Let me present a few excerpts from volume 15 of the “The Future of Children,” the issue entitled: “School Readiness: Closing Racial and Ethnic Gaps”:
(1) “Because the direct evidence on ancestry, adoption, and cross fostering is most consistent with little or no role for genes, it is unlikely that the black white gap has a large genetic component.
But what if it does? What would be the implications for the school readiness of children? (Dickens, Genetic Differences and School Readiness)
(2) “In discussing racial and ethnic gaps, we focus on three groups: Hispanics, non-Hispanic whites (whites), and non-Hispanic African Americans (blacks). We note that these groups are socially constructed and heterogeneous categories that proxy for diverse ethnic and cultural groups… In the United States, the Hispanic and black categories serve as markers for minority status and its accompanying experiences of discrimination and disadvantage. Hispanic and black children face much higher rates of poverty, particularly persistent poverty, than do white children
(3) As table 4 shows, initiatives that substantially raise both enrollment in and the quality of center care for low-income children could narrow racial and ethnic school readiness gaps considerably, reducing black-white gaps by up to 24 percent and Hispanic-white gaps by up to 36 percent. In addition, table 2 indicates that race- or ethnicity-specific increases in enrollment—in particular, increasing the enrollment of Hispanic children but not that of white children—could also narrow school readiness gaps. Other changes would also improve black and Hispanic children’s school readiness, but would not reduce racial and ethnic gaps much, because they would also improve white children’s achievement. If raising black and Hispanic children’s school readiness regardless of their relative levels of achievement is a goal, then these changes should be considered. (Magnuson and Waldfogel.Early Childhood Care and Education: Effects on Ethnic and Racial Gaps in School Readiness)
Point (3) follows directly from point (2) which follows indirectly from point (1). The reasoning: In previous generations, Blacks were discriminated against and Blacks underperformed intellectually. Since Blacks now under-perform intellectually, despite the overt societal discrimination for them, they must, nonetheless, be discriminated against and this discrimination most be potent as it counteracts the extensive positive discrimination. Since there is potent discrimination against Blacks we might infer that there is potent discrimination against Hispanics and that this discrimination is depressing their aggregate intellectual ability. Since ethnic and racial discrimination is evil, it should be a social priority to eliminate it and reverse its effects. The most efficient way to do this is to discriminate for Blacks and Hispanics and against Whites, which is permissible, because this is not bad discrimination but a making better discrimination. To answer Dickens’ question (1), a genetic hypothesis undercuts discrimination theory (2) and with it justifications of counter-discrimination (3).
The importance of delegitimizing counter-discrimination is one reason
why this has become a one issue blog.