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Sunday, September 6, 2020

Trump, the IDW and investigating the 1619 project

People associated with the Intellectual Dark Web are on the record as hostile to the 1619 project.

The IDW is associated with many people who promote race science, from Charles Murray to Sam Harris to Steven Pinker to the many authors at Quillette.

I've been noting the hostility of race science promoters to the history of African Americans for years.

We see Sam Harris expressing that hostility in his debate with Ezra Klein (my highlights):

Ezra Klein
...(Charles) Murray does say he thinks that some combination of genetic and basically immutably environmental characteristics make it so we can’t do much about this and there just are big differences between the groups, and it’s just going to remain that way, and American politics need to rearrange itself around that reality. 

Yeah, I strongly disagree, and I disagree because of American history. That is why my fundamental criticism of that conversation was that you needed to deal more with the history of this conversation and the history of this country. 
Sam Harris
Okay, but even in this conversation you are unwilling to differentiate scientific fact and scientific data and reasonable extrapolations based on data, from past injustices in American history, these are totally separate things
Ezra Klein
No, we disagree on what a reasonable extrapolation from the data is.

Harris believes that scientific data should be considered "totally separate" from American history as an explanation for African American failure to thrive, post-Emancipation. The late Michael Brooks had an excellent response to Harris's position.

The attitude of race science towards African American history is perhaps most succinctly expressed by race science promoter Razib Khan, on his blog, when he took offense at Carl Zimmer in the New York Times pointing out that many African Americans have European genetic ancestry and that a significant number of white Americans have recent African ancestry.

Khan wrote (my highlight):
What genetics is showing is that in fact white Americans are shockingly European to an incredibly high degree for a population with roots on this continent for 400 years. If we removed all the history that we take for granted we’d be amazed that the indigenous peoples had so little demographic impact, and, that the larger numbers of people of partial African ancestry did not move into the general “white” population. 
Yes, if we could create a context-free scenario that eliminated all knowledge of the one-drop rule and slavery and systemic racism and the collapse of indigenous populations due to European diseases and expansion we would be amazed and baffled and perplexed. That's what lack of information will do to you.

So why even consider this context-free scenario? Because if race science promoters could eliminate knowledge of African America history it would clear the way for an explanation based on genetic inferiority. And then contemporary anti-Black racism could be declared not the result of centuries of systemic racism but rather the fault of Black people themselves.

In Sam Harris's debate with Ezra Klein over Charles Murray, Harris linked to an article in Quillette, A Tale of Two Bell Curves, which demonstrates how extreme are race science beliefs in the genetic explanation of African American failure to thrive. Authors Ben and Bo Winegard claim, using race pseudo-science as justification, that the only explanation is genetics (my highlight):
Of course, there are other possible explanations of the Black-White (intelligence test) gap, such as parenting styles, stereotype threat, and a legacy of slavery/discrimination among others. However, to date, none of these putative causal variables has been shown to have a significant effect on the IQ gap, and no researcher has yet made a compelling case that environmental variables can explain the gap. This is certainly not for lack of effort; for good reason, scholars are highly motivated to ascertain possible environmental causes of the gap and have tried for many years to do just that.
When I asked Ben Winegard about this on Twitter, before he blocked my Pinkerite Twitter account, his response was to claim the Asian American and Jewish American experiences were comparable to the African American experience. He tweeted:
Asian Americans were treated abysmally. And I don't think we need to tarry over the historical treatment of Jewish people.

This bogus equivalence is only possible if you know nothing about the Black experience in North America since 1619 - or you are doing your best to deny the significance of that experience.

One of the things I discovered from doing this blog is how little I knew of the many attacks on African American communities since Emancipation. I did not know about the murder of Blacks and the destruction of "Black Wall Street" in the Tulsa massacre. And that was one of many ignored and under-discussed incidents of African American history.

James Lindsay is obsessed with suppressing 
knowledge of systemic racism.

Not all violence and looting of black wealth has happened on a grand scale, but it has occurred systematically and with impunity as one of the articles in the 1619 project documents:
Elmore Bolling, whose brothers called him Buddy, was a kind of one-man economy in Lowndesboro, Ala. He leased a plantation, where he had a general store with a gas station out front and a catering business; he grew cotton, corn and sugar cane. He also owned a small fleet of trucks that ran livestock and made deliveries between Lowndesboro and Montgomery. At his peak, Bolling employed as many as 40 people, all of them black like him. 

One December day in 1947, a group of white men showed up along a stretch of Highway 80 just yards from Bolling’s home and store, where he lived with his wife, Bertha Mae, and their seven young children. The men confronted him on a section of road he had helped lay and shot him seven times — six times with a pistol and once with a shotgun blast to the back. His family rushed from the store to find him lying dead in a ditch. 
The shooters didn’t even cover their faces; they didn’t need to. Everyone knew who had done it and why. “He was too successful to be a Negro,” someone who knew Bolling told a newspaper at the time. When Bolling was killed, his family estimates he had as much as $40,000 in the bank and more than $5,000 in assets, about $500,000 in today’s dollars. But within months of his murder nearly all of it would be gone. White creditors and people posing as creditors took the money the family got from the sale of their trucks and cattle. They even staked claims on what was left of the family’s savings. The jobs that he provided were gone, too. Almost overnight the Bollings went from prosperity to poverty. Bertha Mae found work at a dry cleaner. The older children dropped out of school to help support the family. Within two years, the Bollings fled Lowndes County, fearing for their lives.
This is the knowledge that the race science promoters of the Intellectual Dark Web want to suppress. And they have found an ally in Donald Trump.

Trump says Department of Education will investigate use of 1619 Project in schools

President Donald Trump is continuing to wage battle against interpretations of history which he claims are un-American.
In a Sunday morning tweet, the President said the US Department of Education would investigate whether California schools are using the New York Times' "1619 Project" in public school curriculum. The Pulitzer-Prize winning collection reframes American history around the date of August 1619, when the first slave ship arrived on America's shores. 
"Department of Education is looking at this. If so, they will not be funded!" he wrote on Twitter, citing a message from an unverified account saying it was being taught in schools there. 
The message came after the President on Friday night banned federal agencies from conducting racial sensitivity training related to "white privilege" and "critical race theory."
Trump's Department of Education is headed by Betsy Devos, who is a fan of race science as evidenced by her citation of the work of "biosocial criminologists" John Paul Wright, Kevin Beaver, J. C. Barnes, Michelle A. Coyne and Mark Alden Morgan. She used their work to make claims about Black children.
In making the latter point, DeVos' commission cited several times a study in which researchers argued that the discipline discrepancies between black and white students are "likely produced by pre-existing behavioral problems of youth that are imported into the classroom, that cause classroom disruptions, and that trigger disciplinary measures by teachers and school officials...
...Early misbehavior is tied to later misbehavior and, in turn, that misbehavior is tied to school suspensions," the researchers concluded. "These findings highlight the importance of early problem behaviors and suggest that the use of suspensions by teachers and administrators may not have been as racially biased as some scholars have argued."
The paper's claim that there is no racial bias in the punishment of Black children seems extremely implausible. But I don't think it's impossible that there could be a bit more discipline problems with Black children, because Black children are more likely to come from poor homes and poverty is associated with bad behaviors.

And if you know African American history, which involved not only discrimination but terrorism and looting and practices like housing discrimination that continue right up to the present day, you know why Black children are more likely to come from poor homes.

The actual problem is that John Paul Wright and friends consider Black misbehavior not the result of socio-economic conditions but a sign there is something innately more criminal and less intelligent about Black people due to their own genetics.

As John Paul Wright bluntly explains in his chapter "Inconvenient Truths: Science, Race, and Crime" in Biosocial Criminology: New Directions in Theory and Research edited by Anthony Walsh and Kevin M. Beaver (my highlight):
Page 149: 
...Areas afflicted by crime and other social pathologies are more frequently black than white, and even less frequently Oriental. Part of the reason for these visible and dramatic differences may have to do with the differential abilities of races to organize socially. 
Page 150: 
From the available data it would seem ludicrous to argue that "race" is a construct devoid of a biological or evolutionary backdrop. That evolutionary forces have produced biological variance across races is now scientifically undeniable. That many of the characteristics that define races appear to be universal and time stable is also undeniable. Evolution can produce many forms of adaptations, but it cannot produce equality.  
The connection between race and criminal behavior is clearly complex and involves a range of historical, social, psychological and individual variables. Evolution however, provides a powerful mechanism to understand the development of human races and the distribution of traits and behaviors within and across races. It helps explain why races would appear and under what conditions races would appear. It helps to explain why certain traits would be beneficial and why these traits such as higher IQ, would be unequally distributed across races. Moreover evolutionary theory helps explain why race-based patterns of behavior are universal, such as black over-involvement in crime. No other paradigm organizes these patterns better. No other paradigm explains these inconvenient truths.
Just like Bo and Ben Winegard in Quillette, John Paul Wright declares that there is no other explanation other than "evolutionary theory" for Black crime rates.

Wright has also written for Quillette and appeared as a guest on white supremacist Stefan Molyneux's channel.

The Intellectual Dark Web and Donald Trump want to suppress the 1619 project, because it runs contrary to the race science narrative that there is no other explanation for African American failure to thrive besides "evolutionary theory."

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