A Darker Shade of Black

At the risk of beating a dead horse into paste, I’m going to conclude this “inertia” stuff with a thought experiment. I’d like y’all to imagine the plight of a Black man in America…

… no, Soros hasn’t gotten to me (though I do work cheap, George — call me). Note that I said a Black man, not the Black man. Specifically, I want y’all to imagine what it’s like to be a smart, hardworking, capable, conscientious Black man… heck, Black person, though since women have their own set of inertia-type issues let’s keep it simpler and say it’s a guy. There are lots of these guys around. The problem is, all of those adjectives are highly context-dependent, and they shouldn’t be.

Take “smart” first, since the problems with it are the most obvious. These days, “smart” has two almost diametrically opposed meanings. The first is what we older folk mean by it, which is something along the lines of “processor power.” It might show up in one’s choice of career, but then again, it might not — there are plenty of smart guys that we’d all acknowledge to be smart guys, who haven’t made a career with their brains.

For one thing, there are different kinds of processors — some pay under the current “means of production,” and some don’t. (Indeed, as we all know, it’s the non-STEM smart guy who causes almost all of the Current Year’s problems). For another, and not to get all Aristotle up in here, but “smart” is a potential that needs to be actualized, which sometimes requires a swift kick in the ass… which isn’t always forthcoming. One of my college roomies was a STEM smart guy, for instance. Freshman year, he was well on his way to a well-paying gig designing chemical plants. But sophomore year, he discovered another kind of chemical plant, and by junior year he was failing out  of whatever bullshit major he changed to just so he could stay in college and smoke weed for a few more semesters. These days he’s some kind of ayurvedic healer in Berkeley or Austin or someplace.

But then there’s the other kind of “smart,” the Current Year’s kind, the one that begins and ends with acing standardized tests. Sometimes this tracks with processor power, and that’s what standardized tests were designed to do — you can ask Joseph Moore about this, he’s really knowledgeable about the history of education, but even I know that the SAT was designed to be little more than a gussied-up IQ test. Often times, though, and increasingly, standardized tests measure little more than how much time you spent cramming, or how much money your folks spent cheating. The SAT, at least, has been dumbed down repeatedly, and now we’re to the point that an increasing number of colleges are tossing it from their admissions criteria.*

The point is, how on earth do you know what kind of smart you are? Since it’s not just standardized tests, it’s everything — grades, too, be rayciss, because of course they are.** This is true of all students in the American “education” system (we’ll get there, don’t worry) but it must be especially rough on Blacks, since they know they’ll get an A+, a gold star, a smiley face, and a cookie no matter what they do. We’re stipulating that our smart, conscientious, etc. Black guy, let’s call him Wyatt (there has never, in the history of the earth, been a Black guy named Wyatt), really IS all those things, but… how the hell would he, Wyatt, know that about himself? What metrics could he possibly use?

Ditto conscientious, hardworking, and all the rest. Yeah, really, and if you don’t think those are all “social constructions” too, comrade, you haven’t been around kids in a long time. If you haven’t, you’ll have to trust me on this, I guess, but look: I taught undergraduates for a lot of years, and by the end, I didn’t even bother with due dates for the assignments. If you set one, first you get a slew of emails from students telling you how that date doesn’t work for them — they’ve got a golf tournament, or the sorority formal, or it’s two weeks away from Spring Break and they’ll be in South Beach by then, or something, anything, and if you tell them tough luck, they show up at your office hours with notes from Student Health or “Disability Services,” and that’s that. Then the due date passes, and you get another tranche of emails — your classic Dead Grandma Stories. Finally, as the semester is drawing to a close, you get one last set of emails, this time from students you’ve never heard from before, the ones who showed up for the first day of class (to get marked “attending” for student loan purposes) and never again. They all have doctor’s notes, too, explaining why they just couldn’t come to class, or even rouse themselves to send you an email, the entire semester, and now they’re allowed to turn in an entire semester’s worth of work in the last 48 hours of the grading period. Deal with that shit long enough, guys, and you just throw up your hands and make everything due on the very last day of the marking period — if they don’t have it in by then, they can take their notes and excuses and sob stories down to the Registrar.

See what I mean? Wyatt could have a 150 IQ, be punctuality itself, etc., but how could he possibly know that about himself? The entire system is set up to prevent him from knowing it.

So here’s Wyatt, graduating with his 4.0, who has never missed a due date in his life. He’s valedictorian, of course, and prom king and student council president and all that other stuff, again because of course he is. He’s probably had corporate recruiters knocking on his door since he was in junior high, and now they’re back, waving six-figure jobs in his face. But here’s the kicker: those corporate recruiters can’t know anything meaningful about Wyatt, anymore than he himself can. All they have to go on is his 4.0, his student council presidency, and so forth. So they think that here’s a great chance to put Diversity into the actual workflow, and not just create another Assistant VP of Community Outreach. So they put him somewhere on the production line, and…

Everyone see where this is going? Now there are two career paths open to Wyatt. If he’s a screwup, they’ll kick him upstairs, to that Assistant VP of Community Outreach slot, where he’ll spend his career smiling for photos for the company website. But since Wyatt actually has something on the ball, he’ll rocket straight to the top of something important, some part of the core business. Which is all fine and good… until something affects the body-in-motion that is the company workflow, something that knocks things a bit off kilter. Wyatt is now the very worst possible guy to have in that situation, NOT because he’s dumb or incompetent or lazy — remember our stipulations — but precisely because he’s NOT those things. Having known nothing but success all his life, and having no way of knowing if his success was merited or not, he steps confidently into the breach…

…and proceeds to cock it up royally, because he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, because the entire system is designed to keep him from ever finding out. Barack Obama, at least, knew he was lazy, so he happily fobbed off the actual work of presidentin’ as much as possible, and thank you, sweet baby Jesus, for that. Wyatt isn’t lazy, though, so…

And that’s where we are, comrades, except that they’re all Wyatt these days. I’ve taught kids of all races, creeds, colors, and orientations, y’all, and they’re all like that. And the absolute worst thing is, I can’t even blame them for it. They think they’re universal geniuses for having aced the standardized tests, and how are they to know otherwise?

Part II soon.


* “Because rayciss” be the official explanation, though “because money” is much closer to the truth. Very few colleges can afford to turn away anyone these days, which sets up a perverse incentive loop — it’s actually better for the college’s bottom line to let in woefully unprepared dullards, because they need several extra semesters’ worth of remedial “education”… at full tuition, plus room and board.

** And again, “because money” is much closer to the truth. Look, y’all: we all know that the Left don’t give a shit about Blacks, except as pets through which to signal their virtue, or as cudgels with which to pound on Whitey. The real reason “Thou shalt not fail the Negroes” is the whole of the law in the Ed Biz is because failing the Negroes gets your funding cut, which means those lazy fucks who are still coasting, a year later, on “fifteen days to flatten the curve” might actually have to get real jobs. And since the Negroes would fail in large numbers under any objective grading system, grades be rayciss.


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3 thoughts on “A Darker Shade of Black

  1. Avatarcontrariandutchman

    Since Wyatt is actually seriously smart, and not a mediocrity who only thinks he is because he always got an A+ just for existing he is as one of the more likely people in the company to actually get shit done, and solve the problem he ran into. He has the added advantage that all the usual ways for mediocrities to get rid of the competent will bounce off his POC armour.

    The problem is never with genuinely smart people. When you have a class of officers, you put the smart and hardworking ones on the general staff, their diligence is useful there and their smarts much needed, they are bound to cause trouble in field command though by driving their subordinates nuts with excessive enthusiasm. The smart and lazy ones go to important field commands, they are smart and will rise to the occasion when its needed, and they will not piss off the nco’s too much by intervening with the day-to-day of the unit all the time sine they are too lazy for that.

    The stupid and lazy arent that much of a problem either, you can send them to some minor command where nothing much is expected, and preferaby have a veteran nco keep an eye out so they cant bork things up accidentally. Being lazy, they will accept such babysitting.

    The stupid and hardworking are a problem however, they cant do their jobs right since they are too stupid, and they will work very hard to bork things up, not accepting any babysitting. Wherever you send them, no matter how irrelevant it might seem, they will find out a way through sheer persistence, to mae a royal mess of things.

    Of course our society has set up its entire education and bureaucratic systems to promote hardworking conformist mediocrities to every important position. That’s going to end great.

  2. AvatarJoseph Moore

    Back in the 80s, I was about 25 when I spent a semester in a tiny art school. (Hey, got a nearly free 4 weeks in Italy out of it!) where I met a fellow student who was a Harvard grad.

    (Reality Check time: one thing we St. John’s College grads have is a chip on our shoulders over Ivy Leaguers looking down upon us. The whole Great Books/Classics/learning how to think thing + the fact that few of our friends and relative have ever heard of St. John’s College but have all heard of Princeton tends to make us a little defensive. We scoff at the notion the Ivys are any harder. Yes, we’re a bunch of toddlers.)

    She was Hispanic, and strongly reinforced my prejudices about Harvard – she was certainly not as smart nor accomplished as the typical Johnny. Anyway, I had the thought: she’s been told her whole life how smart she is, and got a full ride to Harvard – at what point, if ever, does she learn she’s an intellectual mediocrity, at best?

    I kind of felt sorry for her – she had been handed a bunch of stuff because she helped somebody at Harvard check off the right Diversity boxes (already a thing, even in the 1980s), things a white guy (or Asian guy or gal) would need to have serious intellectual horsepower, then compete and prep like crazy to obtain. Does she ever have a sense of real accomplishment in anything? I kind of doubt it.

    Is she dangerous? Hell, yes. I lost touch with her immediately after leaving that art school, so I don’t know what she actually did with her life, but she’d absolutely blithely screw things up if she ever were allowed any real power. And have not the faintest clue why her feminist theory didn’t fix it – and so blame the men.

    One delicious moment: she and her husband (She casually mentioned once that he made a good first husband) had gotten involved in some sort of underground railroad for Central American refugees. The look on her face when it was explained to her that the PTB would very much like to put her in jail was priceless. So surprised, so innocent! ‘Felony’ was the kind of construct one was supposed to be able to ignore!

  3. Avatargedeon

    Computers are dumb, only reading 0 and 1, but hardworking. Does that help explain the corporate HR paradigm?

    You can search for this name on your preferred engine: Jawanza Hughes.

    Jawanza’s father was an OG black panther in Boston. Oprah gave him a full ride to Morehouse. He hammered out a 2.4 cumulative gpa. His next step was Harvard Business School and they awarded him an MBA. He was admitted to Harvard because the same gangster who made Jay-Z made a phone call and that was that.

    After Harvard, “Jew”, as we all call him, worked for Kidder, iirc, and later ended up Ariel Capital in Chicago. Ariel is John Rogers’ mutual fund company. Rogers was 0’s early patron and a cursory visit on every stop in Chicago. Jew’s morehouse and Harvard pal, Rodney Herenton, is from Memphis and son of W. W. Herenton.

    Paul Tudor Jones is from Memphis and throws $80 million to Rodney to startup what used to be an all black investment firm. I haven’t spoke to Jew since fall 2015, iirc, but when I check up on him he is with another firm that doesn’t look much different from Channing or Ariel. I never dug into Rogers’ story because I was more interested and occupied with other work and people, like the two big Chicago 0s. What I can say is that patronage is real and that so much of what doesn’t makes sense when you approach it through a raw intelligence and merit prism.

    All of the most powerful people play the game of politics and many of the HR decisions they make are based on control/dependency and what they determine to be adequate competence to fulfill a narrow or specific task or set of responsibilities. They like to have expendable people because it is common for very high intelligence people to see too much of the game and draw outside of the lines so to speak.

    I met Jawanza though a mutual friend, Ted. Ted was a regular in the Chicago Young Execs Club of which I attended two events with before determining it was not a good use of my time. Ted’s wife is Staci Jackson who has worked closely with the Johnson family of recent reparations claim fame.

    I post this to establish I am not just blowing smoke, but also to point out that slave owners do not need fields medal winners to handle routine tasks. The corporate world has been organized into processes with deliverables to make everyone up to the CEO expendable.

    If anyone is interested, YT still has an aspen institute video of Lester Crown being interviewed. From his own breath, he was introduced to barry around 1986, iirc. I don’t know if anyone here has met either of them, but how on earth would those two end up shaking hands almost three decades ago?

    Link here:

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