Monday, March 14, 2016

Because It Is the Right Thing

In the aftermath of some posts of the past week and related discussion at the place where political scientists engage in anonymous discussions, folks have questioned my motives.  Of course.   I do not need to defend myself, but I do like to myth-bust when I can, so here are some alleged motivations and then my real motivation.
  • "Saideman hates people who are pro-Palestinian."  No.  I am not a fan of the BDS effort, but I am neither pro or anti Palestinian or pro or anti-Israel.  This conflict, like many others, is intractable for a variety of reasons, with people on both sides doing good and bad things. I have already written elsewhere about the choice Israel is facing is to be Jewish or democratic but not both....
  • "Saideman is bitter about McGill."  No, not really.  I actually really enjoyed my first seven years there, and then the last three or so were problematic.  But my problems were focused on the Chair and the Full professors, and that old chair is no longer in a leadership position, and the barriers to Full-ness have been overcome by the forces of reason (the Associate professors). Oh, and the tricky thing: RB was one of the few Fulls who took my side in the Promotion fiascoes, so this argument does not fly.  Also, as distance grows between my time at McGill and the present, I have grown to focus more on all of the good stuff and not so much on the negative stuff with this one key exception.
  • Saideman is white-knighting.  This is the classic misogynist accusation whenever a man stands up for women--that he is doing it to impress women and/or to get laid.  
  • Saideman is seeking attention since no one reads/cites his stuff.  While I am an admitted narcissist and attention seeker, this is not my intent.  If I wanted to get heaps of hits on my blog, I would simply attack the same two political scientists over and over again (I try to restrict those posts to once or twice a year).  While the anonymous folks might not believe it, I am pretty happy where I am--there are always bigger fish a not-so-wise Jedi once said.  So, I could be cited more or less.  
The obvious reason is, of course, I am outraged.  Why?  Because I believe in equality of people regardless of gender, sexuality, race, etc.  Where did this belief come from? 
  1. Mostly because it is simply right.  
  2. Partly because my mother instilled that belief in me and then my wife and daughter remind me.  
  3. Partly because I went to Oberlin which made me confront my sexism and my homophobia.  
  4. Partly because I am a scholar of ethnic conflict and, as a result, know the destruction that comes with discrimination.  
  5. Partly because I have supervised many students and worry about how the world will treat them. 
  6. Partly because I have seen plenty of sexism over the course of my career.
  7. And, like dodging in dodgeball, it is worth mentioning twice: equality is simply right.  We are deserving of equal treatment.  That discrimination exists is, well, basic to social psychology (thanks Donald Horowitz), but we don't have to tolerate it nor should we.   


Anonymous said...

Yes Steve, it is indeed the right thing to do. And when sexual harassment incidents happen, it is amazing to see who comes forth to do the right thing, and who turns their back because it is too scary or inconvenient or uncomfortable to break the silence. You did the right thing then, and you're doing it now, to your great credit.

Anonymous said...

Two big things Steve. Thing 1; BDS advocates operate in an extreme climate where they ARE often silenced by the AIPAC line Et.Al. Pressures and intimidations are applied to celebrities, academics, and other notables who criticize the Likud party and its support of incredibly zealous settlers by not just Israeli Government entities and partisans but the likes of their own governments. Look at 'Justin Trudeau's 'new face of anti-semitism' malarkey. Thing 2; Mex Lynen may be a perv and you may technically be right but your tone came off as snarky and opportunistic as opposed to righteous. It also seems your rant came from a place of inadequacy as an academic compared to this wearer of black skinny jeans. I'm not saying you were wrong, and there is even a vaguely noble quality to what you intended to do, but to anyone who knew both of you at McGill the glee with which you seemingly cut down a former colleague may reflect more than your views on gender justice and sexual harassment in academia.

Steve Saideman said...

Thanks for thoughts. Re BDS silencing, this is not an issue at the ISA as there have been panels and roundtables in the past on BDS. Maybe elsewhere there is a problem, but at this association's meetings, BDS advocates have plenty of opportunities to talk about their stance. The issue yesterday was whether the ISA should discuss BDS-ing Israel, and the organization decided it would not welcome the issue on the agenda of the governing council. Again, people can still talk about it

Inadequacy as an academic? Thanks for the laugh.