Below are two questions; you will choose one of these questions to answer. Your answer to this question should incorporate at least three (3) of the scholarly articles that we have read and discussed for class. Videos do not count as scholarly articles but may be used in the construction of your argument. You are also welcome to incorporate elements of our discussion and my Prezis into your answer, but neither of these things may count as one of your scholarly articles. No in-text citation is required for ideas pulled from our discussions. Please cite my Prezis as (Sibley, Title).
Your response should be 300-500 words
1. McIntosh writes that The pressure to avoid [acknowledging white privilege] is great, for in facing it I must give up the myth of meritocracy (9). Meritocracy is the idea that an individuals success or failure is the direct product of that individuals choices. Critics of the idea of meritocracy contend that it fails to account for the ways that systemic inequality leads to the unequal treatment of individuals, regardless of those individuals choices.
How do McIntosh and Sarkeesians discussions of marked and unmarked categories contribute to our thinking about meritocracy? How might our understanding of intersectionality affect this question? To what degree do you think we live in a meritocratic society? Please use specific evidence from our readings to support your argument.
2. Notoriously, in a speech delivered at a conference focused on diversifying the science and engineering workforce, Lawrence Summers, then president of Harvard University, suggested that the over-representation of men in science and engineering in tenured positions at the elite universities and research institutions may be in part due to innate differences in ability between the sexes, reigniting debate about the relationship between biological characteristics and social position. The persistent difference in representation of men and women in these fields, he posited, is the result of the general clash between peoples legitimate family desires and employers current desire for high power and high intensity, that in the special case of science and engineering, there are issues of intrinsic aptitude, and particularly of the variability of aptitude, and that those considerations are reinforced by what are in fact lesser factors involving socialization and continuing discrimination.
Following his comments, Summers was widely criticized, but several prominent scholars weighed-in in favor of his views. For example, MIT cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker and Cambridge biologist Peter Lawrence both endorsed the view that even if gender discrimination was completely ended, men would still outnumber women in the physical sciences due to innate sex-based differences. Both Pinker and Lawrence recognize the historical role of gender discrimination in creating inequalities in universities and society and support policies to aIDress such conditions. However, their arguments in support of innate sex-based differences center on claims that men are better at mathematical problem solving and spatial visualization, while women are superior at mathematical calculation. These differences, it is contended, in part, explain the under-representation of women in science and engineering.
Using materials from the course, write a counter-response to the assertions of Summers, Pinker, and Lawrence.