CORRECTNESS IS KILLING HIGHER EDUCATION
PART 2 of 2
November 14, 2015
What they’re asking for is impossible, however! During my period teaching philosophy, I became familiar with efforts to recruit more blacks into the field. The percentage of blacks teaching philosophy has hovered between 1% and 2% for over 50 years. Most affirmative action appointees are white women. The implied assumption in the PC universe is that “systemic discrimination” is keeping blacks from going into philosophy teaching! But what are graduate programs supposed to do? Pull them off the streets?
The same can be said for admissions. Recruiting more black students is possible. I saw first-hand, however, how preferentially admitted black students flounder helplessly when enrolled in real subjects. Mine was formal logic. Students were taught techniques to prove that instances of formal reasoning are valid or invalid. They either understood the techniques or they didn’t. There was no wiggle room. The plain truth is, the majority of black undergraduates couldn’t do it.
Let me temper these remarks by saying that a few could. One of my best students ever was a black girl. For what it’s worth, the intelligent and hard-working blacks I have met or had in class were usually studying subjects like computer science or engineering. Yet the atmosphere of preferences casts a shadow over the abilities and achievements of all black students. At the campus where I had the above experiences, there was already a widespread if undiscussed perception among white students that without racial preferences the black kids wouldn’t be there.
As for black football players at places like Missouri (I am paraphrasing Fred Reed who has opened fire with both barrels): how many have any business at a university? How many are studying real subjects like chemistry or philosophy or computer science, as opposed to “underwater basketweaving”? How many show up for classes? How many can actually read without assistance?
As a graduate teaching assistant, I just missed having to deal with a black jock. He dropped my class at the end of one week. It was clear: he couldn’t read above the Dick and Jane level, much less handle Plato! That was in 1985. Today’s situation is several magnitudes worse. I watched student performance gradually decline. I’ve also seen the sense of entitlement grow, by leaps and bounds.
Obviously, the only reason the jocks are there, black or white, is to bring revenue into the school. This is an old discussion, but with black football players likely to take their cue from those at Missouri, can you imagine what will happen when 300-pound “social justice warriors” start confronting journalists trying to defend free speech on a campus, or adjunct faculty members struggling to teach English, or for that matter administrators urging dialogue and transparency over hyper-sensitivity? It won’t be pretty!
The time for pushback against PC was 20 – 25 years ago. The only way to escape this plague now is to avoid these institutions completely! Were I a parent with a college-age son or daughter enrolled in, say, Missouri, I would be proactive instead of reactive and yank him or her out of there! Finish your degree online, I would say!
It is about time the truth was faced. Here it comes: the reasons for my warning at the very beginning. Well-intentioned efforts at racial integration have simply not worked, especially in education. The two races, blacks and whites, are too different from one another. The differences probably go beyond culture. A few years ago, claims were made by a group of scholars who called their project psychometrics that blacks, on the average, are significantly less intelligent than whites — that by every measure of intelligence we have, they fall under whites by almost two standard deviations. The same measures, incidentally, place Asians and Jews above whites, so they cannot simply be dismissed as “culturally biased.” It was also almost 25 years ago that I first encountered this claim. I ignored it. I didn’t want it to be true. But unpleasant truths don’t go away because you won’t look at them. I don’t know where the psychometrists are today. They surely aren’t in universities. One philosopher I know of, Michael E. Levin, discussed the problem of race and intelligence in a number of publications in the 1990s. He assumed standards of evidence mattered. His university (City College of City University of New York) removed him from his classes and tried to take away his tenure. He had to fight in court to keep his job (he won). A couple of chapters of The Bell Curve (1994) dwelt on the theme of measurable and verifiable differences in intelligence between the races. Charles Murray, one of that book’s coauthors, found himself publicly denounced as a racist.
Allegations of racism are today’s equivalent of branding someone a witch. They similarly do not require proof or evidence. The allegation itself is enough. You are guilty if charged, and your attempt to prove yourself innocent only proves your racism all the more!
There is no rational way of responding to that kind of closed and circular reasoning.
Is the above claim crazy? There must be a reason why whites design SmartPhones, build supercolliders, write philosophical and scientific treatises, and chart trajectories for satellites able to send back pictures of the outermost portions of the solar system, while most blacks succeed by playing football and basketball, and otherwise sink into poverty. There must be a reason why a 2012 study done by the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention shows that in 2010 black youths committed six times the number of murders, three times the number of rapes, ten times the robberies, and three times more assaults than did their white counterparts. There must be an explanation for why statistics released by the FBI (Uniform Crime Reports) show that in 2008, black youths who make up 16% of the youth population account for 52% of violent crime arrests, including 58% of homicides and 67% of robberies.
It is important to qualify these remarks. Observations about race differences and citations of statistics reflect averages that say nothing about any particular individual. Obviously there are some intelligent black people, just as there are very stupid whites; there are upwardly mobile blacks who obey the law and whites who flout it. There is nothing preventing blacks and whites from working together or living together, provided they (1) have agreed to do so voluntarily, and not been forced; (2) have defined common problems; (3) share success-oriented values; and (4) agree upon strategies for solving their problems.
This is not the situation for the masses, however, who have experienced over 50 years of false hope, force, and deception.
In a number of recent articles (here, here, here, and here) I have pondered the near future, in which I (and others) see another impending economic crisis, long term decline, and rising soft totalitarianism (technofeudalism). I make a point of not fixing dates, although if the Federal Reserve raises interest rates next month on the basis of the present Alice-in-Wonderland employment numbers, the reality of causes having effects could bring on a massive downturn before you can say “Boo!” Such an eventuality could make racial tensions worse!
What happens when there is less for both whites and blacks to do, because what few jobs there are have disappeared, or been replaced by technology?
In the wake of Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore, and now the University of Missouri as a likely hub for hard-left racial activism, race has become a powder keg waiting to blow. All it would take is one alleged incident inflamed by mainstream or social media!
What to do? I rather like Fred Reed’s solution (see link above): allow the black and white masses to separate voluntarily. End policies forcing them together, competing for the same jobs, when neither one wants the other around. I would go so far as allowing the black masses to form their own self-governing enclaves in cities, if they believe they can do it, under the condition that they leave whites on the outside alone. Any whites living in or anywhere near these enclaves are stupid if they don’t get out.
I see no other peaceful solution, although it is unlikely there is time to implement it.
So what happens if no one comes to their senses, with administrators, babbling pseudo-pundits in mainstream media, and campus activists pushing for more entitlements, more “safe spaces,” more “trigger warnings,” alleging more “microaggressions” against whites, etc.
Envision a near future in which the radicals have more “safe spaces,” cultural centers, and minority-only scholarships. White students enrolled at major universities are accruing massive debt, and know their black classmates are attending, possibly for free, on such scholarships. Then they have to sit in class and listen to a left-wing professor, or their fellow students, pontificate about “white privilege.”
I have less trouble everyday envisioning a group of white kids sufficiently fed up with the bullying doing something that wouldn’t be hard, arranging to provoke a group of hot-tempered minority students to violence, emerging to ambush the group with deadly force. They won’t be so stupid as to post a threat online in advance, as one guy did.
Would campuses explode? It’s possible. It might not take a significant economic downturn.
I hope nothing like that happens, of course. But solid evidence has emerged of the declining standing of lower or middle class white people in the U.S.: declining economic status, declining birth rates, more health problems, higher rates of substance abuse, higher suicide rates, routinely bullied and demonized by the pseudo-intelligentsia on campuses.
Nothing is more dangerous than a small group of people, extremely alienated, who know their interests aren’t represented in the system, who see their lives getting worse over time, and have decided they have nothing to lose.
* What is likely is that the real corporate powers behind the university saw the institution losing over a million dollars if the team didn’t play on Saturday and told the administration to get them on the field, whatever it took!
� 2015 Steven Yates - All Rights Reserved
Steven Yates has a Ph.D. in philosophy and is the author of Four Cardinal Errors: Reason for the Decline of the American Republic (2011) and Philosophy Is Not Dead: A Vision of the Discipline’s Future (ebook, 2014). He blogs occasionally at WorldPress.com. He lives in Santiago, Chile with his wife and two spoiled cats, and is working on his own online education project, the New Lyceum Academy for Philosophical Studies (website forthcoming).