Texas prof: ‘Threat to white masculinity’ a predictor of COVID-19 opinions

A University of Texas-Austin professor published a report that interprets a COVID-19 opinion poll through the lens of “perceived threat to white masculinity.”

As critical race theory dominates academia, the Trump administration is fighting it in America’s schools and the federal government.

University of Texas-Austin political science professor Eric McDaniel published a report called “Perceptions of Threat to White Masculinity and COVID-19 in Texas," that seeks to establish a relationship between "white masculinity" and "attitudes toward the coronavirus pandemic."

Based on University of Texas polling data, the report seeks to explain how “the perception of a threat to White masculinity and attitudes toward the coronavirus pandemic” are related using a “White Masculinity Threat Index.”

McDaniel concludes that “the more an individual believes in the existence of a threat to White masculinity, the more likely that person is to downplay the severity of the virus, to believe it will be resolved quickly, to focus more on the economic than human harm, and is less willing to take part in private activities to stop the spread of the virus.”

[RELATED: National Academy of Sciences head is 'quite excited' to investigate racism in academia]

McDaniel claims that President Donald Trump, Vice Mike President Pence, and other Republican leaders have set a poor example for their supporters in mask-wearing.

He also seeks to cast “White masculinity” as a framework through which to view all of American history, asserting that “Historically, the ideal American was viewed as both White and male.” McDaniel claims that figures like Clint Eastwood and John Wayne represent historical “heroes” who put “an end to the terror caused by violent, uncontrolled minorities” and saved “White women… from the evils of freed blacks.”

His interpretation of a COVID-19 opinion poll through the lens of white oppressor and minority victims, however, is based on the assumptions of critical race theory—a theoretical sociology framework that dominates most of American academia.

However, McDaniel told Campus Reform that "this is not a critical race theory argument nor am I a critical race theorist."

According to Encyclopedia Brittanica, critical race theory is "the view that the law and legal institutions are inherently racist and that race itself, instead of being biologically grounded and natural, is a socially constructed concept that is used by white people to further their economic and political interests at the expense of people of color."

University of Texas-Austin Director of Media Relations J.B. Bird told Campus Reform that “the university is an institution committed to freedom of speech and academic freedom. Therefore, faculty members are able to express their views freely."

National Association of Scholars Director of Research David Randall told Campus Reform that McDaniel’s report “does not resemble serious scholarship in any way.”

“The very name ‘White Masculinity Threat Index’ is entirely tendentious—and is, of course, based on an entirely unscientific, ideological construct,” explained Randall. “There is no apparatus indicating a preregistered report, statistical controls, or any of the standard work used to substantiate statistical studies' aspiration to scientific validity....This appears to be bigotry ineffectively disguised as scholarship.”

“The University of Texas should be ashamed to have sponsored it,” said Randall.

[RELATED: UF cancels, then reinstates, 'critical race theory' class amid student outrage, gives prof promotion]

Trump recently committed to barring federal agencies from utilizing critical race theory in employee training.

Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought issued a memo on September 4, detailing the president’s intention to ensure that federal agencies “cease and desist from using taxpayer dollars to fund these divisive, un-American propaganda training sessions.”

“The divisive, false, and demeaning propaganda of the critical race theory movement is contrary to all we stand for as Americans and should have no place in the Federal government,” wrote Vought.

In a similar move, Trump indicated that the Department of Education may defund schools that teach a curriculum based on the 1619 Project—an initiative of the New York Times that seeks to define all of American history in terms of the slavery of African-Americans.


Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft