The word “alarm” is supposed to imply concern and even fear. You can be alarmed about a child molester moving into town. You can be alarmed about your kid hanging out with the potheads. One is not typically alarmed about gettting a bonus at Christmastime. Words have meaning and their use says a lot of about what’s on the writer’s mind. No one is alarmed about something they welcome. Alarm is supposed to imply fear and dread of something unwanted.
In this story from National Journal, the headline is, “Tech Pipeline Is Alarmingly White” with a subhead of “No African-Americans, Hispanics or girls took the AP computer science exam in some states, meaning a majority of The Next America has little familiarity with tech.” Presumably, the publication thinks too many white people, however that is defined, is a bad thing. After all, one cannot be alarmed by too much good news. Something must be done!
The pipeline of students who will be tomorrow’s tech leaders is alarmingly vanilla.
According to a new analysis of test-takers, not a single girl, African-American or Hispanic student took the computer science Advanced Placement test in Mississippi or Montana last year. More than a third of the population in Mississippi is black.
In other words, a hugely disproportionate bunch of white guys took the test.
But that’s not happening, at least successfully, right now.
There are 11 states where not a single African-American took the test, and eight states where no Hispanics sat for the exam.
We’re not talking here about people who passed or didn’t pass, either. We’re talking about people who simply took the test, which means African-Americans, Hispanics and girls aren’t enrolling in AP computer science classes in the first place.
Of the approximately 30,000 students who took the exam in 2013, only around 20 percent were female, according to the analysis, and a tiny 3 percent were African-American. Just 8 percent were Hispanic.
Notice the magically thinking. It is not about passing or failing the AP exam. It is about taking the exam. There’s an assumption that passing the exam is just a matter of joining the process and ticking the right boxes. If you dump more blacks into the AP courses, then they will just pass and become smart STEM people. The possibility that this is not possible is never considered. Of course, biology can’t possibly be the reason.
One reason there are so few students enrolling in the class and taking the test is that AP computer science courses are more common in suburban and private schools, Barbara Ericson, a senior research scientist with Georgia Tech who compiled the data, told the blog Education Week, and those schools tend to be less diverse than urban and public schools.
Another potential reason is that there are so few women, African-American and Hispanic instructors teaching computer science and so few working in the computer science field. Students are more likely to pursue a course of study if they have mentors with similar backgrounds to emulate.
College Board, which oversees the AP tests, has made diversity a priority in recent months, but clearly, there’s still a long way to go. And diversifying the pool of students taking the exam will require more than a push from College Board. Families, schools and community organizations will also play a crucial role in encouraging and guiding more girls and minority students toward computer science.
It is tempting to assume that the people making these claims know they are speaking nonsense, but that’s probably not the case. They really do believe in the blank slate and egalitarianism. The possibility of biology preventing their preferred outcome is just never considered, because that’s not a possibility. It’s like blaming Big Foot of leprechauns fo the problem. As usual, Steve Sailer was all over it and has some handy numbers.
Here are the pass rates (3 out of 5 or higher, equivalent to a C or better in a college 101-level intro course):
All test takers: 67%
Black males: 38%
Black females: 27%
Hispanic Males: 49%
Hispanic Females: 31%
White Males: NA
White Females: NA
Asian Males: NA
Asian Females: NA
America has spent roughly a trillion dollars since the 1960’s on trying to fix the race gap is income, education, crime and so on. It’s hard to know, as the accounting for some of it is impossible to figure. How does one cost the affirmative action or laws against private discrimination? Still a trillion is a good figure. Yet, the gaps in all of these areas have no changed much. When it comes to education gaps, the data is overwhelming that environment plays no role in the overall outcomes. It’s biology.
That said, one cannot help but think that the real driver of stories like this is not the denial of biological reality. The real issue is a hatred of white people. Whether it is self-loathing or ethnocentric forces that flow under the surface of society, maybe a combination of both, the ruling class culture is shaped by a general hatred of normal white people. That’s why the headline writer is alarmed at the white people in tech.