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jkd

"I know plenty of white kids who buy cheap Honda Civics and "rice" them up..."

Let's pretend I don't know that this is baldly racist terminology. Could you even go about providing a definition of this use of "rice" in a way that isn't condescending, essentializing, and just yuckily racist? While you're at it, repeat the exercise to describe how it's okay to say the white car-buyers in Ayres' study probably just "Jewed down" the car dealer.

Oh yeah - and please do kick Sailer out. It's not your job to make him happy.

Nick Argall

Make up your own mind! :) You're under no obligation to provide a free-debate zone. But insulating yourself from morons who disagree with you carries risks.

JNR

Prejudging someone's attributes and abilities is not morally wrong, although the jugdment may be wrong, but so what? When I watch golf, statistics tells me to go with any given darker skin palyer over any given lighter skin player. If you must retain a trial attorney, statistics tell you to select the C student over the A student. When it comes to IQ tests, statistics tell me to pick any given European American over an African American. I would also pick a Chinese or Jewish American over the European American. Is there something insidious about my making selections this way? All of these (con)tests measure what they measure, and nothing more (unless they all measure everything, and then there is nothing to discuss). Isnt the real issue the hierarchical ranking we give these tests in terms of what we believe they say about a person's "real" relative value as a human being? And don't "both sides" concede this ranking? So the "immorality" also is on "both sides." And when AI ultimately and utterly devalues H(uman)I, will we still have IQ contests between human beings? An will those contests have higher or lower ratings than a golf match or court TV?

Eric

Out. He's a troll.

Lee Aase

Once again, Malcolm, your writing and logic is impeccable. I just finished The Tipping Point and wrote a review on my blog, to help spread the virus to those to whom I'm connected (although I'm NOT what you would classify as a "Connector").

The way you took Steve Sailer apart, putting his statements through the racism filter, was one of the best pieces of argument I've read recently. The surprise ending (at least for someone like me who hadn't read the comments previously) was a classic.

I do think your "Hollywood liberal therefore not racist" formulation about Michael Richards was beneath your usual standards of well-reasoned discussion.

I don't know that it matters whether Mr. Sailer contributes to this blog directly; certainly there are others who share his views and also have been commenting, so that perspective would still be represented.

As others have said, I don't think you need permission, but since you asked, I say "out."

Wes Weaver

So let me first say that I haven't read the car sales study, so it is likely that there is more information available. But from what Gladwell discusses, I don't think you can automatically conclude that the behavior of the car salesmen is "racist" (using the negative pejorative) even if it is the discriminating offering of price based on race (which, I will argue, can be is not necessarily negative, "racist" behavior).

I definitely agree with Gladwell that the "big spender" explanation suffers from a racist basis, but let me offer my own story. This past year I worked at a pizza place in densely populated, low income suburb. Our clients tended to consist of three ethnic groups: whites, asians, and black people. Almost all of of our clients were of low to very low income and regardless of race were of similar personalities and demeanors.

There was one noticeable difference. Occasionally, a customer would approach our front window and ask for the price of a slice. $2 would be a usual response. And then the individual would attempt to bargain, offering $.75 or a buck for the slice. If other customers were in line, we never budged, our listed price was our price. But if the person asked and he was the only one at the window, and if the pizzas were getting a little stale, we'd agree to their offer.

Here's the thing: not once during the entire time that I worked for the pizza place did a white or an asian attempt to negotiate the price. With black folk, it wouldn't happen frequently, but it would happen often enough to be something that we noticed and joked about.

Now, I understand that these qualities won't translate perfectly to a car salesman. But if I were selling cars in the same neighborhood as the pizza place, I would probably have a motivation to list my cars higher to black people for the simple reason that they seem to be more apt to bargain than whites or asians. The end price might be the same, but I would certainly start higher, expecting the bargaining individual to low ball me, allowing us to settle on a median price. If approached by a white or asian, I would be more likely to give them a price closer to the "true" price of the car, for fear of scaring them away with too high an initial asking price.

Now is this a racist perception I have of black people? Maybe, but its hard to argue with the empirical evidence (roughly 100's of times negotiating with black customers over the course of a year juxtaposed next to a flat ZERO of incidents having to bargain with whites or asians). And its not necessarily a negative assessment. The whites and asians can be described as "sheep" while the bargaining black customers could be described as business-savvy customers.

Meg

If he were behaving respectfully and espousing the same opinions, I'd reluctantly say keep him, because I'm all for open debate. Even the most horrifyingly groundless opinions can stimulate someone to share something more valuable in response.

However, I don't really think he's interested in debate. He wants to "correct" you into seeing the world the way he sees it, and while many of us err on that side of the fence in debate, he goes too far.

He IS insulting, he IS radically underinformed and inflammatory as such, and he IS not attempting to be a part of civilized discussion.

If he can snap out of that, then I say keep him. If he can't, he's got to go, because he's making you feel attacked and uncomfortable.

And NO, Steve, it's not because you're right. It's because you're being an arse.

Matt

Out. An honest dissention has value, his comments have no value.

Christopher Horn

I say "out", using the following decision rule:

We anonymous posters enjoy this blog because, hopefully, the quality of exchange back here is just a little bit better than your average blog. Assuming that's true, its a result of the equity Malcolm has developed, an equity that of course has a lot of value to him personally.

If we anonymous posters occasionally say something useful, that's probably a fair swap for us enjoying the exchange. The conversations will at times be hostile, but then again hostility may be a reasonable price to pay for moving the conversation forward.

However, when a poster merely exploits the goodwill of the community, for no other purpose than to be antagonistic, that's the sort of thing that could impact Malcolm's equity with no imaginable return benefit to him.

There is absolutely no reason that we anonymous posters should expect him to endure that needless risk.

Chrismealy

OUT

I'm tired of seeing his comments. They're boring and pointless. You either have to let them go, which is almost and endorsement, or challenge them, which is boring and pointless. If he had his way every blog would be about him. Yeesh.

It's not like he doesn't still have the other million blogs he posts on, so don't feel sorry for him.

Mia

Leave him - bc the sad things is that many people think like him. I also like the fact that he take responsibility for his comments, not doing so annonymously - like i do.

Anali

I love your books and have been reading your blog for some time, but I think this is my first time commenting here.

It's your decision about this guy. I won't even write his name. I haven't read all his comments and don't really know who he is, but regardless he is getting quite an audience here.

Especially by you making a post about him! Ignoring him would be the best way to deal with him, but it's almost too late. You've given him the best gift by acknowledging him.

How ironic when there are probably lots of fans here who would love your acknowledgement and you've focused on someone who seems to be sending out a lot of negative energy.

a.

See these two papers,

http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/003355304772839524

http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0022-3808(199606)104%3A3%3C622%3ADPDINC%3E2.0.CO%3B2-I

...for evidence that it may be economically rational to quote different prices to customers of different races.

Ali Zaki Mahomed

In.

As a frequent victim of racism I don't agree with what Sailer says, and personally, he ranks as scum in my books. But I must defend his right to say whatever he wants to say, though.

ers

It's your blog, dude. I, for one, wouldn't miss Monsieur Sailer's oh-so-thought-provoking contributions.

ers

Ali Zaki Mahomed - I agree with you in theory, but since when is a personal blog a public forum? I'd say Malcolm's well within his rights to say he doesn't want this hoser hanging out in the comments of his personal piece of cyberspace. Tons of blogs/public forums have commenting policies - check out the gothamist's for example: http://www.gothamist.com/commentpolicy.php

CoiZero

OUT.

robert

In.

After all, "The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas."

Steve can help you.

sevenless

As a long time reader of Steve's weblog, I'd just like to contribute to the debate by pointing out Google's brilliant choice of advertising on his isteve.blogspot.com page:

InterRacial Singles- Pics
Official site. 100% Register free. Huge worldwide community. Join now.
InterRacialMatcher.com

Photos of Black Singles
View 1000's of Photos of Black Singles in Your Area, Free Sign-up
BlackPlanet.com

Perhaps Google is supplying a hint on how Steve can work through his issues here :-)

Tim

I think Will Wilkinson is right that Steve Sailer loves this "iconoclastic posturing". This is his whole shtick. He is a shameless publicity hound in the blogosphere. He essentially cyber-stalks famous people like you and Steven Levitt just to attract attention to his site.

It is better to just ignore him.

Tom

Out. He is using your subscriber base to his advantage. Let him generate his own following.

Mitchell Young

Ever see that Chris Rock scene in the rib joint in "I'm gonna get you sucka" , hilarious!

Krishna Kumar

I don't agree with removing Steve Sailer, although I totally disagree with his positions and comments. It is very important to understand what the other viewpoint is, because only then you will be in a position to counter such criticisms.

The worse (or even sillier) the criticism, the more important it is to put it out in the open and find a compelling retort to it.

For example, I remember hearing a retort against global warming that carbon dioxide is not a "pollutant". I didn't have an immediate answer because I had never considered such an answer, but later I read that something does not have a pollutant to contribute to global warming.

Sorry for introducing a different topic, but my point is that unless one is exposed to arguments that make no sense, one will not be able to make the correct reply at the right time.


Simon

"I think we can all agree that comments like "black men enjoy being seen as big spenders" or black people "possess poorer native judgement" can be accurately described as examples of racism"

I don't think those statements indicate Nazi-style hatred of Africam-Americans, so I don't think they're examples of racism, no. FWIW I don't personally think you should ban Sailer (or any of us 'free speech jackals') from your blog; but it's your blog and entirely at your discretion who you let post here. A blog is more like a living room than a public square; you don't need any justification beyond personal preference in determining who can post here.

Reale

In.

It is most fortunate for mr Gladwell that he scrupulously avoids the evidence on questions of innate racial differences. Otherwise he would himself be "racist" and "lunatic fringe". Evidence is plenty that part of the black-white intelligence gap is genetically determined. The science behind it is not presenting "enough uncertainty" for a reasonable doubt. As a matter of fact, it is not the assertions of Steve Sailer, but the objections of mr Gladwell that have been refuted ages ago.

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  • I'm a writer for the New Yorker magazine, and the author of four books, "The Tipping Point: How Little Things Make a Big Difference", "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking" and "Outliers: The Story of Success." My latest book, "What the Dog Saw" is a compilation of stories published in The New Yorker. I was born in England, and raised in southwestern Ontario in Canada. Now I live in New York City.

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