Earlier this month, a news story reported that the University of Memphis was offering professors $3,000 to infuse their courses with diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice. When we talked about this on my radio program, my guests wondered if professors who were already doing this for free might feel slighted.
Social justice concepts like critical race theory and “anti-racism” have been injected into college classes for some time. But this announcement brought these ideas out in the open. “An all-faculty email obtained by the Free Beacon shows the university offering a $1,500 stipend after professors redesign their curricula, with another $1,500 after teaching the redesigned course.”
The university working group links to a report that emphasizes the need for “anti-racism,” which is a term popularized by Ibram X. Kendi. It calls for “designing anti-racist syllabi and developing skills and appropriate dispositions for facilitating anti-racist classroom discussion.”
As you might imagine, the proposal has attracted the attention of Tennessee lawmakers who are critical of offering such incentives to professors. And one professor at the university explained that they have “had a hard time retaining good faculty at our salary levels, so anytime you see money being spent on non-student or non-faculty causes, it makes you scratch your head.”
You have probably heard pundits, politicians, and professors dismiss the idea that social justice ideas like critical race theory and anti-racism are being taught in education. This latest example not only shows that these ideas are being taught, but at least one university wants to provide a financial incentive for teaching those ideas.