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joe emersberger

Joined: 24 Jan 2004
Posts: 513
Location: Windsor, Onatrio, Canada

Post Post subject: to economist on Cosby/ racism in US Reply with quote

It isn't hard to see what the Economist found so appealing about Bill Cosby's uniformed and belligerent attack on blacks in the US. There is indeed a gap between blacks and whites in SAT scores in the US. If Cosby is correct the reason is simply that black youth and their parents undervalue education. In that case whites need not acknowledge and relinquish any unearned privilege. Instead, all they need do is lecture blacks more sternly about their shortcomings. Very comforting indeed to the recipients of skin privilege, even those across the Atlantic, but is Cosby right?

Tim Wise of the Association for White Anti-Racist Education (AWARE) in Nashville, Tennessee
has tirelessly pointed out that Cosby is not right. He cites National Center for Education Statistics that found 43% of black fourth-graders do one hour or more of homework per night, as do 45% of whites and 47% of Hispanics. Black and Hispanic fourth-graders are both more likely than whites that age to do more than one hour of homework, with 18% of Hispanics, 17% of blacks, but only 15% of whites. Other studies have found that Black twelfth graders are more than twice as likely as whites to have perfect attendance (16% versus 7.4%), and are even more likely than Asians to have perfect attendance. NCES statistics indicate that black children are more likely than whites to often spend time with their parents on homework. A recent opinion poll of black youth, ages 11-17, found that the biggest hope for these youth was to go to college,[1]

In fact the Economist recently stated that blacks and Latinos favour school vouchers by a wide margin ("Change gotta come" May 20, 2004). You support vouchers yet believe that backs, who also support them, undervalue education. It seems the Economist undervalues consistency.

Lower scores for blacks on SAT tests have been linked to racist "tracking" in schools - the consequences of the stereotypes that Cosby, the Economist and countless others perpetuate.
The President of the U.S. College Board has acknowledged that black 8th graders with test scores comparable to whites are disproportionately placed in remedial high school classes. Jeannie Oakes of UCLA has done a great deal of research on the destructive effects of tracking. No surprise that unequal preparation should lead to unequal results.[2]

Another stereotype perpetuated by the Economist is that of the "model minority". You wrote that "Researchers routinely explain Asian children's success in terms of Asian cultural values" The unnamed researchers who do this are incompetent. They have to ignore that between two-thirds and three-quarters of the highly-educated APA community in the U.S. already had college degrees or were in college upon their arrival. In spite of their relative success Asian Americans with a college degree earn 11% less than comparable whites. Even the model minorities aren't escaping institutionalized racism.[3]

The worst part of the article was the clumsy attempt to downplay racism by pointing to the declining number of people who tell pollsters that they have nothing in common with other races.

No need to be alarmed by the findings of researchers Marianne Bertrand of the University of Chicago and Sendhill Mullainathan of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They sent out 5,000 resumes in response to help-wanted ads in Boston and Chicago newspapers. Each resume was randomly assigned either a very black-sounding name such as "Lakisha Washington" or a very white-sounding name like "Emily Walsh.". White names received roughly 50 percent more callbacks than black names. For black names, higher-quality resumes elicited no significant increase in callbacks. For whites callbacks increased by 30%.

No need to take notice of the a report released in November 2002 by the U.S. Department of Housing that found nearly 1 in 5 blacks trying to buy a home or rent an apartment there faces some kind of illegal discrimination [4]

No need to ask why "black drug users are nearly twenty times more likely than anyone else to spend time in prison for their use (Hilfiker, 2002: 39), and in fifteen states, the rate of black incarceration for drug offenses is anywhere from 20-57 times greater than for whites, despite equal or greater rates of drug law violations by whites (Human Rights Watch, 2000)" [5]

No need to address the fact that disproportionate incarceration of blacks has led to 15% black men either permanently or currently barred from voting. In Mississippi, one-third of all black men are unable to vote for the rest of their lives. [6]

Cosby and the Economist need to do some homework.


Joe Emersberger

[1] Http://


[3] As the Glass Ceiling Commission discovered in 1995; cited by Wise ZNet Commentary
Con-fusion Ethic: How Whites Use Asians to Further Anti-Black Racism October 05, 2002

[4] PAUL STREET "Whole Lott Missing": December 22, 2002
[5] qoute from Time Wise: Znet: A Quite Deliberate Failure: Reflections on the Politics of Crime :
[6] .Znet: The New Racial Domain : By Manning Marable :
Fri Jul 16, 2004 9:15 am
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Raoul Djukanovic

Joined: 20 Mar 2004
Posts: 385
Location: UK

Post Post subject: Reply with quote

You support vouchers yet believe that backs, who also support them, undervalue education. It seems the Economist undervalues consistency.

nice one joe
Fri Jul 16, 2004 11:35 am
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