Guest Blogger Blondesurferdude: Hear No Color, See No Color
V Note: For those of you who didn't get all your racist comments, general bitching and whining in yesterday, here is Blondesurferdude to continue the charge. I promise, I'll post something "worthless" (read: interesting) soon.
Yesterday, Maime posted a clever (read: worthless) piece on how to hook up with black guys (it turns out - shockingly - you put on something revealing and go where they hang out). Needless to say, I wasn't that interested. But then gang warfare broke out in the comments section over what it means to be racist. At risk of inciting further bloodshed, I have decided to exercise my power as a guest-blogger to bring order to the comments section of V's blog (read:show you all that I'm right).
Disagree with this statement if you dare: Revealing truth cannot be morally wrong. This seems so obvious. If it's truth, how can it be objectionable morally? Even if it's an "uncomfortable truth", like the fact that human males produce the same amount of sperm with each ejaculation as a mouse, or the fact that the Earth is not the center of the universe after all, or the fact that NASCAR is popular in the United States. It cannot be immoral to discover, consider, and relate these facts, or any others. Yet consistently in our public discourse, facts are censored from public speech because they are found morally objectionable.
I noticed this first in the national debate over Larry Summers' speech on the lack of tenured female faculty in the math and sciences at Harvard. Summers gave three explanations - 1) women spend time having kids, at a crucial stage of career development, 2) Gender discrimination in hiring practices, citations, and publications, and 3) the possibility (backed by a fair amount of scientific evidence and theory) that men had a wider distribution of intelligence, meaning that a higher percentage of men are very, very smart (though there are also more very, very dumb men, and the mean is approximately the same for each sex).
The media, and a number of academics, went into hysteria, in particular over the third point. I naively awaited a detailed, thoughtful, national discussion of the scientific evidence concerning this possibility, followed by more active research, and finally a resolution of the question. What followed instead was insistent claims that to suggest such an idea is evidence of the worst kind of sexism. Meanwhile, no one reviewed the scientific evidence. The amount of hand-wringing over the issue has meant a lack of funding for research in the area. Now we may never have a conclusive answer.
This couldn't be a more idiotic state of affairs. Is it sexist to research and show that women are, on average, shorter than men? Of course not. The only difference is that it is so blatantly obvious that the average man is taller than the average woman that even the most politically correct would have a hard time keeping a straight face while making any claim to the contrary. It's not morally wrong to realize that men are taller than women. It's wrong to discriminate against individual women because of it. Likewise, it's not morally wrong to wonder whether male intelligence is more variable than female intelligence.
Now in shifting to our national discussion of race, I want to make it clear that I'm now discussing sociological fact as opposed to biological fact. It turns out (we know this thanks to extensive study by Richard Lewontin) that there are very few biological differences between human races. There are obviously some differences in skin color, facial features, and hair texture, but genetically, the variation across races is miniscule compared to the variation within races.
But it remains true that in the United States, different races have remarkably different socio-economic profiles. Blacks are much more likely than whites to have a criminal record, have dropped out of high school, have an illegitimate child, or be unemployed. People think that saying this is racist. It's not. It's fact. Facts cannot be racist. To pretend otherwise - to be "colorblind" and pretend that American society has nothing to do with race - is moronic and counterproductive.
Acknowledging characteristics of a population do not require imputing those characteristics to every individual in the population. Here's an analogy. Say you have two CD burners; one that produces CDs flawlessly, the other makes a good CD 2/3 of the time, but 1/3 of the CDs it makes don't work. If you have a CD from the faulty burner, do you throw it away? Of course not - it could be one of the good ones. But at the same time, shouldn't you get the bad burner fixed? Or should you insist against all evidence to the contrary that it works just as well as the other one?
So let's admit that the black population in the United States, as a whole, is in pretty bad shape. Because of extensive scientific research (not moral fortitude), we know that this is not due to genetic differences. Why are blacks in America doing so poorly? What would make them graduate high school, avoid criminal activity, and find stable jobs? As long as the premise of the question is taboo, we'll never know the answer.