Don’t Fire Dilbert! Colleges Segregate More than He Does

Not all segregationists are created equal. Some lose their jobs—others get six-figure salaries.

Last week cartoonist Scott Adams became the first type of segregationist, losing his award-winning comic strip for advocating that his fellow whites separate themselves from blacks to avoid racial harm (apparently the Dilbert creator is afraid of black people).

Ironically, just days later I got this email from a disgusted professor lamenting the second kind of segregationist: “My School is running its first ever racially segregated faculty and staff workshop this Friday. See below.”

What followed was a memo from the associate dean of the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education inviting employees to a training called “Engaging in Equity-Based Teaching from Your Positionality.

Bolded so no one could miss it, the administrator warned, “Please note this workshop will be offered in two sessions, the first for BIPOC faculty beginning at 11:00 am and the second for non-BIPOC faculty beginning at 1:30 pm.

(For those who can’t keep up with the woke talk, BIPOC stands for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.)

As someone old enough to remember racially segregated bathrooms and water fountains, I can’t help but wonder what would happen if a BIPOC person attended the whites-only training, or if a white person came to the BIPOC training. Would the associate dean call the police to arrest agitators who don’t know their (racial) place? I fear that no professor who desegregated would get tenure. A similarly brave student might get expelled for threatening the racial order.

[Related: “End Collegiate Collection of Racial Data”]

The taxpayer-funded Neag School of Education, which trains Connecticut’s teachers, apparently does not want its BIPOCs contaminated by contact with whites, or maybe it’s the other way around—UConn wants to keep sensitive whites like Scott Adams “safe” from BIPOC-related dangers. Maybe Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke could be UConn’s graduation speaker at a separate-but-equal white ceremony—not the BIPOC one, of course.

This is the new normal in academia. While Scott Adams types get fired, woke segregationists get promoted. College bureaucrats divide students and faculty into victims and oppressors based on ethnicity or sexuality, adhering to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) principles which have recreated forced segregation as an educational best practice.

That started at the top. In Neo-Segregation at Yale, Dion Pierre and Peter Wood show that, for decades, elite universities have segregated student admissions, orientation, housing, and even graduation ceremonies, creating a new Jim Crow that cements differences rather than commonalities.

Even research is no longer exempt from apartheid. Nobody was surprised when an academic journal editor told me I could not submit a quantitative paper on black school principals because I’m not black. President Biden’s February 16 Executive Order, “Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government,” will create “agency equity teams” which impose such DEI separatism throughout the government.

Ironically, scientific evaluations indicate that DEI practices are unpopular and ineffective. DEI contradicts psychology’s contact hypothesis research, which guided successful integration in the U.S. Army. Integration works best when those from different groups have close contact, earn equal status through common challenges, share common identities, and have leadership that supports integration—unlike that of UConn.

[Related: “Diversity, Equity, and Segregation”]

Yet we should not fire segregationists. If we canceled every artist with dumb ideas, little art would remain: America needs Dilbert. Though the UConn bureaucrat probably has far less social value, she should not be harassed. I am shaming but not naming her because I do not want her life destroyed for her errors. Everyone is stupid sometimes. Moreover, as Danish journalist Jacob Mchangama shows in Free Speech: A History from Socrates to Social Media, oppression never stops bad ideas—it just drives them underground and turns their proponents into martyrs.

Instead of banishing segregationists, disprove their ideas. My collaborator Wilfred Reilly did that when he debated white supremacist Jared Taylor about whether ethnic diversity makes America stronger or weaker. The debate took place at Kentucky State University (KSU), the historically black institution where Professor Reilly teaches. Clearly, KSU students are no snowflakes.

Emulating Reilly, I challenge Scott Adams to a debate about whether segregation makes us stronger or weaker, to be held at the University of Connecticut.

Bring it on, Dilbert!


Image: Adobe Stock

Author

  • Robert Maranto

    Robert Maranto is the 21st Century Chair in Leadership at the University of Arkansas, and with others has edited or written 15 books including The Politically Correct University. He edits the Journal of School Choice and served on his local school board from 2015-20. These opinions are his alone.

5 thoughts on “Don’t Fire Dilbert! Colleges Segregate More than He Does

  1. “Though the UConn bureaucrat probably has far less social value, she should not be harassed. I am shaming but not naming her because I do not want her life destroyed for her errors. Everyone is stupid sometimes.” One important difference between Scott Adams and the bureaucrat is that the latter is a government official with power over people’s lives. The associate dean does not merely have bad ideas; she imposes those ideas on others by giving them orders and evaluating their performance, ultimately controlling not just who works at the college but who receives state licenses to teach. It is appropriate to name government officials and hold them personally responsible for their actions.

    1. Great point. I agree in part. I believe that these policies are wrong, and indeed serious threats to democracy, so we should get rid of the bureaucracies that impose them and downsize those bureaucrats, probably including this one. But downsizing is different that personally humiliating someone or doxing them. In downsizing—which I saw a lot of in the Clinton admin—you say hey, you are probably a good person but this bureaucratic function is not needed and perhaps even doing more harm than good so we are defunding it. The taxpayers expect no less. Here is your severance package and here are ideas about finding a new job that has greater market demand or social utility. Good luck!

  2. Scott Adams is 65 years old, hes got 10 years in at PacBell which probably means that he may now be eligible for some sort of PacBell pension. He also is entitled to all the royalties from not all the Dilbert cartoons but all of the related merchandise.

    He’s been drawing/writing Dilbert for over 35 years. Gary Trudeau, the author of Doonesbury, burned out after about a dozen years and took about an 18 month break in the early 1980s, coming back with the same characters but they having all graduated from college.

    And newspaper circulations are *way* down from what they were 20-30 years ago, and most licensing agreements are based on circulation. Hence he would not be making as much money as he had been in the past. And newspaper readers are increasingly retired and not as interested in Dilbert’s workplace humor.

    He likely had a contract with his distributor (Andrews McMeel) and it’s often quite messy for an artist to walk away from such a contract. BUT if the distributor terminates the contract, Adams is free to contract with others — and that’s what has happened: https://www.andrewsmcmeel.com/amu-severing-relationship-with-dilbert-creator-scott-adams/

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a modified version of the strip showing up on one or more of the youth-oriented conservative websites.

  3. The author completely misses the points Scott Adams was trying to make. He was not advocating segregation. Nor is he afraid of black people. This is utter nonsense. Go watch Adams’ interview with Hotep Jesus and learn something.

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