The entire purpose of academic research is to discover the truth about vexing scientific and societal questions through the use of research and data. However, if the truth refutes a sacred political agenda, you can no longer publish such research or even cite it. The latest victim of this reverse Jim Crow witch hunt against truth in data and academic research is Stephen Hsu, vice president for research at Michigan State University.
On June 2, I cited a study from researchers at the Michigan State and the University of Maryland that concludes, “We did not find evidence for anti-Black or anti-Hispanic disparity in police use of force across all shootings, and, if anything, found anti-White disparities when controlling for race-specific crime.” This study analyzed 917 officer-involved fatal shootings and found that that “per capita racial disparity in fatal shootings is explained by non-White people’s greater exposure to the police through crime.” The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last year.
Tucker Carlson mentioned this study on his show later that evening, and it has since gained more notoriety. Naturally, one would expect those who believe in the “systemic racism in policing” blood libel to cite evidence why this study is wrong and to provide counter-evidence that supports their position. But debate is not their strong suit, just censorship.
The College Fix reports that Stephen Hsu was fired from Michigan State University for citing this study and posting an interview of one of its authors, Michigan State colleague Joe Cesario, on his blog. He posted the interview with Cesario on June 2, the same day I cited the study.
On June 25, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Graduate Employees Union was calling for Hsu’s head on twitter. The Journal pointed out that among other things, “The union also faulted him for having ‘directed funding to research downplaying racism in bias in police shootings.’”
As Professor Hsu told the WSJ: “The MSU professor who conducted that work, psychologist Joe Cesario, tells me that ‘we had no idea what the data was going to be, what the outcome was going to be, before we did this study.’ Mr. Cesario has collected evidence from a simulator and from real-world interactions between police and citizens. He concluded that ‘the nature of the interaction really matters the most, and officers were not more likely to be ready to shoot upon encountering a black versus white citizen.’
Commenting on the Wall Street Journal article in his blog, Professor Hsu noted, “Several years ago Cesario was granted a rare opportunity to study police shootings and officer behavior in simulators in a large city. My office provided him with a small amount of funding to create realistic simulator video of police stops and other situations. This is an important topic to study if we want to understand and improve policing.”