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I imagine a lot of UK educators were hoping for a better 2018. One minute after midnight, the Guardian reported that Toby Young, along with a “group of business executives”  was appointed to the Office for Students “to help head the government’s drive to apply market forces to higher education in England, as new laws come into force that will regulate universities in the same way as water or gas utilities, according to ministers.” Sometimes Young manages to hide his bigotry and contempt for teachers, inclusive schools, students with special needs, women, and people of colour. Sometimes.

 

In an interview, Young attempts to repair the damage from his remarks in this video where he dismisses the hard work that teachers do. “Can I just say … one thing I really regret is that I gave a quick interview in an ITV programme about teachers in which I was quite dismissive about workload complaints. I regret that, enormously. I now know how hard teachers work and what a difficult job it is.” It’s no surprise that Tom Bennett and Andrew Old leap to Young’s defense, as they have a track record for excusing white men who behave poorly.

And in Young’s world, it is white men who are hard done by. In an article in the Spectator, Young reads an Australian study of ‘blind’ hiring decisions as affirming some sort of ‘reverse’ discrimination against white men:

“Minority males were 5.8 per cent more likely to be shortlisted and minority females 8.6 per cent more likely when their identities were known, and candidates who were lucky enough to be both female and from a minority background were virtually guaranteed a job. The APS employees were suffering from bias all right, but it was bias in the other direction. It was only when the participants were forced to judge the job applicants on their merits, rather than gender or skin colour, that the white males got a fair shout.”

On Twitter, Young kicks off on Diane Abbott, a Black Woman and Labour MP who has received threats like this:

“Pathetic useless fat black piece of shit Abbott. Just a piece of pig shit pond slime who should be fucking hung (if they could find a tree big enough to take the fat bitch’s weight).”

 

 

In his essay in Intelligence, Young outlines a strategy – “my first rule of the nature-nurture fight club” – whereby people should not say racist things out loud lest they like James Watson, make “the mistake of sharing … views on black-white IQ differences”; “it is still idiotically stupid to express the views that Watson did.” (my emphasis)

Young goes on to artfully float controversial views without committing to them, sending dog whistles to White Supremacists. Here he “summarise[s] these heretical ideas”: “that there are group differences between human beings that have emerged as a result of differential evolution that has taken place since homo sapiens emerged from their ancestral homelands in Africa some 40,000 to 100,000 years ago.” That’s a dog whistle for ‘racial differences in intelligence’.

Young defends discriminatory remarks from Jordan Peterson to Larry Summers and makes the bully’s ‘just joking’ appeal to excuse sexist behavior:
 

“Tim Hunt is an eminent scientist – in 2001 he won a Nobel Prize for his work on cell division – who made an unfortunate, off-the-cuff toast at the World Conference of Science Journalists in Seoul two years ago.

“Let me tell you about my trouble with girls,” he said, having introduced himself as a ‘chauvinist monster’. “Three things happen when they are in the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them they cry. Perhaps we should make separate labs for boys and girls?”

He was obviously joking – he began his next sentence, in which he called for more women to pursue careers in science, with the words, “Now seriously…” – and his impromptu remarks even got a polite laugh…”

 

Young spouts 4Chan-caliber drivel about “Social Justice Warriors”, “worshippers at the altar of intersectionality,” who “start out wanting to help the poor, the downtrodden, the oppressed, and end up herding people on to trains and transporting them to the Gulag.” See, the SJWS are dangerous, and Young ends his piece with a call to “stand your ground.”

In Young’s mind, it’s really the progressive educators who are making a muck of things and increasing inequality:

“A fairly common misunderstanding among educationalists is thinking that if you make schools more equal, you will equalise attainment. In fact, if every school is equally good, you may succeed in reducing some of the differences in GCSE results due to environmental differences, but by doing that you will automatically accentuate the variation due to differences in natural ability, including genetic differences when it comes to conscientiousness and other personality traits linked with attainment. Looked at this way, school improvement may actually increase inequality of school outcomes rather than reduce it.”

So, fighting against structural racism, ableism, sexism, homophobia, and poverty is bound to backfire because the “variation due to differences in natural ability” must be so much larger than the large scale social injustices? Only someone ignorant of developmental biology – or someone besotted with contempt for all those ‘lesser’ people – could cling to the idea of “natural ability” at this point in the game.1I draw three paragraphs from this post of mine

Young’s views on inclusive schools teem with unfiltered bigotry: It’s one of those ghastly, politically correct words that have survived the demise of New Labour. Schools have got to be “inclusive” these days. That means wheelchair ramps, the complete works of Alice Walker in the school library (though no Mark Twain) and a Special Educational Needs Department that can cope with everything from Dyslexia to Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. If Gove is serious about wanting to bring back O-levels the government will have to repeal the Equality Act because any exam that isn’t “accessible” to a functionally illiterate troglodyte with a mental age of six will be judged to be “elitist” and therefore forbidden by Harman’s Law. (See note at foot of this column.)” 2Thanks to Emsogram. Young has a large and nonsensical clarification of what he meant by ‘inclusive’ and ‘troglodyte’ at the ...continue

 

 

Image of TY is CC

 

 

 

References   [ + ]

1. I draw three paragraphs from this post of mine
2. Thanks to Emsogram. Young has a large and nonsensical clarification of what he meant by ‘inclusive’ and ‘troglodyte’ at the end of his blog post.
I footnotes