Few aspects of faculty demographics generate more attention than their politics. Why is it, many want to know, that professors are far more likely than the general public to be liberal? Many theories have been put forward, including the view (much discussed in conservative circles) that academe is hostile to conservatives and tries to either weed them out or convert them.
Two studies being released today provide more evidence that bias is not the cause -- and the studies provide some additional evidence to back the theory (put forward last year by one of the authors of the new work) that "self-selection" is the primary reason so many academics are liberal. In brief, the self-selection idea holds that some professions have become "typed" in American society in various ways that may relate to gender or class but could also relate to politics. Academe is seen as more liberal, so liberals are more likely to identify being an academic as something to which they aspire. The argument is significant because it does not contest the lopsided political nature of many faculties, but also suggests that higher education is open to those conservative scholars who want careers there.
If this is true--and I'm not saying I necessarily disagree--then where are the diversityphiles? Or is diversity nothing more shallow than skin color?