In a recent New York Times article by Charles Blow (“Let’s Rescue the Race Debate”: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/20/opinion/20blow.html - pictured above) he charges, in effect, that whites who oppose race-based preferences and arbitrary and questionable challenges to long-existing, and verifiably necessary standards are motivated by anti-black bigotry.
There are a number of major flaws to Mr. Blow’s viewpoint.
First, the article by Charles Blow is predicated upon the highly questionable validity of a test (the IAT) that its own creators can’t even agree upon. (SEE: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/18/science/18tier.html?_r=1)
Second, his defense of “rescuing the race debate” (reinvigorating the black grievance viewpoint) is predicated on both that questionable test and two very flawed arguments; The first is, “...my question is the same one used by the right to defend the Tea Party against claims of racism: Where’s the proof? There’s a mound of scientific evidence a mile high that documents the broad, systematic and structural discrimination against minorities. Where’s the comparable mound of documentation for discrimination against whites? There isn’t one.”
Fact is the ONLY form of government-sanctioned racial discrimination to exist in this country over the last half century has been the various affirmative action program’s that have granted preferences (discrimination) and set-asides based on race.
Beyond that, the current assault on standardized tests, despite the mountain of unquestionable scientific evidence AGINST the claims of “test bias”, based on the legally dubious criteria called “disparate impact” is based on blanket racial bigotry, by the proponents of disparate impact who are seeking to eviscerate useful, even necessary standards.
The second flawed charge is, “In fact, some on the right seem to be doing with the race issue what they’ve done with the climate-change issue: denying the basic facts and muddying the waters around them until no one can see clearly enough to have an honest discussion or develop thoughtful solutions.”
This is a very poorly framed argument, especially in light of what’s gone on within the global warming, or more aptly, the “anthropomorphic global warming” (AGW) debate.
Today, a growing majority of scientists disagree with the idea of AGW. Even Dr. Reid Bryson (the father of Climatology) refutes the view that man has caused or even exacerbated global warming over the last century. So it’s NOT “the Right-wing”, a charge that makes Mr. Blow’s ideological biases all to clear, but the vast majority of scientists who’ve challenged the idea of AGW.
Moreover, the evidence in the skeptics favor has increased, while the evidence in favor of AGW has waned, especially in light of the info dump at the CRU at East Anglia University, that showed how much of the research bolstering the “Al Gore view on AGW” was bogus, even retrofitted to pre-conceived outcomes.
In that regard, the AGW debate IS similar to the race debate that Mr. Blow looks at, in that in both instances, the purveyors of “man is bad” (in the AGW debate) and “whites are bad” (in the race debate) predicate their arguments on flawed data, questionable and highly subjective tests and then smear those who question that flawed data as “Right-wingers”, “Deniers” and “Skeptics”, when, in fact, it is they who are actually denying the actual verifiable evidence all around them.
Beyond all that, Charles Blow’s entire argument would, ironically enough, seem to boil down to an endorsement of the objective and identity-blind standardized exams like the SAT, the various professional licensing exams and the kinds of exams used in the Civil Service Merit System, as a way around the largely subjective interview process. At least those criteria would eliminate much of the unconscious, subjective biases that most concern Mr. Blow.
Moreover, what Charles Blow conveniently overlooks is how the parameters of “the race debate” have changed.
Where is “the race debate” today?
Lacking any verifiable charges of overt racial discrimination against blacks, “the race debate” has taken to challenging long-established and existing standards that certain ethnic groups tend to be less competitive on.
The “New Haven 20” weren’t Tea Party members claiming “anti-white discrimination,” they were a multi-ethnic group of New Haven, Connecticut firefighters who’d passed a Lieutenant’s exam and were denied promotion because “not enough blacks scored high enough to be promoted”.
The New Haven test was engineered by an outside consultancy that specializes in testing procedures, at great expense to that city and nothing on the exam itself was challenged as being in any way “biased”.
In New York City, another major front on the current “race debate”, the situation is even clearer. Black firefighters have claimed discrimination on the FDNY’s entrance exams and a Federal judge (Nicholas Garaufis) agreed citing that the exams have the same one standard deviation “disparate impact” that the Law Boards, the MCATs, the CPA Exam and other such professional standardized exams have.
The group opposing this, Merit Matters is also a multi-racial group that merely supports higher standards for the fire service. They have yet to charge anyone with any kind of bigotry or discrimination.
All such charges have been leveled by those looking to circumvent the existing (and already very lax) entry level standards.
Ironically enough, the Vulcans (a fraternity of black firefighters) would have you believe that New York City deliberately discriminates against blacks!
But if that’s so, how is New York City’s Municipal workforce 38% black, when only 25% of its population is black?
They’d also like you to believe that the FDNY (77% white) is “the single greatest embarrassment, in terms of ‘not looking like New York City’ among New York’s Municipal agencies”.
That too, is absolutely untrue.
Even if you take only the FDNY’s uniformed firefighting workforce (leaving off the EMS and office staff) and compare only that portion of the FDNY (90% white), they are nearly double their numbers in the city’s population (46%) and admittedly “don’t look like New York City”.
Fact is, there are no less than 7 New York City agencies in which there are twice as many black employees as there are blacks in New York City’s population. Starting with the Human Resources Administration is 61% black. (2.2X their numbers in NYC's population), the Equal Employment Practices Commission is 63% black (2.3X their numbers in NYC's population), the Department of Homeless Services is 64% black (2.3X their numbers in NYC's population), the Department of Probation is 65% black (almost 2.5X their numbers in NYC's population), the Department of Corrections is 65% black (also nearly 2.5X their numbers in NYC's population), the Administration for Children's Services is 67% black (over 2.5X their numbers in NYC's population), followed by the REAL "singular embarrassment", as far as "looking like the population of New York City" goes, the Department of Juvenile Justice at 78% black (nearly 3X their numbers in NYC's population)!
The closer you look at the modern “race debate”, the more Charles Blow looks like Al Gore, a layman, claiming that a scientific debate is over (no scientific inquiry is EVER over, as they’re all open to new information), while ignoring how dramatically the parameters of the subject have changed over the last few years.
In fact, Al Gore has recently come out and retracted his support for corn-based ethanol subsidies that he’s long supported as part of his environmental agenda.
Mr. Blow seems equally out of touch with how the “race debate” which he’d “save” has changed...and yet, he seems to feel comfortable blindly adhering to the “war on standards” that the proponents of “disparate impact” are currently waging.