(Readers: Please note the blog is constructed as a story. While not all chapters are linked, after reading a few recent entries, you might want to start at the beginning. More about the blog and about the author. )

Scene: Jordan meeting with Rock Man, who has been on sabbatical.

Jordan: “Rock Man, wonderful to see you. How was the sabbatical?”
Rock Man: “Great learning experience and great fun. This was my Sloan Program.”
Jordan: “Hope so. The Sloan Program was a seminal moment in my life.”
010114_1917_19RockManCo1.png Rock Man: “I know your time is short. What’s on your mind?”
Jordan: “A problem that has been bothering me for a long time. And it only seems to get worse.”
Rock Man: “You with a problem? Losing your touch? What’s the issue and why me?”
Jordan: “One is you are coming off sabbatical so your brain is clear of lots of mundane stuff.”
Rock Man: “You’re assuming I still have a brain.”
Jordan: “You’ve got a brain. Second reason is someone needs to lead this effort to come up with a solution. And your qualifications are perfect.”
Rock Man: “OK, let me have it. What am I in for now?”
ladder Jordan: “The question, really a dilemma, is this. Why do blacks stay at the bottom of the economic rung when every other ethnic group has progressed? I know there is no easy answer but the issue perplexes me and frustrates me.”
Rock Man: “Frustrates me, too. I’ve got two kids that are doing OK but a lot of people I grew up with…and I mean a lot of them…are no better off today than 40-50 years ago.”
Jordan: “While each immigrant group has its own characteristics, all immigrant groups faced some discrimination. Some of the discrimination was severe. Yet all have made significant progress.”
Rock Man: “I hate to say this but many blacks seem to have self-destructive behavior. One behavior that really baffles me is the attraction to Islam. What are these guys thinking?”
Jordan: “I agree. I understand the desire for religion. But if you want to get out of the cellar why choose Islam? One is hard pressed to find an Islamic-dominated country that offers equal rights, has sustained economic growth and a well-educated population.”
Rock Man: “Maybe the converts think Islam is going to get them an education.”
Jordan: “At one time I would have agreed with that. That time, however, was up until the 16th or 17th Century.”
Rock Man: “You that old Jordan?”
Jordan: “Good one, Rock Man. Glad you haven’t lost your touch.”
Rock Man: “I’ve got a good mentor…you.”
Jordan: “Thanks for the compliment. But back to Islam. For centuries, Muslims were very involved in international trade and leaders in some fields of education. Muslims are given credit for advancements in algebra, for example.”
Rock Man: “I did not know that. What about now?”
Jordan: “If you want to hitch your wagon to a religion or group that pushes education, find a Jewish wagon.”
Rock Man: “Good point. Jews were enslaved by the Egyptians. And they’ve suffered some form of discrimination since.”
Jordan: “More important to blacks is many Jews were early supporters of the Civil Rights Movement in the US.”
Rock Man: “I’m too young to remember but I read several Jews were killed in the 1960’s marching with blacks in the South.”
Jordan: “Here’s my take. Every other ethnic group has moved up the economic ladder through education. Not sports. Not entertainment. Education.”
Rock Man: “Maybe blacks need to take a different approach and really emphasize education.”
Jordan: “If you were black…I know you’re already there but you know what I mean. If you were black and wanted an education would you become a Muslim or a Jew?”
Rock Man: “I know where you’re headed but give me some facts.”
Jordan: “OK, here’s something to think about. Jews constitute about 0.2% of the world’s population.”
Rock Man: “Only 2 of every 1,000 people is Jewish?”
Jordan: “What percent of the world’s population is Muslim?”
Rock Man: “I’ll guess 20%. 200 out of every 1,000 people.”
Jordan: “About right. That means there are at least 100 Muslims for every one Jew.”
Rock Man: “So why do Muslims feel so threatened by Jews? Muslims have a 100:1 advantage.”
Jordan: “We’ll talk about why another time but remember the 100:1 ratio.”
Rock Man: “Got it. 100 Muslims, 1 Jew.”
Jordan: “Now when I say awards for science, medicine, economics, etc…you know accomplishments requiring high level of education…what prize comes to mind?
Nobel Rock Man: “The Nobel Prize.”
Jordan: “What percentage of Nobel Prizes has been awarded to Jews?”
Rock Man: “I know this is a set up so I’ll exaggerate my answer. 5%. No, make it 10%.”
Jordan: “Nobel prizes awarded to Muslims?”
Rock Man: “Well, if Muslims account for 20 out of 100 people, they should have at least 10% of the prizes.”
Jordan: “Let’s just say your right. Each group has 10%. That ratio would make Jews 100x more likely to be awarded a Nobel Prize than a Muslim.”
Rock Man: “Wow. That’s a big difference.”
Jordan: “Now what if I told you that of all the Nobel Prizes awarded 20+% have gone to Jews and 1% to Muslims.”
Rock Man: “If I do my math correctly, that means Jews are not 100x more likely but 2,500x more likely to be awarded a Nobel Prize based on population.”
Jordan: “Your math is correct.”
Rock Man: “Jews 2,500 times more likely than Muslims. The difference is so large that it’s difficult to comprehend.”
Jordan: “Let’s try this approach. If you were selecting players for a basketball team, would you choose the player who scored 2,500 points or the player scored one point?”
Rock Man: “Duh, let me think about that. The 2,500 point player.”
Jordan: “Let me try one other comparison. If you started to take a walk, after the Muslim took one step, the Jew would be 1.5 miles down the road.”
Rock Man: “I see your point. If you think education is a key to getting off the bottom rung of the ladder, go with people who are proven winners, not losers.”
Jordan: “OK, called me biased because I’m Jewish. I know the comparison re Nobel Prizes is a bit convoluted, but the facts are hard to refute.”
Rock Man: “What’s adding to my frustration is blacks are aligning with a group responsible for 09/11 and bringing down the World Trade Towers.”
Jordan: “Look, aligning with Jews is not the only answer but you get my point about the value of education.”
Rock Man: “Jordan, you’ve thrown a lot out on the table. I need to digest this. May we take a short break?”
Jordan: “Of course. Let’s get a coffee.”