Discipline Disparities

Heather Mac Donald, National Review, April 3, 2014

Last week I invoked the case of a 14-year-old Brooklyn boy arrested for shooting another teenager, in making the claim that behavioral differences, not racism, drive the disparity between black and white student suspensions. The Obama administration had released its latest school-discipline data on March 21, showing that black students are suspended at three times the rate of white students. The civil-rights industry predictably greeted this information as yet more proof that schools are biased against black students. The day before the federal data were published, eighth-grader Kahton Anderson had opened fire on a Brooklyn bus when several members of a rival “crew” (a localized mini-gang) got on; an innocent 39-year-old father was fatally shot in the head.

Anderson was relevant to the school-discipline debate as an emblem of the pathological urban culture that is manifested both in the black crime rate and in classroom misbehavior. “The chance,” I wrote last week, that Anderson was “a model pupil, quietly paying attention in class and not disturbing his fellow students and teacher, was close to zero.” That statement proved prescient. A fuller picture of Anderson’s school behavior is now in. It is exactly what one would expect.

According to the New York Times, Anderson

was frequently in trouble. Sometimes it was for violating the school’s uniform code or disrespectful chatter in class. . . . Sometimes it was worse: He had a sealed arrest from 2011, and often, high-school-age members of a crew students knew as “R&B” or “RB’z”–the initials stand for “Rich Boys”–loitered outside the school, waiting to fight him.

About three weeks after he got into a fight near school last year, he was transferred to Elijah Stroud Middle School in Crown Heights. . . .

But he seemed to do no better at Elijah Stroud, where he had been suspended from the early fall until very recently . . . Under Education Department policy, only students with serious infractions, such as injuring or trying to injure other students or teachers, can be suspended for more than 10 days.

All fall and winter, he had a more consuming preoccupation than school or even basketball: his crew’s escalating war with a rival group of teenage boys.

Anderson is a case study in everything that the civil-rights complex assiduously denies. Naturally, he was raised by a single mother. Despite the inevitable excuse that his criminality is the result of poverty, he has a taste for designer clothing, replenishing his supply of Air Jordans and Reeboks on a frequent, sometimes monthly, basis. And Anderson is just the tip of the iceberg. He is surrounded by numerous other Kahton Andersons, including the fellow members of his crew, the Stack Money Goons, dedicated to obtaining money by any means available; the members of the Goons’ rival crew, the Twan Family, named in honor of a 17-year-old who was fatally shot while robbing an off-duty police officer; and members of dozens of other crews and gangs that form in inner-city neighborhoods in the absence of married fathers raising their children. The bus shooting was hardly unusual. Gunfire among these warring crews is routine; one crew member was shot to death last July. And as in Kahton’s case, the lack of impulse control that results in such mindless violence on the streets unavoidably shows up in the classroom as well. It defies common sense that a group with such high rates of lawlessness outside school would display model behavior inside school. Multiply Anderson’s homicide several-hundred-fold, and you get the nearly ten to one disparity between the murder rate among 14- to 17-year-old black males and that of their white and Hispanic male peers combined. Multiply his classroom infractions several-hundred-thousand-fold, and you get the three-to-one suspension disparity that so agitates the civil-rights and education establishments. (A forthcoming study by University of Cincinnati criminologist John Paul Wright [you can read the PDF file here] confirms the obvious: The racial gap in suspensions is completely accounted for by students’ prior problem behavior.)


The Anderson shooting also rebuts a host of other pseudo-racism memes, such as the claim that the New York Police Department’s racially skewed stop-question-and-frisk statistics demonstrate departmental bias against blacks. To the contrary, it is shooting wars between crews like Anderson’s, and other inner-city crime waves, that determine police deployment and tactics. If middle-schoolers on Manhattan’s Upper West Side were shooting each other as middle-schoolers do in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, the NYPD would be out in force there as well, looking for suspicious behavior that could indicate a crime about to happen. Here’s news for the civil-rights industry: Such crew violence as Anderson’s is virtually exclusively a black and Hispanic phenomenon. Ninety-eight percent of all shootings in New York City are committed by blacks and Hispanics; whites and Asians commit 2 percent. {snip}

The only surprising thing about Anderson’s story is that he had been disciplined at all, even if ineffectively. Thanks to the constant pressure from the Obama administration and the civil-rights establishment, the New York City school system, like so many others, has stripped teachers of vast swaths of their disciplinary powers. {snip}

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  • MekongDelta69

    I’ve been reading Heather Mac Donald forever.

    Most important sentence:
    Ninety-eight percent of all shootings in New York City are committed by blacks and Hispanics; whites and Asians commit 2 percent.”

    BOOKMARK that…

    • Oil Can Harry

      Hmm, so THAT’s why Tim Wise, Michael Moore and Bill and Hillary Klingon live in
      all-white towns.

  • Puggg

    A 3-1 black-white suspension gap is too low. It should be a lot higher. The only reason it’s that low is because schools are scared to suspend blacks.

    • I suspect they also boost the white numbers by awarding frivolous suspensions to white students for minor infractions. Perhaps they’re also grouping Hispanic mestizos with whites for statistical purposes. Why not? The FBI does.

      • leftists are delusional

        I would not be surprised.

      • Diana Moon Glampers

        Let’s not forget Philip Chism, black 14 year old who raped and murdered his algebra teacher. He is officially listed on the arrest as white. And one of Christopher Lane’s killers was also declared white. So apparently if you have a black “father” and you are the president, you’re black, but if you’re a murderer you’re white.

        • dcc2379

          He shoo couldn’t understand how dose x’s be meaning numbers, but fo exter credit, why not a lil rape and murder. Who gonna take care of all the chillin of that 14 year old?

    • dcc2379

      Absolutely it should be higher. Just as bad is that modern duhverse high schools pass on these students for doing nothing. Show up and y’all pass. With this slide into the abyss, many whites that are on the same welfare binge now realize that schools do not require learning or effort to pass. The results for this great superpower are that many collage educated, hehe as I see many students write college essays, are now $$ for universities, and they promote the same fraud. There are many blacks in power in public education, placed there for every reason but the content of their character, who also make every excuse for their black brethren. Unfortunately, when administrators have IQs and hard skills below their student charges, what does one expect?

    • APaige

      You are correct. There is a concerted effort to NOT suspend or expel black ‘students.’ But they still seem to get in trouble.

      • Not doing anything about their criminal behavior only encourages them. Trayvon Martin was allowed to skate over and over, until he was finally referring to himself as a “No-limit nigga”.

        • Jesse James

          But he did, in spite of everything, find his limit in the end.

          • MikeofAges

            The only problem is, the limit just as possibly could have been looking at three decades of hard time at the age of 17. One of the incongruities of the situation is that if the encounter had not had a violent outcome, and most of the time it doesn’t, Zimmerman, being who he was, might have become the only adult who reached out and tried to help Martin. Martin, I have long said, was of a type not really so different from the cornerboys of the Studs Lonigan era or the “rebel without a cause youth of the 1950s”. These kind have long come to bad and early ends very often, sad to say.

      • dcc2379

        There is also a concerted effort not to put blacks, especially boys, in special education because findings of mental retardation and behavioral problems using standardized instruments and examinations by a group of examiners will lead the Office of Civil Rights finding that a district is violating a student’s civil rights. As an example, not remembering the exact number off of the top of my head: If a school finds 2% of its black population mentally retarded, that is discrimination because only 1% of the larger population is mentally retarded (well, under the post-1969 definition, since before 1969, an IQ of 85 was considered mentally retarded, but since that included half of all blacks, the number was willy-nilly revised down). For any whites in a district with a fair number of blacks, they will be in classes with mentally retarded blacks that cannot be indentified. Yet, that shouldn’t stop the Negro from being placed in Geometry and Trig, notwithstanding the inability to divide or read fluently.

    • IstvanIN

      That is why you have to suspend and expel White boys who bring a 1 inch long plastic toy gun or a pizza bite shaped like a gun from school.

    • MikeofAges

      Another issue is that school punishment, which is a summary civil punishment not a criminal process, has to fit the individual. Young black kids very often are extreme socializers in my experience. I know because I went to school with them in the 1950s and 60s , before the s*** hit the fan, and socialized with them myself. How that happened is another issue.

      For a white kid, staying after school, having to do more work, being taken out of activities or having the parents called in might be what would most make an impact on them. For many black kids, being suspended for a few of days might be what was more likely to hit them where it hurt. Many suspensions are for grave transgression. Others are not. But what about letting the people who run the schools and know the kids make the decisions, and the adults getting behind them? Who says suspension is somehow worse than some other punishment anyway?

      Make the punishment fit the kid, and leave it at that. If there is a criminal matter, that’s why we have a juvenile and adult justice systems.

  • Luca

    School funding is based upon attendance. The teachers’ unions want these gang-bangers in their seats yelling “present” or “here” every morning. After that, they couldn’t care less.

    All these suspensions are having an impact on funding, so let’s pull out that multi-purpose race card.

    • Jack Whistler

      Small correction, its showing up to eat lunch they want them doing since the number of lunches they serve determines attendance in many school districts; and it makes the ‘feel-goods’ feel good about how the ‘under-whatever’ are getting a meal.

  • E_Pluribus_Pluribus

    Heather Mac Donald is one of those exceedingly rare establishment figures who can tell important truths about human biodiversity and still keep her job. In 21st century America that is a deep mystery.

  • MBlanc46

    Discipline is wrong because of the noxious creed of disparate impact.

  • LHathaway

    “NYPD would be out in force there as well, looking for suspicious behavior that could indicate a crime about to happen”.

    Geeze. . there’s a tiny line inside this story that could give anti-racists or libertarians ammunition to cry foul.

    • Tom_in_Miami

      MOST blacks look suspicious to me.

  • FozzieT

    Watch out Heather. You might be getting Derby’d pretty soon…

  • bubo

    Trayvon Martin was also suspended from school for various offenses. He was a criminal and a thug both in and out of school. Yet you see how the national media canonized him.

    • His record is sealed and we’ll never get to see it. He’s not the golden child for professional blacks and black youth.

  • Pro_Whitey

    Has anyone else seen the video of a serious chimpout by a black “student” in New Bedford, Massachusetts? The teacher would not let him have his phone, so he threw a chair at her. Given the conduct described above, that practically makes him a model student.

    • Garrett Brown

      Is it on YouTube?

  • r j p

    If the South had just picked their own “Kahton”.

  • Epiminondas

    It is still incredible to me that we submit to Federal oversight of our local schools. This is an abject surrender of our political and cultural prerogatives. The Feds should have no way whatever in education. NONE.

  • Zaporizhian Sich

    The more Washington butts into schools and education, the worse things get. Co-incidence? The answer to that is it is indeed no co-incidence that the more the feds are involved in education, the worse schools become and the more dangerous they get for white children as well as all whites as a whole. Like every other crisis besetting us, this one is a manufactured crisis. Schools are being used as tools for the coming genocides against us, as well as a weapon to further destroy our civil liberties. They are being used to destroy our right to freedom of association, our right to privacy, and directly or indirectly every other one of our rights under the Bill of Rights. As it is, they are nothing but training grounds for black and brown thugs to attend the University of Crime.

  • African refugees tend to seek countries with best welfare programs. Somalians living in America will soon be joining their brethren in Sweden. The days of driving a taxis and doing credit card scams are over.

  • MikeofAges

    I have come to call the conditions many blacks in the West seem to want to live under “Village Socialism”. In Village Socialism, it matters not where the stuff of sustenance comes from, only that it is there. Since it is “whitey” write large who uprooted them, whitey, writ large, is accountable for sustaining the village community.