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What to expect when you’re expecting… black people!

Black and white bell curves according to Herrnstein and Murray

If you’re following the link from John Derbyshire’s “Talk,” this is the graph you’re looking for. Drink it in, because according to ThinkProgress, it’s the “only ‘fact’ included in [his] entire piece” (source info).

(9) A small cohort of blacks—in my experience, around five percent—is ferociously hostile to whites and will go to great lengths to inconvenience or harm us. A much larger cohort of blacks—around half—will go along passively if the five percent take leadership in some event. They will do this out of racial solidarity, the natural willingness of most human beings to be led, and a vague feeling that whites have it coming.

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John Derbyshire, giving the “Talk” for non-black kids


The mild and tolerant racism I’ve owned up to, and which seems (from these Implicit Association studies) to be very common, is not usually a problem in people’s personal social lives. It’s never been a problem in my life. I’ve always got on pretty well with persons of all races…. But then, of course, as an individual, one can “navigate” through life, making choices that avoid difficult quandaries, by just the kinds of strategies outlined in my article.

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It was just last month that everyone was waiting to see if that guy who gave my last name a bad name would be arrested for shooting Trayvon Martin. John Derbyshire noticed that there were a lot of “whiny articles by black writers about ‘The Talk’ that black parents must give to their children, to help them avoid sudden death at the hands of white authority figures.” He answered with “The Talk: Nonblack Version” in Taki’s Magazine, because non-black kids need to know how to avoid sudden death, too, and there’s no way he was going to let the black writers do all the whining.

Derbyshire is not a man to keep his biases to himself. By his own admission, he sees African Americans through a lens of “mild and tolerant racism” (see the quote at the top of the post, from an interview in Gawker). His main interest in them seems to be a morbid fascination with race-ranking statistics and tabloid news stories. About the best thing he can say about American multiracial society is that we’re stuck with each other and better make the best of it, “like an unhappy married couple in a Strindberg play.” But it’s oppressive, having to deal with “the prissy horrified shrieking at commonplace observations and plain facts, the deception and (far worse) self-deception about human nature and human differences, the grovelling and self-abasement before inferior civilizations,” not to mention the “weasely lies and hypocrisy and preening moral vanity,” the “bullying and witch-hunting,” etc., etc. (⇓ sources of this stuff, and more ⇓). The whole arrangement is nonstop misery for the poor guy, but at least he’s got a nice magazine soapbox so he tell everyone about it.

The man is so wise he learns from the experience he avoids

As Derbyshire said to Gawker, he manages by using “the kinds of strategies outlined in [his] article.” It boils down to one simple strategy, really — avoid black people. That does seem to be the sensible thing for him to do, but it makes him hard to take seriously as an authority on the folks he’s avoiding. Maybe that’s why his kids “weren’t very receptive” to his advice, with “even some disgust in [his] daughter’s case.” After all those years of stewing in his own fear and loathing, the old man obviously has no clue about dealing with black people.

But Derbyshire isn’t giving simple-minded advice about how the kids should handle themselves. That might be ok for the black parents, who tell their kids things like, keep your hands out of your pockets so folks don’t think you have a gun. Derbyshire’s talk is much more high concept, all the way up to the “civilizationally consequential” fact that the Fields Metal in mathematics seems to be beyond the reach of the African genotype. But mainly Derbyshire is dealing in data. “Any fool can open his mouth and push out a string of words,” he says, “and every fool does. Give me some facts, some evidence, some credentialed research.”

But how does a data-driven Afrophobe get to the point where he can say, “in my experience, around five percent” of blacks are “ferociously hostile to whites and will go to great lengths to inconvenience or harm us”? It sounds almost like he realized, after years of near-fatal commuting, that if he gets on a subway with more than about 20 black dudes, someone usually leaves on a stretcher. But who would keep riding those trains long enough to get the percentages? (Son, you’re old enough now to go out into the world and collect mushrooms, but remember this: 5% of the red-spotted mushrooms you collect will send you to the hospital puking your guts out. Gosh, dad, how many red-spotted mushrooms did it take to figure that out?)

It must be more a matter of inconvenience than violence. Maybe the story is that about 1 in 20 times he deals with a black waiter or teller or ticket agent or whatever, he is inconvenienced, ferociously. But black isn’t the only thing all those interactions have in common. Derbyshire is up in there every time. Later in the piece, he invokes this reservoir of black hostility to explain why a white person should be braced for rudeness when they approach a counter staffed by blacks. If that’s what Derbyshire experiences, there’s a simpler explanation — an Occam’s razor no-brainer, really: the “hostility-based magnifying effect” is old Derb himself.

It’s the part about how half “will go along passively if the five percent take leadership in some event” where the thing really goes off the rails. What is going on in this man’s life that generates “events” where a ferociously hostile black person emerges, galvanizes about half of the black bystanders, and they proceed to inconvenience whitey. It sounds more paranoia than anything else.

Continue reading ›

Tagged bullshit, IQ, John Derbyshire, race

Let’s end the envy and pledge allegiance to the one percent

MATT LAUER: … Do you suggest that … anyone who has questions about the distribution of wealth and power in this country, is envious? …

MITT ROMNEY: You know, I think it’s about envy. I think it’s about class warfare. I think when you have a president encouraging the idea of dividing America based on 99 percent versus one percent, and those people who have been most successful will be in the one percent, you’ve opened up a wave of approach to this country which is entirely inconsistent with the concept of one nation under God.

LAUER: Are there no fair questions about the distribution of wealth without it being seen as envy, though?

ROMNEY: I think it’s fine to talk about those things in quiet rooms and discussions about tax policy and the like. But the president has made it part of his campaign rally….

Mitt Romney says he’ll Keep America America, but to do that he’ll have to Restore America. The United States has lost a lot of America thanks to the un-American voters who keep electing baby-killer socialists from the Democrat party. Mitt Romney seems to think that he’s the man to unite America against these un-American Americans who are so intent on destroying America. He may well be right. *

One of the first things Romney will have to restore is the true meaning of the pledge of allegiance. Does anyone else these days understand that the pledge is about swearing off class warfare? That it’s about showing proper deference to the most successful Americans, the Job Creators? Over the last few generations, since the New Deal shunted America onto the wrong track, we’ve had Civil Rights and Voting Rights and Disability Rights and Gay Rights and on and on. It’s no wonder that a whole lot of Americans, from the semi-successful to the not-so-successful to the downright unsuccessful, seem to think they practically own the place.

Maybe what we need is a new pledge to restore the true meaning of the old pledge. In fact, to get back to the concept of one nation under God and indivisible, we probably need separate pledges for the 1 percent and for the 99 percent. For those of us who haven’t contributed our fair share of job-creating success, the pledge should remind us whose coattails we’re riding. Something like this:

I pledge of allegiance to the One Percent of the United States of America, and to the Republic, which they command, one nation, under one true God, indivisible, with liberty and respect for the prosperous, with law and order for the rest.

(Or should it be peace and quiet for the prosperous? I’m not sure. These things take work, and all I’ve got is a first draft. Feel free to tinker with it.)

Continue reading ›

IQ and you-know-who: the great white hero faces reality

Black and white bell curves according to Herrnstein and Murray
Black and white bell curves according to La Griffe du Lion

Bell Curves, black and white — Slightly different? Top from The Bell Curve, by Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray (viasee also). Bottom from La Griffe du Lion, a pseudonymous American academic.

Back at the end of November, Andrew Sullivan wrote a short post claiming that the study of intelligence — not just its racial aspects but the general study — has “been strangled by p.c. egalitarianism.” He admitted later that his conclusion was “an over-reach” (“Sometimes that happens when you respond as a blogger to a story”). But it opened up the whole race-and-IQ can of worms. And, well, there they were, old and tired but still squirming.

Sullivan has a history with the issue. In the 90s, when he was the editor of The New Republic, he devoted an issue to trying (and apparently failing) to “foment a sane discussion of The Bell Curve.” Ta-Nehisi Coates was one of the “young intellectuals who’d gather under the flag-pole” at Howard University at the time. He remembers it as a galvanizing moment: “That the in flight magazine of Air Force One would argue that all the world I’d known was brain addled set me afire.” He brought some of the fire to the latest round of the old debate, talking back to his friend Andrew. [⇓ the whole thread ⇓]

It’s an honorable role Sullivan is trying to play, though, and not an easy one. He’s read The Bell Curve and it’s not some flimsy racist tract, it’s a serious statistical analysis of a longitudinal study that followed nearly 12,000 Americans for 12 years, starting at age 17. He’s looked into some other similar studies, too, and he’s “gob-smacked by the resilience of IQ differences between broad racial groups.” But as Coates says, the main conclusion — that Africans, on average, are not as intelligent as Europeans — is “a long-held tenet of slave-holders and white supremacists.” And there’s no clean break between the impressive late-20th-century studies and the old racist pseudoscience. They share the same preoccupation with the problem of black people and the same conviction that it will always be with us. But that doesn’t mean the science is wrong, it just means that it takes balls to stand up for it.

I doubt that anyone has stood up for it as heroically as Will Saletan. Continue reading ›

Tagged Andrew Sullivan, IQ, race, Ta-Nehisi Coates

Fighting like a Republican and losing like John Aravosis


He said anus. Uh-huhuhuhuhuhuhu.

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Butt-head, after the hippy-dippy teacher said “we don’t need TV to entertain us.”

Innuendo? It’s a Klan slogan, he said it.

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John Aravosis, after Mitt Romney said “We will keep America America”

Last week, AmericaBlog announced in a headline that “Romney adopts KKK slogan: ‘Keep America American’”. It’s a great story if you listen like Butt-head and if you’re out to get Mitt Romney any way you can. Otherwise it’s nonsense, which is why it’s already blown over. It wasn’t really about Romney, anyway. It was about giving the Republicans a taste of their own medicine, slinging bullshit and slander like Fox News. Maybe this says something about the level of frustration on the left. Or maybe it’s the same old same old and just happened to push my buttons.

The story was picked up right away by MSNBC and the Washington Post. Both outlets quickly backtracked. After MSNBC issued an apology or two, John Aravosis — the creator, editor, and principal writer of AmericaBlog — added an incredulous update to his story.

[I]t’s not entirely clear what they’re apologizing for. The story is true. Romney used the phrase at least twice, and it is an old Ku Klux Klan slogan. So what about the story is incorrect, or as Al Sharpton is now calling it (he works for MSNBC) “innuendo.” Innuendo? It’s a Klan slogan, he said it.

(These days the article starts with another update, because “the Romney people are now claiming that the phrase he’s been using is ‘Keep America America’ instead of ‘Keep America American.’” This shouldn’t have been news to Aravosis since it’s exactly what you hear on the video embedded in his article. It seems like a pretty meaningless distinction, but maybe not if your whole case rests on nothing but the literal repetition of three words.) *

Causing Al Sharpton to reach out to Romney as a fellow “victim of unproven innuendo and half-truths” seems like a real accomplishment, but Aravosis is unfazed. In a separate piece about MSNBC’s apology, he holds the line. The “story” is very simple, and the ball’s in Romney’s court. The Romney campaign official who tweeted that “MSNBC apologizes to @MittRomney for ‘appalling’ KKK comparison” got it wrong, though, because

nobody “compared” anybody to the KKK. The story was, is, that Mitt Romney has repeatedly used a slogan that just happens to be a former Ku Klux Klan slogan. And it is. So is the Romney campaign claiming the slogan isn’t a former Klan slogan? Are they saying that Romney will continue to use it? No chance in hell of that. (And that’s news.)

I don’t know about “nobody,” but it’s true that Aravosis didn’t do anything as forthright and labor-intensive as a comparison between Romney and the KKK. According to the Washington Post, Aravosis is a “political commenter” and a person who generates the “provocative stuff” that’s “part of the formula for cable news success.” What that means, I guess, is that it’s his job to come up with stuff and other people’s job to think about it and deal with it.

Aravosis isn’t a journalist, anyway, so he skips all of the tedious reporting and contextualizing and analyzing that journalist have to do. Instead, he has a suggestion. Continue reading ›

High-IQ stupidity

It doesn’t make sense that we would have an inborn urge to have babies that is a separate thing from the urge to have sex—sex seems to be nature’s way to convince most of us, at least, to breed.

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Amanda Marcotte

What Amanda is saying is that the evolutionary imperative to reproduce doesn’t really exist — that it is social construct.

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Jeff Goldstein


I once heard a female professor of mathematics talk about an encounter she had with a senior colleague soon after taking her first faculty job. He told her that he didn’t think she belonged there because he knew for a fact that women weren’t good at math. Coming from a math professor, of all people, the reasoning is mind-boggling — surely he understood the basics of probability distributions. It could be true that on average women are less capable mathematicians than men and also true that this particular woman was more capable than most men, including a certain professor standing in the hall making an ass of himself at that very moment.

That’s the basic problem with believing that you’re smarter than a whole class of other people — it tends to make you stupid. That anecdote is my favorite example (and it’s just an anecdote, so take it with a grain of salt — I have no reason to doubt the woman who told it but I don’t have a lot of faith in my own memory). It’s been on my mind because of the exchanges last week between Ta-Nehisi Coates and Andrew Sullivan about race and IQ. I have a second-favorite example, too, and unlike the first one it’s documented in fantastic detail. It’s been sitting on my hard disk for a long time, part of a collection of half-written blog posts that just gets more impressive every year. I guess now’s the time, finally.

The presumed fool in this story is also a woman, and the operating assumption is that she’s a scientific ignoramus. Not because she’s a woman, of course, but because she’s a feminist, which is a much better reason. Specifically — not that it really matters, because they all think alike — it’s Amanda Marcotte, prima donna of Pandagon. Feminists hold science in contempt and don’t even believe in reality, and you don’t need to know any science to see what a scientific ignoramus a person like that is.

Her opposite number is Jeff Goldstein, the guru who for 10 gleeful years has been serving glistening gobs of Protein Wisdom from a can. Just like Newt, he sounds like a smart person is supposed to sound, only you don’t have to be dumb to think that, just easily impressed. Like David Thompson, for instance, who’s our unreliable narrator, or something.

A lot of the story is a pretty typical episode of the echo chamber follies, just with an especially united front of willful ignorance. Goldstein ratchets the pretense up with a load of his patented intellectual spam. Meanwhile, Thompson takes the knee-jerk assumptions about who’s smarter up a notch, commenting that Goldstein “probably [has] quite a few IQ points” on Marcotte. So guess which one has a clue about basic evolutionary biology? Continue reading ›

Tagged culture war, Protein Wisdom, stupid conservative tricks

Huckabee hijacks the Holocaust — a postscript

A brief follow-up to my last post, because I just noticed yesterday’s editorial by Danny Danon in the Jerusalem post, headlined “No way to treat a friend.” The writer is deputy speaker of the Knesset. It’s an object lesson in how to miss the point but sound reasonable doing it.

Continue reading ›

Tagged Abe Foxman, ADL, Mike Huckabee

Huckabee hijacks the Holocaust and Foxman’s outfoxed by his friends

Foxman could have done even a tiny bit of fact-checking and discovered what most people in the Israel and American Jewish community know quite well, that Israel and the Jewish people have no stronger advocate than Mike Huckabee.

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Mike Huckabee

[I]f I had to guess, their attack is going to be that I’m anti-Semite, which does not even make any sense. First of all, no one is a bigger defender of Jews and Israel than me. Name them on television.

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Glenn Beck

You know me as a friend and many IDF warriors know me as someone who is consistently strong in the defense of the Jewish people and the state of Israel.

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Roger Ailes

Seems like the competition for Greatest Goy Friend to Israel and the Jewish People is pretty stiff over there at Fox News. But actually those three gentlemen of fair-and-balanced land were playing their get-out-of-jail-free card. It’s just the ticket when Abe Foxman and the Anti-Defamation League get on your case for rhetorical abuse of the Holocaust. There was a little burst of attention last week when Huckabee and Foxman tangled and then quickly kissed and made up. The three incidents together reveal some interesting patterns, though — some very lame watchdogging, first of all.

Last November, Glenn Beck mounted an all-out assault against George Soros on his Fox News show. Foxman found one of Beck’s claims, that Soros was once “a Jewish boy sending Jews to death camps,” to be “completely inappropriate, offensive and over the top,” not to mention “horrific.” Beck responded by going to his files and pulling out a recent letter of apology from none other than Abe Foxman, who had written to Beck that “I know that you are a friend of the Jewish people, and a friend of Israel.” Once prompted, Foxman reiterated the sentiment, adding that “there are certain things [Beck] doesn’t understand, which have led him to make insensitive remarks.” Apparently they’re not that big a deal, though.

One of the things Beck clearly did understand is how to work the classic anti-Semitic stereotypes. Just a month earlier, after Rick Sanchez’s foolish rant about Jon Stewart and the Jewish “bigots” who control the media, Foxman wrote an editorial about the resiliency of those old stereotypes and the need for continued vigilance. He also wrote to CNN, congratulating them for firing Sanchez and urging them to disavow his anti-Semitic views more conspicuously. Beck’s theatrical effort to cast a rich Jewish businessman as an evil puppetmaster pulling the strings of government and the media was far more willful and sustained. Foxman singled out a single claim that as a Holocaust survivor he found intolerable. He had nothing to say about all the anti-Semitic dog whistling. Instead, he made sure everyone knew what a great friend to Israel Beck is. Sanchez is clearly not such a friend. [1]

And then, during the media afterparty for Beck’s “symphony of anti-Semitic dog-whistles,” Fox News boss Roger Ailes had this to say about the executives at NPR: “They are, of course, Nazis.” Knowing that Foxman would be “receiving calls” because of the way he’d shot his mouth off, Ailes sent a letter right away to the ADL chief, who took it as a “sincere and heartfelt” apology. And it seems that Ailes was indeed sincere about how some unnamed NPR execs really were “nasty, inflexible bigots,” and about how he and Fox News were the blameless victims of a couple of liberal rabbis. He may even have genuinely believed that Foxman’s discretion in calling out anti-Semites is “heroic” and that Beck’s claims about Soros were factual because the Fox News “Brainroom” checked and “found them valid.” Ailes’s complaining is definitely heartfelt, but when he gets around to the apology it’s as fleeting and insincere as can be. As I wrote a while ago, the exchange between these two is like a scene from a sitcom marriage, with Foxman as the punctilious wife and Ailes as the boorish husband — a quirky old couple happily talking past each other and hearing exactly what they each want to hear.

Last week it was Mike Huckabee’s turn after both he and Michele Bachmann invoked the Holocaust in their comments about the budget deficit (Huckabee was in Pennsylvania addressing an NRA convention). Continue reading ›

Tagged Abe Foxman, ADL, Fox News, Glenn Beck, Mike Huckabee, Roger Ailes

Small business is better off with Bitter Smith on the BBC

As far as the BBC is concerned, Susan Bitter Smith is an ordinary American small business owner. Is lobbying an ordinary American business?

[When my Uncle Al gets interested in something that he doesn’t want to talk about with his golfing buddies or his rotating cast of girlfriends, he sends me an email. Usually it’s something political, I guess because he gets sadistic pleasure out of making me gag. I keep telling him he needs a blog, but he says that’s too much trouble.

Anyway, I got this email from him last week and I asked him if I could put it on my blog. He said, why the hell not? So, this is a guest post — my first — from Uncle Al. Enjoy.]

Remember that speech Obama gave a few days ago, the one about how he’s going to “win the future” with my money? I was driving around right after that and I turned on the radio. My girlfriend must’ve been messing with it, because it was some guy reading the news with a British accent. It was the BBC, and I didn’t even know you could pick them up around here! But I figured I might as well listen for a while. (Turned out it was the NPR station. Guess they’ve had to outsource.) *

First they had on Dennis Kucinich, and he said Obama didn’t go far enough and we need more taxes and less profits. The usual, what can I say? For the other side they got some lady named Susan Bitter Smith on the line, said she runs a small business in Arizona. What’d she make of the Obama budget plan?

Well I’m very concerned, because his message of moving forward to repeal the Bush tax cuts is very troubling to me and all small business people across the country, because that will mean that we will be lumped into this category of being rich even though we are not. We’ll find ourselves taxed to death which will have a huge implication not only for us but our employees.

Your employees, in what sense?

In the sense that if we cannot do business as we are and we no longer have the ability to have any profit motive, we’ll have to lay off employees, eliminate health care coverage and potentially find ourselves in a very different operating place, which means less to our employees pocketbooks.

I thought, hey, they could’ve done a lot worse. Liberals figure you can always squeeze some more money out of people who make money. You know, we’re the richest country on the face of the earth, but don’t even bother talking about how all that wealth is created, it’s a waste of time. This Bitter Smith lady’s got the right idea. Just remind them that when we make money we pay people, and when we don’t we stop paying. If we’ve got to fight a war to keep our money, at least the human shields are working for us instead of against us for once.

There was one thing that got me. What kind of businessman is going to lose the profit motive because of taxes? I mean, do you lose your sex drive just because the price of drinks goes up? Don’t get me wrong, she sounds like a real nice lady, and they could’ve done a whole lot worse. But this is what stuck in my head, and when I got home I started to dig around, to see if I could figure out what was up with her.

Continue reading ›

How did Abe Foxman get all Foxed in with Roger and Glenn?

It’s an interview in the Daily Beast with Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, who says about NPR, “THEY ARE, OF COURSE, NAZIS.”

Of course.

I think you’d agree even the most casual observer of Nazi history can’t help but notice the eerie parallels between Adolf Hitler and “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.” But the biggest takeaway I got from the interview with Mr Ailes is that Fox News, as out there as it may be, is the neutered version of Mr. Ailes’ true self.

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Jon Stewart

[Beck’s] program, which aired Tuesday and Wednesday, was a symphony of anti-Semitic dog-whistles. Nothing like it has ever been on American television before.

Glenn Beck’s three-part exposé about George Soros last November (last year!) energized a whole lot of critics, and not just the usual suspects from the Left — one of the smartest critiques is on reason.com, home of the hard-headed libertarian. But Beck’s incoherent sprawl tends to defeat sober criticism and reduce it to outrage. Even Michelle Goldberg’s piece, with that great line about the “symphony of anti-Semitic dog-whistles,” gets a little lost in its outrage (no doubt I’ll follow suit). As usual Jon Stewart is a standout — with Beck, satire is probably the best and most cogent criticism (there’s a follow up, too, where Stewart puts on the glasses).

With this kind of high-profile media-celebrity-driven controversy, the follow-up sideshows can be at least as meaty as the main event. The one that I like is a kind of family sitcom starring Fox News chairman Roger Ailes as Dad and Anti-Defamation League director Abe Foxman as Mom. It’s great comic pairing. Ailes is the tough-talking corporate bigwig — an epic bullshitter who cuts himself infinite slack when he needs to cover his ass. Foxman is the soul of propriety. Glenn Beck is their wacky step-son — he may get out of hand sometimes, but like Papa Ailes says, at heart he’s “so intelligent and basically sensitive.” And then there’s filthy rich Uncle Rupert, but he doesn’t make an appearance in this episode.

We meet Ailes at the Daily Beast, being interviewed by Howard Kurtz. Obama comes up right away, of course (“Sipping coffee from a ‘Fair & Balanced’ mug, Ailes insists that his channel lives up to the logo in its treatment of the administration”). And there’s no avoiding Rupert Murdoch, whose $1 million donations to the Republican Governors Association and the Chamber of Commerce were, Ailes acknowledges, bad public relations, but also “his right” — “I don’t think anyone can tell him what to do with his money.” Probably Ailes would acknowledge that it’s also George Soros’ right to give $1 million to Media Matters so they can dog Fox News. All we learn from Kurtz is that Ailes is “still fuming” about it. He fumes about Jon Stewart, too, in the second installment, because Stewart “hates conservatives” and “makes a living by attacking [them] and stirring up a liberal base against it.” For Ailes, it turns out, the political is a personal insult, when it comes from the other side. [1]

But we’re really here to find out about Glenn Beck, and Ailes doesn’t disappoint. For one thing, he’s got a handy excuse for Beck’s “inflammatory outbursts, such as calling Obama a racist” — “everyone who ad libs for a living makes mistakes.” Continue reading ›

Tagged Abe Foxman, ADL, Glenn Beck, Roger Ailes, stupid conservative tricks

Cryptic campus radicals and conservatives crying wolf

Here’s a text that I excerpted from a longer piece and redacted slightly — details follow. But first, pretend you’re taking the SAT.

The grim reality is this: the biggest gains in educational achievement for minority students, especially African Americans, occurred in the 1970s. With the exception of a few years at the turn of the century, progress has stalled nearly everywhere, despite all the hope we’ve put in charter schools and in fads like a much-touted but now-discredited New York experiment (one of the more absurd manifestations of our faith in markets), offering cash incentives to families whose children regularly attend classes.

Why did the racial gap narrow so much in the ’70s—and why has it stalled since? It’s not because the ’70s was a period of great educational innovation. Instead, it was the one moment in recent American history when there was still political will to support educational integration. Around the country through the mid-’70s, school boards, state departments of education, and the federal government supported plans to desegregate schools.

Many of those plans were voluntary: some were court ordered. The road to integration was bumpy—I don’t need to recap the whole busing brouhaha here (except to remind you of Julian Bond’s famous reminder that white folks had no problem putting their kids on buses in all-white suburbs: “it’s not the bus, it’s us.”) Even if it wasn’t a panacea, when it was tried, integration worked. But it wasn’t tried for long.

Since the ’70s, support for integration, except rhetorically, has plummeted. Many black parents were (and are) rightly skeptical of the rhetoric of some integrationists—namely that mere exposure to whites would somehow magically uplift their children. And most whites tell pollsters and survey researchers that they support racial integration, until more than a handful of minority students show up, and then they bolt. The result is that school districts have resegregated. All but the most hardcore advocates of Jim Crow from the Brown v. Board days would be pleased.

Choose the best answer to complete this sentence: According to the author of this passage, all but the most hardcore advocates of Jim Crow would be pleased because…

A) the achievement gap between black and white students hasn’t narrowed since the ’70s.
B) plummeting public support for integration has allowed some school districts to resegregate.
C) the idea that black children will be uplifted by mere exposure to white children strikes some black parents as racist.
D) the Supreme Court recently struck down school integration plans, even when they’re voluntary.

Continue reading ›

Tagged Erin O'Connor, KC Johnson, Minding the Campus, stupid conservative tricks