Those Cunning Racists

There’s a special kind of stupid that can’t be expressed by the average person. Not even the dumbest people can be that stupid. No, to generate the kind of industrial-grade, heavy-duty stupid, you have to have at least one doctorate.


You want proof? Look at this editorial from the Boston Globe:

THE STUDY published last week in Science magazine revealing a racial bias in the allocation of biomedical research funds by the National Institutes of Health defies easy analysis. Black scientists were significantly less likely to get research funding than equally qualified scientists of other backgrounds – even though the NIH has no official way of knowing the race of the applicants. The bias, it seems, was unconscious.

(Here’s the study.) Think about that. The grant administrators had no way of knowing the race of the grant applicants, but the results were still racially imbalanced.


Think about that for a moment. The grant applications were completely devoid of racial identifiers, yet the grants were not disbursed in a manner consistent with the racial identities of the applicants.


One possible explanation is that the administrators are racist, that they used the alluded-to “unofficial” means to discover the race of the applicants and chose to express their racism through the grants. This would require a very significant suspension of disbelief.


Here’s another possibility: while, in general and on average, the races are by and large equal, any time you take a subset you run the odds of exceptional individuals skewing the results. Make it a veyr exclusive subset — very intelligent and highly educated researchers in the health sciences — and there’s a very good chance that there will still be some who blow the Bell curve.


Toss in how public grants in pretty much any field tend to go through “fads” (for example, AIDS research got exceptionally popular in the 1990’s), just to cite another potential factor, and the notion that “race” is the determining factor — or even a major factor — is a huge jump.


These are highly intelligent people. It shouldn’t take someone like me to explain the concept of the post hoc ergo propter hoc logical fallacy.


Of course, that only applies to the scientists themselves. In the case of the Globe, they’re heavily invested in finding RAAAAACISM everywhere and anywhere they can, so there’s not much point in explaining it to them. They’re too busy shoving their fingers in their ears and yelling “LAAAA LAAAA LAAAA I CAN’T HERE YOU, RAAAAACIST!!!!111!!!” at the top of their lungs.

Taking It On Faith
A whole lotta shakin' goin' on