California`s Racial Privacy Initiative: Sailer vs. Taylor Round II
Racial Privacy Initiative is distinctive for the
quality of argumentation it has inspired on both sides
of the issue. Jared Taylor`s VDARE.COM
response to my
endorsement of RPI is a notable contribution to the
Mr. Taylor hopes
that if the government keeps on publishing statistics
documenting racial inequality, politicians will
eventually publicly conclude that the cause of
inequality is not discrimination, but is instead more
fundamental differences among the races.
Perhaps. But this
hasn`t happened yet, and I`m not terribly sure it will
Mr. Taylor and I
aren`t far apart on some things. He writes, "The
solution is to abolish all anti-discrimination laws.
Retain them, if at all, in the monopoly public sector."
In 1996 I wrote a major article,
"How Jackie Robinson Desegregated America,"
making the similar argument that we`d be better off
letting the competitive marketplace punish
discrimination, but that quotas might be justified in
anti-competitive government and union sectors. (A year
or two earlier,
Richard Epstein and
Dinesh D`Souza had both published books reaching
I sat back and
waited for the groundswell of enlightened public opinion
that would inevitably follow my elucidation of the
I`m still waiting.
I think it`s safe
to say now that even though the
main cause of racial quotas is
anti-discrimination laws, we aren`t going to repeal the
sainted 1964 Civil Rights Act in this decade or the
next. In contrast, the Racial Privacy Initiative has a
chance to pass next spring in California. It`s currently
leading 48-33 in the latest
Field Poll. That`s only a fair-to-middling level of
support for an initiative this early in the campaign,
before all those who make money off quotas start their
ad campaigns. But I have to believe it`s still a lot
better than you`d find for repealing the Civil Rights
The RPI isn`t a
panacea. But there aren`t any silver bullets for solving
the problems caused by racial
inequality. The RPI is one way to throw a wrench
into the gears of government racial preferences, so it`s
worth trying out in the state government of California.
(It would not affect the much larger data collection
operations of the federal government, so the direct
impact of the RPI would be as more of a test case than
as a major revolution in government affairs.)
I`m a California
statistics addict, so the RPI would inconvenience me.
Still, I`m impressed with the analogy that Ward Connerly
draws to the
ban on the Census Bureau collecting religious
The Bureau was
planning to add checkboxes for religious affiliation to
the 1960 Census, but Jewish organizations protested.
Congress eventually wrote this ban into law, and most
state governments follow it too.
impact. We have official statistics documenting to the
decimal place the racial makeup of the freshman
class at the
University of Michigan. Fueled by this data, a great
controversy has erupted over it, with scores of
organizations filing friend of the court briefs
demanding that the number of non-Asian minorities be
In contrast, there
are no official statistics on the religious
makeup of the University of Michigan freshman class.
Data exist – Arthur Hu has collected a lot of it
here – and it shows about what you`d expect. Just as
average SAT scores differ by race, so there are also big
differences by religion. Unitarians, Quakers, Jews, and
Hindus, for example, score higher on average than
Baptists or Muslims. Not surprisingly, therefore,
the members of some religions, such as Judaism, are much
more likely than others to be admitted to the University
But guess what?
Without government data on the subject, nobody cares.
The college is free
to admit individuals who have demonstrated the greatest
potential for academic achievement … without regard for
As a supporter of
individualism, meritocracy, and not wasting the
taxpayer`s money, I think this is a good thing.
Jared Taylor comments:
Steve Sailer and I
agree in opposing the
present regimen of
racial preferences. Therefore, the first question to
ask about the Racial Privacy Initiative is: Will it make
it easier or harder for
California institutions to practice racial
I believe it will
make it easier. Any employer or university that wants to
achieve what is now fashionably known as a
"critical mass" of non-Asian minorities will not be
the least bit inconvenienced if California suddenly
stops providing precise racial statistics for every
institution and jurisdiction in the state. On the
contrary, institutions that wish to
discriminate will be able to do so more blatantly
than before because the evidence of their discrimination
will be easier to hide.
If the state stops
counting noses, we may never know how many
underqualified non-Asian minorities have been admitted
to California universities.
That is why Mr.
Sailer`s analogy to religion supports my view and not
his. He argues that gentiles do not raise a stink about
the large Jewish presence at elite universities because
there are no statistics on their overrepresentation. (In
fact, gentiles would be greatly inhibited about raising
a stink about Jews no matter how much information was
.COM NOTE: just look what happened to Pat
Buchanan when he merely cited Ron Unz`s November 16
1998 Wall Street Journal
"between a quarter and a third of Harvard students
identify themselves as Jewish, while Jews also represent
just 2% to 3% of the overall population"!]
But is that not the very outcome the RPI would bring
about – an overrepresentation of underqualified
minorities, but one that was difficult to attack because
it could not easily be quantified?
It is precisely the
kind of information the RPI would deny us that flushes
discrimination and overrepresentation out into the open.
The RPI would
therefore make it easier to do the very thing it is
designed to prevent.
Entirely aside from
its effect on racial preferences, the other question we
must ask about the RPI is whether there are other uses
for the data that would no longer be collected. The
answer is a resounding "yes." More information is almost
always better than less information.
crime rates, for example, are extremely valuable,
not only for people considering a move or choosing a
school, but also for anyone who really wants to
understand the controversy over
A society less
hysterical than ours would take group differences in
crime rates into consideration in setting such policies
integration. By denying ourselves basic information,
we wrap vital social questions in a deliberate and
Mr. Sailer himself
will miss those very interesting and useful
sponsors see it this way or not, the RPI is part of an
insidious campaign to promote a myth that is even more
preposterous than the myth of racial equality in
ability: the myth that
race does not even exist.
Mr. Sailer shares
my alarm at current attempts to deny biology. But the
RPI will make it easier to deny biology.
By concealing the
social effects of race and ethnicity, the passage of
RPI would merely make it easier for obscurantists to
pretend that race and ethnicity are "social constructs."
[Steve Sailer [email
him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and