Thursday, September 21, 2017
As is by now well known, my Penn Law colleague Amy Wax recently co-authored a controversial op-ed published at Philly.com with University of San Diego law professor Larry Alexander; for brevity, which is in short supply in this post, I’ll generally call this just the “op-ed” and refer to it as Professor Wax’s, except when it is especially relevant to refer to Professor Alexander. Professor Wax subsequently gave an interview to the Penn student newspaper, the Daily Pennsylvanian, which led to an article that fueled the controversy; henceforth, I’ll call this the “DP interview”. Much more has transpired, including a number of critical columns and other statements, as well as various tweets and posts in support of Professor Wax and articles with quotes from or extended interviews with Professor Wax.
This post will focus principally on the op-ed and the DP interview, as well as an open letter to the Penn community that I signed along with 32 other colleagues of Professor Wax’s; henceforth, I’ll call this the “Open Letter”. As a matter of full disclosure, I note that I was the organizer of this letter and took ultimate responsibility for creating and finalizing its contents.
Part I of the post details a number of problems with empirical claims in Professor Wax’s statements. Part II discusses the unfortunate claims about cultural superiority that led me to organize the Open Letter and also refutes several criticisms of the Open Letter; if you’ve been especially critical of the Open Letter’s form or substance, then this part is for you. Part III addresses Professor Wax’s statements at the level of
God God, man, is this a blog post or a multi-volume book series? Anyway, for those of you who can't get enough of this kerfuffle, Jonah Gelback give the other side of the story in this long, but careful post. I haven't finished it yet.