John Derbyshire: “Disparate Impact”—Key Lie In Our Ruling Class Ideology
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See, earlier, by James Fulford: Disparate Impact: Legal And Political

Last week's item about jaywalkers in New York City brought in some emails. It referred to complaints that city cops issue jaywalking tickets disproportionately to Sun People, i.e. blacks and Latinos. Sun People are only 55 percent of New Yorkers, but they get 90 percent of tickets for jaywalking. Obviously New York cops are practicing flagrant racial discrimination.

A listener with long experience working in the city's courtrooms tells me that summonses are only issued to those who run but can be caught in a foot pursuit. So the statistics factor in the obedience of perps and the relative athleticism of perps and cops. Not sure how that plays out.

Another listener notes that the hateful racism on display in the issuance of jaywalking tickets is also seen in summonses for fare evasion in the city subway system. New York State's Attorney General (Letitia James, right) a black female radical, wants police to stop enforcing the law on fare-beating.

Meanwhile there have been ructions in one of the city's school districts. The New York City Schools Chancellor is another far-left radical, a Gringo-hating Latino supremacist named Richard Carranza. (Right. )Noticing that students being disciplined for misbehavior in city schools were disproportionately Sun People, Carranza [Tweet him] has ordered principals to stop traditional disciplinary procedures in favor of "restorative justice."

“Restorative justice" is the name of a trendy, feminized approach to dealing with misbehavior, not just in schools but in any kind of institutionalized setting—courts and prisons, for example. The main idea: instead of the misbehaving person being slapped with some penalty, they sit around in a group with their victim, witnesses to the misbehavior, authority figures, and psychologists, and everyone talks at length about their feelings (wo wo wo feelings).

The usefulness of "restorative justice" has not stood up to rigorous research [The promise of ‘restorative justice’ starts to falter under rigorous research,.  by Jill Barshay, Hechinger Report, May 6, 2019] And by comparison with traditional punitive approaches it wastes enormous amounts of everyone's time. But Progressives love it anyway.

New York City public-school parents…not so much. When Chancellor Carranza held a town hall meeting at a New York middle school on Thursday last, he was jeered off the stage by parents furious at the lack of discipline in their kids' schools:

After several unsuccessful attempts to quiet the crowd, Carranza rose and exited the stage as the hooting continued. 

Outraged parents jeer DOE head Richard Carranza off the stage at Queens town hall meeting, by Selim Algar, NY Post, January 17, 2020

The common thread to all these stories: "Disparate Impact." If Sun People are disproportionately being given tickets for jaywalking, or subway fare-beating, or Sun People schoolkids are being disproportionately punished for misbehavior, our ruling ideology insists that the only possible explanation can be malice on the part of Ice People—that's whites and Asians—towards Sun People.

The malice might be conscious or unconscious; but it is what causes the disproportion in punishments.

This is all in accord with the larger notion of Disparate Impact. Wherever there is a disproportion of Sun People or other favored groups suffering negative outcomes in any situation—mortgage lending, for example—a wrong has been done, and action must be taken to right that wrong.

Disparate Impact Theory is a key principle in our ruling ideology. It has the authority of, for example, the U.S. Supreme Court [U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Fair Housing Disparate Impact Principle, National Low Income Housing Coalition, June 29, 2015].  You might think that these disproportions could possibly be caused by Sun People actually jaywalking, turnstile-jumping, or acting up in class more than Ice People.

But if you do think that, you'd be wise to keep quiet about it. That's crimethink.

Heather Mac DonaldAnd please note that it's still crimethink even if you are a race denialist. Speaking as a race realist, I assume that Sun People do misbehave more than Ice People, and that the reasons are ultimately biological. But you can disagree with me on that bit about reasons and still be a thought criminal. If you think that Sun People truly do misbehave more, but for non-biological reasons, you're still a thought criminal.

Heather Mac Donald, for example, who has written extensively and scathingly about Disparate Impact Theory is not a race realist. She's a race denialist. She puts the high levels of misbehavior among Sun People down to "family dysfunction and lack of socialization." [Back to Discipline |Disparate impact reflects disparate reality, by Heather Mac Donald, City Journal,  December 19, 2018.]

That doesn't get her off the hook. Heather is a thought criminal anyway: ask any Progressive. [Suspensions for College Students Who Thwarted Free Speech | Claremont McKenna punished multiple campus activists who shut down an event featuring a pro-police speaker—but were those punishments justified?, by Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic, July 19, 2017]

Disparate Impact Theory is one of the stupidest and least defensible components of our ruling ideology. In its application to mortgage lending, where lenders were forced to abandon rational credit standards so that Sun People applicants were not disproportionately rejected for home loans, it contributed mightily to the housing bust and the subsequent great recession of twelve years ago.

When some legal scholar is coming up for consideration as a Supreme Court justice, the phrase "litmus test" is usually heard at some point, most likely in relation to the abortion issue. Here would be my litmus test question for someone in that position: "What part, if any, do you think the notion of Disparate Impact should play in our nation's jurisprudence?"

FOOTNOTE: Looking up that quote from Heather Mac Donald, I got to reading some of her other pieces at the City Journal website. She's a very good writer; and her pieces are terrifically well-researched.

Here’s an article Heather posted last September: False Testimony | Sworn statements at a recent congressional hearing on policing veered sharply from the truth: here are the facts,  September 26, 2019. The House Judiciary Committee had held a hearing on the policing of black neighborhoods. Heather has written a book with the title Are Cops Racist? So, reasonably enough, she was invited to address the Committee, one of the two witnesses called by the Republican minority on the Committee.(Watch her testimony here or below, at 1:33: 04.)

It was the penultimate paragraph of Heather's article that got my attention::

The Republicans on the committee failed to push back against this narrative of systemic police bias … The only way to dislodge the "endemic racism" argument is to challenge its factual basis directly. I was the only witness at the hearing with the ability to do so, but the Republicans asked me not one question. This is not a matter of personal ego but rather of the public battle of ideas.

That, it seems to me, goes right to the heart of the utter uselessness of the Republican Party. In what Heather calls "the public battle of ideas," when hostilities get anywhere near the subject of race, Republicans throw down their weapons and scamper from the field as fast as they can scamper.

What gutless cowards Republicans are!

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him.) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He has had two books published by com: FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.

For years he’s been podcasting at Radio Derb, now available at for no charge. His writings are archived at

Readers who wish to donate (tax deductible) funds specifically earmarked for John Derbyshire's writings at can do so here.


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