Why We Must Not Lose the Gap, Again

A Morsel of Goat Meat,” by Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times, 23 March 2005, http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/23/opinion/23kristof.html.

At the beginning of the century, the British Empire was engaged in the largest nations-building campaign in human history.

Two deadly European civil wars nearly bankrupted the Empire and so weakened London that it lost the will to remain. Everywhere it lost to native thugs, settler racist, or (in the case of Zimbabwe) both.

This is the price of that failure.

The hungry children and the families dying of AIDS here are gut-wrenching, but somehow what I find even more depressing is this: Many, many ordinary black Zimbabweans wish that they could get back the white racist government that oppressed them in the 1970’s.

“If we had the chance to go back to white rule, we’d do it,” said Solomon Dube, a peasant whose child was crying with hunger when I arrived in his village. “Life was easier then, and at least you could get food and a job.”

Mr. Dube acknowledged that the white regime of Ian Smith was awful. But now he worries that his 3-year-old son will die of starvation, and he would rather put up with any indignity than witness that.

An elderly peasant in another village, Makupila Muzamba, said that hunger today is worse than ever before in his seven decades or so, and said: “I want the white man’s government to come back. … Even if whites were oppressing us, we could get jobs and things were cheap compared to today.”

His wife, Mugombo Mudenda, remembered that as a younger woman she used to eat meat, drink tea, use sugar and buy soap. But now she cannot even afford corn gruel. “I miss the days of white rule,” she said.

These are not normal beliefs. These are not what you would hear in a function post-colonial state, like India, or an integrating post-colonial state, like Vietnam.

A combination of local thugs of all races, misguided western leftists, isolationist western rightists, and insane European policies lead to the abandonment of Africa.

Not that it is America’s turn for world leadership, we cannot fail like the British before us. Shrink the Gap.

Title IX Across the Blogosphere

Feminists Mad at President Bush,” by Mark Noonan, Blogs for Bush, 22 March 2005, http://www.blogsforbush.com/mt/archives/004038.html.

Title IX Changes,” by Chris, A Large Regular, 22 March 2005, http://large-regular.blogspot.com/2005/03/title-ix-changes-there-seems-to-be.html.

Title IX Compliance,” by Jen, Optional N, 23 March 2005, http://optional-n.com/?p=686.

Computer Scientist blogger Jen(n) misses the point on Bush all but ending

At the time, they made no changes to Title IX, but this Internet survey is effectively the old recommendation that we ask girls and women if they want sports before we fund them. To me, that is just outright foolish, and I can’t understand seeing it as any other way. Our society and culture are biased against women in sports, and the way to encourage women to participate in athletics is to ask them if they want athletics?

She misses the point. Title IX combines the harm of affirmitive action with the insanity of federal education legislation. Among other things, the law

  • Assumes that girls and their families are too ignorant to make their own extra-curricular decisions
  • Lessens happiness, as more popular male sports are cut to make room for less popular female sports
  • Attempts to create a New Style Woman and New Style Man, like the rest of progressive politics
  • Violates the freedom of everyone involved, because colleges are prohibited from offering sports to willing (and because of tuition, paying) students because of federal legislation

Title IX is a state-heavy monolith, but fortunately it never forced true equality. Mr. Noonan is incorrect when he writes

In this case, it relates to Title IX; a law which, in feminist theory, requires schools to provide the same athletic opportunities for boys and girls. If there’s a boys wrestling team, then there must be a girls wrestling team. The fact, at a particular school, that there are no girls interested in wrestling is irrelevant. Our feminists live entirely in the world of theory, and if the facts don’t fit the theory then the facts are to be ignored.

The law forced equal participation across sports, but not in any one sport. A better example would be if there was a guy’s wrestling team, there head to be a gal’s volleyball team.

Last, while Chris is incorrect when he says Title IX was not a bad idea in itself, he does offer a compromise

The solution in my eyes has always been to make cheerleading a varsity sport.

OK – are you done laughing or thinking I’m a chauvinist pig?

I’m serious. Cheerleading is not easy. My sister in law teaches gymnastics and is also a high school cheerleading coach. Her cheerleaders work just as hard as most of the varsity players they cheer and their practice is just as physically demanding. Most cheerleaders but not all will be girls whereas 100% of football scholarships go to the guys. All the other seasonal sports match up equally. Men’s basketball and women’s basketball, baseball and softball, men’s and women’s volleyball, etc, etc. It is football that throws things out of whack. If cheerleading was a varsity sport then the number of football scholarships could be equaled off with cheerleader scholarships.

Hey if cheerleading was good enough for the President then it should be good enough for Title IX compliance.

Update: Pilight offers a contrarian view:

I think it’s much ado about nothing. If anything, it makes Title IX more enforceable

As for conservatives and anti-feminists, well they’re beating the hell out of that straw man. Schools have never been required to show proportionality and it’s always been the least used prong for compliance. Interest in college wrestling was already on the decline before Title IX was enacted and the slide has only accelerated. The eliminated programs almost certainly would have been eliminated anyway, some people just like to have someone or something besides themselves to blame.

The Spill Canvas

Scotter alerted me to The Spill Canvas. A great accoustic guitar band currently on tour, they are from my home of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

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From their bio

The Spill Canvas is the brainchild of Sioux Falls, SD native Nick Thomas. The project started as an acoustic act and has since evolved into the emotionally intense full band that it is today. Together with drummer Joe Beck, guitar player Dan Ludeman, and bassist Scott McGuire, TSC with a heart-wrenching live show has been astounding audiences from LA to the UK.

Their debut album, Sunsets & Car Crashes, was released in 2003. The band is slated to hit the studio w/ producer Ed Rose (Get Up Kids, Motion City Soundtrack, etc.) in April-So stay tuned for more details!

They have two songs from their latest album free for download: The Tide and All Hail the Heartbreaker.

Or you can stream all of their latest album, Sunsets and Car Crashes.