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Bean-Counters and Baloney
In countries around the world, all sorts of groups differ from each other in all sorts of ways.


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Thomas Sowell

The bean-counters have struck again — this time in the sports pages. Two New York Times sport writers have discovered that baseball coaches from minority groups are found more often coaching at first base than third base. Moreover, third-base coaches become managers more often than first-base coaches.

This may seem to be just another passing piece of silliness. But it is part of a more general bean-counting mentality that turns statistical differences into grievances. The time is long overdue to throw this race card out of the deck and start seeing it for the gross fallacy that it is.

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At the heart of such statistics is the implicit assumption that different races, sexes, and other subdivisions of the human species would be proportionately represented in institutions, occupations, and income brackets if there were not something strange or sinister going on.

Although this notion has been repeated by all sorts of people, from local loudmouths on the street to the august chambers of the Supreme Court of the United States, there is not one speck of evidence behind it and a mountain of evidence against it.

Ask the bean-counters: Where in this wide world have different groups been proportionally represented? They can’t tell you. In other words, something that nobody can demonstrate is taken as a norm, and any deviation from that norm is somebody’s fault!

Anyone who has watched football over the years has probably seen at least a hundred black players score touchdowns — and not one black player kick the extra point. Is this because of some twisted racist who doesn’t mind black players scoring touchdowns but hates to see them kicking the extra points?

At our leading engineering schools — M.I.T., CalTech, etc. — whites are underrepresented and Asians overrepresented. Is this anti-white racism or pro-Asian racism? Or are different groups just different?

As for baseball, I have long noticed that there are more blacks playing centerfield than third base. Since the same people hire centerfielders and third-basemen, it is hard to argue that racism explains the difference.

No one says it is racism that explains why blacks are overrepresented and whites underrepresented in basketball. Bean-counters make a fuss only when there is a disparity that fits their vision or their agenda.

Years ago, a study was made of the ethnic makeup of military forces in countries around the world. Nowhere was the ethnic makeup of the military the same as the ethnic makeup of the population, or even close to the same.

Nearly half the pilots in the Malaysia’s air force were from the Chinese minority, rather than the Malay majority. In Nigeria, most of the officers were from the southern tribes, and most of the enlisted men were from the northern tribes. Similar disparities have been common among various groups in many places.



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