Soft Bigotry

The National Collegiate Athletic Association has recommended that college athletes should no longer be required to submit SAT or ACT scores to be eligible to compete in Division I or Division II sports. Since I don’t follow professional or college sports, I only learned about this latest development from this article at townhall.com.

The NCAA Standardized Test Task Force recommended that high school students preparing to compete in Division I or Division II sports should not have to submit SAT or ACT scores.

 

“This work reflects the NCAA’s commitment to continually reviewing our academic standards based on the best available data and other relevant information,” said Morgan State President David Wilson, who led a group of representatives in both divisions in carrying out a nearly six month project on the matter. “We are observing a national trend in NCAA member schools moving away from requiring standardized test scores for admissions purposes and this recommendation for athletics eligibility aligns directly with that movement.”

The announcement from Friday comes as part of the NCAA’s eight-point plan to “advance racial justice and equity,” which includes reviewing eligibility requirements, reviewing the league’s Academic Progress Rate and its impact on historically black colleges and universities, and implementing “unconscious bias training” for all national office staff.

I wonder if it has occurred to the NCAA administration that by dropping standardized tests to advance “racial justice and equity” they concede that some races are intellectually or academically inferior to others. If they feel that they have to abandon academic standards because some groups; probably African Americans and perhaps Latinos, do not score as highly as other groups on standardized tests, they must be inherently inferior and cannot by nature compete on a level playing field, therefore, the standards must be rigged in their favor or done away with entirely to preserve the myth that everyone is equal. This reasoning strikes me as racist through and through.


I am sure the people responsible for this policy would deny it is racist at all. They would no doubt assert that a level playing field is impossible given the history of oppression and racism some groups have faced. It is only fair that groups that have faced discrimination in the past should receive extra assistance now. Very well, but if discrimination based on race is wrong, as I believe it is, then it is wrong to discriminate against or for anyone by race. Two wrongs do not make a right. In any case, the claim that systemic racism causes Blacks to score poorly on standardized tests fails to explain why other people who have been the victims of discrimination, Jews and East Asians, tend to score very well on such tests; scoring better than the Whites or gentiles who have been oppressing them.


If a racial group, such as African Americans does poorly academically, it must be either because the members of that group really are inferior, on average, or because some external factor, economic or cultural which inhibits their potential. Either way, we do no favors by pretending the problem isn’t there or attributing it to some mythical systemic racism that somehow only manifests itself in hate crime hoaxes.


I cannot emphasize enough that if a particular group, I’ll call it Group X to avoid real-world implications, really is inferior intellectually to Group Y on average, that cannot be considered justification for discriminating against individuals of Group X. We are talking about averages. There will be many intelligent members of Group X and many unintelligent members of Group Y and a considerable degree of overlap. You will not find zero members of Group X among the top tier academically, just relatively fewer than members of Group Y. You will see relatively fewer Group X doctors, lawyers, scientists, and engineers, not none at all. There is no reason to exclude members of Group X from pursuing such occupations. But, there is also no reason to inflate the numbers of Group X by lowering or eliminating standards to pursue equity. That helps no one, least of all the members of Group X who have actually earned their place but now find themselves tainted by association with those who have not.


If, on the other hand, there is some external factor inhibiting Group X from doing as well academically as Group Y, we are also not helping the members of Group X by lowering or eliminating standards. Instead of trying to discover what might be holding Group X back, we are whitewashing the problem in the name of equity. Even worse, the people who push lowering standards in the name of racial equity make the problem worse by attacking those who are actually trying to solve the problem as racists.


Getting back to the real world; my opinion is that no race or population is inherently inferior intellectually or academically. If African-Americans do not do so well on standardized tests, it is because external factors prevent them from realizing their full potential. What these external factors might be, I cannot be sure. I am no expert. I would hazard a guess that the breakup of the Black family and a persistent attitude that academic achievement is somehow not authentically Black or getting good grades is acting White. It is not a coincidence that the East Asians and Jews I referred to as doing well come from cultures that prize strong families and academic achievement.


The NCAA’s recommendation to no longer require standardized tests for athletes to promote racial equity is a step backward in racial progress. It rests on the unspoken assumption that Blacks cannot compete on a level playing field because they are inferior and so must receive extra help from well-meaning Whites. It is the soft bigotry of low expectations or, perhaps the hard bigotry of no expectations at all. It ought to be stopped.

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