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Sunday, November 13, 2005
Questions for Professor Loewen
James Loewen has proposed further questions for sundown-town researchers, perhaps including his competitor on this subject, which Loewen did not address and which he feels should be.
In that light, I have questions of my own. These do not cover the existence of sundown towns (they do exist), nor the need to integrate them with the rest of America (there is such a need). These questions deal with Loewen's further extrapolations. These end, as one might expect, at the normative university-sociology-department opinion that America requires yet another Reconstruction / Great-Society movement, paid for out of workers' salaries rather than out of sociology department funding, to cure the ills of Black America.
1. We will need to discuss starting assumptions. Loewen correctly identified The Bell Curve by Charles Murray as a central text justifying White supremacism, and noted its popularity in sundown suburbia (p. 319). He further noted that the early SAT failed to take into account innate cognitive ability, as witness the mismeasurement of Jews (p. 126). Even if SATs have improved since then, which he refuses to accept, he pointed out studies from Steele and Aronson that running down a student's belief in his own intellect will depress that one's SAT score (pp. 352-3). From that, Loewen argued that the SAT should either have its bias "factored in", somehow, or else the SAT should be replaced with the GPAs of local schools (p. 435). But Steele and Aronson started with a baseline of no SAT difference! Loewen takes Steele and Aronson as the last word, which it is not; although Loewen lacked access to the April 2005 issue of American Psychologist, and to Murray's followup in Commentary magazine, Sept 2005, Loewen failed his readers in leaving out mention of any controversy. Loewen should reveal, from the basis of biology, what he knows about genetics, the workings of the human brain, and computer science; and he should argue from that exactly how much one's personal background will affect performance, versus objective measurements of that one's brain processing power.
2. Now, we need to discuss the nature of reparations. Loewen has approved of the reparation payments to Black victims of sundown pogroms at Rosewood, and to the Sicilian victims at West Frankfurt. He stated that this should be expanded to the Blacks of West Frankfurt, Tulsa, and elsewhere (pp. 426-9). Loewen is no doubt aware that reparations movements involve wealth transfer and not creation; and that there is no shortage of people of any race who are keen to take money from those who have it with scant regard for desert. For instance, Rainbow / PUSH has earned widespread notoriety for shaking down corporations for cash and then dispersing the booty to Jesse Jackson's cronies. Even when the proper recipients are identified, cash payouts are not always delivered wisely. There was recently a racist outrage at Tulia, TX; the victims were compensated with cash, and although there was a financial planner some of the recipients at Tulia bought SUVs instead. When undeserving men loot a community, or even when deserving men fail to maintain their inheritance, that is money not available to deserving and responsible people; and when that money is frittered away, the recipients are left still destitute and, if unscrupulous, still making demands upon the wider community. Loewen should explain how this will improve race relations. Either that or he must follow up any claim to reparations with an explanation of how to deliver the proceeds.
Some will take the above questions as "a typical complaint of those who oppose justice and fairness". I expect rather more from Dr Loewen and from fans of his work; among whom I count myself, despite Loewen's clumsy forays into biology and social policy.
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