Look Again…..

Stanford University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne has come to the defense of Niall Ferguson, organizer of a recent Stanford conference on Applied History where all 30 presenters were white men.  In a Monday press conference, Tessier-Lavigne claimed that “those who have criticized the roster of presenters as ‘lacking diversity’ are looking at the world through a very narrow lens.”

Standing beside a poster board displaying photos of all the presenters, the President noted that “these scholars vary on a significant number of crucial dimensions.  For example:

— necktie vs. no necktie

— button-down collar vs. spread collar

— hair parted on the right, on the left, in the middle, or not at all

— facial expression: smiling vs. mildly constipated vs. ‘I’m passing a kidney stone’

— complexion: pinkish white, pasty white, ruddy white, greyish white, whitey white

“Of course,” said the President, “there are myriad ways in which these gentlemen differ that we cannot discern on the basis of photographs.  Some of them might prefer pesto on their baked salmon, while others would opt for a maple glaze.  Some might try to solve all the Across clues in the New York Times Sunday Crossword Puzzle before proceeding to the Down clues, while others might reverse the order.  These differences matter.  And, let’s be honest, for all we know, a number of these guys may have started out life as biologically female.  I’m not saying that this is the case here, but take a really close look at those photos and draw your own conclusions.  I’ve drawn mine.” 

Well said, President Tessier-Lavigne.  Sometimes we fail to recognize the diversity that’s staring right at us.