May 13, 2013

Richwine finally speaks out

Jason Richwine finally speaks out in the Washington Examiner in an interview with Byron York:
A talk with Jason Richwine: 'I do not apologize for any of my work'
May 13, 2013 | 4:22 pm

Byron York
Chief Political Correspondent
The Washington Examiner

"It seemed like that day lasted forever," says Jason Richwine of last Wednesday, when he found himself in the middle of a media firestorm over his writings about Hispanic immigrants and intelligence. "I knew that this probably would not end well." 
It didn't. On Friday morning, the 31 year-old scholar resigned from the Heritage Foundation, where he had co-authored the new report, "The Fiscal Cost of Unlawful Immigrants and Amnesty to the U.S. Taxpayer." The paper, released last Monday and written largely by Heritage scholar Robert Rector, argued that Hispanic immigrants to the United States, most of them low-skill, end up costing the government more in benefits than they pay in taxes. It was an explosive entry into the debate over the comprehensive immigration reform measure currently being considered in the Senate. By the time of its release, reform advocates on the left and right had already published a number of "prebuttals" arguing that Rector and Richwine had it all wrong, that in fact immigration would be a net benefit in years to come. 
Heritage expected that debate. What it did not expect was the firestorm that broke out Wednesday morning when a liberal Washington Post blogger posted an article titled, "Heritage study co-author opposed letting in immigrants with low IQs." The blogger, Dylan Matthews, wrote that Richwine, who earned a doctorate from Harvard University in 2009, had written a dissertation, "IQ and Immigration Policy," which argued that on average immigrants to the U.S., particularly Hispanic immigrants, have lower IQ scores than "the white native population." Admitting immigrants with higher IQs, Richwine argued, would be a better immigration policy than admitting low-IQ newcomers. 
The reaction was immediate and harsh. "The Heritage Foundation's immigration guru wasn't just racist -- he's wrong," wrote the Atlantic. "Ugly racism and xenophobia dressed up in economic hyperbole," said the chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. "You have someone who is a racist, obviously, right?" asked a Univision anchor of a Heritage spokesman. 
Heritage quickly tried to put some distance between itself and its scholar. "The Harvard paper is not a work product of the Heritage Foundation," communications vice president Mike Gonzalez said in a statement. "Its findings do not reflect the positions of the Heritage Foundation or the conclusions of our study on the cost of amnesty to U.S. taxpayers, as race and ethnicity are not part of Heritage immigration policy recommendations." 
Richwine knew he was in trouble the minute the first story broke. "The accusation of racism is one of the worst things that anyone can call you in public life," he says. "Once that word is out there, it's very difficult to recover from it, even when it is completely untrue." 

Read the whole thing there.

20 comments:

d said...

This isn't going away.

Dreyfuss/Richwine is being persecuted because of his Ph.D. thesis. Signed off by Jencks!

This is intended to have a chilling effect on all intellectual freedom, everywhere. But (and maybe I am showing my residual idealism here) I don't think it will have its intended effect. I think it will embolden the heretics.

Look, if you can't be a good neutered conservative, why not just come out of the closet flaming?

Anonymous said...

I think 'Richwining' should replace 'Watsoning' as a term of art.

He was such an idiot to publicly talk about race and IQ. He got Richwined and is now flipping burgers.

josh said...

" and further damaged himself by making tone-deaf remarks during a public discussion in Washington. "

This use of "tone-deaf" is interesting. It signifies both "impolite" as a surface meaning, and "saying what we all have internalized that we are not allowed to say" is the real meaning. And yet, the journalist would never imagine himself to be a member of the inner party despite sending cryptic warnings to the parties enemies in newspeak.

Anonymous said...

The highlights:

Richwine knew from his own observations of other such controversies that they usually resulted in someone losing his job and his reputation. When he got home Wednesday night, he told his wife, a stay-at-home mother to their two children, ages six months and two and a half years, that things didn't look good...

"I don't apologize for any of the things that I said," Richwine continued. "But I do regret that I couldn't give more detail. And I also regret that I didn't think more about how the average lay person would perceive these things, as opposed to an academic audience..."

"...he wanted to make clear that he defends his work. "I do not apologize for any of my work," he told me. "I'm proud of it. But I do regret the way it has been used..."

"Legally, I cannot discuss the circumstances of my departure, and even more broadly, I have absolutely no interest in disparaging Heritage," he told me. "I have nothing negative to say about Heritage. I have so many friends there."

Anonymous said...

It's rather misleading to claim that AlternativeRight.com published "holocaust denial" material. Obviously Byron York is relying on Rachel Maddow's sensationalistic reporting.

B.B.

Anonymous said...

Byron York isn't doing Richwine any favors in this piece.

Cail Corishev said...

When Christians were meeting secretly for worship in the catacombs of Rome, I don't think the emperor ever sent the troops down there to clean the place out and get rid of every one of them. It was enough to grab some once in a while and throw them to the lions, to provide the masses with simultaneous entertainment and object lesson.

That's what these situations make me think of. It's not that every person who writes something about race and IQ, or uses the word "niggardly," gets purged. In fact, most don't, and when someone does, he usually hasn't said anything that he and a dozen others haven't said before. But once in a while the elites grab a heretic to make an example of, and if you're he, you're screwed.

I think that also answers the, "How could he have been surprised by this?" question that comes up. It's a surprise because he didn't say anything new, so he didn't expect any special reaction. It wasn't until someone yelled "raciss!" that he had any idea he'd been picked.

europeasant said...

"The reaction was immediate and harsh"

The social discourse is being controlled from the top.

To "them" we the lower 90th percent we are the peasants.

This is the way it has always been and always will be, unless a revolution upsets the system.

Cail Corishev said...

Richwine continued. "But I do regret that I couldn't give more detail. And I also regret that I didn't think more about how the average lay person would perceive these things, as opposed to an academic audience..."

This has absolutely nothing to do with the "average lay person." Lay people never would have heard of Richwine, let alone his dissertation, if their betters hadn't decided to use him as an object lesson.

Anonymous said...

d said:This isn't going away...I think it will embolden the heretics

The fact that public figures like Rush Limbaugh are pushing back at all means that we may have already bottomed out, and are ready for a rebound. Maybe most of you are old enough to remember a freer time before the PC nadir but things are still better than they were this time last year. To me, it's starting to feel like a Khrushchev era thaw.

In person at least, PC shibboleths are now just as likely to elicit eye-rolls as mandatory assent. Jokes that would have once hushed the room now bring forth hearty laughter and high-fives. I've literally heard academic anti-racists crack jokes about the Trayvon Martin affair, so things are not at all as bad as they look on paper.

It is too easy to forget that real people are relaxing their attitudes even as the prestige press is doubling down on the narrative. I'm sure I'm not the only one to have noticed this. I wouldn't recommend saying anything too crude in the wrong company, but don't let the illusion of omnipotent uniformity fool you into conceding a public culture that is still very much up for grabs.

-The Judean People's Front

Anonymous said...

Why does Richwine's study on IQ reflect poorly upon Heritage, but not Harvard? Why is Heritage the one scrambling to fix its name, but not Harvard?

Anonymous said...

Richwine should sue Rachel Maddow and MSNBC. Obviously her attacks are scurrilous and based on guilt by association. They were intended to harm his career and cause him financial loss. I would say it's about time charges of racism be pushed back against in the court. Basically any loopy Latino can call you a racist if you don't believe the entire population of Mexico has a right to move to the US. Also someone like Unz should stand up for him. I'm appalled the American Conservative didn't publish his rebuttal to Unz's flawed analysis regarding Hispanic crime. Richwine is a serious scholar and should be treated with respect.

Anonymous said...

That is true, but assessments of AlternativeRight at the time of its founding pegged it as a white nationalist site.

Note that even in the midst of the public denunciations, the MSM are now using our nomenclature. This is a big improvement over the previous miscategorizations and pejoratives.

And also, it is hard to read this and not feel some sympathy for the guy. All this Harvard scholar did was publish something true that was backed by data and now he can't feed his two young children? Where is the justice in that? This is the sort of blackballing during the McCarthy period that old communists still weep over.

I disagree that York is doing Richwine no favors. I can easily imagine a hit piece by someone like Rubin that would provoke no sympathy at all.

Anonymous said...

I think the effect here is that people who want to do real scholarly research in this area will avoid "mainstream scholasticism" to begin with. Mainstream scholars in this area will increasingly become lightweights who are willing to accept money and prestige for telling the media what they want to hear. But they will be laughed at by other scientists.

The fact that jokes and private conversations about these subjects are now freer will simply ensure that anyone who hiccups about them in public will be ever more tarred and feathered no matter who they are. The media and their Red Guards may not be able yet to police private conversations among ordinary people (though I wouldn't put it past them as any sort of electronic privacy rapidly becomes a thing of the past) but they can shred anyone who wants to have a public life. Remember, media types are talking about the same things but they feel guilty about it want to punish others for it.

Gloria

Anonymous said...

this is an entirely serious post: Steve, if you come across a Richwine Fund of some sort, let your readers know. I would gladly contribute to his legal fees/money to tide him over until he finds a new job etc. The guy's 31, and he has a PhD. This means he's been working for..what? 5 years, tops? Unemployment might sincerely destroy him financially.

d said...

Tone deaf just means honest.

York was covering his own ass in this piece. He's a jellyfish.

James A. Donald said...

"This isn't going away...I think it will embolden the heretics"

"The fact that public figures like Rush Limbaugh are pushing back at all means that we may have already bottomed out, and are ready for a rebound"


Since 1820, people have been saying that we have hit bottom and are due for rebound, and we are still digging deeper.

Trees do not grow to the sky, but they grow taller than you expect before they fall.

Maguro said...

"Why does Richwine's study on IQ reflect poorly upon Heritage, but not Harvard? Why is Heritage the one scrambling to fix its name, but not Harvard?"

Great question. Heritage didn't even have anything to do with the IQ study, that was all Harvard.

Bill said...

I don't see anything in the article about what Heritage knew and when about Richwine's dissertation. I don't see anything in the article about the process leading up to Richwine's firing. Which is kinda odd, given that these are the most interesting things about this story.

What I do see in the article is what several commenters above do: Byron York vigorously covering his own ass. Did York take this assignment voluntarily or under orders?

Anonymous said...

"The Heritage Foundation's immigration guru wasn't just racist -- he's wrong," - Huh. so there is racist and right. quite the admission on the atlantic's part.