Monday, April 27, 2009

Acting White: The Black White Superiority Inferiority Gap

All this talk of the New Haven firefighters, test scores, racism and the Supreme Court has my disparity and proportionality antennae on high alert. In this mode, I spent Sunday afternoon at a CYO track meet with my 13 year old son and a good mix of black, white, Latino, and a sprinkling of Asian, K-8 kids.

From a participation standpoint, the white and Latino kids predominate, as the overlap of black and
Catholic, even in predominantly black neighborhoods trails. Nonetheless, the black kids pretty much dominate all but the distance running events. Yet, no one seems to mind. There are no white, Asian or Latino cries from the stands of unfairness or bias. No one wants to gift the white kids a five second reduction in their times, just for being white. Everybody accepts that the black kids are disproportionately better in track and field, with no better coaching, facilities, or commitment.

In watching many of the non-black kids, I saw opportunities where better coaching etc. would certainly improve their competitiveness, but the cost to benefit ratio does not warrant this effort, as few, of any hue, will go on to the Olympics. This is exactly the opposite behavior of my own working-class parents placing my sister and me in a summer reading program at the University of Denver nearly 45 years ago, as a seven year old. Something made them think it was worth a bus ride across town to become better readers. Cost to benefit, again.

If it is insane to repeat the same activity again and again while hoping for a different result, then education in the US is hopelessly insane. Teaching a one-size curriculum to kids with measured intelligence gaps of more than one standard deviation and hoping that they will grow up as equivalent contributors, is irresponsible. Arguing over intelligence testing, when empirical results back up the current testing, is splitting futile hairs. The back-end dole of affirmative action hides the obvious incompetence of the front-end approach, in the name of ‘all men are created equal’. Men (and women) are equal in spirit, but kids of different cultures are unequal in starting abilities and it’s high time we stopped ignoring this fact.

We need to say that which shall not be spoken. By the third grade, the natural course of black school children permanently reflects intellectual inferiority to whites, Asians, and Latinos (language adjusted) in learning skills development and ability. The ills of black culture, beginning from before birth, are largely responsible for this inferior preparation. Argue the source if you will, but this practical inferiority, once established, is intractable and sets a course through life, with dependence upon arbitrary handouts from inept, but politically correct, race arbitrators, like those in New Haven.

What are we afraid of? Black kids, who place consistently behind their white and Asian classmates in learning, are no worse off for this bit of honest recognition than are those white kids, at today’s track meet, who went home feeling bad that the black kids are so dang fast and best them from the beginning to the end of the season. Each has the choice of how they are going to respond. In the case of the white kids, they can either practice or better yet rub their aching muscles with their latest “I’m so proud of you” report card. Tragically, the black kids have fewer report cards to beam about, along with a legacy of mislaying blame and guilt on others, to no prescriptive benefit.

We worry so much about labels that the truth gets buried. Special education classrooms, even entire special education schools, across the country are packed with black kids, while white kids and Asians pack AP. Large swaths of black kids are quietly shifted to this unofficial under performance track. If you read what expert educators prescribe for fixing this you will notice no mention of cultural drivers or race. To say that black culture is poisoning black kids is to commit professional suicide, so any real fix is elusive.

Back to New Haven, anyone who is expecting the high court to save our kids and our future, better think again. By the constitution, the court's job is to limit how much damage bad solutions are allowed to inflict, and only if those solutions violate the founding doctrine. They are not about telling people to ignore the labels and see the obvious. When we can look at black first graders and accurately predict that 55% will not meet the minimum requirements for a high school diploma, labels are not the problem. The blind eye on black inferiority and what is driving it has become the primary driver to fulfilling the prophecy.

For the record, I do not believe that intelligence in blacks is genetically inferior to any other group. The brain physiology of an average healthy black kid next to a white kid is no different, says modern science. Rather it is segmentation of normal distributions of intelligence driven by time, ethnicity, culture, and geography, where difference is made. We must stop rewarding educators who blow smoke up our butts, and promote those who speak sensible, accountable, albeit unpleasant, truths and solutions.

James C. Collier


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jsb16 said...

For your consideration: Recursive Processes in Self-Affirmation: Intervening to Close the Minority Achievement Gap. This article reports on a study on breaking the self-fulfilling prophecies that aggravate gaps in academic achievement.

PsychoBob said...


Why is it so hard for you to accept that achievement gaps can be explained biologically?!

"The brain physiology of an average healthy black kid next to a white kid is no different, says modern science."

The brain physiology of someone with a 100 IQ isn't any different than the brain physiology of someone with a 130 IQ either, if you measure it by MRI scans. But no one has ever measured intelligence by MRI scans! So that point is completely irrelevant. The 130 IQ person almost certainly has smarter than average parents, just as a pro sports player probably has more athletic parents than average.

How to explain that biracial people score right in the middle of the averages of whatever the parent races are? That sure looks like what would happen with a 50-50 genetic mixture, not a cultural one. White/Asian people score right in the middle of whites and Asians, and white/black people score right in the middle of whites and blacks.
The fact is that no matter what intelligence study you look at, the results are always the same.

Do you honestly think that intelligence is the ONLY human trait that is NOT genetic? Even when your genes are shown to dictate minute details of your behavior, down to how many friends you will have? Are you a Cartesian dualist?

You DO realize, that conceding blacks have lower than average intelligence AS A GROUP, and that the reason is mostly biological, in no way reflects on YOU or your family? It's about averages, there is plenty of variance...I can accept that Jews as a group are smarter than my race, the facts are the facts, and it doesn't affect me. Don't succumb to knee-jerk PC groupthink because you'd prefer the facts were different.

For the record, before you peg me as otherwise, I find the bitter right wing worldview of your friend Dennis Mangan and his ilk utterly repugnant. Mangan in particular is as much of a groupthinker as they come, and not original whatsoever. He just blindly tags along in his poorly written blog with whatever the paleocon leaders happen to support. Nor does interraical relationships,civil rights, or Mexicans bother me whatsoever. I do not long for any so called "good old days" of white supremacy like much of the so called "race realist" crowd.

But if you want to combat their ideology, you might want to acknowledge some inconvenient truths. Its always a bad thing to have truth be the exclusive domain of the "other side".

Anonymous said...

Ouch! Such a sweeping indictment to make, and not a fair one I think. As an elementary educator, I have a different perspective – it also comes without smoke being blown in any part of anatomy.

Maybe what’s lacking in the performance of students classified as “at risk” is the buy-in of parents, and a reasonable notion of what academic excellence requires. If we’re willing to accept that well educated parents generally produce successful offspring (regardless of ethnicity), then we cannot be surprised that academically unremarkable parents of school age children are not.

For those who were not themselves “success stories” of our nation’s public educational system, we need to better educate these parents as to what the realities are when we speak of what’s expected of their children. Parenting a child for success does not mean they simply get the child to school. It doesn’t mean that the child is dressed or fed. It means the parents are an involved partner in their child’s education. They’ve sat down with the children and helped the child structure homework and study time. They’ve made the commitment to have resources available. They not only have books in the home, but they model good reading for their children and make reading an integral part of their child’s home experience (there is no greater predictor of a child’s success in school than their ability to read). It means grooming students for success. It also means that children are sent to school with the knowledge that there is an expectation that they are going to school to learn - the children also know consequences are a reality when they do not put their best efforts forward

Parents model and use language effectively. I’ve heard the “talking white” vs. culturally appropriate speech (some pass as Ebonics). If we’re going to “get real” than we need to realize that as students, all students need to be masters of “white folk standard” and use the English language appropriately - esp. in writing (once SATs are administered in Ebonics or whatever, I will then be sure to acknowledge its effectiveness or merit for use in education).

Sadly, (and this really cuts across all ethnic groups) I see children come to school as defeated as their parents must have been. The parents have parroted “I hate math,” and so the child learns that it’s okay not to like it. It also serves as a justification when a child cannot recite their basic multiplication facts, but can sing the lyrics to up teem intricate songs or rap chants.

I believe parents know that their children’s education is important, but many have no clue as to how to help their children succeed. We as educated members need to help in this area. Folks lament the disparities of academic performance between higher income areas and children of lower socio-economic groups. It’s not the income of the parents per se, it’s the knowledge base of what’s required. That is the void desperately needing to be filled. Once it is, I think we’ll see your chart reflect more of a balanced ascent.

James C. Collier said...

PsychoBob, I have always contended that intelligence is influenced by genes, in large part, and rather that the disparities we see through the lens of race (today) ocurred much earlier as Africans departed the continent and prior to the interplay of skin pigment changes and Vitamin D production. Heritability is altogether difference than mutations of brain physiology suspected in a group such as the Ashkenazi Jews, that might influence intelligence.

GoldenAh said...

There is nihilism in every sub-culture. People, in general, get to be themselves, good, bad, smart, stupid, or indifferent. American culture does celebrate a degree of anti-intellectualism and pro-athleticism.

However, only black people - every single last one of us - gets dragged into the undertow of the worst behaviors, criminality, stupidity, or what-have-you of a certain percentage of blacks.

I'm not athletic. I'm not religious: I don't go to church. I tell people I can't dance, and it's greeted with disbelief. School teachers used to ask who wrote my essays for me. It's not a serious problem, but folks love their stereotypes.

Unfortunately, "black" culture today embraces dysfunctional behavior and mores making it the norm. I think part of it has been gleefully assisted by the media and presented to the world. Part of me wishes that prevalent images of certain entertainers, songs, popular expressions, belief systems, you-name-it - never saw the light of day.

lincolnperry said...

@James C. Collier
You said...I have always contended that intelligence is influenced by genes, in large part, and rather that the disparities we see through the lens of race (today) ocurred much earlier as Africans departed the continent and prior to the interplay of skin pigment changes and Vitamin D production. Heritability is altogether difference than mutations of brain physiology suspected in a group such as the Ashkenazi Jews, that might influence intelligence.

How do you explained Dr Ben Carson, raised by a working class single parent.

James C. Collier said...

Alden, so which comes first, the chicken or the egg? How does the first uneducated parent produce and educated child? Does not the expectation drive the behavior? Black parents express their ignorance with pride. Here in Oakland some parents applauded the school board attempt to make ebonics an official language of the district.

lincolnperry said...

You are absolutely correct...There is nihilism in every sub-culture. People, in general, get to be themselves, good, bad, smart, stupid, or indifferent. American culture does celebrate a degree of anti-intellectualism and pro-athleticism.

We have a tendency to value the ant-intellectualism, and devalue our own cultural values. More African Americans know who Beyonce, Jennifer Holiday and R Kelly are...than Jacob Lawrence, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison.

James C. Collier said...

Lincolnperry, my parents were working-class, but with a drive and expectation that made the sky the limit. Please take a moment to understand the difference between genetic influence and heritability, the passing of genes - they are not the same, but easily confused.

Anonymous said...


I'm familiar with Oakland's push towards Ebonics, and arguments in favor of it.

The chicken or egg thing is an interesting intellectual exercise, but is that really what the dialog is geared towards? Or (as I suspect), is it geared towards identifying remedies which push under-performing children towards academic excellence and changing the history you've commented on in-depth.

Change must take a lot of steps. I'm only trying to identify one area to focus our efforts in.

lincolnperry said...

That’s profound Mr. Collier, I find the most conservative prerogative from successful blacks of working class backgrounds.

I once had a black female manager of exceptional IQ, that could easily been a mensa candidate, however, her 12 yr old, she traveled all over the country to make sure he participated in various track meets and competitions, but his academic performance was lacking!

Because she did not reinforce the same value system and rewards for academic performance over the athleticism.

James C. Collier said...

Alden, I fear that by the time black kids reach school age they have already be aculturated to underperformance, and school is a form of measurement. Additionally, most kids are habitually deficient in D3, a key neuro-development pro-steriod.

PsychoBob said...

"PsychoBob, I have always contended that intelligence is influenced by genes, in large part, and rather that the disparities we see through the lens of race (today) ocurred much earlier as Africans departed the continent and prior to the interplay of skin pigment changes and Vitamin D production. Heritability is altogether difference than mutations of brain physiology suspected in a group such as the Ashkenazi Jews, that might influence intelligence."Isn't whether or not the heritable differences are the result of subtle genetic differences or slight physiological changes as proposed for the Ashkenazi Jews (that conjecture seems perfectly reasonable to me, BTW, the PC crowd just doesn't want it to cut the other way) a moot point? The main issue being whether or not intelligence is largely inherited? As opposed to egalitarian tabula rasa theories? And therefore ethnic groups that underperform are not as genetically well endowed when it comes to intelligence? For example, whites making under 10k a year actually outperform blacks making 70k a year in intelligence tests! This, the heritability of intelligence through the extended family of race, is basically what the race realist crowd you are arguing with is saying. Your main beef then, seems to be with their extremist political bent, which I would concur is dour, unappealing, and vaguely threatening. The complaint by blacks about white people holding them down echoes the complaints of some whites (who are, oddly enough, white right-wing racists) that Jews are holding THEM down. No, the answer is simpler. No one is holding anyone down anymore, whites are just smarter than blacks and Jews are just smarter than whites...on average. Chances are, that glass ceiling you talk about is just your brain burning out. If blacks were gifted with intelligence, then they would have had much of the same success (-translation: I mean gettin' BAGS of dat MONEYYYY) that the Chinese slaves and europeans immigrants who came here with nothing had.

I'll admit, sometimes it IS hard for any sensible person of a nonblack race to blame the right wing extremists when your community consistently embraces (and ours are threatened by) Man-tan criminal shuck and jive minstrels (I mean..."street poets") with exaggerated features like Plies, Gucci Mane, etc.

At least some of you guys, can make fun of yourselves. But most are too busy calling anyone who points out the blatant stupidity of black culture a Nazi.

Have a good night all...I'm "outta dis muh-f---kahhh". grunt, grunt, NAHHHMEAN? (don't be hatin)

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am pretty ignorant about much of what you folks are discussing, but I find the discussion interesting.

James, would you clarify this, because I think I do understand genetics, and I am confused about what you are trying to say: Please take a moment to understand the difference between genetic influence and heritability, the passing of genes - they are not the same, but easily confused.To LincolnPerry, you probably don't know what your manager was doing at home. I am more frequently seen taking my kids to soccer games, or riding bicycles, than I am seen taking them to the library. Yet I do make sure they have books, and we spend time at the library, and used bookstores, and I make sure their homework is done, and they have the resources they need for that. But my girls love their soccer games and other athletic activities and so on my weekends with them, I become a soccer dad. (No SUV though.) And I am pleased they will be far better at athletic activities or even hanging out with people who care about sports than I ever was. So when my kids are 12, if they show an athletic ability that requires cross-state travel, I hope I can help them with that. From the outside, it may actually seem I am more sports oriented with them, but I am positive that's not the impression they have.

James C. Collier said...

Anon 7:35, to the degree that a group of genes expressing a particular trait exist in a non-mutative form, their expression will be that same in the species. Mutations within the group alter the expression, good and bad. Alternately, the transfer of expression to offspring, via genes, is governed by varying rates of heritability, from 0-100%, of genes themselves. What I was offerred to lincoln, in the case of Ben Carson (black neurosurgeon), is that although his genes are 100% inherited from his parents, intelligence (for instance) is 50-70% heritable, leaving much room for him to express greater or lesser intelligence traits.

Jerry said...

Thanks for that clarification.

(And I'm not sure why my prior comment was so poorly formatted.)

I haven't seen it noted elsewhere in your original post or these comments, but fwiw, in the NY Times today in an article about NCLB:
Test Results Show Persistent Racial Gap in School AchievementBy SAM DILLON
Published: April 28, 2009

The achievement gap between white and minority students has not narrowed in recent years, despite the focus of the No Child Left Behind law on improving black and Hispanic scores, according to results of a federal test considered to be the nation’s best measure of long-term trends in math and reading proficiency.


Freeman Hrabowski, the president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, who has written about raising successful African-American children, said the persistence of the achievement gap should lead policymakers to redouble efforts to increase time spent with low-performing students.

“Where we see the gap narrowing, that’s because there’s been an emphasis on supplemental education, on after-school programs that encourage students to read more and do more math problems,” Dr. Hrabowski said. “Where there are programs that encourage that additional work, students of color do the work and their performance improves and the gap narrows.”

But he said that educators and parents pushing children to higher achievement often find themselves swimming against a tide of popular culture.

“Even middle-class students are unfortunately influenced by the culture that says it’s simply not cool for students to be smart,” he said. “And that is a factor here in these math and reading scores.”

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Before I ramble, I want to express how refreshing it is to finally find a black commentator on the Web who is intellectually honest. The unwillingness of those in the community willing and able to discuss these issues seriously has disheartened me, especially since these important issues should be discussed by people in similar cultural contexts. I think we probably disagree on many things, but you seem willing to intellectually engage with even those "realists" who can be vitriolic or vaguely threatening, which certainly deserves plenty of kudos.

I want to briefly outline the heritage of my political philosophy and thinking so you understand how I reached my positions. Basically, I strongly feel like one of the foremost accomplishments in the human canon has been the discovery and articulation of the theory of evolution and natural selection. It necessarily bears on almost every single important question, whether moral, scientific, political, that man has ever tried to answer. It appeals to me fundamentally from both its simple elegance and its broad applicability. My personal theories of the world rely heavily on it. For example, Lawrence Auster points out that Darwinism mostly invalidates the idea of a meaningful God, akin to "a ghost in the machine", so to speak, because it makes moral behaviors mere adaptations; it makes human ethics instrumental rather than fundamental. I tend to agree with him - so I'm an atheist.

I am also strongly influenced by the notion of universal human biases, well explored by Robin Hanson and Eliezer Yudkowsky at the blog Overcoming Bias. The term "bias" used here shouldn't necessarily mean "bad" as supposed to just meaning a general inclination; evolutionary baggage. These questions are messy, and our society cannot begin to address them without fleshing out the core philosophy - to this some people I talk to *still* can't give me a good argument against racism, although we are told to uncritically accept "bigotry" as irrational (would the Native Americans pre-Columbus agree?). In addition, we are particularly prone to a lack of appreciation of emergent behavior and difficulty with probabilities which precludes Bayesian reasoning.

When I discuss politics, the word "vulgar" immediately comes to the fore when discussing the nowadays pervasive egalitarian/liberal worldview. At its core, much of it reeks to me of an unthinking immaturity. Simply, it's cheap talk that feels good to those speaking it. I, honestly, for the life of me, cannot understand the mental gymnastics I find so egregious when I try to keep apace of sophisticated liberal thought. This isn't about the petty normative differences on tax rates and so on, but about how on Earth Ricci isn't on its face a violation of Equal Protection. In fact from time to time the left comes close to persuading me on the psychological problems of inequality, but it's too bad we can't just blow up the wealth for fear of the schemes they would alternatively pursue.

Why does the conservative position instead appeal to my intuition as being more correct? First of all because we see that an established pillar of the Republican party, the fiscal conservative, is virtually unique in the modern world, whilst economic leftists proliferate in every country and precipitated at least one, if not two, central tragedies of the 20th century. More important, it is because Republicans lie to their constituents. "What?!" you say. Well, it is all very easy to adopt the libertarian position on a policy that holds little salience for you, but fundamentally it is popular to use the powers of government to push your established policies. Conservatives strike me as striving for a more reasoned ideal than vulgar liberalism, though of course exceptions abound: two such examples are gay marriage* and African condom dispensation, which seem to arise from folk reasoning also. The excesses and controversies of the bank and auto bailouts are so depressing because the political establishment seemed to use precisely the same amount of introspection and deliberation we'd use as primitive cavemen. The ritual failures of panicked emotionalism in crisis are almost boring to observe.

For example, I don't think it should be considered profound to notice that the world often "sucks": that many things are divided unfairly, that many people suffer through no fault of their own, that natural selection and the law of the jungle are brutal processes. These just listed, especially, are obvious to the point that Saint Aquinas' discourses on them are still relevant today. But with just a little thought, we can also understand the supposedly singular crime of racism as found as in the United States as a manifestation of the same out-group mental process that spawned the word Greek "barbarian" and the Chinese "Middle Kingdom". The ever-marching progress of sociobiology is allowing us to understand why gender roles are so universal and why bemoaned male-female academic disparities refuse to budge.

In fact, that is one central conceit of our domestic left, the notion that what is very old is somehow new. Racism isn't something safeguarded by especially evil flyover Americans. It seems to be a human universal across continents and recorded history. True, it was most horribly manifested in the US institution of slavery, and to a lesser extent as European colonialism, but it is ludicrous to pretend universal even mostly explains the differential outcomes we observe today. It is not at all surprising that some of my black ancestors controlled major slave ports, or that repatriated American blacks in Liberia took some of the native populace as slaves of their own.

Keeping in mind how banal the observation "the world is unfair" is, as well as the accompanying feeling of "that should change", many people fundamentally refuse the truly intellectually courageous idea that some social problems are intractable, or in the weaker sense, require experimentation through incremental and small-scale interventions. You see, that is a truly radical, innovative idea in politics. And when those rare solutions occur it is rarely from activism and certainly not from legislation; did female empowerment really come from Betty Friedan's pen or rather from the new economic reality of household washers, dryers, and refrigerators?

Richard Dawkins observed in the book The Blind Watchmaker that before Darwin, the notion of a Creator who forged the Earth was the only really respectable intellectual position possible. Similarly, the notion of the feudal lord, the financier, the rapacious priest, or THE MAN, man, as being the agents of human inequality was clearly compelling. But given what we've learned since the 60s, with the ongoing synthesis of genetics, IQ and statistics, that position should receive less and less respect than before, at least regarding American society. The failure to entertain the genetic hypothesis should dismiss one as a serious thinker.

Now let's turn our attention to the black-white achievement gap, assuming the genetic hypothesis. I am sure that you are familiar with the argument that it is likely that natural selection acted in different fashions in different populations. Neuroscience will eventually prove that all consciousness and higher-thought are completely determined by their biological substrates, but for now one can merely assume the strong position. Consequently, we should expect different cognitive profiles in different groups, affecting everything from personality to attention to learning ability.

It is a collectivist and distinctly sloppy error by liberals who are usually good at distinguishing "is" from "ought" - at least in basic civil rights - to believe that publishing this truth necessarily reduces the worth of any black person.

First of all, the idea of owing a "loyalty" to your race, is stupid. If you have a meritocratic ethos, your race should be as immaterial to your ideas as to your employment. In real life, things become a bit more complicated; yeah, some in the "realist" community get off from the alleged superiority of their group. But group statistics tell you something about populations, not individuals. Let them revel in that emptiness.

Those worried about the possible realities should rely on the empirical fact that most white Americans just don't feel much race consciousness. They don't have a self-image tied up so much in their ethnicity as much as in their profession or partisanship. It is a status symbol amongst many to be OPEN to new ideas and new cultures. The scientifically literate white nationalists who harbor hope that whites will as one rise up in a war against "THE BLACKS" and "THE MEXICANS" are deluding themselves, just as much as any Open-Borders libertarian or Blank-Slate liberal. If anything, they are more likely to caught up in the Ivy-League "dialogue" about the wished-for raising up than actually doing the thing.

Second, if there is a smart African-American person whose self-confidence is much tied up in his intelligence and/or his children's, its hard to see how knowing more information hurts. If one believes IQ is important for success in the modern economy, it seems to me one should be worried more about one's more primary biological imperatives than the remote kin-selection of your racial group. Should this man labor under false impressions, not allowed to realize his preferences when the IQ of his progeny regress to a lower mean? If you want smart children, marry a smart girl.

What's more, modern political contrivances like the concept of nation-state and "citizen" should make the unfair capriciousness of race differences less salient. I particularly delight in the fact that the United States began not as the evolution of pre-existing empires and fiefdoms with a long shared cultural and ethnic heritage, but embraced more abstract and aesthetic idea of freedoms, religious at first but rapidly became more pluralistic. I am more proud and aware of the fact than I am American than that I am Black.

A White Nationalist has harangued me before on that point. After expressing those same sentiments, he declared me shockingly naive. The really strong WNs, who want to remove black citizens by "kicking 'em out" reveal the baseness of their politics by their lack of appreciation for the core Western idea of "citizen", and ironically emulate the unproductive ethnocentrism they abhor present in many other "lesser" nations. Of course, race matters scientifically, because it tells us something important about our past. However, as many have noticed, any racial evidence should not produce a prima facie effect on ethics. People of all colors strongly want a freedom of opportunity for those born in the future - the given rationalization being that race doesn't determine anything worthy of judgment. Though that's unfortunately false, there is absolutely no hope of changing that inequality if those unpalatable correlations cannot be studied. And so even if we suspect the white nationalist's politics to be fundamentally rooted in ethnic malice, he is forever justified in his menace.

Any non-farcical political ideology should try to solve the problems that it declares problems. If liberals really want to salve their psychological consciences, it is imperative that those able critically examine possible positions with bias.

* - I have heard a couple of good arguments against gay marriage, but like John Derbyshire says, I don't think that's what's coming to forefront of the mind when people opposite it.

Political Season said...

I find the advocacy of the idea of blacks as intellectually inferior due to cultural or genetic issues to be both abhorrent and dangerous.

I cannot think of any outcome of value for blacks in having these ideas become a basis for policy making in education or in anything else.

Validating and internalizing such ideas as these would be damaging to the psyche of blacks as well as detrimental to our economic, social, political and physical well being. These assertions can only and would only be applied by a fallible human society in a way harmful to those categorized as inferior.

I see zero value in trading in these ideas.

Anonymous said...

"I find the advocacy of the idea of blacks as intellectually inferior due to cultural or genetic issues to be both abhorrent and dangerous."

Regardless of whether or not it's true?

Anonymous said...


To put forward the suggestion that the problem with black children not achieving is due to a chemical deficiency inherent of the group or an absence of cultural substance, is to earn the wrath of any number of groups – to say nothing for providing fodder for the multitudes of hate groups which already fear/dislike/are afraid of what they perceive is represented (you’ve probably seen some of these groups by now I would imagine). More, for any educator to admit or agree to such things would be to invite a slow roasting over a very hot flame (Would you like your teacher crispy or extra well done?).

Many well intentioned professionals of various races and disciplines have tried for years to reverse poor academic achievement with minority populations – all of them. The net result has been a mixed bag. Oakland’s initiative – as with many others, is aimed at trying to provide education within a cultural context. I haven’t seen the data of gains Oakland has actually reaped from it. I personally don’t think children need help code-switching, I think they need to have a high command of the English language if they are to succeed in school or do well in tomorrow’s workplace.

As a teacher who has had a lot of parents of various hues grace my classroom, I can only speak to what I have seen – and what a lot of other teachers have similarly experienced: Children who have active parents – regardless of their socioeconomic status, do better in school. They come to school with a purpose. Parents – even those without tremendous financial resources, look for ways to improve their child’s quality of education. They ask questions, they schedule (and show up for) conferences. They not only have an active part in their child’s education, but there is not a sense that when the car door slams shut and little Jimmy has entered the school grounds, that the parent’s duty is done.

You frame your observations by looking at poor achievement of black children as it compares to whites and other “model minorities.” I’m looking at and suggesting a wholesale reexamination of what it means to be a parent of today’s school age children. I think the focus needs to be widened. I also think it will bring you not only better insight into curbing the “Acting White” syndrome/phenomenon which concerns you, but it will also better serve today’s children who will one day become parents to the next generation.


PS. Sorry for being able to post this back to your last night.

James C. Collier said...

Alden, Vitamin D deficiency is no lighthearted chemical imbalance, please study it before you dismiss it too quickly. As for hate groups and other detractors, they have more than enough twisted ideas to support their hate, without me. I think as painful as it was, black people were more highly motivated via direct vs indirect accusation of inferiority, rather than today's soft-shoe. Tell someone they can't do something and they will fight to prove you wrong. Our economy treats blacks as though they are inferior/under performers, so I say put it out there and address it head on. No PC police running interference. We need to stop sanctioning hollow platitudes, these kids are much smarter than that anyway.

Captainchaos said...

Mr. Collier,

As a White Nationalist I resent the implication of your statement that I, and those like me, ought to be marginalized from mainstream discourse. You see, there is an issue of infinitely greater import facing those of European descent than fair treatment of individuals and the maximumization of a particular individuals talent; we are faced with the very real possibility that European Man will cease to be at all, for everywhere we look he is now passing away. The life of our people, and the necessary means to sustain that life (one of which is territory) is not justly denied to us. And politics, the way in which civilized men resolve their differences, is a legitimate avenue for the pursuit of our genetic interests.

The very existence of our people hangs in the balance, would you deny us that?

Captainchaos said...

That third sentence shoud read "necessary conditions" not "necessary means."

James C. Collier said...

Captainchaos, you say "issue of infinitely greater import facing those of European descent than fair treatment of individuals...", but, since I am one of those individuals and with full rights, I say "denied".

Captainchaos said...

The "fair treatment of individuals" is a product of the Enlightenment and classical Liberalism that has now morphed into the unfettered will of atomized hyper-individualism - for those of European descent. It is a conception of what ought to be that has grown so pathological as to cease to be adaptive. (Something to which Europeans are particularly susceptible due to their baseline evolved low level of ethno-centricism.) Because, a White individual is sheerly deluded to believe that all of what they are is solely the product of their own initiative and self-sufficiency; that they can enjoy the full breadth of all they take for granted apart from the collectively sustained life of their people. What_utter_easily_demonstrably_false_silliness!

You will never get any other people to hold that line, and Whites really only pay lip service to it, that is when they pause long enough from White-flight. Studies have shown the arousal observed in the amygdala when presented with a picture of a Black man are identical for avowed racialists and anti-racists. In case you need me to flesh that out: The part of the brain which has adapted to excite exigent action necessary for survival involuntarily identifies - without warmth and welcoming I might add - the Other as extra-tribal competitor for finite resources. That is an example of what Dr. Kevin MacDonald refers to as implicit processing, contrasted with the hypocritical professions of anti-racism by White, which is an example of explicit processing, or the neo-cortex dutifully regurgitating the maladaptive memes our people have been fed. Europeans are also more highly indoctrinable.

So what is the import of all of that? I'll tell you. Life's only purpose is the transmission of itself through time, to do that it must adapt, and be adaptive, otherwise there would not be life. All of what homo sapiens sapiens is, is as a result of that, so too his diversity. If that diversity is lost also will be the values which flow from that. I must introduce you to the concept of genetic interests, which is simply the genetic material most closely approximating your own in the form of your immediate progeny. Likewise, ethnic genetic interests is literally the number of copies of your unique gene frequencies in the world which preponderate in your race; the same applies to me. Genetic similarity theory proposes the preference for one's own as a pan-human evolved trait which facilitates the continued life of the tribe, whose members are evolved to complement each other in the collective struggle for survival. That is why men more readily sacrifice themselves for the life of their co-ethnics, because they are protecting their ethnic genetic interests; not just reproductive fitness, but inclusive fitness as well which explains altruism.

You are clearly opposed to granting me and mine the necessary conditions to sustain our collective life because YOUR ethnic genetic interests would be damaged thereby. Only we most certainly do not need your permission. All we want is to live sovereign and free in our own lands.

Anonymous said...

On a more constructive note, have you heard about the suppressed educational theory of Direct Instruction? You should direct yourself to the blog written by one who uses the nomen KDeRosa to learn more about this most realistic strategy of increasing black academic achievement if not.

Anonymous said...

I would like to submit an explanation that has been hit on indirectly by a few commenters.

It all boils down to motivation. Being from the bottom of the economic food chain, we have a perspective that is totally unlike those at the top or even the middle.

Seeing the devastation around us, getting a job and making money is not enough of a motivation for us to do well in the current ejewcation system of USA. One person "Getting out of the hood" does nothing for the people he/she leaves behind. Most minorities I know want the SYSTEM to change so that the line between haves/have nots is erased. In the meantime, the kids languish in school. BUT the genius of some of these kids comes out in other ways: art,style,overall creativity.

Pretty Ricky Ricky Rickay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

"Most minorities I know want the SYSTEM to change so that the line between haves/have nots is erased."

It is not the "system" that draws the line between haves and have-nots, it's history. There is no government action, short of secretly mobilizing the military to confiscate the assets of the wealthy worldwide, that will truly redistribute the wealth.

What we have instead are ham-handed attempts to redistribute the income... essentially, to maintain the wealthy and keep the middle class from catching up.

This notion of "changing the system" to create equality is a pathetic fantasy invoked by people unwilling to better themselves. It would be like a young man in 1941 saying "I'm dodging the draft because I want world peace".

You want to get your piece of the pie? Make something that everybody wants. "The system" allowed Bill Gates to go from an ordinary middle class kid to one of the richest men in the world. "The system" has allowed tons of American blacks to go from abject poverty to opulence by their ingenuity and creativity.

You want your kids to grow up in a good environment? Do what JCC did: stay out of trouble, get an education, save your money, and make responsible decisions. That's what my parents did, living in the worst kind of poverty in post-WWII Europe.

I wish that everyone's parents had been as prudent as mine were. They scrimped and saved, even in the worst of times, so that I could have a better life. I find it profoundly disrespectful that anyone would suggest that everything they sacrificed for me should be given to someone else in the name of "equality".

Flavorrrrrr Flaaaaaaaave!!!! said...

If I can get rich, anyone can!

But I can't do nuthin' fo' ya, man...I said I can't do nothin fo' ya man...

Anonymous said...

I have come to the conclusion that most blacks see whites as their slaves. Blacks should make sure whites can keep breeding to keep the system from falling apart.

Not that it is going to matter if this happens:

Anonymous said...

Real world showed that throwing money was not then nor now the answer.

If you have a D- student and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to move him up to a D student was it really worth the effort? He will never pay back what it cost to move him up.
If you have little or no math apptiude the chances of you completing a math degree is slim to none.

Anonymous said...

The evidence for a strong biological aspect to the black/white IQ difference is overwhelming.

James C. Collier said...

Anon 7:01, Jensen was unable to prove a genetic difference, by way of brain physiology (physical result from genetic expression), rather he imputes a difference based on heritability and empirical disparity (test results). This is not overwhelming in any Darwinian sense!

Anonymous said...

To think that that one trait must have remained constant, while others changed over the 100,000 years that Africans and Europeans were separated and the 40,000 years that Asians and Europeans were separated seems illogical. Although I admit its only very recently that I became open to the possibility that there might be biological differences in intelligence.

I realize of course that there was some interbreeding among the populations, but not sufficient to eliminate the obvious outward physical differences. Therefore not sufficient to eliminate the potential for differences in brain anatomy and associated intelligence.

Study after study shows blacks having smaller brains than whites, who have smaller brains than Asians. Some studies also show slightly more complex brains in whites and Asians. These differences cannot be explained by nutrition, as they are present at birth and continue to exist even if nutrition and other environmental factors.

Among individuals, we see a clear connection between brain size and intelligence. But we simply refuse to make the obvious connection that smaller average brain size in a group would lead to lower average intelligence.

The culture bias of tests hypotheses falls completely flat, and I'm surprised that it is even taken seriously. Every standardized test I've ever taken in school measured the material we were learning that year. The SAT and GRE measured material that was learned (or taught, at least) in school and college. But even when accounting for income and school system, there is a gap in black/white performance. Intelligence tests that I've taken clearly measure logic and problem solving. On the other hand, the BITCH-100, the test that supposedly proves cultural bias, is nothing more than a black culture trivia quiz. Calling it an intelligence test is a joke. And claiming that it proves the existence of white bias in standardized tests is intellectually dishonest.

That's not to mention the fact that Asians perform better than whites on these supposedly white biased tests.

Every attempt at controlling for income, nutrition, and other environmental factors only accounts for a small percentage of the performance gap. When examining the worldwide trends, the genetic hypothesis works, the culture/environment only hypothesis increasingly short.

The evidence is strongly on the side of a significant genetic explanation. Its only our desire that keeps the culture/environment explanation on the same playing field. But the evidence for that hypothesis is extremely lacking.

The fear of course, is that if everyone knew the truth, it would result in a return to significant discrimination. But perhaps we need to find another way to overcome that societal ill - one that doesn't require intellectual dishonesty and adherence to programs and policies that are destined to fail and only create further resentment.

jsb16 said...

It's perfectly reasonable to assume that one trait remained constant while others changed, as long as there was no selection pressure on the unchanging trait and there was selection pressure on the changing traits. There is a strong selection pressure on skin color as a function of latitude, for example. Those at high latitudes need paler skin to produce adequate vitamin D, while those at lower latitudes need darker skin to protect against sunburn. It's difficult to see why there would be a strong selection pressure on intelligence as a function of latitude, which the argument that Blacks and Hispanics are biologically stupider than Whites and Asians assumes.

The brain size argument is old, trite, and thoroughly disproved. (See this excerpt and the sources cited therein.) Furthermore, it was initially advocated by people who were deliberately TRYING to prove that Blacks are inherently inferior and Whites are inherently superior, and who selected their evidence with that in mind.

Anonymous said...

"Thoroughly disproved" is a bit of a stretch, and bordering on wishful thinking. Even as scientists we sometimes believe what we want to believe. All that link really says is that there is some doubt.

And no, its not reasonable to just assume that one trait would be unchanged over 100,000 years of isolation. Some traits that have been selected for serve no purpose, but may be attached to other traits that were selected for. Selection doesn't always follow the same logic: Why are Scandinavians tall and lean while the Inuit are short and stocky? the Scandinavian body type would seem to be more suited to a warm climate. Why is the frequency of red hair higher in Ireland? Was there some benefit to red hair in Ireland but not in nearby England, Scotland, or Wales?

In addition, humans that moved north would have been exposed to new challenges that could very easily have selected for continued development while those who remained south had no environmental pressure to continue to adapt, and therefor remained static.

The problem I see with this issue is that at the point that we became advanced enough to truly study it, we also decided - as a cultural value, not a scientific one - that we didn't want there to be a biological difference. From there we decided that all differences MUST be cultural; it became the default assumption without its own merit. And any attempt at investigating a biological connection could be dismissed as the fanciful work of a closet racist. Its completely unscientific.

The culture/environment only hypothesis has NEVER been proven. It fails at predicting results while the partial hereditary hypothesis succeeds. Some of the research that supports the hereditary hypothesis was actually done in an attempt to prove the culture/environment only hypothesis.

Belief in culture/environment only is not science - its a cultural value. I understand the resistance to it because up until a few years ago I would've refused to read anything that provided evidence of a partial biological cause.

jsb16 said...

Anonymous 7:32: All of the evidence in favor of brain size variation between human subgroups determining academic achievement that I have seen has been quite thoroughly tainted by scientists believing what they want to believe. You don't even provide your name, much less any new evidence.

Anonymous said...

"All of the evidence in favor of brain size variation between human subgroups determining academic achievement that I have seen has been quite thoroughly tainted"

Possibly, but no more tainted than the dismissals by those who refuse to believe that there could be a biological/hereditary component.

What of the mountains of other evidence? Reaction time tests; adoption studies, separated twin studies; worldwide data that eliminates environmental, cultural, and discriminatory issues. All of this points to a likely biological component; but instead its socially correct to dismiss the evidence and keep looking for that environmental explanation we've been dreaming of.

"You don't even provide your name"

Rather irrelevant isn't it? Very typical of the tactics used by someone who can't actually win a debate. You don't give your name either, or should I assume your given name is jsb16? Do you prefer Mr. 16 since we aren't particularly familiar with each other?

"much less any new evidence"

The evidence I provide may not be new (if you bother to read the report I linked, some of it is), but at least I am providing evidence for the partial biological hypothesis. Your argument seems to consist of "that's not true."

ogunsiron said...

I don't think one has to provide a real name but a stable pseudonym is apprecited by most commenter, I think .

jsb16 said...

Which of the URLs provided by anonymous cowards is the link you're referring to, Anonymous 11:02? Is it the one for the Cato Institute (a political think-tank, not a peer-reviewed medical journal), the one for the NYTimes, or the one for the Jensen article which our host has already addressed?

hbr27 said...

I don't have an account here and don't plan on spending enough time here to bother creating one. Therefore, no nickname.

But I just saw the option to create a nickname with this post - that make you feel better?

But is that really any less anonymous? I don't know who you are. jsb16 is no different than "Anonymous jsb16." Maybe you care about on-line posting enough that your internet reputation is important, but if you said something that others took offense to, you could start over with a new nickname.

And again, your argument amounts to nothing more than misdirection to a completely irrelevant issue. And now pointless insults that have nothing to do with the topic.

The hosts comment was simply that the evidence was not "overwhelming" as I stated initially. I suppose that's a judgment call, and maybe I exaggerated. But its rather convincing.

Maybe it hasn't been proven beyond a doubt, but there is even less evidence for the culture/environment only hypothesis. Even if you find the evidence for partial genetics lacking, that doesn't prove culture/environment only. That hypothesis must stand on its own - which it does not. In fact, there is quite a bit of evidence that refutes the culture/environment only hypotheses, while the partial genetic hypothesis is strongly supported.

As I said, the partial genetic hypothesis can only be dismissed from an emotional standpoint - not a logical one.

James C. Collier said...

HBR27, this blog is once again in a discourse where genetic difference, variance of expression, and heritability are confused. While we inherit 100% of our genes from our parents, in the case of intelligence, said genes deliver lesser (50-80%) of the intelligence we display, by way of heritability. We should not, however, confused expression stemming for normal distribution (within the same gene sets) with expression from genes that have mutated, regardless of heritability. Except for the Ashkenazi and perhaps the Aborigines, research postulates no brain mutations that support disparities we see. Brain size arguments are long dismiss by capacity and utilization study. Alternately, if we remove the lens of race, we see that it was variance of expression (heritable) that allowed one people to fully inhabit the globe from a single starting point and the differences of look we now experience are driven by labile genetic adaption (not mutation) that quickly followed, mostly as a function of geography and survival.

As for anonymity and names, I agree with you, and 'coward' was an argumentative bait. Your thoughts are welcomed.

jsb16 said...

FWIW, "Anonymous Coward" is the name given to anonymous posters on a number of other blogs. Not having an blogger account does not prevent anyone from signing their comments, if they wish to be distinguishable from other anonymous posters.

Apparently, the link hbr27 intended to refer to was the Jensen article, which our host stated "was unable to prove a genetic difference" in brain size and academic ability.

The mere fact that genetic differences exist between groups of people is not evidence that they explain more of the difference in academic achievement than environmental factors. Especially given new evidence [Kramer, M. (2008, December). An intervention promoting exclusive and prolonged breast feeding improved verbal intelligence scores in children at 6.5 years. Evidence-Based Medicine, 13(6), 181-181.] that something as simple as breastfeeding increased verbal intelligence. Also, simply talking to infants increases their intelligence [Fowler, W., Ogston, K., Roberts, G., & Swenson, A. (2006, December). The effects of early language enrichment. Early Child Development & Care, 176(8), 777-815.].

(Both of those articles are available in full-text form from EBSCO.)

hbr27 said...

Mr. Collier,

I appreciate that you say my thoughts are welcome, but after re-reading your initial post, something occurs to me:

You are attempting to make a point that culture must be examined in order to account for (and correct) the achievement gap. I don't disagree with this statement. So all I'm really doing is creating a distraction from the important topic that you wished to discuss.

With that in mind I'd say the issue of a possible genetic connection could wait for another time, so I'll close with one last thought.

This morning I had the opportunity to read some of the research by Flynn and a few others. Clearly strong evidence that environment plays a role (although I never felt that it was irrelevant). In some studies they were able to completely account for the black/white gap.

The issue I see here is that the research is often conflicting, and sometimes difficult to reproduce and validate. This is applicable to the partial genetic hypothesis as well.

And yes, I intentionally copied the format of jsb16's screen name. Thought it would be funny since he/she was giving me a hard time about posting anonymously.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Collier, another problem with the accepted egalitarian synthesis is that most people are not aware of how un-malleable the "enviornment" may be when it is used properly in the scientific sense. The heritability estimates you give, on the order of 50-80%, are narrow-sense heritability estimates, which only is a measure of comparison between the variance of strictly the genetic code to the variance of the measured outcome. But environment as defined can include epigenetic variables, a term used to describe the chemical and biological environment within the cell, which can proceed all the way up in complexity to the properties of the fetal environment! For all we know, our genetic code could completely specify such things to the point that altering them fundamentally alters ourselves to completely different persons. Even the standard idea of environment as "culture" - which few have managed to guide to their aims - raises disturbing emotions in light of research like that recently highlighted by Razib of Gene Expression, which showed that the "song culture" of birds could develop de novo in a controlled laboratory environment, implying some genetic control of our shared culture!

- A Previous Anonymous