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Pro-segregation Gov. George Wallace blocks the door of Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama. June 11, 1963
National Review, on the same side of the argument since 1955.
A new report from the Department of Education shows that even from preschool, black students in America tend to receive disproportionately severe disciplinary actions. To most people this was taken as signal that something might be severely amiss in our classrooms; to the National Review, it is evidence that black children are inherently predisposed to disruptive behavior and crime.

I wish I was making that up, but that's the argument presented by NRO writer Heather Mac Donald, because it wouldn't be the National Review if they didn't have a steady supply of authors climbing Mt. Racist to plant their flags. You simply can't argue your way out of this one, National Review. It's a column explicitly declaring that black children simply have "weak impulse control" compared to whites, so suspending them or disciplining them more severely than white students is simply "common sense."

Actually, what [NAACP educational director] Ms. Smith-Evans should be trying to fathom is the black crime rate, which explains the school-suspension rate. Black males between the ages of 14 and 17 commit homicide at ten times the rate of white and Hispanic males of the same age combined. Given such high crime rates, what do the civil-rights advocates and the Obama administration think is going on in the classroom — docile obedience and strict self-discipline? In fact, the same weak impulse control that leads to such high crime rates among young black males inevitably means more disruptive behavior in school.
We're talking about kids as young as four years old, remember. Four-year-old black children, according to the writer, suffer from worse "impulse control" than more docile four-year-old white children. And it doesn't get better:
Also on Friday, the New York media reported that a 14-year-old boy riding a bus in Brooklyn the previous night had opened fire on the bus and fatally shot an innocent 39-year-old passenger in the head. Did anyone doubt the race of the killer, even though the media did not disclose it?
This seems to be sort of a litmus test, this one. Dear Abby: How do I tell if I am a huuuuuge racist? If you see on the news that a bad thing happened, and you immediately thought "Oh, a black person was clearly responsible for that," yep, you're definitely a racist. How the hell in this day and age do you get away with writing that you did not doubt a certain criminal was black when you first heard the news? How many good, solid white people blasting their way through schools and movie theaters and convenience store parking lots need to be on the news before you start wondering if maybe good, solid white people have a problem with "impulse control" as well?

More below the fold.

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You will be somewhat relieved to know that Mac Donald generously supposes that the "root" of these problems is the urban "black illegitimacy rate," single-parent households and the like. Black Americans are just bad parents, you see.

None of the federal studies mention or control for single-parent households, of course. Instead, we are supposed to believe that well-meaning teachers, who have spent their entire time in ed school steeped in the doctrine of “white privilege” and who are among the most liberal segments of the workforce, suddenly become bigots once in the classroom and begin arbitrarily suspending pacific black children out of racial bias.
This whole column misses a fundamental point: Black students are being punished disproportionately for the same offenses as white students. Mac Donald is spending her entire column asserting that black children have less "impulse control" than white children and are therefore being more disruptive, perhaps because their parents are similarly terrible, but the studies actually show that black children are given harsher punishments (suspensions, etc.) than white children who commit the exact same acts. That's rather key: Race-based disparities in punishments would seem to suggest race-based disparities in punishments, period. Our author here, however, is too invested in her Bell-Curve-ish suppositions of disruptive black preschoolers running amok in the classrooms:
It is simply common sense that boys are more likely to be aggressive and impulsive than girls. Given the black–white crime disparities, it is equally common sense that black students are more likely to be disruptive in class as well.
Ye gods, National Review. I realize that your whole magazine was founded in an effort to combat desegregation and civil rights and the notion you might have to let a black man sit at your lunch counter, but it has been a very, very long time and you are still cranking out steady columns supposing the racial disparities in everything from the prisons and drug sentencing to poverty to Being A Goddamn Preschooler have happened merely due to natural lack of "impulse control" among black people.

You get a certain number of tries, and then you're done. You can only bat away so many columns by the Derbyshires of the worlds, the Bell Curve crowd, column after column asserting that if black Americans are getting a worse shake than other Americans, after decade upon decade of the National Review demanding that they do, it is from a predetermined inferiority of black Americans themselves—you can only do that so many times before your protestations that oh no as an institution we're not racist at all, er, anymore look, well, as stupid as they look.

You published a column, in freaking 2014 from a writer that supposes it's only "common sense" that black children are punished more harshly than white children because young black children simply lack "impulse control" compared to their white counterparts. There's no walking that one back. Jeebus.

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Hunter on Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 10:44 AM PDT.

Also republished by Black Kos community and Daily Kos.

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