Black scientists insist Britain is “institutionally racist” and, being scientists, they try to support that hypothesis with empirical observation expressed in a mathematical form.
Blacks, they’ve discovered, hold a mere 3.5 per cent of professorships. QED. Case made. What other proof of racism can anyone possibly want?
I could reply that, since blacks make up three per cent of the UK’s population, institutional racism is here expressing itself less than stridently. We are, after all, encouraged to believe that every racial and social group must be proportionately represented in everything: government, universities, theatre. An exception is only ever allowed in sports, but it’s the right kind of exception.
Hence, anything greater than three per cent of blacks in professor posts represents reverse discrimination. That, however, isn’t a problem. It’s the right kind of discrimination.
But I’ll leave the number-crunching to those who do it professionally, such as our scientists. Alas, they are probably not social scientists because, if they were, they wouldn’t make such an elementary conceptual error.
No, take that back. Since most of today’s social scientists see Britain as a branch of the Ku Klux Klan, they’d allege anything to confirm their ideological bias. So let’s just say that real social scientists would know how to analyse and juxtapose demographic data objectively.
For discrimination may not be responsible for the underrepresentation of some groups. Moreover, on general principle, it’s extremely unlikely that British universities, which are all competing for the accolade of Wokier Than Thou, would practise institutional racism. They’d be more inclined to discriminate in favour of blacks.
That aside, the hypothesis of academic racism fails the Popper test: it can be neither proved nor falsified empirically. It can only be stated as an a priori assertion in the form of an unsound syllogism: the UK is institutionally racist. There aren’t enough black professors in UK universities. Ergo, UK universities are institutionally racist.
It’s nothing short of astounding how scientists fail to apply their customary methodology to their ideological biases. If they didn’t, they’d realise that a multitude of factors determine the proportion of blacks (or anyone else) within a professional (or any other) group.
For one thing, proportionate representation in any group has never been achieved anywhere, even when that was an explicit intent. For example, there is no evidence that parents discriminate against their younger children – in fact, the opposite is just as likely.
Nevertheless firstborn children win more academic honours than all their younger siblings combined – even in families with as many as five children. And Asians, who are as likely as blacks to be victims of prejudice, consistently outperform whites in all academic and professional outcomes.
Thomas Sowell (himself black) points out that in the last half of the 20th century, Jews – who make up less than one per cent of global population – received 22 per cent of the Nobel Prizes in chemistry and 32 per cent in both medicine and physics. This in spite of having found themselves on the receiving end of hatred and abuse in many parts of the world for centuries.
To understand why there aren’t relatively more black professors than blacks in the population, we’d have to look at hundreds of variables, such as: proportions of single-parent families, median incomes, school attendance, drug and alcohol use, areas of residence, numbers of books in households, motivations to succeed academically.
And I’m even willing to risk summary arrest by suggesting that the median IQs of various groups may also play a role. In the US, for example, the descending order of collective median IQs is as follows: Asians, Jews, non-Jewish whites, blacks. This also happens to be the descending order of their economic and professional success.
Sowell doesn’t dispute that blacks have a lower median IQ, although he shows convincingly that, as blacks ascend the social ladder, their IQ improves, to the point where it’s indistinguishable from the whites’.
In general, he denies that any institutional bias currently exists anywhere in the anglophone West. But then Sowell is an honest scholar and a first-rate thinker. We no longer expect to find such people among our academics of any colour, certainly not when they pronounce on social and cultural issues.
When scientists lose the ability to look at data dispassionately and go anywhere the data take them, you know the end of the world is nigh. And when they don’t even bother to look at the data before spouting off, you know the end has already arrived.