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From the New York Times:

Even With Affirmative Action, Blacks and Hispanics Are More Underrepresented at Top Colleges Than 35 Years Ago

Even after decades of affirmative action, black and Hispanic students are more underrepresented at the nation’s top colleges and universities than they were 35 years ago, according to a New York Times analysis.

- It’s almost as if 45 to 50 years of affirmative action haven’t succeeded in making blacks and Hispanics smarter …

Here’s the 1996-2011 trends in SAT Math scores from Unsilenced Science:

Not much is happening other than Asians are scoring higher.

Similarly, here’s Unsilenced Science’s graph of trends on the composite SAT and ACT college admission test scores:

Asians are pulling away from pack, while blacks are lagging. (The number of blacks taking these tests has been going up, so that performance isn’t all that bad.)

- And it’s almost as if the massive increase in Asian-American and foreign Asian enrollment in colleges had to hurt other groups’ numbers due to simple arithmetic.

The share of black freshmen at elite schools is virtually unchanged since 1980.

When, by the way, affirmative action was roaring strong. You may recall the famous Bakke lawsuit over racial quotas at the University of California reached the U.S. Supreme Court in 1978, when Judge Powell’s one-man decision somehow wound up being decisive. Powell’s baby slicing brilliance: racial quotas are illegal if you call then “quotas” but not if you call them “goals.”

Part of what the NYT is doing is playing off their readers’ lack of historical sense. Subscribers are constantly told that America was a racist hell-hole until approximately the day before yesterday, so “1980″ sounds like the Dark Ages to them. In reality of course, it was well past the social revolution of the 1960s, with affirmative action going full blast.

Black students are just 6 percent of freshmen but 15 percent of college-age Americans, as the chart below shows.

Screenshot 2017-08-24 17.47.08

The NYT won’t tell us what the actual numbers were in 1980 (which turns out to be a bigger problem below with the Hispanic graph), but it looks like 1980 numbers were something like blacks being 13% of the college-age population and 6% of elite college freshmen.

It would be interesting to see what % blacks made up in the 90th percentile or higher on the SAT and ACT test in 1980 versus 2015. My guess would be it was a small percentage in 1980 and an even smaller percentage in 2015 due to the flood of high scoring Asians.

Here’s a recent Brookings Institution graph:

Screenshot 2017-08-24 17.56.56

Blacks make up only 2% of those scoring on the math SAT 650 to 700, 2% of 700 to 750, and 2% of 750 to 800. In contrast Asians make up 27% of 650 to 700, 39% of 700 to 750, and 60% of 750 to 800.

A 650 on math is a good score, but not amazing: it’s at the 86th percentile of those who take the SAT and the 90th percentile of a nationally representative sample (including those who missed out on taking the SAT because they were in Juvy Hall). So blacks make up 6% of elite college freshmen but only 2% among those scoring at the 86th percentile or higher on the Math SAT. Of course, blacks don’t benefit from White Privilege.

Here’s the Brookings article on how test score gaps aren’t closing much.

I don’t know what this graph would have looked like in 1980, but the immense Asian numbers at the high end wouldn’t have been so big, thus increasing the other groups’ representation proportionately.

More Hispanics are attending elite schools, but the increase has not kept up with the huge growth of young Hispanics in the United States, so the gap between students and the college-age population has widened.

Screenshot 2017-08-24 17.52.38

Now here’s where the NYT’s methodology becomes intentionally misleading. They won’t tell us what the actual numbers were in 1980, but it looks like back then Hispanics were about 7% of the population and 4% of the elite freshmen, compared to 22% and 13% in 2015. Those proportions are roughly the same, so not much has really happened. For example 4/7 = 0.57 and 13/22 = 0.59, suggesting a slight increase in favor of Hispanics over the years. But of course these are guesstimates from eyeballing the graph.

But the NYT can claim that The Gap has gotten … three … times … larger!

The Times analysis includes 100 schools ranging from public flagship universities to the Ivy League. For both blacks and Hispanics, the trend extends back to at least 1980, the earliest year that fall enrollment data was available from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Blacks and Hispanics have gained ground at less selective colleges and universities but not at the highly selective institutions, said Terry Hartle, a senior vice president at the American Council on Education, which represents more than 1,700 colleges and universities.

The 1985 book Choosing Elites by social scientist Robert Klitgaard, who went on to be president of Claremont McKenna college, reveals much about Harvard’s 1970s internal studies of just how much affirmative action Harvard could afford. This turned out to be some, but not as much as they had hoped when they got started with quotas in the late 1960s. In particular, inner city black males were not a good bet.

Here’s the NYT’s graph of the racial trends at the alpha dog of academia, Harvard:

Screenshot 2017-08-24 19.15.47

Although this is just speculation, it sure looks like Harvard decided during the 1990s that allowing the white percentage to continue to fall sharply, as it had in the 1980s, would eventually prove Bad for the Brand.

- One other thing that’s going on is that white parents and students have tended to become much more ambitious and/or fatalistic about attending elite national private colleges since I was in high school. For example, it was standard for my friends from our Catholic school to attend cheap U. of California campuses, but the NYT graphs show whites barely showing up at many UC colleges anymore. For example, here is UC Irvine in Orange County where whites make up only 15% of the freshmen:

Screenshot 2017-08-24 18.16.27

Today it seems as if a huge fraction of white parents are just convinced that of course they will have to spend an extra $125k to send their kids to a private college in another state instead of to a public college that they’ve been supporting with their tax dollars their whole lives. That’s what you have to do if you are white.

By the way, if you are wondering why the expensive Claremont colleges in Southern California are having so many hissy fits, as frequently reported here and more recently reported in the NYT (“More Diversity Means More Demands,” here’s a graph of Claremont’s STEM college Harvey Mudd’s trajectory:

Screenshot 2017-08-24 20.38.02

Harvey Mudd recently got woke and decided to let in lots of Non-Asian Minorities and girls, because obviously things like test scores must be biased, with the results that you or I would expect:

An elite California college canceled 2 days of classes amid tension over workload and racial issues on campus
Inside Higher Ed

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Economist Tyler Cowen of Marginal Revolution interviews Stanford economist Raj Chetty and borrows a number of his questions from my appreciative 2015 critique in Taki’s Magazine, “Moneyball for Real Estate,” of the flaws in Chetty’s methodology in his huge and much publicized study of how income mobility over the generations varies by county across the United States.

Chetty is trying to find out what are the local policies or customs that make one county a better place to raise your kids than another county. I think that’s a good topic, but he is still a long ways from finding those kind of subtle answers because his results are still clouded by three big methodological problems. As I concluded two years ago:

In summary, Chetty’s data still suffers from crippling problems with:

- Regression toward the mean (especially among races)
- Temporary booms and busts
- Cost of living differences.

Yet, these should not be impossible challenges for him to overcome in future iterations.

Here’s the transcript of the interview (and the podcast if you like listening rather than reading). Excerpts:

… On drivers of upward mobility

COWEN: Let’s go now to some of your research on mobility, which is maybe, at this moment, what you’re best known for. You can identify counties or parts of the United States where mobility for generations is going to be especially high. To what extent do you think that’s picking up that simply some of those regions end up with resource booms or other good events that is, in a sense, just random? It doesn’t per se have to do with the region? Or do you think we can adjust for that?

CHETTY: Yes. Some of what drives upward mobility, of course, is just having a very vibrant economy. To give you an example, parts of North Dakota, with the natural resource boom there, we see are having very high upward mobility. Of course if you discover natural resources, that’s going to help more people move up the income distribution.

But by and large, that is the exception rather than the key driver of the differences in upward mobility that we find across places. I say that for a couple of reasons. First, even if you hold fixed the rate of growth, the rate of economic growth, you find that some places have much higher rates of upward mobility than others.

To give you an example, Atlanta is a city that’s booming in terms of jobs and economic growth overall. But Atlanta’s one of the places with the lowest levels of upward mobility for kids growing up in low-income families there.

Chetty’s 2013 income mobility map: red=bad

Sorry, but an obvious explanation for why the Atlanta metro area has low upward mobility is the classical statistical phenomenon of regression toward the mean. Atlanta, unlike Chetty’s favorite metro area, Salt Lake City, is heavily black. Atlanta has one of the most prosperous and best educated black communities in America, but blacks in America still regress toward a lower mean income than do whites, so it’s almost statistically inevitable that Chetty would find that Atlanta has lower upward income mobility than Salt Lake City.

The second thing you see is these rates of upward mobility, to the extent we have data, they tend to be quite persistent overtime. It’s not like the places that have high upward mobility in one decade, suddenly a very low upward mobility in the next decade. It’s a pretty persistent phenomenon.

A striking example of that is states in the middle of the US, like Iowa for example, which historical data going back to work by Claudia Goldin and Larry Katz has always looked like a place with very good outcomes for kids in lower-income families. And what’s amazing about that is, Iowa suffers from a brain drain phenomenon where the most successful people often end up leaving the state, going to Chicago, going to New York, to get higher-paying jobs. Yet generation after generation, Iowa seems to produce very good outcomes for low-income families. So that again suggests it’s not about natural resources or temporary booms. It’s something more persistent.

Chetty’s single best county in America for blue collar kids’ upward income mobility is Sioux County, Iowa, where iSteve commenter The Last Real Calvinist is from. Somewhat like Mormon Salt Lake City, Sioux County is famously Dutch and socially conservative. Of course, like all the top 25 counties on Chetty’s list, it’s also extremely white.

But there is some evidence from Chetty’s research that social conservatism is good for blue collar kids’ future earnings. Unfortunately, he needs to adjust for the three big problems I identified above to test his hunch.

CHETTY: Yes. Where did that come from? Why does Iowa have good public schools?

COWEN: Right.

CHETTY: One of the strong correlates we find is that places that are more integrated across socioeconomic groups, that have lower segregation, tend to have better outcomes for kids. And that kind of thing in a rural area — you can see why that occurs and why it might lead to better outcomes.

Obviously, Chetty is being silly here. Sioux County, Iowa and his other 24 top counties are not at all what normal people would call “integrated.” They are extremely white.

Instead, he’s using “integrated” as a euphemism for “heavily white and/or Asian,” and “segregated” as a euphemism for “heavily non-Asian minority.” Liberal sociologist Philip N. Cohen pointed out:

Philip N. Cohen pointed out how Chetty’s 2014 paper tries to euphemize the role of blackness behind related factors like de facto “segregation:” in a 2014 blog post entitled “Where Is Race in the Chetty et al Mobility Paper?

Instead, they drop percent Black for racial segregation. I have no idea why, especially considering … [I]n these normalized correlations, fraction Black has a stronger relationship to mobility than racial segregation or economic segregation! In fact, it’s just about the strongest relationship on the whole long table (except for single mothers, with which it is of course highly correlated).

Back to the interview:

If you live in a big city, it’s very easy to self-segregate in various ways. You live in a gated community, you send your kids to a private school. You essentially don’t interact with people from different socioeconomic classes. If you live in a small town in Iowa, pretty much there’s one place your kids are going to go to school. There’s one set of activities that you can all participate in. And that is likely to lead to more integration.

But living in a small corn-farming town in Iowa will not lead to more racial integration.

COWEN: And you think that’s causal rather than just restating the same fact about the quality of the place?

CHETTY: We don’t have definitive evidence on this, and we’re working on trying to establish clear evidence. But our sense is that integration — actual contact with people from other backgrounds — is a strong predictor and likely a causal determinant of kids’ long-term outcomes. I suspect that that’s one major factor in what’s going on.

This is basically Charles Murray’s Coming Apart view that growing up in Newton, Iowa (home to Maytag) was a healthy social environment because the children of Maytag execs played with the children of local tradesmen. These days, however, Maytag executives mostly live in an upscale suburb of Des Moines and reverse commute 35 miles to Newton. But this doesn’t have much at all to do with racial integration.

It would be perfectly reasonable for Chetty to maintain a stance of agnosticism toward the ultimate causes of the national race gaps in mean income. He could admit that “Until whatever it is that causes the races in America to have different average incomes stops happening, it’s almost statistically inevitable that my methodology will show lower income mobility in heavily non-Asian minority counties than in counties that are heavily white and/or Asian.”

But he doesn’t want to admit that, perhaps because there isn’t much interest in America in how we can influence, say, whites to be more like the whites in Sioux County, Iowa and less like the whites in McDowell County, West Virginia.*

All the excitement and money and prestige is in Closing the Race Gap. Chetty encourages people to assume that his study will find out how to close The Gap between blacks and whites, even though his study is almost hopeless at finding that (because even though he has your IRS returns and mine, he doesn’t have the race of taxpayers due to the IRS not collecting it and the IRS anonymizing the data before giving it to Chetty).

* McDowell County, WV has been notorious since JFK’s famous visit for having the poorest, most backward, most self-destructive white hillbillies in America. And yet, even McDowell Co. does fairly well in Chetty’s measures of upward mobility: such is the power of Regression Toward the Mean. McDowell County comes in at the 46th percentile in Chetty’s rankings, just slightly below the average county in America.

It would be perfectly reasonable for Chetty to adjust for regression toward the racial mean in some fashion so he could look for more subtle drivers of income mobility.

If that’s not feasible, Chetty could simply end up doing what Charles Murray did in Coming Apart and in much of The Bell Curve: just compare highly white counties to other highly white counties. There might still be something interesting to find, although I suspect his white vs. white results would tend to echo David Hackett Fischer’s Albion’s Seed.

Overall, there’s a fair amount of evidence that Chetty’s study really is on to something, which is why I want him to clean up its three big remaining methodological problems of Regression Toward the Mean, Temporary Booms and Busts, and Cost of Living Differences.

If Chetty would take those problems seriously and fix them, he might actually get some results in what he’s been hoping to find out about government policies and social norms that make a difference, pro or con, for the next generation.

Commenter The Last Real Calvinist, who is from heavily Calvinist Sioux County, Iowa, Chetty’s #1 Best County in America explains the trick Chetty is pulling on audiences:

The Last Real Calvinist

I read the whole interview; it’s pretty remarkable stuff.

I think your take (and Steve’s) on this is right; Chetty is referring on one hand, initially, strictly to socio-economic — i.e. class — integration in places such as Sioux County. And he’s right; I went to school with the children of doctors and lawyers and bankers as well as those of farmers and manual workers.

And then he’s saying that this kind of integration is promoted by limitations on options, e.g., presumably, living in a boring, social-capital-scarce setting leads to better outcomes:

If you live in a small town in Iowa, pretty much there’s one place your kids are going to go to school. There’s one set of activities that you can all participate in. And that is likely to lead to more integration.

But then he conflates this class-based integration with — presumably, although he doesn’t come right out and say it — racial/cultural integration:

But our sense is that integration — actual contact with people from other backgrounds — is a strong predictor and likely a causal determinant of kids’ long-term outcomes.

At the least, he’s leaving the door open here to those who would like to interpret his findings in a way that fits The Narrative. That is, successful outcomes are the product not of Sioux County’s cultural homogeneity, but rather of its ‘diversity’.

Nice trick.

Surely there are no other identifiable factors that could possibly be leading to the good outcomes for Sioux County kids.

It’s also interesting to juxtapose this class-integration success narrative with Chetty’s own experience in his ‘outstanding college prep school’ as the son of an economist and a medical specialist. How intrepid he must have been to overcome his limited chances to integrate with the proletariat! I wonder how his school managed to compensate for its no doubt shocking deficit in magic class integration opportunities?

Or perhaps I’m assuming too much, and his school instead carefully assembled an alchemically-potent mixture comprising the correct proportions of children from all classes, no doubt mimicking the class breakdown in Sioux County’s schools?

By the way, in my Taki’s Magazine article on Chetty, I speculated:

Fertility is actually a promising avenue for Chetty to pursue in the future. As we’ll see below, his income calculations are stricken with problems, but he appears to have the data to estimate the answers to questions such as: where should you move if you want your child to present you with a legitimate grandchild by the time you are, say, 70? That is the kind of thing you aren’t supposed to discuss in public these days, but I’d be surprised if Mr. and Mrs. Chetty don’t worry about it.

It turns out my speculation was largely on the money:

On geography and gender

COWEN: Yes. Have you thought much about within this country, geographic differences in gender inequality? …

CHETTY: Yeah, that’s a very interesting question. We find sharp differences in outcomes by gender across areas for various reasons. Let me give you a couple of examples. One, we find that areas with more concentrated poverty — take the city of Baltimore, for example — we find very poor outcomes for boys in particular, relative to girls, and we think that that has to do with crime, and getting involved in gangs, and so forth — things that girls are less likely to do.

As a result, growing up in a place like Baltimore turns out to be extremely detrimental for boys. We estimate that you lose something like 30 percent of your earnings relative to if you’ve grown up in an average place in America. Whereas for girls, it’s slightly negative but not nearly as bad. There are a set of urban ghettos, places with concentrated poverty, that tend to have particularly negative outcomes for boys.

There are also other phenomena that are more subtle, related to things like marriage patterns. Relating this back to personal experience, I remember when working on these issues and thinking about our decision to move from Harvard to Stanford. At the time, we actually were expecting our first child, a daughter. And I noticed in our data that, for kids in affluent families in the Bay Area, daughters tend to have very low household earnings. And I found that kind of curious and we spent some time trying to dig into why what was, partly given my personal interest in the issue.

COWEN: So, your own moving decision was influenced by this research.

CHETTY: [laughs] In some ways.

COWEN: Yeah.

CHETTY: What you find is an interesting explanation, which is, if you look at individual earnings rather than household income, girls growing up here in the Bay Area do extremely well. However, when you look at household income, they don’t do so well, and that’s because they’re much, much less likely to be married than if they grew up somewhere else.


CHETTY: So if you’re in your mid-30s, only something like a quarter or less of girls growing up in the Bay Area are married, and we show in our paper that every extra year you spend growing up in the Bay Area, you’re less likely to get married. I remember telling my wife, “I don’t think we need to worry. Our daughter will be fine in terms of earnings. It’s just that she might not be married if we move to California.”

COWEN: So, you’ve lowered your expectations for grandchildren?

CHETTY: Yes. [laughs]

I’d be interested to know what Mrs. Chetty thinks about not having grandchildren.

• Category: Economics • Tags: Chetty, Inequality, Political Correctness 
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From Vox:

Charles Murray is once again peddling junk science about race and IQ

Podcaster and author Sam Harris is the latest to fall for it.

Updated by Eric Turkheimer, Kathryn Paige Harden, and Richard E. Nisbett May 18, 2017, 9:50am EDT

Eric Turkheimer is the Hugh Scott Hamilton Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia. Twitter: @ent3c. Kathryn Paige Harden (@kph3k) is associate professor in the department of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. Richard E. Nisbett is the Theodore M. Newcomb Distinguished University Professor at the University of Michigan.

Charles Murray, the conservative scholar who co-authored The Bell Curve with the late Richard Herrnstein, was recently denied a platform at Middlebury College. Students shouted him down, and one of his hosts was hurt in a scuffle. But Murray recently gained a much larger audience: an extensive interview with best-selling author Sam Harris on his popular Waking Up podcast. That is hardly a niche forum: Waking Up is the fifth-most-downloaded podcast in iTunes’s Science and Medicine category.

Getting worked up over Charles Murray being allowed on a podcast seems a little bizarre. (Here’s the podcast.)

Under the faux indignation and clickbait headline, however, this is about as good an attempt as any to shore up the Conventional Wisdom that the racial differences in average intelligence can’t be influenced by genetics at all. So I’ll go through a chunk of it, adding comments.

Interestingly, the article, when read carefully, is also about how Charles Murray is mostly so much more right than the Conventional Wisdom about IQ. But he’s still a Witch! The article is another one of these attempts to fight back against today’s rampant Science Denialism while not being accused of witchcraft yourself.

Here’s an important question: Do these triple bankshot approaches ever work?

They’re kind of like some prisoner of war being put on TV to denounce the Great Satan while blinking T-O-R-T-U-R-E in Morse Code? But what if nobody back home knows Morse Code anymore?

The basic problem is that the zeitgeist is continually dumbing down. We don’t worry about how to apply objective principles anymore to real world examples of human behavior, we just look for who are the Good Guys and who are the Bad Guys. And how can we tell? Just look at them: the cishet white males are the Bad Guys. What’s so complicated about that?

In this kind of mental atmosphere, will more than three Vox readers come to the end of this carefully coded article and say to themselves: “You know, Charles Murray is still as evil and stupid as I thought, but now I realize that most of what Murray says about IQ is Science and Good!”?

In an episode that runs nearly two and a half hours, Harris, who is best known as the author of The End of Faith, presents Murray as a victim of “a politically correct moral panic” — and goes so far as to say that Murray has no intellectually honest academic critics. Murray’s work on The Bell Curve, Harris insists, merely summarizes the consensus of experts on the subject of intelligence.

The consensus, he says, is that IQ exists; that it is extraordinarily important to life outcomes of all sorts; that it is largely heritable; and that we don’t know of any interventions that can improve the part that is not heritable. The consensus also includes the observation that the IQs of black Americans are lower, on average, than that of whites, and — most contentiously — that this and other differences among racial groups is based at least in part in genetics. …

(In the interview, Murray says he has modified none of his views since the publication of the book, in 1994; if anything, he says, the evidence for his claims has grown stronger. In fact, the field of intelligence has moved far beyond what Murray has been saying for the past 23 years.)

Eh … As I pointed out on the 20th anniversary of The Bell Curve, the world today looks even more like the world Herrnstein and Murray described.

The reality is that there haven’t been all that many revolutionary discoveries since then. The genomic research up through 2016 largely has panned out in the direction Herrnstein and Murray expected, although I’ve been told that a new preprint raises questions about Murray’s guess that the gene variants driving differences between the races are similar to the variants driving differences between individuals. If true, that would suggest that racial differences are in some ways more profound than Murray assumed, which would be ironic.

Turkheimer has gotten a lot of attention for a 2003 paper arguing that in one sample of poor people with lowish IQs, the heritability of IQ was lower than in better off populations, which is interesting but not hugely galvanizing. Emil Kirkegaard in 2016 asked “Did Turkheimer el al (2003) replicate?” I won’t try to adjudicate a question over my head.

But, anyway, the last big scientific finding to raise major questions about the Jensenist view was the Flynn Effect in the 1970s-1980s, which Herrnstein and Murray didn’t exactly ignore: they named it in The Bell Curve.

Murray’s premises, which proceed in declining order of actual broad acceptance by the scientific community, go like this:

1) Intelligence, as measured by IQ tests, is a meaningful construct that describes differences in cognitive ability among humans.

2) Individual differences in intelligence are moderately heritable.

3) Racial groups differ in their mean scores on IQ tests.

4) Discoveries about genetic ancestry have validated commonly used racial groupings.

5) On the basis of points 1 through 4, it is natural to assume that the reasons for racial differences in IQ scores are themselves at least partly genetic.

Until you get to 5, none of the premises is completely incorrect. However, for each of them Murray’s characterization of the evidence is slanted in a direction that leads first to the social policies he endorses, and ultimately to his conclusions about race and IQ. We, and many other scientific psychologists, believe the evidence supports a different view of intelligence, heritability, and race.

We believe there is a fairly wide consensus among behavioral scientists in favor of our views, but there is undeniably a range of opinions in the scientific community. Some well-informed scientists hold views closer to Murray’s than to ours. …

Let’s take Murray’s principles one at a time.

Intelligence is meaningful. This principle comes closest to being universally accepted by scientific psychologists. …

But observing that some people have greater cognitive ability than others is one thing; assuming that this is because of some biologically based, essential inner quality called g that causes them to be smarter, as Murray claims, is another. There is a vibrant ongoing debate about the biological reality of g, but intelligence tests can be meaningful and useful even if an essential inner g doesn’t exist at all.

Indeed. So what is the relevance of g to this debate?

The question of g is fascinating and also quite difficult. But it’s not absolutely relevant to this debate other than that poor Stephen Jay Gould got all hung up on g, fulminating: “The chimerical nature of g is the rotten core of Jensen’s edifice …”

As I’ve pointed out before, for example, Harvard requires applicants to take the SAT or ACT, both of which correlate considerably with IQ. The goal is to supplement the GPA with a measure that gives additional insight into brainpower. Say the g factor doesn’t exist and that there is zero correlation between an SAT math score and an SAT verbal score. Harvard would still favor students who score well on both measures over those who score well on only math or verbal. In the real world, there is a lot of correlation between SAT Math and SAT Verbal scores, just like the g factor theory implies. But, I suspect, we would still be having this IQ and Race debate if there weren’t.

Intelligence is heritable. To say that intelligence is heritable means that, in general, people who are more similar genetically are also more similar in their IQ. Identical twins, who share all their DNA, have more similar IQs than fraternal twins or siblings, who only share half. Half-siblings’ IQs are even less similar than that; cousins, still less.

Heritability is not unique to IQ; in fact, virtually all differences among individual human beings are somewhat heritable. … Heritability is not a special property of certain traits that have turned out to be genetic; it is a description of the human condition, according to which we are born with certain biological realities that play out in complex ways in concert with environmental factors, and are affected by chance events throughout our lives.


This is a pretty funny example of the rhetorical strategy of much of this article. It’s designed to get readers to say to themselves: “That nasty moron Murray thinks the heritability of intelligence is partly genetic, when smart people know it’s really a … description of the human condition!”

An awful lot of this article consists of the three professors agreeing with Murray, but phrasing their endorsement of various Bell Curve assertions in such a way that Vox readers will think it’s actually a crushing takedown of Murray. The whole thing is full of these kind of trick maneuvers.

Do these kind of Secret Decoder Ring articles ever work? Does anybody ever finish the article and say to themselves, “Yes, Charlie Murray is just as evil and stupid as I previously believed, but now I’m aware that 80% of what Murray says about IQ is Science and Good!”

I dunno …

The basic problem is that the zeitgeist is just getting dumber and dumber as the dominant way of thinking gets more childish: Good Guys vs. Bad Guys. (And you determine who are the Good Guys and who are the Bad Guys not by something complicated like what they do, but by something simple: who they are.) So the likelihood of this kind of devious triple bankshot approach actually smartening people up doesn’t seem all that likely. But what do I know?

Today we can also study genes and behavior more directly by analyzing people’s DNA. These methods have given scientists a new way to compute heritability: Studies that measure DNA sequence variation directly have shown that pairs of people who are not relatives, but who are slightly more similar genetically

Such as members of the same race?

Much of the brain fog that besets Vox-level discussions of this question is due to Americans forgetting that race is deeply related to the question of who your relatives are. American intellectuals seldom think in terms of family trees, even though biological genealogy is just about the most absolutely real thing there is in the social realm. The simple reality is that people of one race tend to be more closely related in their family trees to people of the same race than they are to people of other races. But almost nobody notices the relations between race and genealogy in modern American thinking.

, also have more similar IQs than other pairs of people who happen to be more different genetically. These “DNA-based” heritability studies don’t tell you much more than the classical twin studies did, but they put to bed many of the lingering suspicions that twin studies were fundamentally flawed in some way. Like the validity of intelligence testing, the heritability of intelligence is no longer scientifically contentious.

In other words, “the heritability of intelligence is no longer scientifically contentious.” Nor is “the validity of intelligence testing.”

The new DNA-based science has also led to an ironic discovery: Virtually none of the complex human qualities that have been shown to be heritable are associated with a single determinative gene!

It’s almost as if the genetics behind the most complex object in the known universe, the human brain, are also complex.

There are no “genes for” IQ in any but the very weakest sense. Murray’s assertion in the podcast that we are only a few years away from a thorough understanding of IQ at the level of individual genes is scientifically unserious. Modern DNA science has found hundreds of genetic variants that each have a very, very tiny association with intelligence, but even if you add them all together they predict only a small fraction of someone’s IQ score.

And that fraction goes up year by year as larger and larger sample sizes are assembled.

The ability to add together genetic variants to predict an IQ score is a useful tool in the social sciences, but it has not produced a purely biological understanding of why some people have more cognitive ability than others.

Indeed, “it has not produced a purely biological understanding.” But the biological understanding is improving annually.

This is the usual debate over whether a glass is part full or part empty. What we can say is that each year, the glass gets fuller.

Most crucially, heritability, whether low or high, implies nothing about modifiability. The classic example is height, which is strongly heritable (80 to 90 percent), yet the average height of 11-year-old boys in Japan has increased by more than 5 inches in the past 50 years.

True. I write about height a fair amount in part because the effects of nurture on height are so clear. Thus, it’s plausible that the effects of nurture on intelligence probably exist too, even though they are hard to document.

As a non-scientist, I’m more of a nurturist when it comes to IQ than most actual scientists in the field. The scientists emphasize that that the half or so of the influences on IQ that aren’t nature aren’t what we normally think of as nurture, such as having a lot of books in the house growing up. Instead, what gets lumped under nurture appears to be mostly random bad luck that we don’t really understand.

But I’m more cautious on this than most researchers. I’m not convinced that they’ve figured out what drives the Flynn Effect over time, so I’ll hold open the possibility that more traditional nurture may play a considerable role.

But, please note, the Japanese remain one of the shorter nationalities despite a couple of generations of first world living standards. They’ve been surpassed in average height by the South Koreans, for example. The tallest Europeans on average include the wealthy Dutch and the much less wealthy Serbs, Croats, Bosnians, and Albanians. So, height differences among ancestral groups appear to be part nature, part nurture.

A similar historical change is occurring for intelligence: Average IQ scores are increasing across birth cohorts, such that Americans experienced an 18-point gain in average IQ from 1948 to 2002.

Indeed, the Flynn Effect is extremely interesting, as I’ve often pointed out.

And the most decisive and permanent environmental intervention that an individual can experience, adoption from a poor family into a better-off one, is associated with IQ gains of 12 to 18 points. …

There was a small French study of cross-class adoption with a sample size of 38. Despite the tiny sample, I find its finding that nature and nurture are about roughly equally influential (with nature a little stronger) quite plausible. (My general presumption before studying any interesting question is that we’ll end up around fifty-fifty.)

Race differences in average IQ score. People who identify as black or Hispanic in the US and elsewhere on average obtain lower IQ scores than people who identify as white or Asian. That is simply a fact, and stating it plainly offers no support in itself for a biological interpretation of the difference. To what extent is the observed difference in cognitive function a reflection of the myriad ways black people in the US experience historical, social, and economic disadvantage — earning less money, suffering more from chronic disease, dying younger, living in more dangerous and chaotic neighborhoods, attending inferior schools?

Okay, but let’s think about African-American height for a moment, since we were just talking about Japanese height. There’s this guy you may have heard of named LeBron James.

He’s really tall.

In fact, there are a lot of tall, healthy African-Americans currently dominating the NBA playoffs. In terms of height, African-Americans don’t appear to be a malnourished, beaten down population like, say, Guatemalan Indians.

Similarly, the last 72 men to qualify for the finals of the Olympic 100 meter dash, from 1984 through 2016, have been at least half black.

Now you could say, like James Flynn, that contemporary African-American culture is detrimental to the full development of African-American cognitive functioning, that black Americans focus too much on basketball and gangsta rap.

I think that’s highly possible.

But, who exactly is responsible for that? Charles Murray?

This is another triple bankshot approach: if we can just punch Charles Murray enough (metaphorically or literally), then inner city blacks will realize they should stop listening to gangsta rap and instead become patent attorneys. Or something.

… Race and genetic ancestry. First, a too-brief interlude about the biological status of race and genetic ancestry. The topic of whether race is a social or biological construct has been as hotly debated as any topic in the human sciences. The answer, by our lights, isn’t that hard: Human evolutionary history is real; the more recent sorting of people into nations and social groups with some degree of ethnic similarity is real; individual and familial ancestry is real. All of these things are correlated with genetics, but they are also all continuous and dynamic, both geographically and historically.

Our lay concept of race is a social construct that has been laid on top of these vastly more complex biological realities. That is not to say that socially defined race is meaningless or useless. (Modern genomics can do a good job of determining where in Central Europe or Western Africa your ancestors resided.)

And since “modern genomics can do a good job of determining where in Central Europe or Western Africa your ancestors resided,” they can, of course, also do the easier job of determining whether the bulk of your relatives were from Europe or sub-Saharan Africa.

However, a willingness to speak casually about modern racial groupings as simplifications of the ancient and turbulent history of human ancestry should not deceive us into conjuring back into existence 19th-century notions of race — Caucasoid, Negroid, Mongoloid, and all that.

Funny how the Obama Administration spent 8 years heartily enforcing policies based on categories called whites (i.e., Caucasoid), blacks (Negroid), and Asians (Mongoloid) and all that. It’s almost as if the Obama Administration believed that such categories are good enough for government work.

Murray talks about advances in population genetics as if they have validated modern racial groups. In reality, the racial groups used in the US — white, black, Hispanic, Asian — are such a poor proxy for underlying genetic ancestry that no self-respecting statistical geneticist would undertake a study based only on self-identified racial category as a proxy for genetic ancestry measured from DNA.

Okay, but the implication of that argument is 180 degrees backward from what Turkheimer et al are rhetorically implying. Isn’t it obvious that IQ studies that use self-identified race, as most do, are going to find a slightly lower correlation between race and IQ than ideal studies that use actual genetic ancestry?

For example, both Barack and Michelle Obama self-identified on the 2010 Census solely as black, but Barack clearly has a higher IQ than Michelle. The Vox authors in effect complain that studies based on self-identification would lump both together as purely black, ignoring Barack’s substantial white ancestry. That’s a reasonable methodological complaint, but its implications are the reverse of what they imply.

Similarly, there is an obvious correlation in the U.S. among Hispanics between white ancestry and educational attainment that gets blurred if you rely purely on self-identification.

Black Harvard professors Henry Louis Gates and Lani Guinier complained in 2004 that a very large fraction of Harvard’s affirmative action spots for blacks go to applicants, like Barack, with a white parent and/or foreign elite ancestry instead of toward genuine descendants of American slaves, like Michelle. (They sort of dropped the topic after the rise of Barack later that year).

Finally, the relationship between self-identification and racial ancestry has been investigated via DNA a lot recently, and the results are pretty much that, for whites and blacks, the government’s categories for self-identification are good enough for government work. In 23andMe studies, people who self-identify as non-Hispanic whites are overwhelmingly over 90% white by ancestry. People who identify as non-Hispanic African-Americans are largely at least 50% black.

23andme found among their clients, by my calculations:

If the average self-identified black is 73.2% black and the average self-identified white is 0.19% black, then the average black in America is 385 times blacker than the average white. That doesn’t seem very murky to me.

This was all predictable from the workings of the One Drop System.

Some of this will change in newer generations raised under somewhat different rules, but the basic reality discovered by genome studies is that in America, individuals who self-identify as non-Hispanic whites or as non-Hispanic blacks tend to be quite different by ancestry.

Genetic group differences in IQ. On the basis of the above premises, Murray casually concludes that group differences in IQ are genetically based. But what of the actual evidence on the question? Murray makes a rhetorical move that is commonly deployed by people supporting his point of view: They stake out the claim that at least some of the difference between racial groups is genetic, and challenge us to defend the claim that none, absolutely zero, of it is. They know that science is not designed for proving absolute negatives, but we will go this far: There is currently no reason at all to think that any significant portion of the IQ differences among socially defined racial groups is genetic in origin.

“No reason at all” is pretty silly. A much more reasonable suggestion would be that Occam’s Razor currently favors the hypothesis that some of the IQ gap is genetic in origin, but the subject is extremely complicated and it could turn out to be different.

It’s also possible that there is something we don’t understand at present about this dauntingly complex subject that makes a reasonably final answer not possible, a little bit like how Gödel’s incompleteness theorems came as a big surprise to mathematicians and philosophers such as Bertrand Russell.

In any case, we’ll learn a lot more about this subject over the next couple of decades due to the ongoing advances in genomics.

I had dinner last year with a geneticist who informed me that in his laptop in his backpack under the table was data documenting some gene variants that contribute a part of the racial IQ gap. He asked me if I thought he should publish it.

I asked him how close he was to tenure.

Now, if this scientist chooses to publish, Turkheimer et al could still argue that his results aren’t a “significant portion” of The Gap. This question is very, very complex technically, and giant sample sizes are needed. But those will be eventually forthcoming and we will (probably) eventually see.

But, right now, it sure seems like the wind has mostly been blowing for a long, long time in Murray’s direction and there’s not much reason to expect it to suddenly reverse in the future.

Toward the end of the Vox article:

Liberals need not deny that intelligence is a real thing or that IQ tests measure something real about intelligence, that individuals and groups differ in measured IQ, or that individual differences are heritable in complex ways.

But liberals must deny that racial differences in IQ could possibly be heritable in complex ways.

But isn’t the upshot of this article that Charles Murray is more correct than the Conventional Wisdom about 80% of what’s at issue?

Why isn’t this article entitled, for example: “Charles Murray is mostly right and Stephen Jay Gould was mostly wrong”?

And that leads to a meta-point: Instead of liberals attempting to imply, using all their rhetorical skills, that only horrible people like Charles Murray think there is any evidence at all for a genetic influence on differences in average IQs among races, shouldn’t they be spending more time explaining why, if Murray turns out to be right, that wouldn’t be The End of the World? Right now, we get told over and over about how unthinkable and outrageous this quite plausible scientific finding would be and how only bad people, practically Hitlerites, think there is any evidence for it at all.

This conventional wisdom strikes me as imprudent.

Personally, I think, this seemingly horrifying potential scientific discovery ought to be easily endurable, just as the NBA has survived the rise of the popular suspicion that the reasons LeBron James and other blacks make up most of the best basketball players include genetic differences.

I’ve long argued that The Worst that liberals can imagine about the scientific reality isn’t actually so bad. Murray’s world looks an awful lot like the world we live in, which we manage to live in. But I don’t have the rhetorical chops to reassure liberals that life will go on. I’m an official Horrible Extremist.

But that raises the question: Who does have the rhetorical skills to undermine the increasingly hysterical conventional wisdom and package the mature point of view about genetic diversity in the old soft soap that will go over well with Nice People?

Clearly, even Charles Murray doesn’t have the eloquence to reassure liberals.

Fortunately, there is this guy who is obsessed with genetic diversity in sports, having read David Epstein’s HBD-aware The Sports Gene, And he is really good at public speaking to liberals. And he doesn’t have that much else on his plate at the moment: Barack Obama.

So if Mr. Obama ever reads this, let me ask him to think about taking on the public service of deflating the Science Denialist hysteria over race and genetic diversity.

P.S. This article’s junior co-author, Paige Harden, had some more respectful things to say about Murray back in March.

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Screenshot 2017-04-05 17.32.56

Most reactions to the news of Ziad Ahmed getting into Stanford with an application where he answered the question What matters to you (100 word limit) with the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag repeated 100 times have fallen into two camps: admiration from the MSM and charges that Ziad must be stupid or lazy or Marxist from conservatives.

For example, from National Review:

Stanford Accepts Student Who Just Wrote ‘#BlackLivesMatter’ 100 Times as His Answer to an Application Question

by KATHERINE TIMPF April 4, 2017 4:07 PM @KATTIMPF

Success in activism is not measured by how strongly you believe that you are right, it’s measured by how effectively you can convince others of your views. … Now, Ahmed may call his refusal to explain his answer “unapologetic activism,” but here’s the thing: The entire purpose of “activism” is to enact change. … Success in activism is not measured by how strongly you believe that you are right, it’s measured by how effectively you can convince others of your views. Bringing other people to your side is, after all, the only way to achieve the change that is activism’s goal. Ahmed believes that he is so obviously correct that no explanation should be necessary, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is necessary. A huge segment of the population doesn’t even understand what the goals of #BlackLivesMatter even are; the fact that explanation is necessary is an objective fact. His answer was not a victory for his movement, but a missed opportunity.

Oh, and then there’s this: Not only is Ahmed a lazy activist, but he’s also a lazy question-answerer.

Uh, no, one thing you can definitely say for Ziad Ahmed is the kid is not lazy. Ziad’s goal in this case was to get Ziad into Stanford, not to persuade the Stanford admissions committee of the holiness of the BLM cause, which, he rightly assumed, required no argument from him.

Another thing you can say is that, contrary to some conservative commenters’ assumptions, he’s not stupid.

Nor is he some kind of Marxist anti-capitalist. He started a marketing consultancy as a teenager to help businesses sell more crap to teenagers.

We live in age less beset by collectivism than by elitist ideologies that encourage the most grasping individuals to screw over the poor dumb trusting masses and feel righteous about doing so because those saps had it coming, those racist homophobic haters.

The reason you read iSteve rather than National Review is because you get the joke. The Ziad Ahmed story tells us a hilarious amount about America in 2017, it just happens to be things that few on the left or right want to hear.

From NBC News, more on Ziad Ahmed of Princeton Day School, who is the scion of Shakil Ahmed, founder of the Princeton Alpha Management hedge fund. (In case you are wondering, this kid is not a parody made up by me or anybody else. I checked.)

NEWS APR 5 2017, 5:51 PM ET
Teen Accepted to Stanford After Writing #BlackLivesMatter 100 Times on Application

After completing his Stanford application, high school senior Ziad Ahmed looked at his answers and realized an important component was missing amid a flurry of standardized test scores and extracurricular activities: his voice and passion.

So Ahmed took a risk. In response to a question asking “What matters to you, and why?” the teen wrote “#BlackLivesMatter” exactly 100 times. …

“It was important to me that the admissions officers literally hear my impatience for justice and the significance of this issue,” Ahmed told NBC News. “The hashtag conveys my frustration with the failure of judicial system to protect the black community from violence, systemic inequity, and political disenfranchisement.”

At only 18-years-old, Ahmed has amassed an impressive resume.

He got his start in activism as a high school freshman, when he launched an anti-discrimination organization called Redefy, a group composed of 250 students internationally that aimed to break stereotypes using the power of social media.

He also interned for 2016 presidential candidate Martin O’Malley, volunteered with the Hilary Clinton campaign and attended and was recognized by Barack Obama at a 2015 White House dinner.

While standardized test scores do speak to his hard work, Ahmed said his unconventional essay answer was an attempt to express his passion for spurring change.

“I wanted to demonstrate that the essence of what motivates me as a learner, a member of a faith community, and a global citizen is my passion to be a part of change-making,” he said.

They should sign this kid up to deliver the keynote address at the next Davos Conference. His mastery of Master of the Universe buzzphrases is off the charts.

As a Muslim-American, Ahmed described himself as “an unapologetic progressive activist” and ally to the Black Lives Matter movement.

“Islamophobia has certainly been a priority of mine in my advocacy, but it is connected to the legacy of racism and oppression that the black community continues to face,” he said.

Ahmed said he received an outpouring of support after posting a photo of his application, which has garnered more than 3,000 retweets, but he has also been receiving personal attacks. Some have targeted his Muslim faith.

“The power of social media has also provoked significant trolling and personal attacks. It’s certainly been a hard to navigate and the vitriol is sobering,” he said.

Politicians and activists, including O’Malley and Women’s March organizer Linda Sarsour, took to Twitter to congratulate Ahmed on his acceptance to the California school.

Moving forward, the teen said that he plans to channel the recent attention he is receiving into the Black Lives Matter movement and to donate to Stanford’s Black Community Services Center.

“It is my hope that this attention encourages and motivates people to confront the inequity that we see today,” he said. “It is my hope that students, adults and people all around the world will learn about the organizations that will give them a way to be an ally and support the policy changes we need today.”

Family friend Amber Khan described the teen as “extremely passionate about confronting injustice.”

“He’s willing to use his voice and explore the uncomfortable to create the kind of change that needs to happen,” she said.

Stanford University confirmed Ahmed’s acceptance to NBC News but declined to further discuss the student’s application. Notably, 2016 marks the lowest number of people offered admission to the University in its history. …

And from MTV News two years ago:


You say you want a revolution? Well, one teen is proving that with peace, love and the Internet, you can have one.

Ziad Ahmed is a 16-year-old sophomore at Princeton Day School in Princeton, New Jersey. In the summer before his freshman year, he created Redefy — a multi-platform organization, whose mission is “to boldly defy stereotypes, embrace acceptance and tolerance, redefine our perspectives positively, and create an active community.”

My eyes glazed over halfway through Ziad’s mission statement …

Ziad recently explained in a chat with MTV News that his experience as a Bangladeshi-American, practicing Muslim and self-described “non-conformist” largely informed his decision to create Redefy.

“Many people had prejudice and misconceptions about my faith, even when I was little. The media paints a picture of Islam, and many minorities, in a way that’s detrimental to the public’s perception of them,” he told MTV News.

Ziad further described his first-hand experience with bias.

“I deal with prejudice every day and have my entire life,” he said, “from being put on the TSA watch list as a child because of my name and having to go to a separate counter to get my tickets … to being constantly told I am ‘cute for a brown kid.’

“I started Redefy to initiate a positive change in the world and to fight the ignorance which I have been victim to,” Ziad said. “And more importantly, to fight the ignorance which people will fall victim to who may not have the opportunity to properly defend themselves or understand that there are people who accept them and love them for exactly who they are.

Redefy primarily operates as a website where people can share their experiences with prejudice and post reflections about different current events stories where stereotyping and acceptance are part of a national and/or personal conversation. Redefy also shares various stories about social justice issues on its Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Tumblr accounts. Ziad hopes this interconnected network of experiences will unite people through their shared experiences.

“It’s so hard to hate someone when you understand what they’re going through,” the teen explained.

Personally, over the last 24 hourse, I’ve come to understand a lot about what Ziad Ahmed is going through …

Within communities, Redefy holds workshops for younger students to gain insight into what stereotypes are and how to combat them. Ziad described working with people as young as fifth grade as a moving experience. “They don’t necessarily know the terms stereotypes or prejudice,” he told us, “But when you hear them articulate their experiences, they know it all too much.”

In addition to Ziad’s role as founder, he works with a leadership team of four friends and 20 representatives in schools around the world advocating for the organization’s various campaigns. As far as the future of Redefy, Ziad hopes to hold larger conferences and wider-scale programs to educate young people on bias and creating accepting spaces in their communities and ultimately, the world. He hopes the organization will continue to spur teen activism too.

“What a lot of young people don’t realize is that this is our fight. Injustice is our fight,” Ziad added. “Until we all unite in our injustices, ignorance will continue to exist.” …

I bet you are just dying to read Ziad’s Huffington Post endorsement of Hillary from last October:

Me with our next President.

by Ziad Ahmed, Contributor

Teen Activist, Founder of Redefy, CVO of JÜV Consulting, TEDx Speaker, Kid Tryna Change the World

The Battle Hymns Of An American-Muslim Teen In The Era Of Trump

I won’t be at the polls, but my future is on the ballot.
10/28/2016 04:15 pm ET | Updated Oct 30, 2016

This is not an endorsement; this is a reality.

When I think about my experience as an American-Muslim teen, it is characterized by the feeling of constantly being on the defense.

I’m not somebody who is remotely athletic, but I like to think about it in terms of sports. Imagine the American-Muslim community as a sports team ― we are always on the defense. Whether it is the Trump Effect manifesting in classrooms, the increase in Islamophobic hate crimes by 89 percent, or seven-year-old Abdul Aziz who was beaten up for being Muslim, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how our community must constantly be on guard. I might not be a sports expert, but I understand enough to realize what happens when a team is only on defense. It’s not fun. It’s exhausting. It’s nearly impossible to score.

Don’t get me wrong, we are scoring. Whether it be Ibtihaj Muhammad winning a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics, Huma Abedin campaigning across this country, Rabia Chaudry making a New York Times bestseller list, or the countless Muslim role models that I have in their many forms, we are certainly achieving. Linda Sarsour, Omid Safi, and Sarah Harvard are using their voices for justice. Zaki Barzinji, Rumana Ahmed, and Arsalan Suleman are using public office to advance progress. Haroon Ullah, Laila Alawa, and Donya Nasser are my mentors, and they have showed me time after time through their brilliance what it means to be a proud American-Muslim.

But not Clock Boy Ahmed Mohamed, That little bastard’s Victimization Narrative got him in to meet Obama 18 months younger than mind did. The Other Ahmed is my archrival. It’s not enough that I triumph, but for me to be happy, Clock Boy must also fail.

We are scoring. But, it’s that much harder.

We have to wait for the moment where there is a slight opening in the field. We have to pray for a breakaway. We are not given the space to run freely, and frankly, I’m tired of running against a barrage that doesn’t value my existence enough to let me just be me.

In the era of Trump though, it isn’t so much that we are on the defense ― it is that we are being attacked so acutely that we aren’t even given the space to formulate a defense. And I, for one, will not stand for it. …

That isn’t news though. That isn’t my battle hymn, and that’s the case because I remember reading The Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mom

See … (To be pedantic, Amy Chua’s comic bestseller is Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother not Mom)

and being shocked at the calculated rigor of her life.

I could never have imagined that I would live under a similar rigor ― the difference though is that the stringency expected of Muslims is not out of choice, but rather, it has been done to us.

Trump has created a United States that asks of me to prove my American identity. The norm for each Muslim student in this country has become being accused of being a “terrorist” at some point in his/her/their life. But more problematically, it has become the assumption that one can somehow not be both authentically Muslim and American simultaneously, and that is what gets me more than anything else.

It’s the moment on the train when new passengers board, and I feel the need to turn my backpack the other way in order to hide my “#MyMuslimVote” pin courtesy of MPower Change. It’s the constant conversations where people ask leading questions to evaluate my patriotism ― “Do you even celebrate Fourth of July?” It’s the flurry of haters that conjure bizarre insults every time one of my tweets gets more than five retweets. It’s the multiple pairs of American-flag socks that I wear often as a statement that say ― I am American, as if it is somehow defiant.

Just last weekend, I was in a video/photoshoot for David Yi’s Very Good Light. It was a project featuring American-Muslims, and I was posed the question,“what does it mean to you to be American?” And, it occurred to me ― being American, to me, simply just means being me.

I do not need to qualify, evaluate, or prove myself to anyone ― ever. My American-ness exists within my freedom to exist freely as myself, and I need not any more proof than that of my identity.

My existence is now constantly measured in terms of my reaction to you, Mr. Trump, and I have a simple response; I do not exist for you or in terms of you, and I never will.

To beg of me to prove my American-ness is to negate the very fundamental core of this country. We were never meant to be a sea of sameness, but rather, we were always an amalgamation of individuals believing in the promise that we can be great, not that we have been great or somehow inevitably will be, but that we can be. We can be great when we allow each individual to exist freely, when we give our children the space to grow and to trailblaze their own future paths of brilliance.

So, I echo the notions of Khizr Khan in his brilliant Hillary Clinton advertisement that Dean Obeidallah noted has given our community the humanity we deserve. And, my question is ― Mr. Trump, will there be a space for me in your America?

From where I’m sitting, there won’t be.

I was born and raised in this country, and I’ve sought to make this country, my home, as beautiful as it can be. Throughout my high school career, I have advocated tirelessly for equality. I founded an international teen organization for social justice, redefy, when I was in eighth grade. I’ve been fortunate to have had exposure to outstanding American-Muslim role models that have made me proud to be me. I’ve even had the honor to meet leaders including the President to speak my truth, and I am still tired.

Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson.

My existence is now constantly measured in terms of my reaction to you, Mr. Trump, and I have a simple response; I do not exist for you or in terms of you, and I never will.

I don’t write this for me though. I write this for a world that expects American-Muslim children to be on the defense constantly, to be able to learn as fully when constantly under attack, and to be lesser. I write this for a world that has created a gross dichotomy between “Good Muslims” and “Bad Muslims,” and the ensuing expectation that all American-Muslims must complete a never-ending arbitrary checklist to achieve the coveted title of “Good Muslim.”

I write this because I believe in a future that is great. I write this because I imagine a world where the children I hope to one day have can be proud American-Muslims ― proud in however they identify. I write this because that tomorrow is possible, under the leadership of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

I’m seventeen, and I cannot vote, so I write this to implore every person who reads this to vote for me.

I won’t be at the polls, but my future is on the ballot ― my ability to score is on the ballot.

Okaaaaay …

Seriously, an awful lot of Social Justice Jihadism is an outlet for anger over not being at the top of the sexual attractiveness pyramid. Everybody feels the world is unfair to them in the looks department. Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie probably both feel deeply that they were unjustly shortchanged by our society’s socially constructed standards of beauty. All they want out of life is to be the fairest of them all. Is that too much to ask?

It’s that bitch, Charlize, isn’t it?

Charlize is insecure too? Good! … But … that just makes her seem more human and appealing …

Well, at least we can all be sure it’s not Kristen Stewart.


Anyway, these kids like Ziad talk about Social Justice but what they actually want is Sexual Justice, by which they would mean Sexual Supremacy. They want to be thought the fairest of them all, not just “cute for a brown kid.”

Michelle Obama gave a breathtaking speech in New Hampshire a few weeks back where she stated, “We cannot afford to be tired.” And, as always, she is right. I’m tired ― physically, emotionally, in every capacity.

I’m exhausted just contemplating this kid’s Energizer Bunny-like relentless self-promotion.

For example, I work pretty hard on this blog, but I only included a handful of the links that this tireless prodigy of networking included in his post.

But out of fear for the future of our country, I find strength.

I find strength because “Hillary knows that Muslim Americans contribute to our country every day, and believes that America is stronger together – when we lift each other up instead of tearing each other down, and when we work together to solve our biggest challenges.” Hillary Clinton has a vision for my future, and it’s one I believe in. She’s investing in my future, and whether it’s through her Muslim Outreach Director or her standing by our community, she has a plan to stand up for my tomorrow.

So, I’m asking you now. I need you to vote ― not because this is some endorsement, but because my reality is at stake.

No matter what happens, Trump can have carved on his tombstone:


Here’s a 2014 article about Little Ziad from Mercer Space:

Princeton teens work to change perceptions and prejudice
By Mercerspace – August 22, 2014178

Redefy leaders Lara Strassberg, Ziad Ahmed and Ziyad Khan during a program the group held at the Princeton Public Library on April 5, 2014.

Local teens start Redefy to alter thinking about stereotypes

By Scott Morgan

All too often, some people make assumptions about others based on what they see — on mannerisms, physical characteristics or spiritual beliefs that they use as markers to decide who or what someone really is.

Those kinds of assumptions are often not valid, said Ziad Ahmed, a 14-year-old rising sophomore at Princeton Day School who has made it his mission to try and change those perceptions.

For example, just because a young man cries at movies doesn’t mean he’s effeminate, Ahmed said.

You know, this particular topic sure seems to come up a lot in Ziad’s pronouncements …

More importantly, even if an assumption is correct and he really is effeminate, that word itself is an outdated social construct; one tiny aspect of a much more complex human being.

Maybe Ziad’s dad has been hinting that unless his son butches up his act a little, he won’t leave the family hedge fund to him?

A big part of running a hedge fund is insinuating into billionaires’ heads the worry that if they don’t risk a hundred million with you, they aren’t real men like you are.

Here’s the masculinity level you want in a hedge fund salesman:

But here’s what the Ahmed family has to work with in their scion:

I can imagine Ziad making a lot of money in life off various scams, but running a hedge fund is the most lucrative one of all. And his dad may be worried that his otherwise energetic, articulate, and ambitious son may not quite have what it takes in the masculinity department to pull off convincing billionaires that they are wimps unless they pay him 2/20 to take their money off their hands.

Ahmed said he believes he has figured out what matters and what doesn’t about people, and may have found the roots of why so many problems exist between people. In no uncertain terms, Ahmed wants to erase as much of the intolerance, stereotypes and assumptions as he can.

To that end, Ahmed founded an organization called Redefy in 2013, the mission of which is to “boldly defy stereotypes, embrace acceptance and tolerance, redefine our perspectives positively, and create an active community.”

On the surface, Redefy may look like a simple online repository of personal stories about overcoming ignorance, hate and insensitivity, but the stories collected at are not idealistic musings, they are stunningly philosophical essays about the meaning of identity and how people see themselves and others.

The difference between Redefy and many of the other anti-stereotype organizations out there is that this one is operated by and for kids. …

Most people can understand overt slurs and epithets, but Redefy’s mission isn’t about bullying, it’s about fixing the way people perceive others, Ahmed said. Particularly the perceptions they don’t even realize they have.

Consider, for example, what the word equality means, he said. Until a few decades ago, the connotation had to do with civil and legal rights that would make everyone equal in all ways to straight white men.

But are straight white males really equal to other people, Ahmed asks. For example, women can wear skirts, slacks, jeans, blouses, jewelry, or pretty much anything else and it’s seen as OK, but men don’t get the same leeway.

The point, Ahmed said, is that males often fear expressing their individuality because the perception of a guy who wears, say, something pink or who doesn’t like football or who doesn’t feel the need to prove manliness by putting himself in harm’s way is usually derogatory.

Boys, he said, are afraid of standing out among other boys, and as they age, they turn into men who feel they can’t express themselves without someone mocking them or drawing conclusions about aspects of their personalities that don’t really matter. Ultimately, it’s the boys themselves who perpetuate these issues because they have bought into some social construct of gender roles and identity.

Last year I asked:

Is #BlackLivesMatter Just a Jobs for the Gays Racket?

But will black people put up with nonblacks horning in on the benefits, such as getting into Stanford, just because they claim membership in the Coalition of Fringes? Or is that a little too much cultural appropriation?

Things aren’t much better for the girls. Ahmed said he recently spoke to a girl at his school who said she wanted a boyfriend who was at least six feet tall.

He asked her why, and she said she wanted to be able to look up into his eyes. Which sounds sweet on the surface, but the conversation led Ahmed to believe that the girl basically wanted to be looked down on. Made smaller. Made the one to be protected, not be herself. In other words, she willingly is looking to be, in some measure, less than her (eventual) boyfriend, said Ahmed.

He added that the overall point he is trying to make is that males and females buy into prescribed roles that make it hard for anyone who doesn’t fit into them to feel comfortable about who they are. And that we’re defining ourselves in all the wrong ways.

“People are so much more multi-dimensional than one thing,” he said. “It’s OK to be whoever you are.” …

Ahmed’s urge to help and break through preconceived notions is the most fundamental part of him. Being Muslim, he has had to deal with the knee-jerk sentiments Americans have about “Arabs,” although he isn’t Arab, but of Bangladeshi descent.

Ahmed’s father, Shikil, is a former investment banker and now runs his own hedge fund called Princeton Alpha, and his mother, Faria, studied electrical engineering but left her job to be a stay at home mom. She is active in the community, including volunteering as a docent at Princeton University Art Museum.

Ziad’s mother goes by the name Faria Abedin. She’s an energetic housewife who is co-president of an organization called Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom that describes itself as:

The Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom builds strong relationships between Muslim and Jewish women based on developing trust and respect and ending anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish sentiment.

Her bio reads:

Screenshot 2017-04-05 20.19.59Faria Abedin, Co-President

Faria Abedin (Executive Committee-Co-President) earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland and a Master of Science in Computer Science from Johns Hopkins University. Most recently, Faria has started a property management business. She currently serves on the board of the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, Meals on Wheels, Habitat for Humanity, Princeton Girlchoir, Stuart Parent Association, Advisory board of Muslim Advocates and as a docent at the Princeton University Art Museum.

Faria is very interested in engaging in efforts that promote an American Muslim identity for our youth, which for her includes interfaith dialogue.

Screenshot 2017-04-05 20.29.04That got me wondering whether Ziad might be related through his mother Faria Abedin to Hillary’s right hand gal Huma Abedin.

But Faria Abedin is not the name of any of Huma’s siblings, so a familial relationship (if any) wouldn’t be all that close. But Huma is said to have 54 first cousins, so I wouldn’t rule out Faria Abedin being related to Huma in some fashion. But there’s no evidence for it beyond surname, and Islamic surnames tend to be repetitious.

Or no evidence other than this picture of Ziad and Huma that Ziad tweeted.

But like I said, there aren’t a lot of unique names in Islamic cultures, so this could just be a coincidence.

… Ahmed said that being Bangladeshi, even though he was born in Princeton, people sometimes assume that he either doesn’t speak English or pelt him with perceptions that his familial homeland is a gaping slum. He visits Bangladesh every few years and assures people that the whole country isn’t mired in abject destitution.

Of course, if any familial homeland could be described as a Gaping Slum, it’s Bangladesh. But as T.S. Eliot would ask, “After such knowledge, what forgiveness?”

One person who assumed he would not speak English was a young lady he met on a July trip to Costa Rica, where he helped build a recreation center in a poor area. The girl’s surprise gave him the opportunity to convert one more young mind to his lesson that making assumptions of any kind is not a good approach.

As for the future, Ahmed said that whatever his major in college, he’ll minor in social justice. From third grade he wanted to be an architect and even went to Oxford University in eighth grade to do an architecture program. Part of his reason for going to Costa Rica was to get some practical building knowledge. But lately Ahmed is thinking other thoughts than architecture. Maybe business.

“After I get my business degree, the world’s mine,” he said. But he also knows he’ll change his mind again before he gets to college.

Whatever he becomes as an adult, he’s sure of two things — he wants a better world for his children so that they can grow up comfortable and safe in who they are, and he is going to do something great.

“I don’t want to be mediocre,” he said.

As for the rest of you peons …

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One trend we’ve been tracking at iSteve recently is Tiger Children taking over the social justice jihadi racket. You might think that just because you are poor and black that you’d get a leg up in the struggle for, say, a leftist NGO job, but … look out! The hardest-charging immigrants are coming from 10,000 miles away to outhustle you for your black privilege. These well-fed scions of Asia’s upper classes just want it all more than some poor African-American kid from the slums and they’re willing to be the most insufferable brown-nosers ever to get their hands on some juicy black privilege.


From The Root:

Muslim Teen Writes #BlackLivesMatter 100 Times for His Stanford Application Statement, Gets Accepted

Monique Judge
Yesterday 8:10pm

Out by the pool

Is your activism performative or substantive? One New Jersey teen knew exactly how to show his answer to that question when filling out his application to Stanford University. Asked “What matters to you, and why?” the teen could think of only one thing: #BlackLivesMatter.

Ziad Ahmed wrote the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter 100 times, and that one act of activism paid off. According to a Mic profile of Ahmed, he received his letter of acceptance from Stanford on Friday.

Ahmed, who is a senior at Princeton (N.J.) Day School, said in an email to Mic: “I was actually stunned when I opened the update and saw that I was admitted. I didn’t think I would get admitted to Stanford at all, but it’s quite refreshing to see that they view my unapologetic activism as an asset rather than a liability.” …

Ahmed told Mic that his “unapologetic progressivism” is a central part of his identity, and he wanted that represented in his application.

He said that his Islamic faith and his commitment to justice are intertwined, and he would not be a good Muslim if he turned a blind eye to the injustices the black community faces on a daily basis. …

Stanford will be lucky to get Ahmed, who has already built a reputation in the activist community. The 18-year-old has been invited to the White House Iftar dinner, led Martin O’Malley’s youth presidential campaign, and interned and worked for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

He’s also founded two youth organizations and delivered a TEDxTalk about the dangers and impact of stereotypes from his perspective as a Muslim teen.

In addition to Stanford, Ahmed was admitted to Princeton and Yale.

From his Huffington Post bio last year:

Ziad Ahmed

Teen Activist, Founder of Redefy, CVO of JÜV Consulting, TEDx Speaker, Kid Tryna Change the World

Ziad Ahmed is a 18-year-old senior at Princeton Day School.

Tuition $34,600.

He is an American-Muslim, Bangladeshi, and passionate social justice activist. Ziad founded a teen organization, redefy (, committed to furthering equality. Redefy has grown immensely with over 250 students internationally on the team, over 3,000 likes on facebook, and over 60,000 hits on

His work has been commended by President Barack Obama personally, PBS, CCTV, and other notable sources.

Screenshot 2017-04-05 00.29.58 Ziad has also worked for the Martin O’Malley 2016 Presidential Campaign, holding the role of Co-Head of YouthForOMalley. As he hopes to further his political engagement, he has also interned with Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman in her district office. He has also interned for the US State Department as a VSFS intern. Furthermore, he also volunteered for the Hillary Clinton 2016 Presidential Campaign, focusing on Muslim Outreach efforts.

As an aspiring entrepeneuer, Ziad has co-founded JÜV Consulting Inc. (, which is a youth consulting confirm.

Slogan: “Current, Curated, Creative: Meet Generation Z, the generation after Millennials, the seemingly unidentifiable generation of current teenagers: sought after as customers and misunderstood as people. Understanding teens is posing a growing challenge to companies, non-profits, and brands everywhere.

“JÜV Consulting provides current, curated, and creative solutions to that challenge.”

He serves as the CVO of the company,

What’s a CVO?

Oh, no, just as I feared: “Chief Visionary Officer.”

Screenshot 2017-04-04 19.52.35

and is excited to further the platform that seeks to empower teens with the opportunity to communicate directly with businesses about what exactly appeals to youth. Additionally, he was invited to give a TEDxTalk in Panama City, Panama that can be viewed here:

Overwhelmingly though, Ziad is just your average teenager trying grappling with identity, struggling to balance it all, and pursuing his passions.

Maybe, hopefully, this kid isn’t for real and he’s just a Clickhole parody?

Probably not, though. He, his parents, and (presumably) their consultants have built quite a paper trail promoting their little darling. From Princeton Magazine:

A Local Activist Fighting Racism Has Dinner With President Obama

By Anne Levin

When Ziad Ahmed founded the organization Redefy to help teenagers recognize and remove cultural stereotypes, he never imagined that just two years later he would be dining with President Obama at the White House. But on June 22, that is exactly where the 16-year-old Princeton Day School (PDS) student found himself — and not just at any table. At the annual White House Iftar, which marks the traditional breaking of the fast observed by Muslims during Ramadan, the president chose to sit with Ziad and seven other young people and engage them in conversation. As if that wasn’t enough, Mr. Obama singled Ziad out in his speech.

“They’re Muslim Americans like Ziad Ahmed,” he said. “As a Bangladeshi-American growing up in New Jersey, he saw early on that there was not enough understanding in the world. So two years ago, he founded Redefy, a website to push back against harmful stereotypes by encouraging teens like him — he’s only 16; I think our youngest guest tonight — to share their stories. Because, in Ziad’s words, ‘ignorance can be defeated through education.’ He wants to do his part to make sure that ‘Muslims can be equal members of society and still hold onto their faith and identity.’ So we’re very proud of you, Ziad.”

“The whole thing was just mind-blowing,” Ziad said this week. “It’s the most prestigious event Muslim Americans get invited to. I just thought I’d be at some table, but Obama sat with us for an hour.”

The invitation to the White House came after MTV News profiled Ziad’s work with Redefy, as well as later efforts to inspire teen forums on racial profiling. Last April, the organization launched #PrincetonAgainstRacism, a social media campaign in which 125 portraits of people were taken at PDS and the Communiversity street fair, asking them to finish the prompt “I stand against racism because …” …

The son of a hedge fund manager


I’m guessing Ziad Ahmed’s dad is Shakil Ahmed. Here’s a 2011 profile of this “secret genius” during his days at Citi before he started his own hedge fund.

and a stay-at-home mom who does property management, Ziad was first inspired to take action the summer before ninth grade. “That summer, when I was 14, I noticed that in the community, people needed a platform by which they could be educated about minority experience,” he said. “I found a lot of ignorance — not malicious hate, just innocent ignorance. I wanted to initiate positive change at school, so I decided to create Redefy.”

The organization was officially launched that September. Today the leadership team has six people and representatives as far as Brazil and Pakistan, whom Ziad met through summer programs he has attended. …

The idea is to produce “measurable change,” Ziad said. “Our mission in 2014 was to promote integration. For this year, it is to reduce racial prejudice and hate.” … “It’s hard to hate somebody you know.”

But I could imagine making an exception in Ziad’s case.

Key to Redefy’s mission is equality for everyone. “All any of us want is a world that’s safe and accepting for our children,” Ziad said. …

Ziad and his team do workshops at local schools and hold bi-monthly conversations about current events. Media coverage led to the story by MTV News, “the most exciting thing that ever happened to me,” he said. “To get that coverage on national news was mind-blowing.” …

Among Ziad’s table-mates were Samantha Elauf, who won a Supreme Court case against the Abercrombie company after she was denied employment because she wore a traditional head scarf; Munir Khalif, the child of Somali immigrants who was accepted into all eight Ivy League schools and created an organization to help children in East Africa get an education; …

“[Obama] had read about me, and he told me to keep doing the work I’m doing. I was thrilled. A lot of people wanted to speak with him about different things, and he was so articulate, kind, and witty.”

Not surprisingly, the experience was an inspiration for Ziad to expand his work with Redefy….

“I was up till 4 a.m. thinking about this,” he said. “I want all kids in Princeton to get involved. Because one of my biggest obstacles has been trying to engage kids who aren’t particularly passionate about social justice. …”

And here are excerpts from the collected poems of Ziad Ahmed:


… a sliver of white light beamed through the purgatory
I winced not thinking anything of it …

My parents told me later
that they too were once blinded
by that same intense pasty flash .

My baby brother cried for the warmth of the sun
but we gave him the warmth of white milk
to drown out his sobs.

It took me a lifetime to realize that
that light was the whitewashing of our reality
and even in that word
we claim that oppression
is somehow clean.

So now
I pull back the blinds
but I see nothing
in a world
that doesn’t see me.

Okay, I get it, you don’t like white people.

The Mythology of Reality

We dare not question the legitimacy of fact,
the thought of rebellion far too abstract.

The earth is flat.
Pluto is a planet.
Guns make us safer.
English is the official language of this great nation.
Women are more emotional.
Black people are more dangerous.
Muslims are terrorists.
The axis of evil is our greatest threat.
Homosexuality is a sin.
Native-American genocide did not occur.
Andrew Jackson is a hero.
Blame the victim.

The lies are everywhere,
so much so that I begin to question if I am aware.

From Bloomberg:

The Generation Z Consultants
They’re not just teen experts. They’re actual teens. And they’re for hire.

by Ian Frisch

November 30, 2016, 7:55 AM PST

In the summer of 2015, at a Cornell University camp for high school students, a teenager from California named Melinda Guo met a boy from New Jersey named Ziad Ahmed. They shared an interest in business, marketing, and philanthropy. “You’re probably going to be the only person I keep in touch with after this,” Ahmed told Guo.

… Ahmed was devoted to a diversity nonprofit he’d started, which had gotten him invited to the White House’s annual iftar dinner—held after sundown during Ramadan—the previous June. Guo and Ahmed hoped to work on something together, and that October, Ahmed called Guo with a pitch. He wanted to create a consulting firm focused on people like themselves: members of Generation Z. Those born after 1996 make up almost a quarter of the U.S. population and wield $44 billion in buying power.

… “One day I was like, ‘Wait, what about Jüv,’ ” Guo says. It brought to mind juvenile or rejuvenate. Plus, the umlaut looked cool.

Commenter Sid observes

This is a key reason why I find myself more and more opposed to legal immigration altogether each year.

His dad worked at Citi and has his own hedgefund… Great, model immigrant, right? His son is still stealing slots from our “top” schools and Affirmative Action rights from blacks, all the while bashing the United States, our history, and our culture.

The boy has no original thoughts, has done nothing but pad his resume, but is still showered with praise and support from Hillary, Obama, and the other loser. Oh, dear, and he’s still oppressed!

It’s also sickening how our culture actively pushes ethnic minorities to despise the US. It’s just madness. Many immigrants come relieved and grateful to be in America, but then their children find new ways to feel oppressed, largely because they’re urged to in school.

In summary, I don’t see the benefit in accepting immigrants if their children will take our spots and hate us while doing it. If you’re able to work on STEM projects, maybe, but if you’re just here to enrich yourself in fields like finance or law, then stay home and fix your own country.

You can read more hilarious Ziad-generated content in my subsequent post:

I, for one, welcome our new shamelessly black-exploiting, white-hating Tiger Child overlords

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I don’t know for sure that Palo Alto, CA, the home of the venture capital industry and next door to Stanford U., is really the highest IQ town in America. The highest test score public schools in America are in Lexington, MA, a suburb preferred by Boston area college professors. And I imagine tiny, rich municipalities like Atherton, CA might have higher average IQ residents than sprawling Palo Alto with its pretty middle class housing stock.

But still … the average home price in Palo Alto is $2.5 million, which is kind of a lot considering the average home is a nothing special ranch style house. Palo Alto houses average $1,471 per square foot, so a 3,000 square foot house would cost $4.4 million.

So if you took the average IQ of the people who live in Palo Alto and the people who work in Palo Alto, it would be awfully high.

Historically, that’s not a coincidence. As I pointed out in Taki’s Magazine in 2012, Palo Alto has been as central to the story of IQ science in America as it has been to the story of electronics in America. Just before WWI, Lee de Forrest invented an important version of the vacuum tube in Palo Alto, while Stanford professor Lewis Terman published America’s first major IQ test, the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales in 1916.

As I wrote in my history of Silicon Valley’s ongoing obsession with intelligence:

In 1921, Terman began his landmark study of gifted children with IQs of 135 and above, which continues even today to track its dwindling band of aged subjects. (Ironically, the young William Shockley was nominated for inclusion in Lewis Terman’s study, but his test score fell just short of the cutoff.) To the public’s surprise, “Terman’s Termites” showed that highly intelligent children were not particularly likely to grow up to be misfits like the much publicized prodigy/bad example William James Sidis. Indeed, the higher the IQ, the better the outcome. Terman’s study was an early landmark in Nerd Liberation, one of the 20th century’s most important social developments.

Hewlett, Packard, F. Terman

Lewis’s son Fred Terman, dean of engineering at Stanford, pretty much invented the distinctive aspects of the Silicon Valley educational-industrial complex, such as by encouraging his students Hewlett & Packard to go into business for themselves.

The other main candidate for Father of Silicon Valley, William Shockley, was a good friend of Terman’s. During WWII, they’d been in charge of mirror image R&D projects for the military in terms of electronic warfare over Germany. Stanford missed out on the federal lucre during WWII, and Terman resolved for Stanford to be ready when the Cold War cranked up. (See Steve Blank’s lecture Hidden in Plain Sight: The Secret History of Silicon Valley for the fascinating back story.)

But Palo Alto wants to stay at the forefront of the growing fad for damnatio memoriae, by rewriting its history to eliminate the names of its now politically inappropriate founding fathers.

From Palo Alto Online:

School board majority supports renaming schools

One trustee worries renaming will distract from deeper issues

by Elena Kadvany / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Mar 8, 2017, 9:15 am

A majority of the school board agreed on Tuesday that two of the school district’s middle schools should be renamed in light of their namesakes’ leadership roles in the eugenics movement.

Recognizing an opposing view in the community — that to rename these schools would be to sever generations of alumni’s ties to tradition and history — most board members said that in a public school district in 2017, however, schools cannot carry the names of men who actively advocated for policies grounded in a belief that people of certain races and disabilities were inferior to others.

All five trustees said they support a majority recommendation from a district committee, convened last year to study and make recommendations on the renaming issue, to give David Starr Jordan Middle School a new name, and a majority said they also believe Terman Middle School should be renamed.

David Starr Jordan was the first president of Stanford U. He was an anti-imperialist who wrote a famous anti-war treatise pointing out that war was dysgenic: the morally best young men would get gunned down in vast numbers, while the sleazier would be more likely to avoid such a fate.

Terman’s fate is slightly more complicated given its naming history, trustees said Tuesday. Terman was first named after Lewis Terman, a prominent Stanford University psychologist, when the school opened in 1958. When the school later closed and then reopened in 2001, it was named to honor both Lewis and his son, Frederick, an accomplished Stanford electrical engineer. There is no clear evidence, committee members said Tuesday, that Frederick played an active role in or supported the eugenics movement, as Lewis did.

Eh … As I wrote in 2012 about Fred:

His son inherited Lewis’s biases: Fred Terman’s wife of 47 years, who had been one of his father’s grad students, said he only became serious about courting her after he went to the Psych Department and looked up her IQ score.

Back to the Palo Alto Weekly:

One committee member recommended retaining the Terman name, but making clear that it honors the son, not the father. A majority of the committee recommended against this, arguing that “retaining the surname will not effectively disconnect the school from Lewis and does not effectively disavow his eugenics legacy,” committee member and parent Sara Armstrong said Tuesday.

It’s almost as if the anti-eugenics witch-hunters believe that Fred Terman, the primary founder of Silicon Valley, inherited the sins of the father, IQ scientist Lewis Terman, via ideological Corruption of Blood.

Ofelia Prado said as a Mexican mother of a Jordan seventh-grader, it was “negative and shameful and degrading” to hear that her child’s school was named after a eugenicist. (In Jordan’s writings, he called Mexicans “ignorant, superstitious, with little self control and no conception of industry or thrift” and also wrote that “to say that one race is superior to another is merely to confirm the common observation of every intelligent citizen.”)

They should rename Jordan the Angelo Mozilo School, because at least Angelo didn’t believe the wrong things. Angelo put your money where his mouth was when it came to believing that Mexican were good bets to pay back their mortgages.

… Some board members said the estimated cost of renaming — about $200,000 to cover both schools — is a secondary consideration that would not stop them from voting in support. …

The board will vote on the renaming proposals at its next meeting on Tuesday, March 14. …

Many parents urged the board Tuesday night to seize the opportunity to take a visible stand for the values it so often cites: equality, diversity and inclusion.

After all, there’s nothing that screams equality, diversity, and inclusion than Palo Alto’s NIMBY policies that keep the average house selling for $2.5 million.

By the way, Stanford is running a project to make school district average test scores comparable across the country. As I pointed out in Taki’s Magazine last spring, the worst white-black test score gap in the country was found in violently liberal Berkeley, CA. The next four least equal school districts were Chapel Hill-Carrboro, NC; Shaker Heights, OH; Asheville, NC; and Evanston, IL.

Other liberal college towns with massive white-black gaps include Madison (U. of Wisconsin), Iowa City (U. of Iowa), Charlottesville (U. of Virginia), Austin (U. of Texas), Bernie Sanders’ Burlington (U. of Vermont), Durham (Duke U.), and Ann Arbor (U. of Michigan). Palo Alto, next door to Stanford U., the sponsor of this research project, also has an intense white-black gap, but not enough blacks can afford to live in Palo Alto for it to make my sample-size cutoff for reliability.

Now that’s what I call equality, diversity and inclusion!

By the way, I’m reminded of this conversation between Russ Roberts and Yale psychologist Paul Bloom:

Screenshot 2017-03-09 03.00.02

I’ve met Pinker and Murray, and they really are noticeably smarter than I am.

Back in 2010 it occurred to me that I ought to write about a book explaining why it isn’t the end of the world that some people are smarter than other people. That would be my great contribution if I could explain why, just as it’s not a global crisis that all the medalists in the next Olympic men’s 100m dash will be black, the fact that some races tend to be smarter than others doesn’t mean we should dig up Hitler’s DNA and elect him President.

But, you’ll notice, I haven’t written that book yet.

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Screenshot 2016-09-20 00.16.12

If you go to Google and type in American inventors you get back from Google pictures of the top American inventors of all time.

The #1 American inventor of all time is Lewis Howard Latimer, who, I just learned, worked with both Edison and Bell.

Thomas Edison is in 6th place and a well-tanned Alexander Graham Bell in 9th place, with ten black inventors rounding out the top dozen.

In the second dozen, Samuel Morse is 19th, Eli Whitney 20th, and Ben Franklin 23rd. Everybody else is black.

The Wright Brothers don’t make the top 50 American inventors, according to Google.

Thanks to John Rivers’ Twitter account for this.

In contrast, if I Google Scottish inventors, I get:

Screenshot 2016-09-20 00.32.09

If I type in French inventors, I get:

Screenshot 2016-09-20 00.35.24

Presumably, Google must get a lot of requests for “African American inventors” and assumes that’s what you really meant when you ask for “American inventors.” After all, what kind of sick Nazi do you have to be to be interested in your fellow Americans irrespective of race? That’s racist!

This phenomenon appears to be tied into propagandizing schoolchildren in K-12. For example, if I Google American psychologists, a subject only of interest to college and above, I get a pretty reasonable list with William James at #1:

Screenshot 2016-09-20 00.47.05

On the other hand, American mathematicians, which is more of a K-12 school report topic than psychologists, is pretty silly:

Screenshot 2016-09-20 00.49.36

(On the other hand, #10 David Blackwell, a Berkeley statistician, is fairly legit.)

One interesting thing is that Hispanics and Asians are completely shut out of this phenomenon.

Microsoft’s Bing is similar but slightly less absurd with Edison edging out George Washington Carver for the top spot, and Latimer coming behind Franklin and Bell, with Tesla making the top dozen.

Screenshot 2016-09-20 01.16.10

On Bing, Bill Gates is #22, behind Steve Jobs at #19 (Woz doesn’t make the top 50). Hedy Lamarr is #28. Bing’s list is more fun than Google’s, which is mostly just depressing.

Similarly, here’s Google’s American scientists:

Screenshot 2016-09-20 01.25.55

And here’s Bing’s American scientists:

Screenshot 2016-09-20 01.27.16

So, Bing’s list is once again less dismal. I don’t mind a sprinkling of Diversity Tokens, but when there’s no room for Oppenheimer or Feynman on Google’s Top Fifty (#8 and #17, respectively, on Bing’s list) because of all the black obscurities, well, that’s just stupid and boring.

If you type black inventors into Google, you get:

Screenshot 2016-09-20 08.42.44

If you type white inventors into Google, you get:

Screenshot 2016-09-20 08.44.48

If you type inventors into Google, you don’t get any pictures, you just get:

Screenshot 2016-09-20 08.46.48

On the other hand, Google’s Mexican outlet, gives you a much more plausible list of “inventor americano:”

Screenshot 2016-09-20 05.24.07

The Mexican Top 50 American inventors includes 46 white men, two blacks, and two white women.

The 18th Century inventor John Fitch who is #12 on the Mexican list is an ancestor of 20th Century inventor John Fitch, inventor of those garbage cans filled with increasing amounts of sand that keep you from crashing into bridge abutments, who I’ve written about before. He was motivated to come up with his innovation when competing in the 1955 24 Hours at Le Mans auto race when his partner’s Mercedes sports car flew off the track at 150 mph and into the stands killing 83 spectators.

Fitch tested his invention by repeatedly crashing into his trash cans at speeds up to 70 mph.

But perhaps an even more awesome safety inventor than Fitch was Col. Dr. John Paul Stapp, the rocket sled guy who made himself into a human crash test dummy to discover how pilots could survive partial crashes and bailing out.

He decelerated from 632 mph to 0 mph in about a second, proving to aircraft designers that humans, if properly secured, could withstand much rougher landing than had been assumed.

After he retired from the military, Colonel Stapp campaigned to get American motorists to wear seatbelts.

Seatbelts were considered unmanly. My father, for example, didn’t start wearing a seatbelt until his 80s. There was a widespread belief that your best bet was to be “thrown clear” of the crash. (Indeed, Fitch’s partner was thrown clear at Le Mans, but, perhaps unsurprisingly, didn’t survive the landing.)

Colonel Doctor Stapp, however, who had volunteered for his own craziest tests, couldn’t be accused of unmanliness, so his campaign was influential.

It took human beings a long time to figure out it was a good idea to invent safety devices. Perhaps school children in the future will be taught the extraordinary stories of Fitch and Stapp.

But probably not, because who has room for remembering heroes like Fitch and Stapp who have saved maybe 100,000+ lives between them by risking their own lives to survive high speed crashes? Who has time, when there there is diversity to celebrate?

• Category: Ideology • Tags: American Media, Google, Political Correctness 
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Honorary Nonwhite

Back in February, some readers of my Taki’s Magazine column “Alexander Hamilton, Honorary Nonwhite” were baffled by why I was devoting so much attention to a Broadway musical about a rapping version of the apostle of Wall Street and limits on democracy. But time is validating my concern.

From The Atlantic, a deeply self-serious article by a white liberal law professor about how Hamilton the Broadway musical can be exploited to change the Supreme Court forever:

Will Lin-Manuel Miranda Transform the Supreme Court?

With the success of the Broadway hit Hamilton, Americans have been given a new version of the Founding Fathers—one that could open the door to a more liberal interpretation of constitutional originalism.


It is hard to know which was less foreseeable: that a reality-TV star with no government experience would be the Republican nominee for president or that the smash hit of Broadway would be a rap opera about the man behind the Federalist Papers. But there is a reason why the two phenomena arise at the same time, and there is a reason why that time coincides with the end of America’s first nonwhite presidency. The birther-in-chief’s campaign for high office and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton: An American Musical speak to the same deep issues about American identity at a time when the nation’s demography increasingly resembles that of the larger world. They just approach the subject from different perspectives. One seeks to protect an America that is still mostly white and Christian against Mexicans, Muslims, and other outsiders deemed dangerous. The other is so confident in the multiracial future that it rewrites the American past in its image. …

By the way, the cheapest pair of tickets for Hamilton available via TicketMaster are priced at $2,793.96.

Update: Stubhub as pairs of tickets starting at $1,640.50 (plus fees).

As I wrote in February:

A simple model that helps make much about the modern world easier to comprehend is that of a high-low tag team against the middle. As part of a time-tested strategy of divide and rule, the rich tend to push for policies and attitudes that increase identity-politics divisiveness—more immigration, more Black Lives Matter rioting, more transgender agitation, and so forth—which makes it harder for the nonrich to team up politically to promote their mutual economic interests.

You could call it: “Diverse and Conquer.”

A striking example of how identity politics turn in practice into the Zillionaire Liberation Front has emerged in the war over which Dead White Male to kick off the currency to make room for a woman: the $10 bill’s Alexander Hamilton or the $20’s Andrew Jackson. Bizarrely, the reactionary genius Hamilton, apostle of rule by the rich, is rapidly morphing in the conventional wisdom’s imagination into an Honorary Nonwhite.

As Hillary Clinton said shortly after my “Alexander Hamilton, Honorary Nonwhite” column:

“If we broke up the big banks tomorrow,” Mrs. Clinton asked the audience of black, white and Hispanic union members, “would that end racism? Would that end sexism? Would that end discrimination against the L.G.B.T. community?,” she said, using an abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. “Would that make people feel more welcoming to immigrants overnight?”

At each question, the crowd called back with a resounding no.

Back to The Atlantic:

The result of this contest will shape the future of constitutional law. If Donald Trump is elected, the Republican Party may extend its hold on the Supreme Court into the indefinite future. If he loses, the Court will have a majority of Democratic appointees for the first time since 1970. But that prospect, momentous enough on its own, understates the transformation that may be coming. To see the larger possibility, one must imagine not just a majority-Democratic Supreme Court but a majority-Democratic Supreme Court in a world after Miranda’s Hamilton.

What Does It Mean to Be a Republican?

The writing of the Constitution is part of America’s origin story. Not coincidentally, judges as well as other Americans commonly read the Constitution through their assumptions about the Founding generation. … What shapes constitutional law, however, is not the actual original meaning of the Constitution. It is the original meaning of the Constitution as imagined by judges and other officials at any given time. And how judges imagine the original meaning of the Constitution depends on their intuitions—half historical, half mythical—about the Founding narrative. If you can change the myth, you can change the Constitution.

Hamilton is changing the myth. For decades, originalism in constitutional law has had a generally conservative valence. Now, week by week, the thousands of patrons who pack the Richard Rodgers Theater and the hundreds of thousands more who listen obsessively to Hamilton’s cast album or download the viral videos are absorbing a new vision of the American Founding. And so the balance shifts. With the Supreme Court on the brink of moving leftward and Hamilton electrifying audiences from the Grammys to the White House, the lawyering class’s intuitions about the Founding are poised to change. The blockbuster narrative of this election year retells the nation’s origin story as the tale of a heroic immigrant with passionately progressive politics on issues of race and on issues of federal power. The audience is on its feet. So to all those Americans who expect original meanings in constitutional law to support mostly conservative outcomes, here is your Miranda warning: Within the foreseeable future, a jurisprudence of original meanings may fuel the most progressive constitutional decision making since the days of Chief Justice Earl Warren. Just you wait.

Just you wait, indeed.

From the late 1930s until the early 1970s, the Supreme Court was an agent of progressive social change. The justices issued landmark decisions on racial desegregation, voting rights, free speech, criminal procedure, and sex equality. The Court also authorized active federal management of the national economy, ambitious social-welfare programs like Medicare and old-age pensions, and a host of other new departures that would earlier have been thought to lie beyond the federal government’s jurisdiction. Millions of Americans saw the Court as a heroic vanguard, a symbol of American ideals on the march.

By the way, remember how the Times Square theater district flourished in the 1970s from the Miranda ruling and other liberal Warren Court decisions? Remember how 42nd Street was the happiest place on earth after liberalism got done with it? Here’s Times Square ten years after the Warren Court’s Miranda v. Arizona decision:

And here’s what Times Square looks like recently after 20 years of law-and-order mayors of New York City:

Somehow, I suspect the upcoming Hamiltonized Supreme Court will find some Constitutional penumbra exception to keep Times Square looking like Lin-Manuel Miranda’s in 2016 rather than Travis Bickle’s in 1976. After all, it would be a betrayal of Alexander Hamilton’s legacy for rich New Yorkers to be inconvenienced. But for you flyover folks in Ferguson and Dubuque, just you wait …

… But the complete explanation for the difference in liberal and conservative attitudes toward originalism is broader, and one big part of that broader framework has to do with race. The Founders were a cohort of wealthy white men, many of them slave owners. …

But this liberal take on original meanings was never able to tap into the full power of old-time originalism, because the greatest cache in American constitutional culture lies, for all its faults, in the generation of 1787. …

One cannot know in advance how deeply a Broadway musical will change American intuitions about historical narrative. But it is hard to overstate the preliminary indications. Hamilton is a Pulitzer-Prize winning production whose cast album has gone platinum faster than any album in the history of Broadway. The music is blow-the-roof-off amazing, with both the musical-theater crowd and the leading lights of hip-hop exclaiming hosannas. The audience is not just listening; it is rapt. In cooperation with the Rockefeller Foundation, Hamilton’s production company has staged special performances for tens of thousands of students in New York City’s public schools. Soon, a collection of touring companies will bring the show to audiences across the country. If art can change ideas—and of course it can—then it does look like a new vision of the Founding is ready to rise up.

As a weapon of social change, Hamilton is trained directly on the intuitions that previously made the Founding the differential property of conservatives. In part, this is a matter of the substantive political values that Miranda’s protagonist represents, both on the structural issue of federal power and on currently salient social issues like immigration. But Hamilton’s larger enterprise is exploding the politics of racial memory that have, in recent decades, made liberals queasy about embracing the Founding too closely. On that score, Hamilton attempts nothing less than regime change. Not in the sense of replacing the president with a different president, but in altering the way that Americans—of all races—think about the identity of the republic.

The show takes barely 30 seconds to establish its perspective on this issue. In the opening sequence, half a dozen nonwhite rappers take turns contributing verses to an introduction of the title character. … Hamilton does something new. The same African-American actor who announces, in the play’s first minute, that this story will neither hide slavery nor deny its brutality also refers immediately to the white-man title character as a “brother.” Hamilton, announces the nonwhite cast communicating in a paradigmatically nonwhite genre, was one of us. Not because of some bizarre claim that the first treasury secretary was actually not a white man. But because we see him as ours. (The next rapper calls Hamilton “our man.”) …

The audience sees a company of modern Americans—mostly African-American, and entirely nonwhite—rapping out an origin myth for the $10 Founding Father, who is their brother, even as they invoke the horror of slavery.

My impression is that genuine rappers, as opposed to Broadway chorus boys, are more into the $100 Founding Father, because he’s on the Benjamins.

… It aims to give nonwhite Americans today access to the cultural power of the Founding by showing that black people can own the characters of men who owned black people—and that they can do so without either muting their own blackness or overlooking the evils of the past. … It aims to let nonwhites feel ownership of the Founding, not by offering nonwhite historical figures with whom to identify but by creating conditions in which a black American today, as a black American today, can identify with Washington, or Hamilton, or even perhaps with Jefferson, villain though he be.

When it comes to the less-famous characters, the play may even succeed in the remarkable feat of getting the audience to imagine 18th-century white men as black men, perhaps without realizing that they are doing so. …

And who is to say whether what the show does for less-famous characters today is a harbinger of what it, or its successors, will do for Washington and Jefferson in the future? The leading Founders are already figures of myth. That’s precisely what makes them potent in the rhetoric of law and politics. How people imagine mythical historical figures is at least as much a function of their own mental maps as it is a function of dispassionate history. As long as the mental maps of Americans feature deep social cleavages on the basis of race, the historical fact that the Founders were white will figure in citizens’ images of Washington and Jefferson. But in a future America, one that was thoroughly multiracial and egalitarian, a nonwhite image of Washington might be no more jarring than dark-skinned images of Jesus have been among nonwhite Christian populations around the world. At that future juncture, the argument that Hamilton misrepresents the 18th century would be like the argument that originalism is a bad way to make most constitutional decisions. As a matter of intellectual analysis, it’s a pretty good point. But it’s a complex and inconvenient point, and it is unlikely to withstand the power of a good story. Hamilton tells a pretty good story, with thumping good music to help it along. By the time you leave the theater, maybe even Washington is a little bit brown. Or at least, maybe one of the images of Washington residing in your brain is a little bit that way.

… The question is then not whether Hamilton does justice to the past by depicting it accurately but whether Hamilton builds justice in the present by reallocating the ownership of the republic.

To put the point more cogently: “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.”

Broad public absorption of Hamilton’s vision would not replace a false picture of the past with a true picture. It would replace one false picture with a different false picture. In scholarship, that substitution would not be an appropriate aspiration. But in the politics of national identity, the practical alternative to the reigning myth is never a careful historical understanding. It is always some other myth.

The success of Hamilton’s project would mark an inflection point in the politics of American memory. … But if Miranda’s frame replaces Marshall’s, or even just competes with it, then white liberals can be less ambivalent. Surely white liberals can lay as much claim to the Founders as their nonwhite allies do. … And when liberals appropriate the Founding, they will emphasize both consciously and subconsciously those sources that can be made to do work for liberal causes in modern constitutional law. Some of those causes will coincide with the politics of Hamilton, or those of Hamilton, or both. Others may not. But we can be confident that the meanings that liberals give to the Founding, once they are inclined to play the game of originalism, will be liberal-leaning meanings. What matters is who tells the story.

As Lenin liked to say, the central questions in politics are always “Who? Whom?”

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Indoor waterfall at U. of Missouri rec center

A distant relative is in the swimming pool business and raves about the four pools at the state-of-the-art U. of Missouri recreation center. From the university’s website, here’s a description of one of the four pools, the Tiger Grotto:

No matter what time of year, it’s always Spring Break in the Tiger Grotto. The Grotto will transform your dullest day into a vacation, with our resort quality facilities and atmosphere that will unwind you, even with the most stressful of schedules.

The Grotto features a zero-depth pool entry with a high-powered vortex, lazy river and waterfall.

But, it’s still an apparent hellhole for black students. From the NYT:

At University of Missouri, Black Students See a Campus Riven by Race
By JOHN ELIGON NOV. 11, 2015

… Some black students say they are greeted with piercing stares when they walk by white-dominated fraternity and sorority houses. Others mention feeling awkward when other students turn to them in class when discussion turns to black issues. And then there are the tenser moments when white students talk disparagingly about the neighborhoods where many black students come from, whether the South Side of Chicago or the North Side of St. Louis.

Also from the NYT:

Racial Discrimination Protests Ignite at Colleges Across the U.S.

The passion that ousted the heads of the University of Missouri after protests over racial discrimination on campus is spreading to other colleges across the country, turning traditional fall semesters into a period of intense focus on racial misunderstanding and whether activism stifles free speech. …

At Smith, …

“Systematic oppression affects us all,” said Tyahra Angus, a senior, speaking through a megaphone to the group, a mix of minority and white students.

The environs were a far cry from the University of Missouri. Smith’s undergraduate student body is all women and the institution itself is situated in a progressive college town. It is not in the midst of major upheaval.

But the students who gathered on Wednesday spoke of “microaggressions” — tone-deaf slights directed toward minority students — and continuing difficulties of being a student of color on a contemporary college campus, and encouraged their peers to raise awareness of them.

“It’s the microaggressions in classrooms,” Raven Fowlkes-Witten, a junior who organized Wednesday’s demonstration, said in an interview. “It’s students not feeling represented. It’s few faculty members of color,”

As Ms. Fowlkes-Witten addressed the group, she stood under an umbrella held by Donna Lisker, the dean of the college.

“I don’t think I ever want to fall into a false sense of security that things can’t happen here,” Ms. Lisker said in an interview after the demonstration, adding, “Being continually reflective about what you’re doing, and listening — that’s why I went today.”

College students are not rebels these days. They’re doing what the Establishment wants them to do.

I wrote about the “microaggression” thing at Smith College and the like 2.5 years ago in Taki’s Magazine. I think I did a good job in “The Cult of Microaggressions,” but I was worried at the time that I was engaged in overkill: obviously, the word “microaggression” was so inherently comic that the concept couldn’t spread beyond the lesbian fringe.

But as I so often am, I was wrong about what people would think sounds cool.

What’s going on at Mizzou reminds me of my 11-year-old article in The American Conservative entitled “Hate Hoax” about the 2004 hysteria over a fraudulent “hate crime” at Claremont McKenna College:

… The most exciting moment during my exploration came when a Frisbee golf foursome politely waited for me to walk by before playing through.

Perhaps all this genteel serenity explains the psychodramas that a sizable fraction of the staff and students seem compelled to concoct for themselves. Just the month before, a long-festering mass hysteria over white racist student-thugs supposedly infesting the campus had culminated in a huge night rally in which thousands of blackshirted students had chanted their hatred of “hate,” while the administration stood by silently, despite knowing that there had been no hate crime, just a leftist professor’s hoax. …

[President] Gann and the conservative professors fought bitter battles over affirmative action hiring. Gann’s frustration with her rightist holdovers seemed to feed into the growing paranoia at some of the other Claremont colleges, where the staffs nurture an obsession among its “diverse” students (i.e., everybody except non-Hispanic heterosexual gentile white males) to navel-gaze over whether or not they feel “comfortable with the climate.”

It was 72 degrees with a gentle breeze blowing, so the climate seemed okay to me, but a flier on Pitzer bulletin boards made the local idée fixe a little clearer: “Diversity and Campus Climate: You are invited to participate in a discussion about campus climate.” Another advertised: “Queer Dreams and Nightmares: What is it like to be a student at the Claremont Colleges? Student panel discussion addressing the current climate at the 5-Cs, both academically and socially.” This was part of a conference entitled, with that profusion of punctuation that is the secret fraternity handshake of post-modern academics, “[Re]Defining a Queer Space at the Claremont Colleges.”

The university’s main concern appears to be to make students feel “comfortable,” a word that reappears constantly in Claremont publications despite the obvious hopelessness of the project. The only way to make 19-year-olds feel comfortable is to wait 30 years while they sag into their well-padded maturities. Right now, they are teenagers and their surging hormones have far more important emotions for them to feel than comfort. Adults, however, who make careers out of encouraging kids to mold permanently self-pitying identities around their transient social discomforts have much to answer for.

A series of semi-nonexistent “racial incidents,” such as liberal Scripps students advertising a racial sensitivity seminar with posters featuring the N-word, were parlayed by activists into a mood of dread.

Kerri F. Dunn, a 39-year-old academic prole, a visiting professor of social psychology at CMC whose contract was up in June, repeatedly harangued her students about the racists and sexists lurking in the shadows. On March 9th, she gave a fiery speech at a campus event on “Hate Speech Versus Free Speech.” She then walked to her 1992 Honda Civic and returned some time later, claiming she had found it spray-painted with anti-black, anti-female, and anti-Semitic slurs. The Irish-American Dunn pointed the finger at her own students, arguing that only they had heard she was considering converting to Judaism: “How else would they believe I was Jewish unless they were in my class?”

Dunn’s allegation triggered a frenzy of fear and loathing. Although faked hate crimes have become routine in the years since the Tawana Brawley hoax, the college presidents immediately canceled the next day’s classes (costing parents paying the full $37,000 per year list price for 150 days of education about $250 each, or close to two million dollars in total at list price).

At the mass rally the next night, Dunn announced, to rapturous applause: “This was a well planned out act of terrorism. And I don’t believe for one second it was one person. I think that there’s a group here, a small group, but I do believe that there is a group here that perpetuates this in all different kinds of ways.” Dunn’s image of a secret goon squad of marauding junior Straussians was as memorable as it was preposterous, but the administration had already been apprised of the unsurprising truth.

Earlier that day, two eyewitnesses had told the Dean of Students that Professor Dunn had slashed her own tires.

Will we ever learn?

• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Blacks, Political Correctness 
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After the 2012 election we heard a lot about how the Obama Coalition was a demographic juggernaut. To take a random example, from New York magazine on May 10, 2013:

How Jason Richwine Passed Immigration Reform
By Jonathan Chait

The fallout from the Heritage Foundation’s immigration reform study has developed into a watershed moment for the prospects of passing a bill. The release of the study prompted a fierce backlash from proponents of reform, which compounded when Dylan Matthews reported that Jason Richwine, a co-author of the study, wrote a dissertation arguing, “No one knows whether Hispanics will ever reach IQ parity with whites, but the prediction that new Hispanic immigrants will have low-IQ children and grandchildren is difficult to argue against.”

Heritage has found itself in a public relations crisis, and announced Richwine was leaving the conservative think-tank. …

If the Gang of Eight bill fails, Richwine’s comments will continue to linger and recirculate in the Latino-American media until immigration reform finally passes. Republicans will never be able to convince Latinos they killed the bill for any reason other than racial animus. The need to put this behind them is growing desperate.

Of course, Richwine should be fired for having done his Harvard doctoral dissertation on a technical subject of massive importance to the long term future of the country. Nobody should be allowed to express or even have an informed opinion on the topic. Knowledge is bad.

But, as I’ve been pointing out for a long time, the Obama Coalition is mostly held together by its hatred for cisgendered straight white males like, oh, to pick another random example, Jonathan Chait.

Ever since the 2014 election, the progressive crack-up has been proceeding. Winning covers up a lot of fractures, but losing pulls the masking tape off.

So, in New York magazine this week, Jonathan Chait is firing back at all the Social Media Justice Warriors who denounce him and his friends, such as Hanna Rosin (basically, the Stephen Glass Support Network at The New Republic in the 1990s), for occasionally expressing a thought besides “CSWMs Are Evil:”

Trigger warnings aren’t much help in actually overcoming trauma — an analysis by the Institute of Medicine has found that the best approach is controlled exposure to it, and experts say avoidance can reinforce suffering. Indeed, one professor at a prestigious university told me that, just in the last few years, she has noticed a dramatic upsurge in her students’ sensitivity toward even the mildest social or ideological slights; she and her fellow faculty members are terrified of facing accusations of triggering trauma — or, more consequentially, violating her school’s new sexual-harassment policy — merely by carrying out the traditional academic work of intellectual exploration. “This is an environment of fear, believe it or not,” she told me by way of explaining her request for anonymity. It reminds her of the previous outbreak of political correctness — “Every other day I say to my friends, ‘How did we get back to 1991?’ ”

A behind-the-scenes angle to this involves a split among the Former Friends of Stephen Glass between Sabrina Rubin Erdely versus Chait and Rosin versus over the UVA Hoax.

But it would be a mistake to categorize today’s p.c. culture as only an academic phenomenon. Political correctness is a style of politics in which the more radical members of the left attempt to regulate political discourse by defining opposing views as bigoted and illegitimate. Two decades ago, the only communities where the left could exert such hegemonic control lay within academia, which gave it an influence on intellectual life far out of proportion to its numeric size. Today’s political correctness flourishes most consequentially on social media, where it enjoys a frisson of cool and vast new cultural reach. And since social media is also now the milieu that hosts most political debate, the new p.c. has attained an influence over mainstream journalism and commentary beyond that of the old.

It also makes money. Every media company knows that stories about race and gender bias draw huge audiences, making identity politics a reliable profit center in a media industry beset by insecurity. A year ago, for instance, a photographer compiled images of Fordham students displaying signs recounting “an instance of racial microaggression they have faced.” The stories ranged from uncomfortable (“No, where are you really from?”) to relatively innocuous (“ ‘Can you read this?’ He showed me a Japanese character on his phone”). BuzzFeed published part of her project, and it has since received more than 2 million views. This is not an anomaly.

It’s a free country, and if BuzzFeed can hustle a buck off putting dumb stuff out there, so what?

I care a lot more about when the SMJWs use their power and money to silence dissenters by getting scientists like Jason Richwine and James D. Watson fired.

Yet, I can’t find much evidence of Chait, who has had plenty of platforms in the press since he co-authored a story with Stephen Glass a couple of decades ago at The New Republic, protesting either Richwine or Watson losing their jobs.

In a short period of time, the p.c. movement has assumed a towering presence in the psychic space of politically active people in general and the left in particular. “All over social media, there dwell armies of unpaid but widely read commentators, ready to launch hashtag campaigns and circulate petitions in response to the slightest of identity-politics missteps,” Rebecca Traister wrote recently in The New Republic.

Two and a half years ago, Hanna Rosin, a liberal journalist and longtime friend, wrote a book called The End of Men, which argued that a confluence of social and economic changes left women in a better position going forward than men, who were struggling to adapt to a new postindustrial order. Rosin, a self-identified feminist, has found herself unexpectedly assailed by feminist critics, who found her message of long-term female empowerment complacent and insufficiently concerned with the continuing reality of sexism. One Twitter hashtag, “#RIPpatriarchy,” became a label for critics to lampoon her thesis. Every new continuing demonstration of gender discrimination — a survey showing Americans still prefer male bosses; a person noticing a man on the subway occupying a seat and a half — would be tweeted out along with a mocking #RIPpatriarchy.

Her response since then has been to avoid committing a provocation, especially on Twitter. “If you tweet something straight­forwardly feminist, you immediately get a wave of love and favorites, but if you tweet something in a cranky feminist mode then the opposite happens,” she told me. “The price is too high; you feel like there might be banishment waiting for you.” Social media, where swarms of jeering critics can materialize in an instant, paradoxically creates this feeling of isolation. “You do immediately get the sense that it’s one against millions, even though it’s not.” Subjects of these massed attacks often describe an impulse to withdraw. …

But political correctness is not a rigorous commitment to social equality so much as a system of left-wing ideological repression. Not only is it not a form of liberalism; it is antithetical to liberalism. Indeed, its most frequent victims turn out to be liberals themselves. …

In a Coalition of the Fringes, there’s a lot of effort put in to be Fringier than Thou.

I am white and male, a fact that is certainly worth bearing in mind. … If you consider this background and demographic information the very essence of my point of view, then there’s not much point in reading any further. But this pointlessness is exactly the point: Political correctness makes debate irrelevant and frequently impossible.

Under p.c. culture, the same idea can be expressed identically by two people but received differently depending on the race and sex of the individuals doing the expressing.

I’m going to jump in here and point out that I don’t think that’s necessarily unreasonable. For example, consider the legal concept of Admission Against Interest. When somebody once said:

“There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery. Then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.”

It’s more interesting because it was Jesse Jackson who said it.

I’m going to go in the opposite direction from Chait. He seems to be implying that it should be considered in bad taste to point out how demographics bias viewpoints. Thus, it shouldn’t be respectable to scoff at what Chait says because he’s a man or at what Rosin says because she’s white.

I’m sympathetic, but my view is that we should go 180 degrees the opposite from Chait’s notion. Instead of everybody being sheltered from criticism over who they are, as Chait implies, we’d be better off if everybody was free game over everything. Anybody would be okay to criticize anybody, no matter how sacralized the designated victim group the offended party belongs to.

My vision of what American public discourse ought to be would basically be 300,000,000 Bill Burrs going at each other.

Obviously, I’m biased. I don’t have a lot of Victimization Pokemon Points that I would be sacrificing.

I’m also professionally biased in that I’m a critic, and I think criticism is, on the whole, good for people.

White guys get criticized a lot. And, guess what? We behave pretty well. Having your group criticized for your stereotypical bad behavior tends to make you want to avoid that kind of behavior.

In contrast, members of lots of other groups are largely off-limits for being criticized for behaving in stereotypical fashions. For example, everybody knows that poor young black men are more likely on average to, say, loot convenience stores and attack policemen. But you aren’t supposed to admit you know that. That’s a stereotype!

So when Michael Brown looted a convenience store and attacked a policeman, and the policeman didn’t get indicted, lots of poor young black men in Ferguson responded by … you guessed it: looting convenience stores. And then a poor young black man in Brooklyn attacked a couple of policemen and shot them dead.

Funny how that works.

Likewise, everybody knows that women tend to take things personally, get worked up, and then throw principled logic out the window. So, you aren’t supposed to mention it these days because it’s a stereotype (because it’s true).

Not surprisingly, therefore, lots of women these days go online, take things personally, get worked up, and throw principled logic out the window. What, is somebody going to dare laugh at them and point out they are behaving in a stereotypically female fashion? So, public discourse gets clogged up with women throwing hissy fits.

And Muslims are stereotypically chip-on-the-shoulder hot-heads. Fifty years ago in France, they used to feel a little embarrassed about behaving like Anthony Quinn’s character in Lawrence of Arabia because that so obviously confirmed the stereotype. But now their grandsons have been told endlessly that anybody who notices stereotypes is evil, so some of them get offended and go murder caricature cartoonists.

None of this is some weird accident. It’s the basic logic of human behavior: the more a group is above criticism, the worse they behave.

• Category: Ideology, Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Political Correctness, Racism 
Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

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

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