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Saturday, April 28, 2018

Imprimis: The Negative Impact of the #MeToo Movement

The Negative Impact of the #MeToo Movement

Heather Mac Donald
Manhattan Institute  
Our nation is about to be transformed, thanks to the #MeToo movement. I am not speaking about a cessation of sexual predation in the workplace. If that were the only consequence of #MeToo, the movement would clearly be a force for good. Unfortunately, its effects are going to be more sweeping and destructive. #MeToo is going to unleash a new torrent of gender and race quotas throughout the economy and culture, on the theory that all disparities in employment and institutional representation are due to harassment and bias. The resulting distortions of decision-making will be largely invisible; we will usually not know of the superior candidates for a job who were passed over in the drive for gender parity. But the net consequence will be a loss of American competitiveness and scientific achievement.
Pressures for so-called diversity, defined reductively by gonads and melanin, are of course nothing new. Since the 1990s, every mainstream institution has lived in terror of three lethal words: “all white male,” an epithet capable of producing paroxysms of self-abasement. Silicon Valley start-ups and science labs quake before the charge of being all or mostly male; their varied ethnic demographics earn them no protection from the diversity racket. The New York Times recently criticized the board of fashion giant H&M for being “entirely white.” We can therefore infer that there are females on the H&M board, or else the Times would have let loose with the bigger gun: “all white male.” When both categories of alleged privilege—white and male—overlap, an activist is in the diversity sweet spot, his power over an institution at its zenith.
But however pervasive the diversity imperative was before, the #MeToo movement is going to make the previous three decades look like a golden age of meritocracy.

Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal. She earned a B.A. from Yale University, an M.A. in English from Cambridge University, and a J.D. from Stanford Law School. She writes for several newspapers and periodicals, including The Wall Street JournalThe New York TimesThe New Criterion, and Public Interest, and is the author of four books, including The War on Cops: How The New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe and The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture (forthcoming September 2018).

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