Amy Wax, University of Pennsylvania law professor, has been demoted and will no longer be allowed to teach a first-year lecture class due to criticism over her claim Black students score lower than their counterparts. Penn Law dean Ted Ruger slammed Wax’s claim as false, but said she is entitled to free expression and will continue teaching elective classes. Importantly, are the statements of Professor Wax accurate?
Professor Wax told Glenn Loury on his show, “Here’s a very inconvenient fact, Glenn: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Black student graduate in the top quarter of the class, and rarely, rarely, in the top half. I can think of one or two students who scored in the top half of my required first-year course.” The professor said her class has 89 to 95 students per year, “so I’m going on that because a lot of this data is a closely guarded secret.”
I taught in the public school system for over ten years. I served as a university professor for five years. I certainly do not believe White Students are smarter than Black or other students. I’ve had outstanding students of all races. Yet in my fifteen some years as a teacher, I can say White People prepare their children better for school and higher education.
Law dean Ruger said Wax violated school policy by mentioning student grades to back up her argument. Alumni claim Professor Wax is “in clear violation of the terms and spirit of Penn Law’s anonymous grading policy, and compromise the law school’s assurance that grades are maintained by the Registrar under strict scrutiny.”
Why Hide Grades?
There are many reasons society should see aggregate grading results. We don’t need to know individual scores, but understanding Black students do better than White students in Field A and worse in Field B is useful information. As a political science professor, I observed the following:
- Male students were better comprehending statistics and research methods
- Male students were better verbalizing policy preferences and opinion
- Female students were better writing policy preferences and opinion
- Female students earned better grades than Male students
- Black female students earned better than Black male students
In class discussions, Male students were more eager to participate and venture opinions than Female students. Yet course grading involved writing short thought articles and a number of written exams. Females wrote more clearly, better organized their thoughts, and demonstrated greater comprehension of complex topics. Black males in general were the poorest writers, although none of my students were proficient. Writing skills suffer today.
White Success Does Not Imply White Superiority
Professor Wax believes Anglo-Protestant cultural norms are superior, “I don’t shrink from the word. Everyone wants to go to countries ruled by White Europeans.” The World Happiness Report 2018 ranks nations based on the “happiness” of people in rural-urban migration and international migration. Darker regions have a higher population of citizens who were born outside the country. Migration patterns suggest Professor Wax is correct. People seek “Anglo-Protestant” culture around the world.
There is a similar pattern when evaluating the Ranking of Happiness. Anglo-Protestant cultures rank higher on happiness scales than other cultures.
Bourgeois Values Help People Get Ahead
The professor emphasized her views were not meant to imply the superiority of White people specifically. “Bourgeois values aren’t just for White people,” she said. “The irony is: bourgeois values can help minorities get ahead.” Her lecture pointed out the declining marriage rate among minorities and suggested “family construction among Blacks is on average characterized by higher divorce rates, higher rates of extra-marital fatherhood and multiple partner fertility.”
Failed Family Construction
I criticized Huffington Post writer, Hayley Miller, for shaming a White female politician in West Virginia recently. Saira Blair suffered the wrath of the Left for singing along to a Lil Wayne song:
“I call it how I see ya. I wish I never met ya. I wouldn’t wanna be ya. Pussy-ass nigga, I don’t want your gonorrhea. Pussy-ass nigga ―”
Lil Wayne is an example of Professor Wax’s criticism of Black culture’s higher rates of extra-marital fatherhood and multiple partner fertility. Lil Wayne is an immature and classless guy who has four baby mamas to date. First child, daughter Reginae, was born to high school sweetheart Antonia Carter when he was 16. Second child, Dwayne III, born October 22, 2008, to radio broadcaster Sarah Vivan. Third child, Cameron Carter, born to actress Lauren London on September 9, 2009. Fourth child, Neal, born November 30, 2009, to singer Nivea. He also got rapper Trina pregnant but she suffered a miscarriage.
Some members of society consider Professor Wax to be “racist.” Margaret Nelson, a Middlebury sociology professor, told the student paper that “Students of Color were being attacked and felt attacked.” Offended by facts?
Professor Wax believes we need to return to some of the American cultural values of the 1950s — thrift, gratitude, temperance, continence — that would “significantly reduce society’s pathologies.” I’ve pointed out our hookup culture isn’t helping. My Facebook friend, Lilly Lue, shared a story about Sweden’s success recycling rubbish. This is an example of thrift, gratitude and temperance. These are Anglo-Protestant cultural traits. Sadly, America rejects these values today. We’re not thrifty; not a thankful people; don’t exhibit self-restraint (temperance); and are out-of-control sexually.
Professor Wax added, “Evidence suggests soft behavioral factors, including low educational attainment, poor socialization and work habits, paternal abandonment, family disarray, and non-marital childbearing, now loom larger than overt exclusion as barriers to racial equality.”
It’s also not helpful when President Trump allegedly uses terms, such as “shithole countries.” However, the World Happiness Report 2018 shows there are some dismal places to live in the world. Culture matters.
Professor Wax notes White culture has flaws and White people have made many mistakes, but we must acknowledge our collective success as well, “It’s partly what gets the Left in trouble — to tar everything that’s good with some of the crimes that undoubtedly have been committed.”
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