That fake tweet above? It was created by the Southern Sociological Society as promotion for its conference this week. It is also, amusingly, accurate. Based on the conference, titled “Racial Theory, Analysis, and Politics in Trump America,” you can’t trust sociologists any more. Like so many other professional, including among them historians, lawyer, journalists, educators, ethicists and psychiatrists, this group has decided to abandon professional ethics and standards of objectivity and civility for juvenile virtue-signaling and partisan name-calling.
At first I thought this was an Onion parody. From Campus Reform:
…The conference program features two full-color illustrations that crudely depict the President as a baby, six sketches employing similar themes, and nine satirical presidential tweets (each of which comes with a disclaimer alerting the sociologists that it is “not an actual tweet”). The front cover shows the president as a grotesque and overweight infant, sitting in a soiled diaper on top of an image of hooded Klansmen while playing with missiles and nuclear bombs. His outstretched left arm, replete with a tiny hand, may be an attempt to depict him performing the Nazi salute.
A cross superimposed on a series of concentric circles appears above the word “Trump” in the conference title, suggesting the crosshairs on a rifle site…The back cover depicts a similarly-styled Trump, this time with his diaper sagging down and kneeling in a pool of urine inside his crib. Black and white sketches scattered throughout the program, meanwhile, depict Trump in various other unflattering ways, with one showing him urinating on the floor while holding what appears to be a balloon labeled “WW3,” while another drawing portrays him smashing the EPA and healthcare.
The conference schedule indicates that there will be 32 workshops, papers, lectures, discussions, and other sessions that explicitly deal with Trump, including a discussion about “Approaching Resistance to TrumpAmerica” and a session on “How to Talk About Current Events in the Classroom in the Age of Trump without Getting Fired.”
Some sessions, such as “Organizing a Campus-Wide Social Justice Event,” appear to advise professors on how to use their positions to influence campus politics.
What kind of “professional association” acts like this? The Southern Sociological Society claims to promote “the development of sociology as a profession” and “the maintenance of high academic professional and ethical standards,” including “valid and reliable methods and research.” Eighteen sociology departments among its members, including East Carolina University, Mississippi State University, the University of Houston, the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, the University of Memphis, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, and Virginia Tech. Several university departments are also listed as sponsors of the conference, such as Mississippi State University, Winthrop University, and the University of Memphis.
I am aghast. The graphics, which you can sample at the Campus Reform site, would be inappropriate in a high school newspaper. They are visual hate nothing more; grotesque insults calculated to appeal to members and attendees whose animus for the President has blotted out all reason and proportion. This is the antithesis of professionalism, and yet here are sociologists so marinated in progressive attitudes and rhetoric that they can no longer perceive how wrong this is, both as professional conduct and as citizens. The association also presumes that its membership is monolithic in political orientation and lack of civility, and that no attendee will be alienated by a conference motivated and fueled by partisan fury.
The serial surrender of our professions to emotion and bias exposes their veneer of superior discipline and public service for what it is and always was, apparently: a false pretense, based on the illusion that their character was strengthened and enhanced by a competent ethical foundation and competent, non-ideological training. Thus we know that these alleged professionals are not trustworthy, which means they are no professionals at all.
In writing my September, 2015 post warning that electing Donald Trump as President would lower ethical standards among the young and society at large, I never for a moment considered that among those whose behavior and communications would descend into assholery would be our professionals, who are supposed to be role models, not ethics corrupters. And I will not blame Trump for this.
The are the ones who were not who they promised to be.