April 30, 2010

Did everybody get the latest Watsoning backwards?

A reader writes regarding the Watsoning of Harvard Law student Stephanie Grace:
What's really strange is that, if you read Grace's email with a modicum of care, it seems like she is writing to people who firmly believe that racial differences in IQ have a genetic basis, and she is telling them she's still not convinced.  No one has pointed this out, as far as I can see.  So will the addressees get outed/Summersed etc.?

Here is what was leaked from the email:
… I just hate leaving things where I feel I misstated my position.

I absolutely do not rule out the possibility that African Americans are, on average, genetically predisposed to be less intelligent. I could also obviously be convinced that by controlling for the right variables, we would see that they are, in fact, as intelligent as white people under the same circumstances. The fact is, some things are genetic. African Americans tend to have darker skin. Irish people are more likely to have red hair. (Now on to the more controversial:)

Women tend to perform less well in math due at least in part to prenatal levels of testosterone, which also account for variations in mathematics performance within genders. This suggests to me that some part of intelligence is genetic, just like identical twins raised apart tend to have very similar IQs and just like I think my babies will be geniuses and beautiful individuals whether I raise them or give them to an orphanage in Nigeria. I don’t think it is that controversial of an opinion to say I think it is at least possible that African Americans are less intelligent on a genetic level, and I didn’t mean to shy away from that opinion at dinner.

I also don’t think that there are no cultural differences or that cultural differences are not likely the most important sources of disparate test scores (statistically, the measurable ones like income do account for some raw differences). I would just like some scientific data to disprove the genetic position, and it is often hard given difficult to quantify cultural aspects. One example (courtesy of Randall Kennedy) is that some people, based on crime statistics, might think African Americans are genetically more likely to be violent, since income and other statistics cannot close the racial gap. In the slavery era, however, the stereotype was of a docile, childlike, African American, and they were, in fact, responsible for very little violence (which was why the handful of rebellions seriously shook white people up). Obviously group wide rates of violence could not fluctuate so dramatically in ten generations if the cause was genetic, and so although there are no quantifiable data currently available to “explain” away the racial discrepancy in violent crimes, it must be some nongenetic cultural shift. Of course, there are pro-genetic counterarguments, but if we assume we can control for all variables in the given time periods, the form of the argument is compelling.

In conclusion, I think it is bad science to disagree with a conclusion in your heart, and then try (unsuccessfully, so far at least) to find data that will confirm what you want to be true. Everyone wants someone to take 100 white infants and 100 African American ones and raise them in Disney utopia and prove once and for all that we are all equal on every dimension, or at least the really important ones like intelligence. I am merely not 100% convinced that this is the case.

Please don’t pull a Larry Summers on me,

Hard to say, but it's definitely worth considering. It would be nice to know what came before that initial ellipse.

Clearly, though, Harvard Law dean Martha Minow's mischaracterization of Grace's email is libelous:
"Dear members of the Harvard Law School community:
I am writing this morning to address an email message in which one of our students suggested that black people are genetically inferior to white people

Will Dean Minow apologize for her libel?

It would also be nice if the leaker came forward to justify herself [or himself, as the case may be]. Was the leak part of a catty attempt to ruin another student? What justification was there for leaking?

Of course, the real crime by Grace was being well-informed, intelligent, and open-minded. Dean Minow likes her Harvard law students ignorant, obtuse, and bigoted.

It's like how I'm always being furiously denounced for defending African-Americans during Hurricane Katrina by pointing out that the national average of behavior by African-Americans is better than that seen in New Orleans, that New Orleans's culture of "Let the good times roll" is particularly debilitating for blacks. But, that's not the point. The point is: After such knowledge, what forgiveness?

By the way, I know the name of the accused leaker that everybody keeps leaving in the comments, so if you have some evidence that she is the leaker other than that "everybody says" she is, please let me know. Otherwise, I don't want to post her name in case the rumor turns out to be wrong.


Garland said...

It sounds like it at first--that's what I was thinking too--but by the end it sounds much more as though she is addressing people who are totally opposed to race realism. Hence all that stuff about Disney utopia and science vs. what's our heart wants. It's mainly just the beginning of the excerpt where she oddly seems to be trying to correct the impression that she's not at all open to race realism. What probably happened is that she had backed off the position in some way at the dinner and just wanted to clarify that she wasn't really backing off entirely.

It's true that the ellipses is annoying. And that despite references in the media to this being the full text of the email.

Anonymous said...

Her argument on crime and violence is faulty. There is a very simple reason why blacks can be expected to be more violent than whites or East Asians. Their brains.

Violence is sub-cortical. The avoidance of violence is cortical. No one doubts this.

The limbic system structures especially the amygdala are associated with violence and the expression of anger. This has been known for decades. There are for example hypothalamic rage syndrome and amygdala rage.


The frontal lobes mediate a person's actions when stimulated to rage.

Angry feelings arising in the amygdala are normally cooled by activity in the frontal cortex, part of the thinking region of the brain.

The lower IQ in blacks is not a mystical uncaused phenomenon. It is simply the result of having about 80cc less gray matter in their frontal lobes. This suggests that they will have different emotional patterns as well as less intellectual capacity.

Rain And said...

Here is a response from the girl that leaked the Grace email, and it appears to be part of the original email discussion. It doesn't seem to suggest that Grace was arguing with any hereditarians, since she is being treated like the foil.

OneSTDV said...

The Dean's libelous mischaracterization of Ms. Grace's views mirror similar misconstruing of Watson's comments.

For some reason, liberal creationists continually conflate intelligence with moral value.

Steve Sailer said...

Dear Rain And:

I'm not so sure that's the original leaker. The "Jack and Jill Politics" website calls her "forwarder" which isn't necessarily the same as leaker. "Jack & Jill" is a club for wealthy fair-skinned blacks, and what I've heard suggests the leaker isn't black.

Fred said...

"It's like how I'm always being furiously denounced for defending African-Americans during Hurricane Katrina by pointing out that the national average of behavior by African-Americans is better than that seen in New Orleans, that New Orleans's culture of "Let the good times roll" is particularly debilitating for blacks."

Come on, Steve. This is the sentence in your New Orleans essay that got you denounced,

"The plain fact is that they tend to possess poorer native judgment than members of better-educated groups."

And the "they" in that sentence refers to all African Americans, not just New Orleans blacks. Saying now that your essay defended African Americans, because you tangentially noted that New Orleans blacks weren't an "above average" group of blacks is the height of spin.

You also weakened your case with the ambiguous phrase "native judgment" and your conflation of it with education. Why not just say lower IQ if that's what you meant?

TH said...

While in Princeton, Stephanie Grace worked with sociologist Thomas Espenshade, and her senior thesis "Dormroom Diversity: Examining the Effects of Racially Heterogeneous College Roommate Pairing" is cited in Espenshade's book on race and college admissions.

W. Smith said...

All persons disposed to authoritarian political viewpoints, leftist and rightist, use persecution as a substitution for argument. Harvard is a leftist bastion. Therefore there's going to be a lot of persecution there. That's how they operate.

Orwell called it Groupthink, and the key component of Groupthink is the "persecution network". Read the history of the Bolsheviks/Soviets, the Red Chinese, and the National Socialists in Germany. Each of these authoritarian movements was an endless battle of overlapping persecution networks. Political argument was stagecrafted in order to manipulate the public. But political argument did not settle disputes. All political disputes were actually settled through intense persecution, then marginalization or extermination.

Ms Grace understood what was at stake went she wrote that email -- as she demonstrates with her Larry Summers comment. She knew she was risking a major run-in with the Commissars.

Sounds like this episode might clue her into the harsh reality of how a groupthink reeducation camp like Harvard really works.

Rain And said...

OK, agreed. forwarder is different than leaker.

The libelous Martha Minow is one of about 10 supreme court nominees.

I hope libeling a student ultimately works to sink and disgrace her.

Stephanie Grace should sue the dean of Harvard Law.

Eric said...

Will Dean Minow apologize for her libel?

I assume that's a rhetorical question.

Xenophon Hendrix said...

Anonymous WTF, look up the brown paper bag test.

Rain And said...

"On a less august, cattier note, is it true that the forwarder of Ms. Grace's private email is a libertarian activist and that the email was six months old?"

OK, the gossip which is spanning multiple websites would make roissy proud.

Apparently a Harvard Alpha with a girlfriend in Montana had relations with both SG and another girl YS.

The other girl then took jealous revenge on SG by spreading around the email which was actually written in October 2009.

Here is a discussion of events taken from the comments at Above the Law, where YS's name is being spammed around like crazy.

Here are some op-ed columns by YG, who is quite politically incorrect herself.

For example:: "Proponents of affirmative action are little else but racists in the guise of liberal thinkers"

James Kabala said...

Garland: It has occurred to me (although I wouldn't necessarily bet on it) that the ellipses may merely represent the names of the addressees, and that the rest is indeed the full text (i.e., the e-mail began, "Dear Bob and Suzie (or whomever), I just hate leaving things where I misstated my position."

rob said...

Since Honest 3L wrote about being Watsoned, I think she was taking the strongest hereditarian position in the argument.

Whoever on the Jack and Jill site called the student who wanted to fuck over Ms. Grace "forwarder" because leaker sounds like an insult. Forwarder seems to have given at least a tiny bit of thought to the IQ gap, so it's possible she was in on the original conversation.

What was said before the ellipses? Probably recapping the forwarders position. If forwarder didn't want her argument publicly associated with her, it was probably not complentary to blacks. Maybe along the lines of "my dark brothahs have a stoopid culture." Maybe not, but why didn't leaker want the whole email to be seen?

I love it that forwarder wrote:

In order to have this conversation at all, we have to assume there’s some universally agreed-upon definition of “intelligence,” which is hugely problematic in itself. The Slate.com article I was reading yesterday seemed to define intelligence as something like “the sum total of your ability to succeed in this society.” That seems like a reasonable enough definition, sure, but given that this society is entirely built upon a framework and history of white supremacy, it wouldn’t be terribly surprising to find out that the people who designed the system would come out near the top in terms of “intelligence,” and the people they hate the most and have spent centuries subjugating would be on the bottom. Because the definition itself seems sort of circular. (I’m assuming Asian people somehow figured out how to beat white folks at their own game or something, because otherwise I can’t figure out how to reconcile their higher IQ scores with anything I just said.)

When reality can't be reconciled with what you said, then reality is right. You are wrong.

Nanonymous said...

It would be nice to know what came before that initial ellipse

The mark is called "ellipsis". Singular.

Toadal said...

Of course, the real crime by Grace was being well-informed, intelligent, and open-minded. Dean Minow likes her Harvard law students ignorant, obtuse, and bigoted.

Yet, intelligent, thoughtful people of all races question authorities and keep an open mind to racial matters our western journalists attempt to keep hidden. African-American Feminist blogger LorMarie asks in exasperation "What's Wrong With Black Led Nations??!! on lormarie.com

Old Mugabe has run his country to the ground. Look what happened when Idi Amin kicked out the Asians from Uganda, or mass exodus of whites from Zimbabwe and what has since happened to that once prosperous country, and now sadly South Africa. Whites have made contributions to Africa, once you look beyond colonialism. If these leaders could actually govern themselves, and show the world they are better off after white departure then I’d understand. Instead they are a laughing stock, and I for one am ashamed to be of the same race with these monsters. They have run their economies to the ground, are barely feeding their own people, lash out at any foreign aid, these people have no shame. There are few prosperous black countries like Botswana, its so far managed to avoid corruption and has a very thriving economy.
What is wrong with the black man?? Why isn’t there a successful black nation on par with a Western country? Or China? Or India?

LorMarie replies:
First, I need to thank MerriMay for posting this comment on my blog. It is something that I have been grappling with for a long time. It is a truth that I will no longer deny. Black led nations are simply not successful like white or even Asian nations are. Why?

Black Sea said...

As an alternative to "Watsoned" I would like to introduce into the lexicon the term "Broadheaded," after Richard Broadhead, of Duke University.

"Broadheaded" can be used to refer to the treatment a high-ranking university official who intrudes on an ongoing legal or social controversy in such a way as to set the university up for millions of dollars in legal liability. His/her comments, howver, slavishly parrot the most enshrined prejudices of the progressive class. Having placed his/her university in legal jeopardy, s/he suffers . . . no adverse consequence whatsoever. In fact, any cricism of her/him, will be construed as the character assasination of a crusader for social justice.

By the way, whenever I hear of "Watsoning" or "Watsoned," I can't help but think of the following: Several years ago, at a New Years Eve party, two of the guests, who had brought their little lapdog along, stationed him in the middle of the living room floor, then threw a stuffed teddy bear down in front of him. Little "Watson" (as he was named) then began to eagerly mount and hump the teddy bear, much to the amusement of the assembled guests. So that's what I think of when I hear of someone being "Watsoned."

Anonymous said...


While I enjoy your writing, it's a bit weird to characterize your article on Katrina as a defense of African Americans to the people that criticized you. Just accept that people who have different opinions on HBD will disagree with you. But I'm Black and I can't see that as a defense of African Americans, not matter how hard I try to spin it.

Anonymous said...

An intelligent person in post-Summers America who is not trying to commit career suicide would not have questioned the native intelligence of blacks in an email message. That is tantamount to touching the third rail to see if the power is turned on. We all make stupid or careless mistakes, but this one is monumental. Grace is learning a bitter lesson now that she should have absorbed by 6th grade.

Anonymous said...

I've been arguing with left/liberals on Facebook recently, we have to carry the fight to them after all, as they won't come to us.

Needless to say I'm not doing this under my own name, I have job and offspring to think about, and I dont log in under an email address thats attributable to my name either. The wrath and bile of the 'tolerant' is quite something to behold!

Whats particularly galling is that quite regularly Im accused of using a false ID, that I dont have the courage to post comments under my own name. Apparently if I state a fact or opinion its not valid becasuse they "don't know I am". These people will use any and every possible angle, anything to avoid addressing the issues, its quite amazing.

Anonymous said...

What I have learned:

The bravest people (otherwise known as the "I don't put up with shit" sorts, the Clint Eastwood type) don't go into teaching--not at the elementary or the secondary level, and not at the university level either.

Natural selection has left us with eggheads, but eggsheads who are cowards.

Go brag about your IQs to one another. I'll take a man wearing a tool belt and a willingness to tell wimpy elites to stuff their lies where the sun don't shine any day.

Bring back manhood, for Crissakes.

B322 said...

Yes, Black Sea makes an interesting point. But really you should google:
"Richard H. Brodhead".
(Otherwise you'll poke around foolishly like I did.

Black Sea said...

@B Load:

Perhaps Brodhead dropped the "a" from his name so as to avoid any sexist -- or indeed, sexual -- connotations.

M said...

***It would also be nice if the leaker came forward to justify herself [or himself, as the case may be]. Was the leak part of a catty attempt to ruin another student? What justification was there for leaking?***

From Gawker & Above the Law:

"Stephanie’s close friend Yelena Shagall forwarded the email out after Stephanie confronted her because Yelena had slept with a mutual friend’s ex-boyfriend. During this fight, Yelena told Stephanie she would “ruin her life.”