Dans l'ordre chronologique :
I: L'éditorial d'origine (Polignano)
II: La réponse du président de l'Université d'Emory
III et IV : Les éditoriaux suivants de Polignano
- Je reprends dans le titre la dénomination "Racisme positif" trouvée sous la plume de Zek : c'est celle qui me parait la plus juste.
- Ces échanges datent de trois ans. Je ne sais pas de quelle façon Michael Polignano s'en est sorti (crucifié, très probablement).
I : L'EDITORIAL D'ORIGINE (Polignano)
The Emory Wheel - Online Edition - Editorials | Atlanta, GA | Friday, October 6, 2000"Genes may determine racial attributes"
By Michael Polignano, Columnist
Before I get started, I want to say that honesty and open discussion are mandatory for making any sort of headway in racial reconciliation. What I'm about to say will almost certainly generate controversy and will undoubtedly offend some people, but it needs to be said in order for any sort of real progress to be made. Unfortunately, it's sometimes necessary to reopen old wounds so that healing can occur properly. If I believed that one should sacrifice things like truth and honesty for the sake of being popular and "politically correct," I'd be studying for a career in politics instead of in science. That said, I think that the road to racial understanding should begin with a look at some common stereotypes that exist regarding racial differences and see what, if any, truth exists behind them. By far, the deepest fissure that exists in the U.S. is between whites and blacks. Some common stereotypes about blacks by whites are that blacks are, in general, more prone to crime, more violent, and less intelligent than whites. Obviously, if these stereotypes aren't true, then all of us have a moral obligation to speak out whenever we hear these stereotypes voiced, and should work hard to eliminate them entirely. For example, if blacks and whites commit crime at equal rates, then we should outlaw racial profiling not just because it's unfair, but also because it wouldn't help reduce crime.
Unfortunately, as much as some of us would want to believe otherwise, each and every one of the above stereotypes has some truth to it. A well-researched study released just last year has found that blacks are 50 times more likely to commit a violent crime against a white than whites are to commit a violent crime against blacks. You can review the data yourself at www.amren.com/colrcrim.html.
As far as intelligence is concerned, Dr. Arthur Jensen, Professor Emeritus of Educational Psychology at the University of California-Berkeley, has devoted much of his 40 year tenure at Berkeley to the study of general intelligence, or g. His work has made him one of the most frequently cited figures in contemporary psychology. Jensen believes that g is up to 80 percent heritable in adults, meaning that variations in intelligence between adults are due 80 percent to genes and 20 percent to environment, within human populations, i.e.: within "races."
In his book The g Factor, Jensen also deals with the differences in g that exist between human racial populations. General intelligence correlates highly with creativity, socioeconomic status, educational attainment and a slew of other variables. As far as whites and blacks are concerned, he notes that the mean black IQ is 15 points lower than the mean white IQ, even after taking extensive measures to eliminate test bias. In the book, he proposes a theory, which he calls "the default hypothesis," which holds that "the proximal causes of both individual differences and population differences in heritable psychological traits are essentially the same, and are continuous variables."
A questionnaire survey presented elsewhere in the book shows that Jensen is not alone in his beliefs. Of 661 experts in the fields of differential psychology, psychometrics, and behavioral genetics, 45 percent were of the opinion that the black-white difference in IQ "is a product of both genetic and environmental variation," and only 15 percent felt that the difference is due to environment alone. So, it is indeed possible that truth exists behind the "racist" claim that blacks are inherently less intelligent. How do we deal with this possibility?
Not through censorship.
Dr. Jensen's work is a prime example of how political correctness can endanger academic freedom. In the past, left-wing radicals physically assaulted him during one of his talks at the University of Minnesota, and the university did nothing to punish the assailants. I wonder what would happen if he came to Emory? Would he be arrested by the Emory Police Department for committing a so-called "act of intolerance" if he were to give a talk in which he mentioned that class and race differences in intelligence were primarily the result of genetic differences?
What we need here is open discussion. Like all scientific work, Dr. Jensen's theories are subject to refutation through empirical evidence. So far, I've read plenty of attacks on Jensen's motives, but I have yet to find any scientific articles that show any major flaws in his data or his conclusions. So, I guess I'd have to agree with him and say that genes (and not racism, past inequalities, or anything else) are primarily responsible for blacks' lower status on the socioeconomic ladder in the U.S.
Should I, or anyone else, feel somehow guilty for even daring to consider the possibility that races differ by more than just skin color? Should scientists not perform research that might threaten commonly held beliefs about race? Are the social pressures forbidding the open discussion of "racist" ideas the same type of social pressures Galileo faced for daring to question the belief that the earth is the center of the solar system, or Darwin for daring to question the Bible's version of creation? Why was I always told in school and through the media growing up that all races are inherently equal in intelligence, when in actuality the debate still rages on within scientific circles?
I'm not saying Jensen's explanation is necessarily right, just that alternative explanations are possibly wrong, and that we'll never know for sure until his theories can be openly discussed and debated and more research is done. It's people like those who attacked Dr. Jensen who are the true close-minded ones. They can't comprehend that if he is right, then it does us no good to pretend that compensatory programs like Affirmative Action and Head Start will eventually put blacks on an equal footing with whites. On the other hand, if he's wrong, then we have a responsibility to help blacks achieve their potential, and rid the world of racism. But we need open discussion before any of this can happen.
Michael Polignano is a College junior from Adamstown, Maryland.
II LA REPONSE DU PRESIDENT DE L'UNIVERSITE
Atlanta, GA | Tuesday, October 10, 2000"An open letter to Michael Polignano"
by William M. Chace, president of Emory University
Knowing the Emory community to be rational, fair-minded and decent, I am sure that I am not the only person who will be responding to your op-ed piece ("Genes may determine racial attributes," Oct. 6).
Let me begin by saying that, of course, I agree with you that "honesty and open discussion are mandatory for making any sort of progress in racial reconciliation." I agree with you also when you say, "the deepest fissure that exists in the U.S. is between whites and blacks." At the beginning of the last century, indeed exactly 100 years ago, W.E.B. Du Bois said, at the Pan-African Congress in London, "the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line." True then and true today.
Michael, welcome to the Emory community, for you are about to discover of what it is made.
That means that we should all examine the progress, if any, during the last century in making sense of race and the "color line." I want to assure you that much progress has been made, by many thinkers - many psychologists, geneticists, sociologists, political scientists and anthropologists - during the last 100 years. You seem to be under the impression that the only important contributor to this discussion has been Arthur Jensen. That is simply not so.
Jensen, whose controversial work you so enthusiastically cite, is not the only scientist who has studied the question of race, crime, genetics and innate capability. Indeed, Jensen (as well as Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, with whom he is often rightly connected) is but one of hundreds of scientists who have worked in this complex arena. And, while I myself am not a scientist but instead a lay reader much interested in the topic, I believe you to be either very lax in your research or very wrong in your results when you say that "I have yet to find any scientific articles that show any major flaws in [Jensen's] data or his conclusions." The literature abounds with such articles.
Hence I must ask you: Have you read only Jensen and no one else? That would make of you a very naïve researcher. Or have you diligently researched the vast literature in sharp conflict with Jensen and concluded that he is nonetheless right? That would make of you a very disingenuous young man when you plead that "we'll never know for sure until [Jensen's] theories can be openly discussed and debated and more research is done." There has been no lack of research into Jensen's theories. They have been thoroughly discussed and debated for decades. The jury is not out on Jensen.
But, as I say, I am no scientist, but simply a person who cares for genuine (and not rhetorical) honesty in matters of race. In order for you to get a deeper (or more honest) understanding of the matters in which you proclaim an interest, I now call upon the extraordinary resources of this university to answer you. I call upon the faculties of psychology, sociology, genetics, political science, anthropology and all others at Emory to bring to your attention what is known about race in the modern world. I ask these faculties to tell you (as well as the other readers of the Wheel) about Arthur Jensen and to acquaint you with the merit of his findings. I cannot do this, but I am proud to be at an institution that can.
Let me conclude by turning to what I must say is the wholly repugnant conclusion to your essay. You say that if Jensen is right, "then it does no good to pretend that compensatory programs like Affirmative Action and Head Start will eventually put blacks on an equal footing with whites." The programs to which you refer have never sought their foundation in so-called "genetic equality." They are based on history- the history of a country that enslaved a people for hundreds of years and thereby committed an immense moral wrong. The nation is now still trying to heal that wound and make itself truly one people. Despite every difference we have as Americans, we must be that one people. To do so means recognizing, in the spirit of reconciliation, that the unfairness embedded in our history must be corrected, and that the imbalances that have injured us must be righted. This is a practical matter and an ethical matter; it is not a matter of genetics.
You begin your essay by recognizing that it will "almost certainly generate controversy and will undoubtedly offend some people." Michael, welcome to the Emory community, for you are about to discover of what it is made. I conclude by asking that community, no, demanding of the community, that it use all of the instruments of reason and civil discourse- and no other means- to respond to what I consider a most unfortunate essay on the part of one member of the community, Michael Polignano.
William M. Chace is the president of Emory University.
III : LE DEUXIEME EDITORIAL DE POLIGNANO"Issue of genes and race more complicated than reactions would imply"
By Mike Polignano, Columnist
In retrospect, I see that the wording I employed in my article of last week was a bit too provocative, confrontational and subject to misinterpretation. For one, I did not choose the headline "Genes May Determine Racial Attributes." In fact, the first time I saw that headline was when I picked up a copy of Friday's Wheel. Second, I shouldn't have taken such clear sides with Jensen, especially since I didn't have the space to present an opposing viewpoint. Third, I provided a link to a study funded by an organization of dubious background. Although this doesn't affect the validity of the underlying facts, I can understand how referring to a controversial study could be misconstrued as an endorsement of the organization that sponsored the study. I intended for the article to raise issues that require open discussion and rational debate, and I hoped that the controversy generated would expedite this process. Yet my one-sided approach alienated many, which I regret.
While I regret that many members of the Emory community took extreme offense at my words, I'm not sorry I wrote the article. For I know that my intentions were noble and were based in an unbiased search for truth and understanding, not the belittlement of any particular group. I wouldn't have mentioned Jensen if I didn't think his work had merit to it, although I admit that Jensen might be wrong. If I am in error, any apology I might make for these beliefs in the future will note that this error was not caused by ignorance or bigotry, but rather by honest mistake.
That said, I realize that Arthur Jensen is but one of many thinkers who have dealt with the "color line." I apologize for the lack of clarity, but when I wrote, "I have yet to find … major flaws in his data or his conclusions," I more specifically meant that I have yet to find any criticism that substantively rules out Jensen's default hypothesis. In fact, Jensen still defends his work before scientific commentators on the American Psychological Association's Web site PSYCOLOQUY (www.cogsci.soton.ac.uk/cgi/psyc/newpsy).
I merely wish to stress the need not to suppress research into the subject and for people to realize that Jensen's hypothesis is potentially correct. I have the feeling that right now, many would immediately discard it as "racist" or "ignorant," as I'm sure is currently done in many anthropology and sociology courses at Emory. If his hypothesis is correct, then we need to consider a genetic solution to narrowing the IQ gap between self-defined "whites" and self-defined "blacks." Such a solution need not violate anyone's rights. I'm of the firm belief that human problems are best solved by increasing human knowledge, and that in the long-run increased knowledge leads to greater human happiness, not the opposite. Suppression of scientific inquiry on ideological grounds constitutes one of the worst forms of thought control, and is anathema to a free society.
Trust me, if I had been writing a book on the subject instead of an op-ed piece, I would have certainly examined other researchers' hypotheses instead of aligning myself with Jensen. My article wasn't meant as a critical analysis of the varying intelligence theories. I merely wanted to give a specific example of suppression that has occurred to a particular researcher, whose work is by no means "discredited."
Growing up, I was only given a one-sided perspective on the issue: That all races are inherently equal in intelligence and innate behavioral characteristics. Any doubts I had I kept to myself, thinking that once I attained the next higher educational level I'd learn exactly why I was wrong. Once I looked into the issue on my own and saw some of the suppressive tactics used by radical student organizations and college administrators against politically incorrect professors, I had to ask, "Why?" If what these people thought was so obviously "wrong," then why did brute-force tactics have to be used to silence them?
Then I realized I was naïve in thinking that complete academic freedom is a goal towards which all modern universities strive. It isn't.
Let's face it, if an assistant professor at Emory had come to Wednesday's Race And Cultural Education Source forum and supported Jensen's position on the race/IQ issue, he could kiss his chances of ever achieving tenure goodbye regardless of the evidence he presented. I can't even begin to speculate as to the political pressures University administrators need to conform in order to maintain both a school's funding and its reputation, but I do know that the left-wing influence on certain fields, including cultural anthropology, sociology and political science, is well-documented. Any theory questioning equality, especially human genetic equality, faces summary dismissal on ideological, not scientific grounds. The empirical standards required by the "hard" sciences reduce the appeal of these disciplines to political ideologues, but some exist and they do make their presence known.
Here's but one example: Despite his contributions to the field of evolutionary biology (which I readily acknowledge), Stephen Jay Gould is a self-avowed Marxist. His ideological bias towards a world of impossible economic equality prohibits him from even considering a theory that questions whether genetic equality exists between human groups. Not surprisingly, he has been one of Jensen's most ardent critics.
I've also seen cases of outrageous media bias in reporting politically incorrect stories, particularly those that involve race. One example is the outrageous libel the Atlanta Constitution printed after an interview with Nobel Laureate William Shockley in 1981. Shockley, who co-invented the transistor in 1948 and was a awarded the Medal of Merit (America's highest civilian honor) by U.S. President Harry S. Truman for heading America's anti-submarine warfare research during World War II, was compared to Adolf Hitler for merely revealing his highly detailed research and findings regarding race, IQ and dysgenic trends. His mathematical analyses were curtly dismissed as "rubbish," and he was portrayed as an ignorant racist throughout the article.
Shockley sued the paper for $1.25 million for grossly distorting and misrepresenting his position. The trial, held before a mixed-race jury, ultimately ruled in his favor, but only awarded him $1 compensation (and no costs) for a trial which cost him about $80,000. Such was the slap in the face given to one of the 20th century's greatest scientists for simply defending his politically incorrect findings.
Now, I'm finding myself vilified for suggesting that the work of such scholars as William Shockley, Arthur Jensen, J. Phillipe Rushton, Richard Herrnstein, Hans Eysenck, Michael Levin, and Glayde Whitney (to name a few) might actually have scientific merit. Apparently, I'm not allowed to think that. I'm not supposed to question certain ideas. Why else would I be made to feel so unwelcome here on Emory's supposedly "tolerant" campus?
George Orwell once wrote, "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." I feel I've been deceived, and I'm telling the truth. Mike Polignano is a College junior from Adamstown, Maryland.
IV : LE 3EME EDITORIAL DE POLIGNANO
The Emory Wheel Atlanta, GA | Friday, November 3, 2000 | Editorials"The racial intelligence gap is still an unresolved issue"
By Michael Polignano, Columnist
A lot of people probably view me as the antagonist in the story of the recent racial debate at Emory, but discussion of the sort we had October 11 is exactly what we need in order to make progress. I think I can safely say that nearly everyone, myself included, left the Winship Ballroom that evening feeling better than upon entering. Since then, I haven't received any additional hate mail from Emory students, and I've even made amends with a few people who sent me such mail.
I hope everyone understands that the Band-Aid solution of not talking about race and IQ in order to not offend others simply won't do. Nor will adding a "cultural sensitivity" class to the required academic curriculum. I don't take pleasure in bringing up this controversial issue, and I'd avoid it if I could, but if we don't discuss the IQ gap and its possible causes soon, the country will suffer in the long run.
If the cause of the IQ gap is partially genetic, then well-intentioned programs like Affirmative Action won't succeed and will only lead to more problems in the long run. Whites who get overlooked in favor of minorities will acquire unspoken resentment, and minorities will never know for sure if they've gotten a job for their skills or their race. When our country enters its next period of economic hardship, which it undoubtedly will eventually, unspoken resentment could easily turn into overt hatred. Only if we discuss these issues now, while rational debate and discourse is still an option, can we hope to avoid this unpleasantness and the threat it poses to the country.
Believe it or not, I've received a lot of support since my Oct. 6 column appeared. Unfortunately none of these students voiced their opinions at the Racial and Cultural Education Source forum held in response to that column, which tells me we still have quite some way to go before we have completely open discourse on the subject. Ironically, on a day - National Coming Out Day - when many students were coming out of the closet by being honest with the world about their sexual orientation, no other students came out of the closet with respect to their true opinions on my column.
Such a response might lead student groups like RACES and the Black Student Alliance to come to the erroneous conclusion that I'm the only one on campus who thinks that genetics might play some role in shaping behavioral differences between races, or that discussing this possibility is worthwhile. If they make this mistake, they are only fooling themselves. To use the words of Anthropology Professor Ben Freed at last week's RACES forum, I am not "an individual flaw in the system."
I'll therefore continue speaking not only for myself, but also for those individuals who have chosen not to speak. As word of the events that have taken place here continue to spread past Emory's campus, I'm hoping the "system" will soon come under close scrutiny by independent observers.
After all, since all of the scientific criticisms I've heard so far are addressed at some length in The g Factor itself, I'm led to believe that many of the faculty members who criticized me for supposedly not doing enough research should have followed their own advice before commenting. As I stated in my original column, no criticisms I read so far "refute" Arthur Jensen's work.
By giving students the false impression that Jensen's work has been discredited, the "system" has committed an act of gross intellectual dishonesty. Disagreeing with Jensen's work is one thing, but abusing a position of authority by saying it has been "refuted" and cannot possibly be true is quite another. I therefore call upon Freed and all the other faculty members who have directly stated or indirectly implied that Jensen's work has been "refuted" to take responsibility for their statements and issue an apology to both the Emory community and to Jensen.
I also ask anyone who believes that race has no biological basis to consider the fact that only 30 years ago, many scientists said the same thing about gender. The differences between men and women were thought to be purely physical in nature, and any behavioral differences that existed were believed to be purely environmental. Anyone who said otherwise was dubbed a "sexist," and sexists were automatically guilty of a conspiracy against women to keep them oppressed. Radical feminists enforced this line of thought, and actively sought to acquire all the benefits of being a man, while eschewing the responsibilities.
Fortunately, most mainstream feminists today are readily willing to admit that men and women do differ behaviorally as well as physically as a result of genetic differences between the sexes. Nearly all psychologists hold this view, which is taught in Emory's introductory psychology classes. Most people understand that it's not disrespectful to women in any way to acknowledge that men and women are complementary, not identical, not just in the physical sense but also in a behavioral sense, and that the two are intimately related. The behavioral reason that men fight over women, and not vice versa, relates back to the physical reason that sperm "fight" to get the ovum, and not vice versa.
Although sociologists might believe that gender, which evolved over hundreds of millions of years, is headed for extinction because of the societal changes that have occurred during the last 40 years, real scientists can see the flaws in this reasoning. Humanity will disappear before sex disappears, and that's certainly not a bad thing.
And while the different races of Homo sapiens that evolved over the past 110,000 years could theoretically disappear if interbreeding occurred on a massive scale, humans overwhelmingly tend to marry within their own race, so they're not going to go away anytime soon either. Just as with sexual differences, we need to acknowledge the innate group differences that exist rather than attempt to fool ourselves into believing they don't exist.Michael Polignano is a College junior from Adamstown, Maryland.