Showing posts with label Elizabeth Hoover. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Elizabeth Hoover. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Social Munchausen at University of California

It seems like there’s an epidemic Social Munchausen* on University of California campuses. The latest case is that UC Berkeley professor Elizabeth Hoover, who after about 20 years of passing herself off as an indigenous American, and teaching ethnic studies under that guise, let on to the fact that she really wasn't.


She claimed she had Mohawk and Mi’kmaq ancestry; in introducing herself, researching her dissertation, and getting jobs grants Ford Foundation fellowships designated for people from underrepresented groups. She published books and papers and became a “mover and shaker,” according to the San José Mercury News, in the “food sovereignty” movement.


In May, she admitted she wasn't descended from either tribe and apologized, apologized for the harm she had caused. She had assumed it, apparently, because of “family lore” she heard growing up in upstate New York. Hoover explains her fraud by saying, “I'm human.” Has this woman never heard of


I, too, am human. And I, too, lived for many years in upstate New York, and in close proximity to the Onondaga Nation, without getting confused about my ethnic background (Polish, ethnic Albanian from Italy, and Scots Irish).


In fact, were you to mistake your identity based on the ethnic environment of upstate NY, you would be way more likely to mistakenly believe that you were Polish — or Russian, Irish, Slovak or Italian — than you would mistakenly believe that you were Native American.


Hoover offered the lame apology, “I didn't set out to hurt or exploit anyone.”


Actions, as they say, speak louder than words. And despite Hoover’s “apology,” she did, in fact, hurt and exploit other people.


Let's look at what Hoover’s little fantasy about herself cost other people. First of all, she turned people’s generosity into gullibility, and people resent being played. Likely, she’s made it harder for every Native American scholar that comes after her.


Then there are all of these grants that she got, grants that were meant for people who genuinely suffered from being cut out of the establishment.


They did not have the opportunities.

Hoover got those opportunities.


They did not get grants.

Hoover got the grants.


They did not publish their books. They did not get those jobs. They did not get those fellowships.


Her ‘pretendian’ Native American identity damaged many people. How many people who should have gotten those jobs and those grants would have been true inspirations to other young Native Americans? These young people would have seen that these opportunities were open to them, that their talents could be recognized. Hoover’s story will, instead, reinforce cynicism.


Then there’s woke racism evidenced by the universities who employ these people. Outed pretendian and ethnic studies professor Andrea Smith from UC Riverside was allowed to keep her job for another year, retire with an emerita title, benefits, a pension and being spared a formal investigation.


UC Berkeley is taking no action at this point, and doesn’t plan to remove Hoover, according to the Mercury’s report. “Speaking generally, I can tell you if and when any allegations of policy violations are brought into our attention,” college spokeswoman Janet Gilmore told the Mercury. “We review that concern and take appropriate action.”


Let’s consider what would happen if UC Berkeley discovered that a professor of physics had fraudulently claimed a PhD from MIT? How long do you think they’d still be working there? Not long I suspect; because after all, academic integrity is important in physics.


But the fact that when the academic integrity involved concerns ethnic studies, a little fraud seems to be OK. Which just illustrates that UC Berkeley’s perspective on ethnic studies is in a class with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ on African American history — namely, it's not a serious academic discipline.


*Social Munchausen is a psychiatric disorder/hoax in which people pretend to belong to persecuted and disadvantaged groups. The notorious fabulist Congressman George Santos is a preeminent example.