A Higher Education Way to Stop Keeping the Damned Women Out* of TECH Too?


So long Silicon Valley.  So long sexual harassers and non-diverse SLAMs — who live or work in the 50-mile radius Time Well Spent blogger Tristan Harris is talking about — in San Francisco.  Tristan is now a social-media design ethicist who is outing how social media unaccountably design our local/global lives.  And so long auto traffic.  This is the new Silicon Alley — Cornell Tech.

Now, having grown up in California, I appreciate the lack of traffic, and the benefits of serving four boroughs in this new innovative institution that serves all of us in New York City.  But what I noticed only recently that is truly remarkable and worthy of note is Women in Technology and Entrepreneurship in New York, or WiTNY.

It’s a program or blog that the New York Public Library (NYPL) — the one with the lions — produced over a year ago.  I, myself, missed the announcement and am only now catching up how the largest public university in one city — CUNY1st — is now collaborating with Cornell Tech, which itself is part of Israel’s Technion in Haifa on an initiative that gives women a chance to lead in the traditionally male macho field of technology.  I would hope Lean-In Sheryl Sandberg will pay us a visit too, as the venerable public and private higher-education institutions serve one of our most neglected pool of leaders — women.

More on women and leadership (e.g. American workplace politics) later.  For now, follow the links.#

Two Rights Make an Exhilarating Left – Showcasing a Leader Who Happens to Be a Woman

  Listen to this exchange, elevating and advancing the most significant postwar political thinker – Hannah Arendt — who happens to be a woman in the United States. Indeed, a newly vacant seat is named after her. This woman spoke truth to power in 1963 in The New Yorker, and took a lot of flak for it — so much so that she passed away tired at another venerable institution that hosts her name – Bard College.

What I’m talking about is that Chelsea and Corey got into it this weekend. Chelsea Clinton tweeted that the burning of an LGBT youth center in Phoenix reflects Hannah Arendt’s most famous and infamous phrase — “the banality of evil.” Corey Robin, my esteemed colleague, a full professor at the City University of New York, corrected Chelsea, saying that she had misunderstood and that Arendt was actually saying the exact opposite of what she thought.

Now, no one likes a correction, so Chelsea took Corey’s bait, and they went back and forth at some length, she maintaining that the Arendt phrase was apposite and he maintaining that it wasn’t.

This is, according to two more political scientists (Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler), an example of the “backfire effect” — which is fodder for another blog, so going back to the Chelsea/Corey brainy brawl, Chelsea repeatedly stood up and defended herself, only to be corrected by Corey again and again.

Corey has the better argument, though Chelsea (who initiated the discussion) is doing us a civil service, as Corey points out. Chelsea, as the author of a bestselling children’s book (She Persisted), is really setting the agenda to let women speak as leaders — really saying women are leaders.

How could Chelsea not be right in instigating and showcasing the most heretical political thinker who happens to be a woman in the United States? To top it all off, Hannah Arendt was an immigrant, a refugee, in exile – and she can no longer defend (i.e. correct) how understood and misunderstood is her political thought – though we have all benefited from it and a new book series is launching with other heretical thinkers, men and women alike.

Chelsea Clinton is right. Corey Robin is right. Chelsea is showcasing how women happen to lead. I’m going to get Chelsea’s book, and reread Corey’s analysis.