2006 November 20 Monday
Racial School Performance Gaps Not Closing

In early 2002 President George W. Bush signed into law the No Child Left Behind act (which I call No Lie Left Behind since it pretends we live in Lake Woebegone where all children are above average) which has as its objective to raise student performance in the United States. NCLB was supposed to raise the test scores of black and Hispanic students who lag far behind white, East Asian, Jewish, and South Asian students in American schools. The New York Times reports NCLB has failed to live up to the public expectations of its supporters.

Now, as Congress prepares to consider reauthorizing the law next year, researchers and a half-dozen recent studies, including three issued last week, are reporting little progress toward that goal. Slight gains have been seen for some grade levels.

Despite concerted efforts by educators, the test-score gaps are so large that, on average, African-American and Hispanic students in high school can read and do arithmetic at only the average level of whites in junior high school.

The use of the terms "high school" and "junior high school" really hides the size of the gaps. White 8th graders do about as well in the National Assessment of Educational Progress as black 12th graders. So even the average blacks graduating from high school do not know much.

Hispanics from the 2nd thru 7th generation descendants of first generation Hispanic immigrants are about two thirds of the way down the gap below whites but above blacks.

The Gray Lady reports the gaps aren't narrowing much.

“The gaps between African-Americans and whites are showing very few signs of closing,” Michael T. Nettles, a senior vice president at the Educational Testing Service, said in a paper he presented recently at Columbia University. One ethnic minority, Asians, generally fares as well as or better than whites.

The reports and their authors, in interviews, portrayed an educational landscape in which test-score gaps between black or Hispanic students and whites appear in kindergarten and worsen through 12 years of public education.

The Democrats say this means we should spend more money on education. What a crock. Some of those school districts with huge racial test score gaps are spending $10,000 per year and more per student. The correlation between spending and performance isn't very strong.

For the 2001-2002 school year the average American school spent $9,354 per student. Think about that. A 21 student class would have a budget of over $200,000. From 1980 to 1999 California school spending went up 40% per pupil adjusted for inflation.

The US Department of Education has a web page on historical per student spending adjusted for inflation. See Total and current expenditure per pupil in public elementary and secondary schools: Selected years, 1919-20 to 2001-02.

From 1971 to 2001 the total expenditures per student in inflation adjusted dollars doubled from $4884 to $9614. Going back even further the expenditures tripled from 1963's $3228.

The church of high liberal secular faith holds that we are all equal in ability and that by proper manipulation of environment everyone can be made into college students and successful workers in cognitively demanding occupations. The commissars who enforce liberal dogma in our universities, media, and workplaces ignore huge mounds of evidence that contradict their faith.

The results of comparisons of scholastic performance between races follow along with very stable long term differences in measured average IQ. But that observation has been ruled heresy by the commissars. So the New York Times and other high church publications discuss education policy and the rest of social policy in a reality distortion zone.

I'm reminded of a point that Michael Vassar made a while back. The difference between the really smart and the dumber is enormous.

Here are the actual numbers. To some degree they speak for themselves, but here are the highlights. The top 10% of 4th grade students equal or outperform the bottom 25% (really over 45% after accounting for children excluded from the test and children who dropped out of high school) of 12th grade students, and the top 25% of students outperform the bottom 10% (really over 30% for reasons given above)! For your reference, roughly 25% of the US population gets a college degree, so the average person who will get a college degree has better math ability and reading comprehension in 4th grade than the bottom 4th of the population will have after 8 more years of schooling supposedly teaches them these subjects!

The smartest kids can figure out a great deal for themselves.

The false assumptions of the big push to close racial knowledge and skills gaps make current education policy naive and even harmful for smarter students whose needs are ignored by schools chasing NCLB goals. Even worse, our immigration policy is going to make the cost of the racial differences in outcomes increasingly costly. The claim that the immigrants will improve in later generations is false. See my post Immigrants Do Not Improve Academically In Later Generations.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2006 November 20 09:46 PM  Education

Dareano said at November 21, 2006 1:13 AM:

Faith has never met a fact that she could not ignore. The faith that race is only skin deep and that all children can be what ever they want to be shall endure no matter how many facts you throw at it.

John S Bolton said at November 21, 2006 1:37 AM:

One theme of the article that especially grated on me was the way those quoted kept saying 'gains', regarding contraction of racial performance differences.
A narrowing of racial and ethnic school performance differences is not known to be a 'gain', just because disadvantaged minorities might one day draw up closer towards the majority.
Let the advocates of NCLB and such egalitarian policies more generally, demonstrate that theirs is not a purely malicious indulgence of anti-caucasianism.
They should be required to, since there is nothing in such policies to indicate that they would not be well-pleased to have the majority's performance be pushed down, in large or small degree, just to get the 'gain' of equalization on that basis.
They said schools are the source of such minority disadvantage; why not take them up on it and privatize every public school.
Minority advocates would scream oppression if that were done, which shows they know that their clients are disadvantaged
regardless of what the aggression-schools do or don't do.

Kenelm Digby said at November 21, 2006 4:13 AM:

Just think of the enormous amount of taxpayers' money (which could actually have been targetted at something useful ie funding scholarships for indigent but 'gifted' children), wasted when this result could have been predicted as surely as 'night follows day', by an unprejudiced and impartial study of Prof. Arthur Jensen's original work published way back in the late '60s.

Peter Williams said at November 21, 2006 4:26 AM:

So, the average spending per student at an American high school approaches $10,000 per annum.
This is very revealling, for it shows exactly where the 'open-borders' immigration proponents' lies and myths break down and can be seen for the fallicies that they are.
How many recent immigrants to the USA earn enough to contribute $10,000 per annum in tax?, how many children, on the average do they have?, What is the cost of the other public goods they take?, by following this line of reasoning it is soon apparent that most immigrants are a net *burden* on America, ie consuming more than they put in - and thus by the inexorable logic of simple economics, (although I'm sure the leftists will challenge this as they would argue that 'black is white'), pauperizing the *average* US citizen - there can be no other logical outcome.
Forget all the guff about immigrant workers 'funding medicare' - this is just a lie, there is no way possible that it can be construed that the *average* American, no matter what his age is, actually benefits from immigration, the fact which is as real and apparent as water leaking from a bucket is that immigrants DIMINISH the funds allocable to medicare.
Facts are facts.

The Straight Dope said at November 21, 2006 7:48 AM:

Black Enrollment in AP Surges in Montgomery
Half Take Some Type of Honors Course

By Daniel de Vise
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 20, 2006; Page B01

Montgomery County public schools this year passed a milestone in college preparation: Half of the 9,737 black high school students are enrolled in honors or Advanced Placement courses.

Five years ago, barely one-third of African Americans participated in such classes, despite the county’s reputation as a national leader in college prep. Now, a black student in Montgomery is more likely to take an AP test than a white student elsewhere in the nation.

Josephine Kalema, 17, is one of those students. She is Wheaton High School’s senior class president, captain of the pom squad and a newly minted assistant manager at Dunkin’ Donuts. With some of her Wheaton High classmates, Josephine has helped the school system move toward parity for its black students.

Kalema took all the honors courses available to her in the ninth grade, then progressed into AP. As a senior, she is taking AP geography, calculus and English literature. She partly credits her counselor, Scott Woo, with her advancement.

“It’s always been Mr. Woo saying, ‘I think you can take this class,’ ” she said.

The county’s achievement is striking because the national surge in Advanced Placement testing has largely left black students behind.

AP testing doubled nationwide in five years — from 1.1 million exams taken in 2001 to 2.3 million this past spring. But black students remain underrepresented in AP classes.

Last spring, only 4 percent of black students in Virginia high schools and 5 percent in Maryland sat for Advanced Placement exams, about one-third the rate for all students. In the majority-black D.C. system, about 5 percent of black high school students took AP tests.

AP tests, and the courses that precede them, are designed to replicate the college experience. Students who earn scores of three or higher on the five-point scale of AP typically can qualify for college credit. Participation in either AP or its counterpart, International Baccalaureate, is now more or less expected by admissions officers at some competitive colleges, who want applicants who take the most rigorous courses high schools offer.

The College Board, which administers the AP program, reported last winter that although AP participation had increased everywhere, just two states with small black populations, Hawaii and South Dakota, had eliminated the participation gap between blacks and whites.

Hispanic students, by contrast, had closed the gap with non-Hispanic whites in 11 states, including Maryland, and in the District.

The AP gap persists between blacks and whites in Montgomery schools, despite a countywide effort to identify and recruit students of all races with potential for college-level study. But a new report on AP and honors study suggests blacks are starting to close the gap. And that is trickier than it sounds, because students across the board are moving up.

In 2001, whites were twice as likely as blacks to be enrolled in AP or honors study, with 70 percent of whites and 35 percent of blacks taking at least one such course. Five years later, the gap has shrunk in both absolute and relative terms, with 82 percent of whites and 51 percent of blacks enrolled.

In previous decades, AP was mostly the province of a small coterie identified by their teachers as capable of college-level work. The program’s elitism “was a self-fulfilling prophecy,” said Christopher Berry, an assistant principal at Blake High School in Silver Spring. Students couldn’t enroll in AP or honors-level courses without demonstrating they were capable of the work. “And it was difficult for kids who were not in honors courses to demonstrate that they could do it.”

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The success of urban schoolteacher Jaime Escalante with a group of minority AP students in East Los Angeles in the 1980s convinced public educators that motivation and hard work might be just as important as standardized test scores in predicting AP success. Over the past few years, that philosophy has become pervasive in the Washington region.

Principals and teachers in Montgomery high schools began looking for reasons to include students in AP courses, rather than reasons to keep them out. The process evolved into a science: All students now take the PSAT, or Preliminary SAT, a strong predictor of AP potential, in the ninth grade. Principals get spreadsheets that allow them to sort students by PSAT score and grade-point average to identify those capable of AP study not enrolled in an AP course.

Nine percent of black students in Montgomery high schools, and 23 percent of all students, took at least one AP exam in spring 2005; final 2006 figures are not available.

Fairfax County, Virginia’s largest school system and an AP powerhouse, has had similar success: 10 percent of blacks attending the county’s high schools, and one-quarter of all students, took AP tests this spring.

AP participation will never approach 100 percent because AP study is concentrated in the upper grades and excludes some — though not all — students taking IB courses. Some Fairfax schools offer IB instead of AP.

Kalema was being groomed for AP while still in middle school. She took Algebra I, a high school course, in the eighth grade; the school system has dramatically expanded advanced math study in elementary and middle schools as a pipeline to future AP and IB study.

Of the 350 black students at Wheaton High, 210, or 60 percent, took at least one honors or AP course last year, double the participation rate of five years ago, according to the new school system report. Those classes, like the school itself, are about one-quarter black.

Montgomery teachers have learned that drawing minority students to AP involves more than simply inviting them to enroll. Students want to study with their friends, in classrooms as diverse as the school itself.

“If you don’t know anyone who’s taking an honors or an AP class, there’s no reason why you’d do it yourself,” said Kellie Clark, 17, a senior at Blake High, a school where more than half the 650 black students take honors or AP courses.

Clark, like Kalema, has a full schedule: student government, various clubs and a part-time job at American Eagle Outfitters. She took three AP courses as a junior but scaled back to one as a senior to ease the homework load and reclaim her social life.

“I wanted to make sure that I enjoyed high school while I was still here,” she said.

Even after recruiting large numbers of black students into advanced courses, Montgomery remains far from true racial equity. Many black students dabble in AP. Few go on to take a full load of courses and tests.

Of the Montgomery students who take AP tests, 79 percent earn passing scores of 3 or higher — a remarkably high rate, considering that participation has effectively doubled in five years. The passing rate for black students is 57 percent, lowest among all racial groups. Of the 345 Montgomery students who took five or more AP exams in spring 2005, just eight were black.

Recruiting black males into AP study, however, has proved difficult. Nearly twice as many black females as males took AP tests in 2005, an extreme example of the gender gap that pervades the program.

Black males at Wheaton High offer a variety of theories to explain it: Girls are more industrious, or more willing to take academic risks, or more confident that they will pass the test.

Issa Braithwaite, a Wheaton senior, has kept up with two AP courses this year. He said it’s all about the effort.

“You’re as successful as you want to be,” he said. “Almost any kid can do the work, if you put in the time that you have to put into it.”


Fairfax and Montogemery have the highest education level in the country - outside of maybe China Lake.

And, per pupil spending is $13,000 in Fairfax, and $12,500 in Montgomery.

At Fairfax’s GT centers, spending is closer to $17,000.

Fairfax is the 13th largest school system in the nation (165k students), with a budget of $2.1 billion. Montgomery is 17th largest (145k student), with a budget of $1.85 billion. Fairfax average SAT is 1114, Montgomery’s is 1101. Both systems graduate over 91% of their students, with nearly 90% in each moving on to secondary education. Montgomery is 26% black, Fairfax is about 9%. The top High School in Fairfax has the highest average SATs of any school, public or private, in the nation.


Black student AP participation jumped 48% in Fairfax County -


Ned said at November 21, 2006 8:20 AM:

SAT scores jump 10-12 points on each section for each $10,000 increment in family income (http://www.examiner.com/a-254205~SAT_scores_tied_to_income_level_locally__nationally.html?cid=rss-Baltimore). Also, school vouchers have been found to encourage rather than discourage racial integration (http://www.examiner.com/a-329733~Editorial__Data_shows_vouchers_encourage_integration.html). Not really a surprise in either case, if you think about it.

Dareano said at November 21, 2006 1:13 PM:

Yeah Ned, income explains the gap in SAT scores bewtween different races.


Honestly people, be honest people.

And from your other link "For the nation’s 100 largest metro areas, “the difference between segregation levels in public and private schools is trivial — less than two points on the segregation index.”

So it encourages integration? Compared to public schools? Because they seem to have similar levels of integration.

People who claim vouchers will solve everything are just like leftists that claim increasing public spending will solve everything. Two sides of the same worthless coin that won't buy you a smidgen of reason.

Randall Parker said at November 21, 2006 4:26 PM:

As for the blacks in AP courses:

Of the Montgomery students who take AP tests, 79 percent earn passing scores of 3 or higher — a remarkably high rate, considering that participation has effectively doubled in five years. The passing rate for black students is 57 percent, lowest among all racial groups. Of the 345 Montgomery students who took five or more AP exams in spring 2005, just eight were black.

Note that the 79% pass rate includes blacks. So the non-black pass rate is above 79%.

Also, the percentage who pass does not tell you the average pass score or the average fail score. The black performance probably is a standard deviation below the white performance. Though the gap could be lower if the Montgomery County blacks are children of civil servants and other black professionals.


Honestly, 80+% of the gap between the races in IQ in the United States is due to genetics, not environment. The evidence is overwhelming. Trans-racial adoption does not lower it. Improved nutrition has had small effect. Big increases in money for black schools has done little to close it. NCLB has done little to close it. It is time for people to stop lying about it.

Randall Parker said at November 21, 2006 4:29 PM:


On second reading, I'm not sure what point you were making. My point: Of course children of higher income parents are going to score better on the SAT on average. Those children have, again on average, smarter parents. Smarter people make more money on average and have smarter kids on average.

Randall Parker said at November 21, 2006 4:41 PM:

Peter Williams,

Yes, low income people who have kids cost far more than they pay in taxes.

Negative income people (on the dole or in jail or out robbing people) are even bigger burdens on the system.

Yes, poor people and criminals make the unfunded old age retirements even worse of a problem.

Dareano said at November 21, 2006 5:24 PM:

I was being sarcastic Randall.

Randall Parker said at November 21, 2006 6:55 PM:


I was being thick. Sorry.

Kenelm Digby said at November 22, 2006 4:12 AM:

The ther day I read that China has this year graduated no less than 4.1 million graduates.
Without getting bogged down in arguments about what the laureates graduated in and the relative quality of their degrees vis-a-vis the West, (both things I do not know), I just have two simple observations to make.
1). It appears that something like 40% of the annual cohort of the Chinese population graduate from university - which is considerably more than most white western nations.
2). The Chinese economy, in theory, generates enough good quality professional jobs, each and every year to absorb this huge number of graduates.

birch barlow said at November 22, 2006 4:01 PM:

"Faith has never met a fact that she could not ignore. The faith that race is only skin deep and that all children can be what ever they want to be shall endure no matter how many facts you throw at it."

I think this is true for hardcore ideologues, who are just as resistent to facts as Creationists. It may also be true to a lesser extent to those who have been heavily indocrinated. However, while one will never convince the True Believers, more and more of the general public will eventually come to understand reality as leftist myths (and fundamentalist religious myths of all kinds) are continuously knocked down. The job of the reality-based community is to keep shooting down fundamentalism and ideology; they will eventually fall by the wayside as they are discredited beyond the doubt of all but the most thick-headed and/or mentally disordered (legalism, literalism, and fundamentalism are often associated with schizotypal personality or even psychopathy).

Randall Parker said at November 22, 2006 6:07 PM:

birch barlow,

I think the majority will accept the truth and as the evidence for the truth becomes easier to understand and harder to misrepresent that the ideologues are going to go on the defensive.

I already see a change of attitude on the internet. The number of realists has increased and the attacks on the realists seem to have become less intense. Lots of web pages lay out evidence and the reasoning about how to analyze the evidence. The demagogues can't shut up people on the internet the way they were able to shut down discussion in the mainstream press after The Bell Curve came out.

The next 3 to 5 years are going to witness the identification of lots of alleles that affect IQ and as soon as those alleles are identified we'll just about instantly learn how the frequency of those alleles differ between human populations.

JJ said at November 22, 2006 8:36 PM:

Randall, I read somewhere that East Asians in the U.S. academically substanially outscore whites. Yet whites
tend to have equal or higher per capita incomes. Do you think the cause is racism, cultural factors, or something

Randall Parker said at November 22, 2006 9:45 PM:


You need to read La Griffe Du Lion's essays The Smart Fraction Theory of IQ and the Wealth of Nations and his follow-up Smart Fraction Theory II: Why Asians Lag.

In a mutshell: Verbal IQ appears to be more important than spatial for economic success. Perhaps people have a greater need to be able to communicate effectively in order to organize and manage complex undertakings.

Rob said at November 22, 2006 10:41 PM:

That's hilarious, the school just threw black kids into AP classes to stop racism accusations and look like a paragon of black education. They fail, but look at all the negroes people in the classes!!!


I'm tired, is the La Griffe verbal IQ vs spatial relationship solid without the Asian countries? It just seems that China is industrializing pretty fast, despite the verbal IQ deficit. Is it a deficit, is China's verbal average

Maybe once high verbal IQ whites figured out the economic system, the Asians can plug and play? Do you know how their eugenics plan is going?

Maybe this is just me, but it seems so much of new wealth is from new machines and such that spatial ability is what's needed to develop, or spatial necessary, but not sufficient?

Any evidence on whether Asians are really less creative, or just more conformist? More conformist isn't a problem for creation, tell em to be creative. But if Asians really are less creative, maybe the white countries will keep up? I don't have enough pitch discrimination to learn Chinese.

Randall Parker said at November 23, 2006 8:50 AM:


For the Montgomery County schools if we knew what the white AP pass rate was I'd ask Griffe if the gap fits the 1 to 1.2 standard deviation we normally find between white and black performance. Alas, the article does not provide that essential piece of information. Also, we'd need to know what percentage of the whites and blacks are in the AP classes. Also, the Montgomery County blacks might be smarter than average blacks in America. But the gap in performance looks like it fits the general pattern.

Griffe and spatial relationships and China's performance: I do not see the problem with why lower average verbal performance would prevent China from industrializing at its current rate given its current per capita GDP. The most important point to note is that China is way below its potential given its verbal IQ.

As China industrializes Lynn and Vanhanen's correlation calculation for IQ and the Wealth of Nations will go higher. The lingering effects of communism will gradually dissipate and correlation between IQ and national per capita GDP will grow stronger.

nz conservative said at November 24, 2006 2:53 PM:

I don't agree with the libertarian idea that if someone has a low IQ they should not recieve state help. Libertarian thinking is premised on the idea that it is a lack of will power that explains underachievement - hence from a libertarian perspective it is ethical to withdraw state help for the poor.

Scientifically literate conservatives should know better.

In the case of Hispanics that have entered the US illegally I can see why conservatives would want to deny them state benefits but it seem callous to deny low IQ Africans, that are descended from slaves, some state support.

Low IQ people are still capable of learning basic reading, writing and math skills if they are taught in a disciplined, structured environment. Sure, they won't turn out to be rocket scientists but at least they will be able to hold down basic jobs and stay out of trouble.

Bob Badour said at November 24, 2006 5:08 PM:

If people are holding down jobs and staying out of trouble, how are they any business of the state?

Omer K said at November 25, 2006 7:18 PM:

I read somewhere that East Asians in the U.S. academically substanially outscore whites. Yet whites
tend to have equal or higher per capita incomes.

My bet is on a mix of culture and racism. Just to take one aspect of POSSIBLE racism, Asians have a smaller stature than whites.. and probably (though not 100% proven) smaller people are paid less according to numerous studies. You might say "thats just a fact of life" but when it applies to an entire race and its not directly related to competency for the majority of jobs, thats textbook racism.

LaGriffe's theory is just that - a theory. There is no real support for it, and whether one considers it fact or not is arbitrary (though not necessarily wrong).

Omer K said at November 26, 2006 12:54 AM:

In the case of Hispanics that have entered the US illegally I can see why conservatives would want to deny them state benefits but it seem callous to deny low IQ Africans, that are descended from slaves, some state support.

By all means, support low IQ africans. But then dont allow them unfettered support. If youre going to be on the dole the dole stops at you. You shouldnt get increased amounts of it when you have a child(ren) that you cannot support on your own. Your right to unfettered support stops at the level of compassion that the supporter has. Not an arbitrary "moral right" to support.

nz conservative said at November 26, 2006 7:26 PM:

I think another reason why East Asians sometimes lag behind whites is related to personality. East Asians are less extroverted that whites and in today's service orientated economy this is likely to put them at a disadvantage. Many job interviews are decided on the confidence of the interviewee rather than their intelligence.

Even in jobs where it isn't necessary to be extroverted interviewers will still ask cliche questions like "are you a team player", these kind of questions annoy introverts but allow extroverts to express their gift of the gab.

Omer K said at November 27, 2006 3:38 AM:

Which is probably why an interview has a mere 0.14 correlation with job success.
A repeal of Griggs Vs Duke Power Co. should lessen the White/E.Asian disparity (after holding education constant).

Randall Parker said at November 27, 2006 7:20 PM:

Omer K,

Smaller stature and economic success: Height matters somewhere between little and none. In a National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) research paper Princeton University economists Anne Case and Christina Paxson showed that taller people make more because they are smarter.

It has long been recognized that taller adults hold jobs of higher status and, on average, earn more than other workers. A large number of hypotheses have been put forward to explain the association between height and earnings. In developed countries, researchers have emphasized factors such as self esteem, social dominance, and discrimination. In this paper, we offer a simpler explanation: On average, taller people earn more because they are smarter. As early as age 3 — before schooling has had a chance to play a role — and throughout childhood, taller children perform significantly better on cognitive tests. The correlation between height in childhood and adulthood is approximately 0.7 for both men and women, so that tall children are much more likely to become tall adults. As adults, taller individuals are more likely to select into higher paying occupations that require more advanced verbal and numerical skills and greater intelligence, for which they earn handsome returns. Using four data sets from the US and the UK, we find that the height premium in adult earnings can be explained by childhood scores on cognitive tests. Furthermore, we show that taller adults select into occupations that have higher cognitive skill requirements and lower physical skill demands.

Here's an excerpt from the body of the paper:

Our hypothesis is that the associations between height and labor market outcomes are primarily due to the correlation of height with intelligence. In this view, returns to height in the labor market are not due to pure discrimination against shorter individuals, nor are they due to the greater strength or physical ability of taller people. Rather, the height premium is due to omitted variables bias, with estimates of the height premium reflecting returns to unmeasured cognitive ability.

One would need to adjust for genetically caused racial differences in height if one wanted to make cross-racial comparisons. I wonder if their datasets were all or almost all whites.

Randall Parker said at November 27, 2006 7:33 PM:

Omer K,

The white/East Asian disparity? Which disparity are you talking about? The one where whites in the US earn more than East Asians in Asia? I am guessing not. But how do you explain that disparity? Do the East Asians need IQ tests in East Asia so that whites can't discriminate against them in East Asia? Really, blaming everything on white racism gets old.

dougjnn said at November 27, 2006 8:17 PM:

Some Asian groups in America do better than the white average if a strong majority of their members have been in the country for three or more generations. Japanese Americans for example have more than 20% higher median income than whites in America. Koreans also now do better than average. Most Asian groups including Chinese Americans, with large numbers of recent and continuing arrivals, have a very large percentage of their numbers in either the first or second generation. Most groups take a while to make full cultural adjustments so as to maximize their earning potential in that culture.

Further, Asian-American IQ is highly bimodal. NE Asians in America (as well as in Japan and Korea) (which includes Chinese as well) have IQ’s about 1/3 sd higher than the white American average, with all the difference in visio-spatial, and none in verbal. SE Asians on the other hand have IQ’s about 2/3 lower than the white average, and no better and for some groups much less tendency to study hard in school. These groups pull the blended Asian median income down a lot.

Part of why a number of Asian American groups (e.g. the numerous Chinese, and also sub Continent Indians, drawn from a narrow slice near the IQ top of that country’s population) are doing so well in the US is that they come from cultures or family/caste cultures that put enormous emphasis on studying hard in grade and high school to the exclusion of all else. Many of the smarter variety of native whites work hard in school but not as hard, until perhaps later college and graduate school. And then get serious about getting ahead, play time over. They’ve been in the country for much longer, they’re more relaxed, they have cultural values of being “well rounded” etc. Many are no doubt far too relaxed. But anyway, what tends to matter most for income, beyond smarts, is how hard you work in professional school and in the early and middle parts of your career thereafter.

Omer K said at November 28, 2006 7:49 AM:


The disparity I am talking about is where whites earn more WHEN education is controlled for. Ive read this off and on, I believe once at Hu's Index of Diversity and once at Amren. I freely admit I havent researched it thoroughly and COULD be wrong. And JJ first mentioned it, not I.

The one where whites in the US earn more than East Asians in Asia?

Are you so sure this is absolute proof? China is coming up pretty fast. The U.S is stagnating. Japan is leading the way in robotics as your own site documents.

Do the East Asians need IQ tests in East Asia so that whites can't discriminate against them in East Asia?
The relevant fact here is that whites are more extroverted than Asians. Without objective measurements, a human resources dummy will give the job to a white rather than an E.Asian simply because a white SEEMS smarter (though we are talking about only a few points at best). My statement on stature is self explanatory I believe, including the caveat that its not conclusive.

When I first had contact with blacks, for instance, I found them all to be rather intelligent - that it until I got to know them better and realized they had abysmal analytical thinking abilities. The point is this human bias is loaded against E.Asians though its not valid for the job.

dougjnn said at November 28, 2006 10:08 AM:

Omer K—

It’s simply wrong to think that smarts are the only thing that matters for success. Even Murray and Hernstein’s (The Bell Curve) mining of the data in 1994 revealed a correlation in the .6+ range to measures of post graduation success. Yes it’s better than other predictors but it hardly accounts for all the variance. In particular it accounts for little in various fields once a certain threshold, or more accurately a comfortable threshold, for that field is reached. As well one of the reasons IQ is emphasized so much by psychometricians is that it’s by far the most reproducibly reliable mental or personality quality that we can measure. In other words, there are lots of good numbers going back a long time on IQ, and far fewer on qualities like “conscientiousness” or “charisma” or the more moderate version of the last “extrovertedness”, or physical attractiveness.

Extroversion and related personality characteristics do indeed matter. Much of success consists of persuading others. Not only the very highest positions in pay, power and status go to those best able to lead and motivate others, but so too do most of the next higher ones and so on.

The brainiest, or the very brainy without lots of charisma, are of course colloquially referred to as geeks.

Geeks may be of unprecedented importance and especially in unprecedented necessary or helpful numbers to the success of modern societies, but they still occupy staff and technician positions and always will.

We are a social animal. The whole Darwinian point of our cultural efflorescence has been individual social competition. Good looks remains extremely important, perhaps often irrationally so one could argue (though apparently and to me surprisingly the correlation of good looks with not just past but future (disease resistant) good health is non trivial). The cruel fact is that while E.Asian females (particularly of the more northern variety, admixed with Mongol blood most likely) tend to be highly attractive to persons of other ethnicities including far divergent ones (Euros/whites, Africans/blacks), E.Asian males are much less cross culturally sexually attractive. (The exact opposite is the case with African-Americans. Their females with little white or NE African admixture are in general and on average not so animally attractive to white or Asian males. The same only lightly admixed Americans of West African heritage however often do have very considerable sexual attractiveness for females of other races – though of course other social and cultural factors still effect long term partner choices and even still hook up decisions. Eldridge Cleaver noted this a long time ago, in the 1960s. Steve Sailer (google him and interratial marriage) provides cogent and convincing support from the most relevant statistics.

Smart jocks or quasi jocks or anyway smart guys who are also great at parties when they want to be, are always going to make more money than smarter nerds.

East Asian males tend towards nerdiness, relatively speaking (with all human characterists spread over a bell curve distribution, and with all human groups having strongly overlapping, but rarely identical, bell curves on any given characteristic). E.Asian females tend towards heightened femininity – combined often with a cultural hardheadness and realism, in contrast to Western romanticism (and African impulsiveness).

In any event, I strongly oppose all social engineering. Crude, obvious and undeniable discrimination should be combated including legally. All other forms of posited and theorized and statistically “determined” discrimination should be allowed to sort itself out. In a competitive market economy only government supported bars to progress will succeed over any length of time. Cream rises, and fairly quickly. Consider the Jews in America. Consider the Japanese here, who did not chose the public agitation and lobbying style of the Jews.

dougjnn said at November 28, 2006 10:09 AM:

nz conservative said—
>>” If people are holding down jobs and staying out of trouble, how are they any business of the state?”

The trouble is that a very, very large minority of male blacks don’t fit that description at all in America. It’s actually very bad. It would be worse (and used to be) except that so many young black males are now in prison at any given time.

According to a staff editorial in the NY Times a few years ago, 25% of all black men in America between the ages of 20 and 30 are at any given time, either in jail, awaiting trial or on parole or one type or another. Further, more than 1/3 of all black men will in their lifetimes develop a non trivial criminal record (violations such as for traffic offenses and minor disturbances and dismissed cases not included).

Not just incarceration statistics but also FBI victim related statistics reveal that blacks are about 8 times as likely as whites (i.e. per capita) to commit murder, and more than 4x as likely to commit other violent offenses such as murder. They are about 8 x as likely to commit rape, and more than fifty times as likely to commit interracial (black/white) rape.

None of this penetrates journalistic coverage of anything with extremely rare exceptions which never draw the complete picture in one place.

For a country without censorship we have a remarkable amount of it. “Voluntary” of course. Enforced by nothing more than fear of losing your job and having your career ruined.

dougjnn said at November 28, 2006 10:11 AM:

Sorry. Make that "other violent offenses such as robbery".

Randall Parker said at November 28, 2006 7:12 PM:

Omer K,

Certainly cognitive qualities other than IQ influence ability to succeed. I've got a boss who makes me understand the term "workaholic". It is an amazing thing to behold at close quarters. Some people have a stronger drive to work. Still others have a stronger drive for success (which is not the same thing as the drive to work which is not quite teh same thing as the drive to produce). I figure these qualities have got to differ between the races just as extroversion/introversion and intelligence and the two major components of intelligence do.

I also think that the love of originality derives from some genetic characteristics that differ. Some people have something (and it is not necessarily a desire) that causes them to think more original insights. IQ helps. But it is not the only factor that differs and influences creativity.

Look at the brilliant physicist Richard Feynman. He saw mathematical symbols in colors (synthesia I think). He wasn't just extremely smart. He had something else going on. Also, I've got a FuturePundit post on Low Latent Inhibition. Latent inhibition is a term used to describe how much stimuli get filtered out. Some people filter out less and notice more stuff. If they are lower IQ this probably distracts them. But if they are smart enough to handle it they probably come up with novel syntheses of what is happening around them. Maybe the degree of latent inhibition varies between the races. I'd expect it would.

I'm skeptical of racism as the explanation for everything. You should consider other explanations before jumping to it.

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