Discussion: Systemic Racism and Education

This is a continued discussion in a multi-part series on systemic racism. My liberal friend contends it is alive and well in America, while I say it ended fifty years ago. We defined terms in our first discussion. I want to continue on this notion of “unconscious bias” which I believe is a made up construct and then address system racism in education.

Original post: https://seek-the-truth.com/2021/06/10/discussion-systemic-racism-unconscious-bias-and-affirmative-action/

Unconscious Bias:

After the last post, I received this comment and video link from another who joined the debate (on your side): “I would like to share a short video that looks at children’s games and unconscious bias. I believe it says a lot about these areas.”

In the video, most kids portrayed firefighters, pilots, and surgeons as males and then (surprise, surprise) the class was introduced to three females who filled these roles in real life. I am told “this says a lot”, but none of this surprising or alarming to me.

There are more men in these three fields than there are women. Female doctors are drawn more to certain specialties and males to others, but the imbalance is very large among surgeons. The imbalance is greater among the other two professions with only 7% of firefighters and 6% of pilots being women.

: https://www.ama-assn.org/residents-students/specialty-profiles/these-medical-specialties-have-biggest-gender-imbalances. https://money.cnn.com/2016/06/07/smallbusiness/female-firefighter-erin-regan/index.html

I don’t see a problem. Maybe the kids drew pictures of people they have encountered in their own lives or seen on TV, more of whom are likely to be male?  Maybe most girls in the class have no interest in these professions, so they wouldn’t put a female in their drawings? Similarly, maybe many boys see themselves in these professions, so they would put another male in the drawings? It seems the kids are being logical and just reflecting reality by portraying most of these as men.

Nobody is saying women can’t do any of these jobs, but I am saying it is not commonplace. The conclusion that is often made regarding such numbers is that we as a society are doing something wrong and discouraging women from these professions. We are somehow pigeon-holing women or creating unneeded stereotypes. But differences in men and women generally lead them into different types of careers. Maybe you think our society would be better if we had more women in these roles, but most women don’t want these jobs. A few do and more power to them.  

It’s fine to tell kids that women can do these jobs too, but somehow I think more is being implied here; I believe I am being told it is an attack on society for allowing and encouraging stereotypes and unconsciously biasing our kids. Stereotypes often follow reality, but are not the driver of change itself. In other words, we don’t create the stereotype first and then force others to follow; the stereotype is a reflection of how things naturally fall out. These stereotypes tell us something about the world when we have very little information to go on, but once we learn more about individuals involved stereotypes are of little use as the video indicates.

What is the point you think the video is trying to make?  Who is doing something wrong: the kids, the schools, the parents? We can encourage and allow women to take on traditional male roles, but that doesn’t mean we need women to be just like men. There are differences between the sexes and we see those differences manifested in ways such as this. There is no harm being done in this instance.

The problem I have with the notion of “unconscious bias” is that those pushing it continually stretch the boundaries of what constitutes racism from the sublime to the ridiculous. Sixty years ago, people were fighting for voting rights and against separate bathrooms and water fountains and for the right to sit at the same lunch counter as everyone else. That was conscious bias; there was nothing subtle about it. Unconscious bias isn’t in the same league. In our last discussion, you raised the examples of picking a basketball team, playing “Ring around the Rosie”, or engaging in “ennie meanie minie moe”. We are supposedly falling into unconscious bias during these endeavors without even realizing the harm we are doing. Your argument is what my dad used to say is too cute by half.

The difference in what they were fighting for then and what you are calling out today is so stark. I suppose every generation must have something to fight for. Today, many among us believe it important to root out any public figure who may have once been associated with something that might possibly have some connection to racism sometime in the last 100 years. A few examples follow.

Would you call the following an example of conscious or unconscious bias? I call it dumb myself. Earlier this year, the long time host of the show The Bachelor was fired because a of costume party. He didn’t host this egregious party or even actually attend it himself; he just tried to offer the perspective of one of his young contestants who had attended. He just called for a bit of grace for the young woman. And what was this party and what terrible thing did this contestant do that caused an uproar on Twitter? The party was an “Antebellum-themed fraternity party” which she attended a few years back and for this great sin, for simply revealing that she had once years ago attended this party, she was publicly flogged.

We know no details of this party. We don’t know if the party was an excuse for college kids to get drunk. We don’t know if the young woman had a good time or if she left early or if she passed out and doesn’t remember a thing about it. We don’t know if there were actual instances of racism at the party. We don’t know who else was at the party nor what was said. No, all we know is that she was there and that anything Antebellum is racist. This witch-hunt of a young woman is the new proxy for sit-ins at lunch counters. We must make an example of her and anyone who defends her, so we can once and for all end racism in our time. The apologies of the young woman and the host who defended her were not good enough either; even after they both issued apologies and declared their new found awareness of unconscious bias in our society, the host was still fired. I’m sorry but this is ridiculous and no good comes of the self-righteousness of her accusers. https://reason.com/2021/02/16/chris-harrison-cancel-culture-bachelor-rachael-kirkconnell/

Example number two involves Ellie Kemper, star of the show The Office, who was recently shamed for something similar. More than twenty years ago, when she was still a teenager, Kemper was the queen of a pageant that once upon a time had excluded blacks. The pageant was founded in the 1800’s so it isn’t much of stretch to find some sort of racist connection from back in that day. Never mind that blacks were included in the pageant long before Kemper was queen. Never mind that the pageant is now sponsored by the city of St. Louis and it long ago shed its original meaning. No, the Twitter mob knows best, and according to the Twitter mob almost anything from American history can be turned into a symbol of racism. I’m sure the teenaged Kemper was thrilled to be pageant queen in 1999 and probably was oblivious to any of its history or any connection to race (apparently, nobody even bothered to ask for her side of the story first), but the standards of today call for her to publicly flogged and her career and image permanently tarnished, so we can make the rest of us aware of our unconscious biases.

The Absurd Attacks by the Woke Mob on ‘The Office’ Star Ellie Kemper | Ep 287 – Bing video

The Veiled Prophet: The secret society behind Ellie Kemper controversy – Bing video

Mara Gay, a New York Times columnist is another who is trying to convince us of our unconscious bias, although she appears to me to be more than a little consciously biased herself. During the Morning Joe, she tells us America is associated with “whiteness”, specifically calling out anyone who voted for Trump as being the purveyors of this “whiteness”. The American flag is a problem for her because she says it doesn’t represent her and anyone who is not white. So when people like me fly the American flag, we are either deliberately trolling her or sending an unconsciously biased message to her and others like her that they are not welcome here. It doesn’t matter what I think or why I fly the flag; it matters only that she feels this way, and so I must change my behavior. Gay says we must separate America from its whiteness, and Morning Joe and Mika along with the ladies at The View are all nodding in agreement. If I reject her premise and I fly the flag because I am proud of our country and I see it as a symbol which unites us all, then she and Whoopi and Sonny and Joe and Mika will label me a racist and a white supremacist. At best, I suppose I am just unconsciously biased and need to be re-educated so I can see what harm I have unconsciously (or maybe it is now consciously) wrought. How is it that I am the bad guy for simply flying the flag and not being aware or taking seriously her feelings of exclusion, but she, who uses race to divide us and condemns large swaths of people, is a saint, salt of the earth? Do you not see how dangerous this notion of unconscious bias is and how it is used to destroy people who have done nothing wrong?

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2021/06/08/nyts_mara_gay_pickup_trucks_with_american_flags_send_disturbing_message_that_this_is_my_country.html

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2021/jun/9/sunny-hostin-defends-mara-gay-says-american-flag-t/

Conscious Bias:

While you are splitting hairs over the unconscious bias I might exhibit when selecting a basketball team, we have people like Dr. Donald Moss exhibiting being blatantly conscious biasness and offering up his disgusting opinions about the white race. I would say his article is on par with the “science” of eugenics and the measuring of skulls to determine intelligence. He is not anomaly either. He is just the latest, one of many academics, to say similar things:

  • Whiteness is a condition one first acquires and then one has—a malignant, parasitic-like condition to which “white” people have a particular susceptibility. The condition is foundational, generating characteristic ways of being in one’s body, in one’s mind, and in one’s world. Parasitic Whiteness renders its hosts’ appetites voracious, insatiable, and perverse. These deformed appetites particularly target nonwhite peoples. Once established, these appetites are nearly impossible to eliminate. Effective treatment consists of a combination of psychic and social-historical interventions. Such interventions can reasonably aim only to reshape Whiteness’s infiltrated appetites—to reduce their intensity, redistribute their aims, and occasionally turn those aims toward the work of reparation. When remembered and represented, the ravages wreaked by the chronic condition can function either as warning (“never again”) or as temptation (“great again”). Memorialization alone, therefore, is no guarantee against regression. There is not yet a permanent cure.

Dr Donald Moss teaches psychoanalysis at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute and the San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis. According to the American Psychoanalytic Association, he has studied “clinical/ theoretical/ activist perspectives” in psychoanalysis since the 1980s. Moss has also written several articles for other academic journals.

source: on having whiteness by donald moss – Bing

How about this sweetheart of woman? Is this unconscious bias or maybe more conscious bias?

..

Isn’t it nice that she throws in the “don’t worry about taking care of the children” at the end, I suppose because she cares so much about everyone? This is what you get from ordinary people when you have people like Gay and Moss spouting their hateful rhetoric.

Let’s move on to more recognizable names. How about Virginia governor Ralph Northam. Are the pictures of the person in black face and the person in the KKK costume in his medical school yearbook page examples of conscious or unconscious bias? Was Northam thinking clearly when he selected these pictures for his page or was he just caught up in an unconscious moment? While non-racists among us are being publicly shamed for unconscious bias, we have egregious behavior like this which is mainly excused. Note that Northam is still governor more than a year later because the anti-racists in his party let him off the hook. Just how hard are the Democrats actually fighting against bias? https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/01/politics/northam-blackface-photo/index.html.

Was Hunter Biden unconsciously biased or consciously biased during this recently uncovered text exchange in which he addressed his lawyer using the N-word?

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9661781/Hunter-Biden-used-n-word-multiple-times-casual-conversation-text-messages-show.html

I remember speculation for weeks that Donald Trump may have used the N-word once during a taping of The Apprentice. His son too was accused of being a racist for things far less subtle than what Hunter Biden said. The stories about the Trumps supposed racism were un-ending, but there is now a deafening silence with regard to Hunter’s very large faux-pas. The first ten minutes of this Stu Does America episode summarizes this very well.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcNGf_pnwo6u_pbcJv58Bmg

If you prefer satire, listen to Andrew Klavan’s opening monologue:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-andrew-klavan-show/id1045171376

I think after this latest incident, I might finally understand the definition of “white privilege”. It means you can use whatever racist terms you like and talk about race in new and disgusting ways but if you agree with the Left on everything else, especially if you are associated with an important political figure, then we ignore your racist behavior. Hunter Biden has white privilege, but I apparently don’t.

I wonder if Joe Biden is embarrassed by his son’s bad behavior and we shouldn’t use the son to attack the dad. Hunter was kicked out of the Navy, refused to support his illegitimate child, was a crack addict, corruptly made millions off his father’s name while otherwise being a failure at life, but maybe it shouldn’t reflect on his father who did the best he could? On the other hand, the senior Biden has not distanced himself from any of this behavior and stands squarely behind his son as if he did nothing bad in his life. In fact, he told Oprah his son is one of the “smartest people” he knows: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/joe-biden-tells-oprah-winfrey-son-hunter-is-the-smartest-guy-i-know/ar-BB1auvFa. Are you kidding me?

Of course, there many questionable actions from the “Big Guy” himself. Just a few weeks ago in Tulsa Biden said this all by himself:

Don’t you agree it is biased to imply that black folks can’t obtain accountants or lawyers as well as having difficulty obtaining IDs to vote? Would you call these claims from our current president conscious or unconscious bias? You are disappointed in me because I won’t say we should voluntarily end children’s games which once upon a time had deeper meaning which should be forever lost; however, I never said anything as blatantly racist as black folks are incapable of fending for themselves. How about you and the media demand more accountability from the highest office in the land? You’re twisting yourself in knots to tease out the racism in my unconscious bias while there are real world examples staring you in the face. Want to know more about the racist tendencies of our current leader, read my earlier post in which he is featured: https://seek-the-truth.com/2021/05/16/who-are-the-real-racists/

I also have big problems with the term unconscious bias because there is no clear or well defined standard for it. That lack of standard is deliberate; your side wants an amorphous standard they can then apply towards people they don’t like while giving those they like a pass. If you are a liberal politician, you are protected, but if you are a high school freshman who was repeating something heard in a rap song, the video of your past sin is drug up and the college you applied to withdraws your application (look this one up). If you are Donald Trump or Trump Jr. your every word is parsed and every accusation, whether confirmed or not, is milked for maximum impact. Unconscious bias is conveniently used to destroy opponents, while there is collective amnesia when someone on your side does anything questionable.

Education and Systemic Racism

Let’s move on to education which was one of the topics you wanted me to address in your original premise which I repeat below:

Youth looking at college. 

4. Predominantly black school districts receive far less financial funding than white school districts – ED Build

7. A higher percentage of black Americans with a GPA of 3.5 or higher attend community colleges vs top-tier selective institutions – Georgetown University

Paying for college.

9. Black college students are more likely to go into debt to pay for college – US Department of Education

10. The average Black college graduate leaves a public four-year institution with $111,486 in debt; 55% more debt than the average white college student. – American Council on Education

I will stipulate to the numbers in the articles you sent, but I won’t stipulate to the conclusions. The biggest hole in their arguments is that there is no proof any of these differences are a result of racism. You must show cause and effect. The articles show only the effects and leap to the cause, implying there could be no other cause but racism. Racism may, in fact, account for some of the differences, but that doesn’t preclude other causes.

People today have already convinced themselves that racism is the cause of so many of our ills, so with yet another example like this one, it is a very short step to see racism as the cause. Just pile this new example on top of all the other instances of racism and you have built yourself a tower of Babel. But racism isn’t the cause for everything. Race is hardly a factor in any decision I’ve made in my lifetime, yet there are those (Mara Gay, Joe and Mika, Whoopi and the crowd at The View, and all the rest) who think us Trump voters are preoccupied with race and are just waiting for the latest dog whistle from Trump before taking action. It is ludicrous and an absolute lie, but the lie persists and many naïve folks believe it.

A few years ago, Denny’s restaurant was virtually sued out of existence because a black patron received bad service on one occasion. How many of us have at some time in our lives received bad service in a restaurant? Unless, you never eat out, I would say you have as well. Are we all getting bad racist service? I think not. It’s just those that use the convenient, never ignored, cry of racism, are the ones who get the most attention. Why is it that the immediate cause of such incidents is assumed to be racism, and there are never any questions about the other possible reasons for bad service? Maybe the waitress just broke up with her boyfriend, maybe her dog died, maybe she isn’t very good at her job, maybe a million other things. You have convinced yourself that racism has been the cause in so many other instances, that this one must be racism too.

Maybe racism is a major factor in the education numbers or maybe it is a minor factor among many others. While we may not be able to prove the exact impact of some factors, we may be able to disprove some. I don’t know how to prove what percentage of the disparities are due to racism, but I do know the authors didn’t even make an attempt to quantify that impact.

So, what are some of the other potential causes of disparities in this instance? Let me start with an excerpt from Ben Shapiro’s book How to Destroy America in Three Easy Steps:

What then, are the easily identifiable factors that lead to lower income mobility for black Americans? First, lack of fathers in the home: single motherhood is one of the most powerful predictors of intergenerational poverty. Barrack Obama acknowledged in 2008, too many black fathers “have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys, instead of men. We know the statistics –that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime, nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home or become teenage parents themselves. An the foundations of our community are weaker for it.” The increase in single motherhood has nothing to do with either Jim Crow or slavery, just 24.2 percent of births in the black community came out of wedlock.

Other factors include higher educational dropout rates (8.0 percent of black male students drop out of school, compare with 4.9 percent of black males), arrest rates (while the rate of black male imprisonment has dropped dramatically over the past 15 years, 2,613 black males per 100,000 were in prison, compared with 457 while males in prison per 100,000).

More on the illegitimacy rates: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/77-black-births-to-single-moms-49-for-hispanic-immigrants

The impact of illegitimacy cannot be underestimated as was acknowledged by none other than Barrack Obama in the passage above. The numbers are devastating: 3 in 4 black children are born illegitimately as opposed to 30% of whites. Illegitimate children are more likely to live in poverty, drop out of school, or commit crimes. This is the problem we need to focus on. This is the problem that is destroying our culture.

I believe much of the increase in the black illegitimacy rate, from 24% to 77% in 60 years, stems from an increasing reliance on government. Too many believe government can solve all problems. The government can take the place of father in one capacity–by providing a welfare check, but reliance on a government check means no chance for upward mobility. People reliant on a welfare check are stuck in poverty and poverty correlates with lower quality education. Furthermore, a father is more than a meal ticket; a government check does not provide discipline nor is it a role model for kids, so reliance on a government check to replace a dad leads to higher dropout rates and higher incarceration rates.

Also, we can actually eliminate a significant portion of the disparity altogether. When have you ever heard the following? Shapiro quotes a study from Stanford, Harvard, and the U.S. Census bureau in which they found:

“that the black-white income gap was driven ‘entirely’ by differences in men’s, not women’s outcome. In other words, black women ‘earn slightly more than white women conditional on parent income.’ The study found ‘little or no gap in wage rates of work between black and white women.'”.

In addition, another study I found shows black women are doing better than white women in earning college degrees ( https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=72 ):

  • Across all racial/ethnic groups, female students earned the majority of certificates, associate’s degrees, and bachelor’s degrees. For example, the shares of bachelor’s degrees earned by female students were 64 percent for Black students, 61 percent for American Indian/Alaska Native students, 60 percent for Hispanic students, 59 percent for students of Two or more races, 56 percent for White students, and 54 percent for Asian/Pacific Islander students.

If disparities in education are due to racism how come black women are doing as well or even slightly better than white women in earning power and in garnering bachelor degrees? Does this prove that black women are not discriminated against in education? How is it then that our education and employment systems are racist, but only towards black males and not black females? Would racists only target black males and give black females a pass?

High school drop out rates and incarceration rates are much higher for males (whatever ethnicity), so that I think that would partly account for why black women are holding their own against their white counterparts while black males are not. I don’t have a study to back this up, but speaking from my own experience, I would posit also that the lack of a father is more impactful on boys than girls. No doubt both are impacted, but boys need discipline more than girls and a father is generally the one to provide it. So, the lack of father leads to more poverty, higher dropout rates, and higher incarceration rates which leads to poorer outcomes in education.

Ironically, Affirmative Action, which is designed to benefit blacks, is also a factor in the disparities per Dr. Thomas Sowell:

Sowell previously explained that affirmative action sets up many black Americans for failure due to race-based quotas: “They are systematically mismatched with universities and the admissions process,” Sowell said. “That is if Harvard feels that it must have X percent of blacks. And the pool is such that they can’t get X percent of blacks at the same level as the rest of the Harvard students, they’re going to take those blacks who would have succeeded in some state university and bring them to Harvard where many of them will fail.

source: https://thefederalist.com/2020/10/08/flashback-joe-biden-implied-thomas-sowell-was-racist-for-opposing-affirmative-action/

This explanation is entirely plausible and the unintended consequence of yet another government policy gone wrong. I wonder what we find if we looked at the average GPAs for black and white students at the same school? I think this might explain much of the differences in outcomes.

School choice is a policy that could actually make a difference, especially for kids in poverty with fewer choices, but unfortunately folks on your side of the aisle don’t want to even consider it. Why don’t they want to the poor black kid without a father to not have as many choices as the rich white kid from a two-parent home? Maybe they are afraid implementing such a policy might solve a problem and take away their racial narrative? https://www.heritage.org/education/commentary/here-are-10-reasons-school-choice-winning

Three Questions

Finally, I have three questions I want to pose to you regarding this topic:

  • Systemic racism has been against the law since the 1964 Civil Rights Act. If any educational institution is engaging in systemically racist policies, where are the major law suits against our institutions of higher learning? Can you name any significant legal cases that have been brought? Are they being dismissed without consideration? If so, wouldn’t we have heard about them?
  • If we have racism in education, who exactly is to blame? Higher educational institutions are the most liberal bastions in this country. In addition, teachers unions representing K-12 education are also extremely liberal. They are all in for fighting against systemic racism, instituting critical race theory, and in rabid support of critical race theory, BLM and all the causes they espouse. How is it that educators have failed to solve this disparity? Who is standing in their way? Trump voters? Trump himself? Mitch McConnell? Clarence Thomas? Fox News? White Supremacists?
  • The following is from the same fastfacts article that I quoted earlier. How do you explain that while overall blacks are not doing as well as whites in education, the numbers over a 15-year period are moving more towards parity?

At the bachelor’s degree level, the number of degrees awarded to Hispanic students more than tripled between academic years 2000–01 and 2015–16 (a 202 percent increase, from 77,700 to 235,000). During this period, the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded also increased by 75 percent for both Asian/Pacific Islander students (from 78,900 to 138,300) and Black students (from 111,300 to 194,500), and by 29 percent for White students (from 927,400 to 1.2 million).

As a result of the differing rates of increase over this period, the share of all bachelor’s degrees earned by Hispanic students increased by 6 percentage points (from 6 to 13 percent) between 2000–01 and 2015–16. In contrast, the share of bachelor’s degrees earned by White students decreased by 12 percentage points over this period (from 77 to 65 percent). Meanwhile, the shares of all bachelor’s degrees earned by Black, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native students changed by 1 percentage point or less between 2000–01 and 2015–16.

I have more material I would like to cover, specifically response from black intellectuals regarding education. I would like to go a bit more in detail as well regarding some of the specific points in your original premise, but I think I have gone on long enough and will let you respond to all I’ve thrown out to this point.

My Friend’s Response

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When I read your conclusion I had some issues with it, but it has taken some time to write something.  You interchange racism and bias, and they are much different.  You mention bias in a primitive way: fight or flight.  Humans also have a much more nuanced bias based on our learned experiences.  Examples are things such as that we like working with certain people, we avoid certain restaurants, etc.  When it isn’t related to skin color or other characteristic defined by race it isn’t racism and this applies to both unconscious and conscious bias. 

Both eliminating or selecting someone based on racial characteristics is called racism, so going to previous discussion about selecting a basketball team based on skin color is racist.  If I were picking a team, I would choose people who are tall and athletic, people who look coordinated and sporty.  Maybe if I’ve played with them before and know they are good players or have played other sports with them and know something about their game.  My choices are also biased, but not based on race.

I wasn’t using childhood games specifically to show racism, in fact, most of my examples had nothing to do with racism and I was showing unconscious behavior and its potential impact.  Referring to the game “smear the queer”.  I’m not going to ask you to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and imagine the impact, but if I were to do that you might be able to see the problem.  Monkey in the middle was the racist example.  You are likely aware Blacks have been referred to as monkeys.  What does a Black person think about this game?  It is easy to say don’t take it personal or something to that effect, but what is the harm in calling the game something else?  Do you think keeping the name has more value than renaming it?  If you do, then do you understand this is hurtful to people?   Are you OK intentionally hurting people?

Affirmative Action provides opportunities for people that otherwise might not have them and I’m missing how it is racist.  So not to get lost in a rabbit hole, what would you suggest doing to give similar opportunity to everyone?

Your last item:

  • He doesn’t see any problem with Vanita Gupta’s testimony that “all Americans are racist” (that includes Dr. Gupta, my esteemed opponent, you, me, and everyone else we know) while I find this statement shocking and ridiculous.

is click-bait-like at best.  Dr. Gupta never said “all Americans are racist“, she said people have implicit and racial bias.  Again, bias is different from racism.

I’m not ready yet to respond to more so I’ll leave it here.

My Final Response:

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I defined terms when we started, so we could agree on a definition of racism.  I do not say racism and bias are the same thing.  I do think the term unconscious bias is used as a proxy for racism and I think unconscious bias is not a real thing.

If I were picking a basketball team I would first pick someone who is tall, fit, and young. You and I are making choices based on limited information.  The short kid may be the next version of Muggsy Bogues (former Charlotte Hornet great and shortest player to ever play in the NBA at 5’3″) and better than all the rest, but we both make a decision based on limited information. You can adjust your choices later.  Given two young, fit, and tall players, one of whom is black and one who is white, I would pick the black player.  That is what Thomas Sowell would call a rational bias.  It is not racist.  Race is not the only factor in my choice; it may not even be the main factor.  However, it is a relevant factor because it helps us discern reality when we have limited information. 

You think it is okay to use race as a factor when selecting for college, don’t you?  You are in favor of Affirmative Action which uses race as a selection factor.  Is that racist?   If I use race as a factor for a basketball team, you say is racist, but you condone using race for college admissions and that is not racist?  How do you figure?  I think Affirmative Action is racist because race is disproportionally weighted more than other more significant factors.  In fact, race shouldn’t have any weight in the choice.  Colleges have a lot of information to sort through and yet they continue to use race as a selection factor; race has nothing to do with intelligence or the ability to do well in college, so why use it as a factor at all?  What predictive value does it have?   If race is not used as a factor, all have an equal chance based on their merit.  That is fair and being fair is the goal.  Making up for historical disparities is an unattainable goal.

Do you know the origin of the term “rule of thumb”?  Look it up, if not.   I continue to use that term despite knowing the origin of the phrase.  It doesn’t mean I condone violence against women.  It just means that the original meaning is lost and I don’t care what it originally meant because it no longer matters to anyone. How about the one: “there is more than one way to skin a cat”? I like cats; we have four of them in our household, and I don’t want to actually skin any of them. It is just a common idiom and I don’t see a problem in using it. We read may too much into these phrases. If someone really intended harm, they would be more direct and not use some roundabout idiom that most people wouldn’t recognize as a problem.

I use Venita Gupta as an example because I think it clearly shows that those who talk about systemic racism and unconscious bias and the like can’t define the terms and don’t want them applied to themselves.  I think this exchange was a fantastic take down of Gupta by Cotton.  Gupta should have learned something from it.  You may disagree with my assessment, but by calling it click-bait you are implying that my motivation is bad, that I know better but I am using it as an example to fool people.  We shouldn’t ascribe motivations to actions.  That is a big part of the problem with the debate today.

Finally, I heard Ben Shapiro’s interval of Russell Brand recently.  I had never heard of Brand before, but I found him and this interview fascinating. It reminds me of our debate.  Shapiro is the conservative and Brand the liberal, but they agreed on a whole lot.  They compared today’s issues to an iceberg.  The real debate should be about discussing what is under the water, the real reasons why we believe what we believe.  But today’s political debate focuses on the small percentage above the water while ignoring the more substantial issues.   The discussion is very interesting and I enjoyed hearing much of what Brand, the liberal, had to say.  The discussion got around to race late in the conversation.  Shapiro asked him some good questions on race and Brand failed to address them in my opinion. Brand is no doubt very erudite and a clear thinker; he is genuine and has a good heart, but he couldn’t answer the simple questions on race.  I wonder if you could answer them yourself.   Take a listen; it is a fascinating discussion on many levels.

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