A third-year student in Harvard Law School made racist remarks at a dinner earlier this week, then tried to clarify his wrong-headed remarks in an email. The recipients of this email forwarded it to their friends, who sent it to their friends, who shared the law student’s muddled thoughts with even more folks. The power of the Internet.
Among his remarkable comments is this one, justifying racism through a science experiment:
I absolutely do not rule out the possibility that African Americans are, on average, genetically predisposed to be less intelligent. I could also obviously be convinced that by controlling for the right variables, we would see that they are, in fact, as intelligent as white people under the same circumstances. The fact is, some things are genetic. African Americans tend to have darker skin. Irish people are more likely to have red hair.
One bad seed, as the cliche goes, does not mean we need to throw out the apple. But what’s most distressing to me is that this law student–pedigreed, entitled, and holding discriminatory views–is poised to join the highest echelons of power. How will his racist views affect his real-world actions?
Arguments against the uneducated nature of ignorance don’t apply here. Elite, East Coast, overeducated folks can be racist, too.