Wednesday, December 21, 2005

LaShawn Barber

LaShawn Barber has been accused of hating black people because she refuses to endorse quotas, affirmative action, and other nostrums out of the liberal goody bag. She gives a marvelous apologia at her blog. Here's a taste:

I am more critical of blacks than I am of whites because, no offense, I care more about what happens to blacks. That is, I care whether they're valuing education as highly as they should, whether they're pushing themselves and their children to be the best and not wallowing in excuses or hurling unfounded charges of racism.

Having grown up black among black family and friends, I noticed a certain undercurrent that didn't have a name. Whether a person actually suffered from racial discrimination or not, there was an urge to "keep whitey on the hook," a term I picked up from John McWhorter. He articulated it so well in Authentically Black. We are never to allow whites to forget our historical grievances, whether an individual white person was guilty of discrimination or not. Most whites seem intimidated by blacks who do this. I dare say some of my white commenters are probably intimidated as well, despite their boldness on this blog.

I vowed to take the opposite approach. Rather than using this blog to bit** and moan session about slavery, institutional racism and such, I'd use it to "keep blacks on the hook." It's a fresh approach and much more interesting than telling whites how racist they are. Blacks need to be reminded, constantly, of our responsibility in this mess.

One of the government policies I hate is skin color preferences, which I've written about ad nauseum and will continue to do so as long as it exists. So-called affirmative action was intended to include more blacks in the candidate pool, but it has become the biggest entitlement program ever conceived. It has nothing to do with so-called racial discrimination and everything to do with lowered standards.

Apparently, it's difficult to find black job candidates and potential university students with credentials comparable to whites. On the one hand, some blacks claim that credentials are comparable, but whites need a "push" to hire or admit. On the other hand, some blacks claim that "comparable" is relative. Just because a black person has a lower score, it doesn't mean he's not qualified for a job or admission. It is reasonable, however, to set hiring and admissions criteria, and if your score is below the threshold, you are, by those standards, not qualified. Unfortunately, some blacks - not all, thank goodness - see racial motives behind everything.

I hate "affirmative action" because it's immoral, unconstitutional, embarrassingly unfair, and undignified.

If blacks with comparable credentials are being passed over, blanket skin color preference policies are not the remedy. Courts are where such disputes should be heard. If blacks are passed over because they don't have comparable scores, we need to address the problem at a much earlier stage. We all know how dumbed down government schools have become. Get the socialist bureaucrats out of the front offices and demand better for your kids. Fight for school choice, support rigorous standards, and advocate excellence, not mediocrity. And for the love of God, stop making excuses. Discipline your children to turn off that idiot box and study. Embrace and reward studious behavior and penalize laziness.

Despite government policies designed to force equal outcomes, thanks to human nature, it ain't going to happen. We each have different or varying degrees of talent, drive, and motivation. This is where "diversity" bites liberals on the rear end. In a society as diverse as America, individuals will never have equal stuff. You won't find equal outcomes within the same biological family, for crying out loud, so how can you expect to find it within a diverse country???

Equal opportunity is the best we humans can hope for and what the Constitution guarantees. That document does not have the power to ensure equal distribution of material wealth, nor should it. I'm glad to know that more people are publicly expressing their disdain for skin color distinctions imposed by government.

Go to her blog (linked above) for a lot more. She's feisty and decidedly un-PC. Would that more people, both black and white, thought as she does.

Go Ahead, Make My Day

The Democrats are shooting themselves in the foot...again, according to this column by John McIntyre at RealClear Here are some highlights from McIntyre's essay:

The public resents the overkill from Abu Ghraib and the hand-wringing over whether captured terrorists down in Gitmo may have been mistreated. They want Kahlid Mohamed, one of the master minds of 9/11 and a top bin Laden lieutanent, to be water-boarded if our agents on the ground think that is what necessary to get the intel we need. They want the CIA to be aggressively rounding up potential terrorists worldwide and keeping them in "black sites" in Romania or Poland or wherever, because the public would rather have suspected terrorists locked away in secret prisons in Bulgaria than plotting to kill Americans in Florida or California or New York.

The public also has the wisdom to understand that when you are at war mistakes will be made. You can't expect 100% perfection. So while individuals like Kahled Masri may have been mistakenly imprisoned, that is the cost of choosing to aggressively fight this enemy. Everyone understands that innocents were killed and imprisoned mistakenly in World War II. Had we prosecuted WWII with the same concern for the enemy's "rights" the outcome very well might have been different.

One of the major problems working against Democrats is many on their side appear to be rooting for failure in Iraq and publicly ridicule the idea that we actually might win. When this impression is put in context of the debate over eavesdropping or the Patriot Act, Democrats run the significant risk of being perceived to be more concerned with the enemy's rights than protecting ordinary Americans. This is a loser for Democrats.

If Democrats want to make this spying "outrage" a page one story they are fools walking right into a trap. Now that this story is out and the security damage is already done, let's have a full investigation into exactly who the President spied on and why. Let's also find out who leaked this highly classified information and prosecute them to the full extent of the law. If the president is found to have broken the law and spied on political opponents or average Americans who had nothing to do with terrorism, then Bush should be impeached and convicted.

But unlike Senator Levin, who claimed on Meet The Press yesterday not to know what the President's motives were when he authorized these eavesdropping measures, I have no doubt that the President's use of this extraordinary authority was solely an attempt to deter terrorist attacks on Americans and our allies. Let the facts and the truth come out, but the White House's initial response is a pretty powerful signal that they aren't afraid of where this is heading.

Bush hit a low point last summer and Fall with the PR disaster of Katrina and the Harriet Miers nomination and his relative silence about the war in Iraq. The Democrats, seeing an opportunity to capitalize, rushed in like a mob of thugs each vying to get a good kick in on the president, but in the process they reminded the country why they don't want Democrats in control of national security. In word and deed they painted themselves as the party of defeat and retreat, the Defeatocrat party, as they're now being called in the blogosphere.

The president has apparently had enough of the pummeling he's been taking, and has come off the ropes with hard combinations to the Defeatocrats' vitals. His approval ratings are beginning to climb into the high 40's as the public becomes more aware that Iraq is not at all the mess that the Dems have portrayed it, the economy is robust, and we haven't had a terrorist attack on our soil since Bush took the war to the Middle East. If the Democrats want to question Bush's integrity on the secret surveillance and hold investigations, all they'll succeed in doing is showing the public how diligently the president has been working to protect them from al Qaeda. George Bush should send a memo to Harry Reid, "Go ahead, Harry, make my day."


The audacious Jennifer Senior apparently enjoys professional danger. She's written an article in New York magazine which explores the work of two researchers who live even more dangerously, Henry Harpending, an evolutionary anthropologist at the University of Utah, and Gregory Cochran, an independent scholar. She writes that:

The two shopped around a paper that tried to establish a genetic argument for the fabled intelligence of Jews. It contended that the diseases most commonly found in Ashkenazim-particularly the lysosomal storage diseases, like Tay-Sachs-were likely connected to and, indeed, in some sense responsible for outsize intellectual achievement in Ashkenazi Jews....Most American academics expected the thing to drop like a stone.

Yet to invoke the genome as an explanation for anything more complicated than illness or the most superficial traits (like skin color) is still considered taboo, as Harvard president Larry Summers discovered when he suggested the reason for so few female math and science professors might lurk in scribbles of feminine DNA (rather than, say, the hostile climes of the classroom, the diminished expectations of women's parents, or a curious cultural receptivity to Pamela Anderson's charms).

Though Jews make up a mere 0.25 percent of the world's population and a mere 3 percent of the United States', they account, according to their paper, for 27 percent of all American Nobel Prize winners, 25 percent of all ACM Turing Award winners for computer science, and 50 percent of the globe's chess champions. (What the paper doesn't say is that these numbers seem to be tallied for optimum Jewishness, counting as Jews those who have as few as one Jewish grandparent to claim; it also wrongly assumes these winners are all Ashkenazim. But still.) Cochran and Harpending also cite studies claiming that Ashkenazim have the highest IQ of any ethnic group for which there's reliable data, perhaps as much as a full standard deviation above the general European average, which means, at the far end of the spectrum, that 23 per thousand Ashkenazim have an IQ over 140, as opposed to 4 per thousand Northern Europeans.

Freud and Marx, Einstein and Bohr, Mendelssohn and Mahler. The brothers Gershwin. The brothers Marx. Woody Allen. Bob Dylan. Franz Kafka. Claude L�vi-Strauss. Bobby Fischer. The list of accomplished and brilliant Jews seems endless and begs an explanation.

Harpending and Cochran's study, though, has produced a great deal of consternation and criticism, not because people don't think that Jews really are smarter than the average Caucasian but because there's a very dangerous flip side to the discussion. If intelligence is correlated to ethnicity or race then...are we heading toward another Bell Curve debacle which brought no end of invective and criticism upon the head of author Charles Murray? Here lies ground the prudent academic dare not tread upon, and in order to avoid it all statements of the obvious, for example, that Jews and Asians seem to be disproportionately brilliant must be treated as if they carried HIV.

The problem with saying such things out loud in public is that people's minds immediately fly to another obviously disproportionate giftedness, that of African-American athleticism. So what's wrong with that, you ask? Silly you. You must be from Mars.

As William Buckley is fond of putting it, he who says A must say B. The flip side of the prowess displayed by Jews in the realm of the mind is that it certainly seems that Jews and, to a lesser extent, Asians are athletic underachievers (at least in most of the sports popular in America). But now we've gone and done it, because this observation invites the forbidden question of why African-Americans, taken as a whole, seem to be conversely situated.

Studies like the one Senior writes about are not welcome in the PC world of academe where uncomfortable racial implications of research are best swept quietly into the closet. If Jewish, and Asian, intellectual achievement is largely genetically explained then, the dread question is, does the failure of African Americans to do as well in the classroom as they do on the athletic field also have a genetic explanation? And this question, it is objected, plays right into the hands of racists. To which I, being one who is gifted neither intellectually nor athletically, say phooey.

Genuine racists, those who could and would do harm to people simply because of their race, are an insignificant fraction of the population today, at least among whites, despite what the race hustlers would have us believe. It's time we start addressing uncomfortable facts about ourselves like grown-ups instead of stuffing them in our national anxiety closet when they conflict with what we'd like them to be. We are better served by confronting difficult truths, if indeed truths they be, than by hiding from them. The more thoroughly we understand ourselves the more effectively we can work to make life better for all Americans. We say, let's take our hands from over our mouths, eyes, and ears, and let's do the research. Let the facts fall where they may. We shouldn't fear knowledge.