Racist Extortion and Policies of Appeasement

by Glayde Whitney
Florida State University
Source: Stalking the Wild Taboo

Apparently Texaco has followed much of the rest of corporate America in caving in to racist extortion. Will we never learn? Policies of appeasement did not lead to favorable international outcomes after Munich in 1938 and have not led to improvements in American race relations. Instead, the ante is upped and the extortion exacerbated. Now Carl Rowan publishes a book with the threatening title The Coming Race War in America; while The Reverend Jesse Jackson threatens corporate America with escalating racist boycotts. These confrontational in-your-face tactics continue to escalate because they have been spectacularly successful. Even though based on flawed premises they are routinely met with apologetic appeasement and acquiescence to outrageously unreasonable demands. It would appear that the only corporate courage in America is at Cypress Semiconductor. Will no one else take a rational stand? There are many things that are wrong with this scenario, not least of which is that the extortion is based on facile acceptance of fallacious premises.

The demand that Texaco employ more blacks in high level positions only makes sense if you assume that there exists a supply of suitably qualified blacks that have been excluded from employment and promotion. Almost lost in the media feeding frenzy was the lament from Texaco executives that theirs is a technical field where suitably qualified blacks are in short supply. What is usually carefully swept under the rug is any indication of just how short is the supply . Given the unequal distribution of the requisite cognitive skills, and the relative numbers of blacks and whites of suitable ages in the American population, the appropriate calculations are straightforward. Only about 2% or less of the intellectually qualified are black. If at Texaco or any other corporation that thrives on technical talent, blacks constitute more than 2% of those in positions requiring talent, then there is strong prima facie evidence that the corporation is discriminating in favor of blacks. When equated for intellectual talent, blacks in today's America are faring at least as well as whites.

The unfortunate truth about which so much of our society is in denial, is that various talents are not equally distributed among races and ethnic groups. This is of course the same dilemma that drives the discrimination in professional school admissions (law, engineering, medicine, etc.) and other affirmative action situations. Blind adherence to an egalitarian fallacy has driven a dangerous stake of divisiveness into the heart of America. The failure of honesty in facing uncomfortable truths is getting worse rather than better. In academia the politically correct crowd have upped the ante to a stunning extent. Across a hundred years of scientific investigation the rational questions have hinged around why there are such large and enduring differences between the races (the nature versus nurture questions), but now academicians are threatened if they even acknowledge the existence of the differences. Indeed, in other countries under the guise of anti-hate legislation speakers of simple truths have been threatened with termination or criminal prosecution. Texaco, and western civilization, can sacrifice some degree of competence and competitiveness on the altar of the egalitarian fallacy, but how much before what consequences?

While the upper reaches of social stratification as represented by corporate offices and university classrooms succumb to silliness, the lower environs also clash with racist extortion. At St. Petersburg FL, blacks stage a confrontational race riot, ostensibly because a felon with crack cocaine and in a stolen car was shot by a policeman that he had just hit with the car while attempting to flee. Then in abject appeasement mode various government spokespersons talk of more "aid" to the black community. What is wrong with this scenario? Rewarding uncivilized behavior engenders more and

escalated uncivilized behavior. If the lower class black community is ever going to improve its station, a preliminary prerequisite is simple rule of law. Individual citizens have demonstrated repeatedly that firm resistance to savage riots leads to a cessation of rioting. Instead of rewarding uncivilized lawlessness, we should remind ourselves, including the blacks among us, that protection of personal property is one of the starting necessities for civilized existence.

The politically correct crowd tends to revel in comparisons of America with "other industrialized nations" in which the violent crime rates, and murder rates, are such that the United States looks particularly bad. What is carefully kept from public mention is that if equated for racial composition of the population, the United States compares quite favorably with "other industrialized nations". The violent crime problem in America is largely, although not entirely, a race problem. And even though the crime rates among blacks are much too high in America, the blacks of the United States compare favorably with blacks elsewhere on many dimensions.

The social problems will always appear complex and insoluble as long as taboos prevent honest discussion of real dilemmas. As an example, a strong case can be made that impulsive criminality combined with low intelligence is a major cause of poverty. Drug use is not a "cause" of crime, it is merely a symptom of crime, another manifestation of lawlessness.

However, instead of facing uncomfortable truths and coming to grips with real issues, let us continue to acquiesce in the egalitarian fallacy. As sensitive and caring people we must continue to meet racist extortion with policies of appeasement. After all, a policy that worked so well on the international scene at Munich in 1938 will certainly work equally well on the domestic scene in the year 2000.

Mr. Whitney, a professor at Florida State University, is a recent past-president of the Behavior Genetics Association.