Gangs as Civic Institutions

I haven’t been following the news much lately, but I’ve caught snippets of what is going on in the Baltimore riots. Interestingly, the only video I’ve watched about it is the interview with the gang members, both Crips and Bloods, who called a truce.

The interviewer ended the piece with the question, “Is that not a very different perspective that you have ever heard?”

What she leaves out is the fact that the reason most Americans don’t hear other perspectives is because interviews like this rarely happen on the mainstream media. Instead, mainstream reporters tend to only report what officials tell them. In this case, the police officials made false statements that the truce was called so the gangs could work together to kill cops.

I’m one of the atypical Americans who is mostly informed by alternative media and who is fairly well read about American history. So, to answer her question: No, it is not surprising to me.

Gangs have been calling truces since gangs have existed, and they often do so for political reasons. Gangs are just one of the many expressions of humans social nature, and they even can at times take form as civic institutions and repositories of social capital. They even act as employers for those who have few, if any, good job opportunities.

I must admit there was a time not too many years ago when I had a more simplistic understanding of many things. It has required massive self-(re-)education to understand American society. Because of my studies of history, I was able to recognize what this video represented. I’d seen a similar thing when doing research on the KKK in the early 20th century, a far more violent time than right now (when street gangs first became dominant) and yet the KKK was never only or even primarily about violence.

I would argue such organizations, including gangs, aren’t really about violence. The gangs in this country aren’t necessarily any more violent than the police. I’ve pointed out that for many communities gangs act in the role of militias where the police have failed to maintain order or, worse, where police have become part of the problem in destroying lives, families, and the social fabric.

Italians a century ago found themselves in an antagonistic relationship to the dominant WASP culture. Immigrants brought with them the Black Hand (origins of the Mafia), which was equal parts gang and civic institution. The Black Hand defended Italian communities and maintained cultural social standards, but they also kept other violent forces at bay, including that of bigoted police who targeted ethnic immigrants. Don’t forget that Italians once were sometimes called the ‘N’ word.

As a society, we need to think more carefully about the human instinct for social order. Humans want to have a sense of belonging, a sense of place and community. Humans want to feel safe and secure, to feel they have some control over their lives. If the dominant society acts in a destructive way toward this natural impulse, it does no one any good.

* * * *

Articles of interest:

Crips, Bloods Call Truce, Not to Harm Cops But to Protect their Community from Violence & Looting
by John Vibes, Free Thought Project .com

However, their promise to no longer be divided, was such a threat to the establishment that within 12 hours there were stories on the home page of every mainstream media publication talking about how the gangs were going to join up with the specific intention of killing cops and burning down the city.

Each of the mainstream sources had basically republished a press release that was put out by the Baltimore City Police Department, citing that there was a “credible threat” that gang members were planning to carry out attacks on police. There was no evidence to back this claim up, but the very fact that rival gangs were calling a truce in the streets was enough to drive the establishment into panic mode.

This should tell you something. The establishment wants people divided, and they fear other armed and organized groups providing their own communities with defense, effectively challenging the state’s monopoly on violence.

One thing that is often forgotten is that many of today’s street gangs have roots in activist groups that sought to provide protection for communities that were being ignored or oppressed by police. These groups became less organized over the years, lost their way and turned to corruption. However, this truce could be a positive sign that these groups are returning to their roots and becoming more concerned with protecting their communities.

by John Hagedorn,

In major U.S. cities, gangs were strongly influenced by revolutionary and civil-rights organizations. The ideologies of groups such as the Black Panther Party, the Brown Berets, and the Young Lords Organization attracted many youths away from the gangs. Many of these political groups in fact began as gangs and aimed their recruiting efforts at the children of the street. Federal agencies used COINTELPRO, an FBI operation aimed at disrupting political organizations, and other tactics to provoke violence between gangs and revolutionary organizations. Rivalry between gangs and political groups was balanced by negotiations between them, and gangs joined many movement demonstrations.

Gangs also initiated community service agencies, started local businesses, and got federal grants for education and job training. The Conservative Vice Lord Nation, for example, a Chicago gang that came into existence in the 1950s, began multiple social programs and businesses in the 1960s.

But the 1960s ended in a flurry of violence, both from the streets and the police. Revolutionary organizations such as the Black Panther Party were smashed, and the social programs run by gangs ended when they lost funding. Thousands of gang members and political activists were incarcerated. While repression crushed the political groups, gangs persisted and maintained ties to the streets even from prison. Jacobs’ (1977) seminal study of Stateville, a notorious maximum-security prison in Illinois, demonstrated how prison life was now linked back to the community through the gangs.

Gangs joined with revolutionary and Black Muslim groups in demanding better conditions in prison. Many gangs adopted religious doctrines and rituals, which some said were a cover for gang activities and others saw as a genuine response to oppression. Gangs controlled the cellblocks with violence and superior organization, and many also maintained their hold over the organization on the street. But in the 1970s and 1980s, when many gang leaders were released from prison, the neighborhoods were even more rundown than when they left them. The sociologist William Julius Wilson vividly described the impact of de-industrialization on the black community. Far from withering away, ghettos persisted, and their conditions had deteriorated.

* * * *

Previous blog posts:

Substance Control is Social Control

And on the issue of poverty and unemployment, I explained an insight I had in my post Working Hard, But For What?:

These people believe in the American Dream and try to live it best they can, under almost impossible conditions. They aren’t asking for handouts. They are solving their own problems, even when those problems are forced on them by the larger society.

Take gangs, for example. Most gangs are what white people would call militias. When the police fail in their job, gangs do the job for them. If you are a black who is targeted by the police and everyone you know is targeted by the police, you’ll organize in order to protect yourself, your family, your friends, and your neighborhood.

That is how community forms when all of the outside world is against you, when life is difficult and desperate, where daily living is a fight for survival. When there are no jobs available, poor minorities make their own jobs. When there are no police to protect them, poor minorities police themselves. When the larger society is against them, they make their own communities.

There is a strength that comes from adversity. This was demonstrated by ethnic immigrants in the past, such as the close-knit bootlegging community of German-Americans in Templeton, Iowa. People who have had histories of disadvantage and/or oppression sometimes learn amazing skills of social adaptation and survival. They develop forms of social capital that those more privileged lack.

The Fight For Freedom Is the Fight To Exist: Independence and Interdependence

The most powerful weapon against oppression is community. This is attested to by the separate fates of a Templetonian like Joe Irlbeck and big city mobster like Al Capone. “Just as Al Capone had Eliot Ness, Templeton’s bootleggers had as their own enemy a respected Prohibition agent from the adjacent county named Benjamin Franklin Wilson. Wilson was ardent in his fight against alcohol, and he chased Irlbeck for over a decade. But Irlbeck was not Capone, and Templeton would not be ruled by violence like Chicago” (Kindle Locations 7-9). What ruled Templeton was most definitely not violence. Instead, it was a culture of trust. That is a weapon more powerful than all of Al Capone’s hired guns.

What the mob forgot was that the Mafia began as a civic organization, the Black Hand. It was at times violent, as was the KKK, but most of what these civic organizations did was community work. They defended their communities and cultures, their traditions and customs. The Germans had their Bund, which served a similar purpose. Hispanics also have a history of forming tight-knit communities that will defend themselves.

African-Americans, however, have a tougher road to travel. Their unique African ethnic culture, language, and religion was annihalated by slavery. Even Native Americans fared better on this account. The social capital of African-Americans was intentionally destroyed. It has been an uphill battle for them to rebuild it, against all odds. They don’t even have the privilege of a jury of their peers, for the police targeting of blacks and the racial bias in the courts has disenfranchized so many of them from the opportunity of jury service. Many blacks find themselves before a jury of white people and, unlike the Templetonians, they have little hope of being saved from the jaws of injustice.

Ku Klux Klan and the Lost Generation

I told my dad that the KKK was basically the conservatives of their day and he agreed with me. Some months earlier, I had told him the exact same thing and he probably thought I was being unfair and mean. To most people, making a comparison to the KKK is about the same as making a comparison to Nazis.

We have a hard time seeing things for what they are or were. We put things into the context of our own time and judge them accordingly. That is problematic with something like the KKK which is easy to caricature and criticize with straw-man arguments. Most Klan members weren’t violent people who spent their every free moment thinking about how to oppress others. If anything is scary about the KKK, it is that completely normal people belonged to it and most of the time they did completely normal activities. They were good citizens, devoted husbands, loving fathers, and practicing Christians.

The KKK wasn’t necessarily all that different from any other number of civic organizations from that time. The Second KKK was even modeled on many of those other organizations:

“In an era without Social Security or widely available life insurance, men joined fraternal organizations such as the Elks or the Woodmen of the World to provide for their families in case they died or were unable to work. The founder of the new Klan, William J. Simmons, was a member of twelve different fraternal organizations. He recruited for the Klan with his chest covered with fraternal badges, and consciously modeled the Klan after fraternal organizations.
“Klan organizers, called “Kleagles”, signed up hundreds of new members, who paid initiation fees and received KKK costumes in return. The organizer kept half the money and sent the rest to state or national officials. When the organizer was done with an area, he organized a huge rally, often with burning crosses, and perhaps presented a Bible to a local Protestant preacher. He left town with the money collected. The local units operated like many fraternal organizations and occasionally brought in speakers.”

Those civic organizations have interesting histories. The KKK was created partly in response to new immigrants, but many fraternal and community organizations were created by and for new immigrants. The Germans were well known for their organizations that were a thorn in the side of those who wanted to force the non-English to assimilate. The Germans, until WWII, had more or less successfully resisted assimilation and the KKK didn’t like that. These ethnic and/or populist civic organizations, German and otherwise, were sometimes closely tied to labor organizing, another thing the KKK would have not appreciated.

Interestingly, the Second KKK arose at the same time and for the same reasons fascist movements arose in Germany and Italy. In the US, Germans formed the German American Bund which supported Nazi Germany before WWII. Like the KKK, the Bund formed large marches in cities where Germans were concentrated. Fascism was in the air. The characteristics of fascism included reactionary populism, social conservatism, folk religiosity, patriotic nationalism, ethnocentric nativism, etc. Despite their differences, the KKK and the Bund were expressions of the same basic shift within society at that time.

These organizations weren’t evil incarnate. They were simply people trying to bring order back to what felt like the chaos of a changing society.

887 thoughts on “Gangs as Civic Institutions

    • That is a great article. Short but sweet. The third suggestion is awesome: “Just make our schools better.” Who would have ever come up with such a brilliant idea? Wow! Maybe we could improve the education of all children by improving the schools themselves, not just creating improved programs for a few kids.

  1. So gifted is value neutral, but gifted kids should be the future leaders.

    “They truly are special and gifted, but others just hate them, use them and most often abuse them.


    CaLi Sep 18, 2013
    The research I did on this in grad school — back in the late 1990s, showed that the needs of the top 10% indeed could be addressed in a well-run classroom…but that the top 2-3% really needed separate enrichment programs to meet their potential. These students are not just advanced, they are operating on a whole other level. While they may benefit from age-peer relationships, they are at risk for negative behaviors if their academic needs aren’t met.”

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      The Illusion of the ‘Gifted’ Child
      Why our policies for good students really aren’t that smart

      By Andrew J. Rotherham @arotherhamApril 25, 2013168 Comments
      ShareRead Later

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      When news broke late last week that behemoth education company Pearson had bungled the scoring of standardized tests used for admissions to gifted education programs in New York City, it united Gotham’s quarreling education community — everyone was outraged. Parents, teachers and city officials all had good reason to be, as the scoring errors would have denied admission to 2,700 students who qualified. But the incident also highlighted the arbitrary nature of how we decide which students are so superior academically that they are essentially funneled into an elite group of schools with a specialized, advanced curriculum.

      For starters, what exactly makes a child “gifted”? In New York City, like many school districts, giftedness is decided by a standardized test that measures verbal and nonverbal facility. Score at the 90th percentile and you make the cut for some programs, but at the 97th percentile students become eligible for the highly competitive citywide options for gifted students. The problem isn’t the test, per se, it’s the false precision that comes with it. There is no consistent standard — some experts say the top 10%, some say the top few percent (in which case, most of the children whose parents think they are gifted are merely talented). In the case of New York City, does anyone seriously think that a student at the 96th percentile (or the 89th for that matter) might not benefit from gifted education programs, as well? Of course not. It’s the scarcity of seats, rather than any rigorous definition of merit that is driving these distinctions.

      (MORE: Why Kids Should Learn Cursive)

      Then there are the limits of standardized testing. We certainly should support students with high academic potential, but it’s hardly the only measure of human potential. Some school districts identify students with talents in the visual and performing arts, for instance, for various gifted programs. But in general, the measure for defining giftedness is narrow — and can be manipulated by access to test-prep programs.

      Which is one example of why class and race also matter. Affluent parents have resources to help their children do better on tests. Low-income and minority students are substantially underrepresented in gifted programs. The more general problems of low school quality for poor and minority students likewise matter. A 2007 report from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation found that 3.4 million high-performing low-income students are being overlooked by today’s policies. Not as exciting as occupying a park, but these are the real drivers of America’s lack of social mobility.

      (MORE: Why Parenting Is More Important Than Schools)

      So what can policymakers and school districts do to create better policies for gifted students? Here are three ideas:

      1. Increase the options. In New York City and elsewhere, gifted programs often function as a school-choice strategy for making public schools more attractive. But demand clearly overwhelms supply. Students with different kinds of giftedness should be able to find schools that work for them, and giving parents more options does a lot more to get them invested in public education than an annual fight over a limited number of seats in coveted programs.

      2. Level the playing field. Providing extra support for students from diverse backgrounds is essential. Programs aimed at students by race or income are suspect in today’s politics, but a high bar is only meaningful if all students have the chance to meet it.

      3. Just make our schools better. Efforts to improve the quality of curriculum and instruction are good for everyone. So is expanding access to pre-K education. It’s no secret that too many American students aren’t challenged in school. While programs for truly exceptional students have a place, all kids would benefit from more enriching and rigorous educational experiences and more would be seen as “gifted” with a better educational experience at their back.

      MORE: Highlighting Is a Waste of Time: The Best and Worst Learning Techniques

      Andrew J. Rotherham @arotherham
      Rotherham is a co-founder and partner at the nonprofit Bellwether Education, a national non-profit organization which, among other activities, does paid consulting work for clients including school districts, charter schools, and educational organizations around the country. The views expressed are solely his own.

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      SamSeller 3 days ago
      Meh, the solution is obvious. If your parents are part of the 1%, then you are gifted.


      NevilleRoss Sep 13, 2014
      To be brutally frank, I think that gifted children should be out of school as soon as their talents are recognized early-for example, if a gifted child has already complete high school by the age of ten (c.f. Doogie Houser) and is about to be in college, they should be in college and be done with high school and school (primary, elementary, and secondary) itself, ready to move on to getting proficient in the field of endeavor they’ve shown an aptitude for. Prolonging school ‘just for the social development of the child’ or the other bullcrap that would be spewed is just that, bullcrap-children are resilient, and can be so enough to be working early if they have the aptitude to do so. The whole thing reminds me of the problems encountered by Reed Richards in Ultimate Fantastic Four; so smart that he’s already figuring out how to travel into other dimensions at age 14, he’s constantly bullied in school, and his home life isn’t amazing, either. he becomes saved when the U.S. government recruits him for a special program designed to make use of his abilities now as a young man rather than later.

      What happened in the movie Good Will Hunting is also something that should be considered when a child’s gifted status is realized.


      BenJamN Aug 26, 2014
      I’m still convinced the Gifted Program is a method PTA parents have developed (consciously or otherwise) to horde resources for their kids at public schools.


      Anooshka May 10, 2014
      When living in Queens, my son scored 97% on the G&T Test, and was placed into a Gifted & Talented Program in a Public School closest to where we resided. He was given three schools to choose from, and our first choice was reserved for people living in that area. We moved to Roslyn, NY and he started 3rd Grade in an elementary school, that did not offer a Gifted Program. He is bored out of his mind. He was getting a really good education in the G&T Program, and is so disenchanted with school. I thought we were moving to the suburbs for better education, but I was wrong. Now he attends a supplemental gifted program at Hoftsra University, which he was accepted to based on his IQ Test Scores, but it meets on Saturday mornings and he has religious school on Sunday morning, so attending classes 7 days a week is proving too much. It is a complete mess. My alternatives are:

      1. Go to the School Board and ask that he takes a test to skip out of 5th Grade

      2. Meet with the principal of his current elementary school, and ask to meet with his teacher, in the beginning of the next school year, and ask for more hw, including weekend hw and projects.

      Getting him to do workbooks, on his own, is painful.

      He needs more work. Also, in his new school, they dont learn too much in Science. I remember in 2nd Grade, he frequently had Science Tests.


      Anooshka May 10, 2014
      When living in Queens, my son scored 97% on the G&T Test, and was placed into a Gifted & Talented Program in a Public School closest to where we resided. He was given three schools to choose from, and our first choice was reserved for people living in that area. We moved to Roslyn, NY and he started 3rd Grade in an elementary school, that did not offer a Gifted Program. He is bored out of his mind. He was getting a really good education in the G&T Program, and is so disenchanted with school. I thought we were moving to the suburbs for better education, but I was wrong. Now he attends a supplemental gifted program at Hoftsra University, which he was accepted to based on his IQ Test Scores, but it meets on Saturday mornings and he has religious school on Sunday morning, so attending classes 7 days a week is proving too much. It is a complete mess. My alternatives are:

      1. Go to the School Board and ask that he takes a test to skip out of 5th Grade

      2. Meet with the principal of his current elementary school, and ask to meet with his teacher, in the beginning of the next school year, and ask for more hw, including weekend hw and projects.

      Getting him to do workbooks, on his own, is painful.

      He needs more work. Also, in his new school, they dont learn too much in Science. I remember in 2nd Grade, he frequently had Science Tests.


      TrevorAGreen Oct 15, 2013
      Segmenting people into classes is a huge part of the problem. Remember aspergers with is now a autism spectrum disorder? The human need to simplify and segment people in order to deal with them is a limitation. And it leads to stereotyping and the same abusive segmentation of people that other civil rights violating practices, such as racial segregation, cause. It is not a problem to help a student determine where they are on a map of their education so that you can instruct them on how to get where they want to be. It is a problem when you determine access to opportunity based upon where you think they are.

      So what is the solution. I believe the solution is in both the democratization of education and the empowerment of students through technology. By allowing everyone to participate in educating everyone else without institutional boundaries, you break down the false legitimacy of failing public education (see Khan Academy). By using digital tools you allows students to learn what is most appropriate for them at the time and move forward at a pace that doesn’t require aggressive segmentation.

      Unfortunately the adoption of modern tools at an appropriate pace doesn’t satisfy the governments need for control. Our best thinkers are creating modern solutions that provide for the education of students in a modern way. Lesser minds occupy the bureaucracy and move at a snails pace to approve the work of their betters for consumption. This upside down thinking is a clear sign that our socialist education system is at its core, at failed model, that props up ancient process instead of putting children first.

      Look at the red flags, if you school says “We can’t afford enough books” Instead of “We can’t afford enough ChromeBooks” you know that they are hopelessly mired in the past and are engaged primarily in protecting their own jobs and fading relevance.

      Children should come first, not teachers.


      LucyMerriman Oct 8, 2013
      First of all, schools shouldn’t be measuring giftedness with a standardized grade-level test. The WISC-IV or the Binet test are *clinical* tests that measure for intelligence–that is, capacity to learn; it is high intelligence, not high achievement, that causes boredom in gifted students. An example often given is, a gifted student may understand a mathematical concept intuitively or with one explanation, whereas a typical student may need to hear the concept multiple times to remember and understand it.

      These tests emphasize verbal, logical-mathematical, and spatial intelligence, which, admittedly, leaves out kids with amazing kinesthetic, intrapersonal, interpersonal, existential, and musical intelligence levels. Be that as it may, helping some highly intelligent kids is better than helping none.

      I agree that the playing field needs to be fair. Students like Carissa Yip, Adora Svitak, Gabrielle Turnquist, Thessalonika Arzu Embry and Carson Huey-You underscore what scientists have already shown: there is no genetic link between race and intelligence, and black and Asian students are just as likely to be gifted as white students. If the admissions test don’t reflect this truth, there is either a problem with your test or your culture.

      Of note: I myself was identified as Gifted and was in the 99th percentile. I participated in Mensa, but beyond that, wasn’t given much in the was of extra attention at school. In high school, I had the option to take AP Classes, which I did. Now, in college, I don’t think my life is all that different from typical Honors students, except perhaps that I skip classes more often.

      I think it’s interesting that of the headline-makers I just mentioned, ALL of them were homeschooled. What this tells me is that for gifted students to truly flourish, it is unlikely they will be able to have the space they need in public schools.


      EmilyBrown Sep 26, 2013
      They truly are special and gifted, but others just hate them, use them and most often abuse them.


      CaLi Sep 18, 2013
      The research I did on this in grad school — back in the late 1990s, showed that the needs of the top 10% indeed could be addressed in a well-run classroom…but that the top 2-3% really needed separate enrichment programs to meet their potential. These students are not just advanced, they are operating on a whole other level. While they may benefit from age-peer relationships, they are at risk for negative behaviors if their academic needs aren’t met.


      TexasTruBlu Jun 18, 2013
      The problem with what are often labeled as “gifted programs” often are not interesting nor are they challenging. Too often the curriculum for gifted children is simply more of the same kind of work the rest of the kids are doing. And if you are simply in that level below gifted, sometimes called “talent pool” level, you are paired in your general ed classes with the worst students wherein you get to be a miniteacher for the kid who is disabled, destructive or disturbed. This is the stark reality of many gifted kids. My two oldest kids were a year apart. My daughter tested into the gifted program but was dropped for daring to reveal that the teacher’s pet was cheating. She remained in AP programs throughout school and did well in college. Her brother tested out at the same level but absolutely refused to be in gifted or AP classes. It wasn’t that he was lazy, it was that he saw how teacher far too often used those kids as surrogates. He simply wasn’t interested. Until we make gifted programs truly elite without the imposition of false outside demographic expectations, we will end up with programs that do not truly serve those kids who should be our leaders and our innovators for the future.


      HearTheirScreams Jun 18, 2013
      Interestingly enough, most of these comments include something along the lines of “I was in gifted in high school.” That was a long time ago, schools have changed. I’m currently in high school (yes, yes, yes, we all know children aren’t allowed to have opinions or comment on grown-up articles) and it’s boring as hell. Where I live, there’s gifted programs all over, even the IB program, not technically gifted but still presenting an advanced curriculum. When will the school system learn that free time is more important than arts? Yes, the arts are great. Yes, I appreciate them. No, they don’t really allow for creativity at my school. It’s “memorize this composer” or “play this piece” or “act this skit” with no room for creativity. What we need most is just a room for tinkering. I’ve been labeled as gifted since second grade. I certainly don’t feel gifted. I didn’t read till the age of four, I’ve never screamed at a teacher that we were being denied education, and I’ve certainly never cried from boredom in a class. I’m not a high achiever either: I simply cannot be bothered to complete the work or study. It’s boring and all memorization. Besides, you can simply BS a multiple choice test and do rather well without trying. I get A’s and B’s. Yet somehow, I’ve always gotten the top score on standardized testing and I’ve always been at the top of the class for understanding. If parents would stop yelling about grades, it would help so many more kids. I’ve been told all my life that “School doesn’t care how smart you are, just how well you produce” and that’s the most accurate way to describe our system. Leave us alone and let us think without sapping the will to bother.


      TexasTruBlu Jun 18, 2013
      @HearTheirScreams No offense, but the main place where creativity is still encouraged is within the AP Studio Art programs. Too many of those classes are categorized as second rate because they don’t involve science or math, but they make avid use of higher order thinking skills, creativity and innovation. These are skills our world needs to create and invent the next technological wave, but some parents and even some educators will put their kids in AP classes that they won’t pass rather than “risk” an AP Art class. If you’ve read any Daniel Pink you know that creativity is a skill in which Americans excel. Yet we’re still trying to compete with kids who are human calculators. I’m just not sure that being able to apply a formula or translate an excerpt in another language is a demonstration of creativity. This is largely because administrators don’t understand art and they really don’t understand creativity. Multiple choice tests are easy for them to defend.


      DebbieDacute Jun 18, 2013
      @TexasTruBlu @HearTheirScreams 5pts just now
      @TexasTruBlu @HearTheirScreams I really like your opinions Texas TruBlu and I agree with you both on creativity. I also agree that the arts are extremely important. Art and science go hand and hand. And there are ways to be creative when solving math problems as well, especially when a child absolutely hates rote learning and finds new ways to solve an equation. I watched a really interesting TED talk the other day given by Jacob Barnett on just how creativity can show through mathematically. Absolutely fascinating child. I think I read somewhere his IQ is higher than Einstein’s (Einstein by the way HereTheirScreams didn’t feel he was gifted either). Search Jacob Barnett TED talks to see this remarkable presentation by this 13 year old. This child unbelievably (or not so much after experience) was placed in special ed. He talks about it in the video. Enjoy. 😀

      Read more:


      lechatelierite Jun 14, 2013
      As a former “gifted” child, in my experience the value wasn’t so much that we learned new or particularly advanced material – most of what we learned were enrichment topics like archeology, which are exactly the sorts of things that nerdy elementary school kids like we were will happily read on their own. Rather, the purpose was really to keep us from disrupting regular classes out of frustration and boredom. Having an outlet where you can learn at your own pace (meaning, in most cases, quickly) but that’s still officially a part of “school” breaks up some of the tedium, and missing class regularly means you always have a bit of catching up to do, instead of getting further and further ahead.

      I don’t think this arrangement is ideal, but countries that use truly homogeneous grouping for primary and early secondary education also have radically different pedagogical systems and methods that would be problematic to introduce here.


      ricosu Jun 5, 2013
      Well, for me, the word “gifted” means exceptional and I don’t see how top ten percent yields exceptional. One thing I learned being a parent is a category that never occurred to me in referencing a student’s academic prowess for a college. That category right there with the rankings of average, above average, and superior is “once in a lifetime”. I’m also not certain that genius needs three squares a day and a plush Serta mattress. I do think that the most irritating thing is hearing from parents of the “potential” of their child who has a very high IQ. I’ve come to believe potential is like “common sense”. They don’t mean much and are very egocentric(i.e.what is common sense to me should be to you). Giftedness entails so many behaviors that have to magically come together to yield results. If the IQ isn’t getting a child to the next level what can you do with that? It really has no meaning without follow through in behaviors that advance the IQ.

      Someone mentioned how amusing it is to hear from parents speak of their gifted child’s experiences. I totally understand that and believe many of these parents actually have a high academic performer, not a “gifted” child. But it is a tough spot to come from. Some of these kids are “gifted” and it’s almost always going to sound like an overdone parent bringing it up. I’ll add this: I don’t know that a child who reads like a 5th grader at the K level is any more gifted than another child in the top IQ levels. I still get down to what is/was that child doing at the college level. Did it have carry through? Did the child go on to a top academic experience in college and excel or did the child go on to a so so academic education and perform just OK?


      sictransit5 Jun 2, 2013
      As a couple of posters note, truly Gifted children are not just high achievers. Though they get 99%ile every time, they process information and generate ideas differently and uniquely as well. In my experience (as a psychologist) public schools are almost never equipped to teach these kids. Also, a couple of the very minor points in this article may be it’s most important. At least where I live, financial constraints limit the “gifted” program to being pulled out of regular class in grammar school for one afternoon a week. My first grader, who reads at 6th grade level and does square roots and algebraic equations, gets direction and challenge from a teacher outside the normal school work, but she can’t do that for everyone. In a school system where fewer than half the 9th graders ever graduate, 70% qualify for free lunches, and school funding has been cut every year for seven years straight, just trying to insure a literate populous is about all one can ask. The suggestions at the end of the article are pie-in-the-sky for too many school systems.

    • That was a nice discussion in the comments section. Many of those are the kinds of points I’d bring up. Some people are willing to seriously consider the most challenging issues. That gives me some hope.

      These public discussions are hard to get going, because the forces of the status quo are so strong, and such things as gifted programs (despite all their talk) end up just being another way to defend the status quo or race and class privilege. It’s good to see people beginning to realize this and having the courage to talk about it openly.

  2. “. If you’ve read any Daniel Pink you know that creativity is a skill in which Americans excel. Yet we’re still trying to compete with kids who are human calculators. I’m”

    Bullshit. This is just rhetoric used to make american feel better about their dysfunctional education system.

    Now that u know the NYC education scene do u see why I don’t want my kid here?

    • Yep. That is yet more comforting and self-serving rhetoric. This debate is first and foremost a fight over rhetoric. Never forget that. To control the framing of the debate is to control the debate, which means to control public perception and opinion and so to control the political outcomes of public policies and funding.

  3. I don’t understand the comment that gifted programs are no more elitist than special ed programs

    Posted 07/09/2014
    Are there really that many profoundly gifted 6 year olds that cannot be serviced in a regular differentiated classroom with a good teacher? My opinion is generally, no. It is a failing of the system if they can’t accomodate a few kids who are ahead of the game until they start a G and T program in 3rd grade.

    Anyway…I’m not in NYC, I am in burbs and from what I see the only kids who get extras and special things are the gifted and the resource kids. It is the Middle who get forgotten and no extras. But I understand that not every district is the same.
    Hug 0 Reply Pass a note!

    Posted 07/09/2014
    They are no more elitist than any other special ed program. I don’t understand the question.
    Hug 1 Reply Pass a note!

    Posted 07/09/2014
    In reply to Bigmouthstrikesagain:
    Are there really that many profoundly gifted 6 year olds that cannot be…
    What special things are you referring to? And in what ways are the kids in the middle forgotten?”

  4. I think perhaps something good for her son and every kid in the school would to adopt a japanese style program where the kids clean their classrooms instead of janitors 🙂

    “Another reason I hate the word “gifted” over something like “academically needy” is because my youngest who is in gifted gets treated in a way that is unfair to both his fellow classmates and to him.

    Sure he’s got a ridiculously high IQ but he is… how to put this nicely? — A complete dipshit.

    I literally have to check his clothes every single morning to make sure something isn’t inside out or backwards and 90 percent of the time something is.

    Where the gifted lable can be unfair to him is when he does his typical stupid stuff like losing a paper from the walk from his desk to the cubby across the room a teacher will say something like “Tommy you are in Gifted. I shouldn’t have to worry about you.” Well yes you do!! This kid needs to learn some organizational skills and needs some consequences for forgetting things. Instead the teachers cherish his high test scores aren’t very hard hard on him

    Where its unfair to his classmates is some very intelligent classmates who are super organized and do all their work and get A’s can feel like they aren’t very smart because they aren’t “gifted” when reallly it’s that their brains work in a different way.

    I love that my kids get the extra enrichment and that the Gifted teacher is specially trained and knows that she has a class that is the equivalent to the Island of Misfit Toys, but I wish we could call it something else that isn’t so off-putting”

    • I wonder how inequality applies to education. The data shows that even the wealthy are worse off in a society with high economic inequality. It makes me wonder that maybe even the ‘gifted’ would be harmed by an educational system that created high education inequality.

      These forms of inequalities are indicators of deeper problems within society. To ignore them is to allow deep and widespread social problems to fester. It ends up being worse for everyone.

      It’s counter-intuitive to the American way of thinking, but maybe the best way to raise the boats of the elite (intellectual or otherwise) is to raise the boats of everyone. Maybe the so-called gifted kids would improve by being surrounded by a society of other kids who also have had their cognitive development improved.

  5. Женщина is confused. These parents don’t like “nerd misfit” stereotype of “gifted” people get they emphasize how dofferent their kids are. Their kids are not smart, they are literally in a different world than the rest of is.

    So what’s it gonna be? “The misfit stereotype is annoying” or “gifted is not smart. Gifted is a brain literally in a different world.”

  6. I’m thinking about the parent saying that their kids are bullied and ostracized by other kids. I’m thinking, the kids that bully their kids are probably the same kids bullying the special ed kids, or the kids that seem “gay” or what have tou

    • Yep. Some kids are going to bully anyone who is unusual or stands out. There is always particular kids who police the social boundaries of normalacy and ensure everyone either conforms or gets excluded.

      The same thing happens in mainstream media and politics, although its more subtle. Most Americans are fine with this, just as long as it is directed toward the disadvantated rather than directed toward them or their kids.

      American society is brutal in many ways. We are not forgiving toward those who don’t fit in, especially those who are perceived as not knowing their place, whether uppity blacks or arrogant nerds.


    MORE than six million children in the United States receive special-education services for their disabilities. Of those age 6 and older, nearly 20 percent are black.

    Critics claim that this high number — blacks are 1.4 times more likely to be placed in special education than other races and ethnicities combined — shows that black children are put into special education because schools are racially biased.

    But our new research suggests just the opposite. The real problem is that black children are underrepresented in special-education classes when compared with white children with similar levels of academic achievement, behavior and family economic resources.

    The belief that black children are overrepresented in special education is driving some misguided attempts at policy changes. To flag supposed racial bias in special-education placement, the United States Department of Education is thinking of adopting a single standard for all states of what is an allowable amount of overrepresentation of minority children.

    If well-intentioned but misguided advocates succeed in arbitrarily limiting placement in special education based on racial demographics, even more black children with disabilities will miss out on beneficial services.

    Black children face double jeopardy when it comes to succeeding in school. They are far more likely to be exposed to the gestational, environmental and economic risk factors that often result in disabilities. Yet black children are less likely to be told they have disabilities, and to be treated for them, than otherwise similar white children.

    About 65 percent of black children, compared with about 30 percent of white children, live in families with incomes below 200 percent of the poverty line. From 1985 to 2000 about 80 percent of black children grew up in highly disadvantaged neighborhoods characterized by widespread unemployment, racial segregation, poverty, single-parent households and welfare.

    Thirty-six percent of inner-city black children have elevated levels of lead in their blood. The figure for suburban white children is only 4 percent. Black children are about twice as likely to be born prematurely and three times more likely to suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome.

    In a study published today, we report that the under-diagnosis of black children occurs across five disability conditions for which special services are commonly provided — learning disabilities, speech or language impairments, intellectual disabilities, health impairments and emotional disturbances. From the beginning of kindergarten to the end of eighth grade, black children are less, not more, likely than white children with similar levels of academic performance and behaviors to be identified as having each of these disabilities.

    In fact, our study statistically controlled for many possible factors that might explain these disparities. Examples included differences in children’s academic achievement, behavior, gender and age, birth weight, the mother’s marital status and the family’s income and education levels. In contrast, many previous studies reporting overrepresentation have not adjusted for these factors. Instead, these prior studies have relied on school- or district-level data that did not adequately control for differences in risk factor exposure between black and white children.

    It may be that black children are less likely to be identified and treated for disabilities because of a greater responsiveness by education professionals to white parents. Low expectations regarding black children’s abilities may also lead some professionals to ignore the neurological basis of low academic achievement and “problem” behavior. Even those black children who do receive a diagnosis are less likely to receive help. For example, despite being more likely to experience symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, black children are less likely than white children to be given a diagnosis of A.D.H.D. And even among those who are given an A.D.H.D. diagnosis, black children are less likely than white children to receive medication to treat the condition.

    The last thing we need is to compound these widespread disparities in disability diagnosis and treatment by making school officials reluctant to refer black children for special-education eligibility evaluations out of fear of being labeled racially biased.

    Pamphlets describing a school district’s disability eligibility procedures are often written in dense legalese that may be hard for many parents to understand. Revising them might make it easier for parents to advocate for their children during the eligibility evaluation process. Community outreach programs can also help overcome cultural barriers to identifying children with disabilities.

    Such programs have already been shown to reduce racial disparities in children’s health and health care access. We should be trying to identify children with disabilities and to provide them with an education adapted to their individual academic, physical or behavioral needs.

    • It’s just more silliness.

      “With its egalitarian insistence that nearly everyone is gifted at something, the MI idea has taken the country, and the world, by storm. Why? Because MI artificially distributes giftedness equally among various talent areas -linguistic, mathematical, spatial, and so forth – which is a politically correct but intrinsically incorrect notion of what intelligence is.”

      There is a problem that people like this are completely ignorant about. The only way we can measure equality of opportunity is through results. We know that a large part of the results we see in the disparity of cognitive development have nothing to do with genetics or culture.

      It’s not just multiple intelligences. Just consider standard IQ. We know that lead toxicity lowers IQ. The more the lead toxicity the lower the IQ. We know that poor people have more lead toxicity than wealthier people. We know that poor minorities have more lead toxicity than poor whites. We know that poor blacks have more lead toxicity than poor Hispanics. We know the reason for this is because there is more lead in poor areas and the most lead in poor inner cities where minorities are concentrated.

      We know all this through scientific research. We know this because it has been scientifically measured. There is no excuse for this person to be this ignorant about basic facts. If he represents the intellectual ‘elite’, then we are in big trouble.

      “For if being an elitist means that I still believe in a distinct quality of giftedness that is the domain of the few, not the many; and if being an elitist means that I believe gifted individuals need to be understood as the complex intellectual and emotional beings that they are; and if being an elitist means that I will advocate for a small percentage of children to receive a level of academic rigor and emotional understanding that transcends the typical, then an elitist I shall be.”

      This is bullshit.

      He assumes that the individuals and populations with lower IQ and less cognitive development are doomed to their fate. Many of those poor minorities would test far higher if not for environmental racism, which is based on housing racism and employment racism.

      We know for a fact that the potential of individuals is greater than what is expressed. The lowest IQ racial demographics today test higher than the highest IQ racial demographics of the past. Whites that might have been perceived as the equivalent of ‘gifted’ in the past would likely seem normal or even below-average by today’s standards.

      Gifted is a social construct and only refers to individuals within particular contexts. It is environmental conditions, not mere inherent superiority, that allows talents and abilities to be expressed. Giftedness signifies resources, opportunities, and healthy environments that other kids weren’t given. Until people like this acknowledge this, they will continue to be racist and classist assholes, even if they think they are being well intentioned.

      “Gardner’s sad and incorrect notion that giftedness is as common a behavior or trait as being able to bowl a game of 100 is based on an incomplete and inaccurate interpretation of the mountains of research that prove otherwise.”

      Is this guy as stupid as he acts? He is claiming things that he can’t rationally and honestly claim. We know many things, but the above claim isn’t one of those things.

      We have no idea how common is greater cognitive functioning. But we have good reason to believe that it will keep increasing, as it did in the past, especially as we do such things as better regulate pollution clean up all the lead in old houses and in the soil of inner cities. We can’t know how common high cognitive functioning is until we create the environmental conditions that make it possible, not just about pollution, but also improving education for all children.

      “The idea of giftedness as being a developmental, lifelong trait that transcends day-to-day achievements has been replaced with Renzulli’s “Type 111″ projects and Gardner’s ad nauseum intelligences. When this happens, we relegate giftedness to a commodity to be traded and displayed, rather than the unique state of mind and being that it really is.”

      It sounds like he is arguing for genetic determinism. I’m not sure how else to interpret his belief in a “unique state of mind.” He seems to be saying that giftedness and hence intellectual superiority is an inherent trait to individuals, having nothing to do with environmental conditions. That is obviously false. Doesn’t this guy know much about the wide variety of scientific research in this area? Besides the environmental conditions for individuals, what about for entire populations as it gets passed down epigenetically across multiple generations? His apparent ignorance of this data is no excuse.

      He sounds like an HBDer, although his language is more guarded and less clear. He should just say what he believes, if he really does believe in genetic determinism. He should have the courage of his convictions.

      “Elitist? You bet I am, because I believe in the sanctity of human differences and the reality that an IQ of 145 does earmark you as different at age 10 from your fourth-grade classmates in some important, but unseen, ways. Elitist? You bet I am, if it means taking a child aside and emphasizing that giftedness is a lifelong quality that does not go away when the school years end. Elitist? You bet I am, and it has nothing to do with social or economic or racial classes, but instead is simply an indication that abilities – intellectual and emotional – differ among and between people. Always have, always will. Elitist? You bet I am, for if gifted students need a foot soldier to explain to others that they may be as different from average students, academically and emotionally, as are children with mental retardation, then I will be their man.”

      I noticed that he referred to “human differences.” That is obvious HBD ideology. But his beliefs are far from clear. I sense he is obfuscating his real beliefs. For example, he says it isn’t about “social or economic or racial classes.” Really? Then why he is so strongly defending the social darwinian social order built on social and economic and racial classes? Sometimes what people deny speaks louder than what they declare.

      “Giftedness exists, and not in equal measure across all people. Isn’t it time to fess-up the errors brought about by the egalitarian illogic of Multiple Intelligences? Isn’t it time to address the inherent inequities brought about by endorsing enrichment for all? Isn’t it time to recapture the field of gifted child education from those who have held it hostage for a generation? Our gifted children deserve to be identified and served in ways that capitalize on their unique abilities and qualities. Please join me in being elitist enough to say so.”

      This is clear HBD and neo-reactionary ideology. He speaks about it being “not in equal measure across all people.” That is the population differences that HBDers (and other racists/racialists) talk about. He is arguing that these differences are inherent, determined, and unchanging within both individuals and populations. I’ve never seen a defense of giftedness that was so obviously neo-reactionary.

      • If this guy is the intellectual elite spokesperson we’re fucked.

        That’s not even going into that if he is the spokesperson for the elite, the standard for what THE TOP is, then we humans must be doomed. Cause if the TOP is that intellectually bankrupt…

  8. Him in a nutshell: all animals are equal but I actually think some are more equal than others, but I can’t own up to that.

    Tl;dr if these people are the pinnacle of human intelligence we’re really fucked.

    It’s funnt because he insulted my grade school. My grade school did the enrichment-for-all program and was into multiple intelligences.

    I assure him that no one lost anything because we welcomed everyone instead of just the selected few. If anything, we were all better for it.

    Thanks to our enrichment for all attitudes we all got to reach potentials we have not have because we weren’t labeled blessed by god enough. All the programs availible only to “gifted” kids were instead availible to all kids. We were better for it and we reached potentials we may not have otherwise because we had doors open that would not have opened if we weren’t judged special enough.

    Fuck. I might not be alive now if it wasn’t for it. (I had a rough few years)

  9. People don’t actually like equality. Equality scares us shitless. It’s why there are so many BS phrases that don’t hold up under scrutiny popular like “equal dignity but not sameness” “equality without sameness” “equality of opportunity not result” Etc etc

    • Most people have no idea what equality means or could mean. They are reacting to projected fears, not equality itself. The only way we could ever find out what equality might mean is by trying it out some day.

  10. I thought you might find this of interest:

    Your recent criticisms of prejudiced Western animal rights advocates would probably fit in with this. There are many reasons people are attracted to movements such as with animal rights or environmentalism. It isn’t just a leftist thing.

    Many environmentalists, for example, are hunters, farmers, and paleocons. There are conservative and even personal/self-interested reasons for why people support a healthy environment, at least the health of the environment they live and work in.

    There are quite a few HBDers and other neo-reactionaries who have liberal and leftist views/inclinations. JayMan is an example of that. I could imagine JayMan writing a post about environmentalism with a Western ethnocentric slant.

    • I think it’s rich for the gifted parents to complain about ostracization and complain that special ed parents are accepted. Bitch please, that’s cause they don’t look down and pity your kids.

      Though honestly these g parents describe “gifted” as something belonging in the DSM-iv. Not sure why some issues are in the DSMiv and warrant treatment when their kids’ dysfunction get labeled blessed by god a rare few.

      These parents talk of unneeded pressure and how pressure on gifted kids to achieve is bad for them, then go on to say that gifted programs are needed because kids like theirs are the future leaders and innovators. Like parents which is it? Because you’re contradicting yourself.

  11. What about this parent of both a precocious and a special ed kid? “Of you’re jealous of my blessed kid think about how special ed kids feel about you. You’re implying that if my gifted kid is better my special ed kid is inferior.”

    Well… That is what people feel, but won’t admit even to themselves. The traits at least. We all want to be above average, and would rather be average than below average, but above average takes the cake

    • What about idiot savants? They can be extremely talented, even genius, in one area and entirely dysfunctional in other areas. Are they gifted or special ed? Or are they both simultaneously?

      Why do some people treat gifted as if it were an all or nothing category? That relates to the gifted advocate denying multiple intelligences, as if a kid is either smart or stupid across the board. It seems like there is a lot of simplistic ideological thinking going on.

      I also still don’t know what to make of the notion of ‘gifted’ being conflated with severe social and psychiatric problems. I sense that a bunch stuff gets thrown together. Why do kids need to be categorized? Pretty much all kids are a mix of particular talents, abilities, potentials, problems, issues, and oddities. Why not treat kids as individuals and have a school system that is capable of dealing with them as individuals?

      Even if a kid is slow in developing in one area, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything. I was slow in developing reading skills, but I eventually caught up and my reading skills are now above average. On the other hand, some kids develop in certain areas extremely quickly and yet plateau at some point, where other kids catch up with them. No one can be certain how a kid will turn out in the long run. It’s probably best to give kids, and by that I mean all kids, the freedom and opportunities to develop as they will, in their own ways and at their own speed.

      Too many parents are obsessed about having above average kids, but worrying about it is mostly meaningless. If we simply improved education for all kids, then it wouldn’t be an issue. If the entire fate of your child’s future is dependent on them getting labeled as ‘gifted’, then we have some severe problems in our society.

      Instead of worrying about which kids are above average, it would be more awesome if we were able to raise the level of the average to a far higher degree. The average kid today has a far higher IQ than the average kid several generations ago (along with higher rates of high school graduation and, following that, college degrees). What if we could similarly raise the cognitive functioning, intellectual ability, and education level of the average person over the coming generations, to such an extent that present ‘gifted’ kids will seem like merely average from the perspective of the future. That is what we should be aspiring toward.

      If we simply cleaned up heavy metals such as lead and generally improved environmental conditions, even if we didn’t do much with education itself, we’d still see a massive rise of IQ for the poorest and most disadvantaged, in the US and across the world.

      • The desire for above average is not conscious though. This mom for example seems sincere and does seem like she loves her kids the same.

        I’ve seen her daughters stuff wnd she just seems like an early developer really. Her writing isn’t something I’d mistake for an educated adult’s, that’s for sure. It does seem like she’s a precociois kid mentally and physically (she’s “tall for her age”) but I’m not sure why that makes her more blessed by god/Santa/genetics than other kids.

      • For the most part most of these blessed by Santa kids seem to merely have a early (so far) lead in a race where ultimately the only thing that matters is crossing the finish line. There’s nothing that really makes their kids notable. They just do normal mundane things a bit earlier.

        Like in a marathon, there is no guarantee that the leaders in the first few miles will be the leaders by the time the finish line comes close. Of you watch marathons this is absolutely the case. Sometimes the leaders at the start do cross first, but oftentimes they are overtaken later in the race. In these cases of kids unfortunately it sounds like the stuff that distinguishes them in childhood makes them nothing special in adulthood, where achievements rather than precocious ness matter. Kid x is notable because he was reading earlier, but in adulthood? Everyone can read now. Now it’s, who can write the next great novel? And it may not be the kid who read first.

    • There has been a lot of research coming out in recent years that broadens our understanding about many things. It makes me happy to see new data challenging old beliefs.

      The thing about being ignorant is that people rarely realize it. Most people are too ignorant to even be willfully ignorant.

      Assuming that health problems of children was all the fault of older women was obviously a sexist assumption to make. But, before this new research, it was easy for ignorance to support cultural prejudices. It goes further than that, though.

      The researchers, mostly male of course, chose to remain in ignorance and to keep the public in ignorance by not researching the issue (‘chose’ probably isn’t the right word, but there was a systematic pattern of not questioning or thinking too deeply about inconvenient possibilities). The right and luxury to be ignorant is the last privilege to be challenged because it allows for a careless unawareness and also plausible deniability.

      I bet more women, minorities, etc getting higher education is changing much in academia and research. People coming from different backgrounds will have different assumptions and questions, different experiences and perspectives.

      This is why diversity is so important. It’s not just about feel good political correctness. There are real benefits to having multiple viewpoints in a society or in a field of study. Also, there are real dangers to lacking such diversity.

      • HBDers talk a lot. But I doubt they believe all that they claim. There is a lot of projection going on among HBDers.

        I’m not sure most HBDers and other race realists want their views to be questioned too carefully. I suspect that even they realize that their ideological beliefs would fall apart with too much scrutiny and with too much good data. Otherwise, why do they cherrypick data while ignoring so much data that undermines or even contradicts their views?

        It’s not liberal political correctness that they fear. Most race realists love political correctness, but they just want to be in control of it.

        The more we learn about genetics, epigenetics, environmental conditions, etc the weaker the case for realism becomes. The critics of race realism have absolutely nothing to fear from furthering scientific research. It’s precisely many of the well-informed people working in these fields of research who have the strongest doubts about race realism.

        I’ve come to realize that the strongest defenders of political correctness are often found among right-wingers and reactionaries. Race realism was the politically correct status quo for centuries, and it is that old status quo that some wish to defend. It was only in recent generations that public debate about this has become possible.

    • A lot of people fear the future. That has always been the case with every change that has ever happened, be it social, technological, or whatever… but it’s particularly clear with technological changes. There are obvious implications that we don’t understand. It is reason for concern. The fear-mongering, however, is unhelpful.

      If abortion becomes the poor person’s gene therapy, then maybe we need to make gene therapy cheaper and more available. If some parents want a down syndrome kid, they could genetically create one and maybe use gene therapy to solve some of the problems that go with it. All this changes is that it gives people the knowledge and opportunity to make an informed decision.

      And if no parents in the future chooses to have a down syndrome kid and so they stop existing as part of the population, so what? Would that be such a horrific dystopian future?

      With better control of genetics, Rachel Dolezal could maybe change her genetics or her child’s genetics by adding in some African genetics. Why not? I don’t give a fuck. As long as people aren’t turning children into monsters, let parents do what they will. Heck, if every white person was genetically altered to become black, I still wouldn’t give a fuck.

      I have no doubt there will be plenty of issues for public debate. But let’s try to keep it to what actually matters.

      • I agree that this is fear mongerijg but there’s a can of worms: what about blacks turning white? It is more likely because whiteness is what is values in society and even nonwhites have internalized it the world over. This May avoid us addressing it.

        Also perhaps there will be discrimination against people naturally that way and people who achieved of through gene therapy.

        The worry that abortion will further stigmatize disabled people who exist is valid, though I don’t quite agree with it. It’s just a sign that disability is undesirable and always has been, no matter how accomadatiom we get. We can include and treat disabled people well but society and people don’t want to be disabled themselves the ey we wanna be pretty or something.

        Bérubu’s comments are funny that he thinks abortion testing takes away from research into the biochemistry of DS, when he is the one that threw a tantrum over “cures.” I support research oto DS biochemistry but you’re kidding me if you think that is not compatible with cures or at least treatment on the molecular level, rather than just managing the effects birth defect.

        The parents would never gene therapy a kid into disability like DS. One of those parents admitted that being blind is bad and no one wants it but her kid already is and she dosent want him to be discriminated against which he thinks increased abortions will.

        The abortion rate for DS has increased from 80 to 92 percent btw.

        It’s interesting that this mental disabilities like what comes with DS that gets aborted most often. Easily correctable disabilities like cleft pelage are aborted at much lower rates tha conditions casing retardation like DS. Parents would much rather have a physically disabled but not retsrded kid than a retarded kid. What do you think of this?

      • There are all kinds of possibilities. This is great fodder for science fiction, especially of the dystopian variety. It’s easy to imagine all kinds of things, positive as well, although it always gets people more excited to imagine dark visions.

        I think abortions will go down as science advances. We’ll find better ways to solve genetic problems, either by prevention before pregnancy or such options as gene therapy.

        However, as always, economics will play a big role. In a class-based society like the US with a history of oppressive hierarchies, this could take some less than desirable forms. Still, we’ll have to deal with those issues as they come. Worrying about them probably won’t help us.

        Then again, maybe the technologies and procedures will become so advanced and so simple that anyone will be able to afford them. We can’t assume that economic patterns will remain the same. The entire economy is likely to transform in ways we won’t be able to imagine.

  12. “”It’s so complicated,” said Ms. Hedley, president of the Children of Difference Foundation. “Would I choose to have my child have a disability? Oh my goodness, no. It’s difficult for her. It’s difficult for everyone. But difference is what makes the world go round.”


    • It is a strange statement. The absurdity of this attitude is impressive.

      It’s not as if ‘difference’ is a rare species that must be saved from extinction. I think there is plenty of differences to go around. There is little threat that the vast diversity of humanity is going to be made homogenous.

      Heck, there isn’t even any lack of diversity within disabilities. The world is full of all kinds of disabilities to pick from.

  13. The Loulan beauty might not seem problematic at first glance but the Tarim Basin mummies and the “white” tocharians are a favorite lifeboat within white supremacist circles whenever they need something to counteract the “superior ancient china” narrative that often puts a thorn in the side of their worldview. It entertains the possibility that ancient chinese were introduced to civilization and culture itself by these white asians before they were eventually swallowed alive by the yellow horde of China. It further cements the narrative that the superior aryan/white race is the progenitor of all of the world’s civilization and that not even the glory of ancient China belongs to the Chinese. They even claim that they introduced the wheel and horses to the Chinese.
    Very similar to Hitler’s obsession with India as the origins of aryanism and the pet narrative of the “Aryan invasion” that was responsible for pretty much all good things in India.

    • All I can say is that, for the first few millennia of civilization, most of Europe was a tribal backwater that few civilized people cared about, besides concern for rampaging Vikings and violent ignorant hordes that could overwhelm and destroy civilization… or at least be a constant nuisance.

      • Lmao, and now Northern Europeans are considered the pinnacle of humanity. And I’m not talking about the socialist style systems, but Nordic supremacism the only true whites (cause fuck spithern and Eastern Europeans)

      • Certainly, the Greeks, Romans, and Israelites didn’t look to Western and Northern Europe for their sense of social identity. That was where Barbarians lived.

        This Mediterannean world was an entirely different place. Those far Southern European peoples looked south and east to the other great civilizations, not north and east to the simple tribal folk. Civilization had to be forcefully introduced to the rest of Europe, a long and slow process. It didn’t develop there on its own.

        European civilization didn’t come from Aryans. It came from the Mediterannean civilizations. It came from places such as North Africa and the Levant. Even the Greeks said much of their high culture was taken from the Egyptians and, of course, this was passed onto the Romans. The Israelites also were influenced by the Egyptians along with others, such as the Mesopotamians (the ancestors of the present Iraqis).

        But knowledge about reality never made a supremacist any less arrogant and clueless.

    • That was an unsatisfying discussion about creativity. I wasn’t convinced that the post or any of the comments fully explained creativity and its differences between countries.

      It reminded me of many discussions of IQ I’ve seen. A whole lot of ideological-tinged and culturally-biased speculationg, but not much wide-ranging data and careful analysis.

  14. So my Japanese Trwcher wanted to meet with me and a few others out of class. I haven’t been paying sttention of studying, and my friend told me hat it is customary for Japanese teachers to take time outside class to help slower students, and that this does not hold the negative connotations the way it does in the US.

    When. I was in high school we were advised not to come off as hardworking or describe ourselves as such, because it would make it seem like we weren’t very intelligent we were just grinds. Of course we were supposedly to have good work ethics, but we weren’t supposed to come off as it. We were supposed to work but make it look like we didn’t need to work and we were just blessed by god. Culturally, I mealies this is because hard work is associated with being a robotic grind. Can’t have that.

    Language is not my forté, and I never actually learned how to study in a way that will work for me. The last minute quick cramming that worked for me in my other areas don’t work for me in language vocabulary, though it does in grammar.

    And I feel a deep shame at studying, because it makes me feel like if I need studying I must not be blessed by god. My self worth is fragile that way because I’ve built my identity on getting away with not developing study habits for my weak areas. Then I feel more intense shame if I need more than two repetitions to understand because that is wha gifted gurus advise. Even though I wonder if this is all Bs.

    It was my friend that actually developing good study advice for me (repeat, wait ten minutes, repeat, then wait twenty minutes. Increase your time incrementally because memories to into the long term memory with time) I never learned this.

    So I feel ashamed at needing to study. I feel ashamed and self doubt if I wasn’t blessed by god but given a lump of coal.

    It is a struggle to realize that Japanese teachers don’t think this way though. Even though my american teachers were obsessed with tracking kids and advising us to play down hard work and obsessed with identifying and recommending blessed by god kids, japanese teachers don’t see it that way.

    So am I realizing his american I am? That this mindset is in fact, very american? Not universal?

    • It really seems like a different world today.

      Besides the lack of obsession about IQ, I don’t recall from my childhood such things as tracking or gifted classes. I was taken out of classes for extra/special help. I knew it was harder for me to learn than other kids, but I never thought it meant much else.

      No one separated me into a class for special kids or told me I had a label. The other kids didn’t ridicule me or treat me differently. I don’r remember feeling unduly pressured and judged for failing. My parents and teachers helped me when I needed help and that was it.

      I don’t know how representative my experiences were. I lived in and went to school in many different kinds of places. I’m sure I was treated better than poor minority kids in poor minority schools, but that is another issue.

      • Japanese people don’t seem to believe in as my parents call t tian cai, or blessed my god literally.

        Japanese people seem to think that the characteristics americans call “gifted” can be cultivated. Eh. But Japan, and France(where they don’t like seperate programs either), are also more collectivist than the US

        Then again my parents are Chijese are they don’t really believe in so many tian cai the way american do. The fact that american schools have blessed by god rooms weirds them out.

      • What do you think about my observation?

        Something has changed in recent generations. There was a shift in US education. It’s different now. Why?

        It’s not even just the US. Other countries have also seen changes. Finland used to have an education system that did poorly by international standards. Now, they have one of the best education systems.

        In trying to keep up in a globalized world, national governments are pushing for reform in education. No country wants to fall behind. The pressure isn’t just about the economy. It’s an international sense of brutal competition.

        • That’s plausible. More America anxiety at percieved no longer post-ww2 big guy on campus. The big guy is starting to shrink; or others are starting to grow.

          I enjoy trying to think and parsing to the bottom of things. Sort of. I am a big picture person.

        • It does seem plausible. Americans are constantly worrying that the Chinese or illegal immigrants are stealing their jobs.

          Much of this is simplistic and silly fear-mongering, but not all of it. There are realistic concerns about the lessening status of the American worker and of the US as a country. In the mid-twentieth century, simply being a US citizen, in particular if white, almost guaranteed you employment with good pay and benefits. That is no llonger the case.

          Everyone knows the story. WWII devastated industry of much of the developed world. The US was one of the few major countries that survived mostly unscathed. With the Cold War, all the US had to worry about was the USSR. Americans knew their country, their military, their economy was a big dog in the world. With the fall of the USSR, Americans felt their country was the unchallenged and unchallengeable top dog.

          A long time has passed since the devastation of WWII. Industries have been rebuilt around the world and grown where they didn’t exist before. Competition is more fierce right now than maybe at any other time in global history. The closest comparison might be the colonial era when multiple empires were vying for power and control of world trade. The colonial era was also a time of developing knowledge and education, science and technolgoy.

          It completely makes sense to tie this into the present education changes, both in the US and around the world. There was an emphasis on education, especially STEM, during the early and mid period of the Cold War. But by the late period of the Cold War and its ending, Americans had grown lazy, apathetic, self-satisfied, and overly confident. Education seemed more of a luxury than a national priority. All forms of public funding for public services were under attack.

          Americans act surprised now that their government’s military dominance in the world doesn’t guarantee them everything they want. Americans are spoiled children who grew up to discover that no one is going to continue to coddle them. With this realization in mind, many parents, teachers, and others are putting immense pressure on the new generation. Of course, 9/11 was a wake-up call that put the fear back into the American psyche. The easier laidback times that came before are barely a memory at this point.

  15. This is now pathetic my attitude is. I actually told my teacher I wasn’t stupid I just didn’t study. I’m believe she is confused as to why I would say the first part in response to her offering me extra practice sheets (“I’m not dumb!!!!!)

    I would rather be seen as lazy than stupid. But my mentality I realize is not Japanese.

    • I’m not sure how much has changed since when I was in school. I often had low self-esteem, but I never thought I was stupid. I’m not sure it ever crossed my mind.

      It seems to me that Americans have become more obssessed with intelligence or the idea of intelligence in recent years. The Bell Curve by Hernstein and Murray was published in 1994, the year I graduated from high school. That seems to have been the beginning point of an endless obsession about intelligence, who has it and who doesn’t, and who should be blamed.

      I’m sure many younger Americans have internalized all of this. The US media by focusing so much on IQ essentially gives the message that this is the basis of self-worth.

      • My teacher was a bit perplexed when I reacted to her offering me extra practice worksheets with “I’m not stupid!!!!”

        So this has become me. I would rather be seen as lazy than stupid. I feel a deep sense of fragile self worth.

        I live near a train station and I feel so overwhelmed. I’ll probably stay alive, but I keep that statio in the back of my mind. I’m overwhelmed and my pride has let me get to this point. I know in the long run it is okay but now I feel that this trip is basically going to tank my gap which will destroy any chances I have in a already uncertain future job market. I feel like I’m toast.

        I probably won’t fail but my gap may drop below 3.0. I am very overwhelmed right now. I feel embarrassed and prideful. I was ashamed to study because I doubted my iq then if I needed to study. I’ve always been getting away with cramming at the last minute, but now that does not work. My school method has been to zone out in class, cram in time for exams, and get away with it. Now it does not work if I want at least a B. Now I feel like I face both wounded pride and my future being destroyed because g GPa dropped below 3.

        I have No self worth. Americans judge people who base their self worth on criteria that Americans value. It is so two faced. I don’t understand. It’s so two faced. I have no shame in admitting I base my self worth on things like iq and whatnot. I don’t get why I have to pretend I don’t. I don’t understand why I have to pretend that self worth does not come from having desirable qualities. I don’t get why I can’t admit that some qualities are more desirable than others. I don’t understand why I should be embarrassed or wrong to say that I atcleast partly draw self worth from where I fall on various scales and hierarchies .of desirability. I have an acute awareness of the existence of scales as hierarchies in society and I was always called weird to commenting on these by teachers. I don’t get it.

        • I’ll put this way I think it is disingenuous for people to tell others to not base their self worth on things like iq beauty and whatnot. Like, I just think “two faced” and “hypocrite.” At them. What is worse is that this is often unintentional. They are not being malicious.

      • When I was younger, it’s not as if being smarter wasn’t desirable. But it was in the context of many traits and abilities being desirable.

        I was bad at learning, while at the same time I was good at art and soccer, fairly good at writing and came to enjoy reading, and I was always thoughtful. All of this played into my sense of self-worth. My not being good at learning and hence getting bad grades didn’t make me think I was stupid. In fact, I was higher IQ. I just knew I hated school.

        My parents valued education. Our entire society puts a lot focus on education. Don’t get me wrong. There was plenty of pressure to perform and succeed. And I don’t respond well to pressure. School was a traumatic experience for me.

        All that I’m saying is people didn’t talk about things in the same way back then. Such things as IQ tests wasn’t as central. It was important, but there wasn’t as much pressure.

        My parents always assumed my brothers and I would go to college as they did, but all three of us dropped out of college (only later did one of my brothers go back). They accepted this decision without judgment. There was no fear about our futures. My mother’s parents, after all, were just working class. There was no shame in my family for doing manual labor jobs.

        I have many friends with college degrees that do janitorial work, drive busses, bake bread, etc. I know many others in my generation, like me, with little or no college education. There was a lot less academic pressure for GenXers. Partly, we didn’t have helicopter parents. Quite the opposite. We were negledted latchkey kids. The economy was beginning to get bad back in the 1970s, but there was a tech boom in the 1990s and so the economy wasn’t nearly as bad as it is now. There were fewer worries about the job market.

        Getting in college was a simple thing to do in decades past. You didn’t need to have a resume and tons of extracurriculars. It’s a totally different world today The pressure is intense. It’s hard for me to understand what it must be like. It’s not that I’m not sympathetic, but that isn’t the world I grew up in.

        To understand the world of my youth, look at the tv shows and movies directed at my generation when I was in grade school: My So-Called Life, Saved by the Bell, Beverly Hills 90210 (the original), Beavis & Butt-head, Risky Business, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Wayne’s World, etc.

        The focus and concern in this earlier entertainment media was not academic success and such. Rather, the emphasis was on social issues of fitting in and social problems in the world. Many of the characters weren’t particularly book smart. If success was the focus at all, it was simply about getting ahead by whatever means necessary, even cheating.

        I guess to some extent what was desired and respected back then was different than seen today. I’m not sure why was. My childhood was during the Reagan era. It defined the last decades of the twentieth century. It was a strange time. Anti-intellectualism was even more rampant than it is at present.

        • I take it as evidence, not that gifted programs need to be created, but that the entire education system needs to be reformed, improved, redesigned, and maybe utterly transformed. I do think the schools I went to failed in educating me well. But I also note that schools fail most kids in various ways. I wish the only problem our schools had was limited to the so-called gifted students.

  16. David – very well-written article, with which I wholeheartedly agree. I would add this to the mix – I believe a large part of the underlying resistance to reason is anxiety. The (mostly) hidden anxiety that we may, for example, indeed be destroying the environment, or that we are losing control of society (witness the increasing incidence of mass killings). However, many psychologists and philosophers will point to what they believe is the source for this deep-rooted anxiety – the fear of death.

    We are feed the “good news” that the cure for both our personal and national anxieties are to immerse ourselves in cat videos, prayers, drugs, a new car, etc. Of course these things are but a temporary and usually ineffectual cure, but they are sold to us as the best available products to quell our sense of anxiety. We need someone (god, the president, a corporation) to tell us, “There, there, everything will be all right if you just ….”

    And, adding fuel to the fire, no matter how much we may wish to believe in those “cures,” deep down we know they are not true … which of course adds another, deeper layer, to our personal and national anxiety.

    A preacher will assure us that if we have faith, we will go to heaven. What can reason offer? Science will make a “proclamation” one day, and turn around the next and say the opposite, i.g., “eggs are good for you,” “eggs are bad for you,” “eggs are good for you.” This only adds to the more reasonable person’s sense of anxiety, and may eventually drive them to the more confident proclamations of the powers that be.

    • In the article, the author wrote:

      “Oftentimes when this issue is raised, a one-word solution is offered: education. Such a reply is understandable, but it’s also far too simplistic. If we are to truly conquer the formidable problem of anti-intellectualism, we need to take it much more seriously. We need to make an earnest effort to understand its underlying causes and what drives it. ”

      That sounds like the type of thing I’d say. But in the rest of the article I wish he had gone further.

      Social science has advanced to an extreme degree. It isn’t just psychologists sitting around thinking about this stuff.

      A lot of social science research is done by governments and corporations. They have focused on this area since the early 1900s. Early on, propaganda and advertizing weren’t considered as two separate things. They were studied together and there is good reason for that.

      Big biz spends massive amounts of money on advertizing and front groups because these methods are highly effective in influencing thought and behavior. Big government has a long history of attempting to manipulate public perception and opinion. The US goverment has in the past even paid people working in the news media and in colleges, especially during the Cold War, but we can be guaranteed that this kind of thing is still going on.

      The average American is nearly helpless against these highly scientific manipulations of the human mind. The first step in dealing with a problem is, first, recognizing fully what the problem is and, second, recognizing the full extent of it. The public has to become at least as sophisticated as the techniques being used on the public.

  17. I have No self worth. Americans harshly judge people who base their self worth on criteria that Americans value. It is so two faced. I don’t understand. It’s so two faced. I have no shame in admitting I base my self worth on things like iq and whatnot. I don’t get why we have to pretend we value all iq ranges equally. That we value all human traits equally. Just because I’ll go out of y way to be nice to the clinically retarded Down Syndrome kid dosent mean I think having DS is desirable. I don’t get why I have to pretend I don’t. I don’t understand why I have to pretend that self worth does not come from having desirable qualities. I don’t get why I can’t admit that some qualities are more desirable than others. I don’t understand why I should be embarrassed or wrong to say that I atcleast partly draw self worth from where I fall on various scales and hierarchies .of desirability. I have an acute awareness of the existence of scales as hierarchies in society and I was always called weird to commenting on these by teachers. I don’t get it.

    • You can’t generalize too much. Many Americans love to harshly judge those who refuse to base the self-worth of others on IQ. There doesn’t seem to be much consensus about IQ and intelligence at present. If there were, we wouldn’t see so much anti-intellectualism.

      The more important argument is about what IQ represents: innate quality (or worthlessness), hard work (or laziness), potential expressed (or unexpresed), cognitive development (or its stunting), objective rating ( or culturally-biased measure), thinking skills (or mere test-taking skill), indicator of social capital (or its lack), result of environmental conditions (healthy or otherwise), or any number of interpretations.

      If IQ signifies something to be valued in and of itself, what kind of thing is it? Who gets credit for it and blame for its lack? And how should it be valued?

      Americans hold many views of IQs. They would offer different interpretations and offer different answers to these questions. Even so, most Americans see the increase of the average IQ as a good thing, both across the general population and within specific demographics. It’s obvious that most Americans do value intelligence in the broad sense, despite American anti-intellectual tendencies.

      It’s just that it’s a touchy subject. Issues like IQ are like that of race. They get conflated with lots of other issues. When people talk about IQ or race, it is rare for them to be merely talking about IQ or race.

    • I saw the following article and thought of you:

      It’s about seeing intelligence as a set of potential skills and abilities to be developed. The argument is that seeing intelligence as an inborn mindset ends up being self-defeating. It means there is nothing one can do about it. It disempowers, instead of inspiring one to work harder.

      I can see how that probably had an impact on my own schooling. I at times felt helpless. Partly, that was because the help I needed was rarely offered. But I wonder if there was more to it.

      Maybe I sensed how our society has often treated cognitive ability as innate. I know when I was younger I felt there was simply something wrong with me, that my academic failures pointed to a personal failure, an inner inferiority. The fear of being a failure or being perceived as a failure was paralyzing at times.

      It would have been nice if I had been taught as if I had immense potential and had been more fully and effectively helped in developing it. Instead, schooling always felt like sink or swim and I barely was able to keep my head above water. I hate to imagine how much harder life is for kids who have had to struggle even far more than I did.

      Anyway, here is the specific part of the article that caught my attention:

      “The group most damaged by fixed-mindset thinking is high-achieving girls, Boaler argues, because it’s girls who are told by society that they probably won’t be as good as boys at math and science. That means girls are only more likely to avoid challenging themselves in science and math, and that aversion to making mistakes leads to less learning and progress. The more that certain disciplines cling to ideas of giftedness, the fewer female Ph.D.s there are in those fields.”

      The author goes onto discuss math nihilism. I’m reminded of the research on stereotype threat. Girls who weren’t reminded of gender stereotypes (by not being asked their gender in filling out a test) did just as well as boys on math skills. How we frame and think about such things determines so much of what we think we are capable of doing, and almost all of this occurs unconsciusly. We rarely become aware of what is holding us back.

    • I’ve written about anti-intellectualism many times before.

      There is one post in particular I recall, but I don’t remember the title of it. The post was about how Americans don’t want to be perceived as stupid. To call an American stupid is one of the worst insults. Yet there is little consistency in the American attitude toward inellectuality. That does seem strange.

      I think part of it has to do with the conflation issue. Intelligence represents something in American culture, but it isn’t intelligence that is directly valued. To have a high IQ, good grades, or a degree from an ivy league college indicates your social worth. It doesn’t matter if you lack original thought, cheated to get those good grades, or were a legacy into that ivy league college. All that mattes is the social perception of your value.

      Such things are similar to what a respectable name and title mean for the aristocracy in countries like Britain. They are indicators of class, and hence of position and privilege. But such social perceptions of intelligence as social worth don’t necessarily have anything to do with intellectuality as something to be valued on its own terms.

      In a post from 5 years ago, I noted the strange phenomenon of how a certain kind of intellectual can be critical of intellectuality. Typically, this is found on the political right. Many conservatives and libertarians are high IQ and well-educated.

      Richard Hofstadter (in Anti-Intellectualism in American Life) explained it well. I wrote about this in the second part to the above linked post.

      “He clarifies a number of points. I’ll discuss two of them.

      “First, there generally isn’t a group of people who are entirely anti-intellectual. Those who use anti-intellectual arguments/rhetoric usually do so in response to some particular situation. The main opposition towards intellectuals is when they act as experts which goes against the populist grain of American culture (populist sentiments being particularly appealing to American conservatives). On the other hand, American intellectuals have at times been in alignment with this populism (e.g., the Progressive Era). Intellectualism isn’t inherently anti-populist and populism isn’t inherently anti-intellectual, but it’s obvious that in the US intellectualism and populism haven’t always gotten along.

      “Second, he distinguishes intelligence from intellectuality. Intelligence is universally valued, but intellectuality is not. Someone can be one while not being the other. The central distinction is that intelligence has practical ends and so can be known by its results (can be observed or even measured) whereas intellectuality doesn’t seek external justification. Intellectuality has two attributes that balance eachother: piety and playfulness. There is an almost religious sense that the intellectual has towards the moral values underpinning intellectual endeavors: truth and honesty, justice and fairness, etc. The intellectual endeavor is extremely serious and many intellectuals will dedicate their lives to it for very little reward (unlike businessmen or media personalities, few intellectuals become wealthy). Intellectualism is a calling.”

  18. A: It is indeed unfortunate that there is very little support for parents of highly able children in Sweden.

    I feel very upset hearing your pediatrician’s suggestion to hold back your son’s rapid development. I really hope you have not held him back in any way as that would be the worst thing anyone could do to early giftedness. Your boy appears to be very advanced and I wouldn’t be surprised that he has started showing signs of boredom and frustration at his present daycare environment. He is showing signs of less excitement and enjoyment in learning.

    Since there is no provision for a more advanced learning facility in Sweden, you may have to work very hard to help him maintain his interest and enjoyment in learning. Firstly, you may need to get some help from his school or the daycare centre (if he is still there). Speak to one of his teachers (who appears supportive and one whom he likes) to keep observing him and giving him more challenging work.

    Secondly, at home, you must keep him stimulated most of the time. Look for learning materials that appear interesting and challenging to him. Give him projects to accomplish, e.g., when he has read a book, get him to write a review of, say, what he thought of the book and how he would improve it. Have a lot of outdoor activities; introduce him to the world of insects, plants, etc. Children usually get fascinated with such things so you can also get him to relate his experiences to his friends – it’s two-way so chances are that his friends will be engaged as well and his social skills improves with increased mingling.

    Thirdly, find out if there are other parents who may be facing a similar situation. You may want to place an ad at his daycare. You can team up with parents and meet on a monthly basis to discuss issues in raising a highly able child. Nothing can be more effective than support from other parents as personal experience is the best teacher. In fact, if there are enough parents, you may want to start an association and eventually become the first association for the gifted in Sweden!

    Last but not least, keep yourself updated with the latest information on gifted education on the web. You may want join in as member and subscribe to newsletters from national associations for the gifted for a small fee. This would also enable you to hook up with other parents from different countries.

    As for grade skipping, it really depends on a number of factors; his socio-emotional maturity, whether enrichment is offered in his present grade, his feelings about skipping grades (especially if this practice is not normally done). If he is ready for more challenging and advanced work, and his present learning is not stimulating him enough, he should not be held behind.

    You may also want to talk to him about his gifts. Explain to him that not everyone has such gifts, which is why some of his friends may not be able to understand him or enjoy what he enjoys. This is going to be a tough journey for both your son and you, but I assure you that it will be well worth it. All the best!

  19. In that episode, Homer was immune from criticism because he was “one of them:” a lazy and unthreatening slob who knew everybody (well except for Burns because Burns never knows who Homer is).
    In contrast, Grimes was intelligent and a hard worker, but he was new and didn’t quite fit in through no fault of his own. People like Homer could screw up time and time again and still get a pass, while Grimes pulled off a heroic act (saving Homer from drinking acid) yet got a pay cut because nobody had his back.
    permalinksaveparentreportgive goldreply
    [–]ngxp 6 points 18 hours ago
    I think there’s also an element of anti-intellectualism or elitism (in the other sense) in America. America says it wants people to hard work to succeed, but in reality loves stories of lucky breaks. The American dream, as it’s sold, isn’t to study hard and get a good job, invest smartly, and retire comfortably.
    It’s getting plucked from obscurity on American Idol, or selling drugs and getting rich off it, or whatever makes those MLM scams so attractive.
    People want to be Homer, who gets all the lucky breaks in the world and works a job he’s not qualified for, nobody wants to be Grimes and live with his earned dignity.
    permalinksaveparentreportgive goldreply

  20. There is an autistic kid in my program though I am one of the only people who knows. I was just thinking about how if you don’t know someone is autistic, their behaviors can be rather off-putting, to not be politically correct. But once you know he autistic things make more sense and you are understanding. Unfortunately if people don’t know he is autistic I easily see him pissing people off. He is already pissinf the teacher off for instance.

    • I find myself saying that it’s not just about autistic kids, as I say it’s not just about ‘gifted’ kids. All kids and parents don’t deserve most of the blame or credit they get for almost everything. No one chooses their genetics. No one chooses the society and environment they were born into. No one chooses their own earliest formative life experiences.

      Even parents have limited control over influencing their children and shaping their lives. Judith Rich Harris discusses a lot of the research in her book, The Nurture Assumption. Also, as you know, I often bring up such things as the impact poverty and pollution has on children and the adults they become. The lead poisoned child shouldn’t be blamed for acting aggressively and impulsively, for his lack of focus and stunted cognitive development.

      We all should be more understanding, compassionate, and forgiving. But for the grace of God goes I.

  21. You can’t call the model minority stereotype “acceptance,” unless you mean “accept us as different and deficient compared to the mainstream (white people).” Every “positive” thing about the model minority myth can be used and turned against us.
    Good at math? Uncreative and non-innovative, with a poor grasp of English and poor communication skills.
    Respectful and polite? Docile, submissive, can (and should) be taken advantage of.
    Hard working? Exploitable.
    Highly educated and wealthy compared to other ethnic groups? Society and government can ignore Asians who are economically and academically disadvantaged, like many South East Asians.
    The worst part is the model minority myth is used as a weapon against Black people and Hispanic people, so you hear things like well Asians were discriminated against and came from poor countries but look at them now, they’re wealthy and educated because they shut up, put their heads down and worked hard unlike those other lazy bastards. Again, never mind that many Asians from all over the continent, especially South East Asians, don’t fit this mold at all. This creates division and convinces segments of our population that actually meritocracy is a real thing and we made it in the West because our culture is superior, so we should get in bed with white people. Except that no matter how hard you work or how rich you are, white people will still call you a small dicked chink/gook/slant/zipperhead behind your back.
    The videos about Asian things and food on channels like Buzzfeed are all right like you say. I have no problem with spreading cultural information like that to Westerners and I actually enjoy watching them. Plus it CAN be used to foster interest in non-Western cultures and lead to greater cultural understanding. The problem is when people only think of these things, anime, food, music, whatever, as exotic novelties, but that’s their fault.
    When it comes to reddit though, you can fucking smell the hypocrisy. I just ignore it because it’s truly too idiotic to remedy. People will upvote things like “International (Asian) students cheat all the time, there’s a culture of cheating in Asia” and “Asians can only copy Western creations, their culture suppresses innovation.” Then they’ll go right back to watching anime, listening to K-pop, playing their PS4/Wii U and Japanese video games.
    Maybe it’s not all the same people, but I strongly suspect it’s the same type of people, white men aged 14-35, so make of that what you will.
    My white friends, well, they’ve definitely said problematic things before. Personally I try to educate them when and where I can. You know for a lot of people of color, it goes something like this. You experience a few microaggressions throughout the week, and you let it go because you don’t want to make a big deal out of it, and for what. It builds up over time, but eh, people are just being a little ignorant, they’re not trying to be racist, so you let it go. You go on the internet, you see racist shit and you feel like writing a comment, but again you don’t because what’s the point. Maybe after a month, after experiencing a few dozen microaggressions, reading explicitly racist trash, maybe a few overtly racist “jokes” in real life, you’re in a bad mood outside and someone says something mildly ignorant or makes an off-color joke and you snap, you tell them they’re being racist and it’s fucked up. Now, you get called out for playing the race card, bringing up issues of race when these poor white folks don’t even see race and the white person in question goes home thinking to themselves gee these people are so sensitive, they can’t take a joke and racial issues aren’t a big deal.
    They have the privilege of not knowing what it’s like to live as a person of color in a society where white is the default and if it ain’t white it ain’t right. So yeah, some of my white friends might very well be upvoting harmless jokes on the internet because they don’t think it’s a big deal, it’s not like they’re actually hurting people of color in real life. But it’s all part of a system, especially nowadays when mild racist jokes are normalized in our discourse. Now I’m not saying you can’t even make racially charged jokes, what I am saying is for everyone to think more critically about our society where bringing up the fact that you might be discriminated against for your race is considered a faux pas. Who does that serve exactly?

  22. There would be many more asian Americans today if not in the 19 and 20 century, the Asian male immigrants weren’t 1: forbidden from bringing asian women aka their wives over (there were many asian male workers but almost no women immigrants) and 2: forbidden from marrying with the local white population.

    This is on top of the frankly, genocides that have occurred on the immigrant railroad workers. Entire towns were wiped out by white workers: Idaho used to be one third asian until these genicidesz

    • I learned about the former large Chinese population in Idaho from Loewen’s book on sundown towns.

      No teacher I ever had taught about sundown towns. A short distance from where I live is West Branch, where my brother and his family lives. It’s a sundown town.

      There were many black families in once census and then in the next there were none. Despite it being a small town, it has a federal park and museum because it’s where president Hoover grew up, where his childhood home still stands, and where he is buried. There are historical markers describing all kinds of things about the town, but none of them point out that it is a sundown town.

      Here is the article on sundown towns that mentions the Idaho example:

      African-Americans were not the only people of color driven out of some towns where they lived. One example, according to Loewen, is that in 1870, Chinese people made up one-third of Idaho’s population. Following a wave of violence and an 1886 anti-Chinese convention in Boise, almost none remained by 1910.[5]:51 In another example, the town of Gardnerville, Nevada is said to have blown a whistle at 6 p.m. daily alerting Native Americans to leave by sundown.[5]:23 Three additional examples of numerous road signs documented during the first half of the 20th century include:[3]

      In Colorado: “No Mexicans After Night.”
      In Connecticut: “Whites Only Within City Limits After Dark.”
      In Nevada, the ban was expanded to include those the sign-writers term “Japs.”
      Jews were also excluded from living in some sundown towns, such as Darien, Connecticut.[5]:257

    • I wrote a comment at that post, but for some reason the spam filter wouldn’t let it through. I typed in the correct code. It was acting buggy. So, I’ll leave the comment here instead:

      I’m not a parent, but I loved hearing what you had to say. It was awesome! You made my day.

      Like many other commmenters here, I was a kid decades ago. I don’t remember anyone talking about gifted back then.

      I was diagnosed as learning disabled, because I had (and have) word recall issues that delayed my learning to read and made learnng in general challenging. They originally thought I was low IQ, until they tested me and found out I was high IQ (in 3rd grade, I tested as having the puzzle solving ability of the average 12th grader). A kid like that today would be labeled as gifted or at least his parents would likely try to get him labeled as such, not that my parents ever cared about that kind of thing.

      I struggled in school. Also, along with chronic depression, I’ve struggled in life.

      Even so, I would never compare my difficulties to that of a severely disabled kid or their parents. It’s a whole different world. Having a higher IQ has allowed me to work around and compensate for my learning disability. It has in many ways improved my learning and reading skills, way above average now. If I had the same learning disability combined with low IQ or some other severe disability, it would have been infinitely harder, both as a child and as an adult.

      Those gifted parents attacking you are not just heartless but also clueless. I’m glad you stood up to them. Someone has to do it. There are too many privileged people in our society who lack nearly all perspective. Someone needs to knock some sense into them.

  23. God/Santa/genetics blessed a few kids, gave lumps of goal to most of them, and said “fuxk you” to a few. Then we decided to pretend all three options were equally awesome though we secretly want to be the first

    • Sort of. The problem is the entire framework. Everyone is a combination of abilities and disabilities, relative to other people.

      As with my example, I have a learning disability, some kind of thought disorder (according to one psychiatrist), chronic depression, and some undiagnosed minor social anxiety. But I also have high IQ, precocious puzzle solving abilities in my childhood, natural artistic ability (including winning awards for my artwork), very good eye-hand and eye-foot coordination (soccer, hackysack, juggling, etc), above average reading and writing skills, etc.

      The gifted descriptions seem similar. They assume that most or all gifted kids have severe psychological, emotional, and social disabilities. They seem to equate gifted with high functioning autism. Even if that were the case, no one can honestly believe that being a high functioning autistic child is as bad as being a low functioning autistic child.

  24. What’s so hard about finding “appropriately stimulating” books? There are plenty of adult level books that don’t contain shit like sex. Heck when I was in middle school I loved readig college history textbooks. Maybe let them read those.

    • I think I might understand what these parents see as the problem. I suspect that the same type of parent who wants to label their child as gifted are the same type who are helicopter parents. These are first world problems that preoccupy middle class people.

      My sister-in-law is like this. She acts as if her daughter, my niece, is gifted (altough I don’t think she has used the word yet, at least not around me). She thinks her daughter is so advanced. In some ways, she is. My brother and sister-in-law read and talk to her constantly, and so she has a large vocabulary.

      But otherwise my niece’s psychological and cognitive development seems normal or even a bit behind other kids. Some of her thinking abilities, such as problem-solving skills, seem to be about equivalent to a child a year behind her, despite her large vocabulary. The kid is decently smart and probably will catch up, but at the moment she isn’t anything special and there isn’t anything necessarily wrong with that.

      She has simply been over-protected by her parents. They isolate her and won’t let her play with neighbor kids, because they think they are inferior and too low class (it’s a fairly typical smaller working class river town in a rual Midwestern state). My sister-in-law takes care of babies. So, my niece usually only ever gets to socially interact with babies and adults. I think this has stunted her development and explains why she still sometimes baby-talks, even though she is way past the normal age of baby-talking.

      My brother and sister-in-law are basically helicopter parents. It’s sort of understandable at the moment, as my niece is still young. But the relevant part is that my sister-in-law tries to control everything in her child’s life. Every toy, tv show, movie, book, etc has to be checked out and approved. They are scared to let her experience reality unfiltered. My niece still doesn’t now what death is, even though she can give you the names of thousands of animals and plants, including obscure ones like the sea anenome (and she pronounces it correctly).

      That is probably what is meant by “appropriately stimulating” reading material. These helicopter parents of supposedly gifted children want to control every aspect of their kids lives. That is why they want them in gifted programs, so that no moment of their existence will go unplanned and unsupervised. These kids are special snowflakes and sensitive brilliant geniuses who must be protected from the big scary world and protected from the normals.

      So, the books they are exposed to must simultaneously be stimulating and appropriate, which is to say appropriate to the weird notions in the parents’ heads.

      • Keep in mind, that the gifted advocates talk about the “helicopter parents.” Those aprents and their kids aren;t actually gifted, they just push their kids to overachieve. Real gifted parents like them have a hard time because people attack them and they are isolated and forced to shut up 😛

      • Now I remember. For my major I read a lot of papers on climate change. Maybe these parents can get on google scholar and print out a few, fee not withstanding. Not sex or violence involved 😛

  25. I don’t like the gifted advocates even the well intentioned ones are insufferable. “Passive aggressive”

    Though I still use the term “retarded” sometimes. Eh.

    Paul Saxton
    Well said Stacie.
    I have to say though that that’s the last time I visit your blog on BabyCenter – or at least make a comment on it. Apart from wasting my time in pointless spats, I just can’t face ‘debating’ with such awful, myopic and hateful people. I really did think that everyone would see that raising a disabled child is much worse. That being disabled is much worse. But they didn’t. They really do believe that raising a ‘gifted’ child is just as bad.
    What is it with them? A lack of empathy and understanding? Stupidity? Contrariness? Parental competitiveness? I don’t get it.
    And so much of it came with a hideously passive-aggressive niceness – all that ‘can’t we just accept that all children have their own challenges’ bollocks. Really, do fuck off.
    It’s as if it’s all some kind of competition. And maybe that’s the problem – the arena in which the debate took place. Maybe sites devoted to parenthood attracts the kind of wingnuts for whom being a parent is absolutely everything. More than that: being a better parent than other parents is absolutely everything. If you see what I mean.
    Utterly depressing.
    Posted on November 6, 2012

    Mama Lewis
    It was the passive-aggressive niceness that really got me down as well. These are the same people who would have come out in droves to support that inane “end the word retard” campaign. It is depressing how many nice people thought they were completely justified in comparing our lives, particularly our daughter’s lives, to that of their oppressed “gifted” children.

    • I sometimes use “retarded” as well. It’s a technical term that has been used by professionals for a long time. I’m not sure if it still gets used or not, but in recent years it was continuing to be used by professionals in some states.

      Changing words doesn’t change reality, because words don’t possess magical powers. If professionals use a new word in place of “retarded,” then all the people who used “retarded” in the past will use the new word in the same way. Sill, it doesn’t make much difference to those with severe low IQ. The reality of their condition remains the same.

  26. Yes, the ironic reality of “gifted” advocates being dumb as fuck was my thinking.

    These comments are the most fucked up response I have heard in a long time. Here is what I wrote Stacie. Gifted parents like the ones on this site are such selfish individuals. They don’t have a fucking clue.
    “I can’t believe I am reading such awful comments to a Mom whose child is 100% disabled. Stacie’s daughter can’t do one thing by herself and most things she will never do eve with help. It is beyond severe to begin to compare her daughter to some gifted. Also to the person who said we need genius’ to accomplish great things is totally wrong in almost all cases of discovery. They are made by educated mostly average individuals who have the love of discovery and the willingness to continue after many false starts. Read about the inventors and you will see they did poorly in school and were average on most everything. Gifted kids with all their difficulties don’t begin to compare to a kid who has no sense of self, environment and can’t care for themselves and NEVER ever will be able to do most things if not all things we take for granted. I am appalled at the meaness here. Give yourself a big pat on your selfish backs. I think you wouldn’t be able to handle a “truly disabled” child.”
    Posted on November 6, 2012

    Keep on fighting the good fight, Stacie!!
    Posted on November 7, 2012

    Fully support you Stacie – and I never post comments on babycenter – but I did for you. hugs to you and all your family.
    Posted on November 7, 2012

    Mama Lewis
    Thanks, Kristina – I saw your comment on the post before I saw this. Much appreciated!
    November 7, 2012

    Isn’t it slightly ironic how the parents of these “gifted” children are so stupid? I agree with your post 100% it’s not the same challenges. Yes parents of gifted children may worry about the education for their child but they know that their child will at least get one, that’s nothing like the parents of children with disabilities. They don’t have to worry about the kind of care their child will receive in the future or how their child will be able to have access to services that increase their independence. It’s just stupid. I’m sure my parents would have rather had to worry about how I could possibly go to a school with the so-called less intelegent than which school would actually agree to provide work in the right format for me, or let me study the subjects I want, or bother to employ people to support me. I don’t see how those parents can argue they have it as hard as parents of disabled children.”

    • I’ve made that point before. If the kids are so gifted, why do so many of the parents not seem particularly smart? Assuming the kids really are way above average, that apparently would disprove that genetics played much of a role.

  27. Chaos
    For people to have said that raising a gifted child is anything like raising a disabled one- I had my disbelieving face on. The responses however made me feel sad that their are such mentally deficient parents out there raising these so called ‘gifted’ kids. Oh I don’t deny some of them are of higher intelligence then their age mates but really? the parents need to stop with the ‘my kid is a special snowflake’ and go hey- my kids smart but s/he isn’t any different to any other able bodied kid.
    Posted on November 28, 2012

    As a kid of ‘above average abilities’, some of this shocks me. Yeah, okay, there’s a pressure on me, and yeah, my parents find it difficult to relate to me sometimes but that’s nowhere near the difficulties faced every day by children and adults with disabilities. I’m the first person to say that there are issues with how gifted children are educated, but I would never say that my abilities are a disability. They come with up sides and down sides, just like most things. It’s completely different from having a disability. The two should never have been compared.
    Posted on April 24, 2013

    I did read the article and couldn’t believe that a professional would put his name on it. Not only does he equate being a prodigy with physical disabilities, he equates being a prodigy with being gifted. They are not the same thing. Not all prodigies are gifted. Gifted education defines it as a particular number on a IQ test.
    The reason the you attracted the comments that you did is because everyone, teachers, administrators, and other parents, tell us to sit down and shut up. Just because someone is smart doesn’t mean that life/school is easier than for any other child in school. You might not want to hear that my child came home crying everyday from first grade because he was in the reading group with kindergarteners and all of his classroom instruction was with the same group. I understand, neither did the teachers or administrators who refused a written request to assess him for a learning disability because he wasn’t two years behind. If my son had the same issue and wasn’t gifted, then he would have had the support that he needed. I advocate for my son because I am the only one willing to do it.
    There is no way I can understand trying to equate gifted with a physical disability. It’s not the same thing. However, it can be equated with a learning disability. Equal distances from the norm on either side of the bell curve have the same issues in American classrooms.
    PS kindergartener is not misspelled. The original word is German.
    Posted on July 28, 2013

    Mama Lewis
    The difference between you and I, and our children, is that we are both strong advocates for them but no matter how I struggle and fight, my daughter will never feed herself and yours will attend university and has endless possibilities open to him. My daughter doesn’t have any of those possibilities. It isn’t the same on any level. And yes, I get sick of hearing that it is.
    Before you write anything more, you should read a little of this blog and see what I’m up against. What my daughter is up against. It is a far cry from your son’s troubles.
    July 28, 2013

    I didn’t disagree with you, as I stated in the first paragraph. I was very shocked that the author of that article compared physical disabilities with being gifted. I am sure that most of the parents that made comments had assumed that he had referenced learning disabilities.
    I was simply explaining why you attracted the type of comments that you did.
    If you like to read, you could take a look at the babycenter post by Joyce Slaton, “I hate hearing about your gifted child”. This is perhaps, another reason that you got knee jerk reactions by parents who didn’t take time to read the original article.

  28. The thing that is missing from all this is the fact that we can’t admit that we don’t in fact, value our three labeled permutations of ability, blessed by Santa, normal, and disabled, equally. We value them I descending order for the most part, yet we have to pretend we value the three equally.

    I’m in Korea now and people always criticize koreans for being obsessed with beauty as plastic surgery. I say they are hypocrites and at least the Koreans are honest about the fact that they, like humans in general, value physical beauty and have made it so most koreans can obtain it (plastic surgery is cheap here, and very competent. Korean make up and beauty products are excellent, better than anything in the US, as pretty cheap as well!)

    • My view is that there is no single spectrum of cognitive ability. That is the problem with gifted labels and so much else. We need better language in general.

      As a kid, I was diagnosed with learning disability and hence labeled as such. My parents certainly didn’t go around proudly declaring their kid was learning disabled. My mom was a speech pathologist who worked with all kinds of children and understood the nuances better than most people. She understood different abilities and disabilities can exist in the same child.

      There really is a difference between disabled and differently abled. A lot of it depends on context.

      My learning disability causes me to think differently. This made school difficult, but it also causes me to think more innovatively/uniquely than most people. I think differently, but it isn’t inherently and necessarily a disability. Rather, it is only a disability under particular circumstances.

      If I had been educated in a way that fit my learning style, it would never have been an issue. The disability was that of the mainstream school system and of the broader mainstream society. But as long as I live in this society, it is a major disability that holds me back. I’m constantly struggling to accomodate myself to fit into a world that doesn’t operate the way my own mind operates. I have to understand how other people think, even though they don’t understand the way I think.

      Still, I gladly accept this situational disability over the alternative forms of disability. Severe low IQ is a disability in all situations. There is no context, no society in which it is a benefit and and advantage. The same goes for kids who can’t walk or feed themselves.

      Yet we use the word disability to describe a wide variety of conditions. It makes no sense.

      • I don’t care as much about such arguments as mere hypotheticals. I don’t have to fantasize about a utopia where my cognitive style is an advantage.

        Even in this present society, my cognitive style works well for certain things. My strange obsessive tangential meandering thought-web tendencies are quite helpful in doing research, for example. I’m able to make connections other people don’t tend to make, and some people who read my blog seem to find this of value. Also, in certain kinds of employment, it would be a huge benefit, as maybe as a professional research assistant for writers, if I were so motivated to pursue such a career

        Consider many high functioning aspies who work in highly technical fields. Their cognitive style is a problem in functioning well in social interactions, but for some of them they become contributing members of normal society. The tech industry is probably full of them.

        The same will never be said of the academic’s son. The academic is living in a politically correct fantasy world. The only utopia where his son could be a contributing member of society would be where his IQ could be raised. However, in his present condition, it is inevitable that he will be a financial drain on society, unless the academic leaves him a lot of money to live on when he dies.

        • He uses deafness as his favorite example. Though I don’t think it is pride to lump all disabilities together. Sorry but being deaf or some other physical disability is not the same as being retarded.

          I’m sure he and other academics (the Columbia prof) would take offense at you calling their kids that, lol. Assuming they take your words out of context. “My kid is not a burden he is a human being!!!” And “people should it not judged on their financial contributions to society!!!”

          At the end of the day under the intellectualizing, it’s motivated by self interest and need to justify their choices and experiences (having kids while older and choosing not to test even though they were high risk)Because heyC they’re human.

  29. The problem is that we can’t admit that we don’t value our main permutations of ability equally: blessed by Santa, normal, and disabled. We value them in descending order mostly. Yet we are supposed to pretend we value them equally.

    I’m In Korea now and people always criticize korean obsession with plastic surgery. I think they are hypocrites. At least koreans are honest about how they value physical beauty (above non physical beauty.) you know, just like humans in general. Plastic surgery here is affordable (cheap) and korean plastic surgeons are rediculously competent. Korean makeup and beauty products are excellent, better tan anything yu can find in the USA, and it’s also really affordable! Human beings naturally value good looks, and are naturally lookist, and koreans are honest about it.

  30. If being gifted is not “smart” but having 99 problems then it’s not “gifted.” Just say your kid is smart and has 99 problems. I mean, I have anxiety and depression. Those are seperate traits from whatever intelligence I have. Is having 99 problems now a blessing by god, considering the definition of gifted seems to be being smart or at least early developing, and having 99 problems to accompany it?

    They absolutely need to be compared. Because comparing being “gifted” which is only the intellgence component, to being disabled IS offensive as fuck.

    • This kind of confused thinking can be seen in all aspects of our society. It is strange.

      We seem incapable of thinking separately of issues that are separate. At the same time, other issues that are related get talked about in isolation. All around, there is a lack of clear language and so a lack of clear insight. Just lots of confusion.

      There are all kinds of diabilities. Physical disabilities and cognitive disabilities. There is severe low IQ and learning disaibility. There are genetic disorders and social dysfunction. And there is a whole range of expression of these disabilities.

      The same is true in the opposite direction. People talk about high IQ, precociousness, prodigies, giftedness, genius, high functioning aspergers, and on and on. There can be some overlap between these categories, but they aren’t the same thing. We should speak more carefully and accurately. Giftedness, in particular, should simply be eliminated from our vocabulary. There is nothing it describes that can’t be described by all the rest.

      There are many kids who are mix of abilities and disabilities. But that is all the more reason to speak about them as distinct issues. To treat severe psychological and emotional, social and behavioral dysnfunction as an inherent trait to some bizarre gifted condition is the opposite of helpful. If a kid is smart or precocious or whatever, call it what it is and deal with it on that level.

  31. You are much more articulate than I am. You can actually write out your thoughts coherently haha.

    So explain this. People like academic, maybe you, think iq tests are BS. Yet your previous comments also suggest you think it does carry some meaning, it dosent seem to be totally BS like snake oil, sort of. I sort of have similar sentiments but I can’t put it in words

    • “You are much more articulate than I am. You can actually write out your thoughts coherently haha.”

      Well, I’ll accept the compliment. But I’d note that I wasn’t always this way.

      My writing skills come from my having been a high IQ learning disabled child raised by high IQ college-educated parents, a mother who was a speech pathologist with direct experience working with learning disabled children and a father who was an academic with years of professional writing experience. When I was younger, my ability to think and communicate clearly was pathetically underdeveloped. If my parents hadn’t worked so closely with me, I would have been a lost cause.

      It took a long time to get to the point of being able to organize my thoughts. My mind is still a mess. I think in convoluted ways, but I’ve learned to simplify and make more linear my expression of that thinking style. I’m still constantly challenged by trying to reign in my unruly thoughts. My mind just goes on and on. As you’ve noticed, I’m perfectly capable of writing at great length and sometimes rather sprawling. I try to resist the urge to just mind vomit in public, though.

      “So explain this. People like academic, maybe you, think iq tests are BS. Yet your previous comments also suggest you think it does carry some meaning, it dosent seem to be totally BS like snake oil, sort of. I sort of have similar sentiments but I can’t put it in words”

      I don’t think IQ tests are BS. I just think the interpretation is typically too simplistic in the US. The results of IQ tests represent a host of factors (personal and collective, genetic and environmental) while ignoring many other factors of cognitive ability and developoment. Cognitive development is complex and multi-faceted. Interpretation and analysis should proceed with caution.

      Cautiousness in mind, we should proceed nonetheless. It does measure something real and it is an important indicator of all kinds of things. If not for an IQ test, my learning disabillity might have led teachers to have put me into a class with low IQ kids. So, I’m thankful for IQ tests. They are one tool among many.

      Obviously, IQ tests can be more than relevant in such situations in order to ascertain some kinds of cognitive abilities. That said, IQ tests don’t tell us of why those cognitive abilities have developed (and not developed) or what is the potential for greater development.

      For example, if we could detect lead toxicity early on and somehow remove that toxicity from the child and from the child’s environment, we might suddenly find that the child’s measured IQ would shoot up. In the future, we might have ways to test for the IQ potential in kids who have had stunted brain development and so determine what their IQ could have been under optimal conditions. Knowing this potential might be helpful in tailoring a personalized education program for them. There might be ways to accomodate for the brain being stunted in some areas while creating the healthy conditions for other aspects of brain growth to compensate.

      Standard IQ tests can’t tell us any of that kind of info. They also aren’t presently designed, as far as I know, to deal with such problems as stereotype effect. There may be situational conditions that impair a child’s cognitive functioning during the testing itself.

      We need both better IQ tests and other tools besides IQ tests. But none of that means present IQ tests are just BS.

      • I think iq scores are also highly dependent on context and situation when interpreting them. For example black Americans score low, but black Americans are not stupid. Indicating there’s more to it.

        My iq jumped two SD betwee elementary school and near high school. What happened? Late bloomer?

      • Yep. There are many reasons, many contributing factors for why people measure high or low on IQ tests. Some are situational and will change when tested at different times and under different conditions. An IQ is just a measured result. It gives us no direct info about what is going on in someone’s brain, personal experience, environment, genetics, epigenetics, etc.

    • I do consider gifted ideology as a sub-category of neo-reactionary ideology. It may often be a different demographic of people, but it is the same basic reactionary attitude as expressed through contemporary rhetoric, often pseudo-scientific rhetoric.

      I honestly don’t think giftedness is any more real than races. They are social constructs. There is nothing that can be described under the labels of giftedness and race that can’t better and more accurately described using other words. The only purpose these words serve is obfuscation of the real issues and problems.

      My response to these people is basically the same, because I sense the underlying motivation is so similar. It’s a desire to create simplistic categories to order society. These kinds of ideas are powerful and that is what makes them dangerous.

  32. [–]LeifEriksonisawesome [score hidden] 6 hours ago
    Did it ever stop?
    permalinksavereportgive goldreply
    [–]-Japan [score hidden] 5 hours ago
    Some people just thought it’d be “okay” to say it because of today’s outcome though.
    permalinksaveparentreportgive goldreply
    [–]lightningfang [score hidden] 4 hours ago
    during world cup, usa twitter were calling germans nazis…
    permalinksaveparentreportgive goldreply
    [–]-Japan [score hidden] 4 hours ago
    These people…smh
    It’s like they don’t think twice about what they’re calling somebody.
    permalinksaveparentreportgive goldreply
    [–]lightningfang [score hidden] 4 hours ago
    Exactly, sometimes i wonder if these patriotic american posts on the front page are satire or are actually serious.
    permalinksaveparentreportgive goldreply
    [–]-steamedhams [score hidden] 3 hours ago*
    They’re serious, but any rebuttal to a dissenting response will be an effort to claim it as satire. Calling Germans who have nothing to do with the people 2-3 generations ago, Nazis is a terrible thing, but there is a difference when these redditors, who are guys you just see at work or at Wal-mart or at a restaurant, will see Asian-Americans/Canadians/Australians in everyday life. If you’re German-American, you count as “white”. If you’re Italian-American, you’re white. If you’re Swedish/Russian/Scottish/Croatian/English/Danish/Polish, etc-American, you’re white so you’re in the “in-group”. There’s no doubt in my mind when something like USA beating Japan in soccer, or when a shitty movie like the Red Dawn remake in which people will twitter spam shit like “Yeah fuck those Asians” or “Murica! I hate gooks”, they make no effort to differentiate Japanese and Americans who happen to be Asian. Even worse when they will say stuff like “Fuck the Nazis!” to Germans, when half of them will have last names like Schmidt or Schwarz or Hertz or Friedman or Klein. The irony!
    It’s like this clip by Bill Burr explains, except replace homophobia with racism, and instead of rednecks in the South, it’s pretty much all of America including “progressives” who don’t give a shit.
    permalinksaveparentreportgive goldreply
    [–]LeifEriksonisawesome [score hidden] 4 hours ago
    permalinksaveparentreportgive goldreply

    • It’s interesting research, but I’m wary of it.

      HBDers are always comparing inbreeding and outbreeding. Many HBDers have noted that more outbreeding countries have higher IQs. It’s the whole Hajnal line issue. In the West, feudalism broke up tribalism and kinship bonds. Then again, a thousand other connections could be made. Speculation is endless, as correlations are dime a dozen.

      The way the article presents it, this seems like jumping to a conclusion on limited data. From what I gather, they simply discovered a correlation. It doesn’t sound like they’ve proven their hypothesis by demonstrating the precise genes and genetic mechanisms behind the supposed causal relationship.

      As others noted:

      I’d have to imagine that the fact that we get a hell of a lot more schooling, and our health – heath care, hygiene and medicine – has advanced so drastically in the last century would have a much bigger effect than out-breeding, and it does, after I looked up the actual study – “While socio-economic factors such as increased schooling and better nutrition are generally seen as primary drivers, increased genetic diversity could also play a small role…. The increases in intelligence [from the Flynn Effect] are too big to be explained by our results alone, but they might be a contributor.” Jim Wilson, Reader in Population and Disease Genetics at the University of Edinburgh, and an author of the study. Please include all details, Journal, don’t just butcher it and make it sensational.

      For the last hundred years there has been more mixing of genes than before.
      For the last hundred years there has been better nutrition than before, which, if accessed during childhood, raises their cognitive abilities and their height.
      There may be some causation between gene mixing and greater cognitive abilities and height but the effect is surely nothing compared to the factor of much better nutrition, particularly higher intake of protein.

      All that research and they only come up with genes.
      Since the eighties the Chinese population is getting much taller because of diet diversity and a lot of junk style foods. They are inches taller now. Food is the answer.

      We are tallest because of amount of chemistry in our food and environment (most of it used to speed-up organic growth). It’s nonsense to tell its because genes – we have quite same genes as our parents / grandparents and we are much taller. It’s impossible to have such genes improvement in one / two generations.
      And I doubt we are smarter as it would be against evolution theory with modern society pampering idiots like never before. In old days most of idiots were killed by their stupidity at the early age – today we have security all around us and even extreme stupidity cant kill you.

  33. I was thinking this. I think it’s weird how I feel something’s off about iq, and you think Americans have an unhealthy obsession with intelligence and iq. And yet, when I hear academics platitudes about how people neextovstop caring about iq so much and snarling that people always first associate his sons condition with low iq god damnit and how a persons value isn’t their intelligence, I just react with disdain and “two faced hypocrite” “blind privileged” “there’s nothing wrong with valuing intelligence you hypocrite” and other unflattering things. Why?

    I say hypocrite because he’s pretty arrogant about his intelligence and is complicit in the gifted industrial complex, heck, his other kid was “gifted.” Then he goes On to say “iq tests are like crossword puzzles they’re meaningless I’ve been iq tested since I was a kid and I went to one of NYC’s best high schools thn Ivy League but it doset mean anything cause I had bad social skills this intelligence is all BS stop judging people by intelligence iq”

    Two faced hypocrite!

    • Part of the difficulty is people simplify intelligence to mere IQ.

      All that IQ tests do is offer an indicator of certain aspects of intelligence. They don’t measure all forms and expressions of cognitive ability. They don’t measure potential talent and ability. They don’t show what may be stunting development or constricting its expression, either permanently or situationally. IQ tests are imperfect and partial, but they are still useful.

      Whatever one thinks of IQ tests, it is unhelpful to deny that intelligence is something we do and should value. Obviously, critics like the academic do value intelligence and they are being hypocritical to claim otherwise. Instead of dismissing IQ tests, these people should use their energy to advocate for better ways of testing and better applications of the test results.

      • I think intelligence should be a shard value; and should be collectively cultivated. As for his son, I support funding and research into raising his iq. Raising it at least to the extent his kid can live independently.

  34. I think the terms people love waving around like Equality without sameness and giving people dignity not making them the same are problematic because it allows people to ignore the reality that we don’t value the various permutations of human equally. Even in equal rights and treating people fairly; some traits just remain more desirable and others and people will act accordingly. Ex: people will wanna be prettier, get jealous of some people more than others, etc.

    Equality without sameness allows us to ignore these realities and let these ignored sentiments fester in unhealthy ways

    • I see it in terms of equality of opportunity and equality of results. There is never absolute perfect equality, but disparities in many cases can be vastly decreased on average across a population.

      This has been shown with IQ. The average IQ for poor people and for minorities has risen faster than the average IQ for wealthier people and for whites. This is because basic environmental factors have been improved for more people, such as better pollution regulations and better nutrition.

      The access to these improvements is an equalizing of one aspect of opportunity. It is the opportunity to have a healthier conditions. So, the disparities in average IQ for different demographics is quickly shrinking. Still, that isn’t to say some people won’t always have lower IQs relative to others, but it does mean that fewer people are at the low extreme.

      • Most people here will use equality of oppertunity as rhetoric supporting the way things are.

        Still different ciltures value differently. For example Russians tend to value equality of result above oppertunity.

        I see nothing wrong with “narrowing the bell curve” so to speak. I imagine a future where all people are raised to a similar iq level, and collectively raised further. Technology giving all people high intelligence as well as other traits (loss of tribalism, loss of other dysfunctional traits)

      • Your last point matches my own thoughts. In the future, there will be likely be many ways to improve all kinds of things. The science of genetic and environmental causal factors has advanced greatly in recent years. It’s likely to advance beyond our imaginings in the coming generations. There will also be the technological advances on top of that. People in the future won’t simply have to accept the fates they were born into.

  35. Differences are okay, as long as we value those differences equally/traits are equally desirable. The problem is that hey are not. That is why traits like celebrate diversity and equality without sameness are problematic, because they let us ignore these reality.

    As for me, I think there’s nothing wrong with valuing traits above others (high iq above low iq, kindness above sociopathy, beauty above ugly, etc.) My view is that we need to be more honest the fact that we do see some traits as more desirable, and we should make desirable traits more accessible to those who want them.

    Koreans have a lot of problems with this, but I do admire that koreans are honest about valuing beauty, and making that beauty relatively accessible.

  36. Sorry. Koreans have a lot of problems. But I do admire their honesty and the fact tha they have perfected ways to achieve ther desired trait and have more importantly made it relatively accessible.

    So I suppose I am an evil crommunist tyrant who wants to make people the same ahhhhhh. Wow is mex

  37. I had stunted growth as a kid for reasons I’ve talked about. That said I’m the only asian american who isn’t taller than both parents. The asian Americsns I know all tend to be average american height at least

    I think it’s weird to pick on Asians for being short when all non-western nations are just as short if not shorter.

    • Hispanics are another example. Their genetics are largely European. Their being shorter than non-Hispanic white Americans has nothing to do with genetics. If Hispanic children get proper nutrition and such, their average is about the same as for other Americans.

      Part of my family comes from Alsace-Loraine. It’s a border region between Germany and France. Many German-American immigrants prior to the world wars came from this area. I think most of these immigrants identified as German, but not always. My ancestor sometimes identified as one and sometimes as the other.urop

      Early German immigrants to America were known to be very short compared to the British or at least the English. It was probably because these German/French border people were poor. They were escaping their poverty. Yet today Germans are above average in height.

      The same change happened with other Northern European populations, as the article points out.

  38. That’s sounds about right/ people herein japan and korea are a bit shorter on average but not by as much as I thought. For younger people the 5’8.5 and 5’7.5 average sounds about right (average american man is 5’9.5.) I was really surprised at how tall korean men are for example. I knew South Korea was the tallest asian country but korean men especially. It is perfectly normal for young korean men to be at least 6 feet tall. Heck on y flight to japan I was next to a stocky 6’3 or so Korean guy.

    The korean diet consists of a lot of meat though. Asian nations love shaved ice in the summer but only koreans flavor or with milk . Mm mm calcium.

    It’s funny because black Americans are similar average height as white Americans, but African, carrinean, and other nations with African descended people are not tall at all. Jamaican men are only 5’7 on average for example. Shorter inmost African nations.

      • Way to pass the buck, Stanford. Like police who take kids up for playing on the local playgrounds unsupervised, colleges and universities fuel panic in parents and students by charging $50K a year in tuition and requiring high stakes testing and extracurriculars for admission. The stakes for obtaining scholarships are incredibly high, as high as non-admission to the middle or upper middle classes. As high as being the first generation to do worse than our parents. In an increasingly corporate-controlled and nepotistic economy these are systemic problems, not problems that originate at the dinner tables of families. Who’s going to be the first to let their kid slack in this economic environment? What’s the reward? A chill, unemployed kid? I’m all for free range parenting, but those of us who are doing it are battling a system that will likely disadvantage our children at every point along the way. Change needs to be led by our academic institutions before it can happen effectively in families.

        • The root cause is an increasingly anxiety that the USA is no logner the lone big man on top of the world. This article provides only one side of the problem – but what is the root cause? Clearly, it is employers seeking out only the top schools, and the schools having “certain criteria” that these parents are aiming for, in order to give their kids a shot at a good life because it is so damn overpopulated now (another factor=loose standards in immigration), and schools are overcrowded, therefore only selecting certain types of students. Why not get rid of the elitist school image and open up all universities for greatness?

          Because of the root causes, you have parents going overboard and then depressed kids.

          So you can see the path here:

          Population is overcrowded, selection starts>schools have an image that you buy into therefore are selective>employers only want to hire from these schools>freaked out parents>freaked out depressed kids. Now re-write this article and show all sides of the truth.

      • “As high as being the first generation to do worse than our parents.”

        It’s actually the second generation to do worse than their parents. Still, it should be kept in perspective. This isn’t a third world country, although some of the poorest minority Americans live in third world conditions, but the helicopter parents for the most part aren’t either poor or minority. Most Americans are still better off than Americans were a few generations ago, when industrialization and urbanization became a major force.

        I understand that the lower middle classs is worried about falling into the working class, God forbid! What if not all the middle class kids are able to get into Ivy League colleges and have to settle for state colleges, community colleges, or worse still trade schools? What if the middle class children have to work wage labor like their grandfathers or great grandfathers worked? What if the middle class children have to settle for growing up to be service workers and factory workers instead of white collar professionals? Oh, the horrors of horrors!

        The first advice I’d give these parents is to make sure their kids don’t go in debt trying to chase an ephemeral American Dream. Even going to an Ivy League doesn’t guarantee a high-paying job. There are still good jobs out there, for those willing to work them. The average plumber, electrician, and car repairman make more money than the average college graduate these days. Higher education is great, but it isn’t wise to start one’s career in massive debt in a competitive job market for college grads. Someone needs to smack some sense into these parents.

        “Who’s going to be the first to let their kid slack in this economic environment? What’s the reward? A chill, unemployed kid? I’m all for free range parenting, but those of us who are doing it are battling a system that will likely disadvantage our children at every point along the way.”

        So, the argument is as follows. Parents better cripple their children with psychological and social dysfunction or else the real world will cripple them with the same. It’s better to prepare them for a dysfunctional world by making them dysfunctional, for that way they’ll fit in and feel right at home. It’s not as if a kid could be successful while developing normal social skills, psychological maturity, and self-independence… no, that would be impossible.

        “Change needs to be led by our academic institutions before it can happen effectively in families.”

        Change needs to happen to every institution and the whole damn society. Promoting the dysfunction won’t improve anything for society or for the children of helicopter parents. It’s a democracy, if people are willing to demand it function like a democracy, but we can’t have democracy at the same time as having social darwinism. It just doesn’t work.

        “The root cause is an increasingly anxiety that the USA is no logner the lone big man on top of the world.”

        That is true. But it was also true not that long ago. WWII wiping out Eropean industry wasn’t that long ago. Yet good jobs and economic mobility was increasing before the US became the global top dog. Anyway, it isn’t a zero sum game or it dosn’t have to be. Social darwinism is a choice, not an unavoidable fate. Many countries are able to grow their economies and better the lives of their citizens without having to be top dog or anywhere near it.

        “Clearly, it is employers seeking out only the top schools, and the schools having “certain criteria” that these parents are aiming for, in order to give their kids a shot at a good life because it is so damn overpopulated now (another factor=loose standards in immigration), and schools are overcrowded, therefore only selecting certain types of students.”

        Jeez! That is a mouthful.

        No, not all employers are seeking out only the top schools. This person obviously lives an extremely privilleged life to make such a statement. In fact, very few employers are doing this. On the very most top employers are seeking out only the top schools. This person is worried about ensuring their kid gets one of the best educations and best jobs in the country while the poorest of the poor, especially minorities, simply worry about getting any job at all and hoping their child simply graduates from high school.

        Overpoplated? What does that even mean? That sounds like right-wing talk. Ya know, “They” are taking our jobs, because of those “loose standards of immigration.” That is total bullshit. Standards of immigration haven’t been loose for more than a century now. Quite the opposite in recent history. A much higher proportion of immigrants these days are allowed in precisely because they are highly educated and trained. It’s because the standards for immigration are so high these days that so many immigrants are better qualified than the average American.

        The right-wing fear-mongering doesn’t explain anything. Immigrants don’t just take jobs. They also create them. Many American businesses are started by immigrants. That has been true for the entire history of this country. Immigrants are one of the biggest boosts to the US economy, especially as the brain drain from other countries benefits receiving countries like the US.

        “Why not get rid of the elitist school image and open up all universities for greatness?”

        What does that even mean? I don’t think the problem is about image. It’s about substance. We should be improving all education for all Americans, from grade school to college.

        So you can see the path here:

        Right-wing fear-mongering dominates our society>this promotes social darwinism>almost the entire population becomes disconnected from reality, especially heliopter parents>freaked out helicopter parents>freaked out depressed kids. Now re-write these comments and show all sides of the truth.

    • I don’t usually pay much attention to immigration numbers. I didn’t realize that Chinese immigrants had become so large.

      Other minority groups have experienced problems with assimilation. But many like African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans have had the advantage of large numbers, which allows for a certain amount of political influence and social clout.

      Maybe that will begin to change for Asian-Americans. Still, in the short term, there will be increasing conflict.

  39. I’m not naturally verbally strong. I’m dispropritionaltly visual-spatial. Learning languages, being articulate, writing, isn’t my natural strength. In school I couldn’t write for shit until high school or so. I was a good speller because I am visual-spacial, but I couldn’t write well. I was awkwardly spoken middle and early high school. My current writing and speaking comes from me learning to compensate for my verbal weakness, but it is still weak. I did this by developing greater introspection and self-awareness mid-high school because I knew that colleges in America are obsessed with judging your character and I wanted to make myself someone they would like. This increased by self-awareness and verbal articulating, but I my anxiety and depression also hit its peak late high school and early college. It was also after this peak junior/senior year, that I also started losing my memory. I used to have a memory where I could remember stuff others didn’t, just like my mom in her younger days. I remember everything sharply and intensely. I feel like around the peak of my anxiety, my memory began to fail and now I no longer remember things. I wonder if it was a way for me to reduce my anxiety because my anxiety was situational and remembering those anxiety-induscing things so well just contributed to it. Before, I could remember a neo-nazi article sharply and it worsened everything. Now, once I go to bed and get up, I no longer really remember what I was even reading unless I try. I am prone to hyper-awareness of both myself and my own thoughts, and to what is around me, but this has also been declining.

    • Some of what you say is similar to my own experience. I learned reading late. As you know, I had a learning disability that related to word recall issues. I hated both reading and writing for much of my education. It was only in 7th grade that I started reading on my own… while ignoring my studies and so almost flunked out. I had to learn to compensate in many ways. Specifically, because of word recall issues, I had to learn a larger vocabulary. I was taught that trick from the special education teacher that worked with me in early elementary school. If I don’t remember one word, I use another word. I’ve learned other tricks on my own. But none of that came naturally to me.

      My experience is the opposite of yours in terms of general memory. I used to have a horrible memory. It has improved over time. I remember things through making connections. The more connections I make the more I can remember. I often have to use multiple connections or even extended links to get at a particular memory. I think this relates to my being more visual-spatial myself. My artistic and athletic abilities developed before everything else. I’m also rather emotional and intuitive. Ideas and memories have an emotional resonance for me. I just have to sense the feeling of something and I’m more likely to be able to recall it. Connections are one way of solidifying these resonances. All of this works fairly well, but it isn’t always efficient.

      About your experience, I would point out that extended durations of stress can impair memory functioning and the brain development that supports it.

    • I suspect it is rather simple.

      It is what some white people like to believe was the traditional diet of their ancestors. Eating a paleo diet is like a sacrament in the neoreactionary religion. Real (Nordic and Celtic) men don’t eat girly high-carb diets consisting of Mexican/Spanish tortillas, Frenchy wine-and-cheese, olive oil-soaked Mediterranean fare, or soy-sauced Chinese dishes.

      It probably originates from the mythology of the European caveman. In the mythology, early Europeans did nothiing but hunt and eat meat.

      It might be mostly just an American obsession, though. Americans do eat more meat than any other population on the planet, including in Europe. I could see it being related to the history and mythology of Westward expansion, Manifest Destiny, early hunting-and-trapping pioneers, open-range cattle ranching, and the cowboy culture.

      It is similar why right-wing politicians like to call themselves mavericks. A maverick is an unbranded calf, cow, or steer, epecially a calf separated from its mother. It comes from the history of open-range cattle ranching, as the cattle roamed more or less freely without being fenced in. The maverick was the symbol of the cowboy, specifically the lone cowboy who goes his own way.

      By the way, the cowboy culture comes from the Spanish Basque. They were an unconquered republic before the French Revolution. John Adams visited the Spanish Basque homeland and based some of his republican ideas on their example. The Basques were a border people in Europe and a border people in North America. They helped inspire some of the Wild West culture where you fight to defend your own and you bow down to no one. This culture was passed onto Texas, in particular, as many of the border Hispanics fought for independence with Anglo-American settlers.

      All of this feeds into the American neoreactionary imagination. It’s a specific vision of the past that defines how they perceive their own whiteness. Little historical details that don’t quite fit the simplistic mythology, of course, can be ignored. Every real white American knows that cavemen and cowboys were white (Jesus as well, but that goes without saying). Just watch movies like the Clan of the Cave Bear. Scientists are simply confused about their claim that early Europeans were actually dark-skinned. Also, watch the old cowboy movies. They were real men who killed injuns and Mexicans alike while defending their stake to the land and the honor of their (white) women.

      The paleo diet is social darwinism as expressed through food. Kill or be killed. Eat or be eaten. meat consumption symbolizes the basic brutal fact of human existence. Compassion and kindness are for weak liberals.

      Now does it make sense?

      • LMAO, even my dumb ass knows that white cowboys weren’t the majority. they might have been a plurality, AT BEST. 😛

        I’ll comment on this though. You know how so many Americans “don’t like vegetables?” While the US is obviously diverse and that extends into its cuisine, generally, Americans can’t fucking cook. It’s just that you can get away with bad meat and carbs more than bad veggies because our bodies crave the fat and crabs that are less common in veggies. Americans can’t fucking cook, barring some regional exceptions (cajun, for example.) If all I knew was American food or Americanized food I wouldn’t like vegatables either.

        Yes. Here in Japan kids eat what the adults eat. No kids meals consisting of gross-ass kiddie food.

      • Or more accurately, Americans can’t cook vegetables. Though, to be really honest, Northern Europeans can’t cook vegatables, and a lot of mainstream American food is derived from various Northern European germanic stuff :/

      • It’s true what you say. I’m an American of largely Northern European stock and the rest of my ancestry is Scottish and English. None of my ancestors were known for their fine cuisine, especially in the vegetables departmment. My mother’s family, mostly Germanic, ate meat and potatoes. My mom was a bit better in the meals she cooked, but the vegetables she served were more or less standard American-style.

        It may be changing a bit with the younger generations, who eat more ethnic foods. My best friend is largely of Swedish ancestry and grew up eating worse than I did, but he spent some time in New Orleans and works in a coop bakery. Now he is a foodie who cooks fancy meals with vegetables, and also makes his own wine and kombucha.

        I had another thought about the reason for neoreactionary love of paleo diet. I could see it being connected to the blood type diet. That brings it back to the genetic determinism. White Americans, British, and Northern Europeans are largely Type O blood type (I’m Type O, as are my parents). The diet that goes with that is basically the same as the paleo diet. It’s not white neoreactionaries’ fault. It was their biological fate to eat meat and hate vegetables.

  40. Claire reminds me of J 8& some ways. She seems motivated to uphold current status quos. Tbh I issues to be like her, even made her arguments. I don’t think she’ll bring up the fact that things associated with femininity are less values than masculinity for example, and it’s not because of evil feminazism or whatever. She wants to enforce the status quo and sees the current western way as right. She’s one of those people who will bring up how women are treated in the Middle East when western women complain about sexism.

  41. Okay I’ll modify it. Claire and wome of the sommemters aren’t necessarily consciously trying to justify the status quo. Rather she seems to not think beyond the status quo in terms of framing arguments, and all her arguments as well as interpretation of other peoples views are done so within the confines of the status quo. If yu get my drift.

    I used to be like Claire, I was a similar sort of reactionary, which is why i find her arguments as well as a at arguments uncompelling, perhaps.

    I can only speak for myself, but my reactionary-ness was motivated by discomfort in my own position in the society. It was a reaction to being exposed to the idea that systematic racism still exists, abagond type stuff. It terrified me that my society was problematic and I wasn’t born one of the privileged ones, so I reacted to this by trying to justify the status quo as being right and just, since it was more comfortable than the idea that the cards were stacked unfairly against demographics I counted myself among (female, not white, not rich, etc)

    • The just-world fallacy is powerful. No one wants to believe the world they live in could really be as bad as the data shows.

      Whenever I read a comments section with a bunch of reactionaries, I notice that there is so much speculation. They are obsessed with finding reasons for why the world is the way it is and has to be that way. They will often throw out the wildest conjecture before looking at some of the simplest explanations based on known data. The just-world fallacy is upheld by endless just-so stories.

      I understand the impulse to not take seriously the problems of the world. Acknowledging them can be quite depressing. But it is what it is. Better to disinfect with daylight the ills of our society than let them fester in the dark.

    • That seems to describe me. A mix of abilities and disabilities that more or less averaged out, but with lots of psychological/social/behavioral/self-esteem problems complicating it all.

      Even though I was diagnosed, I only received minimal help, mostly just to keep me at grade level and not to develop what talents and potentials I had. I was probably fine being at normal grade level, if I could only had more help on the side working with both my abilities and disabilities.

      Had they put me with a bunch of advanced kids, I would have been really stressed out. My social skills were slow to develop. If anything, my social skills were about a grade or two behind. The social development issues were maybe more of a problem than the learning disability. My brain just didn’t function normally and I was mostly lost in the crowd. I had to develop in other ways before I could find ways to deal with my learning disability.

      I almost wonder if there wasn’t some environmental factor that stunted my brain development. Maybe I got some lead in my system at a key period of brain development. Or maybe I had an undiagnosed brain concussion. Then again, learning disabilities seem to be prevalent in my mother’s family, along with psychiatric issues from family on both sides, especially depression.

      I would willing to have 99% of my paycheck taxed, if it meant that kids with problems got the helped they needed and education was improved for all kids. It is sad to think of all the kids struggling out there. It’s a tough world to be born into. A social darwinian society is not kind to those outside the norm.

  42. I was thinking about this, but a lot fo aAmerican anxiety, is it realated to these two things: America’s “go big or go home” culture, and America’s love for gimmicks and fads?

    • That entirely misses the point.

      The food we eat is not normal and natural. A diet consisting of white flour, refined sugar, fructose corn syrup, MSG, artificial flavorings, preservatives, chemicals from packaging, etc… none of that is normal and natural in any shape or form The modern industrial (American) diet is comparable to a traditional diet in the way that crack-cocaine and heroin are comparable to coca leaves and poppies.

      Feed a child a diet of crack-cocaine and heroin and then tell them that they should just be more conscious of their eating habits. What total bullshit! Companies purposely addict people from childhood and as a society we blame the addicted individual.

  43. So my mum would be a vegetarian if dad and I were not around. My mum is southern Chinese, she likes veggies. She loves veggies. Even she thinks American veggies are an abomination. American salads are some gross ass shit. Americans see things like veggies as food for dieting skinny bitches rather than real food to be ENJOYED.

    Generally, food that is Americanized will become the following compared to the authentic thing: Sweeter, vegetables de-emphasized, and much bigger portions.

    • I’d gladly be vegetarian, if someone would cook tasty vegetarian meals for me. I’ve been a vegetarian before.

      I didn’t mind, except that it made it more difficult to find easy food to eat. I’m naturally lazy and I hate anything that makes my life more difficult. Both of my brothers are vegetarians. One of them cooks for himself, but the other’s wife sometimes makes him meals.

      I love salads. Maybe it’s a Midwestern thing. I don’t like iceburg. But if you give me some spinach, Romaine, or a spring mix (along with other fresh veggies), I’m happy enough. I particularly love salad bars where I can make a salad into a full meal. I usually only add vinegar and olive oil as a dressing, but I also put on lots of other toppings, especially cheese.

      Living in a dairy state, dairy foods should be a regular part of meals. I particularly crave kefir and yogurt, maybe with some fresh fruit thrown in… hmmm, delicious! This is why I’d have a hard time being a vegan. Also, how could I give up honey? Raw honey is good stuff.

      I don’t know Asian cuisine all that well, but salads don’t seem to be a normal part of it.

  44. nunchi11/17/2007 5:19 PM
    a correction about racism during the korean war:

    i would argue that u.s. troops brought racism against black people to korea. u.s. military may have been integrated, but that doesn’t mean that racism didn’t exist anymore. outside military camps, there are always prostitutes. during the korean war, prostitutes were separated by whether they had sex with white soldiers or black soldiers. a prostitute could get beat for trying to have sex with both, and the “white” prostitute had a higher social status than the “black” prostitute.

    from “Sex Among Allies” by by Katharine H.S. Moon:

    The U.S. military and the local Korean authorities pinpointed kijich’on prostitutes as the source of social problems and unrest, especially with respect to racial violence. 5 Most of the retired and current USFK community relations officials and former Subcommittee members whom I interviewed acknowledged that the “business girls” were the source of off-post black-white conflict in the early 1970s primarily because they were labeled as “black” or “white.” Black prostitutes were looked down upon by Korean camptown residents, white servicemen, and “white” prostitutes alike. Throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s, most camptown R&R (Rest and Relaxation) establishments were segregated, not by policy but by choice and habit of the GI patrons. Accordingly, women generally worked in either “all-white” or “all-black” bars/clubs and tended not to mix their customers. But with the rise of black militancy in the U.S. military in the late 1960s and the social confusion wrought by the movement of troops and prostitutes during the early years of the Nixon Doctrine, prostitutes and GIs would sometimes cross the racial lines, both deliberately and inadvertently. Such mixing of racial partners sparked often violent reactions among the GIs. Fights between black and white soldiers were, in a sense, over territory, that is, who possesses which women and who is trespassing on whose women.

    Many Korean prostitutes did discriminate against black servicemen because of their own racial prejudices and ignorance. But they also kept their distance from the black soldier out of economic necessity, which was informed by the racial hierarchy imposed on them by white soldiers, club owners, and other prostitutes. First, there were more white bars/clubs than black ones, meaning more white customers to sell drinks and sex to. Second, many, if not most, of the white clubs prohibited blacks from entering the establishments, which meant that most prostitutes did not have to make the choice of accepting or rejecting black offers for drinks or sex. Even if the women did interact with blacks, the club owner could fire them because the owner himself often feared offending and losing white patrons who opposed mixed-race patronage. Third, and most serious, the women feared that fraternizing with black servicemen would mean physical abuse and/or loss of income from white servicemen. 6 Regardless of the women’s motivations, their display of “white favoritism” provoked the anger and frustration of black servicemen.


    • That is a piece of history I had never heard about before. It never occurred to me how the racial order would get enforced overseas in the past. It makes sense. It’s not like racism would disappear just because someone joined the military.

      My father was in the Army during the 1960s. He was stationed in Korea. He has talked about how common prostitutes were there, although he was newly married and claims never to have used such services. Many soldiers supposedly would maintain a woman in an apartment and I think the arrangement was that she’d only have sex with that one soldier.

      My father never mentioned anything about a racial divide among the soldiers and prostitutes, but maybe I’ll ask him about it.

    • It does apply more broadly.

      Many Americans might not even see it as a problem. Winning at all costs is not necessarily seen as a weakness. American society has never been designed for the best person to win. Those with the most power, wealth, privilege, connections, resources, and opportunities win.

      American sports, like all things American, aren’t about meritocracy. Or rather the merit we value is winning, instead of winning indicating merit. Why should the coach care if the players go on to be winners themselves, just as long as the coach gets credit for having a winning team? In a ruthlessly competitive Social Darwinian world, it’s everyone for themselves, even in team sports.

  45. I was thinking about the american gifted drama again, and talking to my dad who remarked that growing up in china in the 70’s he and mum were in an “advanced” class, could be called “gifted.” Program. Though the pure criteria for enterace was a high gpa, so it wasn’t a gifted program. There was no convoluted criteria for Enterance, iq shit, etc. Just people with good grades. A bit like American honors classes. Now those classes no longer exist in china and China just has one class level.

    Japanese teachers seem to be like your teachers. Japan also has no gifted or special ed programs really (special ed kids go to special scholls, though a kid who is physically but not mentally disabled can still go to mainstream school.) Japan is also opposite of the USA in that the public schools are generally better.Japanese teachers have a habit of meeting with kids who seem slower at learning the stuff outside of class for extra help, and supposedly this dosent carry the negative connotations it does here. Grade school japanese teachers also have office hours every day, and grade schools have study halls every day.

    Anyway my mom is funny. Keep in mind my mum has an anti-elitist streak. But she commented on how the current american mentality (obsession with “gifted”, and such) was a symbol of America’s decline. I’m mnot sure. I think my mom sees the obsessive labeling as Americans not wanting to work hard and wanting to label things because it’s an easy way out, or something. She thinks Americans coddle their kids and don’t encourage strong work ethics and instead just likes to slap bullshit labels on kids which is bad for them. She made those comments on the gifted kids who are supposedly failing school because they’re too smart for school. My mom thinks it’s stupid. Ex: failing school because school is so easy they’re bored. She thinks. “We if he already knows everything then he should be acing everything, right?” She also says, “when you see people talkin about how naturally blessed they or their kids are, you aren’t seeing the sweat behind closed doors.”

    Also, on the gifted kid not being able to dress himself and the teacher scolding the kid becaus “tommy, you’re in gifted. You should be able to clean up after yourself.” She sees it as adults over coddling kids and that the gifted mentality is unhealthy.

    Anyway I just tell her gifted kids do shit earlier. The profoundly gifted kid for example reads about 5 grade levels ahead. Her reply is, “so? Kids develop at different rates. That’s nothing special.” Oh mom :/

    I think my parents just have a “success and genius is 1%inspriation 99%persperation” mentality though.

    • The American myth of Horatio Alger is that “success and genius is 1%inspiration 99%perspiration.” That is the ideological rhetoric of the American Dream. It’s not the realilty, but it is the rhetoric.

  46. Lmao. The ccp dosent care if you bad-mouth Han Chinese. Just that you don’t badmouth them. Honestly Han Chinese bad mouth each other. Han is just a catch-all term for people who don’t fall ink any of the minority groups. There’s too many sub-ethnicities within that term. It dosent really hold much meaningful cultural or even genetic legitimacy.

    Is it normal for alt-righters to have an over-simplistic knowledge of things, at best?

    I would certainly not agree his over simplistic assertion and his argument for a strong correlation between China’s and other non-western governmental and political actions and a white nationalist’s idealised state.

    • Decades of research shows that: Social liberalism and liberal-mindedness correlates to higher rates of high IQ, abstract thinking, tolerance of cognitive dissonance, empathy, curiosity, openness, etc. Social conservatism and conservative-mindedness (along with authoritarianism) correlates to the opposite of all that, along with fearfulness, anxiety, and disgust. Alt-righters are some combination of reactionary conservatism and right-wing authoritarianism, and so over-simplistic thought and emotion is to be expected.

  47. I was thinking about the charleston shootings and how dylan was appearently “normal” but learned his racism purely from reading the “genteel” white nationalist sites that I know of like ccc and ar. When I was in high school I naively thought “oh they’re genteel and well dressed blah blah blah.” Now literally, those genteel guys like Jared tailor have blood on their hands :/

    • That was always the case. This recent shooter is part of a long history of violence inspired by respectable bigotry and mainstream prejudices. We like to think America is different today, but not as much has changed as we’d like.

    • Throughout history, many sociopaths, authoritarians, and social dominance orientation types were well-groomed, well-dressed, well-mannered, and well-spoken. There is some data that indicates, for example, that sociopaths are found to a greater extent among the economic elite.

  48. Amidst all the hubbub over the dismissal of the Harvard complaint, I think it’s important not to lose sight of the bigger picture.
    The real problem with educational redlining is that it’s designed to keep the majority of Asian groups in poverty, particularly Southeast Asians. Higher education is the pathway to jobs in this country, jobs that can be converted into property ownership and generational wealth. What happens when you own a home and pass it down to your kids? Well, they don’t have to pay rent. What can you do with a lifetime of funds saved up from not paying rent? You can pay for your childrens’ tuition, so they aren’t saddled with a lifetime of college debt, and also fund bougie, middle class hobbies like girls’ soccer, photography, and Great White Jesus volunteer trips to Peru… the sort of shit adcoms at elite institutions love when they engage in “holistic” application reviews.
    Over time, there is a clear ladder up in socioeconomic mobility… but only for a class of people that disproportionately owned homes in the first place. Everyone else is trapped in the vicious cycle of debt and poverty, unless they’re one of the few lotto winners that get in on “merit” (i.e., they’re chosen as colored show ponies to defuse accusations of racism or disenfranchisement). Why do you think adcoms make a big fuss over “representation”? Why do you think Blacks/Hispanics get top billing despite lower test scores? Because all this shit about “diversity” is just a smokescreen for White Supremacy. They need to crown enough winners of the Hunger Games so that the districts don’t revolt against the Capital.
    Starting to see how this shit works? Who do you think all these East Asian engineers/doctors/lawyers from both home and overseas are? They’re Katniss and Peeta. They’re our colored show ponies. They admit us in larger numbers because we agreed to be their lawn flamingos preventing Blacks from moving into their neighborhoods back in the 50s. They’ll let us in, but never in any number that would threaten their own supremacy. White representation is unaffected by Affirmative Action.

    • That is true, but it is changing, slowlly. Chinese and many other minority groups are steadily growing, either by birthrate or immigration. Many states are already minority-majority and soon the whole country. Plus, all the mixing of races and ethnicities is going to complicate it further. Still, bigotry will just take new forms.

  49. Here’s the million dollar question, why does China attract do many racist asshoel expats? Asia in general attracts losers for some reason but china attracts racist as fuck people. It makes me wonder why they even decided I move there.

    Though honestly I’ve gotte to a point where I keep my guard up whenever I see solo white guys in Asia. I’ve developed stereotypes of racist assholes who look down on the locals, and may have asian woman fetish

    • I don’t have much experience with expats, as I’ve never traveled outside of the country.

      I know one white American guy who was living in Korea, although more recently he was in Mexico. He is a teacher and more of a left-winger, and probably a bit different than average. As I recall, he teaches something like history or economics.

      The only other person I know abroad is also a white American but a woman. She is teaching English in the Arab Emirates.

      I’m not sure if most American expats primarily do teaching. I would think many might also work for international corporations, but that isn’t the type of person I’d likely know.

  50. ”What ever we can imagine and clearly define will become reality one day. I hope to see my Grandchildren travel to the stars and back.””

  51. Saying “whites” are morally superior because of abolition and decolonization is like saying a mugger is nice because he wiped his feet before breaking into your house.

    • Yeah, I saw that response. The original comment that started the discussion seemed so absurd. It’s hard to know whether to take it seriously. I know there really are some impressively ignorant and simpleminded bigots out there. But that example was over the top. I couldn’t help wondering if it was the ploy of a troll. There is nothing that would make a troll happier than getting so many people take their absurd comment seriously and then discuss it at length.

  52. Also pretty sure “white race” is kind of meaningless anyway because it lumps together people from all of Europe in with people from the Caucasus and most people from the Middle East into one category as if because of their skin colour they suddenly have a lot in common.
    [–]CroGamer002Pope Urban II is the Harbinger of your destruction! 10 points 1 year ago
    Yeah, I always considered them as white race, yet lot’s of white supremacists don’t consider Middle Eastern white race. So that always confused me.
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    [–]Pedobears_Lawyer 15 points 1 year ago
    Middle Easterners aren’t White unless you talk about Black people. Then, and only then, Middle Easterners are White as fuck and responsible for anything good that has ever happened on the African continent.
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    [–]houadROBESPIERRE_WAS_A_TRIANGLE 8 points 1 year ago
    There are also people who think middle easterners are black, except when they’re enslaving black people and then they’re white.
    Not anywhere near as common as the attitude you describe but it exists.

    • I also noticed that comment. The comment didn’t mention that technically, according to US terminology, North Africans are considered Caucasian. That is the strangest thing.

      That is largely an Arab population that used to like to enslave people from the Caucus mountains region. The Caucasus region is a fair ways up in Eastern Europe, with the Caucasus Mountain Range partly being in Russia.

      That is a long ways from the Arabs. I’m pretty sure they didn’t see themselves as being all of the same race. Those Arabs probably would have been insulted if someone argued they were of the same race as the people they enslaved.

      The early racist white supremacists in Western Europe hated both Arabs and Eastern Europeans from the Caucus region, and vice versa. They were far from being in agreement that those foreigners should be called white. The English weren’t quite sure that even the Irish were white.

  53. I understand political correctness can get annoying. But why is it that so many decide to counter that with (very) thinly veiled white supremacy?

  54. Is it badhistory really? BadEthics maybe, stupidness – yes. Do you have any cases of “non-white” people abandoning slavery on their own? Or good explanation of slavery being abandoned for some other reasons?
    But I’m inclined to think that the history of Western civilization has not been downplayed anywhere.
    You’ll see less of glorious European mighty whitey in modern history books than in old ones. So technically white accomplishments are downplayed compared to how it was described before.
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    [–]LeMalheureuxFact: The Achaemenid dynasty was a ZOG. 26 points 1 year ago
    The Achemenid dynasty of Iran technically had prohibitions on slavery as a result of Zoroastrian anti-slavery ethics. The Jewish slaves of Babylon were freed after the Achamenid conquest. However, there were still servants and prisoners of war who could be sold into forced labour.
    During the Sassanid dynasty of Iran, there were codes for treating slaves well, allowing slaves to purchase their emancipation and that letting slaves go was considered a moral act. Not abolition, but still.
    Slavery was decreed to be abolished in the Qin dynasty of China and in 1590CE in Japan, although indentured servitude was tolerated.
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    [–]bushizstarving to death is a chief tactic of counterrevolutionaries 14 points 1 year ago
    It should also be noted that western chattel slavery circa 1400s-forward was a way more extreme form of slavery than practiced by most other cultures.
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    [–]TheOneFreeEngineerEuropeans introduced kissing to Arabs 5 points 1 year ago
    yup and to further note, that doesn’t mean the other instances of slavery didn’t have bad instances like chattal slavery, like roman lead mines and Ottoman galley slaves

    The Qin abolished slavery in the 200s BC to eliminate the landed aristocracy but it didn’t take. The Japanese banned slavery in the 1500s. South American countries abolished slavery in the early 1800s. Hell, one of the reasons white Texans fought for independence from Mexico was because the Mexicans tried to free their slaves.

    • It easily could be argued defending slavery was a central reason the political and economic elite joined the American Revolution. There is a book that makes this case:

      The Abolition movement had been growing during the 1700s. Back in England, the problems of slavery and colonialism were becoming more apparent, and critics were becoming more vocal. But in the colonies, colonialism and slavery was a way of life that was inseparable from every aspect of society. Even the economies in the Northern colonies were directly tied into and dependent upon slavery.

      There was well-founded fears that the British Empire might end slavery. And, in fact, they did do exactly that long before Americans did. Everyone was getting rid of slavery before the Americans. This put early Americans in conflict with many nations.

      So much of the early American fighting involved slavery. There was the war with Mexico and, of course, the Civil War. Also, there were various other wars with the British, French, and Indians that had a major component of slavery. One of the problems of slavery was, because of the problems of the agriculture most used by plantation owners, the only way to defend slavery was to expand it. This included expanding not just westward, but also plans and attempts to expand it down south into Cuba and Central and South America.

      There is no evidence that slavery would have inevitably ended. As American power grew, there easily could have been a resurgence of slavery along with industrialization. Slavery was already being shifted toward industrialization in the early 1800s. There are more slaves in the world today than in the past, and many of them work in factories. Other forms of near-slavery are also common worldwide.

  55. No offense to the guy but this video just proves how ignorant most people in Asia are about these sorts of matters. I mean it makes sense given the fact that he’s never lived here and experienced what it’s like to be an Asian American.
    He doesn’t have a visceral understanding of what it means to be stripped of your individualism like what happened to this Korean rapper. That is why he doesn’t understand how these sorts of events can be more damaging to Asians than they might first appear.
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    [–]TheBigBoss777 11 points 3 days ago
    THANK YOU. Seriously, thank you for saying this. Granted, it isn’t realistic to expect all Asians in East Asia to understand the intricacies of racial discourse in America, as well as how POC from America approach racism differently. However, there’s also a general rule that you shouldn’t talk about something which you haven’t experienced, such as micro-aggressions and racism towards Asian-Americans, which I’ve noticed happens all too often with Asians in East Asia who tend to date and/or marry White American Expats. One of my ex-girlfriends, who is Korean and used to date mainly White American men, said that Asian-American men who had a problem with the incredibly disproportionate media representation of White Male/Asian Female couples as opposed to Asian Male/White Female, needed to “suck up their inferiority complex” and “just deal with it.” Needless to say, I dumped her on the spot.
    TL;DR: Asians need to seriously stop trying to speak on behalf of Asian-Americans such as ourselves.
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    [–]lionspaw1cishet male 14 points 2 days ago
    You can’t honestly expect native Asians to understand the toxic, race obsessed, SJW culture and identity politics in the US. That shit is not normal.
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    [–]TheBigBoss777 4 points 2 days ago*
    If course it’s unrealistic to expect that, but I’m sure that it’s a generally expected rule to not talk about issues you have no experience with. And that goes for any country or culture, sometimes even more so in East Asia.
    EDIT: What I meant to say was that general rule is sometimes more strictly adhered to in East Asia.
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  56. I’ve been trying to understand this as well. How does power, colonialism and appropriation fit into the narrative of human history? Mongols adopting Turkish culture? Japanese adopting Chinese culture? Khazars adopting Jewish culture?
    With a historic perspective, were these appropriations by the colonists or majority cultures negative?
    I’m genuinely interested in what people think of appropriation as a human phenomena spanning history. I don’t have an answer because the more I look the more complex it seems.
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    [–]Pennwisedom 5 points 2 days ago
    With a historic perspective, were these appropriations by the colonists or majority cultures negative
    It’s a hard question to answer because identities in the past, personal, cultural, etc were different than they are today. (Also don’t forget the Mongols also adopted much of Chinese culture) But I think you’re asking the right questions, that it’s not exactly so black and white.
    But America does a funny thing to people here who are -Americans that I don’t really know how to explain. But the gist of it is that Asian American culture, is more American than Asian. And it’s like this with all ethnicities among their children and children’s children who are all born in the US.
    While Jews are not a single cultural unit, I think they provide a good example. If you look at American Jews and you look at Israeli Jews, there are two distinct, and very different cultures there where you may be Jewish, but there’s still quite a bit of culture shock.
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    [–]dready 5 points 2 days ago
    I think I see what you are getting at. Since minorities in the US are less their minority culture and more of the majority culture psychologically (via identification), then being relegated to the status of other is a lot more damaging. It would give you the feeling of never truly being an authentic person of the culture. Then it follows that the majority culture crudely aping minority cultural artifacts as an expression of exorcism further reinforces feelings of otherness that may not be present in people not from the minority diaspora.
    OK. I think I got the emotional aspect.
    Now, what do we do with the human urge to play with unfamiliar culture? I know a lot of cultures enjoy this play without any thought of the fetishization done to the minority culture. Should we shame this naive expression? One could argue that appropriation is in fact an intrinsic part of some cultures. Why would we deny people those expressions if it makes other people feel bad? I like it when we educate but I dislike it when we come across as mean spirited without a noticeable change in the awareness of the people we are trying to educate.
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    [–]Pennwisedom 1 point 1 day ago
    Yea, I think we’re saying the same thing here. I think a lot of the issue is culture vs ethnicity, someone Chinese is always ethnically Chinese, but culturally, if you’re born and raised in America, you’re American. And I think ethnicity and race plays a much bigger part in this than anyone is saying. If it is a Chinese person doing a Japanese thing, or an African American person doing a Nigerian thing, no one complains about that (Hell even a White American doing something German). But as soon as it is one race to the other race, it’s a big deal. As a side note, I’m also not a particular fan of saying things like “Asian culture” as if all of Asia is one giant homogeneous culture.
    As to your second part, I don’t think I have a good answer to this. I think “cultural appropriation” is some buzzword that’s obnoxious half the time. Just yesterday I saw something about Kylie Jenner “appropriating” black culture because she wore cornrows. Now, call me insensitive, but I don’t think anyone gets a monopoly on hair styles. So to be short, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being interested and wanting to do things from other cultures. If there’s something that’s offensive, you know it when you see it, but in cases like these, simply putting on a piece of clothing just can not be offensive to me.
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  57. The point here is though Asian-Asians are naive towards the concept of racism. Thus my stand is that him being Asian-Asian does not make his opinions any more valid than ours. It’s not about wearing kimonos, it’s about the fact that she wrongly used her husband as a tool for validation. Who knows, if this dude had a clue, he might not be so eager to agree. Like how they tend to be oblivious to the fact that the majority of (s)expats are neo-colonialists, and think it’s all about love.

  58. [–]buylotusonitunes 10 points 3 days ago
    white proverb: Look! this poc agrees with me and is okay with my racism. Therefore your feelings are invalid and you are wrong
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  59. This is why asia is a haven for white expats. They bring with them all their racial baggage to another society with completely different historical context and culture and seek evidence for their confirmation bias within that society to resolve their issues that they could never do in America. I.E. Whites are racist? Travel to a majority asian racially homogeneous country, get touched and pointed at…”See asians are racist too, even more racist than whites!”
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    [–]TheBigBoss777 5 points 2 days ago
    The dumbest commentary I’ve heard from White Expats in this regard is the discourse of the word “foreigner” which often translates to “waegukin” and “gaijin” in Korean and Japanese respectively. Of course the word is racist in America because of the context of xenophobia and racial violence in which White America employed that word. But the fact of the matter is that, Japanese and Korean people apply that word simply as a statement of fact: If you weren’t born in that country and are unfamiliar with the language, culture, and customs, then you are, in all senses of the word, a foreigner.
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  60. I’ve seen far more instances where a white person, regardless of nationality was treated better than the locals. I think that’s what is most disturbing. I personally think most locals in Asia are naive when it comes to foreigners. They are too influenced by the media and believe everything foreign (ex. western) is better. Many have a severe inferiority complex towards white foreigners. This is one reason that despite China’s rise on the world stage, it will never come close to resembling the world leader that the US is today.

  61. zdrav KamikaziPilot
    3 years ago
    I agree with KamikaziPilot in that the rise of China is good for the rest of Asia, at least in terms of finally stopping Euro-worship.

    One thing that disturbs me as a Korean is when Koreans look down on Chinese. I used to do it as a kid when I was growing up in North America because it made me feel okay at being Korean. A lot of the kids made of Chinese kids and culture, but they told me that I was cool because I was Korean, and I thought that that was a compliment. I internalized all the racist stereotypes against Asians (cheap, dirty, hive-minded, etc.) and told myself that they didn’t apply to me because I was KOREAN, and that they only applied to those Chinese Others.

    I didn’t realize at the time that I was accepting and promoting anti-Asian racism. Nobody outside of Asia cares to distinguish between the East Asian ethnicities, and it’s an Asian conceit to believe that non-Asians truly appreciate the differences among us.

    However, with China starting to become not only an economic leader but also a cultural and political one, I think Asians will start to take more pride in their heritage because China was/is such a dominance influence in East Asia.

    When I entered college, I only wanted to study abroad and travel to Europe. When I saw that a lot of non-Asian kids wanted to go to Hong Kong and Shanghai and Beijing, it made me rethink my prior overvaluing of Europe.

    I’ve been to Europe now, and I’ve sort of been to China. I find China much more exciting.
    4 Reply

    KamikaziPilot zdrav
    3 years ago
    Sometimes asians have a “crabs in a bucket” mentality, which results in us fighting amoung ourselves instead of cooperating with each other and working toward a common goal. Your story is all too familar, not to myself personally, but what I’ve heard. I can’t really blame you for your actions as a kid, I mean if I were in your same situation there’s a good chance I’d do the same thing. After all, being a kid is all about fitting in and finding your place.
    It’s a credit to you that you’re aware of the obstacles asians face and how racism is involved. Being of Japanese descent, it also bothered me when any asians were putting down other asians because of their ethnicity. I mean to do it in fun is okay, but to do it maliciously is wrong. Hopefully Asia can take a cue from Europe in improving its ethnic relations. After all, wasn’t it just a generation ago that France and England were at war with Germany. Now they’re all part of the European Union and seem to get along fine.

  62. Lol

    When did ya’ll make Slavs white folks?

    About 30 or 40,000 years ago. And despite what you may have heard from some pop-historian, they have been accepted as white by other Europeans for as long as the concept has been around.

    • What are you talking about? The idea of races is from science. It is only a few centuries old. It was originally used to refer to a sub-species in animals and a sub-population in humans. It referred to those who were closely related, such as a tribe, an ethnicity, or a nationality. It was only later on that larger notions of race developed. Such terms as ‘white’ and ‘Caucasian’ changed over time and were used differently by various thinkers over the centuries. This kind of information comes from academic books on the topic.

      • I was wondering.

        I had the thought about where the lines of race get drawn. How far East does ‘whiteness’ go? It’s arbitrary where one places the cut-off point. If the Slavs are included, why stop there? Why can’t Mongols be white? Mongol genetics are widely spread throughout the European population.

        I noticed one commenter who stated that Asians seem white. I suspect that whiteness in the future will extend further and further West. Technically, Middle Easterners and North Africans are included as Caucasians. Also, sometimes Indians, although India is in Asia.

        Some Japanese are lighter-skinned than others, because they come from two separate ethnic populations. The indigenous populations and those that settled later. The same is true in India. Racism against darker-skinned people wasn’t introduced to Japan and India from Europe.

        I predict a time when all lighter-skinned people from all places will come to be identified as white.

  63. In getting major reverse culture shock at how much american. Drive and how unwalkable America is. Inefficient transportation infrastructure. Public transportation sucks. Everything is designed for people to drive everywhere: including distances that people in other nations walk or bike.

    And if it invested in a decent rail system and other public transportation. Right now that is considered ‘socialism’ and is evil because then people wouldn’t always be buying new cars every 5 years.
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    [–]TalkingBackAgain 3 points 3 years ago
    I never cease to be amazed at how people against socialism, most certainly those who would benefit from it, don’t make the connection that not all of socialism is bad and not all of capitalism is good. The banking system destroys the economy but that’s ‘good’ because it’s capitalist? And what about banks accepting bailouts, isn’t that socialism? The money comes from the State, i.e.: the tax payer. Shouldn’t the bank be foaming at the mouth before they accept that money?
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  64. We see small counties cutting funding for education while spending nearly $100,000 on a fireworks display for Veterans Day. Cliche patriotic gestures have replaced the real patriotism that requires involvement and thoughtful assessment of laws and political candidates.
    We see groups, who claim to be patriotic militias, making threats against our president because of his racial heritage. Racism is institutionalized in the southern culture and no laws will dislodge that prejudice. Politicians are elected by the churches and, because the voters have been told by their ministers and politicians that their way of life is being threatened by ungodly science and by Muslims, they vote for the party that best vilifies science and cultural diversity.
    The institutionalization of stupidity is crucial to corporate America’s bottom line. Without it, they couldn’t sell us this unhealthy, unsustainable lifestyle.

    • I can be even more cynical at times. Or maybe it is more sympathetic and understanding.

      I see the ignorance as being near total and all-encompassing. Such social systems as patriotic corporatism (a softer, disguised form of fascism) are self-enclosed, self-fulfilling reality tunnels. It isn’t just the citizen-consumer who is ignorant, but also the capitalist ruling elite. A capitalist worldview narrows one’s focus and dumbs down one’s mind to conform to a simplified understanding of the world and human nature.

      To understand the inhabitants of Americann society, it’s not really any different than understanding the true believers in any other ideologically constrained society. Anyone who has a hard time seeing outside of the system ends up acting as a true believer by default, and it is a rare person who glimpses beyond the belief system, the habitus they are trapped within.

      Most everyone in such a reality tunnel is both complict and a victim. It is easy to underestimate the power of reality tunnels, often because we don’t recognize them for what they are. The behaviors within a reality tunnel entirely make sense within the reality tunnel. There is nothing essentially irrational about it, but rather a limited reasoning that follows well-formed grooves of collective thought.

  65. And the institutionalization of stupidity is facilitated by our culture’s tendency to treat ignorance as some sort of personal, permanent condition.
    Backing people into corners is never a good idea, because it leads to what we’re seeing today. People vehement and polarized, sticking to their guns because they see no other option. I’m not talking about politicians either, that’s an indirect consequence. I’m talking about every day people like you or me.
    I’m talking about those events you’ve seen, indubitably since childhood: people getting made fun of for being wrong.
    Getting made fun of for being wrong has this effect of polarizing internal feelings regarding the laughable thought. These feelings will lead the ridiculed to abandon the thought or hold onto the thought even tighter. Abandoning the thought is seen as weak and cowardly. That’s what our culture says. It’s not humble or modest to back down when you’re laughed at. It’s weak and cowardly.
    And as we live in the home of the brave, we are now seeing institutions built on bad ideas, implemented by representatives of courageous individuals who won’t crumble under the laughter of others.

    • I’m not sure it is about people being backed into corners. Or rather the only corners people are backed into are the ones they create for themselves. That still leaves unanswered why individuals, groups, and sometimes the entire society chooses to create such corners of ignorance in which to hide.

  66. I don’t understand the social stigma attached with living with your parents, I’m an Asian American and we have no deal with our kids living with us until they are married and ready to support themselves.
    permalinksavegive gold
    [–]Ragekritz 41 points 1 year ago
    It’s been all over a lot of american culture for years. anyone not out of their parents house by 18 is some sort of wimp or loser. I’m sure there is a tv tropes thing on it too.

    • That is a strange aspect of American society. It’s one of the clear examples of how American conservatism obsessed with individualism and capitalism is entirely opposite of traditional culture and traditional family values. It’s the same with American liberals, but no one expects American liberalism to conform to traditionalism.

  67. Millenials scare the shit out of the people who want the status quo maintained because all the research suggests that they mostly don’t give a crap about all the carrots people used to chase.
    Now we have a young, large, body of people who won’t settle and are willing to bypass personal comfort in favor of going after the shit that is important to them.
    Millenials have a tendency to volunteer, network, and create and they often eschew things like designer labels and traditional gender roles. Good for them.
    They are a generation with the power to change the nation and I hope they do.
    But they get all the shit press because the older generations are scared of them. So good. Keep garnering the terrible press. Generation X did too until we fell in line.
    permalinksavegive gold
    [–]AConstantLiar 5 points 1 year ago
    Honestly, I feel it in my body. I’m physically and mentally drained every day as part of the Millennial workforce.
    I’ve heavily networked and I’ve tried to build my career over the last 3 years (post-college), but I see stagnancy everywhere I go. The older generation is holding us back. We try to be progressive, they shoot down our ideas and therefore we can’t build our reputations as they did for being innovative.
    “You just don’t understand” is a very common phrase in every job I’ve worked. It’s the older generation that is unwilling to change.
    This leads to us never getting promotions. These days, we are encouraged to monkey bar from company to company asking for higher wages. We have to pass up opportunities and look into mountains of freelance work, and yet most people I know still struggle to buy a new car, a house of their own, or progress in this economy at all.
    It’s obvious that I will never get a raise in my career at this rate and it’s pathetic to think I might die one day still making the same wages I made when I was 23 years old.

    • Millennials are beginning to fully appreciate what many GenXers have known and experienced for a long time. All of these trends began decades ago when most GenXers were entering the job market, although there was an economic reprieve in the late 1990s. I know a ton of GenXers who have never had careers in the field they got a degree in. Many of them aren’t making more money than they did in decades past. No generation has seen great gains since the Boomers hit adulthood.

  68. Our country’s infrastructure and cultural attitudes toward transportation came of age in an era of cheap gas and economic prosperity so it’s not surprising that the 20th century made us a car-centric country. Changing over to a more “European” style of transportation will take time, resources and perhaps most importantly a willingness to adopt such change and acceptance of the inherent short-term sacrifices.
    So I think we need a cultural shift, and god knows those don’t happen quickly. Especially not in a country where we have at least partially defined “freedom” as the ability to get in one’s car and just drive.

  69. A lot of Americans have this idea that the car culture we have today is a result of the free market– that Americans just LOVE driving, and that after WWII the economic boom and cheap cars allowed the free market to radically restructure American society into the highly suburban thing we see today– all due to high demand and affordable prices. The upshot of this viewpoint is that car culture will never slow down since people want it, and a demand that profound cannot be curbed.
    However, the suburbs and car culture we have today are as much a result of government interventionism as true popular demand. Title I and title II housing policies, sparked during the Depression under FDR, created subsidized, affordable housing in the suburbs for whites while simultaneously bulldozing swaths of real estate in cities for housing projects that quickly became breeding grounds for poverty and crime. With cities becoming less and less attractive, and cheap subsidized attractive housing in the suburbs, the government made it economically viable and attractive to buy a car and move to the suburbs.
    On top of that, government programs subsidized the building of car-centric roadway systems (and, contrary to popular belief, state highways are not paid for primarily by drivers through gas taxes– they’re paid for by everyone through sales and property taxes in most states) further encouraging people to drive since they paid no money beyond taxes into the creation of those roads. Add in subsidized street parking, car-centric single-use zoning rules, lax environmental restrictions, and you have a system in which car owners do not pay the true social costs of car ownership. As a result, it makes economic sense for everyone to drive.
    I’m not saying that there isn’t a huge number of people in this country who love cars and will drive even against economic convenience. But the sheer magnitude of car culture in the US is largely a result of market distortion by the government. It’s not inherent cultural preference that gives us one of the highest per capita car ownership (and car-miles-traveled) numbers in the world– it’s economic policy. In my opinion, the sooner we reverse that trend, the better– better for the environment, better for livable communities, better for travel safety.

    • Government intervention? That’s a communist car culture! Oh my!

      Also, it doesn’t just subsidize indivvidual drivers. Trucks use the road systems more than cars, especially in terms the damage they cause roads. It is primarily the shipping industry and hence big biz that is being subsidized. That is also true in incentivizing shoppers to drive further on subsidized roads to big box stores for goods that are made cheaper by this same subsidization. This drove many small stores out of business.

      On top of that, some of the worst pollution in the past came from cars. It stil is bad, even if not as bad as it once was. The violent crime spike caused by lead toxicity primarily came from the use of leaded gasoline. This led to our government obsessing about tough-on-crime policies, mass incarceration, and the drug wars. By subsidizing the car culture, this demented dynamic of violence and oppression was also being subsidized.

      I don’t own a car and yet I work in a parking ramp. Inhaling car exhaust on a daily basis inspires me to contemplate these externalized costs. I’ve been thinking about this for years.

      I remember people, specifically liberals, getting their panties in a wad over seconhand smoke. Because of this, smoking was banned from all bars and city property. I pointed out to many people that way more people get sick and die from secondhand air pollution than from errant tobacco fumes, but such basic factual logic didn’t faze most liberals I met. It’s not just conservatives and right-wingers who can be fucktarded imbeciles.

      Too often people obsess about minor issues while ignoring the larger problems. Just trying to get even many well educated people to understand the worst systemic problems can be nigh impossible. Now imagine trying to get any politicians to admit that we have a subsidized car culture, despite the fact that taken together it is one of the largest costs to the taxpayer. We can’t forget that one of the main purposes of the military is to defend access to oil in other countries. If we were energy independent, we would no longer have a purpose for most of our military, besides general imperialism.

      There has always been a weird link between American car culture and American militarism and imperialism. This is evident in the reason for the interstate highway system being built. Eisenhower wanted a massive road system like the Nazis had during WWII, which allowed them to quickly move troops and military equipment all over Germany. It was a side effect that this contribued to car culture.

      It’s related to why the military was used to clear the path for wagon trails to be built westward. Ever since Jefferson, there has been an imperial vision of America as a single interconnected continent that would rival the other great empires. The original dream of Americans being able to move freely didn’t include Native Americans, blacks, and Mexicans.

      This is also why the US government wants to control global shipping lanes and airspace. It’s simultaneous freedom for some and oppression for others. This is what is called capitalism. It just so happens to benefit wealthy capitalists the most, but every American gets to feel like they are free agents in a free market because they can drive down subsidized roads to get to their nearest subsidized big box store or mega-mall. Globalized capitalism makes car culture both possible and necessary.

      To undo this subsidized system would require rebuilding the entire country from the bottom up with entirely new economic incentives, infrastructure, etc. It would require generations of intentionally subsidizing another kind of transit system, as was done to create our present car culture.

  70. What baffles u about America?

    Because I’m tired of the same old guns, tipping, omgreligiousrepublicanswtf arguments, I wanna talk about something else: The way you treat your kids like they’re incapable of tying their own shoe laces.

    You see it everywhere, from the weird drinking age to the gazillion regulations in schools or the attitude that it’s a parent’s place to dictate their teenager’s (lack of a) sex life. I’m especially confused by the rules schools get to set up. Coming from a country where schools have no dress codes, first graders get to bring whatever medicine their parents give them and take it whenever they need to, and it’s perfectly acceptable for teachers to bring beer for everybody on a field trip (though not exactly legal), the restrictions your schools get to set up with nobody questioning them at all is just baffling to me. I spent half a year in a high school in northern California when I was 15 and the lack of trust made me want to pull my hair out. Like, wtf is a hall pass? Why do I need anyone’s permission to go to the bathroom? Half my bra strap is showing. I’m…sorry?

    And every time I mention that millions of people survive the German school system every year without all that nonsense, I get „oh, well, you couldn’t do that in America, because American kids couldn’t deal with it. You’d have girls showing up to school naked and people would be selling their pain meds in the hallway and Jesus, how do you expect my child to pass a single test if there’s somebody with an afro in his class to distract him!?“ like teenagers in the US are by definition more retarded than anywhere else in the world.

    No. If they’re acting like idiots it’s because you’re treating them like idiots.

  71. What about those incompetent gifted kids (in terms of everyday shit like putting clothes on correctly, cleaning up after themselves) whose teachers to “you’re in gifted, you should be able to do this.”

    When I was in grade 4-6 I had two teachers who treated us like idiots. We treated them like shit in return, and we were “well-mannered Swedish middle-class kids”. If you’re constantly thought of as dumb and irresponsible you will a) never learn responsibility and b) feel a greater need to revolt.

    • There is a definite relationship between American obsession with on one side juvenile notions of individual freedom and rebellion and on the other oppressive social control with not only strict rules in the school system but the entire militarized police state with mass incarceration and police shooting kids. America is an immature and unbalanced society.

  72. I suppose I’m traditional. My parents want me to love with them, them to raise any kids I have. I don’t see what’s bad about it, though perhaps because my parents are pretty lax and “free range” parents anyway so I don’t have independence issues, especially considering I’m not really interested in stuff parents get comcerned over anyway (not a heavy drinker, etc)

    It’s the old baby boomer nonsense I expect.

    “Well son, at your age I already had a wife, a four bedroom house and was CEO of a small bank! Why are you still living here?”

    The tradition may have worked back then but right out of school you’re probably not going to be able to afford anything more than a small one-bedroom flat in what’s probably not a great area.
    deepfriedcarolina192d, 7h810
    I think it’s definitely leftover from the post-WWII “American Dream” idea of having your own house and starting a family young, and back then real estate was really cheap. Now it doesn’t work with the financial reality of college grads but the social pressure to move out remains.


    I think I know why I wa always jittery in America. Cause in America any exercise you get is only in a specific time slot reserved for exercising (gym, run, whatever) whereas in japan yu exercise throughout the day just by walking fuckijg everywhere.

    Seriously driving one or two miles. What is this shit :/ no wonder we’re so obese.

    • I walk almost everywhere. I’ve never owned a car in my life. That is one reason I like this town. Everything is within either walking or bicyclying distance. Plus, the bus routes go all around the town, although I rarely ride the buses. I actually like walking. I’ve always walked. It seems normal to me, but I realize it isn’t normal for most Americans.

    • I was about to ask you why you think of that song in terms of Boomers. But it makes sense.

      The members of the band were Boomers. The song was released in 1979. The last Boomers were born in the early 1960s. So, that song came on the heel of the last wave of young Boomers, in high school and college.

      It was a time of rising Boomer presence, as the first wave was well on their career paths. With the youngest hitting voting age and the oldest already in politics, that would have been the moment their full political clout emerged.

      For me in 1979, I was but a wee lad. Still, that era is very much apart of the memory of the older GenXers. The late 1970s was when GenXers began entering high school and music is quite important at that age.

      That song represented a transitional point of one generation leaving youth and the next arriving on the scene. With the violent crime spike and drug wars, it wouldn’t be long after that when Boomers began their complaints about the new young gerneration.

  74. American “politeness” is concerned with including others, bringing them into the group. This evolved in a large country populated by a huge number of disparate groups searching for some common ground.
    English “politeness” is concerned with respecting others’ needs for privacy, not forcing your presence on others. This evolved in a small, crowded island where people are constantly all up in each others’ space.

    • Many things have been cut from education. That is because fiscal conservatism has come to dominate politics. It’s all about cutting funds to public services. This has nothing to do with attacking the ‘gifted’ kids. Even programs for other kids have been cut.

      From what I’ve heard, funding has been cut to music and art classes, to clubs and other extracurricular activities, and much else. My best friend in high school used to take classes in welding and small engine repair, as he was never academically inclined (although he did end up going to college), but I’ve heard many of those classes have been taken away.

      The entire education system has been redirected toward standardized testing. Education for all children has been narrowed down. It’s not as if the whole world revolves around gifted-obsessed parents and their children.

  75. She put “smarter” in italics. Whyyyyy

    If you are one who believes our gifted children already have more than enough, and that educational funds and a teacher’s time is better spent teaching to the middle and focused on students who are underachieving or have special needs, what if I told you that gifted children often themselves underachieve in school likely due to the double yellow lines that bind them? Did you know that gifted children also have special needs? Many gifted children have learning disabilities and are on the autism spectrum which require accommodations. And yet, they are still forced to stay behind.
    Let me ask you this: If your child was an average student who most often brought home B’s and C’s on his report card and you learned that your child’s teacher was focusing most of her time and energy on the many failing children in your child’s class, would you be upset? If you knew your child, who was bringing home B’s and C’s, really could be making A’s and B’s if given the chance, what would you do? If you knew your child was capable of learning more and moving ahead faster than the majority of his classmates who were learning at a slower pace, would you allow him to sit everyday in class and wait until his classmates caught up? If your child came home bored, frustrated and upset with school for holding him back, would you tell him it was okay because he was better off than his classmates because he was smarter than most of them?
    Every child needs an appropriate learning environment. Every child deserves a challenging education. NO child deserves to be kept behind and each child deserves to get ahead at his own pace—especially the gifted children who have been stuck in the no passing zone for far too long.

    • I suppose here’s a cultural difference. Japanese emphasize perfectiomc not “understanding.” My teachers graded all or nothing, partial credit isn’t a thing. So the bored gifted kid getting C’s because he’s too smart wouldn’t fly. It’s not enough to understand. You have to get it precise and perfect. Down to the detail.

  76. Well these may have been your advocates in grade school. :/

    As for the no passing zone, I think people are too stressy and time strapped anyway and people would be better off taking public transportation.

    “Many of the students who were left behind during the last decade of NCLB were our gifted children. Standardized test scores have shown that gifted and high-achieving students demonstrated less year-to-year progress than their lower-achieving peers under NCLB. During NCLB, many states drastically cut spending for gifted education because NCLB lacked the provisions, directives and earmarked funds for the education of gifted students. 2
    No Child Left Behind was not the sole contributor to inadequate gifted education in the U. S.
    Even before No Child Left Behind, gifted children, both in and out of school, were stigmatized. Whether due to the envy of a child who is seemingly smarter and better off than most, the misunderstanding of what giftedness really is, or both, gifted children suffered from a lack of an appropriate education and from the negative attitudes towards giftedness in society.
    The stereotypical gifted child is one who the vast majority of people believe is smarter than most children, excels in school, is socially and emotionally mature and also well-behaved. Given this stereotype and the widespread belief in it, many in society, as well as our legislators who supported NCLB, and the states and school systems who continue to cut gifted programs, all felt that gifted children already had enough academic advantages making it unnecessary to mandate, fund and implement an appropriately challenging and accelerated education for gifted children.
    The predominant sentiment—they already have more, why do they need more?—is a huge detriment to gifted education. When state and school system budgets need trimming, the first programs to be axed are the programs for gifted children leaving them to languish in regular classrooms.
    Have you ever been stuck in a No Passing Zone with a slow-moving car in front of you? With your destination as your focus, you are anxious to get there as soon as possible. You wait for a chance to pass the slow-moving car in front of you, the double yellow lines no longer keeping you from passing, you edge out a bit only to see your chance to pass curtailed as the double yellow lines appear again. You move back in behind the slow-moving car.
    Do you remember how it felt when you repeatedly attempted to pass, only to find yourself in the No Passing Zone again and again? The frustration at not getting to your destination sooner, not being able to go faster than the car in front of you, and you trying repeatedly but failing to get ahead of the slow-moving car—it was upsetting, anxiety-inducing and angering, right? It may have even made you lose your cool.
    Those double yellow lines exist everyday in the regular classroom for our gifted children stuck in the No Passing Zone.

    Since NCLB was enacted, high-achieving and gifted students have been short-changed, receiving a less-than-challenging education. Even with strong advocacy on the parts of parents and teachers, states and school systems continued to provide less and less for gifted students.
    Why? My guess would be because those legislators casting votes to cut funding to programs for gifted and high-achieving students never understood or believed that gifted education is indeed very necessary—the they already have more, why do they need more? sentiment at work. Gifted education is considered expendable, not necessary, an enviable advantage for the already advantaged.
    Our high-achievers and gifted children are stuck, unable to pass ahead of the regular classroom, and prevented from accelerating their learning. These children have been held back and left behind, the double yellow lines tying them to a frustratingly slower pace.
    If you are one who believes our gifted children already have more than enough, and that educational funds and a teacher’s time is better spent teaching to the middle and focused on students who are underachieving or have special needs, what if I told you that gifted children often themselves underachieve in school likely due to the double yellow lines that bind them? Did you know that gifted children also have special needs? Many gifted children have learning disabilities and are on the autism spectrum which require accommodations. And yet, they are still forced to stay behind.”

  77. So… I agree. That all-encompassing term “gifted” is useless and meaningless.

    As for the gifted kids improving at slower paces than everyone else at standardized testing, paired with her statement many gifted kids have autism and other special needs…

    This is example of the uselessness of “gifted” term. I can’t account for all kids in terms of why the blessed by god kids are progressing slower on tests, but of these kids have special needs like autism that may be holding them back, it dosent make sense to lump all this into one “gifted” label. It sounds like these are merely disabled kids with normal or above normal intelligence, that is what I’d call them frankly. The answer for them dosent seem to be “the gifted program” as much as special ed with an aide to help them.

    These kids might take classes in their strength above their grade level with an aide if needed.

    I knew an autistic girl with normal/above normal intellgence. She was in special ed and had a aide with her in classes appropriate for her. So se basically took regular class bit with an aide.

  78. Well spoken from a White man’s perspective but there are many pieces missing. (And I am not surprised). I am an African American who has lived many years in The Philippines, Thailand, Japan and spent several months in China and in Mongolia.

    I know that White people are viewed by Asians as the persons who “have the wealth.” One Thai person put it to me this way: “The Thai people are not racist, we just ‘prefer’ white skin.” Asians really have not evolved to the point of understanding racism as Americans do. It is a relatively new concept.

    I was called the N-Word by a Thai passerby, but was the “way” he said it that told me that some White American or European taught him the hateful expression. What connection can a Thai who has never been to America make with such a word? None.

    Skin whitener products are big business in Thailand and in Japan. Thai women avoid exposure to the sun like a plague. Dark-skinned Thai do not get the “good jobs” that involve exposure with the public – especially – with visiting foreigners. You do not see dark-skinned Thai airline stewardesses, bank tellers, etc.

    Driving from any one of the two Thai airports you will see billboards of White European or American models. The few advertisements you see along the roads that have Thai models in them, their skin is so bleached White, they look White.

    Black people are not preferred. If no Black people lived in Thailand, it would be OK with most Thais. Unless, you have money.

    Money is everything to Thais because they need it to take care of their families. If you happen to be Black and you have money, “What’s love got to do with it” as one Thai lady told me.

    A White friend of mine (pale skinned guy from Australia) was walking down a village road when a elderly Thai woman sitting with her daughter or grand daughter yelled out to my white friend – who they did not know – to “give daughter baby.” In other words, they wanted him to have sex with the young woman to make her pregnant.

    In Thailand, light-skinned children are a prize and hold much value in the Thai family. They are a goldmine for the family because that child – when it grows up – will have privileges a darker skinned Thai child will never have.

    Thai parents are desperate for English speaking foreigners to teach their children English. They will give you all they have if you tutor them … if you are the right color.

    I am a teacher by profession. But Thai parents will not allow Black persons – no matter what your credentials – teach their Children. They want a Farang – a White person to teach them.

    I was at one of Thailand very popular 5-star hotels awaiting my turn to serviced. I was next in line. Yet, a White couple showed up with their bags in tow and instead of looking at me and saying, “May I help you” the hotel check-in clerk bypassed me as if I was not there and addressed the White couple. But here is the thing: The White couple did not have the decency or courtesy to say, “He was here before us.”

    In Thailand and in Japan, White-skin is “preferred.” But when all of the layers are peeled back, it is really White people worship.

    What readers have been given by Mr. Henderson is a White mans perspective and that is all. I am not saying that what he is saying is all in error. I am saying a lot is missing.

    The things in the world cannot always be told all the time through the eyes of a White person.

    foreigners are not just white R Jerome Harris
    a year ago

  79. Alpha Asian on December 26, 2009 at 5:56 pm said:
    But, do you think that colonization has taken a greater toll (psychologically) among the Asian peoples, than it has elsewhere? And if so, why?

    Who knows? One could argue that European colonialism has taken a greater toll psychologically on Africans and African Americans, since their connection to their African heritage has been broken by slavery. At least Asians can refer to the history of their ancestral countries and point out their cultural legacies.

    But I will say that Asians are psychologically more malleable than other peoples, because our ancestral cultures stress conformity and assimilation. Obviously, this is a gross generalization, but Asians tend to accommodate and yield to white privilege.

    Byron’s right: what’s the point of having greater numbers and greater economic influence if the people from our ancestral lands are still mentally colonized?

    anna123 on December 26, 2009 at 8:07 pm said:
    This is sad but true.But theres more to the truth.

    A few weeks ago over lunch I spoke to a friend. Hes a PRC mainlander, educated, intelligent and middleclass. He has his MBA and his own successful small business(and his only 25).

    As we were eating, an tall, sort of goodlooking(for a white person) white male walked past with his equally tall and but not so good looking Asian girlfriend.

    Suddenly he turns and askes me “Do you think white people are the best?”. Taken aback, I asked “”What do you mean?””. Hes never asked me anything like that before, in fact we never speak about anything of this nature, not IR, not racism, not discrimination, not politics. usually weve just spoken about business or social things. He replied;

    Steve: Do you believe theres an order?
    Anna123: Like what?
    Steve: Like white people at the top, then Chinese, then Black people at the bottom.

    Anna123: Who told you this? who have you been speaking to? where did this come from? (I was still so suprised that he suddenly started speaking like this-after 3 years of friendship, hes NEVER spoken like this to me before, about anything of this kind of thing)

    Steve: Do you?
    Anna123: No. Everyones equal.
    Steve: Theres a famous scientist that said that White people are the most advanced people. Chinese are second, and Blacks are last.
    Anna123: Is he white? He sounds like a white person.
    Steve: Yes
    Anna123: See?! hes white! what do you expect him to say??!, Of COURSE HES GOING TO SAY WHITES ARE THE BEST!!
    Steve: So you dont believe?
    Anna123: No. Dont tell me you believe in this that shit.
    Steve: Yes, I believe.
    Anna123: Why? hes lying, its not true. Seriously, he might be a scientist but he making it all up. Hes probably racist against Asians and Blacks. Why you believe?

    Steve: Because they are the richest and most powerful countries.
    Anna123: So when China becomes the most richest and powerful country in the world, then what will you think?

    Steve: Then Chinese will be at the top.

    Somewhat relieved that he based the concept of superiority on material wealth(and not on inherent genetics) but still somewhat disturbed by the whole conversation, I let the subject drop. We havent spoken about this kind of thing again, partly because it was awkward and i dont know what to say to him, and partly because he sees nothing wrong with it.

    Later I found out that the “”scientist”” he had heard about was the “”social scientist”” Steve Sailor from the “”Human Biodiversity Institute””

    (Like I thought, the guy IS white, and he IS biased against Asians and Blacks. And Latinos. And gay people. And Immigrants.)

    Lisa Reed Guarnero on December 26, 2009 at 9:29 pm said:
    In regards to Asian people taking “a greater toll (psychologically)” than others globally, I don’t think this is true. I think all who are colonized are affected negatively. There are times the human spirit will show how incredible it can be by defying physics in regards to overcoming environmental conditions. But generally, most that face extreme adversity are going to be negatively affected by it.

    I think we are more critical about ourselves (or own race, gender, family, etc) than anyone else. So I think that perceptually, we can think Asians are more malleable than others, but I don’t think this is necessarily true either.

    As far as taking on racial order in regards to superiority, this is definitely taking on European racist views. Asians wrapping themselves in material wealth and status in order to feel better about themselves, and for others to view them as successful, is just as prevalent as anyone else who has been able to blaze a path to gain access to these things. The unfortunate thing is that I feel people are losing their humanity in trying to “arrive”. What the almighty dollar is able to attain for one’s self and family is breaking us into more isolation and competition. This is where the tactic of divide and conquer becomes the easiest to achieve.

    This plays right into what Byron’s blog is about…Why are European models replacing Chinese models to begin with? It’s all about the almighty dollar and the perception of “success”. It’s sadly become the Holy Grail.

    Between history (colonization, Christianity and early renaissance art, and effective marketing, the Europeans have worked their way into many societies; hence their psyche.

    – See more at:

  80. Leon on December 27, 2009 at 1:26 am said:
    Maybe it’s just plain human nature. Everyone loves a winner and throughout modern history, white Europeans and Americans have been the winners militarily, economically, and socially. Ask yourself what kind of people you’re attracted to: the powerful and successful or the weak and impotent? Nobody aspires to be a failure. Nobody picks losers to be role models. And people, being such wonderful stereotyping creatures, will associate other people with the success (and failures) of their communities, and their countries.

    One of the effects of modernization is measuring human development in a linear time line. This places societies into something similar to a footrace of “progress”, tallying everything like material wealth, military power, social freedom, cultural influence, etc., and ranking them accordingly. Practically every country that modernizes joins this race. And if you’re in 1st place in any competition, you get the prestige and respect of those around you. Those who are behind will try to emulate and achieve the same success. Because they sure as hell don’t want to be like the guy in last place.

    Leon on December 27, 2009 at 1:37 am said:
    I want to add to my above comments: as a result of such a race, whites have the clear honor of being in first place because their societies are ahead of everyone in terms of global power and influence. As a result, they have clout all over the world. It’s not just the Chinese wanting to be white (and having an inferiority complex). Blacks, Latinos, South Asians, every other non-white have a similar inferiority complex. Look at the media from around the world. Look at the lightness of skin color of their supermodels and actors compared to the rest of the population.

    I say that everyone else, not just the Chinese, live under the shadow of white western hegemony. So I don’t buy that Asians are particularly more “malleable”. That’s just internalized racism at work. That’s looking for external reasons to justify your own lack of self-esteem.

    – See more at:

    • I’ve never thought that democracy is a Western invention and possession. I sometimes doubt that the US even has much of a democracy. If I had one piece of advice to the Chinese, it would be to beware of those who come bearing empty rhetoric of freedom, liberty, or whatever bullshit. People all over the world should demand that their political leaders live up to the actual principles of democracy. There is no such thing as Western freedom or Chinese freedom. Either you are free or you aren’t. But still freedom can take many forms.

  81. So an hdd’er decided to spam the comments section

    Violent crime can be traced back to the 2-repeat allele of the maoa gene. Fifteen percent (15.0%) of African Americans carry that gene. That’s more than all other genogroups. White Americans have a 0.097% carry rate. Asian Americans v have a 0.00047% carry rate.
    Source, before anyone asks for it-
    Why is talking about a group of people predisposition to violence inherently racist when there is genetic science to back up the statement? 15% is huge compared to the other groups which gives below 1%. This leftwing love for science and disdain for science that disproves their PC huggy “were all the same” ideology is astounding. They blame the vague “system” and other contrived red herrings when science doesn’t fit the agenda. But we’re not talking about black folks here as they have nothing to do with this incident in any capacity.
    Point with this little spiel of mine is youre trying to force an opinion by using guilt and manipulation. Try again.

    • This kind of racist so much wants others to believe he isn’t a complete anti-intellectual ignroamus. To try to prove his intellectual worth, such a person will point to (and often misrepresent) one piece of data (that usually doesn’t even support their beliefs) while ignoring 99 other basic facts.

    • I thought of something that is related. Southern California in the 1800s already had a larger population of Southerners. Of course, all the way back then the South was already well known for its traditions of violence and vigilante ‘justice’.

  82. For those interested in digging deeper into the historic roots of anti-Chinese sentiment in America, please take a look at Iris Chang’s 2004 book entitled, The Chinese In America.

    I find that much of this historic animosity persists in American society today. The rise of Communist China further complicates the Western view on China by adding a further layer of threat and insecurity. There are many subtle innuendos and undertones in Western media reporting that reinforce negative stereotypes and these are largely accepted without question.

    • I find it strange that what goes for conservatism in the US is so lacking in actual conservative values. It’s just as strange that liberals end up defending conservative positions on the public good.

      American conservaives are so obsessed with a radically liberalized capitalist faith that it trumps all else. This faith is a rather distorted liberal vision at that, based as it is in the regressive views of Social Darwinism from 19th century classical liberalism. Whatever it is, there is nothing socially conservative and traditional about it.

  83. I got a top 1-2% sat math score, but I fucking studied. Does that make me not count?

    I think we do a disservice by emphasizing innate genius so much. A stem major is definateky more a function of work ethic and interest than innate aptitude. Trust me, I’m in college and I know people.

    Funny, my average sat classmates are all doig better than me. I dropped of of stem and my gpa sits in the toilet. See?

  84. I’ve read studies that found South Korea is actually the most similar country to USA

    I moved from Korea to the US when I was 13 so I didn’t experience the real hagwon hell but I’ve watched friends and family go through it. I remember one of them getting praised for using up an entire ball point pen in one day. Think about it, taking notes, writing things out, over and over, so much that you use up a ball point pen in a single day… I probably used up maybe 4 pens in my entire life, and in the span of maybe months if not years. I’d lose them before I get close to using them up.
    But think about all the really smart people who do not choose to fully utilize their intellect. There’s really no stigma about that in the US. If some guy who can get mostly A’s without studying doesn’t study hard to get all A+’s, no one really criticizes him. That guy might just coast through high school and then crash and burn in college not because he was dumb but because his studying habits were inadequate to the demands of college and beyond. Sure, some of them straighten out and really excel, but many do not. But what if the culture and expectation didn’t allow for anyone to slack off? What if getting mostly A’s was unacceptable, especially if he was capable of much better?
    I don’t really want to defend it, and it’s still a very flawed system. But that kind of obsessive focus does have an effect of sending a small group of very highly intelligent and driven people to the top. The rest of them just go through the grinder and get spat out, however.

  85. The mere bright kids so well. The truly gifted kids usually suck at school?

    I once taught a girl who was so fluent in English we were going over the US electoral college system from a US college textbook, and she was in elementary school. One day I asked her what she learned in English class in school, and she said “I learned ‘Hello! How are you? My name is Helen.'” To be fair though, she’d probably ace whatever subject she’s studying. Girl was wicked smaht. The Korean education system definitely allows someone who can succeed to do so, but it doesn’t guarantee success for everyone.
    permalinksaveparentreportgive goldreply
    [–]tomatocurry1 31 points 13 hours ago
    The bad part is, it also kills the potentially successful people.
    permalinksaveparentreportgive goldreply
    [–]mexicanlizards 44 points 13 hours ago
    That’s true. I had another girl who named herself Melon. She was a middle school kid in one of the lower classes I taught. Obviously she wasn’t succeeding at her studies, but man, she was amazing. Incredibly creative in a culture where creativity is stifled to an insane degree. She was super positive and would make up random songs for the class, always fun and had a good time, but that whole studying all day thing just wasn’t her bag. I think she’ll be alright because she was just so damn clever, but there’s plenty like her who won’t ever discover that part of themselves.
    permalinksaveparentreportgive goldreply
    [–]dnnysn 13 points 12 hours ago
    Yeah I know what you mean, There’s definitely outlets for creativity though which is great. Its just odd the weird hypocrisy behind the conservative culture yet k-pop is essentially k-porn, porn is blocked yet its everywhere in public, cosmetic surgery and cosmetics are number one, image is key, children idolise some k-pop star yet he/she is probably being abused anyway. What a world
    permalinksaveparentreportgive goldreply
    [–]AmericantDildont 10 points 8 hours ago
    The Korean women I worked with told me that they would be fired if they didn’t put on makeup and dresses everyday. They had to be cute. If they did not look cute, they would be considered lazy.
    I work in a different part of Asia now, but still looking “cute” gets a teacher much further. My students evaluations of my classes are full of comments like: “I like it when the teacher looks cute,” “I like the teacher’s dresses,” and “The teacher should smile more because I like her smile.” I get better reviews when I look good. My teaching abilities do not even get mentioned most of the time. Many base their reviews on my looks and I can get fired for bad reviews. This is at a university at well. :/

  86. [–]moonshoeslol 9 points 12 hours ago*
    That’s because if you have the most money you can afford the best care. Meanwhile a large percentage of the population is left in the dust not going to the doctor for something easily treatable because they have a 6,000$ deductible. In other countries you have the peace of mind knowing that there’s no possibility of your insurance suddenly fucking you over or hiking your rates. We spend double our % GDP of every other industrialized nation on healthcare due to a bloated broken system….It does work really good if you’re rich though.
    permalinksaveparentreportgive goldreply
    [–]du44 -3 points 12 hours ago
    Not even rich, just upper middle class. Which most people reach. Obviously our healthcare system is flawed for people 18-30 but most of the population has worked long enough and can afford it. On top of that so many people in the 18-30 bracket are living far outside their means and aren’t able to pay for medical bills because of that. It’s hard to feel sorry for someone who makes 60k annually and then got a loan so they could buy a 90k Mercedes.
    permalinksaveparentreportgive goldreply
    [–]moonshoeslol 2 points 12 hours ago
    OECD says median income for the US is 31,000$. Also the regular high deductible plans through the exchanges are just bad for public health. You are forcing people to pay out of pocket for any small procedure or checkup, so they don’t go, which makes little problems become big problems. That’s still aside from the fact that our system is the most horribly cost inefficient one on the planet. Personally I had to stop going to physical therapy for my broken femur, which set back my recovery big time because I just couldn’t afford it.
    permalinksaveparentreportgive goldreply
    [–]du44 -2 points 12 hours ago
    That’s strange, the US Census Bureau says that it’s $51,939. Tack onto it that high percentages of people get insurance from their work, and that depending on where you live in the US 52k is still enough to live on and buy your own insurance I would still say most people don’t have problems with their healthcare. Although I totally agree that our healthcare system is horribly cost inefficient.
    permalinksaveparentreportgive goldreply

    • I agree with the article. It doesn’t matter what most people claim to believe. People will always give different answers, depending on whether it is a mere hypothetical or an actual possibility. No parent, if given the option, is going to willingly choose to have a child with low intelligence.

      An interest factor is this may not play out as the neoreactionaries would prefer. Take even present IQ gains. They are primarily seen among minorities and the poor, most especially poor minorities. It’s easier to change the factors that improve IQ at the low end than at the high end. What if the same pattern is found with genetics?

      Those demographics at the low end might see immense cognitive advancement from simple changes in genetics, along with changes in epigenetics and so-called junk DNA. On the other hand, it might prove quite difficult to further improve cognitive development of those demographics that already have a high average IQ.

      Changes in environment (better nutrition, decreased toxicity exposure, etc) plus genetics and such could magnify the improvements on the low end like never seen before. Already the present average black IQ is higher than the average white IQ of the past. The black IQ is increasing faster than the white IQ. One more nudge and the entire racial gap could disappear.

      Eugenics could undermine the entire racial and class order that has been built on and maintained by keeping stupid those on the bottom. This is because the very understanding of eugenics has changed. It was thought in the past that the only way to eliminate ‘bad’ genes was to eliminate the people who carried them, but now we can simply change those genes directly.

      Could you imagine a future where the average IQ of all demographics was higher than the present high IQ? I can easily imagine that. The greatest fear of some people isn’t that such things can’t be improved, but what would happen if they were improved. It would disrupt the entire social order. A highly intelligent population wouldn’t put up with a lot of the bullshit the present cognitively impaired population tolerates in their ignorant state of low intellectual functioning.

      One thing that correlates with higher IQ is higher creative thinking, which means imagining other possibilities. A higher IQ population would be less prone to think in terms of genetic determinism and cultural fatalism. The more that things change the more people will be able to see what can be changed. That has been the story of civilization, changes exponentially leading to ever greater changes.

  87. This was the argument on Brave New World novel in “Why don’t you make everyone alpha?”‘ Instead it was a caste system where everyone was content to be in their caste and no one wanted to change.

    For instance, maybe if a society provides such enhancement for 20 percent of the population, it won’t be able to resist providing it for 100 percent — and then maybe a society in which everyone is very smart will be a society in which certain jobs that need to get done will be frustrating for smart people, in ways that are socially damaging.

    • Advances in cognitive development are likely to correspond to advances in science, technology, manufacturing, and economics. A highly intelligent society would operate in ways we couldn’t imagine with our present inferior intellectual ability.

      Even the smartest humans right now are impaired by the system they are part of. It’s a rare visionary genius who can glimpse a radically alternative possibility. It is an even more rare revolutionary who perceives the practical implementations that could upend the status quo and force something new to develop.

  88. That said, I’m pretty sick of people like him always pointing to non-western societies in a “looK! They do it! only the pussy west has problems with it.”It is a similar argument to the one NR’s like to make “LooK! Only the west likes (insert leftist evil)”‘

  89. Anyway, I don’t know the answer, I just don’t think there’s any nobleness in preserving today’s genetic crapshoot at all costs. Perhaps we can even make genetics mute: we can alter abilities of people already living, genetics or not. maybe even altering genetics of already existing people.

    The ethnic groups with the highest and lowest IQ scores in the USA also have the highest and lowest respective incidence of Aspergers. The biggest technical challenge wouldn’t be to increase future children’s IQ scores. Rather the challenge is to increase IQ in ways that don’t increase the incidence of autism spectrum disorder. What we tendentiously call “IQ tests” are completely mind-blind. They are designed both by and for Asperger-ish hyper-systematizers. IQ tests lack ecological validity, not least because they omit testing the “mind-reading” prowess and capacity for co-operative problem-solving that helped drive the evolution of distinctively human intelligence. This isn’t an argument for conserving today’s genetic crapshoot, just for thinking hard about the ramifications of our choices.

    • I am one of those that maintains the fact that cognitive development, intelligence, and higher thinking (along with creativity and imagination) are complex abilities. We don’t fully understand most of this. And for damn sure our present tests don’t measure most of it either.

      Plus, the kinds and aspects of intelligence that our present society favors and depends upon may not be the same for future societies. Consider the elite of the Roman Empire. If you placed them in the modern world, they would be lost and confused, lacking the cognitive capacity to deal with the complexities that even stupid modern people are used to dealing with. Similarly, what we consider to be a genius in our society may not be all that impressive to a future society with different demands and requirements for functioning well.

    • I’ve come across that before.

      I’m surprised to even find scientists with such simplistic views of genetics. It’s unlikely that single genes are going to explain much of anything, besides a few rare genetic diseases, but even in those cases single genes may not indicate as much as has been assumed.

      Some scientists believe that reality is or should be as simple as the tools we have to study reality. Since we are only so far able to easily study single genes, that is where all answers are sought. It’s the scenario of having a hammer and seeing everything as being a nail.

      The reality is no gene operates in isolation from other genes, much less in isolation from junk DNA, epigenetics, and environmental factors. If we want to be honest, they all are environmental factors because all of evolution is a product of environments. Even genes are simply an integral part of the environment. We are creatures embedded in environments.

      Trying to understand humans by studying genes is like trying to figure out how a sweater is made by pulling on threads until it unravels and then cutting up those threads into little bits. A pile of separate thread bits will not a sweater make. Genes are to the environment in the way that the thread bits are to the sweater.

      The entire nature vs nurture mentality is a false dichotomy.

  90. i agree with this article. but one thing to point out is that there are different kinds of intelligence. evolutionary biologist david sloan wilson has correctly pointed out that utility is distributed throughout groups of people in such a way that individuals do not often get the big picture. when my mother saw her children trying to boss each other around she would say, “too many chiefs and not enough indians.” while it may require a world class jerk to produce the iphone that doesn’t mean we should all be world class jerks. if ‘intelligence’ means anything it means intelligent enough to know that ’survival of the fittest’ really means survival of those who fit in. and it takes all different kinds of people to make the world go round.
    7/14/2015 4:54 PM EDT
    “one thing to point out is that there are different kinds of intelligence. ”

    Excellent point. There are probably hundreds, if not thousands of genes that promote life success. And they interact with one another in ways we cannot predict. That’s why so many successful people produce unsuccessful children and vice-versa.

    Figuring out the ideal combination would be difficult. Even then circumstances change, and a completely different random combination would be better.

    • This is why so much HBD thought is simplistic and silly. The view of genetics many people hold are inanely simpleminded.

      If we go down the path of genetic engineering and we more than likely will do so, no doubt there will be much experimentation and unforeseen consequences along the way. The learning curve will be immense, but hopefully no irreparable damage will be done to the species.

      We could end up with not only geniuses but also people with unfortunate and perplexing conditions, physical and cognitive. It may or may not be a better world, but could be possibly quite strange. I know all the odd people in the world who would love to genetically modify themselves in ways that others might find unappealing.

      Just look what people already do to themselves. Tatoos, piercings, body modifications, sex changes, plastic surgery, botox injections, and on and on. Give people the ability to go straight to the genetic level and the fun will truly begin.

  91. Probably another factor driving the inevitability of this type of genetic engineering is that, ironically, medical ethics may demand that the field be pursued.

    Using the author’s example, let’s say that genetic pre-screening reveals to a soon-to-be mom that the fetus has a defect that will leave it handicapped with a I.Q. of 50, and let’s also say that by this time science has reached the point where manipulation of the genome offers a cure that would make that child “normal”. Obviously, the mother will not only want but absolutely demand to have it. But the same science contained within the cure may also offer the possibility of making her child more than simply “normal”; it could also make her child a super-genius, which it is equally obvious she’d pursue if she can obtain it.

    “Normal” is an ambiguous definition and probably not one that any parent would be satisfied with, and the same metaphor could be extended beyond simple raw intelligence to every aspect of human physiology. When the line between curing disease and engineering super beings is blurred, then the ethical dilemma becomes acute.

    • At some point, genetically-engineered humans will likely be considered normal. We take many things as normal today that those in the past would have considered bizarre or even plain wrong. No doubt changes going into the future will be at least as drastic.

  92. No one thinks being retarded is desirable.

    “‘When we have the capability to raise our children’s IQs through genetic manipulation, no doubt we will be able to improve other characteristics as well. I expect some people will choose to have children with higher IQ while others will choose a different balance that they think will make their children more successful in life. (It’s not actually that much different than the current system except that the decision is more conscious and the result is more predictable.) I hope that most successful people would have sense enough to leave well enough alone and allow their genes to continue to succeed the old-fashioned way. There is just no way to know what unintended consequences there are for the individual child even if we know that statistically children with higher IQs are more likely to succeed.

    Another thought, if your children aren’t successful after your modifications, would they be able to sue you? Would society develop laws making you more responsible for the actions of your offspring if you were more involved in determining their personality traits?
    Jennifer Bonin
    7/14/2015 3:40 PM EDT
    I doubt most parents would really care enough to take risks to bump their average-intelligence child up a notch. But I know for certain that LOTS of parents would do all kinds of things to be sure that any child they had didn’t end up severely retarded.

    Frankly, I see this article as focusing on the wrong facet of the issue. Parents are first going to push to eliminate the “bad things” before they worry about adding “good things”.”

  93. LMAO. I thought ”gifted” people tend to be nothing special in the end though? That;s what the gifted industrial complex always tells me.

    “‘On it’s face, sure, bump everyone’s intelligence up a few notches. What’s the big deal? The problem I see is that intelligence is so hard to measure as it is, how would we even know what to improve upon? And even then, does having measurably higher intelligence necessarily mean anything? Not every scientist at NASA has an IQ of 130. Nor every successful lawyer, businessman or world leader. Similarly, not every person with an IQ of 130 is necessarily successful. And then add in that so much of a person’s success in life, or lack thereof, comes from the environment they were raised (nature vs nurture, Outliers, etc.)

    In the end, I’m sure genetic modification will be a thing, but practically speaking, I see it more to prevent diseases and improve health, not to create a perfect person.
    Hvor er mine bukser?
    7/14/2015 3:34 PM EDT [Edited]
    > intelligence is so hard to measure as it is

    No, it’s not. It’s pretty easy. People just want to believe otherwise because it can be psychologically, politically, and socially useful to do so.

    > Not every scientist at NASA has an IQ of 130. Nor every successful lawyer, businessman or world leader. Similarly, not every person with an IQ of 130 is necessarily successful.

    So what?

    > Similarly, not every person with an IQ of 130 is necessarily successful.

    Again, so what? You’re just saying things, but you’re not making an argument.

    Higher intelligence is positively correlated with just about every good life outcome there is. That doesn’t mean that every intelligent person does better than every unintelligent person. But it does mean that intelligent people face better odds.
    7/14/2015 3:40 PM EDT
    Universities seem satisfied to measure intelligence with the SATs, and they are generally predictive.

    We don’t like to admit it, but we can measure intelligence.

    There is a general correlation with success.
    7/14/2015 3:55 PM EDT
    The ‘so what’ is that intelligence is (sometimes) the means to an end, but not an end in and of itself. If we’re talking about it in the context of international competition, it might not mean anything to have a whole lot more high-IQ individuals. Is the problem with robotics or nanotech that we’re not smart enough, or there aren’t enough smart people working on it? I’m not sure I’d agree with that.

    Higher intelligence is correlated with good outcomes, but so is being tall. And attractive. And coming from a rich family. And having nurturing parents who read to you.
    7/14/2015 4:09 PM EDT
    > Higher intelligence is correlated with good outcomes, but so is being tall. And attractive. And coming from a rich family. And having nurturing parents who read to you.

    None of which are mutually exclusive, and other than height isn’t really genetic anyway.

  94. Since when is havng kids completely unselfish? Having kids is selfish in the truest sense of the word! It is merely our drive to perpetuate our own selves aka genes. How more selfish can you get?

    “‘The final step in the comodification of human beings and their gametes.

    Chlildren exist completely for the gratification of adults.

    IVF for everyone, and we can even improve on that if you’re willing to pay.

    Married, single, gay, it’s what I’m entitled to and it doesn’t matter what the cost.

    And by the way I want the latest designer baby to go with my Iphone 6S!
    7/14/2015 4:00 PM EDT
    If I’m right that being smarter is generally better for the child, then an adult’s spending money to make the child is smarter is not “completely for the gratification of adults” — any more than an adult’s spending money to educate the child better is not “completely for the gratification of adults.”

    This having been said, adults do indeed view their children’s successes as reflecting well on the parents. That’s been true for millennia, as best I can tell. Little in life is done for purely unselfish reasons. (Indeed, if we expected something to be done for purely unselfish reasons, it wouldn’t get done as often.) So adults will probably increase their children’s intelligence both because they love their children and want the children to be smart for the children’s sakes and because smart children improve the parents’ social standing (or just the parents’ enjoying the perception that they are producing descendants who will be successful). But again, that’s little different, I think, from parents’ motivations throughout the ages when it comes to investment in children’s education, vocational training, trust funds, or many other things.
    7/14/2015 5:02 PM EDT
    What you say may be true, but it still smacks of comodification of human life. The downfall of our consumer/success oriented way of thinking is turning even having children into a consumer activity. We are not just screening for disease and disability, but designing in traits to satisfy adult longings. That is consumerism run wild.

  95. I would like a world with a niginificantly narrowed bell curve, actualy. No yes, I would not mind if everyone was smarter, and there were less people at the tail ends, essentially people are similarly smart.

    I suppose I’m not a diversity person. Only because face it, not all is desired equally.”In some instances I also support a radical altering of human nature. Current one is too dysfunctional.

    ”However competitive anyone is, the already-intelligent stand to lose the most if high intelligence becomes a readily available choice for everyone. To the extent that higher intelligence is an advantage compared to lower intelligence (whatever those are; the notion of “g” is nothing if not controversial) then that advantage is what the more-intelligent stand to lose. They would have to be pretty stupid to let that happen.
    7/14/2015 3:07 PM EDT
    Yes, don’t forget that every time a baby is born with a higher IQ than you, it causes your IQ to go down.

    Seriously though, I’d like the world a lot better if everyone were smarter. The world is not a zero-sum game.”

  96. LMAO

    See the work of Lubinski et al regarding children in their early teens who scored in the top 1 in 10,000 on their SAT tests. Their accomplishments are astonishing.

    Click to access PsychScience2006.pdf

    Moreover, previous studies have shown that about 60% of ones IQ is determined by genetics. See the 16 Feb, 2001 issue of Science Magazine reporting the sequence of the human genome in the article by McGuffin, et al.(Towards Behavioral Genomics).
    Science 16 February 2001:
    Vol. 291 no. 5507 pp. 1232-1249
    DOI: 10.1126/science.1057264

    • Why do so few people understand that heritability percentages aren’t the same thing as genetic determinism percentages? It doesn’t mean what people think it means. Environmental factors aren’t being separated out. It’s just saying how many factors are estimated to be shared within a measured group. Some of that is about genetics, but not all of it is. There is no way to determine the amount of genetic influence directly from heritability percentages.

  97. I want to imagine a post-scarcity society. Most current schools of thought still operate within certain boxes. Even ”liberal” thought only operates with current boxes as an assumed adversary, really

    Its a very difficult situation. I think a more ethical compromise would be to only allow genetic modifications on consenting adults and try to make it as effective as babymodding to decrease the attractiveness of the latter option. But this may only prove to be a stopgap as even the adults are eventually forced into it due to rising competitive pressure. I suppose we can hope that a postscarcity economy and the presumed benevolence of the new genemodded overlords will make this a moot issue or that people can put in the same amount of effort on global laws against abuse of genemodding as the did with CP laws.

    • There is also the more than likely possibility that in the relatively near future (within a few generations?) there will be a single global government or some form of highly integrated international governance. The trend of civilization has been larger and larger governments with larger and larger territories. There is no evidence that this trend will stop or reverse.

      On a practical level, this would mean a single set of laws and regulations that would apply to all of the human population. The results of that could go in many directions. Genetic engineering could be highly controlled and limited, maybe following some major tragedies that harmed an entire generation. Or maybe a new ruling elite would prohibit the masses from having access to it. Then again, an authoritarian government might mandate genetic engineering on everyone, and that would be an interesting experiment.

      Future governments will be powerful, not just in terms of military, but in all aspects, most especially in the application of science and technology. It’s the kind of power that is hard for us to imagine. And when we do imagine it, we have a hard time imagining it turning out well. But emerging realities have been known to regularly disprove our limited imaginings.

  98. Lot’s of scifi has wrestled with this stuff, usually painting this in a bad light. I wonder if i could amek scifi that shows this in a favorable light. Sci-fi tends to paint the thought of these types fo advancements as something scary and bad.

    • The human mind seems to naturally see the negative possibilities easier than the positive. Pessimism always precedes optimism. In practical terms, this means a generation that fears an idea will have to retire or die before a new generation comes along that is willing and able to embrace a vision of hope and an openness to change.

      There also seems to be a cycle to such things, and we’re presently in a phase of gloom and doom. People eventually get burned out on all the fear-mongering, but it takes time.

  99. I hope the 3D printers can make me a tamed pet gray squirrel. that is all

    Who can make straight what God has made crooked?”

    Years ago during a debate on genetic manipulation and 3D printed then grown human body parts the way forward became clear. Any company that can first grow viable replacements or find a way to manipulate DNA in the womb or before the onset of puberty of achieving a larger penis will have all the funding it needs for research for the next 100 years. Making us smarter is a noble goal, but giving people who can spend something they want/need is going to have to come first.

    Do remember these barriers that you would have to overcome first though: incredibly high IQ’s can easily be unscientifically linked to behavioral problems and mental illness. Try convincing Johnny Public that his future star QB isn’t gonna be a dweeb. What’s the rate of folks with a college degree in the US again?

    And while I think it might be possible, I can’t imagine how the laws around such modification would begin to be written by the “professional politicians” we have working for us in DC.

    Ahhh…. even if it were possible I’m already imagining what the next “you did (vaccinations) to my child and now they (autism) moment will be.

  100. Eh. I knew of a very high iq, brilliant, person, though he was also severely autistic and unable to live on his own. Still, I see that as seperate, surely his iq is desirable even if his autism isnt

    “Indeed, there are actually people who are considerably more intelligent than average walking amongst us even today. By all accounts, they are often happy, and even occasionally socially tolerated.”

    We tolerate you today, but keep rubbing it in and we’re not making any promises.
    7/14/2015 1:17 PM EDT
    In other words, a race to the bottom. Or to the top?

    I suppose that people will want to increase their children’s IQ. But even raw intellect is hardly enough to succeed or to advance a nation with respect to the economy or even technology. A robust and accessible educational system, the ability to swiftly allocate resources to the right companies and projects, among other things, are all required for a vibrant national life.

    My point being simply this: intelligence is important, yes, and IQ is a somewhat helpful psychometric (I guess). But I would think that before the middle and lower classes clamor for equal access to genetic modification, they may still be clamoring for equal access to education and other oppotunities that already separate the haves from the have-nots.
    Engineer Dad
    7/15/2015 11:51 AM EDT
    “But I would think that before the middle and lower classes clamor for equal access to genetic modification, they may still be clamoring for equal access to education and other opportunities that already separate the haves from the have-nots.”

    Yeah, and Abraham Lincoln did his sums by the light of a fireplace on the back of a shovel.

    Yet, it was Lincoln’s genetic gifts that made him self educated and gave him a love of life long learning.

    Some of his neighbors and family members thought for a time that he was lazy for all his “reading, scribbling, writing, ciphering, writing Poetry, etc.”, and must have done it to avoid manual labor.

    His formal schooling from several itinerant teachers was intermittent, the aggregate of which may have amounted to less than a year; however, he was an avid reader and retained a lifelong interest in learning.

  101. I am sure I would loev to enhance my kid’s itelligence, though I would try not to put expectations on him. I
    d rather live a laid back life and raise him laid back, perhaps with a love of learning, rather than a competition for achievement.

    While I agree with this post, I don’t even think international competition would be necessary to make intelligence-enhancement acceptable. Right now the possibility of intelligence-enhancement is so far down the road, that it’s natural to envision it as completely alien and creepy. But if we were able to develop intelligence-enhancement, it would surely be after a longer line of more “mild” genetic changes, first to prevent serious genetic defects in babies, then to fix things like allergies or vision, and eventually things like autism or ADHD. By the time we could enhance intelligence, I would think we would already have gone down a “slippery slope” to make it seem like a perfectly natural thing to do.

    • That is how it would happen. It’s a slippery slope. Step by step, it would lead in a direction few would openly admit to wanting. Not much in large-scale social development happens because of a planned agenda. It’s just lots of little decisions that add up to larger shifts.

  102. Ïf you are intelligent you probably wont be poor”is absolutely fucking BS. Even with the “‘averages not individuals’taken into account. the rest of the second part of the comment is ok though.

    I don’t like GMO’s though. Only because Amerian produce tastes like such shit. Granted I don’t know wy food in america’s tastes so much worse than in other places, but GMO might be one. Seriously. Produce in America is disgusting.

    ”I think Prof. Volokh’s thesis- that practical realities will overwhelm objections- is entirely right, for all the reasons you describe. Especially if rival countries pursue this aggressively, disapproval in the US will dissolve, quickly. Today there are still demonstrations against “genetically modified crops” (partly, these are cover for protectionist policies) but they don’t have nearly as much support as they did years ago, nor are they given the same credibility by the media that they once were. As the technology becomes more familiar, people calm down about it.

    I’m 100% certain my wife and I would have done this for our children, assuming the technology was safe, even if it were illegal here and I had to travel to a foreign country. That said, I think intelligence is hardly the end-all determinant of success. If you’re highly intelligent you’ll probably never be poor, but the same is true of most above-average people. Real success comes down to personality, organization and work ethic, along with some degree of luck.

    • That wasn’t surprising. I wouldn’t expect the kids would be all that different. It’s like the German children of Black American GIs. They were no different than any other German children. Genes are complex, in relation to other genes and to all the rest, from epigenetics to environment. Genetic determinists are living in a fantasyland, and a rather dystopian one at that. So much for the white super race.

  103. nyet

    And that sort of works. If you and your mate share some above-average desirable characteristic – smart, attractive, athletic, and so on – then your kids will likely share that same trait. But odds are, less so than you or your mate. Regression to the mean. One nice thing, though, is that this also works for far-from-average undesirable traits as well. Especially dumb people tend to have children smarter than themselves.
    7/14/2015 1:22 PM EDT
    “People already modify outcomes by selecting mates with qualities (including intelligence) that they want to see in their children. ”

    Huh? I don’t want kids with low standards.
    7/14/2015 11:15 AM EDT [Edited]
    As a purely rational matter, this sort of science-driven, international “race to the top” of the IQ scale makes sense to me — perhaps triggered, as you said, by some unsavory Chinese or Russian scientists with Faustian ambitions.

    On the other hand, I would also rationally expect some country worldwide to already be strongly promoting childbirth among its brightest citizens, in order to heighten the national IQ for purposes of international competitiveness. Instead, we find that all advanced countries are reasonably content with a situation where IQ is inversely related to fertility rates.

    The taboos about eugenics, Nazis and the like make it easy to ignore an invisible and hard-to-explain issue like declining genetic IQ. I wouldn’t at all be surprised if some band of activists managed to persuade the U.N. to shut down this line of scientific inquiry for a long time, based on some combination of trumped-up health-and-safety concerns and newly invented “human rights” that are somehow being violated.

  104. A version of the monoamine oxidase-A gene has been popularly referred to as the warrior gene.[17] Several different versions of the gene are found in different individuals, although a functional gene is present in most humans (with the exception of a few individuals with Brunner syndrome).[18] In the variant, the allele associated with behavioural traits is shorter (30 bases) and may produce less MAO-A enzyme.[19] This gene variation is in a regulatory promoter region about 1000 bases from the start of the region that encodes the MAO-A enzyme.

    The frequency distribution of variants of the MAO-A gene differs between ethnic groups.[19][20] 59% of Black men, 54% of Chinese men, 56% of Maori men, and 34% of Caucasian men carry the 3R allele. 5.5% of Black men, 0.1% of Caucasian men, and 0.00067% of Asian men carry the 2R allele.[6][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27]

    A connection between a version of the monoamine oxidase A gene (3R) and several types of antisocial behavior has been found. Maltreated children with genes causing high levels of MAO-A were less likely to develop antisocial behavior.[28] Low MAO-A activity in combination with abuse experienced during childhood results in an increased risk of aggressive behaviour as an adult.[29] High testosterone, maternal tobacco smoking during pregnancy, poor material living standards, dropping out of school, and low IQ can also trigger violent behavior in men with the low-activity alleles (which are overwhelmingly the 3R allele).[30][31] Even in the absence of such interaction factors, the 3R allele has a small main effect on aggression and antisocial behavior, according to a large meta-analysis, which found no significant publication bias.[32]

    In individuals with the low activity MAO-A gene, when faced with social exclusion or ostracism showed higher levels of aggression than individuals with the high activity MAO-A gene.[33] Low activity MAO-A could significantly predict aggressive behaviour in a high provocation situation, but was less associated with aggression in a low provocation situation. Individuals with the low activity variant of the MAO-A gene were just as likely as participants with the high activity variant to retaliate when the loss was small. However, they were more likely to retaliate and with greater force when the loss was large.[34]

    “Monoamine oxidases (MAOs) are enzymes that are involved in the breakdown of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine and are, therefore, capable of influencing feelings, mood, and behaviour of individuals”.[35] According to this, if there was a mutation to the gene that is involved in the process of promoting or inhibiting MAO enzymes, it could affect a person’s personality or behaviour and could therefore make them more prone to aggression. A deficiency in the MAO-A gene has shown higher levels of aggression in males, which could further stimulate more research into this controversial topic. “A deficiency in monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) has been shown to be associated with aggressive behaviour in men of a Dutch family”.[36]

    • So, I guess that means most Chinese men are more warrior-like than white men. BTW I’m curious about a related issue. Have they found the non-warrior gene that causes white men to more often commit genocide and other forms of mass violence and oppression?

      I know that one racial difference in violence is that blacks are more likely to kill a single person and whites are more likely to kill multiple people. I assume that this being genetically determined and that white people simply can’t help themselves when they go on shooting rampages, start wars of aggression, and drop nuclear bombs on cities. It would be interesting to find the exact gene to explain this.

  105. 3. As a child of two worlds, and though tempered by how much you personally identify with either, you invariably identify with both. You can identify with all of the good you see in either, but you’ll also be embarrassed by the bad in either or, more accurately, the instances, examples, or people that are bad in either. You’ll resent both sides for their often negative and indulgent generalizations about the other and you’ll find yourself torn between some measure of begrudging agreement but also some measure of legitimate offense. You’ll identify with both but always feel like you don’t quite identify fully with either.

    There are too many things to cover them all, but being an Asian-American in Asia is fundamentally not that different from being an Asian-American in America. You are inherently a hybrid who will always be different. Granted, America is in many places more multicultural whereas most of Asia is fairly homogeneous, but there is a dominant “race” and “culture” in either place. Like it or not, it’s yellow people and yellow culture in Asia and white people and white culture in the Americas. You might find more “tolerance” in America but you might find more fawning, worship, or general positive receptivity to Americans in Asia, both for historical reasons that can’t be changed. America has and continues to deal with the frictions of multiculturalism, while much of Asia are still willing consumers of American pop culture and idealism. However different you’ll be, you’ll still be human and if you can focus on that, see everyone through that lens, insistently, you’ll probably be happier and more successful in your interactions with other people, in both Asia and America, or anywhere else.

    • On a less extreme level, I often feel conflict between my Midwestern and Southern experiences and inheritance/ancestry. The Midwest is part of the North as the dominant culture, with the Civil War defeat of the South. Most of my family came from the South, including slave owners, but I’m more of a Northerner. It is the North that shapes and defines the American experience of multiculturalism and the melting pot.

      I find myself going back and forth between feeling defensive and criticizing various aspects of my social identity. Having spent a significant number of years in the South, I still can see the Midwest from an outsider perspective. There is a different experience to having spent one’s early life split between two culturally distinct regions. If I hadn’t spent so many years in the South, I wouldn’t even have the sense of how distinct the two are.

    • I’ve seen that article before. I just now read it again. According to that, I’m not all that American in some ways. I don’t mind silence at all. My best friend and I will hang out together and not talk, as we are both introverts who love to contemplate and read. I probably would adjust quite easily to life in Finland. I definitely would be fine with dropping the American friendliness routine. Working in customer service, I get tired of the meaningless greetings and chit chat.

  106. I love my town *facepalm*

    I think they all need to go back to there own fucking country’s … make a nice future in there own country … and i do not like Muslims at all … they would be the first I would get rid of … beheaded… you know if we would go into any of there country’s we would not be welcomed … we would not get schooling … we would not get anything for free … but these fucks come into the good old USA and get everything they need …

  107. My mum struggles with mental colonization, white/western worship, inferiority complex, and it is something I’ve consequently had to grapple with myself. “The world hates Chijese people, everyone hates and looks down at us cause we chinese” paired with “Chinese evil and bad china bad west is good America good.” That ultimately has an inferiority complex and blow to self confidence stemmed from colonialism.

    I try to take a more balanced view on things. Neither china or America are merely good or bad.

    “It is interesting to note that there have been several eugenics programs, some even in the U.S. as late as the early to mid 20th century, which focused on the forced sterilization of the individuals seen as mentally handicapped (many with conditions like depression and treatable behavior problems). In Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, those with cognitive and emotional conditions were sent to death camps or euthanized in sanitariums. The fact that these conditions were not wiped out, or even reduced significantly, shows that genetic abnormalities are not as understood as we would like to think.”

    • It is hard for me to imagine someone feeling inferior for being Chinese. It’s one of the oldest and greatest of civilizations. It is presently one of the leading global powers. Few nationalities can claim any such thing. I can understand a Chinese person in a Western country having issues with being treated as a minority, but that is a separate issue.

      The eugenics point is a good one. I do think eugenics could work if a society was determined enough, but it would be a difficult thing to achieve. It would require generations of systematic population control measures. So far, all attempts at eugenics have been either short term or haphazard. Yet one might think that these attempts would show at least some minor results.

      • My mom in hindsight parroted a lot of common western sentiment. Chinese are creative, evil animal abusers, people abusers, evil, wimpy, don’t stand up for themselves, animal abusers, human abusers, corrupt, cheaters, napoleon complex, bad manners, unrefined etc etc etc. Also everyone hates you and looks down on you cause your Chinese. My mmo taught me that all the neighboring Asians like Koreans, etc look down on Chinese, and the southeast asians like Malays hate Chinese, and of course in America you face racism for being Chinese. So I was raised in a clusterfuck of everyoene not liking your Chinese-ness. And sort of implicit that this was justified because. Of course I never heard the reverse and it goes in many directions as well.

        Western media isn’t really flattering towards China. At best though Western Media is paternalistic. Though in China and much of the world whiteness is worshipped, so it dosen’t quite go both ways symmetrically at least. White privilege is very much real even in the non-white world.

      • But what about the Chinese individuals who spend their entire lives in China? I’m sure they likely feel great pride in their country and culture. I doubt the average Chinese citizen feels inferior to Westerners and other Asians. Also, in China, do people really worship whiteness more than their own identity of being Chinese and Asian? If that is true, I’d find that strange.

        The Chinese population is immensely large, and so their shared identity is a force to be reckoned with. I’d bet that most people of Chinese ancestry still live in China. I doubt that the ethnic Chinese who choose to leave China (along with their children, grandchildren, etc) represent the experience of the average ethnic Chinese living in China.

        Maybe I’m wrong. I guess I always assumed that the Chinese were no less proud than any other citizens of powerful nations. Considering how ancient and influential their civilization is, I’d think they have more reason to be proud.

        • I think they are, though like a alot of asia there is a love/hate relationship with westerners, white worship. Brands want white models in order to sell as high class, though this might be changing, I am not sure. Whites are in demand just to tand outside and rep something. Either way, whiteness is definately valued above darker hues, so a white foreigner would probably be treated better than a darker foreigner by some. It’s complicated.

          I do enjoy seeing more Asian faces though recently. Not because of anything against white people, but this is in context of white pedastalization and internalization of white standards of beauty.

          I’m sure my mum is not representative of Chinese people, LOL.

        • I like Chinese people, but westerners, at least, among white anglophone men expats, the dickheads scream pretty loudly. Racist douche bags who look down on the locals and frankly, have a neo-colonial attitude. Generally speaking any article on Chinese people will come with comments on how Chinese are uncivilized and savages, though.

          As for me I don’t mind that some Chinese can be brash by western standards. (loud talking, shoving.) Some of the stuff is just cultural (expressing emotions very publicly, as seen on the MH370 kerfuffle.) The spit on sidewalk thing isn’t unique to China. Of course any of these will be met with “‘uncivilized chinese savages blahblahblah” it’s idiotic. As well as free insert-territory-here and how evil China is. The current system sucks, but the cynic in me thinks these people don’t actually care about oppression as much as they want to feel smug and superior

        • Anyway anti-Chinese sentiment runs a pretty wide geographic area. A lot of asia (southeast asia) and USA for one. Though I’m sure its not unique for a place to be hated so widely, but it does get jarring. I’m sure im more sensitive to it as an ethnic chinese.

          As of now Japan probably has the highest ”status” in Asia followed by the Asian tigers. Japan also has issues with being disliked in Asia, but overall it seems Japan is more respected. In my own reality China just isn’t that respected by a lot of people.

          I always wondered if China turned western-style democracy how the USA would react LOL. Would they try to make it a puppet state a bit like their neo-colonial attitude towards Korea, Taiwan, Philippines, even Japan? I am not sure. I wonder who’d they hate, though, since China would no longer be ebul.

          I mean the eastern bloc and some central asia pretty much all hates Russia, but I’m sure as an ethnic chinese overseas with my mom i feel more sensitive to feeling like everyone hates my ancestral homeland.

        • I’m extremely curious about what all this means and how it will change. Not too long ago, in recent centuries, many Westerners looked to China as great civilization to be admired and emulated. It’s taken a long time for Western countries to develop far enough that Westerners feel confident enough to look down upon Asians.

          It seems to me that we are moving quickly back the other direction again. I suspect interesting things are going to become outside of the West, especially from Asia. Westerners today fear the Chinese for similar reasons the English feared the French during its revolution, for it represented changes that were happening in the entire world.

          In the long term, those changes benefited both the English and the French. I’d like to think that the changes we are seeing right now will in the end benefit most of the world’s population, East and West and everywhere else.

  108. One surprising fact to begin with: the last traces of eugenics (forced sterilisation of women with disabilities) was only abolished in 1996 in Japan.

    We tend to associate eugenics with pre-war Europe (especially Germany) and the United States, but Japan has its own history of eugenics, which dates back to Meiji times. Eugenics was a part of Japan’s absorption of Western knowledge, and the perception of inferiority (as a result of the forced opening of Japan by Perry and the subsequent unequal treaties enforced on the state) initially helped to light interest in the topic. Several scholars and statesmen, the people we would today recognise as the founding fathers (and perhaps mothers) of modern Japan, were public advocates of eugenics theory. Some even suggested that white women should be brought over to marry Japanese.

    Eugenics was also combined with the feminist agenda and the issue of contraception/abortion. Modern Japan’s best-known feminist, Hiratsuka Raicho, was very much a proponent of eugenics. She saw poverty as an inherited trait, a social evil that must be uprooted from modern society through birth control and sterilisation of those with ‘bad seed’.

    But as Japan began to make the transition towards Showa and nationalism/militarism started to rise, the mood of eugenics theory also changed. A big part of the contemporary nationalist agenda was the deification of the emperor and the Yamato race. The narrative of homogeneity, superiority and purity of the Yamato bloodline became pervasive in media. This also helped to justify the treatment of people in the colonies as second class citizens. For example, the naisen ittai policy advocated that Japan and Korea were actually (and supposed to be) one; retouching of Japan’s founding myth of Amaterasu allowed for an unruly younger sibling who became the ancestors of the Korean race, who were hence defined as a subset and inferior strain of the Yamato people. We see this reflected for example in how the Japanese government tried to deter marriages between Korean labourers and Japanese women: Family center staff also attempted to discourage marriage between Japanese women and Korean men who had been recruited from the peninsula as laborers following its annexation by Japan in 1910. In 1942, a survey report argued that “the Korean laborers brought to Japan, where they have established permanent residency, are of the lower classes and therefore of inferior constitution…By fathering children with Japanese women, these men could lower the caliber of the Yamato minzoku.” (from Wikipedia).

    This social mood also justified forced sterilisation of the disabled and those with ‘weak constitution’ by law. Actually, compared to Nazi Germany, the actual enforcement of these laws was pretty minimal. Nevertheless, what is perhaps a bit crazy is that this law stayed in place all the way through to the 90s. Funnily enough they don’t apply to disabled men- only women.

    In contemporary Japanese society, eugenics doesn’t have a place institutionally or legally. This doesn’t mean though, that we don’t see traces of it.

    Firstly, the treatment of marginalised social classes. Burakumin are modern day descendants of people who used to work with animal carcass, butchery and tanning/leather in pre-modern Japan. The perception of how they are ritually ‘unclean’ is surprisingly prevalent even today, and although the situation is taking steps forward, parents rooted in traditional thinking will do background checks on the partners of their children and oppose their marriage if revealed as Burakumin. This is not necessarily something that is racial, as most people do not deny that Burakumin are Japanese, but is still remarkably similar to class-based eugenics theory of the 30s.

    It’s a similar story also with resident Koreans (Zainichi Koreans) in Japan. Even for those who look no different to Japanese, were brought up in Japan, speak Japanese as their first language, etc etc, there is still a hefty amount of social stigma and recent hate speeches and demonstrations show that the perception of Korean racial inferiority to Japanese is a pervasive part of right-wing/ultranationalist thought in Japan. If you’re curious, take a look at how much hate Yano Shiho (top model who married a Zainichi) and her toddler get.

    Lastly, the treatment of mixed-race children (commonly referred to as ‘halves (haafu)’- I mean, the label already speaks volumes) shows elements of eugenics/racist thought in Japanese social discourse. The treatment of ‘halves’ are quite drastically different depending on the nationality/ethnicity of the non-Japanese parent. It’s not uncommon for Japanese women to say that they would be happy to marry white men because their marriage would result in ‘cute kids’. A half-white background is often considered a gift in Japan. But Japanese who marry any ethnicity of darker skin hue are often subject to social criticism. An anecdote from my Japanese tutor at university. My guess is that her parents aren’t even that conservative, seeing as though they were happy with her going off to study in a foreign country by herself. But she told me that her parents had no problem with her marrying a Brit, but probably would have been very upset had she brought a Chinese or Korean home. Marriages between SE Asians and Japanese are fairly common these days, but again, the resulting children are often bullied in school and the family ostracised from the community.

    There’s also this weird perception that most ‘halves’ are half-white. Or at least the ones that the public wants to recognise. There are several half-white models and celebrities on TV. Takigawa Christel, Reina Triendl, Becky, Tsuchiya Anna. Probably the most notable exception I can think of is Rola. She’s of Bengali and Japanese descent (with a dash (1/8 to be precise) of Russian). But google some pictures of her. Most show her blonde and wearing contact lenses that lighten her dark irises…

    • That is a fascinating possibility. I’ve struggled with learning my entire life. That would be amazing to one day to take a drug and have learning come easily.

      That is the type of thing that could transform the world. There are so many people, especially as adults, who struggle with learning. Because of this, so many people have come to see learning as a negative thing.

      I suspect that a lot of anti-intellectualism comes from a life of negative learning experiences. To give people a positive experience of learning easily could change their entire attitude toward knowledge, scholarship, and science.

    • I understand identity politics. It sometimes is necessary. People need a social identity to organize around. But sadly identity politics can become self-defeating, as it just as easily become a force of division.

      Black lives do matter, but so do many other marginalized groups that rarely get heard on MSM news. Native Americans have as bad or worse problems than blacks and yet they mostly get ignored. Why aren’t those activists demanding that Bernie Sanders acknowledge that Native American lives matter? Police brutality is extremely bad on reservations, but it doesn’t fit the mainstream racial narrative.

      This is the problem. Racial categories and identities are inherently racist. I have my doubts about black power ever escaping its origins in a racist ideology. It seems like we are permanently stuck in old mentalities, and yet we are somehow hoping for new results. Of course, an old white guy like Bernie Sanders is part of the system. But then again much of the old civil rights movement has been unable to seriously challenge the system and has often been coopted.

      What we really need is some entirely new thinking. I just don’t know where that is going to come from.

  109. MixoLydian
    2 months ago
    Our kids attend gifted classes in the highest performing public schools within a large urban district. This sounded like a great opportunity at first, but the friendly competition that starts innocently enough around third grade can become unbearable pressure by eighth. By middle school there seems to be no amount of homework– 4, 6, or even 8 hours a day– that is considered too much. Parents blame teachers, and vice versa, but before these tragedies become more widespread, we all need to take a step back and reevaluate our priorities as a community.

    Hyla Picta
    2 months ago
    It is a tragedy that doesn’t seem to stop. NPR failed to cover this, but it is even worse at the other end of the economic spectrum. The NY Times did cover this last week: on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, nine kids between the ages of 12 and 24 have committed suicide here. . . with 103 suicide attempts between December and March:

    • There has to be a better way. I can’t help thinking that, if we simply improved social and educational environments for kids, we’d see a lot more improvements in the results of all kinds of things.

      There is always this idea that change has to be forced through social control, harsh punishment, and demanding expectations. The belief is that people have to be forced to be better, even if it destroys them and entire communities.

      It never occurs to so many people that maybe most people just need the opportunities and examples to improve themselves. Maybe we aren’t fallen creatures, but instead possess immense potential that is being stunted by adverse conditiosn.

  110. Many NRs see Asians as underachievers and live on the popular uncreative asian stereotype. Appearenrly since we have higher iss than whites it’s funny that westerners are the alphas who invented the modern world or something. They see current Asia as just copying the west / improving I mtje west or inventiv insignificant shit. Not like the westttt. I guess Asians should be doig interstellar travel to not be considered underachieving in the eyes of NR

    My mom has disparaged ancient Chinese culture. The art dosent change or something. It dosent progress like the westttt

    • The West didn’t see much progress until the past few centuries. China saw progress over millennia. China of today is not China of the past. China has progressed more over this past century than most Western countries. There is no guarantee that the West won’t fall behind other parts of the world, the low position they spent most of civilization’s existence. Western dominance has been just a blip on the long history of human development, and all of Western civilization was built on the great advances of other civilizations, including that of China.

    • “American food culture seems to love gimmicks why”

      I read some of the article you linked. We are so disconnected from a healthy diet that we hardly know how to talk about it.

      The healthiest diet is a traditional foods diet, but eating such a diet in the modern world can be difficult or expensive. People live such busy lives working such long hours that a traditional food diet has become alien. People used to work less and spend a lot of that extra time gardining, subsistence farming, gathering wild foods, canning, producing cultured foods, brewing herbal beers, cooking wholesome meals, etc. Also, in most traditional societies, women typically stayed at home most of the day and spent a large amount of their time preoccupied with food-related work, but that doesn’t work in our modern society where both parents often work or else people live alone.

      If you want to regularly eat traditionally cultured foods and don’t have time to make them, they are expensive to buy. Plus, much of the traditional knowledge to do this kind of thing, is long gone and would require immense effort for people to learn because they didn’t grow up with it.

      People can’t assume these days that they are eating a healthy diet simply because they get vegetables. Much of the soil is nutritionally depleted. And it can be expensive to buy organic local foods that are more nutritious and chemical-free. It’s much harder knowing what is actually healthy. Is it better to regularly eat low nutrition, chemical–saturated vegetables, if that is all you can afford? Or is it better to spend more money on quality and eat those healthy foods rarely?

      Many people are simply too poor, too busy, and often too uninformed to even be able to worry about such things. Their greatest worries are whether they’ll have enough money before the next paycheck to buy any food at all or else skip a few meals. Healthy food becomes mostly an obsession of middle-to-upper class people.

    • I think I would have done better in school if there had been more hands-on learning. I wonder what my experience of education would have been like if it had been taught the way I naturally learn. Art was always one of my favorite classes and I excelled at it. It used my inherent intelligence and talent in a way that was easy for me. Part of tha had to do with it being hands-on. There weren’t many other classes that had much hands-on learning, not even most science classes.

  111. I’m not sere why but this discussion is kind of depressing. Like the mentality of the posters.

    That funny lady chatting and the poster eating to slap a label (is she profoundly gifted????) is sort of funny, lol

    Granted maybe it’s cause I haven’t found stuff I’m truly terrible at no matter how much I try (besides singing :p) but still

  112. He’s certainly a proud dad

    Having passion for something paired with lack of laziness is always good. My friend’s a great seamstress as well, sewijg all the ren-faire stuff for the HS club. I do wish I could have taken sewing in HS, but the college rat race got the best of me. I have many designs in my head I wish I could execute. Of course you can self learn but to was nice to have a structured class with a teacher, for free.

    • Anyway I feel bad. This was written a few years ago. But since then, different from his lofty tales… his older kid is working as an office assistant in a healthcare office, and his younger kid, the one who is very accomplished, ended up single majoring in an art field rather than her ambitious double art-science major, and he working as a sewer and designer at a local clothing company. Which is great, since it seems to be her passion. It’s just quite a contrast.

    • That contrast is typical for most Americans. Surveys have found that Americans are much more ambitious and hopeful about their personal futures. American kids are raised to believe they can be and do everything. European kids, as a contrast, are much more humble and less aspiring. Yet many European countries have higher rates of economic mobility than the US.

  113. What do you think?

    She is well intentioned, she does love her kids. I wish I could tell her why people treat them differently, how in society being blessed by god is valued more than the opposite.

    • I wish I could explain all the problems in the world to every middle-to-upper class white Westerner. They have to be one of the most clueless groups of people on the planet. Their privileged position in the world disconnects them from reality in so many different ways.

      If your biggest problem in life is your gifted child, then you have no freaking idea what real problems most people deal with. If your kid really is genuinely brilliant, precocious, and multi-talented, then thank your lucky stars. You just won the equivalent of the lottery.

      What irritates people is that these gifted parents think their problems are all that significant and meaningful. What irritates people is their sense of arrogant self-importance.

      The only gifted parents that have reason to complain are those living in impoverished neighborhoods where they simply hope their kid gets any kind of education at all. Otherwise, I have no tolerance for this bullshit.

      • “While I may not be comfortable working the word gifted into many conversations, it’s vital to me that my daughter does not think that being gifted is something she needs to hide. Studies have shown that gifted girls are very good at hiding their intelligence, and we do not need to give them any reason to. One of my goals this year is to stop hiding or downplaying or avoiding the G word. I spent too much time last year trying to hide the word gifted when people asked me why my daughter changed schools. Let’s be honest, she changed schools for the self contained gifted program (because the one at her old school – that we never put her in – was full by the time we decided to switch to it – but that’s a whole other post). She’s lucky enough to live in a district with an amazing self contained program, and we should celebrate that, NOT try and hide it. These kids have amazing potential, they truly could change our world. That is something to be celebrated. And those of us that are raising them, I think we can all benefit and community and support and the sharing of resources and ideas, but we can’t find each other if we are afraid to say the word. GIFTED.”

      • Well she loves her kids. But I think she missed the mark as to why people might react to her kids differently. What do you think?

        “I find it interesting that with my two girls, it feels easier to tell people that my younger one has special needs, and is delayed, than it does to tell them that my older one is gifted and is advanced. Really how different are they? I guess to get technical they are both a matter of standard deviations away from the “norm” (whatever that may be). But why should I feel comfortable to say that one is behind, but not feel comfortable to say that the other is ahead? And more importantly to me, what message does that send to them?

        I have two theories why we (or at least I) avoid saying the word “gfited”… My first theory is that the term “gifted” seems to come with the thought that one must be bragging or boasting. It’s not a greater than, or a less than, just a different. I’m not saying my kid does better in school than others. I’m not saying that she’s smarter. I’m not saying that she’s superior. I’m just saying she may be a bit different. And some of those differences don’t seem like things one typically brags about. Ridiculously stubborn? Argumentative? Bossy? Intense? Sensitive? Picky? Yup, she’s all of those, and I think they are very much a part of being gifted, at least for her.

        My other theory is that there is such a strong stereotype tied to the G word. Gifted clearly must mean that she’s perfectly dressed in her preppy attire, with a perfectly organized binder in her backpack and a perfectly neat desk at school. She plays chess and then rushes home to do her homework, and loves every minute of it. She never watches TV and reads the classics. HA!!! Not at all. Let’s see, she goes to school dressed in the most insanely uncoordinated, wrinkled, mismatched “creative” outfits I have ever seen. Her binder? Good luck finding anything in it and she FAILED her last desk check at school. After school you’ll find her at dance class, belting out “Jar Of Hearts” in lyrical, dancing to Tori Amos in Jazz and doing her solo to the theme song for Corpse Bride. Homework? Bitches and moans through all of it! TV? Usually Phineas & Ferb or if it’s on the DVR, Dance Moms. Books? If it’s not a ghost story or center around tornadoes, it’s not happening. So that stereotype… oh how I hate it, because it couldn’t be more off track for my kid. “

      • I started the week with a report from B’s school, giving her current reading comprehension level, which falls about five years ahead of her age. I don’t give it too much thought, though it certainly is something that I know will bring increasing issues with finding age appropriate content at her reading level. For the most part it’s B, it’s pretty much what I expect such a report to say. It’s not good, it’s not bad, it’s just a bit of info.

        All I can think is why can’t I give some of B’s “ahead” to G to help even out some of G’s “behind”??? Who do I see about a bit of a trade??? How do I make this happen??? I’m sure B would be happy to read a year lower if it allowed her sister to communicate a year ahead of where she is now. Heck, B may willingly give up two years to be able to communicatewith her little sister. Sure, she’d probably demand a trip to Build A Bear as part of the deal, but I can do that!

        Obviously that’s not an actual option, but it hangs heavily in my mind. Two sides of the curve. I’m sure normal or average isn’t some place of nothing but blissful nirvana, but I realize I may never know what it’s like there. And sometimes I just want to sit firmly in a place of denial and ignore the fact that I really don’t know what “normal” would be like.

        The older G gets, the harder the delays become. I put a smile on my face and try and take her to toddler activities, try and remain light and carefree as she throws massive tantrums and children half her age participate in ways she’s not even close to. I try and act like it doesn’t bother me in the slightest and clench my teeth and try with all my might to get through whatever 30 minutes activity we are at, and wonder how 30 minutes can feel like six hours.

        And then there are weeks like this one where I just say f-it, I’m too old for this, scoop her up, throw in the towel and call it a day.

      • Her disabled child doesn’t maker her complaints any less bullshit. The one has nothing to do with the other.

        She entirely misses the mark. Even with her disabled child, is she dealing with that problem while struggling with poverty, racial oppression, and such? Probably not. Her life is still easier than that of most people in the world. I have absolutely no sympathy for her lack of humility and perspective.

        I understand life sucks. Maybe she should spend some time thinking about all those who have it worse than her and then she will understand why so few people give a flying fuck about her problems of having a gifted child. We all have problems. Welcome to reality!

      • I have a close friend. She has a daughter with problems, a smart student but with maybe aspergers. My friend doesn’t just have to deal with all of that.

        She was in a car accident and still is recovering from a concussion, but there is permanent damage and she will never regain all of her former functioning. At the time of her accident, she was living with an abusive husband. She has since divorced him and is living on her own. She’ll eventually have to find a job to support herself, but doesn’t know what kind of work she can do because of the effects of the concussion. Her life has been up in the air and is only recently beginning to settle back into partial normalacy.

        I bet my friend struggles more than this lady does, and yet my friend has a life a thousand times easier than so many poor people in America. The world is full of people struggling and suffering. I know this from personal experience and yet I’ll never pretend my problems with depression and such come even close to what so many others experience. I’m not going to write blog posts demanding pity from others.

        Life sucks. That is just the way it is.

        • But is she looking for pity? Or is she just wanting to convert people into the gifted view? She wants to be understood rather than appearently disliked.

          A big problem is she completely misses the mark as to why people respond to her kid the way they do. She is clueless. See:

          Eye rolling and acting annoyed.
          Responding with “well all children are gifted”.
          Responding that “no child is gifted”.
          Responding that “everyone thinks their child is gifted”.
          Telling me how proud I must be of her.
          Asking me how much work/time/money it took to get her to be gifted. (I’ll roll my eyes now…)
          Telling me how lucky I am and how easy I have it (HA!)
          Changing the subject.
          Justifying why their child is not gifted.
          Telling me I’m too hard on her.
          Telling me I’m too easy on her.
          Telling me I should medicate her.
          Say she’s spoiled or being difficult for being a picky eater and having sensory issues.
          Treating her like she’s being a brat or a problem when she in fact actually knows what she’s talking about and has a very valid point and a reason for it to be heard.
          Providing disapproving stares and comments when she acts out in public.
          They recognize that she’s different, but do not accept or understand it, nor do they attempt to.
          It’s amazing how different the reactions are. Such a contrast. Two kids, both a few standard deviations from the average. Both kids requiring different things, marching to the beat of their own drum. But the issues that one has gets understanding and empathy and other gets annoyance, comparison and even contempt.

          I’m not sure if it’s our society being familiar with disabilities and therefore more understanding or if there is something about gifted that people take personally, and somehow find upsetting or bothersome. The reactions I get to having a gifted child are things people would never dream of doing or saying with my special needs child. I work so hard to teach my oldest that everyone is different and that we should embrace those differences and not make others feel bad in any way about what makes them unique. Ironic given the fact that I then turn around and so much of the time play down what makes her different.

        • There is a thin line between seeking sympathy and pity. I might agree that all she wants is sympathy if she genuinely seemed to want understanding, but I don’t get that sense. You understand her, I understand her, most peoople under her just fine. She wants people to agree with her and console her, not mere understanding.

          She should just be thankful that she isn’t a poor minority mother of a boy. If that was the case and her child acted out, the child would likely be shot by a police officer or be put in the school-to-prison pipeline. Her worrying about other people’s disapproval is not much of a problem in the big picture.

          As an old boss of mine used to say, “Are your feelings hurt? I’ll hurt your feelings… with a 2X4.”

          • Yeah. But isn’t that the “stop whining other people have it worse” issue?

            I’m jealous though. I wish my behavioral issues would get me labeled blessed by god. I would have just gotten detention or something.
            So is dressing like a slob a sign of giftedness now appearently? Of that’s the case americans are very gifted people :p

          • I agree. I’m not saying that any particular complaints aren’t genuine. Everyone has problems. But some are worse than the rest. Her life probably isn’t easy compared to some parents and yet her life is not so bad compared to so many others.

            It’s all about perspective. Any time I start feeling sorry for myself, I just have to spend a moment thinking of the millions of people in the world with harder lives and my sense of self-pity is quickly lessened. I have compassion for all suffering. It isn’t as if suffering is a contest where those who suffer most win. All suffering deserves compassion.

            I understand that parenting isn’t easy. I don’t dismiss her experience. My point is simply that her problems and her childrens’ problems are no more special than anyone else’s problems. Each and every kid deserves all the help they can get and then some more. It’s tough being a kid and life just gets tougher the older you get.

  114. I feel like there’s a sort of Cold War going on. It seems Chijese immigrants doig scientific work are always being monitored. My own dad does some scientific research and he has like pretty regular meetings with local FBI agents :/

    • The same thing happens to Arab immigrants in scientific fields, especially Muslims from particular countries that are on the US enemy list. It probably even happens to foreign-born Hispanics, such as Cubans. I bet even Russian immigrant scientists still get targeted by the FBI. The Cold War never really ended. It just temporarily retreated into the background.

  115. So it seems thy one of the issues people have with advanced kids skipping grades or at least in subjects of strength, vs gifted programs, is that they need more advanced material but taught in an age appropriate way :p

    Also they need to hang out with same age gifted kids, not be the younger kid in class

  116. Guest
    6 months ago
    Attention on mental illness as a weak link in individuals is an effective way to ignore many underlying aspects of Palo Alto (and perhaps similar wealthy communities that wear a politically correct hat on the face of classism and racisim.)
    Wealthy/popular kids openly use phrases such as “she’s so tan she’s a N_ _ _ _
    _R.” and obvious issues at school are too often ignored or swept under the rug. It is not *just* the schools fault, the school reflects a community with gross socio economic divide, where the people who work in the restaurants etc, cannot afford to live in town
    while kids here are groomed for philanthropy and unpaid internships that
    look good on college apps. A community environment based on wealth,
    classism and political correctness. vs actual cultural depth or awareness is certain to have human causalities fall between the cracks. Teens who are sensitive could certainly be a vulnerable weak point in such a success oriented community with a politically correct facade.

    Robert Thomas Guest
    6 months ago
    “Classicism”? Really?

    Little Poobah Robert Thomas
    6 months ago
    Robert Thomas, nobody mentioned classicism: it’s classism, that is, uncritical acceptance, or even celebration, of the privilege that higher social class provides.

    As a divorced, disabled mother with two kids, receiving no child support or alimony, I became homeless in Palo Alto. Supposed “relief agencies” gave us, on the whole, very shabby treatment, and couch-surfing disrupted my kids’ school performance significantly.

    Palo Alto residents tend to be Social Darwinists, who look down their noses at anyone who is struggling. My daughter, who attended Paly and also had friends at Gunn, suggested that most students come to feel that they are not really valued for themselves, but for their ability to embody the academic and material success that our local culture assumes must be present in anyone worth knowing.

  117. I’ve seen plain evidence right out in plain sight, at Gunn and Paly, right along side the good looking political correctness. People don’t see issues until it affects them personally, it’s true for all of us, and then many people who are affected are uncomfortable with the attention.

    Ugly stuff happens all the time that is generally ignored. My kid witnessed a group of white privileged boys on the Paly campus loudly and openly call a boy the N word and unashamed shout that he should go back on the slave ship his family came on. They knew they had witnesses and felt no need to hide. And the young black student must not have felt he had any recourse without bringing further attention on himself. It’s actually really hard to publicly address even blatant things that are wrong unless you are empowered with support.

    The sad thing is that incidents are not just isolated to obvious jerks.

    The general acceptance levels filter down to the rest of the social fabric, so it becomes part of the “no big deal” acceptance in common language.

    Perspective is a funny thing.

    The school district can’t be expected to address it all, a lot of things are in the social fabric. What they can do is keep trying to examine and respond with awareness.
    If blatant things about the community are tossed out as “insane” “lies,” or “excoriating” (had to look that one up myself) imagine how many things we all just accept.

  118. Teachers vie for being the ‘hard’ teacher and treat kids who can’t handle their classes as stupid (don’t believe me, look up the math teacher at Paly whose letter went viral).

    All the college track classes at Gunn are known for being exceptionally difficult. Go to the comments for Palo Alto Online in the last few years and you’ll read about this. Several students posted comments saying that when they were in school in Palo Alto they felt dumb then they went to college and realized that they were smart and it was just going to high school in Palo Alto that made them feel stupid. Read the comments from the parents who complain about the dumbing down of classes and how parents with kids that can’t handle the vigorous academic curriculum should stop ruining it for MY smart/intelligent/gifted/genius kid. One parent even said that the kids who can’t handle it will be flipping burgers for my kid.

    And if you think the kids are gonna tell you that they can’t handle it, you’re being unrealistic. It is extremely difficult to admit failure in front of your peers and community when you are a teenager. Suicide becomes an option when you can’t see your way through, if it’s a mental health issue, it doesn’t mean these kids are mentally ill but are unable to cope. Adults commit suicide when their businesses fail, lose their jobs etc. The shame/fear of failure is difficult to face even for adults.

    • I have great sympathy for these kids. I don’t have sympathy for the parents pushing these kids into suicide. This is a central problem of the gifted obsession. Kids don’t need that kind of pressure. It can really fuck with their heads.

      I take this personally. School was difficult for me. It was in my second year of college that I attempted suicide. All I needed was someone to have helped me and showed me their was more to life than social darwinian success. We live in a cold, harsh society. More judgment and pressure is not helpful.

  119. Okay, what do you think?

    I think the mum is clueless, but I has some patience for analyzing this. I think the mum genuinely at least with her own kids teaches them, her gifted kid, that people are different and that is okay. Mum sees her gifted and disabled kid as just different, part of diversity, and different is okay! But she feels like she has to downplay her kids giftedness, and that sends the message to her smart kid that different isn’t okay and that being gifted is bad. That is her interpretation. What do you think of this interpretation?

    “It’s amazing how different the reactions are. Such a contrast. Two kids, both a few standard deviations from the average. Both kids requiring different things, marching to the beat of their own drum. But the issues that one has gets understanding and empathy and other gets annoyance, comparison and even contempt.

    I’m not sure if it’s our society being familiar with disabilities and therefore more understanding or if there is something about gifted that people take personally, and somehow find upsetting or bothersome. The reactions I get to having a gifted child are things people would never dream of doing or saying with my special needs child. I work so hard to teach my oldest that everyone is different and that we should embrace those differences and not make others feel bad in any way about what makes them unique. Ironic given the fact that I then turn around and so much of the time play down what makes her different.

    I know some people will say that gifted isn’t the same as special needs (and in some ways it’s not) because she’ll always be good at school, things will come easy, she’ll get a great job and life will be good. Not so easy. While she may know every answer on a test, that doesn’t mean she might not fail it. She knows it all, she just can’t be bothered to capitalize or punctuate, and can’t understand why she should have to (even though she’s been told a million times).

    Sure she may be a natural born leader, but our long time joke is she’ll be leader of the free world, or leader of her cell block. Being bright, working hard, having common sense and knowing how to navigate the world is not the same as being gifted. A 1991 study showed that between 18-25% of gifted students drop out of school. And I won’t even get started on interpersonal issues and friendships. Being the kid that’s “weird” or “different” isn’t easy, and girls can be mean. It’s hard to watch your child go to school beaming with excitement because she dressed like Laura Ingalls Wilder, only to have her come home, crushed that everyone, even her friends, made fun of her for it. And the educational challenges and problems is a whole separate series of posts. Being gifted does not automatically mean a child will be successful, happy, have straight A’s, be well adjusted or even finish high school. Not in the least.

    • Probably 99.9% of kids labeled as ‘gifted’ aren’t particularly special in any kind of way. They simply are kids, maybe with some precocious ability like early reading, who have had a ton of social and behavioral problems because their parents put high pressure on them to succeed. These kids are struggling to live up to the expectations of others and struggle with constant fear of failure.

      Because of all the pressure, many of the kids do show above average development, but it comes at great cost. Besides, most kids have immense potential that can be tapped, but there has to be a better way. Education should be about the kids, not the parents’ demented expectations for their kids. Just let kids be kids.

      Teach them the love of learning and teach them how to learn. Give them lots of help and encouragement, opportunities and resources. Do this for all children. Create a space that is conducive to learning and most kids will do fine, including most kids who are high IQ and precocious.

      • I hope you don’t mind that I pasted your comment. I just wanted to comment

        Your kids get different reactions because no one’s jealous of your younger daughter’s condition. Simple as that.

        “Gifted” is not a value neutral term. Your older, precocious kid has a high iq and a bunch of individual quirks, good and bad, that aren’t an automatic package deal with her iq.

        Your kids are equally valuable, but one’s label is more desirable than the other’s. Being gifted, or “blessed by god” is more desirable in society than the direct opposite.

        Your kids aren’t just different but equal. Or else why would would you use a value-laden, practically religious term like “gifted” aka blessed by God/Genetics? Does that mean your other kid, and “average” kids, are ungifted, anti-gifted, giftless, or something like that?

        Why not just say you have two kids with problems? And why don’t you admit that one of your kids has far worse problems than the other? If you were forced to choose the same condition for both of your children, I think you know and everyone knows that you would choose them to be both ‘gifted’. If it wasn’t desirable, it wouldn’t be a gift and she wouldn’t call her daughter gifted.

        Your high iq kid’s problems are another issue. But obviously it is much easier to deal with problems with high intelligence than with low. My kind of learning disability, for example, would have been an impossible situation for a low IQ kid. It wouldn’t even be comparable. Being low IQ and high IQ aren’t mere differences. A child with immense talents, potentials, and precocious cognitive development isn’t equivalent to a child who will struggle to learn the most basic activities, even when both have other problems as well.

  120. You should give her a piece of your mind. Like the conflating, the uselessness of conflating all her shit into one “gifted label.” Mutual values and how some traits are more desirable, privilege, etc etc.

    This mum does seem to care about progressive issues. She talks about how all kids need a voice and autism awareness and such. Disability awareness. She just dosent like that she can’t talk of “gifted” condition as well the way she advocates for disabled. People don’t react well to her championing gifted versus championing various disabilities, poverty, etc. She dosent understand that as she sees “gifted” as just another trait and issue. There isn’t a value different for her, or at least that she’ll admit maybe even to herself. I say this because it does come out in her writing hat no, “gifted” isn’t value neutral at all!

    My view. No sih thing as “just different.” The “not better or worse just different” allows I so ignore the real disparities in what we value.

    Her kids have different issues. But they’re not just “different.” One iid’s issues is indeed more desirable, to me, as to seems, to society.

    • I don’t think I feel like giving her a piece of my mind. I doubt she’d be receptive to my harsh criticisms.

      The whole thing just rubs me wrong. I’m not feeling inspired to give her the benefit of the doubt. She might be one of the nicest and most well intentioned progressives in the world, but the gifted label irritates me to no end. It so meaningless and the complete opposite of helpful.

      Her kids aren’t just different but equal. Is her gifted kid just more equal? Does that mean her other kid is ungifted, anti-gifted, giftless, or something like that? Did God, Santa, or the genetic fairy forget to leave her a gift? Did she get the genetic equivalent of a lump of coal in her Christmas stocking?

      Why not just say she has two kids with problems? And why doesn’t she admit that one of her kids has far worse problems than the other? If she was forced to choose the same condition for both of her children, she knows and everyone knows that she would choose them to be both ‘gifted’. If it wasn’t desirable, it wouldn’t be a gift and she wouldn’t call her daughter gifted.

      That so-called gifted kid’s problems are another issue. But obviously it is much easier to deal with problems with high intelligence than with low. My kind of learning disability, for example, would have been an impossible situation for a low IQ kid. It wouldn’t even be comparable. Being low IQ and high IQ aren’t mere differences. A child with immense talents, potentials, and precocious cognitive development isn’t equivalent to a child who will struggle to learn the most basic activities, even when both have other problems as well.

      Anyway, her personal situation biases what she prioritizes. No shit she’d like an education system that focuses mostly on kids like hers, those on the low end and high end. Every parent wants teachers, services, and funds to be directed toward their kids. Even the parents of average kids feel that way. In fact, the most ignored kids are those who are perceived as average, and some of them might have immense potentials to be developed if anyone ever paid attention to them.

      I have an idea. Let’s improve education for all children. It doesn’t have to be a zero sum game where only some kids can be winners while the needs of other kids must be sacrificed. I suspect that, if education overall was improved, parents would be less selfishly concerned about only their kids. Could you imagine what a better world it would be if most parents thought how they could improve education for all children?

      • Not sure she intentionally wants education focused only on the low and high ends. She probably just thinks it’s all fine and good on the middle, since most people are in the middle.

  121. Gifted issues include not fitting in, bring bullied, teachers not getting them, being different, neing bored, being truly wired differently that they need people to get them, etc.

    On what planet do they live on where “average” people don’t have the same issues though? Those issues sound pretty mundane in the life of a school kid, honestly. Bullying, insane boredom, not fitting in. Sounds like an everyday life of most kids, especially adolescents, frankly.

    What I don’t get is, do these parents want gifted services so their kids will be happier, or so they will become the innovators, geniuses, leaders, history-makers that their potential made them meant to be?

    • My thoughts are similar. How much of this is genuine concern for their child’s wellbeing and how much is it their being caught up in Social Darwinian ideology? Are these parents even self-aware enough to know the difference?

      I really do wonder about that. I suspect the gifted label is more important to most of these parents than to the kids. The kids probably only care to the degree that the parents have pressured them to care. After all, kids have no idea what gifted even means, until someone explains it to them.

  122. I wonder, but I’ve never seen gifted parents talk about having an “normal” kid as well. Some have autistic kids, but I haven’t sen any who have both gifted and average kids. I wanna get the average kids perspective.

    I did see one person on a personality forum who talked about how inadequate and shitty she felt compared to her gifted sibling, though. She was jealous of her smart sibling.

  123. That dad sounds kind of weird: like a helicopter parent.

    Terry says
    May 9, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Hi Christi, I really enjoyed your post and I am about to have a look around your whole blog but wanted to leave a comment first. It is such a difficult thing to talk about, and because I am a teacher I find it even harder to say my four year old son is gifted. It often seems to me that using the ‘G’ word is an open invitation to list the things my son isn’t so good at. Sure he can read and knows more about Geography than many adults at only 4, but his cutting with scissors sometimes go off the line, so can he really be gifted?
    I realise now that I have a gifted child, that as a teacher I actually knew nothing about what being gifted really means and how intrinsically different these children are. I think thats why others just ‘don’t get it’ and that parents and children need to be part of a gifted community so everyone has peers they can relate to.
    Sorry, long comment and nothing you didn’t know I’m sure but I really wanted to share my thoughts! Thanks

    christi says
    May 10, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Terry – thanks so much for your comment and sharing that you see things differently now from the other side. It’s good to hear. I feel SO lucky that we have my daughter in a self contained class where her teacher totally gets the kids, and the kids have true peers. On the other hand I feel bad because I know so few people have that option, and even here it’s only a tiny percent of the kids that are admitted to her program. I swear most days I feel like the things they are so “good at” are the last thing on my mind, the social emotional usually seems to be front and center!

  124. I was fast too, though I was prone to silly mistakes probably because of it. My japanese teacher, heck japanese culture in general, emphasized accuracy over “getting it” and speed. My parents told me it’s great I’m fast but I need to be careful too. I got away with it because of partial credit, but japanese teachers don’t seem to know what partial credit is.

    So, it’s not “do you get the idea?” It’s “do you get it perfectly?”

    • “Thank you for waiting, patiently or not, for everyone else to finish. I know your mental muscles can get cold when you’re just marking time and it can be hard to jump right in again, so thanks for that.

      “Thank you for remembering to bring a (thick) book to read every day so you can kill time (see above).”

      What is the big deal? Some kids finish earlier than others and they might have to read a book. Oh, the horror!

      There were always be some kids faster than average and some kids slower than average. This is true in every activity. Some kids run faster, draw faster, read faster, do math faster, memorize faster, etc. But that doesn’t really mean much. First, few kids will be faster at all activities. Second, faster isn’t always better. Many geniuses were slow thinkers or readers. Being methodical and thoughtful can slow someone down, and doesn’t imply they are stupid.

      I was always a slow test taker when in school. I wasn’t stupid, but my brain doesn’t tend to operate in the most direct and efficient ways. What talent I have comes from my rather circuitous and meandering thinking style. Also, my word recall issues can cause several minutes to pass by before the word finally pops into my consciousness.

      Only in America would intellectual value be measured by speed.

    • I did look at the comments section. Most of the comments were predictable, but a few were interesting. Below are two I noticed.

      lisa flores:
      “I found this article to be negative and really narrow minded about the different learning abilities of kids. A child can be an excellent auditory learner and thrive in a typical classroom, which would make them “gifted”. A child can be a visual learner and not cope so well in a classroom designed for auditory learners and not do as well, but be no less “gifted”. A visual or kinetic learner may appear “slow” but can be equally gifted. I found it really uncalled for to title the note “Dear smart kid”, as that implies all the other students are dumb. It reads like you have disdain for “typical” learners, which I disagree with. Some of the most brilliant people in the world, have not been “typical” learners. Faster is not inherently better.”

      “Really? I am awed that readers are not seeing the hypocrisy in this article.

      “Well intentioned, yes, but what is it with armchair critics and perfectionistic ideals? If you think it’s possible to be perfect in the classroom, kindly post some guru-magic instructions instead of complaints.

      “Did the other kids get notes in their report cards about working faster so this child didn’t always have to sit around waiting for them?”

      “So your expectation is that the teacher now perform to common core, write 27 IEP’s, give individual lesson plans to 27 students ranging from low performing students, past low performing brilliance, and up to high performing academic superstars, AND write 27 notes describing how he/she has addressed the needs of each student so perfectly?

      “Teachers are the ones to support; not bash. Most teachers really do want to be the best, but have thrown in the towel for lack of support and compassion. Maybe a little less critiquing and a little more appreciative support is in order here.

      “My entire family was “gifted” and we all made it through just fine Lisa. It’s about life, love, compassion, and support for all, not about defending one child unless you intend to defend the teacher or the not-so-great performing student too.”

  125. Just promise cupcakes and the normal masses will finish quicker.

    That sounds creepily helicopter-ey. Maybe in lazy but I enjoyed downtime in school. I liked lounging around after I finished, napping, doodling, reading the book I brought, lol.

    What do you think of this?

    “unfortunately my son hasn’t learned to not scream out loud out of frustration yet – thus he misses a great deal of instruction, has fallen behind in areas that before he was “taught” them he was a natural genius at them and overall hates school. The notes we get home every day are a micromanagement of his day – a detailing of every frustrated outburst, of every instance of anger at his own imperfection and the occasional act of simply being a silly kid… he tested in the 98th % and yet we have him in special ed to take care of his “emotional needs”… my gut tells me if we took care of his intellectual needs his emotions would rise to occasion, but I’m in the minority. Sadly, I’m looking forward to eventually receiving the awful note you’ve referenced…. though I’d much rather receive the one you’ve written.”

    • “That sounds creepily helicopter-ey. Maybe in lazy but I enjoyed downtime in school. I liked lounging around after I finished, napping, doodling, reading the book I brought, lol.”

      I usually enjoyed doing my own reading, drawing, or whatever more than anything that I was supposed to be doing. I’m pretty sure that much of this is laziness, but there was some boredom involved. A book a teacher told me to read isn’t likely to be as interesting as a book I chose to read. Textbooks in particular can be quite dry and unstimulating.

      “What do you think of this?”

      I noticed that one. It seems sad and pathetic, but it is also sort of amusing. I could just imagine the teacher that has to deal with that kid and that parent. The stories that must get told in the teachers’ lounge.

      That kid is probably screaming because the parent is so clueless. Then again, maybe the kid screams because of a lack of basic social skills or maybe the kid is just used to getting his own way by being annoying enough to his parents.

      Whatever the explanation, it seems justified that he is in special ed classes. A screaming kid is not normal. Most kids don’t start screaming every time they get frustrated. That kid has some serious issues, probably inherited from his parents.

  126. “I can give you a thousand reasons why I’m asking you – pleading with you – not to use the word retarded. I can explain how its use perpetuates discrimination, dehumanizes the disabled, normalizes hurtful stereotypes. I can talk to you at length about why intent is irrelevant. I can tell you that I know full-well that it has a dictionary definition that might be useful in certain circumstances, but that it’s connotation is no longer separable from the pain of the insult that it undeniably implies. I can tell you that its use as casual deprecation displays just as much a lack of creativity as an abundance of insensitivity. I can tell you that there a hundred better words that you could choose. Yes, I could give you a thousand reasons why I’m asking you – pleading with you – not to use the word retarded. Instead, I give you just one. My beautiful daughter. She deserves better.” -Diary Of A Mom

    • I’m all for using the most clear language possible for communicating well. But changing words doesn’t change reality.

      Yes, the word retarded has become stigmatized. We could all start using a new word. Then, after a while, that new word would become stigmatized. It’s not really the word that is stigmatized, but the condition itself. Superficial political correctness won’t solve that problem.

      A word is just a word. In this case, it is a word that technically describes a condition. Is there a better word that is more accurate and meaningful? I’d be open to hearing a case for another term to be used in its place. But a parent pointing to their child is not much of an argument.

      Anyway, what does she even mean? Her daughter deserves better… huh? How is using a different word going to change anything about her daughter?

  127. Here’s some links the mum shared.

    “‘The mind of a gifted child is wired differently than neurotypical kids,”

    Great. So it belongs in the DSM-IV then? I mean a lot of people with the conditions in that book go on to do cool things too.

    Great. So high iq isn’t enough to be gifted?

    Time to go outside and get struck by lighting 😀

    Honestly my head hurts now. My mind is too small to understand because it feels endlessly contradictory to me.

    • ”And let’s face it, shouldn’t we all be accepting of everyone’s differences despite what those differences may be? Shouldn’t we be looking for the good and the potential in others instead of being intolerant of their differences which we quickly judge as something unacceptable? Shouldn’t we appreciate the gifts, potential and talents of others, and not feel the need to marginalize or destroy these gifts, potential and talents? Shouldn’t we stop casting stones at the cacti?”

    • From the first link:

      “The U.S. Department of Education defines the academically gifted as “students, children, or youth who give evidence of high achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services and activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities.”

      “The UK Department for Children, Schools, and Families has a less verbose definition of gifted and talented students: “children and young people with one or more abilities developed to a level significantly ahead of their year group (or with the potential to develop those abilities).””

      The UK definition seems more straightforward and less ideologically motivated. The US one, on the other hand, seems to imply gifted as an unusual breed of intellectual elite that can’t thrive under normal conditions, like some rare hothouse flower.

      What about students, children, or youth who give evidence of all that is described but do just fine in normal schooling? By definition, they would not be labeled gifted. The US definition requires that the kid be dysfunctional or inadequately functional under normal education conditions that all other kids are forced to endure. So, any kid who does fine in school therefore can’t be gifted. It’s that weird conflation of giftedness and abnormality.

      “no one really knows how many children are gifted or whether the proportion of them in the student body is growing or shrinking. “To know for sure, you’d have to precisely define criteria for giftedness, then do a big epidemiological-type study canvassing a whole country,” says Winner. “Gifted kids do seem more visible now, but it may be that because of advances in technology and communication more are showing up who wouldn’t have been noticed before.””

      Well, no one really knows much of anything about this. It’s highly probable that, under the most optimal conditions, that 99.9% of children would express gifted potential in one or more areas of ability.

      What is even less known is whether most Americans, specifically most of the economic and political elite, would ever care to try to create optimal conditions for most children to find out what results could be achieved. If we took care of all environmental problems and found out that poor minorities have the same genetic potential as everyone else, then the entire American social order would be shown to be morally invalid and injust.

      “In contrast to an especially smart kid of great general ability, the prodigy has a distinct form of giftedness that’s far more advanced and focused on a single interest.”

      Most kids are more advanced and focused on some particular interest, as compared to other things, if and when they are given the opportunities, resources, and/or encouragement to pursue that particular interest. As general ability increases, so will the greater abilities increase.

      “These are the children who devour books (often nonfiction) before entering kindergarten; who teach themselves algebra or musical notation as toddlers; who take our breath away with their piano prowess, their devastatingly efficient chess moves, or their visionary artwork. With prodigies, the rage to master is extreme. They are attracted to a subject early and learn rapidly, approaching it with unshakable concentration.”

      What if this is merely an expression of the normal potential that exists in almost every child? What if the limitations exist in the environment, instead of in the child? What if we stopped stunting children with pollution/toxicity, malnourishment, psychological stress, low social capital, underfunded schools, school-to-prison pipelines, poverty, inequality, etc?

      “prodigiousness, Feldman discovered, often does not lead to happy adulthoods.”

      Most Americans and most people in the world don’t have all that happy of adulthoods. What kind of fucktard would equate prodigiousness with psychological health? Oh yeah, the same kind that measures giftedness by speed.

      We lived in a messed up society. It’s surprising that there aren’t even more unhappy adults. Being intelligent and learned, if anything, is going to lead to depression because then you might even more fully realize how fucked up is our society. I tend to believe that ignorance is bliss or at least ignorance is contentment, except for those on the lowest rungs of the social ladder, the severely impoverished and homeless, as it is going to suck for them no matter their level of intelligence or ignorance.

      “Researchers see the gifted child (along with other outliers, such as savants, autistic children, and very high-IQ cases) as among the more striking manifestations of human potential. Understanding their intellectual development is an important key to deciphering the complexities of intellectual development across the entire spectrum of children.”

      That is an actually interesting comment. We haven’t even begun to explore the full reaches of human potential. The most gifted kid right now will likely seem like a retard to people centuries from now, if the human civilization lasts that long and societal improvements continue to follow present trends.

      ““It’s been argued that the brain is limitless as to how much information can be stored in a lifespan,” says Castellanos, “and no one has proven otherwise. What’s profoundly limited is how many things we can hold in our mind at one time, available for processing. The magic number for humans seems to be seven, plus or minus two.” To get to a novel thought, a person has to be able to maintain several things up in the air, ready to manipulate.”

      I can’t say I have a great working memory. I easily forget things and don’t always recall them again very quickly. I’ve learned tricks to finding info I need. I remember info less than I remember connections to and between info. This is why the internet is a boon for me. I can work around my insufficient working memory.

      In the future, technology might cause more people to operate at higher levels of cognitive functioning. Not only will better conditions create better cognitive functioning on its own, but there will be more and better ways to compensate for less developed and proficient areas of cognitive functioning. Combined together, the average level of intelligence might skyrocket. The higher range of development might become the new norm.

      “Surprisingly, humans and monkeys have identical working-memory capacities. But modern humans have learned, in a profoundly useful adaptation, to hack the limits of working memory through a process called chunking, in which information is analyzed and compressed into composite nuggets that are more memorable and easier to process.”

      This is one of the many things that few people ever learn well. Most schools don’t teach this. Just imagine if every kid was taught how to do this. We rarely teach kids the love of learning, much less how to learn. I can’t help but repeat that we’ve barely scratched the surface of human potential.

      “For one thing, cognitive abilities don’t appear fully formed at birth; they develop over time through a complex interplay between nature and nurture. (Research has attributed genetic influence on human intelligence to between 30 and 80 percent of its total variance.) Among the most important discoveries in recent years is that environment triggers gene expression. Although most personal characteristics — everything from perseverance to memory — are influenced by our genes, they are not fully determined by them.”

      It’s nice to see them acknowledging that. Even so, they still simplify it. I think they are talking about heritability when they mention the 30 to 80 percent. But heritability, as I like to point out, doesn’t mean what people think it means. It’s a term that is often used in inexact, sloppy ways when being discussed in articles and blogs. For most people, the entire gene-plus-environment is being inherited from parents, which gets magnified by the epigenetic factor. It’s related to why most wealth in the US is inherited wealth, and none of it has anything to do with genetics by itself. Genes don’t exist in a vacuum.

      “And yet, the evidence is stacking up that talent and practice are complementary, rather than oppositional, and far more intertwined than originally thought. All human characteristics, including the capacity and proclivity to deliberately practice, involve a mix of nature and nurture.

      ““Unfortunately, many people have an overly simplistic understanding of talent,” says University of Pennsylvania psychologist Kaufman, who writes about intelligence and creativity in his Beautiful Minds blog for Scientific American. “In fact, there is no such thing as innate talent,” Kaufman contends. “Gareth Bale wasn’t born with the ability to score memorable goals. There are certainly genetic influences, but talents aren’t prepackaged at birth; they take time to develop.” In other words, high achievers are born, then made.”

      It’s kind of funny that simplistic understanding of others was criticized, but then a still too simplistic explanation was offered.

      Much of human development happens in utero. On top of that, epigentics shows that the development of the parents, grandparents, and who knows how many generations back will shape and determine the development of a child. The generations of blacks who were enslaved might still be within the range of epigenetic influence of present generations, although the area of research is still too new for us to know the full implications and how far they extend.

      We aren’t just born with genetics. Our entire ancestry and environment shapes us before we even leave the womb.

      “According to Feldman, the path from supersmart kid to worldchanging adult depends mostly on what he calls “the co-incidence process.” Feldman’s research (now backed up by others) makes it clear that the circumstances have to be just right for talent to flourish. “From the starting point of innate, natural ability,” Feldman says, “specific talents tend to require specific environments very well suited to their development.””

      That is an important factor, luck. I would point out, though, that an individual’s chances of being lucky increase along with the increasing levels of inherited wealth, opportunity, privilege, etc. So-called luck isn’t entirely random. It’s harder to have a lucky life of “the coincidence process” if you are born poor, malnutritioned, lead poisoned, abused, and maybe worse. It’s hard to be gifted or even above average IQ when all the world is against you.

      “For instance, the SMPY subjects were a fortunate bunch of kids from the start. Without encouragement from parents or teachers, they likely wouldn’t have taken the SAT early. Their advantages continued to compound after they were identified as “exceptionally gifted.” Unlike many — perhaps most — gifted children, they gained access to unusually rich learning experiences. These included special attention from schools and teachers and invitations to hyper-intensive summer programs, such as the ones that Zuckerberg, Gates, Jobs, and Germanotta attended, where they could gorge themselves on a year’s worth of math or science or literature in a few weeks.”

      Exactly! The issue of class is central. These are the things that typically only middle-to-upper class kids have access to.

      ““This is not a trivial point,” says Winner. “Because it indicates that, of the [possibly] millions of children who are born with the potential to propel themselves to mastery, only a tiny portion are ever given a chance, due to accidents of fate. Imagine if Taylor had been born as an Aborigine in the Outback in Western Australia. There would be no technology, no environment, no mentors, no cultural context that would have matched his interests and abilities.””

      Not just possibly. It is guaranteed that there are at least millions of such children. Humans have very little genetic diversity, among the least genetic diversity of all the higher intelligent social species. It is highly unlikely that genetics alone is the key difference that separates the intellectual elite from the average and below-average masses.

      ““Money can buy time, but when it comes to parenting, it often does not. Money can also buy a top-notch education, but prestigious prep schools are not set up to indulge exotic talents unrelated to bagging a spot at an Ivy League university. Formal schooling is just one piece of the prodigy puzzle, which also includes parenting, personal characteristics, social/ emotional development, family aspects (such as birth order, gender, and traditions), access to resources, and historical forces and trends. When all those things happen to be in coordination and are sustained for a sufficient period, a child born with extraordinary potential can bloom. When one or more elements are missing, inborn talent is more likely to wither.”

      This seems a bit clueless. Yes, money does buy time. Wealthier parents experience less stress, are less overworked, are less likely to get divorced, and tend to have a mother that stays at home with the kids. Wealthy parents can afford to give their kids their time, instead of both parents working long hours at multiple jobs. Also, wealthy parents can afford tutors, after school activities, summer camps, high quality alternative schools, and on and on.

      You have to be a frigging idiot to not realize that all of this matters immensely. It doesn’t guarantee the wealthy parents’ kid will turn out well, but it increases the probability to a massive degree. It may just be one piece of the prodigy puzzle, but let’s be honest by pointing out that it is one of the biggest pieces. Yes, other factors as described matter. I’m just surprised that the author doesn’t have the common sense to realize that all of those other factors are directly or indirectly tied into class issues.

      Why is it even in a generally good piece like this that there still is such resistance to stating the obvious?

    • The second link got me thinking. There is a valid point being made, even if there is a lot of confusion thrown in. Many of these people get caught up in ideological bullshit about giftedness. For example, there was a blog post linked with the typical rhetoric one expects:

      “Intensity is one of the many forms of neurodiversity that are misunderstood, not tolerated and aggravated by our culture. Unharnessed, emotional, intellectual and energetic intensity can feel overwhelming to people who are not intense.”

      Retardation and sociopathy are also some of the many forms of neurodiversity. I’m not sure intensity is any less understood than anything else.

      It’s like the screaming kid. Understanding quite likely isn’t the central problem. A kid screaming at you is overwhelming to most people, even if the kid genuinely was gifted and one understood this. It’s still just another annoying kid who is pushing a teacher to the edge of sanity and generally creating a disturbance for the entire class.

      So, all the normals are supposed to tolerate gifted people’s intensity and general assholism, but gifted people shouldn’t be required to tolerate anyone else, especially not tolerate the social norms of normal people. Well, fuck you!

      “To the intense person, what seems like nothing to most people, for example, seeing a typo or mistake, can trigger such a strong emotional discomfort that it feels like being hit by a crashing wave.”

      It’s a two-way street. We don’t all live to serve the gifted in the hope that they will kindly rule over us as the future intellectual elite. To the normal person, what seems like neurodiversity to the gifted advocate, for example, a screaming kid or a self-righteous bully who thinks they are special snowflakes, can trigger a strong emotional discomfort that it feels like these gifted advocates are just making excuses for massive social dysfunction and inappropriate behavior that is unfair to everyone else.

      “I’m not saying the answer is to tolerate anyone treating people disrespectfully. But I am saying that perhaps the disrespectful outbursts are a reaction to being chronically disrespected by others in a way that is systematically condoned and leaves them no recourse.”

      This person is making a decent point. Still, this comes off as bullshit.

      I had all kinds of emotional, behavioral, and social issues as a child. I fit the type of person that is being described. Even so, my parents didn’t tolerate rudeness, didn’t tolerate disrespectful and disruptive behavior. They helped me as best they could, but also taught me how to act according to social norms and to get along with other people. They didn’t go around making excuses when I acted out.

      Maybe disrespectful outbursts are a reaction to being chronically disrespected by others. Then again, maybe it’s the other way around. It is meaningless to say you aren’t tolerating such behavior when you implicitly condone it in trying to explain it away by saying the child shouldn’t take responsibility for his own behavior because it supposedly is the fault of everyone else.

      More interesting is another article that was linked:

      “There is the abundant available evidence that gifted children show enhanced sensory activation and awareness. Gifted brains are essentially “hyper-sensitive,” and can be rendered even more so through training. Not only are the initial impressions especially strong, but also the later recollections are often unusually intense or vivid. Because vivid initial impressions correlate with better recollection, gifted brains are also characterized by increased memory efficiency and capacity. These memories are not only especially intense and enduring memories, but they are also frequently characterized by multimodality, involving memory areas that store many different types of memories, such as personal associations, different sensory modalities like color, sound, smell, or visual images, or verbal or factual impressions. This multimodality means that gifted thinkers often make connections in ways other people don’t. They frequently have special abilities in associational thinking (including analogy and metaphor) and in analytical or organizational skills (through which diverse associations are understood and systematized).

      “As a result of these special brain characteristics, gifted thinkers typically enjoy benefits including more vivid sensing, prodigious memory, greater fund of knowledge, more frequent and varied associations, and greater analytic ability. However, these same neurological characteristics carry a number of potential drawbacks, including sensory, emotional, and memory overload, sensory hypersensitivities, personal disorganization, sensory distractibility, delayed processing due to “analysis paralysis” (or getting “lost in thought” due to an excess of options), and mental fatigue.”

      There is research data out there that points toward apparent connections. I’ve looked at a lot of this type of research in terms of liberal-mindedness, which correlates to higher IQ along with FFM openness, Hartmann’s thin boundary type, and MBTI intuition and perceiving. This negatively correlates to other things such as FFM conscientiousness, which gets expressed in terms of one’s ability and desire to follow norms and fit in.

      There is something about independent and creative thought that, from the perspective of some people, can seem problematic. Liberals, for example, express a greater willingness to smack their own fathers; whereas conservatives just think that is plain wrong, even just to think about it. Or take another example as a liberal being less bothered by the sight of rotten fruit or a story about incest. And it is true that liberals on average have messier rooms and are more likely to become addicted to drugs. As I’ve conjectured, this fluid psychology may be related to fluid intelligence, one aspect that gets measured on certain IQ sub-tests.

      Still, these are just probabilities. None of this is to say that all or even most such people fit all of these patterns. It’s just a slightly, not massively, larger percentage. It’s not as if that many liberals have ever actually smacked their fathers. Being a liberal doesn’t cause one to feel uncontrollable urges, just more willing to consider it as a hypothetical and maybe fantasize about it. Likewise, even if higher intelligence is proven to be directly related to higher sensitivity, there is no reason to think that screaming should be considered within the normal range for the cognitively precocious and academically talented.

      These are just correlations. That is not a reason to jump to conclusions about causal links, as if there is some deterministic mechanism at play, as if these annoying brats and genius bullies can’t help themselves. Both kids and parents still have to take responsibility or else suffer the consequences, like any other person.

      Noting these correlations is not the same thing as making excuses for a screaming kid. If a kid really can’t control himself, then he needs to be in a special ed class, at least until he learns self-control. He might be a genius, but that doesn’t lessen the very real problems of his behavior. With such massive issues, he needs to be homeschooled or, if possible, to be put into an alternative school.

      The rest of the article deals with mostly generalizations of questionable value. I really don’t think what is being discussed is exactly or entirely about giftedness. I notice how much of what is described would apply to even kids that no one would mistake as gifted. Too much is getting mixed up. There are some interesting connections to be made, but that would require much more careful analysis and more useful language.

      • That fits me to a tee. I still right now can get overwhelmed by the info I process. I’m also very thin-boundaried which tends to bite me in the ass a lot. I just end up internalizing everything and having massive internal conflict. Being sensitive has drawbacks; it hasn’t really been good for me so far, actually. So much thyat all that prolonged stress has blunted it a bit. I used to have a good menory and vivid, clear memories of all small shit. But since the peak of my depression and anxiety in high school, it’s failed a little. I find my mental health is better when I can blunt my sensitivity and intensity, frankly. Does it make me less ”blessed by god?” I am not sure. I find I can think more clearly and carefully these days.

        Anyway, I sure don’t want someone who acts out due to frustration and boredom ever ruling over me, LOL. If he screams due to school boredom, how is he gonna handle the adult world where frustration and boredom are facts of life? It almost sounds like these parents are unintentionally coddling them.

      • Anyway, I believe it is because some of the parents want to believe that their kid’s problems are only because the school and the normals aren’t coddling him and letting him be bored and frustrated. They really seem to believe that the psycholigical problems would go away once he’s in a gifted program or moer coddled by the teacher.

        Their problems aren’t even unique to gifted kids. Raising gifted kids is hard because they can be sensitive, bratty, argumentative? That’s pretty normal for any kid. But most of these parents don’t have normal kids, they seem to only have their gifted kid.

      • IIt sounds like gifted is similar to autism.

        Too ideological for me. Is there such thing as a high iq person who is pretty ”normal” personality wise?

      • “That fits me to a tee.”

        It fits me as well. Much of your description of yourself describes me. Like you, I’ve blunted my sensitivity. I suppose it has helped.

        The main difference between you and I are memory issues, which connect to my learning disability. It is interesting that your memory has worsened and mine has improved.

        My memory used to be so bad that I’m glad it didn’t worsen or I’d be in real trouble. My memory for practical info (names, faces, dates, etc) still sucks, and I hate to imagine what my memory will be like if I make it to old age. At least, I’m used to having a bad memory and so have spent my entire life compensating for it. Maybe loss of memory with old age will be less traumatic for me than for many people.

        “It almost sounds like these parents are unintentionally coddling them.”

        I’m with you about the coddling. But I don’t want to be cold and different to the problems of others. I don’t want to be dismissive, which is easy to do.

        I don’t think gifted advocates are entirely wrong. I just think they are confused and misdirected. It’s not as if many of these so-called gifted kids don’t have problems and don’t need help. They do, but gifted advocacy seems counter-productive. Uncontrollable screaming is not normal, even for cognitively advanced children. Although I hope that screaming kid gets help, I doubt putting him in a gifted program is going to do much good. Putting kids like that in a gifted program would just turn it into an expensive babysitting service.

        “Their problems aren’t even unique to gifted kids.”

        That is what keep thinking about. There is a wide diversity and spectrum of problems that are being jumbled together. Maybe the confusion comes from, as you point out, that many of these parents don’t have normal kids and so have no clue what normal looks like. They assume every problem their child has is unique and must be connected to some mysterious severely gifted syndrome.

        I like that. I’m going to refer to these kids this way. That screaming kid for sure has a severe case of gifted syndrome. Whatever that kid has, I’m not sure I’d call it a gift, but it is severe.

        “IIt sounds like gifted is similar to autism.”

        That is the other thing that comes to mind. Giftedness seems to be just another way of talking about a form of autism or something like that. I’m calling this newly discovered psychiatric condition the severely gifted syndrome. The more common name shall be giftardation and the kids can be referred to as giftards.

        “Too ideological for me. Is there such thing as a high iq person who is pretty ”normal” personality wise?”

        I haven’t looked at the data. But I suspect that most high IQ people and even most genius people don’t have major psychological and social problems. These parents with dysfunctional ‘gifted’ kids are dealing with issues that aren’t even normal on the high end of the cognitive spectrum. Some of these kids obviously need help, but I don’t know that it has much to do with education in any direct way.

  128. An interesting article. I think eliminating #7 will be hard because I’ve seen comments from parents of Gifted children who advocate shifting the Special Needs budget for disabled students over to the gifted because the gifted are “our future doctors, scientists and business leaders”.
    The very last sentence of point #3 makes me wonder if nongifted are to always excuse outbursts, meltdowns or disengagements from the gifted.
    Celi TrépanierCeli Trépanier
    January 2, 2015
    Douglas, I enjoy your insights and comments! I don’t like shifting any budget away from any group of students–period. Every child should be provided an appropriate education which will give him the tools to succeed no matter which career or job he chooses. Idealistic, I know. Governments also need to fund education fully to where it does not end up a give and take, or where some students’ educational needs are sacrificed for another group of students. I wish more people here in America would squawk when funds are shifted out of the educational budget at the state level to pay for non-educational line items.
    I don’t think outbursts or meltdowns are to be excused, but understanding the causes, lessening the causes such as providing a challenging education, and learning how to handle the behavioral issues would go a long way to help gifted children. Ironically, many, many of these issues are not really issues among gifted homeschoolers who have a much more appropriate education.
    Thanks again for leaving your thoughts.
    Linda Anderson
    June 12, 2015
    We had this problem with our daughter from K-2. She was writing cursive by K was reprimanded by her teacher when she “wrote” her name on a paper. She was told she was not supposed to learn that u til 2nd grade. When she finished her work she was put to teacher errands such as sorting papers and dusting erasers. When I asked them to give her more work, I was told she would get too far ahead of the other children. When I approached administration and school board, everything was geared to slower children but nothing toward advanced ones. We pulled her out of public school mid second grade and enrolled in private church school that allowed her to work at her own pace. She is graduate of the Louisiana School for Math, Science & Arts and is a fabulous RN at a large hospital doing what she loves. She has a 15 yr old giftie son who is well on his way to great things as well.

    • Bernie Sanders supposedly wants to shift funds to education by taking it away fron the military-industrial complex. That way, education for all kids in all schools in all communities can be funded without increasing taxes or debt. With greater funding, there could be all the diversity of classes and programs for every kind of student, rich and poor, white and minority, high IQ and low, ‘gifted’ and special ed; even the average kids can get more funding for basic education.

      Parents need to stop seeing other parents as competition and instead see them as allies to fight a political system that redirects potential funds to the wealthy, whether the military-industrial complex, bank bailouts, or corporate subsidies.

      Americans don’t lack wealth, not in economic capital nor in social capital and for damn sure not in natural resources. The US government doesn’t lack funding for whatever they want to fund. Anytime the war drums are beat upon, there is always money to be had. It’s just that so much money gets wasted or rather stolen through corruption.

  129. But deserts are so pretty! lolol.

    At my school district the kids who got the A papers were because their parens had helped 😦 No “this is too good, you didnt do it”

    But what about ”worse?”

    WTF????? Steve Jobs had issues with people because he could be an asshole. Nothing to do with him being smart!’

    “‘In the end, Steve Jobs was one of those gifted people who many were unwilling to tolerate, and eventually he was ousted from Apple. Thankfully for the world, he had the strength of character to persevere past the envy, the intolerance and the retaliation; he persevered and returned to Apple, the visionary who brought us iPods, iPhones, iPads and Mac computers. Sadly, many of our gifted children and adults are unable to move past the intolerance, the resentment, the biases, and the bullying. Their discoveries, ideas and visions have been marginalized, stolen or refuted. Or worse, the creatively gifted children who have been misunderstood and mistreated because of society’s intolerance of their differences, fail to grow and thrive, and as a society, we lose out on their potential to create, to envision and bring us innovative solutions, discoveries and ideas.”

    It’s not just smartness that gets bullied. People who break stereotypes face it. As an example, Asian who exhibit non-stereotypical traits like asseriveness are often bullied.

    ”It often seems to be the first common human reaction to judge people negatively when their behavior is significantly different or better from the norm–they are not exhibiting bad, negative or hurtful behavior– just significantly different or better than most.”

    ”Our emotionally-intense and creatively gifted fellow human beings are much like the metaphorical cacti standing out amongst the desert of humanity. ”

    ”One such group whose differences we often have biases against are the highly-creative, emotionally-intense gifted individuals. We seem to distrust their unique abilities, and we also often, out of jealousy, cast stones at these individuals who seem to stand taller, seem wiser, are more creative, or rise above our own intellect, skills and capabilities. We also know this phenomena as the tall poppy syndrome. ”

    ”My oldest son is a gifted artist who started drawing with a passion when he was two years old. In second grade, he entered the yearly poster contest hosted by our local public library during National Library Week. He submitted his poster to his school who in turn sent it on to the public library for judging. A few days later, the school called to let me know that they had received a call from the library questioning whether or not my son had actually drawn his poster by himself. The school confirmed that in fact he had, having seen his work many times before, but the school called me just to verify that it was his original work. Understandable, but an example of the common human reaction to something that stands out from the ordinary. Did every child who submitted a poster get a call to authenticate their art? I understand totally their need to confirm that my son’s poster was his original work, but it was the initial doubt, the suspicion that the poster was not the work of my son, and I needed to verify that my son had indeed drawn the poster himself.”

    ”“There was one time in 7th grade that I had written a French (my husband’s native tongue is French) exam and one of the questions was to write a short essay on something, anything. I felt very inspired at that moment and wrote something that turned out to be exceptional to the point that I got a zero. The teacher claimed that I had copied it from a novel or whatever other book, and that there was no way that I would be capable to write something like that. I argued my point and he finally returned my paper with a 50% and a note saying “benefit of the doubt”. I don’t remember much of anything else of this teacher and 7th grade, but this left a lifelong scar that I will never forget. In my mind’s eyes, I can still see where I was standing in the classroom discussing this with him. As clearly as people remember where they were on 9-11…. It was probably my first teaching that being me wasn’t cool. But I had no idea what I was dealing with then….””

    • The Steve Jobs part was the most idiotic. His being an asshole and his being smart are two separate issues. There is no causal link between the two. I’ve met plenty of stupid assholes and smart nice people.

      • They sounds entitled as shit. Reminds me of the comment in the other thread about the insufferable parents and spoiled ass kids.

        The USA gifted scene is so ideologically driven. They imply that gifted=good morals, and when someone is an asshole it’s becaus they’re too smart for other people.

        It’s obnoxious as fuck. It might not be conscious, but some of these people seem to really see the normal masses as inherently beneath them, even eile the normal masses oppress thrm

  130. Try not being white and acting against streeotypes in te workplace. It blows ass.

    I had a grade 6 teacher who failed me on a project on black holes because I had no “scrap notes”, no first or second draft (hand-written, as this was the early 70’s) — only a type-written final draft. My father tried to convince the teacher that I had written the essay, by dictating it to my Dad after having read a bunch of books on the topic. We finally had to get the principal to intervene, and after FOUR TIMES (F, C-, C+, B- A-) I finally got an A- on the paper, and although the principal and both vice-principals agreed that the paper deserved an A+, the teacher refused, because he refused to believe a 10-year-old could possibly have written such a paper. I have quite a few other stories both from school, to now, as an adult IT consultant where bosses refused to accept that I had come up with a solution when better-trained and more experienced techs hadn’t, and more often than not have been PUNISHED for doing so. Extremely gifted? More like extremely cursed.

  131. One of my son’s friends came to his birthday party (this child says everything that comes to mind, when it comes to mind – bless his little heart) and told us that so and so’s parents were talking bad about A and he told them to stop because they were only jealous because A was so smart. It is sad when a 9 year old has to put an adult in their place, especially because he overheard them gossiping, with other adults, about a friend.
    An adult jealous of an 8 year old who only wants to know everything there is to know about chemistry because he wants to develop medicines to cure disease? Really, this is the kid you are jealous of? This kid who is only working a year or two ahead in math and reading, so he is not that far off of the curve, but who is already working on memorizing the periodic table? Who is reading college level cliff notes on microbiology (he isn’t quite ready for an actual textbook yet) just so he can find out new things because the kid books don’t have this stuff? This kid who runs towards the non-fiction section of every bookstore and library, but is judged because he does not read the fiction books that others expect a gifted child to want to read. This kid, if properly encouraged, who might reach his goals and find the medicine(s) to treat or cure a disease you or a loved one might have one day? Not just because he is smart, that is only a small part of it, but simply because he is driven to do so by an internal motor over which he has no control. He simply saw a science book one day, read through it, and fell in love. As simple as that. This is the kid you “hate?”

  132. SMDH

    Exactly, Christy, exactly! It’s like cutting off their nose to spite their face. Cutting down the tall poppy only to find out you really needed what that tall poppy had to offer.

    • So I’m supposed to rally around your kid, fork over money, to help your kid, who has been blessed by god/genetics/santa, become the next ruler/cure-maker, since your kid was given the gift, while my kid and all the other kids were given coal? I’m supposed to rally around your kid because even though he’s just a kid now, he’s gonna be the boss of/cure/change my and all the other kids?

      BUT, he’s not gonna achieve his meant destiny, and will fade to obscurity like the rest of the kids, if we don’t rally around him?

    • We can prevent the entire future ruling elite simply by not funding gifted classes? Awesome! I didn’t know it would be so easy. I guess we don’t need a revolution after all.

      The problem will solve itself in time. Gifted children are similar how the GOP sees “welfare queens.” Just stop feeding them and they’ll go away.

      Or we could take a more proactive approach. Do you think we could sell our gifted children to the same countries where American factories have been relocated? Maybe these gifted kids could grow up to become managers of American factories in foreign countries. They could innovate new ways to make the technological gadgets we Americans love so much.

      I bet some foreign schools have effective methods for dealing with screaming, obnoxious ‘gifted’ kids. We can outsource our gifted programs. That would also save money because some of these other countries will do it more cheaply, and fewer worries about expensive unionized teachers.

  133. im sure my teacher would have just thought ti was funny

    When I was in second grade, we had an upcoming parent conference around Halloween. So the teacher ordered the class to make some art to decorate the room. The orders were, “Draw a man with two orange heads.” Everyone else drew a man with a head on each shoulder (orange, some jack-o-lanterns, some not). I drew a regular man. In each of his hands was a jack-o-lantern. I thought it was a man, with two orange heads.
    The teacher sent me to the principal’s office. The principal told me that I was in trouble for not following instructions. I was paddled.
    Yes, I was paddled for drawing a man with two orange heads, when ordered to draw a man with two orange heads.
    The same teacher later in the year, would lock me in the closet over lunch.
    Not my only bad memories of school, but some of the early ones that stick out.
    Ended up doing quite well in gifted classes and such in high school and college.
    J. J. Pershing Elementary, DISD. c.a. 1980.

  134. Average people becoming average joes is normal cause they’re average. Gifted peopele not becoming the inventors, leaders, of the world is because their community failed them

    • One could argue that maybe many average kids are more gifted than is typically recognized and many gifted kids are more average than many would like to admit. That is to say that maybe the average of human potential is far higher than we can presently imagine and maybe what we consider as gifted isn’t really all that special in the big scheme of human potential.

      Or for argument’s sake, let’s assume gifted people really are that special. In that case, they apparently are failing their one and only purpose in life, to be the leaders, visionaries, and inventors who are supposed to solve all of our problems. Why are we normals supposed to figure out how to solve the problems of gifted people. Since they are so impressive in their abilities beyond our comprehension, they should be able to solve their own problems and then solve ours.

      I’m just saying that I want some guarantees. If we redirect most of our school funding to the supposed future ruling intellectual elite, we better get results for all that massive investment. But if they don’t end up solving all our problems and leading us into a brighter future, do we get our money back?

  135. As always I feel like I need to add the disclaimer that things could always be so much worse. I am so thankful for our blessings and how healthy our kids are. That never ever escapes me. But, I think anyone who finds themselves living a life different than they planned, has an adjustment period. You have to let go of what you expected, what you thought would happen, and find a way to your Plan B. Or Plan C. You have to dream new dreams. And that journey has been what the last year has been for me.
    Acceptance has been hard. I’m not going to lie, even though that would sound better. Either I really suck at it, or I’m just not quick to sugar coat it and pretend as some might be, who knows. In day to day life I try to, I put on a smile and try and say it’s all “great”. But it’s not. It’s hard. Some days are dark and I’m consumed with fear and worry. It’s not that I don’t accept my darling daughter for who she is, it’s not that kind of acceptance. It’s accepting that you, mama bear, aren’t going to be able to “fix” this. As you start the journey, you not only have to adjust to finding a new way for so many things, but so much of your life is about tests, evaluations, therapy, doctors, rating scales and constant reminders of the deficits. The focus is overwhelmingly on what is wrong. And you struggle with that inner voice that says no, I WILL fix this. I CAN fix this. I just have to do more, fight harder, look closer, do better. It’s letting go of, and accepting that, which is hard.

    This week we spent four days at therapy, I spent five hours filling out questionnaires where most of the questions were about her skills and most of the answers were “no”, and then three hours being questioned, and having her evaluated, at the special needs preschool by a psychologist, speech pathologist and occupational therapist. Ultimately, those are all things that focus on the weaknesses. They focus on what she can’t do. They focus on what is “normal” for her age, and how she is so far behind that. Nobody focuses on the fact that she can say “orange” or the puzzle she can do, those little victories I try to cling to and share. The focus is on what she can’t do. They tell me where she fails, they tell me how far below “average” she is. I get it, I understand it, I know it is the path I have to push through to get her services she needs. But oh my hell, it’s not fun, and it beats you down.

  136. “‘bviously that’s not an actual option, but it hangs heavily in my mind. Two sides of the curve. I’m sure normal or average isn’t some place of nothing but blissful nirvana, but I realize I may never know what it’s like there. And sometimes I just want to sit firmly in a place of denial and ignore the fact that I really don’t know what “normal” would be like.