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Occam's Razor

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What, oh, what could be the subtle factors driving residents of the U.S. to enlist in ISIS? The New York Times offers a study of the diverse factors behind would-be ISIS terrorists:

What the Americans Drawn to ISIS Had in Common
By KAREN YOURISH and JASMINE C. LEE JULY 6, 2016

The nearly 100 United States residents accused of trying to help the Islamic State share certain characteristics that may have made them more susceptible to radicalization, according to a report from the Center on National Security at Fordham Law.

- U.S. citizens [vs.] Permanent residents, refugees or other …

- At least a quarter of them expressed a desire for martyrdom. …

- Many were strongly influenced by al-Baghdadi or al-Awlaki. …

- Many lived with their parents, some of whom tried to intervene. …

- Many used social media to become involved with the Islamic State. …

- Some of them sought links to ISIS through marriage. …

On the other hand, what percentage of the Islamic State’s recruits were Islamic just doesn’t seem to come up. Why would you ask about that? What are you? An Islamophobe?

 
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From the New York Times:

MacArthur ‘Genius Grant’ Winners for 2015 Are Announced
By ROBIN POGREBIN SEPT. 29, 2015

Ta-Nehisi Coates, author of the best-selling nonfiction book “Between the World and Me,” was at home in his Paris apartment when the call came.

“I wished I could be cool,”** Mr. Coates said in a telephone interview. “But you just can’t be cool.”

These three were among the 24 people selected as 2015 fellows of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The fellowships, which have come to be known as “genius grants,” come with a stipend of $625,000 over five years — no strings attached. …

Correction: September 29, 2015

An earlier version of a capsule summary for this article misspelled the given name of one of the winners of this year’s MacArthur fellowships. He is Ta-Nehisi Coates, not Ta-Nehesi.

When it rains, it pours: The New York Times misspelling his name should give Mr. Coates’ enough material for yet another memoir about how oppressed he is by people who think they are white. This flagrant example of insensitivity to black bodies’ creative spelling would furnish a worthy follow-up to his current bestseller about how an Upper West Side woman on an escalator once racistishly said “Come on!” to his son for blocking the exit. ***

* From TV Tropes:

Arkham’s Razor

… A trope mostly in comedic works where, when given multiple explanations for an event, the oddest one is most likely to be true. The inverse of Occam’s Razor. As such, it can be summarized as “When you hear hoofbeats; think zebras, not horses.” The name is a take off of Occam’s Razor, combined with Arkham, which refers to the fictional Massachusetts town in the works of HP Lovecraft, and also to the fictional insane asylum in Batman comic books. Thus, the term “Arkham” is closely tied to the idea of madness or surprise.

** TNC will never be cool. His dweebiness is his essential quality.

*** I know it sounds like I’m trying to pull your leg, but I’m not making this up: TNC really did just get $625,000 for his body being a Genius.

My jokes are next week’s news.

Dave Pinsen wonders whether TNC’s future Nobel Prize will be in Literature or Peace or both. I’d say: Physics. After all, he’s the world’s leading expert on black bodies.

 
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Who could have guessed?

Breaking news in the New York Times:

Analysis Finds Higher Expulsion Rates for Black Students
By MOTOKO RICH AUG. 24, 2015

With the Obama administration focused on reducing the number of suspensions, expulsions and arrests in public schools, a new analysis of federal data identifies districts in 13 Southern states where black students are suspended or expelled at rates overwhelmingly higher than white children.

The analysis, which will be formally released Tuesday by the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania, focused on states where more than half of all the suspensions and expulsions of black students nationwide occurred. While black students represented just under a quarter of public school students in these states, they made up nearly half of all suspensions and expulsions.

In some districts, the gaps were even more striking: in 132 Southern school districts, for example, black students were suspended at rates five times their representation in the student population, or higher.

Nationwide, according to the 2011 Obama Administration study “Homicide Trends in the United States, 1980-2008,” blacks were almost eight times more likely to be homicide offenders.

But, of course, noticing patterns and looking for simple explanations runs afoul of that dominant rule of 21st Century thought: Occam’s Racist.

In recent years, civil rights groups such as the Advancement Project and legal advocacy organizations including the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. and Texas Appleseed have focused on reducing arrests and other severe disciplinary actions in schools.

Last year, the Obama administration issued guidelines advising schools to create more positive climates, set clear expectations and consequences for students, and ensure equity in discipline.

Still, “I am actually shocked that there is not more outrage,” said Shaun R. Harper, associate professor of education at the University of Pennsylvania and the executive director of the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education who was a co-author of the analysis. …

Blacks were suspended or expelled at rates higher than their representation in the student body in every one of the 13 states analyzed.

And that consistency proves that this has to be caused solely by white racism! What else could it be?

“We want policy makers, parents and everybody to understand that any degree of disproportionality is in need of redress and response,” Mr. Harper said. The analysis did not look at suspension or expulsion rates for other racial minorities.

What with the high cost of computing these days, who can afford the computer CPU cycles needed to add rows to your Excel spreadsheet to show how often Asian students get suspended?

… In addition to missing out on in-school learning time, students who are expelled or suspended are more likely to have later contact with the juvenile justice system than similar students who are not removed from school, studies have shown.

Some school districts have already begun to shift their policies to focus more on using counseling and trying to prevent or redefine problem behavior in the first place.

Mr. Harper said that education schools should focus more on raising awareness about racial disparities and prepare teachers to cope with tense situations without harsh discipline.

“This is at least partly attributed to people having these racist assumptions about black kids,” Mr. Harper said. “We argue that too little happens in schools of education to raise consciousness about that.”

Let me just quote the last line of the article again:

“We argue that too little happens in schools of education to raise consciousness about that.”

The last 60 years didn’t happen.

 
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Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, VDARE.com columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.


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