To step away from diversity for a moment, here is an introduction to Chris Hayes’s Twilight of the Elites (which I have not read):
Since the 1960s, as the meritocracy elevated a more diverse group of men and women into power, they learned to embrace the accelerating inequality that had placed them near the very top, leaving a new American elite more prone to failure and corruption and more out of touch with the people they govern.
I thought of such passages while reading the latest iteration of the humanities in crisis. It’s something that seems to crop up every few years–what are the humanities for? How does studying literature help our students get jobs? Are the humanities too political?
This sort of introspection and reflection shouldn’t be limited to the humanities. The sciences and engineering would also benefit. It would be helpful to also channel Chris Hayes’s sentiment into the discussion. As I reread researchers in the public understanding of science, I see them making a sort of Hayesian argument.
They are trying to explain that scientists and professors don’t know how people use science in their daily lives. And so we insist on all this evolution and cosmology without understanding its impact–or lack thereof–on those in whose name we serve. Similar to our governing elite, I wonder if our instructing elite are more out of touch with the people they teach.