Archive for the 'General Science' Category

You know what? Leave me out of this

It's a Man's Man's Man's World, at least if you look at who Williams and Ceci thought worthy of responding to.

It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World, at least if you look at who Williams and Ceci thought worthy of responding to.

Wendy Williams and Stephen Ceci wrote another response to the critics of their study. (Here’s their study, and my original article criticizing it.) I don’t have anything in particular to say about the contents of their response — in a sense there’s nothing new in it, and they don’t adequately address the formal criticisms laid out by others. In particular, I recommend revisiting ‘ excellent analysis, and her follow-up. However, I did want to bring up two very important points.

First: several media outlets (CNN, Science Careers, and now the Huffington Post, after last year’s New York Times op-ed) have been happy to let Williams and Ceci not only promote their work, but also characterize their critics. In other words, the editors of these publications decided to let Williams and Ceci give their version of their critics’ arguments and motives — which are not accurate versions of either. This is not responsible journalism.

Second: in the Huffington Post rebuttal, Williams and Ceci only respond to articles written by men (including me). That’s very interesting and problematic, given that many of the people I know who responded to their study in various ways — Zevallos, Marie-Claire Shanahan, Karen James, Kate Clancy, Rachel Feltman, Lisa Grossmann — are women. To put it mildly, there are plenty of female scholars and analysts who have commented, but Williams and Ceci chose not to respond to them. Instead, those women are mischaracterized as having a vested interest in the narrative of sexist oppression, while the men are allowed to have substantive criticisms (albeit ones that can be dismissed).

I’ll stand behind my piece in Slate, but it’s not because I did original research: I reported on other people’s findings. But that’s precisely why Williams and Ceci don’t need to respond to me, and why they do need to face their other critics honestly. This isn’t about me: I’m out of academia, I’m a guy, I’m a non-participant. So, let me say this to Williams and Ceci: please leave me out of it.


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