Let’s All Say “Voldemort” Together [UPDATE]

So, I promised to leave Zippy’s blog alone now, or at least one particular thread, because I’m sure I’m coming off hysterical there. That doesn’t mean there isn’t more to say about it though. So let’s talk about that-which-must-not-be-name: Cognitive ability and racial differences. This name comes from the superb Education Realist.

So on Zippy’s blog poster King Richard (who, I will hasten to add, is intelligent and a guy who I agree with quite often and mostly makes good points) wrote this:

‘Do Liberals think Whites are privileged or inferior?’
‘Are Jews seen as untermenschen?’
Wrong questions. The real questions are;
Why are we even discussing race at all?
and
Why are we using terms like ‘untermenschen’?

The idea of ‘race’ is ridiculous and an obvious outgrowth of Modernity.

Frankly, I think this is nonsense. Race quite obviously exists, at least as a cultural phenomena, and honestly that’s what’s important here. We can’t stick our heads in the sand and ignore it. I responded by writing this:

KR, I totally disagree. There are obvious and important differences between the races we should take into account. For starters, if blacks are more likely to commit violent crimes, then it might actually not be a bad idea for me to cross the street if I see a group of blacks coming towards me.

And there are obvious differences in cognitive ability. If you want some outstanding and convincing information on this topic, try educationrealist.wordpress.com. The long and short of it is that black people, and I believe hispanics, score lower than white people in pretty much every measure of academic ability we have available to us – and this is controlled for wealth, class, location, and so on.

We shouldn’t be sticking our heads in the sand about this. Recognizing differences between races is not racism.

All right. Naturally I don’t expect to convince people to agree with me just because I wrote a blog post a couple of paragraphs long. What really annoyed me was this, from poster The Unreal Woman:

No, it’s not controlled for those factors. Like is actually never compared to like because it’s confound city all the live long day. In any case, differences between ethnic groups (oh yeah, they exist between WHITE ethnic groups too, and the variances are quite large, as a quick perusal of American history will show) are generally used to ignore authority, hierarchy and natural law in favor of partiality and false consciousness.

Some ethnic groups are highly social and this just might impact other areas of life without necessarily being a net negative. That would be a difference worth exploring. So would the difference between ethnic groups whose crimes are put into police reports and those who are not. Note, this is different than “what gets printed”.

So, on a thread that’s all about how ridiculous the concept of “white privilege” is she’s essentially appealing to white privilege to prove her point. But let’s go beyond that. If we follow her argument then there’s pretty much no point in trying to figure out anything, since everything can be twisted or is biased in some way. Yes, of course this is true, but when we get more and more evidence giving us consistent data that points to a position I think there’s a point where we have to take this evidence seriously.

And her comment “no, it’s not controlled for these factors” annoyed the Hell out of me because she obviously didn’t bother to look into what I said and made a generic comment about how acknowledging racial differences is a bad thing, because who knows why. So I responded with this (note that in my original comment the links were actually pasted and not hyperlinked):

Did you actually check out the website I link? Read what he wrote? You can’t just say “No, it’s not controlled for these factors” if you haven’t looked into it. Yes, it is. The reason this guy is good is because he does NOT just accept the standard view on things. Here are a few things to get you started:

http://educationrealist.wordpress.com/encylopedia-of-ed-part-i-things-voldemortean/

Oh hey, look, low income whites outscore high income blacks on the SAT consistently.

Here

Here

Here

and Here

And yet, they still score consistently lower on the SATs! Man, white privilege is powerful, huh? I mean, it can cause low income whites to consistently perform at a higher level than high income blacks AND overcome less test prep! How amazing is that?

But oh Malcolm, come on! The SAT is a bad test, you know that!

All right then, let’s just look at IQ itself then. Oh look, significant differences. But hey, if you read the articles, as it turns out it’s the fault of white privilege! How about that?

Here

Oh no, they don’t have access to test prep, right? It’s too bad that hispanics and blacks use test prep more than whites:

Here

Here

But hey! All of this information doesn’t count because it’s very uncomfortable, right?

I know you think this guy is racist because, surprise, he mentions race as an actually relevant factor. Oh well. What’s true is true.

Note: I’m sure she’ll deny she thinks he’s racist. I don’t buy it.

Oh, and KR posted again. This time with this:

Again, you are asking the wrong questions or, in this case, answering one that both was not asked and has no meaning.
“People are different” is obviously true
But you are ignoring the ridiculousness of the very idea of ‘race’ while trying to use it to prove some sort of point, somehow.
[Yes, yes – I am an educator and can speak at great length about the Flynn effect, the narrowing gap, the details and variability of the various types and tools of determining general IQ, the Rushton and Jensen meta-analysis, etc.]
[Ever notice how they don’t go into great detail about the *genetics* of the test takers?]
But\what are you appearing to *do* with your discussion of race? What is it that neoreactionaries, ‘race realists’, and stormfront members ALL trying to do with “race”?
Create a hierarchy. Imbue yourself and others with a tag that allows you to mentally and emotionally classify everyone by value, status, importance, etc. all relative to you and to each other.
This is akin to those atheists that repeat over and over again that atheists have higher average IQs than religious people, a very misleading statement (while the mean IQ of atheists is a touch higher than in religious people, the *distribution* of atheists is heavily skewed to LOW IQs).

So, I responded to this obviously insulting comment with this:

But\what are you appearing to *do* with your discussion of race? What is it that neoreactionaries, ‘race realists’, and stormfront members ALL trying to do with “race”?
Create a hierarchy. Imbue yourself and others with a tag that allows you to mentally and emotionally classify everyone by value, status, importance, etc. all relative to you and to each other.

So your theory is that the reason I’m pointing all of this out is in order to put myself higher up on a hierarchy that allows me to judge people?

And you believe that pointing out racial differences has no relevance in society?

Nonsense. I judge people as individuals and certainly don’t consider any humans inferior to me on the basis of IQ – there are many people who I’m sure have a lower IQ than me who have done far more good in the world than I have.

I’ll point to the Education Realist again: So many people read the previous statement [that IQ correlates with race] and say, “Well, this is of course nonsense. Everyone with any understanding of biology knows that race is a social construct, not a biological one. So only ignorant bigots would argue that race is genetically linked to IQ.”

To which I ask, with considerable irritation, where does the View mention biology? Or genetics? You will see no mention of actual science here in this blog.

I’ll tell you why acknowledging all of this matters: Because liberals have made it that way. They are perpetuating an illusion that the real problem is that blacks and hispanics are disadvantaged socially and environmentally in regards to schooling in ways whites aren’t, and this is the result of the achievement gap. This leads to things like affirmative action, and letting people into colleges that simply don’t deserve to be there and can’t live up to those standards. This is something we can’t ignore because it’s uncomfortable.

And I added at the end that it’s worth noting that Asians score consistently higher than whites and I readily acknowledge that they have higher cognitive ability.

Now, I want to talk a little bit more about KR’s question of what we should do with this information. It’s a fair question I didn’t touch on much. But first off, I want to point out that I find it more than a little ironic that people who claim disdain for the concept of equality so readily deny racial differences. Biological or cultural, they exist and we need to acknowledge them. But why do they matter?

Well, obviously we should be judging individual people on their actual merits, and not judge them based on their race. But the problem is that liberals assume that the differences in IQ and testing are the result of a system that is somehow, mysteriously, heavily skewed towards white folks. And yet, this is clearly not true. There is a ton of evidence supporting this. No, statistics are never perfect, but at this point we have enough information accumulated that even the more honest liberals are conceding the point that race and cognitive are related.

And yet liberals STILL insist that with just a little more pre-school, a little more algebra, and perhaps a dollop of affirmative action and suddenly they’ll finally prove that blacks and hispanics really are totally as intelligent as whites and Asians. But these programs waste money and do absolutely nothing to solve the real problems. We should be tiering, and putting lower IQ students in classes where they work with material they can handle. Now, obviously this isn’t going to be based on race – it will be based on how individual students do. But the denial of racial differences in IQ means that fundamentally the concept of tiering is going to be seen as racist – and affirmative action actually IS unfairly discriminatory, but towards white people, and by putting people in college who shouldn’t be there we weaken the entire college system and the workforce.

Let’s not pretend that race doesn’t matter. No, people with lower IQ’s are not inferior to me. My IQ is above average, but I am a notorious procrastinator and could be much more successful with my life if I put more effort into conquering my flaws. And one does not need a high IQ to be a true man of God. But let’s not pretend that IQ and cognitive ability don’t exist, because they do, and they matter.

UPDATE: To all reading: Here is the best summary of my view, by the Education Realist:

I agree that ability doesn’t seem to be evenly distributed by race, but the students in my classes that do the “learn and forget it” are of all races, including Asian.

However, I think the reason we ignore cognitive ability is because of our fears about the racial distribution.

Pretty much, dude. That about says it all.

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12 Responses to Let’s All Say “Voldemort” Together [UPDATE]

  1. The Deuce says:

    It’s amazing how close your interlocutors came to outright saying “The truth is no defense.”

  2. David Alexander says:

    people with lower IQ’s are not inferior to me

    The problem is that those with low IQ and poor conscientiousness are unable to stay employed or maintain high wages, they become a burden on society. So in that aspect, they are “inferior” because they’re incapable of being productive.

  3. Res says:

    “For starters, if blacks are more likely to commit violent crimes, then it might actually not be a bad idea for me to cross the street if I see a group of blacks coming towards me.”

    They’d catch you. The correct answer is to wait for too long. You have to research these things. Then ring their bell, they want you to.

    “No, people with lower IQ’s are not inferior to me. My IQ is above average, but I am a notorious procrastinator and could be much more successful with my life if I put more effort into conquering my flaws.”

    More importantly, these are not the right criterion to be judging one’s life by. You have to study this as well.

    • I’m not sure where you’re going here. Are you trying to say that productivity in society is not the most important criterion to judge one’s life by?

      If so, I agree.

  4. BenYachov says:

    There is no such thing as white people. A human skin color comes from the substance melanin which is brown. All humans therefore are brown to various degrees and thus nobody is white. Even Albinos are pink not white.

    Thus I have over time loss my belief in the existence of white people.

  5. Itinérante says:

    Mr. Malcolm,
    Have you ever read VAN DYKE – THE MEANING OF MANHOOD?

  6. Pingback: A Stopped Watch Gets Race Right Twice a Day | Malcolm the Cynic

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