever taken by a group of academics against a junior professor in the history of academics.” That’s a claim to knowledge or hyperbole. Only you can make that clear.

    This is the kind of crap they tried on Rebecca Watson when she critisized someone for thier views related to structural sexism. Not why her argument was wrong, but “don’t critisize someone lower in the academic authority structure”. When that sort of thing is a part of academia. Cowardly bullshit.

  96. francisf says

    I made what I consider a factual statement. If this is not the most aggressive action taken by the powerful in her field against a young professor then what is. I am aware of none. Please name it. Otherwise I stand by my claim.

    Now more powerful actions have been taken by governments of course. But we are talking people that supposedly are ethical and within the academy.

  97. says

    I’m not naming shit. You came here saying other people are acting inappropriately. If it’s so damn unique in its aggression it should not be that hard to show why, unless you can’t and all you want to do is stop criticism. Again, you can show us the difference.

    This is your claimed behavior standard. All I have to do is keep pointing out you refuse to support it and not change my behavior.

  98. francisf says

    I don’t think it is my behavior standard. Suppose a bunch of powerful famous people in your field whatever that is write an open letter about you when you are early career saying your work sucks. Suppose this has never ever ever happened in your entire industry.

    Would you say that is an aggressive use of power against an unpoweful actor or not? This does not seem even debatable to me.

    Arguing her transgression was so awful that the most aggressive action on record was appropriate is of course possible. Given how many articulate and accomplished Philosophers are saying it was totally inappropriate I think that’s a tough claim.

  99. Vivec says

    @81

    Oh no, I’m cowardly for being reminded of how thankful I am a TERF exiled herself to her own corner of the internet and having the temerity to comment about it. That’s an accusation I’m willing to suffer ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    In regards to my lack of engaging with the topic of hand, others have already said everything I’d have said but better. No reason to engage when it would be completely redundant.

  100. A. Noyd says

    francisf (#85)

    I have looked at the use of “Becky” in the Tuvel discussions and it is usually used as epistemic violence just like “thug” is in Trump circles.

    Oh, you’ve looked at the use, have you? And instead of looking up what it means and why it exists and who uses it to what end, you employed your superior powers of deduction to figure out it’s a mean epithet to call someone, and therefore is just as bad as all the other mean epithets? That it has the same humanity-denying purpose as other mean epithets? Get the fuck out of here.

    You can’t have a civil conversation while continuing to deny the existence and significance of all the power gradients that shape our societies—power gradients with one side that protects the humanity of certain social groups and an opposite side that denies the humanity of certain other groups. Not that I think you’re here for that. You’re here to prove how “above it all” you are.

    As for “epistemic violence,” a definition would be illuminating. Here’s one pertinent to social sciences: “Epistemological violence refers to the interpretation of social-scientific data on the Other and is produced when empirical data are interpreted as showing the inferiority of or problematizes the Other, even when data allow for equally viable alternative interpretations.”

    In other words, Tuvel’s article is a perfect fucking example of the phenomenon—which is exactly what the letter was calling out. Labeling someone a “Becky”? Not epistemic violence. But you might have to spend some time learning what the fuck things actually mean if you want to understand why.

  101. says

    Dang but you are one for excuses and laziness.

    What matters francisf is that we are on opposite sides of this and you are asserting that the behavior of the critics is wrong. You are the one who wants other people to do things differently here and no one has to do shit. So if you can’t back your shit up no one will do anything.

    I don’t think what the critics did was a problem.
    I have no reason to believe that this has never happened before and even if it has not “cause different” is not an argument.
    If my work sucked and a journal published it I would be fine with it, because I don’t see a reason why they should not. You can plug me in there and it’s still your job to back this shit up.
    Yes it’s aggressive, yes it’s a use of power. At some point you will have to show why it’s a bad aggressive use of power. Lots of justifiable and legitimate social behavior is aggressive use of power including shaming and criticism. I never said they were not aggressive and exercises of power. Both if us are using aggression to exert power. You suck at reading comprehension.

    I don’t have a reason to believe this was a “most aggressive action on record”, and once again even if it was that is not an argument for it being wrong.

    You’re quite the puffed up bag of feelings. You really should work on being able to rationally attach them to what you are feeling about. One might get the impression you are only here in a social conflict context and don’t actually care if you are consistent with reality.

  102. francisf says

    You don’t have a reason to believe it is the most aggressive action by academics against a junior professor ever. I have looked into it a bit and that is my belief. I invite corrections in the form of fact.

    If it is an extraordinay use of power, and punching down, it should be an extraordinarily wrong paper. Apparently there is a large portion of her peers that don’t think so. I read what she wrote and what her critics wrote so I don’t think so. Because I don’t like abuses of power, I will probably buy a copy of her book as a protest against anti-intellectualism.

  103. says

    It’s not about corrections. You can not simply rule the power structure between trans people and accompanying research community a particular way by fiat.

    Your belief is useless to me.

    You have done no work to show what informs your belief.

  104. francisf says

    I don’t think it is my intention to change your behavior. Is there anything about your behavior I would want to? Your ideas have been fine; you have for the most part conducted yourself civilly and you have asked me questions that have helped me understand my viewpoint better, and I hope I have been civil to you. I am a fan of the free expression and exchange of ideas, and yours could indeed be better than mine. I don’t think either of us has moved the others basic position, but nothing wrong with trying.

  105. Holms says

    #84 A Noyd
    You would ask? And who the fuck are you, anyway? Nobody here much likes tone-trolling, strawmanning sealions who show up for one thread and start trying to throw their weight around.

    A call for engagement without abuse is now tone trolling and sealioning? Nice. Note also that no one here has any weight to throw around (aside from PZ), and so I think ‘who the fuck are you and what makes you think get to throw your weight around?’ is only fair.

  106. hemidactylus says

    Never heard of “Becky” before this thread. According to this article there’s a possible connection to the opening of Seattle hiphopper Sir Mix a Lot’s “Baby Got Back”:

    http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/becky-beyonces-lemonade-sparks-interest/story?id=38735396

    If so that song could be taken as objectifying women and at least mildly misogynistic. Did he really have a pet anaconda or was he referencing something else? It might spawn outrage if the video were released today. That song was Sir Mix a Lot going commercial. I was familiar with his “Swass” stuff earlier.

    But words evolve. I am not a fan of that “regressive left” label abused by haters of this blog, but kinda understand where Maajid Nawaz was originally going with it before it morphed. There may be people who answer to the “Becky” term, but is anyone even sure what Beyonce meant by it? I still love her for pissing off a bunch of deserving people with her Black Panther invoking Super Bowl Performance. That was sweet.

  107. says

    Oh please. Spare me the civility bullshit. This is about political behavior as much as research or philosophy. You are trying to get me and others here to feel a particular way about criticism of an individual persons behavior. And now you want me to take your word alone that the social power structure in play are equivalent?

    Don’t billshit me. You are not acting civil. Whatever else you are here for changes in behavior is definitely one of them. You clearly don’t like how the critics behaved so changed behavior definitely one of them.

    Trying to bullshit me is is not civil.

  108. Vivec says

    I doubt Baby Got Back would be particularly noteworthy in terms of outrage if it was released nowadays, it’s not particularly racy even by the standards of music videos as a whole, much less by the standards of the genre.

  109. francisf says

    I believe I am representing the rational and informed opinion as well as the tone that will carry the day within academics. The unethical and unprofessional pushing down pile-on conducted by some members of the academy will probably backfire on them, people in the academy will witness that, and I doubt we will see more of it within academics. I am guessing you are fairly young or not in the academy, and there is no reason for me to get upset about your not following or respecting the practices of that domain.

  110. Holms says

    #114 Dammit, I only meant to hit preview :(

    #86 CatieCat
    Once again, racism is prejudice PLUS power.

    I disagree with your nomenclature. Racism is any prejudice along racial lines, and any individual may be guilty of this. They may not have the ability to cause harm to anyone as a result of thir beliefs, but that does not make it ‘not racism.’

    Systemic (or structural or institutional or …) racism is that which is paired with power. They are both examples of racism, but harm primarily arises from the systemic variety, as that hits an entire demographic in ways both subtle and unsubtle.

    #90 Brony
    What silencing?

    The calls for retraction most likely, but there have also been mutterings of bringing this furore to Tuvel’s tenure committee, an implicit threat to her job / tenure.

    #91 Icthyic
    you must be new to academia. This has been going on for a long, long time. I think the only difference is that it used to be something that happened more “behind the scenes”, and now people are being wayy more up-front with it.

    Please see the links in posts #45 and #63 for a discussion of the specific criteria used by Hypatia when considering retration; the conclusion there is that the accusations in the open letter fall absurdly short of said criteria. Rather, it seems much more akin to a public pile-on than a serious academic discussion.

    #98 Brony
    Can you actually talk about the reasons at all?…

    You appear to feel negatively about it but seem to have no good reasons.

    But francisf did their reasoning: the reasoning supplied by those calling for the retraction was insufficient for such and hence should be dismissed. The onus is on them to make a good case for retraction. See the link supplied in posts #45 and #63!

    #102 rq
    Here’s a thought: maybe they have good reason for that.

    And here’s one for you: perhaps the reasons have been examined and found wanting? See the link in posts #45 and #63 for a discussion of that precise point!

    #105 Brony</b
    I’m not naming shit. You came here saying other people are acting inappropriately. If it’s so damn unique in its aggression it should not be that hard to show why, unless you can’t and all you want to do is stop criticism.

    You are asking someone to provide evidence of an absence of ‘things more aggressive than this’. Are you being disingenuous? The lack of examples of instances of greater aggression is the evidence that this is ‘the most aggressive action taken by the powerful in her field against a young professor.’ You can disprove this statement, by providing a single example of such!

  111. says

    My parents like to go on about how I can’t judge them on morals and the bible. Aparently it’s some sort of Christian bible interpretation power. I hear similar magic.decoder ring stories about not being able to critisize the military.

    francisf you get to bullshit me because young and “not in the academy”? Lazy piece of shit. At least you are more honest about your own politics now.

  112. francisf says

    I don’t think it’s politics. It’s standards of intellectual discourse and institutions of the academy. I don’t think you are incapable of understanding these things and expressing yourself without insulting people that disagree with you, but it takes practice. Nothing wrong with being young and passionate. If you want to change the academy, go for it. That is why Hypathia exists– people did that before you and clearly it is possible to change it. But screaming down ideas is likely to be met with the strong immune response coming out for Tuvel.

  113. says

    @Holmes
    Re:#90
    I don’t consider shaming or attempts to get a retraction silencing without reason. For the rest people can mutter all they want.

    Re:98
    Those are your posts you just asked me to read.

    Re:105
    Look more closely at the exchanges and you will also see that I said even if there were no other examples that is not an argument for why this one was wrong. I don’t give a fuck if it never happened before.

  114. hemidactylus says

    #117- Vivec

    Well there’s a positive way to interpret the song in how it addressed body standards promoted by popular culture (and an antidote to the lame 80s “heavy” metal videos that had obligatory T & A).

    http://www.npr.org/2017/05/08/527448477/sir-mix-a-lot-on-25-years-of-baby-got-back

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/music/artists/bun-fight-story-behind-baby-got-back/

    I could see rewatching the video that some may interpret it as objectification (old me versus young me perhaps).Still mild compared to hiphop cohorts such as 2 Live Crew (arguable godfathers of booty bass). They were known best for Throw the D but at least Luther Campbell (fka Luke Skywalker*) had Anquette’s Throw the P answer rap on his label. Youtube is available for the pruriently curious. Miami was a crazy place in the 80s.

    *- Luther Campbell shares with original Battlestar Galactica series being sued for similarity to Star Wars content

  115. francisf says

    “these are the standards” does explain something. The progress of modern countries has much to do with stable and respected institutions, and they have standards. Tantrums and insulting is not part of that. You being unprofessional is fine– you are not a professional. The full professors engaging in anti-intellectual power-plays is not fine, as they are finding out. Arguing for critical race theory is fine, and it’s a good area of research. Thinking it must be discussed in all circumstances and that it’s “true” is both narcissistic and naive.

  116. Holms says

    #123 Brony
    I don’t consider shaming or attempts to get a retraction silencing without reason. For the rest people can mutter all they want.

    You asked the question ‘what silencing?’ and I answered. You are now shifting the goalposts.

    Those are your posts you just asked me to read.

    …Yes? Did you read them? Specifically, they link to a discussion of the merits of the calls for retraction, which is what you were discussing.

    Look more closely at the exchanges and you will also see that I said even if there were no other examples that is not an argument for why this one was wrong. I don’t give a fuck if it never happened before.

    Look more closely and you will see that I am directly addressing your demand that francisf back up his assertion, i.e. that this furore is ‘the most aggressive action taken’ in response to a published article. (If you truly don’t give a fuck about the strength of prior actions taken against junior academics, why did you demand that he back it up?)

  117. A. Noyd says

    Holms (#114)

    A call for engagement without abuse is now tone trolling and sealioning?

    I wasn’t basing that on the one “request.” Rather, francisf’s behavior in the entire thread has been nothing but bog-standard strawmanning, tone-trolling, and sealioning. (Oh, concern trolling, too. Forgot that one.) Maybe if you didn’t have your head up your ass on this issue, you’d see it.

    Note also that no one here has any weight to throw around (aside from PZ), and so I think ‘who the fuck are you and what makes you think get to throw your weight around?’ is only fair.

    Nobody here needs PZ’s permission to deny francisf their respect. And I don’t need PZ’s permission to warn francisf about how willing the commentariat here is to put up with shit like strawmanning, tone-trolling, and sealioning.

    Anyway, back into the killfile you go. Only caught 114 because I was on mobile earlier today. Ta-ta!

  118. A. Noyd says

    hemidactylus (#115)

    There may be people who answer to the “Becky” term, but is anyone even sure what Beyonce meant by it?

    It’s a call-out term for either 1) clueless white women who think they know WTF they’re talking about where blackness is concerned, or 2) white women and light skinned WoC who participate in racism/colorism by allowing and encouraging black men to elevate them above darker skinned black women. There can definitely be overlap between 1 and 2. Also, Beyonce was probably referring in some way to the latter given the mention of “good hair.”

  119. francisf says

    So my basic argument is:
    1. It was the biggest punching down incident by the powerful on the powerless we’ve seen in the entire history of academics
    2. such an extraordinary attack should be justified by an extraordinarily compelling justification
    3. no such justification has been provided

  120. says

    @Holmes
    You are going to have to accept a few ground rules if you want me to care.
    1) I’m primarily interested in functional social activism. You can ask me if I want to tell you what I think about your questions and arguments but at some point the specific example is only part of what I really care about.
    2) I can stop a discussion at any time. This is between me and francisf and they have the same ability.

    Deal? I’m willing to simply ignore you and talk to them.

    Re: 127
    It’s not goalposts if I’m not arguing something. I will act as if that is not silencing in a social context. It’s about the general ability to ask for a retraction if one thinks that it’s warranted. People like me don’t have to stop requesting retractions. Period. Picture this, I’m typing on my keyboard and going through the retraction request process.

    Someone shows up and in the course of the discussion says that’s a bad thing to do in a social context. Not just in this specific situation, the journal can have it’s own rules, but generally in a broad academic sense, but for always.
    And they said that because it had never happened before that meas it is bad.
    And they said that the social context made it bad and could not talk about the relative power structures of the paper author and trans people.
    And said that because the author was in a lower part of the authority structure it was bad.

    Those are individually irrational as broad reasoning. I don’t care if it if it never happened before without reason.
    I don’t care for their opinion if they can’t actually talk in terms of relative social structures, a think that people on the left and feminism certainly takes seriously. These are trans PEOPLE. Line them up with the social actors in play.
    And criticizing people lower in the authority structure is an inherent part of academic life. Why does this one matter here when it comes to academics working with trans people and trans people and more simply? They can simply go and use the process too in a general sense and ignore people like francisf.

    I think “Fuck that, I’m doing it anyway”.

    Same with you. I’m interested in people being able to ask for a retraction in this specific situation, and in a social context. No reason? I do it anyway.

  121. A. Noyd says

    francisf (#130)

    1. It was the biggest punching down incident by the powerful on the powerless we’ve seen in the entire history of academics

    You’ve merely asserted that. As Brony points out, you’ve done jack all to back it up.* Worse, you’ve ignored every other relevant power dynamic at play here. Like Brony said, “You can not simply rule the power structure between trans people and accompanying research community a particular way by fiat.”

    3. no such justification has been provided

    Well, it has. You’re just determined to ignore other power dynamics than your pet one, so you aren’t listening. Ironically, you were all up in arms over epistemological violence when you were reducing it to mean name calling earlier. Well, the four points in the letter outline instances of actual epistemological violence. That sort of shit should not be given legitimacy by any academic platforms, no matter who the writer is.
    ………
    *Good fucking luck proving this is worse than, say, nearly anything academia has done to trans people. Or other more infamous offenses against the powerless, like refusing to let black people into college and classifying homosexuality as a mental disorder, etc.

  122. francisf says

    I objected only to the academics using their official positions to punch down on a young woman for using her voice. If you are not a full professor I have no objection to you using your official position to officially say whatever you want on this matter. They have committed a deeply unprofessional act. I have looked to find a more extreme case of punching down like this and like I say I can’t find one. Ask around. See if you can find one.

    The letter sounds very stupid to me, as well as many actual famous trained Philosophy professors. They declare that granting rights to one class of people hurts another class of people. I will grant rights to the transracial as well. I know some people were willing to give rights to Jews but not blacks. I am not that kind of person.

    Can you please name a specific example of damage academics have done to trans people?

  123. Holms says

    #128 A Noyd
    I wasn’t basing that on the one “request.” Rather, francisf’s behavior in the entire thread has been nothing but bog-standard strawmanning, tone-trolling, and sealioning. (Oh, concern trolling, too. Forgot that one.) Maybe if you didn’t have your head up your ass on this issue, you’d see it.

    Yes I’m aware he has more than one comment, but your response only confirms what I’m talking about. Refusing to be as snide as you are in this discussion is seen as sealioning, and suggesting that others be less snide is dismissed as tone trolling. These terms have ceased to be functional and are now simply ways of dismissing opinions other than your own.

    Nobody here needs PZ’s permission to deny francisf their respect. And I don’t need PZ’s permission to warn francisf about how willing the commentariat here is to put up with shit like strawmanning, tone-trolling, and sealioning.

    I wasn’t telling you to respect him, I was pointing out that your cry of ‘who the fuck are you?’ was silly, and can be turned on you equally.

    Anyway, back into the killfile you go. Only caught 114 because I was on mobile earlier today. Ta-ta!

    I do find it so so precious when someone tells me they are ignoring me. It reminds me of a child stamping their foot mid tanty. Anyway, enjoy your epistemic closure.

  124. Holms says

    #131 Brony
    You can read/not read my comments, and you can respond/not respond to them. I can do the same. You have always been able to do this, and I have always been able to do this. Calling the above ‘rules’ is just a bunch of whatever.

    Moving on.

    In comment #90, you either queried what francisf was talking about when he referred to silencing; or, you were expressing your scepticism a retraction demand qualified as such. Your comment at #123 I read to mean “I don’t think shaming or attempts to get a retraction qualify as silencing,” but I could be wrong as your sentence is a bit ambiguous. That double negative is either throwing me when I read it, or it threw you when you wrote it.

    Anyway, I think it plain that a demand for retraction is a form of silencing, and the best way to proceed is to examine the case for retraction. If the demand makes a strong case, then retraction is justified and cannot be considered a silencing attempt; if not, then perhaps it is one.

    Which is why I linked to a discussion of the case for / against retraction, in which the statements in the open letter are compared to the criteria for retraction Hypatia uses. And also why I directed you to my comments containing those links when it became clear you hadn’t looked in to it.

    I have a sinking feeling you still won’t bother.

  125. A. Noyd says

    francisf (#133)

    I objected only to the academics using their official positions to punch down on a young woman for using her voice.

    They went after the journal, not the “young woman.” And when young women use their voices to support oppression, they should be called out just like anyone else, not protected. Speaking as a former young woman, you can take your paternalistic narrative and shove it.

    I have looked to find a more extreme case of punching down like this and like I say I can’t find one.

    I already named a few for you. You really think that taking a journal to task for lax standards and enabling the mistreatment of vulnerable minorities “punches down” more than barring black people from attending university or classifying homosexuality as a mental disorder? (Or more than the article itself, for that matter?)

    They declare that granting rights to one class of people hurts another class of people.

    They do no such fucking thing. This is yet another strawman.

    I will grant rights to the transracial as well.

    The Rachel Dolezal variety of transracial* is not a thing. Learn what the fuck you’re talking about before deigning to toss down “rights” from your high horse. (As if “rights” are something individuals can dole out anyway.)

    Can you please name a specific example of damage academics have done to trans people?

    Can you balance a ball on your nose while going “ork ork ork”? Can do your own fucking homework before aggressively injecting your opinion into a conversation? You should already be familiar with academia’s relation to trans people. Where do you get off accusing people of abuses of power if you don’t know the first thing about this?
    ………
    *”Transracial” as applied to the experiences of cross-racial adoptees is a thing.

  126. francisf says

    Yeah open letters saying that work is so awful that it should be withdrawn is not an attack on the articulate young woman? Even by internet standards this is amazingly straight up illogical– the currency of that woman’s career is her pubs.

    And you claimed there was tons of damage done to trans by academics. I asked for a single example of once that this has happened. It wouldn’t be surprised if this has happened but your posts are so full of false unsubstantiated claims you can’t back up my default is this is wrong too. Note replying to that with an insult instead of an example is just evidence you are making stuff up.

    Declaring a class of people doesn’t exist doesn’t hurt them? Like your use of racist slurs not being racist slurs, bizarro world.

    So many incorrect statements and insults in lieu of facts. Are you a letter signer or something? You don’t sound like you have enough command of the facts to be in academics, so are you another high schooler venting or do you have a dog in this hunt somehow?

  127. A. Noyd says

    @francisf
    It’s not anyone’s job but your own to do your homework. In fact, your precious “young woman,” and everyone who helped get her article published, made the exact same mistake. You are talking out your ass about a lot of topics that have a broad history of academic work behind them, and you seem to be familiar with approximately 0% of any of it—even to disagree with it. In fact, it’s hilarious how eager you are to defend a lack of rigor while puffing yourself up as a protector of academic propriety.

    Now, if you were asking questions out of a genuine desire for the truth, that would be one thing. But you’re not. You’re a denialist. You don’t really believe in any power differentials outside the only one you think matters. And dignifying the bluffing, bluster and bad faith of denialists with the pretension that it’s equal to knowledge is a fool’s game. (I mean, just look at how you’ve ignored my examples of worse “punching down” than calling for better standards on the part of a journal.)

    You want substance? Start offering some, you piss-dribbling hypocrite.

  128. Holms says

    Ah, although ‘piss-dribbling hypocrite’ suggests reasoned discussion is also not her forte.

  129. says

    @francisf
    My reply to Holms should give you an idea about my intentions. You can consider the content related to the issues you have brought up to be directed to you too. I’ll be formulating something more specific tomorrow.

    I know this is unpleasant, but you are saying some pretty fucked up shit about other human beings. I’m going to keep trying to get some answers about why you are saying this fucked up shit. I get to do that on a basic human level. And I get to continue if you keep saying fucked up shit without explaining.

    I’m willing to consider social variables and axes involved in this situation. The author of the paper and their social position and circumstances. But I also HAVE to consider the trans community and associated research community BOTH and in that order (both are part of the social model of power dynamics here, and effect on a group by an individual is a factor). I’m really willing to do this.

    The act of punching down has multiple axes and it’s necessary for me to consider more than most (it’s an aggressive white male thing). Some will even effect associated communities differently ( +/-, 1-10). The effects will not all be the same. Researchers learning about trans people need to be balanced with your associate professor, and that needs to be balanced against trans people. The social effects of harmful research articles on trans people matters.

    The effects of harmful journal articles is a problem that requires a tool to solve, and you have been speaking in terms that address any request for a retraction like this one ever. So even if they decide this there is no grounds for retraction I’m not going to be satisfied. A request for a retraction is one tool. I’m going to defend it.

    So I want to know in more specific terms why it’s wrong for the trans person research community to request retractions of papers by associate professors in general, because that is as specific as you have gotten with why you are using the word “silencing”. I’m going to respond to your attack until I get it.

    @Holmes
    It’s reasonable for me to clear things up and I’ll take follow-ups.
    Relevant to “they did what you asked”. First of all you need to think about how you are directing other people to information. Think about what was going on. I’m socially challenging someone, you typed that francisf did what I asked, and you directed me not to something francisf typed, but to two of your comments. WTF?#1

    I read more deeply and your words (not francisf’s) had links about a discussion involving the retraction. francisf accuses the research community of inappropriate social pressure in general and you hand me something textually tagged to this specific social act by the research community associated with trans people. WTF?#2

    And nothing in your words connected those by summary in any way that I could see. It’s a retraction policy for a journal! This is a bigger social arena than that, act like it.

    Also our argument is here, bring your words about the relevant parts of the decision here. With no rational connection between two links and your words I have to ask, are you fucking lazy?

    Since I am currently criticizing someone else I will do you the courtesy of being blunt, I have the social advantage since they are still just name calling with respect to the content in this comment section and a retraction request by the research community associated with trans people seems like a thing that could happen and should be able to happen if needed.

    Why should I spend the energy reading that? People should put some work into being able to make a persuasive request that someone reads while they are fighting. For efficiency sake if nothing else, think about it. It’s a social conflict, spend some energy of your own because I’m not doing that much staring at a screen for you.

    That’s just the personal part (you and me).

    With respect to “shaming” (the impersonal larger issue in play) I have no reason to think that this is shaming that I need to worry about, and you posted nothing that made me think I wanted to trade words with you while I was role-modeling behavior in public (I take social activism that seriously).

    So do I want to let you do francisf’s work for them?

    That’s how seriously I take social activism. I may just get more value out of creatively cutting you loose. You too have the same model of the situation to construct between us if you want me to do more than continue describing the many ways that all francisf is doing is name calling.

  130. says

    Totalitarian now?

    I see. So a research community requesting a retraction of a paper authored by an associate professor is like a totalitarian government.

    Yeah I know, hyperbole. Non-literalisms. Whatever. You still have to be able to unpack for it to be more than an insult.

    Do some fucking work francisf.

  131. francisf says

    What work is it that you want me to do that I have not already? I need you to be very specific. Also, there is a big difference between an Assistant Professor (usually untenured) and an Associate Professor (usually tenured). It’s a club. This punching down was mainly from a set of Associate and Full Professors to an untenured professor. As I said, this is the only time such a thing has been done in the history of academics. I cannot do more work than I already have to “prove” there is nothing like this attack on a young female professor– it’s hard to prove something doesn’t exist, but I’ve done some work on that. You calling for a retraction is fine. But you’ll need a sound philosophical argument (unlike the letter writers) and if you think there are missing references you will need to name them. It is the threatening nature of the tenured authors is all I am talking about.

  132. says

    You need me to be specific?

    You have never once quoted anything from that retraction request letter and have used words like “silencing”, and “punching down” at a retraction request. I’ve been reviewing your old posts and looking at the little non-literalisms that you have been flinging around. You think you are being descriptive, but I see you avoiding a thing. I will be as specific as I can. I will make a list. I will start with the simple insults.

    1) “Punching down” A non-literalism. This is an act of dominance you are describing. What in the retraction request renders this act of social aggression against a journal article illegitimate?

    2) “silencing” is non-literal (no one is holding hands on mouths) a suggestion that social pressure is illegitimate. Why is this instance of social pressure to have a paper removed illegitimate? I see professionals associated with trans people and trans people making arguments you have simply called “under debate” and “they don’t like the conclusion”.

    I can think of at least five other main sections of a paper that someone can hate. What the ever-loving fuck? Do you even academia or philosophy?

    3) “call-out” another non-literalism because that’s just an impression. the contents of the retraction request that constitute “call-out” please. Your whole first comment here is nothing but a non-literalism.

    4) “face the wrath of the “mean girls” a social reference to community interactions, not the actual interactions. I want the real ones. Not the impressions. It’s still name calling. I’m not dismissing the opinion given the person offering it, I just want you to start quoting the mean girls in the retraction request. Call it backhanded respect, you are still punching down on trans people, and writing about trans people also risks punching down. Explicit and implicit, overt and covert transphobia is a thing.

    I’ll just stop there. You do this in many other places.

  133. francisf says

    Punching down I am 100% sure of. Because of my lived experience as an academic I don’t feel you have the right to question me. It is time for me to talk, and you to listen.

  134. says

    @francisf
    No. I will not simply listen to your lived experience. The experiences of trans people and thier difficulties with academia matter here as well.

    Besides, I asked specific questions about your experience of the retraction request. I see you moving from the content of the request again. I asked for your reasons to know why those characterizations applied.

  135. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Because of my lived experience as an academic I don’t feel you have the right to question me. It is time for me to talk, and you to listen.

    Not until you have show with empirical, you have shut the fuck up and listened….

  136. francisf says

    Excellent! I agree with both your objections to that BS statement I made. I was demonstrating how stupid it is to use the “silencing” technique of “you don’t ever get to talk because my life experiences make me right and you wrong no matter what– no discussion allowed by you”. This is what they tell Tuvel when they object to the *identity* of who she cites rather than her arguments and ideas.

    No my argument was that:

    1) this was punching down within the academic power structure: tenured are powerful and untenured are vulnerable. Do you agree with that?

    2) if Tuvel’s ideas are so easy to argue against, why in this one case in the history of academics should the be the only paper ever retracted without evidence of incorrect data or fraud?

    Now if you want to reform the entire peer review system of academics so that it first checks the race/gender of the authors cited, this seems a gigantic departure from what has ever been done before. Is that what you want?

  137. says

    @francisf
    No, you just asserted that “This is what they tell Tuvel when they object to the *identity* of who she cites rather than her arguments and ideas.”
    Where do they tell this to Tuvel? Quote the paper coward. So far you are still merely a name-caller.

    Where do they object to the identity of who she cites? Where do they say “I’m right and you are wrong because of my life experiences”?

    I think that is a thing by the way, we just can’t tell if it is or is not a thing based on your inability to do more than give feelings-laden indirect characterizations of things instead of quoting them.

    1)I agree they have more power but I know for a fact that people lower in the power structure get critisized by people higher in the power structure as part of how that structure functions. A request for a paper retraction is part of that. I see nothing wrong with such a retraction request as a general thing that exists in academia.

    2a) We have not even gotten to the point if Tuvel’s ideas are easy to argue against or not since you are incompetent at citing what you feel negatively about. More importantly it does not matterms if they are easy to argue against since I’m defending a general ability for researchers associated with trans people to be able to request retractions.

    2b) I have no reason to believe that this has never happened before (as I have stated previously), and even if it has never happened before I see no reason to think that an argument from newness being bad matters.

    2c) “Teh whole system”!11!!
    You sure are a black-and-white thinker. I think it’s reasonable to critisize the basic validity of a paper that results from a process that neglects background material on its subjects.

    That’s still seperate from being able to make such retractions in general, and your striking inability to actually quote anything. I’m starting to wonder if you are really an academic. Nothing you have contributed here would be out of place from a random transphobic troll seeking to use this situation to beat down anything seeking to benefit trans people.

  138. francisf says

    From the open letter: “It fails to seek out and sufficiently engage with scholarly work by those who are most vulnerable to the intersection of racial and gender oppressions (women of color)”

    So the identity of who wrote it matters. Not a bad as the extreme racism of eye roll earlier, but straight up racist. Is that actually what you want in place of scholarship and ideas?

  139. francisf says

    That link addresses zero of my issues with the unprofessional abuse of power by the tenured letter signers. I asked about what specifically in this paper makes it the first one in the history of academics to be withdrawn because of hurt feelings of people who were not referenced? Now as for trans and black scholarship being “ignored” by Tuval, what specific paper didn’t she reference that needed to be referenced and why is that such a blatant missing reference that her paper should be erased?

  140. says

    @francisf
    That does not say the identity of the author matters. That says neglecting the work associated with your subjects matters. You have literally twisted those words into their opposite meaning.

    Racism or transphobia is irrational prejudice or irrational discrimination with respect to race or gender identity. I don’t see how that is irrational.

  141. francisf says

    My emphasis in caps:

    “It fails to seek out and sufficiently engage with scholarly work BY those who are most vulnerable to the intersection of racial and gender oppressions (women of color)”

    Not “about”. “by”. In a carefully edited letter.

  142. Siobhan says

    @francisf

    That link addresses zero of my issues with the unprofessional abuse of power by the tenured letter signers

    That link wasn’t attempting to addressing your issues with the “unprofessional abuse.” It was specifically addressing your request for evidence of academia’s history of mistreatment against transgender people, primarily trans women.

    At 133, you asked:

    Can you please name a specific example of damage academics have done to trans people?

    So I provided you my work on academic transphobia, which makes salient the power dynamics you are so heavily invested in denying.

  143. A. Noyd says

    Isn’t it so precious how, on the one hand, francisf expects others to treat francisf’s own lived experience as authoritative, but on the other hand, thinks it’s “racist” to consider Tuvel’s paper fatally flawed for not including the perspective of anyone with lived experience being something other than white and/or cis?

  144. francisf says

    #157 See above. That was a stunt to show how asinine silencing based on the lived experience trump card is. Now it is true many of the factual misconceptions held by some commenters about academics do make some of my experience relevant from an informational perspective. But it doesn’t make my *reasoning* correct. Such a tactic is anti-intellectual.

  145. francisf says

    #156. Ah thank you. My apologies I didn’t understand what that was to address. I read over that again with that issue in mind. I am seeing some antagonism documented but what of it is from academics? Maybe I am missing it could you point to a specific point where academics has been hostile to trans people? Again this would not surprise me– the existence of Women’s Studies departments is because of academics being hostile to females in the 1960s…

  146. says

    @francisf
    That changes nothing. It still does not say the problem is with the author, it specifically mentions people the author did not communicate with.

    It does not say the author can’t write about it. It critisizes them for failing to engage with the very people they are writing about.

    You are not describing these people accurately at all.
    >”“It [fails to seek out and sufficiently engage with] scholarly work by those who are most vulnerable to the intersection of racial and gender oppressions ([women of color])””

    It’s a “you wrote about people you did not even talk to, and totally neglected a segment of your subject area (the same people)”, not a “you can’t write about this “.

    That’s a pretty serious flaw.

  147. francisf says

    By my count Tuvel references seven paper related to trans. So she does engage with literature. If it is not the identity of the authors that is the problem, then there must be at least one critical paper that either proves Tuvel factually wrong, or makes all the same arguments Tuvel does. Otherwise how can this imply rejection?

  148. says

    So now we are back to trans people? You switched to race for a bit there, with no explanation. My previous comment related to your quote.

    Which part is equivalent for their trans related objections? I see you acting like you can simply switch between groups. That’s lazy thinking.

  149. francisf says

    Oh her paper is about transgender and transracial. She has eight scholarly references related to race. So to request withdrawal there needs to be specific papers she didn’t reference that are critical– what is at least one of those papers?

  150. A. Noyd says

    francisf (#158)

    That was a stunt to show how asinine silencing based on the lived experience trump card is.

    Oh, I’m so sorry. I guess I must have missed the point you were getting at because it depended on your BS strawman about “silencing.” Seriously, my bad. I know you’re intellectually dishonest and can’t understand what the fuck anyone else is talking about, but I slipped up and gave you slightly more credit than was due. Won’t happen again, I promise.

  151. francisf says

    Yeah people that attempt to silence others usually call points about silencing BS. So nice zero information post.

    I do note that almost all of the letter signers have figured out their attempt to dog pile was too far. Hear much of anything now? Bullies usually are cowards so no surprise.

  152. francisf says

    Here’s the big thing I most don’t understand. I am inclined to give people benefit of the doubt on the identity they say they have. Transgender? Yes. Transracial? Yes. Artist? Yes. Anything that is expression of self? Yes. That makes me transphobic? Interesting.

  153. says

    It could be transphobia. I have not quite narrowed it down yet. You have some pretty clear flaws that give some clues though. The utter lack of direct connections between your words that the actual people is stunning. If you are an academic and this situation has you wordless for how to talk about your social world that is some pretty serious fear. I’ll try to be fair about it, but I’m not going to ignore it either.
    The way newness seems to scare you when it comes to criticism of academic work is another. I want to be fair about it, but you still have to be able to say why this arrangement of social superiors are abusing their power. I don’t think you can explain why it’s just plain wrong in any sense, let alone a “worst-est ever”.

    You also keep pretending that you have any control of the situation. Why should anyone care about your doubts? Like I said to Holmes, imagine me poised ready to complete the process of submitting a retraction request. What do you do about it? Nothing beyond whinging on a blog post I wager.

    My words have had a decidedly trans person centered bias because those issues are how I meet this subject. You see that blog post up there right? The one written by PZ? “Witch hunt” involves things on the female/woman cluster is issues. The reason I care about this in a general sense is because I can see how trans people might be upset about any research with awful problems.

    Adding race is doable (because it’s a principles thing and works with both by design, and I actually know the paper had to do with people of color and trans people) and I have a social advantage over you. You came here. You came here and insulted the authors of the retraction request (because you did not actually back up your insulting non-literalisms that only suggest things). All I have to do is keep asking reasonable questions and be willing to explain when asked, or when you jibe and taunt back.

    Finally, with respect to #163, since you came here and used words like “silencing”, “punching-down”, “call-out” (I could get behind ‘academic call-out’, but that’s not a bad thing in the larger sense that I care about) and others, why is that quote a problem? I don’t need to tell you what I think they should have read, you came here. You ran your fingers on the keyboard and pressed “post comment”.
    What is wrong with the request authors pointing out that Tuvel did not interact with black women academics when philosophizing about black people and trans people?

  154. says

    Related to the above post I am actually in the process of trying to use “people of color” more so I can do it more naturally. I can see some places where it would have worked better. I’m working on it.

  155. francisf says

    Transphobic? Very interesting diagnosis. Maybe you are even more inexperienced than I thought. What is it you actually know about academics? There is nothing wrong with being young and naive– all humans go through that stage.

  156. francisf says

    Yes bullies and their enablers always want their victims and the people defending others against bullies to “STFU”. Aint gonna happen. Go back to your bubble or address the inconvenient facts I have brought up.

  157. says

    Oh, frankie, you’d have to provide actual facts first!

    When actual TRANSFOLKS are telling you to stfu and pay attention, you really, really ought to listen. Especially if you, yourself, aren’t trans.

    No love,
    Kitty

    PS: Pretty sure being nonbinary puts me in the “trans” umbrella.

  158. A. Noyd says

    WMDKitty (#172)

    When actual TRANSFOLKS are telling you to stfu and pay attention…

    It’s silencing! It’s automatically bad! And cis-phobic, too, because that’s totally how bigotry works!

    francisf will grace you with the “benefit of the doubt” where your identity is concerned, but seems loathe to consider it means anything. Such as that you know more about being trans than some random academic.

  159. francisf says

    Insults from a person that openly uses racial slurs is not going to convince me to not call out an aggressive abuse of power by over-privileged full professors when trying to destroy the career of a talented young women whose voice they find intimidating.

  160. says

    Is nobody going to point out how incredibly weird and self-serving it is to use social justice jargon about academic credentials? Like, does the guy defending the shitty, shitty paper genuinely believe in his heart of hearts that ‘professorship’ is an axis of societal oppression?

    Give me a goddamn break. Shitty academics are shitty academics, and being called out by people who have better jobs than you is not oppression.

    It’s the weirdest, most inside-out form of elitism I’ve ever seen. Dude is actually arguing that people with MORE CREDENTIALS on a given topic should NOT weigh in on that topic because it would be “BULLYING”. Like once you have a PhD you can never criticize anything ever? It’s nonsense from go, even before bringing up how Francis shucks and jives and pretends not to understand the actual issues at hand.

    over-privileged full professors when trying to destroy the career of a talented young women whose voice they find intimidating.

    Translation: “I agree with this paper, therefore everyone who criticizes it is trying to suppress the truth!”

    Yeah, no. That’s not going to fly here.

  161. francisf says

    abbeycadabra I assume you are not in academics; nothing wrong with that but it does mean you don’t understand the fundamental power structure at play. As you correctly point out having a PhD does not make for some different kind of creature– it’s just a credential. However, being a tenured professor puts one in a position of great power within academics. A group of tenured professors can absolutely destroy the career of untenured faculty. The tenured letter writers absolutely tried to do that. Very unethical, very unprofessional, and meant to send a warning to other young professors and grad students. Thankfully the mob went too far and they got smacked down. So the system worked. Harshly criticizing the Tuvel paper using facts and reasoning is fine and there will surely be many refereed articles that do that. People outside of academics can yell for retraction all they want and it will be ignored as it should be. Blog posts and magazine articles galore by all means. The tenured mob that went to far appears to be wishing they never did this overstep and hoping the whole issue will go away. The untenured letter signers are fine– they got misled by the very bad senior faculty on the letter who were modeling terrible behavior.

  162. francisf says

    How often does ignoring people’s points and telling them to shut up work for you? Telling people with the courage of their conviction to “shut yer mouth” has the opposite effect. I do have the courage of my convictions. I will not stop protecting victims of punching down.

  163. says

    Oh, do fuck off, frankie. Your bullying is not going to fly here, and neither is your co-opting of social justice language to defend bigotry.

    You have no courage and no convictions, only an inability to shut up and listen, typical of your sort. Stop talking, LISTEN, and learn.

  164. francisf says

    What is “my sort”? What bigotry am I defending? What if anything have you learned from me?

  165. says

    What if anything have you learned from me?

    That you’re a troll who only pretends to understand social justice language, and who prioritizes his own (percieved, not really existing) oppression as ‘an academic’ as higher than that of trans people and PoC. That you’re someone who sees every conflict through the same invariant bugaboo to the point of babbling idiocies like People outside of academics can yell for retraction all they want and it will be ignored as it should be. as if people who are not of The Anointed Class have nothing to contribute – a position that raises the question, why exactly is Your Excellency here talking to the unwashed proletariat anyway?

    That you have nothing to contribute except the whining of the privileged, those so over-privileged in every aspect of their lives that they need to make up a reason to be able to call themselves the downtrodden.

    That, in this respect, you bear a remarkable similarity to Rachel Dolezal, though at least you made your oppression up entirely instead of stealing someone else’s.

    That, in short, you are a walking, whining example of ‘not acting in good faith’. That’s what we learned from you.

  166. francisf says

    I see I hit a nerve. The truth usually does that to people with a strong desire to oppress.

  167. A. Noyd says

    abbeycadabra (#175)

    Like, does the guy defending the shitty, shitty paper genuinely believe in his heart of hearts that ‘professorship’ is an axis of societal oppression?

    Apparently it’s the only axis worth taking into consideration, too! Because academia is some sort of isolated world where oppression from outside has no effect. (So long as you avoid “slurs” against white people.) And academic work certainly cannot affect oppression in the world outside.

    even before bringing up how Francis shucks and jives and pretends not to understand the actual issues at hand.

    I’m not sure it’s entirely pretending, though the little fucker is definitely playing it up to get a reaction.

  168. francisf says

    I am a person that has always believed in the rights of the oppressed. The amount of hatred expressed by many here is an interesting cognitive block– we saw the same effect 20 years ago when many blacks were unwilling to admit that gays were real and deserved respect and freedom. It’s interesting how much the language here parallels those discussions. I’ll definitely buy Dolezal’s book.

  169. A. Noyd says

    No, francisf, you believe in believing in the rights of the oppressed. If you actually believed in the rights of the oppressed, you’d bother to learn something about how oppression works in the real world.

  170. francisf says

    Well that’s a very confident viewpoint about my knowledge and instincts on opression. I am not so confident I have your number but I’ll take a crack at it. You’re a fairly angry and resentful person who’s either in college or is a recent graduate. You want to belong to a group but the religious ones are too ridiculous. The institutions my generation has created have pretty much messed up the world and left you a mess with few opportunities. So you are naturally searching for an angry group which leaves the alt-right and the alt-left. Because you are not a natural nazi you’ve gone alt-left. The gang mobbing opportunities (and insulting me) give you a way to vent your understandable anger. You’ve read a couple of non-fiction books and think you know a lot. All in all, you have potential– people that aren’t angry aren’t paying attention. But you have a lot of introspection and homework to do. I wish you luck!

  171. says

    Anyway, what he’s doing is the forum equivalent of the unburied turd in the litterbox. Not-so-subtle aggression towards those who make their home here, a scented statement of contempt.

    Can we get a clean box, please?

  172. francisf says

    And here I thought I was engaging in free thought. Is the site ironically named?

    I really would have bet money on my A. Noyd profile. But it’s easy to be wrong as A. Noyd is on profiling me. If under 18 A. Noyd is really impressive.

  173. says

    A. Noyd has you pegged, sweetie.

    Now, I’m out — I’ve better things to do with my time and energy than argue with a nasty little turd who thinks academics are somehow “oppressed”.

  174. John Morales says

    [meta]

    francisf above:

    I see I hit a nerve.

    <smirk>

    The truth usually does that to people with a strong desire to oppress.

    <snicker>

    As do many other things.

    Yeah, I know. No playing with the chew-toys these days.

    (sigh)

  175. says

    Got me a notion that Franco went and profiled himself there in #187. If he was projecting any harder you could stick him in front of a wall and open a drive-in.

  176. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Obviously Francisf doesn’t understand the concept of they are free to disperse their opinion, but so is everybody who responds to them. If they are all negative toward Fancisf, does Francisf have the honesty and integrity to say “I might be/am WRONG?”. I don’t think so Tim….

  177. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I am inclined to give people benefit of the doubt on the identity they say they have.

    Oh! Oh! Doubt me, too!

    I want all the benefits!

    So. Many. Benefits.

    I am a person that has always believed in the rights of the oppressed.

    That’s neat. You believed in them from all the way over there, did you? Thank you for sitting there all believingly and everything.

    Hey, do you ever do anything for the oppressed, or is all the believing and the doubting taxing your capacities?

    I’ll definitely buy Dolezal’s book.

    It’s an internet. Buying the book requires less than 5 minutes and does not require moving from whatever location happens to be the one from which you are pontificating. Thus I wonder: it’s been more than a day. Have you bought the book yet? Or are you still learning how to computer?

    I guess I’m feeling doubtful.

    Blog posts and magazine articles galore by all means.

    So your problem with the blog post that contained a statement intended to be sent to the editors at a future time was that it contained language that invited people to say, “me, too!”

    You’re for any blog posts except the ones that allow people to say, “Me, too!” Yeah. I believe that.

    …oh. Oh dog. I think Franci from San Francisco is corrupting my thinking. Dear me.

  178. says

    “Hit a nerve”? Doesn’t understand what “freethought” means? Sets themself up as King Sanctimony?

    You’re all off the leash. Have fun with the chewtoy.

  179. francisf says

    “Hey, do you ever do anything for the oppressed, or is all the believing and the doubting taxing your capacities?” In fact I have ended up leaving two jobs for defending a low-status employee who was singled out for punishment by the most powerful faction in those two workplaces, and I have endured much punishment for being the chief witness against a sexual harrassment claim against a senior powerful professor, and I did that before tenure thank you very much. But feel free to ignore my defense of untenured scapegoat Tuval against a mob of tenured anti-intellectual bullies, and go ahead group bond by singling out a person who thinks, reads, and believes most people here and particularly the author are smug anti-intellectual cult members. Apparently there are groups almost as nasty and narcissistic as the MRAs. My self-esteem will not be influenced by a nasty little gang of sexist racist cut members, but go for it, and at least try to make it clever! I am skeptical that you can.

  180. francisf says

    Whoops– chief witness against a powerful person accused of sexual harassment

  181. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Oooh: francisf is skeptical. Well. We definitely shouldn’t pay any attention to the evidence in this thread that francisf knows little about oppression or about how to do anti-oppression work. Because skepticism is magic.

  182. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @chigau:

    :glee:

    That is all.

  183. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I am skeptical that you can.

    Skepticism requires looking at the real evidence. Show us (evidence) that you are going beyond your own feelings. *snicker*.

  184. chigau (違う) says

    francisf has become much more heroic as this thread has grown.
    I am envious.

  185. chigau (違う) says

    WMDKitty
    Sometimes I wish I actually had a kink …
    meh
    too much effort

  186. John Morales says

    [Joy! Tailwag!]

    francisf:

    But feel free to ignore my defense of untenured scapegoat Tuval against a mob of tenured anti-intellectual bullies, and go ahead group bond by singling out a person who thinks, reads, and believes most people here and particularly the author are smug anti-intellectual cult members.

    Heh.

    You came here, here didn’t come to you. :)

    You’re not being singled out, you’re singling yourself out.

    Anyway, here is what how you introduced yourself:

    Here is my understanding of what went down. An untenured professor had a refereed journal article that a group of people objected to for reasons that are under debate but I think they didn’t like her conclusion. Rather than writing journal articles in response, or contacting the editors through official channels, they wrote an open letter calling for the retraction.

    You call that bullying. And with a straight face!

    My self-esteem will not be influenced by a nasty little gang of sexist racist cut members, but go for it, and at least try to make it clever!

    Why would noting that your initial purported point about bullying was specious spin influence your self-esteem? It hardly takes a clever person to be aware of it.

    (The guilty fleeth, etc.)

  187. chigau (違う) says

    Hi John Morales.
    I have a strong feeling that francisf is just about finished here.

  188. francisf says

    OK PZ Myers your call for people to “chew” me didn’t result in anything very enlightening or witty so far. With luck there is a wag that can remedy the lack of wit. So maybe you can address the enlightenment settle the factual assertion all of my points rely upon. I say:

    The public call to withdraw an article by (a small minority but plenty of them) prominent full professors of an article without factual errors or fraud has never happened in the history of academics.

    True or false? If false I will apologize. If true I stand by it all. To my knowledge, and I have looked into it quite a bit, it is true. It just takes one example in all of the extensive history of academics.

  189. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Giliell:

    Of course that slip is in now way Freudian.

    Anna would never have shown her slip so obviously. C’mon, she was classy.

  190. Vivec says

    To be honest I don’t think anything we could say would beat the unintentional comedy of @206

  191. francisf says

    Freudian? Could be. But all the abuse and real career consequences I was warned about and after not backing off I endured as a result were just my imagination because there is no real abuse of power in academics. And that stupid becky I was testifying in favor of? She had a good assistant professor job so it is also imaginary there was any abuse of power directed toward her. The textbook activities from social dominance theory were a coincidence. If you are in academics there are no cis male or stupid becky victims no no abuse could have possibly taken place. There see I have been learning something from the commenters here!

  192. francisf says

    Hmm… digging how? Here is how your cult members appear to operate:

    me: fact
    cult member: insult
    me: fact or question:
    cult member: insult.
    me: fact
    cult member: gotcha question
    me: inconvenient answer that contradicts cult dogma
    cult member: insult

    One of the other cult members asked me if I had ever fought for the victemized. I did serious damage to my career multiple times doing exactly that. I named one instance as asked. I’m sure you cult members are not all bad and some of you have done some good thing for a victim that caused damage to your career or exposed you to physical danger. Let’s hear it.

  193. Tethys says

    I appreciate all the comments from people who have a good grasp of the relevant areas, because all the jargon being misapplied makes it hard to parse. This helped immensely.

    Siobhan @ 75 ~
    @francisf
    To be clear, “all the people” claiming to be transracial is Rachel Dolezal.

    Becky (with the good hair) is hardly an obscure cultural reference, as long as you aren’t a white person who has never had to even think about your hair being deemed socially acceptable. It is not a metaphor for stupid, it is shorthand for a certain type of social climbing behavior with a much longer history than Sir Mix-A-Lot. Becky

  194. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Let’s hear it.

    OK Bully. There is a difference between being assertive, which is proper, and aggressive, which is not. It is whether or not you have your say, and let others make up their minds, or you stay and will t leave until they agree with you. You had your say several days ago. You have now shown you are aggressive, and are bullying us until we agree with you.
    Either go away (assertive as you have had your say), or show with prima facie evidence you are a bully by not shutting the fuck up. Your choice bully.

  195. Vivec says

    Huh, the soil must be pretty soft here, what with all the digging going on.

  196. francisf says

    #226 you are right I escalated into bullying behavior. No excuse for that. I apologize. I’ll give it a rest while I take a vacation. Thank you for taking that tone.

  197. chigau (違う) says

    I… don’t … can’t … even…
    Our Nerd
    OurNerd
    has been
    thanked
    by a troll
    for taking the right
    tone

  198. A. Noyd says

    @Giliell (#231)
    That’s the failure mode of strawmanning—ie. what happens when one tries to build a strawman while completely drunk on the fumes of one’s own bullshit. If it doesn’t already have a name, I suggest we call the phenomenon “haystacking”.

  199. Holms says

    #142 Brony
    It’s reasonable for me to clear things up and I’ll take follow-ups.
    Relevant to “they did what you asked”. First of all you need to think about how you are directing other people to information. Think about what was going on. I’m socially challenging someone, you typed that francisf did what I asked, and you directed me not to something francisf typed, but to two of your comments. WTF?#1

    Wrong. You have evidently lost the thread of who said what to whom, so here is an abridged recap:

    #95 francisf
    “Bullying is indeed nothing new. When bullying becomes for the first time also open to minorities, and some use it, it does at least have a satisfying payback aspect I do enjoy.
    What is new, to my knowledge, and I have asked for correction if wrong, is the letter call for withdrawal of a paper without it being objectively incorrect, fraudulent, or stolen.”

    This is an early enough point to start at. This is, as far as I can tell, is the point where the conversation regarding bullying within academia turns to the retraction call in particular.

    #96 Brony
    “I would not care if no one has ever asked for a retraction before and now some people are. All that matters to me is if stated reasons are bad.”

    #97 francisf
    “According to many philosophers that have entered the fray, the stated reasons are bad. According to the letter writers the reasons are good.”

    #98 Brony
    “Can you actually talk about the reasons at all?”

    There. A clear request for a discussion of the merits or flaws of the reasons behind the retraction call. Which is what I responded to, saying:

    #119 Me
    “But francisf did their reasoning: the reasoning supplied by those calling for the retraction was insufficient for such and hence should be dismissed. The onus is on them to make a good case for retraction. See the link supplied in posts #45 and #63!”

    Upon review, I can see why you became confused… kinda. Granted, I started that paragraph out by mentioning francisf, setting up the expectation that those posts would be his. I’ll grant that I could have spelled out clearer that those posts instead contained links to a different conversation altogether, perhaps by starting a new paragraph at “But the onus is on them to…” but to be honest I didn’t even realise you would not get that. All you had to do was read those posts – both very short! – to see that the latter part of the paragraph was not referring to any reasoning supplied by francisf, but by others, regarding the merits of the retraction call.

    By the way, I hope you noted that the retraction call falls far short of what is required.

    #170 WMDKitty
    Ugh. francis and Holms need to STFU, open their eyes, and PAY ATTENTION.

    You assume I have not been paying attention to this matter. I can’t speak for francisf, but I most certainly have been. Just a quick reminder: disagreeing with you does not mean I have been inattentive.

  200. Tethys says

    Haystacks of hyperbole seems to be the common denominator for the OP and francisf. I can’t quite follow the logic of accusing people here of being cult members for disagreeing complete with multiple citations, or yelling witch hunt when it is pointed out that your premise is mostly false assumptions.

    #222 sounds like francis wants a cookie for noticing sexism in academia, because he had to report some of it and testify? It is a very bitter truth that those who report are often punished for their trouble, but it’s a textbook example of cultural misogyny in action.

  201. francisf says

    #235. That factual statement of my actual life experience was in response to a direct question. I will ask you the same question: what time have you most put your career, reputation, or physical safety at risk to help somebody you didn’t know who was being victimized?

  202. says

    what time have you most put your career, reputation, or physical safety at risk to help somebody you didn’t know who was being victimized?

    Note that francisf is asking people about when they chose to help somebody who was being victimized. Must be nice having that choice*. Also known as “privileged white knight talking out of his ass”.

    *I still have no clue who the victim was and who the perpetrator was, but that’s besides the point.

  203. The Mellow Monkey says

    what time have you most put your career, reputation, or physical safety at risk to help somebody you didn’t know who was being victimized?

    Time? Like, you want to know how many times, or the total length of time spent in this activity? I can’t tell you how many times, but my rough estimate on the time spent on this activity would be twenty-one years or so. Give or take. I was an outspoken kid, but I’m not sure how much of that really counts, because it took me a while to learn how to actually be effective at what I was doing. But since I gained some agency in the world, it’s been as constant as drawing breath.

    francis, buddy, here’s the thing: All of those of us in this thread who are marginalized in some way? Every time we advocate for ourselves or people we know against oppression, we’re also helping people we don’t know. That’s how marginalized identities work. That’s how splash damage works. If someone hurts me on one of my axes of oppression, they’re hurting others too. And when I push back against that oppression, I’m helping others. Misogyny within academia is a real thing and I imagine you have seen it directed at women (if I understand your story correctly, anyway), but that’s not the only form of oppression. White women using their societal power to harm trans and black people has a long, hideous history that continues to this day. It’s still killing people.

    When other people are fighting for literal survival, that does not make their fight less noble than your performative allyhood. That you think it does is some Rudyard-Kipling-White-Man’s-Burden level cluelessness.

  204. francisf says

    OK I see. Let’s return to the original issue since my answer to a direct question was unsatisfactory.

    Here is my understanding of the two main opposing positions people take in the Tuvel controversy:

    1) the letter was a set of informed professionals making a reasonable call for retraction;

    versus

    2) the letter was an internet mob trying to destroy a young woman’s career and cow others into silence.

    Members of the opposing sides are pretty entrenched at this point. So a question for people in camp 1: why have virtually all of the tenured letters signers “gone to ground” and become silent on this issue? They have tenure so they can’t easily be fired, and if they have the courage of their convictions why are they letting the reponses by other tenured professors that support camp 1 go so unchallenged?

  205. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    FrancisF, why are you still bullying us? Why can’t you let it go?

  206. Siobhan says

    @francisf

    why have virtually all of the tenured letters signers “gone to ground” and become silent on this issue?

    1) Why does it matter that “virtually all” haven’t continued to comment? Why does anyone else “need” to continue arguing the thing they already argued, and what does their supposed absence mean to you? None of these answers are apparent to me, but for the record, continued objections by an author have been raised after the open letter.

    http://www.chronicle.com/article/Why-Tuvel-s-Article-So/240029

    They have tenure so they can’t easily be fired, and if they have the courage of their convictions why are they letting the reponses by other tenured professors that support camp 1 go so unchallenged?

    1) It’s not “unchallenged” as I linked to; 2) Camp #2 outnumbers camp #1 considerably, so I would hazard a guess they just have better things to do than explain themselves to 9,001 different philosobros. How is that evidence against their position?

  207. Tethys says

    francisf

    That factual statement of my actual life experience was in response to a direct question. I will ask you the same question: what time have you most put your career, reputation, or physical safety at risk to help somebody you didn’t know who was being victimized?

    Every single time I’ve witnessed someone being victimized I immediately come to their aid, regardless of if I know them or not. I also aid turtles in crossing roads. None of that is relelvant to why you qwere asked the question in the first place. People here aren’t taking issue with your claim that you’ve helped, they are mocking you for failing to understand that your bad experience with reporting is nothing compared to being the actual victim of harassment and misogyny.

  208. says

    why have virtually all of the tenured letters signers “gone to ground” and become silent on this issue?

    Nice Catch-22 you have there.
    If those people had continued to argue, you’d only be more convinced that they are just out to bully a young professional.
    If they think “I signed the letter, that was right, but now it’s enough because what I actually want is for this person to learn and become a better philosopher”, which is exactly the opposite of bullying, it means that somehow they no longer stand by what they said.
    Heads you win, tails I lose.

  209. says

    So a question for people in camp 1: why have virtually all of the tenured letters signers “gone to ground” and become silent on this issue?

    Because they’re not obsessive trolls, and are capable of making a strong clear statement on an issue of concern and letting it stand?

  210. jean-nicolasdenonne says

    Actually, part of the problem is that many people consider the statement neither strong nor clear

    1. It uses vocabulary and frameworks not recognized, accepted, or adopted by the conventions of the relevant subfields; for example, the author uses the language of “transgenderism” and engages in deadnaming a trans woman;

    The deadnaming was easily fixed by a correction to the article, which has been done. As far as I am aware, easily fixed issues are not ground for a retraction.
    “Transgendrism” is also used by trans thinkers and activists (ie: Julia Serano in Whipping girl)

    2. It mischaracterizes various theories and practices relating to religious identity and conversion; for example, the author gives an off-hand example about conversion to Judaism;

    Indeed, Tuvel does not expand much her reference to religious conversion, but what she says about it does not look incorrect (many jewish denominations do have a process to incorporate new converts) and nobody expanded on what exactly was wrong with Tuvel’s account.

    3. It misrepresents leading accounts of belonging to a racial group; for example, the author incorrectly cites Charles Mills as a defender of voluntary racial identification;

    This is flat out wrong. Tuvel cites Mills twice in the paper. Both citations are presented as possible objections against her position (which she then tries to evade or refute)

    4. It fails to seek out and sufficiently engage with scholarly work by those who are most vulnerable to the intersection of racial and gender oppressions (women of color) in its discussion of “transracialism”. We endorse Hypatia’s stated commitment to “actively reflect and engage the diversity within feminism, the diverse experiences and situations of women, and the diverse forms that gender takes around the globe,” and we find that this submission was published without being held to that commitment.

    This sounds more like a critique directed to Hypatia and its editors for failing to live up to their standards. Is that ok for a journal to publish an article, then publish a retraction of it because they realise, after the fact, that they did not follow their own editorial rules during the review process?
    To actually impeach Tuvel’s scholarship, wouldn’t the letter need to cite at least one paper with arguments relevant to her point and that she failed to engage with?
    Also, “the diversity within feminism, the diverse experiences and situations of women, and the diverse forms that gender takes around the globe” includes people like Germaine Greer, do we really want to demand that every feminist philosophy paper engage with every viewpoint and school of thought present in feminist philosophy?

  211. francisf says

    #249 that is a reasonable hypothesis. But Tuvel’s advisor in my opinion destroyed their very weak self-serving arguments, and the Tuvel board came in on Tuvel’s side. So silence is something but I don’t think it is “we made our point”. At least not in any situation in academics I have ever witnessed.

    #243 that response is the one I know of and I do not question that letter signer having the courage of their convictions; I just think she failed to get proper mentoring on professional behavior. Are there any others?

    #243 have you really not seen responses from tenured feminists? I will post some if you have missed them.

    PZ Myers I believe you have still not addressed my assertion that a mass call for retraction has never occurred before in the history of modern academics without the presence of fraud or provably false data. Do you agree or disagree with my assertion?

  212. jean-nicolasdenonne says

    Ah, disregard my previous comment (is there a way to delete it?)

    Made the mistake of rereading the letter after PZ’s comment and it sent me on the wrong track again (honestly, this letter is not working very well).

    After posting, I reread Tuvel’s article, got struck by how bad it was again but without being able to pinpoint what exactly was wrong with it (even if very lightly, it engages with Mills, it engages with Talia Bettcher) and then reading Noah Berlatsky (https://www.patreon.com/posts/on-tuvel-and-and-10058831), which I had somehow managed to miss, made it click.

    Sorry about that.

  213. Siobhan says

    @jean-nicolasdenonne

    This sounds more like a critique directed to Hypatia and its editors for failing to live up to their standards. Is that ok for a journal to publish an article, then publish a retraction of it because they realise, after the fact, that they did not follow their own editorial rules during the review process?

    Yes. This entire fucking blow up has been about how Hypatia failed Tuvel and the only reason so much noise is made otherwise is because of bad-faith venomous injections from philosobros and TERFs. The original post was about painting the critics of Tuvel’s work as terrible witch-hunters on a personal vendetta, a trope positively ripe with the same misogynistic dismissals already routinely lobbed at feminist philosophers, and a trope invoked without the slightest hint of irony or self-awareness in this very thread.

    do we really want to demand that every feminist philosophy paper engage with every viewpoint and school of thought present in feminist philosophy?

    What a bullshit strawman. Nobody said every viewpoint needs to be engaged. The letter said relevant viewpoints need to be engaged. As I said earlier, neither Hypatia nor Tuvel felt it was necessary to locate a single trans scholar who actually says the things “trans people say.” Or are we now conceding that Trump’s many “people have said” Trumpisms are valid constructions of knowledge?

    @francisf
    I’m done with your asinine bullshit. Evade and avoid, that’s all you do.

  214. says

    I’m done with your asinine bullshit. Evade and avoid, that’s all you do.

    But he’S doing so effectively and in a shining armour.
    Notice how quickly he dropped his “brave defender of marginalised people” stance when the actual marginalised told him he won’t get a cookie?

  215. Holms says

    #252
    But that could be addressed by someone to submitting a rebuttal. The open letter goes further than merely rebutting, remember that it also asks for retraction… but falls woefully short of making the case that any such thing should be done.

    #254
    Say rather that he was answering the question put to him by Crip Dyke in post 200 (“Hey, do you ever do anything for the oppressed, or is all the believing and the doubting taxing your capacities?”) only for everyone to deride his answer as ‘wanting a cookie for helping’. And if answering in the affirmative warrants derision, you can bet answering in the negative (or avoiding the question) would be treated with even more of the same.

    Heads you win, tails he loses. It’s no surprise that particular conversational tangent went nowhere.

  216. jean-nicolasdenonne says

    @Siobhan

    As I said earlier, neither Hypatia nor Tuvel felt it was necessary to locate a single trans scholar who actually says the things “trans people say.”

    I get your point but it is made somewhat hyperbolic by the fact that Tuvel’s paper cites Talia Bettcher discussing some of those things (she also cites Cressida Heyes, also present in the google doc list of material that Tuvel should have taken into account and which you linked to earlier.)

    Indeed, it does not look like she really got their thought (obviously, given Heyes reaction to the article) but that particular argument is *technically* incorrect (even if you are right that in spirit, Tuvel did not really engage with them.)

    @25 “Did you click on the 13-page list of citations I provided by trans scholars?”

    Also, you might want to explore that google doc some more, some of the references there are journalistic articles (not exactly scholarly work, though Tuvel cites Ederly, so maybe this is common practice accross the pond?) and even a paper by Rogers Brubaker (a cis white dude) jumping on the comparison between Jenner and Dolezal to make a somewhat abstract sociological point (better written than Tuvel’s but still oddly similar in its approach)

  217. says

    @Holms — OK, third option: You’re a transphobic dipshit, just like frankie.

    Remind me again why you’re even here, if you’re going to be a giant fucking douchebag to trans folks?

  218. says

    And seeing Holms’ 257, I can now say that option 3 has been confirmed. Just another privileged cishet white dude “explaining” shit he’s clueless about.

  219. francisf says

    I was assuming “feminist” was not a controversial category in the social science unlike the informal “philosobros”. So is there such a thing as a “feminist”? I assume tenured is not up for debate?

  220. francisf says

    I am “transphobic”. That would come as a surprise to the trans people I have had social relationships with. I’m interested to the extent to which lived experiences is irrelevant unless they are convenient. No I don’t want a “cookie”. I call BS on liars, racists, and sexists who try to erase me.

  221. Holms says

    #259
    Fourth option: claiming that francisf’s behaviour in this thread amounts to bullying is ludicrous. And where in this thread have I been a douchebag?

    #260
    How does my post at #257 confirm that I am ‘a transphobic dipshit’?

    #262
    A …follower… of Ophelia’s? This is very reminiscent of those times slymers refer to the Pharyngula commentariat as ‘followers’ of PZ, with the obvious implication being that we are some sort of hive mind over here.

    You are just as mistaken as they.

  222. Holms says

    Correct, not a follower, in much the same way that you are not a ‘follower’ of PZM simply because you agree with him on various things. You have a thought process that led to you agreeing with him on point X, and if you have any reasonable theory of mind, you’ll know that I have done the same.

    Also, screenshotting? You realise Kreator already linked directly to that thread, right?

  223. Siobhan says

    @Holms

    You have a thought process that led to you agreeing with him on point X, and if you have any reasonable theory of mind, you’ll know that I have done the same.

    For the record: “Siobhan” in English is pronounced “shi-vawn,” hence my nickname. Wheelers and ‘pitters alike seem to be content to think I’m naming myself after a knife. The name is Irish, as is its nickname. If you’d kindly stop referring to me as “shank” despite your thinly veiled contempt for my work, that’d be great.

  224. says

    Thanks for the screenshot, WMD Kitty.
    Really decent people we got here, right?

    Oh, and yes, Holms, people always leaping to the aid of the pretty young white woman is a sign of misogyny, but also of white women’s centuries old violence against women of colour (also see Kendall Jenner)

  225. says

    I am “transphobic”. That would come as a surprise to the trans people I have had social relationships with

    Really, do you play Bingo? Now it’s literally “I cannot be hostile to X because I got friends of minority X?

  226. Holms says

    #267
    I’m not sure why you quoted that text of mine, but yes I am aware of the origin of your nickname. I’d take your upbraiding a little more seriously if it was not so glaringly lopsided in application.

    What’s a wheeler?

    #270
    You realise a) I don’t have the power to edit or delete shit over there, and b) I have no desire to hide fthat comment in the first place.

  227. Siobhan says

    Holms:

    I can’t speak for anyone else in this thread, but just for myself, I do not think you consuming Benson’s material makes you transphobic on that basis alone. After all, I consume trans-antagonistic material regularly, albeit to fact-check it.

    However,

    Your first instinct upon noticing my material on Jesse Singal–only of tangential relevance to Dr. Tuvel–was to go to Butterflies & Wheels and post it in the comments, in a thread about accusing the ever-nebulous “trans activists” of being “reputation destroying” witch-hunters. Considering that the commentary in question (the very work being signal boosted by PZ Myers in the original post) provides numerous examples of the “engagement” you’ve been requesting in this thread, I am frankly baffled that you would associate my attempt to participate in the very dialogue you’ve requested with the “witch-hunt” in Benson’s eyes.

    I’m just curious, how, exactly, am I to phrase my concerns of factually specious trans-antagonistic public works in a way that doesn’t constitute a “witch-hunt”? It’s a rhetorical question. I already know the answer. You want us to do the research (for free) that Tuvel was paid to not do. Academic journal or GTFO, right? Easy peasy for an economic class that’s three times as likely to live in poverty. And I’m one of them! What the fuck do I know, eh? Nothing until I’ve personally tailor-suited a refutation of equal or greater length since the examples I provided evidently do not count.

    But then, we wouldn’t want to sound reasonable, would we? I suppose you can imagine me clutching my hair and issuing blood-curdling screams to maintain your self-righteous indignation that teh ebul twanz cabal have spoken out of turn yet again. Anything to avoid discussing philosophy’s structural exclusion of minority voices or how “In Defense of Transracialism” is a stark example of it or how the entire conversation feminist philosophers were trying to have was about the motherfucking journal and the discipline as a whole.

    And look–despite the fact that the calls for retraction were ignored by Hypatia–despite the fact that your/Benson’s side “won” and that Dr. Tuvel’s precious fucking scholarship stands, there is yet another open letter calling for the journal to apologize for apologizing! And look–here they are, calling me fucking “irrational, unscientific, and reactionary” for the 10,000th fucking time, sounding no different from the very philosobros who just months ago were mocking the discipline of feminist philosophy themselves! Are they, too, guilty of all the shit you implicitly accuse me of when you dragged my material into Benson’s wankery? [major content notice for trans-antagonism] http://www.feministcurrent.com/2017/05/25/open-letter-hypatia-controversy/

    I don’t think the answer is “yes,” by the way. I am just fine with Meghan Murphy spitting venom in her shitty little TERF echo-chamber, and frankly being called “irrational” is just the background radiation of being trans. What I don’t appreciate is being told that because I have not taken the time to couch my response in a fluffy down pillowcase that I, or the scholars disappointed in Hypatia’s publishing, are now engaging in something as utterly despicable as described by Benson.

    And that is why I think you’re both a jerk and transphobic. Calling for a “reasonable dialogue” while out of the corner of your mouth maligning the people attempting to dialogue is, in my estimate, pretty damning evidence thereof.

  228. francisf says

    An interesting pattern here is that a respect for lived experiences does not seem to be a general principle but rather one of convenience. Similarly for referencing people of a certain identity: who would be outraged if a paper on the MRA movement had no scholars that were white males? I wouldn’t. But pointing out the logical contradictions in the positions here and they go straight to “transphobic”. So this is getting at the core dishonesty. So what is driving these fake principles? My hypothesis is that most philosophy PhDs don’t get tenure track jobs. About half of trans PhD students are in the bottom half of the skill set among their peers. Such a poor student should try to create opportunities by screaming for jobs since they aren’t of the intellectual or professional caliber to compete with talent like Tuvel. Demanding they be referenced for their identity rather than their ideas helps create a job program for such untalented people. The commenters here are clearly either most under 18 ore they are poor caliber graduate students. So of course if they lack ethics (given the many sexist and racist comments I assume that is the default) they will try to create openings by trying to destroy the careers of people that intimidate them (like Tuvel clearly does) and demand for them. It’s almost always follow money and it appears to be here.

  229. John Morales says

    francisf, you’re not the observer — you’re the specimen.

    Lovely little rant, BTW.

    So, it’s all about the money: those untalented trans PhD students in the bottom half of the skill set among their peers have co-opted commenters here — other than yourself — into their job program of trying to destroy the careers of people that intimidate them (like Tuvel clearly does) so they themselves get those careers.

    (Such perspicacity!)

  230. francisf says

    That is a hypothesis. The commenters here are probably mostly undergrads– not a single one of them seems to have much if any lived experience as an academic. The commenters here all appear to be “useful idiots” that are unlikely to benefit. To test the hypothesis we would have to trace who the instigators on the letter were. Do we know that? I’ll see if I can find out. I anticipate getting insulted as a result– usually a sign one is onto something so I hope so.

  231. John Morales says

    francisf, bullshit is what it is.

    The commenters here are probably mostly undergrads– not a single one of them seems to have much if any lived experience as an academic.

    Irrelevant. The commenters are not the comments.

    The commenters here all appear to be “useful idiots” that are unlikely to benefit.

    Ditto.

    To test the hypothesis we would have to trace who the instigators on the letter were.

    Your failure at abductive reasoning is evident.

    But hey, if untalented trans PhD students in the bottom half of the skill set among their peers have co-opted commenters here, imagine what the talented lot could do.

    <shiver>

    Do we know that? I’ll see if I can find out.

    You’ll see if you can find out whether we know that, eh?

    <snicker>

    I anticipate getting insulted as a result– usually a sign one is onto something so I hope so.

    Not just under 18 ore they are poor caliber graduate students (undergrads, most recently), but insulting ones at that.

    (Nothing like you, right?)

  232. francisf says

    I have found patient zero in that letter. So far the hypothesis is promising. Definitely “winner” grad student that uses the language of genocide in regards to Tuvel and her defenders. I’ll go pursue that hypothesis wherever it leads and figure out the full family tree of the letter, and leave you now all to your highly intellectual discourse. I won’t be reading anything further in this string but please do feel free to make more insults– I understand that is more in-group signaling than having anything to do with me anyway.

  233. says

    An interesting pattern here is that a respect for lived experiences does not seem to be a general principle but rather one of convenience. Similarly for referencing people of a certain identity: who would be outraged if a paper on the MRA movement had no scholars that were white males?

    Translation: I have no idea about power gradients or what on earth “privilege” actually means

    I wouldn’t. But pointing out the logical contradictions in the positions here and they go straight to “transphobic”. So this is getting at the core dishonesty.

    See above. Reference: “Why can black people use the N-word but I can’t?

    So what is driving these fake principles? My hypothesis is that most philosophy PhDs don’t get tenure track jobs. About half of trans PhD students are in the bottom half of the skill set among their peers.

    Translation: I have absolutely no evidence that this is the case, but I will create the biggest ad hominem I can think of.

    Such a poor student should try to create opportunities by screaming for jobs since they aren’t of the intellectual or professional caliber to compete with talent like Tuvel. Demanding they be referenced for their identity rather than their ideas helps create a job program for such untalented people.

    Those kids are so talentless, they couldn’t reason their way out of a wet paperbag, but somehow they’re capable of running a massive trans conspiracy that gets people who merit a position kicked out.*

    The commenters here are clearly either most under 18 ore they are poor caliber graduate students.

    Lolsob. Cupcake, you’re so far off, you’Re not even in the right solar system anymore. But nice try.

    So of course if they lack ethics (given the many sexist and racist comments I assume that is the default) they will try to create openings by trying to destroy the careers of people that intimidate them (like Tuvel clearly does) and demand for them. It’s almost always follow money and it appears to be here.

    See above.

    *This is the most unoriginal accusation ever. Just exchange “trans students” for “women” or “black people”, but of course our so called gender critical feminists will nod along as long as the target is “deserving”.

  234. Tethys says

    I understand that is more in-group signaling than having anything to do with me anyway.

    Sez the troll who has spent a week filling a thread with logical fallacies and being a condescending arse to trans people. Please , complain some more about how we are so mean/a cult/undergraduates (!?) for ignoring your lived experience of seeing others be oppressed. Poor, poor, cupcake.

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