Positionality in the Age of Rambukkana
Discovering the truth about things like cognitive differences between the races was extremely uncomfortable for me, but it isn’t viable to simply dismiss something we don’t like as “racist.” It’s not a matter of agreeing or disagreeing—the data don’t lie. Data cannot be “racist.” G, or general intelligence, is actually one of the best indicators of performance on mental aptitude testing. IQ testing is certainly not perfect, but it is a good measurement of intelligence in most cases, and it provides us with a statistically reliable barometer of intellectual capacity. It’s a hell of a lot more reliable than BMI, for example, or the recommended daily dietary intake (forty grams of protein a day, are you kidding me?). IQ differences aren’t something to be celebrated like it’s some kind of team sport. What am I going to do, get excited that someone who looks like me has the probability of being smarter than someone who’s darker? Or curse the heavens because when I encounter an Asian or an Ashkenazi Jew, based purely on averages, they’re likely to be smarter? I don’t know what my IQ is and I don’t care. I’m simply stating that maybe—just maybe—there might be a correlation between intelligence and achievement, and that the omnipresent but invisible hand of oppression and the daily indignities of micro-aggressions and micro-traumas are fictions no more real than the Trump-Russia collusion narrative.
There are testable metrics that can help inform us about the ramifications of specific policies or allow us to deduce broader trends, but discarding the results because they contradict Leftist orthodoxy is not only unethical, but it’s proving to be catastrophic. Immune from the consequences of their dogma, the bourgeois Left wall themselves off in enclaves so homogenous the white nationalists would be jealous. The only diversity you’ll ever see there are the Mexicans and Guatemalans that mow the intelligentsia’s lawns and clean their pools, or the odd token Black Caucus politician or race-baiting professor, but the narrative-shapers keep to their own the same as most people tend to. The only difference is they are free to associate with who they want, and we are not. I’m sure the residents of Nashville, Tennessee aren’t thrilled about having refugees dumped on them without being consulted, irrevocably altering the unique flavor of the city, but the Vanderbilt professors who blamed 9/11 on the Navajo genocide would shout down any objections as RACIST or XENOPHOBIC. I wouldn’t be thrilled about it, either, but I’m so xenophobic that I’ve willingly exposed myself to the cultures of forty-plus other countries.
We’ve become so consumed with the feverish fantasy of “diversity” that we cannot even engage with the data staring us right in the face. Do you think I delight in knowing that we aren’t, in fact, equal? Believe me, I’m about as far from racist as you can possibly get, but I am able to practice pattern recognition and I understand data and probability. I know that I am far more likely to be harmed in 83% black West Baltimore with its “Barely Livable” Area Vibes score and its straight Fs in education, housing, employment, and crime than I am in 85% white Davidson, North Carolina with its “Exceptionally Livable” Area Vibes Score and its A+ amenities, crime, and education ratings. According to USA Today, these are the ten worst cities to live in in America (with accompanying demographic information):
1. Detroit, Michigan (82% black)
2. Birmingham, Alabama (74% black)
3. Flint, Michigan (57% black)
4. St. Louis, Missouri (49% black)
5. Memphis, Tennessee (65% black)
6. Milwaukee, Wisconsin (40% black, 17% Hispanic)
7. Albany, Georgia (71% black)
8. Hartford, Connecticut (38% black, 40% Hispanic)
9. Merced, California (49% Hispanic)
10. Wilmington, Delaware (58% black)
Other gems include: San Bernardino, California (#11, 14% black, 60% Hispanic); Stockton, California (#13, 40% Hispanic, 11% black); Baltimore, Maryland (#14, 64% black); Jackson, Mississippi (#15, 79% black); Miami Beach, Florida (#17, 51% Hispanic); Cincinnati, Ohio (#25, 45% black); Paterson, New Jersey (#27, 32% black, 54% Hispanic); Rochester, New York (#34, 42% black, 14% Hispanic); Atlanta, Georgia (#37, 54% black); Lawrence, Massachusetts (#43, 70% Hispanic); and Shreveport, Louisiana (#46, 55% black). If you notice, these cities span the entirety of the United States, so regional culture is not a factor. Their poverty and criminality cannot simply be attributed to the vestiges of racism in Ole Dixie, for instance. There does appear to be a common thread, but would noticing it simply reinforce stereotypes of the general...let’s say “proclivities” of blacks and Hispanics?
Stereotypes are actually one of the most reliable predictors in social psychology and there is, as Lee Jussim, social psychologist and former department chair at Rutgers University, says, “overwhelming evidence of stereotype accuracy” and that stereotypes are, “a valid, independently replicable, powerful phenomena”:
1. Over 50 studies have now been performed assessing the accuracy of demographic, national, political, and other stereotypes.
2. Stereotype accuracy is one of the largest and most replicable effects in all of social psychology. Richard et al (2003) found that fewer than 5% of all effects in social psychology exceeded r’s of .50. In contrast, nearly all consensual stereotype accuracy correlations and about half of all personal stereotype accuracy correlations exceed .50.
3. The evidence from both experimental and naturalistic studies indicates that people apply their stereotypes when judging others approximately rationally. When individuating information is absent or ambiguous, stereotypes often influence person perception. When individuating information is clear and relevant, its effects are “massive” (Kunda & Thagard, 1996, yes, that is a direct quote, p. 292), and stereotype effects tend to be weak or nonexistent. This puts the lie to longstanding claims that “stereotypes lead people to ignore individual differences.”
Read that last point again: for someone who is not racist, stereotypes are only relevant (but they are relevant) in decision-making insofar as there is a dearth of knowledge about an individual. Once you acquire “individuating information,” the stereotype may in fact be proven correct, but depending on individual differences, the stereotype may no longer be relevant and will dissipate. This is directly in keeping with everything I’ve written on this site. Without knowing whether or not Albany, Georgia, for instance, was a nice place, knowing its racial composition would very likely give you a good indication of the quality of life you could expect. It might seem reductive, and it’s unfortunate, but the data in many respects overwhelmingly support race as a civilizational proxy. Returning to Jussim:
Is your belief in stereotype accuracy falsifiable? That question is directed to all readers of this blog entry who still maintain the claim that “stereotypes are inaccurate.” Scientific beliefs should at least be capable of falsification and correction; otherwise, they are more like religion. Bian and Cimpian follow a long and venerable social psychological tradition of declaring stereotypes inaccurate without: 1. Grappling with the overwhelming evidence of stereotype accuracy; and 2. Without providing new evidence that directly assesses accuracy. This raises the question, if 50 high quality studies demonstrating stereotype accuracy across many groups, many beliefs, many labs, and many decades is not enough to get you to change your mind, what could?... If no data could lead you to change your position, then your position is not scientific. It is completely appropriate for people’s morals to inform or even determine their political attitudes and policy positions. What is not appropriate, however, is for that to be the case, and then to pretend that one’s position is based on science.
This is the gross hypocrisy of the Left in a nutshell, which brings me to a recent case study in what passes for legitimate scholarship in so many of our institutions of higher learning these days, concerning, in part, no less than the most visible psychologist on the planet, Dr. Jordan Peterson. Wilfrid Laurier University Graduate Teaching Assistant in Communications Lindsay Shepherd ran afoul of Leftist dogma for showing a short clip of the gendered pronoun usage debate between University of Toronto professors Nicholas Matte and Jordan Peterson, among others, on The Agenda with Steve Paikin, an extremely fair, moderate television program that does a great job of providing different viewpoints. Paikin is a terrific moderator, one of the best in fact, and the debate in question, which I’ve viewed several times, is handled professionally by Peterson, though Matte resorts to ad hominem attacks and accuses Professor Peterson of abusing his students by refusing to use the Cult-Marx pronouns. The only thing you could claim is controversial about the episode and clip in question from my point of view is how abominably Matte conducts himself. For the Leftist functionaries at Laurier, however, it is that Peterson will not acquiesce to using what are obviously invented pronouns and will not sacrifice the distinction between singular and plural with respect to the use of “they” and “their.” The Agenda is aired on public access television, and as such is taxpayer funded, so the program is not of “dubious origin.” Assuming Shepherd’s use of the clip was pedagogically sound—and all indications are that is was—then the only issue can be the objections voiced by Dr. Peterson.
Apparently one of Shepherd’s students is in the Stasi and filed a complaint against her for violating the school’s Gendered and Sexual Violence policy for showing the clip. Shepherd was summoned to a secret meeting with two professors and a mid-level functionary from Gendered Violence and Prevention Support who probably makes more than the professors. Sensing a trap, Shepherd had the prescience to record the meeting on her laptop. Shepherd’s inquisition Troika was helmed by Grand Poohbah Nathan Rambukkana, “an enigma wrapped in a paradox wrapped in bacon fat.” You can tell this guy’s just been marinating in Cult-Marx jargon for the best part of twenty years, to the point where it’s virtually impossible for him to string a coherent sentence together, which is hilarious considering he’s meant to be a Professor of Communications. His arguments are deeply flawed and contradictory, and at one point he goes so far as to say that Shepherd showing the clip is violating the Canadian Human Rights Code, Bill C-16, which would be a legal issue. Shepherd makes clear in the recording that she doesn’t even agree with Professor Peterson’s viewpoints, but she presented the video neutrally “in the spirit of debate,” so the only possible offense would be exposing the students to Peterson’s position, not even espousing it herself, which Rambukkana equates with the Alt-Right and, “Hitler and Milo Yiannopoulos.” The other professor, Herbert Pimlott, throws Richard Spender in the mix, because why not, right after saying, “I would find it problematic if my tutorial leaders were representing positions that didn’t have any substantial academic credibility to that evidence.” Pimlott is effectively saying that grammatical rules and humans’ sexual di-morphism are not credible or backed by evidence. Only their created-whole-cloth self-referential word-soup is legitimate scholarship, and its scientific basis is informed exclusively by their own specific views on morality. Grammatical convention and biology can both take a hike.
I have a very good friend who has been a professor of Rhetoric and Composition at several different universities, and she has been summoned to no less than three of these “informal meetings” in the past three years for discussing the grammatical implications of dispensing with the differentiation between singular and plural with respect to “they,” and of “he” being the default in English for general, gender-neutral or -unknown third-person. Some context regarding the gender pronoun “debate” has typically proven necessary, and I have no reason to believe she isn’t perfectly neutral in her presentation of the material (being cognizant of how intractably closed and hostile to “outside opinion” academia has become), and yet still she faces anonymous accusations from the Stasi that have the potential to jeopardize her livelihood simply for clarifying the “offensive,” “sexist,” and “transphobic” rules of grammar. Alas, perhaps it’s time she heed Nathan Rambukkana’s advice in the interest of self-preservation:
“Okay, so, I understand the position that you’re coming from, and your positionality, but the reality is that it has created a toxic climate for some of the students...one or multiple students who have come forward, saying that this is something that they were concerned about, and that it made them uncomfortable. You are perfectly welcome to your own opinions, but when you're bringing it into the context of the classroom, that can become problematic, and that can become something that is—that creates an unsafe learning environment for students.”
 I wish I could find the author to attribute that quote to because it’s one of the great descriptions of our time—I believe it appeared in an issue of Sports Illustrated and it was in reference to former Boston Celtic Antoine Walker.