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OPINIONS

Editorial: Hoover Institution should renounce Hanson’s racist remarks

‘Victor Davis Hanson Ph.D. ’80, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, blogged last week that, for a variety of reasons, the American university is the “the most politically intolerant and monolithic institution in the country.” While addressing his wide range of criticisms, some of which hold merit, is beyond the scope of this editorial, we direct your attention to a particular set of complaints regarding the behavior of various racial groups in higher education:

…“Latin Americans add an accent and a trill and they become victimized Chicanos,” Hanson wrote. “One-half African Americans claim they are more people of color than much darker Punjabis; the children of Asian optometrists seek minority and victim status.”

At the risk of stating the obvious, we would like to point out this passage for what it is: absolute trash. If Hanson wants to engage in discussion about affirmative action or the role of race in higher education, we would applaud that and welcome his viewpoint. But this sort of homogenous denigration is no intellectual commentary. It is at best vitriolic ignorance. Combining the toxic assumption that all members of an ethnicity group act the same way with the mocking reference to “an accent and a trill” veers dangerously into bigotry.

There is incredible value in examining the current university structure in this country, and race and class issues should not be ignored in that temperate and thoughtful discourse. Hanson’s words, tragically, not only hinder this discussion, but deride stakeholders and concerned parties with callous and shrill remarks. If he was trying to draw attention to the topic, he has instead shifted the focus onto himself.

Worse yet, Hanson’s words reflect badly on Stanford through his association with a research center supported by this university and housed on this campus. The editorial board understands the Hoover Institution cannot be held responsible for all the public statements of its scholars, but strongly urges the institution to repudiate or, at the very least, review Hanson’s remarks. Surely, gross generalities couched in racially charged language cannot fit with Hoover’s mission.

It is worth stressing that the Hoover Institution includes preeminent scholars in a variety of disciplines. From Nobel Laureates to former high-level public policy officials and advisers, many of the foremost minds at Stanford and other universities contribute to Hoover’s work.  These professors offer serious academic research that adds significant value to policy discussion and to the intellectual community on campus.

Hanson’s despicable words provide the Hoover Institution the perfect opportunity to clarify its role in American politics. Purposeful academic research or derisive, unfounded cheap shots: which will it be? The editorial board expects and hopes that an institution producing distinguished research to inform policy debates will wholeheartedly reject the sort of remarks Hanson made.

Thus, we issue this editorial as an open challenge to the Hoover Institution. If you find fault with Hanson’s grossly generalizing remarks and wish to be a leader in the discussion of modern American universities, then please: let us know.

If you do not, we hope you realize the damage you do to this university’s standing and to the well-being of higher education in America.

About Editorial Board

Editorials represent the views of The Stanford Daily, an independent newspaper serving Stanford and the surrounding community. The Daily's Editorial Board is chaired by President and Editor in Chief George Chen, who is joined by Executive Editor Marshall Watkins, Managing Editor of News Catherine Zaw, Managing Editor of Sports Do-Hyoung Park and Managing Editor of Opinions Winston Shi. To contact the Editorial Board chair, submit an op-ed (limited to 700 words) or submit a letter to the editor (limited to 500 words) at eic@stanforddaily.com.
  • Interested observer

    Here is VDH’s challenge to the personal attack made in this editorial.

    “So I offer an open challenge to the Stanford Daily: either apologize for the baseless slur of racism and the cheap language (e.g., “trash,” “toxic,””despicable”), or at least show how I was in error, and that, in fact, there are logical and consistent criteria that qualify some groups for racial preference in admissions and hiring in the university and not others”

    http://pajamasmedia.com/victordavishanson/politics-upside-down/2/

    Still waiting for a response from the authors of the Stanford Daily editorial. How long will that wait be?

  • Kevin

    “It would be interesting to see if every single person defending this racist is white…”

    I’m Asian, but I’m the adopted son of a Klan member and a neo-Nazi so maybe I see your point.

  • Paul137

    From the editorial: “veers dangerously into bigotry”; “discourse”; “tragically”.

    The writers are pompous, wet-behind-the-ears morons.

  • Jonathan

    Children of the Stanford Daily Editorial Board, you have just proved Dr. Hanson’s point: “..the university is the most politically intolerant and monolithic institution in the country..” You want the Hoover Institution to repudiate his statements? What a joke! Now, go get your cell phones and call your Mommy so you whine to her about all this nasty comments. Then go take your Ritalin. Then send get on Facebook and send about 200 messages to all your “Friends.” Maybe you will feel better tomorrow.

  • Kelly

    Hanson has picked up your challenge. The onus is on you: Put some substance behind your charges or retract.

    Or–what you will probably do–prevaricate, extemporize, huff and puff and bring more shame on yourself.

    You posers.

  • Jay

    Dr. Hanson’s piece was making a point and to do so he used some examples. In one of the examples (the trill part) he made the mistake of either saying or appearing to say that “all” latinos use a “trill” to become the victimized chicanos.

    One rule when fighting the thought police is that you cannot make even a single mistake. It gives them their opportunity to reply without engaging. Dr. Hanson writes a fair-sized piece about an interesting and important topic and because he made an inelegantly worded example the “Editor(s)” didn’t have to engage the real thought in the piece.

    If Dr. Hanson had not given the writer(s) of this editorial the opening to attack him as a “racist” then the respondants would have resorted to the second level of liberalacademagov fighting. They would have found some personal impropriety to go after – an affair, a firing, a illlegal alien housekeeper – anything to tar the offending writer while still ignororing the salient points.

    If the writer’s of this editorial could not find a small imperfection in Dr. Hanson’s essay and had no personal peccadillos at hand then they would have simply ignored him.

    They (liberalacademagov) never, and I mean never, engage their opponents in honest, open, thorough debate. Their ideas and ideals won’t stand the scrutiny. The sentence “We value diversity.” sounds great, honorable, open, progressive, modern – who could possibly be against diversity?

    “We’ve developed this system to ensure diversity at our university. You, Dr. Hanson, do not agree with the system we have developed. Since you Dr. Hanson don’t like the system we’ve developed you must not like diversity. Only a racist doesn’t like diversity. You are, ipso facto, a racist. We don’t engage racists. (BTW – we have contacted your colleagues about your racist thoughts and writings and asked them for an explanation.)”

    I challenge you, editors. Instead of insulting Dr. Hanson, invite him to have an online dialog. Instead of pushing away thoughts you don’t like bring them closer, engage them, discuss them, inspect them…..think about them. Isn’t this part of a top-notch liberal education?

    Make an open, online town square where you and he can go back and forth. Let us see your words and thoughts and reasoning and facts and accomplishments as well as Mr. Hanson’s. Let us, your readers, judge which has merit and who has made the better argument.

    If engaged I’ll look forward to the conversation.

  • Another interested observer

    Here is VDH’s challenge to the personal attack made in this editorial.

    “So I offer an open challenge to the Stanford Daily: either apologize for the baseless slur of racism and the cheap language (e.g., “trash,” “toxic,””despicable”), or at least show how I was in error, and that, in fact, there are logical and consistent criteria that qualify some groups for racial preference in admissions and hiring in the university and not others”

    http://pajamasmedia.com/victordavishanson/politics-upside-down/2/

    Still waiting for a response from the authors of the Stanford Daily editorial. How long will that wait be?

  • Roland Chang

    I could be wrong, but I believe diversity was an old, old wooden ship that was used during the Civil War era.

  • W.C. Varones

    Hanson 1, Orwellian McCarthyites 0.

  • Orwellian?

    I find it somewhat funny that conservatives defend McCarthy and say he wasn’t witch-hunting for communists and don’t think it’s inconsistent to then use the term “McCarthyite” to criticize “witch-hunting” liberals. It’s also somewhat bizarre that McCarthy was trying to seek out communists, who are candidates for the title “Orwellian.”

    I think that Hanson had a good point and the people who wrote this article made a big mistake, but the comments have gotten ridiculous. Some student on the editorial board wrote a dumb and insulting article. I don’t approve of the article, but it doesn’t mean that Stanford is by Marxists or whatever nonsense people are suggesting.

  • Chris

    Dear Editors,

    There’s a line from the old “Three Musketeers” movie from the 1970’s, in which the character of the Cardinal, confronted with a document he wrote that has accomplished the opposite of what he hoped, declares ruefully, “One must be careful what one writes.”

    Words to live by.

  • John

    Stanford kids…so smart, yet so dumb!

  • Tike Williams

    Nothing but absurd slandering. Anyone who is actually even vaguely aware of Dr. Hanson’s work/stances and is more concerned with actual truth over baseless attacks knows this article has no substance whatsoever. Whoever is the author behind this shallow nonsense lacks foresight and has not the slightest clue on how to decipher between big picture ideological concepts and leftist doctrine that views everything through the lens of race, gender, etc. This article in and of itself further solidifies some of Hanson’s overall point in the first place and reads but nothing like a Rev. Sharpton wanna-be editorial.

  • stevess60

    you editorialists couldnt carry Dr Hanson’s intellectual ‘jock strap”

  • Chuck Cannon

    It is clear a child wrote this. A child who hides behind an editorial staff. (Which apparently is staffed with children) A child employed by children … and all of them so drunk on the kool-aid of political correctness their very thoughts are slurs against sobriety.

  • Truth

    Hogwash, Hansen was correctly addressing the tactic (too often) used by those who wish to cash in on their “ethniticy” when convenient to do so. We’ve all seen it in academia, the workplace, and in government.