Race/ IQ Explanation Gap At “Achievement Gap Summit”

The black-white achievement gap
continues to

baffle America`s best minds
. Just this week we
are being treated to the

"Achievement Gap Summit,"
a conference in

Sacramento, California
. It will draw no fewer
than 4,000 uplift experts to no fewer than 125
panels.  [Summit
called to address racial disparities in academic
By Nanette Asimov, San
Francisco Chronicle,
November 12, 2007]

One of the organizers is

Jack O`Connell,
California`s top bureaucrat for
schools. He has announced the bold discovery that
lagging black and Hispanic test scores are not
caused by

alone. The racial gaps in achievement
are even greater for


wealthy children
than for poor children, he has
found. So, he says, something else must be going on.

Mr. O`Connell has decided the
culprit is "cultural ignorance" in the
schools. For example, he explains, blacks learn to

clap and chant

, and don`t realize they are not supposed
to do this in school. And so they get bad grades.

Mr. O`Connell has gone through

hours of sensitivity training
to learn this. He
wants every teacher in California to do the same.

One thing he`s sure about: The
problem is

"absolutely, positively not genetic."

Jack O`Connell

Likewise this week, newspapers
reported on a Pew Charitable Trust study [Economic
Mobility of Black and White Families
] that
found blacks are three times more likely than whites
to drop out of the middle class into the lowest
fifth of income earners. [Middle-Class
Dream Eludes African American Families
, By
Michael A. Fletcher, Washington Post,
November 13, 2007]

More specifically, 45 percent of
black children whose parents were earning the 1968
median income grew up to be poor. Only 16 percent of
white children from similar families hit the skids.

Columbia sociologist
Ronald B. Mincy
, [send

] who
was an advisor to the Pew study, says they went over
the results again and again to make sure they were
right. "There is a lot of

downward mobility
among African Americans,"

he told the Washington Post. “We don`t
have an explanation."

Well, I am not handicapped by a

professorship at Columbia
. So I do have
an explanation—and Jack O`Connell and the

Achievement Gap
crowd ought to listen up, too.

Ever since
IQ tests have been given in the US,
the black
average has been
85—a full 15 points below the white average

There is a lot of overlap, of
course, and some blacks are smarter than most
whites. But while 50 percent of whites have IQs over
100, only 16 percent of blacks do. Likewise, whites
are 20 times more likely than blacks to have IQs of

130 or higher

One of the best-established facts in
the social sciences—and something that is obvious to
everyone—is that people with high IQs tend to do
better in school and better in life than people with
low IQs.

Clapping and chanting in church
has nothing to
do with it.

The evidence that racial differences
in IQ are at least partly genetic is overwhelming,
despite the outraged shrieks that greet anyone who
points this out. (As the

James Watson affair
shows, the shrieks have
become so hysterical we can be sure the

guardians of orthodoxy

less sure of their position
than ever.)

There is something else the

should think about:

regression to the mean
, or the tendency for
natural phenomena to draw back from extremes towards
the average.

When very tall people have children,
for example, they don`t keep getting taller and
taller, generation after generation. The children
are likely to be taller than average—but not as tall
as their parents.

The process works in the other
direction, too: Very short people don`t keep having
even shorter children; the generations drift up
towards the average.

The same goes for intelligence.

Francis Galton

in the 1860s
that geniuses` children are smart,
but they

usually aren`t geniuses
. Likewise, dummies tend
to have children smarter than themselves.

is only a tendency, however.
Occasionally parents at the extremes produce
children who are even more extreme. But that is
rare. The more

the parents are, the

stronger the pullback towards the mean.

The people who agonize over the
achievement gap would rather cover their ears than
hear this—but regression explains what baffles
both Mr. O`Connell in California and Prof. Mincy of
It explains both why the


) achievement gap is greater at
higher income levels, and why blacks are more likely
to fall out of the middle class than whites.

Among blacks, IQ regresses to a mean
of 85 rather than 100. So a black who has a high
enough IQ to be comfortably middle class—say 120—is
much further out toward the IQ extreme for his group
than a white with an IQ of 120. Which means the pull
towards the mean is much more powerful for the
children of smart blacks than it is for the children
of equally smart whites.  

Put differently, if you match black
parents and white parents for IQ, the black-white IQ
gap for the children increases sharply as the
parents` IQs go up.

And that, Mr. O`Connell, is why the
black-white test score gap is greater for the
children of
rich parents
than it is for poor parents. It may
be a rotten shame, but it is just plain harder for

middle-class blacks
than for whites to

pass on their intelligence
—and therefore their
social status—to their children. 

In his book, The g Factor,
[Page 471]

Arthur Jensen
gives a striking example of
regression to the mean. He collected the IQ scores
of all the elementary school students in one
California school district. He then picked out all
the students—both black and white—with IQs of 120, a
score well above the white mean but even further
above the black mean. He found that the average IQ
scores for the brothers and sisters of these
children was 113 for the white children and 99 for
the blacks.

It was to be expected that siblings
have lower IQs than the hotshots. But these figures
show just how much more freakish it is for black
than white children to have IQs of 120. These very
smart blacks were, on average, 21 points ahead of
their brothers and sisters; the whites were only
seven points ahead.

To repeat: Very smart whites have
somewhat less smart children, but very smart blacks
are likely to have markedly less smart children.

And there is something else going on
that the uplift crowd refuses to hear: Blacks have
disadvantages entirely apart from IQ. As

Charles Murray

Richard Herrnstein
note in the their book The Bell Curve

when they are matched for IQ,
black women are
still five times more likely than white women to

illegitimate children
, and two and a half times
more likely to

go on welfare
. And even with matched IQs, blacks
are two and a half times

more likely to have gone to jail.

This probably has to do with greater
impulsiveness, or a lower willingness to sacrifice
in the present for gains in the future. A classic
1961 study found that black children are much more
likely than white children to ask for a small candy
bar today than wait a week for a bigger one. (W. Mischel,

"Preference for Delayed Reinforcement and Social
Journal of Abnormal and
Social Psychology 62, 1: 1-7.)

Richard Lynn
has written that blacks
consistently score higher than whites on tests of
psychopathic personality, again, even when they are
matched for the same IQ. (See

Racial and ethnic differences in psychopathic
Personality and Individual
2002, Vol. 32, pp.273-316. Or his
American Renaissance article on the same

Race and Psychopathic Personality
, July 2002  ) 
Psychopathic personality—and the

that goes with it—is just the kind
of thing that contributes to bad grades, and drags

black children into the underclass.

And I can promise you that not one
of the 125 panels at the Achievement Gap Summit will
talk about it.

Adlai Stevenson
once said
that given a choice between agreeable
fantasy and disagreeable fact, Americans will go for
the fantasy every time. The

these days is that racial differences
are (in California educrat O`Connell`s words)

positively not genetic."

Until people such as
Arthur Jensen

Richard Lynn

Charles Murray
are on the

achievement gap panels
and are

the Pew Charitable Trust, people who
ought to know better will keep on finding they
“don`t have an explanation”
for simple problems.

Jared Taylor (email
him) is editor of

American Renaissance

and the author of

Paved With Good Intentions: The Failure of Race
Relations in Contemporary America
(For Peter Brimelow`s review, click

He reports that the

next American
Renaissance conference
will be held
February 22-24, 2008 in Herndon, VA.