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May 16, 2003

Jayson Blair

OK, I guess I must comment on the Jayson Blair fiasco, since enough time has passed that the big boys have all issued their major denials & explanations.

Every talk show where they have a black journalist on starts out with said person denying that race played any role. Who are they kidding? Even if a black person is qualified enough for a job, if the field is one where their race is underrepresented, they will get extra consideration because of their race. In the case of incompetents they will get extra breaks because of their race. This applies to women and other minorities as well. If Jayson Blair was Howell Raines' nephew he would probably have gotten breaks, but if he was a white kid intern he probably wouldn't have been able to suck-up on the white guilt. That's probably how it is.

But one thing that isn't being talked about much, aside from a few isolates like John Derbyshire, is that the Jayson Blair case illustrates what I have seen personally and have heard about many times-that once hired, minorities or women often are harder to fire. This probably has the effect of blacks & women being shunted to less important areas where performance is not as crucial once they are hired (see the corporate ghettoization of minorities & women in public relations & human resources). All this of short-changes individual minorities and women who would be superior performers, as must prove themselves (as they often complain!) to justify the added risk of their "stickiness" (greater cost in firing if they don't work out).

The moral of it is all is that policies often have unintended consequences-and though they are aimed at groups, it is on the individual level that they are implemented, and the the latter behave differently than the former.

[1] In recent years brown people in the tech industry probably also benefited from group perception of competence.

Posted by razib at 12:12 PM

Blair deserves minimal blame for this. It was the institutional policy that creates these situations, more so than individuals. The blame was passed, which is suspect.

(Another thing I should note though, is that I am increasingly wondering whether AA policies might have a stabilizing effect on society where the benefit might outweigh the costs. In other words policies that might increase black wealth at the cost of the meritocracy might be justified. Carol Swain withstanding.)

Posted by: Jason M. at May 16, 2003 12:47 PM

well-basically, you are suggesting the malaysian model. the problem we have in america is that unlike in malaysia we don't want to admit that the fill-in-the-blank-affirmative-action-hire might be far less well qualified than the non-affirmative-action option. the mend-it-don't-end is always about using mostly similar candidates, but in the real world this doesn't seem to happen often.

Posted by: razib at May 16, 2003 01:43 PM

"In recent years brown people in the tech industry probably also benefited from group perception of competence."

i don't like to say negative things about groups. but oh my goodness, yes. the indians who actually are genuine talents in computer science have made the majority of american business executives believe that almost any indian is a good programming hire.

i was directly involved in this. i worked under the CIO of a division of Eaton corporation. he dealt with american hires as well as hires from bangalore.

i worked with a few good indians. but most of them should not have been hired until they were better. some barely knew what they were doing. it was clear they were hired only because they were indians associated with that company in bangalore.

it got ridiculous. it would be like the NFL and NBA just dropping the draft, and going to west africa to sign players, almost at random.

it doesn't even make sense in terms of money. you have to pay them more when they're here. they cost less in india. it's stupid.

Posted by: jody at May 16, 2003 02:03 PM

Consider this quote from Howard Raines (in the NYT):

“You have a right to ask if I, as a white man from Alabama, with those convictions, gave him one chance too many by not stopping his appointment to the sniper team. When I look into my heart for the truth of that, the answer is yes”

How can anyone say this case doesn’t involve lefty bias or affirmative action?


Posted by: Ole Eichhorn at May 16, 2003 02:28 PM

on the brown ppl line-there were issues about marketing ppl from india thrown into tech positions too. really messed up stuff.

Posted by: razib at May 16, 2003 03:09 PM

There was an Irish-American guy in Boston who got caught with plagiariam who wasn't even demoted.

As per my role here, I'll say that this is at least the fifth big-time plagiarism / fraud journalism case, and because of race it's being spun differently this time. My spin, as an old guy, is that Gen X is so cynical that they have trouble realizing that some rules are actually taken seriously. (Big, unsubstantiated generalization? Moi?)

But yeah, race is always an issue.

Posted by: zizka at May 16, 2003 06:08 PM

well-basically, you are suggesting the malaysian model.

I'm coming to a point where I'm wondering if the race-blindness wanted for by the right really is the greatest idea. The Republicans make good cultural points (horowitz, sowell, d'souza), i.e. that for a large part of success "cultural capital" is needed so artificial social engineering economic policies (welfare, AA, university preferences, etc.) won't work, b/c these are striking at the symptoms w/o changing the problem (you can lead a horse to water...). But this leads to a causality issue in my mind. Where does the "cultural capital" come from? How and why would someone become motivated, productive, etc.? The argument seems implausible to me that these values will form by themselves out of sheer necessity w/o some sort of top-down engineering. Everybody wants money and to keep up with the joneses but the personal character to get these things is not something that wills itself into existence as a goal-oriented solution. In other words I think the achievement gap has the potential to keep closing, but that it won't do it by itself.

One time, I think even Steve Sailer seemed to wonder if university preferences might be justifiable. he crunched the numbers and realized just how few blacks would attend college w/o them. Seems to me that a somewhat underqualified, in some part marginilized (human resources dept.) black middle class might be more preferable than no black middle class at all. It also seems to me that a first generation black middle class will be less stable and rooted in its values than a traditional middle-class family. Perhaps this Jayson Blair situation is indicitive of the lower standards and the consequences of those standards that are happening in some form in all the places where these policies are found. And while I think these consequences are certainly swept under the rug, maybe they are the unfortunate cost to the potentially greater benefit (greater ethnic parity over time).

Another thing is that I see Affirmative Action challenged by comparing it to the disasterously ineffective nature of Malaysia and nazi germany (nuremburg laws), but there is such a significant difference between the history, the nature, and the demographics between those situations and this that I have to wonder how useful such comparisons are.

Posted by: Jason M. at May 17, 2003 03:09 AM

Speaking of race preference and the dangers that lie there-in here's the measured view of Den Beste, which sparked Palit, which sparked....razib.

Posted by: Jason M. at May 17, 2003 04:07 AM

Jason Malloy write:

I'm coming to a point where I'm wondering if the race-blindness wanted for by the right really is the greatest idea.

The real right (of which I am a part) does not want "race blindness". Most people on the authentic right would prefer to see civil rights laws abolished, which would permit people to act in accordance with their own racial views, whatever they might be. Of course the market would make certain outcomes impossible. For instance an all-white basketball team probably would not be competitve in the NBA.

Posted by: Sporon at May 17, 2003 07:44 AM

"an all-white basketball team probably would not be competitve in the NBA."

yes it would. if you dressed the 12 best american whites, they would do ok. if you dressed the 12 best whites in the world, not only would they be one of the best teams in the NBA, they might actually dominate the league.

Posted by: jody at May 17, 2003 11:12 AM

jody wrote:

yes it would. if you dressed the 12 best american whites, they would do ok. if you dressed the 12 best whites in the world, not only would they be one of the best teams in the NBA, they might actually dominate the league.

Make that an all-oriental team then.

Posted by: Sporon at May 17, 2003 11:35 AM

Obviously establishing the genuineness or falsity of something is not an easy task but one thing we can do, is attempt to figure out to what degree the thing in question is actually distinct from what it is said not to be. Neoconservatism is barely distinct from conventional leftism. When Horrowitz was called a "racist" by Julian Bond his feathers got terribly ruffled and I surmise that this was because Horrowitz seeks acceptance from the left, not the right.

Subsequently to that flap, Horrowitz wrote an open letter (on FrontPage magazine) to Julian Bond in which he proposed a multi-billion dollar government program (which he comared with the Marshall plan) to educate inner city blacks. Tell me, is this the behaviour of a real conservative?

Obviously use of radically different categorisations results in communication failure, but its not enough to just say that we are using different categorisations because the neocons have conciously attempted to undermine existing conventions. Right now they are even trying to undermine the conventions that they established, by declaring that there are no neocons. Paul Gottfried joked that if the neocons might some day demand that everyone call them Martians.

I don't know where all this talk of color-blindness started. It sounds like civil rights era propaganda. Since M L King himself specifically advocated quotas, its doubtful that he actually idealised "color blind-ness". The "I had a dream stuff" was just "platitudinous bombast"

Posted by: Sporon at May 17, 2003 11:06 PM

I omitted to point out that the expression "platitudinous bombast" comes from Joe Sobran.

Posted by: Sporon at May 17, 2003 11:25 PM

Yes, I am a sports geek. -- WD

Best American whites:
PG: Jason Williams, Brent Barry, John Barry
SG: Wally Sczerbiak, Mike Dunleavy
SF: Matt Harpring, Danny Ferry
PF: Keith Van Horn, Christian Laettner
C: Greg Ostertag, Chris Mihm, Cherokee Parks
Verdict: Competitive in the NBA, but not a playoff team.

Best worldwide whites:
PG: Steve Nash, Jason Williams, Brent Barry
SG: Wally Sczerbiak, Matt Harpring
SF: Peja Stojakovic, Paul Gasol
PF: Dirk Nowitzki, Keith Van Horn
C: Zydrunas Illgauskas, Vlade Divac, Radoslav
Verdict: THE BEST TEAM in the NBA, with 5 all-star caliber starters and the league's best bench.

Best worldwide non-blacks:
Same as worldwide whites except substitute Yao Ming for Nesterovic.

Best worldwide non-blacks, with the inclusion of half-non-blacks (non-blacks should get the one-drop rule in the NBA, don't you think?)
PG: Jason Kidd, Mike Bibby (half-Hispanic), Tony
SG: Wall Sczerbiak, Steve Nash
SF: Peja Stojakovic, Paul Gasol
PF: Dirk Notitzki, Keith Van Horn
C: Yao Ming, Zydrunas Illguaskas, Vlade Divac
3 additional players (teams carry 15): Andrew Kirilenko, Hedo Torkuglu, Matt Harpring
Verdict: Easily the best team in the league. Perhaps one of the greatest teams in NBA history, with easily the best bench in NBA history. Yes, we have a WHITE BOY DYNASTY here-- provided that the best blacks are diluted among the other 31 teams!

Godless-- you got Jody's point mixed up! He didn't say that the white boy team would dominate a super team of all the best blacks-- he just said that a team of American whites would be competitive in the NBA and a team of worldwhite whites would be the best team in the NBA. He was absolutely correct about that.

Posted by: WD at May 17, 2003 11:36 PM

A lot of the best non-American players are Serbs, other ex-Yugoslavs, or Lithuanians. (Total population ~14,000,000.) A Serb once told me that Jason Williams' mother is a Serb. Szerbiak is Croatian-American though, I think, despite his name.

Posted by: zizka at May 18, 2003 01:39 PM

hi WD. you missed some guys. i was thinking:

guard: williams, b. barry, sura
forward: harpring, m. miller, murphy, piatkowski, szczerbiak, van horn
center: b. miller, ostertag, lafrentz

they might be able to a get playoff spot in the east.

of course the interesting question is, where do bibby and kidd fit in?

for the international team, you just have to put ginobili at guard.

Posted by: jody at May 18, 2003 02:52 PM

"and if you played them against the 12 best west african blacks, they'd lose by 30 points."

you missed the point. as you often do.

the idea here is to let a general manager pick only whites if he wanted. the rest of the league remains the same.

also, american blacks fill the league. not african blacks. there might be enough african blacks in the league to make 12, but that team won't be good.

"There was a post a while back on music where I asked for sources for your assertions."

this is why i love you. YOU made an assertion. not me. and without any evidence. now, i'm supposed to defend something?

i'm sure you looked at the evidence first, because that's why you made your claim. so show me your evidence. show me RIGHT NOW.

no wait. don't bother. it's not dominant even in the united states.


america counts for about 5% of people. that means 95% of people are living in countries where rap is also not dominant.

you got smashed in this argument. you got smashd by my last post but came back for more. mostly because you are so arrogant you think you know everything. I WORKED IN RADIO FOR 3 YEARS. i know this stuff. YOU DON'T. you know MTV and downloading rap from kazaa. in other words, you know about 15% of what is really happening.

"Don't you think that you're open to the same charge"

hmm. i must be a white supremacist. let me count the ways.

1) until you pointed out which whites were jews, i didn't even know. but, you're right, i secretly hated them all along!

2) half of my girlfriends have been jews.

3) two times in my life, my best friend has been black. got two black friends now in fact.

4) i worked with brahmins at eaton and liked them. the programmers that is. the engineers were just like you. did not like them. hey, nobody's perfect.

5) i dated one of those brahmin girls at eaton. aparna was sweet. i would have dated another too, but i didn't have the nerve to ask rachna out.

7) i don't care about mexicans. unlike a certain somebody, initials GC. i also know a lot more about INS policy than you. which is why your post about the INS not doing their job was hilarious. here's a clue. the INS is helping the mexicans.

8) i don't hate arabs. unlike a certain somebody, initials GC. i even tried to date an iranian. but she was too christian for me.

9) one of my best friends here in vegas is an arab blackjack dealer. that guy is a riot. too bad his lakers lost.

on second though, no. you have no idea what my thoughts are in general, or what i do in the 99% of my time that i don't spend on this blog. on multiple occassions here i have pointed out instances of non-whites being better than whites at specific things.

however, rarely, or never, do you point out the several ways in which indians, including brahmins, are dramatically worse than some other races.

Posted by: jody at May 18, 2003 03:56 PM

response the now staggeringly arrogant, mr know it all. part 2 or 3.

"I look forward to your rationalization"

you are wrong about sports. again.

"I don't dispute that the all white team would be really, really good"

they would not be good. they would be the best.

"rejuvenate guys who used to play"

the best 12 active players are more than enough.

"But the context in which Jody was citing it was part of a pattern"

yes. pointing out when you are wrong. like when i explained that IQ does not explain every brain function, since blacks are by far the best at mental improvisation. you had zero comment on something that is both indisputable and, most important to you, measurable.

"This "all time, all world" white basketball team is a case in point"

it's clear you MISSED the point.

it's not even an all time team, idiot.

"why construct it without comparing it to the obvious control"

because that wasn't the idea. it wasn't obvious. it wasn't part of the discussion at all!

as for science. you knew which whites were jews. i did not. however, i now think i know even more about jews than you. i stand by my original statements, which you also seem to have paraphrased wrong. you also continue to not understand the difference between neuroscience and cognitive science. the difference is critical. kandel's work is at the implementation level. it's IRRELEVANT to cognitive science, as explained by tank.

listing pinker as important shows you don't understand the field. pinker's main scientific work has been taking chomsky's universal grammar to new levels of being disproven by experimental evidence.

i am not interested in resuming our science argument because your jewish supremacism is overbearing. it also wrong. i have researched it extensively. other posters have also explained why your jewish supremacism is wrong.

jews are white too, in case entine was not clear enough for you.

Posted by: jody at May 18, 2003 03:57 PM

response to the now staggeringly arrogant, mr know it all. part 3 of 3.

here's a post i wrote just for arrogantcrapitalist.

1 in 6 people is indian, but to my knowledge, there are 0 indians in the NFL, MLB, NBA, or NHL. this is never mentioned. but it is often pointed out that east asians are not good at sports. that indians are not represented at all in sports, and that nobody talks about it, would be a GREAT mystery, ESPECIALLY on a blog about genetics. WOULD be. but godlesscapitalist is indian.

anytime he talks about race and sports, get ready for things like "american indians are bad at basketball" or "yao ming will suck." but there is one mestizo in the NBA, carlos arroyo. and 3 chinese players. when it comes to baseball, mestizos are actually good. and there are mestizo players and east asian players in all 4 leagues.

on the other hand, there is NOT ONE indian in american professional sports. that means 16% of the world population accounts for nothing in major league sports! that's wildly statistically significant! the only comment godlesscapitalist should have on sports at all is "indians are the worst at sports, it's genetic, and here's why they are wimps."

there you have it. an argument using godless' favorite tool, math, which makes indians look absolutely terrible.

get ready for him to reply with something like "indians hardly play american sports". that's a good one. because this is exactly the comeback he shoots down when anybody points out that different races have different interests. he'll whine "indians hardly play basketball." yes, and black americans are generally not interested in science.

so either he is stuck admitting that interest and participation are important factors along with genes, or india is the biggest collection of wimps in the world.

he might bring up cricket. you know cricket, that major international game everybody in the world plays. er, wait. almost nobody cares about cricket much.

everybody, feel free to discuss why indians almost never even qualify for the world championship of any real olympic sport. or the kicker, why india is so abysmal at soccer. it's genetic, isn't it, godless?

Posted by: jody at May 18, 2003 03:59 PM

In any case, I think paleocons share way too much with the far left to stake a claim to the "true right". As I understand it, paleocons are protectionists, isolationists, anti-globalization

These ideas have traditionally been part of the right. In any case, neocons share far more in common with the left than the paleocons, not that this really matters.


Do you see no difference between being anti-war and anti-military?

and often avowed racial separatists/enemies of Lincoln.

Are you saying that Lincoln was NOT a racial separatist? If so, then you don't know your history. Lincoln wanted to ship the blacks back to Africa. And as far as racial separatism goes, I think any honest "evolutionary conservative" would have to realize that humans evolved a pretty high degree of ethnocentrism which makes any racially diverse society prone to serious problems.

Most damningly, they too side with the enemies of civilization - the radical Muslims - in proclaiming the attacks the justifiable fruit of US foreign policy.

Right, lots of pro-Muslim sentiment among the paleocons, sure. If it were up to the paleocons and not the fanatically pro-immigration neocons, there would have been far too few Muslims in the US for them to ever pull off a 9-11 type stunt.

Posted by: Oleg at May 18, 2003 05:36 PM

At my URL is a piece about right-wing American involvement with right-wing Islam before 9/11. I am not a fairminded person.

Posted by: zizka at May 18, 2003 05:43 PM

Secondly, one can turn your criticism on its head - why do racial separatists hate Lincoln so, if he was one of them? I'm pretty sure that it's because he freed the slaves. The notion that slavery was an institution that should have continued is offensive to pretty much all of American society (including me), and a moral and political loser.

Those who advocated slavery were, necessarily, not racial separatists, they were white supremacists. They did not want racial separatism, they wanted slavery to be maintained, and hence their anger at Lincoln. As far as why many (though certainly not all) racial separatists today dislike Lincoln, it's probably because a disproportionate number of racial separatists come from the South, which has always harbored ill feelings toward Lincoln. In other words, it's a cultural, not a rational belief.

More to the point, I agree that ethnic heterogeneity generally increases communal tensions, but I think that:

1) matching for IQ minimizes or eliminates much of the friction (see Silicon Valley, US research universities)

I'm an undergrad at a US research university. I can tell you that, from browsing through the websites of the various research labs on campus, they're fairly racially segregated. White professors tend to have white grad students, Chinese professors tend to have Chinese grad students, South Asian professors tend to have South Asian grad students, and so on. There are exceptions, but it's not uncommon for ~75% of a professor's grad students to be from his particular ethnic background. As far as Silicon Valley is concerned, I have little firsthand experience there but I'd bet that the people there still associate primarily with those of their own race when they have a chance and live in segregated neighborhoods. I fail to see why an instinct like ethnocentrism would break down among high IQ people. And, even if it did, Silicon Valley and research universities do not and cannot constitute entire societies. So even if they are not ethnocentric or if their ethnocentrism is relatively benign and not causing problems, there's still the rest of the population to deal with. For every 130 IQ computer programmer, you still have 50 or so ethnocentric lower IQ people running around causing trouble. So it seems logical that immigration policies should take into account not only IQ and educational levels but also assimilability.

2) ethnic homogeneity is no panacea (e.g. Northern Ireland, India v. Pakistan, the many Franco-German wars, N Korea vs. S Korea, etc.), and notions of homogeneity change over time

Yes, but the conflicts you've listed here, with perhaps the exception of Northern Ireland, are conflicts *between* different societies, not *within* them. I'm not terribly concerned about some foreign country coming and kicking America's ass any time soon. Serious domestic troubles, on the other hand, are another story. And as far as Northern Ireland is concerned, the conflict there is partially racial, as Steve Sailer has pointed out.

(e.g. the Irish became white and Asians are fast becoming white).

The Irish were only ever non-white in the screwy head of Noel Ignatiev and his followers. Sure, they were culturally different from the rest of the white American population when they first started arriving here, but they are physically very difficult to distinguish from other whites and therefore were able to fully assimilate. (Not to mention that there has always been a substantial Irish component to the white American population, even from the colonial days, and that these Irish were always considered white.)

As far as Asians go, again, the only people who consider Asians white are those pushing an ideological agenda where the fact that some non-whites are capable of succeeding is inconvenient. Hence, Asians are deemed to be "white" to obscure the fact that European whites are actually underrepresented at schools like UC Berkeley. Counting Asians as white allows the focus to return to the poor, oppressed blacks and Hispanics. I've known quite a few Asians and not one ever oonsidered himself white. The idea that Asians are "becoming white" is entirely false.

I agree that pro-immigration neocons made a big mistake by pushing open borders over the objections of reality. I think, however, that they've done an about face since 9/11.

Oh, if only this were true! I can't think of any neocons off hand who have done an about face on immigration since 9-11. If they exist at all, they comprise only a trivial percentage of neocons. Most neocons are still support massive immigration, including from the Middle East (and even Saudi Arabia which produced 15 of the 19 hijackers).

Posted by: Oleg at May 18, 2003 09:33 PM

you phony white s.o.b.s., after reading various articles on the "right" (i call fascist) wing of white amerikkan political thought on the jayson blair fiasco,i just had to say my peace. it justifies what malcolm x said about white amerikkans "they believe in equality in theory but not in practice" and those on the right are the main culprits.you people always claim to say that blacks should be treated as people but when a black commits a sin you use the anti- aa argument or say that the "black community" is responsible when blair lied on his own not 34 million people you neo-cons get on my nerves with your self-righteous drivel about merit and colorblindedness when you don't practice it yourselves it always comes down to race. i have much more respect for osama bin laden than i do for most white amerikkans. (and their minority allies)i think its time we end the lies and those african- americans who do not believe in the lies of amerikkka for to mutally separate i have said that we black americans have the capicity for self-rule it's time we used it instead of chasing childish fantasies like breaking bread with our former enemies do you see jews breaking bread with nazi, intergration as it is practiced in this is a diaster and was not what king dreamed , when people like blair are made to shoulder the burden of an entire race for his lies and mike branicle and ruth shalit can rebound and make more money it justfies what i say about "you people" you mean black people no good we are a nation and its time we like the arba world assert ourselves.

Posted by: eric daniels at May 22, 2003 02:45 AM

you people always claim to say that blacks should be treated as people but when a black commits a sin you use the anti- aa argument or say that the "black community" is responsible when blair lied on his own not 34 million people you neo-cons get on my nerves with your self-righteous drivel about merit and colorblindedness when you don't practice it yourselves it always comes down to race.

The neo-cons didn't at all say that all black people were responsible for Blair's sins, they said that the policy of AA is responsible for the hiring of underqualified people, and that race-based hiring practices (the same as any demographic based, as opposed to strictly merit-based, hiring criteria) lead, in practice, to lower professional standards.

i think its time we end the lies and those african- americans who do not believe in the lies of amerikkka for to mutally separate i have said that we black americans have the capicity for self-rule it's time we used it instead of chasing childish fantasies like breaking bread with our former enemies do you see jews breaking bread with nazi

No, "nazis" are a political ideology, not a phenotype. The analogy is pretty unfortunate. I'm sorry that you are so angry that you've come to these separatist conclusions. I recall Marcus Garvey's relationship with Klansman. You and Oleg certainly share many more political ideas than either one of you does with me.

Posted by: Jason M. at May 22, 2003 06:32 AM

i think its time we end the lies and those african- americans who do not believe in the lies of amerikkka for to mutally separate

Preach it loud, brotha! Separation!

Posted by: Oleg at May 24, 2003 02:50 PM