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?

3 comments:

  1. This post seems to be filled with racial bias and fallacies.
    "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."
    This statement is simply racism. There is no objective evidence this is true.
    You see to think that teaching white students about African-American history or literature alienates them (even though such teaching make a relatively small part of the curriculum). Do you think it alienates black student when they learn about white history? Do you believe African and African-American literature , history and psychology are not "real susbjects" while European and European-American literature , history and psychology are "real subjects"?

    The piece about Asians is a red herring. Different groups experience different forms of discrimination and stereotypes and llive in different places.
    "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)."
    While you do not consider hispanic a race, informal polls indicate that most people do consider it a race.

    You seem to do a lot of finger-pointing at the black community. Do you think that the gapin educational achievement may have anything to do with larger problems? For example , stereotype threat is a document psychological effect that can depress the scores of stereotyped groups.
    What about the fact that the average white student in the U.S. attends school with half as many poor kids as the average black or Latino student, which in turn has a direct effect on performance, since attending a low-poverty school generally means having more resources available for direct instruction (since public school funding comes from taxes).. White students are twice as likely as their African American or Latino counterparts to be taught by the most highly qualified teachers, and half as likely to have the least qualified instructors in class (1)
    (1) Linda Darling-Hammond, 1998. “Unequal Opportunity: Race and Education,” Brookings Review. Spring: 31.

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    Replies
    1. Sure, keep blaming oppressive White's for innate Black cognitive inferiorities. Isn't it amazing how great Black academic achievement is in all Black countries such as Haiti?

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  2. I am not quite sure what to think of this post...

    Before I defected from Neoconservatism years ago, I recall being stunned by what Larry Elder had to say on the matter.

    Needless to say, I also have yet to read, "The Bell Curve" which presumably touches similar material to what you bring up here so I guess I am only getting half the picture as is.

    Maybe Charles Murray was right, maybe he was wrong. But if the uproar stems from only two chapters of the book, then I think Bell Curve might be a little overrated.

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