Op-Ed Submission by W. Lee Hansen, Professor Emeritus, Economics, UW-Madison. UW-Madison Chancellor Blank's new 2020 Diversity Plan, described in her July 8, 2020 blog entry, is more disturbing than suggested by the bland front-page headline: "Blank targets racial climate" (Wisconsin State Journal, July 16, 2020).
The Chancellor’s array of proposed new "commitments" to diversity reflects her response to recent Black Lives Matter protests and demands from both black and white students, as well as some faculty and staff. She confesses that her response also reflects some personal guilt about benefiting from White Privilege. Her view no doubt accounts for selection of the keynote speaker for the Fall 2000 Diversity Forum. The speaker will be Robin DiAngelo, author of The New York Times “best seller,” White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism. For a preview of DiAngelo’s approach, readers can read the book reviews, including a long essay analyzing the flawed research on which her book is based.
About the Author
At age 92 I decided to showcase my recent and current writings on a variety of topics outside of my career interests as an economist. My wife Sally’s dementia, my experiences of war, and my interests in improving higher education all compel me to write.
For most of the last decade I maintained a low profile, necessitated by my wife Sally's suffering from a decade-long siege of vascular dementia. After she passed away several years ago I wrote about our experience, in the belief that this would be helpful to the many others who suffer from dementia and their family caregivers. I am currently seeking a publisher for my book manuscript: The Forgotten: Dementia and the Right to Die.
Over the past few years I began working on several other writing projects that are described more fully elsewhere in my blog. These include a nearly-completed book manuscript on my "expected proficiencies approach to the college major'' as a vehicle for reinvigorating liberal education. I continue to write on the shortcomings of UW-Madison's affirmative action policies and programs that over the years have been renamed "diversity and inclusion" policies and programs.
Within two weeks of my graduation from UW-Madison in June 1950, the Korean War broke out. I was drafted and expected to be sent to Korea to join our fighting forces there. But instead I was sent to Turkey for 18 months. How lucky I was. I am also writing a memoir of my Korean War military experience when I served as an U.S. Army adviser in our military aid program in Turkey.
Until I began branching out beyond economics, I failed to realize what a profound effect the Great Depression and World War II had on me as I grew up. I have already captured some of these recollections, with more of them to follow.
With that introduction, I turn you over to my blog entries as well as my other writing projects described more fully elsewhere in my blog. Best wishes ~ W. Lee Hansen
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Award-winning author W. Lee Hansen, Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Full bio.