Lunch with the FT, Roland Fryer

by on January 15, 2016 at 9:56 pm in Current Affairs, Economics, Education, Law | Permalink

Here is one bit:

Do they take a data-driven approach to parenting, I wonder? Fryer confesses to owning a Dropbox folder called “the science of kids”, with data to cite in arguments over sleep training. They also plotted their daughter’s weight on a spreadsheet for a couple of weeks. “But then it was too tiring. There’s nothing like your own child to make you want to throw data out of the window,” he jokes.

He admits he has slowed down from his most workaholic phase but I suspect we’re talking fine margins.

Interesting throughout, I fear it is gated for you, very sad do subscribe.  I link to it anyway as a show of expressive support for both Fryer and the FT and also John McDermott.

1 Andre January 15, 2016 at 10:09 pm

Fryer had guns pulled on him “six or seven” times by cops. “But,” he says, sketching a downward curve from left to right, “there is a disturbing trend of people discussing race in America based only on their own personal experience.” In a voice with a hint of southern drawl, he adds: “I don’t care about my personal experience or anyone else’s — all I want to know is how that experience gets us to data to help us know what is really going on.”

An very analytical take. I wonder how many Clark’s Medal winners would be able to make that statement.

2 Ray Lopez January 15, 2016 at 10:20 pm

True enough. Recall Dem. Pres. candidate Dukakis getting flack back in the days because he refused to give an emotional answer when asked what he would do if his wife was raped. I voted for him, only because mom told me to and I cannot disobey a Greek mom. Perhaps he would have made a good president, certainly better than Bush II and arguably just as good as Bush I.

3 elppa January 16, 2016 at 12:47 am

Interesting read. This link seems to give access by answering a couple of questions. Just by googling.

4 elppa January 16, 2016 at 12:47 am
5 ChrisA January 16, 2016 at 2:55 am

“To make a somewhat crude distinction, at the time there were broadly two interpretations for the test-score gap. The first, commonly found on the left, was that it was all down to poverty: African-Americans were more likely to be poor and therefore were less likely to do well in school. The second account, more popular among conservatives, pointed to rates of “family breakdown” among African-Americans.” – Surely there is a third possible explanation that is more popular with “Conservatives”, is it is so controversial that it can’t even be mentioned now?

6 Cliff January 16, 2016 at 11:40 am


7 Gochujang January 16, 2016 at 8:22 am

If you watched the Fryer video, the main new information is that “the steak is good.” And possibly that productive people prefer tea.

8 JackStack January 16, 2016 at 8:34 am

Sorry, but how is this “Interesting throughout”, other than in showing how gullible (or eager to virtue-signal) the FT is? Why, for example, are poverty, culture and school quality the only thee possible explanations given for The Gap? What about option 4, i.e. that The Gap is an accurate reflection of the world as it is? And why does the FT repeat the quote “The test-score gap has halved over the past decade” when that is obviously false? (see e.g. And the “acting white hypothesis” is just a dumb idea, and has been empirically shown to be a dumb idea time and time again, much like its dumb cousin “stereotype threat” (see e.g. This is what passes for upper-middlebrow discourse today. Sad.

9 Gochujang January 16, 2016 at 8:47 am

Numerically, both can be true. District (or school, or regional) improvement can document potential for change, while the national aggregate (with bad practices) can lag.

On average, the within-state white-black achievement gaps have been narrowing at a rate of roughly 0.05 standard deviations per decade since 2003. The corresponding rate for white-Hispanic gaps is roughly 0.10 standard deviations per decade. Although the gaps are, on average, closing, they are doing so very slowly, compared to their current size.

Nonetheless, there are some states where the gaps are closing much more rapidly. In seven states (District of Columbia, New York, West Virginia, Louisiana, Arkansas, New Jersey, and Michigan) the white-black gaps are closing at a rate of at least 0.20 standard deviations per decade, four times the rate in the average state. The white-Hispanic gap has narrowed at this rate in 10 states, many of them Southern and Midwestern states with small but growing Hispanic populations (District of Columbia, Delaware, Georgia, Tennessee, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Arizona, and Michigan).

10 Floccina January 18, 2016 at 11:16 am

That desire for progress has taken Fryer into sensitive areas. I ask him about his “acting white hypothesis”, which posits that some black children are held back by group pressures against working hard, or “acting white”. Fryer admits to “trying to make people toe the racial line” when he was younger, though “it was mainly about music. The idea that a black person would listen to Dave Matthews Band, I thought was the craziest thing I ever heard.”

If blacks like having a distinctive life style who are we to try to change it? Is it not OK to opt for less study and more enjoyment for your children?

The “acting white” problem is why Fryer stresses a culture of high expectations and wants to do more work on character. The best schools disprove the fatalism of some conservatives who say progress cannot be made without “better” parenting. “I tell them: the parents are sending you the best kids they got; they’re not hiding the good ones at home.”

That is a insult to black parents. Who is to say that their style is worse? And if blacks are such bad parents how do they raise children who excel so much in football and basketball and do reasonably well in music and other entertainment fields?

11 Robert Cottrell January 17, 2016 at 10:03 am

You can read the Fryer interview in full on The Browser,, in exchange for an email address.

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