Elephant in the Room: Dysfunctional Inner-City Culture—Not “Systemic Racism”—Is Hindering Black Progress
Heather Mac Donald’s explosive new book WHEN RACE TRUMPS MERIT exposes the lie behind America’s equity obsession —and how it is destroying our culture.
NEW YORK, NY (April 18, 2023) — The death of George Floyd and ensuing riots were said to be a wake-up call: address America’s pervasive discrimination or face even greater disruption. Prestigious institutions, from the medical profession to the fine arts, pleaded guilty to “systemic racism.” What else explains why blacks are overrepresented in prisons and underrepresented in C-suites and faculty lounges, their leaders asked?
The official answer for those disparities is “disparate impact,” a once obscure legal theory that is now transforming our world. Disparate impact analysis has been used to invalidate school discipline policies, bank lending standards, and written tests for first responders. Now, New York Times bestselling author Heather Mac Donald reveals in her brand-new book WHEN RACE TRUMPS MERIT: How the Pursuit of Equity Sacrifices Excellence, Destroys Beauty, and Threatens Lives that disparate-impact thinking is jeopardizing scientific progress, destroying public order, and poisoning the appreciation of art and culture. And the crusade against standards is based on a lie.
“The reality remains that a dysfunctional inner-city culture is hindering black progress,” Mac Donald writes “That culture belittles academic achievement as ‘acting white.’ America turns its eyes away from this pathological culture and blames itself for phantom racism. We pretend that the reason for the lack of proportional representation in institution after institution is racist measures of achievement rather than vast academic and behavioral gaps. As a remedy for this alleged racism, we create double standards of accomplishment and behavior. But double standards help no one. They are condescending, and they are lethal.”
It is large academic skills gaps—not “systemic racism”—that cause the lack of proportional representation in our science labs and medical schools, and large differences in criminal offending that account for the racially disproportionate prison population. WHEN RACE TRUMPS MERIT exposes how the equity obsession—fueled by invented racism that ignores serious root causes—in our institutions is a threat to the very fundamentals of a fair and prosperous society. We are:
- Putting future scientific advances at risk by substituting racial quotas for meritocracy.
- Unwinding decades of progress in fighting urban crime by declaring color-blind law enforcement racist.
- Impoverishing the imagination, stunting the capacity for wonder and joy, and stripping the future of everything that gives human life meaning: beauty, sublimity, and wit.
WHEN RACE TRUMPS MERIT breaks powerful taboos supported by data and detailed case studies and is driven by a sense of alarm. As long as alleged racism remains the only allowable explanation for racial disparities, Mac Donald warns, we will continue tearing down excellence and putting lives, as well as civilizational achievement, at risk.