In a column published on the conservative websites Townhall, Human Events, and WorldNetDaily, Pat Buchanan has cited the white supremacist organization VDARE and two of its primary contributors, Steve Sailer and Robert Weissberg, to promote a theory concerning racial disparities in academic achievement. The column, entitled "Who Owns the Future?", purports to break down the test scores of American public school students by race and compare the differences with the difference between test scores of students in the countries associated with their ethnic groups. Buchanan and his VDARE sources argue that, on average, whites and Asians perform better on standardized tests than Hispanics and blacks do because they are, on average, more intelligent. They also argue that the racial intelligence gap they discern in the U.S. is mirrored in identical gaps between student performance in nations of the same races. So, Buchanan asserts,
America's public schools, then, are not abject failures.
They are educating immigrants and their descendants to outperform the kinfolk their parents or ancestors left behind when they came to America. America's schools are improving the academic performance of all Americans above what it would have been had they not come to America.
What American schools are failing at, despite the trillions poured into schools since the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act, is closing the racial divide.
We do not know how to close the gap in reading, science and math between Anglo and Asian students and black and Hispanic students.
And from the PISA tests, neither does any other country on earth.
The gap between the test scores of East Asian and European nations and those of Latin America and African nations mirrors the gap between Asian and white students in the U.S. and black and Hispanic students in the U.S.
Even Buchanan knows are some flagrant gaps in their data. Midway through the column appears a throwaway comment by Buchanan to the effect that
African-American kids would have outscored the students of any sub-Saharan African country that took the test (none did)...
Considering that African-American academic performance is really at the heart of the matter (just as black-white relations are at the heart of U.S. race relations), the fact that Buchanan and his friends at VDARE have virtually no data to support their theory of intrinsic white superiority is of key importance. Buchanan acknowledges that glaring flaw in his evidence even as he invents out of whole cloth facts that would be true under other circumstances. Moreover, Buchanan, like Sailer and Weissberg, fails to factor that economic and other environmental disparities experienced by Latin American students are experienced by Hispanic students in the U.S., thus making it impossible to reach conclusions concerning genetic causation The methodology behind their conclusions is fatally flawed. That Buchanan's column is both designed to malign entire races and is unsupported by facts indicates a malicious and racist mind at work. With that in mind, the fact that he should rely on even more overt racists as his sources is not at all surprising. What is surprising is that mainstream news media such as MSNBC would still consider his views within the pale.
Just how bad is VDARE? The blog Right Wing Watch writes that
The Southern Poverty Law Center labels VDARE as a “White Nationalist” organization and says that VDARE “regularly publishes articles by prominent white nationalists, race scientists and anti-Semites.”The VDARE website has stated that
"America was defined — almost explicitly, sometimes very explicitly — as a white nation, for white people, and what that means is that there is virtually no figure, no law, no policy, no event in the history of the old, white America that can survive the transition to the new and non-white version. Whether we will want to call the new updated version ‘America’ at all is another question entirely."
That nation based on racism is not the United States with which most of us are familiar or comfortable, nor should we be. That Pat Buchanan apparently shares VDARE's beliefs is deeply troubling.
(H/T Right Wing Watch)