JOHN DERBYSHIRE: Race Denialism—The Evil, Poisonous, Scientifically Illiterate Doctrine Of “Disparate Impact” Strikes Again
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[Adapted from the latest Radio Derb, now available exclusively on]

Last week I mentioned the 13 million dollar payout from New York City to Antifa who got their hair mussed by the NYPD during the George Floyd riots. That’s nothing to the 1.8 billion-dollar settlement to blacks and Hispanics who failed the teacher-licensing exam from 1994 to 2014. They failed, the judgment says, because the exam was biased against black people and Hispanic people.

So the evil, poisonous, scientifically illiterate doctrine of Disparate Impact strikes again.

Those White Supremacist New York City test-preparers managed to phrase the questions on the Liberal Arts and Sciences Test for teacher certification eleven years running so that black and Hispanic test-takers wouldn’t be able to give correct answers!

And the cost to New York City will be a lot more than the stated $1.8 billion. For one thing,

The case is expected to generate hundreds of other future million-dollar awards.

[Black, Hispanic NYers who failed teacher’s test strike $1.8B in NYC settlement by Rich Calder, Susan Edelman and Deirdre Bardolf, July 15, 2023]

”Million”? ”Million”? We don’ want none of yo’ dumb-ass ”millions”—we want BILLIONS!

And they’re going to get those extra billions. More from the New York Post report:

But the cost to taxpayers is expected to be significantly higher because they’ll also be footing the bill for many of the plaintiffs to collect pension checks based on time never worked after they reach retirement age, plus their health insurance.

The settlement is bad enough in itself, but even worse is the time this lawsuit has been rolling on: twenty-seven years.

All right, it’s not precisely the same lawsuit, nor the same defendant; but it is all in continuous line of descent from a lawsuit filed in 1996 by four teachers against the city’s Board of Education. (The case is known as Gulino v. Board of Education and it has its own website here.)

Twenty-seven years of litigation: state courts, federal courts, appeal after appeal… There’s probably another $1.8 billion there in lawyers’ fees and salaries of judges and court officers.

This is the madness of our time.

And again, twenty-seven years: yes, it’s been a long time.

The main reason I couldn’t work up enough indignation about this for last week’s podcast is sheer Indignation Fatigue.

I did a lo-o-ong piece—over 2,500 words lo-o-ong—for National Review Online back in 2009 about Ricci v. DeStefano. That was the case of the 20 white firefighters suing the town of New Haven, Connecticut for throwing out the results of the 2003 town firefighters’ test. The town threw out the test results because not enough blacks and Hispanics had passed.

Edited quote from me back then, writing (remember)  fourteen years ago:

There is nothing new here, of course. Given the history of this subject, the really surprising thing is that as late as 2003 a fire department was still giving formal examinations for promotions. New York City Police Department was fighting lawsuits over ”discriminatory” test results thirty years ago. Police, fire, and other municipal departments all over the country have been similarly affected across an entire generation.

Attempted solutions have included every kind of rigging and ”race-norming” of results, the dumbing-down of the tests to a point where well-nigh everyone passes (candidates then being promoted by lottery or straightforward race quotas), the hiring of expensive consultants to devise bias-free tests, or just giving up on tests altogether, as New Haven has now done…

The unhappy fact is that different ethnic groups exhibit different profiles of results on tests. Attempts to devise a test on which this does not happen have all failed, across decades of effort, criticism, and analysis.

Nobody knows why this is so; but the fact that it invariably, repeatedly, and intractably is so, makes testing hazardous, ultimately pointless, under current employment law. Yet still employees must be selected somehow from applicant pools, and there must be some clear, fair criteria for their subsequent promotion. The state of the law now is that almost anything an organization does in this area will open it to litigation.

[The Husks of Dead Theories, April 24, 2009]

Again, that was written fourteen years ago.

And still the Race Denialism continues. Here’s one from the Stamford Advocate, a local newspaper in Stamford, Connecticut, on March 18th this year:

Black students in Stamford are suspended at five times the rate of white students and more than double the rate of Hispanic students, according to data presented by the school district.

[Data: 1 in 10 Black Stamford students suspended this school year, by Ignacio Laguarda, March 18, 2023]

The actual numbers for suspension rates are given in percentages as: blacks 9.8, Hispanic 4.4, whites 1.8, Asians 1.2.

In other words, this bears out Rushton’s Rule of Three, as proposed by the late J. P. Rushton thirty years ago.

The rule states that a wide variety of behavioral and physical traits, when carefully quantified, show blacks at one end of the scale, Asians at the other, whites in between.

Rushton didn’t include Hispanics, but when you do they fall between blacks and whites.

And this thing from Stamford is a news story in 2023!

What would be a real news story after all these decades would be something that violated Rushton’s Rule of Three for the traits that Rushton measured.

But … nothing ever does.

Indignation fatigue? Oh yeah.

Will common sense ever make a comeback?


John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him.) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He has had two books published by com: FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.

For years he’s been podcasting at Radio Derb, now available at for no charge. His writings are archived at

Readers who wish to donate (tax deductible) funds specifically earmarked for John Derbyshire’s writings at can do so here.


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