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My New Book on Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama is now available!!!

Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama, is now available!

According to The Wall Street Journal, Barack Obama's presidential victory means we "can put to rest the myth of racism as a barrier to achievement in this splendid country."

According to columnist Richard Cohen, Obama as President signifies that America is a "post-racial" nation, and that "we have overcome" the vestiges of racism and discrimination.

And according to the Atlantic Monthly, Obama's ascent to the White House may well signify, "The End of White America," or at least the extent to which whiteness remains a privileged "norm."

Yet, beneath the proclamations of achieved color-blindness and race-neutral ecumenism, the evidence of racism in employment, education, housing, health care and the justice system remains substantial. And white racial attitudes--not about Obama and those who, like him, "transcend race," but rather about the bulk of black and brown folks in the nation--continue to indicate substantial white racism at the personal level as well.

In Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama, author and activist, Tim Wise, explores what Obama's success means, and importantly what it doesn't mean for race and racism in the United States. Contrary to popular perception, Obama's victory says little about racism as a larger institutional phenomenon, and may well make the fight against racism more difficult than ever, by reinforcing longstanding white denial, reinforcing the myth of meritocracy that has long served as a justification for profound racial disparities, and by creating a new and limiting archetype of acceptable blackness, which although met by those like Obama, would erect higher obstacles than ever in the path of non-Obama-like persons of color.

About the book, actor and human rights activist, Danny Glover says that Wise "provides an insightful and much-needed lens through which we can begin to navigate this current stage in our ongoing quest for a more inclusive definition of who we are as a nation. It's definitely a book for these times."

And Bill Fletcher, long time activist and Executive Editor of BlackCommentator.com says:

"Tim Wise has looked behind the curtain...His book debunks any notion that the United States has entered a post-racial period...With this book, Wise hits the bull's eye."

As we enter the Obama-era, it will be increasingly important to arm ourselves with the factual information and analysis needed to place the quest for racial justice in the forefront of public consciousness. With the media and the talking heads proclaiming that Obama signifies the virtual fulfillment of Dr. King's dream, piercing the veil of denial and deflection will become more difficult, but also more critical than ever. Between Barack and a Hard Place can help to re-claim the race discourse from those who prefer to paper over the ongoing presence of racism as a potent social force.

Get your copy today from City Lights Books (the publisher), Amazon.com, or your local independent bookstore!    

Comments
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Looking forward to receiving my pre-order!

Any chance I could get you to sign a few books when you come to William Paterson in October, Tim? Hope your hand isn't cramped...I have all your books. :)

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Book just arrived today.

Book just arrived today. Looking forward to devouring it this weekend!

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wow...

I can't wait to get this book. "Speaking Treason Fluently" is a great book so I'm sure this will be just as great.

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Meritocracy?

"reinforcing the myth of meritocracy that has long served as a justification for profound racial disparities"

I have to admit the disparities in sports are terrible, when will some measure of basketball ability be introduced that doesn't have dispate impact on Asians & whites? I have noticed they are woefully underrepresented and I believe this must reflect some pervasive institutional racism that oppresses these groups & prevents them achieving equality on court.

I realise that this goes against the idea of treating people as individuals, and swaps individual rights for group entitlements. I realise that it would require moving from a color-blind approach to a racially conscious approach that may well fuel resentment, but we need equal outcomes in basketball.

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Meritocracy

My comment above is obviously tongue in cheek, but isn't there is also a flaw in the idea that unequal outcomes always reflect institutional bias. You can aim for equal opportunity, but to have equal outcomes everyone must be equal. This is obviously not the case. For instance it is well documented that Ashkenazi Jews and East Asians, if you look at group averages, perform better than other groups academically.

People try to explain this by culture, but transracial adoption studies point away from a culture explanation. For instance, East Asians raised in white households still, on average, do better on psychometric tests. http://www.gnxp.com/MT2/archives/004064.html

Also, there is evidence in terms of Ashkenazi Jews that their academic achievements don't appear to be purely due to culture. See the paper by Cochran, Hardy & Harpending, "Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence, Journal of Biosocial Science 38 (5), pp. 659–693 (2006).

If you look at recent research, New Scientist noted in December 2006:

"A detailed look at human DNA has shown that a significant percentage of our genes have been shaped by natural selection in the past 50,000 years, probably in response to aspects of modern human culture such as the emergence of agriculture and the shift towards living in densely populated settlements…

"This analysis suggested that around 1800 genes, or roughly 7% of the total in the human genome, have changed under the influence of natural selection within the past 50,000 years… That is roughly the same proportion of genes that were altered in maize [corn] when humans domesticated it from its wild ancestors. Moyzis speculates that we may have similarly 'domesticated' ourselves with the emergence of modern civilization."

We don't know what these 1,800 genes do. It will take years to figure out the uses of each one.

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Moronic

"My comment above is obviously tongue in cheek, but isn't there is also a flaw in the idea that unequal outcomes always reflect institutional bias. You can aim for equal opportunity, but to have equal outcomes everyone must be equal. This is obviously not the case. For instance it is well documented that Ashkenazi Jews and East Asians, if you look at group averages, perform better than other groups academically."

Yes, it is true that there are meaningful differences between ethnic and cultural groups. But the Ashkenazi Jews and East Asians examples are perfect ones, because those groups did not always do better than whites in those areas. Rather, a large portion of entrepeneurial immigrants created enough capital to send a disproportionate amount of their children to school and, yes, through dint of hard work, achieve high academic success rates. We know it can't be anything about East Asians in particular because those same ethnic groups can be horribly oppressed and therefore do awfully in China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, etc. The buraku in Japan, for example, are made up of the same ethno-racial groups as those doing so well over here...

But, I've gone over all this ad nauseum with you. You are intent on making bad arguments to cover up racism.

The fact is that black communities are clearly oppressed and this clearly impacts their equal access, and therefore their equal success, to educational, political, legal, economic, employment, financial, etc. resources.

"People try to explain this by culture, but transracial adoption studies point away from a culture explanation. For instance, East Asians raised in white households still, on average, do better on psychometric tests. http://www.gnxp.com/MT2/archives/004064.html"

As if culture is only imbued by families, as if someone who is East Asian will be treated as white just because their family is white. Do you honestly intend these arguments to be made seriously? And psychometric tests don't just bias for culture, but for class, gender...

The history of psychometry alone lays these arguments to bed. Blacks and whites have shifted places in memory tests multiple times since the birth of psychometrics, yet at each new stage whites had a great explanation for why they were better. Utterly deceptive pseudo-science.

"We don't know what these 1,800 genes do. It will take years to figure out the uses of each one."

Which is why it rests on racists to PROVE that a particular gene does something, rather than others to DISPROVE something. But the point is that we know, as well as anyone can know something in science, that those 1,800 genes in particular and any 1,800 genes in general could NOT have the social impacts we see, because genes are just not that specific...

"This analysis suggested that around 1800 genes, or roughly 7% of the total in the human genome, have changed under the influence of natural selection within the past 50,000 years… That is roughly the same proportion of genes that were altered in maize [corn] when humans domesticated it from its wild ancestors. Moyzis speculates that we may have similarly 'domesticated' ourselves with the emergence of modern civilization."

Modern civilization that almost all "racial" groups have gone through. Notice what Moyzis DIDN'T say: That there has been any speciation. But Moyzis' position is far from the mainstream. Also note that he doesn't say that these genetic changes explain any social indices. Yes, we may have domesticated ourselves. What does that mean? A member of the black middle-class has clearly "domesticated" himself, yet s/he still faces discrimination. Social phenomena have to be understood separately from genetic phenomena.

The fact remains that you can't point to any gene, or set of genes, or anything intrinsic to explain the plight of African-Americans. The only explanation is racism, period. And until we eliminate the racism, we won't be able to discover what is truly there in the genes.

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Racism is still alive and well, but running scared...

First of all, I want to stop and acknowledge Barack Obama's inauguration. We have a new president, and we are one step closer to the America we want.

That said, no, we are not in post-racial America. In fact, there is a most definite backlash going on against Obama's election. I think this is kind of a good thing, because I think it indicates that those who feel comfortable in the racist culture are scared sh*tless and see that their unchecked assumption of superiority is now challenged. They are holding on for dear life and very scared and angry as their imaginations run wild. Over on Facebook, the few conservative friends I have have been circulating the following article:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1084111/PETER-HITCHENS-The-night...

Initially, I assumed it was the standard conservative fare bashing the concept of "change" and "yes we can", and doubting Obama could deliver on his promises. But I read all the way to the end and found a pretty shocking ending to the article that was unabashedly racist. See those comments below, as well as the response I posted. I imagine my comments will instigate a flame war, as my conservative friend has a number of other conservative friends who all commented "excellent article!" But I feel like this kind of thing can't go unchecked or unquestioned...

Quote: "There had been a few white people blowing car horns and shouting, as the result became clear. But among the Mexicans, Salvadorans and the other Third World nationalities, there was something like ecstasy. They grasped the real significance of this moment. They knew it meant that America had finally switched sides in a global cultural war....The United States, having for the most part a deeply conservative people, had until now just about stood out...totally committed to preserving its own national sovereignty, unabashedly Christian in a world part secular and part Muslim, suspicious of the Great Global Warming panic, it was unique. These strengths had been fading for some time, mainly due to poorly controlled mass immigration and to the march of political correctness. They had also been weakened by the failure of America’s conservative party – the Republicans – to fight on the cultural and moral fronts."

My comments:
This article is incredibly offensive, particularly if you read to the end. Yeah, the Mexicans and "Third World nationalities" living here (Who f'ing says that? Are we in WWII Germany?) DO grasp the real significance. America HAS switched sides in a cultural war. America no longer sees "unabashed Christianity" and the suspicion of SCIENCE ("global warming panic") as "strengths". And thank God, if that's what the conservative party was fighting for. They failed BECAUSE they believe in that kind of colonial, supremist, "divinely chosen" attitude. This election has revealed an ugliness in Americans I never knew. I'm saddened that this is what apparently many conservatives are thinking. This article is just filled with the fear that the "others", the "Third World nationalities" (I can't even believe he dared lump them all together like that as some dirty group), will have any say in HIS America, the white, Christian, NON "politically correct" one. Do you guys really believe this stuff? I really am curious to know if you read to the end and if you agree with this man. This article makes me very sad. Prior to this election, I had been very naive about how a lot of white people in this country really think.

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Happy New Year Frederic

Hi there Frederic,

I don't necessarily disagree with you that things like affirmative action & even reparations could be warranted given US history.

"Utterly deceptive pseudo-science."

I've gone back & read over the Bell Curve, the Snyderman/Rothman survey of academic opinion vs media coverage, Dan Seligman's 'A Question of Intelligence' & a book with competing views by Leon Kamin & Hans Eyesenck. I don't think it's as deceptive as you're suggesting.

There are some interesting physical correlates. See Behavioral and Brain Sciences (2007), 30:135-154 Cambridge University Press:

"Overall, we conclude that modern neuroimaging techniques are beginning to articulate a biology of intelligence. We propose that the P-FIT provides a parsimonious account for many of the empirical observations, to date, which relate individual differences in intelligence test scores to variations in brain structure and function."

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract;jsessionid=2E0FAE4DF
62ECC1DEF8ED3885C4379E1.tomcat1?fromPage=online&aid=1305780

Also, EEG studies show increased neural efficiency in the cortex of 'brighter' individuals:

"In the field of physiological study of human intelligence, strong evidence of a more efficient operation (i.e., less activation) of the brain in brighter individuals (the neural efficiency hypothesis) can be found"

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6SYV-4GNCG7K-1...

There has been some interesting recent research by Ian Deary investigating why more intelligent people tend to have greater longevity. Aside from the obvious (they avoid risks/eat healthier food etc) Deary suggests there could be some overall fitness factor, as basic reaction time predicts longevity even better than IQ tests. Gottfredson and Miller also suggest this idea of an overall fitness factor with their recent paper showing a strong correlation between intelligence and semen quality.

recentlyhttp://www.psy.ed.ac.uk/people/iand/Deary%20(2008)%20Nature%20essay%20why%20do%20intelligent%20people%20live%20longer.pdf

http://www.udel.edu/educ/gottfredson/reprints/2008semen.pdf

There is also circumstantial evidence from twin studies & transracial adoption studies.

"Heritability estimtes for intelligence quotient (IQ) range from 0.50 to 0.80. This makes IQ a suitable target for attempts to identify the specific genes involved." Chorney et al, Role of the cholinergic muscarinic 2 receptor (CHRM@) gene in cognition. Molecular Psychiatry (2003) 8. 10-13.

"A substantial body of literature from twin, family and adoption studies documents significant genetic effects on human intelligence. Heritability estimates range from 40 to 80% and meta-analyses suggest an overall heritability of around 50%" Dick et al, (2006) "Association of CHRM2 with IQ: Converging Evidence for Genes Influencing Intelligence." Behavioral Genetics.

"Multivariate genetic analyses indicate that general intelligence is highly heritable, and that the overlap in the cognitive processes is twice as great as the overall phenotypic overlap, with genetic correlations averaging around .80."
Plomin et al (2004) "A functional polymorphism in the succinate-semialdehyde dehydrogenase genes is associated with cognitive ability," Molecular Psychology 9, 582-586. http://homepage.mac.com/harpend/.Public/AshkenaziIQ.jbiosocsci.pdf

Note that Cochran and Harpending's thesis about Ashkenazi Jewish IQ is subject to a cheap, simple experimental test: see whether heterozygotes for the diseases have higher IQ's than their non-carrier siblings. Yet, years later, the study still hasn't been done because it's too non-PC.

Here is a comment from one of the authors, Greg Cochran regarding that paper:

"Suppose that there are N balls in an urn, of which m are red. The hypergeometric distribution describes the probability that exactly k balls are red in a sample of p distinct balls drawn from that urn.

There are about 20 surprisingly common genetic diseases among the Ashkenazi Jews, of which 4 affect sphingolipid metabolism (and, incidentally, promote the growth of neural connections). We now know, to a pretty good approximation, how many human genes there are, and how many of those genes affect sphingolipid metabolism. Using a strategy that is an extended version of the simple hypergeometric model (also applying Bonferroni corrections for multiple comparisons, among other complications) you can get an estimate of the probability of such a cluster of mutations occurring by chance. It's something less than 1 in 100,000. To do this, we used the Gene Ontology database (GO-EBI,EMBL-EBI, 2003), an established tool used to assess the statistical significance of human gene clusters obtained by high-throughput methods such as microarrays.

Rudyard Kipling wrote the Just-So Stories, which explain how the leopard got his spots and so on. He was not ion fact responsible for our current understanding of the hypergeometric distribution: that was a joke.

In my opinion, a careful look at the psychometric data, medieval history, and the biochemical effects of the sphingolipid mutations, combined with Gene Ontology calculations of cluster likelihood, combined with millions of simulations of the population genetics of a surprisingly frequency recessive lethal like Tay-Sachs ultimately produces something more than a Just-So Story.

Posted by: gcochran at Jan 22, 2009 3:29:54 PM"

http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2009/01/the-10000-y...

Dealing with possible differences in group averages (not in terms of individuals) is a moral challenge. The Bell Curve & Seligman suggest that the best response is to treat people as individuals. Peter Singer has also written about this kind of issue.

http://www.amazon.com/Darwinian-Left-Politics-Evolution-Cooperation/dp/0...

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Take It Elsewhere

"Hi there Frederic,
I don't necessarily disagree with you that things like affirmative action & even reparations could be warranted given US history.
"Utterly deceptive pseudo-science."
I've gone back & read over the Bell Curve, the Snyderman/Rothman survey of academic opinion vs media coverage, Dan Seligman's 'A Question of Intelligence' & a book with competing views by Leon Kamin & Hans Eyesenck. I don't think it's as deceptive as you're suggesting.
There are some interesting physical correlates. See Behavioral and Brain Sciences (2007), 30:135-154 Cambridge University Press:
"Overall, we conclude that modern neuroimaging techniques are beginning to articulate a biology of intelligence. We propose that the P-FIT provides a parsimonious account for many of the empirical observations, to date, which relate individual differences in intelligence test scores to variations in brain structure and function."
http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract;jsessionid=2E0FAE4D...
62ECC1DEF8ED3885C4379E1.tomcat1?fromPage=online&aid=1305780

Also, EEG studies show increased neural efficiency in the cortex of 'brighter' individuals:

"In the field of physiological study of human intelligence, strong evidence of a more efficient operation (i.e., less activation) of the brain in brighter individuals (the neural efficiency hypothesis) can be found"
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6SYV-4GNCG7K-1...

Such is truism. Genetic variation of intelligence is obviously quite real. Someone with Down's Syndrome and Einstein will not both be equally likely to produce the general theory of relativity.

What is also truism, though, is that both innate aptitude and actual "intelligence" (as defined by not just inborn capacity but also education, training, etc.) are not uni-typical. Most theorists about intelligence assume that there are at least five types, often far more, of intelligence. Until we can
There's a further point. Intelligence theory assumes that there is a gradation within which people can fit based on their genetics. But whether or not they actually achieve the tail end either way is determined by everything from diet to socialization to education to training.

Now, it is possible that blacks as a racial group within their clusters tend to have the line consolidated slightly lower, let's say 3-5 IQ points. There's absolutely NO evidence to suggest it and reams of counter-evidence. Fair enough. But what we are SURE of now is that there is no way blacks in general could possibly have equal opportunities to ACHIEVE whatever level they are capable of due to the array of discrimination, class-general but ALSO race-specific (so controlling for class alone won't do it, not even close), given everything from stereotype threat to worse health and food access. And, again, what we see time and time again is blacks of the same merit as whites being denied equal treatment, so clearly it has nothing to do with intelligence.

It's also a bad assumption that higher "intelligence" leads to social success. In some social systems, higher intelligence leads to LOWER success. The smart in death camps, for example, are not going to do as well as those who can keep their heads low. So to point to a lack of black success and argue it must be due to some kind of merit is incredibly silly since it presupposes the matter being proven: That there is a meritocracy.

What is the pseudo-science ISN'T the art of psychometrics per se. Honest psychometricists acknowledge the limits of their craft, but that doesn't mean there's no value. These are hard things to accomplish, and working on them is important. What's the pseudo-science is when people like Murray and Herrnstein use Phillipe Rushton's work, which involved interviewing people in malls and asking them how far they could ejaculate, as honest social science. It's cherry-picking of the highest order, and it's quite indicative that they had to cherry-pick the maniacs.

"

There is also circumstantial evidence from twin studies & transracial adoption studies.

"Heritability estimtes for intelligence quotient (IQ) range from 0.50 to 0.80. This makes IQ a suitable target for attempts to identify the specific genes involved." Chorney et al, Role of the cholinergic muscarinic 2 receptor (CHRM@) gene in cognition. Molecular Psychiatry (2003) 8. 10-13.

"A substantial body of literature from twin, family and adoption studies documents significant genetic effects on human intelligence. Heritability estimates range from 40 to 80% and meta-analyses suggest an overall heritability of around 50%" Dick et al, (2006) "Association of CHRM2 with IQ: Converging Evidence for Genes Influencing Intelligence." Behavioral Genetics.

"Multivariate genetic analyses indicate that general intelligence is highly heritable, and that the overlap in the cognitive processes is twice as great as the overall phenotypic overlap, with genetic correlations averaging around .80."
Plomin et al (2004) "A functional polymorphism in the succinate-semialdehyde dehydrogenase genes is associated with cognitive ability," Molecular Psychology 9, 582-586. http://homepage.mac.com/harpend/.Public/AshkenaziIQ.jbiosocsci.pdf

Note that Cochran and Harpending's thesis about Ashkenazi Jewish IQ is subject to a cheap, simple experimental test: see whether heterozygotes for the diseases have higher IQ's than their non-carrier siblings. Yet, years later, the study still hasn't been done because it's too non-PC."

But even genes, as Lewontin points out, don't arise out of a vacuum. For example: It's well-accepted that generational deprivation of food deprives people of 

One also has to note that Ashkenazi Jews are frequently mentioned in this context for a reason: They're one of the ONLY racial groups that even HINTS at this. The amount of miscegenation in black and white communities alone makes the attempt to look for this data chimerical.

The reason why people reject race prima facia as a serious category for science is because it's arbitrary. The Irish went from being non-white to being white not because their genes changed in a century, but because racial caste changed. Blacks in this country are taken from a very particular part of African stock; looking at them doesn't say much about Africans, and vice versa.

No one denies that intelligence is heritable. What we deny is that present psychometric testing of blacks means very much. You're not answering that because there simply is no answer.

"Rudyard Kipling wrote the Just-So Stories, which explain how the leopard got his spots and so on. He was not ion fact responsible for our current understanding of the hypergeometric distribution: that was a joke.

In my opinion, a careful look at the psychometric data, medieval history, and the biochemical effects of the sphingolipid mutations, combined with Gene Ontology calculations of cluster likelihood, combined with millions of simulations of the population genetics of a surprisingly frequency recessive lethal like Tay-Sachs ultimately produces something more than a Just-So Story."

Of course. It's wholly possible that certain ethnic groups have genetic ailments common to them; in fact, we would expect it.

What we DON'T expect is that the amount of genes would vary by such a large margin to produce serious changes to the nebulously-defined, incredibly complex concept called "intelligence", CERTAINLY not enough so to explain any kind of social signal we encounter. We don't expect that because it's just not true: Genetic variation among ethnic groups just isn't that large in humans, there has not been much speciation, which would be expected given that our primary breeding stock is only100,000 years old and there's been no effect that would plausibly cause any kind of genetic divergence [dogs are a bad counter-example because dogs were artificially bred, UNLIKE humans].

"There has been some interesting recent research by Ian Deary investigating why more intelligent people tend to have greater longevity. Aside from the obvious (they avoid risks/eat healthier food etc) Deary suggests there could be some overall fitness factor, as basic reaction time predicts longevity even better than IQ tests. Gottfredson and Miller also suggest this idea of an overall fitness factor with their recent paper showing a strong correlation between intelligence and semen quality."

Again, fascinating, but hardly relevant to what we're talking about. (Gottfredson also has made some interesting assertions, like the idea that "self-control" differences explain all differences in juvenile crime).

All the data you gave is interesting, but not a single part of it proves that there's any kind of serious racial variation that would explain why blacks only own 1% of the country instead of 13%. So take it to a psychometrics conference. Not here.

 

 

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"It's also a bad assumption

"It's also a bad assumption that higher "intelligence" leads to social success. In some social systems, higher intelligence leads to LOWER success."

Indeed, and if you look at some groups (Armenian Jews, Chinese in Malaysia etc) you could argue that higher intelligence can be a factor leading to persecution. Because if you assume groups are entirely equal, then economic disparities must be due to societal/institutional unfairness. And obviously that can lead to resentment.

Now, based on the Cochran/Harpending/Henry paper, the Jewish economic/professional success could be partly due to having a high proportion of very intelligent people. So rather than thinking there is cheating going on, it could simply reflect ability and hard work.

Of course, there can be institutional unfairness & that needs to be tackled at every turn. But dismissing the possibility that some differences are simply due to ability/and or hard work is not helpful either. A recent example, is the Orlando Sentinel last week reporting on some advanced middle school classes not having enough non-asian minorities(http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/education/orl-middle1509feb15,0,7368...). And of course this is blamed on discrimination. Similarly, last year the NY school system had a problem with a lack of non-asian minorities in their 'gifted programmes'.

Does this mean the programmes are really discriminatory & should be shut down? This is, again, something Gottfredson has written about:

Gottfredson, L. S. (2004). Schools and the g factor. The Wilson Quarterly, Summer, 35-45.
Won the 2005 Mensa Press Award. http://www.udel.edu/educ/gottfredson/reprints/2004schools&g.pdf

Gottfredson, L. S. (2004). Realities in desegregating gifted education. In D. Booth & J. C. Stanley (Eds.), In the eyes of the beholder: Critical issues for diversity in gifted education (pp. 139-155). Waco, TX: Prufrock Press. http://www.udel.edu/educ/gottfredson/reprints/2004desegregatingGiftedEdu...

"It must be due to some kind of merit is incredibly silly since it presupposes the matter being proven: That there is a meritocracy."

Well, the success of the Jews, which is well documented in the Cochran paper above, rising from poverty suggests the system does reward academic achievement at least. Herrnstein's paper in 1972 "IQ & the Meritocracy" was based on the idea that the US was becoming increasingly stratified by certain cognitive skills. That of course was one of the main points of the Bell Curve too, that a small group who did well academically were being funnelled into certain occupations & society was becoming more stratified.

The other thing, is that the army uses the tests because they seem to predict learning ability & problem solving ability. Gottfredson (I keep referring to her because she's written extensively on psychometric testing and occupational and academic performance) writes about this here:

Gottfredson, L. S. (2003). g, jobs, and life. In H. Nyborg (Ed.), The scientific study of general intelligence: Tribute to Arthur R. Jensen (pp. 293-342). New York: Pergamon.
http://www.udel.edu/educ/gottfredson/reprints/2005g-jobs-life.pdf

"What's the pseudo-science is when people like Murray and Herrnstein use Phillipe Rushton's work, which involved interviewing people in malls and asking them how far they could ejaculate, as honest social science. It's cherry-picking of the highest order, and it's quite indicative that they had to cherry-pick the maniacs."

Rushton has done some foolish things, like that incident you mention. But maniacs don't get Phd's from University of London & become research fellows at Oxford. From the wikipedia page:

Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson (one of the two co-founders of the r/K selection theory):

I think Phil is an honest and capable researcher. The basic reasoning by Rushton is solid evolutionary reasoning; that is, it is logically sound. If he had seen some apparent geographic variation for a non-human species - a species of woozle or boggart hawk, for example - no one would have batted an eye.[7]

Science journalist Peter Knudson:

Despite the occasional media stereotype of Rushton as some sort of incompetent scientific adventurist, he has throughout most of his career as a psychologist been seen as a highly competent researcher. He has published more than 100 papers, most of them, particularly those dealing with altruism, in highly respectable journals.[8]

Also, remember that people like James Flynn at Otago (who is quite open about his socialist views & takes an environmentalist view) have defended Rushton.

Putting Rushton aside, probably the main researcher has been Jensen. He's a former social worker who wrote a book lenght manuscript on Gandhi as a teenager. He's not exactly an extreme character like Rushton is characterised as.

"But even genes, as Lewontin points out, don't arise out of a vacuum. For example: It's well-accepted that generational deprivation of food deprives people of"

That's true. Although note that the reported gaps haven't changed as you go up the socioeconomic ladder.

"Genetic variation among ethnic groups just isn't that large in humans, there has not been much speciation, which would be expected given that our primary breeding stock is only100,000 years old and there's been no effect that would plausibly cause any kind of genetic divergence [dogs are a bad counter-example because dogs were artificially bred, UNLIKE humans]."

Dogs are artificially bred, but qualitatively the process is the same. In terms of variation, Professor Steve Hsu makes the following comments on the Risch & Tang paper:

"there are readily identifiable clusters of points, corresponding to traditional continental ethnic groups: Europeans, Africans, Asians, Native Americans, etc. (See, for example, Risch et al., Am. J. Hum. Genet. 76:268–275, 2005.) Of course, we can get into endless arguments about how we define European or Asian, and of course there is substructure within the clusters, but it is rather obvious that there are identifiable groupings, and as the Risch study shows, they correspond very well to self-identified notions of race.

From the conclusions of the Risch paper (Am. J. Hum. Genet. 76:268–275, 2005):

"Attention has recently focused on genetic structure in the human population. Some have argued that the amount of genetic variation within populations dwarfs the variation between populations, suggesting that discrete genetic categories are not useful (Lewontin 1972; Cooper et al. 2003; Haga and Venter 2003). On the other hand, several studies have shown that individuals tend to cluster genetically with others of the same ancestral geographic origins (Mountain and Cavalli-Sforza 1997; Stephens et al. 2001; Bamshad et al. 2003). Prior studies have generally been performed on a relatively small number of individuals and/or markers. A recent study (Rosenberg et al. 2002) examined 377 autosomal micro-satellite markers in 1,056 individuals from a global sample of 52 populations and found significant evidence of genetic clustering, largely along geographic (continental) lines. Consistent with prior studies, the major genetic clusters consisted of Europeans/West Asians (whites), sub-Saharan Africans, East Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans. ethnic groups living in the United States, with a discrepancy rate of only 0.14%."

This clustering is a natural consequence of geographical isolation, inheritance and natural selection operating over the last 50k years since humans left Africa.

Every allele probably occurs in each ethnic group, but with varying frequency. Suppose that for a particular gene there are 3 common variants (v1, v2, v3) all the rest being very rare. Then, for example, one might find that in ethnic group A the distribution is v1 75%, v2 15%, v3 10%, while for ethnic group B the distribution is v1 2% v2 6% v3 92%. Suppose this pattern is repeated for several genes, with the common variants in population A being rare in population B, and vice versa. Then, one might find a very dramatic difference in expressed phenotype between the two populations. For example, if skin color is determined by (say) 10 genes, and those genes have the distribution pattern given above, nearly all of population A might be fair skinned while all of population B is dark, even though there is complete overlap in the set of common alleles. Perhaps having the third type of variant v3 in 7 out of 10 pigmentation genes makes you dark. This is highly likely for an individual in population B with the given probabilities, but highly unlikely in population A.

We see that there can be dramatic group differences in phenotypes even if there is complete allele overlap between two groups - as long as the frequency or probability distributions are distinct. But it is these distributions that are measured by the metric we defined earlier. Two groups that form distinct clusters are likely to exhibit different frequency distributions over various genes, leading to group differences.

This leads us to two very distinct possibilities in human genetic variation:

Hypothesis 1: (the PC mantra) The only group differences that exist between the clusters (races) are innocuous and superficial, for example related to skin color, hair color, body type, etc.

Hypothesis 2: (the dangerous one) Group differences exist which might affect important (let us say, deep rather than superficial) and measurable characteristics, such as cognitive abilities, personality, athletic prowess, etc.

Note H1 is under constant revision, as new genetically driven group differences (e.g., particularly in disease resistance) are being discovered. According to the mantra of H1 these must all (by definition) be superficial differences.

A standard argument against H2 is that the 50k years during which groups have been separated is not long enough for differential natural selection to cause any group differences in deep characteristics. I find this argument quite naive, given what we know about animal breeding and how evolution has affected the (ever expanding list of) "superficial" characteristics. Many genes are now suspected of having been subject to strong selection over timescales of order 5k years or less. For further discussion of H2 by Steve Pinker, see here.

The predominant view among social scientists is that H1 is obviously correct and H2 obviously false. However, this is mainly wishful thinking. Official statements by the American Sociological Association and the American Anthropological Association even endorse the view that race is not a valid biological concept, which is clearly incorrect.

As scientists, we don't know whether H1 or H2 is correct, but given the revolution in biotechnology, we will eventually. Let me reiterate, before someone labels me a racist: we don't know with high confidence whether H1 or H2 is correct.

Finally, it is important to note that any group differences are statistical in nature and do not imply anything about particular individuals. Rather than rely on the scientifically unsupported claim that we are all equal, it would be better to emphasize that we all have inalienable human rights regardless of our abilities or genetic makeup."

http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2007/01/metric-on-space-of-genomes-and.html

Hsu, also comments on Lewontin's widely spread fallacy:

"Further technical comment: you may have read the misleading statistic, spread by the intellectually dishonest Lewontin, that 85% percent of all human genetic variation occurs within groups and only 15% between groups. The statistic is true, but what is often falsely claimed is that this breakup of variances (larger within group than between group) prevents any meaningful genetic classification of populations. This false conclusion neglects the correlations in the genetic data that are revealed in a cluster analysis. See here for a simple example which shows that there can be dramatic group differences in phenotypes even if every version of every gene is found in two groups -- as long as the frequency or probability distributions are distinct....

There is no strong evidence yet for specific gene variants (alleles) that lead to group differences (differences between clusters) in behavior or intelligence, but progress on the genomic side of this question will be rapid in coming years, as the price to sequence a genome is dropping at an exponential rate.

What seems to be true (from preliminary studies) is that the gene variants that were under strong selection (reached fixation) over the last 10k years are different in different clusters. That is, the way that modern people in each cluster differ, due to natural selection, from their own ancestors 10k years ago is not the same in each cluster -- we have been, at least at the genetic level, experiencing divergent evolution.

In fact, recent research suggests that 7% or more of all our genes are mutant versions that replaced earlier variants through natural selection over the last tens of thousands of years. There was little gene flow between continental clusters ("races") during that period, so there is circumstantial evidence for group differences beyond the already established ones (superficial appearance, disease resistance)."
http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2008/01/no-scientific-basis-for-race.html

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Seeing I've mentioned

Seeing I've mentioned psychometrics, I should mention the recommendations of James Flynn.

"Flynn reiterated that he thinks that the main problem is that the cognitively impoverished black teenage subculture must be transformed. As an example, Flynn referenced his own background as Irish-American which he claimed also did not value intellectual achievement. He then offered an anecdote in which he contrasted the attitudes of Chinese, Jewish and black families toward academic accomplishment. According to Flynn, Chinese children come home and sit down and do their homework and their parents help. In Jewish households there is a lot of screaming, but eventually the kids sit down and do their homework. In black families, a kid sits down to do his homework and Dad comes home and says, “Hey, why don’t we go out back and shoot a couple of baskets.” “Children can tell the difference in parental enthusiasm for sports versus books,” he noted. As a self-avowed socialist, Flynn is in favor of dramatically expanding all sorts of color-blind state interventions. For example, he wants government drop-in centers where parents of every race and class could bring their children for educational enrichment. He also said that he wanted to see more book clubs in the black community."

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"But even genes, as Lewontin

"But even genes, as Lewontin points out, don't arise out of a vacuum. For example: It's well-accepted that generational deprivation of food deprives people"

I think I made some suggestions last year, but I think that more focus should go on improving pre-natal & early post-natal care.

For instance, moderate alcohol exposure can have significant effects on brain development.

Also programmes like this should be encouraged:

"The Resource Mothers Program (RMP) supports disadvantaged teens through the use of para-professional home visitors who are similar to the teens in race and socio-economic status. In addition to recruiting teens into the program and encouraging early prenatal care, the Resource Mothers Program provides teen mothers and their families with practical help and increases community awareness regarding infant mortality and adolescent pregnancy."

http://www.springerlink.com/content/y24g554343081710/

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No, Actually, Flynn is Wrong

""Flynn reiterated that he thinks that the main problem is that the cognitively impoverished black teenage subculture must be transformed. As an example, Flynn referenced his own background as Irish-American which he claimed also did not value intellectual achievement. He then offered an anecdote in which he contrasted the attitudes of Chinese, Jewish and black families toward academic accomplishment. According to Flynn, Chinese children come home and sit down and do their homework and their parents help. In Jewish households there is a lot of screaming, but eventually the kids sit down and do their homework. In black families, a kid sits down to do his homework and Dad comes home and says, “Hey, why don’t we go out back and shoot a couple of baskets.” “Children can tell the difference in parental enthusiasm for sports versus books,” he noted. As a self-avowed socialist, Flynn is in favor of dramatically expanding all sorts of color-blind state interventions. For example, he wants government drop-in centers where parents of every race and class could bring their children for educational enrichment. He also said that he wanted to see more book clubs in the black community."

The problem is, Flynn is actually just wrong. Notice how there's no citation there, just plenty of stereotypes. As Tim himself has cited on this matter, black parents are actually MORE likely than white parents to spend time with their children on homework. http://www.zmag.org/zspace/commentaries/1387 To wit: "According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 43% of black fourth-graders do one hour or more of homework per night, as do 45% of whites and 47% of Hispanics. Although Asian fourth-graders are more likely than any other group to study one or more hours per night (56% do so), the differences between whites, blacks and Hispanics are too small to explain performance differences, and certainly contradict the notion that blacks or Latinos devalue education relative to whites.

In fact, black and Hispanic fourth-graders are both more likely than whites that age to do more than one hour of homework, with 18% of Hispanics, 17% of blacks, but only 15% of whites putting in this amount of study time daily. Although Asians demonstrate more study time at this level, the differences between them and other students of color are not substantial: about 21% of Asian students in fourth grade study more than one hour.

There is also no evidence that black parents take less interest in their children's education, or fail to reinforce the learning that takes place in the classroom once their children are home. Once again, NCES statistics indicate that black children are more likely than whites to often spend time with their parents on homework.

Black students are twice as likely as white students to get help from their parents on homework every day of the school week (twenty percent compared to ten percent), and while roughly half of black students get help from parents on homework at least three times each week, approximately two-thirds of whites get such help two times or less, with whites a third more likely than blacks to work with parents rarely if ever on their homework.

Likewise, and counteringcommonly held class biases, the poorest students (those from families with less than $5,000 in annual income) are actually the most likely to get substantial homework help from their parents, while those from families with incomes of $75,000 or more annually are the least likely to do so. Half of the poorest students work with their parents on lessons three or more times weekly, while only a third of the wealthiest students do."

So Flynn is just WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, according to very conservative statistics. Unsurprising that his work reads like vapid racial propaganda.

But let's say this even occurs. Again: Steinberg.

That is: If your Dad is taking you out back to shoot some hoops (and that is incidentally a sign of more bonding, whereas a lot of those Jewish/Chinese families might just be throwing their kids into study so they don't have to actually spend REAL father-son time with them; notice how we can make plenty of interpretations that are dismissive and racist), how can that POSSIBLY be extricated from the fact that due to racism in the educational and occupational system, the likelihood that one is going to be able to get out through the normal channels of education and getting a middle-class job is far lower?

If black children look and see that there are so few black Senators, or CEOs, or businesswomen, or anchorpeople, but that there seems to be plenty of black entertainment and sports figures with money and success, what do you THINK is going to happen?

Steinberg reminds us over and over that these factors don't arise out of nowhere. The Jewish family traits you note, for example, were NOT THERE for the first generation of Jews or Irish. Rather, they went through a process of moving up the occupational ladder, a ladder kept in principle and in practice EXCLUDED from blacks until historically very recently.

The black middle class and the white middle class are converging, just as the Steinbergian theory indicates.

""But even genes, as Lewontin points out, don't arise out of a vacuum. For example: It's well-accepted that generational deprivation of food deprives people"

I think I made some suggestions last year, but I think that more focus should go on improving pre-natal & early post-natal care.

For instance, moderate alcohol exposure can have significant effects on brain development.

Also programmes like this should be encouraged:"

Good that you admit that.

The problem is that admitting it means that you have to reject everything Flynn says at best as woefully premature and at worst active racial Agitprop.

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Interesting comment on Flynn

"So Flynn is just WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, according to very conservative statistics. Unsurprising that his work reads like vapid racial propaganda."

The ironic thing is that Flynn is actually a socialist who favours environmental explanations for group disparities. It's worrying that his policy prescriptions are so off beam.

However, what you're saying is consistent with the transracial adoption studies which suggest that people perform about as well as their biological peers.

"In other words Asian-Americans perform highly despite their Asian home cultural environment not because of it. And though the sample is meager, I find it interesting that the gap between the black and white adopted children was virtually identical (within just 4-6 points) to the gap between whites and blacks in the general population, just like in the Scarr adoption study."

http://www.gnxp.com/MT2/archives/004064.html

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Ben...

R.C. Lewontin has dealt with the whole issue of IQ scores and heritability and such in his book, Biology and Ideology, which I think is required reading for leftists as we get into a 21st century marked by biological science. For example: Our twin studies, where twins that were separated at birth are studied, are notoriously bad. After all, most separated twins are coming from a situation where they're taken care of by different relatives because the mother doesn't want to take care of them or because their parents died. They usually grow up in the same neighborhoods and may even play together at youth. Certainly, what we don't see are two identical white twins, one raised in Darfur and one raised in New York.

Putting that aside, this whole idea of the heritability of IQ points is just idiotic. Lewontin points out that even middle-schoolers in industrial societies could outperform even the smartest Roman mathematician by an order of magnitude because they're using Arabic numbers instead of Roman numerals.