Sunday, May 13, 2007

I Wish You Were There to See It, When I Scored a Hat Trick on the Team that Called You a Fucking Queer

Let me come back to the question about discriminatory hiring practices for a moment. That thread Leiter has going is really about what the APA can do to put a lid on discrimination. For my money, the answer is sort of paradoxical, because the APA could do a lot more than it does, but ultimately can't do anything.

The APA has rules against discrimination, of course. But they're hardly enforced. Schools or departments that break the rules suffer the cruel, cruel punishment of. . . having an asterisk put next to their names in their JFP ads. Woo! Asterisks! Because nothing says you take a problem seriously like a tiny typographical mark. As lots of people in the Leiter thread suggest, the least the APA could do would be to bar these schools from advertising in the JFP. They're breaking the APA's own rules, for fuck's sake.

But then, that's not going to stop the discrimination, is it? Schools that want to hate Teh Gay can just set up their own e-mail lists or websites or whatever to post job ads. And still, there's all the discrimination that goes on in subtler, but no less powerful, ways. (In an APA interview for an ethics job, a bunch of old white guys all just happen to get a more comfy vibe from the white guy who talks a lot about S's pro tanto reasons for φ-ing than they do from the young black woman who talks about analytic moral philosophy's inadequacy accounting for how oppression is experienced.) If a department's discrimination is even a little more subtle than explicit Not-Gay certificates, how can the APA even keep track of it? It's hopeless.

Of course, that's no excuse for not taking unambiguous symbolic measures like barring known discriminatory departments from advertising in the JFP. Symbols have meaning after all, and the APA could at least have the balls to show it really means it when it says discrimination against GLBTQ people is a bad thing.

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