The wokest job ad ever (from U. Mass. Boston)

September 28, 2023 • 9:30 am

A younger colleague send me a link to this job ad, which you can read by clicking on the screenshot. It manages in one ad to not only violate all dicta of academic freedom and rules against compelled speech, but may even be illegal. It also introduces a new word: “Latiné”, which I guess is the privileged people’s way of replacing the ludicrous “Latinx”, which is not only unpronounceable but was rejected by most Hispanic people.  The form of acceptable words keeps changing, as, I believe, Orwell noted.

But the job ad is far worse than just introducing a new and ludicrous term. Click to read:

The job is for a tenure-track assistant professor in Clinical Psychology, and they’re clearly looking for a “Latiné” acolyte of Kendi.  It’s written so that they don’t require a “Latiné candidate”, but you’d bloody well better be one to get this job. Here are the requirements, which demand adherence to current Social Justice ideology.

Here’s a summary of what they want:

Tenure-Track Assistant Professor Position in Clinical Psychology

The Psychology Department at the University of Massachusetts Boston invites applications for a tenure-track Assistant Professor position to begin September 1, 2024. We seek a colleague whose work promotes social justice and anti-racism through connections with psychological processes and healing, and who will contribute meaningfully to our Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program’s scientist-practitioner-activist focus.

Priority will be given to candidates whose work focuses on applied psychology within Latiné communities. However, we also encourage applications from candidates who focus on applied psychology within other minoritized communities and who would complement our social justice mission. In lieu of, or addition to, a focus on Latiné communities, we would particularly welcome applications from individuals whose work reflects one or more of the following foci:

    • lifespan development within racial minority populations (particularly those focused on children or families)
    • intersectional focus within racial minority populations (e.g., sexual, disabled, Low-Income and Economically Marginalized (LIEM), or gender minorities)
    • Indigenous American, Asian American, or MENA (Middle Eastern and North African) individuals and communities
    • trans or gender minority populations, particularly from a developmental perspective
    • ableism or work with disability communities
    • ally/accomplice development, action, and psychology.

Examples of potential areas of scholarship include but are not limited to: mental health experiences or disparities related to race, culture, and/or identity in children; community-based problem prevention and/or evidence-based healing practice within marginalized racial and ethnic minority communities; developmental processes of racialization; racial and anti-racist socialization within families; experiences with, effects of, or coping with and resistance to racism and/or inter-sectional discrimination (e.g., ableism, cissexism); family resilience processes; culturally-responsive approaches to inter-generational family dynamics.

The rest of the ad specifies qualifications needed (Ph.D. in relevant field, etc.) and the teaching requirements.

It’s clear that the applicants must have a research program aimed not just at studying “Latiné” (or other “marginalized ethnic minority) communities, but bringing them to equity. That is, if you get the job, your research had better show that there are inequities based on existing racism. It would not be acceptable, for instance, to show that gaps in performance result from different cultures or preferences. And you must, of course “promote social justice and anti-racism,” which is the compelled speech part.

Your academic freedom is severely limited for this position, as your mission is not just producing scholarship, but engaging in social engineering.

The scholar who sent me this ad gave me these comments in his/her email:

Note that they don’t even bother sugar-coating their search for a fellow social justice/anti-racism colleague.

For a young scholar like me who is committed to viewpoint diversity and open inquiry and who is also searching for a tenure-track position, this basically reads that folks like me need not apply.

Indeed it does! All I can say is that I get about a half dozen similar ads or letters every day, and this one is not much of an outlier. I chose to put it up just so people can keep their fingers on the pulse of academia. As it’s clear from the above, the pulse is very weak.

20 thoughts on “The wokest job ad ever (from U. Mass. Boston)

  1. It is entirely likely some good, sound, empirical results will come from it. Those results will probably and should be used in the real world.

    But that all can be planned out without certain other “things” that are put across. What “things”, and what are they? We know what – but of course, once the results are in, the justification for the other “things” will be iron-clad. Justification for keeping certain “things” – and protection of those “things”.

    That is pernicious.

  2. Latine is a feminist (pro woman) alternative to Latino that originated in Latin America. As opposed to Latinx that originated in the United States.

    The key Latinos’ complaint about Latinx is that it butchers their language, and is an Anglo imposition on their culture. At least, Latine is of Latin American invention and doesn’t aesthetically butcher Spanish.

    So I would say that Latine is a step up from Latinx. Latinx makes me grit my teeth every time I see it.

    1. When my institution rejected my request to list Мы, наши as my pronouns, I of course
      protested on behalf of the Russianx community. The ~2% of my genome that descends form Homo neanderthalensis likes to refer to itself, naturally, as Neanderthalx.

  3. “UMass Boston is committed to the full inclusion of all qualified individuals.” Really, all qualified candidates? I suppose it depends on what UMass means by “qualified.”

  4. Note that you’ve left off the accent: it’s not “Latine” but “Latiné”, which makes no more sense than Latine. With the accent, it’s not really a step up from Latinx, but that’s just my view.

    1. I was too lazy to add the accent mark.

      Most Latinos outside of the United States have never even heard of the word Latinx, and those who do will call it an American term. Latinx doesn’t exist as a word in the official Spanish dictionary maintained in Madrid.

      Many Latinos the U.S. viscerally loathe the term, and, as many know, a poll showed that only 2-3% of Latinos in the U.S. use it.

      Also note, that many feminist activists and scholars in Latin American also dislike the word Latinx.

    2. So is Latiné supposed to be pronounced with the stress on the last syllable? My rudimentary understanding of Spanish is that what we call an acute accent on a terminal vowel shifts the stress from its normal syllable (last but one) to that terminal vowel.

      Or is the word just never used in speech, only in print as a kind of reverse-shibboleth, where pronunciation doesn’t matter?

  5. “The job is for a tenure-track assistant professor in Clinical Psychology, and they’re clearly looking for a “Latiné” acolyte of Kendi.” – J. Coyne

    That is, the Academic Liberation Front is looking for political partisans.

  6. I’m a faculty member at UMass Boston in the math department, and the sad thing is that our university senior administration is all-in on *performative* anti-racism, but they still contribute to structural racism — even when you show them what they are doing. Last year I wrote a huge substack piece about the damage our provost is doing to our minority-majority student-body by setting our students up for failure in math (and pocketing their tuition dollars in the process). It’s disgusting. Here’s my substack piece:

    I also wrote a report on the same matter to present to our Faculty Council on this upcoming Monday. It documents how our provost’s decisions (against the advice of the Math Department and the College of Science and Mathematics) are violating policies of our state Board of Higher Education as well as the standards of our accreditor (New England Commission of Higher Education). I can share the pdf of that report if anyone is interested.

    1. If you want to get some sense for what’s going on at UMass Boston, you can check out this job add for a new Vice Provost (effectively second-in-command on the academic side of the campus):

      Also check out this article about our campus (not written by me) on the Heterodox STEM substack:

      Some of us have been pushing back for a while (, but there is only so much we can do. I wish someone at the Boston Globe would look into this again.

  7. “We seek a colleague whose work promotes social justice and anti-racism through connections with psychological processes and healing, and who will contribute meaningfully to our Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program’s scientist-practitioner-activist focus.” – University of Massachusetts

    “Clinical Psychology”? Sounds more like Critical Psychology:

    “Critical psychology comprises a broad range of international approaches centered around theories and practices of critique, power, resistance, and alternatives of practice. Although critical psychology had an axial age in and around the 1970s, many sources can be found decades and even centuries earlier. Critical psychology is not only about the critique of psychology, which is a broader historical and theoretical field, but about doing justice in and through theory, justice with and to groups of people, and justice to the reality of society, history, and culture as they powerfully constitute subjectivity, as well as the discipline and profession of psychology. Doing justice in and through psychological theory has a strong basis in Western critical approaches, representing a privileged position of reflection in Euro-American research institutions. Critical psychologists argue that traditional psychology is missing its subject matter and hence is not doing justice in methodology, and its practices of control and adjustment are not doing justice to the emancipatory possibilities of human agency or human science. Critical psychologists who are attempting to do justice with and to human beings are not neglecting the onto-epistemic-ethical domain, but are instead focusing on people, often marginalized or oppressed groups.”

    (Teo, Thomas. “History and Systems of Critical Psychology.” /Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Psychology/. [Online version.] Oxford University Press, 2021.)

    “[W]e [critical psychologists] evaluate the theories and practices of psychology in terms of how they maintain an unjust and unsatisfying status quo. As we do so, we pay particular attention to the welfare of oppressed and vulnerable individuals and groups. We believe that psychology has the potential to help bring about a significantly better world, in keeping with its ethical mandate to promote human welfare. Yet too often we settle for too little.” (pp. 4-5)

    “Critical psychologists challenge dominant societal values and the institutions that reinforce them for a variety of reasons, in a variety of ways.” (p. 5)

    “[O]ppression is a central concept in critical psychology…because it is a pervasive phenomenon that undermines the well-being of countless people around the world.” (p. 6)

    “Critical psychologists generally consider certain values primary, either explicitly or implicitly. …These include /social justice/, /self-determination/ and /participation/, /caring and compassion/, /health/, and /human diversity/ (…). Values such as these guide our critiques of current social structures and our visions of a better society. They direct our attention to institutional barriers that maintain oppressive practices.” (p. 8)

    (Prilleltensky, Isaac, and Dennis Fox. “Introducing Critical Psychology: Values, Assumptions, and the Status Quo.” In /Critical Psychology: An Introduction/, edited by Dennis Fox and Isaac Prilleltensky, 3-20. London: SAGE Publications, 1997.)

  8. “The form of acceptable words keeps changing, as, I believe, Orwell noted.”
    Where did Orwell write about this?
    There was a lot about the use of language for mind control, in 1984. Newspeak kept changing, but in a different way. Words were being eliminated to narrow down people’s thoughts.
    The acceptable words to describe a disadvantaged group do seem to change more quickly than other words. Like, it’s bemusing to watch how the “correct” word for black people has changed. It seems to happen because the standard word becomes negatively loaded, or people want to differentiate themselves by using a new word.
    So we had, a long time ago, “colored people”. That is now associated with racism. Now, we have “people of color”, which is just a permutation of “colored people”, but it’s the acceptable phrase … .Our minds don’t take language literally, the meaning comes from the culture.

      1. Not in there. He writes about euphemisms, political language and standard phrases turning off thought, etc. … but not about why the descriptions of politically charged groups change so fast.
        I liked the part about dying, dead and live metaphors. For a metaphor, “dying” = becoming so familiar it ceases to evoke a picture in people’s minds. Losing its power to charm.

  9. Does anyone know what language “Latine” is supposed to be? It’s not Spanish as the vowel “e” in Spanish is not accented, only “u” and “i” are accented….as I remember.

    1. It’s supposed to be Spanish and, as it was invented by Spanish speakers, I think it counts as Spanish. Such political word inventions are also supposed to upend traditions and make statements.

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