I once had a conversation with a well-known conservative political commentator. At one point, she confessed that she had read Jared Taylor’s Paved With Good Intentions and disagreed with little, but said that while she understood there are racial differences in intelligence, she did not understand why Mr. Taylor insists on bringing them up. “I don’t think anything can be gained by pointing that out,” she explained.
The taboo topic came up again when I was talking with a lawyer active in Republican politics. “Everybody knows this stuff,” he claimed, “why bother talking about it?” This excerpt from a recent Washington Post article explains why:
Among local [D.C. area] school systems, Prince William County’s [in Virginia] has taken perhaps the most aggressive policy on diversity in gifted classes. It mandates that the demographic composition of the gifted program reflect the overall racial and ethnic makeup of the school system. To do that, Prince William has amended its identification process to ensure that it finds gifted students from a variety of backgrounds.
Prince William County schools are 35.8 percent white, 28.4 percent Hispanic, 20.4 percent black, 7.6 percent Asian, and 7.2 percent “mixed.” Because of the county’s racial quota system, only just over a third of the students in the gifted classes are white.
Nearby Alexandria, Virginia, does not have a quota system and uses traditional selection methods. Though only 25 percent of the students are white, they account for 61 percent of the students in honors classes. Prince Williams County’s policy of pretending race differences in IQ do not exist is short-changing white students.
There are other ways of short-changing whites. Two years ago, the School Governance Council of Berkley High School in Berkeley, California, said it would eliminate all science labs and the five teachers who ran them because the labs were seen as “largely classes for white students.” The council wanted to spend the money on narrowing the district’s “dismal racial achievement gap.”
In Chicago’s Evanston High School, freshmen who scored above the 95th percentile on eighth-grade achievement tests used to be put in a combined English and history honors course. The school is only 43 percent white, but whites were the vast majority in this class. In 2010, the school board voted unanimously to abolish the class because so few minorities qualified. Honors biology is on the chopping block for the 2012-2013 school year. District Superintendent Eric Witherspoon welcomes the changes: “I’m excited about moving away from racially segregated classes,” he said.
The Washington Post article about Prince William County schools explains why the gifted program is filled by quota: “In nearly every local system, white students are disproportionately represented, even though most gifted programs explicitly target students with natural talents and aptitude, which are spread evenly across racial groups and social classes.”
The Republican lawyer I mentioned earlier claimed that “everyone knows” about race and IQ. However, even if everyone knows, if everyone pretends not to know, it as if no one knows. Those who know must say so, and only when they do will anything change.
Imagine a school board meeting during which someone points out the racial disparities in honors classes. One board member starts to talk about the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow, but a mother in the audience politely interrupts and says, “Of course there are more whites and Asians in honors classes. On average, those groups have the highest IQs.” The room goes silent for a moment while her words sink in. “Right then, moving on” says the board chairman, as the other members murmur in agreement.
This is what we are working for. Until that day comes, qualified whites (and Asians) will be kept out of advanced classes, and many blacks and Hispanics will be thrown in over their heads.