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That Old Time Racialist Science!

In thinking about our friends in Gene Expressions were doing, I came across two articles that are tangentially related to race and genetics and achievement: One in the New York Times about the newfound attraction to those of mixed Asian/Western descent, and one in The Washington Post about SAT scores for blacks falling once again in Montgomery County, MD.

OK, one of the few things that I consider as a crusade by me is improving the educational system, particularly in the inner cities where minorities are poorly served by bad schools, where in many cases teacher, student, and parent have given up on giving (or receiving in the case of the student) a good education. Now, Montgomery County isn't what you'd consider the inner city. They have some of the world's best schools, and the county is pretty wealthy, so they can afford to pour money into the schools for the latest and greatest things. So the news that minorities in that school system are struggling seems to underscore a point, this is a more complicated problem than lack or money or lack of supplies.

Or is it?

Apparently not, according to our friends at Gene Expressions. They've studied the data points, ran the mathematics, listened to the relevant authorities, sorted through the evidence, and even read a book or two!

And their verdict?

Blacks and minorities just have lower mental capacities.

It seemed so obvious, didn't it.

Forget all those studies that says that poverty or the culture, or the constant reinforcement by BET or pop culture that being smart or studying hard is equivalent to acting white, being a sell-out, acting as an Oreo. It isn't the hundreds of years or abuse and racism that didn't really start to abate until 40 years, or two generations ago. It's not even that the blacks and minorities come from poverty, or even that their main measure or gauging the intelligence of people, the IQ test, was seriously flawed, or that Charles Murray did his best to rig the results in the above mentioned Bell Curve.

This is the type of thing that makes me wish that I took genetics or sociology previously. But it's heartening to see a debate break out here in response to that blargh!

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
sterlingnorth
Aug. 31st, 2002 07:07 pm (UTC)
You know, it took me three days to write that post, and I'm still disappointed with it!
(Anonymous)
Aug. 31st, 2002 08:11 pm (UTC)
Dear Sterling,

GNXP (http://gnxp.blogspot.com) regular here. Just wanted to quickly address some of your points.

1) Concerning the inevitable charge of being a Nazi - they responded here (http://www.gnxp.blogspot.com/2002_08_01_gnxp_archive.html#85392803).

2) They never said "blacks and minorities" are inferior - that's a loaded term. East Asians and Indians are minorities in the US, so they fit under the umbrella "blacks and minorities". They said East Asians > whites > blacks in general intelligence (g) - which is just one of many variables that differentiate humanity. "Superiority" or "inferiority" implies a normative judgement - what variables are being considered? In other variables (e.g. *some* types of athletics (http://www.jonentine.com/sports_race.htm), blacks are no doubt "superior".)

3) Class alone does not explain race differences. Blacks with family incomes > $70000 have lower SAT scores than whites with family incomes < $10000. See here (http://brookings.nap.edu/books/0815746091/html/506.html#page_middle) and here (http://www.prospect.org/print/V9/41/jencks-c.html) for details. Here's a quote:

"In 1997 black high school seniors from families with annual incomes between $70,000 and $80,000 scored an average of 472 on the verbal component of the SAT, compared to an average of 487 for whites from families whose income was less than $10,000 per year. "
(Anonymous)
Aug. 31st, 2002 08:18 pm (UTC)
"Forget all those studies that says that poverty or the culture"

As shown in above post, poverty is not the only story.

"the constant reinforcement by BET or pop culture that being smart or studying hard is equivalent to acting white"

The gap existed before BET and pop culture.

"It isn't the hundreds of years or abuse and racism that didn't really start to abate until 40 years, or two generations ago."

The gap is observed in blacks from other countries. And similarly abused populations in Asia have higher scores than whites.

"It's not even that the blacks and minorities come from poverty"

Poor Asians (mainly Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, some South Asians) do well on these tests and in education in general.

"their main measure or gauging the intelligence of people, the IQ test, was seriously flawed"

It would be a curious racist indeed who'd design a test that would have Jews and Asians far outscoring whites.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )