Monday, March 7, 2011

Sentencing Disparities in America

An Elderly Man Who Conscientiously Objects to Paying U.S. Income Taxes vs. A Thug Who Is So Bereft of Purpose and Morality that He Randomly Beats and Kills a Good Samaritan on a Seattle City Street -- Who Deserves to Spend More Time Behind Bars?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Racial Divergences in Educational Achievement

To Mr. Burge:

I wonder if by “racism” you mean the Afrocentrism that is inculcated into black students by schools, textbooks, and popular culture. It shouldn’t be surprising that blacks who are taught to play the role of victim and to have an entitlement mentality tend to have bad attitudes about working hard and taking personal responsibility.

Since there is immense social pressure on blacks to be ethnocentric, those blacks who focus on math, science, literature or other “white” subjects are often marginalized. Ending Black History Month, abolishing African-American Studies programs, and encouraging blacks to study and master real subjects just as whites are would help end the racism that you believe is hampering black academic achievement, wouldn’t it?

You didn’t include any data about Asians. Does racism have anything to do with the fact that Oriental minority students tend to score even higher than whites? I doubt it. The notion of racism holding back Hispanic students is even less likely, since Hispanic isn’t even a race per se (a Hispanic can be partly, mostly, or completely white, brown, or black).

As for poverty, I’d want to see how blacks from poor families compare with blacks from middle-upper income families, how poor blacks compare with poor whites, etc. before concluding as you do that socioeconomic status is the primary determinant of academic performance. Presumably, you have examined such comparisons that isolate poverty as a factor but just didn’t have room to present your findings in your article.

I’m most curious as to how you were able to rule out innate ability as even being one among the many factors that explain why test scores diverge consistently along the same racial lines. Have you found proof that average mental capacity is 100% identical physiologically among all races of the world? Such that not even a fraction of the percentage of black underperformance, for example, could possibly be a natural outcome that is not anyone’s fault and that cannot be changed through cultural, social, philosophical, or political means?