Thomas Sowell addresses Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s and Justice Department chief Eric Holder’s crusade against statistics. A recent study found that black male students are disciplined more than other race-sex cohorts. The pattern follows the very familiar black-Hispanic-white-Asian progression. Sowell makes the simple argument:
If black males get punished more often than Asian-American females, does that mean that it is somebody else’s fault? That it is impossible that black males are behaving differently from Asian-American females? Nobody in his right mind believes that. But that is the unspoken premise, without which the punishment statistics prove nothing about “equity.”
The New York Times wrote on it:
Although black students made up only 18 percent of those enrolled in the schools sampled, they accounted for 35 percent of those suspended once, 46 percent of those suspended more than once and 39 percent of all expulsions, according to the Civil Rights Data Collection’s 2009-10 statistics from 72,000 schools in 7,000 districts, serving about 85 percent of the nation’s students. The data covered students from kindergarten age through high school.
And of course, boys of any racial cohort faced discipline and expulsion more than girls of the similar racial cohort. Which makes one wonder where is all of the outrage at the disparate impact on school age boys? As usual, these types of race-pandering analyses cannot handle the intersection of gender and race. Sowell looks at the political motivations:
What they are more fundamentally trying to protect are the black votes which are essential for Democrats. To that end, blacks must be constantly depicted as under siege from whites, so that Democrats can be seen as their rescuers.
Promoting paranoia translates into votes. It is a very cynical political game, despite all the lofty rhetoric used to disguise it.
And of course, men in general and white men in particular do not have such an organized or well-congealed voting bloc.
I wish discussions of biology would come up more. And I don’t necessarily mean innate racial differences – though such an argument should be borne out. But there is a good argument to be made that fatherlessness is the most important culprit. A study I linked to yesterday found that British boys whose fathers were absent from the home before the age of 7 experienced earlier incidents of sexual maturation. Reaching puberty earlier than classmates would manifest itself as relatively more of the behaviors that tend to get boys in trouble at school – rambunctiousness, fighting, etc. Kids who socialize with kids with similar household characteristics – and based largely on race similarity – double down on this effect of, essentially, testosterone.
Duncan and Holder interpret all of this as a type of racism, but it seems more a case of – if we want to speak in terms of discrimination against a group – misandry. The ideal solution is more fathers in the home, but the second-best solution is more strong-willed men in the classroom. And not just principals who dole out discipline but strong male teachers who serve as father figures to these young men.