Unless you are a white male, chances are sexism and/or racism will get you

Ever heard of Muzikillz? No? Don’t feel bad, neither had I. Muzikillz is a successful DJ. That success didn’t come until she became a he. Not a surgical transformation, just a disguise to get bookings.

You see, potential clients loved her demo tapes. As long as they thought she was a man. Once they saw the attractive woman, the response was invariably along the lines Muzikillz describes.

He passed her tape around, without giving her name, and she quickly found herself booked on the strength of her music but then rejected when they found out who she was. “They said, ‘F— that girl, she is sexy, she’s only used her looks to get ahead.’ My publicist was like, ‘It’s her tracks on there – you were going to book her as a guy.'”

Source: Daily Life

Muzikillz (real name Tatiana Alvarez) decided to become a man – outwardly and only for work. She describes the difference.

As a “man” Alvarez was treated differently: offstage, she was ignored (“People don’t look at you as much”); onstage, she was trusted to do the right thing. “When you’re a female, there are always other people on stage watching what you’re doing. They think you’re stupid and say the most condescending, amazing things, but when you’re a man they just leave you alone.”

The phrase that drives a knife right through me there is “onstage, she was trusted to do the right thing“. As a man she was trusted to do the right thing.

A movie is to be made about her experience. I’ll be keeping my eye out for that movie.

Over the weekend I was searching for a bell curve of global age distribution and stumbled across this graph below.

IQ Distributions

If you click through to the source, you will see clearly the writer is hell bent on proving white superiority. I’ve seen this sort of thing before. I am also well aware of, for example, content bias in tests. I remember once doing an on-line IQ test from the USA and finding it included American history questions. I’m an Australian, I’ve never learnt the names of the presidents in order.

So I decided to do a bit of digging and found a 1998 book, “Affirmative Action: The Fact Gap” reviewed in the New York Times which investigates the differences in academic scores over years and looks at the many possible causes. The book also looks at the fact the gap is reducing. (I notice the bell curve above from the white supremacist looks rather old and isn’t dated – how convenient to ignore changes over time.) The first chapter of “Affirmative Action: The Fact Gap”, available on-line, is interesting reading.

The black-white test score gap does not appear to be an inevitable fact of nature. It is true that the gap shrinks only a little when black and white children attend the same schools. It is also true that the gap shrinks only a little when black and white families have the same amount of schooling, the same income, and the same wealth. But despite endless speculation, no one has found genetic evidence indicating that blacks have less innate intellectual ability than whites. Thus while it is clear that eliminating the test score gap would require enormous effort by both blacks and whites and would probably take more than one generation, we believe it can be done.

The best trend data come from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which has been testing seventeen-year-olds since 1971 and has repeated many of the same items year after year. Figure 1-2 shows that the black-white reading gap narrowed from 1.25 standard deviations in 1971 to 0.69 standard deviations in 1996. The math gap fell from 1.33 to 0.89 standard deviations. When Min-Hsiung Huang and Robert Hauser analyzed vocabulary scores for adults born between 1909 and 1969, the black-white gap also narrowed by half.

Source: New York Times

It is vital we read this work in context. As the authors note, “In a country as racially polarized as the United States, no single change taken in isolation could possibly eliminate the entire legacy of slavery“. Slavery advanced whites and did the exact opposite to the slaves, deprived of a family life and education. Such a legacy is not overcome in one generation.

The studies are done in the United States, but I suggest there may be similar experiences in other countries where one group has been systematically oppressed over generations.

… when we compare blacks and whites with the same twelfth grade test scores, blacks are more likely than whites to complete college. Once we equalize test scores, High School and Beyond blacks’ 16.7 point disadvantage in college graduation rates turns into a 5.9 point advantage.

Now isn’t that interesting?

I referred earlier to content bias of tests. There are others, detailed in the NY Times link above, but one other I find particularly interesting is labeling bias. I’ll let the author explain.

What Jencks calls “labeling bias” arises when a test claims to measure one thing but really measures something else. This is a major problem when tests claim to measure either intelligence or aptitude, because these terms are widely used to describe innate “potential” as well as developed abilities. The notion that intelligence and aptitude are innate seems to be especially salient in discussions of racial differences. Thus, the statement that “blacks are less intelligent than whites” is widely understood as a statement about innate differences. Yet almost all psychologists now agree that intelligence tests measure developed rather than innate abilities, and that people’s developed abilities depend on their environment as well as their genes.

I would agree. Knowing the name of a particular number POTUS is definitely a developed ability. No-one is born knowing.

All of which brings us back to the discussion of intersectionality. If you are female in a male-dominated environment, the odds are against you. If you are black in a white-dominated environment, the odds are against you. If you are a black female…….

Here is one of my heroine black females, Chimamanda Adichie. I suggest she has an IQ out of this world.

This article wouldn’t be complete without my favourite Tim Wise video, if you’ve not seen it before, to put some context around the United States environment.

More recent words from Tim Wise:


Related (Australian):

14 comments on “Unless you are a white male, chances are sexism and/or racism will get you

  1. nickandrew “They need a hierarchy, and if it’s not them on the top, they must be on the bottom.”

    “They”? Who are “they”?
    Whites? White men? White heterosexual men? White heterosexual Christian men? White heterosexual Christian married men? White heterosexual Christian married men with no disabilities/deformities? etc, etc, etc.

    There is no “they” who think and act as a “bloc” and receive “privilege” as a consequence.
    If there are a lot of Whites, men, Christians, heterosexuals, etc in prominent positions in OUR society, that’s not that surprising. There’s lots of them.

    Minorities, with the exception of women (who really shouldn’t be referred to as such) are just that: minorities.
    There aren’t that many of them to begin with, so why expect to see loads of them in prominent positions (the “top”)?

    And there’s plenty of “they” (White heterosexual married Christian men with no disabilities/deformities, etc) at the “bottom” too.
    They gain no automatic privilege for being “they”.

    It is leftists presuming if minorities are not at the top, they must be at the bottom.
    They ignore their numerical insignificance and scream “oppression”.

    As for women, who are not really a “minority”, an equal representation is presuming an equal interest/talent that may simply not exist.
    Do women have exactly the same ambitions/talents/interests as men, in equal numbers?
    Of course not. So you will never see an equal representation in any field.
    What a ludicrous expectation!


    • Equality doesn’t mean equal representation. It doesn’t mean sameness. It means equal opportunity, equal pay for equal work, fairness, etc.

      Of course women aren’t a minority. There are more women in the world than men – we should, clearly, be in charge.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great pair of videos. Chimamanda Adichie speaks so clearly.


  3. One common misconception during conversations about racism, sexism and privilege is that this is an opportunity to talk about individuals: ourselves, our family, celebrities. This isn’t about me or you or Oprah. This is about opening our eyes to the world around us and maybe even recognizing that the consequences of racism, sexism, systemic poverty, etc ARE all around us. This is not to say that white males live a life without any hardships or difficulties. We’re just saying that, statistically, as a whole, you guys have it better than the rest of us. That MOST men don’t know what it’s like to be denied a job because “we really think a man would be better for this” (I have heard this one!) as MOST white people don’t understand how offensive it is to wash away claims of racism’s effect on systemic poverty with a few examples of wealthy, successful people of color.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. There will always be examples at either end of the spectrum from both both black and white, male and female. Citing them as examples is helpful to the extent it substantiates the innate argument presented above, but does not address the vast majority.


  4. Sometimes when you’re a white male people make unwarranted assumptions about you. This is very much a street where we all have to pull together against all types of predjudice and inequality.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “Unless you are a white male, chances are sexism and/or racism will get you”

    Maybe half a century ago.
    Now, if you’re a white male, you’re the “scum of the Earth”, the last kid picked for the “team” (unless you’re a gay or disabled white male, then you’re in!).

    “the writer is hell bent on proving white superiority”

    That doesn’t make the data wrong.

    “I’ve seen this sort of thing before.”

    Because it’s true?

    “Such a legacy is not overcome in one generation.”

    Or 7+ generations?

    Slavery was already abolished in many US states long before Lincoln’s Emancipation.
    Just how many generations must go by before we stop blaming Whitey?

    “Now isn’t that interesting?”

    Yes, comparing college graduations of same-test-score students gives an “advantage” to Blacks.
    But how many Blacks have the SAME scores to begin with?
    Talk about biased data!

    “If you are a black female…”

    Oprah. Multi-Billionaire.

    Women and Blacks that have talent and ambition get what they want.
    The lazy and stupid blame White Men.


    • I am tempted to point out the contradictions in your comment, but I will allow readers the opportunity to do so first.


      • Don’t wait too long! I’m dying to hear what my “contradictions” are.

        P.S. If anyone is “oppressing” Blacks today, it’s other Blacks.
        Black-on-black crime is far more prevalent than White-on-Black, despite their smaller population.
        Blacks rob, rape and murder Blacks. Blacks sell drugs to Blacks. Blacks pick on the smart Black kid with the glasses.

        Why does most of sub-Saharan Africa have the lowest Human Development Index rankings in the world?
        Colonialism? Africa was the LAST continent colonised by Europeans, so endured White rule for the LEAST amount of time.
        Majority Blacks in Haiti gained independence in 1804, yes 1804, and its still one of most basket case societies on Earth.

        Preaching equality is doing Blacks more harm than an honest but non-aggressive “racism”.
        It encourages false hopes and expectations that, especially in a White-majority country like the US, will only lead to despair and resentment when those dreams fail to materialise.
        Acknowledging equality is a myth still allows those with talent and ambition to make their mark.
        You don’t need utopian myths to get your James Browns, Josephine Bakers or Pam Griers.
        Their stars will shine regardless of political ideological fads.


      • I’ll give you a hint. At first you say the data is true, via a rhetorical question, then you talk about Oprah. You can’t have it both ways.

        Oh, I suggest you research your crime statistics too. There are stats contradicting your assertions above.

        The question is about INNATE ability. How that ability is developed and used is a completely different issue.


      • “At first you say the data is true, via a rhetorical question, then you talk about Oprah.”

        That’s not a “contradiction”.
        The bell curve data clearly shows there are SOME Blacks at the higher end.

        “Equality doesn’t mean equal representation.”

        It does to many activists, or there wouldn’t be affirmative action, quotas, designated minority jobs, etc.
        How many times do we hear complaints about the NUMBER of women on company boards or such like?
        Of course we never hear complaints about the low numbers of female garbage collectors or sewerage workers (no prestige/status there).

        “It means equal opportunity, equal pay for equal work”
        Which is already enshrined in law, so what are you complaining about?
        No need to “fight the power” anymore, You are the power.
        Your ideology rules the developed world.

        Regarding your DJ story, the club scene is notorious for compulsory coolness/hipness.
        In her male visage, perhaps she seemed more cool/hip (the subliminal hint of androgyny would itself be cool/hip).
        As a woman, she looks about as hip as Sarah Palin.


      • They need a hierarchy, and if it’s not them on the top, they must be on the bottom.

        Liked by 1 person

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