March 1, 2005

The Harvard Hall Pass

FILE UNDER: "Every Dark Thought You Have About Academia is Correct"

To [Roland G.] Fryer [ assistant professor of economics at Harvard ], the language of economics, a field proud of its coldblooded rationalism, is ideally suited for otherwise volatile conversations. ''I want to have an honest discussion about race in a time and a place where I don't think we can,'' he says. ''Blacks and whites are both to blame. As soon as you say something like, 'Well, could the black-white test-score gap be genetics?' everybody gets tensed up. But why shouldn't that be on the table?''

Fryer said this several months ago, which was well before Lawrence H. Summers, the president of Harvard, wondered aloud if genetics might help explain why women are so underrepresented in the sciences. Summers -- who is also an economist and a fan of Fryer's work -- is still being punished for his musings. There is a key difference, of course: Summers is not a woman; Fryer is black. -- Toward a Unified Theory of Black America

Posted by Vanderleun at March 1, 2005 5:59 AM
Bookmark and Share



"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Well, I'm not sure why you aren't somewhat encouraged that some people can say such things in Academia. (And, in fact, Murray and Hernstein already have... at Harvard, no less.)

More recently, David Armor has demonstrated that early childhood development explains a lot more of the gap than genetics. In other words, the problem concerns things like the divorce rate and single parenthood, that deprive children of critical development in the first few years of life. Fryer's greatest fortune was probably the fact that his parents stayed together until he wa past the critical formative period and he also got critical nurturing care from his grandmother.

Posted by: Demosophist at March 21, 2005 7:53 AM