Readers object to syndicated column
Anti-racism is not a liberal or conservative value, but it should be an American value. Over the last few years misinformation has consumed social and mainstream media. Discerning fact from fiction and legitimate and illegitimate news sources has become an everyday challenge. Information is a commodity that is bought and sold, and small newspapers have struggled to compete with free online sources. Local journalists care about the community because they are a part of it and as such we hope they’d be more trustworthy. We hope they’d try to provide balanced reporting, unlike our devices and apps that feed us stories based on algorithms. So while we might not always like what we see printed in the newspaper, it is where we go for local news and information.
That is why we were so shocked to see a syndicated column published in our local newspaper that was not only racist, but factually inaccurate. The piece, “Uncomfortable Truths, Not Bad Advice” by Michael Barone was not a “conservative” article, it was a racist article perpetuating white supremacy and theories based in eugenics. The fact that “truth” was in the title doesn’t make it true.
Race is a made-up social construct to divide people into groups. Scientifically we are all humans, but we have different genetic make-up that decides the color of our skin, eyes, hair, etc. Barone’s column supports the theory that cognitive ability, rates of violence, and achievement in school are determined by race when in fact, people are affected by the social policies that govern their country, state, and local communities. Systemic racism in our institutions of education, housing, and the criminal justice system go back to the start of America and have caused tremendous damage that has lasted generations. School districts and educational resources to this day have roots in the practices of redlining housing districts and discriminatory lending practices. These injustices cannot be overturned and overcome in a generation.
Mr. Barone cites Charles A. Murray’s book, “The Bell Curve” a number of times. The theories in this book have been widely discredited by a variety of intellectual scholars. Harvard sociology professor Mary C. Waters criticized Murray during a recent webinar saying, “He cherry picks data and studies that suit his desired conclusions.” Barone references IQ tests which he says are highly correlated with achievement in school and later life when in fact IQ tests have been found to be inherently biased.