it is a very hard task to remain objective when reading this book. If you are Black, like I am, you will immediately react to the theories expressed and discussed within. If you have been in or near the education field in the past 50 years, you too might take exception with some of the ideas expressed within. As a psychologist in the making, I had to be very aware of when I was reading with tinted glasses in order to digest the information scientifically.
Arthur Jensen is a world renown and somewhat infamous psychologist whose work in the 1950’s and 60’s revolved around the testing of intelligence and its correlation to heredity. Jenses posed the following question: Are Black students dumb because they are Black or is there some other formula to the equation?
As appalling as the question is, Jensen (and Miele) implore an objective review of the theory. He argues that G factor, basically ones intelligence potential, is affected by genes and heredity. So the difference in IQ (about 10 points) of the average Black and white student must be based on heredity. Why? Because intelligence tests correlate more with race than any other factor, environmental or other. He argues that no significant study based on cultural or socioeconomic differences has explained this gap in the IQ average, so therefore it must be genetic. If the information and argument aren’t enough
to piss you off, know that Jensen was a former professor at UC-Berkley and from that very influential position, he was able to influence the likes of Paul Moynihan (Google Moynihan Report on Black Family) along with Richard Nixon and in turn, policies dealing with the socioeconomic inequalities in the Black community. Jensen’s study was used for arguing against compensatory education. In short, Jensen and his Jensenism was the champion philosophy to do away with the integration and school reform (Brown v. Board, etc.)
I have to say that Jensen, through questions from Miele, does a good job of separating the controversy from the scientifc question. And that’s all that he begs of the reader. He just wants a scientific study of the facts.
Unfortunately, his theories are based on scientific hocus pocus, and because of this are very open to debate. Jensen himself states that at most genetics make up only 75% of the G factor while environment contributes the other 25% of the influence. Furthermore he is clear to point that the average difference in sibling IQ is greater than the difference between the races. If you’re confused by now, don’t worry- that’s what stats are meant to do. This is the sort of book that commands an academic reading. If I had the time to draw a negative study, I’d do so. As confidently as Jensen is in his theory on race and the G factor, I feel just as strongly there is no correlation on intelligence and race. Do I have scientific correlations and Spearman calculations to argue this? No. But I am speaking from my own experience. I am very aware that I have always been smarter and possessed a higher IQ than the majority of my Black classmates. Is it because they are stupid? Am I half-white? The answer is no and no. I gravitated to education and its importance early on and as a result, was able to get the head start in learning necessary to facilitate genius. This is clearly an environmental influence of course, but I don’t think my color had much to do with me grasping key concepts sooner than most of my classmates. When I began learning with students who were not Black, I still was the smartest in class. They were upper middle class to rich white students, so they should have definitely gapped my IQ by at least ten points. But who am I to speak scientifically about my own experiences. After all, I’m the exception to this theory.
So I ask myself? Am I being unfair? What if this is true? After all, he did use Spearman’s correlation formula. And there are clear biological and thus hereditary differences between the races. I ask myself are thesd biological differences significant enough to argue a genetic difference between the races (thus creating subspecies of humans)? I don’t think so. Biologist have long argued the similarities in the genetic make up of humans and chimpanzees. Some say that we are 97-99% the same. I ask myself does the 10% difference in IQ and G factor show a significant enough difference to support the argument that humans split into subspecies? No. Until there is evidence that a particular gene has an effect on g, there is no argument for intelligence based on genetics. I understand the need to look for explanations in IQ differences in both genetic and environmental influences, but the Jenses argument that genetics decide intelligence is just as thin as the opposing argument- that poverty explains underachievement.
It looks like this debate is still going on, and everyday growing more necessary, as schools in the US continue to lag behind foreign countries and people search for a solution to the disparity. If the human genome project is ever fully complete, perhaps there may be evidence that white people do possess a gene that extends their average IQ 10 points higher than Black people on average. If it is discovered, this debate can silence a lot of people. Until then its best to continue to work on the disparities in the external environments of all American students. After all, its not like the 10 point difference in IQ tests has led the white population to a state of nirvana. If whitey’s so genetically intelligent, why are white people not speaking Alien tongue yet? Why is China kicking every European country’s ass too? I guess in the end 10 points of IQ don’t equate to shit in the practical sense. Unless you try to make it mean something it doesn’t.