Malcom Gladwell interviewed by Tyler Cowen of the Mercatus Center, appropriately titled Malcolm Gladwell Wants to Make the World Safe for Mediocrity
So, if your problem is that you’re facing a series of stereotypes about how you are intellectually inferior, how you have a broken culture, how you have . . . I could go on and on and on with all of the stereotypes that exist. Then how does playing brutally violent sports help you? How is an association, almost an overrepresentation in these various kinds of public entertainments advance your cause? I’m for those things when they’re transitional, and I’m against them when they seem like dead ends.
His point is that while other minorities were over-represented in sports and entertainment for short periods of time, African-Americans have been over-represented for a long time, which is a sign of an inability to penetrate into other fields. This thought had never occurred to me.
That’s because you’d have to be a moron to conceive such a thought, in which case Malcolm Gladwell is overqualified.
It never occurs to him that:
1. Africans Americans in professional sports leagues are only a tiny percentage of the total African American population. Only in Gladwell’s imagination have black athletes become representative of all blacks.
2. Professional sports pay better than most professions, so it’s rational for African Americans who have exceptional athletic talent to pursue sports.
3. If American Americans ‘transition’ out of sports, who will replace them? Why would recruiters and coaches, who are looking for the best talent, as well as paying fans, who expect top ability from players, settle for second-rate athletes when blacks not only want to compete but are better. Trying filling the NBA and NFL with only Hispanics, East Indians, and Chinese and see how far that goes.
4. These stereotypes are reality, backed by decades of data. Blacks score 1/2-1 SD lower on IQ tests (even ‘culture neutral’ ones) than whites, have lower educational attainment, higher rates of poverty, higher rates of social dysfunction, etc. Blacks from wealthy families score as low on the SAT as poor whites. That’s just the reality.
Blacks are over-represented in football and boxing, which can be violent, but blacks also excel at baseball, basketball, and track, which aren’t violent. As some noted, although MMA and professional wresting are violent, the fans and participants aren’t predominately African American. Gladwell, in his usual self, ignores the examples that refute his thesis and expects the readers and audience to nod along.
Here is another example of Gladwell stupidity from the interview, in which he says that Harvard grads should not be able to disclose that they went to Harvard. The obvious question is, if an employer asks a Harvard grad where he went to college, what is the grad supposed to say? The very absence of an answer would imply Harvard. Gladwell is incapable of thinking two steps ahead to see the obvious flaws of his logic. Maybe it’s a joke…because no one can possibly be that stupid.
Malcom Gladwell, as others have noted, is the very poster child of mediocrity, who pretends to be otherwise, and like Obama, his supposed elocution and ‘storytelling’ is a substitute for not having anything insightful, intelligent, or original to say. Even Pinker called him a ‘minor genius’, which is a nice way of saying he is not one at all.