Charles Murray is again throwing kerosene in the Tinderbox of American Nation relations.
Reviving the explosive argument he made in his 1994 book, The Bell Curve: Intelligence and the Class Structure in American Life, the eminent scholar again points out that African Americans score lower than other teams in the United States in IQ tests.
In light of the current weather, it is not surprising that his new book, “Facing Reality”, has been ignored by almost every major newspaper and magazine. But this dismissal is, ironically, a validity of its basis.
If his numbers were easily discarded, teams of journalists and social commentators were ready to do it. If the problem he identified was easy to solve, they would tell us how. Their reluctance to involve Murray (pictured) is tantamount to adopting racial determinism.
Make no mistake, “facing reality” – which also addresses the connection between crime and races – is inflammatory. Murray not only reported that test scores suggest that African Americans, as a group, have less cognitive abilities than whites, Asians, and Latinos, but he concluded that the problem is “confusing”.
I read his book with more anger than resignation – and more than Murray and his silent critics hope that his detailed gaps can be closed. Murray reports that intelligence tests conducted since the 1960s have, by and large, received the same cognitive packing orders as he did when crushing data from the 2000s. Asians had an average IQ of 108, white 103, Latino 94, black 91. These are of course group averages. Clearly, many individual blacks score higher than Asians, whites, and Latinos.
Nevertheless, these group averages are significant. Although IQ tests do not measure a wide range of important human qualities – such as integrity, empathy, sense of humor – “measures of cognitive ability and work performance,” Murray writes, “always positively related. The size of the relationship increases,” he continues. As the work becomes more cognitively complex.Even in the case of low-skilled occupations, work experience cannot converge on performance between people with different cognitive abilities.
The gaps widen at the upper end of the bell curve. Although about 68% of the Asian and white population, they represent 85% of all Americans with an IQ of 115; 90 percent with an IQ of 125; And 96 percent of those who have an IQ of 140 percent.
The standard test score tells a similar story. In 2020, he reported, the combined math and oral scores of African00 African Americans and 3,0000 Latinos on the SAT were at least 1,500. In the same year, 27,500 whites and 20,000 Asians achieved this higher score. Identifies results for admission to law school (LSAT), medical school (MCAT) and graduate school (GRE) for similar discrimination tests.
These high-end numbers are especially significant now because we live in an information society where income and resources are increasingly directed toward those with exceptional cognitive abilities. Simply put, a high IQ helps one to rank in companies like Google and Apple. Pools of such people, rather, are small and related to race. For example, in 2019 there were 23.2 million Americans aged 25-29. Within this group, only 228,000 can be expected to have an IQ of 135 or higher. “Employers looking for these extraordinarily intelligent young adults were choosing from a pool of about 2,800 Africans and 9,500 Latins, compared to 50,700 Asians and 160,100. [whites], ”Murray wrote. “The inevitable result was that a large majority of U.S. recruiters looking for new recruits with 135+ IQs were not entry-level African or Latin-zero, no matter how eagerly employers requested minority candidates. Not enough to meet demand.”
Murray does not address the broader issue that the opportunities to earn income and wealth will flow to a small number of Americans in any nation. Racial differences are particularly troubling because of Moore’s frustration that something can be done about them. He notes that when he solved this problem in his 1984 book “Lossing Ground,” he was confident that good policies, especially school vouchers, could ignite a “significant combination of single-generation black and white test scores.”
Decades of research and experimental results have reassured him that this was intentional thinking. “The short story is that general exposure to learning actually affects all children’s cognitive abilities, but no one has yet found a way to permanently increase cognitive abilities above and beyond the effects of routine learning,” he writes. “Success stories consist of modest effects on exit tests that fade. Most experimental programs don’t achieve that much. We know how to improve learning for children at every cognitive level, but we don’t know how to change their cognitive level.”
Given all this, how can I have any hope? One reason comes from Moore’s own data, which shows that after the Jim Crow laws were broken in the 1960s, racial differences between blacks and whites “narrowed significantly in the 1970s and 1980s” but “this narrowing stopped three decades ago.”
Murray recommends that civil rights movements remove barriers that reduce black performance and allow them to achieve their full potential. But the biggest thing is that IQ scores aren’t set in stone – in fact, the “Flynn effect” describes the fact that scores have been rising around the world for decades. Our current scientific understanding is that genes are highly responsive to our environment – that nature and upbringing are not separate spheres but a response loop.
This does not mean that anyone can be Einstein. Some people are born with extraordinary cognitive abilities; Not much. Catherine Pieg Harden, a self-described “progressive” researcher, raises the issue in her new book, The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA Is Important for Social Equality, from Princeton University Press.
Discussing Harden’s book, Robert Verbrugen of the Conservative Manhattan Institute wrote:[h]For example, the eritability estimate for educational achievement is about 20 to 40 percent, depending on which research strategy is applied. This means that 60% to 80% of educational achievement is determined by factors other than genes.
Honestly, “Face the Reality” can be read as a book of frustration with stubborn test results. The racial differences described in Murray can be “annoying”. Or maybe not. The problem he documented is reason to expect our failure to find ways to reduce racial inequality. As mentioned above, Murray suspects that we will be able to devise effective strategies to achieve this. His social scientists believe that the best and brightest have tried and failed.
Sadly, many on the left seem to agree with him, as he seeks to eliminate the means of achieving elite high school entrance exams and SAT scores for college admissions. It is a form of surrender. Instead of raising black children, they are trying to mask their shortcomings. It does not help them to improve in a competitive society.
I can’t pretend to know how to do things right. While it seems reasonable to conclude that if our efforts to change what children are taught in school are brief, we should focus on their lives outside the classroom by examining their family influences and broader culture.
When Murray and his co-author, Richard Hernstein, were disappointed to close the racial IQ gap in “The Bell Curve” in 1994, I was among those who thought These are probably correct but why it can be brought to the fore because it cannot be fixed and it is poison for social cohesion. Today, I reject this position as a form of racism. We must believe in the potential of our children and find new ways to help them realize it.