Friday, March 04, 2005

wow, mom!

(that's what i wrote on the top of my high-school graduation cap)

My mother has submitted her two cents on the old Summers issue.
Here it is:

This here is "hi mom," one of those most
likely to disagree with Alek on this subject. But I find
Alek's reasoning quite reasonable, and I too found the
transcript enlightening. It struck me that Summers was
right on the money when he talked about childcare and

But I would add 2 things to Alek's argument. As president
of a coeducational university, his first thought, even in
a private conference, should be his effect on his students.
His comments can not be anything but chilling to ambivalent
or self-doubtful women thinking about the sciences.
For that alone, he should be tossed out. Second, he should
have made the point about biology in exactly the opposite way.
He should have said: IF research shows any biological
differences, then the only question is how can we make use
of those differences to expand science and bring particular
creative contributions of women into it. But IF research shows
those biological differences to be minimal, then the only
question is how we can provide reasonable accommodation to
overcome whatever obstacles they present and put everyone
on a level playing field. Making biological statements with
no sense of history is, to me, a history teacher, offensive.
The relevant history here is, for example, Title IX. Women can
not play sports like men for biological reasons. But when you
give them equal resources for developing athletics, they
improve exponentially and also create a new genre of sports
which becomes in many cases much more interesting to audiences
and which develops the sport itself. Enough said!


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