NYT: talented poor not choosing to attend good colleges

(Note: see in the comments a reader’s correction of my speculation that the poor, talented students of which the Times is speaking are primarily blacks.)

But if, as the Times reports, these students do not even know of the existence of better colleges in America, and they have absolutely no aspiration to attend any schools that are outside their local area, how smart and talented could they be? They appear to have very small horizongs and little knowledge of and little curiosity in the world. Don’t very smart people tend to have large horizons?. My guess is that the Times is doing its usual rationalizations for the intellectual and other deficiencies of blacks. I did not read the entire article,but I’d say that it’s fair possibility that it ends up asserting that these students are culturally and geographically isolated by racial discrimination and by the lack of special federal programs that inform them of the existence of better schools. .The eternal top-priority project and moral obligation of Liberal America (America 2.0)—at unlimited cost in societal effort, taxpayers’ money, and orchestrated white guilt—is to render blacks in general as functional as whites in general. And that will never happen. And no one who makes his living in mainstream America dare say it..

— end of initial entry —

Daniel F. writes:

I saw from Steve Sailer’s post on the same article that the low-income, high-aptitude cohort under discussion is 69 percent white and 15 percent Asian. So the large majority of the kids at issue are white.

LA replies:

Thanks for the correction. But I wonder if that information was in the Times article (which, again, I didn’t read the whole of and was only making a reasonable speculation on, based on past Timesean behavor), or only in the Sailer post.

Daniel F. replies:
The racial breakdown is in the NY Times article itself, about midway through. I suspect that Sailer is right that the problem is really with white kids, since channels are in place to whisk whatever (relatively) high-aptitude black kids make it through high school (most of whom are female) into elite colleges. Such kids are in extremely high demand, as I’m sure you know. By contrast, the powers that be could not care less about smart white kids from lower middle class or working class backgrounds. [LA replies: That all makes sense, and is not surprising. But it’s still fascinating. By the way, like Mr. Spock, I never say, “Fascinating” ironically, which people often think I do, because such behavior is now so common. I never (well, hardly ever) give a compliment ironically, which, again, has become a common behavior in our increasingly cynical and nihilist age.]

I’m amazed that you are able to do as much as you are still doing with the site. Your will power is amazing. May your pain be moderated and may you continue to make good use of your time with us, however you see fit.

“Blessed shalt thou be in thy coming in and blessed shalt thou be in thy going out.” Deuteronomy 28:6.

LA replies:

Interestingly, Deuteronomy 28, in which God alternatively presents the blessings and miseries he will deliver to the children of Israel depending on whether they follow or don’t follow his ways, is the source of the quote that I used at the end of my speech, “Multiculturalism and the War against White America,” at the first American Renaissance conference in May 1994.

I said:

In Deuteronomy, Chapter 28, God pronounces the curse that will fall on the people of Israel if they fail to follow God’s law:

“Your sons and your daughters shall be given to another people, while your eyes look on and fail with longing for them all the day; and it shall not be in the power of your hand to prevent it. A nation which you have not known shall eat up the fruit of your ground and of all your labors; and you shall be only oppressed and crushed continually; so that you shall be driven mad by the sight which your eyes shall see.”

Unless America wakes up to the threat of demographic and cultural dispossession, and finds the will to resist it, the curse pronounced in Deuteronomy awaits us all.

[end of speech.]

Karl D. writes:

I agree with what you said in the initial entry. Whether they be white or black, how intelligent can these young people be if they are so provincial? I grew up in Brooklyn and Queens and I remember as a teenager there were a couple of kids I knew who had never been over the bridge to Manhattan. Imagine that! They lived a mere three to five miles away from the world’s most famous and celebrated city, and they had never been over the bridge nor had their parents taken them.

March 18

James P. writes:

I went to high school in “the provinces” (Phoenix) but not in a low-income family. Just the opposite—I attended an expensive private school. Many of my classmates attended highly selective and prestigious universities. Yet an appreciable number of them attended the local, low-prestige school (Arizona State). These people had certainly heard of high-prestige schools back East, knew people who attended them, and could afford them, but chose not to attend these schools themselves. The problem was not lack of intelligence, knowledge or money, but motivation. Some of them didn’t want to be geographically far from their parents, others just didn’t know what they wanted to do with their lives. If this problem exists at the higher end of the income spectrum, I imagine it is even more prevalent at the lower end. The article notes, “Low-income students who excel in high school often do not graduate from the less selective colleges they attend”—which indicates to me that the problem is indeed motivation, not brains. You can graduate from high school on autopilot because all your choices are made for you and then wind up floundering in college because there are too many choices.

Thus the idea that these low-income kids in the Times article are “not really” smart and talented may be wide of the mark. I suspect that the system will make a special effort to seek out and attempt to inspire unmotivated black kids, and will be more likely to let unmotivated white kids fall through the cracks. (“If you don’t take advantage of your White Privilege, we have no sympathy for you!”)

LA replies:

This is very interesting and has the ring of truth.

Your observations remind me of someone I know. He is highly intelligent and extremely articulate. He writes like an angel. He is cultivated, being deeply knowledgeable about such fields as classical music and opera.

When he told me that he had never attended college, I was, frankly, gobsmacked, meaning that I was astounded to the utmost degree of astonishment.

He was graduated from high school in a Midwestern state in the mid-1970s. Now if I heard the same story from a person who went to high school in the 1930s or early ’40s, I would not have been astounded, because before the postwar period, as we learned from the Part One of The Bell Curve, before the postwar period people with high IQ were scattered throughout every walk of life in this country; but after the war the American system of education began pushing cognitively able young people into college and the professions, especially via the SATs, which had been deliberately designed to search out the cognitively talented who previously had not gone to college.

So how did it happen that he did not attend college, and how did it happen that he spoke so well and wrote so well without have gone to college? I had never met a person lacking a college education who expressed himself so well, with a perfect command of English usage and grammar. (And readers know how fussy I am about that—I am the man who will sit up in my coffin at my funeral and correct the pastor on a grammatical mistake!)

First, he had not had any intellectual or academic interests when he was in high school. He was into crafts, athleticism, things like that. The thought of college had simply never occurred to him. Second—and this part still astounds me—not a single adult in his life, whether his parents, his teachers, or his school advisors, had ever talked to him about the idea of his going to college. He had not even taken the SATs.

Second, as for his marked intellectual abilities and accomplishments, he only acquired intellectual interests in his twenties. He must have read a great deal, and developed on his own his excellent writing abilities.

I don’t know what general lessons this story offers, as it is in my knowledge atypical, indeed, unique. I’ve told it because I find it so interesting, and because it shows a unique individual.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 17, 2013 11:30 AM | Send

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