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Helen Pluckrose, the legendary anti-“social justice” academic who in 2018 helped expose how science journals were accepting pseudo-scientific garbage as legitimate science, is back in the spotlight thanks to her efforts to cancel cancel culture.
In the years after she and two other non-“woke” academics successfully got a pseudo-scientific “hoax paper” published at an allegedly esteemed science journal, Pluckrose formed a firm called Counterweight whose sole mission is to provide consultation to the victims or would-be victims of “cancel culture.”
“Counterweight is your source for information, advice and support with dealing with Critical Social Justice (CSJ) ideology,” the firm’s “Mission & Values” page notes.
In other words, it’s for people trying to combat “wokeness,” particularly in the workplace.
“One client, a research analyst who requested anonymity, declined to share his pronouns with his colleagues, so he was banned from team meetings,” The Atlantic reported in a profile of the firm published Monday.
Another client, a white psychology professor at Bridgewater State University, got canceled “when her research sparked an uproar on campus.”
“As part of a study meant to assess whether language could influence people’s response to perceived threats, she and her co-authors showed dozens of people a statement that compared Black Lives Matter to ‘an open wound’ or a ‘wild beast,'” according to The Atlantic.
Someone subsequently tweeted a screenshot of the question, and the next thing the professor knew, she was public enemy number one.
But not every client has been white. A number of them have been minorities who don’t subscribe to the left’s illiberal views on race.
— Bo Snerdley (@BoSnerdley) September 2, 2020
“Colin Williams, a Black consultant engineer, felt he was being ‘forced to go on mandatory unconscious bias training, and that the training assumed that because of my race I was a certain way,'” The Atlantic reported.
“Another engineer, who is from the Middle East and asked to remain anonymous because he fears retaliation at his job, asked Counterweight for help formulating an answer to a diversity-and-inclusion question during a job interview,” the outlet added.
According to a separate profile written by the Daily Mail, Counterweight also helped “a Muslim woman who failed a course on Islamic attitudes toward woman because she doesn’t ‘think they’re that great'” and “an academic who was bullied for using the term ‘mother’ to describe someone who gave birth.”
There’s a reason these people come to Counterweight for help.
“People want a way to say ‘I don’t believe what you’re trying to get me to pretend I believe. I want to be able to oppose racism, or homophobia, or sexism from my own moral values and not from these particular America-central theoretical ones,'” Pluckrose, who lives in London, told the Daily Mail.
She added that calls to Counterweight blew up following the death of Minneapolis criminal suspect George Floyd in May of 2020 as employers began going “woke.”
The Atlantic notes that one of these calls came from Jennifer Friend, “a white social worker in Northern Virginia who said her employer, Fairfax County, was holding discussion groups and had created websites that implied that police ‘are the enemy.'”
“According to Friend, the county’s new anti-racism website linked to articles and podcasts that called white women ‘Beckys’ and ‘Karens’ and said that ‘white women’s weapons are microaggressions and a direct line to the police murder hotline,'” according to The Atlantic.
At the end of the day, people should be allowed to hold their own beliefs, Pluckrose said to the Daily Mail.
Counterweight is one year old and we’re just getting started. Thanks to @DrDebraSoh @SamHarrisOrg @Ayaan @SarahTheHaider @JonHaidt @jon_rauch
@RichardDawkins @Smith_Surge @Rhetors_of_York
@MikeNayna @peterboghossian @IrshadManji
— Counterweight (@Counter_Weight_) June 29, 2021
“We are a liberal humanist organization and then we define that broadly so that we’re there for anybody who believes that it’s important to fight racism and other forms of discrimination but doesn’t want to be compelled to do so using what we call critical social justice theories, which are colloquially known as woke-ism,” she explained.
“Someone, for example, who believes racism is wrong might believe it’s wrong because they’re a liberal, and they think people should be treated as individuals, or because they’re conservatives who believe that individual responsibility is important, or because they’re a Muslim who believes we’re all children of God,” she added.
And, she continued, people “shouldn’t have to pretend to believe that racism is a particular system of power and privilege that manifests in whiteness which permeates all levels of society through people’s unconscious brains and then needs to be dug out using a particular theory developed in America.”
Indeed, “wokeness” is primarily an American phenomenon, though it’s slowly being exported to the rest of the world, sparking concern and outrage in the process.
“French politicians, high-profile intellectuals and journalists are warning that progressive American ideas — specifically on race, gender, post-colonialism — are undermining their society,” The New York Times reported in February.
French President Emanuel Macron is one of these critics. At the time, he warned that spread of “woke” ideology “fractures everything.”
“I stand for universalism. I don’t agree with a fight that reduces everyone to their identity or their particularity. … We had freed ourselves from this approach and now we are once more categorising people according to their race and by doing that we are totally placing them under house arrest,” he said.
Obama-endorsed French President Emmanuel Macron has joined numerous French intellectuals & journalists in warning that “out-of-control woke leftism of US campuses and its attendant cancel culture” poses a grave threat due to the social strife it creates:https://t.co/bHQU9FoZjW
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) February 9, 2021
Counterweight shares this exact same view.
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