Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Question Is Etiquette, Not "Racism"

Slate today said they wouldn't use "Redskins" any more for the Washington football team. Good choice!

Which is as good an excuse as any to make my argument again that the question here shouldn't be whether this particular term is offensive, much less racist. Those are interesting questions, I suppose, but they're not necessary to the argument.

Instead, this should be thought of very simply as a question of etiquette. Basically: it's polite to call people by the name they want to go by.

That pretty much solves it. If my brother doesn't want to be called Eddie Baby, then don't call him Eddie Baby.* There's no need to figure out whether it's offensive or anything...all we need to know is that he doesn't like it. If we respect him, we won't use it. Or, really, if we want to be polite, we won't use it. We don't need to figure out why the name isn't preferred. Just that it is.

(It also helps, by the way, with more complex requests. We all probably know someone who doesn't mind if her mother calls her something that she doesn't want anyone else to use. It would be rude to call her that name! If we're polite, we don't use it, and we also don't sit around sulking about how her mother "gets" to call her that and we don't).

Obviously, it's a rule of thumb that doesn't solve everything. Groups may disagree about what they like to be called. Individuals can make what appear to be ridiculous demands...if my brother insists on being called Sir Edward, I'm not sure we're under any obligation to oblige him. I'm sure there are other potentially complicated situations. Just knowing something is within the realm of etiquette doesn't mean that there are always easy answers.

Surely, however, easier answers than we have for questions such as "Is it racist?"

What it does is it takes us away from the incredibly fraught realm of what is "offensive" and towards something which we should be able to handle.

*In fact, I call my brother Eddie Baby all the time. Not my brother David; the other one. I may not be the best eldest sibling out there.


  1. But, here's the rub: the NFL team wants to be called that name!

    I'm not taking any side here; I'm just noting that what *I* want to be called might offend YOU, even though it's not you being addressed.

    At that point, don't we go right back to the use of the term "offensive," as it can apply to both the addressee AND the reference group?

    1. Yes, have to agree here. While I don't think I've met a Native American who'd prefer to be called a "Redskin," at least circa 2013, Daniel Snyder prefers that you call his NFL franchise the Redskins. So JB's post is an interesting observation, but doesn't quite wash in the final analysis.

      I'd like to see the name changed, and while I respect Slate's choice, I think it might represent an overly churlish denial of events as they actually exist in the present.

    2. If Dan Snyder were Native American, he might have a better argument. But he's not, so he doesn't. Also relevant here is the history of the franchise---the last in the NFL to integrate and then only when forced to by the Kennedy administration.

    3. What massapppeal said. If American Indians don't want you using it, you don't use it. End of story.

      My fault for awful writing, but the point holds.

    4. I don't disagree; I was just arguing that I'm not finding any value added to switching to the frame of "etiquette" from the frame of "offensive."

  2. Can't you call your brother Sugar Plum? Pussy Cat? Angel Drawers? Or Frank? Frank's a nice name. Robin Day's got a hedgehog called Frank. Frannie, little Frannie, Frannie Knickers...

  3. Just for me, I'd rank mascots that need to change in professional sports in this order.

    [1] Chief Wahoo needs to be gone. Yesterday. Even if the name remains, that logo needs to be consigned to the dustbin. I'd be wicked cool if they went back to Spiders. Paint up a highish section of the outfield wall as a big old web. "We'll see how the Tigers do on a three game road trip to the Web."

    [2] Washington Redskins. Replace with "Federals" in Civil War Blue, rip off New England's musket schtick? (Waaaaaay to controversial...)

    [3] Blackhawks need a new logo. They seem to have been named for a WWII military unit, so maybe revert to that iconography?

    [4] Atlanta could really use some new fan chants. Heck, rename Eagles to go with the Falcons and Hawks. I like it when multiple teams in an area have associated mascots.

    [5] Kansas City... Grey area. I could tolerate them not changing name or logo, but I'm white.


    [1,000?] Vancouver Canucks. Seems like they get along well with British Columbia First Nations, and the team is genuinely trying to celebrate the culture. I'm willing to be corrected by someone with more inside knowledge.

    1. The original Black Hawk's Indian name was Makataimeshekiakiak, although I believe he embraced the English translation in his lifetime, since he cooperated in the preparation of a book that was published as the AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MA-KA-TAI-ME-SHE-KIA-KIAK, OR BLACK HAWK, By Black Hawk. So I'm not sure there's anything wrong with that name. Plus, it's easier to stitch into a uniform than "Makataimeshekiakiaks."

    2. As to a new Blackhawks logo (which I agree about), how about, like, an actual black hawk?

    3. *addendum*

      The Blackhawks were only indirectly named after the Sauk leader. The founder of the team named it in honor of a military unit of which he was a commander in WWI, not WWII. It did not see combat in WWI. The unit was known as the Black Hawk Division, in honor of Makatimeshekiakiak, so it's a bit indirect.

      Pulling up the wikilink for the unit shows a pretty nifty bird-and-shield logo. A variant on that would look great on a jersey. And it's really only the logo I have a problem with. Again, white guy, but it doesn't seem too severe.

  4. I'm a life-long Indians fan. But Wahoo should go, and ultimately the name should too. I've always been partial to the Spiders, even if they lost like 99% of their games.

    1. It's wicked easy to get carried away with the Spiders. I mean, web pinstripes. Yeah, that's way too much. Something reasonable for fans at least would be a white or grey hat, silver web embroidery, and a big nasty blue-black spider just off center.

      Two cool designs:
      Faux-vintage logo style:

      Really classy uniform design:

  5. When cons compare US debt to a household's debt, progs lose their minds at the ignorance of the metaphor.

    The US is not a family, and pretending that what you call your brother scales up to what elements of different groups get called is at least as foolish.

    1. Why? Do you go around calling strangers by catchphrases that others find offensive?

  6. Does that mean that the Washington Eddie Babies is not an option?

  7. I wonder how the polling goes among Indians in the US. Are most offended by the term, or is it primarily a vocal minority that is raising a ruckus? Do white progs like Elizabeth Warren vote as Indian, skewing the results of polling? What serious people even care about this? Are they the same ones who are offended when a conspicuously white person wears some Indian garb on stage?

    It's a good thing that progs are convincing people that race is just a social construct so that people can quit obsessing about things like the names of sports teams.

    1. You really are confused about this, aren't you? The fact that race is a social construct doesn't excuse racism, it further indicts it.

    2. Progs can't only be interested in how the enemy WCM views race, right? If all people viewed themselves as part of one human group and eschewed identifying with their distant ancestors and/or other people who look/looked moderately more like them than people of different (totally socially constructed) races, then the Redskins thing would bother no one. Water off a duck's back, right?

    3. Sophistry. People can recognize they're being insulted, and react accordingly, even when they know the premises of the insult are false or impossible. Otherwise there would be no rudeness in telling someone to "f*ck himself" or "get his head out of @ss."

    4. Nonsense. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People wasn't insulting anyone with that name. Infantile progs roll out some new product like "African-American" because they like to make real people jump. They also love to rile up minority hatred against WCMs by shrieking about any who don't comply every time a prog decides that it's been long enough since the last lexical hoodwinking. Racist! Racist won't use the hyphenated monstrosity that I learned at Uni!

      The term "Redskin" is meant as an insult to no one. It goes well with the character who looks like an avatar of Indian death. I doubt there are many non-Elizabeth Warren Indians who actually care.

    5. I don't know if this is aimed at me, since I took no position on either "Redskins" or "African-Americans." Apparently one doesn't need to, since all "progs" think the same way about everything, and what they all think is equal to the views of the least thoughtful person who might be so identified. This certainly does simplify matters, since it means that every "con," including presumably any that we encounter in these threads, has views identical to whichever self-identified conservative we believe is loudest, stupidest and most obnoxious. OK, then.

    6. "Real people"?

    7. Hey byf, aren't you a con? How much time did you do?

    8. con:conservative::prog:progressive

      "Real people" refers to how white progs have such contrived and self-loathing stated rules for social interaction that they seem fake. Like, a group of white Americans could form an interest group and demand to be called "The Race" and be met with prog hysteria. A group of Hispanics actually form an interest group and demand to be called "La Raza" and progs all give the thumbs up. Weird. Who decided on these rules?

  8. Jonathan, I totally and completely agree with you on this one. The respect point is well-taken (similar to black people being within their 'rights' to refer to each other by the n-word, and though I find that terribly misguided, as a white person it is neither my place to take offense at their use of the word nor give offense by using it myself).

    As I understand it, there's a pretty big split among Native Americans about those mascots, with those on reservations being nearly universally opposed, and those in the cities being mainly indifferent. We all know, in part because of the many pretty graphs that backyard has linked to, that Native Americans on reservations have fallen well short of the by-ethnicity expectations in the American, center-right, multicultural tableau.

    For reasons apparently mystifying to the average Fox News viewer, a Native American struggling on a reservation feels patronized and belittled by a bunch of WASPs from Landover and McLean all dolled up in Indian war paint, hooting and hollering a patronized version of their war cries.

    Assuming the Landover WASP is (stereotypically) a conservative, what possible defense can he mount for making a beaten-down people feel like shit? The Romney, 47%, oh-those-people-will-always-be-moochers shtick?

    Its no wonder so many people see the GOP as a bunch of imbecilic xenophobes.

    1. as a white person it is neither my place to take offense

      Sure, and we shouldn't institutionalize self-cutters either!

    2. backyard, I've no idea what that means. On a positive note, your comment reminded me I haven't listened to Echo & the Bunnymen for some time, so that's good, I guess.

    3. Blacks often use the En word as a hateful insult, yet whites will drop lines similar to yours above. If the En word is so a powerful tool of oppression, then blacks should be induced not to use it on each other or themslves, instead of allowing black people to use it without proggy retribution. Heck, maybe white progs just believe that different races should tend to their own gardens and never share norms.

    4. backyard, its curious that a fellow who follows the lead of a self-proclaimed "genetics expert" (nee finance guy) would believe that Native Americans don't care about demeaning sports mascot imagery. You read what makes you feel good, not what makes you smarter. Not alone in that, but its unfortunate, as you're clearly a bright guy. But that's for another part of this thread.

      What's irritating about folks like yourself, beyond following transparently non-credible resources to equally transparently incorrect conclusions, is that you end up playing into the hands of the forces you hate. I increasingly suspect you do that on purpose, cause if you and Sailer didn't have "political correctness run amok" to rail against, you'd have to defend the empirical stupidity of your worldview - a much harder task, certainly.

      Cause context matters in this stuff. Absolutely, it does. Should black people not use the n-word? Absolutely! Should whites like me not, too? Yes, also, for different reasons.

      To use a more concrete illustration: if you find yourself at the biannual meeting of the Trilateral Commission, is it okay to tell an off-color anti-semitic joke? Not in a world of perfect political correctness, but in the right circumstances, it could work. If you are in the courtroom of the Spanish Inquisition, is it okay to tell an anti-semitic joke there? No. Absolutely, positively, no questions asked, it isn't.

      If you can't see the difference between the anti-semitic joke at the Spanish Inquisition and the meeting of the Tri-Lateral Commission, we really don't need your type railing against political correctness. You haven't a clue.

    5. CSH,

      as a white person it is neither my place to take offense at their use of the (n-word)

      Should black people not use the n-word? Absolutely!

      Why is it not your place to take offense at blacks using the Enword if you find the word appallingly racist and 'absolutely' believe that blacks shouldn't say it? Does this indicate that displaying good race etiquette means that when you hang around blacks at the Tri-lateral Inquisition and they use the word, that you just keep your mouth shut because you know your place? Like, you just grin along with any utterance of the word regardless of the demeaning nature of its usage? What if a black person called you that?

      Well, that would cut down on arguing time. And since people are supposed to have different rules of conduct based on their skin color, it makes sense.

    6. backyard, there's a pretty significant difference between taking offense at something and thinking its a bad idea. For example, I think its a bad idea for China to leave the Tibet question unresolved in the manner they do; I am not also particularly offended by that.

      In a similar way I think it is a bad idea for blacks to refer to each other using the n-word. But I'm certainly not offended by it.

    7. Sure, I get it. Whites are your people and so it's right and proper for you to become emotionally and intellectually engaged when a white person says the Enword. But because you're not black, then you aren't offended when blacks use that terrible word that you really believe should never, ever, never be used. You aren't responsible for blacks. You probably don't even know any blacks.

      It's mirrored by how so many whites are blase about the mind-numbing black on black murder rate, but get really worked up about a white on black shooting.

    8. backyard, try this: if WASPy Joe from Silver Spring is painted up in cartoonish tribal ink, carrying on in an (allegedly) patronizing manner at FedEx Field, and an activist calls him out, he might argue that his behavior is not "offensive", by which he means not offensive to him, which he believes should be good enough for others, i.e. Native Americans.

      The point is that it isn't his call to say whether that's offensive to Native Americans, that prerogative entirely lies with the folks at the business end of such behavior (in this case, Native Americans).

      So too is it for a white guy like myself and terms that are specifically pejorative to blacks.

    9. CSH,

      So you're saying that you wouldn't find WASPy Joe's behavior offensive?

      And it wouldn't matter who used the Enword to describe a black man in your presence, because you wouldn't find it offensive?

      Maybe this is a matter of how you view the word "offensive." Does it mean that no matter who the the insulter or the insulted, you're not personally offended by insulting speech unless it's directed at you?

      If you saw a black friend called the Enword by another black or non-black, you would not feel offended?

    10. backyard, if I am out with my black friend, and someone makes a potentially pejorative comment at his expense, I entirely defer to his judgment regarding offense. If he's offended, I feel bad, if he's not, I am relieved. Beyond that though, someone else's offense at subjectively pejorative terminology (directed at them, not me) is not my bailiwick.

      Curious though, that you disagree. When I think of people going around getting offended at subjective terminology directed at others, I immediately call to mind about half the staff on MSNBC. Wouldn't have pegged you, of all people, as one of those.

      Sheep in wolf's clothing, I guess.

    11. I was against the name change until backyardfoundry weighed in. I've seen comments from a variety of concern trolls in my blog reading. I'm thinking he's either a variation on a theme, or a sockpuppet. Consider it a compliment.

  9. Etiquette question for the experts:

    Is it acceptable for a WCM to not refer to a group of Hispanics as La Raza (The Race) even if they ask that it be done? I know that WCMs are the dalits of the prog hierarchy, but do even they have to use such a creepy term to be OK with Prog Miss Manners?

    1. How about you've answered you're own question and are either too dim to see that you have, or else are deliberately trolling. Considering your history of being articulate, I suspect the later.

    2. "The Race" it is. Thanks for the help.

    3. Raza means people, and it's in a specific tongue.

      in fact, nearly all words by a culture for themselves mean 'the people' or 'the race'. Any linguist could tell you this.

      Of course, you're here arguing what, exactly?

  10. It might be noted here that in baseball, anyway, team names were originally nicknames. Early sportswriting referred to the team by the city's name, for instance "the Bostons" or "the Chicagos." Seems like that might work today as a stopgap measure.

  11. If WCM means "white Christian male" then I'm one. The only time I feel like an untouchable is when I read certain BYF posts and feel like I'm cleaning a latrine.

    A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Even so, if roses were called "pukeflowers" they wouldn't be considered an appropriate anniversary or Valentines gift. There's no compelling reason to retain "Redskins," there are good reasons to change it. A very small victory for human dignity in the grand scheme of things, but an even smaller imposition on the football team. And come to think of it, "Hail to the Pukeflowers" wouldn't be a bad anthem.

    1. It may be a personal failing that I don't get huffy about things just because progs order me to. I'm mostly Irish-american, yet the stereotypical leprechaun of the Fighting Irish logo simply doesn't bother me. It's really silly looking and I guess if I were low IQ and passively listened as a bunch of progs spent several years trying to convince me that I needed to get really angry about names and logos (and always vote dem) then I might.

    2. The Pukeflower Bowl, the Pukeflower Parade, the Tournament of Pukeflowers. Has a ring to it!

    3. "WCM" is White Christian Male? Wow. There's an aggrieved group. No white male atheists or Buddhists need apply, nor white Christian females.

      And as Geoff G indicates, some white Christian males don't want to be in the same group as backyardfoundry even if they share those characteristics. So I'm not sure WCM is much of an identification group.

    4. While we're on the subject of WCMs, I'm compelled to point out the embarrassing fact that 84% of whites are murdered by other whites. The numbers for Christians who kill other Christians, and males who kill other males, are even higher. Nearly every mass murderer in my lifetime has been a white male (yes, BYF, I'm aware of Juan Corona - he's the exception). Most lynching victims were killed by white "Christian" males. Woodrow Wilson was a WCM. What's the matter with WCMs?

    5. Geoff G,

      On mass murderers, I recommend this author. That site is a goldmine and I recommend checking the topic page if you like that article.

    6. purusha,

      Irish IQ may be a little lower than English. Ben Franklin was against the immigration of Irish, and it's possible that the US would be a saner place without the inclusion of so many Irish. The probably correct old stereotype of the drunken Irishman is undoubtedly the origin of the Leprechaun-ish boxer of the Fighting Irish logo. It is interesting how heartlessly the North used poor Irish as cannon fodder, but not surprising, when one remembers that much of the North wanted to export blacks to Liberia en masse.

    7. Ben Franklin was against the immigration of Irish, and it's possible that the US would be a saner place without the inclusion of so many Irish.

      You are, as usual, completely wrong on the facts, in addition to a being a racist fool. It was German immigrants Franklin was concerned about.

    8. It was German immigrants Franklin was concerned about.

      I'm pretty sure he was only interested in the immigration of Saxons, which would preclude Irish as well as Germans. But I could be wrong.

    9. the lynching isn't quite as much fun when you are the one being strung up

      I believe that technically there's a difference between limiting immigration and lynching people.

    10. I'm pretty sure he was only interested in the immigration of Saxons, which would preclude Irish as well as Germans. But I could be wrong.

      You could be completely full of crap, as you are on every other subject.

  12. When confronted with the statement that something is just "political correctness", I frequently look at the underlying issue and find it is simply what my mother called "being polite" or "being kind". I don't care if 100% of native Americans or 10% of native Americans object to the term "Redskins" for a team. Either way, we can just drop the term because we are being considerate of the feelings of others. That's what my mom taught me to do. Once an offense is pointed out, even if it was unintended, why not correct it?

    1. I'm thinking that you're a Millennial.

      Those of us who are a little bit older remember the virulent racism embedded in the very language used to describe people. When I was a kid, the older generation used the En word to name each and every person of color. You described the ethnicity of every person prior to saying that they were human, unless they were Caucasian. Then they were just humans. Every time we spoke about someone who wasn't white, we were taught to name their color first before we said anything else.

      I guess it was to remind us that they were a different tribe.

      Political correctness was about rooting out these unthinking acts of racism, lowering their prevalence, allowing humans to be human.

      It helps, but it's not the be-all. I sat on a faculty committee the other day, and one guy was convinced that the black student hadn't written his own proposal.

    2. I sat on a faculty committee the other day, and one guy was convinced that the black student hadn't written his own proposal.

      The whole point of affirmative action for blacks is to bring in candidates who's scores are so low and records are so poor that they would never have passed race-blind admissions. So blacks tend to be near the bottom of any class. Why was the quoted passage noteworthy to you? Was there no evidence for the claim?

    3. Diane,

      I'm glad we have at least one person in this thread who agrees with me.

      It doesn't matter *why* people don't like a name; it matters that they don't. It may be a purely aesthetic or arbitrary preference. Doesn't matter. Call people by the name they like to be called; don't call them names they don't like to be called. And by extension, don't call a football team a name that is a group name that people in that group don't like.

    4. @Anon 10:26: thanks for that perspective. My dad, a racial progressive of ~1968 vintage (family left South Africa because of apartheid and once in the US they all marched on Washington, sat-in, taught-in, went on lunch-counter strikes, &c.), still identifies people by race in contexts where it's not relevant, and it's always struck my sisters and me as weird and rude, but my dad doesn't understand what's weird about it. I guess this represents three generations of white(ish) linguistic behavior: first, always using racial language in order to harm and demean (the categories are accepted and normative); then, always using racial language because it's still implicitly the most salient thing about a person (the categories are accepted but considered merely descriptive); then not using racial language as often (the categories are for some purposes rejected).

      Here's hoping my kids will find it weird and rude that I am willing to use racial categories that I don't accept.

      (Let me add, Andrew Sprung has written quite a bit about the President's account of racial progress in this country, e.g.., that is highly a propos.)

    5. BYF, there was no evidence whatsoever that the black student, who was an African immigrant, had not written his proposal. It was better written than his speaking skills, which is not uncommon among second language candidates. The Chinese candidate also had a better written proposal than his speaking skills would suggest.

      After we had discussed that as a possibility, the guy expressed certainty that the black student hadn't achieved the qualifications necessary for the application. We had to go back and ask about his status (he was qualified).

      The issue is one where, behind closed doors and among peers, individuals express disbelief that one candidate, among others, had complied with the rules. When enough peers are there to ask why, and there is no coherent answer, the belief fails to rule the day.

    6. Anonymous at 10:26, if you are referring to me with your guess that I am a millennial, guess again! I'm a senior citizen.

      When I was a small child, in the early 1950's, I came home from playing around the neighborhood with the version of "eenie meenie miney moe" that included the "N" word (which I didn't even know what it meant, it was just part of the verse). My mom sat me down and in no uncertain terms told me we NEVER used that word, it was hurtful to some people. I never heard either of my parents say a negative word about a person of another race. So maybe my parents were just before their time, but that was how I was brought up and it's how my kids were raised as well.

    7. And JB, thanks for your original post and reply! That's the reason I commented--I seldom see this perspective, and yet it seems so straightforward to me. You expressed it well.

    8. The issue is one where, behind closed doors and among peers, individuals express disbelief that one candidate, among others, had complied with the rules. When enough peers are there to ask why, and there is no coherent answer, the belief fails to rule the day.

      It sounds like there was no problem. An objection was made and handled.

      Because progs insist on intentionally selecting blacks to advance them to positions where every single person knows that they are probably the worst students in any class, then it leads to rationally low expectations for blacks. If blacks were simply treated as normal people, then the average black student would be an average student and others wouldn't develop negative expectations. Progs have no interest in this message, and continue to use every method possible to produce racial animosity and distrust, which is all that affirmative action seems to be good for.

    9. It sounds like there was no problem. An objection was made and handled.

      Confirmation that you are in fact a pig.

    10. Yo, purusha!

      I used the Google to find this definition of Saxon. It appears that Franklin was definitely referring to the Saxons and Angles of the British Isles, but not the Celts.

      You're welcome

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  14. "Redskin" is actually a great term. It avoids the confusion of "Indian" and the intentional clunkiness and race-baiting of the prog-designed "native-American." It's got historical cache. It sounds strong and evocative. Everyone gets it and it fits with the other race signifiers.

    Since the whole point of prog-driven renaming of racial/ethnic groups is to sow discord between minorities and whites, it's best to view this etiquette thing as yet another tactic lacking any other significance. It's a pretty bold move to just make up some bs designed to incite racial strife and then call it "manners."

    Race relations in America would be so much better if the white progs at the helm were interested in sowing unity instead of winning political battles by pitting POCs against whites. It's interesting that the progs who run this offensive are principally Jewish, yet no one seems to see this. I mean, the hucksters at the SPLC who push this crap are cartoonishly evil and enrichened by racial hate in a way that Al Sharpton could never hope to be.

    1. OK, so, as a white "prog" interested in sowing racial unity instead of discord, I can start by calling out the cartoonishly evil Jews? Sounds like a plan. Excuse me while I go trim my moustache.

    2. How amazingly rich? citation please.

    3. backyard, the SPLC operates on about $35 million a year in contributions and grants. There are individual Wall Street traders who would call that "one month's bonus." It's a tiny entity, in other words, hardly representative of who's wielding real economic and political power in the U.S. If you want to persuade skeptics that "Jews dominate WCMs" in some larger way that should worry them, you'll need to scale up by at least three orders of magnitude.

    4. So much here... first, if you want a good term, look north to Canada. First Nations. Historically accurate, non-confusing, absent a tradition use as a racist slur.

      Next, I'd always considered not insulting people to be the first step towards getting along with people. If it actually causes strife, that's the first I've heard of it. Maybe my addled proggy mind isn't able to process things like this. To me, it seems incredibly ignorant of, well, actual history. KKK is way older than SLPC.

      Plus, the pseudo-Golovinski.

    5. Maybe you did something to offend the Elders of Zion. I hear they are sticklers for protocol(s). :-)

    6. Jeff,

      Approx. no progs claim that WCMs dominate the rest of the country via some PEZ style conspiracy. That doesn't mean that they claim that WCMs aren't dominant.

      Smart progs know that maintaining shitty race relations is the best way to continued electoral victories and talk about it in confident terms. Some of them set themselves to straight cashing in and it's no surprise that many of these are Jewish. Ashkenazi are genetically much smarter than gentiles, which is why (relative to population) they have so much power in every society where they're found.

    7. Numbers don't like, dude. Who needs a conspiracy when you have plain numbers?

      87% of Congress is Catholic, Evangelical, or mainline Protestant (which doesn't include Mormons or other Christian denominations). 81.3% Male. At least 81.9% White, depending on overlap in non-white groups.

      Compared to the nation as a whole, Hispanics and Latinos are the most underrepresented group, 16.4% of the nation but 7.0% of Congress. This is followed by African Americans, who are 12.6% of the country, but 8.1% of Congress. Non-Hispanic white are overrepresented, being 63.7% of the country.

      Sex ratio of the nation is pretty close to 50/50, so men are considerably overrepresented.

      For religion, Christians are slightly overrepresented, being 76% of the country. The most underrepresented group are "none" category who make up 15% of the nation. There is only one "out" atheist in Congress currently, but there may well be more who are afraid to be honest about their lack of religion--Barney Frank just a week ago declared that, although he had identified as Jewish, he was an atheist.

      Are Jews overrepresented in congress? Yes. 6.2% of congress, but only 1.2% of the country. However, there is a difference between being overrepresented at 6.2%, and being overrepresented at over 80%. As demonstrated above, Jewish over-representation does not come at the expense of WCM, but of those without religious affiliation.

      For the Supreme court, it is 72.7% non-Hispanic white, 66.7% male, and 66.7% Christian. While Jews are overrepresented (33%), it's tricky to say that Christians are underrepresented in a statistical sense. The Supreme Court isn't picked by Bernoulli trials, but if it were, we'd be unable to reject that the probability of a Justice being Christian was 76% from 6 out of 9 Justices. It is also worth noting that the four most recent former justices have all been white, all been christian, and 75% men.

      The Presidency has been 100% male, 97.7% white, and no President has identified as a religion other than Christian.

      All in all, WCM are clearly the most numerous, and in branch and demographic combination except religion and the Supreme court, have been overrepresented.

      Sources: Census 2010, ARIS 2008, 113th congress, current SCOTUS.

    8. The Bitter Fig,

      I guess you didn't read my links?

    9. backyard, I think Fig is taking issue with your use of the word "dominate." I looked at your links, and I'm confused on the same point. Is a given group "dominant" if it's numerically over-represented (relative to population) in some selected arena(s) for no good reason? Or if it's numerically over-represented among "the power elite" in general? Or over-represented in either of these ways for some good reason, like allegedly higher inherited intelligence? (Or would that be a bad reason?)

      Or does dominance mean, as many uninitiated readers would assume, not just over-representation but the wielding of power or influence in ethnically specific ways, thus -- perhaps unintentionally -- disadvantaging other groups? Or does it mean an intentional (albeit non-conspiratorial) effort to maintain one's group "on top" by keeping other groups down, or at least limiting their opportunities? Or does it mean a "PEZ-type conspiracy"? I get that you don't intend it to mean that last thing, but I'm not sure where you -- or the Sailerites in general -- come down on the other possibilities. The word "dominate" can refer to any of them.

      This question is not mere semantics, because it goes to what you're asking politically of those to whom you bring this message. Mere numerical over-representation is obviously less troubling than some kind of active effort to keep others down. Moreover, such an effort, if it existed, would obviously be less troubling if it's not getting anywhere than if it's actually functioning to make national policy. That's what WCM dominance was obviously doing for several generations, and a fair amount of contemporary progressivism is an attempt, however misguided or disingenuous in your view, to deal with the continuing consequences which that state of affairs produced.

      I suspect that you like the ambiguity of a term like "dominate" because it allows for insinuation, i.e. you can point to lists of the Forbes 400 and so on that (merely?) note numerical disparities, thus darkly hinting at some kind of active policy while not having to say this explicitly and get tagged as an anti-Semite. I get that your preoccupation is genetics, but I'm not at all clear on what the political and policy implications of that position should be. So, if some people are inheriting greater intelligence or a greater propensity to get rich, what are we supposed to do about it? Forced interbreeding? And if some people are inheriting less of those qualities, well, inheritence is obviously not the individual's fault, so that would be more reason for orienting policy toward helping those people, not less, right?

    10. Pretty much with Jeff.

      First, however important pundits and businessmen are, Congress makes the laws, the President enforces them, and the Supreme Court evaluates them. Here Whiteness, Maleness, and Christian-ness are all the most numerous, as well as generally statistically overrepresented. In a democracy or republic, those numbers matter a lot.

      For Forbes 400, non-Jews still outnumber Jews. For the (subjective as heck) Atlantic 50 pundits list, it's split 50/50 on Jewishness, but overwhelmingly white and overwhelmingly male. But how powerful is that? Well, 50% Jewish pundits and about a third top businessmen can't get more than 6.2% of Congress Jewish or a Jewish President.

      If you want to look at some sort of power-to-size ratio, sure. For national political power, Jewishness has a very high, quite possibly the highest power-to-size ratio. However, Whites, Christians, and Men all have greater-than-one ratios, more power than their size would indicate.

      To say that anyone has dominance over WCM just is flat out ridiculous, given absolute numerical superiority, and statistical overrepresentation of whites, Christians, and men.

      For national government, the groups at the back end of the ratios are women and those without religion. When including pundits and rich folks, the groups which drop out dramatically in terms of power are Black and Hispanic people.

      Women, Nones, Blacks, and Hispanics. Not WCM.

    11. Jeff and The Bitter Fig,

      It also includes very high overrepresentation in gov bureaucracy, academe, law, medicine, etc.

      The test that progs use to assert WCM dominance now is simply overrepresentation in positions of wealth and power relative to population size. It's stated in relation to women, blacks, Hispanics, and People of Color (even though Asians make PoC into a goofy grouping.) And it is literally what leads to disparate impact lawsuits and a wealth of crazy anti-WCM hiring policies, supposedly all in the interest of egalitarianism. It's also the source of constant articles and studies that lambaste WCMs for shadowy implicit bias or "legacy of racism." And whenever someone like the Wise Latina is placed somewhere, progs all shout to the rafters that society has made a blow against WCM hegemony.

      The test that progs hold WCMs to is overrepresentation; Jews should be held to the same test by honest progs. If WCMs are doing something to keep down non-WCMs, then Jews should be DOWN, but they're not, they are way UP. They eclipse WCMs in almost every field relative to population. The story progs are telling doesn't make sense.

      Supposedly, America wouldn't be considered a broken and racist mess if blacks and Hispanics had similar life outcomes to whites. If different life outcomes are enough to indict society and WCMs, then what does it say about society that Jews are so much better off than WCMs? If it makes sense to use gov violence and coercion to try to equalize outcomes between WCMs and NAMs, then it should also be done between Jews and gentiles.

    12. You don't need a Panzer brigade to kill a mosquito, and you don't need crypto-Nazi race theories to argue for changes in disparate-impact law, if that's what this is finally all about. In fact some such changes have already happened. For all the talk of "progs" and their supposed hegemony, people who actually call themselves progressives have been losing more political fights than they've been winning over the past generation or so.

      As to this notion that logical consistency would require a crackdown on Jewish over-representation, that's high school debate-team sophistry. Progressive policies aim to enhance life chances for people who have had these unfairly curtailed, usually but not only by widespread bias and a legacy of oppressive policies. People who are already doing well, for whatever reason, don't need that help, and there's nothing inconsistent about focusing on those who do.

    13. How have Jews become so rich and powerful relative to WCMs? If its just assumed a priori that there CAN NOT be genetic reasons why WCMs tend to do better than Hispanics and blacks (as is the global, not US, reality) then we should expect WCMs to outperform Jews in a majority Christian country. The prog contention is that WCMs have done an amazing job of keeping down those not like them, so we should expect Jews to be poorer than WCMs. But against all odds, just as in Canada, Jews are dominating WCMs. If it's just totally impossible that Ashkenazi are genetically smarter on average than WCMs, then what are they doing to beat majority WCMs in competition for wealth and the best positions? PEZ? Some more subtle tribalism? Super-secret studying techniques? How do they carry this advantage to other countries? How does it continue over centuries? Are WCMs just too lazy?

      The prog contention is that races don't have any substantial genetic differences. So any differences in outcome between groups have to be the result of cultural factors. So WCMs have to explain how it is that they are wealthier than NAMs without resorting to evolved differences. According to prog logic then, Jews should have to explain how it is that they are beating the WCMs who have no problem with blacks or Hispanics (but can't seem to keep down the Asians.)

    14. Jeff,

      How are you rating the prog win/loss record over the last generation?

    15. Cultural explanations for Jewish and Asian achievements are not hard to come by. Most of it comes down to performance in school, a very specific kind of activity for which talents can be cultivated in families and communities, especially when we start early in life. A cultural heritage focused on taking one's cues from intellectual authority figures (teachers and preachers) can help. So does respect for and interest in books, and a tradition that favors argument and position-taking and asserting ideas, which Jewish communities have cultivated over generations. There were also family and community traditions, going back to specific historical circumstances of past centuries, that smoothed the way for ambitious young Jewish people into finance- and commerce-related careers, which for obvious reasons are where the money is to be made. People tend to cluster in the professions of their parents or relatives, which is why I became a teacher, John McCain became a Navy officer, and someone descended from a London banking or shipping family will be more likely to show up in a Wall Street job today.

      Further, it helps that if you aren't "like" WCMs (or whatever the dominant group is), you're not too different either. Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe were discriminated against at one time, but have benefited from increasing secularization over the past century, which reduced the stigma of non-Christianity, and from being white-skinned and mostly European, which made the barriers to their entry into the dominant institutions and professions somewhat lower than it's been for other groups. Add all this up, and there's just no mystery left that calls for genetic explanations.

    16. How are you rating the prog win/loss record over the last generation?

      It has marginally improved in the past few years, but from about 1980 to 2010 it was mostly a story of retrenchment, deregulation, the paring back of previous liberal victories (civil-rights reforms, Warren Court decisions, etc.), the rise of right-wing lobbies and of groups like the Federalist Society, and a necessary diversion of progressive energies from seeking new horizons to limiting the damage. Not a pretty story, overall.

    17. Fine, I'm all for that kind of reverse engineering. Although the president is going to be careful how he phrases it, I think this is more or less what he's calling for too when he exhorts black fathers to pay attention to their kids and black kids to pay attention in school. I agree that raising average capabilities, whether we measure this in IQ points of whatever, would go a long way toward solving a lot of problems.

      The caveats are that these are complex issues:

      > Cultures develop over generations and are difficult to change abruptly. Efforts to do so -- like Mao's or Pol Pot's, for instance -- tend to come to grief, and anyway involve levels of statist regimentation that not even progressives can support.

      > Cultures, communities and families are extremely complex systems, and changing anything about them necessarily risks throwing something else out of whack. Unintended consequences, in other words.

      > Any intervention will be controversial. If, for instance, some kids' life chances are suffering for want of better eating and drinking habits, and a big-city major tries to address this with, say, a ban on selling big sodas, he gets an earful from people like you who accuse him of pointing guns at soda drinkers. This creates an incentive to do nothing at all.

      > It's not always clear what the right direction is. As I mentioned the other day, for instance, people can do better in school, and especially in college, by following both (stereotypically) "Asian" and "Jewish" learning styles: hyperdiscipline and extreme deference to teachers, on the one hand, and vigorous questioning and skepticism toward received authorities on the other. But these contradict each other, so it's not clear how we could encourage both (or encourage either one without undercutting the other).

      If we can see our way past these issues to something that works, though, yeah, let's do it.

    18. Big-city maYor, I mean. Not that I had anyone particular in mind.

    19. I think its declasse to insert oneself into such a conversation, but I believe Jeff omitted one important, non-genetic basis for the persistence of such (undesirable) differences: human nature.

      I probably mentioned a while ago that Rick Reilly, formerly ensconced in the lucrative back page of Sports Illustrated, had as a final column a "feel-good" piece about a guy who worked as a handyman/general laborer with the Ohio State football team, late 40s, high-school dropout, history of significant drug use, probably NAM (though that doesn't matter), just got his GED (Yeah!). The most relevant detail: he wanted to be a psychiatrist.

      Is there something unusual about that last data point (unusual to whichever was that guy's cultural group)? Or is it a human universal that everyone, no matter how much they have f'ed up their circumstances, nevertheless imagines and dreams great things for themselves? Don't we, as conservatives, inherently support such aspirations - in general?

      But in order to cross the cultural barrier from observed IQ scores one standard deviation below the mean to one standard deviation above, don't we first need the current generation to accept their fate, to come to terms with their issues, to accept that their lives will probably remain unfulfilled, and to invest their hope in the next generation? Many do. But many others retain the dream of becoming a psychiatrist, which surely has a dampening effect on acknowledging that there is a problem.

      Look, I'm not an expert on this stuff, I don't know the share of people who selflessly want something better for the next generation and what percent who normalize their circumstances at the expense of group improvement.

      Returning once more to a meme, while Ta-Nehisi's dad should have done better for himself (coming from the back of the Ryder truck), he did very well by his family, emphasizing - in Ta-Nehisi's account - the value of reading, books, scholarship, all the stuff that are apparently prestige traits of the Ashkenazim. Ta-Nehisi's dad seemed to do okay with that approach!

      In a nutshell, we're trying to understand why more NAM's (who have underachieved) don't follow Ta-Nehisi's dad's approach and rather persist in self-delusions such as a near-50 recent GED perceiving himself a psychiatrist-in-the-making.

      For one thing, its an unfair comparison to struggling NAMs: the child of successful Ashkenazim isn't reliant on his parents coming to terms with their underachieving lives in wanting something better for him; the system is pretty much working fine as it is.

      For a second, we don't need genes to explain a guy who failed not coming to terms with it and perceiving his circumstances to be "psychiatrist"-worthy (and thus not recognizing - as Ta-Nehisi's dad apparently did - that something very different has to happen with the kids).

    20. Jeff,

      Where are these studies comparing children raised Jewishly with children raised WCM-style that account for genes and show a 10+ point IQ advantage for the Jewishly raised? The twin studies I know of show little long term IQ effect of environment.

      If progs are serious that human brains quit evolving 30,000 years ago and that Jewish parenting can cause IQ 85 blacks to become IQ 110 blacks, then every enlightened prog who doesn't sell this idea daily is really remiss. This is the most important social science finding EVER. That Obama has mumbled a few times about staying in school is a giant problem. You're saying that Jews have cracked the high IQ code, yet even though they dominate gov bureaucracy, media, Hollywood, and academe, they say approx. nothing. Is it possible that Jews want to maintain their absurd advantages over WCMs due to tribal instincts?

    21. CSH

      TNC is a so-so blogger who gets points for being black. I don't know why you keep bringing him up.

    22. Even if Ta-Nehisi is a mediocrity among bloggers, his existence in that category (national blogger) implies his IQ is probably above 100 if he's average among that group. If he were the offspring of Ashkenazim with that profile, there would be nothing particularly noteworthy about him. As it is, there's only something noteworthy if you think he's playing with a bad genetic hand.

      Oh, and to your question of why the Ashkenazim don't make more efforts to "impose" their parenting style on other cultures? Well, the 'stick' method of that would go over like a lead zeppelin, as it would sound like so much Michelle-Obama-thinks-you-should-eat-more-kale. The alternative would be the 'carrot' method, create incentives for those communities to up their games, in exchange for opportunity down the road.

      Perhaps you have heard of such policies?

    23. CSH, I don't know either how widespread, or evenly distributed, is the willingness to invest in the next generation over unrealistic dreams for oneself. I did see a report a few days ago about a study that found that lottery tickets are mostly sold to the poor, until the jackpot reaches a certain astronomical size, and then pretty much everyone starts playing. If buying lottery tickets is a proxy for thinking like that handyman, then this result might further suggest that you're right about this kind of thinking as a significant factor in cross-generational underachievement. Or maybe it only tells us who plays the lottery.

      Which leads me to BYF. One thing I'm gathering here, backyard, is that you're an enthusiastic autodidact in these areas. For all I know, you've got four or five advanced degrees in subatomic particle physics, but you're not a trained social scientist and neither am I. I am, however, trained in studies involving cultural questions, and one thing that advanced training helpfully does, for the non-arrogant, is alert them to how much they don't yet know, and instill some respect for the specialists and the disciplines that do study those things carefully. Assuming the studies you ask for aren't held under lock and key by the Elders of Zion, I can tell you that the following are almost certainly true: (a) there are studies, yes, that would throw at least some light on the questions we're debating; but (b) none of them would fully and finally answer any of our questions, because (c) "studies" aren't magical tokens of knowledge you can string together like beads, they exist within large, complicated ongoing conversations involving many overlapping questions at once, and (d) you need some expertise to interpret and critically evaluate them, which is best done from within those conversations and within the communities of scholars and scientists who conduct the studies. Amateurs like ourselves who wanted to know the state of the science on any given question would have a fair amount of work ahead just to develop a good layman's knowledge of the topic. It's not just a matter of going and finding a couple of links, interesting as that is to do sometimes for our limited purposes here.

      Actually, what are our purposes here? I started reading Plain Blog because it's a point of access, curated by a trained expert, to one of those scientific discussions -- specifically the one among political scientists about what drives political events and decision-making within party structures and "party-aligned groups" and the like. I'm interested in this and am aware that I need help and guidance understanding it. Our host also helpfully opines on matters tangential to his academic specialty, and invites us to do the same, but you'll notice that he often qualifies these comments with acknowledgements of the limits of his expertise. That's what real scientists and the best academics do. If anything, I've been remiss about following his good example, because I've speculated more freely on some of the questions you raise than I really should given the aforesaid caveats.

      On the issue of genetic bases for achievement, look, I doubt that that's nearly as significant as cultural-historical factors (broadly understood in the ways I've suggested, not reduced as you do to formulaic phrases like "Jewish parenting" and "cracking the code"). But I could be proven wrong. If I'm not a social scientist, I'm even less a molecular biologist. I think, though, that where you and I also differ is that I don't see obvious policy implications even if you're right. The directions for policy would still be another whole big controversy in itself. As I've said, proof that some people were genetically disadvantaged would, to me, be an argument for intensifying social and political efforts to help those people. Libertarians would not agree, so we'd still be arguing, wouldn't we?

    24. Jeff,

      It seems to me that you haven't read anything on the subject. The APA claims that IQ is to a great degree a matter of genes. I don't think you've seen any scientific evidence that Jewish child raising tactics lead to elevated IQs. And when you talk about "cultural historical factors" in comparison to child raising you're just hand waving. IQ differences show up pretty early in development, with the obsessed-about race differences in tow. People don't wait until college (where they decide to learn/study like Asians or Jews) to find out their IQs. Whatever cultural advantages in raising IQ are conferred by being Ashkenazi (not Sephardic, etc.) happen early, when "child raising" is the proper term.

      Should Jew/gentile be on the uniform guidelines, considering the massive advantage that Jews have?

    25. You know, backyard, there's hand-waving and there's hand-waving. You can wave your hands to distract people from the lack of evidence for something and make it sound like there's something there when there isn't. I've certainly seen that done. But if I toss out a phrase like "somewhere west of the Rockies," thus hand-waving in that general direction, it doesn't mean there isn't actually any territory west of the Rockies. It means I don't have a map in front of me at the moment.

      In the case at hand, there is massive evidence of cultural-historical distortions in the development of various communities over the past several generations and centuries. The world did not come into being in 1965. I believe child-raising practices are, for sure, a key way that the resulting differences are transmitted, but I think the mechanisms also include the networks and role models people have available to them, the expectations of the societies (both micro- and macro-) that they belong to, and basically the environments around them broadly understood, which is why I wouldn't reduce everything to that single term. I also wouldn't say that Jewish parents have "cracked the code," because it implies that there's some straightforward method you can consciously learn and implement. I think it's more inchoate and not all under people's control (you can't decide, for instance, to be "naturally" part of larger networks that encourage or discourage certain life directions), and that all this is why it's harder than you suppose for other groups to reverse-engineer the most effective approaches.

      Because I think -- though not all "progs" would agree -- that racial classifications are overly rigid and arbitrary compared to the realities they're meant to describe, I'm in favor of calibrating whatever guidelines we follow for maximum effectiveness in achieving their purposes. I have not studied whether classifying "gentiles" or "WCMs" as disadvantaged groups would serve any such worthy purpose. I'm inclined to doubt it, because these groups were not historically held down the way others were. But if it did -- as opposed to, for instance, invidiously targeting Jews for renewed oppression -- I suppose I could be persuaded. Unfortunately that alone is not going to get you very close to your goal, because I don't represent or speak for the sources of power in this country. Neither do "progs" in general, contrary to what you think. George Soros by himself can't finance a whole new set of national priorities. As we've seen, even a dedicated, hard-core Kenyan Marxist Muslim Chicago Thug Atheist president can't move the ball very far. Big things change when Big Money, the corporate-industrial-political complex as a whole, gets behind something. You're wasting your time debating those of us in the faculty lounge; the big decisions are made on another floor.

    26. Jeff,

      I don't think that you're hearing me on early IQ differences. They show up in young children. As in before school. What are you claiming that shadowy social/cultural factors are doing among children to cause the well known racial differences in IQ before kindergarten? It's childrearing that we're discussing, and it's criminal for anti-evolution progs not to focus on the Jewish version that they KNOW can cause a 25 point rise in blacks. Look, web cams are almost free, there have to be Jews who are willing to show the world how to cause a world-improving IQ raise in young children. Seriously, do you not realize the importance of this? If Jewish childrearing is as superior as you claim, then it could transform the world for the good in one generation. Technical problems would topple. Poverty would end.

      Unfortunately that alone is not going to get you very close to your goal, because I don't represent or speak for the sources of power in this country.

      Especially because my goal is a race-neutral meritocracy. I don't believe that Jews should be targeted by progs the way that WCMs have been. But progs (and a giant proportion of Jews are progs) insist on maintaining this wretched regime of affirmative action/disparate impact, and WCMs are paying attention. The internet makes communication and reality checking possible.

    27. Again, backyard, I'm all for doing what will actually help people overcome disadvantages. But this is a lot harder than you make it out to be, way beyond watching some webcam videos (although, heck, that could maybe be one small part of the answer). First, the non-genetic factors I've mentioned are not just childrearing. No matter how you raise a child, you can't magically create a far-flung, supportive network for that child full of good role models and lots of know-how about making one's way in the world. Second, there are factors linked to lowered IQ that are clearly environmental but not under parents' control -- things like toxins in the environment, the availability of high-quality prenatal and neonatal care, quality child care for parents too poor to stay at home all the time, school lunch and after-school activity programs, and so on. The left, by and large, has supported measures to improve these conditions, while the right has generally opposed them, often with the libertarian argument that (say) a program to remove leaded paint from urban buildings amounts to "pointing guns" at the landlords or taxpayers on whom the immediate burden falls. At any rate, you're not going to convince anybody that "progs" are the obstacle to better things happening in those areas, because that's obvious nonsense.

      And then even where the matter is arguably under parents' control, changes are difficult. I have a friend who works for a nonprofit organization promoting literacy on the South Side of Chicago. This involves helping adults learn to read when that wasn't ensured for them in childhood, as it should have been -- but also, more broadly, intervening to promote a literacy-oriented culture within families: increasing interest in books and helping people understand the importance of things like reading to their children (a well-attested factor in cognitive development). These measures can work, but they take intensive efforts, which are badly underfunded in this country because they're mostly dependent on philanthropy. Any public commitment to such projects brings on the aforesaid righty hysteria about guns being pointed. And if you try to answer that by saying, well, but this is what a wise and just society does, both to serve its own long-term interests and by way of repairing damage done by generations of discrimination and bad policies, you get further hysteria about how you're attacking and stigmatizing "WCMs."

      If, beyond all this, disadvantages are also being carried through the generations genetically, then absolutely I want that addressed too -- but as I've said, my view of what that fact would entail will not give libertarians any comfort. You'd essentially be saying that large numbers of people have at least a mild congenital disease, and if there's any group that is most deserving of help, concern and subsidies from the larger society, it's people with congenital diseases. Genetic theories of achievement as we typically hear them don't serve a constructive purpose, because they're transparently offered as excuses for refusing public and government-funded efforts instead of redoubling them, as one could equally well argue. If, instead of excuse-making, you and your geneticist pals could filter out the Social Darwinism and join in a good-faith discussion of what America should do for citizens, especially children, who by your own account are congenitally disadvantaged, I suspect you'd get a lot less resistance from the all-powerful progs.

    28. P.S. My goal is also a race-neutral meritocracy. We're debating what stands in the way of that.

  15. Indian has far more support than Redskin, with the latter mostly getting ambivalence, not adoption, whereas the former still has many who adopt it.

    Now, there's no reason to name a team that. I find the team Braves horribly racist while the name is innocuous. But that's mostly because they can't seem to tell the difference between one or the other.

    I don't know if I get to say anything, being 1/8th of a tribe that has exclusionary rolls, and got to grow out outside the reservation system and not at all look the part, even while my step-father (who was no part of any tribe) played an important role in crafting self-governance for many tribes while being employed by one.

  16. If, beyond all this, disadvantages are also being carried through the generations genetically, then absolutely I want that addressed too -- but as I've said, my view of what that fact would entail will not give libertarians any comfort.

    Does this mean that you'd still want to maintain an affirmative action and disparate impact regime that involves trying to forcefully balance outcomes between WCMs and NAMs but not between Jews and gentiles?

    You'd essentially be saying that large numbers of people have at least a mild congenital disease, and if there's any group that is most deserving of help, concern and subsidies from the larger society, it's people with congenital diseases.

    Distribution of IQ is normal. What IQ do you consider diseased?

    Genetic theories of achievement as we typically hear them don't serve a constructive purpose, because they're transparently offered as excuses for refusing public and government-funded efforts instead of redoubling them, as one could equally well argue.

    The key argument of evolution denying progs is that racial differences in IQ are the result of different levels of resources going to different races. Therefore, what is required to equalize outcomes of different groups is tax-n-spend to equalize resource use between different races. If progs accepted evolution, what could they possibly argue is going to equalize inter-race IQs? Any great environmental alteration used to help the low IQ would help everyone. Do you recommend the Sirens of Titan? Special Ed is monstrously expensive, with costs rising and returns lowering with stupider students. Since resources are limited and the US already spends more per pupil than anywhere in the world, how much do you want to slow the development of intelligent students in the interest of equalizing outcomes that can't be equalized? Is tilting at windmills to equalize IQs so important that we should badly slow the introduction of experimental science to smart children? That sounds retarded.

    Again, IQ differences show up in pre-Ks. What grand historical force is giving tiny children of different races different mentors that lead to different early and persistent IQs?

    Reading to children is supposed to be a great boon? Where are you hearing this? The universally cheesy studies I've seen don't show large gains. They show small, tenuous, gains when the adults take specific steps.

    1. backyard, stick to the thread if you want replies, I didn't see this earlier.

      I'm talking about a bunch of cultural, historical and environmental factors, no one of which is the magic key. The big differences are between people who have access to most or all of them versus people who have access to few or none.

      Your theory is that differences in achievement "can't be equalized" because they've evolved, presumably over tens of thousands of years (?). OK, then we're talking about a kind of congenital disease or, if you prefer, congenital disability (i.e. an inherited impairment in competitive ability). I would want to see resources put toward this for the same reason I want public resources devoted to people with developmental disabilities, birth defects and inherited diseases of the kinds already so classified: because a good society takes the best care it can of those most in need, particularly when the need arises from no fault of their own.

      As to the hopelessness of better outcomes, you can start with the Hart-Risley longitudinal study, which showed environmental effects emerging in cognitive development already by age 3 and persisting thereafter into school achievement. Again, that study was measuring only one of many factors, which suggests that the cumulative effect of many inputs would be even greater. And don't get me started on school funding; people who support America's vast inequalities in that area have no credibility to talk about what can or can't be achieved through better policies.

    2. And don't get me started on school funding; people who support America's vast inequalities in that area have no credibility to talk about what can or can't be achieved through better policies.

      The per pupil spending difference between whites and NAMs is approx. zero. Here's Richwine from 2011 discussing studies that show white spending as slightly less and WA-PO on DC school spending.

      But the idea that money is a key factor in racial disparities doesn't make sense when the poorest whites outscore the wealthiest blacks. As in, the wealthiest quintile of black SAT takers gets lower scores than the poorest quintile of white. Kids like Malia and Sasha are generally outscored by whites who live in trailers. White kids on food stamps test better than black kids who aren't.

      The US spends more than just about any country on education. Probably everything you've been told about this topic disagrees with boring gov stats.

      Since the US spends so much and already diverts so much more to low IQ kids, how much more do you think it should spend?

    3. As I said, don't get me started on school funding. Seriously. It's too big a topic for a thread that nobody else is reading anymore. I expect we'll have other chances.

      However, I do notice, just on that story you link to about the OECD report, that there's an apples-to-oranges comparison going on. The US leads in total expenditure IF you include its famously expensive colleges with their concert halls and lacrosse teams and four-star housing complexes. But the data showing inadequate outcomes are based on tests of 10- and 15-year olds. What happens when you compare just "core" educational spending (not "ancillary") and limit the comparison to K-8 or K-12? I don't know, but you're welcome to go muck around in the data and get back to me on that if you like. I'm pretty confident the US won't be #1 anymore.

      I can't give you a dollar amount that should be spent on any given service, not without lots more study and not outside the context of a discussion of national priorities generally. But can you? For instance, we currently spend money, some of it taken from taxpayers at gunpoint, helping children with Down Syndrome, cystic fibrosis, autism and other such disorders. The kids in question inherited these conditions, or at any rate did not bring them on themselves, and the expenses they entail can be quite high. Yet in many cases, no amount of money is going to close the IQ or achievement gap between those children and others not thus disadvantaged. It's impossible in principle. So, what's the correct amount for the public / taxpayers / government to spend on children with congenital disorders and the families responsible for their care? If the answer is anything higher than zero, how do you justify that?

    4. Jeff,

      Even by prog estimates (Center for American Progress), pre-college spending tends to be very close between whites and NAMs and at the very top worldwide. But the US doesn't have "inadequate outcomes" when one accounts for race. On the PISA, white students in the US outscore white students worldwide. US Asians outscore world Asians. US Hispanics far outscore Mexicans. US blacks outscore several countries, but no black countries bother with the PISA. Every person who neglects to mention this is lying by omission. If every wealthy country goes Asian white black and country scores go Asian white black, and the US goes Asian white black, then the countries with the most NAMs should be expected to score lower. The Richwine piece lays this out, but several others have toyed with the data and produced similar results.

      Does it affect your worldview at all that trailer-living whites get higher SAT scores than blacks? Would it matter if you learned that blacks actually do MORE SAT prep than whites?

      When do progs consider diminishing returns in their quest for equality? If gov is going to shunt tax dollars to education, it doesn't make sense to spend huge dollars chasing tiny gains among retarded children who can't contribute much anyway. Spending more on quickly advancing bright students makes more sense because they're the ones who are going to dream up and produce new tech, from which ALL material gain for everyone is produced.

    5. backyard, now that I understand better where you're coming from, every question you raise about race is going to get the same answer from me. It will be some variation of this:

      1. People who inherit reduced capacities for achievement, for whatever reason, are entitled to whatever help the rest of us can reasonably give them, in the same way and for the same reasons as people who inherit a congenital disease or birth defect. So, if there are differences we can fairly call "racial," then the disadvantaged race(s) are entitled to that help.

      2. The justification for this is not just social utility, nor is that the only relevant measure. True, we don't want to overlook any world-changing geniuses, and we want to maximize everyone's potential contributions to society. But the principal goal is to maximize each person's capacity to put whatever talents and qualities s/he has toward making a decent and fulfilling life for him/herself and his/her family.

      3. We should use the best, most cost-effective means to achieve these goals, and should tax and spend toward them appropriately in light of other national priorities. What those means and those dollar amounts are will vary depending on the particular people, groups, conditions, or interventions we're talking about, and is subject to continual adjustment as we experiment to see what's really going on and what works.

      4. Although I would call the principles I've just stated "liberal" or "progressive," I don't speak for anyone else and can't tell you precisely how representative they are, let alone what specific answer someone else would give on some specific case in point. The best way to find out what people on the left generally think is to read around in the various magazines and other forums where they tend to publish their views.

      Okay? Hope so, because it's the best I can do.


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