Sue Bilstein says
Post by Sue Bilstein Post by Mrs Norris Post by LAR
Maori are more than capable of great achievements. Handouts are a
subversive method by the State to keep them oppressed. Handouts kill the
incentive to achieve.
Problem is, Maori have no incentive to make even normal achievements.
They know they will never be judged as equals.
A teacher I know (teaches in Whangarei) said that Maori kids who do well at
school tend to get beaten up by other Maori kids. Why would that be, do you
Does this article answer your question?
A Professors Controversial Analysis of Why Black Students Are
Losing the Race
Berkeley scholar says their own anti-intellectualism prevents
By LEO REISBERG
One recent fall at the University of California at Berkeley a
black student proposed turning her family history into a
fictional short story, peppered with socioeconomic commentary.
This, she told her professor, John H. McWhorter, would be her
senior honors thesis.
The months passed with only two visits from the student and no
written drafts, while Mr. McWhorters white students consulted
him once or twice a week. At the end of the semester, she handed
in a family tree-sketched in pencil on notebook paper. The
professor never saw her again.
In another class, a black student turned in a midterm
examination that was so bad that Mr. McWhorter wondered whether
he had attended the lectures. Even after that disastrous
midterm, the student rarely appeared in class. His final exam
was worse, and he never turned in a final paper. Not
surprisingly, he failed the course.
"Sad as it is to say, I have gradually had to admit that this
sort of thing has been the norm for black students I have
taught," the professor writes in Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage
in Black America (Free Press), to be published this month.
Mr. McWhorter, a black associate professor in Berkeleys
linguistics department, who flirted with controversy in the past
when he argued against the use of Ebonics as a teaching aid for
black students, now tackles affirmative action. In the book, he
calls for an end to racial preferences in college admissions.
Mr. McWhorter says he came to realize that not only were black
undergraduates at Berkeley "among the worst students on
campus," but that black students in general-from kindergarten to
graduate school, and from the ghettos to middle-class suburbia-
were the weakest in America.
He says that black Americans tend to blame their plight on
racism, oppression, poverty, and underfinanced inner-city
schools. But Mr. McWhorter argues that black students of all
classes and income levels lag behind their white counterparts,
because of a mindset endemic to black culture that discourages
None of the students he mentions in his book grew up in a ghetto
or has ever known poverty, he says. "Black Berkeley
undergraduates are almost all upwardly mobile, bright-eyed young
people, many with cars, none of whom would be uncomfortable in a
nice restaurant and many of whom probably do know what wine goes
with chicken," he writes. Citing figures from Berkeleys office
of public records, Mr. McWhorter notes that, of the 257 black
freshmen who entered Berkeley in the last class before the ban
on racial preferences took effect," only 83 had parents whose
total yearly income was $30,000 a year or less, a commonly used
metric for lower income."
"Year after year, only about a third of the black entering class
could be considered lower income even by the most liberal
metric, while the parents of about half and often more of the
class made at least $40,000 a year, with quite a few in brackets
much higher than that," he writes.
Many of those students enrolled at Berkeley before the passage
in 1996 of Proposition 209, which banned the use of racial
preferences in California university admissions, and touched off
a fiery debate on the campus. Defenders of affirmative action
argued that the policy would bar black children who grew up in
poverty, even though Proposition 209 allows preferences based on
That debate is what motivated Mr. McWhorter to write his book.
Affirmative action, he says, contributes to a spirit of "anti-
intellectualism," and to a "deep-reaching inferiority complex"
that encourages blacks to portray themselves as societys
Affirmative action-a necessary evil 30 years ago, he says,
comparing it to chemotherapys role against cancer-has now
become a way for black students with mediocre academic records
to leap ahead of more-qualified white and Asian students in
gaining admission to elite colleges. Once they are there, he
says, the black students on average continue to do poorly. Many
of them graduate, but without learning much.
"If every black student on a selective college campus were
admitted according to the same criteria as other students," Mr.
McWhorter writes, "it would help to erode lingering feelings of
inferiority to whites, and lessen the drive to assuage this by
taking refuge in dwelling unduly upon vestiges of victimhood and
passing this on to children."
Abandoning racial preferences would surely weaken racial
diversity at many colleges-another necessary evil, he says. That
would be unfortunate, Mr. McWhorter said in an interview, "but
the reason I think its tolerable is that it would be temporary.
It would get around in the black community that there are
efforts that need to be made, that you have to work harder, and
what would happen is there would be a reason to embrace
school." Affirmative action, he says, encourages certain
"defeatist thought patterns."
"Black America is currently caught in certain ideological
holding patterns that are today much, much more serious barriers
to black well-being than is white racism, and constitute nothing
less than a continuous, self-sustaining act of self-sabotage,"
writes the 34-year-old professor.
In his book, Mr. McWhorter defines the three thought patterns:
Victimology-a tendency of black Americans to blame their
problems on often nonexistent white racism. He argues that black
people have made such tremendous progress since the start of the
civil-rights movement that their frequent cries of racism are no
For example, he writes, less than one-fourth of black Americans
live in poverty today, compared with 55 percent in 1960; twice
as many blacks were doctors in 1990 as in 1960; and by 1995,
Congress had 41 black lawmakers, up from four in 1960.
Separatism-a mindset that encourages black people to separate
themselves from anything "white." He writes of a black freshman
at Berkeley who depicted himself as "black-identified" and
thought of Berkeley as a "racist school" after only a few months
on the campus.
"Spiritually he had ensconced himself in black Berkeley,
living on a black dormitory floor and majoring in African-
American Studies," Mr. McWhorter writes. "Many people would see
this student as nurturing his cultural identity, or as having
inherited the fears of his ancestors. Perhaps-but so
determinedly reserving his sincere and open engagement for
interactions with blacks only, he, too, is likely to have some
trouble getting internships and jobs, and will be warmly
supported by his friends in attributing this to racism."
Anti-intellectualism-an attitude that "subtly but decisively"
teaches black students "not to embrace schoolwork too
wholeheartedly," because taking an interest in academics is the
same as "acting white." Mr. McWhorter tells of a middle-class
black student who registered for Advanced Placement classes in
an integrated high school in Illinois, and was called an "oreo"
by his black classmates because "getting good grades was always
connected to white people."
"It is this, and not the unequal distribution of educational
resources, that is the root cause of the notorious lag in black
students grades and test scores regardless of class or income
What do Mr. McWhorters subjects think of his theories? Preston
Taylor, a black student who grew up in a middle-class suburb of
Oakland, Calif., and graduated from Berkeley in May with a
sociology degree, agrees with some of Mr. McWhorters theories.
Mr. Taylor hasnt read Losing the Race but did read an essay the
professor wrote about the affirmative-action debate.
"Hes on the right track when it comes to understanding that
theres an internal factor as to why black students dont do
well academically," says Mr. Taylor, who was president of the
student government in 1998-99. Indeed, he says, black students
who do well in college are "shunned by others in the black
But Mr. Taylor and others at Berkeley say that the reluctance to
apply themselves to academics is not limited to the black
population. This is "not a country thats known for its embrace
of intellectual pursuits," says Samuel R. Lucas, a black
assistant professor in Berkeleys sociology department. "We
shouldnt be surprised that students think more about the party
theyre going to on Friday or the football game than they do
about their studies." He adds, "White students, Latino students,
Asian students, black students are all represented among the
worst and among the best in terms of the grades they get, the
seriousness with which they engage the materials, and the
creativity they bring to the assignments."
One black magazine columnist expects the book to make Mr.
McWhorter a "hero for the black-bashing crowd."
"Maybe because Im the grandson of a freed slave who died with a
book in his hands, the idea that theres a historic pan-
racial black bias against braininess strikes me as absurdly
simplistic," Jack E. White writes in last weeks issue of Time.
"Weve got a problem all right," he continues, "but it reflects
everything from the fact that white families on average have 10
times more wealth than black families, to the larger proportion
of uncertified teachers in black schools, to the hopelessness
some black kids feel because so-called experts have told them so
many times that they dont measure up."
On the flip side of the coin, Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom,
who criticize racial preferences in America in Black and White:
One Nation, Indivisible (Simon & Schuster, 1997), call Losing
the Race a "brilliant, sparkling, effervescent book." They say
that Mr. McWhorter "courageously confronts the problem of black
But Mr. McWhorter doesnt expect to make many friends when the
book hits stores. "Itll be hard to walk around my own campus
starting in the fall," he says. "A lot of black academics will
never speak to me again. Frankly, though, I dont need to be
liked by everyone."
Others who are sure to dislike Mr. McWhorters book are those
defenders of affirmative action whom he sharply criticizes,
including William G. Bowen and Derek Bok, two former Ivy League
presidents who wrote The Shape of the River:
Long-Term Consequences of Considering Race in College and
University Admissions (Princeton University Press, 1998). That
book-based on a study of 45,184 students who entered 28
selective colleges in the fall of 1976 or the fall of 1989 --
has been lauded by many academics as the most comprehensive look
ever at how students who benefited from racial preferences have
fared both during and after college.
"Every smug, fawning review I read of this book was as
irritating as an eyelash in my eye," Mr. McWhorter writes, "and
reading the book I had to pause several times to avoid throwing
it across the room."
What frustrated him about The Shape of the River is that the
authors "breezily presume that the disadvantages I have
mentioned-high-achieving blacks never sure whether they deserve
their success and generally assumed not to, blacks looking and
feeling stupid, blacks never knowing the test of real
competition, blacks having no incentive to put forth their best
efforts * are somehow unimportant in view of the fact that their
interviewees who were admitted to universities under set-aside
policies are now happy campers."
Mr. Bok and Mr. Bowen were unavailable for comment. Mr.
McWhorter, who grew up in a "solidly middle-class home" and
attended private schools, is familiar with the disadvantages of
By the end of the book, he acknowledges that his race helped him
land a couple of fellowships at Berkeley and Stanford and a
faculty post at Cornell University.
"I am often congratulated on my career," he writes, "but the sad
fact is that as much as I enjoy my job in many ways, I will
never get beyond the sense of diminishment in having gotten it
to such an extent through the back door."
In the leftist's lexicon, the lowest of the low
"One man with courage is a majority." Thomas Jefferson