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Professors survey 17 black women and conclude academia struggles with ‘racial violence’

Economics professor said the survey lacks ‘scientific and statistical rigor’

A recently published paper from two City University of New York professors concluded that “racial violence” remains a problem in academia.

The researchers, Tsedale Melaku (pictured) and Angie Beeman, received responses from 17 black women in total for their paper titled “Navigating white academe during crisis” published in the March issue of Gender, Work & Organization.

The paper employed “Black feminist thought…to examine how COVID-19 and racial violence have impacted women of color through the continued perpetuation of racial and gender inequities.”

Beeman is a racism and social justice scholar at Baruch College-CUNY and Melaku is a sociologist at the same college.

Racial violence refers to the mental and emotional issues facing educators, not physical acts.

Within those 25 individuals surveyed, 17 of them identified as black, two were Asian, one was Indigenous, two were mixed-race, and three decided not to answer. Seven held “nonfaculty” jobs, though the paper does not state how many of the 17 black women were not professors.

The College Fix contacted the two CUNY researchers several times in the past week to ask for comment on the study but did not receive a response. The Fix asked if they were satisfied with the sample size and if the researchers would want to expand the number of people surveyed.

The study’s design makes the researcher seem like “extreme leftist ideology…masquerading as scientific research,” according to economist Mark Perry’s comments sent via email to The College Fix.

The former University of Michigan-Flint economics professor said the study lacks “scientific and statistical rigor.”

He explained further:

The survey instrument of 13 open-ended qualitative questions is not a valid scientific study, and can therefore yield no meaningful statistical results. Notice that there is not a single mention of any statistical measures or terms like margin of error, confidence level, level of statistical significance, population size, minimum sample size, probability of Type I error, p-values, null hypothesis, nonparametric tests, etc. The data section and conclusions of the paper are based on a collection of 25 essays, which does not qualify in most fields as scientific research because no meaningful or scientific conclusions can be produced from such “faux research.”

“[I]t is ludicrous and pretentious for the authors to engage in self-congratulatory sanctimony about their ‘far-reaching’ non-results with no meaningful implications,” Perry said.

Perry said that the sample size is too small to have statistical significance.

“For a population of 17,000, which is the number of full-time black female professors in the US, the minimum valid sample size is 376,” he told The Fix. “Given the fact that the authors were also considering other female faculty of color (Asians, Hispanics, Native), the minimum sample size would be even larger.”

Academic paper doesn’t include a control group

Another issue is that the paper lacks a control group, Perry said.

“[T]he authors would have to compare the reported experiences of women of color to other groups of faculty who are not women of color” if they wanted “statistically significant” results, Perry said.

“What if the experiences of women of color were not statistically different from the experiences of faculty who are not women of color?” he said. “If it could be shown that the experiences of women of color were significantly different from faculty who are not women of color, that result could possibly be meaningful.”

He said this paper is indicative of a broader problem and “common strategy” used by academics.

“Start with a fixed, preconceived, and biased theoretical framework, e.g., ‘black feminist thought’ in this case, outline your rigid, predetermined ‘theory’ in a literature review of your ideology,” he said. Perry noted that a majority of the paper is a literature review on black feminist thought.

Then, Perry said, “present some totally bogus data ‘analysis’ and ‘findings’ that wouldn’t pass an assignment in a high school statistics class.”

“It’s become a total farce of intellectual bankruptcy in higher education that now accepts leftist ideology masquerading as ‘academic research’ to become the new status quo for most social science and education fields,” he said.

MORE: ‘Heteropatriarchy’ paper says women have healthy babies despite ‘oppression’

IMAGE: Tsedalemelaku.com

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About the Author
College Fix contributor William Diaz-Berthiaume is a student at the University of Ottawa studying political science and psychology. He is a speed-skater and coach, MMA fighter, blogger, and podcaster.