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Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Representation in Education and Employment:

From Rev. Jeremiah Wright's Speech to the NAACP:

Different does not mean deficient.... Dr. [Janice] Hale showed us, that in comparing African-American children and European-American children in the field of education, we were comparing apples and rocks. And in so doing, we kept coming up with meaningless labels like EMH, educable mentally handicapped, TMH, trainable mentally handicapped, ADD, attention deficit disorder.

And we were coming up with more meaningless solutions like reading, writing and Ritalin. Dr. Hale's research led her to stop comparing African-American children with European-American children and she started comparing the pedagogical methodologies of African-American children to African children and European-American children to European children. And bingo, she discovered that the two different worlds have two different ways of learning. European and European-American children have a left brained cognitive object oriented learning style and the entire educational learning system in the United States of America. Back in the early '70s, when Dr. Hale did her research was based on left brained cognitive object oriented learning style. Let me help you with fifty cent words.

Left brain is logical and analytical. Object oriented means the student learns from an object. From the solitude of the cradle with objects being hung over his or her head to help them determine colors and shape to the solitude in a [carrel] in a PhD program stuffed off somewhere in a corner in absolute quietness to absorb from the object. From a block to a book, an object. That is one way of learning, but it is only one way of learning.

African and African-American children have a different way of learning. They are right brained, subject oriented in their learning style. Right brain that means creative and intuitive. Subject oriented means they learn from a subject, not an object. They learn from a person. Some of you are old enough, I see your hair color, to remember when the NACP won that tremendous desegregation case back in 1954 and when the schools were desegregated. They were never integrated. When they were desegregated in Philadelphia, several of the white teachers in my school freaked out. Why? Because black kids wouldn't stay in their place. Over there behind the desk, black kids climbed up all on them.

Because they learn from a subject, not from an object. Tell me a story. They have a different way of learning. Those same children who have difficulty reading from an object and who are labeled EMH, DMH and ADD. Those children can say every word from every song on every hip hop radio station half of who's words the average adult here tonight cannot understand. Why? Because they come from a right-brained creative oral culture like the [griots] in Africa who can go for two or three days as oral repositories of a people's history and like the oral tradition which passed down the first five book in our Jewish bible, our Christian Bible, our Hebrew bible long before there was a written Hebrew script or alphabet. And repeat incredulously long passages like Psalm 119 using mnemonic devices using eight line stanzas. Each stanza starting with a different letter of the alphabet. That is a different way of learning. It's not deficient, it is just different. Somebody say different. I believe that a change is going to come because many of us are committed to changing how we see other people who are different.

Now perhaps Rev. Wright is right that black children have different cultural upbringings, that yield different learning styles. I'm skeptical about many of his particular theories, but the notion that differences in pupils' culture affect education surely makes sense. And I also agree, of course, that "different" does not inherently mean "deficient."

But "different" — especially substantially different — may well mean less successful at some things, and more successful at others. "[L]ogical and analytical" is pretty important in lots of fields, and not just because the European-American-founded "educational learning system in the United States of America" says so. So if Rev. Wright is correct, that this strongly undermines the oft-heard claim that disproportions (even including substantial disproportions) in the representation of various ethnic and racial groups in education or employment is strong evidence of discrimination. Perhaps it's just that some "ways of learning" (especially associated, for instance, with the culture of Asians, Jews, or whites generally) are conducive to success in one field and other "ways of learning" are not.

Now of course it's also possible that different cultural "ways of learning" yield equally effective results, and that the disproportions in representation are caused solely by racial or ethnic discrimination, or by the system's relying on irrelevant differences in "ways of learning" rather than on actual success or knowledge. But why should we think this is so? Why should we assume that "logical and analytical" approaches will inherently yield no better and no worse results as their "[r]ight[-]brain[ed]" "creative and intuitive" "[s]ubject[-]oriented" alternatives?

UPDATE: I've corrected a couple of what seem to be transcriber errors in the block quote.

Tony Tutins (mail):
My (white, male) cousins could not sit still and passively absorb information, so my aunt took them out of public school and put them in Montessori school, where they could learn by manipulating objects. This did not mean that they were deficient either logically or analytically -- one became an engineer while the other is a CPA.
4.28.2008 4:39pm
Mark Buehner (mail):
The punchline to Wrights reasoning is where the cop-out comes in- because testing is where the rubber hits the road. You can be sure that any sort of traditional measure of whether material has been mastered (like, say DOING a math problem, WRITING an essay) Wright will claim is biased against the so-called Right Brained.

In other words- not only teaching these kids the left brained way puts them at a disadvantage, but attempting to test them in any analytical sense does as well.

So tra-la-la, its not that our schools have failed abysmally, its that the tests are unfair. Because you see learning a subject doesnt necesarilly mean knowing anything about it or being able to apply it to a task. Good luck convincing a nuclear reactor or a suspension bridge of that, because THAT is where the rubber truly meets the road once we've dumbed down our society far enough.
4.28.2008 4:48pm
WHOI Jacket:
Its almost as if black and white children need separate educational facilities, to better cope with their differences. If we could make those systems separate but equal, I'm sure that would solve our current education problems.

Who knew George Wallace was a progressive visionary?
4.28.2008 4:53pm
teqjack (mail):
"Because they come from a right-brained creative oral culture like the (greos) in Africa who can go for two or three days as oral repositories of a people's history and like the oral tradition which passed down the first five books in our Jewish bible"

Or like the Greeks and Romans who could recite works like the Odyssey - and who also developed a lot of "right-brained" methodologies and activities. His examples as given here do not add up as an inherent differential (AD[H]D is supposedly as common in whites, if not more so) but as a cultural one.

As to the memorising/repetition of lyrics, a couple of my sisters (English/Scottish/Danish derivation) can still recite/sing the lyrics of almost every song recorded by Elvis Presley. So?
4.28.2008 4:55pm
A.C.:
"in a carol in a PhD program stuffed off somewhere in a corner ..."

Anyone else have a vision of some poor soul sent away to do a solitary rendition of "Oh Come, All Ye Faithful"?
4.28.2008 4:56pm
GMS:
Should I hold my breath waiting for Wright to receive the Jimmy the Greek treatment?
4.28.2008 4:57pm
DG:
If the person saying this was white, he would be a racist. But since he's a black preacher - oh, ok, he's a racist too. Lets be fair about this. One of my colleagues is an african-american financial analyst of great intellectual prowess, in particular, his mathematical skills are pretty scary. I would show these comments to him, but I'm afraid he would get upset with me and think I believe this rubbish. An African engineer (from Somalia) I used to work with would be more than upset - he would read this and start tossing around the "n-word" and screaming that Wright is a lazy SOB who never worked an honest day in his life.

Oh well. I suppose I just need sensitivity training to help me understand that I'm a racist.
4.28.2008 4:58pm
Blue (mail):
It is a truly appalling position taken by Wright, combining basic historical ignorance with the dregs of popular psychology.
4.28.2008 4:59pm
Anderson (mail):
Rev. Wright also thinks that AIDS is a conspiracy by the federal gov't to commit genocide against blacks.

I'm not sure I see why finding that he believes this or that shocking thing is supposed to be remarkable.

(Of course, the press focused on "God damn America," which in the context of the sermon was perfectly unremarkable -- God will curse America if America acts contrary to God's wishes. I'm not sure how Christians who believe in God's cursing or damning *anyone* can disagree with that proposition.)
4.28.2008 5:02pm
Ben P (mail):

The punchline to Wrights reasoning is where the cop-out comes in- because testing is where the rubber hits the road. You can be sure that any sort of traditional measure of whether material has been mastered (like, say DOING a math problem, WRITING an essay) Wright will claim is biased against the so-called Right Brained.

In other words- not only teaching these kids the left brained way puts them at a disadvantage, but attempting to test them in any analytical sense does as well.


I'm not sure you're being fair in taking his reasoning that far.

There's really no denying that there are different children that have different methods of learning. There have been many people who dedicated their lifes work to understanding these methods and thinking about pedagogical methods to help a teacher teach to both learning styles. There's also certainly been highly successful individuals who learned both ways, anecdotally at least, Einstein seems to be a good example. He rather famously didn't adapt well to German teaching methods at the time (whatever those were) but when found his own way to learn about things, became fantastically good at doing so.

But that doesn't necessarily mean this divides across racial groups, which is the one part of wright's argument that really kind of goes astray. After all there's plenty of cultures within that same European background that have much the same cultural practices that Wright speaks of in African Communities. What was Beowulf if not the outgrowth of a tradition of oral storytelling of great legends, the Norse Sagas fall into the same category, as to pre-writing greek legends and so on and so on.
4.28.2008 5:05pm
ejo:
but, that is where the combination of a failed educational system and liberal thought gets us today. black racism and twisted thinking like this has been ignored and/or whitewashed by our media and its deep thinkers-wouldn't want to be accused of racism, after all. this is another excuse to preach to his flock along with the long line of it's someone else's (whitey) fault that you failed. Somehow, actual africans seem to be able to learn in western educational systems as do immigrants from many other areas of the world-what is it about those brains that enable them to comprehend?
4.28.2008 5:07pm
ejo:
I also wonder why the jews aren't right brained as well, given that he gave them their due with their oral tradition-shouldn't they be bad at figgerin as well?
4.28.2008 5:09pm
Fco (www):
This is the same man who preached egregious lies to his congregations. Nothing he says should be taken with an iota of seriousness.

The subject may be worth discussing, when a real authority puts it forth.
4.28.2008 5:10pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
Looks as though whoever transcribed the speech is unfamiliar with the word "griot."
4.28.2008 5:11pm
ejo:
way to catch that "griot" typo. perhaps they were right, rather than left, brained.
4.28.2008 5:13pm
Hans Bader (mail):
A lot of Obama's associates and longtime supporters -- not just Jeremiah Wright -- buy into this weird claim that whites and minorities think and learn in inherently different ways.

As Vincent Carroll, an editor of the Rocky Mountain News, noted, Glenn Singleton, a wealthy, radical "diversity" trainer hired by many school systems, claims that "white talk" is "intellectual" and "task-oriented," while "color commentary" is "personal" and "emotional."

Singleton believes that racism is ubiquitous among whites and that individualism is a white characteristic. Under his tutelage, the Seattle Schools became increasingly radical and defined individualism as a form of cultural racism, claimed that planning ahead was a racist white characteristic, and attacked colorblindness, all bizarre claims that were criticized in the Supreme Court's decision in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1.

Singleton is a large Obama donor. His wacky beliefs have made him rich, as guilty white liberals like California School Superintendant Jack O'Connell and the Chapel Hill, Madison, and Arlington Schools hire him to promote his weird racial philosophy that blacks inherently think differently from whites.

If Obama is elected, I suspect a lot of his appointees to judicial and education related positions will share this weird, racist view that blacks inherently think and learn differently from other people.

I have a multipart series on Glenn Singleton and racist and radical diversity training at www.openmarket.org, such as the following post:

Glenn Singleton's Racism and the Arlington Public Schools

Posted by Hans Bader, December 12, 2007, OpenMarket.org

Earlier, I wrote about the racist "diversity" consultant Glenn Singleton, who is hired by school officials, like the Arlington, Virginia schools, despite his long record of promoting offensive racial stereotypes, such as claiming that minority students are "emotional" and not "intellectual" or "task-oriented."

What is commonly overlooked about Glenn Singleton's racist approach is who his real victims are: America's minority children. The Maoist indoctrination by Singleton that civil-rights historian and professor David Beito recounts here and here is no doubt humiliating and uncomfortable for the white teachers and professors forced to undergo it, especially given Singleton's claim that racism is "ubiquitous" among whites, and his assertion that white teachers are to blame for minority students' bad grades.

But the biggest losers in the long run from Singleton's approach will be minority students, not the white teachers that Singleton scapegoats for poor performance by minority students. Being subjected to Singleton's "diversity" training won't cost white teachers their jobs, and if such "diversity" training gets too abusive, they may even be able to sue Glenn Singleton or their school system for it, since a federal court ruled in Hartman v. Pena (1995) that a man could sue for discriminatory harassment after being subjected to a humiliating 3-day diversity training seminar. But Singleton doesn't just humiliate white teachers. He also promotes stereotypes about minority children that could aggravate the minority achievement gap.

Singleton claims that "white talk" is "verbal," "intellectual" and "task-oriented," while "color commentary" is "emotional" and "personal." See, e.g., Vincent Carroll, "On Point: The Whiteness Trap," Rocky Mountain News, May 10, 2006, at page 34A. That's exactly the sort of racist stereotype that contributes to the poor performance of some minority students, who believe that studying is "acting white."

The fact that Singleton puts a superficially positive spin on this negative stereotype (by claiming that whites' fous on achievement is coldly "impersonal" and "task-oriented") makes it all the more seductive to those minority students who already perceive studying as "acting white" and being a "grind" (and who taunt studious classmates of their own race by referring to them as "schoolboy," "schoolgirl" and "little miss perfect").

Singleton is hired for big bucks — a "six-figure fee" — to conduct diversity training seminars in order to supposedly remedy the minority achievement gap. But the truth is that his own teachings aggravate and reinforce the minority achievement gap. And America's minority students will be the losers.

For that reason, I was especially saddened to learn in a November 28 letter from Arlington Schools Superintendent Robert G. Smith that Singleton was supposedly hired to remedy "the disparity in achievement between white students and students of color." Hiring Singleton to reduce the minority achievement gap is like hiring a flat-earther to teach astronomy and biology.

In his letter, Dr. Robert Smith admitted that Singleton's bizarre racial theories are "provocative." Provocative, indeed. Singleton's racial theories resemble those of the infamous racist Leonard Jeffries, who was belatedly removed from his position as head of the black studies department at the City University of New York, after he decided to go beyond promoting racism to preaching antisemitism. His racial claims, too, were described as "provocative." But in Jeffries v. Harleston (1995), the federal appeals court upheld his removal from his administrative position because of his bigotry.

Glenn Singleton's racial theories closely parallel those of Leonard Jeffries. Jeffries taught that whites were cold, individualistic, competitive "ice people," while minorities are warm, "communal" "sun people." Similarly, Singleton claims that "white and Asian students are more competitive and individualistic," while minorities have a "collective," communal orientation (see Vincent Carroll, "On Point: 'Culture of Whiteness,'" Rocky Mountain News, October 19, 2005, at page 37A). And he claims that whites are "impersonal," "verbal," "intellectual" and "task-oriented," while minorities are "non-verbal, personal" and "emotional." (See Vincent Carroll, "On Point: The Whiteness Trap," Rocky Mountain News, May 10, 2006, at page 34A). Ironically, Asian students end up being classified as as "majority students" in school systems advised by Singleton, because they have the temerity to succeed academically in a predominantly-white society.

Why Singleton continues to be hired by school systems (like the Arlington County schools) is a mystery, given how much public embarrassment he has caused some of them. Perhaps white school officials harbor so much politically-correct racial guilt that they fixate on his anti-white rhetoric and thus lose sight of how damaging his racial stereotypes are to minority children. Anti-white rhetoric is sometimes rewarded, as Leonard Jeffries showed by obtaining tenure and administrative authority at CUNY as a result of his flagrantly racist "scholarship" and writings.

Singleton recently embarrassed California Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell. This year, he was hired by the gullible O'Connell to give diversity training. O'Connell then was publicly ridiculed after he repeated an offensive stereotype voiced by Glenn Singleton: that blacks, as a people, are loud, and need to have their loudness accommodated in the schools. (In fact, many minority students express dismay about how loud and disorderly their classes are, finding that to be a major impediment to learning. They want "simple, elusive quiet" so they can study. My Asian, Hispanic, and black relatives are not loud and noisy). The head of San Francisco's NAACP has demanded an apology from O'Connell for spreading this unfounded racial stereotype. Singleton also embarrassed the Seattle Schools in a landmark Supreme Court case.

But Singleton himself continues to be hired, probably because of his anti-white rhetoric. A case in point is the enthusiastic reception that speakers from the anti-white Nation of Islam receive on campus. At both of my alma maters (Harvard Law School and the University of Virginia), a Nation of Islam speaker, Abdul Alim Muhammad, received an enthusiastic reception from predominantly-black audiences, even though he said things that were antisemitic, not just racist. He got away with his anti-semitism as a reward for his anti-white racism. Anti-white racism apparently excuses all sins.

No student newspaper would even criticize the bigoted Nation of Islam speech at U.Va. on November 15, 1990, which lasted for four hours, featured an enthusiastic audience of 600 students, and was filled with racial hatred and antisemitism. Nor would any individual journalist criticize it (except for me), until a Muslim minority student from Bangladesh (Arshad Rahman) publicly condemned the speech on November 28 as a "heretical expression of race hatred." That broke the politically-correct taboo among journalists against criticizing anti-white racism, and suddenly, guilty whites began to gingerly criticize the speech, although they focused not on its racism but on its antisemitism and one arguably antigay remark made by the speaker.

12/12/2007 @ 3:50 pm |
4.28.2008 5:15pm
Mike Keenan:
The ignorance this man panders to -- it is very depressing. What is most depressing is that he is sincere.

Schools in this country with majority African American children are almost uniformly deplorable -- for a whole host of reasons. The situation needs to be improved, not excused.
4.28.2008 5:18pm
John Kunze:
F.A. Hayek wrote about two types of mind. As I recall, one was better at memorization, the other at building complex ideas up from a few first principles.

Likely minds vary in a variety of ways, but there is no reason to that there are sharp divisions along racial or ethnic lines.
4.28.2008 5:19pm
EKGlen (mail):
I wonder why we aren't seeing exhaustive coverage of the thoughts and opinions of John McCain's priest/pastor/whatever?
4.28.2008 5:21pm
wordsmythe (mail):
I'm no expert in pedagogy, but hasn't left-brained, object-oriented teaching been criticized as being overly masculine as well, and thus unfair to females?
4.28.2008 5:23pm
George Weiss (mail) (www):
your giving this way too much thought EV
4.28.2008 5:25pm
EIDE_Interface (mail):

EKGlen (mail):
I wonder why we aren't seeing exhaustive coverage of the thoughts and opinions of John McCain's priest/pastor/whatever?



As usual, distract/dissemble/confuse. Never take on the point at hand.
4.28.2008 5:39pm
PLR:
your giving this way too much thought EV

Perhaps, but I appreciate EV's willingness to address Reverend Wright's comments respectfully, even as others continue to bray.
4.28.2008 5:40pm
SeaDrive:

If Obama is elected, I suspect a lot of his appointees to judicial and education related positions will share this weird, racist view that blacks inherently think and learn differently from other people.


I disagree. I think if Obama is elected, we will have more Harvard grads appointed to gov't positions.

Wright is very ignorant, or perhaps just very far behind the times. Almost all his view conflict with what I have heard and read from educators. The facts on the ground are that as blacks have moved into the middle class, and black children are raised in ways more similar to white children, they have become more similar in school performance and test results, including IQ results. No excuses necessary.
4.28.2008 5:43pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
If Obama is elected, I suspect a lot of his appointees to judicial and education related positions will share this weird, racist view that blacks inherently think and learn differently from other people.


I disagree. I think if Obama is elected, we will have more Harvard grads appointed to gov't positions.


Where's the disagreement?
4.28.2008 5:45pm
Happyshooter:
Blah, blah, blah.

One of the black only academy schools in Detroit tried to come off with a similar line of thought about 15 years ago.

They were claiming that the superior black mind deals better in group think because they work better together and they work better with solid shapes instead of math-- because the white mind thinks only of itself and likes lies like formula, while the black mind works with others and thinks of real things.

This line of educational thought was one of the reasons for the lego admissions tests for college for blacks.
4.28.2008 5:56pm
Hoosier:
Did any of you read this speech the first time? When it was called "The Bell Curve"?
4.28.2008 6:04pm
Tom952 (mail):
A couple of thoughts.

1) "Object Oriented" describes a software development paradigm.

2) Educational research hasn't yielded any improvements in education, but it has soaked up an enormous amount of tax money. What makes anyone think this report by Janice Hale has any validity?
4.28.2008 6:07pm
Dave D. (mail):
...The Rev. Wright's talks might make more Black Democrats vote for Mr. Obama, but there is a limit to how far even 100% of 13% will take him. Nothing ever goes away, not in this era. Democrats are going to have to take Ms. Clintons argument that Mr. Obama is unelectable very seriously. We live in interesting times.
4.28.2008 6:10pm
Hoosier:
This sort of reasoning seeks to excuse balck educational underperformance, probably with the underlying intention of helping out the self-esteem of a subculture that is painfully conscious of its own abject failure to raise educational performance among its inner-city component.

What is most disturbing: There are still real, significant structural and cultural issues that help cause the underperformance of black kids in our schools. How in God's name does it help underclass kids to advance the claim that the reasons are genetic?

Again, the answer may be--from Wright's perspective--that it helps their self-esteem. "you aren't worse. Just different." But what these kids need is a chance to escape heritable poverty, and not a biological excuse not to do so.
4.28.2008 6:11pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):



...The Rev. Wright's talks might make more Black Democrats vote for Mr. Obama, but there is a limit to how far even 100% of 13% will take him. Nothing ever goes away, not in this era. Democrats are going to have to take Ms. Clintons argument that Mr. Obama is unelectable very seriously. We live in interesting times.


Wouldn't it be great though if despite all expectations, black Americans reject this nonsense by giving Obama the lowest percentage of the black vote in recent history? Image if you would hearing stories of "I've waited all my life to elect a Black President but I'll be damned if I vote for a bad one" after Election Day. Lord knows that Obama has given them amble reason to do so.
4.28.2008 6:17pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
amble = ample
4.28.2008 6:20pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Tom -- don't make me look up educationist mumbo-jumbo:

Object-orientedness. (this is not to be confused with object-oriented programming) People live in a reality that is objective in a broad sense: the things that constitute this reality have not only the properties that are considered objective according to natural sciences but socially/culturally defined properties as well.

Along with missing griot, the CNN transcription software also didn't pick up the PhD in a carrel.
4.28.2008 6:23pm
SenatorX (mail):
Thanks Hans, that fits exactly with the collectivism I read in the mission statement on Wright's church's website. As sad as it is for "black liberation theology" blaming the white man for everything I was really dismayed to find collectivist philosophy involved as well. I can't remember that exact line but it had to do with saying a black man's highest calling was sacrificing himself for the "black cause".

Granted I am just an atheist but my understanding of Jesus was one of his main messages was one of individuality. That the relationship between God and Man was between God and each man. This is one of the reasons the Jewish religious leaders at the time were not digging the message isn't it?

I guess preachers in general might have a bit of a blind spot for that though.

I wonder if there any black libertarian atheist groups? I suppose if there were they would just drop the "black" from the front and the "atheist" from the back.
4.28.2008 6:24pm
DG:
Ben P: You are completely wrong about Einstein - read any modern biography and you will learn that his storied "learning problems" were just that - storied. He was an amazingly bright student and any issues he had were related to being smarter than his classmates in a highly structured learning environment. Certainly none of this left brain/right brain foolishness
4.28.2008 6:28pm
Hoosier:
Someone correct me if I'm wrong. But being from an Irish background, I've heard much of the bardic tradition of "my" people. And bards, like the tellers of Ghanaian oral epics or the Greek rhapsodes, all had one shared trait: Illiteracy.


Readers cannot memorize in that way. The brain develops a dependence upon printed "reminders." (The Hebrew and Arabic scripts may have devlopped without vowels because they were meant to be a set of cues for those who had already memorized what they were saying.)

If this is so, then it certainly is not related to biology. And the alternative to literacy is not something I'd accept for my child. So I can hardly advocate it for my neighbors' kids.
4.28.2008 6:29pm
Soronel Haetir (mail):
As for the question about McCain's pastor/whatever, I suspect it boils down to the same factor that all other modern news does. Whoever it is, that person is likely bland enough to not generate ratings. Wright on the other hand is the gift that keeps on giving.
4.28.2008 6:30pm
DG:
Almost all civilizations have had periods of oral history, normally quite early on, followed by written history. Any ancient civilization that has lasted to the present age has followed this pattern.
4.28.2008 6:33pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):


As for the question about McCain's pastor/whatever, I suspect it boils down to the same factor that all other modern news does. Whoever it is, that person is likely bland enough to not generate ratings. Wright on the other hand is the gift that keeps on giving.


Or it could just be that because Obama's resume and accomplishments are so thin and his appeal so superficial that a 20-year association and financial support for a conspiracy mongering race huckster stands out. If he'd waited until after he'd been elected governor of Illinois or even after he finished his first term in the Senate, this might not stand out so much because he could (presumably) point to some major accomplishment to general achievement instead.

But he didn't, so he can't.
4.28.2008 6:44pm
Fco (www):

Perhaps, but I appreciate EV's willingness to address Reverend Wright's comments respectfully, even as others continue to bray.


So will there be a VC post respectfully addressing whether the government really did inject AIDS to kill blacks?

There's nothing wrong with being respectful, but this man needs to be shunned. His views on other things are so beyond plain disagreement, they transcend all bounds of rationality. And they disqualify him from being taken as a starting point of serious discussion on any topic.

Want to discuss learning abilities? fine. Let's hear from responsible people who have researched the issue. Not legitimizing this man by presuming there's validity to one subject he addressed during a small moment of coherence.
4.28.2008 6:51pm
Doc W (mail):
Well, if some people learn differently than others, it's all the more reason to get the government out of education. Nobody does diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks like the free market. Think the good pastor would buy into that idea?
4.28.2008 6:52pm
J_A:
I might not be fully informed about the subject, but it was my understanding so far that all language related activities, including both reading and writing "written words" or remembering them (the bardic or greek or talmudic or coranic or african traditions) are manifestations of the left side of the brain, as is math.

The right side of the brain in involved in images and, in general, in all non-verbal communication aspects.

Hence, even though I can understand the cultural differences of oral vs written culture, I believe they both involve the same -left- brain hemisphere. Thus Wright's allegations seem wrong to me, not because they are per se unreasonable, but because they are factually mistaken about something that has been objectively studied.

Or is it me who is mistaken?
4.28.2008 6:57pm
ejo:
is there any larger impediment to black progress than these sorts of mumbo-jumbo peddlers? the most striking thing that we should be learning is the ignorance peddled in the black community and its apparent acceptance by those of that community that should know better. having studied the wounds, it would appear, rather than the product of white racism, they are self inflicted.
4.28.2008 7:01pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Virtually everybody has both a left and a right brain, and -- with an exception that you can count on the thumb of one hand -- they are connected by a nerve bundle (corpus callosum). They talk to each other, which is more than Jeremiah Wright is capable of.

Anyhow, does McCain's pastor sell DVDs of her sermons?
4.28.2008 7:12pm
jccamp:
I believe that the single most accurate predictor of success in school is whether a given child lives in a one-parent or two-parent household. This has been the subject of multiple studies, in different grade environments, and crosses ethnic lines. If children of different ethnicities react equally (or equally poorly), that would seem to argue against the idea that some groups have to get special types of education.

Wright's ideas strike me as the Ebonics of child learning theory.
4.28.2008 7:50pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
All of the serious and repeatable psychometric research data shows that there is only one type of intelligence-- general intelligence or the g-factor. If you give a battery cognitive tests to a group of individuals, every test will show a positive correlation with all other tests. Factor analysis will show there is only one factor. Or the correlation matrix has rank 1. This result has been repeated over and over for decades with the same results.

Blacks score about 1 standard deviation below whites in the US (85,13) versus (100,15). Setting the white SD at 15 is arbitrary. This difference easily explains the gap in academic performance between the two groups. Tests like Raven's progressive matrices and reaction time testing gives the same result and these tests have no cultural component. Bias in intelligence testing is a much studied subject and tests can be designed that are bias free like the two above. We also have techniques to determine test bias, so this is really a non-issue.
4.28.2008 7:50pm
donaldk:
Most of the posters take this buffoon seriously! You think he actually believes the garbage he spouts??

What he is doing is playing a riff. He has been doing this for at least 30 years, and probably made more money at it than 75% of y'all.

He is a 50%+ white boy from Germantown, Philadelphia, a comfortably middle class (and I don't mean assembly line worker - I mean what middle class used to mean). Well educated. Do you suppose that he learned to talk that jive at home? He had most likely never heard any of that kind of talk during his school years.

He had a revelation: his path to fame and fortune was to become a demagogue, and the route ran to the pulpit. He succeeded beyone his fondest hope: so good was he that he gathered a congregation of 8,000 haters, for whom a Sunday morning at his church was as rewarding as the afternoon NFL telecast. It's GOOD to hate Whitey and all his works - it is the mark of a proper black man.

Tragic.
4.28.2008 7:53pm
Grover Gardner (mail):

Anyhow, does McCain's pastor sell DVDs of her sermons?


Of course he does. Parsley is televised on the major Christian cable channels and sells books CDs and DVDs as well.

http://www.breakthrough.net/Onlinestore/Scripts/default.asp
4.28.2008 7:56pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Does anybody know what Obama's learning style is?
4.28.2008 8:00pm
Dave N (mail):
Anyhow, does McCain's pastor sell DVDs of her sermons?


Of course he does. Parsley is televised on the major Christian cable channels and sells books CDs and DVDs as well.

http://www.breakthrough.net/Onlinestore/Scripts/default.asp
Don't know who Rod Parsley is (quick google search indicates he's a pastor in Ohio, which seems a weird location for an Arizona Senator to travel to worship), Bloomberg News identifies McCain's pastor as Dan Yeary and the chuch as North Phoenix Baptist.

The North Phoenix Baptist Church website does seem to offer a download of tbe most recent sermon.

When I looked a bit further, sermons going back to April 1, 2007 are available here in audio format for download to computers.

For those seeking dirt on Dan Yeary, happy listening.
4.28.2008 8:19pm
bill ward:
US avg. IQ: 100+
African-American avg. IQ: 85
African avg. IQ: 75
Supreme Court-determined IQ level of incompetence: 75

Any questions?
4.28.2008 8:34pm
sbron:

If Obama is elected, I suspect a lot of his appointees to judicial and education related positions will share this weird, racist view that blacks inherently think and learn differently from other people


Like Bill Ayers? (A Professor of Education, not English)
4.28.2008 11:31pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Zarkov, I'll take my cue from Marshall Sahlins ("How Natives Think"). I don't believe there are any culturally neutral intelligence tests.

I don't even believe there is a definition of intelligence.

It's sorta like global climate that way.

You can run models all you want, but you're not modeling anything.
4.29.2008 12:54am
A. Zarkov (mail):
Harry Eagar:

"I don't believe there are any culturally neutral intelligence tests."


Have you ever seen an example of a Raven's Progressive Matrix test? It's language free. How about reaction time tests? How could that not be culturally neutral?

"I don't even believe there is a definition of intelligence."

Arthur Jensen deals with this in Chapter 3 of his book, The g-Factor. Strictly speaking you're right, we don't have a universally accepted definition, but we don't need it to have an operational and useful concept. There are an unlimited number of mental abilities that we can measure and they are all positively correlated, which means one or more latent variables drives the scores on tests. It turns that that's there's just one because that's the rank of the correlation matrix. As yet we have not identified which particular parts of the brain directly links to the g-factor. But we don't have to. The US military uses a g-loaded test of mental abilities called the AFOQT. Usint this test you can predict the performance of recruits in activities that require a lot of cognitive skill such as being a jet fighter pilot. Without the test the military would waste a lot of money with a high rate of washouts.

Do you think if you went to the math department at UCB and gave every professor an IQ test that any of them would score below 100? Or even below 120?

"You can run models all you want, but you're not modeling anything."

You don't seem to believe in latent variables. Do a little reading on the web and get back.
4.29.2008 2:19am
theobromophile (www):
Why should we assume that "logical and analytical" approaches will inherently yield no better and no worse results as their "[r]ight[-]brain[ed]" "creative and intuitive" "[s]ubject[-]oriented" alternatives?

If you are discussing input (how an individual understands information or knowledge), I would say that there may not be much difference in output. If the output of the latter group is not logical, analytical, and systematic, it would likely be much worse than that of left-brained persons, regardless of the subject matter. (Arguably, those who are left-brained, or, in Myers-Briggs terminology, "Thinkers," have an easier time of math, sciences, and related fields, while the right-brained groups (M-B "Feeling") have an easier time of foreign languages and artistic endeavours. It is difficult to imagine, however, that someone could produce top-notch translations of foreign plays without being logical, analytical, and systematic.)

To state the obvious: African-Americans fought for their civil rights - the right to be treated as individuals, not members of a particular group, are treated. It disgusts me to see the regression back towards analysis of a person's abilities or worth based upon group membership. Even if we were to accept Wright's pseudo-scientific pontifications as accurate, it only describes a tendency amongst blacks towards a certain type of thinking; it does not describe each and every black student as somehow different from each and every white student. There are verbal, right-brained white students in the world, as there are left-brained black students.

Teachers will still (or rather, ought to) teach to the learning styles of every student in the classroom. This is reminscent of that nonsense about separating out boys and girls, and teaching the girls about the chemistry of make-up or something else horrifically boring, while the boys get to do interactive stuff. Ultimately, there will be a substantial minority of students who are assigned to classrooms (and therefore learning styles) which are incompatible with the way their minds work. There is little reason to make this an issue of boys and girls, or blacks and whites: such categorisation upon the basis of race or sex is a poor proxy for categorisation based upon learning styles.

As someone who has spent most of her adult life teaching or tutoring, I'm constantly astonished at the variety of ways that people learn. (To anecdotally answer EV's question: yes, there does seem to be a correlation even between how students absorb information and how well they ultimately understand it, but, as I've mostly taught math and science, my anecdotes are not representative.) IMHO, it's not a racial issue.

Final thing - shouldn't that be NAACP, not NACP, or am I exhibiting my race-ignorant tendencies by not knowing the correct acronym?
4.29.2008 5:22am
Stash:
Isn't the irony here that the whole theory (whatever its merits) Wright is touting is an "analytic" left-brained one? Shouldn't he be teaching it in a more communal, more right-brained and less intellecutal manner? I am reminded of the Star Trek Next Generation episode about the alien culture whose language consisted entirely of metaphors. If "object" and "subject" orientation is the issue, shouldn't he be talking about actual students and actual successful teaching, as opposed to abstract generalizations and concepts?

Besides denigrating testing and "analytic" teaching methods, and bizarre diversity training, does anybody know what the suggested teaching method is for the type of students Wright posits? What does a mathematics teacher do under this regime?
4.29.2008 11:53am
Hoosier:
Supreme Court-determined IQ level of incompetence: 75

Any questions?


Yeah. Is that the IQ level at which SCOTUS JUSTICES become incompetent? Your phrasing left this ambiguous.
4.29.2008 1:13pm
Hoosier:
Thorley Wiley said: Or it could just be that because Obama's resume and accomplishments are so thin and his appeal so superficial that a 20-year association and financial support for a conspiracy mongering race huckster stands out. If he'd waited until after he'd been elected governor of Illinois or even after he finished his first term in the Senate, this might not stand out so much because he could (presumably) point to some major accomplishment to general achievement instead.

But he didn't, so he can't.


No comment from me. But I thought it bore repeating.
4.29.2008 1:18pm