Stuff has a sneaky way of intruding. It doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate merely stay handily closeted in the past. You can ’ t say of such stuff, “ Oh that was then ” — and then insert the years 1619, 1787, 1877, 1896, and 2013, for example — “ but this is now. ”
then is now .
now is then.
You may have heard how in recent years the National Football League was forced to agree to set aside $ 1 billion for vitamin a many as 20,000 early players who may have come down with premature dotage — or a host of even worse variants thereof — from playing a sport that inflicts on its players ’ heads a g equivalent of falling down 12 flights of stairs .
I know, no stuff .
It turns out that in evaluating the players ’ claims, the attorneys representing both the league and the players themselves agreed to a serial of qualifying cognitive mind function tests that begin with the assumption that Black people have less cognitive brain capacity than White people .
I know, all this happened a long fourth dimension ago, room back in 2021 .
Since these tests are hardwired to assume Black early players have lower genius function to start with, it is incumbent upon these players, their spouses, or their attorneys to demonstrate a dramatically worse level of brain affair loss than their White counterparts in arrange to qualify for remedial payouts that range in value from $ 25,000 to $ 5 million, depending on age of the musician, years in the league, and the loss caused .
All this is impeccably scientific. There is absolutely no individual racist purpose. In fact, it ’ mho baked into the very algorithm by which whiners and complainers are weeded out from the in truth needy .
Black and White players are given the accurate same tests. The test results for both are graded on a curve. But the curves are decidedly unlike. The algorithm for White players makes it easier to show cognitive passing. The algorithm for Black players — which assumes a lower service line functionality — makes it harder to show cognitive decline. Given that there are far more black players in the applicant pool than White players, one might suspect these algorithms were inserted to save the league a fortune of money .
The bad news is that they weren ’ thymine .
even worse, they were initially designed in the 1990s by well-intentioned White neuropsychologists who thought they were trying to counter the insidious distortions caused by social diagonal implicit in their tests and the negative stereotyping their quiz results appeared to perpetuate .
statistically, they found, Black subjects typically scored significantly lower on their cognitive tests than White subjects. What were the neuropsychologists supposed to do with that ? Treat all Black people as though they were on the slow swoop to dotage ? Dismiss the test as defective because of all the fake positives ?
But they couldn ’ t just throw out their tests ; the tests were crucial. One of the challenges confronting neuropsychologists is they can ’ t go back in time to conduct genuine before-and-after comparisons on a patient. consequently, they devised statistical norms by which they could compare a person to others of their old age, class, sex, and educational backgrounds. If the tests yielded false positives for a unharmed race of people, they ’ five hundred just grade on the curl. If Black people scored lower, that would be attributed to a host of socioeconomic factors like poverty and poor schools.
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All this was wrapped up in a tidy algorithm to encompass all the impossibly complicated realities of Blackness. They have a idiom for this. It ’ south called “ rush norming. ” In the context of the NFL, it ’ mho called the “ Heaton Norms. ” One wonders equitable how sensible or diagnostically relevant any race-norming algorithm could be, but specially those relying on data sets more than 20 years old .
But that ’ s another question .
typically, when dealing with patients, such test results are used in conjunction with a battery of other indicators to figure out a proper run of discussion. They are about never the sole determinant .
But for football players who ’ ve had their bells rung enough to think they ’ ra Quasimodo, they were .
At least until Najeh Davenport, a seven-year run back with the Steelers and the Packers, sued the NFL in 2020 along with Kevin Henry, a former NFL defensive end. Davenport sustained at least 10 concussions during his career ; once, he got hit so hard that one of his eye sockets shattered and had to be surgically rebuilt .
After retiring, Davenport experienced all the typical problems with news recovery, memory loss, natural depression, and rage. He filed a claim. When first base tested, Davenport ’ s doctor defied testing protocols and didn ’ thymine apply the Heaton Norms. Davenport qualified for a payout. When the NFL found out his results had not been race-normed, the league objected and rejected Davenport ’ s award. When Davenport sued, he lost in motor hotel .
But all the publicity didn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate help oneself a league desperately trying to Blackwash its history in the awaken of the George Floyd murder. This by October, the NFL — which constantly insisted it never applied the Heaton Norms — announced it would no longer apply the Heaton Norms. not that there was anything racist about it, the league said ; it was precisely bad skill. That ’ s all .
You may have heard about this. Somehow I missed it .
In the year 2021 .
Every morning, I walk the pawl. We pass a house with one of those sweetly impossible yard signs that proclaim “ Science Is Real. ”
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I wonder .
Pass the gumbo. Go Bengals ! No stuff .
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