Bawer is the author of While Europe Slept, Surrender,
and The Victims' Revolution. His novel The Alhambra
was published in 2017. His new book, The
Victim's Revolution, is now available in paperback.
The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering
Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture, Heather
MacDonald, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and contributing
editor of City Journal, painted a grim picture of the damage
done by university administrators desperate to diversify their
student bodies at all costs. Identity studies programs, MacDonald
made clear, exist not only because of the desire of progressive
professors to promote postmodern ideology, but also because
such courses, which involve little more than complaining about
purported oppression and parroting inane jargon, are far easier
for underqualified students to wrap their minds around than
something serious and useful. In the same way, the introduction
of “critical race studies” provides a handy route
through law school for black kids who’d never be able
to negotiate a traditional legal curriculum.
course, low-achieving black and Latino applicants also get
admissions preferences – which in the long term aren’t
really good for them, since those for whom the bar has been
lowered invariably fall behind. One of the more frustrating
aspects of this rank injustice is that Asians, who effectively
get punished for being smart, working hard, and earning high
test scores, have a right to kick up holy hell but rarely
do, while many blacks and Latinos who get special treatment
– not just affirmative action, but scholarships and
other benefits – can’t stop raging about racism.
Diversity Delusion came out in 2019. On May 25 of the
following year, a thug named George Floyd died during an unpleasant
encounter with the Minneapolis police, and pretty soon everything
MacDonald wrote about in The Diversity Delusion got even worse.
Suddenly it was all about race: America had stepped into the
looking glass and entered the harebrained world of Ibram X.
Kendi and Robin DiAngelo, whose strange new road rules –
and their dire consequences – are the subject of MacDonald’s
new book, When Race Trumps Merit: How the Pursuit of Equity
Sacrifices Excellence, Destroys Beauty, and Threatens Lives.
Floyd’s death, needless to say, came a summer of race
riots, all premised on the claim that white cops are killing
innocent blacks in massive numbers (a lie that MacDonald,
by the way, debunked in her 2016 book The War on Cops) and
that America was born out of a deep-seated racism that has
never abated. Instead of rebutting this falsehood, a veritable
army of high-ranking establishment figures – from university
presidents and corporate CEOs to the editors of medical and
scientific journals – affirmed it, issuing ardent mea
culpas in which they accepted the ridiculous charge that the
underrepresentation of blacks in their respective institutions
was the result of white racism – and nothing else –
and promised that they would act immediately and decisively
to alter this inexcusable state of affairs.
isn’t having it. With a blizzard of statistics, she
pulls back the curtain on the reality behind subpar black
performance. For example, some figures on high-school seniors:
in 2019, 28% of whites and 37% of Asians – but only
7% of blacks – were “proficient” in twelfth-grade
math. The numbers for reading are similar. In 2015, 60% of
those students attaining very high scores (between 750 and
800) on the math SAT were Asian, 33% were white, and 2% were
black. In 2004, the average LSAT score of students admitted
to the top ten law schools was 165; only 1% of blacks (a total
of 108 individuals) scored that high. Fully 22% of black law-school
grads never pass the bar after five tries, compared with 3%
of whites. In 2020, the average score on the GMAT (for prospective
graduate students) was 463 for blacks, 573 for whites, and
601 for Asians.
are these results so poor? Is it racism? Is it because blacks
still suffer from the historical legacy of slavery, 158 years
after the 13th Amendment, and of Jim Crow, 59 years after
the Civil Rights Act? If that’s the case, then why do
recent Asian immigrants who’ve just escaped some of
the worst living conditions in the world manage to soar so
quickly? Could it be because Asian parents tend to value education
and encourage studying, while too many black kids grow up
hearing that being studious is “acting white”?
Could it be because too many black kids live on welfare payments
in single-parent homes, in neighborhoods plagued by gangs,
in a subculture defined by booty calls and baby mamas and
the idolization of rappers and drug dealers and thugs? “One
third of all black males,” MacDonald notes, “have
a felony conviction.” Over 70% of black babies are born
out of wedlock.
is it just black kids who teach each other irresponsible behavior.
In 2020, the National Museum of African American History &
Culture declared that rationality, hard work, delayed gratification,
politeness, self-control, and other admirable attributes (all
of which predict academic and professional success) are “white”
traits. In the same year, a leading charter school network
eliminated its motto “Work Hard. Be Nice.” Thus
do supposedly respectable black-community establishments actively
discourage young black people from being civilized. Given
all this, it’s a wonder that black kids’ test
scores aren’t even worse than they are.
reason for broad-based black failure is obvious and difficult
to overcome: the black subculture – which in the 1950s,
despite white bigotry and socioeconomic inequality, had a
strong foundation in religion and family – has been
going to the dogs ever since LBJ’s Great Society, and
is in drastic need of radical change. Destructive cultural
pathologies have long been crying out to be addressed. But
to address them would mean acknowledging them. And in the
post-George Floyd era, that’s harder than ever. To suggest
in the year 2023 that any problem in the black community is
the fault of anything other than crushing, systematic white
racism is to reap the whirlwind.
so the culture of lies endures – and the fervid attempts
to correct for an utterly illusory racism intensify. In 2021,
the University of California system barred the use of ACT
and SAT scores in admissions on the grounds that the tests
are racist. As of 2022, about 36% of grad schools no longer
use the GRE. Around the country, primary and secondary schools,
rather than trying to improve education for blacks, have sought
to stick it to whites and Asians by killing off programs for
gifted and talented students.
it goes. The state of California now mandates that corporate
boards contain a certain percentage of minorities –
ignoring the fact that in many instances there simply aren’t
enough minorities who qualify. Since 2021, the National Institutes
of Health has demanded that researchers explain how their
work will “empower” blacks; the National Science
Foundation has instituted similar requirements. Yet in 2021,
for all the “anti-racist” initiatives in STEM
fields, not a single black person in the entire U.S. was awarded
a Ph.D. in certain disciplines, among them number theory,
robotics, and structural engineering. Meanwhile scientists
who might be looking for the causes of cancer are instead
studying, say, the role of racism in black obesity.
issue doesn’t just arise in STEM. In the post-Floyd
era, in the name of “anti-racism,” museum curators
have been quick to declare that traditional European art forms
are racist. Arts administrators pronounce that the underrepresentation
of blacks in arts organizations is racist. Leading figures
at orchestras, opera companies, and conservatories attribute
the whiteness of their milieus to racism. Musicologists seek
to take Beethoven down a few pegs and try to revive lousy,
long-forgotten classical composers who happened to be black.
And here, perhaps, is the topper: New York Times music
critic Anthony Tommasini actually condemns blind auditions
– which ensure a focus on merit and not on race, sex,
or other irrelevant factors – as racist.
folly – and danger – of this new dispensation
becomes particularly clear when you examine the medical profession.
In 2021, the American Medical Association issued a plan for
“racial justice” that, in MacDonald’s words,
reads like “a black studies department mission statement.”
Yale Medical School has instituted pass-fail courses. At the
George Washington University School of Medicine and Health
Sciences, one dean decided that a certain student’s
poor academic performance was outweighed by her “passion
for social justice.” As if this would make any difference
in an operating room.
dissent from this irresponsible madness is punished severely.
In 2020, when Dr. Norman Wang of the University of Pittsburgh
Medical Center (UPMC) proposed in the Journal of the American
Heart Association that doctors be evaluated using colorblind
criteria, he was savaged by the president-elect of the AHA,
the JAHA withdrew the paper, and he lost his job at UPMC.
On a 2021 podcast sponsored by the Journal of the American
Medical Association, a JAMA editor who’s a surgeon at
UCLA spoke up for equality in medicine but criticized the
profession’s obsessive interest in racism – in
response to which JAMA took down the podcast and yanked his
editorship, while back at UCLA he faced a “show trial.”
been treated by doctors with a wide spectrum of skin colors
without giving it a thought. But reading about the systematic
relaxing of standards in medical education, I have to say
that I’d now hesitate to see a young black doctor in
the U.S. about anything more urgent than a hangnail. I can’t
help thinking that my late father, who was a doctor, would’ve
been appalled to see his profession take such a stupid turn.
It’s no surprise to learn from MacDonald that these
harrowing developments are leading a great many gifted white
physicians to quit medicine altogether. A terrifying thought.
American institutions are currently in the grip of this calamitous
claptrap, what’s up in China? There, the best students
are identified at an early age and are channeled into special
classes. Kids learn self-discipline and responsibility. Classroom
time is never wasted on jawing about racism – or, for
that matter, gender. The result: while Chinese students score
highest in the world on PISA (Programme for International
Student Assessment) tests, the U.S. comes in at #25. And while
the rankings of American universities, which have long been
considered by far the world’s best, are declining, China’s
are on their way up.
tragic that while the tyrannical regime that focused, half
a century ago, on indoctrinating everybody into the ideology
of Mao’s Little Red Book has turned that Communist
dictatorship into a scientific and technological powerhouse,
the United States of America – once the laboratory of
the modern world – has exchanged Einstein and Madame
Curie for the mediocre maunderings of Kendi and DiAngelo.
And what’s worst of all is that none of this nonsense
– not one bit of it – is helping black people
climb a single step up the ladder. It’s only bringing
all of us down. And fast.
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