The entire purpose of academic research is to discover the truth about vexing scientific and societal questions through the use of research and data. However, if the truth refutes a sacred political agenda, you can no longer publish such research or even cite it. The latest victim of this reverse Jim Crow witch hunt against truth in data and academic research is Stephen Hsu, vice president for research at Michigan State University.
On June 2, I cited a study from researchers at the Michigan State and the University of Maryland that concludes, “We did not find evidence for anti-Black or anti-Hispanic disparity in police use of force across all shootings, and, if anything, found anti-White disparities when controlling for race-specific crime.” This study analyzed 917 officer-involved fatal shootings and found that that “per capita racial disparity in fatal shootings is explained by non-White people’s greater exposure to the police through crime.” The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last year.
Tucker Carlson mentioned this study on his show later that evening, and it has since gained more notoriety. Naturally, one would expect those who believe in the “systemic racism in policing” blood libel to cite evidence why this study is wrong and to provide counter-evidence that supports their position. But debate is not their strong suit, just censorship.
The College Fix reports that Stephen Hsu was fired from Michigan State University for citing this study and posting an interview of one of its authors, Michigan State colleague Joe Cesario, on his blog. He posted the interview with Cesario on June 2, the same day I cited the study.
On June 25, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Graduate Employees Union was calling for Hsu’s head on twitter. The Journal pointed out that among other things, “The union also faulted him for having ‘directed funding to research downplaying racism in bias in police shootings.'”
As Professor Hsu told the WSJ: “The MSU professor who conducted that work, psychologist Joe Cesario, tells me that ‘we had no idea what the data was going to be, what the outcome was going to be, before we did this study.’ Mr. Cesario has collected evidence from a simulator and from real-world interactions between police and citizens. He concluded that ‘the nature of the interaction really matters the most, and officers were not more likely to be ready to shoot upon encountering a black versus white citizen.’
Commenting on the Wall Street Journal article in his blog, Professor Hsu noted, “Several years ago Cesario was granted a rare opportunity to study police shootings and officer behavior in simulators in a large city. My office provided him with a small amount of funding to create realistic simulator video of police stops and other situations. This is an important topic to study if we want to understand and improve policing.”
In his post publicizing his resignation, Hsu revealed that many academics wanted to sign a counter petition supporting him, but they “were afraid to sign our petition — they did not want to be subject to mob attack.”
He warned, “The victory of the twitter mob will likely have a chilling effect on academic freedom on campus.”
Now, even the authors of the Michigan State study are asking that their report be pulled, citing “continued misuse” by some commentators, particularly anti-crime advocate Heather Mac Donald, who used it in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed titled, “The Myth of Systemic Police Racism.” The authors now contend that the main point of the study was to examine the question of “Is there a relationship between the race of officers and the civilians they fatally shot?” not to “address the larger question of how race impacts the probability of being shot by police.”
However, the aforementioned quotes from their original study that there is no evidence of anti-black bias in police shootings and that, if anything, there is more of an anti-white bias, were stated clearly in their study. Do you really have confidence, given the motivation behind the firing of another Michigan State administrator, that this is really about some epiphany in the methodology of their study that they feel is now wrong? Heather Mac Donald cited this study the same way she did last month roughly a year ago in a column for National Review. Was there concern about misuse of their study in 2019, before cancel culture and before BLM’s agenda became a national religion?
Americans need to think long and hard about the implications of this story and the authenticity of academic and scientific research in general. If the only research that is allowed to be published is flat-earth “science” that is rooted in woke political sentiment and not in facts and data, then how can we trust anything published by the academic world? This is not just about policing. We are seeing the country turned upside down over assertions about COVID-19 that are already refuted by the public data we have about the lethality of the virus and how it spreads. The same censorship we see on policing and racial issues is playing out in coronavirus research. Policies that affect the safety, liberty, and way of life of the whole of the people are now being propelled by one-sided research.
Minnesota state Sen. Scott Jensen, who was named the Family Physician of the Year in 2016, announced in a video that he is now under investigation by the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice for questioning the official virus death count and implying that not all those people died because of COVID-19. That is a simple fact acknowledged by White House Coronavirus Task Force response administrator, Dr. Deborah Birx, and the Illinois health director. This is especially evident from an analysis of Minnesota’s death certificates. Yet Jensen is not allowed to speak the truth.
This cancel culture and censorship have now reached every aspect of our lives. You are no longer allowed to believe in common sense or traditional values, even outside your official job. Most recently, a Boeing executive was fired for having written an essay … in 1987 … opposing putting women in combat.
This culture has accelerated because Republicans, who serve as a fake opposition movement to the cultural jihad of the Left, have taught the modern-day book-burners that the minute they bark racism, sexism, or any other -ism, Republicans will run like a scared child from a barking dog. The time has come for a new movement that will stand our ground at all costs. There is no other choice.