Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Stereotype threat

Putting it bluntly, Stereotype threat is an invented process to explain why blacks do poorly on IQ tests.  If blacks know that they are expected to do badly they allegedly get all anxious and do even worse than they otherwise would.  But shouldn't the knowledge that they are expected to do badly energize them and make them try harder -- just to prove the stereotype wrong?  I would have thought so but I am not a Leftist.

I have had a bit of a laugh at the theory before (e.g. here) and also see here

The theory has also been used to explain away the fact that women on average do badly on mathematical tasks (those nervous ladies!) and there has recently been some interesting work suggesting that the theory is wrong in that field too.  Steve Sailer summarizes:

"Although the social sciences are considered a bastion of progressivism, it's remarkable how few data-driven ideas they generate in support of their ideology. We can get a feel for this by noting how rare are the "exceptions to the rule" studies that become immensely popular due to bolstering the dominant worldview, such as Hart & Risley's finding that black people don't talk enough and Claude Steele's little study of Stereotype Threat in which he induces black students at Stanford to score lower on a low stakes test of his devising than their high stakes SAT scores would predict. (I wrote about Stereotype Threat in in 2004, suggesting it's not hard to get across the message to black or female students that the professor wants them to not exert themselves fully on this meaningless test. That you can "prime" groups of people to work less hard on an unimportant test does not prove that you know how to make them score higher on an important test.)

Lately, the evidence has been mounting that the existence of Stereotype Threat is quite dependent upon the file drawer function: studies finding its existence are quickly published while studies not finding its existence are in much less demand. A recent article:

An Examination of Stereotype Threat Effects on Girls' Mathematics Performance

By Colleen M. Ganley et al.

... Conclusion

Taken together, the findings from published research, unpublished articles, and the present studies reveal inconsistency in the effects of stereotype threat on girls’ mathematics performance. The discrepancy in results from published and unpublished studies suggests publication bias, which may create an inaccurate picture of the phenomenon. A recent review suggests that this publication bias may also be an issue in the literature on stereotype threat in adult women (Stoet & Geary, 2012). Overall, these results raise the possibility that stereotype threat may not be the cause of gender differences in mathematics performance prior to college. Although we feel that more nuanced research needs to be done to truly understand whether stereotype threat impacts girls’ mathematics performance, we also believe that too much focus on this one explanation may deter researchers from investigating other key factors that may be involved in gender differences in mathematics performance. For example, there are a number of factors (e.g., mathematics anxiety, mathematics interest, spatial skills; see Ceci & Williams, 2010) that have been shown to be consistently related to mathematics performance and mathematics-and science-related career choices and may warrant more research attention than does stereotype threat."



Loving and Hating America

As I've documented in the past, many leftist teachers teach our youngsters to hate our country. For example, University of Hawaii Professor Haunani-Kay Trask counseled her students, "We need to think very, very clearly about who the enemy is. The enemy is the United States of America and everyone who supports it." Some universities hire former terrorists to teach and indoctrinate students. Kathy Boudin, former Weather Underground member and convicted murderer, is on the Columbia University School of Social Work's faculty. Her Weather Underground comrade William Ayers teaches at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Bernardine Dohrn, his wife, is a professor at Northwestern University School of Law. Her stated mission is to overthrow capitalism.

America's domestic haters have international company. 24/7 Wall St. published an article titled "Ten Countries That Hate America Most." The list includes Serbia, Greece, Iran, Algeria, Egypt and Pakistan. Ranking America published an article titled "The U.S. ranks 3rd in liking the United States." Using data from the Pew Global Attitudes Project, it finds that just 79 percent of Americans in 2011 had a favorable view of Americans, compared with Japan and Kenya, which had 85 and 83 percent favorable views, respectively. Most European nations held a 60-plus percent favorable view of Americans, compared with countries such as Egypt, Pakistan and Turkey, with less than 20 percent favorable views.

An interesting facet of foreigners liking or hating America can be seen in a poll Gallup has been conducting since 2007 asking the questions: "Ideally, if you had the opportunity, would you like to move permanently to another country, or would you prefer to continue living in this country? To which country would you like to move?" Guess to which country most people would like to move. If you said "the good ol' US of A," go to the head of the class. Of the more than 640 million people who would like to leave their own country, 23 percent -- or 150 million -- said they would like to live in the United States. The U.S. has been "the world's most desired destination for potential migrants since Gallup started tracking these patterns in 2007." The United Kingdom comes in a distant second, with 7 percent (45 million). Other favorite permanent relocations are Canada (42 million), France (32 million) and Saudi Arabia (31 million), but all pale in comparison with the U.S. as the preferred home.

The next question is: Where do people come from who want to relocate to the U.S.? China has 22 million adults who want to permanently relocate to the U.S., followed by Nigeria (15 million), India (10 million), Bangladesh (8 million) and Brazil (7 million). The Gallup report goes on to make the remarkable finding that "despite large numbers of people in China, Nigeria, and India who want to migrate permanently to the U.S., these countries are not necessarily the places where the U.S. is the most desired destination. Gallup found that more than three in 10 adults in Liberia (37 percent) and Sierra Leone (30 percent) would move permanently to the U.S. if they had the opportunity. More than 20 percent of adults in the Dominican Republic (26 percent), Haiti (24 percent), and Cambodia (22 percent) also say the same." That's truly remarkable in the cases of Liberia and Sierra Leone, where one-third of the people would leave. That's equivalent to 105 million Americans wanting to relocate to another country.

The Gallup poll made no mention of the countries to which people would least like to relocate. But I'm guessing that most of them would be on Freedom House's list of the least free places in the world, such as Uzbekistan, Georgia, China, Turkmenistan, Chad, Cuba and North Korea.

I'm wondering how the hate-America/blame-America-first crowd might explain the fact that so many people in the world, if they had a chance, would permanently relocate here. Maybe it's that they haven't been exposed to enough U.S. university professors.



Judicial Benchmarks: Ending Discrimination

The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment provides “No state shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Nothing has been more of a muddle in the courtrooms than weak-kneed jurists' attempts to reconcile this clear language with the fundamentally discriminatory nature of “affirmative action.” The most recent groundbreaking cases have had to do with public universities.

In the 1978 case of Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, the Supreme Court held that racial quotas are unconstitutional but that educational institutions could legally use race as one of many factors to consider in their admissions process. However, the Supremes muddied the water in the companion cases of Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger. In Grutter and Gratz, the Court upheld both Bakke as a precedent and the admissions policy of the University of Michigan Law School. Nevertheless, in Grutter, it allowed schools to consider race as a factor in admissions for the purpose of diversity. But in Gratz, the Court invalidated Michigan's undergraduate admissions policy on the grounds that the undergraduate policy used a point system that was excessively mechanistic. Got that?

Fed up with convoluted rationalizing, 58% of Michigan voters supported a definitive policy by supporting Proposition 2, amending the state constitution to prohibit discrimination by race in education, government contracts or hiring. That amendment has been challenged in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action now before the Supreme Court. At issue is a question both bizarre and laughable: Does it violate the U.S. Constitution's ban on racial discrimination for a state to ban racial discrimination?

The plaintiff, the Coalition for Affirmative Action, believes it does, arguing that Prop 2 disproportionately burdens minorities in education. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, in an 8-7 en banc decision, that Proposition 2 “placed special burdens on the ability of minority groups to achieve beneficial legislation.” Dissenting Judge Julia Smith Gibbons wrote that this logic contradicts “elementary principles of constitutional law” and that under the ruling “for the first time, the presumptively invalid policy of racial and gender preference has been judicially entrenched as beyond the political process.” Well said.



Feds try to eliminate housing for the deaf -- at complex built for hearing-impaired

Obama just wants to hurt Americans (preferably white ones) any way he can.

Arizona is defying a federal order to eliminate apartments for deaf seniors at a housing complex built specifically -- for the deaf.

"I think it's about the most ridiculous thing I've heard in a while," said Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who attempted to negotiate the impasse. "There are a lot of stories of out-of-control regulators, but this just seems to be going to the extreme."

A 2005 federal study found that the U.S. had virtually no affordable housing for the deaf. So the federal government helped build Apache ASL Trails, a 75-unit apartment building in Tempe, Ariz., designed specifically for the deaf. Ninety-percent of the units are currently occupied by deaf and deaf-blind seniors.

But now, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development says Apache ASL Trails violates civil rights law -- because it shows a preference for the hearing-impaired.

"A preference or priority based on a particular diagnosis or disability and excluding others with different disabilities is explicitly prohibited by HUD's Section 504 regulations," says a HUD memo about the project. "There is no legal authority contained in any of Apache Trails funding to permit such a priority or preference."

HUD is threatening to pull all federal housing aid to Arizona unless it limits the number of hearing-impaired residents to 18 people. The agency would not forcibly remove current residents, but wants many of their units to be blocked off to deaf residents in the future once they leave.

However, when HUD approved and helped fund the project in 2008, it did so knowing that the property was specifically "designed for seniors who are deaf, hard of hearing and deaf blind."

"It's impossible to walk into this building and not see that real people were hurt and continue to be hurt," said Mary Vargas, an attorney for the residents.

The National Association for the Deaf has also stepped in, calling HUD's actions "atrocious" and "a tragic irony."  "HUD is forcing deaf and hard of hearing residents to live in isolation and firetraps," said the Association's CEO Howard Rosenblum in a letter to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. "There is no statute or regulation that mandates any 25 percent quota."

State housing director Michael Trailor refuses to comply with the federal orders. "Quite frankly, the attorneys I dealt with at HUD I would characterize as ignorant and arrogant and much worse, they are powerful," Trailor told Fox News. "And if they worked for me, I would have fired them a long time ago."

State taxpayers and the apartment's developer have spent $500,000 so far fighting HUD. After two years of negotiation, Trailor met with Donovan earlier this year hoping to resolve the dispute.

Trailor said: "He looked me in the eye and said, 'if you say we have taken too long to resolve this, you are right. If you say we haven't handled this very well, you're right. We're committed to solving this -- but to do so can you be patient?'"

Trailor asked "what patience means in terms of time," and was told it would be a matter of weeks.  "It's now been five months," he said.

All 74 units at Apache ASL Trails accommodate wheelchairs. Blinking lights signal when the doorbell rings and when utilities like the garbage disposal and air conditioning are running. A video phone lets residents "talk" with friends.

"It's nice to have a life that's equivalent to other people that are not deaf," said resident Linda Russell. "This building is designed for deaf people, by deaf people, and we know what is best for our needs. And people that don't understand our needs, should not be putting themselves in decision-making positions for us."

HUD provided the Arizona Deaf Senior Citizens Coalition and its developer $2.6 million in funds and tax credits to build the complex in 2008. It is now fully occupied, with 69 of the 74 rented to deaf and deaf-blind residents. They meet daily in a large events room to talk, watch television and play games. The room is largely silent but the residents are animated and busy talking in sign language.

"I've been living here for two and a half years," said 74-year-old Rose Marie Pryce. "I love the deaf environment. We have a great time together. I have lots of friends. (If forced to move) I would be devastated. I would cry. I want to stay here, we need this place."



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