Don't Demean All Karens and Chads

July 13, 2020

I am writing to express my deep disappointment in “Implicit Bias Training for Woke Faculty” by Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt. This piece purports to satirically discuss implicit bias training. These issues are critically important and I am glad individuals and universities are putting sustained effort into change.

My profound concern stems from the paragraph in which Dutt-Ballerstadt calls out a series of names (“Finally, if you are Becky, Karen, Susan, Chad or Kyle, you will be placed in a separate breakout room to just observe, fume and explode.”) This text is extraordinarily damaging: the author is calling out people with these names -- given to us at birth and not ours to choose -- as if we are all implicitly morally inferior. How is this statement acceptable ever, let alone in an essay that is claiming we need to avoid making implicit bias (i.e., superficial) judgments based on features of a person that are intrinsic to that person but immaterial to the job at hand? This statement is hateful and demeaning.

I ask for two things: that this essay be removed from the site (or at minimum that the offensive text be removed) and that the author apologize for this appalling statement.

--Karen E. Hodges
Professor, Conservation Ecology
University of British Columbia Okanagan

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