Some have asserted that this fact should cast doubt on the racist view that African people are less intelligent than White people for partly genetic reasons. This assertion is usually hypocritical because the people making this claim normally also deny that IQ tests can measure intelligence. However, nearly all experts in intelligence research agree that IQ tests are not biased and this is for good reason. Given this, it is worth asking why racists have low IQ.
Some people have suggested that having a low IQ leads people to be insecure and to fail in various lifelong pursuits. This creates a void in their self-esteem which they make up for by blaming their problems on other groups and by proclaiming that they are inherently superior to said groups. Thus, having a low IQ leads to prejudiced beliefs such as racism.
There are two good reasons to think that this is not true. First, IQ does not correlate with self-esteem. This makes it very unlikely that low IQ people are more likely than average to need to make up for low self-esteem. Secondly, low IQ people are more likely than average to be racist but they are not more likely than average to be prejudiced in general:
Brandt and Jarrett Crawford (The College of New Jersey) analyzed data from 5914 people in the United States that includes a measure of verbal ability and prejudice towards 24 different groups.
Analyzing the results, the researchers found that people with both relatively higher and lower levels of cognitive ability show approximately equal levels of intergroup bias, but towards different sets of groups. People with low cognitive ability tended to express prejudice towards groups perceived as liberal and unconventional (e.g., atheists, gays and lesbians), as well as groups of people perceived as having low choice over group membership (e.g., ethnic minorities). People with high cognitive ability showed the reverse pattern. They tended to express prejudice towards groups perceived as conservative and conventional (e.g., Christians, the military, big business)”
Whereas prior work by others found that people with low cognitive ability express more prejudice, we found that this is limited to only some target groups,” says Brandt. “For other target groups the relationship was in the opposite direction. For these groups, people with high levels of cognitive ability expressed more prejudice. So, cognitive ability also does not seem to make people immune to expressing prejudice.”
Another popular explanation for the negative correlation between racism and IQ is that racism is a stupid belief and, because of this, smart people are less likely to fall for it.
There are several problems with this explanation. Firstly, at a national level racism correlates very weakly (and statistically insignificantly) with IQ. In other words, there is only an extremely weak relationship between how smart a population is and how racist it is.
Secondly, until a few generations ago society was filled with lots of very smart people who we would now consider racist. If racism is so dumb, why is it that almost no one saw through it until 50 years ago? There is no satisfactory answer to this question.
Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, many scientists hold “racist” beliefs. For instance, most experts in the scientific study of human intelligence think that Africans are less intelligent than Whites for partly genetic reasons.
Similarly, there is a large empirical literature arguing that ethnic diversity has negative effects on social cohesion.
Questions like “Do you think that Blacks are less intelligent than Whites?” and “Would you prefer to not live around Blacks?” are commonplace in standard measures of racism.
Given this, we can see that “racist” beliefs are fairly common among scientific experts within the relevant fields but rare among smart people generally. This has happened because “smart racism” has been censored, derided, and deemed immoral by a select group of academics and political activists. Their efforts, in turn, have transformed many smart people into anti-racist robots who sneer at and condemn any break from anti-racist orthodoxy. In other words, being anti-racist has become essential to fitting-in in contemporary Smart Culture.
Race and IQ
The debate on race and IQ serves as a good illustration of how “academic racism” has been shut down. The modern race and IQ debate started with a now infamous paper by Berkeley psychologist named Arthur Jensen. Years after his 1969 article in which he suggested that Black underperformance on IQ tests might be partly due to genetics, he still had protesters disrupting his academic talks and still had to be escorted around campus by security guards due to attempted violence against him.
In the 1980’s the psychologist Phillipe Rushton came out as a hereditarian in the race and IQ debate. He was banned from teaching for years while the Canadian government pursued a criminal case against him for hate speech. (A case which completely failed).
The 1980’s also saw the publication of Steven Jay Gould’s The Mismeasure of Man. This book, which won many awards and which was the subject of much praise, was filled with lies. For example, he made baseless accusations that the 19th century anthropologistsSamuel Morton mismeausred the size of skulls due to his racism. Morton’s own skulls have since been re-measured and it has been shown that Gould, not Morton, got the skull sizes wrong. Gould also denounced Morton for failing to make certain adjustments to data in a table even though he made those exact adjustments in another table in the same book.
In the 1990’s, the book The Bell Curve brought about a renewed public interest in the Race and IQ debate. Countless writers attacked the book on the grounds that it claimed that Blacks scored poorly on IQ tests almost entirely because of genes and that there was nothing we could do to change this. In fact, this was the conclusion the book came to:
“If the reader is now convinced that either the genetic or environmental explanation has won out to the exclusion of the other, we have not done a sufficiently good job of presenting one side or the other. It seems highly likely to us that both genes and the environment have something to do with racial differences. What might the mix be? We are resolutely agnostic on that issue; as far as we can determine, the evidence does not justify an estimate.”
More recently, long-time science writer for the New-York-Times Nicholas Wade published the book A Troublesome Inheritance in which, according to a letter signed by 140 geneticists and published in the New-York-Times:
“Wade juxtaposes an incomplete and inaccurate account of our research on human genetic differences with speculation that recent natural selection has led to worldwide differences in I.Q. test results, political institutions and economic development. We reject Wade’s implication that our findings substantiate his guesswork.”
In fact, Wade never said that work in genetics substantiated his views on these subjects and explicitly warned readers that, just as the letter says, he is engaging in speculation:
“Readers should be fully aware that in chapters 6 through 10 they are leaving the world of hard science and entering into a much more speculative arena at the interface of history, economics and human evolution … The conclusions presented in these chapters fall far short of proof. However plausible (or otherwise) they may seem, many are speculative.” (Page 15)
Moreover, Wade doesn’t even argue that worldwide IQ differences are caused by genes. On page 190, he states that he doesn’t want to deal with this topic in his book:
“The hereditarians say that since the IQ gap is substantially innate, the Head Start early education program has failed, as was predicted by Arthur Jensen in 1969, and so will similar interventions. The environmentalists deny this,saying the gap in educational attainment is closing, and that it is the racist nature of society that impedes African American advancement. That issue needn’t be resolved here.”
On the other hand, on page 192 he seems to come out against hereditarianism:
“There is a 10 to 15 point difference in IQ scores between the richer and poorer countries of Europe, yet these differences disappear when the inhabitants migrate to the United States, so the differences are evidently an environmental effect, not a genetic one. If European IQ scores can vary so widely across different decades and locations, it is hard to be sure that any other ethnic differences are innate rather than environmental.”
Thus, 140 geneticists signed a letter which blatantly lied about Wade’s work.
Even James Watson, the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, was fired from a lab he helped to start after coming out as a hereditarian on Race and IQ.
The Existence of Race
The debate over the biological existence of race has gone on in much the same way. Consider, for instance, the following passage from the anthropologist Robert Sussman:
“In 1950, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) issued a statement asserting that all humans belong to the same species and that “race” is not a biological reality but a myth. This was a summary of the findings of an international panel of anthropologists, geneticists, sociologists, and psychologists. Since that time similar statements have been published by the American Anthropological Association and the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, and an enormous amount of modern scientific data has been gathered to justify this conclusion. Today the vast majority of those involved in research on human variation would agree that biological races do not exist among humans. Among those who study the subject, who use and accept modern scientific techniques and logic, this scientific fact is as valid and true as the fact that the earth is round and revolves around the sun.”
Several things are worth noting. First, when you look at actual surveys you find that, in the West, about 1 in 3 physical anthropologists believe that human races are real. Endorsement of the reality of race is higher among actual biologists and higher still in Eastern Europe and East Asia where a clear majority of anthropologists believe that human races exist.
All charts from here
Secondly, Sussman is simply lying about the 1950 statement by UNESCO. He claims that this statement asserted that race is “not a biological reality but a myth”. Here is what it actually said:
“A race, from the biological standpoint, may therefore be defined as one of the group of populations constituting the species Homo sapiens. These populations are capable of inter-breeding with one another but, by virtue of the isolating barriers which in the past kept them more or less separated, exhibit certain physical differences as a result of their somewhat different biological histories. These represent variations, as it were, on a common theme. In short, the term “ race ” designates a group or population characterized by some concentrations, relative as to frequency and distribution, of hereditary particles (genes) or physical characters, which appear, fluctuate, and often disappear in the course of time by reason of geographic and or cultural isolation. These are the scientific facts… Human races can be and have been differently classified by different anthropologists, but at the present time most anthropologists agree on classifying the greater part of present-day mankind into three major divisions, as follows: The Mongoloid Division, The Negroid Division, (and) The Caucasoid Division.”
Sussman is telling the truth when he says that American Association of Physical Anthropologists has issued a statement denying the existence of race. This is the same AAPA which, in 1961, famously released a document attacking a book about the biological reality of race which almost no one in the AAPA had actually read. The then president of the AAPA resigned due to how disgraceful he thought his colleague’s actions were.
That being said, statements by the AAPA and similar organizations are extremely important because they have a massive influence on what society thinks that scientists believe.
This gets us back to our original question: why are smart people in the West relatively unlikely to be racist? The answer is that they never hear the smart reasons for being “racist” or, when they due, those reasons are framed as immoral and the people making them as cranks. Instead, they are socialized to hate racists. This is part of Smart Culture.
However, this norm is not nearly as common in “dumb culture”. In “dumb culture” racism is more likely to be accepted because “dumb” people are less likely to have been subjected to the lies about racism that academia and the media peddles and are less likely to be surrounded by anti-racists who shame them for their views.
Given the massive propaganda campaign against racism that has been raged among the upper classes of society, what else would you expect?