Reviews | Should diversity influence hiring decisions?

For the publisher:

Re “Here’s a fact: We are consistently asked to use left-wing fictions,” by John McWhorter (Opinion,, November 19):

Linguistics professor McWhorter wonders why universities are looking for physicists who are committed to teaching and mentoring members of under-represented groups. As a professor of physics, I am writing to answer his question.

As shown in American Institute of Physics TEAM-UP Report, there are many groups that are severely under-represented in physics compared to white males like me, which is bad for physics.

First, it means that science suffers from the lack of energy and talent of these groups. Second, the effective teamwork required by world-class science benefits from diverse teams, which produce more creative and better work. Third, and most importantly, the current situation is simply not correct: our entire society should be involved in answering humanity’s deepest questions.

Michael blanton
new York
The writer is professor of physics at New York University.

For the publisher:

I am in the first year of university. The most important thing John McWhorter misses, I think, is that San Diego State University isn’t just looking for a physicist; he is looking for an assistant professor of physics. Are the criteria he enumerates, which essentially boil down to understanding and being interested in other cultures, necessary to be a physicist? I do not know. But I am absolutely certain that they help to make a good teacher.

I have seen how my classmates lose interest in the program if they cannot relate to the featured authors. I felt shame and anger when my teachers told me that wanting to write about my own identity was too niche, too uninteresting.

Anti-racism isn’t about getting better at physics. Anti-racism is all about making sure that children in this class can learn physics.

Phoebe robinson
Middletown, Connecticut.

For the publisher:

John McWhorter is absolutely right. I have always supported affirmative action, although I also believe that it should be applied very carefully, and only in certain contexts. But I rarely discuss the matter, as I’m supposed to assert my belief in two conflicting principles: that affirmative action is vitally important, and that it doesn’t really affect hiring and admission decisions.

Guillaume Cole
Sitges, Spain

For the publisher:

Re “A tear-streaked face and a rush to help in Maine” (cover page, November 29):

Ellen Barry’s report on a domestic violence case in Maine is familiar. One in three women have experienced rape, physical violence and / or harassment by an intimate partner in their lifetime. The numbers continue to grow as the systems in place fail to stem this terror.

Tanya Neal’s last text before jumping off the bridge was that her boyfriend was right, “I’m not okay,” and for me, that’s the crux of the matter. We need to make victims understand that physical violence is not a form of love, but of control, and not something they did to deserve. They need to realize their worth, their self-worth and what the experience of a healthy relationship looks like.

The efforts to address this problem are not working. We need to reach out to charitable foundations with the resources to get the right information out every day. With such a campaign, our most vulnerable girls and women can understand that it is not their fault, but something they have the power to end, and they are not alone. We must stop this shameful cycle of pain and loss. Knowledge is power.

Midge Coleman
Hillsdale, New Jersey

For the publisher:

Re “GOP Donors Flock to Back 2 Democrats” (front page, November 22):

The reports by Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema filling their campaign coffers with Tory donor donations are a perfect example of the rot at the heart of current politics – the stranglehold that major donors have over elected officials, Republicans and Democrats.

Until we eradicate this cancer of money, little will be done to move towards a more equitable society or to address challenges like climate change. But it will require a radical change, such as limiting political donations to individuals. residing in the state or district of the senator or his representative. In addition, donations should be limited to an amount per donor and per electoral cycle. Applicants must also adhere to this restriction, i.e. no self-funded campaign.

These changes will force candidates to appeal to a wide range of voters, instead of depending on and becoming captives of wealthy donors. Yes, it will be fought tooth and nail by the ruling elite, but I fear that without a complete break with the current system, the current political dysfunction could lead to the loss of democracy itself.

For the publisher:

Re “Why are there so many preterm births in America?” By Jessica Grose (Opinion,, November 20):

The United States has the highest rate of premature births among industrialized nations. Our premature birth rate is worse than that of some non-industrialized countries. This fact is frankly appalling. The fact that we are the only industrialized country without universal health care is also appalling and directly related.

We cannot commit to improving our health care outcomes without first committing to improving our health care delivery system.

Laurent A. Danto
San Juan Capistrano, California
The author is a retired surgeon and a retired clinical professor of surgery at the University of California, Davis.

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