Dr. Stat

Dr. Stat is a Statistics Professor. This blog is his opportunity to share ideas and opinions about education (especially math education), politics, and whatever else comes up.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Race of New Orleans

Ambra Nykol says,
... accusations have centered on race, racism, and the neglect of black people, specifically by President Bush. .... As the front man, our President has taken a beating for such sentiment, but to be honest, considering the real issue at hand, I'm not entirely convinced that Kerry, Clinton or Gore would have handled things much differently. For the record, the reality stands: institutionalized racism currently exists. It's not some socialized problem [emphasis mine]. It is a stronghold that needs to be broken.

Condi Rice says,
"I find it very strange to think that people would think that the president of the United States would sit deciding who ought to be helped on the basis of color, most especially this president," she said. "What evidence is there that this is the case? Why would you say such a thing?" Ms. Rice said she was first impressed by Mr. Bush in the 1990's, not because of any foreign policy issues, but because he spoke of "the soft bigotry of low expectations" [emphasis mine] and the phrase meant something to her. She recalled being told by a high school teacher "that maybe I was junior college material" and added: "I know about the soft bigotry of low expectations. And it's not in this president. It is, however, deeply ingrained in our system, and we're going to have to do something about it."
Fred says
I was traveling in China when pictures of the looters in New Orleans began to appear on CNN. They were black of course. Looting and raping and burning are what blacks do when the lid loosens. Yes, I could phrase this more cautiously.... Yet it happens time and again. There was Los Angeles, burned in 1992. There have been Cincinnati, Miami, Seattle, Washington DC, Chicago, Detroit, Crown Heights, Watts, Newark, on and on and on. When the law loses its grip, the looting begins.... With the dismantling in the Fifties of apartheid in the United States, many hoped that blacks would rise, study, progress, and become genuinely[,] as distinct from formally[,] integrated into the country. I hoped it too, though my expectations were low [empahsis mine]. Southerners said it would never happen, but were dismissed as prejudiced. They were right. The melding of the races just hasn’t worked and, if examined honestly, shows few signs of working. Fifty years after the Brown decision, blacks remain unassimilated. .... Integration of the schools degraded the schools, but did little for blacks. Operation Head Start didn’t work. Racial quotas in the universities didn’t work, nor did the awarding of unearned degrees or the establishment of epartments of Black Studies. Compulsory integration of restaurants didn’t work. Quotas in hiring, enforced by the federal government, didn’t work. Welfare didn’t work. “Hate-crime” laws didn’t work. Nothing has worked.... Neither race shows much inclination to associate with the other. Left to themselves, they quickly segregate, in housing, on campus, in night clubs. Only heavy federal pressure produces an appearance of togetherheid.
As a police reporter frequently in the hearts of the big cities, I saw the failure with a clarity available to few. The black regions are huge, and they are purely black. Their denizens share little with a society of European derivation. In particular, with not enough exceptions, they seem to regard laws as restraints externally imposed instead of internally felt: When the police go away, so do restrictions on behavior.... Morally it is saddening. For blacks, for whites, for the country the best thing would be that blacks genuinely flourish.... Perhaps, as many suggest, a history of being wards of the state, of being given special aid and special privilege, of having nothing expected of them [emphasis mine], has inculcated passivity. .... Scholarship, reading, study do not seem to appeal.
Writers speaking of the looting in New Orleans regularly say that poverty causes looting, and that as a society we should do something about it.... With the inevitability of gravitation, commentators attribute the incompatibility with what we think of as civilization to oppression or neglect by whites. Oh? In Washington, the mayor is usually black, along with a majority of the city council and school board. The principals are black, as are most of the teachers, almost all of the students, and their parents. The funding per student is high. Yet the schools are horrifically bad.


Institutional racism today amounts to little more than institutionalized low expectations. Wherever attempts are made to raise expectations, the cries of "racism" arise, thus keeping expectations low and entrenching institutional racism. I think that about says it all.