Posted on April 22, 2020

Would You Care If a White Man Cured Covid-19?

Heather Mac Donald, Wall Street Journal, April 17, 2020

Scientists at Oxford University and King’s College London are racing to develop an inexpensive ventilator that can be quickly built with off-the-shelf components. Should it matter that all the lead researchers on the project are men? If you believe university diversity bureaucrats and many academic deans, the initiative will be handicapped by the absence of women among the project heads. If there is a silver lining to the Covid-19 pandemic, it may be to expose as dangerous nonsense the practice of hiring researchers by sex and race rather than scientific accomplishments.

{snip} At the University of California, Berkeley, the life sciences department rejected 76% of the applications it received last year because they lacked sufficiently effusive diversity, equity and inclusion statements. The hiring committee didn’t even look at the failed applicants’ research records.

Were the remaining contenders the best scientists in their field? Apparently it doesn’t matter. What matters is how good they are at discussing “distinctions and connections between diversity, equity, and inclusion” during their job talks, in the words of UC’s diversity guidance. The rejected applicants showed insufficient knowledge of the “dimensions of diversity that result from different identities, especially URMs”—underrepresented minorities. {snip}

The diversity culling at UC Berkeley continued throughout the process, resulting in a 75% drop in white scientists from the original hiring pool to the final contenders, while the proportion of Hispanic and black applicants on the final short list rose 450% and 325%, respectively, from their initial shares of the hiring pool.


Science education is being watered down in the hope of graduating more women, blacks and Hispanics. Do we want the best molecular biologists and pharmacologists working on a cure for Covid-19? Or do we want the best female, black and Hispanic molecular biologists and pharmacologists working on it? Sometimes the same person will occupy both categories. But when that isn’t the case, it is reckless to treat sex and race as superior qualifications. Given existing disparities in math and science skills, proportionality in STEM can be widely achieved only by lowering standards.