Category Archives: Race and race relations

Trump vs the NFL: America’s Theater of the Absurd Continues

by Donald J. Rippert

Unnecessary dumbness. This week President Trump went to Alabama to campaign for Republican Senate candidate Luther Strange. Perhaps in homage to the candidate’s surname, Donald Trump decided to voice his opinions about the NFL players who protest something or other by kneeling during the national anthem. During his speech in “the heart of Dixie” the Donald went on a tirade against the NFL players. Rather than simply expressing his disagreement with the protesters Trump returned to his usual bombast by urging NFL owners to, “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired. He’s fired!” Listening to Trump’s statements, I suspect that he would escalate a child’s game of tiddlywinks into an armed confrontation if he could only figure out a way to do so. But was he wrong?

Return fire. As has become customary in American politics the reaction to President Trump’s intemperate comments was a barrage of intemperate comments. Rodger Goodell, the vastly overcompensated commissioner of the NFL, slammed Trump’s “divisive” comments claiming the commentary showed a “disrespect for the NFL”. Goodell’s musings leave me to wonder why Trump’s statements were any more divisive than overpaid children refusing to stand for the national anthem or why a league owned by billionaires that puts on a weekly spectacle that maims and kills its players deserves any respect in the first place.  Zach Brown, a Redskins linebacker and usually one of the more intelligent NFL players, tweeted, “Trump stay in ur place… football have nothing to do wit u smh”. Really Zach? The president is somehow out of his place criticizing players who don’t stand for the national anthem? Zach, you graduated from the University of North Carolina. That’s the best you can do?

Employees and employers. Putting aside Donald Trump’s childish need to use profanity in making a statement – does he have a point? Should the owners prohibit players from kneeling or sitting during the national anthem? While NFL players clearly have a right to their opinion NFL owners also have a right to enforce rules in the workplace. I would expect to be summarily dismissed from my job if I took advantage of a public speaking opportunity regarding cloud computing to launch into a tirade against the unfairness of America. There’s a time and place for everything, and my employer doesn’t pay me to express my political opinions on the job. As an NFL fan I don’t have any interest in the political opinions of people who garner attention because they are big and/or can run fast. In a similar vein I would pass on the opportunity to pay to watch a football game played by the authors and commenters on this blog.

The boys and girls in blue. As far as I can tell the kneeling NFL players are protesting the behavior of American law enforcement officers toward minorities. It’s hard to know for sure since the kneelers seem to lack the willingness or ability to articulate their presumed grievances. I wonder what would happen if all the law enforcement officers in those NFL stadiums decided to protest the protesters by simply walking out. Would the courageous multi-millionaires who kneel during the national anthem still play the game if the thin blue line that separates them from 80,000 rabid, hard drinking fans disappeared?

Bacon bits. I urge Jim Bacon to formally invite the NFL’s players to submit guest columns on this blog. They can take the opportunity to describe how horribly unfair life has been to them. In the meantime, I think I’ll skip watching this week’s NFL games. Dan Snyder doesn’t need any more of my money anyway. I’ll use the time instead to visit my father’s grave-site at Arlington National Cemetery.

“I Love Mankind. It’s Just People I Can’t Stand.”

Counter protesters professing their love of humanity. Photo credit: Richmond Times-Dispatch

On Sept. 9, 12-year-old Bethany Harper and her nine-year-old friend Solai Coleman were sitting on the front porch of their house on Fifth Avenue in Richmond. Bethany heard the crackling pop of gunfire, and a random bullet struck Solai in the hip.

“We had nothing to do with the transaction [that led to the shooting] Saturday, but they shot at our children” Bethany’s father Thomas told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “We have a new rule in this house: ‘You’re not allowed to go beyond this line,’ he said, planting his foot on the front of the family’s wooden porch.

The number of killings in Richmond has surged this year, reaching 59 so far compared with 45 at the same point last year, which itself was the worst in a decade. Many victims are innocent bystanders. So far, the 2016-17 school year has seen 25 students in Richmond city schools shot, along with a one-year-old child of two students. Fourteen others were victims of aggravated assault or malicious wounding.

No one will hold a vigil for Solai Coleman. No one will protest the injustice of criminal actions that confine Bethany Harper to the inside of her home. There will be no marches, no placards, and no made-for-TV media spectacles. Apparently, black lives don’t matter when the killers are black. Black lives matter only when the shooter is white or a police officer. Or when when the sight of Civil War statues offend the sensibilities of those who view the world through the filter of white oppression.

The Times-Dispatch ran the article about Coleman’s shooting atop the front page of its Sunday edition. With no sense of irony, it published underneath an article about a Saturday rally around the Robert E. Lee statue that drew about seven pro-Confederate, heritage-not-hate types and a crowd of counter protesters estimated to be a couple hundred in number.

The counter protesters were incensed by the handful of neo-Confederates (most of whom came from out of state), just as they are incensed by the KKK, Nazis, white supremacists, President Trump, and “haters” generally. But neo-Confederates didn’t shoot Solai Coleman. Nazis didn’t shoot her. The KKK didn’t shoot her. Nor did white hate groups shoot any of the other 59 homicide victims in Richmond this year. Aside from occasional vigils held by victims’ family members and immediate neighbors, however, the social justice warriors have not ginned up much outrage or marched in protest of the black-on-black slaughter in Richmond’s inner city.

If the social justice warriors cared about real people instead of abstractions like “institutional racism,” which serve mainly to validate their sense of moral superiority, they would volunteer to tutor inner-city school children. Or befriend an adolescent through the Big Brother/Big Sister program. Or pound nails with Habit for Humanity to build affordable housing. Or ladle out soup in a community kitchen to serve the hungry. Or help felons build a productive life outside jail. But that takes real effort, sustained effort. And it’s not nearly as rewarding as virtue signalling to your peers how politically correct you are or venting about the evils of KKK/Fascists/Trump.

As an aside, I have to commend Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney and Police Chief Alfred Durham for making sure that the Richmond rally didn’t turn into another Charlottesville. They made it clear from the very beginning that violence would not be tolerated, and they worked to separate the protesters from the counter-protesters. By broadcasting their intent, they snuffed out interest in the rally by right- and left-wing radicals looking to bang heads and make headlines long before the event took place. Job well done.

Do Americans Really Have “Antiquated” Views on Race?

Source: Center for Politics. (Click for more legible image.)

The University of Virginia’s Center for Politics has just published the results of a poll on Civil War statues and race. To my mind, the questions about the Civil War statues are the least interesting. Nationally, Americans say by a two-to-one margin to leave the statues alone, which tells us nothing that previous polls haven’t revealed. More interesting is the spin that the Center put on the answers to its questions about attitudes towards race.

While few Americans surveyed expressed direct support for hate groups like the KKK, Nazis and Antifa, stated the press release accompanying the poll, “it will be disturbing to many that a not insubstantial proportion of those polled demonstrated neutrality and indifference or, worse, expressed support for antiquated views on race.”

Large numbers agreed with the statement that “white people are under attack,” and disagreed that “nonwhites are under attack,” while a third of respondents agreed that the country needs to “protect and preserve its White European heritage.” Then the press release said this (the emphasis is the Center’s):

Fifty years after the United States Supreme Court struck down bans on mixed-race marriage in Loving v. Virginia, about one-sixth of respondents (16%) agreed with the statement that “marriage should only be allowed between two people of the same race” and an additional 14% neither agreed nor disagreed with the statement, while 4% said they didn’t know. In total, about a third failed to express tolerance of interracial marriage. Among whites, 17% agreed that marriage should be restricted to the same race, with 15% neither agreeing nor disagreeing. This was slightly higher than nonwhites (15% agreed, 12% neither agreed nor disagreed).

Moreover, it appears that those Nazis and Klansmen marching in Charlottesville (and perhaps this weekend in Richmond) have lots of closet sympathizers. Six percent of the 5,360 people polled said they strongly or somewhat supported the “alt-right,” another 8% white nationalism, and another 4% neo-Nazism.

Let’s deconstruct this analysis. First, it should be reassuring that despite the surge of identity politics in the nation, 80% of Americans said they “strongly agree” and 9% said they “somewhat agree” with the question that “all races should be treated equally.” I do find it disturbing that 11% disagree with this fundamental proposition or simply aren’t sure about it. I would like to know who those people are. Many would jump to the conclusion that anyone expressing retrograde sentiments must be racist whites. But the Center’s crosstabs don’t support that conclusion.

Whites are more likely to agree than other groups with the proposition that all races should be treated equally.

A related question is whether “all races are equal.”

Whites agree with the statement by a significantly larger margin than blacks — 85% to 68%. But what does that mean? If someone one disagrees, does that mean he or she is an old-style racist who believes in black inferiority? Does it mean that the respondent does not believe the races are treated equally? Or does it mean something else entirely? Given the ambiguity of the question, it is almost worthless.

How about the question that “America must protect and preserve its White European heritage?”

The tenor of the question invokes Klan and neo-Nazi rhetoric that Americans of European descent are oppressed… or whatever it is they whine about. But the question lends itself to a white variety of interpretations, as should be made clear by the fact that almost as Hispanics and Others (a group consisting primarily of Asians) agreed with the statement as did whites. I would conjecture that many who answered in the positive interpreted the question to mean that America must protect its “Western European heritage,” including everything from Christianity and the spirit of inquiry to democracy, free markets, human rights and the rule of law. Indeed, had I been asked, that how I might have interpreted it. Continue reading

Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t

The Charlottesville City Council, City Manager and Police Chief have been tearing themselves apart with blame shifting as citizens demand accountability for the passive behavior of the police force that appeared to “stand down” as the white supremacist rally on Aug. 12 spiraled out of control. Nexus Caridades Attorneys Inc., an Augusta County law firm focusing on social justice issues, announced its intention to file suit against the city for failing to intervene. And at a town hall meeting last week, a crowd of some 300 gathered to vent social justice concerns and lacerate city officials for their failure to prevent the violence.

So, it was with particular interest that I read the Richmond Times-Dispatch article today explaining how the Charlottesville police had changed its tactics during the Aug. 12 rally after receiving a similarly blistering criticism from the social-justice set for its “militarized response” to a a previous KKK rally on July 8.

In the smaller July rally, which never received much attention outside Charlottesville because no one was injured or killed, the KKK presence protesting the remove of the Robert E. Lee statue had prompted a counter rally. As Ned Oliver and Graham Moomaw described the event:

Police officers outfitted with riot helmets and shields formed two lines, parting the sea of anti-racist protesters to create a path for the Klan. After the KKK rally was over, riot police formed up to disperse protesters lingering in the road, eventually firing three tear gas canisters to force the crowd to leave.

Notably, there were no deaths or injuries in July. But that didn’t prevent a storm of outrage among the social justice warriors. Activists and residents berated Council at its next meeting. Writes the T-D:

“We have profound concerns with the militarized law enforcement presence on July 8, with police wearing riot gear, driving armored vehicles and carrying weapons typically reserved for war zones,” said Mary Bauer, the executive director of the LegalAid Justice Center and one of a dozen speakers to criticize the city’s handling of the KKK rally.

“We ask the city to acknowledge that this choice to use these kinds of tactics instead of planning for de-escalation is inconsistent with Charlottesville’s values and good policing. …

At the same meeting activist Jalane Schmidt handed [Mayor Mike] Signer an emptied tear gas canister she said had been launched at her during the really. “You dropped something, councilor,” she said. … “This has to stop, this militarization of the police. When there’s militarization, the inevitable result is violence. To a hammer, everything’s a nail.”

And to a social justice warrior, everything’s a cause for outrage. No matter what the police do, they’re wrong.

As it turns out, the Charlottesville police appear to have taken the criticisms to heart. They did not gear up for a riot. They did not physically separate the white supremacists from the anarchists. They did not intervene until the rally descended into chaos. The result: a couple dozen people were injured and a young woman died.

So, the list of parties who bear a share of the blame for the disastrous outcome on Aug. 12 gets ever longer. First and foremost, we can blame the mostly out-of-state white supremacists for organizing the rally, spewing bile, acting in a deliberately provocative manner, and coming ready to rumble. Secondly, we can blame the Leftist anarchists who came to town spoiling for a fight — and giving the white supremacists someone to rumble with. Thirdly, we can blame the non-violent social justice warriors for creating the political conditions that caused the police to back away from its previously successful strategy. And fourthly, we can blame the city officials who, despite an explicit warning from the Department of Homeland Security that both the far Right and far Left were gearing up for a violent confrontation, cravenly capitulated to the demands of the social justice crew.

Welcome to Virginia in the 21st century.

“This Isn’t About Monuments. It’s Much Bigger.”

Governor Terry McAuliffe may want to remove the Civil War statues from public places, but I’ll give him credit for this: He’s not dogmatic. He acknowledges the conflicting principles at work. Speaking at WTOP yesterday, he acknowledged that removing the statues in Richmond could cost the city a big chunk of change.

When asked who should pay the cost of removing the statues, he said:

“Well, that’s a great question. So when I say the cities — my good friend the Mayor of Richmond, he’s come out on this issue as well, and he as mayor is facing five to ten million dollars if you want to move the statues. He, meanwhile, has got to make sure he’s providing money for education. So, that’s a great issue, and that’s something that these communities — and that’s why I say the local — the cities ought to make that determination.

(Listen to the interview here.)

Aside from the cost of dismantling the statues, removing them would harm real estate values along Monument Ave, selected in 2007 by the American Planning Association as one of the 10 Great Streets of America. The Washington Post quoted Bill Gallasch, 74, president of the Monument Avenue Preservation Society and a former real estate appraiser, as saying that removal of the statues could cost the city $3 million a year in lost revenue.

McAuliffe doubled down on his message on the Jimmy Barrett Show on WRVA radio this morning:

If I’m the mayor of Richmond or I’m on the City Council I’m faced with a tough decision. Do I spend, I don’t know, five to ten million dollars taking something down when I got schools – I’ll tell you my first priority has got to be schools because I got to get people employed. Richmond has to deal with the issue that a lot of folks, young millennials are here, but then when they have children they sort of move out to the neighboring jurisdictions for education. We got to keep everybody right here in this beautiful city. And that’s their biggest challenge. So I would agree with Valerie, let’s go ahead and put some context to these things and move forward. This is going to be a debate that’s going on for a long time. But what I try to get back to, and everybody likes to latch on to this monument – this isn’t about monuments. It’s much bigger, it’s much broader, and I got to fix education and we got to work on the things, Jimmy, to give everybody an opportunity.

As I’ve said previously, taking down the statues doesn’t help one African-American school child get a better education. Indeed, as McAuliffe makes clear, reality is complicated. The politics of symbolism carry a cost.

Update: According to the T-D, the $3 million estimate of lost property revenue is likely excessive, Gallasch derived the figure by assuming a 10% loss of property value not only of houses along Monument Avenue but in the adjoining Fan and Museum districts. Other appraisers dispute such a widespread impact.

Authorities Warned about Charlottesville Clashes

State and local officials had plenty of warning before the infamous white-supremacist rally that led to a fatality and multiple injuries earlier this month. Politico quotes a Department of Homeland Security warning that an escalating series of clashes had created a powder keg that would likely make the event “among the most violent to date” between white supremacists and anarchists.

The assessment, says Politico, “raises questions about whether Charlottesville city and Virginia state authorities dropped the ball before, and during, a public event that was widely expected to draw huge crowds of armed, emotional and antagonistic participants from around the country.”

The Aug. 9 assessment by the DHS Office of Intelligence and analysis, was made in coordination with state, local and federal authorities at the Virginia Fusion center. “Anarchist extremists” had attacked white supremacists at previous gatherings, leading to fights, injuries and arrests.

Both sides were clearly gearing up for an unprecedented confrontation in the weeks leading up to the Aug. 12 “Unite the Right” rally and a weekend of events planned around it by white supremacist rally organizers and those protesting it.

“Anarchist extremists and white supremacist extremists online are calling on supporters to be prepared for or to instigate violence at the 12 August rally,” the assessment warned.

One “probable” white supremacist, it said, had posted an online “call to arms,” saying “antifa must be destroyed.”

“They predicted it,” one senior law enforcement analyst from another state said of the assessment. Each side was saying, “’All right everybody, go get your weapons, and we’re gonna go kick their asses.’ And that’s exactly what happened in Charlottesville.”

Bacon’s bottom line: This revelation puts more heat on state and local authorities to explain their actions on Aug. 12. Why did the police remain passive for so long? Could they have averted the tragedy by intervening earlier, more aggressively, or differently?

Any inquiry into the events on that fateful day should be viewed in the context of the moral posturing by Charlottesville’s mayor and Virginia’s governor denouncing the white supremacists (who richly deserved the criticism) without mentioning the contribution of “anti-fascist” elements to the violence. No one takes a political risk excoriating Nazis and racists — 99% percent of all Americans would agree. But rebuking Antifa and other anarchists… that’s not so easy. Many Americans are ambivalent, especially on the Left. While they may not approve of Antifa’s violent tactics, some politicians and pundits seem to think the nihilist group’s anti-Nazi, anti-KKK, anti-Trump sentiments confer it with moral legitimacy.

Take Down the Jefferson Davis Statue. Erect One to Alexander T. Augusta

Alexander T. Augusta — a native Virginian, and the highest-ranking black to serve the Union army.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch makes a good recommendation regarding the Civil War statues on Monument Ave: Take down the statue to Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America.

Society may be too divided to find common ground on this issue, but if compromise is possible, then removing Davis’ statue would be a key element of any settlement. Unlike Robert E. Lee, J.E.B. Stuart, and Stonewall Jackson, Davis was not a native Virginian. He was an unrepentant advocate of slavery, not conflicted morally in any way. He was not a soldier; he did not uphold martial virtues such as courage, leadership and tactical brilliance on the battlefield. And he did nothing to bind the wounds of the Civil War. There really is nothing good to be said about the man today. His statue should be moved to the Museum of the Confederacy or some such institution for display as a historical artifact.

What would be displayed in Davis’ place? Some have suggested honoring General George H. Thomas, a native Virginian who chose to serve in the Union army and who also distinguished himself during the war. A statue to Thomas would be in keeping with the theme of Civil War generals on Monument Ave, and it would replace a now-universally reviled figure with an admirable one.

An even better candidate would be Lt. Col. Alexander T. Augusta, the highest-ranking African-American to serve in the Union army. Born in Norfolk as a free black, Augusta learned to read while working as a barber. Leaving Virginia, he struggled against discrimination to pursue his goal of becoming a physician. Eventually, he succeeded, and in 1863, he was commissioned as Regimental Surgeon of the Seventh U.S. Colored Troops, an office he served with distinction. After the war, he promoted the self-help movement among former slaves, served as the first black faculty member of the Howard University medical school, and fought discrimination against African-Americans, as can be seen in his Wikipedia profile.

Replacing a statue of Jefferson Davis with one dedicated to Alexander T. Augusta, a military man and an exemplar of many virtues, would preserve the unique character of Monument Ave., eliminate the least defensible of its Confederate statues, and honor an admirable and accomplished African-American who has received less recognition than he deserved. Combine this idea with Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney’s idea of installing signage to provide the historical context of the remaining statues, and we can avoid blotting out all reminders of a politically incorrect past.

Petersburg’s School Cheating Scandal

As if the City of Petersburg didn’t have enough problems recovering from its fiscal meltdown, now it has a school cheating scandal on its hands. The Virginia Department of Education discovered a suspicious pattern of answers in Standards of Learning (SOL) tests indicating that test-takers were coached to switch from incorrect answers to correct answers. Reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Some students at A.P. Hill Elementary School in Petersburg had to raise a hand after answering questions on state accountability tests last spring for a proctor to check their work. If the answer was correct, they could move on to the next question. If it was not, the students were told to check their work.

Others made rapid-fire corrections to wrong answers within minutes before submitting computerized tests, data show.

Five staff members who administered the tests have lost their jobs. One employee, who begged to be removed from testing duties, likened the test results rigging to the Atlanta cheating scandal.

Bacon’s bottom line: Needless to say, Petersburg school children are not well served when people believe they are performing better than they actually are. The only beneficiaries of cheating are the school staff, who win accolades for improved test performances.

Now, let’s go back to the previous post about the decline in the percentage of African-American students enrolled in America’s most prominent universities, and the explanation offered by the New York Times:

Experts say that persistent underrepresentation often stems from equity issues that begin earlier. Elementary and secondary schools with large numbers of black and Hispanic students are less likely to have experienced teachers, advanced courses, high-quality instructional materials and adequate facilities….

That’s the standard narrative, and it is woefully misleading. I discussed in the previous post how the biggest disadvantage suffered by African-American students is the much higher probability of being raised in fatherless families. All too often, they suffer a double handicap in attending failing schools. But why are their schools failing? Is it a matter of racism, discrimination, or unequal distribution of resources?

Petersburg, which I believe is the poorest-performing school district in Virginia, spent $11,179 per student on average in 2010 (the most recent data I could find), just a hair shy of the $11,316 state average. Of course Petersburg has more than its share of disadvantaged and special-needs students, but it’s not as if the school district has been living on a penurious budget.

If Petersburg students have less experienced teachers, fewer advanced courses, aging school buildings, and lesser-quality school materials, could one of the reasons be maladministration? We know the city government is a fiscal disaster. We know there’s staff-organized cheating in the schools, and that the cheating was caught by the Virginia Department of Education, not the school administration. Is it not possible that Petersburg has a severely dysfunctional school administration, and that inept management has compounded the challenges of poverty?

These are the questions we should be asking. Instead, we’re focusing on the statues of Civil War generals. Tear down every Civil War statue, you won’t help one Petersburg school child. Tear down the statues of every slave holder, and you won’t help one Petersburg school child. Tear down the statues of all those who held views that would be considered racist today, including Abraham Lincoln, and you won’t help one Petersburg school child. The obsession with statuary reflects a doubling-down on the paradigm of irredeemable American racism even Great Society institutions crumble around us. Innocent black school children are the most tragic victims of this blindness.

What Happened to Institutional Racism?

Graphic credit: New York Times. Asians and Hispanics have made large percentage enrollment gains at UVa in concert with their dramatic population growth in the state, while white percentage has fallen. Black enrollment has declined from 10% to 7%.

Even after decades of affirmative action, the New York Times has found, black and Hispanic students are more underrepresented at the nation’s top colleges and universities than they were 35 years ago.

“The share of black freshmen at elite schools is virtually unchanged since 1980. Black students are just 6 percent of freshmen but 15 percent of college-age Americans,” writes a NY Times reporting team. “More Hispanics are attending elite schools, but the increase has not kept up with the huge growth of young Hispanics in the United States, so the gap between students and the college-age population has widened.”

Blacks and Hispanics have gained ground at less selective colleges and universities but not at the highly selective institutions, the article says. Whites are slightly more “over-represented” than they were, but Asians have scored the biggest gains. In effect, Asians are displacing blacks and Hispanics.

The numbers provide quite the quandary for the New York Times. If higher education were judged by the same criteria as the private sector, one might readily conclude that the statistical disparity in racial representation reflects evidence of discrimination. Yet higher-ed, one of the most liberal-minded institutions in the country, has made a fetish of multiculturalism and diversity and has aggressively recruited blacks and Hispanics.

In seeking an explanation for the seeming contradiction between noble words and ignoble performance, the Times has stumbled upon an interesting explanation:

Experts say that persistent underrepresentation often stems from equity issues that begin earlier.

Elementary and secondary schools with large numbers of black and Hispanic students are less likely to have experienced teachers, advanced courses, high-quality instructional materials and adequate facilities, according to the United State Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

“There’s such a distinct disadvantage to begin with,” said David Hawkins, an executive director at the National Association for College Admission Counseling. “A cascading set of obstacles all seem to contribute to a diminished representation of minority students in highly selective colleges.”

I don’t recall such a charitable explanation ever being invoked to let private industry off the hook for racial employment gaps, which in their case are regarded as prima facie evidence racial discrimination. So, the article represents progress of a sort. But the Times still doesn’t get it quite right. To be sure, a lack of experienced teachers, advanced courses and adequate facilities may provide some of the explanation. But the phenomena of Asian over-performance and black and Hispanic under-performance applies is repeated over and over within the same school districts and even the same schools. The gap is sociological in origin.

National Review’s David French frames the issue this way:

The cohort that’s most overrepresented in American colleges and universities, Asian Americans, also happens to have the lowest percentage of nonmarital births in the United States. In fact, the greater the percentage of nonmarital births, the worse the educational outcomes. Only 16.4 percent of Asian and Pacific Islander children are born into nonmarried households. For white, Hispanic, and black Americans the percentages are 29.2, 53, and 70.6, respectively. Taken together, that means that staggering numbers of Hispanic and black children face a degree of family stress and uncertainty that their white and Asian peers simply don’t experience.

Compare children from married households, and most of the gap between Asians, Whites, blacks and Hispanics disappears. Not all of it, but most of it.

(Also part of the explanation is attitudinal differences between groups. For example, parents of Asian families are less likely to care about their children being “happy” or “popular,” or “finding themselves” than are their white socioeconomic peers. Consequently, they drive their children to excel academically. Asian-Americans tend to be more willing to defer present gratification for the future reward of attending an excellent college and pursuing a lucrative career.)

Academia has done much to perpetuate the idea that America is irredeemably racist, and that disparities in racial/ethnic representation are evidence of discrimination. I would love to hoist campus liberals on their own petard. “Hah! By your own criteria, you discriminate against minorities. You’re racist!” As tempting as it would be to take such a cheap shot, I refrain. College admissions officers can’t be held responsible for the fact that fewer black and Hispanics graduate from high school, just as high schools can’t be blamed for the fact that students from poor families and broken homes are less academically prepared by the time they reach 9th grade, and so on down the line.

The root causes of inequality are complex. It’s refreshing to see the New York Times implicitly acknowledge a piece of that reality.

(Hat tip: Reed Fawell.)

How to Protect Civil War Statues

Photo credit: Virginia Flaggers

If you want to preserve the statues of Civil War generals, there are two ways to go about it. One is to align yourself with white nationalists, spew racial vitriol, evoke the terror of the KKK by brandishing torches, arm yourself to the teeth, mix it up with Antifa and other Lefties, and mow people down with a car.

The other is to conduct yourself in the same manner as the Virginia Flaggers in Lynchburg. Hearing rumors that statues of Jubal Early and others were targeted for vandalism, the Flaggers set up protective patrols, backed by the Lynchburg police. Then, according to the organization’s Facebook page, this happened:

Late in the evening, one of the monument guards noticed this woman, who later identified as a black lives matter supporter, trembling and shaking with fear. He said he could tell she honestly feared them. He walked up to her, arms outstretched, said “we are not KKK” and she grabbed him and wouldn’t let go. He explained that they were here to stop all of this and prevent another Charlottesville. He said “If I were KKK would I hold you like this and she said “NO”.

They talked for some time and he said we have to work together to stop this mess. She wept and thanked him over and over for coming over to her and they parted ways with new understanding.

I doubt the encounter changed anyone’s mind about the appropriateness of Civil War statues in public places, but perhaps a few people parted ways mindful of the humanity of those on the other side of the controversy.