Continuing the story of James Watson, Cold Spring Harbour Laboratories first issued a press release distancing themselves from Watson’s view on intelligence of black people and now have suspended him, pending further deliberations at the Labs.
Considering all his engagements are being cancelled by hosts in a hurry to distance themselves from Watson, the Cambridge Union Society may be the only place where he is apparently still scheduled to speak.
Several terabytes of data packets are floating on the web about “what he said” and “what is being done” by way of cancellations of appearances.
But while all this goes on, his book “Avoid Boring People“, which admittedly does sound like the title of a Dilbert comic, is in the top 100 books on Amazon-UK.
If the “what” of the whole story bothers you much more than the “why” does, here is a story for you to consider.
During my MBA, we had to watch a film as part of course materials. The film was called Skokie, named after the Illinois village where the story takes place. It is a Jewish majority village through which a Neo-Nazi group wishes to march. One survivor of a concentration camp decides that ignoring is not enough; he will take action. The story depicts the views of several generations from fear, bad memories, disgust, helplessness, concern to shoulder-shrugging indifference amongst teenagers in the village. You can probably read the synopsis much better here.
So what? If you have not seen the film, you cannot guess how it ends. When the film ended and the lights went back on, the boisterous, high decibel MBA group was in a shocked silence, something that affirmed the essential humanity of many in my mind.
After much national debate and court cases involving the ACLU, the Neo Nazi group pulls out. Their leader says that the objective of the march was to create greater awareness of the Neo Nazi movement. With so much public attention having been paid, at government’s and taxpayers’ expense, that objective had been achieved and the march was no longer needed.
Surprised? Now consider this! Is it possible that by discussing the issue over and over again, Watson’s idea of “racism” is being propagated much more than it might have done as any other interview in a British Sunday paper? And that the very same people are propagating it as claim to be horrified by it?
If it bothers everyone so much that Watson is being racist, don’t you think it is time to stop promoting and discussing the idea till the world is aflame?
Oh and by the way, will you be buying the book? Millions apparently are.
Whatever your answer: ask yourself why. “Why” is the essential question in Science and if more people asked it more often, the world might just have been a better place.