Friday, December 29, 2017

The Bonfire of the Black Public Intellectual Vanities: Economist Glenn Loury on Ta Nehisi Coates and Cornell West

Glenn Loury is Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences, Department of Economics, Brown University. John McWhorter is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, where he teaches linguistics, American studies, philosophy, and music history.

(Video will start at 20:50 but the entire conversation is worth a listen.)
[20:50] ... I'm talking about 65 or 70 percent of kids born to unmarried women. You can't tell me that that doesn't matter. It matters. There could be many explanations for it, but don't try to ignore that fact. Development, the test scores? This whole edifice that we'd built of Diversity and Inclusion, it's founded on a lie, John. Because the issue is performance and the Asians have demonstrated that. The facts are so palpable that it amazes me that people can't look at them. The Asians have demonstrated -- these are people who are second generation descendants; people were born 10,000 miles from here -- it [the USA] is an open society. African-American under-representation is a reflection of African-American under-development. Now, we can go into the historical reasons for that. If the issue is who is to blame ... plenty enough blame to go around. But the fundamental imperative is to enhance the development and that won't happen unless you acknowledge the absence of it. The test scores reflect an inadequate acquisition of functional and cognitive capacities essential to functioning in the modern world and the gaps are enormous etcetera...
Now Loury gets really worked up:
[23:50] ... the Afro Studies hustle ... the avoidance of the necessity of failure against standards in order for the standards to be meaningful and for the kind of disciplines and capacities that constitute excellence to be honed and developed. It's a shell game. It's a lie, ok. That's what I'm saying. Just say that the jails are full of black people means that the criminal justice system is racist and to leave it at that when the bodies pile up in Chicago and elsewhere. To talk about Diversity / Inclusion is the way of legitimating and institutionalizing a deferential and racist withholding of judgment from African-American people to perform at the level of excellence at a place like MIT or Caltech or Brown or Columbia or Yale requires. I mean, I'm really really angry about this because people are being dishonest about this in the interest of a Coon Show, John, a Coon Show -- that's what we're talking about ...
More at [25:17] The Bonfire of the Black Public Intellectual Vanities. See earlier post Talking Ta-Nehisi Coates, Seriously?

See also Loury's Kenneth Arrow Lecture, Department of Economics, Columbia University: Persistent Racial Inequality in the US: An Economic Theorist’s Account (PDF).

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