Below are the video and transcript of remarks given by Heather Mac Donald at the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s 2023 Restoration Weekend. The event was held Oct. 26-29 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in New Orleans.
I share Kimberly’s gratitude to be back at Restoration Weekend. You guys are just fantastic organizers. You’re lavish and generous. And Michael Anton had spoken of normies. I’m also very grateful for this audience. You guys are not normies. I take no educated listener for granted. It’s a privilege to speak to people who are as up on the issues as you guys are and as demonstrated by your support for the David Horowitz Freedom Center. So thank you for being here and thank you for supporting this incredible institution. If anybody’s surprised by the depravity, the moral depravity that’s been coming out of American institutions, educational institutions for the last three weeks, may I say, on behalf of David Horowitz, I told you so. For decades, David has warned that the universities had become the purveyor of lies, not the seeker of truth. David has warned that Islamism and its intersectional variants was becoming as ingrained in academic life as the classical canon once was. And that was a very long time ago in a golden era. The lie currently before us is that it is Israel that is the rights violator in the Middle East. Well, we can test this easily enough. Try holding a gay pride march in Gaza.
Vast swatches of the professoriate and administrators believe that four-year-olds should be told about the fun that awaits them if they declare themselves members of the opposite sex. Well, again, try that in a madrassas and see how far you get. Timeless antisemitism plays a large role in the disgusting spectacle of pro-Hamas demonstrations that we’ve been seeing on college campuses and in city streets. But something more recent and bigger is also at play, and that is hatred towards the Judeo-Christian civilization and a will to self cancelation on the part of elite members of that civilization; that hatred towards the West has become the primary export of the American University into the world at large. This morning I’m going to speak about a key falsehood that emanates from the self-annihilation of the West, and that is the claim that any racial disparity in any institution is by definition the result of racism and white supremacy. This claim has been percolating in American universities for a long time, but after the George Floyd race riots, it became a universal charge among elite institutions from big law to big business to big stem. Museums, conservatories, orchestras, scientific journals, criminal justice leaders all loudly took up the charge that any racial disparity is the product of discrimination against blacks.
Let me give you some examples. Medicine, if any medical school does not have 13% black medical students and 13% black professors, it is by definition a racist medical school. Cancer research labs, alzheimer’s research labs—if they don’t have 13% black oncologists or black neurologists, they’re racist labs. Gifted and talented programs, those of you from the West know about shutting down, getting rid of the exams in Lowell High School. We’ve seen this in Thomas Jefferson, New York City; Stuyvesant is facing a constant charge: it’s racist because its student bodies are not 13% black. This is a long standing one coming up: the teachers licensing exam, police licensing exam, firing of fire departments. If they don’t have 13% black members, they are racist. I’ve been talking about underrepresentation. The same argument applies with overrepresentation above all else in the criminal justice system. If blacks make up more than 13% of our prison population, that’s because the criminal justice system is by definition racist. If blacks are more than 13% of students in high school and in grammar schools who are disciplined for insubordination, for violence, that is because teachers hilariously the most liberal profession in the country, are racist against black students.
So what is the solution in the eyes of the elites to these criminal and racist disparities? It is to throw out the standards, the color-blind standards that are resulting in the lack of disparities. Medical schools: after the second year of medical school students take something called Step one of the U.S. medical licensing exam. Well, step 1 did not have proportional numbers of people scoring well. Because of academic mismatch, because of racial preferences, black medical students were at the bottom of the step 1 score scale. So what do we do? We get rid of grades. We decided last year that we would no longer grade step 1 of the medical licensing exam, but go to a pass-fail basis so that residents choosing their residencies after the second year would not know where students stood on the academic curve. The MCATs, the standardized exams to get into medical school, they have already been rejiggered to try to reduce disparate impact. A quarter of the questions now deal with social issues, with psychology. It has not worked. Black college seniors are still at the absolute bottom of the MCAT scores. So what we’re doing now in many schools is that we’re waiving MCAT submissions for black college seniors applying to medical schools.
The LSATs are also under enormous stress and attack. These are what gets you into law schools. The bar is right now deciding on its final decision whether to make them no longer mandatory. You’ve heard it here. First, they will be axed. The standards for judges, the Biden administration (this is something that Carter did not do when he came into office) in February announced that Biden would no longer be submitting his judicial nominees for the federal bench to the ABA for preclearance, something that is the traditional practice. Why? Because, according to the Biden administration, the ABA did not care enough about diversity. Now, among any of you out there, there’s got to be a lawyer in this room. You should know that the ABA is uniquely obsessed with diversity. It is all it talks about: diversity of law firms, partners, law schools, faculty. All it wants is diversity. Biden is saying the ABA doesn’t care enough about diversity. They will be unfair towards ‘my judges’. What Biden was saying was my judicial picks are going to be so mediocre that they wouldn’t even slip by the diversity obsessed ABA. Exam schools are being shut down. Oregon recently announced that it would no longer administer exit exams to its high school seniors to see whether they can do math or English. For the usual reason: disparate impact. Now, in criminal law, if you guys have been watching everything that’s been going on since the George Floyd race riots and you’re scratching your head saying what is with these George Soros prosecutors? What is with George Gascon, L.A., What is with Chesa Boudin in San Francisco? What is with Alvin Bragg in in New York? What is with Kim Fox in Chicago? Larry Krasner in Philadelphi?. Why are they not prosecuting entire categories of crime? They’ve just decided you can turnstile jump, you can fair-beat, you can loot, you can shoplift. We’re turning our backs on it. If you do not understand what’s going on here, you do not understand the criminal law system. What is going on is that if you enforce those laws in a colorblind, constitutional neutral manner, you will have a disparate impact on blacks. That is why we are not enforcing the law. I hear these pundits on Fox say, well, we just got to go back to enforcing law.
And I say, no, you guys, unless you’re willing to take on the disparate impact charge, it ain’t going to happen. You have to understand why our criminal law is being unwound and we have stores; we know about the shut downs of Targets, of Walgreens. They would rather put their stores out of business. They would rather subject law abiding residents of inner city neighborhoods to having to take six busses to go get their prescription filled than arrest shoplifters, because if they arrest shoplifters, they will be accused of racism.
It happened to Macy’s in New York City about ten, 15 years ago. It paid out a massive civil settlement because of the claim that if it was arresting shoplifters, a disproportionate number of shoplifters were black. It was because of race, Macy’s was racist. It was not thinkable or allowable to say, well, maybe that’s who’s committing a disproportionate share of the shoplifting. So as a result of this great decriminalization and prosecution, we have unleashed anarchy upon the country. You’ve seen the videos. You’ve seen the mass looting. I hope none of you have been subject to the carjackings that have got a lot of Minneapolis residents here today. Thank God Cecily’s fighting back. Things are absolutely breaking down fast. Now, if you were…. let’s conduct a sort of a John Rawls–an experiment of imagining an initial state.
If you were imagining black civil rights activists, who are they going to side with? It is equally plausible that they would side with black crime victims instead. Here is the totally bizarre thing. BLM has decided to side with black criminals as against black victims. Since the George Floyd race riots, we have had the largest single one year increase in homicide in this nation’s history, 29%. Guess who? The majority of victims were? Blacks. 35% increase for black homicide victimization. Dozens of black children have been gunned down in their beds, in their front yards, in their porches, jumping on trampolines, in their parents’ cars, in public parks; gunned down, made bread dead, brain dead or dead completely because of these insane drive-by shootings that have been unleashed.
Thanks to policing and prosecution, no single Black Lives Matter activist has ever said their names. We are told we are mandated to say the names of the thugs, George Floyd and Daunte Wright. Al Sharpton and Ben Crump have never said the names of Ottawa’s Smith of Jocelyn Adams. Why? Because they don’t fit their narrative now. So the only allowable explanation for these disparities is racism.
Is this correct? Are racist admissions standards keeping blacks from higher education or from tech jobs? Is a racist criminal justice system responsible for putting a disproportionate share of blacks in prison? No, that is a falsehood. And I’m going to give you a trigger warning here. I’m going to speak about something that makes many well-meaning Americans feel very uncomfortable.
And in ordinary times, I would say that racial etiquette would counsel not speaking about these matters. But it is too late. It is too late for racial etiquette when we have Western civilization being torn down on the basis of the lie of systemic racism. It is time to start speaking some truths that make many people feel uncomfortable. Let me also say I’m going to be speaking now about group averages. I’m not speaking about any individual within any over or underperforming group. There are thousands of individuals within underperforming groups who are overperforming individuals within overperforming groups. Okay. But here’s the facts. 66% of all black 12th graders do not possess even partial mastery of the most basic 12th grade math skills. That means being able to do arithmetic or read a graph. 7% of black 12th graders are proficient in math, and the number of black 12th graders who are advanced in math is too small to show up nationally on a statistical sample. The reading picture is not much better. 50% of black 12th graders are below basic in 12th grade reading. 4% are advanced. A.C.T. just came out with its latest data for 2022 on percent of black high school seniors who are college ready. The number of whites who are college ready is nine times higher. Now, this skills gap never closes. It shows up on the LSATs. It shows up on the MCATs. It shows up on the grades. The stand. There is a standard deviation in every objective colorblind test between the academic skills of blacks and the academic skills of whites. This has profound consequences. It means you can have diversity or you can have meritocracy. You cannot have both. Any institution that is signaling that it is favoring diversity is telling you that it has jettisoned meritocracy because you cannot have both. As for criminal justice, the bodies speak for themselves. Since the George Floyd race riots, black juveniles have been shot in gun and drive by shootings at 100 times the rate of white juveniles.
Blacks between the ages of ten and 24 die of gun homicide at 24 times the rate of whites in that same age cohort. Who is killing them? Not the police, not white supremacists, but other blacks. The crime rate is equally disproportionate. Dozens of blacks are slaughtered every single day. We don’t hear about any of them because the media is racist. The media doesn’t care about black lives. The only black lives the media cares about are those in those very rare instances when they’re taken by a police officer or a white. It almost never happens. What about interracial violence? Biden goes around saying that that blacks are right to fear that their children will be killed by a White or a police officer every time those children step outside. Recently, the mayor of Kansas City said, well, now we have to add merely existing as black to one of the things that is dangerous for black people to do because of white people. Okay, here’s the data on interracial violence. Blacks commit 87% of all interracial violence between blacks and whites and whites and blacks. A black person is 35 times more likely to commit an act of violence against a white person than a white person is likely to commit an act of violence against a black person.
All of this is kept assiduously offstage. It is urgent that we fight back against the law of systemic racism and the fallacy of disparate impact because it is all coming down. I haven’t talked about the arts today, but they’re all coming down. Classical music. The thing that is closest to my heart. Art museums, theater. It is all being dismissed as white supremacy.
Museums have announced that their mission is anti-racism. The Metropolitan Museum of Art earlier this year put on a show of a fantastic 19th century French sculptor Jean-Baptiste Capo. Capo created a bust that was an anti-slavery abolitionist bust of a black African woman with a rope around her chest, looking up in the most heart wrenching expression of dismay, disbelief, anger. And this was a work meant to move viewers to understand the inhumanity of slavery. The Met’s take on this was because this was a white sculptor, this was actually a pro-slavery work. And reaching this thesis required the Met, which should be our curator. It should be our repository of cultural knowledge. It required the Met to turn on every single aspect of Western civilization. It called the nude, racist. It called using models racist. It called not naming models racist. It called the art market racist. Everything was racist. It is teaching young people to hate the legacy of our civilization. We must stop apologizing for Western civilization. It is the greatest in the world. Nothing else comes close.
To be sure, America’s history was tragic and painful, and Cicely was far too generous last night. For decades, for centuries, white Americans did treat blacks with gratuitous cruelty, with heartbreaking nastiness. We were a white supremacist country. We were white privilege. That was our reality. But we are not that country today. There is not a single mainstream institution that is not turning itself upside down, that is not tying itself into knots to hire and promote as many blacks as possible.
The reality today is black privilege. It is not white privilege. And any of you with white male sons, heterosexual white male sons, you know, it’s over for them. They are the last hired, the first fired. Good luck getting into their medical schools of choice. Good luck getting into the law firms of choice. Good luck. They may be the best cancer researcher out there. They will not be chosen to head cancer research labs. And I have seen this happen. The West has given the world freedom from squalor, disease and oppression. Thanks to the beauty of the scientific method and of Westerners passion for discovery and mastery. It created the idea of constitutional government and civil rights. Slavery? give me a break. Britain had to occupy Lagos to try and persuade local leaders to disattach from the slave trade. It put up naval blockade. It used its Navy exclusively for blockades against the slave trade. I’ll be willing to pay reparations when I see African leaders willing to pay reparations for the Dahomey Kings and others who sold their fellow Africans into slavery. We’re putting our scientific edge at risk. China cares only about merit and not about identity politics. It is throwing everything it’s got at its most talented and racing ahead in nanotechnology, information technology and physics. Robert Spencer today said, You know who’s going to fight? How are we going to fight China? We throw our purses at them. Well, here’s the thing that maybe if we get Donald Trump back in or any other GOP, here’s what he should do: dump a few cargo plane-loads of gender theorists into Beijing University because that’s our only chance of competing. Now, anti-Semitism is the problem we’ve all been living through in the last three weeks, in its most virulent form. But it has been joined by this new hate for the West and by the West. To combat it, we must speak the truth, never apologize and never back down.
Thank you for your attention. Thank you.