It’s terrible that by mere accident of birth, some people are afforded benefits and opportunities that are denied to others.
That’s why I think Connie St Louis, the black female journalism professor whose malicious slander led to the virtual destruction of a Nobel Laureate’s career, needs to urgently check her privilege. Because unlike most people in the country, it seems she can get away with murder, thanks to her gender and, yes, her skin colour.
St Louis is responsible for the sacking of Sir Tim Hunt, a Nobel prize-winning biochemist who became the target of an online lynch mob after his comments about women in science were taken out of context.
St Louis claimed, and continues to claim, that Hunt had argued for single-sex laboratories after claiming that women in science were a distraction who “fall in love” with male scientists and “cry” when criticised.
St Louis, eager to combat damaging stereotypes, immediately went off crying to the media.
But a report from an anonymous EU official who attended Hunt’s talk told the Times last week that his comments were clearly made to poke fun at himself and that, after making them, Hunt went on to talk at length about the importance of women in science.
As Richard Dawkins, one of Hunt’s most prominent defenders, says, St Louis’ story made Hunt look like a chauvinist monster. But the full story shows him to be the precise opposite. What has happened to him is therefore nothing short of an international scandal.
There are elements of Rolling Stone in this debacle, not only in the way narrative has been prioritised over fact-checking, but also in the fabulism of Hunt’s accuser. Because, according to an explosive report by the Daily Mail, St Louis is a serial liar and fraud who has fabricated most of her own CV.
Her online resume describes her as an “award winning freelance broadcaster, writer, and scientist” who “presents and produces a range of programmes for BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service” and “writes for numerous outlets, including the Independent, the Daily Mail, the Guardian and the Sunday Times.”
But, according to the Mail‘s investigation, St Louis has no bylined works in either the Mail, the Independent or the Sunday Times. Prior to the Tim Hunt affair, she had only written one article for the Guardian, in 2013.
Her CV also boasts of a Joseph Rowntree fellowship which she received to write and publish a book. But she received the fellowship in 2005, and ten years later has yet to produce a completed work.
St Louis is currently a professor of science journalism at City University — that much is true. But if I were one of her students, I’d be demanding my money back. St Louis has lied about her CV, and she has lied about Tim Hunt.
Anyone else would be fired on the spot.
But let’s face it, it ain’t gonna happen. St Louis is a black woman. A black woman in science journalism, no less. There’s no way the Guardian or the BBC would allow anything bad to happen to such a rare and valuable person. That’s probably why they aren’t planning to follow up on the Mail‘s story.
Indeed, so important is St Louis to the Guardian that the Mail reports that Guardian editors made over 30 edits to her article on their website, in which she defended her conduct. The article was not updated with a disclaimer making note of these changes, in contravention of normal Guardian policy.
There’s a word for these double standards: privilege.
Yes, contrary to what a rainbow-haired Tumblr blogger may have screamed at you over social media, it’s not white males who need to check their privilege today, but minorities in positions of influence like Connie St Louis, who seem to think they can lie about themselves and others with impunity in pursuit of some noble higher goal.
In this case, as so often, that higher goal was delivering a good kicking to a much more successful man.
You can bet your bottom dollar that if it were Sir Tim Hunt or some other villified white male who had engaged in the kind of CV-spinning that St Louis did, the BBC and the Guardian would be shouting it from the rooftops.
Evidence of this double standard is everywhere. Just look at Bahar Mustafa, the delightful “diversity officer” of Goldsmiths University who hosted events that banned white men, repeatedly said she wanted to “kill white men,” labelled people “white trash” — and then claimed she couldn’t be racist, because she’s an ethnic minority.
There’s someone who knows how to use their privilege, baby.
Mustafa still has her job, by the way. (It’s taxpayer-funded, of course.) After all, we can afford to lose scientists like Sir Tim Hunt, can’t we? He wasn’t doing anything important, just trying to cure cancer. Openly racist “diversity officers” like Mustafa though, they’re the people we can’t afford to lose.
It’s easy to laugh, but the privilege of minorities in modern Britain has real consequences. In Rotherham, the abuses of Pakistani grooming gangs were ignored for years because officials in the town were afraid of offending minorities or appearing “racist.”
Even the official report acknowledged the part played by “misplaced political correctness” in the horrific episode. But the underlying problem was not addressed.
And it won’t be. As I write, it’s Monday afternoon, and there is still no glimmer of a story on the Connie St Louis CV revelations from the BBC, Guardian, or Independent.
Why? Because these Lefty (alright, closet Lefty in the case of the BBC) news outlets have imported the bad habits of the American Left, in particular their hare-brained identity politics.
No doubt, editors at these publications believe that attacking Tim Hunt is righteously “punching up” at the privileged, whereas exposing St Louis’ wrongdoing would be “punching down” at the underprivileged. What a world.
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