Campus Reform | Are ‘fairness,’ ‘data’ code words for White supremacy? Yes, according to one professor and her Twitter followers.

Are ‘fairness,’ ‘data’ code words for White supremacy? Yes, according to one professor and her Twitter followers.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Professor Helen Neville posted a tweet asking ‘racism scholars’ to list ‘euphemisms for racism’ used in academic literature.

Replies included terms such as ‘intellectual freedom,’ ‘diversity of thought,’ and ‘fair process.’

Helen Neville, a professor of Educational Psychology and African American Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, posted a tweet on Oct. 31 asking "racism scholars" to share common "euphemisms for racism.” 

The tweet drew dozens of replies from professors and academics at various universities who highlighted a litany of terms that they believe are veiled references to racism. 

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Terms include “intellectual freedom,” "data,” “marketplace of ideas,” "fair process,” "diversity of thought," “religious freedom,” “cancel culture,” “differing perspectives,” and “rigorous science.”

Replying to one professor’s response, Neville affirmed that “fairness” and “data” are used to “operate in the service of white supremacy.”

Neville also threw in her own suggestion of a euphemism for racism to start the conversation: “diversity fatigue,” a term sometimes used to express stress about reaching diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.

Many replies expressed similar concerns about any person that claims to be doing too much diversity or suggesting the conversation should move away from the subject.

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The conflict between principles such as viewpoint diversity and racial equity has been brought up by academics before. 

Earlier this year, Campus Reform reported on a memo written by UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media Dean Susan King stating that there is “a fundamental conflict between efforts to promote racial equity and understandings of structural racism, and efforts to promote diversity of thought.”

Neville is the president-elect of the American Psychological Association’s Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity, and Race, according to her bio. Her research focuses on “race, racism, and racial identity, and diversity issues related to well-being,” as well as “colorblind racial ideology” and “black racial ideology.” 

Campus Reform reached out to Helen Neville for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.