Fifteen years ago — fifteen blessed years, readers— I wrote a piece titled "The Whining Minority." That was at the time of the Wen Ho Lee brouhaha, for those who remember it, and the minority I was writing about was Americans of Chinese descent.
Permit me to quote myself from the yellowing parchment of September 2000:
Asians in America, and most particularly Chinese in America, are in danger of getting themselves a reputation as the whining minority. From a tiny number of instances of "discrimination," many of them of very questionable significance, "Asian-American" activists are building a case for special treatment like that accorded to blacks, homosexuals and so on. They are, they want us to believe, victimized. They are, they claim, "distressed" by words they find "demeaning."The particular word they had found demeaning was, as I had just noted, the word "Chinaman." That word had been declared taboo at some point in the later 20th century by whomever it is that gets to declare these things, though to my knowledge there was never any offense in it, direct or implied. Rather the contrary. My father, an Englishman born in 1899, whenever he had a stroke of good luck, used to say: "I must have shaken hands with a Chinaman!"
In that fifteen years another half-generation of delicate little human snowflakes has come to maturity, or at any rate legal drinking age. We are now in the era of microaggressions and four-hour sensitivity-training sessions in the workplace.
Asian-American whining has gotten correspondingly louder.
There is a story on this in the October 3 issue of The Economist: The model minority is losing patience. Subhead: "Asian-Americans are the United States' most successful minority, but they are complaining ever more vigorously about discrimination, especially in academia."
Much of the material in the body of the story will be familiar to listeners. Chinese-Americans do very well in academics, but the Ivy League universities have quotas on their admission numbers, holding them firmly down in the range 15 to 20 percent of admissions even as numbers of college-age Chinese-Americans have risen. Chinese-Americans have no trouble getting middle-class jobs, but they do have trouble getting up into senior executive ranks—the so-called "bamboo ceiling" … and so on.
As is normal—in fact compulsory—in Main Stream Media news reports in this age of science-hating ignorance, actual facts about human nature are ignored or denied in the Economist article:
Why do they do so well? Amy Hsin of the City University of New York and Yu Xie of the University of Michigan examined the progress of 6,000 white and Asian children, from toddlers through school, to find an answer. They rejected the idea that Asians were just innately much cleverer than whites: there was an early gap in cognitive abilities, but it declined to insignificance through school. The higher socioeconomic status of Asian parents provided part of the explanation, but only a small part. Their data suggested that Asian outperformance is thanks in large part to hard work. Ms. Hsin and Ms. Xie's study showed a sizeable gap in effort between Asian and white children, which grew during their school careers.That sounds authoritative, but you need to remember a few things.
That is all perfectly normal, natural, and unsurprising. Across the past few decades, however, Western societies have engaged in a concerted effort to deny what is normal and unsurprising about human nature. Hence public policies of racial set-aside and Affirmative Action; hence jurisprudential juju like "disparate impact."
The grievances of Chinese Americans reported in the Economist article are a consequence of that denial. The equalist dogmas of our state ideology validate and encourage the kind of whining on display here. If innate race differences do not exist, then observed differences in life outcomes must be due to social or environmental factors that can be corrected. Why don't we set about correcting them?
Here's a more interesting question: How is it that decades of effort to correct them have delivered such slight and feeble results?
There are two ways the social disharmonies arising from race differences could be avoided or erased. One way is to have a monoracial society, like Japan or Finland, where there is no issue.
The other way is to spread a calm acceptance of the realities of human nature, as attested by well-replicated results from science; to abjure pretty lies; to discard administrative practices and jurisprudential doctrines based on pretty lies; and to let every individual live in freedom under equal laws equally applied, letting the statistical chips fall where they may.
But for our Ruling Class, of course, that is of course too horrible to contemplate.
So…let the whining continue!
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's had two books published by VDARE.com: FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and From the Dissident Right II: Essays 2013. His writings are archived at JohnDerbyshire.com.
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