Saturday, May 08, 2010

CODA TO THE HARVARD RACIST E-MAIL SAGA (HEY, THAT WAS LIKE A WEEK AGO): That utterly consumed the Internet and was accompanied by a flare-up of Bell Curveism in various comments sections that don't usually care about that sort of thing. Anyway, the Above The Law summary is probably the best I've seen. Note these two paragraphs:

During the dinnertime debate, Steph did not argue in favor of a genetic basis for racial disparities in intelligence. After the dinner, however, she sent an email — just to Yelena and Jen, not a wider group — clarifying her views. In that email, Steph wrote, “I absolutely do not rule out the possibility that African Americans are, on average, genetically predisposed to be less intelligent.” (For the few of you who haven’t already seen it, you can read the complete email here (third blockquote).)
Note the wording of Steph’s email: “I absolutely do not rule out the possibility….” This suggests that, at dinner, Steph actually argued against racial disparities in intelligence. Upon further consideration, she decided to go agnostic on that question, sending out the clarifying email. For a layperson without expertise in the relevant scientific disciplines, agnosticism on this subject seems reasonable — and does not make someone a “racist” (not that Kash, in our initial post on this subject, called Steph a racist, even though Kash believes the email contains racist subtext).

This further supports Thoreau's plea for mercy, I think. And why you shouldn't create a mini-scandal based on somebody's private e-mail (the e-mail in question was shared between three people months ago, and was not unleashed until there was some sort of falling out between two of the three--this is all in the ATL post.)

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