Law Professors

UT Law Prof Surmises Single Parenthood Spurs Lower Test Scores for Blacks

A University of Texas law professor is sparking controversy for his remarks about single parenthood in the black community and his assessment of a radio interviewer’s intelligence.

BBC Radio interviewed law professor Lino Graglia as part of its series on affirmative action in America. Graglia said fewer blacks were admitted to the University of Texas at Austin after affirmative action ended because of lagging test scores. The university’s revised race-conscious admissions policy is currently being challenged before the U.S. Supreme Court. KUT News and the Daily Mail have stories on Graglia’s remarks.

Asked why blacks were underperforming, Graglia said he didn’t know, but acknowledged some speculation. “It is the case that the single parent household, the child born outside of marriage today, is approaching three quarters in the black population,” he said. “I can hardly imagine a less beneficial or more deleterious experience than to be raised by a single parent, usually a female, uneducated without a lot of money.”

Interviewer Gary Younge said he is black and raised in a single parent family, and asked if that meant he is likely not as smart.

“Well from listening to you,” Graglia replied, “and knowing what you are and what you’ve done, I suspect you are rather more smart. My guess would be that you are above usual smartness, for whites, to say nothing of blacks.”

Texas NAACP President Gary Bledsoe told KUT he thinks the comments hurt UT’s image. University of Texas law dean Ward Farnsworth gave the NPR station a statement saying the law school is committed to academic freedom. “Professor Lino Graglia’s recent comments to the BBC do not represent the position of the law school, but we stand by his right to discuss his views,” Farnsworth said.

Comedy Central has this headline on its blog post about recent Graglia’s comments: “Texas Law Professor Gets Honorary Foot-in-Mouth Degree.” Said the blog, “He’s right. Black people raised by single parents come out of the system unable to get decent jobs, like this one.” A photo of President Obama followed.

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