“Dear University of Vermont”: a Jodi Shaw equivalent at a different school

March 10, 2021 • 9:45 am

I was alerted to this video by the tweet of Jodi Shaw (below). Shaw, of course, was involved in a huge kerfuffle with Smith College, which first got publicized when she put up a video on YouTube called “Dear Smith College: I have a few requests.

Now there’s a Shaw equivalent at the University of Vermont: Professor Aaron Kindsvatter, who teaches about adult learning and mental health at the Unversity’s College of Education and Social Services. He made a nine-minute video below the tweet. You may have to watch it on YouTube, where for some reason it’s restricted by Kindsvatter himself. The video resembles that of Shaw, whose own videos probably inspired him, in saying that an atmosphere of anti-white racism pervades his campus—and in a very similar way that, according to Shaw, pervades the campus of Smith College.

Kindsvatter’s plaint mirrors that of Shaw: he’s calling out “discrimination against whiteness” at the University of Vermont, a stance adopted by some “desperate persons who need a group to hate.”  He’s worried that this ideology will find its way to hate groups, who will adopt its methods. I’m not sure what methods he’s referring to, however.

At any rate, Kindsvatter finds it hard to see how it became possible for people to denigrate anybody by their race “on such a progressive campus.” This was, he says, instantiated by a recent teach-in on “whiteness” in which “a number of social ills were associated in a causal way with people of a particular race” (he means white people).

He also learned that pushing back against anti-whiteness was “not okay”, and has learned that his University is instituting policies that will chill dissent, like adopting the official definitions of racism and antiracism from Ibram X. Kendi. He concludes that he would be considered a “racist” according to those definitions, which makes it difficult to dissent from University policy.

His requests, similar to those of Shaw.

1.) Stop reducing his personhood to a racial category in the teach-ins.

2.) Do not divide the university into groups of racial categories.

3.) Stop telling Kindsvatter that his values are “harmful” because he doesn’t adhere to the prevailing ideology.

4.) Do not present him with the alternatives of either accepting the policies of Kendi and DiAngelo, or being considered a racist (he says he’s read both authors “and did not find wisdom there”).

In the end, he says the University may be violating Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits “discrimination in the workplace on the basis of race, color, and national origin is prohibited.” He calls for those who share his concerns to meet up and talk about it.

Is he, like Jodi Shaw, doomed to be toast? I suspect he’s going to get a lot of flak from the administration, but we shall see. Perhaps there’s another GoFundMe campaign in the future. . .

19 thoughts on ““Dear University of Vermont”: a Jodi Shaw equivalent at a different school

    1. Mind if I ask an HR question? Would it be legal to subject prospective employees to something like the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory to filter out cluster B’s, psychopaths, and other trouble makers?

  1. Maybe we’re seeing the beginnings of push-back that will ultimately swing liberal culture back towards liberality? One can hope, at least.

    1. I hope so. It’s Stalinesque. Next academics will be sent to gulags to do hard labour. I think often of the parallels and I know it’s hyperbole at this stage but the zealotry and conformity are similar.

      1. I’m thinking maybe more like the self-criticism sessions and ‘re-education’ camps of the Cultural Revolution during the ’60s and ’70s… with Kendi now the ‘little red book’ of the moment.

  2. I think that it’s clear that Kindsvatter has watched and is emulating Jodi Shaw’s videos – and why not? I found him a little less engaging, but he obviously finds himself in the same impossible position. I loved the understatement about reading DiAngelo and Kendi “and did not find wisdom there”.

    Even the (very often Woke) Guardian had a piece today about the futility – and even counterproductive results – of compulsory “diversity training” : https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/mar/10/workplace-diversity-training-does-it-work-racial-justice.

    is diversity training just a money-maker, I ask Kalev?
    “Most diversity training doesn’t work. Most of it is not for free. So you can do the 1+1,” she says.

      1. Do you follow James Lindsay’s work? He was one of the academics who wrote the hoax papers. I appreciate that you’re paying attention and recognize the danger of this ideology and the rate of its infection. I too am trying to sound the alarm to friends and family. Do you know about the New Hampshire bill, HB544? Please have a listen.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yf62001uZlQ

        P.S. There is a group that helps people like Jodi and Aaron and people who are being subjected to DEI training. Founded by Helen Pluckrose

        https://counterweightsupport.com/

  3. …his University is instituting policies that will chill dissent, like adopting the official definitions of racism and antiracism from Ibram X. Kendi.

    I don’t find Kendi’s definitions (well, the ones I found when I googled) to be particularly troublesome or the sort of thing that would “chill dissent.” They are maybe overbroad, but in the right ballpark. Here’s his definition of “Racist idea”: “A racist idea is any idea that suggests one racial group is inferior to or superior to another racial group in any way. ”

    I could quibble with the any idea language sweeping in known genetic differences and things like that, however I really think that’s a minor problem. The bigger problem is that woke people advocating that all whites are racist and in need of some sort of intervention or remedial training don’t seem to be practicing what they preach. All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others, I guess.

    1. The problem, of course, is squaring that definition of “racist idea” with other assertions about how “whiteness” is a sort of original sin, indelibly part of one’s privileged white life.

  4. A single sentence in the Guardian article referenced by JezGrove is sufficient explanation of the entire trend at colleges, public agencies, and companies: “Today, the Diversity Equity Inclusion (DEI) business sector is booming, raking in $8bn a year.” Add 1 + 1 indeed.

  5. Is he, like Jodi Shaw, doomed to be toast?

    I’m watching “The Stranger” (a 1946 Orson Welles/ Edward G Robinson film) while reading WEIT, and I can’t help thinking that gas chambers would be so much more efficient than toasting the enemy one at a time. I’m sure the idea will occur to one of the Wokerati soon.

  6. “Diversity training” is transparently a money-maker for those selling it, from independent hustlers like DiAngelo to established “educational consultant” companies who have adopted D/E/I as their major
    product line. The greater puzzle is what induces the consumers of these products to shell out billions
    every year for them? Two different answers come to mind. (1) In academic institutions and public agencies, the institutions have a kind of monopoly in regard to what they do, so the management can choose to fritter away plenty of money without market consequences; in effect there is no market
    operating. (2) In private companies, and also public agencies, pure faddishness plays a big
    role in certain purchasing decisions. Go into any public restroom in the USA, and you will find the
    paper towels dispensed by idiotic, motion-activated gadgets which are no improvement whatsoever
    over the old roller type dispensers, but management has bought into them as a new fad, one that is
    now nearly (but not entirely) universal. A similar faddishness is evident in the incessant churning of “new” Windows operating systems every year or two, “new” cellphones, etc. etc. So, managements that suppose they must keep up with the latest restroom towel dispenser gadgetry presumably also suppose that the latest thing in “Diversity training” workshops is even more trendy.

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