Recently, dear reader, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” were perusing “Our Favorite Victims,” an article in the most recent number of The Common Review by a fellow called Walter Benn Michaels. This piece, which was adapted from Michaels’ tome The Trouble with Diversity: How We Learned To Love Identity and Ignore Inequality, offers some interesting left-wing criticisms of the current American obsession with “diversity.”
Yet even Michaels, a polemical left-leaning critic of the “diversity” movement, doesn’t seem able to discuss affirmative action with anything resembling candor. As such, his ruminations unwittingly demonstrate how incapable the Left is at discussing race in America.
Allow us to offer an example from Mr. Michaels’ article. Mentioning Philip Roth’s book The Plot Against America, Michaels opines:
Roth reminds us…of the “quotas” that kept “Jewish admissions to a minimum in colleges and professional schools,” not to mention country clubs. But, of course, you didn’t then (and you don’t now) need quotas to keep down the numbers of black people in universities. The effects of several centuries of slavery and a half century of apartheid have made artificial limits entirely supererogatory.
Well, gee: We’re not a passel of sociobiologists, but forgive us if we find this discussion of black underachievement a bit facile.
Now, we certainly agree that the horrible maltreatment of and discrimination against blacks in the United States of America have had a negative impact on black academic achievement. In fact, we think it’s well nigh illogical to assert otherwise.
Yet notice how Michaels blithely claims–without a shred of evidence, of course–that this maltreatment completely explains black underachievement. We don’t think you need to be Charles Murray to wonder about other factors.
After all, other ethnic groups in America–most famously Asians and Jews–have been compelled to endure harsh treatment in the US. Not, we dare say, as bad as that experienced by blacks. But pretty shabby treatment nonetheless.
And yet, as everyone well knows, Asians and Jews routinely outperform other students in intellectual matters. If it weren’t for anti-Asian discrimination in admissions, for example, the elite campus of the University of California at Berkeley would have far higher Asian enrollments.
None of this means, of course, that we must harp on black pathologies to explain black underachievement. Nor must we stick to IQ tests as gospel. But it does suggest that other factors–cultural, familial–can help explain these issues. The more candidly we discuss them, the more likely we are to improve them.
Still, our friends on the Left–who must blame everything on racism–can’t discuss these matters truthfully. When a leftist writing a book called The Trouble with Diversity can’t even engage racial issues with candor, you know that his movement lacks the wherewithal to tackle the topic.
(Note: The crack young staff usually “weblog” over at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” where they are currently thinking of composing a work titled The Trouble with ‘The Trouble with Diversity’.)