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Monday, May 3, 2010

Harvard 3L's Email Questioning Intelligence of Blacks Sparks Racial Furor

Boston Globe, E-mail on Race Sparks a Furor at Harvard Law; Student Regrets Questioning the Intelligence of Blacks:

It was a private dinner conversation among three friends. The topic: affirmative action and race. The debate presumably was passionate, given the divergent opinions of the Harvard Law School students.

Stephanie Grace, a third-year law student, felt she had not made her position clear, so she followed up via e-mail, according to a person with direct knowledge of events.

“I just hate leaving things where I feel I misstated my position,’’ Grace wrote. “I absolutely do not rule out the possibility that African-Americans are, on average, genetically predisposed to be less intelligent.’’

The lengthy e-mail, sent to her two dinner companions six months ago, ignited an Internet firestorm this week when it was leaked and first reported Wednesday by the legal blog abovethelaw.com, followed by other websites.

Yesterday, Martha Minow, dean of Harvard Law School, condemned the e-mail that suggested blacks are genetically less intelligent than whites. “Here at Harvard Law School, we are committed to preventing degradation of any individual or group, including race-based insensitivity or hostility,’’ Minow wrote in a message to Harvard’s law school community.

Update:

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2010/04/harvard-3ls-private-email-.html

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Comments

This girl's remarks and opinions are unfortunate, but does she really deserve the career firebombing that's resulted from this? A private email following a discussion between three people has now been forwarded to her school's dean, law review, future employer, and her name and email are plastered all over the internet.

Her opinions might be objectionable, but she hardly started a campaign against another race - she just seems like a bigot. If that wasn't reflected in her public life, her law review articles, her work for the courts, and if she didn't have an actual agenda targeting anyone else, then what has she done to deserve all of this?

I guess this is just more proof that you should be careful what you tell the internet, because it never, ever forgets.

Posted by: TJS | Apr 30, 2010 9:58:08 AM

I am Black. And, while her comments did offend me (only slightly), I strongly defend her right to say and feel whatever the hell she wants to!!

Last time I checked, there was something in the Constitution about freedom of speech... and that something applies here.

Let's please stop pretending that we do not all say or feel things that would offend someone, somewhere in this country. So if the only offense is expressing those things in writing rather than feeling them, we are only kidding ourselves.

Enough with this P.C. bullsh*t, give this girl a break!

Posted by: BB | Apr 30, 2010 10:46:57 AM

As a practitioner, I can forgive people saying dumb and inartful things. I can't forgive the kind of intentional backstabbing that I see occurring courtesy of Ms. Grace's purported friends. It really reflects well on the character of Harvard students. My law school had an honor code and I'd be making at least two student requests for investigation had this occurred while I was a student. It's disgraceful behavior.

On the plus side, I suppose that the members of the class of '10 can now pull up their class rosters and scratch one name off the "possible rivals to my future presidential bid" lists.

Posted by: Joe Blow | Apr 30, 2010 1:05:31 PM

Well, the jury is still out on this one, the evidence so far does seem to back her up unfortunately.

If she is right then it's better we accept the situation and so are able to do something about it and thus improve it, instead of pretending there is no problem and letting things fester the way they are.

If anyone is racist here, it's the people who demand that we ignore reality.

Seriously, who would not be delighted if we could (say) raise the average IQ of Kalahari Bushmen that currently is 54 by 46 points in some way?

Posted by: RightwingHippyChick | Apr 30, 2010 2:39:05 PM

--- On the plus side, I suppose that the members of the class of '10 can now pull up their class rosters and scratch one name off the "possible rivals to my future presidential bid" lists. ---

Actually I think this increases the VERY slight chance that she has of becoming president. No one can know what the public belief about these matters will be in thirty years from now. But if it changes, she could portray herself as someone persecuted because she was ahead of her times.

Posted by: Veganovich | May 1, 2010 7:07:59 PM

BB. I agree that she has the right to free speech and should say what she wants. That being said, free speech goes both ways. If she has the right to make statements like this, other people have the right to express their criticisms of her statement. Of course everyone sometimes thinks or feels something that might offend other people, but if you make the choice to say it out loud you can't expect everyone to agree with you, or even to disagree but do it silently without pointing out why they are offended or why they think they are wrong.

Posted by: Lola Ray | May 1, 2010 8:02:46 PM

This is even a point of debate? Of course there are genetic differences, and thus advantages and disadvantages, between the races. All you need to do is look at the NBA and the NFL to see that blacks are, on average, physically superior to whites. But you don't see the black community whining about *that*, do ya?

Posted by: John | May 2, 2010 9:51:53 AM

Scientists refuse to investigate IQ differences between races.

Why is that?

Because we don't want to know. Simple as that.

Only the members of a privileged elite who think they are beyond the iron laws of political correctness could even think of having such a discussion.

Posted by: Banjo | May 2, 2010 9:57:24 AM

If we are all equal I demand to see more Asians and Whites in basketball and football. Unequal outcomes in the recruiting process for sure.

Of course, there is the likelihood that all races are not identical.

Posted by: Rachelle Young | May 2, 2010 10:00:06 AM

If we had the freedom of speech the Founders intended, this discussion would not be necessary.

Posted by: Nostromo | May 2, 2010 10:00:56 AM

Is it possible we're ignoring the obvious and there is a role for genetics in the predisposition of traits in different races due to natural selection processes? Do we truly believe there are no differences?

Not only that, but Ms. Grace said, "...she does not rule out the possibility..." That is a pretty open statement. She didn't say she believed it to be true. She just said she didn't know that it wasn't. To me that's a call for proof one way or the other.

What she got was an over the top emotional, politically correct reaction from an irresponsible and incompetent Harvard Dean. Apparently Ms. Minow's intelligence isn't too high.

When political correctness rules out our ability to consider certain arguments or even think certain thoughts, it has gone too far. I'm all for being sensitive to others. But life is what it is. We can pretend it isn't but we do so at our own peril.

Posted by: David Holliday | May 2, 2010 10:04:47 AM

If what Minow, Dean of Harvard Law, is true, why does Harvard Law atill play the affirmative action and race game in admissions decisions?

That Harvard admits students on the basis of race, etc. suggests they would not otherwise be admitted based purely ion academic/intelligence.

Posted by: Robert | May 2, 2010 10:06:30 AM

John says: "This is even a point of debate? Of course there are genetic differences, and thus advantages and disadvantages, between the races. All you need to do is look at the NBA and the NFL to see that blacks are, on average, physically superior to whites. But you don't see the black community whining about *that*, do ya?"

I seem to remember somebody saying just that on the radio, and being pilloried for it. I don't remember who did the pillorying, however.

Posted by: Ellen | May 2, 2010 10:07:45 AM

Is it racist or bigoted for blacks to say white men can't jump?

If all truly are equal in 'potential', than remove all references to race, gender, etc in hiring, lending, school admissions, etc.

Posted by: John Franklin | May 2, 2010 10:08:19 AM

@ john: you have your cart before your horse... it's the privileged elite who enforce the iron laws of political correctness because they don't want the rest of us to think. You may relish dwelling in self-imposed ignorance and that is your right, but as for me, I'd rather be politically incorrect.

Posted by: chb3 | May 2, 2010 10:16:58 AM

IQ statistics speak for themselves.

European Jews - 115
East Asians (Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, etc) - 100 to 113
Europeans - 100 to 112
South Asia - low 80s to mid 90s
Hispanics (varies greatly due to level of hybridization) - upper 70s to mid 90s
Arabs - lower to upper 80s
Black Americans (who are partly European) - 85
Black Africans - mid 60s to upper 70s
Australian Aborigine - mid 50s

And we see the same exact results in adademic success as well.

http://img33.imageshack.us/i/iq4racesrotatehighres.png/
http://www.theoccidentalobserver.net/authors/GlobalBellCurve.bmp
http://www.amerika.org/wp-content/uploads/iq_and_the_wealth_of_nations.jpg
http://www.skopunarhreyfingin.net/jpr21-chart4.jpg

All IQ graphs show exactly the same ethnic trends with very small variation.

Posted by: Marsh | May 2, 2010 10:23:29 AM

I must question the motives of her 'friends' or one of them who published a private correspondence.

If you read what she wrote it seems clear that she is "admitting" that there can be genetic differences in the intellectual capabilities of blacks and whites. Presumably she had taken an opposite position during the earlier discussion referenced in the email.

So it is also to be presumed that it was one of her dinner companions who asserted the view that there is a genetic component to black vs. white intelligence.

Why is that person not being called out for her (or his) views?

Why don't a bunch of lawyers, law students, law schools deans, etc. see this peculiarity in this situation? You all are the ultimate "words have meaning" group. And of all the stuff I've read about this nobody has touched on this aspect.

Posted by: Jocon307 | May 2, 2010 10:23:45 AM

Hilarious: Denounced by a law school dean who admits blacks with LSAT scores 100 points below the Harvard average, cause they are , wait for it, Black ? . This is the same school that fired Larry Summers for speaking the un PC truth about gender inequities.
Harvard has achieved a level of intellectual conformity Joe Stalin would have killed for.

Posted by: andy | May 2, 2010 10:26:48 AM

Like Martha Minow herself, this post misstates the contents of the email:

"Yesterday, Martha Minow, dean of Harvard Law School, condemned the e-mail that suggested blacks are genetically less intelligent than whites."

The email did not suggest any such thing. It suggested that there was no conclusive scientific rebuttal of the notion that blacks might, on average, be less intelligent than whites. As Prof. Volokh has so persuasively said in several recent columns, we'll never get that conclusive scientific rebuttal unless people are able to raise and examine the issue.

Posted by: Karen A. Wyle | May 2, 2010 10:28:30 AM

In a perfect world, it'd the be people who argue that genetics can have nothing to do with intellectual talents that would be pilloried. The fact that even acknowledging likely facts is met with such weeping and gnashing of teeth (on hundreds of thousands of occasions) speaks really poorly for our society and its prospects.

Posted by: H1N1 | May 2, 2010 10:38:02 AM

I find this incident disgusting. Harvard's board should immediately look for a replacement for this Dean. She is obviously not qualified to insure the school's image will not be disparaged by inane disputes. Since her actions would indicate her willingness to abridge the free speech of the students in her charge, she needs to be gone.

Posted by: JimmyT | May 2, 2010 10:47:04 AM

Of course all races are identical. Otherwise, we'd need set-asides and affirmative action.

D'oh!

Posted by: Diggs | May 2, 2010 10:47:38 AM

What sad commentary this provides about academia.

Nothing she said in that e-mail was incorrect. It was simply unpopular.

The smug commenters who quickly scurry past what she actually said so that they can call her racist are the true racists. Ask one of those people to speak to the actual subject at issue; few will, but if one does, I bet you're gonna hear the word "consensus" somewhere in their response.

(Doesn't the e-mail seem to support the idea that it was her friend (?) who was arguing the supposedly racist point, and, during their dinner, she took the opposing side? The e-mail seems to say "in spite of what I said the other night, I won't discount the possibility . . ." Why is this scum leaker getting off scot-free?

Posted by: bobby b | May 2, 2010 10:50:51 AM

Whites don't run as fast in marathons or sprints. I blame racism.

Well any way. There are just some things you can't talk about. No matter the evidence.

Posted by: M. Simon | May 2, 2010 11:21:09 AM

BB-Kudos on your willingness to listen and not prejudge. There is precious little of that in this ongoing debate. I think about this a lot, and yes, I do think there probably is a difference. The obvious answer is that these are averages, and folks should be judged as individuals. It is also true that the history of the human race in that regard is not encouraging.

Lola Ray-
Do you really see no difference between her very circumspect acknowledgment of the possibility of a physical fact, and the sort of overheated, condemnatory rhetoric we have all come to expect from those on your side? One is not like the other.

Posted by: pep | May 2, 2010 11:23:51 AM

Nothing she said in that e-mail was incorrect.

- - African-Americans are, on average, genetically predisposed to be of equal intelligence. - -

Does anyone have data to support that thesis? I suspect not, if for no other reason than I am not aware of any method of genetically identifying african-americans. Stated quite simply, our notion of race is not genetic; there is no african gene, there is no black gene.

she just seems like a bigot.

Perhaps, perhaps not. Beyond the fact that she is woefully uninformed about genetics (not surprising for a law student really), she leaves open the possibility that bigotry has some - yet unproven - basis in fact. Her expression was “I absolutely do not rule out the possibility..." If that seems like bigotry then you simply do not understand what the terms 'unsubstantiated,' or means.

Posted by: ThomasD | May 2, 2010 11:35:38 AM

this was a point made in a philosophical way...
she merely stated that she would consider the argument.

I imagine her considering a case where she would have to decide, as a judge, whether two equally funded schools, one with a large majority of asian and whites, the other-an inner city with a majority of black and hispanic, demonstrate disparate test scores, could receive disparate funding.

the character, other than Stephanie Grace, who deserves to have her name and deeds scrutinized is the "linda tripp" character.

I would be more concerned if I was employing a lawyer who lacked the intellect to keep private conversations, private, than one who suggests that they are merely open to various theories.

Posted by: mtl | May 2, 2010 11:47:58 AM

My guess is pretty much everybody at Harvard, including minority students, shares Stephanie's opinion. What they're offended by is her lack of judgement in openly stating that opinion, even to people who agree.

Posted by: J | May 2, 2010 11:54:42 AM

Now, if she made anti-Zionist(anti- Semitic), anti-American comments or anti-
Capitalism opinions she would have been elected President upon graduation.

Posted by: PTL | May 2, 2010 12:04:52 PM

I am not aware of any method of genetically identifying african-americans
-ThomasD

Well, Thomas, you need to do some reading before opining. In recent university studies, trial subjects were asked to self-identify themselves by race. In a blind parallel study, their DNA was analyzed for a suite of specific markers which are associated with race. Guess what. They correlated almost perfectly.

Posted by: pep | May 2, 2010 12:10:37 PM

The original email was sent several months ago following a dinner conversation. It was recently forwarded along with the info that Ms. Grace would be getting a clerkship with a federal judge to a student group. It seems likely that someone is trying to sabotage Ms. Grace- a jealous classmate who didn't get a clerkship? an ex-boyfriend? While the content of the email is controversial, wouldn't you be more worried about working with an attorney who would use private email to discredit and destroy personal enemies than an attorney who thought there might be a connection between genetics and intelligence? I can deal with people who say things that offend me, but people who can't be trusted frighten me- I'm surprised that at Harvard Law the opposite seems to be the case.

Posted by: JeanE | May 2, 2010 12:20:03 PM

I gotta side with Joe Blow. I think the purported friend who published a private email needs to have their name dragged out in public so future employers and coworkers can reorganize a backstabbing weasel when they run into him/her.

Personally if Harvard had an honor code, I'd like to also see them expelled. We are supposed to trust someone as our counsel who acts like this?

Posted by: Kevin | May 2, 2010 12:23:06 PM

- - African-Americans are, on average, genetically predisposed to be of equal intelligence. - -
Does anyone have data to support that thesis? ....
Posted by: ThomasD | May 2, 2010 2:35:38 PM

The data is in a book by a couple of Harvard professors, called "The Bell Curve." Bear in mind though, that the data is 180 degrees off from the thesis purveyed by those "genuises." With all the cherry-picking and huge samples they could muster, they could find a difference of IQ scores between groups of "black" and "white" students of less that the margin of error in the tests. Real scientists know that a difference of less than the margin of error means that two readings are THE SAME.

This makes sense, when the actual racial makeup of the African-American population is considered. Most self-identified "black" people in this country are at least 1/4 or more "white." If there were a genetic difference in intelligence between racial subgroups, the US would not be the place to find it.

Posted by: ValerieAlexander | May 2, 2010 12:32:47 PM

"I think the purported friend who published a private email needs to have their name dragged out in public.."


Me too. So how do we do this?

Posted by: Jocon307 | May 2, 2010 12:35:44 PM

This whole episode shows that liberals and their ilk are prepared to harm another human being for their perceived incorrect thoughts.

Moreover, the more phyical harm and discomfort inflicted on the miscreant, the better.

Once could not categorically rule out the possibility that modern liberalism is really Islamo-fascism lite. Discard the Burka, Koran and the prophet and voila, liberalism.


Posted by: tim stevens | May 2, 2010 12:53:01 PM

If you've been a product of a Politically Correct education from a college or University since 1974 or so, you wouldn't know that empirical evidence(psychometric testing) has ALWAYS and still does indicate that Black Americans have an IQ measuring one mean deviation LOWER than the median IQ 100 of all Americans .

The Bell Curve is the best read to understand how IQ is tested and what it means. But today, facts and testing don't matter. It just doesn't feel right or "fair" that an ethnic group should be made to feel inferior intellectually.

Well, how about Black Africans? On any type of IQ test they score two mean deviations lower with a median IQ of 75, ten points lower than the black American median of 85.

To further inflame the intellectual lassitude of the politically correct, simply suggest the fact that Jews, as a group, test one mean deviation higher (115) than the median IQ. Some people have all the luck, right?

This subject is "verboten", taboo, and "off limits" for rational discussion because it will hurt the feelings of too many people and doesn't help the social and educational manipulations of the left.

Dr. Thomas Sowell, believes strongly that IQ results can change greatly in only a generation or two if the lower group will apply themselves to learning facts and logical thinking.

That is not likely to occur as the welfare state of the political left has relegated Black American children to the plantation of ignorance in Union Controlled Eucational ghettos of the inner city.

Malcolm Gladwell, the mixed race author of "Outliers" points out how the KIPP Inner City Charter Schools can change the lives of black American children chosen by lottery to attend "real schools". It is doubtful if my comment/s will survive scrutiny.

Posted by: CrypticGuise | May 2, 2010 1:00:10 PM

What a stupid controversy, and speaks poorly of the Dean of Harvard Law who appears to just be trying to validate PC correct credentials for her next appointment or promotion.

Posted by: Dantes | May 2, 2010 1:00:50 PM

“I absolutely do not rule out the possibility that African-Americans are, on average, genetically predisposed to be less intelligent.’’

I'm inclined to agree with that statement, and I'm equallly inclined to agree with the statement that “I absolutely do not rule out the possibility that African-Americans are, on average, genetically predisposed to be MORE intelligent.’’

Unless you're aware of scientific evidence that there's no difference in IQ between races, it's not unreasonable to be open to the possibility that there are genetic IQ differences between races. Just like I'm, say, open to the possibility that Eskimos are, on average, genetically predisposed to be better jai alai players than Hungarians.

The more serious concern, is what does one propose to do about being open to the possibility that members of one race are, on average, genetically predisposed to being more or less intelligent than another race.

I'd be more concerned if the person who made this statement is inclined to treat people of different races differently on the basis of the hypothetical possible genetic difference in average IQ. If the next part of her comment was "but so what, that's no justification for treating individuals of all races on the basis of their individual merits", then she doesn't condemnation.

Posted by: A Reader | May 2, 2010 1:10:57 PM

Wasn't this discussion held in the 1970's and 80's over studies by a Nobel Prize winner in Physics?

Of course, the Left ran him out of town on a rail and ruined his life to avoid discussing the possibility. "By the time of his death he was almost completely estranged from most of his friends and family, except his wife. His children are reported to have learned of his death only through the print media."

Science must be politically correct or not pursued...or else!

Video: Dr. William Shockley on Race, IQ, and Eugenics

Posted by: Woody | May 2, 2010 1:35:27 PM

Bear in mind though, that the data is 180 degrees off from the thesis purveyed by those "genuises." With all the cherry-picking and huge samples they could muster, they could find a difference of IQ scores between groups of "black" and "white" students of less that the margin of error in the tests. Real scientists know that a difference of less than the margin of error means that two readings are THE SAME.

You must have read a different edition than I did, since that is manifestly not what it shows. Nonetheless, if what you say is true, why did the race mongers pitch such a fit when the book was published?

But leave that aside for the moment. The fact is that almost every study, of whatever type, shows this same difference. Proof positive? Not yet, but highly suggestive. Oh, and yes, I am a real scientist, and understand statistics. But that really wasn't the point of your little snark, now was it.

Posted by: pep | May 2, 2010 1:44:24 PM

there is an objective disparity between scores and races, but there are way too many filters that have to be run before anyone proves OR disproves the validity of the theory.

it's like hitting a 10 bank shot in pool, either way.

Posted by: mtl | May 2, 2010 1:45:17 PM

There is a very interesting book called "The Bell Curve" written by a guy names Charles Murray, I believe, that goes into this in great detail. He comes to the same conclusion as the e-mailer but with research instead of opinions. It was not well received by the critics because of it's nature and conclusions. It basicly said that if you look at white and black races and their IQ's plotted to produce two bell curves, the black race is about one standard deviation behind the whites. As was mentioned above it's ok to mention any positive differences that blacks posess between the races, but not any negative differences. I agree with the writer above who said that if it is true then lets deal with it and not sweep it under the rug.

Posted by: inspectorudy | May 2, 2010 1:57:16 PM

In 'A Darwinian Left' Peter Singer notes that group disparities may be partially due to diverse evolution. Similarly, David Friedman at University of Chicago in his post 'Who is Against Evolution?'.

University of Chicago Geneticist Bruce Lahn & Lanny Ebenstein last year wrote in Nature that recent genetic findings show that the assumption of biological sameness across groups is becoming untenable.

'Let's celebrate human genetic diversity'

Nature 461, 726-728 (8 October 2009)

Also, when 661 members the American Psychological Association, the American Sociological Association, the Behavioral Genetics Association, and the Cognitive Science Society, were surveyed their responses were as follows:

"Respondents were asked to express their opinion of the role of genetic differences in the b-w IQ differential. Forty-five percent believe the difference to be a product of both genetic and environmental variation, compared to only 15% who feel the difference is entirely due to environmental variation. Twenty-four percent of experts do not believe there are sufficient data to support any reasonable opinion, and 14% did not respond to the question. Eight experts (1%) indicate a belief in an entirely genetic determination."

(Snyderman Rothman study)

Scientists are people of course and don't want to attract moral opprobrium so steer clear of these things generally.

Posted by: Schwartz | May 2, 2010 2:12:40 PM

Doesn't the student have grounds for suing the dean? The dean severely misrepresented the student's e-mail, and the student is almost certainly going to suffer financially as a result.

Posted by: CJ | May 2, 2010 2:31:29 PM

Posted by: Jocon307 | May 2, 2010 1:23:45 PM:

"So it is also to be presumed that it was one of her dinner companions who asserted the view that there is a genetic component to black vs. white intelligence.

Why is that person not being called out for her (or his) views?"

---------------------------------------------------------------

So, Jocon307, you want another thoughtcrime perpetrator to be punished? You are harsh, man. How about just one per week, but we hang 'em? Or, we could do the 2-minute hate on 'em, get them fired, and make sure that have a wrist barcode of embedded RFID tag that employers and the grocery stores will be forced by law to scan and kick the thought-crimer out of the joint

Posted by: Mel Torme | May 2, 2010 2:45:24 PM

Posted by: inspectorudy | May 2, 2010 4:57:16 PM, last sentence:

"I agree with the writer above who said that if it is true then lets deal with it and not sweep it under the rug."

That sounds fine, inspector Rudy, but I heard we are a nation of cowards when it comes to race. That was explained to us all by our Attorney General Eric Holder. Of course, I don't see myself as one of those cowards. Our president Maobama and the Dean of the Harvard Law School may have been the type of cowards our esteemed Attorney General was talking about

Posted by: Mel Torme | May 2, 2010 3:05:50 PM

When Tim Tebow was drafted in the first round, Boston radio commentators said the party 'looked like a Nazi rally, with all those white people'. White athletes who excel at positions in the NFL and NBA hear it loud and clear that they are out of place. Do we hear about racism then? What Grace said might have been impolitic, but it was a follow up to a private conversation. Isn't one point of school to be a place where students have conversations with each, and refine their understanding of the issues? Those protesting have exposed themselves as shallow and intellectually weak. Can't they retreat to the "facts" and let the data defend them? No, because without racial preferences, many Blacks wouldn't be there. (The best indicator of high ACT and SAT scores is family income. I was knew a student who had a perfect SAT score: both parents were physicians. The high percentage of Blacks among the lower income groups precludes them doing as well on those tests as Whites.) Are blaming the IQ tests are being racially biased? Should we?

The Dean needs to reprimand the individuals who leaked a private email to others, whose motive was probably to hold the author up for scorn and derision. The Dean has exposed herself as lacking good sense and a moral compass. Grace needs to find better friends. I'm sure that she won't in the long run, lose on employment opportunities. Some employers welcome integrity and honesty. Besides, would she really want to work for someone who is so shallow as to not want her because of this?

Why are there racial and gender preferences in college admissions? Many private colleges accept men with lower credentials than women in order to keep the male-female ratio from getting too out of whack. Otherwise, the percentage of females would be too high. Does this mean one gender is smarter than the other, or that one gender is better at doing the meaningless, stupid, mind-numbing, creativity cramping, endlessly repetitious rote work required by too many pompous, narrow-minded, petty bureaucrats called high school teachers? I think the latter, and I'm not sure it reflects that well on that gender.

Posted by: MWisconsin | May 2, 2010 4:07:33 PM

Apparently, genetics and the principles of statistics apply everywhere, except in determining intelligence. It is entirely possible that enthnic groupings are too large and too mixed to compare in any meaningful way. But to deny even a theoretical possibility of differences is not scientific.

Posted by: Trashhauler | May 2, 2010 4:13:21 PM

The third year student has a chip on his/her shoulder along the lines of “I’m gonna expose you and teach you a lesson.” How cocky, arrogant, and supremely self-confident. Instead of using it as a teaching lesson in countering the mentality, the third year student took it as a ticket to notoriety, exposing his/her willful malice to hurt someone (probably for the rest of their career, sadly), instead of using it as an opportunity to help someone overcome their bigoted mentality and make their social and work interactions and possibly even their caseload, more meaningful and beneficial for society.

Bigots can learn lessons and mend their ways. Malice is ingrained and used as an ugly power ploy over others.

Posted by: mcnorman | May 2, 2010 4:18:34 PM

The third year student has a chip on his/her shoulder along the lines of “I’m gonna expose you and teach you a lesson.” How cocky, arrogant, and supremely self-confident. Instead of using it as a teaching lesson in countering the mentality, the third year student took it as a ticket to notoriety, exposing his/her willful malice to hurt someone (probably for the rest of their career, sadly), instead of using it as an opportunity to help someone overcome their bigoted mentality and make their social and work interactions and possibly even their caseload, more meaningful and beneficial for society.

Bigots can learn lessons and mend their ways. Malice is ingrained and used as an ugly power ploy over others.

Posted by: mcnorman | May 2, 2010 4:25:45 PM

Mcnorman, from what I read of the lady's email, she is not a bigot in any way, shape or form. You, sir are a bigot. You seem to have a prejudice against freethinkers.

Yeah, I agree with you about the Malice from the other student.

Posted by: Mel Torme | May 2, 2010 7:57:26 PM

Thanks for the post-- it's nice to have a collection of links like this when an issue blows up that won't be covered properly in the newspapers.

Posted by: Eric Rasmusen | May 2, 2010 8:20:24 PM

When we're finished with this, let's discuss something less controversial, like men being smarter than women, something on which we can all surely agree...except possibly these ladies who are better left out of the matter.

Posted by: Woody | May 2, 2010 10:36:18 PM

"Scientists refuse to investigate IQ differences between races."

Those that do get the PC gestapo treatment. See Linda Gottfredson of Delaware, Arthur Jensen of Berkeley, Robert Gordon of Hopkins, etc.

Posted by: Baba Yaga | May 3, 2010 1:05:50 AM

That all races are equal in intelligence is a matter of faith.
The data supporting this are lacking.

Posted by: Richard Aubrey | May 3, 2010 5:07:32 AM

Larry Summers learned exactly how forgiving universities are about inquring minds that inquire about taboo subjects- in this land of the free. Why do blacks as a race excel at athletics and fail so miserably at academics? Jesse Jackson says it's because the athletic playing field is level. Does that make any sense when 90% of US teachers are liberals and Democrats?

Posted by: mhr | May 3, 2010 6:24:10 AM

> This girl's remarks and opinions are unfortunate, (...)

... but leaving that aside, are the _accurate_?

Posted by: James Watson, Ph. D. | May 3, 2010 6:58:27 AM

Maybe Ms. Minow came out so hard regarding the e-mail because she is hoping to replace a certain judge on the Supreme Court. What better way to get attention?

It's unfortunate that this person has such lousy friends. Maybe they should be outed so the world knows who not to trust.

Posted by: Paulie | May 3, 2010 12:04:02 PM

The nation is not nearly ready for a frank discussion on any racial issue. The reaction in this case makes it clear, and I believe intentionally so, that this subject is simply too explosive to risk discussion. That is quite possibly a correct evaluation. If there's no good answer, asking the question can itself be destructive. Any married person already knows this.

The writer of the email made another huge error. Any attempt to address this subject should be inseparably accompanied by a strong assertion of the principle that group judgments are always discriminatory and are always wrong. That is, no matter what you want to claim about group differences, it simply makes no difference to our actions. We owe it to society and to ourselves to judge each person as an individual. Perhaps the fear of that last concept is behind the firestorm of politically correctness.

Posted by: AMTbuff | May 3, 2010 5:01:49 PM

Paul, I noticed that you're not letting all comments get past your screening. Are you giving into political correctness yourself at the price of an honest and open debate?

Posted by: Woody | May 3, 2010 5:43:26 PM

What's interesting, and a bit scary, is that a plurality of the comments seem to accept what is more or less a racist position. Maybe TaxProf could sponsor a trip to Auschwitz to see where this thinking leads?

Posted by: mike livingston | May 3, 2010 7:06:01 PM

"...you want another thoughtcrime perpetrator to be punished..."

I merely think that since this has been made a public issue ALL the people involved should be revealed for scrutiny.

It seems this woman has been forced into some ritual apology to blacks for an idea put forth by another party.

The "thoughcrime" issue has been created by the Dean, not by me. I don't really think there is any such thing as a thoughtcrime, except for maybe stupidity but that is too prevalent to really do anything about.

I would most especially like to know who it was who leaked the email. I would also like to know more about the email, was it sent to all 3 dinner companions? I suppose so since if it were only sent to one I'm not sure that person would have leaked it.


Posted by: Jocon307 | May 4, 2010 2:06:12 AM

@mcnorman I agree that malice is ingrained and used as an ugly power ploy over others.

Posted by: William | May 4, 2010 10:10:44 AM

I think it's sad how many of the comments appear to be sympathetic to the student.

Posted by: mike livingston | May 4, 2010 2:35:54 PM

Intelligence is not a trait, like red hair. It's a competence, and as such can be practiced and developed. All IQ test takers go up after the first test, there's just a point where some people max out. (But most people won't take the test often enough to reach that point). It's just a fact that any tests of a competence will not be able to account for people more or less familiar with that competence prior to the test.

The commenters here sound illogical, bigoted, uneccessarily angry, and appear to be covering up some hateful attitudes ("Well, black men can say white men cant' jump..." REALLY?) with some thin veneer of "but of course it's just a logical inquiry..." And then we have all the emphasis on the thoroughly discredited Charles Murray research (which was not able to account for a difference larger than the margin of error!)

I hope the people on here aren't lawyers, because if they are, their professors have failed them in so many ways.

Posted by: Liz | May 4, 2010 4:43:57 PM

The 65 comments which were approved are not intelligently framing this issue, and it's odd that the moderators did not approve my one comment pointing out that hair color is not analogous to intellectual capacity (as "proved" by a test on competency which is another step removed).

So here's another writer whose view point should be represented in this thread. I am really surprised that a mainstream legal blog would be so one-sided in trying to wriggle around the "we're just asking questions here..." issue.

http://trueslant.com/eliemystal/2010/05/04/at-harvard-intellectualism-is-the-new-hood-to-hide-behind/

Posted by: Liz | May 5, 2010 9:29:39 AM

Last I checked race was a social construct, and underperformance of African Americans doesn't explain the fact that African immigrants excel in academia.

Posted by: tracer | May 6, 2010 7:38:50 PM