Sunday, March 21, 2021

"CUNY law school dean cancels herself after ‘slaveholder’ comment."

 The NY Post reports. 

In an email sent Saturday to the college community, [Mary Lu] Bilek said her retirement stemmed from a cringe-worthy remark she made at a personnel committee meeting in November. The group was discussing an open position for associate dean at the time. Bilek said that when she dropped the “slaveholder” reference, she was taking the blame for a hiring proposal some colleagues thought would have a “disparate racial impact.”

“In a misguided effort to draw an analogy to a model of reparations in order to place blame on myself, as Dean, for racial inequities at our school, I thoughtlessly referred to myself as the ‘slaveholder’ who should be held responsible,” Bilek wrote. “I realized it was wrong the minute I heard myself say it and couldn’t believe the word had come out of my mouth.”

Bilek went on to write that she apologized immediately at the meeting “and have since apologized without reservation to the faculty.”

“I am still shocked at what I said and have begun education and counseling to uncover and overcome my biases and further understand the history and consequences of systemic and institutional racism,” she wrote....

She was trying to take blame, but she's not as blameworthy as a slaveholder, so the analogy to a slaveholder taking blame, was... was what? She was taking blame for something racial — disparate racial impact — but disparate racial impact is much less bad than slavery, so in making the analogy, she was exaggerating her own blame. Then, she got blamed for that exaggeration, and she reacted by canceling herself — firing herself into retirement — which is another dramatic exaggeration. The original offense was to exaggerate, the exaggeration was then exaggerated, and in response to the exaggeration, she performed an additional exaggeration.

It's a perfect storm of self-dramatization. But I don't have the inside view, only Bilek's reaction. I can only attempt to imagine how the other people at CUNY School of Law behave.

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