Friday, April 1, 2011

Standardized Testing Is Racist, Says Holder

Yesterday, I discussed how the Obama administration considers standardized testing for school kids to be boring and punitive. For those students who were bored and frightened and have now moved into the adult world, standardized testing is also racist. Obama merely made suggestions about testing in the schools, but Attorney General Eric Holder is putting our tax money where his big mouth is to stop "racist" standardized testing for crucial public employment. In this case, a police department.

The City of Dayton, Ohio requires a two-part written examination for prospective police officers. In order to be considered for employment, applicants must get 66% correct (57 out of 86) on the first part, and 72% correct (73 out of 102) on the second part. 57 out of 231 black applicants passed the exam. There were approximatley 1,100 total applicants. Only 25% of blacks scored sufficiently to be considered, while nearly 60% of white applicants scored high enough. Using the leftist "result-oriented" approach, Holder's Justice Department simply ordered Dayton to lower the scores required for passing.

Rather than carefully investigate the questions on the test for possible racial bias, Holder used the power of his office to order a municipal branch of an independent State to change its procedures without a single constitutional reason or legal precedent for doing so. Oh, naturally, Holder bases his order on civil rights statutes which may or may not apply. He neglected to notice that racial bias must now be proven rather than merely alleged. Legal niceties like burden of proof simply get in the way of the Obama/Holder concept of social justice. No problem for Holder. It must be racism because he says it is.

By Holder's order, on the first part of the test, the passing grade was reduced to 58%, and 63% on the second. What would formerly have been an F becomes a barely-passing D. Using the new standard, 258 more applicants passed than under the earlier standard. Many of them were black, and that was enough to satisfy Holder's sense of fair play, if not the law or the Constitution. Never mind that this will once again inflame racial animosities on both sides for no good reason.

Clearly, this is nonsense on stilts. Dumbed-down tests for employment as a disposable file clerk are bad. Dumbed-down tests for police officers are downright dangerous. Holder had no proof or even indication that there was any racial bias in the questions. He simply didn't like the numbers. Dayton will of course appeal, unless the local politicians are either cowards or race-baiting Democrats. They certainly have clear and recent precedent for overturning Holder's order.

Ricci v DeStefano (the New Haven Firefighters' Case) decided just last year is dispositive if it turns out the Dayton questions were race-neutral. The sole difference in the two cases is that in New Haven it was a promotion exam and in Dayton it was an entrance exam. That distinction has no impact on the legal reasoning. The argument of "disparate impact" is no longer valid unless there is a clear and purposeful intent to discriminate on the basis of race, or gross negligence in the application of the tests so as to produce the disparate impact. Neither can be proven here. If it gets to the US Supreme Court, we already know how Justice Sotomayor will vote, since it was her idiotic opinion at the Court of Appeals in the Ricci case that was soundly overturned.

What is interesting is two unexpected supporters of the old standards have emerged. One is Keith Lander, Dayton chapter president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Lander made an official statement which said: "Lowering the test scores is insulting to black people. The DOJ is creating the perception that black people are dumb by lowering the score. It's not accomplishing anything."

The other voice was that of Dayton NAACP president Derrick Foward, who said: "The NAACP does not support individuals failing a test and then having the opportunity to be gainfully employed. If you lower the score for any group of people, you're not getting the best-qualified people for the job." Well, I guess that means I owe the NAACP one small apology. At least one chapter seems to understand true racial discrimination, and this case isn't it. In light of my post yesterday, I should add that this comports with my criticism of high school graduates who can't read their own diplomas.


Joel Farnham said...


It could mean that the hotter heads are leaving for the New Black Panthers. Draining the swamp so to speak.

Unknown said...

Joel: Yes, but do the NBPs have an application and testing process? And if so, how many whites passed it?

Tehachapi Tom said...

Terminology is the culprit here along with a good measure of racism.
Equal opportunity equating to affirmative action is a prime example. Try global warming which was to specific, so climate change became the watch word.
If we are to measure any thing we need a standard to compare with. Weights, lengths and quantities come to mind. Imagine arbitrarily change the pound to something greater or lesser. What would be the impact on commerce?
With the racist view we could have third graders in college chemistry classes. Boy couldn't you see some exciting events there?
Why do we have to tolerate such stupidity? Isn't there some place common sense can be found?
All this sort of crap is just plain disgusting.

BevfromNYC said...

It actually goes to show you that people in the Midwest are much more reasonable and smarter about the welfare of their communities than people in the Northeast. Should that surprise anyone?

Unknown said...

Tehachapi Tom: It's not so much terminology as it is a lack respect for education and entrenched race-baiting. Black people start out at birth with pretty much the same intellectual ability as whites. Then, the liberals tell them for twelve years of public school that they can't compete and need the help of the government to "level the playing field." If you are told often enough by persons of authority that you can or can't do something, odds are you'll begin to believe it. It becomes second nature to expect different treatment because of your nonexistent learning disability.

More than anything else, I was heartened by the response of the local NAACP and SCLC. Unlike Holder's action which didn't surprise me at all, I didn't expect such clear statements from those organizations. Maybe we're getting somewhere after all.

Unknown said...

Bev: I think Martians understand the reality of human life and necessity of actual achievement better than people in the Northeast. But since I was born in the Midwest and most of my family still lives there, I'll take the compliment with sincere thanks.

Unknown said...

I'm hitching up the team to the buckboard and preparing for the trek to Bakersfield For Niko the Wonder Pup's follow-up checkup and shots. I'll catch up with responses as soon as I get home. It was snowing last week so I had to postpone the appointment. Today, the temperature outside is 90 degrees, and it's always warmer in Bakersfield. Still getting used to the high desert.

Joel Farnham said...


I snuck into their headquarters and found the entrance exam and some stats. There are only three questions to pass the NBP's entrance exam. I've copied them down.

1) Do you believe Blacks are oppressed?
A. Yes
B. Yes

2) Do you believe Whites are racists?
A. Yes
B. Yes

3) Are you willing to do stupid things like flagrantly break the law?
A. Yes
B. Yes
They don't keep those racists statistics comparing how people fair with the exam. They did have the percentage makeup of people who have joined.

Blacks ---- 100%
Hankies ---- 100%
Beaners ---- 100%
Crackers ---- 100%
Cookies ---- UNKNOWN
Apples ---- 100%
Oranges ---- 100%

The Cookies statistic was whited out.

That is as far as I got. I had to leave quickly. ;-)

T_Rav said...

I had to grade some students' quizzes this week concerning 19th century Europe. Here are some of the choice answers to their questions:

This British (I repeat, BRITISH) political movement organized working people behind the demand that every man must have the right to vote. Correct Answer: Chartism. Several students' answer: Emancipation of Russian Serfs.

His Red Shirts became an army that conquered Sicily and Naples in the name of Italian unification. Correct Answer: Giuseppe Garibaldi. Several students' answer: Otto von Bismarck.

So, thanks a lot, NAACP and other minority activist groups. Thank you for filling the textbooks with racial, gender, and class oppression stories, so college students don't know the basic history of modern Europe. I need to lie down...

Tennessee Jed said...

"Eric Holder is Racist, Says T - Jed"

Nice article, Hawk. Let us hope the appeal is swift and rectify's Holder's injustice.

StanH said...

Lawhawk you do realize, by questioning “Himself” and his blithering AG would make you a racist…liberal logic can be fun.

It amazes me just how successful the liberals have been, that something like this can be done with a straight face. Every bit of this achieved by petulant children (liberals) screaming, stomping their feet until they get what they want. I admit I suffered from conservative apathy, but wow! …what condition our country is in. We have much work to be done, apathy is no longer an option.

T_Rav: At least they didn’t say, “The Emancipation Proclamation.”

Unknown said...

Joel: I hear that about 40% of the applicants still manage to fail the NBP exam.

Unknown said...

Tennessee: Now I have a genuine authority who calls Holder out for being a racist.

I don't know if they've filed an appeal, but it's a slam-dunk at the Supreme Court if they do.

Unknown said...

Stan: I think what happened is that Holder won a couple of rounds centering on the Voting Rights Act where the AG's office is given tremendous discretion. That has given him a false sense of invincibility.

This is not one of those cases, and the burden is on him to prove his case. His incompetent political appointees aren't ready for a legal battle where they don't have all the advantages and legal assumptions on their side.

Joel Farnham said...


I was told by one NBP that people who repeat that provably false 40% statistic are racists and shouldn't be listened to. I was also told because of the white racists who conspire to keep the blackman down use statistics against them and tests are just another statistic.

I wonder why cookies were white out instead of black out.

Unknown said...

T_Rav: Well, you have to give them credit. At least they sorta got the right continent. But it's understandable. When college texts spend far more time and ink on Chaka Zulu and Patrice Lumumba than they do on Disraeli and Gladstone we can't expect them to know much.

T_Rav said...

LawHawk, if I asked the kids about Disraeli and Gladstone I'd get nothing but blank looks. Did I mention how much I dread the day when my generation takes over the country?

Unknown said...

Joel: I'm white. I can't help my genetic and moral disposition toward racism. That includes making up statistics that intentionally harm black people.

Unknown said...

T_Rav: Not to worry, I have two generations of pushy and genuinely-educated conservatives in reserve.

Joel Farnham said...

Not to worry LawHawk, I suffer from the same genetic predisposition. ;-)

Unknown said...

Joel: Until they come up with some new form of gene-splicing, I guess we'll just have to live with our defects. LOL

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