NARRATIVE GRIEVANCE AND ITS DISCONTENTS: Fetishization and mystification!

FRIDAY, MAY 24, 2019

Recalling Bill Maher's new toy:
We'll acknowledge it as a pet peeve of ours.

We refer to the fetishization of the word "segregation" as applied to enrollment patterns in the public schools. In defense of our reaction to this fetishization, please consider this:

According to future anthropologists, the fetishization of this term was part of the culture of narrative grievance in the years immediately preceding Mister Trump's Unstable War.

Alas! Based upon our nocturnal reporting, future anthropologists now refer to the present era as an age of "grievance-based moral performance art" within our own liberal tribe.

According to these disconsolate scholars, the fetishization of "segregation" was just one part of that widespread tribal artistry. So was the mystification of school "segregation," a mystification performed by Dana Goldstein—she went to Brown—in today's New York Times:
GOLDSTEIN (5/24/19): School segregation is caused by a complex web of factors, including housing policy, how school boundary lines are drawn and the ability of white and wealthy parents to opt out of sending their children to schools alongside low-income students of color.
Goldstein never quite explains what she means by "school segregation." According to future anthropologists, our human wiring led us to accept the gravamen of such phraseology without our feeling the need to get clear as to what was being said.

Fair enough! But note the mystification created in that passage concerning the causes of "school segregation." Goldstein ticks off three alleged causes, part of "a complex web of factors," without mentioning a straightforward cause such as this:
Student demographics, Laredo ISD
White kids: 0 percent
Black kids: 0 percent
Hispanic kids: 99 percent
Asian-American kids: 1 percent

Student demographics, Detroit Public Schools
White kids: 3 percent
Black kids: 87 percent
Hispanic kids: 7 percent
Asian-American kids: 1 percent

Student demographics, Los Angeles USD
White kids: 9 percent
Black kids: 10 percent
Hispanic kids: 74 percent
Asian-American kids: 7 percent
For whatever reason, Goldstein seems to prefer mystification to a rather straightforward statement of fact. To wit:

Many public schools are "segregated" in the way Goldstein seems to mean because very few white kids are enrolled in our big urban school systems.

It isn't hard to state this seminal fact, but Goldstein seems to prefer a more complex presentation involving "housing policy" and "how school boundary lines are drawn." Drawing upon their knowledge of the hard-wired traits of Homo sapiens, our future scholars have suggested one possible reason for this apparent preference:

Dating back to prehistory, we humans were strongly inclined—were hard-wired—to engage in the loathing of Others, these experts have thoughtfully told us. Given that wiring, tribal players preferred a complex web of explanations which suggested bad behaviors by Such People, as opposed to a simpler, more straightforward assertion of blindingly obvious fact.

Why do we have so many "segregated" schools, in the sense intended by Goldstein? In large part, it's because there are so few white kids enrolled in our biggest school districts!

That said, why are there so few white kids enrolled in those big urban systems? In large part, that does relate to "the ability of white and wealthy parents to opt out of sending their children to schools alongside low-income students of color," the third factor Goldstein cites.

Of course, current demographic patterns in our public schools also widely reflect "the ability of [middle-class and wealthy black] parents to opt out of sending their children to schools alongside low-income students of color." And by the way, very few of these villain parents "opt out of sending their children to schools alongside students of color" if the "students of color" are Asian-American kids, our highest-achieving public school cohort.

Here's what we mean by that:

In a recent post which tore back the curtain from certain realities, Kevin Drum identified Irvine, California as the community Where the Racists Are.

According to Drum's analysis,
"hot-blooded racist" families fled to that Orange County location when the giant Los Angeles Unified School District "became too black and too Hispanic."

That said, those same racists don't seem to fear the presence of Asian-American kids. According to recent figures from Professor Reardon, the demographics of the (high-achieving) Irvine Unified School District recently looked like this:
Student demographics, Irvine USD
White kids: 35 percent
Black kids: 2 percent
Hispanic kids: 9 percent
Asian-American kids: 54 percent
Except for the possibility that their kids may develop inferiority complexes, white parents may not mind sending their kids to school with Asian-American kids. But in the fetishized world of liberal "segregation" display, those Asian-American kids are "non-white," full stop. Nothing else needs to be said.

In the fetishized world partly created by UCLA's Professor Orfield, it doesn't count as "integration" if black kids in New York City go to school with high-achieving Asian-American peers.

According to Goldstein's report, "A large body of scholarship shows that nonwhite and poor children perform better academically at integrated schools." But according to fetishized "segregation" thinking, black kids can only be helped by attending school with white kids.

If the kids aren't white, the kids ain't right! Nothing else matters or counts.

According to future scholars, tribal liberals of this era were deeply invested in highly performative "grievance chases." These so-called "grievance performances" were designed to address such concerns as these:
Where the Sexists Are
Where the Racists Are
"Grievance performance" of the era was built around such themes, with sweeping, indiscriminate moral attacks aimed at large groups of disfavored people. And according to the analyses of these regretful future experts, "tout ├ętait permis" in the mainstream journalism of the era, just so long as the impression was given that various groups of such bad people were being hunted down.

("So it was with that remarkable effort by Jay Newton-Small," one future expert recently said. "She dropped her S-bomb in paragraph 1. After that, she just scrambled around.")

This highly performative grievance behavior drove enough voters to Donald J. Trump to let the self-described "stable genius" get hold of the nuclear codes. And in the end, it finally happened, disconsolate scholars despairingly tell us during the frequent nocturnal submissions the haters refer to as dreams.

Still, the quest for knowledge never ceases in the future caves where these scholars huddle as they feed on the few tiny scraps they've somehow managed to gather. With respect to the way "grievance performance" drove some voters over to Trump, one gloomy expert referred us to this recent report in the New York Times.

"Just look what that one uncouth voter said," this anthropologist told us. Meanwhile, what about Bill Maher's toy?

We may get to Bill tomorrow.

Tomorrow: At the Times, it's time for Siri to go! The rough-hewn voter's tale

71 comments:

  1. “Goldstein never quite explains what she means by "school segregation." “

    This is a groan-inducing post from Somerby. Goldstein’s article is entitled

    “Sanders’s Education Plan Renews Debate Over Charter Schools and Segregation”

    Her article is about *Bernie Sanders’* education plan, which he unveiled last Saturday.

    So our suggestion to Somerby is to ask *Bernie* what *he* means by “segregation.”

    A few highlights from Bernie’s web site (https://berniesanders.com/a-thurgood-marshall-plan-for-public-education/):

    “65 years after Brown v. Board of Education, many U.S. schools remain unacceptably segregated. “

    “Due to implicit racial bias, Black students, even in preschool, are nearly four times as likely to be suspended as Whites,”

    “Build on the Strength in Diversity Act to increase, not cut, federal funding for community-driven strategies to desegregate schools.”

    So, the only difference between Somerby’s approach to Kamala Harris and Bernie is that when Kamala Harris says it, it is a “con”, but when Bernie says it, it is the newspaper reporter’s fault for not explaining a term that Candidate Bernie uses.

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    Replies
    1. So our suggestion to Somerby is to ask *Bernie* what *he* means by “segregation.”

      Yeah, sure. But not his job. That’s Goldstein’s job.

      “A few highlights from Bernie’s web site”:

      Black students … are nearly four times as likely to be suspended as Whites..

      Sounds like a problem, just not one of demographic makeup of school attendance.

      ”Build on the Strength in Diversity Act to increase … federal funding for community-driven strategies to desegregate schools.”

      Sounds like a solution, but not really since this just tosses the hot potato to the locals, who are unlikely to solve underlying problems.

      So, the only difference between Somerby’s approach to Kamala Harris and Bernie is that when Kamala Harris says it, it is a “con”, but when Bernie says it, it is the newspaper reporter’s fault for not explaining a term that Candidate Bernie uses.

      Yeah, no difference. Except that Harris was talking about the wage gap and Bernie was talking about school segregation. And except that TDH was also whining about Ari Melber’s interview with Harris.

      Delete
    2. Sure, deadrat. When Harris makes a tribal scripted claim, Somerby accuses her of “conning” the rubes. (Remember the title of that post? Was it “Ari Melber cons us rubes?” Oh that’s right. It was “Harris cons us rubes.” But when a reporter discusses Sanders discussing “segregation”, a term that Somerby has singled out for special opprobrium, we don’t get “Sanders cons us rubes.” Nope. Suddenly, Sanders’ entire policy and discussion is swept under the rug. I am accusing Somerby of hypocrisy in his willingness to criticize other candidates when they spout tribal script, but not Good Ole Bernie.

      Delete
    3. “Due to implicit racial bias, Black students, even in preschool, are nearly four times as likely to be suspended as Whites,”

      Half of this statement is not true. It may be true that black students are suspended four times as often as whites, but the cause of the discrepancy has not been established.

      Delete
    4. Thank you, David. That part of the Sanders quote (which deadrat conveniently omitted when he re-quoted) seemingly shows that Sanders buys into the liberal script that Somerby constantly denounces. But we will *never* see Somerby call out Sanders on this.

      Delete
    5. Here’s one of the first sentences in Bernie’s education plan:

      65 years after Brown v. Board of Education, __many U.S. schools__ remain unacceptably segregated.

      The __underlined__ phrase is a link to a 5/10/19 Goldstein article in the NYT about segregation. The article starts out with “The 65th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education is on Friday,….”

      So Bernie uses the same language that TDH claims conflates current school racial demographics with Jim Crow era demographics. Your complaint seems to be that TDH is harder on Harris than he is on Bernie. I’ll concede that, although Harris isn’t singled out for special opprobrium, just the usual opprobrium.

      I don’t see much support from TDH for Good Ole Bernie. Now if TDH starts praising Bernie although Bernie uses language he, TDH, condemns from others, then you’d have a strong point.

      Delete
    6. 5:38 PM,

      Somerby has indicated he doesn't think Sanders would make a good candidate in the general election in part because of his age. Furthermore, it's been Somerby's long held belief that Democratic political candidates and office holders should be the face of constructive policies which academics and corporate media figures have all ready mainstreamed, not people like Sanders who lead on issues, because that's the way it appears to have worked for Republicans since the effects of the Lewis Powell Memo started kicking in by the late '70s.

      But let's say Somerby does favor Sanders and is looking to drop digs at his rivals for the nomination, so what? Here you are pretending you would expect Somerby to be blogging with all the neutrality of "a view from nowhere" journalist. What you really want is everyone to be enlisted in the cause of the revenge of the Hillbots- and lining up behind whoever qualifies in your mind as a rightful heir to Hillary's claim to the throne- at least until Hillary, herself, rescues us all at the eleventh hour at a, seemingly, deadlocked 2020 Democratic National Convention.

      Move on.

      Delete
    7. CMike, you have no idea if I am a “Hillbot”, but your using that term suggests that you are a “Berniebot” since you are reacting defensively to perceived criticism of Sanders. I don’t care if Somerby supports Sanders, but he ought to state it rather than pretend to be just a media critic. My other point, in conjunction with the fact that Somerby has already attacked Warren as a “terrible candidate” and Harris as a con-woman (for using the same statistics that Bernie did!) and his (and your) unwillingness to apply the same standards to Sanders is that it is ultimately not good for progressives/Democrats for a supposed media critic to be picking winners and losers among the contenders. These memes get spread across the Internet, even from an obscure blog like this one. And I would hate for Somerby to be the cause of the downfall of some of our more viable candidates.

      Delete
    8. 7:02 PM,

      Why isn't it "good for progressives/Democrats for a supposed media critic to be picking winners and losers among the contenders"? Who should have opinions about who should be elected to political office- just you? How about if Somerby gives back all the public funding and all the dark money he has received over the years from college radicals and former Al Gore staffers- would he then be within the bounds of propriety to use his vast influence to tip the scales in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary in favor of his preferred candidate on his own blog?

      It's flat out wrong of you to claim by using the term "Hillbot" I am in any way suggesting that I am a Berniebot. I am not. In point of fact in dozens of threads beginning in 2015 here at the Howler I have overtly, explicitly, and directly declared myself to be a Berniebro.

      You, on the other hand, are an obviously playing it coy these days Hillbot who won't support Sanders because you're some sort of out or closeted anti-Semite and, therefore, you're someone who shouldn't be commenting in blog threads at all because of the damage you ultimately do to progressives/Democrats, to truth, to justice, to the cause of inclusion, to the one true American way.

      Delete
    9. Anonymous on May 24, 2019 at 5:38 PM,

      David in Cal is this commentariat’s Village Idiot. If you find yourself thanking him, people are not going to be able to tell the difference between you.

      I’m sorry I truncated the quote that excluded the alleged “impllicit cause.” So what? The point is not that this isn’t a problem: I say it sounds like one. The point (and one that you seem to have missed) is that this isn’t a matter of “segregation,” the topic under discussion.

      Try to keep up.

      Delete
    10. And I would hate for Somerby to be the cause of the downfall of some of our more viable candidates.

      Dontcha just hate it when that happens?

      Who the hell is it that you think is reading this blog, let alone spreading it across the internet? We know who comments -- the Village Troll Mao, the Village Idiot David in Cal, CMike, me, a gaggle of claqueurs who couldn't mount a coherent argument if the world depended on their doing so, spell casters, Mumbai movers, and those commenting in Arabic.

      Do you really suppose an effective and influential group is reading but not commenting?

      Delete
    11. Well, CMike, I respect your openness in supporting Bernie. Hooray! If he is the nominee, I will gladly vote for him. I happen to like Warren and Harris, and dislike seeing them selectively trashed by a supposed liberal like Somerby. Remember when Somerby recently said something about Democrats not undermining their own candidates (he may have been referring to carping about Biden, can’t remember).

      But two things: your attacks on me are despicable. Can I like Warren and Harris, and prefer them to Sanders in the primary, without being called a Hillbot or anti-Semite? You are despicable for saying those things. All because I point out that Somerby is inconsistent in his criticism of the candidates. You need to check yourself. You are acting just as despicably as the liberals that Somerby rails against for demonizing those you disagree with. You should be banned from commenting here.

      Delete
    12. and, deadrat, Somerby always talks about “script”. I am saying that, so far, he has had a couple of posts praising Sanders (“Bernie gets it right!”), and a half dozen at least criticizing Harris, including accusing her of conning the rubes. If she is conning the rubes, then so is Sanders. Tough shit, CMike.

      And you are saying that practically no one reads this blog? Then why do you care so much to correct and ridicule the few commenters who are here? What the hell difference do their comments make? I would suggest that, in view of Somerby’s poor readership, he take stock of himself, retire, and move on with his life. He might even ask himself why he lost his readers over the years. Nah. That would take self-awareness and humility.

      Delete
    13. Deadrat, perhaps you are forgetting that Kevin Drum reads and sometimes does posts about TDH posts in his blog at Mother Jones. TDH is also listed as a recommended blog at Martin Longman’s blog (used to be Booman Tribune), and at other liberal blogs that I read. Paul Krugman used to mention Somerby in his columns occasionally, and Gene Lyons occasionally mentions him fondly. [I notice that Somerby doesn’t return the favor and list any blogs that he recommends].

      Delete
    14. If she [Harris] is conning the rubes, then so is Sanders.

      Point taken.

      And you are saying that practically no one reads this blog?

      That’s what I’m saying.

      Then why do you care so much to correct and ridicule the few commenters who are here?

      Because I like the sound of my own voice without regard to the size of the audience.

      What the hell difference do their comments make?

      None. Including mine. What’s your point?

      I would suggest that, in view of Somerby’s poor readership, he take stock of himself, retire, and move on with his life.

      Fine suggestion. Why are you telling me?

      Delete
    15. Not 11:22,

      Kevin Drum reads … Martin Longman recommends …. Paul Krugman used to mention … Gene Lyons occasionally mentions.

      I did a search in the google for “Bob Somerby” for results between 1/1/2016 and 5/24/19, excluding the dailyhowler sites and wikipedia. I got 72 hits. There are a lot of false drops — mentions of his name in connection with his college roommates, the fact that he (or his namesake) won a midget baseball medal in 1956, references to his standup career.

      Now maybe he has a huge readership but almost never gets mentioned in cyberspace.

      Do you think that’s plausible?

      Delete
    16. You, on the other hand, are … some sort of out or closeted anti-Semite….

      I read that at 9:21P and thought, “Clueless outrage in three, two, one….” Sure enough, at 11:11P — “You are despicable … You should be banned from commenting here.”

      But who knows. Of the four possibilities of trolling and serious, I can’t say for sure which obtains.

      Delete
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  2. "We refer to the fetishization of the word "segregation" as applied to enrollment patterns in the public schools."

    Words change their meanings with usage, as the need to communicate different information arises. The term segregation no longer refers to legal or administrative segregation but now refers to segregation arising from other causes.

    The demographic patterns Somerby cites cannot be the cause of segregation, they are a measurement of its existence. Causes are external to those figures, including things like residential self-segregation, parents choosing to send their kids to schools outside those districts, etc. But the figures themselves are not the cause. That would be like saying that segregation causes segregation and that makes no sense.

    Somerby really wants to avoid looking at actual causes beyond just stating local demographics (which are the measure of segregation). Why? Hard to know, since one cannot address a problem without doing this. But Somerby seems fixated on criticism and uninterested in solving problems of any kind.

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    1. Words change their meanings with usage, as the need to communicate different information arises.

      Certainly true.

      The term segregation no longer refers to legal or administrative segregation but now refers to segregation arising from other causes.

      Certainly false. When English-language newspapers want to talk about controversial Israeli policies allowing the legal separation of Israelis and Arabs (and men and women), they use the work segregation. When we talk of the Jim Crow south, we use the word segregation with no fear of misunderstanding.

      The denotation of words is not the sole mechanism of verbal communication. Connotation counts, and TDH is counting such in his “fetishization” claim. I’m not defending this claim, but it can’t be dismissed by claiming that the word segregation has a completely new meaning.

      Somerby really wants to avoid looking at actual causes beyond just stating local demographics (which are the measure of segregation). Why? Hard to know….

      Nah, easy to know. TDH isn’t interested in discussing what you want him to discuss. Go write your own blog if you don’t like the topic of this one.

      But Somerby seems fixated on criticism….

      Ding, ding, ding! The bell means we have a winner.

      Delete
    2. deadrat, Somerby’s criticism is based on his disapproval of a part of the liberal approach to understanding and fixing certain problems in our schools. The commenters are saying that Somerby misunderstands and misrepresents the arguments he is critiquing, and that his criticism is based on a misunderstanding of the causes of the problem. Somerby’s critics aren’t asking him to opine about the causes and/or solutions (he won’t ever do that). They are saying his critique is wrong, and giving reasons why it is wrong.

      Delete
    3. The commenters are saying that [TDH’s] … criticism is based on a misunderstanding of the causes of the problem.

      Sure, but for the purposes of his blog, TDH isn’t interested in the causes of the problem. Whatever the cause, it is what it is, and there’s no point misrepresenting the problem as the one we faced in 1954, the year Brown v Board was decided.

      Somerby’s critics aren’t asking him to opine about the causes….

      C’mon fercryanoutloud. Here’s a quote from the very comment we’re both commenting on:
      “Somerby really wants to avoid looking at actual causes beyond just stating local demographics….” (Emphasis mine.)

      Are you paying attention?

      Delete
    4. “Whatever the cause, it is what it is, and there’s no point misrepresenting the problem as the one we faced in 1954, the year Brown v Board was decided.”

      It is what it is, but what is it? And who is representing the problem this way? Somerby is, not the people he criticizes. By saying that “schools are currently highly segregated”, no one is implying we still exist in pre-1954 America. They are simply acknowledging a fact. When Kevin Drum says racism drove white flight, Somerby cites current demographics as though that disproves Drum’s claim. It does not. It is important to understand the history of how the current situation in urban areas arose. By acknowledging that it was driven in large part by racism, is simply to acknowledge the truth, as uncomfortable as it may be. It doesn’t imply that current citizens are acting out of racist motives, and that isn’t the point of complaints about segregation.

      Delete
    5. It is what it is, but what is it? And who is representing the problem this way? Somerby is, not the people he criticizes.

      You have confused me slightly. Yes, I think Somerby has cast the problem as it-is-what-it-is. That’s the point. I’m missing yours.

      By saying that “schools are currently highly segregated”, no one is implying we still exist in pre-1954 America. They are simply acknowledging a fact.

      Are they? It’s TDH’s contention that they’re using a loaded word like segregation to imply more. At the very least, that we can juggle the school population to achieve some better balance. I don’t happen to think that TDH makes a very strong case, so you should be able to counter him without much trouble. Claims like yours above are not evidence though.

      It is important to understand the history of how the current situation in urban areas arose. By acknowledging that it was driven in large part by racism, is simply to acknowledge the truth, as uncomfortable as it may be.

      You’re preaching to the choir. I just don’t think these truths have much to do with plans for public schools in urban centers.

      It doesn’t imply that current citizens are acting out of racist motives,….

      Drum does more than imply it in his urge to proclaim “the truth.” It’s TDH who says that making the charge of racism is a bad idea because it enforces the idea of the Evil Other.

      I’m sorry, but I can’t tell how far off base you think TDH is. Could just be me.

      Delete
    6. 2:51 PM writes,

      Somerby’s criticism is based on his disapproval of a part of the liberal approach to understanding and fixing certain problems in our schools.

      What exactly are the liberal solutions for fixing problems in schools? Having claimed to have identified various problems, what are the detailed policy prescriptions liberals have for fixing those problems beyond lamenting they exist and demanding they be fixed?

      Let's start with integrating schools, how would liberals do that if, in 2021, they found themselves in control of the presidency, both houses of congress, and both the governorship and the legislative bodies in a state where schools are de facto segregated?

      Delete
    7. Cmike, some liberals believe that segregation is the unfortunate result of a long historical process. And some advocate for integration. Not all do. I am indifferent about integration, but where it is feasibie, it doesn’t seem like a bad idea. But that isn’t the sum total of liberal policy ideas for schools, or how to help parents of schoolchildren. Among other things, universal pre-k, child care, teacher training, funding, curriculum, teacher pay, support for teacher unions, school lunch program...all of these and more have been or are liberal ideas. Most liberals do not oppose school choice nowadays. Obama was a supporter of charter schools, although your hero Bernie has some bad things to say about them. Somerby can focus on segregation/integration, as if that is all liberals ever talk about, but he is misrepresenting liberals. And I reject the notion that discussing segregation is just a code for accusing the other side of racism.

      Tell me again, CMike, have you actually studied Sanders’ education proposal? He sounds exactly like the “liberals” you hate.

      Delete
    8. First off, Sanders is a social democrat, more of an old school liberal than a lefty. I'm familiar with Sanders' education platform. He's a little vague on Common Core. Teacher pay, school lunch, and child care programs all have ramifications beyond improving academic performance and, in any event, Sanders is signed on to investing more money in those areas as well as protecting teacher unions.

      De Blasio is out in front on expanding and improving pre-K. Head Start benefits seem to dissipate over the course of the average attendee's grade school career but it's proven to improve outcomes during early grade school years. I haven't studied what specifically Sanders is recommending for, what is it, 3 months to 3-K but that's probably the program that has the most potential for improving long term academic performance for the at-risk population.

      Most everyone left of center including Sanders has long supported broadening the base of funding for local school systems- lefties are as aggressive as anybody on this topic.

      Sanders is down on student testing/No Child Left Behind to determine where funding goes. (In the ideal, I would be for testing students repeatedly throughout their grade school careers but for the purpose of assigning them a personally tailored curricula given their level of command of various subjects and skills.)

      10:38 PM are you seeing our liberal mainstream media figures championing these approaches and increased resourcing of grade school education? Did you think mainstream media liberals gave near enough time to the spate of teacher walk outs and their successful outcomes across the country in 2018 as opposed to say Russia, Russia, Russia, Mueller, Mueller, Mueller coverage? I don't. I think those teacher displays of solidarity were highly significant both as ways to defend the value of public education and to serve as templates for action outside the public education sector to improve labor conditions.

      Delete
  3. Somerby keeps bringing up Laredo as if it is has some relevance to New York City or Detroit, or Baltimore County for that matter. He also continues to ignore history and engage in circular reasoning. He wants us to think that the present situation in, say, Detroit, whereby 87% of students are black “explains” segregation there, whereas “segregation” is the result of a long process that occurred over many years. That 87% figure didn’t simply happen without context.

    He also rather confusingly faults Goldstein for not explaining what she means by “segregation” (even though she is writing about Bernie’s use of that term), but then lists population figures as a “cause”, which indicates he seems to know what she really does mean by the term.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Somerby keeps bringing up Laredo as if it is has some relevance to New York City or Detroit, or Baltimore County for that matter.

      No, he brings up Laredo because it has significance for the argument that “segregation” is a problem with feasible solutions.

      That 87% figure [black enrollment in Detroit public schools ] didn’t simply happen without context.

      True. (Trivially, I think. What happens without context?) But the context is not the topic of this blog. Write your own blog about the context.

      He also rather confusingly faults Goldstein for not explaining what she means by “segregation” (even though she is writing about Bernie’s use of that term),…

      Are you confused about a reporter’s responsibility to find out what politicians mean by their statements of policy?

      but then lists population figures as a “cause”, which indicates he seems to know what she really does mean by the term.

      I thought you said it was Bernie’s use of the term. But never mind, do you really think TDH is writing to complain about his own understanding?

      Delete
    2. Laredo has different demographics from other cities such as New York or Baltimore. Somerby cited the figures for Baltimore County yesterday which are almost even for black and white. That is an entirely different situation than Laredo and the two cities have vastly different racial histories. They simply aren’t comparable. Segregation/integration has much more of a history in large urban areas like Baltimore, and the feasibility of integrating schools there is a far different question than for Laredo. And no one, no one, is calling for the integration of Laredo schools.

      Delete
    3. I think you missed TDH's point about Baltimore County. The comparison is between Laredo and the city of Baltimore. The feasibility of integrating either public school system is about the same.

      And why again shouldn't the students of the Laredo ISD get the same benefits of integration?

      Delete
    4. You moved the goal posts. Are Baltimore County schools integrated, or is there segregation? Because integration, at least numerically, looks perfectly feasible there.

      Delete
    5. Another commenter (or are you the same one?) who doesn’t understand what “moving the goal posts” means.

      The public schools of Baltimore County have roughly the same number of black students as white, so under the definition of segregation in apparent use, Baltimore County’s schools are integrated. So feasibility isn’t the question here: it’s a done deal. The County’s school system was mentioned to illustrate the fact that flight from inner-city schools crossed racial lines.

      The topic is segregated schools like Laredo ISD or Baltimore City Public School System.

      Can either of these school systems be integrated?

      Why shouldn’t Laredo’s kids be offered the benefits of integration?

      Delete
  4. "In the fetishized world partly created by UCLA's Professor Orfield, it doesn't count as "integration" if black kids in New York City go to school with high-achieving Asian-American peers."

    This is dishonest. How many black kids were going to school with Asian kids in the NYC segregation articles? Eight. The problem was that too few black kids were being admitted to those highly competitive selective high schools. It wasn't that the black kids weren't going to school with enough white kids. It was that the black kids were being excluded from the selective, elite high schools. Eight black kids in a special school isn't enough, no matter who the others kids are. And it isn't as though there aren't enough black kids in NYC to fill more seats. This is not the situation Somerby refers to in Laredo, where there aren't any white students. NYC is full of black kids, so surely eight isn't enough!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Er, Sparky? TDH isn't talking about the specialized high schools in NYC. There are lots of other public schools in NYC.

      Delete
    2. Umm, deadrat, where in New York City are black kids going to school with high-performing Asian kids outside of the specialized high schools?

      Delete
    3. New to the Howler 3:04 PM, or just short term memory issues?

      New York City Public Schools
      Grade 8 math, 2017
      Scores by percentiles, Naep
      90th percentile: 329.72
      75th percentile: 303.23
      50th percentile: 272.76
      25th percentile: 245.27
      10th percentile: 222.66

      Average scores, Grade 8 math, Naep
      New York City Public Schools, 2017
      White students: 290.71
      Black students: 255.63
      Hispanic students: 263.56
      Asian-American students: 306.03

      Delete
    4. Ah, CMike can copy and paste from TDH. My question was, where in NYC are black kids attending school with high-performing Asian kids? You answer me with NAEP scores. Now can you give me a list of NYC schools where the two groups attend school together? That was the original question asked by the original commenter.

      Delete
    5. Assuming that 12:29P and 3:04P are the same person.

      You originally asked, “How many black kids were going to school with Asian kids in the NYC segregation articles?” And you answered yourself with “Eight.” I think you’ve confused the number of black students admitted to Stuyvesant for the next academic year (7) with the number of specialized NYC high schools that require the SHSAT (8).

      In any case, TDH isn’t talking about specialized high schools or even schools in NYC. He claims that “according to fetishized ‘segregation’ thinking, black kids can only be helped by attending school with white kids.” Can’t we consider a school integrated if there are few white kids but many black and Asian kids? That’s part of why he’s asking for a clearer definition of the term segregation.

      I take it that you don’t think much of TDH’s (implied)) question because you don’t think black students have occasion to study with Asian students in NYC. Fine, let’s stick with NYC. I can’t speak to “high-performing” outside the aggregate ethnic scores. But let’s say that “black kids going to school with Asian kids in NYC” means a NYC public school where within the last five years the percentage of Asian kids was at least the percentage of Asian kids system wide (15%) and there are at least as many black kids as Asian kids. By that rule we have

      PS 093
      High School of Economics and Finance
      Khalil Gibran International Academy
      PS 097
      Bard High School
      JHS 117
      Astor Collegiate Academy
      PS 182
      PS 134

      …. and I got tired of typing.

      Delete
  5. Why so many words, dear Bob? Goldstein is a dembot. Drum is a dembit, 'nuff said.

    "This highly performative grievance behavior drove enough voters to Donald J. Trump to let the self-described "stable genius" get hold of the nuclear codes. "

    But surely it's much safer than handing the launch codes over to the murdering psycho-witch, wouldn't you agree?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bill Barr will be passing along the names of Russian informants to Putin.
      It's almost like every Right-wing accusation is a confession, without the "It's almost like" part.

      Delete
  6. ""Grievance performance" of the era was built around such themes, with sweeping, indiscriminate moral attacks aimed at large groups of disfavored people."

    Mostly, I see the words sexist and racist applied to specific people because of specific things they have said and done. Even Hillary didn't say that all of Trump's supporters were deplorable (her aggregate term for sexist, racist, homophobic, xenophobic, etc).

    It is hard to support widespread grievance spreading by anyone. But Somerby hasn't made his case that anyone on the left is doing that. His examples concern criticisms of people and situations. In my own conversations with liberals, I never hear them saying things like "Those Republicans are just so darned sexist," or "We're good but those other people are all rotten to the core." I hear them complain that GA has declared war on women because its all white, male legislature enacted an extreme anti-abortion bill. That is very specific and the sexist pieces of shit who did that are clearly identified. The whole state of GA is not blamed, nor are all Republicans, although I haven't heard any speaking out against this action. I haven't even heard Somerby speak out against it, come to think of it. Hillary didn't run on a campaign of "They're all sexist and racist, so vote for me." She ran on "Stronger together." That sounds pretty inclusive to me. She didn't say "Stronger together except those Other racist and sexist deplorables." Neither did any of her surrogates. So how is Somerby coming up with this blanket assertion that liberals are grievance mongering and blaming others wholesale? He's doing that himself, to liberals.

    Maybe the problem is that Somerby doesn't realize he isn't a liberal and he thinks that because he does this, other liberals do too? If so, he is a deeply confused man, in addition to being a sexist asshole (for displaying sexist attitudes over a period of time, not for being a member of any group, exist sexists.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The word segregation nowadays refers to race/ethnicity AND poverty, according to all scholarly studies, and both of these factors have been shown, over and over again, to be significantly correlated with poor academic performance. Anyone truly interested in solving the problem would acknowledge that.

    And next, to “explain” the “cause” of segregation by poverty, Somerby will cite statistics which show how poor certain neighborhoods/districts are.

    ReplyDelete
  8. If you go back and read Newton-Small's essay, it is Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster who talked with those white non-college-educated women who changed their votes from Obama to Trump, who calls them sexist because they couldn't relate to Hillary, couldn't see themselves in her life. Further down in the article, Christine Matthews, a Republican pollster says pretty much the same thing.

    Is this sexism? That particular group of voters treated a woman differently than male candidates. The same characteristics that were seen as positive in a male candidate were considered unrelateable in a female candidate, a liability that caused those specific women (non-college-educated white women) to vote for Trump by 27% over those voting Democratic.

    Holding a different standard for women than for men is sexism. So it is fair for Newton-Small to characterize the voting behavior that way. Saying that a female candidate needs to overcome this problem is obvious and the article addresses a legitimate concern arising from the past election.

    Somerby's knee-jerk reaction to the word "sexism" is odd. Did he actually read the article and see what behavior was being called sexist? Did he notice who was being described? Does he relate to non-college-educated women so strongly that he rose to their defense with such vigor?

    I think he just wanted to blame a female journalist for using the word "sexist" in her article. I don't think he read past that word at all. He certainly didn't read far enough to see that the attribution comes from a Democratic and a Republican pollster, not from the journalist herself. Or maybe he just wants to ban the word from our vocabulary, so men won't have to hear it aimed at them any more. And also beat another female journalist with his favorite stick.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Two examples of the insidious, disingenuous nature of Somerby’s reasoning.

    A liberal says “blacks accumulate less wealth during their lives due in part to racial discrimination.” Somerby says
    “No. This is the reason :
    median household income, 2017
    $40,258 (black)
    $68,145 (white, not Hispanic)”

    Second example: Liberal says “blacks do poorly in school in partly because of segregation by race and income.” Somerby counters:
    “No. Here’s why:
    Average scale scores for age 17, Long term trend mathematics, year 2012
    White: 324
    Black: 288”

    The hypothetical liberal in these examples is asking *why* the numbers cited are the way they are. Somerby says the numbers themselves explain the situation. He apparently wants to ignore potential root causes, especially if they point towards racial bias as a partial explanation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, TDH says that the numbers defy traditional solutions to segregation. If you define integration as sufficient numbers of black and white students in the same school, then there just aren't enough white students to go around in many "segregated" schools. No matter how it got that way.

      Really, how hard is this?

      Delete
  10. “With respect to the way "grievance performance" drove some voters over to Trump, one gloomy expert referred us to this recent report in the New York Times. “

    The “recent report” is entitled “There’s No Boom in Youngstown, but Blue-Collar Workers Are Sticking With Trump”.

    Somerby, once known as a media critic, but now dispensing election advice and withering attacks on liberals, fails to notice the sleight-of-hand going on in this “mainstream media” report.

    Youngstown, and indeed its county, Mahoning, never went with Trump. The racial makeup of the city is 47.0% White, 45.2% African American, and Clinton received 17,905 votes from Youngstown and 56,188 votes in Mahoning County.
    She edged out Trump, winning 49.9 percent of the vote in the county, compared to Trump's 46.6 percent.

    The report proceeds to discuss another county, Trumbull.

    The report also talks up the “white working class” without finding a way to discuss the large contingent of black working class voters in Youngstown itself.

    ReplyDelete
  11. *** shorter deadrat: if you have any critique of Bob, please leave and get your own blog. ***

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. shorter deadrat: if you have any critique of Bob, please leave and get your own blog.

      This is a lie, so you probably shouldn’t say it. I, myself have criticized TDH numerous times — for his abyssal ignorance of science, for his swallowing the assurances of Harari, a historian who clearly knows nothing about biology, for believing without investigation that Aristotle called man the “rational animal,” for the nonsensical assertions that mathematicians who study logic should help society improve the logic of civic discussion, and so on.

      On May 21, TDH criticized Donna Zuckerberg for writing an essay in which (according to TDH) she “seriously considered the pros and cons” of women protesting the latest anti-abortion laws by calling a Lysistratan “sex strike.” I disagreed with TDH’s assessment because I followed the link, read the essay, and could find nothing that spoke of the tactic as a serious endeavor.

      What I have said is that if you want Bob Somerby to write about topics that interest you instead of the topics that interest him, then you should probably write your own blog. Somerby simply doesn’t owe you essays on what you’d like to hear because you’d like to hear it.

      It’s certainly fair to criticize TDH for what he writes. For what he doesn’t write, not so much. People who expect the latter are like players at a blackjack table who yell “Bingo!” and are surprised when they’re asked by casino security to leave and find a bingo parlor.

      I expect you to have the intellectual integrity to post an apology for your false and foolish comment.



      I’m just joshin’ ya. I don’t expect you have intellectual integrity, and I don’t want apologies from people who don’t have.

      Delete
    2. Poor widdle deadrat. Did he get his fee-fees hurt? He can dish it out, but he can’t take it. Just like Somerby.

      Delete
    3. You think my feelings are hurt by comments on this blog? Trust me, there are people I regard highly who can hurt my feelings. None of them comments on this blog.

      Just like Somerby? How do you know anything about how Somerby reacts to his commentariat? I've always speculated that he doesn't even read his comment section. Why would he?

      Delete
  12. Somerby is the one making a fetish of segregation. And he invokes his own brand of political correctness by telling liberals to shut up about it cause it might upset the snowflakes.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Diversity has become an end in itself for many Americans. We see this process in colleges. Few people ask whether affirmative action is fair to Asians, or whether it harms the institution, or even whether it's good for blacks. Enormous effort is expended on promoting diversity. That goal is an absolute. It needs no other justification. Even if many black students live in segregated dorms and take black studies classes, the college feels it has done its job, by providing diversity.

    I think Bob is complaining about similar reasoning applied to el-hi schools. Diversity is the obvious and only goal to some people, whether or not it's helpful, or if it's not even possible. Bob has experience in public schools, so he recognizes the foolishness of this position.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If that is what Bob is saying, he is wrong. The poor academic performance of, say, black students, may be at least partly the result of racial bias over the years, racial isolation currently, and it may also be due to concentrations of poverty, which is another form of ”segregation”, for lack of a better word. Researchers aren’t advocating “diversity” for its own sake, or even at all. They are looking for solutions to the very real problem of academic achievement. These two factors, racial and income isolation, have been shown to correlate with academic performance. To ignore that is to ignore important components of the problem. And it is to buy the notion that liberals don’t really care, when it is others who show they don’t care by ignoring important aspects of the problem.

      Delete
    2. This article illustrates my point

      Most diverse graduating class in West Point history speaks out

      West Point says the class of 2019 is its most diverse ever, both by race and by gender.


      The article takes it for granted that more diversity is good. But, how will this more diverse West Point class affect our ability to prevail in military conflicts? That question is not addressed.

      https://www.cbsnews.com/news/west-point-graduating-class-diversity-largest-number-of-african-american-women-in-school-history/?fbclid=IwAR2De3rCoFM6UcBdnDVrsFb1VsGggVuHysE4KpvoscfIiG5Rypifk28Nm44

      Delete
    3. Well, that’s well and good, but you didn’t bother to address anything I said.

      Delete
    4. @6:17 since you insist. What you wrote may or may not be true. None of it is established fact. Correlation is not necessarily causation. In the examples you give, there are many other plausible explanations for the correlations you point out.

      Delete
    5. IMHO a more straghtforward way to improve black and Hispanic student performance is to find a way to get them to study more and to take school more seriously.

      Delete
    6. This is a ridiculous statement. How on earth can you possibly know how hard any group of students study? You have a negative stereotype that says black and Hispanic students don't work hard enough and you are applying it here with no justification at all.

      This is the kind of behavior that can be called racist. It involves applying a negative stereotype to people based on their ethnicity/race and drawing a negative conclusion about them without any evidence.

      Delete
    7. @8:04 -- what are you talking about? I made no statement about how hard anyone studies. All I said was the obvious point that if someone wants to do better in school, they should study more.

      That principle applies to any field of endeavor. If you're studying the violin or practicing for basketball, the more you work at it, the better you'll become.

      Delete
    8. You said:

      "IMHO a more straghtforward way to improve black and Hispanic student performance is to find a way to get them to study more and to take school more seriously."

      You attributed a lack of seriousness and hard work to Hispanic and black students.

      If you said "White players would be better at basketball if they worked harder and took it more seriously." would that change anything about the scoring gap that exists in the NBA? Do you think white players don't care about the sport, that they slack off and don't practice enough?

      Don't be an ass.

      Delete
  14. To be strictly fair to Goldstein "how school boundary lines are drawn" is the reason why Laredo ISD is almost entirely Hispanic. That said, I have to confess that Goldstein could have enlarged on that point to avoid leaving a misleading impression.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Goldstein doesn’t mention Laredo. Somerby does. Goldstein’s main concern was to report on Bernie Sanders’s education plan that he announced recently, not give a history lesson or a critique.

      Delete
  15. As the country becomes more ethnically diverse, it should be clearer how odd the concept that white classmates are necessary in order for non-white students to get a good education. Back in 1954, Dunbar High School in Washington D.C. was providing an outstanding education to its all-black student body. Traditional black colleges provide a good education, despite being substantially segregated. Cupertino High School, near me, provides and outstanding education, even though its student body is highly Asian.

    When you think about the process of learning, as Bob does, you can see that race isn't that important. The alphabet is the same, regardless of your race or your classmates' race. One plus one still equals two. I suspect that Bob Somerby would agree with this POV.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If only learning consisted only of arithmetic and spelling. If only you could know everything important in first grade. Too bad the world doesn't work that way.

      Delete
    2. I've never heard Somerby think about the process of learning. It is all demographics with him. For someone who talks about education frequently, he talks about a surprisingly limited range of education topics.

      Delete
  16. Kevin Drum talks about a survey showing that racial animosity plummeted in 2016. He attributes it to Obama leaving office but I think it provides support for the idea that talking about racism (because of Trump's racial animosity) results in less racial animosity.

    This is the opposite of Somerby's theory that calling The Other racist will cause them to vote for Trump. It seems that calling out racists is having an opposite effect. Fewer people want to be racists, so racial animosity has declined dramatically since Trump, across the board, because no one wants to be like him.

    Given the decline in racial animosity, why is white supremacism on the rise? I think the internet makes it possible for white supremacists to organize more effectively, and it is a source of radicalization for those with that bent, but I think most people are becoming less racist.

    It remains to be seen how this translates into votes. But I don't think it provides any support for Somerby's thesis that the more you call someone racist, the more likely they are to vote for Trump. I think it may be that the more you call someone racist, the less racist they want to appear so the more they moderate their intolerance. That strikes me as a good thing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. People talk about Trump's racism as if it were pervasive, as if he were doing or saying racist things daily. In fact, there are only a few ambiguous comments to supposedly show that Trump is a racist. These comments are not being repeated, at least not by Donald Trump.

      What is pervasive is accusations of Trump's supposed racism by Trump's enemies. Whether valid or not, these accusations are what's being promulgated daily. These are the events that should be considered in determining the cause of allegedly reduced racism.

      My guess FWIW is that survey respondents are more careful not to say things that could smack of racism. The surveys show improvement, but I don't think actual racism has declined.

      Delete
    2. IMHO, if more people talked about how Trump isn't a bigot, there is no way he would win the Republican nomination for President in 2020.

      Delete
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