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racism

Educational Testing and the War on Reality & Common Sense

The practice of discussing educational testing in the same sentence with the term “war” is not necessarily new or original.1 What may be new to readers, however, is to characterize current debates involving educational testing as involving a war against: (1) accurate perceptions about the way things really are (reality), and (2) sound judgment in […]

Quantifying Privilege: What Research on Social Mobility Tells Us About Fairness in America

Is it more of a disadvantage to be born poor or Black? Is it worse to be brought up by rich parents in a poor neighborhood, or by poor parents in a rich neighborhood? The answers to these questions lie at the very core of what constitutes a fair society. So how do we know […]

A Skeptical View of J. Edgar Hoover & the FBI

Michelle Ainsworth reviews: G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century by Beverly Gage (2022) and The Gospel of J. Edgar Hoover: How the FBI Aided and Abetted the Rise of White Christian Nationalism (2023) by Lerone A. Martin.

Yascha Mounk — Identity Politics and its Discontents

Shermer and Mounk discuss: the identity synthesis/trap • Israel, Hamas, Palestine • why students & student groups are pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel • the rise of anti-Semitism in recent years • proximate/ultimate causes of anti-Semitism • the rejection of the civil rights movement and the rise of critical race theory • overt racism vs. systemic racism • the problem of woke ideology • Trump and the 2024 election • the possibility of another Civil War • What should we do personally…

Christopher Rufo Decodes Cultural Shifts in America

Shermer and Rufo discuss: race as America’s original sin • civil rights movement then and now • liberalism vs. illiberalism • equality vs. equity • overt racism vs. systemic racism • intellectual origins of the cultural revolution: Herbert Marcuse, Angela Davis, Paulo Freire, Derrick Bell, Eldridge Cleaver, Huey Newton • Black Lives Matter origins in the Black Liberation Army and the Black Panthers • critical race theory (CRT) • diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), and more…

Standardized Admission Tests Are Not Biased. In Fact, They’re Fairer Than Other Measures

Media coverage often claims scholastic admissions tests (e.g., SAT, GRE) are inaccurate, inequitable, and ineffective because: (1) any racial/ethnic differences are caused by test bias; (2) tests don’t predict anything important; (3) tests merely reflect wealth not acquired skills or academic potential; so (4) admissions would be fairer without them. This article presents mainstream scientific evidence that each claim is false. Since admission test scores are the most resistant to bias, getting rid of them would make admissions less fair.

Jonathan Eig — The Truth About Martin Luther King Jr.

Shermer and Eig discuss: how to write biography • the history of the King family going back to slavery, Jim Crow, etc. • the influence of King Sr. on Martin’s intellectual and emotional development and the Ebenezer Baptist Church • King’s early experience with racism in the south • King’s religious beliefs and the influence of his faith on his civil rights activism • the influence of Gandhi and Reinhold Niebuhr on King’s strategic activism and deep belief in nonviolence…

Matt Thornton on Violence: Why It Evolved, Why It Still Happens, and What to Do About It

Shermer and Thornton discuss: aggression: passive, proactive, reactive, relational • moralistic punishment and the game theory analysis of the logic of violence • gun violence (homicide, suicide, accidents) • violence against women/children • male-on-male violence • alcohol, drugs, infidelity • race • self-control • training soldiers • male role models • Rodney King, Michael Brown, George Floyd • police violence • bullying • fatherless homes • rape and sexual violence • self-defense.

Heather Mac Donald — When Race Trumps Merit: How the Pursuit of Equity Sacrifices Excellence, Destroys Beauty, and Threatens Lives

Shermer and Mac Donald discuss: race as America’s original sin • civil rights • equality vs. equity • disparate impact • overt racism vs. systemic racism • why Blacks make less money, own fewer and lower quality homes, work in less prestigious jobs, hold fewer seats in the Senate and House of Representatives, run fewer Fortune 500 companies • race and science, medicine, classical music, opera, Juilliard, Swan Lake, museums, and the law • crime and mass shootings • George…

Will We Ever Live in a Post-race World?

In this special episode of the podcast, Michael Shermer talks about: why race still matters and why it shouldn’t • racism • BLM (Black Lives Matter), CRT (Critical Race Theory), DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) • Anti-bias training • the Implicit Association Test and if it measures unconscious racism • race and IQ and why such group differences are environmental and not genetic • how we can achieve a post-race world.

David Bernstein — Classified: The Untold Story of Racial Classification in America

Shermer and Bernstein discuss: the SCOTUS case on affirmative action and race preferences at Harvard and elsewhere • Elizabeth Warren, Tiger Woods, George Zimmerman, Rachel Dolezal, Kamala Harris • BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) • ADOS (American Descendants of Slaves) • the biology and legality of race • the one-drop rule of race classification • the rise of modern racial classification • Hispanic, Italian, Polish, Jewish, Armenian, Cajun, South Asian, Arab, and Iranian categories • American Indians/Native Americans •…

News Media & Declining Race Relations:Social Narratives More Than Real-Life Events May Be Driving Decline in Race Relations

Everyone knows that race relations in America have a long and troubled history. By some measures race relations are very good, with polls showing that people are more tolerant of racial diversity today than they were decades ago. But by other measures it would seem race matters are more disconcerting than ever. In this analysis Chris Ferguson attributes the troubling events of recent years to the news media and how they create a social narrative driving the decline of race…

Why Reparations and Equity Are Bad Ideas

In this provocative article on the controversial topics reparations, and what is owed to the descendants of African Americans who were enslaved, Jason Hill argues that the Civil Rights movement and ensuing acts and laws in the 1960s and 1970s have already provided a type of reparations, and that more such reparations, particularly in the form of cash payments, are unnecessary, not to mention nearly impossible to determine who is owed what.

Systemic Racism — Explained

As Skeptic Publisher Michael Shermer wrote in his Introduction to Skeptic magazine’s special issue on Race Matters (27.3), the issues outlined in this article documenting the continuation of systemically racist social structures—even as racist attitudes have improved dramatically over the past half century—mean that race still matters very much in the USA. It is thus incumbent on all of us to properly understand the causes of these issues so that we may implement a rational and science-based response to them.

India Thusi on Sex Work, Critical Race Theory, and Moral Progress

Shermer and Thusi discuss: how she gained access to police and sex workers in Johannesburg • what it was like patrolling brothels in Johannesburg • what sex work is, exactly • why sex workers are mostly women and patrons mostly men • why sex work is illegal in many places and whether it should be legal and regulated • the liminal nature of sex work • Critical Race Theory • racism and antiracism • President Barack Obama • her response…

Critical Race Theory: Noble Ends, Terrible Means

Critical Race Theory (CRT) is, at root, an American phenomenon. So thoroughly is this the case that although its ideas have been used outside the United States for some time, they are often highly flavored by U.S. racial history. CRT holds that race is a social construct that was created to maintain White privilege and […]

Race & Policing: A Data-Driven Look at Policing and Its Discontents

In his usual data-driven style of analysis, statistician and sociologist Kevin McCaffree, who also runs the Skeptic Research Center, presents the SRC finding about policing and race in America, and how political beliefs and orientation skews our perceptions of what is actually happening on the streets of the United States.

Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes: On Race and Jane Elliott’s Famous Experiment on Prejudice

One of the most famous experiments in education — Jane Elliott’s “blue eyes, brown eyes” separation of her third grade students to teach them about prejudice — was very different from what the public was told, as revealed in this excerpt from the in-depth story about what really happened in that classroom.

Race & Medicine

If race is a social construct with no meaningful biological foundation, then why do medical doctors and researchers collect information about a patient’s race, along with gender and other characteristics? Harriet Hall considers the concept of race from a medical perspective: what we know, what we don’t know, and what difference it makes.

Why Race Matters

Michael Shermer introduces the theme of Skeptic magazine volume 27, number 3: Race Matters.

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