The logical conclusion

From the much prettier Dana, writing on Patterico’s Pontifications:

Confirming What A Lot Of Us Have Long Believed
Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:09 pm

Guess what? Hard work, high expectations and commitment pay off.

We find that the Asian-American educational advantage over whites is attributable mainly to Asian students exerting greater academic effort and not to advantages in tested cognitive abilities or socio-demographics.

Also, no matter their economic background or the educational levels of their families, Asian American students typically surpass their white counterparts by the time they reach fifth grade.

“What accounts for Asians’ greater academic effort than whites?” asked study authors Amy Hsin of Queens College in New York and Yu Xie of the University of Michigan. “Asian and Asian American youth are harder working because of cultural beliefs that emphasize the strong connection between effort and achievement,” the authors wrote. Studies show that Asian and Asian American students tend to view cognitive abilities as qualities that can be developed through effort, whereas white Americans tend to view cognitive abilities as qualities that are inborn.”

More at the link.  But how amazing it is that scholars can attribute academic — and later life — success of a particular racial and ethnic group to a cultural trait which encourages hard work, and it’s not raaaaacist in the slightest, but if someone were to suggest that there is a particular ethnic or racial group with a cultural norm which discourages hard work and practically encourages dropping out of school, and that’s why aggregate achievement of that group is depressed, why he’d be practically a Klan member.

The Los Angeles Times’ story on this noted:

The authors wrote that family wealth was not a factor in performance.

“The poverty rates of Chinese and Vietnamese are higher than they are for whites. However the disadvantaged children of Chinese and Vietnamese immigrant families routinely surpass the educational attainment of their native-born, middle-class white peers.”

Similarly, there was no convincing evidence that the reason was genetic. While Asian Americans might test higher than whites in cognitive ability around age 2, that edge eroded by the time the children entered school, authors wrote.

As expected, no one really wants to take the story to its logical conclusion:1 if culture and work ethic explain superior achievement by Asians and Asian-Americans, why wouldn’t culture and work ethic also explain inferior achievement by black Americans? No one wants to take that part of the story, because it completely destroys any justification for Affirmative Action, and it destroys the arguments of the left that black underachievement is somehow still the fault of white racism. If white racism were somehow at fault, then it would negatively impact Asians as well; even if one argues that Asians face less discrimination than do blacks, if white racism was the problem, then Asian students should, perhaps, do better than blacks, but still worse than whites.

I would guess that, had the study been between Jewish and Gentile whites, we’d see similar over-achievement by Jews, and for the same reasons. Having a culture which stresses the things which helps people to get ahead is going to have the quite natural result that the people in that culture, overall, will get ahead! That’s an obvious statement, but the reverse is also obvious: having a culture which denigrates the things which help people to get ahead will have the result of holding down the aggregate achievement of the group.
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  1. The better looking Dana did not, and, somewhat to my surprise, none of Patterico’s commenters wanted to go there either; despite me having put the point out there, it was strictly avoided.

6 Comments

  1. A possible explanation:
    A master sword maker and one the master’s students was tasked with sharpening two identical swords. To test the sharpness of the student’s sword, some leaves were thrown into a stream and the sword’s blade placed downstream. Every leaf that floated across the blade’s edge was neatly cut in two. The same was done with the blade sharpened by the master, but it was noticed that every leaf avoided the edge of that blade.

    Feel better, Dana?

  2. …..and it destroys the arguments of the left that black underachievement is somehow still the fault of white racism.

    As leftist administration spokes men would say: ” Sorry Dude”. Black underachievement is precisely the fault of white racism: leftist black racism which moved blacks from Jim Crow to the plantation of government support and dependence advanced by liberals since time immemorial. It are the Democrats as a party and their leftist leaders who promote the idea that blacks must be dependent and must be underachievers. Who also promote the idea that without Democrat largess they would all perish in a hail of racist hate. Why else would they endorse inter-generational welfare and decades of affirmative action which has done more to harm blacks than even the KKK ever did.

  3. Say Hoagie,

    There’s a minor storm on the Internet that you are probably well situated to help put into perspective. It’s concerning North Korea’s untranslated tirade against the “wicked monkey”.

    Maybe your wife could provide you with an exact text translation. You would probably be the first outside of academia to have it. Public service and all that.

    Actually it is legit news …

    The apparent mystery text itself:
    http://kcna.co.jp/calendar/2014/05/05-02/2014-0502-020.html

    The issue.

    http://freekorea.us/2014/05/07/really-north-korea-called-president-obama-a-wicked-black-monkey/

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/north-korean-screed-against-obama-illustrates-race-based-worldview/2014/05/08/9bc7a68f-7b71-4110-b4f1-85ae05c92777_print.html

  4. My wife’s not home right now DNW, she’s out with a gaggle of Korean ladies at Borgata blowing our retirement. When she returns, when I remember, I’ll check it out for you.

  5. We find that the Asian-American educational advantage over whites is attributable mainly to Asian students exerting greater academic effort and not to advantages in tested cognitive abilities or socio-demographics.

    TRUE!!! My adopted Korean Granddaughter is beyond a self starter. We took a Spring vacation which required the child to be out of school for a week. It could have been a month to her. We went to DisneyWorld. She brought her homework with her. At one of the parks, she was doing homework. (distorted on purpose)

    IMG_2100sss

  6. Pingback: Telling half the truth, the half-truth, and nothing but half the truth | The First Street Journal.

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