The Living Apocalypse, A Lived Reality Tunnel

I was recently wondering about the root and rot of the tree of liberty. America is a crazy experiment and these are crazy times. I’m not sure if to embrace the crazy or resist it. Ironically, the new immigrants hated and/or feared by the nativists are about the only Americans left who (naively?) believe in the American Dream.

Matt Cardin over at Teeming Brain just posted a bunch of links that are as interesting as usual. There is the apocalypse thingy:

Adieu: On the downward slope of empire
William Deresiewicz, The American Scholar

This will not be pretty. I mean our national decline, and yes, it’s going to happen, sooner or later, one way or another. We can stave it off for a while, especially if we manage to get our heads screwed on a little straighter about a number of things—like immigration, which has always been the source of our renewal, or clean technologies, which might provide another burst of economic growth. China could stumble, as it seems to be doing right now, and in any case there’s still a lot of kick left in the old mare. But empires fall as surely as they rise, and mostly for the reasons that we’re seeing now: they overextend themselves; their systems grow sclerotic; their elites become complacent and corrupt. There’s almost something metaphysical at work. The national sap dries up; the historical clock runs out.

In America’s case, the end is likely to involve a lot more bang than whimper. 

The Comforts of the Apocalypse
Rob Goodman, The Chronicle of Higher Education

We’re living through a dystopia boom; secular apocalypses have, in the words of The New York Times, “pretty much owned” best-seller lists and taken on a dominant role in pop culture. These are fictions of infinite extrapolation, stories in which today’s source of anxiety becomes tomorrow’s source of collapse.

. . . All of this literature is the product of what the philosopher John Gray has described as “a culture transfixed by the spectacle of its own fragility.” Call it dystopian narcissism: the conviction that our anxieties are uniquely awful; that the crises of our age will be the ones that finally do civilization in; that we are privileged to witness the beginning of the end.

Of course, today’s dystopian writers didn’t invent the ills they decry: Our wounds are real. But there is also a neurotic way of picking at a wound, of catastrophizing, of visualizing the day the wounded limb turns gangrenous and falls off. It’s this hunger for crisis, the need to assign our problems world-transforming import, that separates dystopian narcissism from constructive polemic.

I’ve been too depressed for too long to get overly excited by the ravings of the apocalyptic crowd. I’m also too well informed to almost ever feel surprised. When the 9/11 attack happened, after drowsily and surreally waking up to the radio report, my first coherent thought on the matter was how sadly inevitable was such an incident. For anyone who knows the history of US government meddling, blowback was unavoidable and was going to have real consequences one way or another (see: All of Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror by Stephen Kinzer).

Many of the horrible apocalyptic scenarios have a plausibility about them, maybe even a fair probability, if not entirely unavoidable. Why the continuous surprise about horrific events? And why the paranoid obsessiveness that tries to make them into something more they are? How is global warming a shock considering how much pollution we’ve dumped into the soil, water and atmosphere? It is so boringly predictable.

As for America the empire, we are simply playing out the story many other empires have played out before, although with some new twists. Move along, folks, there is nothing to see here.

I’m not being cynical or I’m not trying to be. It just that somethings begin to seem excruciatingly obvious after awhile.

It is easy for humans to get trapped in reality tunnels, media bubbles and echo chambers. That is how the obvious becomes less-than-obvious in our thoughts and perceptions. We come to take things for granted and don’t even realize there is something to be questioned and doubted. We seek to maintain our sense of reality, the status quo social order, the known and familiar… simply for the sake of it for what else would we do?

It is all about keeping ourselves occupied and distracted, keeping up with the Joneses, keeping on keeping on. And the potential forced ending of all that can indeed feel apocalyptic. Everything comes to an end eventually, whether the ending be death and collapse or an awakening.  Although this game can’t go on forever, we will try to keep it going for as long as we can. I guess that is just human nature.

This brings me two other links Cardin offered and I’ll present some of the text as well:

On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs
Strike! Magazine

Rather than [technology] allowing a massive reduction of working hours to free the world’s population to pursue their own projects, pleasures, visions, and ideas, we have seen the ballooning not even so much of the ‘service’ sector as of the administrative sector, up to and including the creation of whole new industries like financial services or telemarketing, or the unprecedented expansion of sectors like corporate law, academic and health administration, human resources, and public relations. And these numbers do not even reflect on all those people whose job is to provide administrative, technical, or security support for these industries, or for that matter the whole host of ancillary industries (dog-washers, all-night pizza deliverymen) that only exist because everyone else is spending so much of their time working in all the other ones. . . . These are what I propose to call ‘bullshit jobs.’

It’s as if someone were out there making up pointless jobs just for the sake of keeping us all working. . . . Through some strange alchemy no one can quite explain, the number of salaried paper-pushers ultimately seems to expand. . . . If someone had designed a work regime perfectly suited to maintaining the power of finance capital, it’s hard to see how they could have done a better job.

In Praise of Laziness
The Economist

Yet the biggest problem in the business world is not too little but too much—too many distractions and interruptions, too many things done for the sake of form, and altogether too much busy-ness. The Dutch seem to believe that an excess of meetings is the biggest devourer of time: they talk of vergaderziekte, “meeting sickness”. However, a study last year by the McKinsey Global Institute suggests that it is e-mails: it found that highly skilled office workers spend more than a quarter of each working day writing and responding to them.

Which of these banes of modern business life is worse remains open to debate. But what is clear is that office workers are on a treadmill of pointless activity. Managers allow meetings to drag on for hours. Workers generate e-mails because it requires little effort and no thought. An entire management industry exists to spin the treadmill ever faster.

All this “leaning in” is producing an epidemic of overwork, particularly in the United States. Americans now toil for eight-and-a-half hours a week more than they did in 1979. A survey last year by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that almost a third of working adults get six hours or less of sleep a night. Another survey last year by Good Technology, a provider of secure mobile systems for businesses, found that more than 80% of respondents continue to work after leaving the office, 69% cannot go to bed without checking their inbox and 38% routinely check their work e-mails at the dinner table.

This activity is making it harder to focus on real work as opposed to make-work.

I pondered this in a more personal way some years ago – The Elephant that Wasn’t There:

My job at the parking ramp is cashier. In the large picture, it’s kind of a pointless job. With developing technology, it’s almost obsolete for all practical purposes. I sometimes envision myself working there in the future after the robots have taken over the job and my only purpose will be to wave and smile at the customers as they drive out. My job is merely representative of most of the pointless work humans occupy themselves with… but is it really pointless? Or is there some purpose being served that is less than obvious? Work is a ritual that sustains our society, the reality tunnel of our culture, of our entire civilization. From a practical perspective, most jobs could be eliminated and many things would run more smoothly and effectively without all the wasted effort of keeping people employed. But if all the pointless jobs were eliminated, there would be chaos with the masses of unemployed. Employing the mindless masses keeps them out of trouble and keeps them from revolting. Make them think their life actually has purpose. Still, a purpose is being served even if it’s simply maintaining social order. My point is that social order is merely the external facet of any given collective reality tunnel.

In enacting our social rituals and retelling our social myths, what kind of reality are we collectively creating? When I look upon a structure like an ugly parking ramp, what kind of world am I looking upon? Why are we creating such a world? What is the motivation? If we stopped enacting these social rituals and stopped retelling these social myths, what would happen to this consensus reality of civilization we’ve created and what would replace it? Or what would be revealed?

Ultimately, the apocalyptic vision isn’t necessarily about the losing of the known at all. The more fundamental fear is the facing of the unknown… which will transform the known, give it new context and meaning. What is fearful about this process is that the unknown once known can’t be made unknown again, can’t ever again be easily forgotten or entirely denied.

The world is an ever-changing place. Apocalypse and transformation are two sides of the same chrysalis. We worry about the destruction of what we know, but that is just a perception. Take the perspective of someone in the past and the present we seek to save can be seen as the destruction of the past world that others sought to defend. Take the perspective of someone in the future and maybe we in this period are seen as standing in the way of a better world, mere children clinging to our blankeys. We are pretty fucking clueless is all I can say. Some of us are more analytical and all that, but it is mostly just a front, a rationalization we present as a lucky charm to protect us against evil.

We all have our favorite story. I’d go so far as to say we all live out a story, usually without full consciousness, assuming consciousness is involved whatsoever in most cases. I read a good articulation of this in a story by Quentin S. Crisp (“The Mermaid”, Morbid Tales):

I believe that everybody has a story. It falls to their life’s epicentre like a meteorite. Even before the story has actually happened the person knows somewhere, with an infallible sense of precognition, what that story is. They predict it again and again in all sorts of ways. They are bound to it by irresistible forces of gravity and magnetism. That is why, knowing they are inevitably taken up with their own story, they feel they are missing something and look to the lives of others with envy. But even those who are envied are enslaved in private by their own particular stories. The hardest part of it all is that stories take place over time. Nothing is revealed all at once. One scene follows closely upon another leaving no gaps, fitting tightly together, slowly and carefully picking out details so that all sense of fulfilment is perpetually in abeyance. And in each new scene we are no longer the same person who wanted the things that scene brings. It is the story of how we age. But if our stories tie us down, make us particular, limit us, they also offer us consolation. In my case, I have tried to escape the sequence of my own story and its temporal limitations by writing more stories, expressing things that I hoped would attain permanence beyond my life. I have learnt, however, that the story in my own life is far more important than any story I might present to the world. Now that it has happened I feel real. Why should I need to write stories when I am a story?

Unlike the storyteller, few of us ever become so self-aware. Stories are most engrossing when we don’t even realize they are stories and that it is we who are telling it. The story becomes real by being mistaken for reality and in doing so our reality is altered. Stories become self-fulfilling prophecies and self-reinforcing reality tunnels. That is certainly the power of religion, but it is the power of everything, including science.

We sometimes forget how young we are as a species and how younger still is science. We’ve barely scratched the surface of the reality around us and within us. Even within science, people have their favored theory and of course other people’s favored theory is bullshit.

I came across this type of thing just the other day with a blogger who goes by the pseudonym of JayMan. He is an human biodiversity (HBD) proponent. HBD is a theory that is so far outside of mainstream science as to have little scientific research backing it up at present. There is some data offering clues, but the scope and quality of research is severely lacking at present. HBD proponents would claim this is because most scientists are being politically correct. Maybe so and maybe not.

What interested me about the incident was the response he gave when I brought up another alternative theory involving non-Darwinian evolution. He called it bullshit. It was one thing to discuss his favored alternative theory and a whole other matter with someone else’s favored alternative theory. It wasn’t even my favored alternative theory. I was merely pointing out that there was research-based theories that were being discussed by scientists, but JayMan would have none of it. He is a smart guy, but it just didn’t fit into his reality tunnel. It wasn’t political correctness to ignore what he disagreed with. That was simply plain reality. Reality is reality. Deal with it! *sigh*

I’m one who will defend facts when I think they are true, but I must admit that I’m not a big defender of specific theories. I pretty much will fairly look at any perspective. If I was worried about political correctness, I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole either HBD or non-Darwinian evolution. It was JayMan who was obsessed with political correctness and judging theories accordingly. That is the power of reality tunnels. I have my own reality tunnel as well, but it happens to be a bit more porous and malleable (which can also be problematic in other ways).

I bring this HBD example up for two reasons. The first reason is that Cardin linked to another article about scientific reductionism which is definitely what JayMan and many other HBD proponents leans toward (I wouldn’t make this charge against hbd chick, though, for she is more careful in her analysis; she has the intellectual humility to admit that she isn’t doing science in her blog and that her favored theory could be wrong). The second reason goes back to the post I first linked above (The Root and Rot of the Tree of Liberty).

That post was largely a response to hbd chick. Like JayMan, she is definitely attracted to scientific reductionism. She has said many times that culture comes from biology for to all of human reality is biological and most of biology is genetics. I think hbd chick has a brilliant mind and she is definitely an awesome researcher, but to my mind her theory smacks too much of scientism. It’s not just an obsession with science but specifically the hard sciences.

I’m biased, of course, coming more from a social science perspective. If not for the social sciences, we wouldn’t know how easily scientists can get sloppy, even to the point of shaping the results they get and the conclusions they come to. If not for the social sciences, we wouldn’t have developed better scientific methodology such as double blinds. I have less trust in a hard science perspective that isn’t heavily grounded in the social sciences, and my trust is even less when we are talking about human nature which is the focus of HBD proponents. My speaking of reality tunnels is essentially grounded in my study of the social sciences.

HBD proponents tend to have a very narrow focus. JayMan told me once that we should just focus on the facts and not their implications. This seems naive to me. There is no such thing as just the facts. Everything is built on ideas, assumptions, beliefs, biases, perceptions, interpretations, etc. It is because HBD proponents (and other similar types) are so narrowly focused that they so easily fall into certain kinds of apocalyptic thinking. We live in a world of dangers and possibilities, but what they worry about is that the immigrants are going to destroy America. This seems strange to me. The immigrants are America. There would be no America without centuries of mass immigration. If they aren’t trying to protect this America that has existed for centuries, then what mythical America are they hoping to save?

I guess that is the problem with all apocalyptic thinking. It is in the end grounded in fantasy. There are real fears it feeds upon, but those real fears are often incidental or secondary. We obsess about apocalypse because we’d rather ignore the even worse problems that surround us. Instead of apocalypse and paranoia, others turn to watching lots of tv, getting lost in social media, drinking and drugging, obsessive dieting and exercising, and other options are available as well. This is also why we project problems onto others and make them into scapegoats for then we don’t have to focus on our own issues and our own personal contributions to societal challenges. Whatever is the case, the type of distraction isn’t important.

The problem that finally gets us will probably be the problem we don’t see coming. The problems we’re worried about are the ones that usually are the least dangerous. That is the point. We focus on fake threats and paranoid fantasies because they are an escape from boring reality. They are safe and easy. That way we can avoid the deep soul-searching and hard work to make the world a better place or simply not make it worse.

The above felt like a good ending point, but hardly inspiring. You can stop there if you so desire or follow me a bit further into my personal motivations and wonderings.

The reason I care about society or even HBD is because I have insatiable curiosity. Humanity fascinates me, humanity and all that it entails. People like Matt Cardin and hbd chick seem to share this sense of curiosity which is more important to my mind than our agreeing about everything.

I had a discussion with hbd chick about culture. I tend to see culture more of as a mystery whereas she tends to see it as a set of data points. It is pretty much a difference of whether the whole is merely the sum of its parts or greater than the sum of its parts, or so it seems to me but maybe hbd chick would state it differently.

Then again, I do have strong tendencies toward being a pansy liberal with weird spiritual experiences and notions about reality. The HBD crowd aren’t known for their pansy liberals. I try to communicate with them through the lense of the libertarian side of my personality. From my crazy liberal-minded perspective, I find it hard to conform to any single theory. I’m a thin-boundaried possibility thinker and proud of it, dammit! I don’t mind too much those who lean toward scientific reductionism. We all have our role to play. That tolerance and love of diversity is part of my crazy liberal-mindedness.

I find myself always restraining my personal idiosyncracies and illnesses. I do have severe depression and probably a few other mental conditions, maybe borderline something thrown in there or else maybe some aspergers. Whatever is my personal ailment, my brainstuff obviously doesn’t work normally. This is why the strangeness of the world, 9/11 attacks included, don’t surprise me. It seems normal to me that the world is a crazy place. Do I love America so much because it is such a crazy experiment or do I love thinking of America as a crazy experiment because I’m crazy? That is definitely something to ponder.

JayMan is a typical hardcore scientific-minded atheist. It is either hard science or bullshit. There are no other options and no middle ground. The science vs religious issue confuses me. I eternally exist in the middle, the intermediate, the interstitial, the liminal or whatever it is. I’m a both/and kinda guy.

In a society obsessed with science as ours is, what takes the place of religion is secular apocalypse, paranoia, conspiracy theory, alien abductions, and on and on. It’s all fun. I don’t disparage it in and of itself. I love the Fortean. The trick, though, is to see it for what it is. I want to get to the root of fears and fantasies. That is where the tasty morsels are to be found.

We aren’t just sets of data. We are living humanity. We don’t just get trapped in reality tunnels. I might go so far as to say we are reality tunnels. We embody stories and gods. The apocalypse plays out in our souls before it ever manifests in the world.

As such, a culture is an emergent property. It can’t be predicted by that which precedes it or explained by which it consists of. In our discussion, I compared culture to consciousness, both being beyond present scientific knowledge. We can look at snapshots and the mechanisms for the physical correlates, but we are almost completely ignorant about the thing itself. We can’t objectively study culture and consciousness because we are the thing we seek to analyze.

To counter this, hbd chick stated that culture is a lot less complex and mysterious than consciousness for we can point to specific data of cultures. She used the term ‘flavor’ and I thought that a good way of putting it. So, I extended her thought. Maybe the flavor of a culture (violent, universalist, or whatever) is to a culture as personality is to consciousness. I pointed out how we are able to and have measured personality traits of both individuals and groups, including at the level of regions. Personality traits is the flavor of humanity that is the meeting point of consciousness and culture, the individual and the collective.

Cultures, like religions, are reality tunnels. But that sounds dismissive. Reality tunnels are the only reality we have and so I don’t mean to disregard them as mere negative traps to be escaped, as if we are the prisoners of a gnostic demiurge. It is simpler and more complex than that. It is simply the only reality we know and we don’t know what we don’t know.

Religions, like cultures, are lived realities. We can’t truly know them from the outside. The scientific data about cultures is to cultures as the rituals of a religion are to the mystic’s vision of the divine. A living god is a thing to behold and so is a living culture, no matter what your belief is about such things.

The same goes for an apocalypse. They are real to those know them in their own reality. They are so real that we can sometimes even make them physically real if we try hard enough. So, in our collective obsessions with apocalypse or more mundanely with work, what kind of world are we creating? More importantly, what kind of world do we want to create? If we weren’t limited by our fears and doubts, what would we collectively strive to achieve and become?

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516 thoughts on “The Living Apocalypse, A Lived Reality Tunnel

  1. I like the west and westerners, but even though I’m western too, I can’t help but feel that theres a real problem of self-righteousness and hypocrisy here.

    This sentiment pervades the reactionary sphere we speak a lot of, and as we both know, in the general population to a smaller extent.

    • I don’t think Westerners are any more self-righteous and hypocritical than any other people on earth. It’s just that the Western media and the commonality of the English language allows our self-righteousness and hypocrisy to be spread more widely. I’m sure Asians are regularly self-righteous and hypocritical in their views toward Westerners, but they probably express their self-righteousness and hypocrisy in various non-Western forums using various non-English languages. It is a human thing, not a Western thing.

        • Yep, cultural imperialism makes everything worse. Especially when combined with xenophobia and bigotry. But plenty of Asians have tried their best to be just as culturally imperialist. Take the Japanese imperialism from last century or the present Chinese imperialist aspirations that spread far beyond Asia. I wouldn’t necessarily bet on Western cultural imperialism forever beating out Eastern cultural imperialism.

          • Oh I know.

            Personally I’m an equal opportunity hater. 🙂

            I think it’s human nature, but the west till now has just had more chances (for many reasons) to actually carry it out and cause the most profound effects

            But in a west dominated place. For example America, it dosent help asian Americans facing issues when Asian Americans can’t achieve a more cohesive identity tje way black and even Hispanic Americans have.

          • That is interesting. I’ve always seen it differently. Maybe it’s because I lived in the South.

            Blacks may have a cohesive identity, but it is a superficial identity built on an inherently racist label, that of being ‘black’. That is all blacks have going for them. With slavery, white people destroyed their entire communities, families, kinship ties, cultures, religions, languages, etc. All they have left is being ‘black’. It’s cohesive, I suppose, but that isn’t much going for them.

            At least, some Asian Americans have maintained their own separate communities. They’ve been allowed to keep their religions and languages, at least where they have been concentrated enough such as in certain places on the West Coast.

            The only other groups that have done as well as maintaining their ethnic identities are Native Americans and Amish, which they’ve done through being the most isolated populations in the country. I descend partly from Germans who had their culture wiped out during the World War era of anti-German xenophobia. Many Germans and other ethnic Americans were forcefully and violently assimilated into ‘whiteness’ with little choice in the matter.

            Hispanics are a bit different. Most of the United States was originally part of the Spanish Empire. There are Hispanics in the US who descend from people who lived in North America from before there were any British colonies.

            I assume, by your comment, that you’ve never lived in one of the Asian American majority communities/neighborhoods that exist in this country. Out of curiosity, do you think you’d feel better if you did live surrounded by other Asian Americans? I’m just curious about where you are coming from.

    • That comment seems like brilliant trolling. I don’t know if I can take it seriously. He expresses such hypocrisy. I get the sense that he is simply being contrarian in order to outrage people. It’s just silly and stupid. Even if it is a serious comment, it is even more silly and stupid. I’m not sure much else can be said about it.

      • It’s completely serious. And face it, it’s a common sentiment among reactionaries :p

        It’s like their victim mentality. It’s an “our liberalism is bad, but to the same time it’s so morally superior and unique to is and makes us special and better.” “We whites are too kind and morally suporior for our own good!”

        You understand what I mean right? It’s a very pervasive current. This includes in the hdd sphere

        • Yeah, I know the rhetoric. I suppose it might be serious, but it just feels disingenuous. I don’t get the sense that reactionaries actually care about ‘liberalism’ in any fundamental sense, other than as a trophy of their self-proclaimed superiority. Their praise of liberalism to promote bigotry is in essence illiberal.

          • Some might, but I think many don’t. A lot of them are pretty explicit in their dreams of a illiberal ideal society.

            It’s funny considering that the liberalism that they love feeling special over isn’t as unique to the west as they think it is, either

  2. I’ll reply a bit more when I’m not on mobile, but I’ve lived in the Bay Area as a kid so I suppose I’ve lived in asian areas. Right now my house is in an area that has a noticeable asian presence but isn’t majority asian. I’m actually perfectly comfortable with my backgrounds and have no issues with it. I say so since you do see young asian Americans have issues with “nkt wanting to be around too many Asians” “nkt wanting to seem too asian” etc.

    Of course the labels asian black and white are stupid. However in facing present day American racism sometimes I think using the “asian” label is a useful tool. At least when fighting racism.

    Because face it, and maybe I’m saying this to that mongol guy who complained that neo nazis shouldn’t have beat the guy up(while calling him Chinese) because he was Mongolian and nkt Chinese and Mongols hated Chinese, but that hey, fool, they don’t care!

    At the end of the day I think it’s just an general annoyance with what it ultimately pettiness. Petty tribalism, petty mob mentality, petty ignorance.

    I mean, look at this forum of fail. That original post exemplifies “face palm.” And I am a bit central asian, Yakut, and Siberian myself. http://www.asiafinest.com/forum/lofiversion/index.php/t229847-0.html

    • “Of course the labels asian black and white are stupid. However in facing present day American racism sometimes I think using the “asian” label is a useful tool. At least when fighting racism.”

      I understand the desire to use take ownership of racist labels to fight racism. But I sometimes think it is ultimately self-sabotaging. As far as I’m concerned, ethnic labels seem more accurate and useful. Then again, German Americans tried to hold onto their ethnic identities and it didn’t do them any good.

      Everyone gets assimilated, one way or another. It’s with labels such as white, black, and Asian that American society assimilates immigrants. Everyone gets a category. It doesn’t matter what your ethnicity or nationality. You get the label forced on you, like it or not.

      “At the end of the day I think it’s just an general annoyance with what it ultimately pettiness. Petty tribalism, petty mob mentality, petty ignorance.”

      Yep. I know.

      “I mean, look at this forum of fail”

      I think it is the stress of this age of globalization.

      People all over are trying to figure out their place in a world that no longer makes sense according to old rules, expectations, and social roles. Over this past century, populations have been coming into contact and mixing together more than ever before in history.

      It’s a crazy experiment. Humans aren’t designed to deal with this much stress. It’s predictable that people will vent their stress in often unhealthy and stupid ways.

      • I don’t mean that people “take back” a label. What I mean is that, Americans see Asians as just Asians and don’t care for ethnicity (and this goes to all groups.) Racism is dished out without a care for what that particular Asian person identifies as.

        In this context then, it is helpful to fight racism against people labeled as “Asian” when people who have this label recongnize all who share their boat. SOrry I’m not wording it very well, but what I’m trying to say is that, basically if we want to fight racism against “Asians” we need to stop fighting amongst ourselves and recongnize that the racism that is hurting us dosen’t CARE about the things that we fight over. We need to understand that the racist DOSEN’T GIVE A SHIT and will discriminate regardless! When we fight amongst ourselves, we miss the point.

        I don’t mean this to say that ethnic identities or whatever personal identities are bad, not at all. What I mean is that, in western contexts, it should be recongnized that what we are considered by others is not what we consider ourselves to be. We may see ourselves as Chinese, Hui, Korean, etc. But when someone acts on ill will towards Asians, he is acting on ill will towards asians, not Chinese, or Koreans, or Yakutians.

        Okay I’m getting long winded. So basically, I’m saying. So if someone is racist towards a black person, black people may go “that’s racist towards black people and I’m black! regardless of differences” It’s not that they aren’t different, or that this common cohesiveness isn’t superficial like you said, but it’s that, IN THE FACE OF DISCRIMINATION it’s something that can be come together on, and this ability to reconigize the common experience in racism, is what I think helps black americans in fighting racism! So I’m thinking not necessarily a cohesiveness that is sameness, but a cohesiveness in the face of discrimination. In that when racism against blacks occurs, a rich, or middle class, or southern, or northern, or midwestern, or poor, black person can all reconigze the commonality among them.

        On the other hand, many times when an Asian person gets racism, some Asians will go “Yeah well, I’m Korean, not Chinese” or “That Neo-nazi got it wrong that guy was Japanese not fucking Chinese.” There is the lack of common-recongnizing in the face of racism, so to speak. It’s idiotic. And it’s one of the factors I think that is holding Asians back in terms of fighting racism.

        I think we all have our blind spots, though. I’ll admit in seeing so much youtube comment level-stupidity I do facepalm hard, but I also wonder if Mongolians are really so fucking bigoted and clueless :/ AMong other things. SO I think the emotional visceral reaction is definately pat of the human condition, unfortunately.

        • My ethnic identity is a part of me, and I fully recongnize that it’s distinct and differernt from Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, Okinawan, or even Cantonese, Hokkein, Shanghai, etc identity. I know I’m middle class etc.

          I’m not stupid enough to think that if a Korean guy got beat up in a racially motivated hate crime, I’m safe because I’m not Korean. Or if I just told the guy that I’m DIFFERENT from him he’d apologize and leave me off the hook!!!11111!!!!1111 I’m not stupid enough that if someone called me a chinamen when I’m Kazakh, his problem is that he got the ethnicity wrong, not that he’s a racist prick.

          This is what I mean as a blind spot with many Asians, compared to other groups.

          We all know that people of all over the world fight and rag on each other, and that it’s a uniquely American concept to group all people of somewhat similar physical looks into a single category. However at this point I think what sets apart Asians from some other groups is that they don’t recongnize that as much as other groups have… yet. The issue isn’t to “assimilate” this concept and lose any ethnic identity, but to “assimilate” it so you can recongnize that racism dosen’t care that you’re Thai, not Chinese.

  3. I’m not sure why but Asian online spaces have a bad habit of being like YouTube comments. With all the stupidity and face palming it entails.

    Just a quick point but while the Ainu do have some features associated with Caucasians it’s pretty well accepted that Aini are not genetically related to Europeans.

    • Labels like ‘Caucasian’ have always been broad and vague. North Africans are technically ‘Caucasian’ by US standards. It used to be that such labels were forced onto new immigrants. There was a case where a North African immigrant brought a case before a US court because he wanted to be labeled as ‘Black’ rather than ‘Caucasian’. We Americans are now allowed to self-identify however we want on legal documents, such as census records, but that wasn’t always the case.

  4. Yes, I suppose.

    I’ll admit that the facebook thing really did shock me. Not because of the sentiments, but because usually, outside of stormfront, these sentiments are covered in dog-whistles if the user isn’t anonymous, you know? It was appalling to see people using their real names openly saying and calling for such appalling actions and saying such appalling things. Things that really are, frankly, hate speech. You know what I mean? It’s just appalling in a way I’ve never really seen in these contexts. (Out in the open, no dog whistles, no screennames to hide behind, not a fringe corner of the web, etc)

    There is the fact that these people may use self-rightousness to justify bigotry, yes. But there is also the fact of the facebook page, I think irresponsibly (then again the whole media is this way) sensationalizing and feeding into peoples’ bigotries. Then again we do know that sells. I know you don’t write about Asians much but Western ideas of Asians as this cruel, inhuman(e), faceless horde runs deep and has a long history..

    So I am not sure if this is okay. And I’d think I’d still find it shocking even if it wasn’t somewhat personal to me. I’m just horrified, really. Open calls to genocide, literal dehumanization of an entire group, KILL people of that group… it’s appealling.

    Maybe some of the Social Justice Non-White people have a point when they say that some of these people value the lives of cats and dogs above those of POC…

    • Maybe they do or don’t actually participate in animal rights stuff, but I’m willing to bet they probably value the lives of animal(particularly the higher order ones we relate to more like cats and dogs) more than those of some groups of people.

      • I weep for humanity sometimes

        Actually, the racist impact of the human rights movement is more serious, since the animal rights movement is still somewhat fringe among Westerners
        Actually I disagree with this. The thing is active particiaption in some sort of animal rights group is not a pre-requisite for liking animals. Westerners will be outraged over Chinese treatment of animals whether or not they are a signed up member of PETA or Sea Shepherd or whatever.
        In fact I think apparent animal rights violations is going to stir up more hatred against Chinese than so called ‘human’ rights violations.
        Because to tell the truth, Westerners do not really care about the human rights of CHinese. They just enjoy bringing attention to so-called human rights abuses, as a way of proclaiming their own moral superiority over non-white barbarians, and as a tool to subvert CHina.
        But really. Most Westerners do not care that a Chinese kills a Chinese, or an African an African.
        But most Westerners really do care, if they see a Chinese kill an animal (even though they do it themselves).
        Westerners genuinely care more for the lives of bears, cats, dogs, than they do Chinese people.
        So focussing on alleged Chinese abuse of animals, really does stir up visceral racial rage among Westerners.

      • I’m pro human and animal rights but if it means I have to be around racist smug self-righteous hypocrites then I’m staying away and just doing my own small contributions away from those insufferable examples of human stupidity

  5. “I don’t mean that people “take back” a label. What I mean is that, Americans see Asians as just Asians and don’t care for ethnicity (and this goes to all groups.) Racism is dished out without a care for what that particular Asian person identifies as.”

    I understand that. But to my mind that is all the more reason to fight against the label ‘Asian’. That was my point. I realize, however, you were making a different point.

    From my perspective, even the label ‘white’ is damaging and oppressive to most people given that label. Yet many of the poor descendents of ethnic immigrants who experience the least white privilege are the very same people who take pride in being ‘white’. Their ancestors may have been violently assimilated, but they have essentially taken back the label of being ‘white’.

    Of course, there are plenty of African Americans who seek to take back ‘black’, and I’ve spent a lot of time talking with them. I know their reasons for wanting to redefine the label for the purposes of shared empowerment. But I don’t think racist terms can ever escape their racist origins.

    “In this context then, it is helpful to fight racism against people labeled as “Asian” when people who have this label recongnize all who share their boat. SOrry I’m not wording it very well, but what I’m trying to say is that, basically if we want to fight racism against “Asians” we need to stop fighting amongst ourselves and recongnize that the racism that is hurting us dosen’t CARE about the things that we fight over. We need to understand that the racist DOSEN’T GIVE A SHIT and will discriminate regardless! When we fight amongst ourselves, we miss the point.”

    Yeah. The same goes for poverty. Rich white people don’t care that poor white people are white, according to the racial order. It is all about social control. Those poor whites, especially in rural areas and most especially in Appalachia, experience some of the worst poverty, violence, social problems, and oppression in the country (and have for centuries). The reason those poor whites take pride in being ‘white’ is because that is all they have going for them.

    “I don’t mean this to say that ethnic identities or whatever personal identities are bad, not at all. What I mean is that, in western contexts, it should be recongnized that what we are considered by others is not what we consider ourselves to be. We may see ourselves as Chinese, Hui, Korean, etc. But when someone acts on ill will towards Asians, he is acting on ill will towards asians, not Chinese, or Koreans, or Yakutians.”

    We shouldn’t be naive. But neither should we be complicit.

    Okay I’m getting long winded. So basically, I’m saying. So if someone is racist towards a black person, black people may go “that’s racist towards black people and I’m black! regardless of differences” It’s not that they aren’t different, or that this common cohesiveness isn’t superficial like you said, but it’s that, IN THE FACE OF DISCRIMINATION it’s something that can be come together on, and this ability to reconigize the common experience in racism, is what I think helps black americans in fighting racism!”

    Yep. The only commonality behind racial labels is racism itself. We should acknowledge that. A racial label is racism. It is the label that creates the perception of race and justifies the different treatment.

    “So I’m thinking not necessarily a cohesiveness that is sameness, but a cohesiveness in the face of discrimination. In that when racism against blacks occurs, a rich, or middle class, or southern, or northern, or midwestern, or poor, black person can all reconigze the commonality among them.”

    This is where the problem comes up. Not all African Americans recognize this racism or not to the same extent. Many wealthier blacks (Bill Cosby, Ben Carson, Thomas Sowell, Shelby Steele, etc) continue to blame poor blacks for the prejudice they experience. Also, many blacks who don’t descend from slaves or who come from more recent immigrants don’t understand the racial order and why racism is such an issue. I have a friend from Ghana who has never been to the US and thought blacks here needed to take responsibility and complain less. He didn’t understand that racism was still real. Someone like JayMan also doesn’t understand. Being labeled as ‘black’ (or ‘Asian’) doesn’t confer some special knowledge and understanding.

    “On the other hand, many times when an Asian person gets racism, some Asians will go “Yeah well, I’m Korean, not Chinese” or “That Neo-nazi got it wrong that guy was Japanese not fucking Chinese.” There is the lack of common-recongnizing in the face of racism, so to speak. It’s idiotic. And it’s one of the factors I think that is holding Asians back in terms of fighting racism.”

    What holds them back isn’t that they don’t identify as ‘Asian’. It’s that they don’t recognize the racism of a global racial order built on centuries of imperialism and colonialism. Most people of all races and ethnicities are caught up in nationalism (often conflated with race and ethnicity), one of the most powerful forces of social conformity and xenophobic bigotry. It is the ignorance that is the problem. The well informed person is rare.

    “We all know that people of all over the world fight and rag on each other, and that it’s a uniquely American concept to group all people of somewhat similar physical looks into a single category. However at this point I think what sets apart Asians from some other groups is that they don’t recongnize that as much as other groups have… yet. The issue isn’t to “assimilate” this concept and lose any ethnic identity, but to “assimilate” it so you can recongnize that racism dosen’t care that you’re Thai, not Chinese.”

    Actually, I do think it has everything to do with assimilation. These labels are as inseparable from assimilation as they are from racism.

    There is even a semi-positive side to this. English people used to genocidally massacre, starve to death, and essentially enslave Irish people.. The KKK in northern states used to mainly target ethnic immigrants like Italian Americans. German Americans were killed by their fellow Americans during the World War era. Now they are all white.

    Assimilation, especially in the US, has created a common identity among European-descended people. Many non-white people seeing the success of this assimilation process want to imitate it. This is why there is an old impulse among African Americans to seek a Pan-African black identity. They think that is the only way they can fight against the Pan-European white identity. It is a logical and emotionally satisfying response.

    I can’t even say it is entirely wrong. What other choice do they have in a racist society? I don’t know. But in the long run we have to find a new strategy.

    Anyway, I think Asians have less of a chance of creating a Pan-Asian identity than Africans have of creating a Pan-African identity. The only reason the Pan-European identity (both referred to as whites or more narrowly as Westerners) is because the national populations involved are relatively small. Compare the ‘Asian’ population of China to the ‘white’ population of America. The United States is puny in comparison. The territory of Asia is vast as well. There is a lot more that divides ‘Asians’ than unites them.

    But in some ways I think it is near inevitable that a transnational/transethnic ‘Asian’ identity will increasingly take shape and become a more powerful force. It’s just part of globalization. Maybe that is just a necessary process for humans slowly creating a larger sense of identity. Maybe one day globalization will go so far as to create a singular human identity. I hope so. Reagan said that the only thing that could unite all humans would be the common enemy of an alien invasion from space. So, I say bring on the aliens!

    • “The well informed person is rare”

      Eh. More importantly I’m starting to wonder if the person who dosen’t mindlessly eat up propaganda is rare. That’s the unfortunate part.

      Yeah I’m still pissed lol

  6. “I’ll admit that the facebook thing really did shock me. Not because of the sentiments, but because usually, outside of stormfront, these sentiments are covered in dog-whistles if the user isn’t anonymous, you know?”

    I’ve seen those kinds of comments all over the web. I have seen them on various places on Facebook, but I’ve been seeing them for even longer on Youtube. The difference with Facebook is that people have their real names attached to their comments. It is interesting that a bigoted comment can somehow seem worse for having a real name attached for then it becomes personally real.

    “I know you don’t write about Asians much but Western ideas of Asians as this cruel, inhuman(e), faceless horde runs deep and has a long history.”

    It is true I don’t write much about Asians. I don’t generally write about that which I have little experience. But I do have the historical knowledge about the stereotypes directed at Asians. Many of the books I read also discuss Asian Americans.

    There has been an increasing Asian population in the town I live in because of the University of Iowa. Maybe this will give me more of a personal connection in which to think more about this. There was one post I wrote from a more personal angle which involved an interaction I had with a couple of Asians, probably students.

    https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2013/11/02/to-be-a-stereotype-or-not/

    It even involved animals. There was stereotyping involved, but no overt and intentional bigotry. It was just some non-Americans trying to fit me into the stereotypes of Americans they had learned from mainstream media.

    I’ve probably mentioned ‘Asians’ hundreds of times in my blog. It comes up just because I write a lot about history, genetics, IQ, race, ethnicity, culture, immigration, etc. But I don’t think I’ve ever written any post that was exclusively or primarily about ‘Asians’. Maybe my discussions with you will help me formulate my thoughts about Asians and Asian Americans. I tend to understand issues better when I can personalize it, even in such simple ways as talking to others about the issue.

    “So I am not sure if this is okay.”

    It isn’t okay. It just seems far from atypical. But maybe I’m jaded.

    “And I’d think I’d still find it shocking even if it wasn’t somewhat personal to me. I’m just horrified, really. Open calls to genocide, literal dehumanization of an entire group, KILL people of that group… it’s appealling.”

    I don’t even find shocking when I come across open calls to genocide against white people or Westerners.

    I remember listening to a speech given by Osama bin Laden. My response was to agree with his analysis of what is wrong with America and the West. I disagreed with his strategies for dealing with the problem, but I wasn’t shocked. Instead, I felt sympathy and understanding. Still, he was a violent terrorist and I don’t feel bad about him being killed. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

    Maybe I used to be shocked more easily. I think I have used up my quota of outrage for this lifetime. I remember when I first learned about more of the dark, violent history of America and the West. It was from reading Derrick Jensen. It sent me into a spiral of despair. I guess my skin has grown thicker. I’ve spent so many years of my life already contemplating the dark heart of humanity. Some Facebook comments don’t seem all that shocking in comparison.

    Plus, shock and outrage tire me out. I don’t have the emotional stamina I once had. My psychic reserves get quickly depleted. It is never a good thing to let myself get to the point of spiraling back into despair. I try to avoid that as much as possible.

    “Maybe some of the Social Justice Non-White people have a point when they say that some of these people value the lives of cats and dogs above those of POC…”

    Then again, some of the white conservatives, reactionaries, and supremacists argue that white animal rights advocates care more about animals than they care about their own white people. As they see it, these liberal and leftist activists care about everything more than about white people and white culture. They are deemed race traitors.

    As for the people you speak of, they are just plain ignorant bigots and hypocrites. There is no logical reason behind their words. They aren’t consistent. They will get angry at the mistreatment of cats and dogs by non-European foreigners or by an American black running a dog fighting ring, but they will criticize the white animal rights advocates that post a video of pigs and cows being brutally killed in a US slaughterhouse. They will express bigotry toward foreigners, but they will also express bigotry toward white liberals and leftists (not “real Americans” and hence akin to foreigners).

    “Westerners will be outraged over Chinese treatment of animals whether or not they are a signed up member of PETA or Sea Shepherd or whatever. In fact I think apparent animal rights violations is going to stir up more hatred against Chinese than so called ‘human’ rights violations.”

    I would argue it really has nothing to do with animal rights advocacy. Most of these people are simply expressing bigotry. There is nothing more involved. My guess is these are largely the same conservatives and right-wingers who would argue they have the right to beat their own children. It’s about their rights to harm others, a right that no one else is allowed to have. The commenters on a Facebook page are a very select group of people, not likely to be representative of the larger population.

    “But really. Most Westerners do not care that a Chinese kills a Chinese, or an African an African. But most Westerners really do care, if they see a Chinese kill an animal (even though they do it themselves).”

    That is just human nature. Most Chinese and most Africans don’t care that a Westerner kills a Westerner. Every society has its cultural biases. What makes Western bigotry worse is that Westerners have more power in the world. But on an individual level, bigotry is all the same.

  7. I have to disagree that many of the people probably aren’t even into animals. Racism (in some extreme case even “anti-humanism”. But that´s probably the real freaks we are talking then), along with blatant displaying of all kinds of violence threats and actual violence (sometimes escalating to death treaths) is a serious problem, which seems to run rampant in the self-proclaimed Animal Rights Movements.

    Some of them really do like animals in the sense that they do value the lives of animals above some humans, some groups of humans, or maybe even all humans(except themselves that is XD)

    • I understand that.

      But the type of person who hates humans for their harm to animals don’t tend to be racial and ethnocentric bigots. They hate all people, not just those other people. OTOH the racial and ethnocentric bigots would, at most, tend to be selectively concerned about animals, assuming that their concern is genuine at all beyond the bigotry itself.

      I’m making an important distinction here about what is motivating people. Animal rights advocates and racial/ethnocentric bigots, in my experience, are usually completely opposite people. That said, I can’t speak for your experience.

      I realize there are exceptions. It’s just exceptions by definition aren’t typical and representative.

  8. Also I checked fb and many if the com renters are indeed big animal rights fanatics, or at least keyboard warriors

    YouTube comments and similar: proof human evolution never happened

    On gifted ness, sheesh, maybe most people really are dumbass mofos

    I have no problem with legitimate animal welfare agencies like the SPCA. I have huge issues with PETA, which uses sensationalism and is deliberately offensive. Their followers as well. Looks like this is a similar page, with some dumb as rocks borderline illiterate followers to go with it

    • “Also I checked fb and many if the com renters are indeed big animal rights fanatics, or at least keyboard warriors”

      I tend to not take at face value commenters like this. Someone commenting online doesn’t demonstrate that they are big animal rights fanatics. There are all kinds of weird people saying all kinds of crazy things. I wouldn’t take these people as representative of anyone but themselves.

      “Looks like this is a similar page, with some dumb as rocks borderline illiterate followers to go with it”

      I also wouldn’t just the facebook page for those who comment on it. I looked at other posts on this facebook page. They criticize animal cruelty in Western countries as well.

  9. Btw, on the high school gifted program my school did that you said sounded good, it wasn’t called the gifted program. Just the school enrichment program, lol. It doubled as a gifted program.

    I lol’ed https://m.facebook.com/notes/barbara-kerr/why-people-hate-gifted-kids-a-thought-experiment/10150974216527396

    Thoughts?

    As for why I might be labeled a hater by Barbara Kerr …. Cause I was a fucking late bloomer and ADHD and depressed and a bit PTSD so no “educator” actually looked out for me until near-high school graduation and no one fucking told me when I was actually “smart” after taking that stupid ability test when I’ve been assumed to be either slow dumb or average at best.

    American elementary education is kind of a joke.

    • Also, about finding gifted kids in the detention or place for kids kicked out of class….

      You’re gonna overlook a lot of girls doing that! Like ADHD, which is severely undiagnosed in girls. Since girls tend to manifest things differently (they tend to try to fit in more) and may not be as overtly disruptive, if you know what I mean.

  10. So the intelligence scholar she mentioned, Linda, is a friend of Rushtom and in that sphere, LOL.

    Now that I’ve read the whole thing I literally burst out laughing. Poor woman :p

    Reminds me of the scientific American article I showed you :p

  11. IMO American elementary schools and all levels of grade school frankly tend to be more full of fluff compared to some other schools. Or maybe it’s just me. You know what I mean? Just… Fluff :/

    Also, as what was essentially a “stealth” gifted kid under the radar, Fuck y’all.

    Sincerely, the former retarded girl who didn’t listen like a good smart kids do and wouldn’t amount to much.

    http://www.newsweek.com/america-hates-its-gifted-kids-226327

  12. “Btw, on the high school gifted program my school did that you said sounded good, it wasn’t called the gifted program. Just the school enrichment program, lol. It doubled as a gifted program.”

    I think there should be school enrichment programs where schools enroll every student into the program in order to enrich them all. Heck, instead of calling them schools, we’ll just call them enrichment centers from now on. Brilliant!

    “I lol’ed https://m.facebook.com/notes/barbara-kerr/why-people-hate-gifted-kids-a-thought-experiment/10150974216527396 Thoughts?”

    She doesn’t acknowledge the obvious. In one of her own examples, the failure was the school not tapping into her potential and helping her to live up to her potential, specifically in preparation for higher education. She makes the false assumption that schools are only failing ‘gifted’ children. And she makes the false assumption that most kids aren’t ‘gifted’ with immense untapped potential. The reality is that schools are failing all childrenn, in that schools could be doing far better by all children.

    “You’re gonna overlook a lot of girls doing that! Like ADHD, which is severely undiagnosed in girls. Since girls tend to manifest things differently (they tend to try to fit in more) and may not be as overtly disruptive, if you know what I mean.”

    Maybe so. But there are real differences, on average, between boys and girls. What these diagnoses actually mean is hard to say at this point. Some people speculate it is simply part of the normal range of childhood behavior that has become unacceptable in our society, specifically unacceptable in our schools.

    Drugging kids with Ritalin may not be such a good thing. You might be fortunate to not have been diangosed and drugged up. I’ve read that Ritalin disrupts the development of part of the brain that deals with motivation which may be negatively impacting the disproportionate number of boys being drugged.

    The problem is twofold. First, most kids need more help than they are getting and generally a better education system. Most kids are getting overlooked. Second, of those not getting overlooked, they still aren’t getting the help they really need. Their possibly normal behavior is treated as abnormal and they are being drugged, not just limited to Ritalin either. Kids are being forced to conform to a dysfunctional system.

    “IMO American elementary schools and all levels of grade school frankly tend to be more full of fluff compared to some other schools. Or maybe it’s just me. You know what I mean? Just… Fluff”

    That is part of what makes the system dysfunctional. I’m not so sure the primary purpose of schools is to educate. I think it might serve other more important purposes.

    This includes simple purposes such as a national babysitting service for a capitalist society where there are so many overworked two parent working families. And this includes purposes such as socialization and indoctrination.

    Kids are being taught and trained to conform, but what are they being conformed to? They are being made to conform to the same capitalist system that will one day require them to unnaturally sit still in a chair for hours every day. This is why so many kids are drugged and so many adults as well. Our entire society is unnatural.

    “You could make the argument that psychopathy is the most undesirable trait. Personally if it was genetically screenable it’s probably the only trait I’d feel comfortable aborting a baby with.”

    It still wouldn’t solve the problem of all the people who would choose not to abort their psychopathic fetus. We’d need screening for adults as well, and then maybe disallow any psychopaths into positions of responsibility and authority, including disqualifying them from holding public office. All known psychopaths would have to be publicly listed as is done with sex offenders and they would be closely monitored.

    There is also sociopathy which isn’t genetic and so would need non-genetic testing, along with authoritarian personality and social dominance orientation. At the very least, everyone should be tested for these and the results should be public knowledge. The public should be allowed to analyze the psychological profiles of political candidates in the way we presently analyze their political records.

    “More boys than girls in gifted programs= scientific fact of reality, just the way things are
    More girls in gifted programs than boys=misandry
    Gotta love this woman. Lawlz”

    This issue is a bit more complicated. There is something strange going on with gender disparities. A few years ago, I wrote about something that relates to this:

    https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2010/07/27/boys-adrift/

    My post was in response to the info and analysis I came across from Dr. Leonard Sax, who wrote the book “Boys Adrift”.

    He noticed a strange aspect of the gender gap. It wasn’t just education, but also physiological. Girls are physiologically (and one presumes neurologically) maturing at a younger age than were girls in generations past. Meanwhile, boys are physilogically (and one presumes neurologically) maturing at an older age than were boys in generations past.

    Something is impacting childhood development and it is differently impacting the genders. Dr. Sax suggests that it has to do with hormones. We are consuming more food items with hormones, specifically dairy and dairy products. Also, many plastics we use leach into our food and beverages a chemical that is estrogen-like. This is a plausible explanation for the changes that have been observed.

    On top of this, the education system is based on the notion that the genders should be treated equally and the same, despite the normal gender differences and the growing gap in physiological development. This real and increasing difference may be one of main factors contributing to boys falling behind. In response, to get boys with delayed development to conform they are being drugged with Ritalin which may be further exacerbating the problem by also inhibitng/impairing normal neurological development.

    I haven’t looked back at this issue in years. I’m not sure if further research and analysis has corroborated or disconfirmed his hypothesis. But it is something to keep in mind. There are many diverse factors at play. We live in a world of constantly changing environmental conditions, most of which we are unaware of and don’t understand.

    • It’d be interesting to compare this to other countries. I don’t have any personal experience here though, or even with schools here that are outside mainstream public schools.

      Also, speaking of Barbara… pretty funny that someone as smart as she is got that scientist’s name wrong 😛 But speaking of the Scientific American article, I think Barbara was (is?) falling into the traps that SA article mentioned, the “static” view of intelligence, the “oh no I’m not catching on immediately I must not be smart.” She also, subtly, falls into the “If I’m smart then I don’t need to work at learning things” schtik.

      I’ve struggled with that personally.

      I’m very pro recess and gym class.

      Not just how boys and girls learn, but how different people learn and behave. It’s funny, but in many ways I’m kind of “boyish” in that I wouldn’t consider myself an early verbal bloomer, and I am visual-spatial. In fact I’m not sure I couldn’t gotten the help I may have needed then because I wouldn’t have been able to articulate things the way I may have needed to. While I’m often told that I write well (lol) and speak very well, it is a pretty recent development. As late as junior year of high school I was an awkward bumbling idiot 😛

      I know I’ve vented a lot of baggage education-wise out here Benjamin… but now I’m considering if me being the only non-overachiever in the Asian-American community as a child is really… a source of my baggage. I was also the dumb kid that didn’t know anything in sunday language school, which is funny because today I am the only one of our “asian circle” who can read and write Mandarin and the only one who could pass for a native speaker. They learned in sunday school and forgot. I learned in my spare time a few months ago 😛 Which also allowed me to become proficent in Russian 😛

      No system is perfect, but I always thought there was something… off about American grade school. I dunno. I just don’t know if other nations are better, though. I’ve never known anything different. I have nothing to compare to.

      But interesting anecdote. When my parents were in their school-years, schools held several exercise periods a day, ranging from gym class stuff (including teaching them many sports and requiring them to achieve a certain level of competence to pass) to Chinese eye exercises and other stuff. They were amazed that none of my schools here did this, LOL. But at the same time I would say school for them was much more “serious” than school here, even if in different ways sometimes.

      A maybe trivial difference with me in looking at Chinese and Russian schools, at least elemtentary schools: elementary school classroom here: the desks are arranged in groups and other flowery ways, while desks there are all facing the teacher.

      Thank god for subtitles lol. You might find this interesting. The guy 15 minutes in is interesting
      http://www.koreanhighschool.com/

      • Sax’s theories sound interesting, thanks. They sounds more compelling that CH’s Sommers’ certainly. I’m just not sure what to do, really.

        If you follow right wing media, a popular meme concerning the “decline of men” is that women are just getting too uppity and it’s de-motivating the men. Traditional roles are changing in many ways. Of course, for the RW media the answer is “Women, return to the kitchen.” LOL.

        I like cooking for my friends and family, but I rather like being pro-feminism, too. I like my rights and my oppertunities to choose and be who I want to be 🙂

        Reactuonaries like pulling the “women are less variable in IQ” to justify looking down on women, btw. But personally, I believe in the vast reserves of untapped potential in all people, but especially in women, for perhaps obvious reasons.

        On ADD, you may be right that it was good I wasn’t diagnosed earlier, but it’s also true that ADD and many other things are very under-looked in women and girls, since they express symptoms differently than boys and men do.

        I’ve always been hyper-aware and very ‘keen’ on what was considered ‘good’ and what people wanted out of me. Systemizing was a strength of mine. But I was also bad at actually acting in people-pleasing ways until puberty or so. Even then, I’ve always been hyper-sensitive to criticism, so a stern yelling from a teacher was enough to shut me up. But if no one cared? At the same time I’m not sure I really “questioned” the system until about middle school.

        http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/740.html
        http://www.addvance.com/help/women/high_school.html

        • Final one for the night. As a ‘read between the lines’ type of gal…

          You ever notice that the gifted advocates seem to think that intelligence correlates with motivation or something? Like, with these folks… if a “normal” child was disruptive than that kid was probably t a problem kid. But a ‘gifted’ kid? He’s probably not having his needs met. He’s probably too bored and too smart.

          It’s as if being ‘gifted’ has to mean someone driven and desires to create, and if they aren’t, it’s blamed on the system or some other outside system. Ex: the schools, teachers, bullying, too smart for everyone else. The system is designed for ‘normal’ and ‘merely bright’ people so if one of those people is lazy than screw his lazy ass! But my gifted kid acts lazy? My gifted kid is failing math? Well the school just can’t handle his genius! He’s failing math because he finds it too easy, so he thinks it’s pointless and has stopped trying, and I have no issue with that!

          I’m not sure what you think, Benjamin, but if I were a parent that would never fly with me. You fail math cause it’s hard? Okay, let’s work on that, let’s help. You fail cause lazy? Unacceptable. You fail cause it’s too easy? Unacceptable! While I would do my best to get him in a more appropriate class if he think’s it’s too easy, there NO FUCKING WAY I’d let him off the hook for failing for a reason like that! Maybe it’s my background, LOL.

          Does the ‘high IQ’ person who is plain lazy and unmotivated (no becauses) simply not exist? (but of course exist in droves in normal and low iq people :P)

          I mean, and I’m not sure what you think of this Benjamin. But there’s just an insane sense of entitlement riding the undercurrent.

          Btw, funny. But it was the year I asked to be moved to advanced language class (grade 8) that my writing improved DRAMATICALLY, compared to my writing from past years. That was also the year I moved myself to advanced math. It just shows that you have to advocate for yourself, sometimes :/ I knew I could do it, that it was my more appropriate level, but my teachers always recemmended me for lower classes. Funnily enough, that was a year I also tested as ‘gifted.’ But my problem was not that I wasn;t in advanced classes as much as I felt I was underestimated, if you understand. Honestly, I felt that most of the “regular and basic-level” kids could have been in ‘advanced’ classes too. In many ways the ‘tracking’ is very limiting and does a disservice to kids from expressing their potential.

  13. Oh my Benjamin westhunt.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/it-must-be-said/

    Soooo what is yourvresponse to the “there are truths that get you fireddddddd” presumably they mean being “race rrrlist” gets you fired the oppression man look at watson

    Greg C seems to have a chip on his shoulder though.

  14. “Damn Benjamin you really destroyed that libertarian realist guy”

    I do what I can. But it is tiresome. I tend to avoid interactions like that. It’s just not worth it, on a personal level. I do like sharing info, though.

    “Anyway what do you think of the west hunter people, since they’re actual university profs?”

    Like hbdchick’s blog, you can find some interesting info. But if I’m going to spend my time at a reactionary blog, I’d rather peruse hbdchick’s for she is nicer and more interesting. The westhunt blog offers limited insight about anything. It seems to be mostly standard reactionary positions.

    “Oh my Benjamin westhunt.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/it-must-be-said/”

    You are following my trail through the HBD world. It’s all so silly.

    “Soooo what is yourvresponse to the “there are truths that get you fireddddddd” presumably they mean being “race rrrlist” gets you fired the oppression man look at watson”

    People do get fired for all kinds of things. If a professor was being overtly racist, misogynistic, or whatever, I could understand why they were fired. But then again liberals and left-wingers get fired too for speaking their minds.

    There is a long history of those on the left being fired for their views. Sometimes they are simply blocked from being hired in the first place. During the Cold War, many on the left had their entire careers destroyed, and in certain cases it led to suicide.

    Right-wingers have a narrow and superficial awareness of reality. They think the world revolves around them or should revolve around them. Their persecution complex is just an expression of their narcissism.

    • Well the western hunter guys are stll employed 😛

      By now you may have noticed that I intentionally name or spell things slightly wrong, LOL

  15. “Not just how boys and girls learn, but how different people learn and behave. It’s funny, but in many ways I’m kind of “boyish” in that I wouldn’t consider myself an early verbal bloomer, and I am visual-spatial.”

    That is precisely my position. There is immense diversity. The inability and unwillingness to deal with that is the main failing of the education system.

    Anyway, as your example demonstrates, gender differences are just tendencies. That is why I qualified my statement by saying it was on average. In Myers-Briggs, Thinking and Feeling show a gender divide. I’m less typical in being a male Feeling type. But it isn’t extremely atypical. There still is a large percentage of male Feeling types, something like 30-40% as I recall. Gender differences are extremely general patterns with many exceptions to the rule.

    Generalizations can be useful, as long as you take them with a grain of salt. The value of acknowledging such differences isn’t to simplistically categorize people, but to appreciate diversity and deal with it appropriately.

    “No system is perfect, but I always thought there was something… off about American grade school. I dunno. I just don’t know if other nations are better, though. I’ve never known anything different. I have nothing to compare to.”

    I don’t have any personal experience either with other education systems. I’m not sure comparisons are even necessary (or always useful). It seems obvious to me that the US education has massive room for improvement, just on its own terms.

    “A maybe trivial difference with me in looking at Chinese and Russian schools, at least elemtentary schools: elementary school classroom here: the desks are arranged in groups and other flowery ways, while desks there are all facing the teacher.”

    Well, back in the good ol’ days when I was in school (1980s to the mid-90s), desks were almost always in rows. I only recall a few exceptions such as with an art class. I grew up being taught while facing the teacher in nice neat rows. I didn’t even know that had changed, but I’m not surprised.

    “You might find this interesting. The guy 15 minutes in is interesting”

    I’ll check it out later when I’m at a computer. I’m on my Kindle right now. The South Korean system is interesting, although not perfectly comparable. I wrote about this issue a while back:

    https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/americas-less-than-smartest-education-system/

    In the comments section, I posted some info about South Korean schools. One thing that is problematic is that, as I recall, they don’t have a universal education system, which is to say many kids get entirely left out. It is a highly competitive and class-based society where the poor are ignored. But for the kids who are in the education system, it is highly effective.

    One thing that is different is that South Korean teacher, at least in some cases, can get paid the kind of money doctors and CEOs get paid in the US. They prioritize education and are willing to pay for it, unlike the US where teachers are paid little for extremely hard work and long hours.

    “If you follow right wing media, a popular meme concerning the “decline of men” is that women are just getting too uppity and it’s de-motivating the men. Traditional roles are changing in many ways. Of course, for the RW media the answer is “Women, return to the kitchen.” LOL.”

    I know all about it. The type of environmental factors that Dr. Sax discusses are precisely those that are ignored by right-wingers and reactionaries. It is never about environment, except for the ‘gifted’ kids of course.

    “On ADD, you may be right that it was good I wasn’t diagnosed earlier, but it’s also true that ADD and many other things are very under-looked in women and girls, since they express symptoms differently than boys and men do.”

    I don’t doubt that. I know little about ADD. It isn’t an issue I’ve personally dealt with, at least I don’t think so. I’ve never given it much thought. I do have a mind that is easily distracted, but I never thought of it in terms of ADD. Then again, they weren’t diagnosing much of anything with kids back when I was in school.

    “At the same time I’m not sure I really “questioned” the system until about middle school.”

    I’m not sure I ever questioned the system when I was in the system. I simply hated school. I lacked the context for understanding any of it. I think I had mostly internalized the judgment that I was the problem. I assumed that I was supposed conform to the system, rather than the system conform to me. It was mostly only after my school career ended that I discovered I actually liked to learn and was good at it.

    “You ever notice that the gifted advocates seem to think that intelligence correlates with motivation or something?”

    I have noticed that.

    “I’m not sure what you think, Benjamin, but if I were a parent that would never fly with me. You fail math cause it’s hard? Okay, let’s work on that, let’s help. You fail cause lazy? Unacceptable. You fail cause it’s too easy? Unacceptable! While I would do my best to get him in a more appropriate class if he think’s it’s too easy, there NO FUCKING WAY I’d let him off the hook for failing for a reason like that! Maybe it’s my background, LOL.”

    My parents were never ones to make excuses for me or to accept excuses from me. At the same, both were in teaching professions and my mother worked with kids with disabilities, including learning disabilities as I had. So, they were understanding and extremely helpful, but also had high expectations.

    I suppose I’d be similar to them, if I had kids. But I’d probably be more sympathetic than they were. My parents couldn’t fully appreciate the problems I dealt with, as they never personally had the same problems.

    “there’s just an insane sense of entitlement riding the undercurrent.”

    That stands out to me in an extreme way. The sense of entitlement is so obvious. It annoys me so much that I want to reach through my computer screen and smack some of those ‘gifted’ parents upside the head.

    “It just shows that you have to advocate for yourself, sometimes”

    I’m sure that is true. But I’ve never been one who advocates for myself. I’m introverted, fairly shy, and I suspect I have some undiagnosed social anxiety disorder. My brother was diagnosed with social anxiety. I’ve seen him during one of his anxiety attacks and I recognized it as something I’ve experienced myself.

    I prefer to not draw attention to myself. Advocating for myself sounds like a terrifying prospect. This probably relates to my hating school and yet loving to learn on my own. I have to do things on my own terms. I know how to play the part to get by, but that is about it. I’m sure I’d be better off if, like you, I had advocated for myself on occasion.

    • “My parents were never ones to make excuses for me or to accept excuses from me. At the same, both were in teaching professions and my mother worked with kids with disabilities, including learning disabilities as I had. So, they were understanding and extremely helpful, but also had high expectations.

      I suppose I’d be similar to them, if I had kids. But I’d probably be more sympathetic than they were. My parents couldn’t fully appreciate the problems I dealt with, as they never personally had the same problems.”

      I can relate in some ways to that. My parents may or may not have had issues, but there’s such a lack of knowledge of these issues on their part, so I don’t think they wouldn’t thought it was something that needed addressing if they had anything. And I wouldn’t say that lack of knowledge or even curiosity is necessarily their fault per se… they’re very much a product of their times and place.

      That’s what I was trying to get at, maybe in too many words. It’s like these parents are willing to make excuses for ‘gifted’ kids/people that they wouldn’t for ‘normals.’ You know what I mean? Double standard. A ‘gifted’ kid who dosen’t excel and amaze is because insert-excuse-here insert-blame some system-here, but they wouldn’t do this for ‘normal’ kids.

      It’s like the +130 iq person(since that’s the arbitrary cutoff these days) who is lazy, unmotivated, or even just unremarkable dosen’t exist to them. Like those high iq people who are those traits is because it’s someone else’s fault, the system failed them, they were failed, etc etc etc. A normal person is the above traits? Well, that’s just the way they are.

      Sorry for repeating the ‘failed math cause he was bored and it was too easy’ thing. It just really sticks out, you know? Like, it really rubs me the… wrong way. But that’s me. Maybe I’m just an asshole 😛

  16. I’ll reply more later, but on schools failing kids, mental and emotional issues, and the such…

    For me, having immigrant parents from a different culture who are ignorant of mental health issues and pretty rigid and low-tolerance of unconventionality, was a contributor as well. I can rant on how the system failed me as a kid, but teachers would often show concern about me and contact my parents and generally care, but there’s only so much a school and teachers can do. In my case teachers concerned that I was moody and despondent just triggered my parents yelling at me cause yeah, lol. They’re also people who respond to depression with “everybody gets depressed!” Add, Aspergers, schizophrenia, bi-polar? What’s that?

    • Plus, like I said, at that age I may not have been able to really articulate well. Maybe if a skilled counselor stepped in, but I never did that until I was nearly out of high school. And it’s helped me certainly, and I know I should’ve gotten it sooner…

      I’m just a late bloomer, as well. Honestly the current sustem is tough on us late bloomers. So I’ll admit that I have problems with jealousy (what I call green eyes) whenever I think about childhood adolescence and achievement.

      So tell me Benjamin. We both have In common with the gifted parents in that we dislike the system. We both may have been considered the types of kids the gifted parents appearently have, Yet both of us rather dislike that crowd. Which is kind of funny.

  17. I remember feelin insecure about my comparatively visual brain because of this (I wonder if being visual is related to being left handed, as I am )

    That comment section is a train wreck

    carrefoursagesse.wordpress.com/2009/06/25/asian-accomplishment-or-lack-thereof/

  18. To be honest, the real reason why I might have issues with ‘gifted’ : awayfromtheoven.com/2012/02/03/two-sides-of-the-curve-and-a-lot-in-common/

    I do like the mom’s blog. I may not always agree but she seems a nice person.

    Is because of mentalities like this:

    conservativecrusader.com/articles/no-nation-left-behind-an-interview-with-charles-murray

    highability.org/53/charles-murray-phd-aim-not-just-at-academic-accomplishment-but-at-wisdom/

    What do you think?

  19. Like I said, some of my sentiments towards gifted ness stems from my issues with charles-Murray-esque attitudes towards, well, human intelligence and ability. And the frankly latent male (and white) superiority complexes.You know?

    • Labels, especially childhood labels, being treated as prescriptions. That is the heart of my, maybe your, beef with this.

      My special needs kid? I’d expect different things. But if I had a ‘regular’ kid? Would I look at his completely average development and go, “great, doomed to a life of average joe nobody no chance of being awesome”

      Because it is the above sentiment which pervades the ideologies of reactionaries and relatively mainstream ones like murray towards women. More average iq women? That’s why women suck and are doomed to not amount to much! Hey… Don’t complain women, at least there’s less of you in the retard bin too!!!!

      You know?

      • I see it as a much larger issue. It has to do with an oppressive social order. It involves race, ethnicity, gender, class, etc. It is systemic and structural, some of it overt but most of it implicit or even unconscious.

        The Murrays of the world in many ways are the least of our worries. It is the entire social order that is the problem. There is much potential in our society, just as there is much potential in every person. That potential can only be expressed if we change the system.

        The problem continues not because of all those that are prejudiced, but because of all those who don’t speak out against it. The reason for that is that we don’t have the concepts and language to see it for what it is, to understand and speak about it.

        That is why I read and write as I do. I’m trying to make sense what so many others would rather ignore. But it isn’t easy. There is a whole history behind the system as it is.

        It isn’t just about those other people. We all are implicated in the status quo. We are born into it and we are socialized in it. It is all we know. To imagine otherwise is an immense task.

  20. We are all brainwashed to an extent. I’m certainly struggling with brainwashing, which is why I’m so vocal about it. I know I’m brainwashed into a charles murray mentality to an extent.

    Labels being prescriptive and the implicit meanings in them. Emphasis on the implicit. That is the problem. In fact, the “gifted” parents “experts” and “special” seem to be pretty bad at that. Pretty bad TRULY taking things head on in a “thinking” way

    • Trying to truly think. That seems ironically something these adults who trumpet the gifted label don’t do well at. As my late blooming ass began to develop a voice of its own during late high school, I would have told them, especially the “gifted specialist” from psychology today, to fuck off.

      Though as a non-parent, now I’m wondering if I have a kid, how I’d educate him :/

      How would you educate a kid, if you were a parent?

      I do like the mom with both the “highly gifted” and the autistic/apraxic/other developmental delays kid. She is different from the other ‘gifties.’ She’s probably the best of the bunch I’ve seen. In your terms, the hdd chick of those gifted sphere. She has yummy recipes as well.

      What do u think of those murray links above? At face value, he isn’t quite a pure monster based on those articles

      • I don’t know how I’d educate my kids. I’d probably worry less about the education system and try to supplement with what my kids would learn at home.

        I do like public schools for the simple reason of socialization. I’d want my kids to go to a school with lots of racial, ethnic, and class diversity which would only happen in a community with such diversity. Research shows that kids raised with high rates of diversity tend to grow up to be more socially liberal adults. That is the difference I see between my parents and I. They grew up in homogenous communities and schools.

        What do I think of the Murray link? I’m not sure I had any strong opinion. Murray comes off as condescendingly paternalistic. I don’t doubt that he means well.

        He is one of those older white middle class men who grew up when the country was more openly and strongly racist, classist, and misogynist. He has internalized much of that, but he isn’t an overt bigot. He just believes that most differences can’t be changed. He sees the divides in society as inevitable or even necessary for his ideal meritocracy.

        He seems similar to my own father. It was through my father that I learned of Murray. My father is one of the nicest people you could meet. He genuinely cares about others and struggles with being a good Christian. But he can’t bring himself to believe that a democratically egalitarian society is possible or desirable

        • Teach them to think.

          That’s the most important thing of all. The understanding of the concept of the scientific method, and that facts should drive their livelihoods.

          • If I could determine how education is done, I’d do two things. First, I’d teach them how to think as part of teaching them how to learn. Second, I’d teach them a love of learning by giving them the freedom to follow their curiosity. Pretty much all kids are born with immense curiosity, but our education system snuffs that out. Without a love of learning, it is much harder to teach kids how to learn.

  21. Sorry I’m kind of hijacking this post. It’s just convient for me to have things all in one spot.

    But, I saw your Amanda Ripley post, and this:

    “Intuitively, tracking made sense. A classroom should function more efficiently if all the kids were at the same level. In reality, though, second tracks almost always came with second-rate expectations.

    “Statistically speaking, tracking tended to diminish learning and boost inequality wherever it was tried. In general, the younger the tracking happened, the worse the entire country did on PISA. There seemed to be some kind of ghetto effect : Once kids were labeled and segregated into the lower track, their learning slowed down.”

    The first paragraph, warrants an enthusiastic “Da!” as Russians say…

    I don’t follow mainstream conservatism these days (frankly my curiosity is reserved for the reactionary sewers of humanity) but I do believe some reactionaries have talked about Finland. It is usually replied to with a “Yes but Finland is homogeneous they are educating a homogeneous population” Also, since some reactionaries love masturbating to the idea that there is less iq variation in asians (so whites are still superior!!!!!!!111eleventy11111) despite there being zero evidence for this, I think I read on a blog somewhere that there was some evidence of this in the Finnish population. I’m also sure that the reactiobaries would justify the unique US tracking with (other countries have more homogeneous pops!!!!)

    In my case, I’m glad ‘tracks’ weren’t rigid, Or they were, but I had to advocate for myself. Аlso, to be really cliche, it’s not just funding, but also the local environment. Parents, neighbors, peers, etc. It’s not just a school thing, but the community that school is in as well.

    The American obsession with extra-curriculars, “leadership” was the bane of my high school existence. If you are planning on applying to even a slightly selective college, the American admission system is REALLY fucking unique. You should do a post on the American college admissions system someday, Benjamin. You’d have a field day.

    I did suspect on some level that American education was a joke, even though I had nothing to compare it to. The “easiness” maybe, even though it’s not like I knew everything. There was just something about the atmosphere I guess that made me think “what a joke.” You know? Even in my high school where there was a competitive streak for ivy leagues, on some level there was a ‘what a joke.’ There was just… something OFF about the dynamic of kids having hours of homework, ten million extracurriculars, the need to demonstrate “good character” and “true passion for humanity” and “evidence of being tomorrow’s leaders” and basically just, well…. http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/12/the-false-promise-of-holistic-college-admissions/282432/

    That was actually my peak cutting time.

    Russian school, where 6th graders read Tolstoy:

    “Oh man, Russian schools are hard, strict and loaded with hw. I feel that Russian education (k through 12th grade) is a lot better because everyone is active and involved, plus we are all scared of our teachers therefore everyone did their hw. Here, in US, teachers are scared on their students and there’s no respect in the classroom.

    AND my pupils have been learning english since first grade. not because “you might need it someday” like we are told in texas to learn spanish, but because a person really THINKS in a different manner when exposed to learning a second language. my lessons are conducted in english. ”

    I’ve always wondered about Canada versus the US.

    On the parenting being innately selfish and merely just love of one’s DNA in the end, though, maybe human flexibility will ultimately show to be our greatest asset. “Research has long shown that adoptive moms go through many of the same hormonal changes that birth moms do, even getting the “baby blues”. One wonders if the brain has such plasticity that this applies to most caregivers and even the children.”

    I’m not an overtly “motherly” or “caring” person though, even though to do love otherse deeply. You get what I mean? I’m just not a ‘sappy’ type ,though there is nothing wrong with sappy. I tend to display affection or care more subtlely or through actions.

    • There are many ways the US could improve education. But reactionaries just seem interested in rationalizing why we can’t improve education (for most kids) and shouldn’t even try.

      South Korea is in some ways a reactionary wet dream. It is a highly class-based society. If you are poor, you are deemed utterly worthless and hopeless. A ton of money is invested, however, in helping the elite remain the elite. It is a surpemely anti-democratic society that is hyper-obsessed with capitalism.

      Their education system does relatively well for the upper classes. If the lower classes are excluded, they show great results compared to countries that don’t exclude their lower classes. Reactionaries would take this as justification for why the lower classes should be excluded and, instead, focus all or most of the resources on the meritocracy.

  22. lololol, that juicy contradiction

    “From the subject story: “Finnish educators believe they get better overall results by concentrating on weaker students rather than by pushing gifted students ahead of everyone else. The idea is that bright students can help average ones without harming their own progress.”

    “These members or our society effect our educational standing in two ways…Second, they slow down education for everyone because they exist in such numbers that teachers have to slow down an entire class to allow them to catch up.”

    giftedexchange.blogspot.com/2008/02/what-makes-finnish-kids-so-smart.html

    Blogger did ruminate how if we maybe reformed our education to be more like Finland, we wouldn’t need gifted programs.

    Finland does not have ‘gifted programs….’

    I dig that finnish-style charter school movement in NYC, though. It sounds awesome.

    Benjamin, this is my wondering. But what if the USA no longer offered bachelor degrees in secondary education (with concentrations in social science education for example) and instead required secondary teachers to have bachelor degrees in their subjects, and maybe graduate degrees in fields relevant to education?

    I think the biggest American problem is that we don’t respect teachers, though. Teaching is a low-paying laughingstock job here. Heck, teachers themselves often don’t even take their jobs that seriously.

    I dig that “if only the damn underprivileged Muricans would stop dragging down our scores”

    http://www.dcurbanmom.com/jforum/posts/list/292001.page

    LOL, this blogger

    edexcellence.net/commentary/education-gadfly-daily/flypaper/gifted-education%E2%80%94what-i-saw-what-i%E2%80%99m-learning

    Why the flying fuck is the idea of “all children recieving gifted education à la Finland” horrifying? WTF. She’s basically saying disadvantaged kids (kids who didn’t get a Finnish type of upbringing) shouldn’t recieve gifted education!

    giftedparentingsupport.blogspot.com/2012/02/real-lesson-to-be-learned-from-finland.html

    Be right back gonna go punch a wall. But as a naturally argumentative person, if I were in grade school again I’m pretty sure I’d tell any ‘gifted specialist’ to piss off.

    • One thing that Finland shows is the economic angle. They have low economic inequality. This has been shown to correlate to low rates of every kind of social problem. It’s not just a passive thing. Low or high inequality is something that is actively created.

      Finland’s education system shows this. It isn’t that they spend more money on education, but how they spend money. Besides spending money on ensuring teachers get the best training, they also spend money on the lowest performing schools. Their idea is that high performing schools don’t need more money.

      The US education system is different because of economic and geographic segregation. Rich kids go to rich schools and poor kids go to poor schools. The very schools that need funding the most are least likely to get it while the very schools that need funding the least are the most likely to get it.

      The advantage of the Finnish system can be seen even in US data. You know of the Flynn effect, right? It shows that IQs have been increasing over the generations. But where they have been increasing the most is among the poor. And where they have been increasing the least is among the wealthy.

      The explanation is simple. A small amount of funding can make a massive amount of difference in improving the lives and educations of the lower classes (e.g., improving nutrition to improve cognitive development) whereas a lareg amunt of funding will make little difference for the already advantaged upper classes.

      We know the Finnish system works. And we even see evidence that the basic principle would apply to American society. Yet because of racism and classism, so many Americans can’t imagine improving the education system according to a proven working model.

  23. “noys more likely high performers though averages did not differ between sexes’

    so charles murray confirmed?

    • Yeah, there is a lot going on. Most of these issues aren’t about people being bad in a simplistic sense. My grandfather was a racist and yet he’d give someone the shirt off his own back. Most prejudiced people aren’t mean in a personal way, not necessarily even toward those they are prejudiced. Also, prejudice often goes with a paternalistically caring attitude. Seeing people as inherently inferior can lead to a compassionate attitude, even if ultimately condescending and ununelpful

  24. Here is a great comment! The success of Finnish education is based on egalitarian fairness and equal opportunity. That is the very set of values that conservatives and reactionaries argue against.

    http://giftedparentingsupport.blogspot.com/2012/02/real-lesson-to-be-learned-from-finland.html?showComment=1329109835288#c7831075671431553702

    You forget that the Finns didn’t start out to remake their education system as the best in the world. Their aim was to provide an equal-opportunity education system, which then became the best in the world.

    They began with an end in mind that most in the world overlooked – the opportunity for the child to have a basic learning; not the philosophy of pushing the child to their best academically only. While the rest of the world aimed for the highest academic accolades, the Finns only wanted to ensure that no child’s need was left behind. In order to make education as accessible as possible, they did away with the whole idea of streaming – which removed the whole idea of special G&T students, and focussed on a collaborative learning model which ensured that everyone participated in the classroom.

    From http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/12/what-americans-keep-ignoring-about-finlands-school-success/250564/
    “Since the 1980s, the main driver of Finnish education policy has been the idea that every child should have exactly the same opportunity to learn, regardless of family background, income, or geographic location. Education has been seen first and foremost not as a way to produce star performers, but as an instrument to even out social inequality.

    In the Finnish view, as Sahlberg describes it, this means that schools should be healthy, safe environments for children. This starts with the basics. Finland offers all pupils free school meals, easy access to health care, psychological counseling, and individualized student guidance.

    In fact, since academic excellence wasn’t a particular priority on the Finnish to-do list, when Finland’s students scored so high on the first PISA survey in 2001, many Finns thought the results must be a mistake. But subsequent PISA tests confirmed that Finland — unlike, say, very similar countries such as Norway — was producing academic excellence through its particular policy focus on equity.”

    Other readings:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_Finland

    If any country were to only focus its lenses on the G&T, or stratify its children by how well they test, then they really miss the point of Finland’s success. It’s not a method, so much as a philosophy.

    • Only people judged to be “qualified” get all those perks. Frankly that’s the biggest joke of our education system.

      That’s why I like how my school did it. No iq testing and evaluations for some perks that other not special enough kids don’t get. Everyone gets their needs met at my school. If you dream it we’ll try to make it happen.

      • The US is still dominated by Cold War rhetoric and fear-mongering about communism. The ruling elite would rather have a horrible education system for everyone (except for the rich who go to elite private schools), just as long as it is ensured the unworthy don’t get anything they don’t deserve. There is nothing conservatives and reactionaries fear more than the possibility that those most in need might get what they need, that everyone might be treated fairly and given genuine equal opportunity. To their mind, Finland is everything that is wrong with the world. It’s very success is what they fear the most.

  25. This author ignores or is uninformed about much of the Finnish model. One of the main things that Finland is doing right is compensating for economic inequality. They do it at every level of their society. They have a strong social democracy where everyone gets beneffits, no matter how poor. No one’s needs are left unmet. In their education system, it is precisely the low achieving schools that get the most money and so they are going out of their way to invest in the most poor and needy.

    http://edexcellence.net/commentary/education-gadfly-daily/flypaper/gifted-education%E2%80%94what-i-saw-what-i%E2%80%99m-learning

    “Nobody is compensating well for the absence of pushy, prosperous, influential parents. That is to say, disadvantaged kids, however able they may be, are indeed at a disadvantage in terms of accessing gifted programs, supplemental activities, and selective schools. This is apt to turn out to be toughest nut, and we may find no really good way for public policy to crack it. (I’m still hunting and hoping. Hungary is trying hard.) Moreover, a lot of gifted-ed programs and schools, even in the public sector, carry costs that parents must bear, ranging from ambitious field trips to summer camps to basic transportation.”

  26. http://www.dcurbanmom.com/jforum/posts/list/292001.page

    Anonymous:

    Go rent ‘waiting for superman’ and tell me if you think the American model is winning.

    A good education, therefore, is not ruled out by poverty, uneducated parents or crime – and drug-infested neighborhoods. In fact, those are the very areas where Geoffrey Canada has success with his charter schools.

    I love how two of the pps want to just remove our inner city and poor kids from our Education statistics. Sure. We’ll just continue to ignore that population instead of reforming the education system itself.

    I also wouldn’t be so certain US would rise to the top by self-selecting a tiny population.

    http://www.dcurbanmom.com/jforum/posts/list/15/292001.page

    Anonymous:

    I thought that at first, too. Actually, the population in Finland is more diverse than you would expect with a growing influx of immigrants from Bangladesh, Iraq, Russia and parts of Africa. In one of the Finnish schools that has been successful, half of the population came from somewhere else. You can read the article here.

    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/Why-Are-Finlands-Schools-Successful.html?c=y&page=1

    Anonymous:

    Ninety-five percent of the teachers are unionized in Finland.

    Anonymous:

    So my DH told me he sent the article to me from the Atlantic months ago. Oops. He also pointed out the real news in that ranking was that in all of the top 4-5 countries– teachers are all from the top 20% of their graduating class and get paid big salaries (emphasis on teacher quality and compensation to attract top teachers; teaching is revered–high status). “The rest of those stats seems like [insert fruity Aunt’s name here] designed the curriculum for her socialist paradise which I am sure works great for a homogenous country of only 5 mil”.

    http://www.dcurbanmom.com/jforum/posts/list/30/292001.page

    Anonymous:

    Look, I think the Finland worship is idiotic, too. But, you’re really kind of wrong in stating innovation lacks in Finland. It has been puting more into R&D than the US, for example, by about 50%, for nearly a decade. To wit: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/13/AR2005071302227.html

    It is also No. 4 in the world in the Global Innovation Index: http://www.wipo.int/pressroom/en/articles/2012/article_0014.html The US is No. 10.

    http://www.dcurbanmom.com/jforum/posts/list/45/292001.page

    Anonymous:

    Many American innovations are actually created by foreigners who come here and go to grad school. Our ability to attract these innovators has more to do with our immigration policy than it does with our education system.

    http://www.dcurbanmom.com/jforum/posts/list/60/292001.page

    Anonyous:

    Geoffrey Canada has created an amazing and comprehensive program that begins in-utero! He’s going to have success because he is will to address the fact that kids who live in poverty and crime ridden areas and have uneducated parents need a different model of education than kids who do not. He can propose such a message because the people he works with and hire, all look the same (per his book). And mainly, not white women.

    As long as America values educating ALL people, we will appear to be lagging behind other countries. And as long as we are not able to address the different needs of all people, at the local level (I’m talking neighborhood, not just city) we may not see much in the way of successful education reform.

    Anonymous:

    Children in Finland and France all seem to go to daycare without problem for extended hours. A sitter is unreliable and in addition costs more money than most upper class people can add on after paying for a good preschool. Most good full day daycare/preschools here costs over $20,000 and a sitter adds on an extra $5000 even for 1 hour a day at $20 per hour. Poor people can’t even pay for a good preschool much less pay for two different daycare providers. What is needed is a good understanding of what children actually need and then the daycares and schools to actually carry this out. No more of just “playbased” or “Montessori” or “Waldorf” or “traditional” or whatever. We need good preschools and schools that are utilizing the best teaching methods wherever they come from. Finland seems to get this and offers lots of support to their teachers and doesn’t overburden them with too many children, too little space, or too much paperwork.

    Anonymous:

    However, their mothers get up to a year off for maternity leave. In Sweden (I think Denmark too) it is 18 months of leave after a baby (fathers too!My friend in German said it is now over a year of leave over there (it might be guaranteed 60% of their pay). Of course, taxes are through the roof and they are ‘high trust’ societies.

    Anonymous:

    I still think regardless of their subsidies, they have figured out a way to put children first in all of their schools. You don’t hear about a set Finnish way of teaching because it’s constantly evolving and the Finnish schools don’t have brands like waldorf, catholic, progressive, outdoor, academic, etc. They provide a variety of experiences for children and teach to the whole child.

    Anonymous:

    Finland: I like how they take care of their teachers. For some reason, our Conservative politicians and their followers have been attacking teachers in the U.S. But for that matter they attack science and intelligence too..

    http://www.dcurbanmom.com/jforum/posts/list/75/292001.page

    Anonymous:

    I’m surprised that people don’t know that or they choose to leave it out conveniently. The smartest people I’ve met in US have all been foreigners.

    Anonymous:

    I really like what you said about teacher autonomy and support, rather than a culture of competition. I have taught in a couple of countries and I found huge differences in the way teaching is viewed as a profession. I quit because we ended up living in a place where the teaching profession was ‘dull’, so to speak. There was no vibrancy, which I saw as stemming from the fact that teachers weren’t encouraged to create for themselves … i.e. adapt curricula, create materials, contribute to the thinking in their subject’s pedagogical circles, etc. A
    culture of distrust means you don’t retain the top teachers, IMO.

    http://www.dcurbanmom.com/jforum/posts/list/90/292001.page

    Anonymous:

    Finland’s child poverty rate is 5%, while the US child poverty rate is 20+%

  27. http://giftedexchange.blogspot.com/2008/02/what-makes-finnish-kids-so-smart.html?showComment=1204337760000#c7787904357461043625

    Homogeneous demographics can’t be the sole reason, as there are homogeneous places that do very badly, and diverse places (like Singapore) that do very well.

    I suspect that dedicated, highly-trained teachers who want to teach well are a big part of the equation.

    http://giftedexchange.blogspot.com/2008/02/what-makes-finnish-kids-so-smart.html?showComment=1204373040000#c434636993202358176

    I think the best part of finnish schooling system is the fact that money/social status doesn’t play any role when people apply for place in high-school or university. It’s all about grades and entry-tests, you can’t buy your way in. People who have been studying hard and/or are gifted naturally, are rewarded no matter what social background they come from. Education is “free” from elementary school to high-school and all the way even to doctoral degrees. With “free” I mean only nominal annual fees which are pretty much the same in each school (roughly 500€ per year).

    http://giftedexchange.blogspot.com/2008/02/what-makes-finnish-kids-so-smart.html?showComment=1204384980000#c3371727236650696176

    I don’t think the difference between average grades in Finland and the US has a lot to do with the actual schools at all.

    I think your problem in the States is the fact that you have such an economically segmented society. I can imagine that if you compared a public school in a poor neighbourhood to a school in a rich one you would find the difference is as big as when comparing an average western school to a 3rd world one.

    The key thing in finnish education is equality. No matter where you come from, in school you’re all equal. Not only that, but all the schools are by and large interchangeable – it doesn’t matter what school you go to as far as the quality of education is concerned.

    http://giftedexchange.blogspot.com/2008/02/what-makes-finnish-kids-so-smart.html?showComment=1204520640000#c7262009256570361533

    I must say that our (Finland’s) schools are very relaxing places to be in. Teachers treat students equally and they don’t underestimate students abilities. Teachers are normally really helpful and patient in teaching. In addition, we get free meals every day that helps to keep students blood sugar stable the whole day. We don’t see food like french fries in our schools, but instead very healthy food (low fat & slow carbohydrates).

    Our schools are not very homogenius and they can differ quite a lot on the teaching methods. Some schools are conservative and others are really liberal. I was myself in a extremely liberal elementary school. I’ll tell a bit how our school week normally was in there. At every monday morning we had a briefing conserning about that weeks tasks and objectives. Then we had couple of lessons where we got all the theory needed in performing the tasks given to us. After that we started doing our tasks on our own and we did not need to be in the classroom to do the work, but we were able to do the work wherever on the school area we wanted. (it could be outside or inside the school). When we got some problems in our tasks, then we went to ask help from the teachers or from the other students. The best part in this system was that when we got our weekly tasks done, we were free to do whatever we wanted. If you were able to get all the weekly work done on tuesday, that ment that you were able to do sports, arts etc. the rest of the week. You were not able to go home though, there was a static school time everyday. Luckily there were a lot of hobby possibilies to do in the school. So, normally we did a lot of movies, computer animations, sports etc. on the school time then.

    http://giftedexchange.blogspot.com/2008/02/what-makes-finnish-kids-so-smart.html?showComment=1204831920000#c319914759680546703

    As far as universities go, they are indeed “free” and we even get an allowance. However, to enter the university, one has to pass the entrance exam. . . . .

    The Final Thing: can the university education in a system such as this be any good – a hot topic here in recent years given the fact that we do lack recent Nobel graduates. Personally, I’ve been involved in programs where students participate in project-based courses with students from Stanford and MIT. While there’s much to learn from the best institutions in the world, and I do envy the resources and the atmosphere at these places, the consistent feedback has been that our (admittedly, relatively select) students tend to be very good performers. I have seen similar results firsthand at CERN and at other places.

    The one thing we’ve been suspecting – as I cannot claim that we can come close to these superb universities in teaching resources per student, or in selectiveness of students and staff – is that our students usually have the edge of working before graduation. Practically every engineering student and most other students have actual and relevant work experience in their fields before graduation, with many working part-time while finishing their studies.

    For example, at my university, everyone is required to get at least four months of work experience in their field of study before they can graduate, and most do much, much more – typical cases have been working part- and full time for three or four years by the time they graduate with their Master’s degrees. (It used to be that university intake was directly from high school to Master’s programs – a relic from early 20th century German universities that was changed only in 2005 to anglo-american two part system)

    At least in the engineering field, working really does wonders to student’s practical skills and outlook in general. It also helps directly their studies: when you have actually seen how things work in the industry, it’s much easier to follow and understand the lectures on organizational theory, for example. And if you’re working while finishing your studies, you can focus on the courses most relevant to your line of work.

    Sadly, not everyone understands this and now we’re hearing some relatively good and some completely inane ideas on how to cut the time people spend in the higher education. But if someone is enrolled for seven years in the university yet is actually working for five of those years – well, what’s the problem?

    http://giftedexchange.blogspot.com/2008/02/what-makes-finnish-kids-so-smart.html?showComment=1237218300000#c5282206774896055492

    The simple reason: Small study groups, in Finland a common study group is is less than 18 students. It has been studied even in Finland that big cities with big schools and studygropus never do so well as kids who live in the countryside and study in small schools and studygroups. But this is also becoming rare in Finland, they are shutting down all the small schools and ruining the kids future.

    http://giftedexchange.blogspot.com/2008/02/what-makes-finnish-kids-so-smart.html?showComment=1254248920351#c8698890000162492324

    Opportunity to accelerate does not constitute “gifted” class. So the statement “there are no gifted classes in Finland” seems to be accurate.
    I think it is important that teachers are concentrating on actual teaching instead on trying to determine “abilities” and separate kids into different classes with different “abilities”.

    http://giftedexchange.blogspot.com/2008/02/what-makes-finnish-kids-so-smart.html?showComment=1277932385410#c7477651233749156078

    Lower IQ? Do you really believe our students have lower IQ’s because they come from a lower class? There is little physiological data to prove that people in America have a large lower class with inferior IQ’s. That is just class/racist rhetoric.

    The real reason is that our schools are large bureaucratic organizations that have evolved under a big-brother mentality, rather than being organized and motivated by education. We have school boards that want to negate evolution, science, and astronomy rather than promote learning.

    I agree that NCSB is a big mind-numbing load of refuse, and should be eliminated. NCLB only holds students back while trying to teach all students a set of mediocre standards that most people would be ashamed to admit to.

    If our teachers had even Bachelors degrees in the fields they teach (not education, but math, english, literature, science, and art), we would see a HUGE HUGE difference.
    Having teachers customize the curriculum per student is VERY effective and needed.

    Public schools need to be re-build from the ground up, to be excellent in education. We dont need to destroy public education to do it, but re-cycle it.

    • “Opportunity to accelerate does not constitute “gifted” class. So the statement “there are no gifted classes in Finland” seems to be accurate.
      I think it is important that teachers are concentrating on actual teaching instead on trying to determine “abilities” and separate kids into different classes with different “abilities”.”

      Right on!

      It may help like I said if the education major wasn’t a fucking joke and frankly the major slackers tended to pick(to offense.) I believe in teachers being required to get bachelors degrees in relevant fields to the subjects they teach instead.

      Most importantly though we need to change our cultures and attitudes towards education. We need to make teaching a values profession not something that’s considered a low-paying joke.

      Our education is also a low standard low expectation joke. Russian 12 year olds are reading Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky without sparknotes: American school kids MIGHT read them senior year of high school. I don’t mean “gifted” Russian Tweens. I mean the standard Russian public school. And Russians are not inherently more capable. Russian, and many foreign schools, are harder and have higher expectations and standards. Teachers are (actually) respected.

      Though I’m kind of a hypocrite since frankly there are many teachers I’ve had that I wouldn’t say I respect all that much. Not that I was openly disrespectful to them, but they frankly weren’t people I as a pupil would look up to or respect.

      Also, our habit of segregating everything and labeling everything. Everything has to be labeled. Everything has to be specialized and segregated and competitive to enter. Like here in NYC. All these “label” schools. It’s either competition for a label name-brand Ivy League feeder school or rotting away in a shitty inner city public school.

      I love how the self proclaimed gifted gurus talk about how whether the point of education was. Was the point of gifted education to educate a kid to his potential or to provide the leaders and amazing people of tomorrow? They liked both. Fuck them with a cactus. Hard.

      I’m sorry Benjamin. I guess this is a sore spot for me.

      • We treat teachers like shit and then wonder why our education system is shit. If Americans were better educated, they might understand why education should be valued and teachers treated with respect. But Americans could only be better educated if education was valued and teachers were treated with respect.

        It’s the same with economic and social issues in general. If Americans had a well functioning social democracy and a culture of trust, they might understand why equality and fairness matter. But Americans could only have a well functioning social democracy and culture of trust if they understood why equality and fairness matter.

        American society is a vicious cycle of ass-backwards suckiness and ignorant idiocy!

        • Funny, but my parents were actually astonished that we had “tracking” for kids in the same grade here, starting in elementary school. They were also astonished when I told them about “gifted programs” within grade schools, that required iq testing and evaluations and everything to get into. And how it was considered something blessed by god/genetic and unchangable.

          In china there was grade skipping or acceleration, but there was no tracking within a grade. This was until later in high school, where people tracked depending on subject matter. So some kids went to arts, some hard sciences and engineering, some humanities, among others. And of course the omnipresent gaokao for college admissions.

          My mom frankly finds the a American system disgusting. She was visibly disgusted when I told her about tracking and iq tests and exclusive gifted programs within schools and the idea of perks and field trips and other programs only available to those “blessed by god/genetics/”

          • Still, how do you feel about all these gifted parents lamenting that no one wants them to talk about their kids and basically people don’t take kindly to them? Do you sympathize?

            Funny, but I was on the inner webs one day, and there were these gifted parents complaining that their gifted schools and programs were letting in kids who weren’t actually gifted but had tiger parents pushing them to do well! They were so annoyed. Lol

            Holy shit.
            No one american education is in the shitter

            http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/highly_profoundly.htm

          • Generally speaking, I have little sympathy for parents struggling with ‘gifted’ children. I’ll reserve most of my sympathy for the parents truly struggling with far worse problems, such as poverty and racism. There are many problems in the world. Having a ‘gifted’ child has to be one of the best ‘problems’ a parent could hope for.

          • You’ve read all their struggles, some with learning disabilities. Mostly the struggles about education and fitting in, boiling down. Why don’t you sympathize with them? I ask curiously.

            What do you think of that link sub-dividing “gifted?” What do you think of those gifted parents complaint that “non gifted kids with tiger parents” being let into gifted programs?

            What do you think of my mom’s reaction? She was disgusted.

    • The problem I’ve had with women’s rights vs men’s rights debates is that people who tend to most vocally enter arguments are equally clueless. Some people just want to righteously argue and blame, rather than to think deeply and soul search.

      That particular article is an exception to this rule. A surprisingly fair and balanced analysis, although still missing the larger view of what is wrong with our society.

      https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2014/08/16/a-fucked-up-world/

      Identity politics tends to induce groupthink and hence a collective ignorance. This is obvious among the particularly clueless nerdy guys with a victim complex, but I’ve also met plenty of clueless feminists as well who push ideology at all costs, even if it means sacrificing the truth. The most intelligent and fair-minded people usually just refuse to join in these debates, leaving the terrain to dogmatic ideologues and trolls.

      I don’t dismiss identity politics out of hand. But I do think that identify politics is a two-edged sword. It can be helpful and it can be vastly harmful.

      We should face up the problems of our society. This includes gender oppression along with racial and class oppression. But there is one thing many don’t understand. Privilege is a weak benefit. As studies show, even wealthy people are worse off in a high economic inequality society, as compared to wealthy people in a low economic inequality society. In societies built on victimization, everyone in a sense becomes a victim of the social problems. There is no escape, no matter how much privilege one has.

      I think many people realize this without being able to articulate it. Few people have the historical knowledge and sociological understanding to make sense of it all. They realize the society they live in sucks.

      If they are white, male and/or wealthier, people tell them they have privilege. But if they have privilege, why does the world still suck so much even for them? Even privileged people often don’t find our society to be all that great.

      Plus, privilege has to be put into context. If you are a white male living in impoverished Appalachia, you are getting privileges from your race and gender, but it sure doesn’t feel that way. Those privileges don’t offset the severe oppression and social problems that your lack of class privilege forces onto you.

      Our society refuses to deal with these complex issues. Even most activists refuse to face how fucked up it really is. This creates a collective sense of hopelessness and despair, cynicism and fatalism, scapegoating and victimization.

  28. “You’ve read all their struggles, some with learning disabilities. Mostly the struggles about education and fitting in, boiling down. Why don’t you sympathize with them? I ask curiously.”

    I don’t sympathize with most of them because most of them don’t sympathize with those who suffer and struggle with even greater problems.

    They think it is just about their child or just ‘gifted’ children. They don’t understand and refuse to understand that it is a systemic problem with deep historical roots in prejudice and privilge. It is specifically the privileged mentality that many of them hold that causes me to judge them so harshly. Our entire society is fucked up. Their willful ignorance disgusts me, especially since in many cases their willful ignorance is based on and allowed by their privilege.

    I’m long past the point of playing games with fools. Their willful ignorance is not a passive and harmless state. They aren’t just complaining about the problems of the schools their children attend. Many of these ‘gifted’ parents are a central part of the problem. If not for people like them, we might actually be able to solve some of these difficult issues of an inferior education system.

    But I won’t claim that none of them understand this. For those who do understand, I offer my sympathy.

    “What do you think of that link sub-dividing “gifted?” What do you think of those gifted parents complaint that “non gifted kids with tiger parents” being let into gifted programs?”

    I think many of these ‘gifted’ parents are bigoted assholes and that they should shut the fuck up. No one besides themselves cares about their complaints about their “genetically superior” middle-to-upper class WASP children having to mix with the “tiger parents” (i.e., the lower class of highly driven immigrants).

    “What do you think of my mom’s reaction? She was disgusted.”

    She should be disgusted.

    I’ll go even further. She should be disgusted by the entire ‘gifted’ scheme of labeling kids. In fact, she should be disgusted by our entire society that she is part of. She should be disgusted by racism and classism in all its forms, from poverty to economic inequality, from social problems to continuing segregation.

    She should be disgusted and ashamed, and then she should join the rest of us in demanding something be done about it.

    • I know you write about class, but on the gifted parents bitching, I’m not sure if it’s entirely class based. Tiger parenting isn’t really a class thing, as it transcends class at least for the East Asian community. HOWEVER, as the name attests, tiger parents PUSH their kids. Unless the kid is intellectually disabled, then fuck genes or what’s god given, I don’t care what your genes or god gave you. Excel (academically) or die!

      Funnily enough, they may also end up raising the kids’ iq scores from what they may have been if the kids weren’t pushed :/

      The ‘gifted’ parents are pissed because when they tell people their kids are gifted, people assume that they’re pushing their kids. When the truth is that their kids are born that way. ALSO, because their kids are often underachievers, and filled with problems other kids don’t have(to the same extent at least), and mainstream schools FAIL them. “NO I’m not pushing my kid! My kid isn’t even a high achiever! He’s failing school, depressed, and has 99 problems and then some!”

      So I suppose, and this may even be unintended/unconscious/they don’t realize it/ on their part, but there is a resentment because the presence of tiger parent kids represents, in ways (since the kids are in the gifted programs), the ‘gifted’ label being brought about through effort, not a gift given by genes or God. They think the ability of “non gifted” tiger parent kids entering gifted programs cheapens the label for them, cheapens the ‘gifted’ experience for THEIR (actually) gifted kids, and basically, well, destroys the meaning of gifted programs in the first place. Because if you can get into ‘gifted’ programs through effort and hard work, what’s the point? What’s the point of ‘gifted’ programs if a ‘normal’ child who works hard can end up making it in and getting the label? What’s the point, if gifted programs’ criteria makes it so the label, can basically be something achieved through effort and not something you’re just born with? Aka “true” giftedness? It cheapens the label because ‘gifted’ is not the same as high-achieving! Because ‘gifted’ is a different wiring, something you can’t help.

      The kids NEED programs where only the truly gifted enter. Programs that include the not-truly-gifted hurt them…

      You know, Benjamin, in American context, I’m not sure pushing kids a bit more is necessarily bad. I’m not a fan of very rigid tiger parenting but I feel like American expectations are pretty low. Like, what is considered “normal” and “grade level” is pretty fucking dumbed down and pathetic. You know? Most kids are more capable than what the current system expects from them at their respected ages. Russian 6th graders in public school read fucking Tolstoy; 6th graders here read Young Adult stuff at most. (Not knocking YA, I like YA, mind you.) Russian kids are not more ‘gifted’ than American kids, but the Russian education system has much higher expectations at all levels, and greater respect for teachers.

      I think having higher expectations would not be a bad thing.

      I know you don’t sympathize with them. I am asking everything curiously. Why do you not sympathize when they talk about how 20% of gifted kids drop out of school because their needs are not met, or that gifted kids are more likely to end up doing drugs, or be underachieve (the high achievers are more likely not gifted!) Why don’t you sympathize when they talk about their kids’ hypersensitivity, argumentativeness, stubbornness, and for some of them, learning disorders, since you’ve had learning disorders as well? How to you feel when they talk about the toughness of asynchronicity, how their kids are intellectually far above grade level but often emotionally or socially immature, or how the kids don’t fit in?

      This quote:
      “What is right for the highly, exceptionally, or profoundly gifted child varies widely with each child. The best thing that parents, educators, and others working with that child can do is to actually work with the child. Make adjustments, offer opportunities, and try new placements, even if they are not commonly used for most children. The highly, exceptionally, or profoundly gifted child is not “most children.” He is a unique individual, for whom modifications to the program must be made along the way, for both his gifted abilities and his learning disabilities.”

      There is the latent sentiment that the system is failing them, but not other people. These people don’t dislike the system in general, just the system for themselves, so to speak. They think the system fails THEM, but it’s great for everyone else. You, Benjamin, think the system is fucked up in general. These people, think the system fucks over THEM, but not other people. They likely think their problems are more unique than they actually are, if you know what I mean.

      Funny story. So in my hometown, and they were sort of in my parents’ circle. But there was this couple, and both were math professors at the local college. You know how my school district had an inclusive enrichment program, in place of a standard ‘gifted program?’ Well, these parents kept harassing the local school to institute a special ‘gifted’ program/classroom within the school, because their daughter was so gifted in math and just ‘tian cai’ (Chinese for gifted, literally means blessed from above) Never mind we already had a ‘gifted’ room, it was just letting everyone in and not called that 😛 But they were badgering for a special classroom and program that served only ‘gifted’ kids like their daughter.

      My mom’s reaction? She snorted found it annoying and disgusting. Since we lived in a college town, she basically retorted that if their daughter was so gifted and ahead, they should just enroll her in classes at the college instead of harassing the school for an exclusive room. So your daughter is doing Calculus while everyone else is working on fractions? Great, enroll her in a Calculus class on campus then for fucks sake! That was my mom’s reaction :/

      It was really common for people at my high school to take classes on campus through the enrichment program, actually. No ‘screening for giftedness’ required. Just interest and ok grades, really. We had one girl who was EXTREMELY driven, that she ran out of classes to take at the high school, so she basically spent senior year taking college classes. There was one girl who just moved to town, and had taken Italian at her old school. Our school didn’t have Italian, so she got to take Italian at the local college. One kid went to music lessons during his enrichment time. One kid did an independent study of old English for credit. One kid used her enrichment period to volunteer off site. One guy worked on his iphone apps. Some kids just did their homework. I worked through my depression.

      My point is, we have opportunities to everyone who sought them out. Group enrichment activities like field trips, various extracurriculars, Science Bowl, History Day, Chemistry Olympiad, etc, were open to anyone interested, not just those judged ‘gifted’ enough. We personalized enrichment for every kid. You know? I am very pro ‘gifted education’ in the sense that most of them are described. I am just pro-make it available to all, you know?

      Shit. There are many magnet and academically accelerated and otherwise ‘rigorous’ high schools in the USA. The difference through is that those entrance exams and GPA requirements are competitive, yes, but there’s no pretense that they are tests of inherent god-given blessing. Stuyvesant, that famous elite public high school in NYC, and full of the kids of working class immigrants, is the place of academically driven and serious students, not those blessed by God.

      These parents, they can send their kids to any elite high school, elite college that is supposed to be a gifted haven, and their kid will be surrounded by many of the ‘not truly gifted just tiger parents and really driven’ kids they don’t want around their gifted programs.

      Younger school, and parents, should cultivate curiosity and a love of learning for all youth. I think that is our collective responsibility.

    • Can you elaborate on this? The second sentence especially.

      “They aren’t just complaining about the problems of the schools their children attend. Many of these ‘gifted’ parents are a central part of the problem. If not for people like them, we might actually be able to solve some of these difficult issues of an inferior education system.”

      As you can see, I love asking questions. XD

      • So… the USA individualizes it for the disabled (which I 100% support) and those given the ‘gifted’ label. Finland individualizes it for everyone.

        Damn… my school had all of that shit listed here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gifted_education#cite_note-48

        We just didn’t offer it only to those identified as ‘gifted.’

        I do like the idea of this, but not just exclusively for those who score high on an IQ test :/

        Affective curriculum
        A curriculum that is designed to teach gifted students about emotions, self-esteem, and social skills. This can be valuable for all students, especially those who have been grouped with much older students, or who have been rejected by their same-age, but academically typical, peers. ”

        Well fuck me with a cactus. Sounds like something that would be valuable to a LOT of youth, not just those blessed by God.

        • “achievement and high levels of motivation in the domain become the primary characteristics of their giftedness. Various factors can either enhance or inhibit the development and expression of abilities.”

          “Primary characteristics” contradicts what I see with gifted sites. By that definition, is your underachieving and unmotivated kid ‘gifted’ or not? Gifted sites always talk about the underachievment and drop-out epidemic with gifted kids.

          And why so exclusive? The ‘characteristics of giftedness’ that these people describe could easily be fostered, especially from a young age. Fuck, even IQ tests can be trained. So how DO you tell who is blessed by God, when all of your measuring tools can be taught, to extents? Is the kid ahead in math? Yeah, that can be done with tiger parents. Is he really good at art? Hello, Chinese art teacher working with your kid. Frankly, the type of art teaching he did just isn’t availible in America. He is really curious? Parents can encourage that too. Is he witty? Same thing.

          Look Benjamin. American education frankly sucks. Fuck, American SPORTS education sucks. My mom put me through the entire YMCA swim lesson program as a kid. I still swam like a dying cat after graduating from the highest level. My mom took me to an athletic local Chinese grad student and martial arts coach. Had me swimming with proper form in no time. American skiing fucking sucks(the US ski team is so inconsistent in results because of our shitty system and lack of a real development program. All our top skiers weren’t even coached with mainstream methods, they had alternative coaches and parents); I had to get in touch with an Austrian coach and an American who was familiar with the Austrian system to actually improve my skiing. I look ice skating lessons. My dad yelling at me from the sideline improved my skating more than those lessons ever did.

          In America, our high achievers just don’t seem to emerge out of the mainstream pipeline. While in nations like Austria, they do.

          The biggest problem with American education whether academic or sports or whatever, is low expectations. Low expectations, low standards, lack of seriousness towards education, and just, well, FLUFF. Too much FLUFF. Lack of substance in lessons taught. You know?

          • We rely on talent too much, on luck, instead of producing, making solid players and solid results. Our talents are often coached alternatively, instead of through the mainstream methods. In skiing, the skiers who actually see results on the world stage didn’t listen to what the USSA (US skiing governing body) said, and used foreign coaches, or foreign-taught, not American ones. And then when these kids make it, the mainstream takes credit for it.

            Because American system has no solid system that can produce solid outcomes. We often stifle what would have been a promising person. We let people fall through the cracks. We are essentially a very leaky pipe. Essentially, our winners are winners DESPITE our system, not because of it.

  29. I’ll respond more when I’m not on mobile, but while this is in response of chu’s piece, it reminds me of your views on gifted parents.

    the problem, and reason why i feel little sympathy for these types, like aaronson, is that… they’re completely delusional. why should the world care about them, when by and large, the world doesn’t give a fuck about even the most gruesome cases of murder/abuse/whatever? of course, their feelings are valid, but the importance of their feelings, when compared to all the other people that they share this planet with, really disgusts me.
    these men seriously think they’re more deserving of help than people that REALLY do require assistance? there are tons upon tons of homeless first world children, children that are physically abused, elderly people that are abused, people dying of pancreatic cancer with no way to support themselves, the list goes on and on, and that’s just here. in america. it’s horribly pathetic and above all, it proves how SPOILED they actually are. i do not believe they’re truly self loathing. sure, they might be anxious about a few things, things they haven’t achieved, etc, but at the heart of it, they believe they’re more deserving, and better than most other people. and that’s why they’re such dicks.
    if they’re upset because they have depression or mood disorders, whatever, there are most definitely support groups for that type of thing. there are definitely some people that care, but mental illness is not a thing that garners much sympathy or understanding from most people, and this is something ALL people that are mentally ill have to face. this isn’t strictly gender specific, and there are millions of suffering people on the planet. to expect people to automatically care about their comparatively mild stressors, is fucking outrageous and shows how myopic and self involved they truly are.
    they don’t read the news with a heavy heart. they don’t care about anyone else’s way of life. they don’t care to know what it’s like to be anyone else, and i’m not just talking about women. i’m talking about men who spend 17 hours a day in forced labor camps being beaten or given electrical shocks when they’re too tired to subject themselves to noxious fumes and burn their hands while curing and producing cashews.
    i wish i could be as sympathetic as arthur chu on this issue, and that was a great article, but this whole thing just pisses me off. not just because of feminism, or women in general, but the lack of perspective and insistence that they are SO deserving of help, when awesome, innocent people are subjected to true suffering day in and day out and they live and die that way with no help, knowing basically nothing but misery.
    i’m not saying anything less than being beaten doesn’t deserve attention, but they respond with virulent hatred for women, and for a movement that tries to better women, worldwide. it’s just… the expectation of attention and assistance, and their general response to not receiving it… is so disgustingly bratty.

    • “while this is in response of chu’s piece, it reminds me of your views on gifted parents.”

      That is a connection that I would also make. All of this has to do with identity politics. The ‘gifted’ issue is just another identity politics with its own special interest group.

      I still connect this to privilege. especially class privilege. When you look at people promoting identity politics, they disproportionately are found among the middle-to-upper classes. It’s not to say that everything is about class, but in a class-based society like the US everything gets defined by and impacted by class.

      I even found this in the local black identity politics. Most of the people involved are college students. The poorest of working class and unemployed blacks, if they are involved at all, are rarely found in active and prominent roles in black identity politics or any other form of identity politics. Most poor people in general, of all races and ethnicities, are too busy and stressed out just getting by to worry about identity politics, including concerning themselves about whether their children are ‘gifted’ (as they are more worried about the entire failed education system as it is found in poor communities).

      This same issue is found in feminism as well.

      https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/black-feminism-and-epistemology-of-ignorance/

      I wrote that post because of having come across a quote by Angela Davis. She is a major leader in black feminism and helped develop intersectional theory, which basically just means where multiple disadvantages join to create a greater impact than either alone.

      Davis found that most feminists were middle class whites and so largely ignorant and unsympathetic toward the plight of poor and minority women. I’ve come across many middle class white feminists complain about issues that harm women while conveniently leaving out the fact that the women who are mostly harmed are poor minority women, not middle class white women. Their race and class privilege blinds them, and their feminism doesn’t give them the tools to understand their own ignorance.

      Middle class white people, whether women or men, complaining about their problems has a long history in this country. Because of their position and privilege, their voices get heard above everyone else’s and they are able to have greater influence than everyone else.

      Most of the ‘gifted’ children who are being most ignored and disadvantaged aren’t the children of middle class people and white people. No, the children with the greatest potential falling through the cracks are poor minorities. Even an upper working class white parent has immensely more resources at hand to help their ‘gifted’ child. Actually, even the average poor white parent has more resources since poor whites, unlike poor minorities, are more often found in wealthier communities (economic segregation being highly correlated to racial segregation).

      Your strong feelings about whiny men is the same as my strong feelings about whiny parents of ‘gifted’ children.

        • I mean something quite simple by saying ‘gifted’. Yeah, I mean two things by that.

          First, I question it is even a useful word. I often will do that with words that are of questionable validity or usefulness, such as ‘black’, ‘Asian’, ‘Western’. I just do that to emphasize that I’m speaking about a word that is a loaded term that few think to question.

          Second, to the degree it is a useful word, I’d broaden its meaning. A ‘gift’ of talent or ability is simply a human potential shared by most humans. Human nature includes vast more potential than ever gets expressed. All humans are ‘gifted’ in the broad sense, except maybe those who are brain-dead (until we find a way to reactivate their brains and their human potential).

          That is all I mean.

  30. “I know you write about class, but on the gifted parents bitching, I’m not sure if it’s entirely class based.”

    I think it is nearly impossible to separate anything from class in a class-based society. It is the same thing with race. It infects and permeates the entire society.

    “Tiger parenting isn’t really a class thing, as it transcends class at least for the East Asian community.”

    I’m not sure that is entirely the case. You have to understand that immigrants are a highly select group of people. Most immigrants to the US, especially from Asian countries, tend to be upper class people. There are disproportionately fewer poor people immigrating to the US from distant countries, for obvious reasons.

    “Funnily enough, they may also end up raising the kids’ iq scores from what they may have been if the kids weren’t pushed”

    There are some complicating factors here. There are large parts of the Asian American population that don’t have high average IQ scores. This is particularly true for the Asian American populations that have been here longer. The newest immigrant families tend to be of upper class. If you look at Asian countries, they don’t have on average higher IQs. It isn’t even clear that most Asian Americans and Asians, especially the poorest of the poor, are tiger parents. The Asian Americans who talk about being tiger parents tend to be middle-to-upper class.

    “So I suppose, and this may even be unintended/unconscious/they don’t realize it/ on their part, but there is a resentment because the presence of tiger parent kids represents, in ways (since the kids are in the gifted programs), the ‘gifted’ label being brought about through effort, not a gift given by genes or God.”

    I think the tiger parent angle both illumintes the issue and misses a larger point. There is nothing new about this. And it isn’t specifically Asian. When you look at the children who work the hardest in school and whose parents push them to work the hardest, what you often find is that they are immigrants, not just Asian immigrants but immigrants from all over. This has always been true. Immigrants are a select group of people who were driven in the first place to immigrate and they tend to be driven to succeed once they get here.

    The conflict is also ethnic conflict. Native born whites have always felt threatened by ethnic immigrants. This was as true for Jews and Germans as for Asians. Like Asians, one thing that made Jews and Germans so threatening was that they were high achieving. Recent Asian immigrants simply are repeating a well established pattern in American society.

    “You know, Benjamin, in American context, I’m not sure pushing kids a bit more is necessarily bad. I’m not a fan of very rigid tiger parenting but I feel like American expectations are pretty low.”

    I think that is more of a result of other problems than a cause in itself. We are a diverse society with high inequality (class, race, ethnicity, etc) and a relatively lower culture of trust. This inevitably leads to a dysfunctional society.

    Low expectations of students is just a side effect of low expectations of the society in general. If we had high expectations and genuinely believed they could and should be achieved, we would eliminate all the problems related to inequality and mistrust. Those problems aren’t objectively hard to solve, but a society has to want to solve its problems.

    We Americans, despite all the rhetoric to the contrary, are in many ways immensely fatalistic about our own society. There is a moral laziness about Americans. We don’t want to have to work hard to solve our shared problems.

    “I know you don’t sympathize with them. I am asking everything curiously. Why do you not sympathize when they talk about how 20% of gifted kids drop out of school because their needs are not met, or that gifted kids are more likely to end up doing drugs, or be underachieve (the high achievers are more likely not gifted!) Why don’t you sympathize when they talk about their kids’ hypersensitivity, argumentativeness, stubbornness, and for some of them, learning disorders, since you’ve had learning disorders as well? How to you feel when they talk about the toughness of asynchronicity, how their kids are intellectually far above grade level but often emotionally or socially immature, or how the kids don’t fit in?”

    I sympathize with the kids. I don’t sympathize with many of the parents.

    “There is the latent sentiment that the system is failing them, but not other people. These people don’t dislike the system in general, just the system for themselves, so to speak. They think the system fails THEM, but it’s great for everyone else. You, Benjamin, think the system is fucked up in general. These people, think the system fucks over THEM, but not other people. They likely think their problems are more unique than they actually are, if you know what I mean.”

    This is why I don’t have sympathy. They are expressing standard American privilege. Other people (minorities and poor people) deserve their problems. It is social Darwinism hidden behind rhetoric of meritocracy. This kind of superior attitude goes back to the beginning of American society. None of this is new. It’s the same old problems in a different guise.

    “I am very pro ‘gifted education’ in the sense that most of them are described. I am just pro-make it available to all, you know?”

    Yep. We are of the exact same mind on that point.

    “Younger school, and parents, should cultivate curiosity and a love of learning for all youth. I think that is our collective responsibility.”

    I wish Americans had a sense of collective responsibility. None of these problems are hard to solve. We just don’t want to solve them. In fact, many Americans assume people deserve their problems and that it would be against God’s Will or the Invisible Hand to eliminate those problems.

    “Can you elaborate on this? The second sentence especially.”

    I think I already elaborated in my above comments. I was just saying that these parents are part of a dysfunctional system. They are fine with the system itself and even promote it. They assume other people deserve their problems, but in their privilege they also assume the system should solve their own problems because they and their children are more worthy and deserving. It is some combination of race, ethnic, and class privilege.

    “So… the USA individualizes it for the disabled (which I 100% support) and those given the ‘gifted’ label. Finland individualizes it for everyone.”

    Sort of, but not all that much.

    When I was a kid, I got plenty of help for my learning disability. However, that was partly because I happened to be going to a well-funded school in a wealthy suburb of Chicago. A learning disabled poor black kid in inner city Chicago unlikely got the help I received.

    Also, that has changed a lot. My mom spent her entire career in public education. She said that in recent years this individual treatment of kids had mostly disappeared. All kids with problems are moreso just being put in the same class together, whether they have low IQ or learning disability or psychiatric problems.

    “Affective curriculum
    A curriculum that is designed to teach gifted students about emotions, self-esteem, and social skills. This can be valuable for all students, especially those who have been grouped with much older students, or who have been rejected by their same-age, but academically typical, peers.
    Well fuck me with a cactus. Sounds like something that would be valuable to a LOT of youth, not just those blessed by God.”

    In fact: It is the very kids who are least likely to get this help that need it the most. And it is the very kids who least need this help that get it.

    “And why so exclusive? The ‘characteristics of giftedness’ that these people describe could easily be fostered, especially from a young age. Fuck, even IQ tests can be trained. So how DO you tell who is blessed by God, when all of your measuring tools can be taught, to extents?”

    You have to understand that there is much overlap between the reactionary sphere and the ‘gifted’ parents sphere. The two groups often hold very similar views. The very idea of ‘gifted’ is ultimately a reactionary understanding of human nature. This is also why I lack sympathy for those who promote a reactionary worldview that harms so many other children and harms all of society.

    “In America, our high achievers just don’t seem to emerge out of the mainstream pipeline. While in nations like Austria, they do.”

    Nations like Austria aren’t based on racial, ethnic, and class privilege. Nations like Austria aren’t immigrant countries built on a history of indentured servitude, slavery, and native genocide.

    Also, by ‘mainstream’ what is implied is ‘public’. High quality anything rarely comes out of the public schools or anything else that is publicly run, unlike many other nations where publicly run means high quality. If you look at all the great American Olympic athletes, almost all of them are some combination of middle-to-upper class, white, and immigrant (or children of immigrants), which is to say that they have had the wealth and privilege to be trained by private coaches (not by anything public).

    “The biggest problem with American education whether academic or sports or whatever, is low expectations. Low expectations, low standards, lack of seriousness towards education, and just, well, FLUFF. Too much FLUFF. Lack of substance in lessons taught. You know?”

    The question is low expectations for which part of the population. It isn’t low expectation for the middle-to-upper classes who send their kids to private schools, private tutors, and private coaches. No, it is low expectations for those dependent on public services such as public schools. The lower classes are assumed to be inherently inferior or otherwise deserving of their fate. The American upper classes are doing great and are high achieving because they have all the resources they need. But it is true that few of them choose a career in sports.

    “We rely on talent too much, on luck, instead of producing, making solid players and solid results.”

    That is how the American ruling elite run a class-based social Darwinism meritocracy and plutocracy. The upper class kids with the most access to high quality resources have the least interest in sports. And the lower class kids with the most interest in sports (partly in hope of making money) have the least access to high quality resources.

    So, that leaves sports to be dominated by talent and luck.

    “Because American system has no solid system that can produce solid outcomes. We often stifle what would have been a promising person. We let people fall through the cracks. We are essentially a very leaky pipe. Essentially, our winners are winners DESPITE our system, not because of it.”

    My point is that you have to look beyond merely the way the system is. What is needed is an understanding of why the system is that way and what forces keep it that way. These aren’t new problems. They’ve existed for the entire history of this country. This requires understanding a complex set of factors: historical, cultural, demographic, etc.

    • To be fair japan/Korea/china/singapore do decently on iq but I get what your saying. That and I put pretty limited stock in iq anyways. It’s a limited system to be. Maybe not totally irrelevant but limited.

      • Some of the countries are hard to compare in terms of IQ and education. Not all countries require all children attend school, as is common in the West. So, many other countries by nature of their laws exclude the poorest (and hence lowest IQ) children from their school systems where testing occurs. I think that might be the case with Singapore and/or South Korea, if I remember correctly. Many have noted that the US would rate fairly high if it could only remove its poorest from the data.

  31. The issue right now is that the political right does not want to confront the issues facing education. I think that they rightly fear it as an existential threat to their ideology.

    • That is a good point. As it is an existential threat to their ideology, it is the Achille’s heel of the entire right. They will defend it fiercely with all their power for the very reason it is their weakness. If those on the left were wise, they would pour all of their energy and effort into this issue. There is no greater symbol of the public good than education.

  32. One thing that annoys me is dog-whistle racism bigotry. Which is… pretty much most comment threads on the internet.

    I know I’ve talked with you about this before, but for some reason, it’s like internalized-racism is this huge issue with Asians. In an American context, everytime something racist happens and people comment there is always a bunch of Asians with internalized-racism (when it’s racism against Asians) way more often than I see blacks or hispanics commenting on racism-against-them.

    Also, lol at people who complain that people chat to their friends on buses in different langauges they can’t understand :/ Like, dude, none of your business.

    I think some mainland China habits are jarring to me, but I’m not about to say I hate Chinese people and think they’re dirty dogs. I think there are 99 problems and then some in the country, but I never extrapolated that to hating Chinese people.

    Though to be honest, and I’m not trying to toot my horn, but I’m kind of naturally super easy-going and laid-back :/ I tend to absorb information before judgement, which is how I tend to, well, veer so well into other peoples’ opinions. I become them before I judge them.

    See?

    http://isitnormal.com/story/i-hate-the-chinese-7166/

    Also, most of those people sound barely literate in English themselves.

    All the Chinese people on here saying they agree with this question are stupid. If you are Chinese and you do hate Chinese people, then you just have internalized racism because you don’t respect your own people’s culture. All the non-Chinese people on here saying they don’t like Chinese just feel threatened by Chinese people. And it makes no sense for the asker of the question to say he doesn’t like the sound of the language, because China has hundreds of different languages which all sound completely different from each other. Which language are you talking about? That’s like saying you hate the sound of “Indian” when the country of India actually has tons of different langauges which sound really different. This question just shows major ignorance.

    So you are saying that there are “some” Chinese people out there who are not so bad. That is because there is only a small minority of Chinese people who act “American,” and you consider whatever is like you to be “good.” It is stupid that you say the Chinese people who huddle in groups and speak Chinese are annoying. Um…Americans do that too! It’s called being with friends and talking. That would be like someone saying “Oh, I hate those Americans. They always hang out together and speak English.” Um…DUH because that’s the language you speak. Could you be any more stupid? ”

    Like, Benjamin, there are SO MANY of these types of Asians, but I don’t see these types of Blacks or Hispanics to the same degree:

    http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=718255

    • “In an American context, everytime something racist happens and people comment there is always a bunch of Asians with internalized-racism (when it’s racism against Asians) way more often than I see blacks or hispanics commenting on racism-against-them.”

      This is where a sense of history is helpful.

      The history of African Americans and Hispanic Americans is far different from that of Asians. Most African Americans and Hispanic Americans have been in North America for longer than most non-Hispanic European Americans. Despite the racism of dominant society, they have fairly large well-established populations.

      Asian Americans aren’t comparable to African Americans and Hispanic Americans. Instead, Asians are closer to other more recent immigrant groups.

      Take the late 19th to early 20th century waves of Italian and German immigrants. During those tumultuous decades, there was much racism against all perceived ethnic Americans, especially immigrants. The KKK hated all ethnic Americans and most particularly hated Catholics like the Italians and many Germans.

      The world wars magnified this even far worse. Italians and Germans became the literal enemy. The violence and oppression against these ethnic Americans was immense. Many of them internalized the racism and did everything in their power to distance themselves from the country they, their parents, or their grandparents came from.

      Germans stopped practicing their traditions. They stopped speaking, preaching, and teaching in German. They changed or anglicized their names. German language newspapers closed down. Germans sought to assimilate and prove that they were real Americans with no loyalty to another country or culture.

      Asians are just following an old pattern of assimilation in the US. It is partly American culture that pushes for assimilation, but it is also human psychology. For an Asian person who spent their entire life in the West, they have no personal connection to, no familiarity with. and no understanding of any other society.

      The human desire to fit into the society one was born in is a deep primal instinct. It is sad to see people act this way. Still, I’d be a bit sympathetic and understanding. They are just being human.

      We all internalize cultural values and norms without realizing it. None of us are entirely free of this or entirely conscious of it. Yet it does seem worse in some people for some reason. The threat of not fitting in is the scariest thing in the world for many people. Everyone wants to belong somewhere and be accepted.

      I

      • I am comfortable and proud of my background, compared to before. Sure.

        At the same time, while I don’t react with the same self-worth destroying ways I did before, I’m still not pleased with the idea that internet netizens could represent the population at large, you know? I’d like the think they’re a vocal minority, not that these are actually representative :/ But I don’t count on that. Same way I’m not a fan of current Asian dynamics which I think dosent help. Sometimes though you see cool people o the internet. It seems to really depend on which forums you’re visiting. So the answer is, which is more representative of people? The people on the straight dope (some asian) who were repelled by that racist korean guy and his types of statements, or the dog-whistle racism of netizens in other internet spaces? The same comment can generate both depending.

        • The internet also has a way of showing you whatever you look for.

          This has various causes, including how search engines tailor their results to fit your previous search history. It also depends where you spend your time for the people you surround yourself with will determine what you see, which views you hear and the other things that you get linked to.

          This creates a media bubble that can be hard to see out of without much conscious intention and effort.

          I’ve noticed how my experience and mood shifts depending on where I spend time on the web and what kinds of web searches I do. Spending a lot of time on Youtube was detrimental. I think the same thing can be true of Facebook as well, although it gives you a bit more control.

          This is also true for where I blog. I tried out My Opera at first (no longer existing), but I didn’t like blogging there. My Opera had a slightly different crowd, maybe a bit alternative or international or something. I then blogged for a long time at Gaia.com (also no longer existing). Gaia was a nice place for it was originally a non-profit organization that had a large site of blogs and forums, all with an alternative focus (lots of integral and spiritual types). It was a positive environment and a large community that entirely lacked right-winger and reactionary elements. Now I have WordPress which is more mainstream and there is no community experience.

          The internet creates these media bubbles that can be both good and bad. If you find yourself sharing a media bubble with a bunch of kind and curious people, it can be a great experience. But if not, you can feel overwhelmed by cynism, bigotry, and trolling. All the people with social and psychiatric problems tend to all concentrate together in the same forums and blogging communities. When you come across these, it is big ball of suck!

  33. To be honest, as someone who has social anxiety issues, the brashness of mainland Chinese dosen’t bother me, because I don’t feel I have to ‘put on’ pretenses, small talk, smile, you know what I mean? Same with Russians. They aren’t ‘brash’ per se but there’s none of that American small talk stuff. The bluntness and brashness and what can be considered ‘rude’ in the West works for me. On the other hand the extreme social politeness of Japan makes me anxious, but it seems to make a lot of American and Western visitors happy (these people who will often go on to trash mainland chinese rudeness, LOL)

    Like, I’m not always smiling. In America there is this pressure to always have a smile on in interactions. In America there is too much pressure to plaster on a fake smile, and if you don’t you’re percieved as ‘cold.’ This bullshit isn’t the case in some other countries.

      • I had my issues with the standard AA self-hate, but I feel I’ve gotten over it. For one thing, I’ve moved past this stage:

        I know this might sound weird based on our conversations, but I’m really not a naturally super judgy person, you know? Yes we’re all judgemental but I feel like I’m a pretty easy-going temperament.

        I like my background and don’t see anything wrong with it. I’m bi-ethnic and therefore have connection with Central Asia, the muslim world, etc. I’m cool and confortable with it. I’m proud of knowing my parents’ language, you know? I’m proud to be multilingual. I like knowing Chinese and Russian, I think they’re both great languages. I think it’s cool that my grandparents spoke Russian as well. Like, I fully identify as American, but I no longer see a conflict between my background and being American, you know?

        Basically I’ve moved past this stage:

        http://www.reddit.com/r/asianamerican/comments/2ry8vc/it_seems_like_theres_a_bit_of_tension_between/

        At the same time, bigotry still annoys and bothers me. The ones with the “i have many friends of xxx group” or the “not all are bad but they’re pretty much shit” or “my xxx friend agrees with me” or the “the sub-xxx group are alright but this sub-xxx group is satan”

        Like, this annoys me to shit: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/schools-backs-prof-who-says-asian-immigration-has-damaged-vancouver/article22358317/

        You KNOW it’s gonna bring on the standard reaction of dog-whistle bigotry :/

        • This is me, but the ‘dosen’t apply to you’ dosen’t fly with me. Once in facebook this guy posted a really misogynistic, bitter, status( I think he got dumped…. again) and his female friends were offended. He said “You’re different. You’re a friend.” And his friends were cool with it. It didn’t fly with me, so I gave him a piece of my mind. Though I think he later got back together with the lady and I’m on good terms with him, LOL

          Same with Asian thing. If some person is saying shit about, say, Koreans but say “don’t worry you’re Chinese” it dosen’t fly with me. I don’t do the ‘you’re one of the good ones’ schtik. You know?

          • And fyi, I think the prof is perfectly within his rights to speak as he is, and i think his school did the right thing in defending him.

            This guy has a point, but unfortunately, things like this always end up being a shitstorm of racism. You know what I mean?

            “The professor is partly correct: Vancouver is no longer the beautiful city it once was.More and more it looks like a giant shopping mall turned inside out and developers are erecting look alike glass boxes everywhere ,including in areas that for the past century had been zoned for cpmmercial use or for single family houses.However , Asian immigrants have only played a relatively small role in this process.The main impetus behind it is a symbiotic relationship between city hall and developers.Mayor Robertson is obsessed with promoting eco density , while the city and the developers make money from each other.In fact , the city of Vancouver has gone completely overboard in the wrong direction and all along should have worked on implementing a decent transit system and thereby making it easier and more convenient to live in the suburbs.Vancouver’s current transit system is pathetic-easily one of the worst in the world on a per capita basis.Even in Detroit buses run far longer hours.It’s all because nobody wants to pay their fair share of taxes ,presumably because they’re struggling to keep a roof over their heads in this so -called most livable city which also has run down old dumps of houses on the east side listed at $900,00 and up.”

        • “I like my background and don’t see anything wrong with it. I’m bi-ethnic and therefore have connection with Central Asia, the muslim world, etc. I’m cool and confortable with it. I’m proud of knowing my parents’ language, you know? I’m proud to be multilingual. I like knowing Chinese and Russian, I think they’re both great languages. I think it’s cool that my grandparents spoke Russian as well. Like, I fully identify as American, but I no longer see a conflict between my background and being American, you know?”

          I would say that you’ve successfully assimilated. You are confident and comfortable enough with your American identity that you can embrace your ancestry as well.

          Maybe most other Asian Americans haven’t gotten to that point, but every ethnic group eventually does get to that point. It took centuries for African Americans and Hispanic Americans to get that confident and comfortable, as their process of assimilation was particularly troublesome. Other ethnic groups such as Italian Americans and German Americans were able to assimilate much quicker.

          I think assimilation has become easier over time, as overt bigotry and legal prejudice has lessened and as a national American culture has come to dominate over the ethnocentric regional cultures (North, South, etc). I think growing urbanization with its inherent diversity has helped as well. Americans are becoming more used to people with complex American identities.

          Still, the old difficulties and antagonisms are still around, although to a lesser degree. Assimilation is never an easy process. A diverse society like America is a vast social experiment.

          • Sort of. But many Italian immigrants had curly black hair and skin as dark or darker than most African Americans. It took a long time for these groups to be accepted as ‘white’ and as real Americans.

            These ethnic Americans were perceived as real threats. There were ethnic Americans committing terrorism during the early 1900s and during the world wars. The Italians also had the powerful and violent Black Hand which then turned into the Mafia.

            It is easy for us to project our sense of ‘whiteness’ back onto the past. Being ‘white’ used to be a much different category than it is now.

            All of this has to do with perception.

            Why is it that Israelis and Palestinians perceive each other as separate groups? Many Israelis and Palestinians share quite a bit of genetics and culture (Palestinians were the original Jews that never left and so converted to Islam, although they still hold onto some of their original culture).

            Why was it that in past centuries the English were able to perceive the Irish as a completely foreign race, identifying them with other indigenous people such as Native Americans and portraying them as apes? Many English and Irish share quite a bit of genetics and culture.

            What causes a dark-skinned, black curly-haired Italian to be perceived as either black or white? Many Southern Italians and North Africans share quite a bit of genetics.

            What causes a Scandinavian with slanted eyes to not be perceived as Asian and an Asian without slanted eyes to be perceived as Asian? Many Scandinavians and Asians share quite a bit of genetics, although not so much culture (but it is true that Scandinavians are culturally different from other Europeans in their being much more collectivist).

            Population genetics (or even ethnic cultures) don’t exist within strict boundaries. Rather, they exist on a continuum of mixtures. Asians and Europeans are genetically quite close. There is a vast area of central Eurasia where people have stereotypical features of both Europeans and Asians. Eastern Europeans and Western Asians may have more in common with one another than either has with Western Europeans and Eastern Asians.

            What commonality makes all ‘white’ people ‘white’? The Sami and Basque are genetically unique Europeans and yet they would get called white in America. Technically, North Africans, Arabs, and Indians are all Caucasian and many would get perceived as white. Many Cubans get perceived as white. Why have Eastern Europeans sometimes been perceived as part of the same race as Western Europeans and sometimes as a separate race?

            It is dependent on perception who gets thought of as looking like the dominant population, and this is a highly subjective process. Perception is a strange thing. It is so embedded in the cultural values and norms that we internalize. We have a hard time seeing the assumptions and filters that operate in our minds because they are mostly unconscious.

          • You identify as both Asian and American. But you also mention your grandparents spoke Russian.

            So, why don’t you identify as Russian and hence European? Do you not perceive Russians as European and ‘white’?

            For much of history, Russians were perceived as Easterners, rather than as Westerners. It is only in recent history that Russians have come to be thought of as Europeans.

            Russians are as far away from Hispanics of Spain as any two European groups can be. What makes them both European and ‘white’? They are as far apart as Eastern Europeans are from many Asians.

            With your Asian and Russian ancestry, what makes you Asian while making you not European and not ‘white’?

            It is similar to what makes an African American ‘black’ even if they are majority European genetics. Many so-called black people have almost no African genetics and are extremely light-skinned (in some cases lighter-skinned than many white people), and yet in America they are still ‘black’. Why?

          • I don’t have Slavic russian ancestry. My grandparents were Chinese in China but learned russian during their school years so they spoke it as a second language

            The popular argument against that is the “there were no laws against marrying ethnic euros”

          • That is interesting.

            Particularly interesting is that your Chinese grandparents would learn Russian, something few Americans would choose to do for themselves or for their children. Why did your grandparents learn Russian in their childhood? I wouldn’t be surprised if, during the Cold War, many Chinese learned Russian and many Russians learned Chinese.

            It is further interesting that as an Asian American you’d consider the Russian language as an important and valuable part of your family heritage, as you come from a multi-lingual Asian family. This sets you apart from most other Americans who don’t know another language, in particular not Russian.

            Whatever the case may be with your grandparents, I do think that relates to how close Russia and China seem to be in many ways, maybe as close as (or else no more far away than) Russia is to Western and Southern Europe. Russia and China definitely seem closer than are Russia and the United States, the very definition of opposite in Cold War terms (culturally and politically opposite and opposing). Russia and China have been the two greatest enemies of the US in modern history, and both for the same basic reason of the perceived communist threat.

            From a Western perspective (especially an Anglo-American perspective), Russia and China have a fair amount in common. Russia has often been perceived as an Eastern country, although that has changed a bit with the end of the Cold War and the incresing globalization of European economies and militaries. However, Western conflict with Russia and China seems like it could quickly boil over again, as both have been positioning themselves on the global scene.

            Many culturally interpret why Russia, Eastern Europe, China, and much of Asia were all attracted to communism whereas Western Europe and the US wasn’t. At least in the cases of Russia and China, they both have more rigidly hierarchical, patriarchal, and collectivist societies. Even Russian Orthodox Christianity was always different from the Christian traditions in the rest of Europe, in particular from the West and Anglo-America.

            So, what makes Russians ‘European’ and ‘white’? Where is the exact cut off for who gets included as ‘European’ and ‘white’ as opposed to ‘Asian’? Where is the exact cut off between ‘Western’ and ‘Eastern’? Russia certainly isn’t part of Western Europe, and so it isn’t a ‘Western’ country. Does that mean it is an ‘Eastern’ country? Or is it neither ‘Western’ nor ‘Eastern’? Was it mere propaganda that, during the Cold War, Russia was associated with the Eastern part of the Clash of Civilizations?

            On a related note, we Westerners tend to clearly demarcate all of China (with its vast ethnic, cultural, linguistic, religious diversity) as both ‘Asian’ and ‘Eastern’. To many non-Asians, China is the very definition of ‘Asian’. That is the basis of the stereotype of the ‘Asian’, most especially in the US with Chinese being the earliest wave of Asian immigrants.

            But not all ‘Asians’ have the same appearance and culture, as seen in stereotypes. Is there a reason a supposedly ‘Asian’ person living geographically, culturally, and politically far away from China should identify with a common racial label that includes Chinese? Is there a reason that a much vaster and more diverse Asia should have as much of a unified identity as Europe when even less vast and less diverse Europe struggles with the notion of a common identity? Then the US immigration history of Asian Americans adds another layer of complexity and confusion to the ‘Asian’ identity.

            I don’t personally care how people identify (racially, ethnically, nationally, etc). All I care is that people are free to choose their identities. I have my doubts that any of this is or should be particularly relevant for legal and census purposes. But I’m a big fan of knowing the history of one’s culture and the ancestry of one’s family.

            For me, it isn’t so much an issue of pride. I just find it fascinating. This is why I’ve spent thousands of hours researching cultural/ethnic history and my family’s genealogy. But I’m too much of an American mutt with centuries-old American roots to identify as anything other than American. No one in my family has spoken any language other than English for many generations. I have little direct sense of connection to Europe, even though that is where my ancestors came from.

            I honestly don’t feel labels like ‘Western’, ‘European’, ‘Asian’, etc have much if any more meaning than racial labels. But that probably is just my ‘American’ identity speaking through a biased lense. LOL

          • I’ll reply more later when not on mobile, but the culture thing you mention is a popular meme with hdd’ers. Basically western and northern euros are uniquely individualistic due to genes. Hajnal line and all. This dosent include southern euros though. These days the southern euro nations of Spain Portugal Italy and Greece

          • This is a topic I’ve written a ton about. Labels like these fascinate me.

            It seems strange to me how Jews became European and white. They are genetically and culturally in common with other Middle Eastern Semites, such as Palestinians. Yet centuries in Europe finally, in recent history, made them European and then in 20th cent US they became white… in spite of their maintaining their own separate Middle Eastern originated culture, religion, and language.

            Meanwhile, Hispanics including those who live in Spain are in a uncertain middle ground. The British and Anglo-American haven’t identified racially and culturally with Hispanics for centuries because of the old imperial conflicts between the British and Spanish empires, having carried over to the Americas including the division within the United States itself (since most of the present US North American territory was once part of the Spanish Empire).

            All of Latin America has dominant cultural, political, racial, religious, and linguistic traditions that go back to European Spain. This is no different than the US and Canada having their own traditions that go back to European Britain and France. So, why is only North America considered part of the West and not the rest of the Americas? Why is whiteness defined according to Western and Northern (most especially British) Europe rather than Eastern and Southern Europe?

            There is an never has been a unified European culture and ‘white’ race. Yet we have come to perceive such a thing existing, even though it only exists in our shared imagination.

            Also, consider the Levant, Egypt, and North Africa. These were central parts of both the Roman Empire and Christendom. These areas are all considered Caucasian. The Egyptians and many Near Easterners have Christian traditions older than any found in most parts of Europe. The Egyptian Coptic Christians are among the earliest Christians in the world.

            All of the Mediterranean societies share much genetics and culture. The early Romans correctly saw that they had more in common with other Mediterranean people than with Western and Northern Europeans. The rest of Europe was as far away from Rome as was the East.

            How did that so drastically change? Where did the monolithic ‘Europe’ and the monolithic ‘white’ come from? These societies had no more in common than they had with many other cultures. It was only until fairly recently that these newer large-scale identities began to form.

            This same kind of analysis could be applied to all of the East. Calling all Easterners as Asian would have been bizarre not too long ago. And what about people from India? Thay are technically Caucasians, including common linguistic and cultural traditions with Europe. Why are Indians from India considered Easterners and yet obviously not Asians?

            Don’t you see how strange and how superficial all these labels are?

          • I do. And as an added point Russian language has a rather diverse and big reach. Russian speaking asian looking people are a dime a dozen. Maybe not East Asians per se, but central Asians, siberians? Russian is ubiquitous. I have some Siberian ancestry(Yakut) so I suppose I could say I have some connection in that sense.

            I think America does a rough labeling these days based in mostly looks. And I’ll admit I’m no different in having cultural glasses on. To me Jews and spainiards look white. But the American definition of white is essentially pan-European, and so many white Americans are literally pan-European in blood. Probably other stuff too, but we tend to judge based on phenotype don’t we? The idea of a pan-identity does seem pretty American though. Asians being on a whole newer to America (Asians have always been here, mind you) are probably in the stage of feuding white ethnics last century. Though I wonder if Asians will follow the exact same path, since the “asian new comer period” aka right now is taking place in a pretty different world than 100 years ago (more liberal, discrimination doing from de jure to de facto, etc) and that Asians look more different from Anglo Europeans than the Germans and Italians did, especially Germans.

            I remember abagond envisioning a future somewhat like Latin America with aixed population that still operates under a hierarchy. With blacks at the bottom, whites as top. Basically a light to dark gradient.

            As an aside, you know how most of Chinese is considered Han? I think that itself is much more a cultural construction than a genetic construction. Different regions vary as much physically. Definitely. Koreans and Japanese I can see it being more a genetic construction and more homogenous, but there’s no way that’s the case for Han Chinese.

          • As an American mutt, it is extremely hard for me to take these labels seriously. They just don’t feel real to me, at a gut level. I have a relatively diverse ancestry, but I don’t particularly identify with any part of it.

            The last part of my family that remembered their ancestry was my father’s paternal grandmother because her family immigrated in the mid 1800s (the most recent immigrants in my family, the earliest going back to the mid 1600s). Until I started doing genealogy research, my family didn’t even have a clue where we came from.

            It was total cultural amnesia through centuries of assimilation. There isn’t anything left for me to be proud of. All I am is an ‘American’ which isn’t really saying much at all. It does feel sad in a way, that loss of one’s past. I sympathize with newer immigrants who cling to their ethnicity.

          • Anyway, I would say its hard to apply the eastern western dichotomy and American racial definitions when thinking about russian identity. I definitely don’t see russia as western, but I see it as Slavic, European in origin, yet inseparable from Turkic and asiatic as well. When you say russian the first that pops into my mind is a Slavic white person, but at the same time I see russia as this intrinsically diverse place and see Turkic, asian, non-russian Slavs as equally part of russian and integral to russian history and culture if that makes sense. So… Russia’s Slavic, yet rigidly bound

            The Russia China thing is interesting. I don’t know enough about or to comment though. Xenophobia can be an issue on both though.

          • Sorry not rigidly bound.

            Anyway I don’t identify with Russia since I have no significant history or cultural ties. But if I were, say, of an asian-russian background I’m sure I would identify as Russian. If my family lived in Russia for significant periods or times. Not necessarily native siberians, but Iike the ethnic Koreans/Japanese/mongolians/Chinese who’ve been in Russia. Examples like viktor tsoi and nelli kim come to mind.

          • “The Russia China thing is interesting. I don’t know enough about or to comment though. Xenophobia can be an issue on both though.”

            I don’t havve any grand knowledge and insight. I was just thinking about possible connections. During the Cold War, Westerners thought of Russians like the Mongol hordes of the past. They were coming to destroy Western civilization.

            I would guess that most Slavic people today identify as European. I’m not sure when that began and how it developed. The European Enlightenment did have impact on Russia, but I don’t know how much it impacted the Slavic world in general especially at the more eastern edges.

            As an interesting side note, the word slave comes from Slavic. Arabs thought the Slavs were beautiful people and so they were highly desired as concubines.

          • Slavs are beautiful people, indeed.

            Depends how you define European. Geography wise Slavs are indigenous to the Continent. I’d say they’re European in that sense. I’d say Slavs look more similar to Western Europeans than to Asians, per se. Culturally European often means Western European. Here when we as someone’s European it’s Western European. In that sense they aren’t “European.” As a whole though Eurasian might be how I’d think of Russia. That and literally geography. Who knows. Maybe one day Siberia will no longer belong no Russia. But even them the Russian influence in Siberia is rooted. In the former soviet republics they’re technically not under russian control but the Russian influence has been ubiquitous.

            Slav is the Russian word for “word”, btw

          • I don’t even like the Eurasian label. Just…. Russia, I guess. Russia is Russia. It’s the big, mysterious guy in the room that you can’t ignore. It’s its own person really.

  34. I like sharing things I know about Mandarin or whatnot with people who are interested.

    “It is true that a lot of Chinese people and Chinese culture embody the stereotypes that you make.

    Japan and South Korea are richer and much more advanced in terms of technology and integration with the West. China is poorer, with a lot more people, so even their advances are tempered by the needs of 10 times more people than either Japan or Korea. When you compare a country that is lower on that index to one that is higher, then of course there will be shortcomings.

    How do you balance the environment with over a billion people’s demands for energy for their use and products made in factories? When hundreds of millions of people still live in poverty, compared to hundreds of millions more in the middle class cities on the west coast, then you will have mass amounts of people who don’t give a crap about something like intellectual property. If a country is just poor, that is easier because they may not have the resources or audience for illegal DVDs. China has both people rich enough to mass produce it, and people poor enough to need it. I disagree that its a Chinese thing, something inherent within their culture, its more of an economic thing.

    Even within your own culture, you admit that your artistic designs are looked upon lowly. Are you happy about that? Would you be happy if people said its because Japanese or Koreans don’t have an eye for art, that they are somehow deficient? *If that hurts you, think of what you are saying about Chinese people based on meeting a few, when hundreds of millions of them are probably that way because they are simply poor.*

    And instead of staying in your own country, you abandon them to canoodle with the round-eyes of the West. Why live in Europe? Why not try to make Japan or Korea appreciate your art? Or maybe do better art that will be appreciated in your home country? You seem like a quitter, or someone who’s not good enough to make it at home so you leave it to find dumb people who think that you being Asian is some exotic fruit to be oooh’d and aaahh’d over. Get over yourself or get better, don’t blame genetics for your failings ”

  35. “I’ll reply more later when not on mobile, but the culture thing you mention is a popular meme with hdd’ers. Basically western and northern euros are uniquely individualistic due to genes. Hajnal line and all. This dosent include southern euros though. These days the southern euro nations of Spain Portugal Italy and Greece”

    I share with many HBDers an interest in patterns to be found within, across, and between cultures. But there are many differences between HBDers and myself.

    I tend to see a lot more overlap and mixing of along with gradation and continuation between populations… both genetically and culturally. There is no dividing line between East and West. The dividing line is imaginary and so the labels of ‘Eastern’ and ‘Western’ are also imaginary. Still, it can help in thinking about general trends and patterns across vast continental populations, but ultimately not that helpful in that they are too broad of generalizations.

    I also tend to emphasize environmental factors far more because I don’t see humans as all that genetically different. All that genetics is good for in understanding populations is in looking for markers that explains their origins, migrations, conquerings, etc. Human genetic differences tells us more about history than about human nature.

    In the end, I see Russians as an example of what is wrong with the entire East vs West mentality. East and West are as much social constructions as are black and white. But I do think there are real cultural differences, even if our understanding of those differences are too simplisti and broadly sweeping.

    In one book I was reading (The Invisible History of the Human Race by Christine Kenneally), the author was pointing to research that showed the stereotypical thinking styles (and hence cultures) associated with East and West were actually correlated with rice and wheat agricultural pracctices. Where wheat has been grown in the East for a very long time, the supposed Western thinking styles are more common. So, no genetics or ethnicity is needed to understand why the differences exist.

    There has been no study yet that has proven a genetic cause for cultural differences. Even so, cultural differences remain interesting, as long as we take the broader theories about them with a grain of salt.

    • I also like to play around with ideas, whether or not I ultimately agree with them. I don’t mind taking certain HBD hypotheses seriously and seeing what they might imply. I even like reversing HBD arguments (as I’ve done in some posts) in order to make the opposite argument HBDers make.

      In this way, I might play around with the idea of a Western culture. If we are going to take that idea seriously, then we’d have to do a few things that would make HBDers unhappy. For historical reasons, I’d separate both Eastern Europe and Mediterranean Europe from Western Europe. And for the same reasons (including linguistic and genetic reasons), I’d include all of the Americas including Latin America as part of the Western cultural sphere.

      If we are really to talk about the West as something opposed to the East (and the rest of the non-Western world), we have to actually face the genuine full history of the West. We can’t just limit ourselves to the convenient parts that fit our assumptions, biases, and beliefs.

    • The other option is to separate Spain and Iberian cultures in general from Western cultures (and, by doing so, allowing for the cultural separation of and distinction between North America and the rest of the Americas). Iberia could be considered more as a Mediterranean culture or else where the Mediterranean cultures meet Atlantic cultures along with the closest meeting point between Europe and North Africa.

      Iberia and the Mediterranean are very much different kinds of cultures than found in France, Germany, Scandinavia, and Britain. The latter are places where there had been stronger rule and cultural dominance of Celtics, Vikings, and Germanic tribes. Plus, there is the Basque connection to the Irish (genetically the same people).

      Much of what gets called Western culture actually came from or was passed through the Mediterranean societies. The West took the non-Western ideas, practices, and technologies and then give them a unique Western expression. What made the West great was its ability to borrow and steal from other societies and integrate the non-Western elements into Western society.

    • Look at hbdchick’s analysis of the Hajnal line and other mappings of data. In particular, look at the map of ratings of individualism and collectivism.

      https://hbdchick.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/big-summary-post-on-the-hajnal-line/

      In many of the maps, much of Spain, Portugal, and Italy and all of Greece are clearly separate from the patterns of Western Europe. Interestingly, so is Ireland with its Basque-originated population.

      Considering that, why do self-identified ‘Westerners’ so often take credit for all the great inventions of the Mediterranean cultures when they are obviously separate cultures?

      It was Spain with North African influence that also jumpstarted the Rennaisance in the West. Democracy and philosophy came from Greece (and Greeks often credited the origins of their own high culture as being from Egypt), Christianity from the Roman Levant and Alexandrian Jews (also Augustine’s North African influence), multiculturalism from Hellenist Egypt and Rome, the printing press from Asia, much of mathematics from Arabia, the alphabet from Mesopotamia and other places, et cetera. Even the practice and technology of alcohol distilling came from outside the West.

      Westerners take from other cultures and then claim it as their own as if they had invented it all themselves. But in reality all that has supposedly made the West great didn’t come from the West. If most of what is considered Western didn’t originate in the West, then what does it mean to be Western?

      • That does show a divide between southern ruros and nw euros. Still, I don’t really but the idea that nw euros are inherently more individualistic and more accepting if others. I think that is just projected bias. And playing into the popular reactionary meme.

        • I guess it depends on what one means by individualistic.

          Anyway, I dont think that individualistic is necessarily a good thing. I also don’t think that individualistic necessarily means being more accepting of others.

          I suspect that individualism is more complex than most reactionaries would allow. Reactionaries tend to look for what to me seems like simplistic theories and simplistic judgments.

    • Here is a passage from a book I’m reading right now. The main reason I was interested in it is because the author discusses the Axial Age.

      In reading the section on Islam, I came across an interesting explanation of how hard it is to define the West. It depends on who is doing the defining.

      According to a larger historical perspective, what we today consider the ‘West’ (i.e., Northwest Europe) is at best really only the far fringe of the West, not its core. The Eastern Mediterranean world and surrounding areas has a better claim on the title of the ‘West’ than does Northwest Europe.

      Why the West Rules–For Now
      by Ian Morris
      Kindle Location 5654-5662

      “Conventional wisdom in eighteenth-century Britain, like that in seventh-century Constantinople, saw Christianity as the West’s defining value and Islam as its antithesis. The rulers of cores probably always picture those who move in from the fringes as barbarians, but Gibbon understood full well that the Arabs were actually part of the larger second-wave Axial transformation of the Western core that had begun with the triumph of Christianity. We can, in fact, out-Gibbon Gibbon, putting the Arabs into a still-longer tradition going all the way back to the Amorites in Mesopotamia in 2200 BCE, and seeing them as they saw themselves: as people who had already been drawn into the core by its conflicts, and who were now claiming their rightful place at its head. They came not to bury the West but to perfect it; not to thwart Justinian’s and Khusrau’s ambitions, but to fulfill them.

      “Plenty of political pundits in our own century find it convenient, like Gibbon’s eighteenth-century critics, to imagine Islamic civilization as being outside of and opposed to “Western” civilization (by which they generally mean northwest Europe and its overseas colonies). But that ignores the historical realities. By 700 the Islamic world more or less was the Western core, and Christendom was merely a periphery along its northern edge. The Arabs had brought into one state roughly as much of the Western core as Rome had done.”

  36. Other than saying I think he has a right to free speech, I don’t have much to say other than….. On his ratemyprofessor page students think he’s one of the best looking professors they’ve had. Really? :s

    Also it wonder how representative comments sections are of the population. Are the Canadians around me if I go to canada, vancouver silently thinking like professor for example?

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/to-silence-unb-professor-would-be-to-lend-his-opinion-strength/article22422550/

    What’s your opinion Benjamin

    • Well, Canada has always been multicultural. It is far more diverse (and always has been) than the US which is famous for being an immigrant nation. To assimilate to a multicultural society would mean to embrace multiculturalism.

      It seems to me that it is people like the professor who are refusing to assimilate to the local social norms of Canadian society. It is precisely because it is a multicultural society that there is allowed a diversity of opinions, even ignorant opinions such as that of the professor. But if Canadians were to get rid of everyone who refused to assimilate, they’d have to begin with the professor and his ilk.

    • The first response to the comment sounds like something I’d write, if I were Canadian. Places like Canada have been multicultural for longer than they’ve been countries. Anyway, the First Nations have been wondering for a long time when the Europeans and their descendants are going to assimilate.

      • Modern day immigrant bashers don’t see European ethnic groups as out groups, though. They’re very much a pan European group, hence the council of euro Canadians (not the council of Anglo and French Canadians)

        I also doubt these particular xenophobes could be convinced to change their minds much. Germans, Irish, and Ukrainians could forget their language and culture and easily be practically indistinguishable from Anglos. Asians can have zero ties to Asia but will still look different, so to speak.

        Funny, but the professor himself is of mixed race.

        • We only think of all Europeans as the same because of two reasons. There has been so much intermarriage in countries like Canada and the US. And the racial order filters our perception of reality. In centuries past, different European people perceived each other as looking very differently, even to the point of considering Europe to consist of multiple races. Interracial and inter-ethnic marriages are increasing. Give it another century and the white category will increasingly include Hispanic and Asian features (or mixtures of them with European features).

  37. What do you think of this?

    awayfromtheoven.com/2012/01/22/mom-stuff-the-g-word-gifted/

    awayfromtheoven.com/2012/01/24/gifted-why-is-it-so-hard-to-say-why-do-we-hide-it/

    • From the second link:

      “Here is my take on gifted – it doesn’t make you better, it doesn’t make you worse, it just means you might be wired a bit differently, and therefore act and think a bit differently. Again, not better, not worse, just different.”

      I call bullshit. Gifted doesn’t mean just different. Every kid is just different, as in no kid is the same. Even low IQ and learning disabled kids are just different, but no one is going to call them gifted. The label of gifted implies that the child is different in specific ways that our society highly values and considers better.

      No parent ever claims their severe learning disabled child is the exact gift from God they always hoped for, that they prayed to God during the pregnancy that their child would turn out to just be different in a way society judges as bad. No parent ever claims that they always wanted a severely autistic child who can’t communicate and is prone to violent outbursts.

      Of course, parents who claim their kids as gifted are glad their kids didn’t have the complete opposite fate of being below average, especially far below average.

      “People are often surprised when they find out how we discovered our daughter was gifted – we didn’t go looking to have that title attached to her, as so many assumed… We didn’t work with her, use flash cards or teach her to read early. She was tested at age four, when her only form of education had been a warm and loving play based preschool.”

      I don’t care who gave her the label. It is still bullshit. The parent had to accept and embrace that label. No child is born ‘gifted’. It is a role forced onto the child and then teachers and parents treat that child differently. The difference is a social construction, a subjective perception, and a loaded value judgment.

      • In her kids cause though, if you say no kid is born gifted… can you elaborate? Since it seems some kids are ‘earilier’ than others. It’s possibe her daughter did meet milestones earlier hence the label. But I wonder if it’s just a case of expression. People express things differently. We don’t really know what truly inside people.

        Funny, but I was looking at a school that serves only the ‘profoundly gifted.’ And the average SAT score is good, but not any way suggestive of ‘profoundly gifted.’ in the sense schools define it. Like, I have better SAT scores and most of my friends do, than those scores. And no one ever labeled us.

        I think the problem is that often people fall thrugh the cracks. In my work with spirituality and mediumship I was ‘gifted’ as a kid, but not in the way schools define it. I was odd. I could have been acknowledged more. And it’s the same for all kids.

        Benjamin why are you so good as distilling my laughts into words? like I’ve said this ad nauseum but you put it way bwetter than me.

        “I call bullshit. Gifted doesn’t mean just different. Every kid is just different, as in no kid is the same. Even low IQ and learning disabled kids are just different, but no one is going to call them gifted. The label of gifted implies that the child is different in specific ways that our society highly values and considers better.”

        • “In her kids cause though, if you say no kid is born gifted… can you elaborate?”

          I just meant what I’ve said before.

          Gifted implies someone was just born with some potential, but all kids are born with immense potential that our society doesn’t know how to or chooses not to tap into. I’d argue that even most below average kids have more latent talents and unexpressed potential than what is seen expressed in the most precocious gifted child.

          Either no kid is born gifted or all kids are born gifted. Any other use of that word is meaningless.

          “Since it seems some kids are ‘earilier’ than others. It’s possibe her daughter did meet milestones earlier hence the label. But I wonder if it’s just a case of expression. People express things differently. We don’t really know what truly inside people.”

          Yeah, expression. If you take two kids of the exact same potential or even exact same genetics, you can get them to manifest entirely differently.

          For example: Give one identical twin immense privileges and resources with parents who read to him when he is young and don’t beat him, with a stable home life and low stress, with the best nutrition and a low pollution environment, et cetera. Give the other identical twin the complete opposite conditions. Does anyone really think those two kids will turn out the same?

          As another example: Label a boy gifted and put him into a special program with other kids who are also labelled gifted. Label a girl with the exact same profile as special needs or whatever and put her in a program with other kids who are low IQ, learning disabled, and with psychiatric problems. Does anyone really think those two kids will turn out the same?

          It has nothing to do with actual objective ability.

          “I think the problem is that often people fall thrugh the cracks.”

          It is more than often. It happens constantly. Most kids to varying degrees fall through the cracks, especially in the poorest minority schools.

  38. can’t speak for everybody like Ricardo Duschene did when he said

    “The whites who created this country are supposed to be bending over backwards in a state of shame for having built the best country in the world.”

    Q: Why are the whites (SMH at the crudespeak), according to Ricardo Duschene, supposed to be bending over backwards in a state of shame?
    A: For building the best country in the world.

    Wrong. White people are not supposed to be bending over backwards in a state of shame and to do so for building Canada is equally if not more ridiculous.
    Also, I’m sorry to inform you that those builders are long dead and gone. I understand your affinity for those people but find your attributing their positive characteristics to yourself and other white people sad. Even if your own father built whatever monument himself, there should be a limit to your pride and a self knowledge that you did not build the monument, your father did. Your father, as a human being, should also have a limit to his pride for having built the monument.

    The white people who created this country deserve our respect as any citizen should respect the founders of his/her country. You did not build this country Ricardo Duschene. You did not invent the computer, you did not find a cure for polio, etc. A different white person did that. If you feel so proud to be white you should contribute something remarkable and attribute it to your being white instead of bragging about all the things people (who were white) have accomplished

    • Minorities did most of the actual building of everything in both the US and Canada. Why does the white guys get all the credit for telling the Chinese worker to build the railroad or the black slave to build the economy?

      In the US, most blacks (and Hispanics) have ancestries that have been in America far longer than most white people. Most white people don’t have ancestors who built America, whatever that is supposed to mean.

      They aren’t taking credit for the work done largely by minorities. They are also taking the credit for the work done by ancestors of other white people and, even if for their own ancestors, work done by other generations.

      The laziest, stupidest, and most worthless white person today somehow magically can claim credit for every great thing any white person did or told a non-white person to do.

  39. Dogwhistle: If immigrants are poor, blame them. If immigrants are rich, blame them.

    Immigrants don’t suck cause theyre poor. They cause cause they’re immigrants

    “Let’s be clear here – the issue is not with Asians per se…that is a large continent comprising people from Turkey all the way to Japan and everything in between. Let’s point to the obvious – its primary the Chinese. Its not the Koreans, Japanese, Mongolians or others though there are obvious pockets in Surrey and Abbotsford.

    Let’s also be cognizant of the historical reality of Chinese colonization in SE Asia which explains the massive wealth distribution issues in the Phillippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia etc. Let as well be aware of the outcome of East Turkistan and Tibet and what Chinese demographic expansionism has done there. Let also be clear of the direct correlation between real estate prices in Vancouver and Chinese money and how the city is becoming increasingly monocultural.

    What is happening to Canada is eerily similar to what has plagued that region of the earth for hundreds of years and our politicians, multiculturalists, Coast Salish pundits, housing developers etc. are carelessly allowing to take place here on our soil.

    This is treason.”

    Lol. Vanvouver is 20% chinese. The greater province is 10% chinese. monoculture my ass.

    Very controversial stuff.. When absolutely necessary, the legendary Dale Carnegie used to advise people to “criticize the behaviour, not the person”.. Perhaps Duchesne would better-off to criticize aspects of immigration and culture clash – (without naming specific groups).. The students will then be informed enough to scrutinize the situation further for themselves..

    Forget racism, he should be fired for bad research. His information displays a general lack of knowledge in his subject area.

    Just looking at Wikipedia for the topic of Sweden’s Rape stats.

    “There have been several international comparisons made, placing Sweden at the top end of the number of reported rapes. However, police procedures and legal definitions vary widely across countries, which makes it difficult to compare rape statistics”

    “For example, Sweden reformed its sex crime legislation and made the legal definition of rape much wider in 2005, which largely explains a significant increase in the number of reported rapes in the ten-year period of 2004-2013.”

    My favourite quote about statistics:

    “Statistics is like a bikini, what it reveals is enticing. What it conceals is vital”.

    People play games with stats all the time to try and back up their own pre-conceived ideology.

    “The incoming in Vancouver of Asians and Chinese was too fast, too quick.”

    That’s not an argument but a personal opinion. Too fast for who, for what? In his ridiculous essay he even suggests people watch old tourist videos of Vancouver to show “how nice it used to be”, and then complains that now there are essentially too many chinese so his videos’ won’t be as white anymore. I’m not sure how you get more racist than that, fortunately he’s not advocating violence against them, but he sure doesn’t like them. Duschene? No wonder he prefers to talk about ‘the west’ and our ‘anglo french’ origins. But us english don’t always include you in our clubs old chap.

    Uh, since when is his opinion on Vancouver immigration part of his educational duties? So are professors allowed to say whatever they want on the basis of ‘educational freedom’? Kind of weird to be saying that corporations are attacking universities, then go on to defend a guy whose comments would only offend new canadians. Its too bad its being reported, because his comments are so stupid that they are not even worth discussing. In southern ontario its much the same thing, and who really cares? Since when is having other people from other cultures around a threat on my culture? There are plenty more asian people in China fighting for ‘western’ rights than there are canadians fighting to keep them. Mind you, anybody that thinks that freedom and democracy are uniquely ‘western’ doesn’t know their history very well. The history of the west has been a continuous fight for those ideals, and the fight is still ongoing.

    “””””Duchesne makes a valid argument. We have opened up the flood gates to Asian immigrants and it has radically changed our culture, especially in cities like Vancouver and surrounding areas. It is not only real estate prices that they have driven through the roof, either. Let me say this, though: Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese and Chinese do not allow immigrants into their countries. In other words they do not reciprocate. It seems that the thinking among Asians is: ‘What’s mine is mine, but what’s yours is also mine.’« less

    @Sunpower Canada has amongst the most restrictive immigration policies in the world. China essentially has a porous border where Vietnamese workers pour in, unlike Canada. And almost all the fellow graduates I went to school with went to China to teach english-the only jobs they could find.

    You got problems with immigration, talk to Ottawa, thats who creates the problem.”””””

    This is amazing:

    @Gecko1245
    Love Asian people and culture, but honestly, the “recent influx” has been massive. Like really massive. You must not live in Vancouver. The population skyrocketed in the nineties. There have been a lot of pros for Vancouverites, but those pros also come with cons. One being that the Chinese culture is generally an insular one, they stick to themselves. I get such a happy vibe when I meet a Chinese person who will give me the time of day. I’d like more Chinese friends, but a lot of them don’t have time for us “foreigners”. Don’t believe me? Go shopping in a Chinese mall in Richmond then get back to me on how you feel.« less

    @MikeTheKnife Yah, imagine not being welcoming to canadians…you’d almost think they read the CBC comments section.

    • The last one. Funny. People can complain about certain ethnic groups being insular but if I were to take the comments section seriously, than I wouldn’t blame them for being insular.

      The dynamic is like one giant feedback loop. Blame group for otherness, group dosen’t feel welcome to others itself more. Repeat cycle.

      • I know. It’s the popular talking point these days. With blacks it’s “i’m not racist I have one black friend!” With Asians it’s “Look in the mirror if you wanna see who’s teh real racist”

      • It is a feedback loop and a self-fulfilling prophecy. They say Asians don’t assimilate, but they don’t want Asians to assimilate.

        Part of the reason Asians have historically remained separate in countries like Canada and the US is because they experienced immense prejudice and persecution. They were often forced into segregated communities through housing practices and sometimes through overtly racist laws. The racist laws are gone, but Asians obviously don’t feel welcomed by many whites.

        These bigoted whites have to make up their minds. Are Asians a danger because they won’t assimilate? Or are Asians a danger because they might assimilate and then might be treated as normally andfairly as white people?

  40. I’m pro academic freedom, but wtf is up with the comments sections? Anything to say Benjamin?

    That prof dosen’t see to be paticularly good as his job, though. Views or not. His stuff seems poorly researched and biased, and as a sociologist his definition of racism is a joke.

    • I’m looking at his academic stuff. it’s, frankly, a joke. Regardless of whether you agree or not. The quality is a joke, you know what I mean?

      Also… WTF is Cultural Marxism I swear I never get a real definition it’s just this word I’m supposed to take for granted or something

    • Nah, I don’t have anything particular to say about the comments section. It seems predictable. Comment sections often attract the worst people. Those with intelligent and fair-minded opinions tend to not waste their time in that kind of comment section. It takes a masochist to argue with reactionaries and bigots. I sometimes can be masochistic in that way, but I generally try to avoid it.

  41. Real estate and pricing concerns is a valid point, but the prof is a joke. You know? He’s a charlatan. He’s a bigoted charlatan.

    He uses Swedish and Norwegian rape statistics to talk about how Vancouver is being destroyed by immigrants. They’re appearently connected because immigration has upped Sweden’s rape rates and they’ll do the same for Vancouver. Rape rates also can’t be compared well country to country because the scandinavian nations also have some of the loosest definitions of rape. Vancouver is nowhere near the top of rape rates in Canada despite it’s high immigration. The top rape places in Granada have low immigrants. Vancouver is one of the most immigrant places in Canada yet nowhere near the top for crime or rape.

    “Anyway, immigration to Vancouver isn’t a/the “problem” for those of us living here. It’s more about foreign land/home buying and the issues that is creating for people who were born and raised here (people born and raised here of every colour and creed under the sun, I should add lest I sound as racist as that professor) and how we’re being pushed out of the city and in some cases out of the province because of the insane real estate costs. When a 400 square foot shoebox costs nearly HALF A MILLION DOLLARS in a Yaletown high rise but sits empty for 10 months out of the year because the owners only use it as a summer home but someone who lives and works (and therefore pays income tax and contributes to the economy of Canada all year round) has to commute to their job in downtown Vancouver from Langely OR FURTHER because they can’t afford to live closer, I really think that’s something the BC government should be looking into. Doubt it’ll happen though. They just like money and I doubt they give a shit where it comes from.”

    • “Real estate and pricing concerns is a valid point, but the prof is a joke. You know?”

      It is valid, but interpreted according to bigotry.

      Gentrification is happening all over. It isn’t all being caused by Asians. Here in Iowa City, there are more wealthy Asians coming into town because of the university. That probably drives up pricing. But there are also wealthy white kids from Chicago also coming into town because of the university. I doubt most of the richest people in Vancouver are Asian.

      Anyway, gentrification along with growing inequality is more of a social problem having to do with a failure of our economic system. It isn’t an issue of immigration and assimilation.

  42. But how should I judge which online forums are most representative of a population? If I looked at teh Vancouver reddit and comments sections, I’d think that Vancouverites were all secret xenophobes clouded in dog-whistles. But is that reality?

    • Why do women fare less well in a society that has been dominated by men for millennia? Why do blacks fare less well in a racist former slave society? Why do poor people fare less well in a plutocracy? Why do all oppressed, disadvantaged, and/or disenfranchised people have less success than those with more power and privilege?

    • I bet there is also a gender gap in which children get labelled as gifted. I decided to do a quick web search. It is exactly as I suspected:

      http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02783193.2011.580500?journalCode=uror20#.VLuFjyvF89Y

      As research shows, people especially kids tend to conform to expectations and stereotypes, both positive and negative. One of the aspects of privilege is having others to categorize and label you in positive light. So, a boy who is “just different” is more likely to get identified as gifted whereas a girl who is “just different” is more likely seen as having problems. The same thing goes for the minority kid and the poor kid.

        • It can be quite problematic that it is harder to bond with a non-biological baby or child. There isn’t the entire pregnancy in which the body changes and parents psychologically prepare. It’s not the same when someone hands you a fully formed baby or full grown child. Maybe parents should be given oxytocin supplements or something similar to help them more easily bond with adopted babies and children.

          • Sure. But What can be done about the women and workforce issues highlighted here?

            The pregnancy thing also calls into question the fathers, who obviously aren’t pregnant. What about them?

            I think we need to change human nature. We need to create loves that are wider ranging and less inherently selfish (I think I’ve mentioned as nauseum how I think parenting is inherently selfish in a Darwinian sense)

          • The workforce issue cuts to the heart of capitalism itself, at least as it exists in the US. We could pass laws guaranteeing maternity leave for all young mothers, but that would require a welfare state like some other developed countries.

            Fathers also experience the pregnancy in that they are typically around the pregnant mother. I’m willing to bet that a father’s body responds to pregnancy.

            Obviously, humans already have the capacity for a larger sense of love beyond mere individualism and immediate family. Anthropology shows diverse examples of people loving and caring for children that aren’t biologically their own. Other societies may have something to teach us about this, such as with ancient traditions of collective childrearing and adoption.

          • I remember someone defending eugenics and dehumanizing disabled people because ‘kind’ societies that took care of all people were easily wiped out by other societies so we all need to be evil assholes

    • If it was up to me, I’d apply such ‘gifted’ programs to nearly all children. I’d only exclude kids that had severe low IQ and/or severe psychiatric issues. Imagine a world where every child was treated as if they had immense potential and talent. Imagine a world where every child received everything they needed, from basic needs to a supportive education system.

          • Eh.

            “Maybe it’s just me but these kinds of articles seem to drum up a lot of hoopla about ethics and morality that just continue riding the car before the horse.
            We’re so far behind on maintaining the biosphere [with new stories everyday of how fucked we are] that it’s kind of hard for me to even project an image of the future where “designer babies” are a legitimate concern, over something like worsening droughts, acidic seas, plastic slush zones in the ocean, etc, etc. Major ecological disasters are probably less than 30 years away and we’ve made no real efforts [as individuals, nor as scoieties] to change anything about the ways we’re living. Not sure if i’ve just given up hope or have started to resent my own [probably human] existence, but I find it really hard to worry about issues like this that assume humans will be around playing mad scientist with nature for much longer, ’cause unless these genetic enhancements include gills or some kind of proboscis that filters water on the fly, no one is going to want to really live in whatever [insert favorite dystopia] world anyway, fighting super soldiers and sharknados. :////\”

          • ……

            “Being mixed race in america means you are more likely to be less healthy, with higher blood pressure, with a tissue type that doesn’t match anybody because you are a Frankenstein mismatch of disparate cell surface antigens from your component races that evolved with different stresses and food sources. you can’t get an organ easily as a mixed race person.
            For the love of god, don’t race mix thinking your kid will turn out more healthy or something. Thats horrible propaganda from people without any genetics background that want a post racial society without any greater consideration for what that means.”

          • I hate the Asia fetishizing among these types (which include the hdd-ers you mentioned)

            The tech isn’t like robots or whatever. It takes very little infrastructure to accomplish this, Genetic testing will be under 100$ in 10 years.
            If anybody doesn’t want to jack their kid to the best they could be, that will be their choice, and the world shouldn’t stop for their luddite urges.
            I personally find the thought of not wanting to eradicate genetic illnesses because of fear of prosecution to be disgusting. That situation will resolve itself in a small number of generations and mankind would be infinitely better off for it. Maybe you’ve never experienced the lack of life people with genetic disorders already have. And you prioritize your precious snowflake normal childs well being over the people whose kid is born with predispositions to insanity or can’t tolerate bean protein because of a small fuckup.
            permalinksavecontextfull comments (356)reportgive gold
            Rapid progress in genetics is making “designer babies” more likely and society needs to be prepared, leading scientists have told the BBC. by Reydonkulousin news
            [–]Somebodysayrealpower 3 points 5 hours ago
            Whatever, Asia will do it, and the west can’t be left behind in the genetic arms race because a few people have misgivings about prejudice popping up.
            If it ever gets banned in the west I’ll dedicate my life to making sure that ban is repealed and the tech gets distributed.
            permalinksavecontextfull comments (356)reportgive gold”

  43. We as a society do fall a lot into the genetic determinist or at least Darwinist ideas don’t we? Even as hdd is fringe. We, maybe unintentionally, assume poor people have “worse” genes than the rich.

    Worse or good is a value judgement as well. Like we call people “gifted” for traits we value. We say “different” but no one calls a intellectually disabled person “gifted.” We think “smart, strong, good looking” when we think good genes. So why are they good? Why don’t we say “I want someone short, weak, and ugly?” We hate being average too. We humans always want to one up others.

    • It’s not just genetic determinism. I think there is something inherently fatalist about American culture and maybe that has always been there.

      Take Manifest Destiny. It is simply a grandiose fatalism that says we had to kill all the Native Americans and invade all those countries. Fate/God made us do it. This has to do with much of the Christian tradition in this country, specifically fundamentalist strains of Calvinist predestination.

      There is a sense that the world can’t and shouldn’t be any other way, that everyone has a fate and should accept it. You’re just born good or bad, smart or stupid, etc.

      • I read the article. And I commented… in response to quite a few of the comments already there.

        It can be irksome dealing with people who often are some combination of ignorant and bigoted, sometimes willfully so in both cases, but just about as irksome when they are mindlessly ignorant and/or bigoted.

        I don’t tend to suffer fools well. I lack the patience to be calm and forgiving around that kind of thing. Interacting with such people can be annoying, but I don’t always have it in me to ignore them. It can seem far worse to let ignorance and bigotry to go unchallenged.

        The comments I left there are my gift to you. I hope you enjoy them. It can feel good to respond instead of just feeling irritated. Express some of that suppressed rage. It might be good for your depressive moods.

        • Lol thanks Benjamin.

          Something in another link… But on gifted math students… The ratio was 13:1 in 1980, and 2.8:1 in recent years… Also on the math Pisa… In several nations the average for women was higher or equal, and of course in many nations it was lower. It was equal or higher (or insignificantly different) in Kazakhstan, South Korea, Sweden, among others. But was the standard deviation lower? Who knows?

          • In response to gender and race realists, I see no reason to assume genetic determinism without any evidence of genetic determinism. It is pointless or even dangerous to speculate based on (willful) ignorance, just because it fits one’s beliefs, and then to treat those speculations as if they were proven facts. In fact, there is so much evidence that contradicts or brings into question the presently nonfalsifiable and hence non-scientific hypothesis of genetic determinism.

            Why ignore all the best evidence while speculating mostly on evidence that says nothing and can say nothing directly about genetics? The most important evidence I see is the fact that the gender and race realists make the same arguments as the old school bigots. Why should we take this new form any more seriously? Why are we resurrecting and repeating old debates that ended long ago, especially when there is no new valid data to make these old debates any more relevant than they ever were?

            Sexism is sexism. Racism is racism. Bigotry is bigotry. Why can’t we just call a spade a spade?

          • Usually that’s what I tend to do best. I’m very forthright and straight up. Still… Hasn’t gotten me in trouble yet. Seems to keep me out of petty drama as well.

    • That was amusing. Is that guy really the leader of what goes for a ‘liberal’ and ‘democratic’ party in Russia? What exactly does liberal and democratic mean in that country? I guess maybe anything to the left of Putin is considered liberal and democratic. Or maybe it is equivalent to the North Korean government calling itself a democratic republic.

      • Honestly I’m not really similar with Russian politics :/ It does seem that many anti-Kremlin protests there tend to draw all those who are not satisfied with Putin. It would seem less unified ideologically and about general dissatisfaction with the Kremlin. So you literally have the western-style liberals protesting alongside neo-nazis who think Putin isn’t right enough. It’s weird.

        Here would be an example of that: http://www.svoboda.org/content/article/26544912.html

        The sign says “For a Russia and Ukraine without Putin.” That said, the protest, or peace march as the leader calls it, despite taking place in March was planned in September, so it could be said to not be about the still ongoing Ukraine situation, as the leader Sergei Davidis insists. But who knows, it’s Russia. The reporter asks him about previous ideological opposition “peace marches” and Davidis insists it’s not a political act but a common event not tied to any ideological paradigm, people bring their own slogans and attract whatever followers… etc.

        Russia is certainly a fascinating place. Though honestly I’ve always wondered if there was a masochistic streak within Russian culture, but bear in mind I’m no expert.

  44. Still seems a bit bullshit way to ‘identify’ kids in te difference sense, you know what I mean? Going by this I might as well identify every kid.But we can’t have that.

    Characteristics of Gifted Children ( August 2012)

    Characteristics

    Learns rapidly/easily

    Memorizes and masters basic facts quickly

    Gets bored easily, resists drill, disturbs others, underachieves

    Retains quality of information

    Ready recall and responses

    Resists repetitions, “know it all”

    Long attention span

    Sticks with task of personal interest

    Resists class routine, dislikes interruptions

    Imaginative, curious, many interests

    Asks questions, gets excited about ideas, takes risks

    Goes on tangents, no follow through, disorganized

    Works independently

    Creates and invents beyond assigned tasks

    Refuses to work with others

    Alert, observant

    Recognizes problems

    Impolitely corrects adults

    Good sense of humor

    Able to laugh at self

    Plays cruel jokes or tricks on others

    Comprehends, recognized relationships

    Able to solve problems alone

    Interferes in the affairs of others

    Aesthetic insight, awareness

    Appreciation of the arts

    Imposes personal values/judgments on others

    Highly verbal, extensive vocabulary

    Fluent with words, numbers, leads peers in positive ways

    Leads others into negative behaviors, monopolizes discussion

    Individualistic, strong-willed

    Asserts self and ideas, has small circle of friends; sense of own uniqueness

    Stubborn in beliefs

    Self-motivated, self-sufficient

    Requires minimum teacher direction or help

    Aggressive, challenges authority

    Prefers older peers

    Wise beyond years

    Isolated or misunderstood

    Highly sensitive, passionate

    Emphasizes fairness and morality, compassionate

    Over-reacts to situations

    Prefers older peers

    Wise beyond years

    Isolated or misunderstood

    Views with a different perspective

    Observes across boundaries, make connections

    Resists limitations and narrowly focused content

    • “Still seems a bit bullshit way to ‘identify’ kids in te difference sense, you know what I mean? Going by this I might as well identify every kid.But we can’t have that.”

      That is what I’d call bullshit. That list is so sprawling and incoherent that almost any kid could be included or excluded depending on which aspect was focused upon.

      It reminds me of racial bias in policing. It is claimed that police don’t racial profile. Police have to give a reason why they stop and search someone. Because there are so many laws on the books, police always have readymade excuses for why they keep stopping black people more often even for crimes that whites commit more often.

      That list is similar. It gives a diverse set of reasons someone in a position of authority can choose to label a child as gifted or not. But all the old biases stay in place. This is why more boys than girls, more whites than non-whites will get singled out for special help (whether labeled gifted or aspergers or whatever), even when both are equally qualified.

      The system and the authorities that uphold the status quo can hide behind a facade of meritocracy.

  45. Well fuck me with a catus. Looks like another case of ‘put the kids who seem to have some ability going into this box and throw the other kids into mediocrity.’

    School is soul-crushing for anyone, you know.

    Hey, no one looked at me. In my work in mediumship and spirituality I definately had ‘giftedness’ that went unackowledged, or nurthured. I’m sure that it’s the same for MANY more kids. I was a very curious and inquisitive kid, but also very sensitive and hyper-aware of my surroundings that it’s retreat so as to not create any negative attention. I would pretend to not know things so I didn’t seem creepy. Even as a little kid at 7 I would sped time on the primitive internet and basically learn a shitload about whatever I liked. I remember being into the human body so I engrossed myself in the library’s anatomy books. I was talking about wombs, placentas, and such. My teacher told me I was too narrow and gave me a picture book to read instead.

    http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/Articles_id_10171.aspx

    An example, though not quite academic. You know how American art education is a joke, right? Education in general. It’s a total joke. You’ve been in school, you know what I mean. So here’s the thing. In my Asian American community, a group of us preteen-kids were sent to a Chinese art student for art classes in drawing and painting. We were at varying levels. A lot of us drew stick figures. He taught in a way that frankly, you don’t find in American ‘art classes’ and even in communicty art calsses or even art classes in schools. He actually fucking teaches you how to draw and paint. Well, we had varying abilities. He thought I had some talent potential for painting(I could mix colors extremely accurately and my painting were always chaotic while the girl’s next to me wasn’t), he thought another girl had one for consise drawing. We had our own unique quirks basically. You could say we had varying levels of “talent.” Guess what? We all became decent painters and decent drawers, talent or not. He made us into proficient drawers and painters. We had our own styles, yes, but we were all technically proficient at least. We all became those “good at art” kids in our mainstream school ‘art classes.”

    American art classes in grade school? Fucking joke man. Any kid showing signs of proficency? GIFTED! Everyone else… gets nothing out of the class in terms of improvement or anything. You’re on your own really if you want to get better. Gotta rely on yourself. That’s the American way. An ineffective leaky pipeline, so inconsistent partly due it’s reliance on the “talent” that wasn’t even a product of it’s system, rather than developing a strong system that produces excellence.

    I have taken several ‘art classes’ taught by American teachers since. Community art classes, art class in high school, in college, etc. What a fucking joke.

    • My experience is different than yours here.

      On average, US schools probably do have far lower quality teachers than Finnish schools. But that average in the US includes a wide diversity. There are some great teachers out there along with some trully bad teachers, and then the two extremes average out to mere mediocre.

      The best teacher I ever had was a grade school art teacher. He was also a professional artist. He put his own art work into art shows and won awards. The school I went to was not a great school, but he was a great teacher. I learned tons of art skills from him. More importantly, he taught me how to think outside of the box and come up with genuinely original ideas.

      Art is one of my natural talents. But I might never have known how much talent I had if not for that teacher. He was an awesome teacher, a better teacher than I ever saw even at the college level.

      Still, he is the exception that proves the rule.

  46. Some hardcore paleo diet blogger who’s a nurse said this:

    *This is one of those “evil forbidden thoughts” that make ppl throw rock/attack you but for quite awhile now I’ve suspected androgen signalling pathways in the brain mediate certain aspects of intelligence. We know for example abnormalities in genes for iron storage exist as a reaction to agricultural diets which were iron deficient.

    We also know, for example, HPA axis and adrenal gland hormone synthesis may be privy to genetic selection to favor hyperresponsive action in stressful environments. The consequences of these genes lead to conditions such as depression, PTSD, or endocrine/metabolic disorders.

    I hypothesize that human intelligence, brilliance, particularly math/scientific is likely capitalizing an androgen-medicated signalling pathway in the brain which is genetically determined. I suspect intelligent people have brains which are not only more sensitive to androgen, but this is also somewhat the etiology of autism/mental retardation/schizophrenia being more common in males.

    We mealy-mouthed avoid the endocrine nature of the mind when we say males are “less stable” as their intelligences follow a U shape relative to that of females, who are spared profound retardation just as they are exempted from extreme brilliance. The question is why this would be so? What is it about males relative to females that allows for prolific scientific/mathematic brilliance while also predisposing to debilitating mental retardation?

    I suspect that the genetics of intelligence are rather like the genetics for other traits such as obesity – multiple and varied in detail but commonly deferring back to common pathways and endocrine loops. There are thousands of genes which predispose to metabolic atypicalities but all involve insulin, fat cells, and obesity/diabetes being symptoms. Similarly I think androgen and brain development is implicated in a myriad of genetic traits otherwise conducive to scientific and mathematical brilliance. If females should have these genes they are more intelligent of course, but it would require sensitization to androgen to facilitate really extreme genius.

    A hypothetical mechanism would be androgen receptors on regions of brain implicated in spatial reasoning, abstract thinking, memory; if androgen exposure occurs would proliferate development of these regions and cause exaggerated neuron development of the brain at these sites. The child with these genes requires prenatal androgen sensitization to facilitate his full brilliance. This may be the genetic origin of “intelligence” as we know it, which we know is highly heritable and only slightly amenable to environment (as in deprivation stunts intelligence but otherwise not much of an impact).

    This would also explain why autism strikes boys with evidence of genetic intelligence/giftedness (and social deficits are common in mathematic/scientifically gifted men). The person with genes for enhanced brain development is most sensitive to disease. Let’s hypothesize for a moment human intelligence + androgen in the brain functions like insulin in the development of the body – to encourage growth and replication of neurons, to create connections between them. The genetics for both mental giftedness and autism would be triggered by androgen.

    If environment and nutrition is favorable, the androgen sensitivity/neuron plasticity cascade leads to a 150+ IQ and scientific / mathematic brilliance.
    But let’s assume environment is not favorable an the maternal diet is deficient. In this case androgen sensitivity of brain/neuron hyperplasticity would deplete necessary nutritional cofactors and mental retardation/autism develops by a hyperactive growth without sufficient nutrition to support it; the result is a malformed brain and mental handicaps/deficits. The autistic brain might be like a red blood cell deficient of b12 or folate… large, useless, nonfunctional.

    A sign this might be occurring is the nature of autistic retardation. Though profoundly disabled and low IQ, they are very unusually skilled in certain areas such as memory or systems structure/organizing things. This suggests the brain neuron growth might have been hyperdeveloped in these skills, and this may have triggered the general liability of mental handicap for the totality of brain. Now, if the maternal nutrition was good? Perhaps the child would have been a 160 iq genius with very mild social deficits.
    I realized today the reason we will never crack the autism puzzle is because surely it is true doing so will uncover the following as true:

    1) Intelligence is biological, heritable, and totally unequal between individuals, families, and ethnicity.
    2) Many pathways for the development of conventional intelligence are unequal between men and women because they are androgen mediated
    3) The common causes of autism are related to the enhanced brain development triggered by high androgen exposure, which might have a way of robbing the rest of the brain of sufficient nutritional cofactors. The boy is born retarded staring at a doorhinge organizing things, small parts of his brain working rather well in context of an overall debilitating handicap.
    4) Evidence to support this is found in reproductive endocrinology. Females who are starved/paleo dieters have estrogen deficiency which biases her to birth females. Low estrogen favors conception with X sperm. This suggest low nutrition pregnancy (marked by low estrogen) is less adverse if the fetus is female. Perhaps inequities of the nervous system development is the reason why.
    5) I suspect the real reason we have an autism epidemic – usually striking intelligent asian/white individuals from techy backgrounds – is because people are eating nutrient depleted shit which basically acts as nervous system starvation when when carrying a fetus with genes for androgen-signalling mediated CNS hyperplasticity. At the site of the fetal brain there is a deficiency of nturients and this bizarre form of “techy retardation” occurs in epidemic levels.
    6) Females can develop these autistic disorders, if they carry the genes for androgen mediated neuronal hyperplasia/development, but they would require exposure to higher levels of androgen to trigger it.
    Indeed, most autistic females are exposed to high levels of androgens prenatally.

    As well it is good to note most intelligent females are less feminine polarized relative to less intelligent ones. This suggests either exposure to higher androgens (thus triggering intelligence) or androgen hypersensitivity in the brain.

    7) Androgen is not sufficient, just necessary to trigger it. The genes for intelligence are likely almost always involving supersensitivity in brain to androgen or other androgen mediated events, and this is how these same genes might also cause mental disorders, SCZ, handicaps and autism.*

    • I like to speculate, but I never know what to make of such speculations as this. Some people seem to take their speculations a bit too seriously. There is no end to info out there upon which to speculate, often in completely opposite and contradictory ways.

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