December 1, 2011

Do college quotas hurt NAMs?

George Will has a column on some new research supporting the mismatch theory that racial quotas in education hurt their beneficiaries by putting them into overly elite schools:
A second brief, submitted by three members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (Gail Heriot, Peter Kirsanow and Todd Gaziano), argues that racial preferences in law school admissions mean fewer black lawyers than there would be without preferences that bring law students into elite academic settings where their credentials put them in the bottom of their classes. A similar dynamic is reducing the number of minority scientists and engineers than there would be under race-neutral admissions policies. 
There are fewer minorities entering high-prestige careers than there would be if preferences were not placing many talented minority students in inappropriate, and discouraging, academic situations: “Many would be honor students elsewhere. But they are subtly being made to feel as if they are less talented than they really are.” This is particularly so regarding science and engineering, which are, as Heriot, Kirsanow and Gaziano say, “ruthlessly cumulative”: Students who struggle in entry-level classes will find their difficulties cascading as the academic ascent becomes steeper. Hence the high attrition rates. 

I used to think this was true, but I now have doubts. You know whose perspective I'd like to get on this issue?: A widowed black lady named Marian Robinson. See, she repeatedly saw her daughter go to elite schools on racial quotas -- Whitney Young HS, Princeton, Harvard Law, and then off to a Big Law firm -- But her daughter was in over her head at most of these places, felt like her peers were looking down upon her, struggled with spelling and with passing the bar exam, and quickly gave up practicing law for lower brow jobs in the fixer industry in Chicago. So, the question I'd ask Mrs. Robinson is how did  affirmative action work out for your daughter?

But I probably won't be able to go over to her house and knock on the door and ask Mrs. Robinson, because she and her daughter, two granddaughters, and her son-in-law, live in the White House. So, I'm just going to guess that, despite some rough patches, overall it worked out pretty doggone good for Michelle Robinson Obama.

Say I'm a black high school student with a 700 SAT math score and my options are:

1) Without affirmative action, go to Purdue and become an engineer.

2) With affirmative action, go to Penn, major in economics or finance, maybe get an MBA, and go into corporate management

Why would I choose what's behind door #1? My dad was an engineer. A friend of his designed the fastest airplane of all time. But, he was never that kind of genius, so he spent 40 years worrying about whether or not the wings were going to snap off the planes designed by the geniuses.

There are a lot of worse jobs than engineer, but there are better jobs, too.

To compare this topic to my next blog post below, I'd say that getting into a college a little over your head is likely to be a lot less disastrous than getting into a financial transaction a little over your head. Not for profit colleges, especially the elite ones, are pretty coddling places, at least outside of sci-eng departments. If you don't graduate, that will look bad on their USNWRs, so they will help you find a Plan B.

In contrast, you don't want to get into a for-profit educational institution to study something above your brainpower. You'll just wind up with a lot of inescapable debt and nothing to show for it.  

138 comments:

AC said...

I go to an elite law school, and it's UNHEARD OF for anybody to drop out. We're graded on a curve, but nobody fails. So I doubt this is true, even though I don't know if people tend to drop out more at lower ranked schools.

beowulf said...

I used to think this was true, but I now have doubts. You know whose perspective I'd like to get on this issue...

OK, at risk like sounding like Whiskey, who cares where the Michelle Obama, Laura Bush or anyone else whose husband wins the lottery. As for the process of choosing a mate, when a man is attracted to a woman, where she went to school or her professional accomplishments are just background noise compared to other, more important factors.

Carol said...

Why would a for-profit be any easier? They're so desperate that they *really* coddle their suckers. You don't even have to go to class.

Regarding law schools, I heard it the schools that are easy to get into are also easy to flunk out of. But that is just a function of the type of students they attract. An elite school gets students who would die before dropping out.

Truth said...

"As for the process of choosing a mate, when a man is attracted to a woman, where she went to school or her professional accomplishments are just background noise compared to other, more important factors."

It's often through collegiate connections, that the man and woman meet each other.

Antioco Dascalon said...

I think it could make a significant difference in second and third tier law schools. First, you have the knock-on effect: since the top tier schools take a disproportionate percentage of qualified NAMs, the second tier have to dig even deeper and the third, deeper still.
The July 2004 California bar passage rate for first time test takers is 74.6% for whites and 48.2% for blacks. I'd imagine at mid-tier schools, the black students would be failing the bar at astounding rates. So, they are admitted to a school, take on up to $100,000 in debt and waste three years of their lives and what happens? They never have a chance to pass the bar.
See this analysis of racial mismatch in law schools: http://www.elsblog.org/the_empirical_legal_studi/2006/09/sander_2_black_.html

"If 78% of black law students in the Class of 2004 successfully graduated from law school, 93% of black graduates took the bar (estimated from BPS data), and only 47% of those who do take the bar pass on the first attempt, then only 34% of the overall cohort graduated and passed the bar on the first attempt. "

Assistant Village Idiot said...

You are asking, then, what does affirmative action mean in a society where the training wheels never have to come off?

I admit I have never looked at it that way. I have always worked under the assumption that eventually = at 30, at 40, at 50 - real life will assert itself. I see now that this has never been the case in any society. There is always a protected group.

Anonymous said...

Good. Real good.

Steve Sailer said...

Yes, the problem with being a marginal law school student is the Bar Exam. If you are a marginal MBA student, however, there's no Business Exam that you can flat out not pass.

But if Yale Law School wants to steal black law students from NYU Law, well, they're all going to pass the Bar Exam.

Anonymous said...

It hurts those who drop out, and many do drop out.
But what's really of interest is George Will frames the debate in terms of 'is it good for blacks?', as if black interests are more important than white interests.
Whether affirmative action is good for NAMS or not, why is Will afraid to ask whether it's good for whites, which it certainly isn't?
That's the real scandal.
If we are only supposed to oppose affirmative action on the basis that it may be hurting blacks, it means even conservatives(are supposed to)care more about blacks than about themselves.

At any rate, blacks are not going to buy Will's argument, so what's the point? It's so much like GOP still appealing to blacks when blacks don't like white conservatives.

Earl Van Dorn said...

I think the "lesser" law schools tend to teach more nuts and bolts stuff designed to help their students pass the bar exam. The elite ones don't because they figure their students are smart enough to learn it on their own. So they encourage a lot of esoteric thinking and have a very limited core. So this can hurt people who get in over their heads.

But I see your point.

Anonymous said...

One reason not to go to a top law school as an AA person is that everybody thinks you're stupid, and only got in becuase of AA. That has to be demoralizing. It may still be worth it.

slumber_j said...

Truth said:

"It's often through collegiate connections, that the man and woman meet each other."

I'm as suspicious of anecdote as the next guy, but this has been true of my spouse and me. Twice.

Jehu said...

The reason to oppose college quotas and affirmative action is that such quotas and affirmative action hurt white people. They are contrary to our interests. Saying such quotas are harmful or degrading to black people is just useful rhetoric for nice white ladies, who are pathologically ashamed of advancing the interests of white people as such.bb

wes said...

I think that the greater harm is probably at the professional rather than academic level. When affirmative candidates are put into positions of actual responsibilities that are over their heads it can't lead to good results. They have to blame someone and it is never consciously going to be themselves. Of course this trickles into acadamia in a profession like medicine. Rather than be a top dentist, an affirmative candidate will be one of the worst doctors.

Overall, it's bad for the black brand. People learn to pretty much assume that whereever a black student is in academia or professionally is about two steps above where colorless merit would put them. If he was smart enough to be where he is without being black, he would be two steps ahead because he is black.

Anonymous said...

Is the point that hard sciences are actually harder? And that you can skip them anyway if you go to an *elite* school and pick a more subjectively evaluated major? And that you'll probably make a better living that way?

No doubt true, but good luck getting the liberal arts crowd to admit they teach a lot of bs.

Mitch said...

That was a bad example.First, a 700 SAT is more than adequate for any top school--the difference between a 700 and a 770 these days is accuracy and fussiness, not serious brain wattage.

Second, a black student with a 700 SAT score isn't considering the difference between Penn and Perdue, but getting full ride scholarships to Harvard. Only 1-2% of the black population gets a 700 or higher; the number of blacks with a 1500 SAT is 150 or so. That's fewer blacks than Harvard wants in a year. A black student with a 700 math SAT is so heavily courted it's not even funny.

A better example would have been a black kid with a 560 SAT score, which still puts him in the top 10-15% of African American scores, and eligible for a top 10 school. He wouldn't be getting a full ride, but he'd be going anywhere he'd want to.

Anonymous said...

Truth said:

It's often through collegiate connections, that the man and woman meet each other.


Now that is something you have said that I can agree with.

That's why women go to college. As VoxDay says, the predators go where the prey are.

Harry Baldwin said...

“Academic mismatch” causes many students who are admitted under a substantial preference based on race, but who possess weaker academic skills, to fall behind.

George Will considers it okay to attribute "weaker academic skills" to blacks, but I don't think he'd acknowledge their lower IQ. "Weaker academic skills" is loose enough to encompass other factors, and thus is permissible.

Mitch said...

A couple clarifications to my post:

1) When I say that a 700 is "good enough" for a top school, I am referring to necessary brain power, not admissions.

2) 1-2% of blacks get a 700 or higher cite:http://professionals.collegeboard.com/profdownload/sat-percentile-ranks-by-gender-ethnicity-2010.pdf

That's on a per year basis, and it's been consistent for as long as I've been checking. Just 5-6% of blacks get over 600 on any section of the SAT.

3) We are a bit too dismissive of "only" 700 scores. A kid who gets high 600s or better on each section is academically suited for any of the top 50 schools.

RKU said...

But what's really of interest is George Will frames the debate in terms of 'is it good for blacks?', as if black interests are more important than white interests.

Establishment-conservative pundits are so cowardly, stupid, and dishonest it's not funny...

Anonymous said...

For admissions purposes, simply disaggregate real whites from The People Who DON'T Control the Media, and stipulate that places for Under-represented blacks be taken from the pool of places for The People Who AREN'T Over-represented.

Then just sit back and watch as AA policy magically, mysteeriously transforms, all of its own accord.

To paraphrase Randall Monroe, "social science WORKS, bitches."

That is, when it's at all frank about its ostensible subject.

TGGP said...

Many black women find it hard to get a man with comparable eduction/career prospects. College educated ones especially so. So I don't think you can generalize Michelle Obama.

Anonymous said...

"getting full ride scholarships to Harvard"

No such thing as a Harvard College scholarship outside of fin aid.

Simon in London said...

"pretty coddling places, at least outside of sci-eng departments"

Yes, I think it has to depend on whether or not it's a hard-science field. In hard-science fields AA may well have the effect described. In softer subjects like Law, the AA beneficiary may well be able to scrape through, and then be in demand from top Law firms looking to fill their AA quotas.

Reg C├Žsar said...

Second, a black student with a 700 SAT score isn't considering the difference between Penn and Perdue... --Mitch

No, he's not, because Perdue is a poultry processor. I think you mean "Purdue".

Of course, it might be easier for a black kid to get into an engineering school than into poultry processing. Those jobs are all going to Mexicans. Even in isolated Delmarva.

Speaking of Perdue, I always thought Frank looked suspiciously galline.

ray said...

you're worried that affirmative action harms "minorities"? you joking?

you need a reality check, like a couple years living in the back of a car

after half a century of legal apartheid against (non-connected, non-silver spoon) white males, what have the FemFascists and Diversity Dildoes invented? created? produced of lasting value? Fitty cent and p diddy? four hundred dollar handbags? endless prisons and Der Homeland (headed by another Privileged Princess, btw)?

your economy is dying, your culture is dying, and you're weeping croc tears for michelle obama, whose path was greased from getgo by her chicago pol daddy?

she's first lady yet she STILL hates the country that handed a mega-privileged life to her on antique china... she feels Opressed, doncha know?

bah, this place deserves to croak

bjdubbs said...

I scored in the 7's on the math SAT, but I'm pretty sure I would have had trouble graduating from Purdue engineering. Luckily, SAT doesn't measure spatial ability, which I don't have.

http://www.vanderbilt.edu/Peabody/SMPY/SpatialAbility.pdf

Anonymous said...

You're slightly wrong on the focus on sci-eng, Steven. The picture is more complex than that.

http://carrefoursagesse.wordpress.com/2009/01/05/just-how-smart-are-philosophers/

Conatus said...

Affirmative Action is much easier to digest when everyone is riding high economically.
Sure we can afford to skim a little off the top of our overflowing barrel when the economy is humming along, everyone is working and we all have smiles on our multi-hued, multicultural faces.
But in times of adversity, in economically dessicated days politics and the public forum takes on a different look. The faces are grimmer, the looks longer, the stakes higher. The real question is: when the well of leverage is dry can we afford to ladle out another bucket?
Peter Brimelow, the financial commentator, and Vdare guy, said in 1993:
“A standard calculation converts this into an estimate of GNP shortfall because of affirmative action: about 1.5 percentage points by 1992.”
The question in tight times is not whether AA helps NAMS but whether in times of scarcity the people will go along with losing 1.5 percent. If that is true, then the inefficiencies mandated by AA almost equal the entire GNP. Which is a huge amount in an era of 2% growth.

Anonymous said...

Parents and adults say and discuss things among themselves that they don't when kids are around.
We tend to focus on what liberals say publicly in the media. But what do they say amongst themselves on a whole host of controversial issues?

And how much of is it idealistic, delusional, cowardly, or cynical(for power, as Labor party in Britain having conspired to bring in more non-whites to boost their electoral chances)?

It'd be nice to have 'insiders' eavesdropping in on the real talking points of the elites that are not heard in the politically correct sphere of public thought.

There's the public and then there's the sublic.

Anonymous said...

Robert Shiller

Mitch said...

...SAT doesn't measure spatial ability....

Not directly, I agree. Which is why an 800 on the SAT is no more indicative of success at PUUUUURdue or Penn in engineering than a 700. (Really, some idiot wasted a whole comment on that?)

I've known more than one student who could not break 700 on the SAT but got 34-36 on the ACT.

Nonetheless, both a 700 and anything over a 30 on the ACT is exceptionally rare for an African American, so I still think a 600 or 580 (top 6-10%) would be more appropriate for the example.

One of the various indistinguishable anonymi said that Harvard doesn't give full scholarships--I keep forgetting how insanely nitpicky some people are. I neither know nor care who gives what money in what form. It is not relevant to the point, and it's an important one, about the rarity of a 700 in the African American test population. However schools react to desirable commodities, that's how they'd react.

JSM said...

"When affirmative candidates are put into positions of actual responsibilities that are over their heads it can't lead to good results."

Correct.


Did you guys see this great rant by Ann Barnhardt (who shut down her commodities trading brokerage because, with the blowup of MF Global, there is "no more rule of law in this country")?

She says a huge part of the problem is that the regulators are a bunch of incompetents, Affirmative Action hires -- quote, "Yes, I said it!" --
and kids just out of college with NO IDEA what's going on.

So the crash at the intersection of high-IQ criminals and low-IQ Affirmative Action hires has DESTROYED the futures markets, even for REAL STUFF like cows.


http://www.financialsense.com/financial-sense-newshour/guest-expert/2011/12/01/ann-barnhardt/entire-futures-options-market-destroyed-by-mf-global-collapse

Georgia Resident said...

"your economy is dying, your culture is dying, and you're weeping croc tears for michelle obama, whose path was greased from getgo by her chicago pol daddy?"

I think Steve was writing tongue-in-cheek. That is, pointing out that (elite) NAMs benefit handsomely from affirmative action, and that George Will's weeping croc tears. I personally don't care much if AA helps or harms its Privileged Class, but it does illustrate just how artificial things like the "black middle class" really are.

Mike43 said...

Ivy league universities have the capability of offering very complete grants.

Our youngest was admitted to Brown, Yale, Chicago, NYU and a couple of others.

The grants that each offered him varied from 4000 at NYU to 40,000 at the University of Chicago.

Where he went and graduated. There's money out there in the private universities, but it's somewhat of a lottery.

Florida resident said...

Dear Mr. Sailer !
Your work is extremely important; thank you for keeping it so great !

You wrote:
"My dad was an engineer. A friend of his designed the fastest airplane of all time. But, he was never that kind of genius, so he spent 40 years worrying about whether or not the wings were going to snap off the planes designed by the geniuses."

It is not clear from those sentences, if it was the
"friend" of your esteemed father,
or your father himself,
"was never that kind of genius".

May I kindly suggest that you clarify that ?

With respectful fascination, Florida resident.

Vintage Seltzer said...

Re: "For admissions purposes, simply disaggregate real whites from The People Who DON'T Control the Media, and stipulate that places for Under-represented blacks be taken from the pool of places for The People Who AREN'T Over-represented.

Then just sit back and watch as AA policy magically, mysteeriously transforms, all of its own accord.
"

I get your sarcasm and, no doubt, you're right. However, I disagree for the following reason: once the ability for the educational attainment is taken away from the Jews, they leave the country. Though the prospect might seem attractive to you at first, try to think of a country that had benefited from such an exodus.

The scenario you're toying with had already played out its course in the Soviet Union. After the Revolution, preferences in hiring and admissions were given based on class. Poor Jews from the provinces were able to get in everywhere. In little time, they became THE managerial and engineering class of the country.

But then, the program of korenization changed all that (ironically, of course, initiated by the Jewish elite themselves who are as hostile to their rank-and-file as any humans). It called for "native" people of each republic that made up the Soviet Union to rise, to be preferred.

Consequently, in time, the managerial and engineering class had to double: many if not most AA managers, directors, and ministers--to get anything done or through-- had to have a Jew someplace, as second or third deputy.

This created a lot of animosity between people and peoples. Finally, the whole country imploded when the little bees emigrated in droves.

The Soviet Union was an Evil Empire for sure and we shouldn't grieve for its demise. I'm using it here as an example of the Law of Unintended Consequences and because of first-hand experience.

Divide and conquer works for many politicians and diplomats, but, maybe, UNITY works just as well.

Instead of trying the old antisemitic route, maybe drawing Jews into the circle of allies is a better tactic for retaining the republic of ours.

Look, I'm a Jew and I'm here. There are many conservative publications and organizations filled with Jews.

Look at the most outspoken anti-AA blogs. Many bloggers and researchers Jewish.

What's the Frequency, Kenneth? said...

You people have strange language. I am thinking plural of "anecdote" is "anecdotes," but here you tell me is "data."

Anonymous said...

Here's something I've been wondering about for a few years.

I've read the stuff by Richard Sander about how blacks suffer from "mismatch" in law school, with one of the bad effects supposedly being that mismatched blacks have a harder time passing the bar.

I've also seen stories about how law school is a scam, with many new lawyers who passed the bar not getting decent jobs.

But, does the Diversity industry give black lawyers a big advantage over white lawyers? I work at a university, and there are scads of diversicrats around here, a few of them Hispanics but overwhelmingly blacks.
Having a law degree must make it easier to get one of these cushy sinecures, and I'm not sure whether passing the bar is even necessary.

So, does the prospect of getting a Diversity job add significantly to the attractions of going to law school for blacks?

Carol said...

Oops, I meant why should for-profits be any harder. I went to one myself long ago and they dragooned guys from the welfare office to fill the seats. They didn't really have to do anything, just show up once in awhile.

bbartlog said...

@Mitch: 'A kid who gets high 600s or better on each section is academically suited for any of the top 50 schools.'

Good luck getting through any part of Cal Tech or MIT engineering with that level of brainpower. Even before the renorming in 1995 (which made the test a fair bit easier), a score in the high 1300s would have been on the weak side for the very top engineering schools. Following the renorming, a 780 or 800 on the math side is pretty much mandatory for non-AA admission to those programs. And frankly, 780 math SAT probably just means you're sloppy.
Some people forget that it used to be a *really* big deal if you got a 1600 SAT score. You would make the local papers. Nowadays, with the test so much easier, some of the tiger mom types send their kids back to retake the test until they have 800 on each section.

Steve Sailer said...

Dear Florida Resident:

I was referring to our family friend Henry Combs, who is referred to in the book Skunk Works, by Ben Rich (second head of the Lockheed Skunk Works after Kelly Johnson), as "the irascible genius" who was the chief structural designer of the 2500 mph SR71. My father is not an irascible genius, however, so he was a stress engineer who devoted his career to worrying about how to keep stuff from breaking off the planes designed by the geniuses. Being a stress engineer at Lockheed was a stressful job.

Anonymous said...

"One of the various indistinguishable anonymi said that Harvard doesn't give full scholarships--I keep forgetting how insanely nitpicky some people are."

It might seem nitpicky to you but its an obvious fact to anyone familiar with Ivy League admissions.

Kylie said...

Do college quotas hurt NAMS?

I neither know nor care, except as the issue affects whites.

And since this is yet another entry in the Blacks' Hurt Feelings Dept., I suspect its impact on whites will be deleterious.

Or will it really make any difference, considering Michelle Obama--an affirmative action beneficiary, with a law degree from an Ivy League school and a six-figure income--nevertheless described the country who gave her so much as "downright mean"?

Because whether or not racial quotas hurt NAMS, NAMS always have the option of claiming hurt feelings. Their boundless reservoir of racial resentment is matched only by the boundless reservoir of racial guilt felt by so many stupid white people.

Sideways said...

"But if Yale Law School wants to steal black law students from NYU Law, well, they're all going to pass the Bar Exam."

Oh, there always the Elie Mystals of the world (Harvard undergrad and law) who can't pass the bar.

Truth said...

Alrighty Chumps, time to put your money where your big mouths are...

http://iqtest.com/

Anonymous said...

"My dad was an engineer. A friend of his designed the fastest airplane of all time. But, he was never that kind of genius, so he spent 40 years worrying about whether or not the wings were going to snap off the planes designed by the geniuses."

As an American born in the middle of the cold war I would like to extend my sincere thanks to your dad for keeping the wings from falling off the SR 71.

Too bad he retired.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/12/02/pentagon-reportedly-calls-for-f-35-production-slowdown-after-cracks-found/

Steve Sailer said...

Yeah, he spent a lot of time staring at pictures of tiny cracks in metal parts worrying whether it was okay to keep flying this plane, or should this plane be grounded, or is the entire design of the plane unsound. These are life or death questions with huge price tags associated with playing it safe.

Paul Mendez said...

What Jehy, RKU & Ray said, doubled!!!

helene edwards said...

George Will, I believe, is a Cubs fan. So is Scott Simon, owner of the prototypical NPR "gentle-guy" voice. They should get together and do some kind of barnstorming tour, reassuring blacks of how concerned we all are about them.

MGE said...

I was skeptical about the importance of IQ until I started teaching clinical medicine. Time and time again, I saw the students with higher MCAT scores sail through with little difficulty while the ones with lower scores struggled. It became clear to me that test scores correlated strongly with the student's ability to solve more complex and ambiguous problems as well as see "the big picture." Even those with strong GPA's (a measure of work ethic) and so-so test scores would often get frustrated when the material wasn't spoon fed to them or easily memorized and regurgitated.

edgy gurl said...

"Even those with strong GPA's (a measure of work ethic) and so-so test scores would often get frustrated when the material wasn't spoon fed to them or easily memorized and regurgitated."

It's so great that you, a professor at a medical school, have time to bestow your observations on us lowly iSteve readers. It's also wonderful that you knew your students' names and had memorized their MCAT scores so that you could quickly note the rpm of their brains when responding to questions in class and on tests.

josh said...

Really what WAS Obama's attraction to Michelle--and vice versa? The mixed race woman and the dark sho-nuf Black male is a cliche. But the reverse is rare. If he just wanted a dark-skinned sista,surely he couldve found a nicer one,no? BTW I guess this oculd be seen as a test,but I didnt realize steve was talking about Michelle til he said "fixer". I'm sure you bright young things were way ahead o' me;must concentrate,look out for the cuckoo egg! Aside,there was a story here about a black boys academy,where every boy graduated and got a college scholarship. One dewy lad was offered a full ride to Johns Hopkins,with an ACT of 15. (15 is below the average for black males in general.) He turned it down,it was reported,because the money wasnt right.

candid observer said...

"I was skeptical about the importance of IQ until I started teaching clinical medicine. Time and time again, I saw the students with higher MCAT scores sail through with little difficulty while the ones with lower scores struggled."

I on the other hand am very familiar with a medical school student with very high MCATs (app. the top 1%) who has struggled mightily to do even passing work in virtually all of his medical school classes (at a somewhat above average med school), despite great effort attempting to memorize the reams and reams of material they throw at him.

He seems to be quite good at problem solving, has done very well on the quite occasional module that tapped into, say, an intuition for statistics, and seems to grasp the big picture quite well, so far as I can make out.

But virtually none of that is relevant in the exams given him for his classes, which focus relentlessly on minute details.

I can only conclude that memorization is a terribly difficult thing for the guy, whether it be due to "ability" or some peculiar aspect of motivation with respect to memorization (again, he certainly spends easily enough time at his desk poring over the material).

It's kind of hard what to make of his experience. My own sense is that med school selects for memorizers, and that med school mostly rewards the better memorizers. Likely, there is in general some correlation between being able to memorize and analytical ability, but there are very clear exceptions to this rule in this range of ability.

Camlost said...

Really what WAS Obama's attraction to Michelle--and vice versa?

Obama wanted to be President one day and he knew that would never happen if he didn't marry a black woman.

If he had no Presidential aspirations he'd still be messin' with white women now. There's ZERO evidence that he ever dated black women before Michelle.

For Michelle's part, I think she was just happy to find any employed, educated black man that looked like husband material. She just happened to hit the jackpot within that small pool of men.

JSM said...

Edgy gurl,

You've wondered into the wrong place, apparently. Jr. Hgh level snide remarks don't gain you popularity here.
We require facts and logical analysis.

Feel free to trot back to Democratic Underground.

OR, acknowledge that you, as the child you are, might learn something if you shush up and listen for a bit.

Anonymous said...

There's no evidence that Obama ever dated any women before Michelle. There are no interviews of old girlfriends because there were no old girlfriends that could be found.

I'm not saying the guy is gay, but he seems asexual.

Steve Sailer said...

Yes, there is: a white grad student in anthropology at the U. of Chicago. (Freudians can draw their own conclusions.) David Remnick interviewed several people who knew her for his book on Obama. A commenter here provided much detail on her family background. Both sources jibe with what Obama wrote about her in Dreams from My Father.

Some people value privacy and she appears to be one of them.

ben tillman said...

One of the various indistinguishable anonymi said that Harvard doesn't give full scholarships--I keep forgetting how insanely nitpicky some people are.

It's not a nit-pick; it's an important fact that reminds us that there is nothing a middle-class White kid can do academically that will enable him to attend an Ivy League school without extreme financial hardship.

ben tillman said...

I get your sarcasm and, no doubt, you're right. However, I disagree for the following reason: once the ability for the educational attainment is taken away from the Jews, they leave the country. Though the prospect might seem attractive to you at first, try to think of a country that had benefited from such an exodus.

England.

Thanks for playing.

Jim Walker said...

I can answer Josh's question about why O was attracted to Michelle. She represented everything he wanted once he had adopted his black identity. South side of Chicago, both parents black, and, perhaps most importantly, as O has noted, "Michelle carries within her the blood of slaves."
By marrying Michelle in Reverend Wright's black liberation theology church, O could feel he was a genuine black and be accepted by other blacks as something other than a mulatto. This whole theme permeates Dreams From My Father.

ray said...

"I think Steve was writing tongue-in-cheek. That is, pointing out that (elite) NAMs benefit handsomely from affirmative action, and that George Will's weeping croc tears."


thx for the correction GR, my apologies to steve for any inaccurate interp

the AA horse left the barn decades ago, however, and long since was led to the slaughterhouse

even at this v late date, folks still wont accept the obvious truth about the Equality Evil... and wont, until their OWN lives are also destroyed

the real killer was folding in females as a "protected class"

if AA had been limited by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to black men, to restore fatherhood in our matriarchal ghettos as the legislation was originally designed, the net effect on america would have been positive

but the beltway Spook Elite, as usual, had their way (after all, THEY werent affected)

once 100 million females became Permanent Victims with preferential status in every aspect of life, the kulture was hopelessly severed. . . it was all over but the slow meltdown -- no sane society with any grasp of reality could imagine this producing anything but disaster

now the United Sisterhood of America is painted into a corner, and there is no getting out

edgy gurl said...

"OR, acknowledge that you, as the child you are, might learn something if you shush up and listen for a bit."

On the contrary, I've been here years longer than you which would make you the toddler. I also know something about most of the subject matter discussed on iSteve. You, it seems, just know some people who you're pretty sure know some things; but, beyond your rather inept reliance on what you take to be good sources, you haven't a clue.

Otis McWrong said...

Antioco Dascalon said...

"The July 2004 California bar passage rate for first time test takers is 74.6% for whites and 48.2% for blacks."

The CA bar exam is quite clearly racist and needs to fixed immediately, if not sooner.

jody said...

it only helps them. they are mostly not allowed to fail, so they are moved around from field to field and job to job until something is found that they cannot screw up very much. then they get an overpaid, almost impossible to fire, career in that.

no way does university AA hurt them, person for person, on average.

Kylie said...

"It's so great that you, a professor at a medical school, have time to bestow your observations on us lowly iSteve readers."

Us? Speak for yourself.

Better still, don't.

Your schoolgurl snark is so tired and so tiresome.

jody said...

"Though the prospect might seem attractive to you at first, try to think of a country that had benefited from such an exodus."

germany has done more than fine.

although i don't share the blind dislike for all things jewish that some posters do, the "you'd be banging rocks in caves if it wasn't for jews" crowd is just as annoying.

David said...

>your economy is dying, your culture is dying, and you're weeping croc tears for michelle obama, whose path was greased from getgo by her chicago pol daddy?<

No, George Will is. Steve is just showing Will how mistaken he is even on his own principles.

edgy gurl said...

"Your schoolgurl snark is so tired and so tiresome."

Just keeping up with your homespun acerbic wit there, Kylie.

Besides, the point is valid; real professors don't have any idea what their students' IQs or standardized test scores are. I'm surprised your high self-esteem doesn't cause you to demand accuracy in posts as was more typical in previous years on iSteve. This guy/gal isn't the only pretender around here just the most recent.

No, we won't be learning much on the current incarnation of this blog. I'm not sure what happened around here but obviously there's been a change in staff/management.

Baloo said...

Certainly some are harmed, the ones who might have made good accountants or pharmacists or teachers, but were shoved into something over their heads instead, and who failed at it. As others have said, of course, many of them just spend their lives afterwards failing but still getting paid as though they hadn't failed, so maybe that's failure only in a narrow sense. But the point is that the elite that is all for this stuff doesn't really care, because actually uplifting Blacks isn't on their agenda at all, and they certainly don't care about screwing Whites over. So, for the elites, it's a success no matter what the results. And as is so often the case, Kylie takes the rational position.

Anonymous said...

"what WAS Obama's attraction to Michelle--and vice versa? The mixed race woman and the dark sho-nuf Black male is a cliche. But the reverse is rare. If he just wanted a dark-skinned sista,surely he couldve found a nicer one,no?"

It was an old school, political alliance. He "married up" in a sense. In fact, a smart decision by Obama, whether you like the man or not.

Michelle Obama's family was connected to Jesse Jackson. As a weird, Ivy League, mixed race black guy from the Pacific who grew up in white/Indonesian households, it also gave him solid credibility with the black community of the South Side of Chicago, helping him get in to the political machine there. Without Michelle Obama, the first half of his political career (and hence also the second half) would have gone nowhere.

I sense Arnold was doing something similar when he married Maria Shriver. He could have had a better looking woman than that, but he wanted to marry into American political royalty. That gave him connections, even though he was a Republican. Again, whether you like Arnold or not, it was a clever decision on his part, rather than marrying someone like Brigette Nielsen, whom he used to date. He would have been much less electable with her skanking around.

Paul Mendez said...

What JSM and Kylie said, doubled!

Anonymous said...

One quibble Steve: You mention Michelle Obama and then a hypothetical black kid with a 700 Math SAT score. There is no way Michelle scored 700 on either part of the SAT in the late 1970s. So the post is a little confusing.

Kylie said...

"Just keeping up with your homespun acerbic wit there, Kylie.

Besides, the point is valid; real professors don't have any idea what their students' IQs or standardized test scores are. I'm surprised your high self-esteem doesn't cause you to demand accuracy in posts as was more typical in previous years on iSteve. This guy/gal isn't the only pretender around here just the most recent."


I get it. Real professors don't have any idea about their students' IQs or test scores but you "know" that I'm the same Kylie who's been posting here for months now. You also apparently know that I haven't been posting here under any other username or just posting anonymously.

Logic isn't your strong suit. Stick to junior high snark--someplace else.

Michelle said...

Thank-you, Steve, for always making me and my mother feel good about our selves.

The rest of you all's comment's just proves that Barack needs another term in office, as President of the United States, because this country is still downright mean.

poolside said...

There's a lot of "Truth" to edgy gurl's comments.

Sideways said...

It's not a nit-pick; it's an important fact that reminds us that there is nothing a middle-class White kid can do academically that will enable him to attend an Ivy League school without extreme financial hardship.

Harvard, Yale, Stanford are all free for kids whose parents make under certain levels and heavily subsidized into the >$100k range.

So "getting in" takes them most of the way there.

MGE said...

Edgy gurl - Why are you getting so bent out shape? It's not like I made some earth shattering observation. You don't think med school professors are aware of their students test scores? I'm not sure how it works at other schools but professors sit on the admissions committees at most med schools.

Anonymous said...

"It'd be nice to have 'insiders' eavesdropping in on the real talking points of the elites that are not heard in the politically correct sphere of public thought."

I can tell you that Jewish liberals are more comfortable with the idea that Jews are very smart and this has led to Jewish success when there aren't non-Jews around. But there's a weird cognitive dissonance around that, even without the presence of non-Jews. You can joke about it, you can refer to it in various ways, but if the concept of IQ actually comes up, suddenly we're back to skills and talents being distributed equally between populations.

Truth said...

""It's so great that you, a professor at a medical school, have time to bestow your observations on us lowly iSteve readers."

Your schoolgurl snark is so tired and so tiresome."

High IQ white-girl catfight....
raaaaaarrrrrrroooowww!

Anonymous said...

Well, many whites that are rejected by ivy league colleges like to pretend that without affirmative action they would have been admitted.

However, if you look at the numbers, it is pretty clear that if places in the ivies were distributed on the basis of grades, on a racially blind basis, dramatically more spaces would go to asian americans.

Crunch the numbers and it will be clear that under a grades based system, not that many more whites would get in than today. The big difference would be massively more asians and massively fewer nams

Truth said...

"There's a lot of "Truth" to edgy gurl's comments."

And a pretty fair amount of "truth" too!

Difference Maker said...

bbartlog said...And frankly, 780 math SAT probably just means you're sloppy.

Yep. If you're drunk or delirious (as I was) your mind is skipping and you will just make those mistakes!

Svigor said...

Who cares? Like Mr. Evergreen, I want to know what's in it for ME.

eh said...

Actually, it's Whites and Asians who are hurt -- they aren't admitted so that lower performing NAMs can be. But no one really cares about them.

Anonymous said...

There are three types of smarts. Spatial smarts, math smarts, and verbal smarts.

The way that modern free market economies work, verbal smarts earn the highest income. And people born with very high verbal smarts die with much more wealth than people born with very high spatial smarts or math smarts

This is true in nations with many ashkenazi and in nations with very few ashkenazi. verbal smarts translate in to income and wealth


Due to the shape of the bell curves, a random American ashkenazi is more than ten times as likely to be born with extraordinary high verbal iq than a random white gentile.

Anonymous said...

Steve, there are a number of different things going on here. Plenty of people of good faith want to see NAM's succeed to the full extent of their abilities.

Many NAMs would be better off at law schools that teach them how to pass the bar rather than the high end law schools that don't teach them how to pass the bar

a lot of the anger here comes from whites who were born with high math IQ but low verbal IQ that are angry that math IQ usually doesn't translate in to wealth the way verbal IQ translates in to wealth.

Also,
I think the really crucial piece of iq data for understanding Jewish differences from other groups in their behavior with reference to other groups is not overall iq but their verbal iq. The 111.3 figure doesn't give us as accurate a sense of how cognitively different they are from the average as well as their average verbal iq in the 120 range. This is the score that explains most of their different behavior and their nearly uniform financial success, even beyond what we would expect among groups with 111.3 average. Just consider what an absurd portion of jews must have verbal iqs over 160.

Anonymous said...

I think Richard Sander at UCLA Law School handled this about six years ago. It is true that far too many blacks get in over their heads. The median black law school grad ranks in the 7th percentile nationally. That means there are more blacks cumulatively in the bottom 10 percent than are in the rest of the percentiles put together. I also remember hearing in the 90's that an absolute majority of black medical school graduates ( 51% ) never pass their state medical board certification compared to only 12% of white graduates. None of those people are obviously practicing medicine, but they have the student debt of a real doctor. Affirmative Action represents a huge productively loss to the economy just on these direct measures, and the indirect costs are far larger.

Dutch Boy said...

Engineering is a strenuous academic discipline that is relatively poorly-paid. Go for something medical!

Harvard financial aid said...

Most schools have opaque financial aid systems that are probably corrupt, but Larry Summers tried to make Harvard's quite transparent. It is a free ride for students whose family income is less than $40k. He wanted full tuition to kick in around $150k, but I'm not sure he achieved that. This may have changed, now that he is gone and so is a lot of the endowment.

Anonymous said...

The Obama administration does not think so: they now support greatly expanding AA and even some quotas.

https://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/03/education/us-urges-campus-creativity-to-gain-diversity.html?hp

Anonymous said...

@ 12/2/11 11:35 AM
I'm not saying the guy is gay, but he seems asexual.

Well, there seem to be documented sexual harassment complaints about him by MEN during his Harvard days.
Doesn't sound all that asexual to me.
Kinda makes me suspect many of the stories/rumors since may have more than a little truth to them.

Anonymous said...

In yesterday's NYT:

"The Obama administration on Friday urged colleges and universities to get creative in improving racial diversity at their campuses, throwing out a Bush-era interpretation of recent Supreme Court rulings that limited affirmative action in admissions."

“Post-secondary institutions can voluntarily consider race to further the compelling interest of achieving diversity,” reads the 10-page guide sent to thousands of college admissions officials on Friday afternoon. In some cases, it says, “race can be outcome determinative.”

Anonymous said...

@12/2/11 2:49 PM
There is no way Michelle scored 700 on either part of the SAT in the late 1970s.

I seriously doubt she scored 600 on either. I read her notorious Princeton senior thesis. The woman is just not real bright. She has said her high school counselors advised her away from top tier schools because of her low test scores. They knew she was black; and they knew that was worth a good 300 SAT points in Ivy League admissions. So, I suspect her scores were low FOR A BLACK (at an Ivy League school). Which is what her thesis demonstrates.

And she got into Harvard Law. And graduated. Which gives me good reason to question assertions that BHO must be brilliant because he was Magna Cum Laude. At the time, they gave that out to at least the top quartile (and not necessarily only for grades). Harvard is a big law school, they have a lot of tracks and hundreds of courses. And BHO was over in the "Black Studies" track. Once he got past the core requirements, he wasn't competing against the top 3/4ths of his class; his competiton was the other AA students.

Anonymous said...

@ 12/2/11 5:59 PM
The median black law school grad ranks in the 7th percentile nationally. That means there are more blacks cumulatively in the bottom 10 percent than are in the rest of the percentiles put together. I also remember hearing in the 90's that an absolute majority of black medical school graduates ( 51% ) never pass their state medical board certification compared to only 12% of white graduates.

Excellent points. They need to be emphasized:
(a) It costs TWICE as much to produce a NAM lawyer as a white one. Not only are most NAMs in the bottom decile in terms of professional competence, the bottom decile is almost all NAM.

(b) The situation is medicine is the same.

(c) 80/20 rules (pareto efficiencies) apply -- 20% of the profession(s) cause 80% of the problems. AA is antithetical to quality control -- and surely if there's one place you want that it's in the medical profession.

i doser mp3 said...

Education is a basic right of every child. Each educational institute should follow a transparent mechanism while allowing students into their esteemed institutions. Quotas should not hamper the educational rights of anyone.

Anonymous said...

Re: AC

I agree,Loyola Law in Los Angeles is an elite school. Who wants to attend USC or UCLA?

Anonymous said...

The question in tight times is not whether AA helps NAMS but whether in times of scarcity the people will go along with losing 1.5 percent. If that is true, then the inefficiencies mandated by AA almost equal the entire GNP. Which is a huge amount in an era of 2% growth.


For those with future time orientation, the concern is not for their immediate circumstance, but for the future. The inefficiencies mandated will grow as the NAM share of the population grows. When low performers continue growing as a share of the total, then there is a guaranteed downward spiral. That is what folks resist; a crappy future.

Anonymous said...

I just had an idea. There are people who are accepted to schools when they do not meet the academic requirements. A lot of these people get loans to pay for school. Make the schools figure out the percentage likelihood of a student with his profile NOT graduating. If he does not graduate or is unable to pass some further test (the Bar exam, for example) make the school liable for that percentage of the student's loan.

Anonymous said...

Troofie, it depends on where you are. College connections are much more important to someone in Wichita than to someone from Boston.

It has also been my experience that brothas and sistas are much more college proud, especially with the admixture of sorority/fraternity pride, than whites.

Anonymous said...

I go to an elite law school, and it's UNHEARD OF for anybody to drop out. We're graded on a curve, but nobody fails.


I've heard that this is common of the elite schools in general. They're hard to get into, but once you're in they're not terribly academically difficult. In fact it's easier to flunk out of a good state college than out of Harvard or Yale.

Anonymous said...

I think the really crucial piece of iq data for understanding Jewish differences from other groups in their behavior with reference to other groups is not overall iq but their verbal iq.


I know and have known a lot of Jews, and I've never noticed their supposedly tremendous "verbal IQ". What's this supposed to look like in the real world?

Kylie said...

"I seriously doubt she scored 600 on either. I read her notorious Princeton senior thesis. The woman is just not real bright."

I worked as a teacher's aide grading the papers for Remedial English in high school. Judging by the intro to her thesis, Michelle Obama did not write as well after four years at Princeton as those high school kids taking a remedial course.

And I've also read the article known to have been written by Barack while he was in college. It was better than her effort but nowhere near the level of the high school Honors English students I've known. He's quite a bit brighter than she is but still nothing special.

Truth said...

"Well, there seem to be documented sexual harassment complaints about him by MEN during his Harvard days."

There SEEM to be DOCUMENTED complaints.

Well OK then.

AC said...

Re: AC

I agree,Loyola Law in Los Angeles is an elite school. Who wants to attend USC or UCLA?


Well, it's probably a stretch to even say USC or UCLA are elite schools, but what on earth are you talking about?

Half Sigma said...

"And she got into Harvard Law. And graduated. Which gives me good reason to question assertions that BHO must be brilliant because he was Magna Cum Laude."

There's a huge difference between graduating at the bottom of the class (probably no one flunks out if they show up), and BHO beating out a lot of high-IQ and highly motivated white Jewish guys for a spot at the top of the class.

If you have trouble picturing a black guy doing that, remember that he's half-white, so if it helps you, imagine that it was his white half that got the good grades at Havard.

sabril said...

I went to a high-ranked law school. There were a lot of quiet programs there designed to help NAM students succeed. Certainly an Ivy League law school administration would have few ethical qualms with stacking the deck so that black students get higher grades/honors than they deserve.

There are any number of ways this might be accomplished.

Maya said...

"I just had an idea. There are people who are accepted to schools when they do not meet the academic requirements. A lot of these people get loans to pay for school. Make the schools figure out the percentage likelihood of a student with his profile NOT graduating. If he does not graduate or is unable to pass some further test (the Bar exam, for example) make the school liable for that percentage of the student's loan."

First of all, this will result in schools passing everyone, and they already bend over backwards to make sure any halfwit can graduate. Secondly, the biggest problem law grads (and others, but to lesser extent) face is the fact that there are no jobs even after they pass the bar. The jobs that do exist don't pay enough to cover the average debt. Thank God I decided to run away to teach English abroad instead of going to law school the year after college graduation!

Truth said...

"so if it helps you, imagine that it was his white half that got the good grades at Havard."

And the black half that got the good grades at Harvard; in the Economics program 25 years earlier -- Oh wait, Half Sigma, you're the one with the "what is genius" blog, aren't you?

I guess that means I shouldn't be pointing out that you're a moron, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Barack Obama's father was working on an economics PHD and was a leading politician in Kenya. His half brother is a physicist and even quite a few of his other relatives, such as Aunt Zeituni, are well educated. My guess is that Obama has high IQ genes on both sides from both sides of his family.

He probably also inherited genes for promiscuity, alchoholism, laziness, and irresponsibility. It shows a lot of personal self discipline that he hasn't wasted away his life like his father, mother, Grandfather, and paternal relatives.

On the negative side, he seems to have inherited his parents' narcissistic life outlook, but without the self-destructive tendencies.

Anonymous said...

Now, Asians with any White ancestry check "White" on college applications. Why? It is easier for them to get in.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/story/2011-12-03/asian-students-college-applications/51620236/1?csp=hf

edgy gurl said...

"I guess that means I shouldn't be pointing out that you're a moron, doesn't it?"

My sentiments exactly, Truth.

Wanna have a lego fight?

Anonymous said...

Affirmative action's greatest impact is at the level of middle management and below. I don't know the numbers, but I would guess that is where the vast majority of AA recipients are to be found.

I have no clue what it's like to attend a top-tier college or to have a prestigious career, so I can't comment about those things. However, I do know what it's like to sit in dumbed-down classes in state universities with people who probably shouldn't have made it out of high school. I've experienced token managers managers who would never be in a management position if they were white, and countless non-white co-workers who do/know nothing and know that they aren't going to be held accountable.

I've yet to figure out what good HR departments do. For the most part, they are unconcerned with what goes on below a certain level in an organization, and consider employees below a certain level to be morons, whose jobs could be performed by monkeys. That sort of arrogance and blindness on the part of HR and management makes many workplaces completely dysfunctional and hell for the employees who have to deal with the mess.

I wish elites would have to deal with the mess that they have made for the rest of us, and being polite to a few agreeable NAMs in school or work isn't quite the same. The U.S. can't remain competitive or stable the way things are going.

Anonymous said...

"elite schools (are) hard to get into, but once you're in they're not terribly academically difficult."

See, this comment rather neatly and succinctly illustrates the difference in mindset between those who are and aren't capable of prospering in an "elite" environment.

Ya see, once you get into a place like Harvard (yup, alum, sorry), you're not so much expected to measure up (already did that), you're expected to be _interesting_. This doesn't necessarily translate into achievement in grades (though it often does). The people there are vastly energetic and original, and a lot of 'em are slightly crazy. That's the real diff between Harvard and a state school. (Though in my experience I wouldn't say the same for Princeton or Yale.)

To illustrate. Recently I was talking to a friend/former classmate who told me (is this really true?!!) that Reading Period has been phased out at Harvard. We were both horrified, reminiscing about how neither of us, and practically nobody we knew, ever did their coursework during the actual semester (we were all much busier intensely working on our own personal crazy projects), and so we all had to constantly teach ourselves an entire semester's worth of schoolwork during Reading Period, in time for papers and exams. (Hands up, everybody here who's ever heard the Quad Howl.)

This wasn't simply blowing off work and then cramming at the last minute. This was doing two jobs (and sometimes three, or four, or five) in the time and space allotted for one.

If you don't get it then ya don't get it. That's fine too. Like a man said,
"It can never be satisfied, the mind, never."

Anonymous said...

@ Half-Sigma
There's a huge difference between graduating at the bottom of the class (probably no one flunks out if they show up), and BHO beating out a lot of high-IQ and highly motivated white Jewish guys for a spot at the top of the class.

You TOTALLY MISSED THE POINT, DUDE. Lets try again:

[1] Harvard is a VERY BIG Law School.

[2] There are some core courses that everybody takes.

[3] After that it's broken up into "specialties"

[4] Nobody takes more than a few percent of the total classes offered.

[5] BHO specialized in an area of "Constitional Law" -- "Civil Rights and Affirmative Action" -- where basically all the Michelles go.

[6] The high-IQ white guys who score 179-180 on the LSAT don't take those classes. They want to get real jobs in fancy law firms.

[7] Back in BHO's day Harvard gave "Magna Cum Laude" out like candy on Halloween -- at least 25% of graduates got it and you can bet that at least somebody in every "specialty" did too (think of the *disrespect* to Michelle if her field had no Magna Cum Laudes)

[8] You do the math. Consider BHO's field of study and the number of Magna Cum Laude's given out. Roughly, he needed to be in the third quartile of the core courses (and the bottom quartile is Michelles)and near the top of the others (almost 100% Michelles).

[9] He almost surely would have been given MCL in any case -- with his Law Review title it was pretty well guaranteed, especially since he got that job as an AA token. Do you seriously think Harvard would let their first (AA token)Black HLR editor appear unqualified for the job? How many HLR editors before him were not Magna Cum Laude?

In conclusion, I repeat: BHO's Magna Cum Laude IS NOT evidence that he outperformed any high-IQ motivated white guys.

Charlotte said...

"If you don't get it then ya don't get it. That's fine too. Like a man said,
"It can never be satisfied, the mind, never."

A man? What man? Back in the day, my community college associate professor expected a more precise reference.
Writer Richard Price, to give himself credence as a chronicler of gritty NY & NJ white ethnics (mostly & bestly), took a construction job and tried talking the talk. Well, one tough guy he was trying to emulate, looked at him and said, "You go to Columbia? My daughter goes to Bronx Community college and she speaks better English than you do."
Sometimes one tries too hard.
Speaking of the Reading period though, does anyone recall Obama participating? Howling brilliant responses to another Harvard grad's call?
He must be the only editor of the Harvard Law Review that never published any legal writings or opinions, except one on late-term abortion, of all things.

kaganovitch said...

a related book (perhaps steve could review it;it seems like a target-rich environment)

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/12/02/new-book-says-elite-black-students-dont-try-high-paying-jobs

Anonymous said...

"elite schools (are) hard to get into, but once you're in they're not terribly academically difficult."


See, this comment rather neatly and succinctly illustrates the difference in mindset between those who are and aren't capable of prospering in an "elite" environment.


The amusing thing is that you follow up this sneering comment by conceding the entire initial premise - that "elite" schools are more difficult to get into and that they are not more academically difficult thereafter.

So the sensible response from you would have been, "Yes, that's true, but ..." {insert your rationalizations here}

But I suppose doing that might damage your simultaneously vastly inflated and terribly fragile sense of self-worth, you crazy energetic genius you!

Dan Kurt said...

Great Topic!

We all know Affirmative Action is killing the country. Don't beat around the bush about it. Follows three vignettes:

1) I spent over 8 years in an Ivy in the 1960s and early 1970s. At the time there were two types of students: meritocrats ( I was one and I got there because of test scores; my parents never went to college. ) who were really bright and usually hard workers, and lots legacies who may or may not have been bright, mostly as undergrads. I remember the despair emoted by an upperclass man who I knew when he told me his younger brother had failed to get into the Ivy. His father and uncle were both tenured professors in our University, his grandfather was one of the founders of the Rockefeller Institute, his cousin was a medical student here currently. In short almost all of his family and ancestors had been students at that Ivy League University so it wasn't fair that his brother had been brushed off. What was happening was that affirmative action for legacies was being turned down a notch and AA was being instituted for blacks and browns. At the time I just shrugged, now I think the school should have admitted the brother. Loyalty to an institution runs in two directions.

2) While there and working on my doctorate I had a course taught by four professors to a large class which involved lectures and much lab time where the professors oversaw one's work. Three of the professors were full professors and one was an assistant professor on tenure track. The three full professors were an American white, a French white and a Chinese originally from China. They all knew their subject and the students soon learned to only ask one of those three questions. They also were the only ones who gave the lectures. The fourth professor was a light skinned negro who knew little or nothing. I don't to this day understand how he stood being ignored by the students. He was out of his depth. As you can guess he eventually obtained tenure and an endowed chair. He stayed yet many of my Professors who were brilliant researchers and teachers were forced to move on. Affirmative Action guaranteed his success in the Ivy League not his talent. His success also insured that students and research results were sacrificed on the altar of AA.

More to come.

Dan Kurt

Dan Kurt said...

continued:

3) Now to the present day. My son, a recently minted Ph.D. Mechanical Engineer has been trying to scratch for a position as a research associate at an institute affiliated with a top 20 in the World University in Science and Engineering, the University where he obtained his graduate degrees. Grant money has been hard to come by for the institute so he has had only part time work there. This Fall quarter he taught a senior level 5 credit course in Numerical Methods at another University as an Adjunct Professor while still working part time on his research.

While teaching there he had his eyes opened as to student's abilities. He had his undergraduate experience with a competitive group of engineering students and even more so at graduate school for both a masters and doctorate against really bright and motivated students. ( His Ph.D. cohort was seven candidates with six of them from Red China.)

What did he find teaching at a lower tier University? The students were not planning for grad school any time soon. Only one student in the class of 25 he taught was even applying to graduate school. Most of the students were not trying to get A level grades. Their math skills were shockingly low and they were not seemingly concerned with that. They as a group expected to be hand fed the material and they expected him to answer by e-mail questions on lab assignments and problem sets, something he never would have considered doing. Few in the class were capable programmers and none could do elementary circuit programming for data acquisition as they thought that was the work of electrical and computer engineers--things my son was doing since his early undergraduate years in mechanical engineering.

As bad as the experience was in the low quality of the students he encountered, still there were no NAMs. ( He never encountered any NAMs as an undergraduate or graduate student. ) When the GOVERNMENT decides that NAMs MUST become engineers and the colleges and universities acquiesce, as they must in this government by lawyers, the wings will really fall off the planes.

Dan Kurt

Anonymous said...

Bill Clinton. Remember him? From a working class white background. Did well in HS. Did well in college too.

What are the chances of a white guy with a similar background and scholastic ability to hit the Ivy League these days when AA and connections/legacy rule?

I wonder if MR "Mend-it-don't-end" ever thinks about this, but I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

A fight! A fight! An African-American and a person of Jewish descent!

[Crummy rhyme scheme.]

Harry Baldwin said...

I also remember hearing in the 90's that an absolute majority of black medical school graduates ( 51% ) never pass their state medical board certification compared to only 12% of white graduates.

This is a remarkable fact, and I found a reference for it here:

"A benchmark for medical competence is the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) Exam Part I. Every medical student in the US must pass it to become a physician. Students take the exam two years before graduation. The most comprehensive study of NBME pass rates was published in 1994 by Beth Dawson et al (Journal of the American Medical Association 1994 272:9 674-9). The authors examined the performance of every medical student in the U.S. taking the June exam for the first time over the years 1986, 1987 and 1988. Dawson and her colleagues found that white medical students passed the NBME test at a rate of 87.7 percent and blacks at 48.9 percent. Notably, when Dawson's study looked at entering students with similar academic credentials, the pass rates on the NBME exam were independent of race, pointing an accusing finger directly at affirmative action. For all its good intentions, affirmative action has created two levels of competence in American medicine, separated by a bit more than one standard deviation."

Harry Baldwin said...

I noticed that the article says that that 51.1% of black medical school graduates failing the NBME Exam are taking it for the first time.

Do these graduates then take it again after further study, and do these numbers improve significantly upon further attempts? If not, it is an incredible waste of resources.

Truth said...

Any time, Gurl, I'm a leggo commonseur.

"In conclusion, I repeat: BHO's Magna Cum Laude IS NOT evidence that he outperformed any high-IQ motivated white guys"

No, Sport, but uh, serving as President kinda is.

Truth said...

" The fourth professor was a light skinned negro who knew little or nothing. I don't to this day understand how he stood being ignored by the students. He was out of his depth."

That's exactly what I'm sayin' Danny, they should have picked a 'dark skinned negro.' That white heritage will fuckya up mentally!

Truth said...

"3) Now to the present day. My son, a recently minted Ph.D. Mechanical Engineer has been trying to scratch for a position as a research associate at an institute affiliated with a top 20 in the World University in Science and Engineering, the University where he obtained his graduate degrees. Grant money has been hard to come by for the institute so he has had only part time work there."

Well congrats to Sonny-Kurt on his PHD, now, in 8 seconds I'm going to award him a Postdoc in Romneyan Realworldology:

Tell your son to be a man and open his own firm.

OK, the Cap and Gown combo is $49.99 + tax.

"When the GOVERNMENT decides that NAMs MUST become engineers and the colleges and universities acquiesce, as they must in this government by lawyers, the wings will really fall off the planes...."

Why would that be, when you've just devoted a long, rather prosaic paragraph to the eminent uselessness of white and Asian engineers?

Anonymous said...

"A man? What man? Back in the day, my community college associate professor expected a more precise reference."

Oh, goodness gracious. What are you, Ann Landers? Just to refresh, we're on a blog, not at your community college. Somehow I don't think your professor will be grading me. Plus, we're all working for free here. And also, "like a man said" is just a humorous, off-handed rhetorical flourish. You really oughta get out more often.

But just to make you happy, here:

http://www.americanpoems.com/poets/Wallace-Stevens/1029

Read. Enjoy. Think, for a couple-three minutes. Go forth, my pretty, and multiply! (And also, yes, you'll notice I kinda-sorta used the line out of its strict context. Well book my suite on Devil's Island. Whaddaya gonna do.)

some other gunslinger sez:

"The amusing thing is that you follow up this sneering comment by conceding the entire initial premise"

Actually no, not really. That's a pretty shallow, rectilinear way of looking at the question, but who has time to explain these things to you at length? And I wasn't sneering; a couple of people at this site seem to have some sort of long-running weird fantasy-life going on about the Ivies, so every so often, somebody (me or anybody else) comes along and tries to describe a tiny sliver of lived experience to snap them out of it. Sorry if I hurt your feelings.

"So the sensible response from you would have been, "Yes, that's true, but ..." {insert your rationalizations here}"

That's what the sensible response would have seemed like to _you_.

"But I suppose doing that might damage your simultaneously vastly inflated and terribly fragile sense of self-worth"

Just goes to show what you know about self-worth. Maybe you can hook up with that stern community college associate professor up above, and show us all some REAL larnin'.

Ugh, I'm sorry for the snark, this is fish in a barrel sort of stuff, but it's late and I'm in a mood. And part of the fun of blogging is getting to indulge in the odd bit of snark, after all. Just ask Truth!

NOTA said...

I suspect there is a more subtle effect of AA on blacks. Admitted to a university at about your ability level, you will be able to handle most majors--someone who properly belongs at San Jose State or UC Berkeley will have some reasonable range of majors he could choose. Admitted to a univeristy at the outer edge of your abilities, where you're on the left end of the intelligence and academic preparation distribution, the harder majors are probably out of reach.

One result of this is that, across the country, relatively few blacks graduate in hard majors relative to easy majors. (Note that Cain majored in math at a historically black university--if he'd gone to Stanford, he probably would have ended up in a different major, because of the super tough competition in those classes at Stanford.). And that means that we have relatively more smart blacks with liberal artts or diversity studies type degrees, and relatively fewer with hard science, math, engineering, finance, economics, CS, or accounting kinds of degrees. That probably skews the whole intellectual climate among blacks in a softer, fuzzier, less numbers-and-reality direction, as well as putting a lot of smart, capable people in a position to need an AA style job to make a good living, because there's not much demand for smart people with black studies or sociology degrees.

NOTA said...

I suspect that most of the time, AA has only a small effect--bumping marginally more competent employees/students in favor of marginally less competent ones. But the deception and pretending around AA, in order to keep it from looking like the naked racial patronage system that AA really is, can have terrible effects. One example is the endless lawsuits trying to hash out exactly what kinds of preferences and hiring standards are acceptable. Another is the attempt to change admissions and hiring standards to get the desired ethnic mix, without making that explicit. It's necessary to get rid of almost any kind of test, strength requirements, etc., to avoid excluding too many blacks, women, etc.

And bits of reality you can't safely talk about means blind spots. Parasites attack blind spots, as with both shakedown lawsuits against banks for redlining, and justifying lower lending standards on racial equality grounds.

We would be best off with no AA. But if we're going to have it, we would be better off with explicit quotas--X% of the freshman admissions will be black, Y% will be hispanic, Z% will be American Indian, etc. That will at least stop sabotaging the admissions processes with the need to plausibly hide quotas as something else.

Truth said...

"Note that Cain majored in math at a historically black university--"

Uh, he did get a Masters in CompuSci from an engineering school, but why let facts get in the way?

NOTA said...

Truth:

That doesn't really contradict what I'm saying. My suspicion (made with very sparse data--I certainly don't claim any certainty here) is that AA puts a lot of smart blacks into schools where the most rigorous majors are very hard to handle. My suspicion is that Cain, sent to Stanford as an undergrad, would probably have ended up in some easier major. And then, it would have been harder for him to go to grad school in CS. He would still be a smart guy, but probably would have ended up with an MBA or law degree.

And my broader point is about the effect of this overall, society-wide. Probably this is cheering for people like me, but I think the US would work better with more of the smartest blacks getting degrees in hard majors like math, engineering, physics, CS, etc. More generally, I think there are some majors (black, womens', gay, chicano)-studies being one stunning example, that are more or less a way to screw a smart but inexperienced person out of his chance to get a useful college degree and make a better life for himself.

My sense is that these majors (and many others that qualify you to sell shoes or answer phones in an office after graduation) attract both people who are overmatched in their college, and people who don't have a family full of college graduates who can say stuff like "what the hell do you think you're going to do with a rural sociology undergrad, Fred. Wait tables?"

Truth said...

NOTA:

I think that you have a good point there in the most general terms, but regarding Caine; his mastery of graduate level math is probably logical evidence of his ability to do UNDERGRADUATE level math anywhere.

"Probably this is cheering for people like me, but I think the US would work better with more of the smartest blacks getting degrees in hard majors like math, engineering, physics, CS, etc."

The one elementary thing that STEM guys just don't seem to understand is, that it takes more than just a good IQ to be a scientists or a physicist.

People in these fields generally have parents, uncles, whatever in these fields and there is a mentoring effect. A black kid from the ghetto would probably not go into science or engineering, because, as was the case with me, they HAVE NO IDEA WHAT SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS ARE.

In the ghetto you don't meet chemists, you meet cops, teachers, people who talk a lot, probation officers, basketball coaches, and people who jaw-jack about the man; so, what do you go for in college?

Criminal justice, physical education, education, communications, and African-American studies.

Additionally, I don't care what your IQ is, if you do not have the sort of introverted, studious personality that leads one to working 9 hours a day by himself behind a microscope, an engineering calculator, or a bunsen burner, you are not going to make it as an engineer/scientist. Can you see a "genius" such as Bill Clinton or Howard Stern entering one of these fields.

That's is the answer, STEM = mentorship + personality.

Charlotte said...

"But just to make you happy, here:

http://www.americanpoems.com/poets/Wallace-Stevens/1029

Read. Enjoy. Think, for a couple-three minutes. Go forth, my pretty, and multiply! (And also, yes, you'll notice I kinda-sorta used the line out of its strict context. Well book my suite on Devil's Island. Whaddaya gonna do.)"

Ok. Thank you. You have made me very happy.

Looks like neither one of us is crediting the other with a sense of humor.

Actually I have a master's degree too, from a reputable and credited university, but I don't like to brag.

eva said...

"In the ghetto you don't meet chemists, you meet cops, teachers, people who talk a lot, probation officers, basketball coaches, and people who jaw-jack about the man; so, what do you go for in college?"

Hmmm.. and of course if they met scientists they would become scientists? We are not just talking about "ghetto" which is a very restricted, low-income environment. We are talking about people in a middle-class environment, surrounding by all types of professions. We are talking about people who watch films and tv. It's hard to be believe they don't know about scientists & engineers. It's just that they are not the kind of people who digest any information about them.
I live near NASA. A huge percentage of the staff (not scientists), including fairly high level accounting persons, are black, and this NASA facility is located in a predominantly black area. The kids of the black staff certainly have heard of scientists and engineering. It doesn't seem to increase inclination.

Truth said...

"The kids of the black staff certainly have heard of scientists and engineering. It doesn't seem to increase inclination."

Well, that's where the "personality" portion of my brilliant thesis comes in, Sportette.

PublicSphere said...

Med school:

I knew a very very smart guy, hard-science grad from a top-two US undergrad school, who went to one of the top-three US med schools. He said the first couple of years of med school are "basically like high school." I.e. it's all about memorization. So the highest level of intelligence doesn't come into play. In fact, he continued to work full-time at his biotech job during these first two years, because it was just that easy.

As Steve said, doctors are busy, practical people.


Law school:

I knew people at the top US law school. Basically none of what is taught there is on the bar exam. What you learn at the top law school is basically elite theory stuff: law and economics, law and philosophy, or whatever. It would be declasse for the elite law professors to spend time on something as mundane as bar exam material.

So, in order to pass the bar exam, everyone signs up for a summer class taught by BARBRI, which is basically tedious and remedial. You sit there and learn the facts you will have to use on the bar exam. The student rep who coordinated the BARBRI classes for the school was black. Somehow it became common knowledge that she'd failed the bar exam after doing this. Really embarrassing: the BARBRI rep can't pass the bar exam. Obviously, basically everyone at this small Connecticut school passes the bar exam. Of course, it basically confirmed all AA stereotypes.

Anonymous said...

Michael Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray, got into cardiology, which is often regarded as the most competitive specialty. I would love to see Steve reflect on why a cardiologist (average salary, 500k) needed to get involved in a shady relationship with a drug-seeking pop star in order to pay a 400k debt. Is it routine for the beneficiaries of affirmative action who manage to rise to the top of their fields to make considerably less than their colleagues?
--Morgan C