October 09, 2021

Excellence is Racism, Bigotry is Intellect

New York City has declared that they will eliminate their gifted and talented program. Mayor DeBlasio seems to think that getting rid of a means to enable bright kids to excel is striking a blow for equality.


Harrisson Bergeron call your office. 

Neo has thoughts on the matter as an ex leftist and her take is always worth reading, but the thing that leapt out at me was the NYT articles subheading, which reads
  The mayor unveiled a plan to replace the highly selective program, which has become a glaring symbol of segregation in New York City public schools,
  Emphasis mine. 

There are few more racist notions than those implying that the act of demanding excellence is somehow racist. The implication is, of course that black students are too dumb to possibly compete.  This reinforces some of the most wicked and pernicious stereotypes of black inferiority and white supremacy.


This is one of the toxic fruits of the equity fixation the left has. White supremacists and "race realists" will point to current standardized test scores and make much the same point. However white supremacists and "race realists", repugnant and vile though they are, are not as stupid and logically challenged as DeBlasio and company in that they do not support putting people who DO NOT make the cut in various highly skilled positions for the sake of balance. 


Both the avowedly racist, the "race realist" and woke falsely claiming not to be racist Brahmins come to the same racist argument albeit for different reasons. 
 
This racist argument is ostensibly based on education data going back to about 1970, but the data is flawed. One of the advantages to being a southern history buff is that Sons of Confederate Veterans of all people is made up of history enthusiasts who look at the history of our misguided ancestors 'warts and all'. We've had this conversation with the racists who try to enter our spaces. You see, in the 1950's and early '60s African American students were, (despite the poorer physical condition of their schools) on a par with and not infrequently outscored white students on the standardized tests that were then required in the south to matriculate from primary school to junior high school and into high school. This was partly a product of the fact that African American families pushed their kids to learn in much the same way as Jewish and Asian families are thought to do today. Additionally, the segregation of the age, while certainly abominable, did mean that the Black teachers, were teaching black students and pushing them hard. One result of this can be seen by reading Letter From a Birmingham Jail by the late Dr. Martin Luther King. This historic document used to be required reading in the freshman year of high school. It was favored as a teaching tool not just because of its eloquence in expressing Dr. King's message of racial tolerance and human dignity, but because it teaches modern readers a lesson in cross referencing. King references, amongst other things,  the Bhagavad Gita in reference to Gandhi's then recent struggles in India, and the whole thing is written at such a level that the text is, today considered too advanced for freshmen...in college. However, King wrote this for and got it published as a letter to the editor in an African American paper. It was written at, what was at the time, a SIXTH GRADE READING LEVEL..among black students in 1963.

The error all three groups of racists (the white supremacists, the "race realists" and the woke,) are making, is assuming that African American educational attainment of current year is a product of African American abilities in the cognitive space. Again, prior to the currently used data set that was NOT the case, but  the older data sets were not well preserved , are not well researched outside of redneck history nerds and are not as readily reference-able online. The latter data set feels like it affirms the preexisting bigotries of all three groups of bigots quite well. The "Woke" in particular cannot abide the truth of prior African American academic excellence because the problems with present day African American academics are the result of catastrophic cultural changes that happened very rapidly and mostly after 1968, including, but not limited to, the devastation of black families through divorce and out of wedlock births leading to the sudden ubiquity of single motherhood in that community.  

So the idea that asking for academic achievement is racist is deeply flawed, and if ones goal is greater African American participation at the higher levels of society, one should look at the root causes, which are cultural in nature and better handled through black churches and institutions and not through holding back others "so the poor blacks can catch up" which only serves to power up resentment, and reinforce the most evil and racist of stereotypes.

But this decision is worse than that.

We have, in the U.S.A. a toxic and aloof ruling class that has become very insular. Whereas in previous years it was filled largely with the best people of all walks of life who clawed their way to the top, it has become, since about 1970, much more stable, based on credentialism and patronage rather than raw merit. Ironically this happened just as the nation was becoming serious about removing racial obstacles to advance into the upper echelons of society. 

That is another thing that is toxic about this decision:
It eliminates a way for outsiders to get into the elite schools that are necessary to enter the new aristocracy. These gifted and talented programs were a way for ANYONE of any race, who was smart enough, to move into the program, get out of terrible schools and move on to big name universities. Eliminating this rout not only slams the door in the face of poor kids, it removes competition from the children of the elite, making out pernicious ruling class even MORE self-perpetuating.

Finally there is a utilitarian argument for why this decision rests at the intersection of stupid and evil. It stops the practice of picking out our best and brightest and making them the best they can be. It stifles them, and does not allow them to meet their full potential. 

How many Madame Curies, Einsteins, George Washington Carvers, Freeman Dysons, or Sequoyahs we are loosing because of this decision is unknowable, but if this decision stands it will be vast. 


Finally, while equality under the law is a civic virtue and moral good, equality of outcome is the worst form of tyranny, and those who have tried to enforce the latter, have filled more graves than one might think possible. 


The Khmer Rouge prized equity highly, and saw to it that people who had an educational advantage were not allowed to compete unfairly with those not so privileged.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 05:10 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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