Wednesday, 06 January 2010

Berkeley High Poised to Eliminate Science Classes Because They’re Too “White”

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There are some things you just can’t make up — and many of them seem to originate in Berkeley, California. Berkeley really is stranger than fiction, and the latest example is, unbelievably, a proposal to eliminate science classes at the city’s high school because, get the Digitalis, they’re too white.

Thomas Lifson at treats the issue, writing:

The racial madness that has left-wing America in its thrall finds its apogee in the Berkeley, California public schools. Berkeley High School is now poised to eliminate science laboratory classes because "science labs were largely classes for white students." Eric Klein writes in the East Bay Express: "The proposal to put the science-lab cuts on the table was approved recently by Berkeley High's School Governance Council, a body of teachers, parents, and students who oversee a plan to change the structure of the high school to address Berkeley's dismal racial achievement gap, where white students are doing far better than the state average while black and Latino students are doing worse."

Eric Klein continues, “Paul Gibson, an alternate parent representative on the School Governance Council, said ... the decision to consider cutting the labs in order to redirect resources to underperforming students was virtually unanimous.”

Virtually unanimous ... now we know why some call it Berserkeley. Unfortunately, though, this is no joke.

Rather, it’s a good example of the damage wrought by leftist ideologues. Nary a week passes without a news piece about how America lags behind many nations in science and math (not in self-esteem, though), and we hear dire warnings about how this threatens our competitiveness. And we’re right to be concerned. China, for example, is creating 10 times as many scientists as we are despite being a less developed nation and having only four times the population. There aren’t too many Chinese students taking “liberal arts,” you know.

There also aren’t many Chinese who subordinate success to social engineering. They don’t care about the racial composition of science departments (China is fairly homogeneous) or about them being a male domain. They don’t care if their science establishment looks like China — they just want it to look like the best.

And while it’s true that China isn’t exactly a paragon of human rights, they’re at least as colorblind as we are. After all, how can we claim to be so while ever obsessing on how all the different colors are doing in all life’s endeavors? In fact, here’s a bold proposal: We’d be well served if we stopped keeping performance statistics based on race.

This is in fact what a truly colorblind society would do. It wouldn’t care if 80 percent of a given field’s members were of a race that only represented 40 percent of the population; it would simply view them all as “people.”

In fact, we’re even wrong to describe the above situation by saying that the numerically dominant race is “over-represented,” which is often the term used. “Over-represented” in what sense? Are blacks over-represented in the NBA? Are women over-represented among day-care workers? Are attractive people over-represented among fashion models?

The obvious answer is that the given group is over-represented relative to its proportion of the general population. But why would we think every group should be represented in accordance with that proportion? This is equality dogma, something both reason and observation tell us is completely unrealistic.

People such as former football player Reggie White, late sportscaster Jimmy "the Greek” Snyder, scientist James Watson, and others have gotten in trouble for highlighting group differences. But just as we as individuals are not all equal, blessed as we are with different gifts, groups also have different characteristic strengths. But the modern man denies this and thus gets it only half right. He is correct to say that we should view everyone as an individual — but we must also view every individual group as an individual group.

Today we have the worst of both worlds. We aren’t colorblind, but color is often the only difference we’re willing to see. In these instances, we insist that groups must be viewed as identical in all other respects.

Many will say that this is the problem, that we confuse equality with identity. The idea is that 2+2 is different than 4, but the sum is the same. This is fine if we simply mean that we are equal in that we’re all children of God. As far as worldly abilities, go, however, people aren’t simple equations; they comprise innumerable — and often unknown — elements. With the human genome having 3.1 billion units of DNA, can we really know how many “numbers” a person contains and what their amounts are? And given this, what are the chances that two people will add up to the same number? Regardless, it’s a calculation I just can’t make.

We could say here that in God’s eyes they do add up to the same number: infinity. Ironically, though, some great religious thinkers tell us that God doesn’t have the same hang-up with radical egalitarianism we do and may offer people different amounts of glory in Heaven. In fact, when St. Therese of Lisieux struggled with this idea, she was comforted by an analogy that can relate to this world as well. To wit: If you take a big tumbler and a thimble and fill them both with water, which one is more full?

Whatever your theology, it’s certainly not godly to sacrifice science on the altar of equality dogma. And this dogma is also contradictory. After all, most radical egalitarians are evolutionists. But if you believe different groups evolved in different places, subject to different environments and stresses and having somewhat different needs, is it logical to assume that all those “numbers” would turn out precisely the same? How could you then believe that all the evolutionary differences would only be skin deep?

Then, most egalitarians also trumpet diversity, claiming it makes us stronger. But how can this be unless certain groups bring gifts to the table others don’t? And if this is the case, how can we expect all groups to perform equally in all areas?

Equality dogma is also dangerous. If you believe all groups are equal by every worldly measure, you’ll assume they should achieve identically. That is, if there is a level playing field. It then logically follows that differences in performance are likely the result of only one thing: discrimination. This justifies social engineering as a remedy, things such as quotas, affirmative action, and set-asides. And the elimination of science to fund social schemes.

This is why we should reject someone who preaches equality just as we would a spiritual leader who preaches riches and fame. He is promising something he can’t deliver. He can deliver society into the abyss in its pursuit, however.

Moreover, we should reserve the word “equality” for mathematics. What should we talk about instead?


Otherwise, we’re basing a person’s worth on where he stands relative to others (equal to whom?), when it should be based on the fact that he’s a child of God, a quality shared by all the world’s thimbles and tumblers. And when it’s the latter, we’ll respect him even if he can’t qualify for a science program — and even if he can.

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