“We Need To Redefine Merit”…Because Standardized Testing Is Racist

March 11, 2009 / 8:32 am • By Dr. Melissa Clouthier

I watched this video yesterday and got sick to my stomach. You can watch the whole thing, too, to get an idea of what is being taught at say, Harvard University. Professor Lani Guinier, at the State of the Black Union jams so many false premises and wrong-headed thinking in 10 minutes that it’s impressive. Here are a couple highlights:

“We need to redefine merit. Within each ethnic group talent is equally distributed among all people. All people have merit.”

“Diversity in problem solving groups trumps individual ability.”

Professor Guinier recommends that rather than hiring smart people, employers should look at hiring people who are dumb but answered the questions the smart people got wrong.

Since some people can’t “make the grade” the solution, then, is to make grades have no meaning. Since some people are stupid, then the goal is to find the few times they are actually smart and endure them the rest of the time–because every once in a while, they might have a novel solution.

This ten minute video encapsulates liberal philosophy. While the Professor talks about the importance of critical thinking skills, she displays an astonishing lack of them herself. Ken Blackwell says:

Guinier goes on to insult hard working students and diminish their academic success in explaining her rationale, saying, “the reason that I’m calling it racism is because it is a state of mind that is indifferent to the fact that these tests, whatever you think about them, are having a disparate impact on different populations and violating that first principal that talent is equally distributed among all groups.”

The audacity in this assertion is exceeded only in its staggering absurdity. Different people perform differently on standardized tests because people are, well, different. I may score high on tests involving history or language, but fear my expertise in higher mathematics is woefully lacking. The same holds true for those in vocational fields. An aptitude for auto mechanics doesn’t automatically translate into great skill in dental hygiene, welding, or any other trade. The facts are simple; talent is not, never has been and never will be “equally distributed among all groups,” as Guinier preposterously claims.

I had to laugh at one point. Professor Guinier disparages Barack Obama’s A+’s (assuming he got any, but whatever) saying that a person’s grades don’t guarantee how he’s going to lawyer. Well, that’s true, indeed.

What Professor Guinier aims to do is to remove all forms of defining achievement so that everyone is an achiever. She’s like Syndrome from the movie The Incredibles:

“Oh, I’m real. Real enough to defeat you! And I did it without your precious gifts, your oh-so-special powers. I’ll give them heroics. I’ll give them the most spectacular heroics the world has ever seen! And when I’m old and I’ve had my fun, I’ll sell my inventions so that *everyone* can have powers. *Everyone* can be super! And when everyone’s super–
[chuckles evilly] –no one will be.”

Success in America will be when everyone is defined as successful…then no one will be successful.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

  • Hmmm…. Syndrome as an icon of the end goals of American liberalism. Whoever knew The Incredibles was political commentary? 🙂

    BTW, Guinier achieved brief fame as a nominee for Assistant Attorney General under Clinton in 1993, but her nomination was withdrawn when her hostility to the simple “one citizen, one vote” rule became public. I think Goldber would describe her a a classic “liberal fascist.”

  • Mat


    Welcome to the “awesomeness” of multiculturalism…

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  • Stephen Smoot

    Who is John Galt?

  • I have to strongly disagree with your view on Syndrome’s ultimate goal. I thought it very American – if someone’s better than you, improve yourself. In Syndrome’s world people would, in fact, be more successful. I, personally, am OK with that, even if it means no one is special.

    Lanier’s attempt to ignore reality through language manipulation, on the other hand, is true evil.

  • Artruen

    Now why would that make you sick? Lani appears mentally ill and you should be concerned……

  • This is a great case study in rationalization, the use of intellect to dismiss and deny reality.

    She wants to believe that all individuals are equal. She wants to believe that all individuals have something to offer that makes them equally valuable. These notions are patently false, but they are what he wants to believe. So, she invents elaborate rationalizations to keep the reality that these ideas are false, safely at bay. She then seeks out others who share her preferred delusions and they sit around telling each other that they are right.

    This is what happens when intelligence is not grounded by intellectual honesty. Dumb people, when confronted with obvious truth, tend to accept it. Intelligent people, on the other hand, possess the ability to “reason” it away.

    (P.S. Yes, I know this is is a post from several years ago)