Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Political Correctness in Political Science: Gay & Lesbian Issues

In general, the poisonous effects of political correctness have not yet fully penetrated into political science.

Yes, the vast majority of political scientists are liberals or (much less frequently) leftist radicals.

But in general, the kinds of biases one sees in political science are the traditional liberal biases, and not the more current variety of political correctness.

Some evidence of this is found in the case of the Group of 88 at Duke. In the wake of rape accusations made against several Duke Lacrosse players, the Group issued a statement that assumed the guilt of the lacrosse players. Why did they assume that? Because the accused were white males, and the accuser was a black woman.

Several departments and programs at Duke signed on to the statement. Political science was not among them. Among individual faculty, 88 signed on to the statement, including only three members of the political science department.

But political correctness has made inroads into political science, as shown by a request we got today (via a mass e-mail) from the American Political Science Association Committee on the Status of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, and the Transgendered (LGBT) in the Profession. It’s interesting that they have to translate “LGBT.” If political science were really entirely onboard with political correctness, that would not have been necessary. Here is the text of the e-mail:
The American Political Science Association is studying the relationship between sexual orientation and professional life. We urge all APSA members -- regardless of their sexual orientation -- to complete this questionnaire, which should take no longer than 10-12 minutes. Anonymity and confidentiality will be completely protected.
Here is the survey.

Most of it is relatively innocuous, although there is a fairly clear agenda on some issues. The survey shows a lot of concern with including “LGBT” issues into regular political science courses (they wouldn’t want students to be able to avoid indoctrination by failing to take certain classes). They are also very interested in whether faculty are encouraged to do “LGBT” research or discouraged from doing so.

And clearly, some of the people on the Committee are wanting to start a journal on Sexuality and Politics.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with studying the gay lobby as another interest group, or studying gay identification as a politically relevant identity, or looking at public policy issues that relate to homosexuality.

The problem is that academic projects like this tend to produce little politically correct ghettos, where only certain political attitudes are allowed, where all research and teaching must support a political agenda, and where broader intellectual standards are considered irrelevant, if not downright oppressive.

Looking at departments of Women and Politics, or Black Politics or Chicano Politics tells the story.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It’s interesting that they have to translate “LGBT.” If political science were really entirely onboard with political correctness, that would not have been necessary. "

Can you explain this? I don't understand what you're saying.

6:52 PM  

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