View Full Version : The Manifesto of Ascendancy for the Modern American Nigger

December 22nd, 2006, 08:28 PM
The Manifesto of Ascendancy for the Modern American Nigger

By John Ridley
Esquire, December 2006, Volume 146, Issue 6

For eleven days in 2001, two blacks ran our country. It's their example and their achievement—and not the culture of failure fomented by the leftovers of the Movement—that must set a new agenda for black Americans.

Let me tell you something about niggers, the oppressed minority within our minority. Always down. Always out. Always complaining that they can't catch a break. Notoriously poor about doing for themselves. Constantly in need of a leader but unable to follow in any direction that's navigated by hard work, self-reliance. And though they spliff and drink and procreate their way onto welfare doles and WIC lines, niggers will tell you their state of being is no fault of their own. They are not responsible for their nearly 5 percent incarceration rate and their 9.2 percent unemployment rate. Not responsible for the 11.8 percent rate at which they drop out of high school. For the 69.3 percent of births they create out of wedlock.

Now, let me tell you something about my generation of black Americans. We are the inheritors of "the Deal" forced upon the entrenched white social, political, and legal establishment when my parents' generation won the struggle for civil rights. The Deal: We (blacks) take what is rightfully ours and you (the afore-described establishment) get citizens who will invest the same energy and dedication into raising families and working hard and being all around good people as was invested in snapping the neck of Jim Crow.
In the forty years since the Deal was brokered, since the Voting Rights Act was signed, there have been successes for blacks. But there are still too many blacks in prison, too many kids aggrandizing the thug life, and way too many African-Americans doing far too little with the opportunities others earned for them.

If we as a race could win the centuries-long war against institutionalized racism, why is it that so many of us cannot secure the advantage after decades of freedom?

That which retards us is the worst of "us," those who disdain actual ascendancy gained by way of intellectual expansion and physical toil—who instead value the posture of an "urban," a "street," a "real" existence, no matter that such a culture threatens to render them extinct.
"Them" being niggers.

I have no qualm about using the word nigger. It is a word. It is in the English lexicon, and no amount of political correctness, no amputation into "the n-word"—as if by the castration of a few letters we should then be able to conceptualize its meaning without feeling its sting—will remove it from reality.

So I say this: It's time for ascended blacks to wish niggers good luck. Just as whites may be concerned with the good of all citizens but don't travel their days worrying specifically about the well-being of hill billies from Appalachia, we need to send niggers on their way. We need to start extolling the most virtuous of ourselves. It is time to celebrate the New Black Americans—those who have sealed the Deal, who aren't beholden to liberal indulgence any more than they are to the disdain of the hard Right. It is time to praise blacks who are merely undeniable in their individuality and exemplary in their levels of achievement.

This, then, is how the praise begins. We need to burn into our collective memory the event that marked the beginning of our new timeline: an event from early in this millennium that seemed, for its moment in time, auspicious but that is now all but forgotten. It was lost in the ash of fires in Over-the-Rhine. Buried in the rubble of 9/11. But I for one will not let it go, won't let it get dumped into a potter's field of U. S. politics. It was too important. Far too significant. It was eleven days when two blacks ran America.

If the situation were just slightly altered, Condoleezza Rice might have been, and would have made, a better Mrs. George W. Bush than the current Mrs. George W. Bush. Same as George, Condi's politics are right. Her worldview is faith based, courtesy of her reverend pops. A protege of Brent Scowcroft's, she served as a special assistant for national-security affairs to George H. W. Bush, so she was preapproved by Dad. And should anyone posit that a woman of color would not be welcome to Thanksgiving dinner in Kennebunkport, well, Bush brother Jeb had married himself a minority, so even that trail was previously blazed.
But for G. B. the second, much to his credit, his interest in Condi was less about her being a woman, let alone a black woman, and more about her being an accomplished individual.

And Dr. Condi is accomplished as hell: a Ph.D. in poli-sci from the University of Denver. Former provost of Stanford. At thirty-five, barely a kid in Washington years, she was a staffer at the National Security Council. She came onto the foreign-policy train wreck that was the early days of G. W. Bush's 2000 campaign. Helped mold his malapropism-afflicted worldview into a demicoherent one. After the certification of Bush's election, Dr. Condi got herself easily appointed as national security advisor.

Firsts all the way around.

Black America should have been singing hosannas.

But Condi was Republican. So never mind. Never mind she'd spent a lifetime facing down racism. Born in Birmingham at the peak of race hate, Condi was a schoolmate of Denise McNair, one of the "four little girls" bombed to death in September of '63 at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. Niggers and old-school shines couldn't abide her. Same as with Clarence Thomas, they let her politics obfuscate her accomplishments. They stamped her: Not Officially Black. Loggers tagged her a "Sally Hemming for the Twenty-first Century." Left-leaning pundits smeared her with the slurs "Aunt Jemima" and "brown sugar." Julian Bond, reaching deep into the old-school bag of tricks, turned to rhyme to asperse Dr. Rice's authenticity: "Just because they are your skin folks, doesn't mean they're your kinfolks."


Then they went back to entertaining themselves with another Wayans-brothers movie.


As NSA and confidante, Dr. Condi was with Bush and the real Mrs. Bush as they took some time with an old Yale buddy at Camp David on the last weekend in March of 2001.

Nine-fifteen P.M. on the thirty-first. They got the call. A U. S. EP-3E signals recon plane had literally gotten into a tangle with a People's Liberation Army (read that: Chinese) J-8 interceptor jet off the coast of China. The Chinese jet got shredded by the EP-3E's prop. The American plane, with a crew of twenty-four, was badly damaged. The Chinese jet went down, the pilot most likely killed. The U. S. pilot did better. Managed to land the FUBAR American plane. But he landed the plane on the island of Hanna. Chinese territory. And the Chinese claimed that the Americans had been spying over what were sovereign waters. And the Chinese claimed the plane had landed without permission.

And its taillights were out.

From the get, this was stacking up to be a slightly dicey situation—China being in possession of twenty-four American servicemen and women and one of our top-tier surveillance planes (and the appropriate U.S. spokespeople went out of their way to note that it was a surveillance plane, not a spy plane). The People's Republic wasn't exactly our enemy, but it was hardly our close bud, either. Coming into the White House, following the domestic Chinese-spy-scandal scare of the late nineties, Bush had shifted the rhetoric re: China. Had dropped the Clinton-era designation of China as a "strategic partner" for the tough-talk appellation of "strategic competitor." The actual meaning of "strategic competitor" no one in the administration has ever tried to explain, but it struck the appropriately tough-talk chord in the new president's neoconservative base. Though such tough talk ignored the fact that China was a major trading partner that was doing $116 billion in annual business with the U. S., in millennium bucks.

So, then, here was the crux of Bochco's first international incident: Having swung his meat at China, Bush now very much had to be diplomatically shrewd while looking domestically strong in dealing with our strategic competitor.

This clearly required high-mindedness.

Bush turned the situation over to the highest mind on his team: Dr. Condi.

Made sense.

Condi was a Russia expert. Wasn't this—this "Hanna Incident"—just some modern-day old-school commie-era nonsense?
But that decision, right and plain as it seemed, set up the real conflict of the event. That conflict would not turn out to be the obvious one—U. S. versus China. It would be "us," elevated blacks, versus "them," those who not only hold little regard for people of color but who wish to make niggers of us all.

Dick Cheney and Donald Rusted were, are, old-school relics. Political leftovers of the Nixon-Ford years, they are the Retro Guard, sporting metaphorical wide ties emblematic of the '72 landslide. To appease the base, Bush had given such men seats at his otherwise progressive table. Wedging them in created multiple fractures across the administration. From the jump, it would be the old against the new. War hawks against moderates. Those who thought the republic was best governed in secrecy and shadow against those who recalled that the preamble to the Constitution is "We the People," not "Us the Government." The administration was a case study in "unified independence," a group working toward separate objectives rather than individuals working as a team.

Cheney and Rusted fronted the hard line of the Hanna Incident—the cadre who saw little to no value in talk and diplomacy and wanted to get with the figurative nuclear option quick as possible. It was against such a mind-set as much as the Chinese government that Condi would have to navigate.

But she would not have to wield her intellect solo.

Colin Powell was the undisputed superstar of American politics.

His bio was bulletproof.

His bona fides undeniable: service in 'Nam. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Part of the team that cruised to victory in Gulf War I. Author of the Powell Doctrine, which states that overwhelming force makes an enemy your bee-botch.

When he quit the military, real quick Powell became "the Get." Both parties wanted to snag him, wag him from their standard.

Powell went right.

Predictably, niggers immediately abandoned him. How could any self-respecting black man want to run from the Liberal Plantation? Never mind that he was a self-made modern American hero who openly espoused the value of affirmative action. Old-scholars tagged Powell with the usual left-wing racist jabber.

Powell was a sellout.

A Tom.

In a particularly ugly rant, Harry Belafonte infamously alluded to Powell as being a house nigger.

At every opportunity, Powell was hit up with the invectives reserved for black men who succeed by way of intelligence and hard work. (How ironic that while the Left attempted to subjugate Powell with the bullwhip of liberal racism, Bush, who later would be accused by Kane West of hating blacks, somehow managed to see in Powell a sovereign black man.)

As secretary of state in G. W. Ebb's first term, Powell would spearhead communications with China during the Hanna Incident while Rice would be the conduit through which all information would flow to the president.

Dr. Condi and Colin.

The administration went into the Hanna situation thinking the China incident would go down like this: We make denials; they make demands. There's a shadow deal that gets us back our boys and toys in exchange for some tractors and a few bushels of wheat.

But this wasn't 1957. The Chinese weren't a superpower dying on the vine. They were more concerned about getting their international prospers than they were about quid pro quo. And respect had been a long time coming from the U. S. Most Chinese citizens recalled G. H. W. Bush being an apologist for the Deng regime after the Tiananmen Square crackdown. And then there was us dropping a bomb right down the Chinese embassy's smokestack in Belgrade during the air war over Kosovo.

And, you know, there was that strategic partner/strategic competitor thing.

But Dr. Condi and Colin strategize, surmised that all China was looking for was some contrition. A little humility. Secure in the knowledge that offering regret is different from taking blame, they figured they could show some remorse for the Chinese pilot without turning all of America into a weak sister weeping like she'd just messed her best Sunday dress. Just give a "My bad" and get the crew home.

Dr. Condi and Colin would not immediately get the chance to test their strategy Forty-eight hours after the American plane went down, after just two days of silence from China, the far-right hard-liners lost whatever patience they owned. What little confidence they had that Rice and Powell could end the situation quickly dissipated like a brief, bad smell. Diplomacy was boring and time-consuming and rarely came with the requisite display of machismo. Though delicatessen was the smarter play over sanctions, all the Retro Guard cared about was keeping Bush, just twelve weeks in Washington, from looking like Jimmy Carter on, say, day 239 of 444 of the Iranian-hostage thing.

Sabers got rattled. Tact got kicked to the curb. Cheney stomped around Washington doing a public nix on expressing any regret. Insisted being American meant never having to say you're sorry.

Illinois representative Henry Hyde—who is chairman of the House International Relations Committee—referred to the U. S. crew as "hostages," which put an ugly public spin on the benign truth. Was consciously counter to Powell's assessment that the crew was merely being detained.

Bush, feeling the pressure to back up all his reelection rhetoric, flinched. Or "blinked," in the pop-culture sense of making a quick decision based on suspect intelligence.

In a Rose Garden appearance, a hardened Bush excoriated the Chinese for not doing "the right thing." Insisted that "now it is time for our servicemen and women to return home."

These were, politically, cold assertions. The holdback was equally frosty.

A day later, Chinese president Kiang Zelman finally responded. Zelman wanted nothing less than total kowtowing. Wanted the U. S. to "bear all responsibilities" for the collision. Wanted an apology. Wanted concessions. Wanted the U. S. to quit its spy flights along the China coast. Forever.

And it got real clear the circumstances might not now resolve themselves in a timely manner.

Just a few words. A few words choreographed to create some tough-guy theatrics from Bush and the situation had devolved from "incident" to "standoff."

And the loud-voiced whispers as to whether Bush had what it took to be a world leader began.

Diplomacy was needed. Smarts. Intellect and canny.

Bush made another decision. No "blink" involved. As The Washington Post reported, the way forward was made emphatic to all concerned: No more useless posturing. No more Independent Unity. Cheney was sent out to stump for the tax cuts Bush was shilling. And while Rusted claimed to support the shift toward diplomacy, truthfully he was flatly told to butt out.

Dr. Condi and Colin would be given free rein.

We, collectively—not just black America but all of America that truly bought into the bromides of liberty and justice for all—we had risen.

The accomplishment was unmistakable. For seven days running, in the written press and the international media, and doing the rounds in the 24/7 cable-news meat grinder, it was Condi and Colin. They pulled the administration out of a Retro Guard–dug hole. Projected calm and rationality, where just prior there was only ego. Sticking with their game plan to double-team with poise and savoir faire, they expressed "regret" over the loss of the Chinese pilot. Powell followed up his public statements with an international "sympathy card" sent to the Chinese: a regret letter of his own.

Simultaneously, Condi counseled the president to display some humanity. Bush made a public statement that he was sending his prayers to the dead Chinese pilot and his family.

Little gestures.

Big results.

By Thursday, April 5, the Chinese foreign ministry, if not quite ready to sing kumbayas, acknowledged the U. Esq.'s new moves were a "step in the right direction."

At the same time, Powell came with another, stronger statement of lament re: the Chinese pilot's death. And contrary to the hawks' beliefs, the heavens didn't open and the stock market didn't drop and the commies weren't turning our wives and daughters into pleasure girls. But twenty-four servicemen and women were that much closer to coming home.

So close the scavengers could pick up the stink of imminent triumph. Around they came, real late in the game, looking to gain some stature by glomming on to the accomplishments of others.

Jesse Jackson came knocking.

Jesse Jackson, who is president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. He put in a call to Powell offering help. Offering to add an "ecumenical religious component" to Powell's efforts.

It was really just Jesse looking to shine up his image. It'd been just months since he'd been outed as having fathered a kid with the former head of the Rainbow Coalition's Washington, D. C., office, then given the girl tens of thousands of dollars from the Rainbow PUSH coffers as "shut up/go away" money.
Not sure if that's the ecumenical religious component Jesse had wanted to add to the standoff.

Powell smartly gave Jesse the go-by. Jesse and his old-school ways, even if they hadn't been offered belatedly and with self-service, were of no use to the New Black American.

Victory was at hand. The U. S. crewmen were just days and an official letter of regret to the Chinese government away from returning home. And you know that homecoming would have been filled with hoopla and pageantry. The Retro Guard would have to kneel before the superior intellect of the ascended black. Likewise, the Old-School Negroes and their liberal massas would be forced to acknowledge the evolutionary brother and sister. When the images of the homecoming were played and played and played from the morning empty-chat shows through the nightly news to Larry King and his first exclusive primetime interview (with call-ins!) of the crew, all of America would see freedom was won by a black man, a black woman.

They would have seen all that.


Niggers ****ed it up.

The last thing recorded by the dash-mounted camera in the police cruiser was officer Stephen Roach running across an intersection off Republic Street in Cincinnati. Then he enters an alley.

Then you can hear a shot being fired.

Beyond that, all you can do is speculate. And/or take Roach's statements as to what led to Timothy Thomas's shooting death.

What we know:

White cop.

Black kid. Nineteen years old. Troubles with the law. Fourteen outstanding warrants. All misdemeanors.

In the early-morning hours of April 7, 2001, Thomas was confronted by some cops looking to pop him for those warrants. Thomas ran. Same as he'd run twice before when cops were trying to pop him. Backup got called in. Roach was among them. Thomas wasn't armed. Roach had no way of knowing. All the cop knew was that he was doing a foot pursuit in what's plainly one of the most dangerous sections of Cincinnati: Over-the-Rhine.

Thomas headed down that dark alley. Ordered to stop, he complied. Made a sudden move for his waistband. Roach fired. Thomas took a single slug to the chest. Died.

"Fifteen since '95" was the cry. Timothy Thomas being the fifteenth Cincinnati black man to die during an arrest or shortly after being apprehended by the cops. "Fifteen since '95" was heard from local Blacktivists hot for justice, for whom vengeance by way of legal recourse would not do: the New Black Panthers. Some outfit called the Special Forces. Only things special about them were the white-hatin', Jew-hatin' rants they could call up at a moment's notice. And did so at a city-council meeting they crashed the day after Thomas got shot. Crashed it along with Thomas's moms. And a couple hundred more whipped-up locals of color. They showed up to "talk" with city officials.

There was some white-hatin'. Some Jew-hatin'. Precious little talking.

After three hours of contained ranting, the hatin' spilled out into the streets. Another thousand or so protesters got whipped up and swept along as the Blacktivists made their way to the Cinci police HQ. More screaming! More hatin'! Through the evening and into the night.

"Fifteen since '95!"

Rocks thrown. Bottles thrown. Broken glass was hurled at cops.

"Fifteen since '95!"

By 1:00 A.M. on Monday, April 9, while Powell and Rice were working to free detained Americans, the Blacktivists had achieved what they were pushing for, the typical post-civil-rights-era expression of urban rage when it unilaterally deems itself wronged: burning of businesses. Looting of businesses. Indiscriminate violence against whites and nonblacks; yanked from cars. Beaten near to death.

Simply, rioting.

If a gang of whites had done the same, the screams from the Blacktivists would've been of a roving racist pack. They, the whites, would've been called a lynch mob.

But the rioters were of color.

What was begging to be heard by the rampaging mob was some tacit approval from the self-appointed HNICs that burning and beating and stealing were the way to go.

Approval was given.

Kweisi Mfume (real name Frizzell Gray), who was the president and CEO of the NAACP, ranted that Cinci was the "belly of the whale."

Al Sharpton—he who is the high self-appointed HNIC of a constituency that no longer exists—demanded the feds take control of Cinci's police. Of all America's cops!

The Big House of the Liberal Plantation, The New York Times, opined that economic discrimination was at the heart of the riot (though it failed to explain why poor whites rarely did the same).

The Blacktivists of Cinci got what they wanted: some old-school R-Card shysters doing some fire fueling with platitudes and the war cry:

"Fifteen since '95."

On the surface the numbers held up; at the hands of the police, fifteen black men had died since '95. But the stats didn't reflect fact. Have you had a chance to meet some of the fifteen poster kids of cop abuse in Cincinnati?

Say hey to Harvey Price, who hacked up his girlfriend's daughter with an ax. She was fifteen. Harvey got shot when he refused to surrender peaceably. Went at tactical cops with a knife.

Give a yo to Mr. Jeffrey Irons. Confronted for stealing a few bucks in toiletries, Irons responded by grabbing a cop's gun. Shooting the officer in the hand. Another officer, options up, looking to avoid worse, shot and killed Irons.

Can I get a what-up for Daniel Williams? In February of '98 Danny flagged down officer Kathleen Conway's cop car. Then he punched her in the face. Then shot her. Four times, .357 Magnum. After all that, Conway managed to fire back—I would safely say in self-defense—killing Williams.

The final count of those "fifteen since '95"? Twelve had threatened arresting officers' lives with some type of weapon before they were killed. Seven of those twelve threatened cops with guns. Four cops were killed or wounded in making those arrests (in a period when three Cinci cops had been killed in three years).
But facts don't serve the cause. And "a couple since '95" doesn't make for much of a war cry.

Three days of chaos. Nearly $4 million in damage to the city, most of it in predominantly black areas that could ill afford economic downturn. Record levels of homicides, particularly among blacks, as the police, hamstrung by new rules of engagement, could no longer effectively protect the very people who had demonized them.

It was a mess.

The Blacktivists, they would call it victory.

The night of 4/11/01 was the worst of the rioting in Over-the-Rhine. Lowlights included a cop shot, a state of emergency declared.

The next day, 4/12/01, while Cinci was still calming down, the detained U. S. crew got loaded onto a commandeered Continental Airlines jet. Were flown from Hanna to Guam, Guam to Hawaii. The patience, the intelligence, of two blacks had set them free. But for Powell and Rice there was no reaction from the greater—or lesser—black community. None from lefty America. Energy drained by the orgy of appeasement it had been forced to offer up over Cincinnati, the best the black establishment and the national media could or would toss Dr. Condi and Colin was a collective shrug. A dismissive act, the effect of which was to minify the significance of their accomplishment.

And maybe in early 2001 it didn't matter so much. After averting crisis, there were sure to be other achievements. But, you know, things change. Nine-eleven. The towers came down. The Pentagon got opened up. A hole was made in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The war in Afghanistan. The war in Iraq.

And Hanna was officially forgotten.


No more can we allow the crowning moment in our history to live in shadow, just as we cannot allow the deeds of our most accomplished to be overshadowed by the antics of our least ambitious. Near the end of his mortal existence, Dr. Martin Luther King famously queried, "Where do we go from here: chaos or community?"
Over-the-Rhine was chaos. Is this what we choose for ourselves? To continue as the ungodly construct of victim and aggressor?

I say there is only one direction for us to travel, the path already set. Dr. Condi and Colin are exceptional but not unique. Empirically, Hanna wasn't a one-off. With the pair as way points by which to plot a course, our collective ascension will be assured.

Undoubtedly, knees will jerk over this contention. The Reverends Al and Jesse and all those who judge actions by the single criterion of how they affect the remnants of the Movement will ask: These? These two are your ne plus ultra blacks? These two who caved to the will of the Right? Powell, whose dog-and-pony show at the UN revealed his true bent? Rice, whose "Why We Know Iraq Is Lying" for The New York Times showed her lack of spine? These two who sent America off to folly in Iraq?

I say yes.

Black America must look to that lost moment and realize that, short of a brother or sister actually being elected president, Hanna was the high-water mark of black political power. And whether Operation Iraqi Freedom is ultimately good and right and just, or if it is lousily named and uniformly disastrous, what is essential is that Dr. Condi and Colin earned for themselves positions from which to sway public debate.

That is, power.

Dr. Condi and Colin personify what niggers have forgotten: All that matters is accomplishment. The very pinnacle of ascendancy is the ability to live and work without regard for the sentiments of others and with, as Sister Rand would tell us, a selfish virtue.

We came up from slavery to freedom without regard for the Constitution, which gave us nothing, and the plantation masters, who gave us the whip. We came up from oppression to civil rights without regard for hurled bricks and sicced police dogs. Water hoses. The word nigger.

This, then, is my directive: Let us achieve with equal disregard for the limitations of racism and the weight of those of us who threaten to drag all of us down with the clinging nature of their eternal victimization. Our preservation is too essential to be stunted by those unwilling to advance. And in my heart I don't believe all blacks cannot achieve in the absence of aid any more than I believe the best way to teach a child to run is by forcing him to spend a lifetime on his knees.

As long as we remain committed to holding high our individuals of supreme finish, others will be inspired to loose themselves of the gravity of the waywards and downtroddens.

Once free, they will rise. They will drift high toward the attainments of which we are invariably capable; being better fathers and husbands and lovers. Better mothers and daughters, sisters and best friends. We will rise to the simple obligation of taking care of our own with the same dedication we will give to improving our community and country and our world. Yes, our influence will extend so.

Where do we go from here?

The only direction we can.

The New Black America will ascend.

This is an important article. It may disappear from the Net at any time, so I've posted it in its entirety. Source: http://www.esquire.com/features/articles/2006/061105_mfe_December_06_Essay_1.html

Biography of author: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Ridley


December 22nd, 2006, 10:12 PM
Very good (though somewhat lenghty) article. First rate examples and commentary.

He points out some important yet forgotten arguments of civil rights activists. Too often, I think, people quote leaders like MLK without knowing the context of their statements.

December 23rd, 2006, 11:50 PM
This article has potential to be quoted for years for its insights, and it may finally complete the emancipation set in motion by Martin Luther King and stymied by some mebers of the Black community.

It's a wake-up call to that community to once and for all abandon the culture of victimhood, which since MLK has actually been a self-victimization.

Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are exposed as prolongers of this ethos of permanent hopelessnes; it's the very source of their power and influence. A dark power and a malign influence.

December 24th, 2006, 02:19 AM
A powerful and insightful (and inciteful) article. When it's published in Esquire, however, it sort of ends up "preaching to the choir." It's a good first step, but John Ridley must find a way to impart his message to, as he calls them, "niggers".

December 24th, 2006, 11:16 PM
Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are exposed as prolongers of this ethos of permanent hopelessnes; it's the very source of their power and influence. A dark power and a malign influence.

I agree. On the other hand: Ozzie Davis was the "real deal" when it came to addressing this issue (http://www.geocities.com/spirit_of_blackness/ossie_davis.htm) with true compassion and integrity. I happend to see his last "TALK" at the Riverside Church in Harlem just months before he died. His story about the Haitian Slave Revolt and the "Mad Dog Warriors" is both fascinating and deeply disturbing.

Thank You for posting the article ........... it was "news" I would not have otherwise found.:(

This is an excerpt from this website (http://www.geocities.com/spirit_of_blackness/ossie_davis.htm).

But when he came to the Afrikan Museum, he did not come as an actor, entertainer, star, but rather as an Afrikan scholar, historian speaking about the revolution in Haiti and how We warrior-Voodoun spiritualists defeated the french. He told us how We used juju-voodoo to create a spirit of the "mad-dog" within our warriors who were facing insumountable odds. The mad-dog principle as he explained it, was when Voodoun priests and priestesses would put a kind of spiritual juju within the warriors that would make them act as a mad-dog does: even when bullet riddled and technically dead, the body keeps coming til it kills its enemy and then it falls dead. With the leadership of Touissant LaOverture, We won! i was a teenager when i met him. He took the time to speak to all of us and shake our hands and just be real down to earth as he always was. He was our honored Elder, Scholar, Historian. And We solute him now, in his Ancestral ascention.

January 8th, 2007, 02:03 PM
Excellence is the key to everywhere ------ absolutely.

I have heard Al, Colin, Condi and Jessie say things which support this call for excellence from poads (persons of African descent). Nevertheless I've heard all four of them proffer things with which I've not concurred.

There are definitely times when Jessie appears to be into self promotion. When Colin was giving that speech to the U.N. I turned to someone and opined that he should instead have been submitting his resignation to Bush the younger. Nevertheless, truth be told events have highlighted the efficacy of the Powell counsel, notwithstanding that Bush the younger had an underling call him to fire him, while sending Rumsfeld off in a hail of glory. Poads, of whatever stripe ----- there is no monolith; each of us is an individual ----- would be wise to be constructively critical (of self and other poads) while eschewing denigration. For instance, the WEB/Booker T. "feud" was significantly impacted by the limitations, outwith their control, placed insidiously on them both by the system within which they had to function. Regardless, it is difficult to argue with the proposition that, notwithstanding the extent of poads' frustrations, they should not bring more trouble on themselves and destroy, by senseless violence and chaos, that which required much blood, sweat and tears to build.

But, yes, accomplishment is everything. However, accomplishment can be thwarted by injustice. Injustice has not been eradicated. Nevertheless, the psychology of victimhood is not conducive to the attitudinal orientation whereby an individual internalizes that oppression ---- real or perceived ---- does not relieve one of the need to run one's own miles if the goal is great conditioning.

January 8th, 2007, 02:46 PM
Human beings, in general, are lazy.

They will work, for the most part, until they feel comfortable with what they have obtained and where they are, or, at least, to where the displeasure of where they are is not enough to push them any further.

We see that in all races, classes, and religions.

The added problem is that sometimes it is easier to play the victim, than to just suffer the wounds society places on you and push even further for higher ground. MOST people do not want to do this, and their weight draghs further on those that do.

ADD to this the inner resentment that some of these people feel when others do better than them. Somehow you lose your legitimacy when you become a sucessful minority. You become an "oreo". Every race has their way of expressing this displeasure (twinkie/bananna anyone?). But it is just another way to try to make it seem like that persons acomplishments are not that much greater than yours.

That somehow nothing is wrong with the name caller, the underacheiver, because they did not "sell out" or "give up their heratage" like the other guy surely HAD to have in order to gain their success.

It is the same with kids in school. One will call the other names when they are doing better scholastically, or even in some cases athletically. Trying to bring someone down to their level without having to do any better themselves.

Now, if there was a way we could get past this.... I don't know. I don't think there is. No matter what this will always be there, but the thing is, we have to find a way to make the ones who succeed less ashamed about a false failure that is being applied to them in an effort to lessen their achievements.

January 8th, 2007, 03:10 PM
An interesting article, but Condi was buying her "accomplished shoes" in New York as New Orleans drowned. Colin Powell had no comment on that. "Leaving the niggers behind" doesn't need to be cold and without compassion.

Excellent points were made, but in the end this guy is an apologist for these two people, trying to somehow elevate them beyond the fact that they are or were a part of one of the worst administrations with the absolute worst foreign policy decisions ever made. Powell went into the U.N. and presented lies. Condi is hardly an independent thinker.

I think this intelligently written article making good points, misfires on a number of levels. These two people worked in an administration that didn't work so much against "niggers" as it did to f*ck anyone earning under $500,000/yr. This is a smokescreen article. He needs to explain why black people as a whole did so much better under Bill Clinton - earning more, increased home ownership and people off public assistance. Under George Bush those gains stopped and in some instances were reversed.

Revisionist history.

January 12th, 2007, 01:02 AM
Excellent points were made, but in the end this guy is an apologist for these two people, trying to somehow elevate them beyond the fact that they are or were a part of one of the worst administrations with the absolute worst foreign policy decisions ever made. Powell went into the U.N. and presented lies. Condi is hardly an independent thinker.
He's not an apologist for their policies; that's just something you're imputing to him. Your baggage, not his.

He admires the fact that they made successes of themselves without playing the nigger game.

And he sees that as the sine qua non of genuine black liberation.

And he's absolutely right.

January 12th, 2007, 01:28 AM
And even further, it would be worth posing the question:

"What do the circumstances matter?"

The point is, they were given their positions because of their individual achievements. They could not have possibly foreseen the circumstances that led to their administration being one of the most hated in history.

"A is A" - Aristotle.

January 18th, 2007, 08:26 PM
The point is, they were given their positions because of their individual achievements.

January 18th, 2007, 10:04 PM
This is a smokescreen article. He needs to explain why black people as a whole did so much better under Bill Clinton - earning more, increased home ownership and people off public assistance. Under George Bush those gains stopped and in some instances were reversed.

Do you have any stats to back the assertion that blacks did "so much better" in the 90's? I must have slept through that decade. Seems you're attempting to make a partisan issue out of the man's intended point. Similar to how Sharpton, Jesse, Charles Baron etc. try to make racial issues out of just about anything.

I think the basis of his point was that even blacks could now be major players on the world stage and in an administration (however corrupt, and regardless of party), just as whites have for 2 centuries prior. And many blacks simply didn't care because they weren't one of them.

Interesting to see if the same fate will befall Barack Obama, despite the fact that he's a Democrat. I've already heard firsthand the "he acts too white" comments from a few blacks. For more on this, check out the article below.


December 10th, 2008, 04:37 PM
Quin-essential Cases: The perverse results of affirmative action

By Quin Hillyer
Examiner Columnist | 12/9/08 6:12 AM (http://www.dcexaminer.com/opinion/columns/QuinHillyer/Quin-essential_Cases_The_perverse_results_of_affirmativ e_action_121008.html)

With the incoming president and first lady both being African-American graduates of elite law schools, it stands to reason that a host of aspiring black collegians would want to emulate their success.

Counterintuitively, a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights has written a paper suggesting that the best way to produce more black lawyers is to eliminate racial preferences at law schools, especially at elite law schools.

Commissioner Gail Heriot, also a professor of law at the University of San Diego (USD), wrote in this fall’s edition (http://www.sandiego.edu/usdlaw/about/publications/journals/contemporary/issues/) of the school’s “The Journal of Contemporary Legal Issues” about the commission’s investigations showing what she called “troubling evidence that race-based affirmative action policies may have harmed rather than helped minority students who aspire to become attorneys.”

Heriot based her essay largely, but far from exclusively, on a study by UCLA Law Professor Richard Sander. “If his findings are correct,” she wrote, “there are today approximately 7.9% fewer, not more, practicing attorneys as a result of race-based admissions policies.”

Sander’s research indicates that without affirmative action, fewer African-Americans would be admitted to law schools, but more would eventually pass the bar exam and become practicing attorneys.

At first glance, of course, these findings seem to make no sense. But the key lies in the concept of “academic mismatch.” Heriot explains: “Students who attend schools where their academic credentials are substantially below their fellow students’ tend to perform poorly.” They consistently receive worse grades, and they drop out at far higher rates.

On the contrary, when African-American students are competing against white or Asian students of similar academic credentials, they “performed very close to the same.” In other words, the problem isn’t race but readiness.

Black students with high credentials will do just as well at Yale or Harvard as white students with the same prior achievement levels; black students with appropriate academic training who go to good second-tier law schools (Tulane, William & Mary) will fit in just fine at those places, too.

But, as would be the case with students of any race, black students admitted with lesser credentials struggle. Race-based admissions, according to Heriot, put students behind the proverbial Eight Ball.
Rather than thrive and advance, they falter, get discouraged, lose confidence, and all too often leave law school altogether – even though they might well advance to superb careers as lawyers if they attend less selective schools.

The same tendencies apply for students who attend second-tier law schools when their credentials are better suited to third-tier programs – and so on down the line. If the goal isn’t to admit more black students, but to actually produce more black lawyers, then, according to Heriot, the best way is to have race-blind admissions so that students can study in the milieu most appropriate for their advancement.

Furthermore, Heriot reports, law firms in practice are at least as likely to hire based on good grades from mid-tier law schools than they are to hire those who made poor grades from “prestige” universities. “Interestingly,” Heriot wrote, “the best available evidence shows that attendance at an elite college or university does not add to earnings capacity.”

It is worth noting that both Heriot and Sander once were strong advocates of affirmative action before the objective data changed their minds.
It is therefore particularly counterproductive for the American Bar Association, which acts as an accrediting agency for law schools, to pressure law schools to meet numerical “diversity” standards.

Heriot reported that the ABA has acted in egregiously bullying fashion in threatening to withhold accreditation from law schools with too low a percentage of black enrollees, even if those schools sponsor active minority recruitment efforts.

Indeed, the U.S. Department of Education threatened to strip the ABA of its accrediting role if the ABA continued such tactics. In 2006, the ABA was forced to pay a $185,000 fine for failing to abide by a court’s “consent degree” ordering it to revise its accrediting practices.

If the new evidence compiled by Heriot stands up to further research, it may turn out that the ABA not only has been skirting the law but also has been harming the very black students it purports to be helping.

Quin Hillyer is associate editorial page editor of The Washington Examiner. He can be reached at qhillyer@dcexaminer.com.

December 11th, 2008, 07:12 AM
"Last edited by stache; December 11th, 2008 at 12:03 AM."

stache, I see that you edited Post #9 above. What did you change?

December 11th, 2008, 07:21 AM
Don't you remember?

December 11th, 2008, 09:58 AM
Interesting J......

I can see this happening. It is the "Band-Aid on the open wound" syndrome.

Yes, minorities still have a disadvantage do to societal evolution through many generations (making minority populations the primary component of the poorer socio economic brackets), but just allowing them to get into law school more easily because of this is not a solution.

The solution would be to offer "pre-law" kind of programs to get kids with potential to the level they would need to achieve success. A low cost, 2 year, probational program that would try to compensate for the poor schooling they may have received due to things they could not actively control (district, etc).

If they do well in the program, then those results would be used by colleges to determine if they will do well at their school. If they do not... well, it is an application. Not all schools should be forced to accept poorly performing students based on their race, gender or religion.

On the other hand, I fail to see how this acceptance has actually lowered the sheer number of minorities getting degrees. I can see where the percentages may be down, but that should not effect the ones that had the ability regardless of the lowered standards for admission.

Did I miss something there?

December 11th, 2008, 10:18 AM
Even if they didn't make it past the pre law program, it would be good training for them to go on to be paralegal etc. :)

December 11th, 2008, 10:36 AM
Don't you remember?

No. That's why I'm asking. Almost two years.

So I'm asking again: what did you change?


December 11th, 2008, 11:08 AM
Harvard Salient commentary (http://www.digitas.harvard.edu/~salient/issues/950508/index.html) from 1995:

Modern Racism

On April 24, Jesse Jackson came to the Institute of Politics to debate the topic of affirmative action and delivered what must be considered one of his finest speeches. [Harvard Crimson coverage] (http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=176365) For ninety minutes, Jackson performed rhetorical cartwheels, denouncing everything from the oppression of black Americans in the pre-Civil War era to the Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court decision to the alleged lack of ice skating rinks in Washington, D.C. But not once did Jackson provide a principled defense of affirmative action. Instead, by focusing on previous injustices, and by using those injustices as justifications for present policies, Jackson affirmed what opponents of affirmative action have always held - that affirmative action is an attempt to turn the tables on past injustice by attempting to assuage present guilt for past crimes.

When dealing with this controversial topic, we must remember the words of black scholar Shelby Steele - "suffering can be endured and overcome, it cannot be repaid." And we must never forget that two wrongs do not make a right. Unfortunately, this nation cannot offer consolation prizes to the many people whom we have wronged in our history. We cannot validate current discrimination to make up for past discrimination. If we as a society come to agree (as we should) with Dr. Martin Luther King and with the civil rights leaders of the 1960s that the morally arbitrary factor of race must not play any part in our determination of the worth of our citizens, we must not waver in that decision. We must promote the color blind society that Dr. Martin Luther King spoke of - the society that judges people "not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." Affirmative action is a deviation from that ideal and ought to be laid to rest.

However, affirmative action is not merely immoral, it harms the very people that it is intended to help. Affirmative action is the ultimate Band-Aid solution in that it deals with the symptoms of social illnesses and not the illnesses themselves. It masks the true problems facing minority communities - and in so doing, it does an injustice to those it should be aiding. Affirmative action makes it a lot easier to avoid entirely the problems of broken families, substandard education and lack of employment that beset certain minority communities.

Some believe that there is no need to solve these problems, because affirmative action will take care of them. People use affirmative action as an excuse to ignore actual modern racism. Indeed, affirmative action places blinders on society, making us all believe that our racial situation is rosier than it actually is and preventing many of us from moving towards granting true equal opportunity.

Furthermore, affirmative action promotes a culture of victimization in our society. It sends the message to certain members of society that "the system" is against them, and that no matter what they do they will not be able to overcome seemingly pervasive societal racism. In effect, it urges people not to try to better themselves and dismisses as futile attempts to do so. This certainly is not the way to "keep hope alive."

But worse than that, affirmative action is insulting to minorities in America. It tells them, in no uncertain terms, that they could not make it without affirmative action. It tells them that they need a crutch to succeed and to survive. And in that way, affirmative action is one of the most degrading and demeaning social policies in existence today.

As the son of immigrants, I have seen first hand that America promotes hard work, education and determination. We as a nation must continue to promote the values of education, strong families and diligence if ever we are to realize the dream that Dr. Martin Luther King defended in his immortal speech before the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. We as a nation must promote a society that does not push you ahead or hold you back because of factors that you have no control over - factors such as race and gender.

--William Zerhouni


It should be noted that five years earlier (to-the-day) on April 24, 1990 Jesse Jackson appeared with Derrick Bell - the first African American to be granted tenure at Harvard Law School - to protest that school's poor affirmative action record, essentially demanding that a woman of color be added to the faculty.

Addressing an audience in a lecture hall at Harvard Law School Jackson says that most people in the world are not white nor are they males. Jackson says that these people cannot wait for some archaic standard to allow them to be appraised as worthy by white males. [source] (http://main.wgbh.org/ton/programs/7266_02)
Nearly 20 years have passed. Are high standards themselves still attacked as archaic and inherently racist/sexist? Has the rhetoric changed? Have standards changed?

December 11th, 2008, 11:21 AM
Malcolm Gladwell's piece ahead, might be particularly useful at this juncture.



A Critic at Large
Getting In

The social logic of Ivy League admissions.

by Malcolm Gladwell
October 10, 2005

I applied to college one evening, after dinner, in the fall of my senior year in high school College applicants in Ontario, in those days, were given a single sheet of paper which listed all the universities in the province. It was my job to rank them in order of preference. Then I had to mail the sheet of paper to a central college-admissions office. The whole process probably took ten minutes. My school sent in my grades separately. I vaguely remember filling out a supplementary two-page form listing my interests and activities. There were no S.A.T. scores to worry about, because in Canada we didn’t have to take the S.A.T.s. I don’t know whether anyone wrote me a recommendation. I certainly never asked anyone to. Why would I? It wasn’t as if I were applying to a private club.

I put the University of Toronto first on my list, the University of Western Ontario second, and Queen’s University third. I was working off a set of brochures that I’d sent away for. My parents’ contribution consisted of my father’s agreeing to drive me one afternoon to the University of Toronto campus, where we visited the residential college I was most interested in. I walked around. My father poked his head into the admissions office, chatted with the admissions director, and—I imagine—either said a few short words about the talents of his son or (knowing my father) remarked on the loveliness of the delphiniums in the college flower beds. Then we had ice cream. I got in.

Am I a better or more successful person for having been accepted at the University of Toronto, as opposed to my second or third choice? It strikes me as a curious question. In Ontario, there wasn’t a strict hierarchy of colleges. There were several good ones and several better ones and a number of programs—like computer science at the University of Waterloo—that were world-class. But since all colleges were part of the same public system and tuition everywhere was the same (about a thousand dollars a year, in those days), and a B average in high school pretty much guaranteed you a spot in college, there wasn’t a sense that anything great was at stake in the choice of which college we attended. The issue was whether we attended c college, and—most important—how seriously we took the experience once we got there. I thought everyone felt this way. You can imagine my confusion, then, when I first met someone who had gone to Harvard.

There was, first of all, that strange initial reluctance to talk about the matter of college at all—a glance downward, a shuffling of the feet, a mumbled mention of Cambridge. “Did you go to Harvard?” I would ask. I had just moved to the United States. I didn’t know the rules. An uncomfortable nod would follow. Don’t define me by my school, they seemed to be saying, which implied that their school actually could define them. And, of course, it did. Wherever there was one Harvard graduate, another lurked not far behind, ready to swap tales of late nights at the Hasty Pudding, or recount the intricacies of the college-application essay, or wonder out loud about the whereabouts of Prince So-and-So, who lived down the hall and whose family had a place in the South of France that you would not believe. In the novels they were writing, the precocious and sensitive protagonist always went to Harvard; if he was troubled, he dropped out of Harvard; in the end, he returned to Harvard to complete his senior thesis. Once, I attended a wedding of a Harvard alum in his fifties, at which the best man spoke of his college days with the groom as if neither could have accomplished anything of greater importance in the intervening thirty years. By the end, I half expected him to take off his shirt and proudly display the large crimson “H” tattooed on his chest. What is this “Harvard” of which you Americans speak so reverently?

In 1905, Harvard College adopted the College Entrance Examination Board tests as the principal basis for admission, which meant that virtually any academically gifted high-school senior who could afford a private college had a straightforward shot at attending. By 1908, the freshman class was seven per cent Jewish, nine per cent Catholic, and forty-five per cent from public schools, an astonishing transformation for a school that historically had been the preserve of the New England boarding-school complex known in the admissions world as St. Grottlesex.

As the sociologist Jerome Karabel writes in “The Chosen” (Houghton Mifflin; $28), his remarkable history of the admissions process at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, that meritocratic spirit soon led to a crisis. The enrollment of Jews began to rise dramatically. By 1922, they made up more than a fifth of Harvard’s freshman class. The administration and alumni were up in arms. Jews were thought to be sickly and grasping, grade-grubbing and insular. They displaced the sons of wealthy Wasp alumni, which did not bode well for fund-raising. A. Lawrence Lowell, Harvard’s president in the nineteen-twenties, stated flatly that too many Jews would destroy the school: “The summer hotel that is ruined by admitting Jews meets its fate . . . because they drive away the Gentiles, and then after the Gentiles have left, they leave also.”

The difficult part, however, was coming up with a way of keeping Jews out, because as a group they were academically superior to everyone else. Lowell’s first idea—a quota limiting Jews to fifteen per cent of the student body—was roundly criticized. Lowell tried restricting the number of scholarships given to Jewish students, and made an effort to bring in students from public schools in the West, where there were fewer Jews. Neither strategy worked. Finally, Lowell—and his counterparts at Yale and Princeton—realized that if a definition of merit based on academic prowess was leading to the wrong kind of student, the solution was to change the definition of merit. Karabel argues that it was at this moment that the history and nature of the Ivy League took a significant turn.

The admissions office at Harvard became much more interested in the details of an applicant’s personal life. Lowell told his admissions officers to elicit information about the “character” of candidates from “persons who know the applicants well,” and so the letter of reference became mandatory. Harvard started asking applicants to provide a photograph. Candidates had to write personal essays, demonstrating their aptitude for leadership, and list their extracurricular activities. “Starting in the fall of 1922,” Karabel writes, “applicants were required to answer questions on ‘Race and Color,’ ‘Religious Preference,’ ‘Maiden Name of Mother,’ ‘Birthplace of Father,’ and ‘What change, if any, has been made since birth in your own name or that of your father? (Explain fully).’ ”

At Princeton, emissaries were sent to the major boarding schools, with instructions to rate potential candidates on a scale of 1 to 4, where 1 was “very desirable and apparently exceptional material from every point of view” and 4 was “undesirable from the point of view of character, and, therefore, to be excluded no matter what the results of the entrance examinations might be.” The personal interview became a key component of admissions in order, Karabel writes, “to ensure that ‘undesirables’ were identified and to assess important but subtle indicators of background and breeding such as speech, dress, deportment and physical appearance.” By 1933, the end of Lowell’s term, the percentage of Jews at Harvard was back down to fifteen per cent.

If this new admissions system seems familiar, that’s because it is essentially the same system that the Ivy League uses to this day. According to Karabel, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton didn’t abandon the elevation of character once the Jewish crisis passed. They institutionalized it.

Starting in 1953, Arthur Howe, Jr., spent a decade as the chair of admissions at Yale, and Karabel describes what happened under his guidance:

The admissions committee viewed evidence of “manliness” with particular enthusiasm. One boy gained admission despite an academic prediction of 70 because “there was apparently something manly and distinctive about him that had won over both his alumni and staff interviewers.” Another candidate, admitted despite his schoolwork being “mediocre in comparison with many others,” was accepted over an applicant with a much better record and higher exam scores because, as Howe put it, “we just thought he was more of a guy.” So preoccupied was Yale with the appearance of its students that the form used by alumni interviewers actually had a physical characteristics checklist through 1965. Each year, Yale carefully measured the height of entering freshmen, noting with pride the proportion of the class at six feet or more.

At Harvard, the key figure in that same period was Wilbur Bender, who, as the dean of admissions, had a preference for “the boy with some athletic interests and abilities, the boy with physical vigor and coordination and grace.” Bender, Karabel tells us, believed that if Harvard continued to suffer on the football field it would contribute to the school’s reputation as a place with “no college spirit, few good fellows, and no vigorous, healthy social life,” not to mention a “surfeit of ‘pansies,’ ‘decadent esthetes’ and ‘precious sophisticates.’ ” Bender concentrated on improving Harvard’s techniques for evaluating “intangibles” and, in particular, its “ability to detect homosexual tendencies and serious psychiatric problems.”

By the nineteen-sixties, Harvard’s admissions system had evolved into a series of complex algorithms. The school began by lumping all applicants into one of twenty-two dockets, according to their geographical origin. (There was one docket for Exeter and Andover, another for the eight Rocky Mountain states.) Information from interviews, references, and student essays was then used to grade each applicant on a scale of 1 to 6, along four dimensions: personal, academic, extracurricular, and athletic. Competition, critically, was within each docket, not between dockets, so there was no way for, say, the graduates of Bronx Science and Stuyvesant to shut out the graduates of Andover and Exeter. More important, academic achievement was just one of four dimensions, further diluting the value of pure intellectual accomplishment. Athletic ability, rather than falling under “extracurriculars,” got a category all to itself, which explains why, even now, recruited athletes have an acceptance rate to the Ivies at well over twice the rate of other students, despite S.A.T. scores that are on average more than a hundred points lower. And the most important category? That mysterious index of “personal” qualities. According to Harvard’s own analysis, the personal rating was a better predictor of admission than the academic rating. Those with a rank of 4 or worse on the personal scale had, in the nineteen-sixties, a rejection rate of ninety-eight per cent. Those with a personal rating of 1 had a rejection rate of 2.5 per cent. When the Office of Civil Rights at the federal education department investigated Harvard in the nineteen-eighties, they found handwritten notes scribbled in the margins of various candidates’ files. “This young woman could be one of the brightest applicants in the pool but there are several references to shyness,” read one. Another comment reads, “Seems a tad frothy.” One application—and at this point you can almost hear it going to the bottom of the pile—was notated, “Short with big ears.”

Social scientists distinguish between what are known as treatment effects an selection effects. The Marine Corps, for instance, is largely a treatment-effect institution. It doesn’t have an enormous admissions office grading applicants along four separate dimensions of toughness and intelligence. It’s confident tha the experience of undergoing Marine Corps basic training will turn you into a formidable soldier. A modelling agency, by contrast, is a selection-effect institution. You don’t become beautiful by signing up with an agency. You get signed up by an agency because you’re beautiful.

At the heart of the American obsession with the Ivy League is the belief that schools like Harvard provide the social and intellectual equivalent of Marine Corps basic training—that being taught by all those brilliant professors and meeting all those other motivated students and getting a degree with that powerful name on it will confer advantages that no local state university can provide. Fuelling the treatment-effect idea are studies showing that if you take two students with the same S.A.T. scores and grades, one of whom goes to a school like Harvard and one of whom goes to a less selective college, the Ivy Leaguer will make far more money ten or twenty years down the road.

The extraordinary emphasis the Ivy League places on admissions policies, though, makes it seem more like a modelling agency than like the Marine Corps, and, sure enough, the studies based on those two apparently equivalent students turn out to be flawed. How do we know that two students who have the same S.A.T. scores and grades really are equivalent? It’s quite possible that the student who goes to Harvard is more ambitious and energetic and personable than the student who wasn’t let in, and that those same intangibles are what account for his better career success. To assess the effect of the Ivies, it makes more sense to compare the student who got into a top school with the student who got into that same school but chose to go to a less selective one. Three years ago, the economists Alan Krueger and Stacy Dale published just such a study. And they found that when you compare apples and apples the income bonus from selective schools disappears.

“As a hypothetical example, take the University of Pennsylvania and Penn State, which are two schools a lot of students choose between,” Krueger said. “One is Ivy, one is a state school. Penn is much more highly selective. If you compare the students who go to those two schools, the ones who go to Penn have higher incomes. But let’s look at those who got into both types of schools, some of whom chose Penn and some of whom chose Penn State. Within that set it doesn’t seem to matter whether you go to the more selective school. Now, you would think that the more ambitious student is the one who would choose to go to Penn, and the ones choosing to go to Penn State might be a little less confident in their abilities or have a little lower family income, and both of those factors would point to people doing worse later on. But they don’t.”

Krueger says that there is one exception to this. Students from the very lowest economic strata do seem to benefit from going to an Ivy. For most students, though, the general rule seems to be that if you are a hardworking and intelligent person you’ll end up doing well regardless of where you went to school. You’ll make good contacts at Penn. But Penn State is big enough and diverse enough that you can make good contacts there, too. Having Penn on your résumé opens doors. But if you were good enough to get into Penn you’re good enough that those doors will open for you anyway. “I can see why families are really concerned about this,” Krueger went on. “The average graduate from a top school is making nearly a hundred and twenty thousand dollars a year, the average graduate from a moderately selective school is making ninety thousand dollars. That’s an enormous difference, and I can see why parents would fight to get their kids into the better school. But I think they are just assigning to the school a lot of what the student is bringing with him to the school.”

Bender was succeeded as the dean of admissions at Harvard by Fred Glimp, who, Karabel tells us, had a particular concern with academic underperformers. “Any class, no matter how able, will always have a bottom quarter,” Glimp once wrote. “What are the effects of the psychology of feeling average, even in a very able group? Are there identifiable types with the psychological or what-not tolerance to be ‘happy’ or to make the most of education while in the bottom quarter?” Glimp thought it was critical that the students who populated the lower rungs of every Harvard class weren’t so driven and ambitious that they would be disturbed by their status. “Thus the renowned (some would say notorious) Harvard admission practice known as the ‘happy-bottom-quarter’ policy was born,” Karabel writes.

It’s unclear whether or not Glimp found any students who fit that particular description. (He wondered, in a marvellously honest moment, whether the answer was “Harvard sons.”) But Glimp had the realism of the modelling scout. Glimp believed implicitly what Krueger and Dale later confirmed: that the character and performance of an academic class is determined, to a significant extent, at the point of admission; that if you want to graduate winners you have to admit winners; that if you want the bottom quarter of your class to succeed you have to find people capable of succeeding in the bottom quarter. Karabel is quite right, then, to see the events of the nineteen-twenties as the defining moment of the modern Ivy League. You are whom you admit in the élite-education business, and when Harvard changed whom it admitted, it changed Harvard. Was that change for the better or for the worse?

In the wake of the Jewish crisis, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton chose to adopt what might be called the “best graduates” approach to admissions. France’s École Normale Supérieure, Japan’s University of Tokyo, and most of the world’s other élite schools define their task as looking for the best students—that is, the applicants who will have the greatest academic success during their time in college. The Ivy League schools justified their emphasis on character and personality, however, by arguing that they were searching for the students who would have the greatest success after college. They were looking for leaders, and leadership, the officials of the Ivy League believed, was not a simple matter of academic brilliance. “Should our goal be to select a student body with the highest possible proportions of high-ranking students, or should it be to select, within a reasonably high range of academic ability, a student body with a certain variety of talents, qualities, attitudes, and backgrounds?” Wilbur Bender asked. To him, the answer was obvious. If you let in only the brilliant, then you produced bookworms and bench scientists: you ended up as socially irrelevant as the University of Chicago (an institution Harvard officials looked upon and shuddered). “Above a reasonably good level of mental ability, above that indicated by a 550-600 level of S.A.T. score,” Bender went on, “the only thing that matters in terms of future impact on, or contribution to, society is the degree of personal inner force an individual has.”

It’s easy to find fault with the best-graduates approach. We tend to think that intellectual achievement is the fairest and highest standard of merit. The Ivy League process, quite apart from its dubious origins, seems subjective and opaque. Why should personality and athletic ability matter so much? The notion that “the ability to throw, kick, or hit a ball is a legitimate criterion in determining who should be admitted to our greatest research universities,” Karabel writes, is “a proposition that would be considered laughable in most of the world’s countries.” At the same time that Harvard was constructing its byzantine admissions system, Hunter College Elementary School, in New York, required simply that applicants take an exam, and if they scored in the top fifty they got in. It’s hard to imagine a more objective and transparent procedure.

But what did Hunter achieve with that best-students model? In the nineteen-eighties, a handful of educational researchers surveyed the students who attended the elementary school between 1948 and 1960. [The results were published in 1993 as “Genius Revisited: High IQ Children Grown Up,” by Rena Subotnik, Lee Kassan, Ellen Summers, and Alan Wasser.] This was a group with an average I.Q. of 157—three and a half standard deviations above the mean—who had been given what, by any measure, was one of the finest classroom experiences in the world. As graduates, though, they weren’t nearly as distinguished as they were expected to be. “Although most of our study participants are successful and fairly content with their lives and accomplishments,” the authors conclude, “there are no superstars . . . and only one or two familiar names.” The researchers spend a great deal of time trying to figure out why Hunter graduates are so disappointing, and end up sounding very much like Wilbur Bender. Being a smart child isn’t a terribly good predictor of success in later life, they conclude. “Non-intellective” factors—like motivation and social skills—probably matter more. Perhaps, the study suggests, “after noting the sacrifices involved in trying for national or world-class leadership in a field, H.C.E.S. graduates decided that the intelligent thing to do was to choose relatively happy and successful lives.” It is a wonderful thing, of course, for a school to turn out lots of relatively happy and successful graduates. But Harvard didn’t want lots of relatively happy and successful graduates. It wanted superstars, and Bender and his colleagues recognized that if this is your goal a best-students model isn’t enough.

Most élite law schools, to cite another example, follow a best-students model. That’s why they rely so heavily on the L.S.A.T. Yet there’s no reason to believe that a person’s L.S.A.T. scores have much relation to how good a lawyer he will be. In a recent research project funded by the Law School Admission Council, the Berkeley researchers Sheldon Zedeck and Marjorie Shultz identified twenty-six “competencies” that they think effective lawyering demands—among them practical judgment, passion and engagement, legal-research skills, questioning and interviewing skills, negotiation skills, stress management, and so on—and the L.S.A.T. picks up only a handful of them. A law school that wants to select the best possible lawyers has to use a very different admissions process from a law school that wants to select the best possible law students. And wouldn’t we prefer that at least some law schools try to select good lawyers instead of good law students?

This search for good lawyers, furthermore, is necessarily going to be subjective, because things like passion and engagement can’t be measured as precisely as academic proficiency. Subjectivity in the admissions process is not just an occasion for discrimination; it is also, in better times, the only means available for giving us the social outcome we want. The first black captain of the Yale football team was a man named Levi Jackson, who graduated in 1950. Jackson was a hugely popular figure on campus. He went on to be a top executive at Ford, and is credited with persuading the company to hire thousands of African-Americans after the 1967 riots. When Jackson was tapped for the exclusive secret society Skull and Bones, he joked, “If my name had been reversed, I never would have made it.” He had a point. The strategy of discretion that Yale had once used to exclude Jews was soon being used to include people like Levi Jackson.

In the 2001 book “The Game of Life,” James L. Shulman and William Bowen (a former president of Princeton) conducted an enormous statistical analysis on an issue that has become one of the most contentious in admissions: the special preferences given to recruited athletes at selective universities. Athletes, Shulman and Bowen demonstrate, have a large and growing advantage in admission over everyone else. At the same time, they have markedly lower G.P.A.s and S.A.T. scores than their peers. Over the past twenty years, their class rankings have steadily dropped, and they tend to segregate themselves in an “athletic culture” different from the culture of the rest of the college. Shulman and Bowen think the preference given to athletes by the Ivy League is shameful.

Halfway through the book, however, Shulman and Bowen present what they call a “surprising” finding. Male athletes, despite their lower S.A.T. scores and grades, and despite the fact that many of them are members of minorities and come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds than other students, turn out to earn a lot more than their peers. Apparently, athletes are far more likely to go into the high-paying financial-services sector, where they succeed because of their personality and psychological makeup. In what can only be described as a textbook example of burying the lead, Bowen and Shulman write:

One of these characteristics can be thought of as drive—a strong desire to succeed and unswerving determination to reach a goal, whether it be winning the next game or closing a sale. Similarly, athletes tend to be more energetic than the average person, which translates into an ability to work hard over long periods of time—to meet, for example, the workload demands placed on young people by an investment bank in the throes of analyzing a transaction. In addition, athletes are more likely than others to be highly competitive, gregarious and confident of their ability to work well in groups (on teams).

Shulman and Bowen would like to argue that the attitudes of selective colleges toward athletes are a perversion of the ideals of American élite education, but that’s because they misrepresent the actual ideals of American élite education. The Ivy League is perfectly happy to accept, among others, the kind of student who makes a lot of money after graduation. As the old saying goes, the definition of a well-rounded Yale graduate is someone who can roll all the way from New Haven to Wall Street.

I once had a conversation with someone who worked for an advertising agency that represented one of the big luxury automobile brands. He said that he was worried that his client’s new lower-priced line was being bought disproportionately by black women. He insisted that he did not mean this in a racist way. It was just a fact, he said. Black women would destroy the brand’s cachet. It was his job to protect his client from the attentions of the socially undesirable

This is, in no small part, what Ivy League admissions directors do. They are in the luxury-brand-management business, and “The Chosen,” in the end, is a testament to just how well the brand managers in Cambridge, New Haven, and Princeton have done their job in the past seventy-five years. In the nineteentwenties, when Harvard tried to figure out how many Jews they had on campus, the admissions office scoured student records and assigned each suspected Jew the designation j1 (for someone who was “conclusively Jewish”), j2 (where the “preponderance of evidence” pointed to Jewishness), or j3 (where Jewishness was a “possibility”). In the branding world, this is called customer segmentation. In the Second World War, as Yale faced plummeting enrollment and revenues, it continued to turn down qualified Jewish applicants. As Karabel writes, “In the language of sociology, Yale judged its symbolic capital to be even more precious than its economic capital.” No good brand manager would sacrifice reputation for short-term gain. The admissions directors at Harvard have always, similarly, been diligent about rewarding the children of graduates, or, as they are quaintly called, “legacies.” In the 1985-92 period, for instance, Harvard admitted children of alumni at a rate more than twice that of non-athlete, non-legacy applicants, despite the fact that, on virtually every one of the school’s magical ratings scales, legacies significantly lagged behind their peers. Karabel calls the practice “unmeritocratic at best and profoundly corrupt at worst,” but rewarding customer loyalty is what luxury brands do. Harvard wants good graduates, and part of their definition of a good graduate is someone who is a generous and loyal alumnus. And if you want generous and loyal alumni you have to reward them. Aren’t the tremendous resources provided to Harvard by its alumni part of the reason so many people want to go to Harvard in the first place? The endless battle over admissions in the United States proceeds on the assumption that some great moral principle is at stake in the matter of whom schools like Harvard choose to let in—that those who are denied admission by the whims of the admissions office have somehow been harmed. If you are sick and a hospital shuts its doors to you, you are harmed. But a selective school is not a hospital, and those it turns away are not sick. Élite schools, like any luxury brand, are an aesthetic experience—an exquisitely constructed fantasy of what it means to belong to an élite —and they have always been mindful of what must be done to maintain that experience.

In the nineteen-eighties, when Harvard was accused of enforcing a secret quota on Asian admissions, its defense was that once you adjusted for the preferences given to the children of alumni and for the preferences given to athletes, Asians really weren’t being discriminated against. But you could sense Harvard’s exasperation that the issue was being raised at all. If Harvard had too many Asians, it wouldn’t be Harvard, just as Harvard wouldn’t be Harvard with too many Jews or pansies or parlor pinks or shy types or short people with big ears.

Copyright © 2008 CondéNet. All rights reserved. (http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2005/10/10/051010crat_atlarge?currentPage=all)

December 11th, 2008, 11:28 AM
^Are the typos intentional?

December 11th, 2008, 11:46 AM
You are asking too direct a question J. That will prompt more cartwheels in any response in defense avoiding the actual question presented.

Most AA supporters do not protest the high standards imposed on all, they just want exceptions for those who had disadvantages in getting to that level. This may sound innocuous, but most of the ones fighting for it are just being political and trying to get the support of a people that think that they are fighting to get them something for free in "reparation" for all the discrimination they, and their ancestors have endured.

It is basic human greed that almost any race would have if given the opportunity. We ALL want something for nothing. Hell, our president is a Magna-Cum-That -Guy-Did-It individual that got most of his stuff off the backs of others despite his abysmal track record.

So, making programs like these will only feed that desire rather than fix the underlying issue.

The problem we are facing now? What happens when we lower standards across the board for minorities? Not just for admission? How will this reflect on minority professionals in the field? Would you want a minority physician if you knew they were not held to the same high standard as his or her co-workers? You may say yes, to avoid scrutiny and derision. But you know as well as I do that you would not.

Remember the whole deal probably more than 10 years ago about lowering the admission test standards for, I believe, policemen? And the one saying that requiring a fireman to be able to carry a 350lb weight up a X story ladder was discriminatory to women? I don't know about you, but I would like my cops to know the law and my firemen (so help me I am never that heavy) to carry my sorry butt down a ladder to safety!

What does that do to boards like Harvard? If you are under the impression that minorities are being given an easier ride through Law School, how does that effect your decision to appoint them to a position? In the case of individuals, this is certainly not the case, but the more a practice like this is performed (lowering standards) the harder it is to remove that knowledge from the back of ones mind when it comes to getting a first impression of an individual.

What we need to do is NOT the easy thing to do. We need to IMPROVE OUR SCHOOL SYSTEM! Give teachers the respect they need to attract more professionals into the field and give our kids what they need to succeed. The knowledge and the desire to do something with it.

We need to provide things to do. We need to have workshops and training facilities. I LOVED wood shop in school. We could use a few more craftsmen these days. I am so tired of pre-cast and having to look around antique/salvage yards for "classic" pieces (both structural and ornamental).

We need to make sure our Vo-Tech schools have kids that WANT to be carpenters, electricians and mechanics instead of just sticking all the ones that could not give a crap in there in hopes that they will do more than hang out at Dunkin Donuts. (Bergen Tech anyone?).


We all want it, we all need it. How can we make it drive us rather than blame others?

December 11th, 2008, 11:48 AM
^Are the typos intentional?

Sorry, whose?

If it were me, I apologize. I am a 3-4 finger typer and get the "teh" disease quite often in a rush.

If it was the New Yorker.... I don't know, I have not read it (and I apologize for this post!!! ;))

[uses spellcheck to make sure no mistakes are made]

December 11th, 2008, 11:53 AM
In the nineteen-eighties, when Harvard was accused of enforcing a secret quota on Asian admissions, its defense was that once you adjusted for the preferences given to the children of alumni and for the preferences given to athletes, Asians really weren’t being discriminated against. But you could sense Harvard’s exasperation that the issue was being raised at all. If Harvard had too many Asians, it wouldn’t be Harvard, just as Harvard wouldn’t be Harvard with too many Jews or pansies or parlor pinks or shy types or short people with big ears.

Tough point there.

Here's the question though. A little bit pickier. What about foreign students? I think an argument could be made to limit the number of non-US citizens coming to a US University....

But there is asecond question. What about MIT? I believe they actually have an asian cap. Why? Because if you went by test scores alone, well, need I say more?

I do not like it one bit, but how do you make it seem like you are not playing favorites if the best for your academic requirements are all coming from one demographic?

December 11th, 2008, 12:16 PM
No. That's why I'm asking. Almost two years.

So I'm asking again: what did you change?


Think harder. Maybe you'll remember.

December 11th, 2008, 03:10 PM
Did someone take a Punzie Pill :confused:

December 11th, 2008, 03:30 PM
"Someone" needs to think very hard about what they wrote, and why it was deleted.

December 11th, 2008, 03:35 PM
"Someone" needs to think about using PMs for such correspondence.

December 11th, 2008, 04:10 PM
Whatever it was it sat there in plain sight for nearly two years without anyone taking offense. Is the moderation getting prim?

December 11th, 2008, 05:56 PM

December 11th, 2008, 05:59 PM
IMHO it is an insult to our intelligence having a thread edited, out of the blue, after nearly 2 years.

The original poster is an esteemed forum veteran and the thread was active for another 6 days after the post in question.

Certainly, in that time, other moderators saw the post... but it was left alone.

Also, Ablarc justly asked why it was edited... he deserved a straight forward answer. The coy guessing-game response is excruciating infantile.

There has been enough havoc wreaked on the forum by this kind of "moderating".

December 11th, 2008, 07:02 PM
Given the title & subject of this thread how would the term "cracker" be out of line?

December 11th, 2008, 07:07 PM
And remind me not to look to Radiohead for any tips at the racetrack :cool: ...

(From January 2007)

... Interesting to see if the same fate will befall Barack Obama, despite the fact that he's a Democrat. I've already heard firsthand the "he acts too white" comments from a few blacks ...

December 12th, 2008, 12:33 AM
I find this thread offensive in the extreme. I had not seen it until the day I made the edit to post # 9.

December 12th, 2008, 03:53 AM
Stache: You can start a letter writing campaign to:

300 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019-3797
Editorial: (212) 649-4020
Advertising: (212) 649-4050

Editor-in-Chief: David Granger
Vice President and Publisher: Kevin O'Malley

For referral: Esquire Magazine, December 2006, Volume 146, Issue 6


You can contact John Ridley through his agent:

Sylvia Desrochers
Big Time


You go girl! Best of luck on this!


December 12th, 2008, 07:57 AM
I find this thread offensive in the extreme.
Well, the truth is out.

December 12th, 2008, 08:03 AM
It's hardly a secret. :rolleyes:

December 12th, 2008, 08:10 AM
But is it grounds for censorship?

December 12th, 2008, 10:31 AM
Stache, it might do you well to read the thoughtful, sensitive, and nuanced writing in this thread rather than let an emotional response to a single word (or two) color your judgement.

Such knee-jerk censorship shows you to be quite niggardly in your respect for our intelligence. (Look it up...)

The author of the titular article seems quite inoffensive:
http://media.npr.org/blog/visibleman/vm_header.jpg (http://www.npr.org/blogs/visibleman/)

John Ridley is an Emmy Award winning commentator and writer for Esquire and Time magazines as well as a contributor to CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and NPR.

He is the author of seven published novels (http://www.jridley.com/blog/?page_id=3), the most recent of which is What Fire Cannot Burn (http://www.amazon.com/What-Fire-Cannot-Burn-Ridley/dp/0446612030/ref=pd_bbs_sr_3/002-3460622-5539225?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1179772782&sr=8-3). Collectively, his works have been chosen as editor's picks or "best of the year" by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly and the Baltimore Sun.

Ridley is the Founding Editor of That Minority Thing (http://www.thatminoritything.com/), a nonpartisan Web site that provides news and opinions in support of a wide range of voices, including ethnic, racial, religious, disabled, gender, and sexual minorities.

If you'd like to know more about John and his Visible Man blog, please consult the FAQ entry (http://www.npr.org/blogs/visibleman/2007/07/frequently_asked_questions_abo.html).

December 12th, 2008, 11:17 AM
Stache, rule of thumb.

NEVER moderate on a thread/topic you feel passionately about.

It never works. You are allowed to come in and talk about it, but if you get too emotionally connected, it is hard to do a rational moderation and regulation of the topic without your own feelings getting in the way.

I think BR has kind of gone that way in that I see MUCH less of his opposition or challanging of other peoples posts when he started moderating. It is not as if he changed his mind on what he believes, or that he has stopped completely, but it just looks like he has stopped getting (as) emotionally involved with threads and topics he is charged to police.

You are allowed to take offense at things, but try to let someone else take action. I am sure that if what was posted was truly unacceptable then they would have no problem in doing the dirty work and removing any suspicion of bias from the decision.

Also, most of this schmutz should have all been taken to PM. Sometimes talking things out works much better in the long and short run. It may not be easier, but sometimes the best solutions just arent the easiest!

December 12th, 2008, 11:19 AM
Jason, the edit in question was not from Mr. Ridley's article. It might do you well to read this thread and figure out where the edit fit into the greater scheme of this discussion. Thanks -

December 12th, 2008, 12:10 PM
I'm unable to -- SINCE YOU DELETED IT.

I was responding to your statement that you found "this thread offensive" -- not ablarc's post, but "this thread". Your words.

The post may indeed have been in need of 'revision', but the coy 'cute' attitude-filled way in which you communicated it to ablarc was unbefitting of a WNY moderator - and now you have diverted much time and energy from the deeply serious and substantive topic of the thread to such silliness as the post I'm now writing.

December 12th, 2008, 01:37 PM
Agreed, it is all silly.

Can we tack that edit back on and move this discussion elsewhere? Everyone is entitled to their feelings and opinions, but, in general, we do not drag them out Off T on someone's thread.

Unless, of course, you are talking about AC! ;) (JK!!!!!!!!)

December 12th, 2008, 01:40 PM
Guys, the whole point of an edit or delete is whatever was cut does not bear repeating. I have decided the best course of action is to lock this thread. Further discussion can continue elsewhere.

Edit: Due to popular request, this thread has been unlocked.

December 14th, 2008, 10:06 AM

The better part of valour is discretion.

December 14th, 2008, 11:17 AM
Still waiting for the 'Elsewhere' (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=19866) thread to be merged here...

December 19th, 2008, 10:56 PM
Stache, rule of thumb.

I think BR has kind of gone that way in that I see MUCH less of his opposition or challanging of other peoples posts when he started moderating.

Not to take this off topic, but I kind of miss BR's challenges ... not withstanding that I was the unfortunate recipient of a few ;)