Dispatches From The Great Stupid, “D.E.I.” Division: This Story From The Washington Post Was Not A Joke…Well, Not Intended As One, Anyway

Yes, sadly, it’s come to this.

Not only has the Left’s obsession with group identification, quotas and “diversity, equity and inclusion” reached peak madness, but the purveyors of this cult, including the mainstream media, are no longer capable of perceiving its excesses.

The article in yesterday’s Post was not a parody. The headline was not supposed to be funny. The tragically biased Post reporter responsible for this insanity is Daniel Wu, a reporting intern in the Post’s Metro section. Stanford University made him this way. And the editors who agreed to insult Post readers with it? Who knows what made them impervious to common sense? Well, let me take that back: “It’s the Great Stupid, Charlie Brown!”

The piece begins by describing the tragic circumstances of LisaWhitenack, now a biology professor at Allegheny College, a shark researcher who was tormented as a child she didn’t see many shark researchers on the Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” that looked like her. So she decided to study this dire and under-recognized phenomenon “Was “Shark Week” feeding audiences the wrong messages about sharks — and who studies them?” The Post continues,

Whitenack led a team of researchers to examine hundreds of “Shark Week” episodes that aired between 1988 and 2020. In a study published last month by the Public Library of Science, their research claims that Discovery’s programming emphasized negative messages about sharks, lacked useful messaging about shark conservation and overwhelmingly featured White men as experts — including several with the same name.

The programming featured more White experts and commentators named “Mike” than women, said David Shiffman, a conservationist at Arizona State University who was a co-author of the study.

“When there are hundreds of people of color interested who work in this field, [and] when my field is more than half women, maybe it’s not an accident anymore that they’re only featuring White men,” Shiffman said.

I would have quit reading this thing at that point in the article, dear reader, were it not for you. Other highlights to be enshrined in The Great Stupid “Shark Week” Hall of Fame wing:

  • “Carlee Bohannon, a marine biologist and co-founder of Minorities in Shark Sciences, praised the study for putting numbers to her and her colleagues’ long-standing concerns about diversity in both the media and shark science….“We all grew up seeing one type of person on TV,” Bohannon said. “‘Shark Week’ was really the biggest thing, and it was always filled with White men.” Race obsession has to be programmed into kids early. There’s a song in “South Pacific” about that (they have a lot of sharks in the South Pacific:

 

  • “Women in marine sciences can also face a misogynistic culture, marine biologist Catherine Macdonald wrote in Scientific American in 2020. “‘Shark Week’ further concentrates power (in the form of publicity and media attention) in the hands of white male ‘featured scientists,’ exacerbating academic power imbalances,” Macdonald wrote.”
  • “In the latest study, Whitenack and the other researchers also found that more “Shark Week” episodes included stories of attacks and other fearmongering messaging than positive language describing sharks as “awe-inspiring” or ecologically important, which the study called a missed opportunity.”

Dare I say it? How “girly.” The whole reason for “Shark Week’s success is the shark attacks. You know what else is full of more fearmongering messaging about sharks than positive language describing sharks as “awe-inspiring” or ecologically important? “Jaws.” More guys seem to like the gory, violent scary stuff, at least until they identify as women. Did it occur to researchers that this fact alone might account for the predominance of men in shark research?

The Post’s readers are as woke as woke can be, but at least half of the commenters thought this D.E.I. lament jumped the shark. Here’s a typical reaction:

“I’m all for equity and inclusion, especially in positions of influence and power. But with limited column space, we’re focusing on…Shark Week? Okay, I’ll add my two cents. Shark Week also disproportionately covers (great) white sharks, who may or may not be named, “Mike.”

The other half, being beyond help, replied with snark—that snark—like,

“Predictably, seems some males think this is the time for ridicule. Kind of sums up the problem.”

Psst!

There is no “Shark Week” diversity problem.

Get help.

 

18 thoughts on “Dispatches From The Great Stupid, “D.E.I.” Division: This Story From The Washington Post Was Not A Joke…Well, Not Intended As One, Anyway

  1. There is a shark week diversity problem: Octopuses.

    Yes, they are smarter than sharks, but people don’t think twice about eating them (hmmm, octopus sushi…). They should have better representation in shark week. And also, octopus scientists. They never get called for a shark week special.

    We must fix this injustice!

  2. Women do have trouble in the hard sciences. This is true. HOWEVER if we act like whiny little bitches, no one will take us seriously when we need to be taken seriously. Do these DIE-obsessed women not understand that not only are they shooting themselves in the foot, but they are making it harder for all the rest of us?

    Employer-Employee relations suffer. If I were hiring researchers, it would be hard to WANT to hire women given the current rules. As a woman, I also have confidence issues as I am uncertain if I was hired as anything more than a diversity hire. Am I really the best for a job, especially if I’m finding something about it very challenging? Is this simply a case of needing to step up and improve myself professionally, or am I just a check-box who is under-qualified and never expected or even capable of performing? Finally the relationship with coworkers suffers. If my coworker is a diversity hire, they get paid about what I do, but I have to do their work which has me put in hours of unpaid overtime to keep my job while they float. This leads to hate and discontent. And as a potentially qualified person seen as a diversity hire, we need to work much harder than our coworkers with more results than our coworkers to get the basic respect because we start so far negative on the Cognative Dissonance scale.

    As a further note, even if DIE had a point, trans and BIPOC rules have essentially neutered it because who can tell if Mike on Shark Week doesn’t identify as Michaela in its personal life and is 1/1024 BIPOC?

    Women need to stand up against DIE hiring (yes I’m aware of the real acronym) and work to get jobs due to our qualifications, not our box checking.

    • I suggested a while back that the
      Diversity Inclusion Equity letters could be arranged in that (IMO) far more appropriate sequence.

      Maybe it’ll catch on, acquire a life of its own, and (heh!) become the opposite of what was intended as an ultimate Lefty pejorative…like WOKE.

    • I have a close female friend from college who went into a slightly different area of engineering than I did. And for the first few years our careers looked about the same. Then when all this diversity stuff kicked in she started getting promotions and compensation increases at a higher rate and amount than what I was getting. We’ve talked about it a few times and she acknowledges that it is partly due to being a woman. I tell her to just keep doing what she’s doing and take it. The system will always be unfair to someone so as long as she’s not the one pressing the issue she should utilize it as an advantage (like tall or attractive people do).

      Unfortunately there is the nagging feeling that she is not good enough (she is, have known her for 20+ years). Hopefully this is a fad that soon goes away.

  3. I would have probably chuckled if I saw that headline on the Babylon Bee. They have a humorous skit on YouTube about how they’re out of ideas because all the ridiculous satire headlines they come up with were actually real.

  4. Sure, sharks are ecologically important, actually fascinating and all that. So are plankton. But there’s never been a Plankton Week on television because plankton don’t bite people in half. And if you want to leave out the things about sharks that make for engaging television, you’re not going to be featured on the show either.

  5. I feel I must say something…. What’s with the “Mike” hate. We are people, too.

    On topic: If sharks did not occasionally eat people, or try to, Shark Week would not exist. Those so-called scientists seem more interested in the fame than in actual science.

  6. Have any of the researchers currently studying the number of times white males are showcased on these series actually pitched an idea to Discovery? I don’t think Discovery Channel calls guys named Mike to do a show for them about sharks. The only Mike that I am aware of on the series is Mike Rowe who has developed a number of programs for the Discovery Channel, most notably Dirty Jobs. I suppose because I don’t see a lot of women cleaning hog pens or standing next to a blast furnace that too is discriminatory. What that Mike has done for making non-white collar jobs desirable and dignified is what most of us should aspire to emulate.

    Yes, most of the shows do focus on the shark’s hunting behavior but the attacks showcased are not about attacks on humans but on prey species. Nothing captures the viewer like an 8-foot, 2000 pound Great White breach the surface as it hunts a seal (or a replica of one). The replicas are scientific instruments that take various measurements such as bite force and jaw size. When the focus is on the hunting behaviors of other pelagic species, the focus on speed and tactics. As a diver, I want to know as much about the behavior of certain species that I may encounter in the wild. One of my most favorite dives was a wreck called the Proteus where I had the privilege of swimming with over three dozen 6-8 foot Sand Tiger sharks. When I tell people about my diving, I often hear women claim they would not attempt to dive with sharks. Men probably think the same but are less inclined to admit it.

    I have no idea how many shark researchers are female or male, how many ever venture out to sea or if they do their research in a lab environment. I seriously question the veracity of anyone who claims there are more of one gender in a narrow field. Marine biology does seem to be attractive to women, but the field is so broad that not every marine biology graduate winds up working with sharks.

    Living on a research vessel for weeks at a time is not exactly that of being on a Carnival cruise liner. Even smaller vessels that go out for the day will beat the crap out of you most days. Hell, just going out 20 miles off the coast of North Carolina will cause most people to be chumming the waters out and back. I know, because I spent a lot of days wondering why I decided to go on this dive trip as tried mightily to keep my eyes on the horizon while the boat ploughed through 5-foot swells which by the way are relatively mild for most days. When you get to the site, the boat pitches and rolls tossing you around making your life even more miserable. The smell of decaying Sealife that clings to your wetsuits when mixed with the acrid diesel exhaust makes for a long, often cold and damp, day. The idea that the seas are calm, and the skies are sunny for the Discovery teams is created through the magic of editing. You cannot drop a shark cage over the side when the boat is pitching so we get to see only those days when the conditions are perfect.

    There can be a lot of factors that result in few women or minorities seen on shows such as these. Before I can state that some type of discrimination is taking place, I would need to know how many of these persons who are heralding the study have taken the time to find out how many women or minorities have been turned down for being central figures portrayed in these programs. And as the left likes to say if you are unhappy with your treatment go out and build your own series.

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