What If Black People Are Just Stupid?
The black writer below has a glancing familiarity with the research on his topic but fails to give sufficient weight to the fact that academic talk about IQ is concerned with AVERAGES
In everyday situations, averages hardly matter. What matters are the individual characteristics of the person we are interacting with. What group they belong to will not usually matter. But there are some situations where averages DO reasonably concern people.
A major example of that is Leftist concern about black educational attainment. For perhaps a couple of decades, Leftist psychologists and educators used all their ingenuity in an effort to overcome the "gap" between black and white educational attainment. And the gap was and is large. About a third of blacks do not even finish High School. They "drop out"
But no matter what the Leftist academics tried, nothing could budge that gap. Black education failure strongly validated what average black IQ tests showed: That most blacks are not very good at intellectual tasks.
And that was a concerning finding. The Leftist academics were understandably concerned. They were well aware of how important education is in our society. Educational failure predicts economic failure and a whole lot of other problems. It was reasonable to be concerned about that. But they found no solution to it. The low level of black educational attainment remained as average black IQ predicted it would be
So the characteristic Leftist dogma that all men are equal was greatly challenged. They were confronted with strong long-term evidence that IQ tests did in fact predict what they purported to predict. The differences were real and had real-life implications. IQ tests were highly valid in a psychomentric sense.
But that COULD not be accepted by Leftists. There HAD to be something other than IQ behind black life failures. And so we got a new dogma: Entrenched but covert white racism was behind black failure -- so called "Critical Race Theory"
But whatever the reason, the concern was with averages. Blacks were on average failures in much of life and that had to be explained. So for some people in some situations, averages do matter. So average IQ can matter too. The author below dismisses the importance of average IQ but the saga of efforts to close the black/white "gap" in education shows that it can indeed matter to some people
It is interesting that the concern about averages is mainly a Leftist concern. Conservatives just accept them without doing much about them. The members of the Ku Klux Klan were after all overwhelmingly members of the Democratic party. They ATTACKED Republicans
In 1971, Michael Cole, and a team of his fellow psychologists, travelled to West Africa to settle a question about race and intelligence.
They gave members of the Kpelle tribe various items (food, tools, cooking utensils, clothing) and asked them to sort them into categories. They then compared the results to a group of American students.
The Kpelle failed miserably.
Or rather, instead of grouping the items by type, as the students had, the Kpelle divided the objects into functional pairs. Here’s how Joseph Glick, one of Cole’s colleagues, described the experiment:
When the subject had finished sorting, what was present were ten categories composed of two items each — related to each other in a functional, not categorical, manner. Thus, a knife might have been placed with an orange, a potato with a hoe, and so on. When asked, the subject would rationalize the choice with such comments as, “The knife goes with the orange because it cuts it.” When questioned further, the subject would often volunteer that a wise man would do things in this way.
When an exasperated experimenter asked finally, “how would a fool do it,” he was given back sorts of the type that were initially expected — four neat piles with foods in one, tools in another, and so on.
As Cole noted in his report, the Kpelle weren’t less intelligent than the students because they thought oranges should be paired with knives instead of potatoes, they’d just grown up in a different environment with a different set of cognitive and cultural biases.
Or, to put it another way, the Kpelle weren’t wrong, but they weren’t white either.
Racial intelligence is one of those topics that’s a trainwreck no matter how you approach it.
Virtue-signalling politicians like Kate Brown lower test standards to “help students of colour,” race essentialists like Nicholas Wade publish pseudoscience about racial disparities, sociopaths like Payton Gendron use memes about IQ to justify racist mass shootings, the topic is so radioactive that most people just avoid it.
So let’s get one source of confusion out of the way from the start:
There are obviously going to be IQ differences if you group people by skin colour.
I say, “obviously,” because there will be differences if you group human beings by literally any measure.
If you group people by hair colour, you’ll discover that one shade is statistically more intelligent than the others. If you group people by height, you’ll find that one height has the highest percentage of mathematical savants. Somewhere, if some maverick ever decides to search for it, is the most eloquent penis size.
But when we try to draw meaningful conclusions with this quirk of statistical analysis, we run into a few problems. The first of which is what a black person even is.
According to a 2015 analysis of genetic data, around one in 10 self-identified African Americans have less than 50% African ancestry. And around one in 50 have less than 2%. We’ve become so comfortable with the idea that people whose skin is a roughly similar colour are the same “race” that we forget that a good suntan can throw the whole thing up in the air.
But okay, let’s get all “one drop rule” about this, and say that a black person is anyone whose skin is “milk chocolate or darker,” and who has some African ancestry in the past few generations. Very scientific.
The next problem is figuring out whether IQ differences are genetic.
For example, in support of the idea that “racial” differences are genetic, it’s often pointed out that Kenyans and Ethiopians dominate long-distance running. And they do. But does this mean “black people” are better distance runners than “white people?”
Well, if we take a closer look at these dominant athletes, we notice that they come, almost exclusively, from just three tribes (specifically the Kalenjin, Nandi and Oromo). All of which benefit from low oxygen/high altitude conditions, in a country that has numerous programs designed to identify and nurture long-distance running talent.
So instead of, “black people are genetically better at long-distance running.” We get, “black people who grew up in certain high-altitude regions of Ethiopia and Kenya, and who were encouraged to nurture their long-distance running talents from an early age, are better than everybody, including other black people, at long-distance running.
I admit this is a bit more of a mouthful.
But none of this addresses the biggest problem with IQ differences; the concept of IQ itself.
I mean, just for the sake of argument, let’s assume that IQ is a perfect predictor of culturally-neutral, genetically-predetermined intelligence. And let’s even assume that people with African ancestry have, on average, lower IQs than anybody else.
What do we do about this?
Should black people be shipped off to separate schools if our average grades are a few points lower? Should we be denied access to opportunities or jobs if a slightly smaller percentage of black people turn out to be geniuses? Is a high IQ more valuable than creativity? Or people skills? Or persistence?
Well, it turns out that Dr Lewis Terman, a psychologist at Stanford University and one of the pioneers of IQ research, had similar questions.
In 1921, in one of the longest-running studies on intelligence ever conducted, Terman began tracking the progress of 1521 children who scored highest on his intelligence test, confident that they would all be “at the top of their fields,” as adults.
But almost none of them were. Instead, “willpower, perseverance and desire to excel,” were far better predictors of success. As Terman concluded, “intellect and achievement are far from perfectly correlated.”
Honestly? I’m surprised his IQ wasn’t high enough to figure that out in advance.
The controversy over racial IQ differences was born out of a desire to justify slavery and colonialism. But it persists because our obsession with this vague, unscientific concept known as “race” persists. It persists because the delusion that our skin holds some identity-defining significance persists. It persists because the belief that we’re divided by these arbitrary differences persists.
But why are we so focused on skin colour and not eye colour or ear shape or hand size? Why do we define ourselves and each other by the actions of people who died centuries ago? Why are we still talking about genetic racial differences when, thanks to the fact that we’ve decoded the entire human genome, we know there’s more variation within the “races” than between them?
Because instead of wasting time ranking ourselves by our skin or our hair or our other…attributes, maybe we should be fixing the impoverished schools that leave young children functionally illiterate. Maybe we should stop teaching kids that rational thinking and hard work is “whiteness.” Or better yet, maybe we should stop teaching kids to think about the colour of their skin at all.
Maybe we should follow the Kpelle’s example and sort ourselves into more meaningful categories.