Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Pat Buchanan's racism

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)


Richard Keefe said...

It's funny that you mention the Southern Poverty Law Center and "white supremacist" groups in the same paragraph.

Despite its nearly 40 years of existence, NOT ONE of its top ten, highest paid executives is a minority, and certainly not an immigrant.


In fact, according to the SPLC’s hometown newspaper, the Montgomery Advertiser, despite being located LITERALLY in the back yard of Dr. Martin Luther King’s home church, the SPLC has NEVER hired a person of color to a highly paid position of power.

You don't get much more "white supremacist" than that.

Some "experts"

awarthurhu said...

Adam, you've entirely missed the point that the data shows that every American group scored as well or better than the nations the groups originally came from. That's quite a different spin than the view that "American schools" are failing because the American average all put together isn't as good. In fact, the African American reading scores are better than many European nations. The problem with the mainstream view is that lower scores for minorities is blamed on racism, and the curriculum is slanted towards multiculturalism and progressive no-arithmetic math and no-phonics reading when ever study of Asian or Finnish advantage shows a positive attitude towards achievemnt, and studying hard towards mastery of basic skills.

emine beder tarifleri said...

ı hate racism which it's what about

Chuck said...


Let me outline the problem with the environmental explanation. It’s somewhat technical:

The US B-W IQ gap is approximately 1SD at the age of 20. (It increases with age, a phenomena which is open to both environmental and hereditarian interpretations.) Within the populations of both US Whites and Blacks, at age 20, IQ has a heritability ~.75. If Blacks are genetically identical to whites with regards to IQ, Blacks and Whites could be treated as one population. Because it has been empirically shown that there are no unique factors depressing the IQs of Black individuals, all variance between Blacks and Whites must be due to IQ affecting environmental factors which vary within both of the Black and White populations; the between group difference therefore translates into a within group difference. The between group difference (1SD) divided by the square root of the environmental variance (Square root .25=.5) gives the amount of within group environmental differences needed to explain the B-W gap, assuming no genetic difference (1/.2=2SD). This means that the Black population, on average, would have to live in a cognitive affecting environment equivalent to the white lower 2.2 percentile (think Jerry Springer). They don’t.

So it’s rather improbable that there is no partial genetic basis the gap. This, of course, could be indirect. East Asians for example have a high frequency of an allele (DRD4, 4) that is associated with increased studiousness -- and studiousness presumably increases IQ. There could be something akin to that at play with the B-W gap. Nonetheless, it’s unlikely that there is no genetic basis at all to the gap.


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