By Chanda Chisala.
“Regression would explain why Black children born to high IQ, wealthy Black parents have test scores 2 to 4 points lower than do White children born to low IQ, poor White parents.” (Jensen, 1998).
Professor Arthur Jensen was a brilliant psychologist who contributed many ideas to the field of human intelligence and its science of measurement (psychometrics). His research was so controversial that it is difficult to find people who do not either curse his name or swear by it.
Despite the many valuable ideas he contributed to the field, he is most famous for a conclusion he made concerning racial IQs that proposed that whites have an IQ that is genetically above that of blacks, thus suggesting that some negative pathologies in black communities that result from a low IQ are basically unavoidable and resistant to any kind of normal intervention. Others argue that the lower average IQ of blacks is a result of something environmental: something in their culture or socioeconomic conditions.
Debates have been heated, with most critics simply insulting Jensen and his defiant followers – whether those in the rigorous scientific world of formal intelligence research or in the more agile world of largely amateur “Human Biodiversity” (HBD) bloggers. It is almost natural for high-IQ individuals to take a decisive interest in this intriguing issue, no matter what their day job is.
The biggest reason that the debate has not been settled, it has been claimed, is that there are stringent access restrictions to some IQ-related public data due to political reasons, thus limiting the sample sizes for conducting truly conclusive analyses. But it could also be that the researchers have just not looked hard enough at society to see some clear “experiments” that “nature” has already given to them.
In short, there is enough free, unregulated data to kill (or save) Jensen.
One very simple phenomenon in society that appears to kill Jensen’s lower black gene proposition is the existence of many elite black families. If we can find many consistently elite families of black people, arising from apparently average black ancestors, we should be forced to abandon Jensen, or at least to entertain some serious doubts.
Why? Because his theory practically predicts that such a thing should not be possible. Let’s examine why.
Intelligence researchers have observed a certain statistical tendency that they call “regression to the mean,” discovered by Charles Darwin’s cousin, Sir Francis Galton. This simply means that if someone has an IQ that departs significantly from what his family genes are expected to “produce,” his close genetic relatives will evidently depart less from this “mean IQ”.
For example, if blacks have more athletic genes (say, in long and short distance running) than whites, then when you find a random black man who runs 100 meters in 10 seconds and a random white man who runs 100 meters in the same time, the white man is more likely to have siblings who are slower or less athletic than the siblings of the black athlete. In short, although both of these fast-running men are statistical anomalies in the human population, the extremely fast white athlete is even more of an anomaly than the equally fast black athlete, which is why his relatives will “regress” to a lower mean than the relatives of his black counterpart.
Our theory that whites are genetically slower than blacks in fast races would be put in serious doubt if we discovered some town where whites regularly bring up their children to be very fast runners and manage to produce world class runners out of same family siblings. This genetic gap theory would be killed beyond a shadow of doubt if we discovered that they have managed to do this for generations of many white families within their town, and that their ancestral founders of this program had no special athletic superiority. We would have to conclude that whatever inferiority in speed that we see in average whites could not be deterministically connected to their “white” genes.
In fact, this very thing has happened in the black “community” of America with regards to IQ. A fascinating book published in 1999 entitled “Our Kind of People” by bestselling black author, Lawrence Otis Graham, described in great detail how some black families have been building some sort of secret elite society for many generations, running all the way back to the Emancipation. The secrecy with which the remarkable achievements and activities of these families has been guarded from the public might explain why IQ researchers did not include them in their analyses before, but it does not explain why they have not fixed that since the book’s publication. It was reviewed in the New York Times, the LA Times, and many other places.
Granted, this elitist project was apparently started by blacks who were progenies of white slave masters and black slave women working in their homes, which admits a white gene component. They were treated differently from other black slaves – the “field negroes” – and this gave them a sense of being different from (and superior to) other blacks. They thus deliberately refused to associate closely with the less privileged blacks or to live like them, preferring the culture of their white masters. They even rejected their musical tastes and other forms of black cultural expression. However, they also “realized” that they were never going to be accepted by whites as their equals and in fact were legally forbidden from marrying white people, which made them develop an even stronger animosity against whites and to fiercely embrace their compromised “black identity,” while also being determined to prove themselves to their white colleagues.
Fully conscious of the overwhelming contradictions that their attitudes and goals entailed, they decided to keep their sentiments and activities a secret from the general public. (They would have perhaps been a perfect addition to Amy Chua’s “Triple Package” collection!)
Even when interracial marriage became acceptable, these families tended to avoid any such “miscegenation.” This makes for a perfect natural experiment because we know that the reason they continued to create generations of intellectually elite people was not because they started some selective mating with some white geniuses; the white gene admixture in each family tree was basically limited to the same historical slave masters (mainly in the South) and these have not been found to have been particularly selected for genius IQ for them to genetically cause such a dramatic rise in the generational IQs of these blacks. The group further limited their chances of genetically raising their IQ by traditionally rejecting association or marriage to blacks who were smart but did not share their historical “white” cultural values and tastes. This means that they made themselves elite, after being emancipated from slavery, not by significantly raising their genetic makeup, but by simply inculcating in themselves the positive values they gathered from their former white masters’ families, which they practice religiously to this day.
Beginning with an intensive children’s mentoring program they call “Jack and Jill,” these families constantly expose their children to black role models who are doctors, lawyers, dentists and so on – they are not allowed to become entertainers or sportsmen and are never exposed to any such “role models” no matter how rich they are. These children then qualify to very good universities before proceeding to elite professions that demand a pretty high IQ while also paying very well. They use their wealth from these professions to continue supporting the activities of Jack and Jill and their own adult versions of the elite children’s group!
The writer of the book was himself a product of this enduring “secret” project and his family is a classic example of this defiance of Jensenian regression to the supposed black mean: he went to Princeton and Harvard Law School while his only sibling, Richard, went to Tufts and became an orthodontist who set up his own successful dental practice in North Carolina.
The book attracted a lot of controversy and some opprobrium because of the embarrassment that some of these black families felt when this exposé was published, especially for their disdain for “mainstream” black culture. The writer was only half apologetic.
This natural “experiment” kills Jensen because, even if we account for the early white genetic admixture from the slave masters, the supposed genotypic IQ of their African slave girls according to Jensenites (IQ of around 70) would make it impossible to produce such elite offspring, and even more impossible for this to be sustained for generations, especially with the expected regression to the mean. The fact that it was the black women who had contributed the black genes makes it even more remarkable since they are expected to have had a lower average genetic IQ than the black men, at least according to Jensenite Richard Lynn.
The social profile of these black families show a mean IQ that is obviously above that of the white mean, which should never have happened in Jensen’s world. Jensen would certainly never have predicted, under any plausible scenario, that the white slave master’s descendants with the black slave woman would have a higher average IQ than his descendants with his good white wife, once given an approximately equal cultural environment.
Taking Jensen’s own theoretical framework, it appears from this experiment that the only way an elite class of black families could be formed and sustained, going down to many contiguous generations, is if the genotypic IQ of the blacks in this experiment was significantly higher than that of the whites to begin with. The average IQs required to practice in the professions that these families have typically chosen in the modern age should be at least 120, which would make average black genotypic IQ at least equal to white IQ (around 100). But since we have no evidence that the black slave women who had (nonconsensual) sexual relations with their white slave masters were selected for their elite IQs, it means that the average black genotypic IQ is plausibly equal to or near 120; these black elite families could in fact be of average black IQ, genotypically. But the purpose of this analysis is more modest than to argue that controversial conclusion with its ironic implications.
What should be incontrovertible is that by intentionally isolating themselves from the so-called “mainstream black culture” and some of its anti-intellectual proclivities, these families inadvertently escaped whatever “environmental” factors are responsible for the persistent nominal IQ gap between blacks and whites, and have certainly not been producing children who score “2 to 4 points lower than do White children born to low IQ, poor White parents.”