If you find that thesis more than a little plausible, many academic insiders think it’s a hoot, according to this piece in Friday’s IHE. That’s what one presenter found out at a meeting of the NASPA conference (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education) in Orlando Florida. Based on an opinion survey of student affairs professionals, Sarah Miles of Purdue University turned up a significant and unexpected result. Her anonymous subjects who identified as “straight white males” (sorry, but that’s how we do everything in today’s academy) consistently saw themselves as targets of reflexive animosity and hostility, due to their presumed position as privileged overlords.
You’ve got to be kidding, seems to have been the reaction of many attendees hearing the presentation, which was followed, in the article’s account, by a “contentious” discussion session. I’ll bet it was. Many academics nowadays get very Very VERY angry with anything that even minimally challenges the reigning multicultural orthodoxy, especially when it comes from within the guild. Bravo to Sarah Miles for taking the initial plunge. I'm sure that her findings were not resoundingly appreciated.
And if you want some additional short-term evidence that she’s on to something, have a look at the abundant sneering and contempt that graces the long comments section, obviously from people who talk exclusively to others like themselves. For book-length affirmation, I strongly recommend Russell Nieli’s recent masterful work Wounds That Will Not Heal or Daphne Patai’s 1998 book Heterophobia.
Institutional animus toward ‘white males” has been with us for a long time, but perhaps it’s finally being noticed within the citadel. I certainly hope so.