RWP was born in Manchester, in the north of England, in the late 1950s, so he is very old. He really liked the north of England, which by 1965 was hip and had three TV channels, and where he went to a coed school. His parents, for reasons best known to themselves, then yanked him away, to Belfast and then Dublin, which had one TV channel that started up at 6 pm with the Angelus (Catholic call to prayer). He also had to go to an all boys school, where he realized he really missed girls. This probably let him focus on schoolwork, though, and at age 19, after he had finished college, he set off for America, where he still resides. He has a bachelors degree in biochemistry and a Ph.D. from Harvard in biophysics, and has lived also in Mainz, Germany, Setauket NY, and Richland WA. He currently divides his time between Nebraska, Rosslyn VA, and Florida.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Binders full of women

Back in the late 1990s, when the University of Nebraska at Lincoln was engaging on its illegal 'opportunity hire' program, wherein they selected faculty based on race and sex and made them offers without an open search, we were indeed sent over a 'binder full of women'. It was a file containing biographical details on women and minorities with a Ph.D., from whom we were supposed to select candidates for special treatment.

Later on, when the Bush DoJ began investigating and UNL suspended this program, we were again encouraged to assemble binders full of women; to do exactly what Mitt Romney did. If we assembled a short list of candidates that was entirely white, or male, or both of those yucky things, we would be told to 'expand the pool'.

You can acknowledge it, or ignore it, but 'binders full of women' have been circulating for the last 20 years, at the behest of feminists. Romney's cardinal sin was not to have done it, but to have acknowledged he did it...because the sine qua non of preferential treatment is never to admit the candidate you hired was preferentially treated. That would be 'condescending'.

So here is my message to women who hate the condescension; change the system. If you were hired for a high-level, scientific or technical position in the last 20 years, chances are you received preferential treatment. If you don't like that, stop lobbying for preferential treatment. But don't ask us to pretend it never happened.

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