August 15, 2007

Schools and neighborhoods

From the Washington Post:


Neighborhoods' Effect On Grades Challenged
Moving Students Out of Poor Inner Cities Yields Little, Studies of HUD Vouchers Say

By Jay Mathews
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 14, 2007; A02

Many social reformers have long said that low academic achievement among inner-city children cannot be improved significantly without moving their families to better neighborhoods, but new reports released today that draw on a unique set of data throw cold water on that theory.

Researchers examining what happened to 4,248 families that were randomly given or denied federal housing vouchers to move out of their high-poverty neighborhoods found no significant difference about seven years later between the achievement of children who moved to more middle-class neighborhoods and those who didn't.

Although some children had more stable lives and better academic results after the moves, the researchers said, on average there was no improvement. Boys and brighter students appeared to have more behavioral problems in their new schools, the studies found.

"Research has in fact found surprisingly little convincing evidence that neighborhoods play a key role in children's educational success," says one of the two reports on the Web site of the Hoover Institution's journal Education Next.

Experts often debate the factors in student achievement. Many point to teacher quality, others to parental involvement and others to economic and cultural issues.

Some critics, and the researchers themselves, suggest that the new neighborhoods may not have been good enough to make a difference. Under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Moving to Opportunity program, one group of families received vouchers that could be used only to move to neighborhoods with poverty rates below 10 percent, one group got vouchers without that restriction and one group did not receive vouchers. Families with the restricted vouchers moved to neighborhoods with poverty rates averaging 12.6 percent lower than those of similar families that did not move, but not the most affluent suburbs with the highest-performing schools.

"There is a wide body of evidence going back several decades to suggest that low-income students perform better in middle-class schools," said Richard D. Kahlenberg, senior fellow at the Washington-based Century Foundation. "But, in practice, Moving to Opportunity was more like moving to mediocrity."

Harvard University sociologist William Julius Wilson said that although the families that were studied moved to neighborhoods that weren't as poor, they still had many disadvantages. Three-fifths of the families relocated to neighborhoods that were still "highly racially segregated," he said, and "as many as 41 percent of those who entered low-poverty neighborhoods subsequently moved back to more-disadvantaged neighborhoods." ...

"For many families who remained in their new tracts, the poverty rate in their neighborhood increased around them," the researchers said.

Stefanie DeLuca, a Johns Hopkins University sociologist who wrote the second report based on interviews of Moving to Opportunity families in Baltimore, said many of the parents had little faith that better teaching in better schools would help their children. They felt it was up to their children to make education work.


Yeah, well, what would they know? They're just the kids' parents. Do they have an Ed.D., I ask you?


My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

One missing explaination as to why randomly moving ghetto kids to better neighborhoods & schools resulted in no improvement: Those remaining in the ghetto are a self-selecting population. Any families with the talent, motivation and common sense to benefit from such moves have already left the ghetto (although in light of this study, this seems to be a smallish possible effect).

The most disturbing finding is that there is absolutely no indication of any academic improvement. The apologists' suggestion that researchers missed some magic threshold of neighborhood wealth (above the 17 and 28 lower poverty levels used) before any improvement can be seen is specious. Human behaviors like this are almost always somewhat continous along a spectrum and do not follow strict step functions. Recall that the restricted group changed neighborhoods where the rate of poverty dropped something like 38% to 10% - a huge difference covering a lot of spectrum.

What is even more disturbing, is that the number of theoretical inner city smart kid saddled with bad schools, inattentive parents, dangerous neighborhoods, etc. just waiting to break out are non-existent relative to small margins of error generated by large samplings.

Very, very depressing - JAN

* Note: The Hoover Institute web page's press release states the study involved 5,000 kids between 6-20 yrs of age moving to neighborhoods with 28% (restricted) and 17% (unrestricted) lower poverty rates. The WaPo article states the restricted group moved into neighborhoods with poverty rates <10% but contradicts Hoover's PR claiming only a 12.6% (not 28%) reduction of poverty for the restricted group. Given the papers is published in a Hoover pub by academics/researchers there I suspect they are right and the WaPo journalist is wrong (not being able to locate the original study quickly).

Toadal said...

I have watched the trend of liberal newspapers allowing comments and comment ratings on news stories and editors being overwhelmed with articulate, rational, conservative sentiment that outclasses the reporters or editors scribbling.

This article is one of them.

Once the San Francisco Chronicle's sfgate.com posted this Washington Post article readers immediately went to the heart/cause of the problem.

From sfgate.com:

TheTree wrote:

Just goes to show why education majors and sociology majors are widely considered the retards of the academic world. As the first posting says, it goes back to the students and their families. Asian kids (both immigrant and not) always do better than native born in "poor schools." The reason is obvious. These people value and encourage education as a means of advancement and betterment, rather than the hiphop wannabe gangsta sub-culture running around where being smart is uncool and only for the white devils who be holdin us down.

There is more to view ....

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article/comments/view?f=/c/a/2007/08/15/MNI1RHSRG.DTL

PRCalDude said...

"For many families who remained in their new tracts, the poverty rate in their neighborhood increased around them," the researchers said.

There's nowhere middle class families can go to avoid the government's social welfare tampering. Those neighborhoods will be ghettos in a few short years. More white flight.

Anonymous said...

Corrections (I should not comment so late) after finding the original data at:

http://www.hoover.org/publications/ednext/9126051.html

Poverty rate
(top bar chart)
47% control group (stayed)
19% restricted group (moved)
(47-19)/47=59% reduction of poverty
* Date in the "New Neighborhoods" section appears contradictory.

- JAN

agnostic said...

You can never pump too much juice into the corpse of a deranged policy to attempt resuscitation. And the devil if this farce happens to drain the local power supply.

Anonymous said...

JAN: Any families with the talent, motivation and common sense to benefit from such moves have already left the ghetto (although in light of this study, this seems to be a smallish possible effect)... The most disturbing finding is that there is absolutely no indication of any academic improvement... Human behaviors like this are almost always somewhat continous along a spectrum and do not follow strict step functions... What is even more disturbing, is that the number of theoretical inner city smart kid saddled with bad schools, inattentive parents, dangerous neighborhoods, etc. just waiting to break out are non-existent relative to small margins of error generated by large samplings. Very, very depressing

Charles Murray, from The Inequality Taboo:

Consider the results for the women of the 1979 NLSY cohort, whose childbearing years are effectively over (they ranged in age from thirty-eight to forty-five when these numbers were collected). Using a nationally representative subsample for the analysis, one finds that the mean AFQT score of the black women was 85.7. Sixty percent of the children born to this cohort were born to women with AFQT scores below that average. Another 33 percent were born to women with scores from 85.7 to 100. Only 7 percent were born to women with IQs of 100 and over.

Now here are some sample Wonderlic to IQ conversions:

WONDERLIC
Administrator - 27 to 35
Editor - 29 to 35
Industrial Engineer - 28 to 34
Reporter - 27 to 34
Teacher - 27 to 34
Bookkeeper 24 - 29
Police, Patrol Officer - 22 to 27
Telephone Operator - 22 to 26
Driver, bus or truck - 20 to 24
Warehouse person - 17 to 21

IQ
Administrator 114 to 130
Editor 118 to 130
Industrial Engineer 116 to 128
Reporter 114 to 128
Teacher 114 to 128
Bookkeeper 108 to 118
Police, Patrol Officer 104 to 114
Telephone Operator 104 to 112
Driver, bus or truck 100 to 108
Warehouse person 94 to 102


So if these numbers are correct, then [in all likelihood] only about 7% of American blacks are born with the [bare minimum] IQ that you would want in a truck driver. And Murray's data indicates that the situation is getting worse - somewhere around 60% of all blacks are born to mothers with an IQ below the [already dismal] black average.

The bottom line is that the old 1980's, Reagan-era fantasy, of the Heathcliff Huxtable renaissance man, was just that: A myth.

The numbers of blacks who can perform honestly [without dishonest intervention on the part of "The System", in the form of quotas & set-asides], at that level of intellectual activity, is just vanishingly small.

I.e for all intents & purposes, Heathcliff Huxtable simply does not exist [certainly not from the statistical point of view].

So yes:

1) The infinitesimally small number of American blacks who have IQ's out around 120 [or even merely 110] have almost surely long since fled the ghetto.

2) The "theoretical inner city smart kid saddled with bad schools" almost certainly does not exist.

3) It is indeed "[v]ery, very depressing".

And I don't think there are more than a handful of people in the entire country who have taken any time to ponder just how catastrophically hopeless our future is going to be if the smart people don't start making babies again:

Of U.S. Children Under 5, Nearly Half Are Minorities

Anonymous said...

Toadal, quoting TheTree: Just goes to show why education majors and sociology majors are widely considered the retards of the academic world. As the first posting says, it goes back to the students and their families. Asian kids (both immigrant and not) always do better than native born in "poor schools." The reason is obvious. These people value and encourage education as a means of advancement and betterment, rather than the hiphop wannabe gangsta sub-culture running around where being smart is uncool and only for the white devils who be holdin us down.

Except that what "TheTree" said is false - what this study shows, and what pretty much every other study shows [time and time again], is that the reason the Asian kids perform better is that they have [on average] vastly superior gray matter.

I.e. the poor black kids are [on average] so dumb that no matter how much "value and encouragement of education as a means of advancement and betterment" is lavished upon them, it won't do any good.

They're just too stupid.

Anonymous said...

"Asian kids (both immigrant and not) always do better than native born in "poor schools." The reason is obvious. These people value and encourage education as a means of advancement and betterment, rather than the hiphop wannabe gangsta sub-culture running around where being smart is uncool and only for the white devils who be holdin us down."

Yes, let's just kill off all the blacks and replace them with 3rd world immigrants who can loosely be defined as Asian. Of course, I've seen a trend in recent years for these "superior" Asians to embrace hiphop culture, roam around in Che Guevarra T-s and join gangs.

Toadal, I doubt you are smart enough to end up at the top of the hierarchy if we were to get rid of all those deemed to have IQs below 100. Let's find some positive solutions for dealing with poverty and ignorance in the black community. Though higher IQ, the newest McAsians often come from backgrounds just as dysfunctional as blacks in the inner city. Just look at Virginia Tech, these guys can be smart and psychotic. Throwing them in the mix indiscriminantly isn't the solution. That's old thinking that generally rang true in the 70's and 80's. Look again.

SN said...

I'd be interested in how this study breaks down by sex. At the UK University I teach at I see so many black inner-city girls who do well when given half a chance, and so many extremely intelligent black women, it goes somewhat against the '7% over IQ 100' figures above. I'm not denying that nature is a factor but I have to think that nurture may be more important than the data seem to indicate. - SN

tommy said...

Inner city schools would be much better off simply returning to the old system of dividing students into advanced learners, average learners, and slow learners and teaching accordingly rather than busing kids across town. It would be very politically incorrect, but it would give the bright kids a chance.

anonymous,

Human behaviors like this are almost always somewhat continous along a spectrum and do not follow strict step functions.

No, I think Malcolm Gladwell would disagree. He would argue that we just have to reach The Tipping Point™ and everything will be great. Don't dismiss those little things, they can make a big difference.

All hail the almighty step function! Down with the normal distribution!

;-)

Anonymous said...

About 15% of blacks score 100 or above, not 7%. There is conversion to the mean, one generation of smart mothers having few kidds will not change that much.

It's wrong to think blacks are hopeless because of low IQ. There are plenty of jobs that a low-IQ person with good norms and dicipline can perform well. As long as the share of low-skilled in society is not too large they can earn a good living (service for example).

The problem with the shools is that they try to make people smarter, which they can't, instead of focusing on hardwiring prefrences and teaching them skills and to act well, which they probably can do.

Mr. F. Le Mur said...

the highest-performing schools.
Which is Newspeak for "the schools with the smartest kids." Some of the refusal to acknowledge this, I think, stems from the school personel wanting to feel that their efforts and programs are important (they're not), besides wanting, or needing, to stay within the bounds of PC thought - "all groups of people are the same (yet wonderfully different!)."

"There is a wide body of evidence going back several decades to suggest that low-income students perform better in middle-class schools,"
"Suggest" = "doesn't actually show."

said many of the parents had little faith that better teaching in better schools would help their children. They felt it was up to their children to make education work.
It's funny/sad that the parents are correct (sort of) and the, er, experts are FOS.

David said...

Look at these two paragraphs from the story.

"Some critics, and the researchers themselves, suggest that the new neighborhoods may not have been good enough to make a difference."

and

"[A]lthough the families that were studied moved to neighborhoods that weren't as poor, they still had many disadvantages. Three-fifths of the families relocated to neighborhoods that were still 'highly racially segregated,' [Harvard University sociologist William Julius Wilson] said."

In other words, the experiment would have worked if only

a. the neighborhoods were significantly more wealthy than they were, i.e., very wealthy

and

b. the neighborhoods were majority non-white (less "segregated").

The neighborhoods weren't rich and dark enough.

The obvious solution: pump more money into poverty-level non-whites. Thanks, Harvard.

Chip said...

"Experts often debate the factors in student achievement. Many point to teacher quality, others to parental involvement and others to economic and cultural issues."

And there are NO OTHER FACTORS. Capisce?

dougjnn said...

The reason East Asian (Chinese, Koreans, Japanese) often do much better than white kids is that they study much, much harder. Their IQ's are on average only a little bit higher.

The reason that blacks and heavily indio Hispanics do so much worse than both Asians and whites is partly study time, but also very importantly IQ. It's not hard to understand why those with lower IQ's would be less motivated to study diligently, particularly in an education culture that emphasizes "self development" and learning to "love learning" rather than heavy does of discipline -- which is what less able (and more disruptive) kids especially need heavy does of.

Of course it would be odiously racist to give those who need discipline the most, the least well performing students who are heavily but not exclusively black and Hispanic, the most discipline and rote learning.

Hence, in a nutshell, the disaster that is America's inner city school system, in these PC "best intentions" times.

Floccina said...

I moved from a very good high school to a very bad high school after the 9th grade. I found that in the latter school the teachers would bend over backwards to help anyone who showed any interest in learning at all. So I believe that I got a much better education in the bad school than I would have gotten in the good school. So I am not at all surprised at the study. If the problems of the poor could be solved with money it would be very very much easier to solve their problems than it is.

Anonymous said...

Toadal – sfgate.com shut down the comments section to the article you cited. Words can hurt and ideas are dangerous – probably too many of both caused them to delete the comments and contact the appropriate authorities.

Anon 11:59 – Apparently there has been an increase in affluent (largely higher IQ, white, Jewish, Asian) having kids. There have also been a number of articles about the younger generation of women from top colleges and universities shunning traditional extreme feminism and both marrying and having kids younger.

The reproductive problem lies with the middle class who cannot compete with the affluent for the high costs of childbearing or the lower classes who are content to pump out kids at the expense of the taxpayer. It seems we’re demographically heading to a Latin America type of elite IQ/race/wealth oligarchy future.

Anon 12:24 – Lumping all Asians together is even distorting than lumping Hispanics with Europeans as “White” when booking criminals. NE Asians like the Japanese, Koreans and Chinese (from most law abiding to least excluding white collar crimes like tax evasion which can be rampant in ethnic enclaves) are a far cry from other Asians like the Polynesians, Vietnamese, Hmong, Pakistanis (called Asian in the UK) where drugs, gangs, violent crime, domestic abuse, home invasions, etc are big problems.

Start with IQ as a proxy for crime directly or indirectly (e.g. studies show correlations between IQ and violent crime as well as IQ->wealth/education/future planning->avoiding violent crime). Dr. Richard Lynn’s “IQ and the Wealth of Nations” shows a larger average IQ spread between Asian countries than non-Hispanic white countries. The top 4 (HK 107, S Korea 106, Japan 105, Taiwan 104) are Asian with China (PRC) at 12 based upon an IQ of 109.4 measured in Shanghai (Austria, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands were tied for 5th at 102). The (non-African/non-Hispanic) bottom dozen were 58% Asian with Middle Eastern and N. African Islamic countries as well (Quatar 78, Nepal 78, India 81, Egypt 83, Marshall Islands 84, Iran 84, Fiji 84, Morocco 85, Philippines 86, Lebanon 86, Tonga 87, Somoa 87). Indo-Europeans Caucasians that represent the vast majority of White Americans and have higher IQs than every Asian country save for NE Asians.

Given the higher immigration levels of Indians, Polynesians and Philippines compared to those of Middle Easterners/N. Africans that fill the bottom of the non-Hispanic low-IQ Whites are commit crimes, one can expect a larger disparity in IQ and violent crime between smart and dumb Asians compared to smart and dumb non-Hispanic Whites. Thus lumping NE Asians with all other Asians is more distorting than lumping Whites with Hispanics. It’s more like lumping together the crime rates of small, nebbish urban Jews (NE Asians) with hulking inner-city blacks (Polynesians, who by the way, are the most overrepresented ethnicity in the NFL when normalized to population size).

Don’t believe the media’s “dog-bites man” tendency to focus on the rare exception to the rule like the Virgina Tech massacre. Even when Hispanic crime is separated from Whites and all Asians are lumped together, the 1999 New Century Foundation Color of Crime report reported the following for violent crime rates relative to non-Hispanic Whites:

Blacks 4-8x
Hispanics 3x
Asians 0.5-0.75x

My OOTA (out of the arse) estimation is that 95% of the “Asian” violent crime would come from non-NE Asians despite their much smaller populations in America. This means NE Asians commit violent crime at only 2.5%-3.75% of Non-Hispanic Whites. It’s hard to become a violent criminal when you don’t have the testosterone levels, physical size, poor future planning (high correlate with low-IQ) or individual or social culture that permit and encourage such things.

It’s not that NE Asians are “gods”. They have their obvious limitations and struggles in America society like everyone else. Even regarding IQ where averages are high their SD is much narrower than Northern Europeans who account for the lion’s share of geniuses that pull civilization forward rather than copy and follow.

- JAN

Anonymous said...

3 Interesting and tangentially related items:

(1)GNXP.com cites study showing 0.84 correlation between violent crime and percentage non-White population *(e.g. Black & Hispanic). This is a HUGE correlation for the social sciences as noted. Caveat, increasing Asian percentage of population decreases violent crime rate below the Non-Hispanic White norm while increasing Hispanic percentage of population increases violent crime rate (but not as fast as increasing Black percentage of population).

(2)Crime in the Hood by La Griffe du Lion The probability of a White being attacked increases non-linearly to unity as a neighborhood becomes predominately black.

(3)Cross-National Variation in Violent Crime Rates
by J. Philippe Rushton and Glayde Whitney

Abstract Rushton's theory of r-K race differences was examined in relation to the rate of murder, rape, and serious assault per 100,000 population and Gross Domestic Product per Person for 74 countries from the 1993–1996 International Crime Statistics published by INTERPOL and the 1999 CIA World Fact Book. Each country was assigned to one of the three macro-races East Asian, European, and African. The results corroborated earlier findings that violent crime is lowest in East Asian countries, intermediate in European countries, and highest in African and in Black Caribbean countries. The median number of violent crimes per 100,000 population were: 7 East Asian countries—34; 45 European countries—42; and 22 African and Black Caribbean countries—149, respectively. The median Gross Domestic Product per Person was highest in East Asian countries ($12,600), intermediate in European countries ($7,400), and lowest in African and Black Caribbean countries ($1,900). Across the three population groups there was an correlation of –.96 between crime and wealth (wealthier countries had less crime). Finer-grained analyses, however, found that while wealth was negatively related to crime across European or East Asian countries, it was positively related to crime for the African and Black Caribbean countries (i.e., the wealthier an African or Black Caribbean country, the greater its rate of violent crime). Future research needs to examine genetic factors in addition to cultural factors as well as their interactions.

- JAN

Anonymous said...

"The infinitesimally small number of American blacks who have IQ's out around 120 [or even merely 110] have almost surely long since fled the ghetto."

can you explain what this means - what numbers are considered infinitesimally small (<1,000,000) Because I know plenty of African Americans who have at least 120 IQ. Now the numbers for an IQ of 140 may be about <100. I never took statistics so I just needed clarification on what you mean.

But you are certainly correct in that most Black children are being born to low IQ women. Its a very distressing trend that does not bode well for American Blacks.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: Let's find some positive solutions for dealing with poverty and ignorance in the black community.

But if you're truly intellectually honest with yourself, then you have to at least consider the possiblity that there is no solution - that the problem is essentially intractable [which is what this study indicates, and which is what pretty much every other study has also indicated].

If you look at it from the Darwinian perspective, and, for instance, assume that the ancestors of the people who crossed over the Aleutian ice bridge maybe 12,000 [15,000? 18,000? 20,000?] years ago were roughly equivalent, genetically speaking, to the ancestors of modern-day Japanese or Pacific-Rim-Chinese, and if you look at some modern-day IQ scores:

Hong Kong 107
South Korea 106
Japan 105
Taiwan (ROC) 104

Mexico 87
Cuba 85
Puerto Rico 84
Ecuador 80
Guatemala 79

Then it might not be too difficult to come to the conclusion that it takes about 12,000 [20,000?] years of selective breeding [for intelligence] if you want to move an IQ bell curve up by 15 or 20 points.

[And if you look at some of the African IQ scores, then you realize that you're talking about entire nations full of people whose IQ mean is essentially mental retardation.]

Of course, genetic engineering will probably have something to say about this in the near future.

But on the other hand, if you take a slightly different point of view, then you might recall that a long time ago, we were warned: ye have the poor with you ALWAYS.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: About 15% of blacks score 100 or above, not 7%.

What's your source? Murray's source is the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey:

http://www.nlsinfo.org/ordering/display_db.php3

In fairness to Murray, he does NOT state that 7% of all black live births will eventually grow up to be people whose IQ tests out at 100 or higher, but rather that 7% of all black live births are produced by black mothers whose IQ's are at or above 100.

[Although if anyone thinks that substantial numbers of women with IQ's below 100 are going to begin plopping out substantial numbers of babies whose IQ's are substantially higher than 100, then I've got a bridge to sell you...]

Anonymous: It's wrong to think blacks are hopeless because of low IQ. There are plenty of jobs that a low-IQ person with good norms and dicipline can perform well.

I'm not trying to say that stupid people are not human, or that stupid people can't enjoy their own lives every bit as much as smart people enjoy theirs.

Yet for society to pretend that people with an IQ of 100 are somehow going to grow up to be brain surgeons or rocket scientists is simply delusion - it won't happen.

But what's even worse is that I doubt that very many people with IQ's of 100 can even hope to succeed at the "fun" stuff which you might get exposed to in the trade schools - they probably don't have the gray matter necessary to be a welder, a licensed electrician, an auto mechanic, probably not even a plumber [certainly not at the higher ends of the trade].

Maybe brick masonry, POSSIBLY low-end carpentry, but man, with an IQ of 100, the skilled trades are gonna be tough.

Which gets you back to the very low-end of the "truck driver" segment.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: can you explain what this means - what numbers are considered infinitesimally small (<1,000,000).

A Gaussian is what is known as a "rapidly decreasing function" - once it falls off, it falls off dramatically quickly [i.e. is very soon indistinguishable from zero, or at least the random noise near zero].

And La Griffe du Lion has made a "career" out of the single observation that the variance in a Gaussian [how fast the Gaussian drops off] can be a much more important tool in predicting outcomes than the mere mean of the Gaussian.

For whatever "reason", Caucasians [and especially Caucasian men] have relatively broad, flat Gaussians, which taper off very slowly, whereas minorities [to include both black Africans, American mestizi/indio's, and even Asians] have Gaussians which tend to fall off much more sharply [leaving most of their populations clustered very closely around their means, with very few outliers].

Anyway, my best guess is that if you went out and grabbed 100 black Americans off the street, at random, and administered IQ tests to them, then you simply would not find any who had an IQ at or above 120.

And I imagine that if you were to repeat the experiment over and over and over, for months or even years on end, then you still wouldn't find them.

I.e. my best guess is that you'd have to narrow your sample pool to some extremely selective populations [Hoover Institution, George Mason Dept of Economics, etc] before you'd randomly stumble upon a black American with an IQ at or above 120.

Anonymous: Because I know plenty of African Americans who have at least 120 IQ.

I've spent my entire life in universities [child of a university professor, born in a university hospital], and my experience has been that "university-atmosphere" blacks are very good at faking intelligence [they wear the clothes, and learn the mannerisms, and speak the lingo], but with just a few appropriate questions here or there, you'll realize that they're frauds.

It's especially bad in the university hospitals [where I've spent an enormous amount of time] - the Black physicians [and nurses] know how to fake it, but when the pedal hits the metal, they prove to be uniformly incompetent.

No offense to the three or four competent black surgeons in the USA, but if I [or someone in my family] were a patient in an Emergency Room, and if the ER docs assigned me [or someone in my family] a black surgeon as my attending physician, then I'd go postal.

And dittoes the assignment of a black nurse to a patient in an ICU - I'd watch her like a hawk.

Or better yet, hire a private duty nurse.

Anonymous said...

JAN: Apparently there has been an increase in affluent (largely higher IQ, white, Jewish, Asian) having kids. There have also been a number of articles about the younger generation of women from top colleges and universities shunning traditional extreme feminism and both marrying and having kids younger.

Do you have any hard data to back up this assertion?

Because all of the data which I'm seeing - ALL OF IT - indicates that the situation is only getting worse.

But boy, if you could point out any data [any at all] which indicates that we've righted this sinking ship, then let's break out the champagne tonight.

JAN: The reproductive problem lies with the middle class who cannot compete with the affluent for the high costs of childbearing or the lower classes who are content to pump out kids at the expense of the taxpayer.

I spend an enormous amount of time worrying about this very thing.

The image of that childless, "middle class" yuppie couple, from Idiocracy, is literally seared into my brain:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuLV2q4UMM4

It seems we’re demographically heading to a Latin America type of elite IQ/race/wealth oligarchy future.

Yep, I spend an enormous amount of time worrying about this, as well.

BTW, there's a new video making the rounds lately:

BBC: Chav Hunt

Pretty damned hilarious, at least from the point of view of the boys-will-be-boys/juvenile-delinquent/teen-vandal school of sicko humor.

I went to Urban Dictionary, to learn a little more about the "Chav" phenomenon, and discovered there are 112 definitions, spanning 16 pages, with literally tens of thousands of reviews:

Urban Dictionary: "Chav"

Then I went over to YouTube and discovered that there are more than 8,000 "Chav" videos:

YouTube: "Chav"

Anonymous said...

The educational disparity between NE Asians and Blacks is largely explained by who gets the girls.

Young NE Asian men are not going to win by a macho contest: bling-bling, gangsta behavior, low body fat-high muscle mass ratio, and other tough-guy posturing.

They "win" by having more future status and income. That is a strategy that works for them. That means studying to get the girl. A love of learning certainly doesn't enter into it, any more than Blacks love sports.

Each is merely a means to get the girl.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:31 – I was surprised as well to hear that the upper class are breeding again. This trend is not as well documented or establised as the plunge in birthrates since the 60’s but here are a few links:

(1) Prof. Borjas Blog

An Interesting New Trend in Fertility
The modern economic theory of fertility dates back to the work of Gary Becker and Jacob Mincer in the early 1960s. They stressed that fertility responds both to changes in a household's income as well as to changes in the "price" of having more children. Mincer, in particular, emphasized these price effects, arguing that the number of children a family would have would fall as women's wages rise. The intuition is obvious: a rise in the mother's wage makes having children more expensive.
This framework, with some minor tweaks, is often used to explain why fertility falls as a country becomes richer. As the country's per-capita income rises, the additional wealth would encourage families to have more children---but the higher price of a woman's time would encourage families to have fewer children. The traditional assumption (supported by data) was that the price effect outweighs the income effect.

But there are a few signs that we may need to rethink some of these ideas. This is from a recent NPR report:
The newest status symbol for the nation's most affluent families is fast becoming a big brood of kids.
Historically, the country-club set has had the smallest number of kids. But in the past 10 years, the number of high-end earners who are having three or more kids has shot up nearly 30 percent.
Some say the trend is driven by a generation of over-achieving career women who have quit work and transferred all of their competitive energy to baby making.
They call it "competitive birthing."


(2) NPR Radio

(3) NYTime Blog

March 23, 2007, 10:03 am
The Manhattan Baby Boom
By Sam Roberts
Since 2000, according to census figures released last year, the number of children under age 5 living in Manhattan mushroomed by more than 32 percent. And though their ranks have been growing for several years, a new analysis for The New York Times makes clear for the first time who has been driving that growth: wealthy white families.

At least half of the growth was generated by children who are white and non-Hispanic. Their ranks expanded by more than 40 percent from 2000 to 2005. For the first time since at least the 1960s, white children now outnumber either black or Hispanic youngsters in that age group in Manhattan.

(4) UK London Times Online

Four richer, four poorer
How many children make the perfect family? Four seems to be the new ideal for affluent parents. Our correspondent explains why, and two mothers give conflicting views on large families

dougjnn said...

anon 12:05 said:

For whatever "reason", Caucasians [and especially Caucasian men] have relatively broad, flat Gaussians, which taper off very slowly, whereas minorities [to include both black Africans, American mestizi/indio's, and even Asians] have Gaussians which tend to fall off much more sharply [leaving most of their populations clustered very closely around their means, with very few outliers].

I've seen La Griffe use a lower number for the IQ SD of African Americans, about 12.5 vs. 15 for the overall US SD IIRC, but I can't recall seeing any other racial or ethnic specific SD's. I'd be most interested in any info, with links, you have concerning NE Asian SD's.

I have seen it called narrower, but then I think that my have been on AmRen -- which is not exactly a useful authority to cite.

Mark said...

Sad but actually encouraging in a way. Is it too much to expect that the less government can do, the less meddling it will try to do?

Sounds like a good idea, but that hasn't stopped Congress from lavishing billions more on Head Start.

Anonymous said...

It seems we’re demographically heading to a Latin America type of elite IQ/race/wealth oligarchy future.

The squeeze is obviously hardest on the middle. The upper class types keep away from the lower class with little difficulty, but the lower-class is always finding ways of nipping at the heels of the middle. If they can't afford a home on their home, the lower-class will get them in middle class neighborhoods with governemnt subsidies, or by bunching up with one or two or three other lower-class families. This, of course, is especially true of immigrants.

How does the middle class keep away from this problem? By moving out further into the burbs, increasing their commute times, and having fewer kids.

Anonymous said...

Baby boom:

Almost every time people see my children, since my fourth child, I'm asked if I homeschool. I do. We don't dress shabbily or homely at all and because it is always after comments are made about our number of children that I'm asked, I believe it is only the size of our family that begs the question.

A commenter on the Borjas blog wondered if it wasn't more demographic: more children were born to religious, traditional mothers so...

I'm having my fifth child and don't relate at all to the women in the Times or NPR. Since my teens, I've believed that a woman's place was at home; I married at 21 to a high I.Q. man who himself was only 19. We were able to do this because of the Military. He's 28 and about to be promoted to manager at a electrical test equipment lab where he'll break into the 6 figures. I suppose he could have gotten a comparable job a few years earlier if he'd gone to college, but it wasn't worth it to him to put his love life on hold AND have a lot more debt.

We are in that small percentage that Murray writes about who have I.Q.s above 130 but no college degree.

Toadal said...

JAN said ...
Toadal – sfgate.com shut down the comments section to the article you cited. Words can hurt and ideas are dangerous – probably too many of both caused them to delete the comments and contact the appropriate authorities.

To Very, very depressing - JAN

The sfgate.com comment section for the article remains available and the TheTree's comment remains up.

Today the SF Chronicle published a very similar article: "Children of color being left behind" whose readers have left comments that mirror TheTree in many respects.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article/comments/view?f=/c/a/2007/08/16/MNQIRII2L.DTL

SN said...

My impression here in London is that having children is now seen as a status symbol by the white upper middle class; because children are now extremely expensive you have to be wealthy to be able to afford to do it - it's a peacock's tail phenomena. It distinguishes them from the middle class, who can't afford more than 1-2 kids. And they're not in competition with the underclass whose children are state-supported. -SN

Anonymous said...

Toadal Apologies for my mistake, the links below to the commentary section at sfgate.com do work (sfgate.com showed a “comments for this article are disabled” message when I accidently left off the last letter of the hyperlink).

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article/comments/view?f=/c/a/2007/08/15/MNI1RHSRG.DTL

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article/comments/view?f=/c/a/2007/08/16/MNQIRII2L.DTL

The comments to these articles are an interesting sample of how public opinion may be shifting away from the elite’s MSM PC orthodoxy. I was as much shocked by the absence of truthspeak defenders as by the presence of many comments on the kings lack of clothing (in a San Francisco paper no less).

I especially liked the comments noting how Asians (immigrants often even more disadvantaged than native-born Blacks/Hispanics) are ignored as people of color because they undermined the idea of systematic non-White victimization in an irredeemably racists system. Or as someone wrote: “Asians aren't people of color because they do well?”

It’s clear that the Internet and blog thing is going to have to be more strongly regulated via hate speech, speech codes and public shaming/shoutdowns via some form of reduction ad Hilterum. The commentators at sfgate.com are way off message, emboldening other strays and making PC advocates/idea look silly in the naked unstaged forum of words, reason and ideas.

- JAN

Anonymous said...

"Lumping all Asians together is even distorting than lumping Hispanics with Europeans as “White” when booking criminals. NE Asians like the Japanese, Koreans and Chinese (from most law abiding to least excluding white collar crimes like tax evasion which can be rampant in ethnic enclaves) are a far cry from other Asians like the Polynesians, Vietnamese, Hmong, Pakistanis (called Asian in the UK) where drugs, gangs, violent crime, domestic abuse, home invasions, etc are big problems."

First of all, Pakistainis are not thought of as Asian in the US. The fact of the matter is that Americans do lump all the Asians together. The belief that all Asians are smarter, more law abiding and more moral permeates our schools and our blogs. Now that we're seeing that even the Koreans (Cho & a guy who attempted to commit an act of violence against me) are capable of violent crime, maybe we'll begin to see Asians as human. The problem with statistics is that they are from the past. When circumstances change, they can blind us to reality and/danger that is right under our noses. It looks like the high performing Asians may have distorted the statistics for Asians as a group anyway.

What we'll see in years to come is that the much maligned white male isn't the only male capable of extremely pathological behavior. Asians (Hispanics, too) from various backgrounds are demonstrating they are equally capable of being child molesters and mass murderers. In fact the only claim to fame that might be left to the white male is a higher percentage of serial killers among the population...

Anonymous said...

"I suppose he could have gotten a comparable job a few years earlier if he'd gone to college, but it wasn't worth it to him to put his love life on hold AND have a lot more debt.

We are in that small percentage that Murray writes about who have I.Q.s above 130 but no college degree."

I smell some pro-military propaganda. What would happen if 130+IQ hubby got killed in action? Oh that's right, unlike everyone else, he can't be dragged back to Iraq.

Anonymous said...

dougjnn: I've seen La Griffe use a lower number for the IQ SD of African Americans, about 12.5 vs. 15 for the overall US SD IIRC, but I can't recall seeing any other racial or ethnic specific SD's. I'd be most interested in any info, with links, you have concerning NE Asian SD's.

Well, in the case of "East" Asians, take a look at Figure 4 [and the ambient discussion about Figure 4] within the essay The Smart Fraction Theory of IQ and the Wealth of Nations.

But LGdL sees this same phenomenon [broad flat bell curve -vs- narrow steep bell curve] all over the place.

For instance, in the essay Why Most Serial Killers Are White Men he posits an underlying "criminality" index, and then goes on to show that a broad, flat bell curve for caucasian criminality shows why caucasians are both vastly more likely to be choir boys and vastly more likely to be mass murderers [see especially Figure 9].

Blacks and Hispanics have much higher means for their criminality index, ergo they are much more likely to commit at least one murder, but because their bell curves fall off so sharply, they lack the profoundly devious wickedness necessary to become something like a Hannibal Lecter.

Anonymous said...

Almost every time people see my children, since my fourth child, I'm asked if I homeschool. I do... We are in that small percentage that Murray writes about who have I.Q.s above 130 but no college degree.

Got any sisters who are still single?

Anonymous said...

Steve -- had a chance to look at the California test scores yet?

http://star.cde.ca.gov/

Anonymous said...

Well, in the case of "East" Asians, take a look at Figure 4

Which is speculative and dismissed thus:

An Asian distribution with a standard deviation 39 % of the white brings the two smart fractions into coincidence. An even narrower distribution would be required to explain the Lynn-Vanhanen data. Either way, there is no evidence to support such a difference in spread. I'm afraid we will have to look elsewhere for an explanation.

For the great frequency with which the narrower IQ bell curve for East Asians is tossed about as fact, you'd think someone would be able produce some hard data.

Anonymous said...

Why do people always cite La Griffe about Asian vs European IQ variances? La Griffe himself notes (see earlier comment) that what is shown in his Fig. 4 is *not* in agreement with actual data. Please read for comprehension!

If you want actual data, look at SAT scores, which show a *larger* variance for Asians than for non-Hispanic whites. Admittedly, this lumps together all subgroups of Asians, but I have never seen any data supporting a lower variance for NE Asian IQs.

BTW, on another canard originating from La Griffe: the Asian SAT verbal average is just a few points below that for whites, and it includes scores from recent immigrant test takers and others for whom English is not their first language. The gap is much less than a standard deviation, suggesting that the Asian verbal IQ mght actually be higher than that of non-Hspanic whites.

If you look at the kids who score top 10 in the US on the extremely hard USAMO (Mathematical Olympiad exams) and go on to represent the US in international composition, you will find that typically half or so are NE Asian -- despite the fact that Asians are only 4% of the total population. There is no evidence that the far tail in IQ is predominantly occupied by Europeans. Quite the opposite.

Anonymous said...

Toadal's earlier comment is right. It's staring us in the face-- the Asia-Pacific people have the standards. It's the families! Period-- and the families are the culture. Change it and you change everything.

Anonymous said...

It's the families! Period-- and the families are the culture.

Look, I can't stand these chicken -v- egg quarrels, but you people who say that "culture" [which I guess amounts to whether or not the kids are "allowed" to watch TV -vs- being "forced" to read books] determines "excellence in education" [which, in turn, I guess, is supposed to have some beneficial effect on gray matter], really ought to try to be sufficiently intellectually honest with yourselves to at least CONSIDER the possibility that the causality actually flows in the opposite direction: Namely, that, by and large, gray matter tends to bring about an interest in education which in turn leads to a desire to read [rather than merely watching TV & playing video games all day long].

Every time I hear this stuff about "if only we could get them to read" or "if only we could get some books into their homes" or "if only there were more public service announcements begging and pleading with them to read books" or "if only we could build some museums in their neighborhoods" or "if only we could get them to listen to Mozart instead of P Diddly" or "if only blah blah blah yada yada yada whatever", all I can think is "Pearls before swine, pearls before swine..."

David said...

"all I can think is 'Pearls before swine'"

Well, let's make sure the non-swine have some pearls around to choose from. In many places (e.g. rural "Amurica") all that's available is dreck. Cable TV, porn, and the Bible.

The major media of yesteryear (the old-line movie studios and early TV, plus radio) had what today would be considered highbrow elements. Shakespeare movies, literary adaptations of more modern classics, etc. Things of that type were common. (Though at the time, the real highbrows decried it as vulgar.)

Since then, a downward slide. Some intelligent stuff is on NPR, occasionally. But what else? It's almost exclusively "Big Mama," Beyonce, Cedric the Entertainer, Jeff Foxworthy, and Fox News that's echoing in the hinterlands of Flyover - and everywhere else, too.

No wonder commentators now wax over the unique "intelligence" and "social satire" of...The Simpsons. (!)

Just giving the customers what they demand? No. By and large, people take what's given, especially if it's given insistently and exclusively. Only a few elite are in a position to determine MSM content. And what we have (rampant perversity and stupidity) is what these people want to provide, period. You're supposed to adjust to it. Most do.

A young mind can starve in America. Young minds *are* starving in America.

The only rescue for many is the internet. An alternative to the MSM and its relentless "dumb 'em down and keep 'em dumb" agenda.

If the pearls aren't made available, all you will end up with is swine.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I’m conspiratorial as the next guy, but I firmly believe in markets and the ruthless efficiency of capitalism. If there were a real and substantial unmet demand for intellectually stimulating MSM that someone could profit off of you’d see that niche filled PDQ.

I do agree there is a MSM bias in appealing to baser instincts in part as a reflection of the nihilistic morality of our elite and how they stereotype the lumpen. However, the battle of popular tastes you image was long ago decided in the marketplace when D.W. Griffith and Louis B. Mayer provided the public with entirely different cultural fare options. The public have been voting with their feet and dollars since.

- JAN

Anonymous said...

David: In many places (e.g. rural "Amurica") all that's available is dreck. Cable TV, porn, and the Bible... Some intelligent stuff is on NPR, occasionally.

Well, first off, dude, if you really think, in your heart of hearts, that the Bible is "dreck", and that National Pubic Radio is "intelligent", then we're wasting our time talking to each other.

David: "Big Mama," Beyonce, Cedric the Entertainer, Jeff Foxworthy, and Fox News... The Simpsons... a few elite... determine MSM content... the MSM

Dude, you're talking about TELEVISION. I'm talking about READING BOOKS.

Television necessarily stupidifies people.

And while reading books does not necessarily enlighten people [there are plenty of books out there which were intentionally designed to turn your soul into an empty, coal-black vessel, primed to be filled with evil], on the other hand, reading books does not necessarily stupidify you the way that watching television does.

David: A young mind can starve in America. Young minds *are* starving in America... If the pearls aren't made available, all you will end up with is swine.

Again, though, it's imperative that you be sufficiently intellectually honest with yourself to be able to arrive at the point [intellectually] where you can at least CONSIDER the possiblity that it wouldn't do any good - that if you were to grab a bunch of these IQ-80-ish & IQ-70-ish nitwits off the street, and set them down in the library - that none of them would even get up out of their seats, walk over & take a book off the shelf, and start reading it - that instead they would spend their time scrawling graffiti all over the walls, and breaking the windows, and leaving urine & bowel movements in every little corner of the building EXCEPT [of course] for the urinals & the commodes themselves.

[Well, I suppose that if they were smart enough to figure out that they could light the books on fire, then they might call up their posses for a big bonfire - BYO Thunderbird.]

I.e. at some point you have to consider the possiblity that it isn't the books which make the man, but rather it's the man which makes the books.

PS: If you think that I'm delusional, then spend an afternoon reading all the stories documented at THE FABULOUS RUINS OF DETROIT.

Or treat yourself to Theodore Dalrymple's Why Havana Had to Die.

Or skim through Andrew Anthony's The Day Reality Hit Home [Part I, Part II, Part III].

Or, if you really love TV all that much, then watch Chav on the bus.

David said...

Anonymous, I take your point and largely agree with you. I'm speaking only as someone who grew up in a stupid rural community and was intellectually "saved" by seeking out better material. Thank God it was there!

In certain populations, such things as public libraries, public education, state funding for the arts, etc. are viable. Mostly in Europe.

The point being, though these things are certainly dysfunctional here, some of the people who can truly benefit from them are still around. Don't forget us.

David said...

Anon. 8/17/2007 11:40 AM said:

In fact the only claim to fame that might be left to the white male is a higher percentage of serial killers among the population...

And Anon. 8/17/2007 12:16 PM said:

because [blacks' and Hispanics'] bell curves fall off so sharply, they lack the profoundly devious wickedness necessary to become something like a Hannibal Lecter.

False, gentlemen.

"The Boston Globe contributes to the discussion about the number of black serial killers with this information:

"Eric Hickey, a professor of criminal psychology who has collected data on 399 serial killers from 1800 to 1995, said while the majority of them have been white, blacks represent 22 percent of the cases, while they make up about 13 percent of the U.S. population.

"'Blacks actually are overrepresented among serial killers,' said Hickey, who teaches at California State University at Fresno."

Link (scroll down).

This is pretty well-known among experts (scroll down), but rarely mentioned - for obvious reasons.

Gentlemen, do your empirical research prior to formulating your theories. That goes for you, too, Griffy, old boy.

Here's a recent atrocity. Not a word about it. (Dwelling on it wouldn't promote the home team of integration and diversity.) So, who will look into how many others these beasts maybe killed more discreetly?

Anonymous said...

David: Anonymous, I take your point and largely agree with you. I'm speaking only as someone who grew up in a stupid rural community and was intellectually "saved" by seeking out better material. Thank God it was there!

I think we're in agreement again.

I said that you have to consider that it's the man who makes the books, which is precisely what you did - you sought them out.

But with huge swaths of the population, you have to consider the possibility that NOTHING will do any good - that if you literally place the books in their laps, then they still won't bother to open them.

To get them to read, you'd have to set up a totalitarian system the likes of which even Joseph Stalin never contemplated - you'd need literally a 1-1 pairing of "IQ greater than 100" people with "IQ less than 100" people, where the "IQ greater than 100" people were armed with whips and chains and electric cattle prods, and they beat and shocked the "IQ less than 100 people" if they looked up from their books.

But even that might not do any good - somehow you'd have to test them to see if they were actually reading, and not just faking it.

So the "IQ greater than 100" people would spend half their days beating and torturing the "IQ less than 100" people, and the other half of their days writing, administering and grading the exams they demanded of the "IQ less than 100" people.

It gets to a point where you realize the whole thing is insanity and that maybe you ought to just let people be people, and if the stupid ones want to watch Oprah and play video games and download pr0n all day, then, well, there's not a heckuva lot you can do about it.

Other than encouraging the smart ones to make as many babies as is humanly possible, if for no other reason than to keep the great ship of state from sinking to the bottom of the ocean.

PS: I bet that someday you'll come to the conclusion that that "stupid rural community" was a lot smarter than you gave it credit for.

After all, it produced you, didn't it?

David said...

Well well, Anonymous. I suppose you're right: what is fundamentally needed is not the books but the smart people who read/write books.

By the way, I was not produced (born) in that stupid rural community. Any environmental good influences were the books I read and a few TV and radio shows. Thank goodness they were there.

I believe neither of us advocates more RIF for the hollers or the ghettos at govt. expense, though. (I don't advocate NPR, I just enjoy being a free rider while it lasts.)

You are not comprehensive in your explanation of stupidity when you dismiss TV. The types who won't open a book unless it's placed in their laps are now also the people who will not look at any screen unless the shot changes every 2 seconds (this has been measured, and it isn't just children) and/or a highly contrasting sound such as a burst of music, the "f word," or a gasoline explosion occurs on the soundtrack. I make films and observe that more people have no attention span. Not a short span - no span, like a cat with nothing to eat, torture, or hunt. (Look at one sometime.) Any shot lasting 2+ seconds without explosions or pumped-up music is "deadly" intrinsically, for all practical purposes. (My films win awards. So, uh, it's not that.) Observe the constant shaking of the camera and the little gratuitous zooms.

The drooling darlings also need pumped-up colors. Broadcast TV used to have saturation standards; no more. A red shirt now becomes a fragment from Betelgeuse's inner core. Grass isn't green - it's retina-destroying neon-emerald. Break off the brightness knob; otherwise dummy might get to staring at his food or his navel again.

Anonymous said...

Me: Again, though, it's imperative that you be sufficiently intellectually honest with yourself to be able to arrive at the point [intellectually] where you can at least CONSIDER the possiblity that it wouldn't do any good - that if you were to grab a bunch of these IQ-80-ish & IQ-70-ish nitwits off the street, and set them down in the library - that none of them would even get up out of their seats, walk over & take a book off the shelf, and start reading it - that instead they would spend their time scrawling graffiti all over the walls, and breaking the windows, and leaving urine & bowel movements in every little corner of the building EXCEPT [of course] for the urinals & the commodes themselves.

[Well, I suppose that if they were smart enough to figure out that they could light the books on fire, then they might call up their posses for a big bonfire - BYO Thunderbird.]


Ha.

Look at what I just stumbled upon, in an old Theodore Dalrymple essay:

...I saw the revolt against civilization and the restraints and frustrations it entails in many countries, but nowhere more starkly than in Liberia in the midst of the civil war there. I arrived in Monrovia when there was no longer any electricity or running water; no shops, no banks, no telephones, no post office; no schools, no transport, no clinics, no hospitals. Almost every building had been destroyed in whole or in part: and what had not been destroyed had been looted.

I inspected the remains of the public institutions. They had been destroyed with a thoroughness that could not have been the result of mere military conflict. Every last piece of equipment in the hospitals (which had long since been emptied of staff and patients) had been laboriously disassembled beyond hope of repair or use. Every wheel had been severed by metal cutters from every trolley, cut at the cost of what must have been a very considerable effort. It was as if a horde of people with terrible experiences of hospitals, doctors, and medicine had passed through to exact their revenge.

But this was not the explanation, because every other institution had undergone similar destruction. The books in the university library had been one and all—without exception—pulled from the shelves and piled into contemptuous heaps, many with pages torn from them or their spines deliberately broken. It was the revenge of barbarians upon civilization, and of the powerless upon the powerful, or at least upon what they perceived as the source of their power. Ignorance revolted against knowledge, for the same reasons that my brother and I smashed the radio all those years before. Could there have been a clearer indication of hatred of the lower for the higher?

In fact there was—and not very far away, in a building called the Centennial Hall, where the inauguration ceremonies of the presidents of Liberia took place. The hall was empty now, except for the busts of former presidents, some of them overturned, around the walls—and a Steinway grand piano, probably the only instrument of its kind in the entire country, two-thirds of the way into the hall. The piano, however, was not intact: its legs had been sawed off (though they were by design removable) and the body of the piano laid on the ground, like a stranded whale. Around it were disposed not only the sawed-off legs, but little piles of human feces.

I had never seen a more graphic rejection of human refinement. I tried to imagine other possible meanings of the scene but could not. Of course, the piano represented a culture that was not fully Liberia's own and had not been assimilated fully by everyone in the country: but that the piano represented not just a particular culture but the very idea of civilization itself was obvious in the very coarseness of the gesture of contempt...