Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Are Whites Smarter Than Blacks?

I'm intrigued by opinions that should not be expressed - questions that should not be asked.

If I said, "New Zealanders are smarter than Australians", you might conclude I'm a New Zealander looking for a bite. You'd be right. But if I say, "whites are smarter than blacks", there'd be trouble. Why? I think there are two reasons. One is that a history of exploitation makes this no laughing matter. A belief in white superiority has been used to justify many atrocities.

The second reason, and the more interesting to me is that people are afraid that it might be believed.

Can one ethnic race be superior to another in anything? Let's say we select the five fastest women from a great nation of 1 billion. Pit them against the fastest women from a tiny island nation of 250,000. Who would you put your money on? The large nation is India, the small is Barbados. My money is safe on the five from Barbados.

I'm always amused by the refusal of athletic commentators to acknowledge the glaringly obvious. The 100 metre finalists are black! Their ethnic origin is west central Africa. They may be from Canada, the USA, the Caribbean, but their genes are not. Sure there's an occasional white finalist pumped up on Romanian steroids, but that only highlights the point!

I think that the average black is no faster than the average white. (I love these clumsy generalisations.) Well, maybe on average slightly faster, but not so that you'd notice. I don't think you'd notice the difference until you get to the elite. That's where the tiny difference shows up. Once you've selected the very fastest men and women on the planet, they are black.

My first trip to Kenya taught me lesson. As I stepped out into Nairobi I was surprised to see that Kenyans are fat and thin, tall and short, just like English people. Half of them looked like they wouldn't make it around the block (just like New Zealanders). Unknowingly, in the back of my mind was expecting a nation of long-distance runners. "Ah", the locals told me, "the runners all come from that region...", pointing vaguely into the distant mountains. The best up there are among the best in the world.

If one ethnic group has the edge in sprinting, another for endurance running, then can an ethnic race produce better thinkers? Ability to think is not on a linear scale like sprinting. But outstanding thinkers do... well... stand out.


Peter said...

The problem with your argument is that the colour of someone's skin is an arbitrary, artificial distinction made by man who happens to notice a difference in the wavelength of electromagnetic radiation absorbed by the epidermis. Color, after all, is an illusion of the eye. Skin pigmentation has nothing to do with athletics, body types and physical training do.

Beneath the skin lies distinct body types, like endomorph or exomorph. People from the African genetic pool, regardless of skin colour, may have more of a propensity to an exomorph structure. Arnold Schwarzenegger was white, but an exomorph none the less regardless of his skin pigmentation.

Growing up in NZ, I regularly had my ass kicked on a rugby league field by exomorphs from Samoa. In spite of reaching a playing skill that put me in a national side at the age of 14, I still struggled against the island giants. So it gives me no end of personal delight when I watch them going up against "white" Australian exomorphs and struggling to compete, as it secretly unravels the mythology and mystique that had built up about them in my head.

Are whites smarter than blacks? Check out Jane Elliot if you really want to know.

Peter said...

click on

And you can watch the program in five mini-episodes (totaling less than an hour)

Onyx Stone said...

I agree that a Samoan league player is no stronger than a white Australian league player. League (like thinking) is complex.

Sprinting is narrower. Look at the 100 metre final. Please don't tell me it's just training, etc. Those guys are black. I don't think black skin makes a person faster. I think that the genes that make the fastest human bodies on the planet are found in a specific gene pool.

My question is - if one ability can be associated with race, can another?

As I indicated, I don't think that I'm smarter than the next black guy because I'm white. I just think that the fastest man on the planet is black. And the next 100 metre record holder will be black also. And it may be possible to predict the ethnic group of the smartest person on the planet.

Onyx Stone said...

Thanks for the links. I'll check out the film. (I've seen the work before, but not the film.)

She was dealing with the idea that one group is superior to another. Although the title of my post was deliberately ugly, the post did not argue this at all.

If one racial group is only a fraction of a percent stronger than another, then this will not show up in the common man. However, it will show up in the elite. That was my point with the sprinting.

Frankly, I think I have advantages as a white guy. This is not due to my own merit. I benefit from coming from the ethnic group of Issac Newton, Alexander Fleming... They provided a better life for their decendents.

youdontknowme said...

I do believe there are differences in race including IQ.

There are many more differences which I have read about about 2 years ago. unfortunately I don't have the link but I am sure you can look them up.

These differences include the fact that blacks have 3-19% more testosterone than whites and that blacks are more likely to have twins while orientals are the least likely to have twins. There has to be differences in races because doctors wouldn't be inventing race based drugs.

james higham said...

So where does that leave us, after all that?

Peter said...

some interesting posts, especially the one about race-based drugs...

In light of the sprinting thing, there are other factors at work apart from race/genes. The following three guys are all as white as a bed sheet and all come from the same rugby league club!

Brett Stewart - 10.65secs
Scott Donald - 10.60secs
Chris Hicks - 10.55secs

I don't think any of them are as fast as Leon Bott, Billy Slater or Chris Ingis (although Ingis is black) but I couldn't find any verifiable stats on these three.

Brian Habana (black south african) clocks 100m in 10.12secs

My point is, black or white, they're all incredibly fast. Perhaps if Africa had Rugby League we wouldn't see so many Africans in the 100M final.

If League players can be in contention with their times while training for what is a punishing physical game for 80 minutes every week, imagine what they could do if all they had to focus on was running in a straight line for 10 seconds over 100M?

Ian said...

Dr Ellis, I presume? ;)

Quite by chance, a link from Heather Yaxley led me to this discussion. Very much on topic, I think, even if it is only one person's view.

Onyx Stone said...

Peter, thanks for considering and commenting. I value your perspective as always.

Ian, thanks for the links, I very much enjoyed the discussion and thought carefully about how it applied.

James, I don't know where this leaves us. Same place we started, I guess.

Gracchi said...

The other problem is that there might be more variation within a racial group than between racial groups. Take your Kenyan runners, to adapt to their climate they have developed better lung capacity which I think accounts for their speed- that's quite a widely known example- but there is no logic to say from that that all blacks have adapted in the same way- that small group have but very few black people live where they live and have had to adapt the way they have had to. Its much more sensible I think to think that there may be lots of variation between small groups who are quite closely related to each other- but that the races are possibly too big for the variation between them to matter much.

Onyx Stone said...

A strong point well made, Gracchi.

mawm said...

Is it not racist to even think like this? Mmmm....

When one comes to the question of black athletes, they perform better than white athletes because of physical differences such as relatively longer tendons attached to their muscles.

On the issue of intellect, if there are physical structural differences, why should there not be physical differences in the way the brain is wired in different communities? So comments like "the Chinese are brilliant at maths" would tend to demonstrate these cerebral differences.

However most of the differences we see can obviously be explained by opportunities people have in life with the majority of black people not having been exposed to the luxuries of a Western life such as (a) dedicated person(s) to get them through their formative years, computers to use and even good nutrition.

John W. said...

If I set out to prove that blacks are as smart as whites, on average, I don't think I could prove it. Look at any study of IQ, any national average of test scores (SAT, ACT, etc), and you'll see that whites outscore blacks on all of them.
If a black and a white individual walk into the room, it's anybody's guess on who is smarter, but if all the empirical data shows whites are smarter, where do we go from there?

SamH said...

I am not an intellect, but from all the africans that I have met they are very smart and philisofical. I think that when most of us speak of Blacks being less intellegent we are speaking of Black Americans who are consistantly at a disadvantage when it comes to what we are learning and how the process is delivered or not delivered to us. Case in point....on average, the care factor involved with what we attain from society is much lower than any other race in this country. This may be due to the history of why we were brought here in the beginning and the long lasting perception from that. Also how we are perceived through media or whatever negative outputs to other countries is most always negative. I am lead to believe that there is a great fear of an intellegent black man. I was in a Dental Lab tech. class and sat next to a white gentleman. We would have to do dexterity drills from time to time and it amazed me how he competed with me. Even at verbal quizes we would be asked to just say the answer when the question was asked. I could see his frustration when I would answer before him or have better test scores. Of course, I started to make a game of it. When you have an educated black man in America you have someone who is just as smart as anyone else in this county. But, you will also have a man who will be set up to be ridiculed, embarrased, jailed, taken from his family, beaten, killed and so on more often than any other here. All you have to do is look at the injustice and inequality in the the justice system here! Make no mistake about the truth in what I am saying....research the statistics for yourself. I could go on and on but in my final statment......Why would a black man who is less intellegent than the white man have so much influence over what others around the world try to emulate? I truly thing that there has to be a reason why. The bottom line is.....if the black man is put on an even playing field we would be percieved as just as intellegent as anyone else like the Africans that come to this country, educate themselves to become doctors, lawyers or whatever they choose. I am very proud of those brothers. Not because they educate themselve alone, but they also use their education to give back to there countrymen and helping others. This is one area where I would say that we as black Americans don't do enough of! If you have never seen the Movie, Trading Places with Eddie Murphy and Dan Akroyd, rent it and you will see my point in nutshell!

Sam H.

Anonymous said...

Are whites smarter than blacks? Check out Jane Elliot if you really want to know."

Why should he "check out" someone who's never done research in the field of psychometrics? Much better to review the work of someone like Arthur Jensen who has been publishing for nearly 50 years on the topic. And what does the actual research show?

The average IQ of blacks is the U.S. is 85. The average IQ of sub-Saharan African nations is 70.
The one standard deviation (15 points on the standard IQ scale) that separates blacks and whites in the U.S. is seen on every standardized test in existence. These include the Stanford-Binet, SAT, ACT, GRE, NEAP, CAT, WISC, Otis-Lennon and Raven's Matrices.
Despite being a widely repeated supposition, test bias does not explain the IQ gap. The predictive power of IQ scores is is just a strong for blacks as it is for whites and Asians. Correlations between IQ and scholastic achievement, income, social status, longevity and numerous other life outcomes does not indicate that blacks are being "underscored" on IQ tests. Remember that the essential purpose of IQ testing is to help predict future success. If IQ had no predictive power it would be useless. As it stands, IQ is more strongly predictive of all of the above mentioned life outcomes than parental socioeconomic status, income and education. If IQ predicts just as well for blacks as for other races, it can not be said to be "biased."

Another strong indicator that test bias does not explain the IQ gap is that when one examines how blacks and whites score on individual test questions, they overwhelmingly show proportionality in the percentage who get the answer correct in relation to those of the same racial group. In other words, the answers that whites tend to get most right are also the answers that blacks tend to get most right. When you order the answers of each race by the number of answers correct, the order is remarkably similar for each race. This indicates that IQ is not testing something that blacks are exposed to "differently" than other races.

Tests that are LEAST likely to be effected by actual bias show the LARGEST IQ gap between the races. Verbal tests show a smaller test score gap than tests of mathematics or abstract reasoning. It's a perennial fact for example that the gap between blacks and whites is always larger on the math portion of the SAT than the verbal portion. This suggests that to the extent that test bias effects the IQ gap, it makes it smaller, not larger. We can furhter extend this to tests of abstract reasoning. The most strongly predictive IQ test and the one that correlates most strongly to a range of other tests is the Raven's Progressive Matrices. It consists diagrammatical pattern recognition and does not contain any words. On this test, blacks still trail whites by one standard deviation. Reaction time tests. This represents the ultimate attempt to remove "cultural bias" from testing. In these tests, the subject is asked to press a button when a certain object appears on a screen (a number, letter, color etc). A small child will get as many answers correct as an adult with a Ph.D. However, when reaction times are measured and plotted, some people respond faster than others. It just so happens that this response time correlates with IQ at about .5. On these tests as well, blacks trail whites by roughly one standard deviation.

Blacks from wealthy families do less well on standardized tests than whites from poor families. On the SAT for example, blacks whose parents earn more than 80k/year do worse than whites whos parents earn less than 10k/year.

Transracial adoption. The Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study consisted of black, white and biracial (black and white) children adopted at young ages and raised in well-off, white families. Their IQ scores at age 17 achieved the common one standard deviation gap between blacks and whites. The biracial children had average IQ's almost exactly at the mean of those two groups.

I could go on but I'll stop there.

Anonymous said...

"And you can watch the program in five mini-episodes (totaling less than an hour)"

I enjoyed the part where she couldn't get the flash cards out fast enough for the "blue eyed" group but took her sweet time doing so for the "brown eyed" group. No good standardized test would ever allow the actions of the test administer to so easily skew scores which is probably why you never see universities accept "flash cards" for admission.

Would Jane Elliot skew scores to reach her desired conclusions? Well, this is the same woman who performed another "experiment" by giving a test to a group of whites, then gave the same test to blacks but provided them with the answers. Some researcher huh?

She's a political advocate and "anti-racist" crusader who declares all standardized tests to be biased against blacks which is one convenient way of making those low black scores go away I suppose.

Jane Elliot indeed.

Anonymous said...

"The problem with your argument is that the colour of someone's skin is an arbitrary, artificial distinction made by man who happens to notice a difference in the wavelength of electromagnetic radiation absorbed by the epidermis. Color, after all, is an illusion of the eye. Skin pigmentation has nothing to do with athletics, body types and physical training do."

Except that he's not talking about "skin color." He's talking about race. Your facile distinction is akin to saying the if one states the an orange contains more vitamin C than a pear, that statement can be countered by saying that the color orange is an "artificial distinction made by man who happens to notice a difference in the wavelength of electromagnetic radiation absorbed by the rind" and has no causal relationship with the content of vitamin C.

In other words, you're confusing the handy appellations we attach to races with the concept of race itself. When we refer to any race, no matter whether we call them by their most prominent and obvious phenotypical differences, we are essentially referring to those of a certain geographic ancestry. Those with a shared geographic ancestry will have traits that emerged from the selective pressures found within the respective geographic area and, most importantly, THESE TRAITS WILL TEND TO CLUSTER ACCORDINGLY. When we look at someone and say they are "black" we are, almost sub-consciously, examining a whole host of characteristics from the shape of the nose, forehead, lips, jaws, ears, hair texture and yes, even skin color and our determination is based on how all of these things cluster. What other traits might cluster in this way? Athletic traits? Very likely. Cognitive traits? The research indicates that this is so.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to show/share this overview from The University of Utah's Genetic similarities within and between human populations paper.

Department of Human Genetics, University of Utah Health Sciences Center, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112, USA.

The proportion of human genetic variation due to differences between populations is modest, and individuals from different populations can be genetically more similar than individuals from the same population. Yet sufficient genetic data can permit accurate classification of individuals into populations. Both findings can be obtained from the same data set, using the same number of polymorphic loci. This article explains why. Our analysis focuses on the frequency, omega, with which a pair of random individuals from two different populations is genetically more similar than a pair of individuals randomly selected from any single population. We compare omega to the error rates of several classification methods, using data sets that vary in number of loci, average allele frequency, populations sampled, and polymorphism ascertainment strategy. We demonstrate that classification methods achieve higher discriminatory power than omega because of their use of aggregate properties of populations. The number of loci analyzed is the most critical variable: with 100 polymorphisms, accurate classification is possible, but omega remains sizable, even when using populations as distinct as sub-Saharan Africans and Europeans. Phenotypes controlled by a dozen or fewer loci can therefore be expected to show substantial overlap between human populations. This provides empirical justification for caution when using population labels in biomedical settings, with broad implications for personalized medicine, pharmacogenetics, and the meaning of race.

Link to the paper.,17267423,17192779,17003565,16801379,16687568,16636110,16612383,16547951,16542438,16213813,16086309,15889130,15625621,15508000,15341758,15266342,15232732,15215888,15077204,14997422,12805277,12798045,12611810,12560807,12557124,12502794,12196407,12181774,12149450,11095712,11048794,10869027,9364767

Michael Noble said...

I believe that africans are the have to look at the facts..45000 years ago africans were studiying science..disecting animals such as apes and monkeys. they had the first math system the first written math system.

People belive voodoo is a bunch of devil hocus pocus...all voodoo is that early africans understood the chemical compositions of herbs and how they worked. over the thousands of years it developed into a sort of religion.

Blacks having been enslaved for 450 years . Slavery having ended 100 years ago and no schooling for the first 50 years...30years ontop of that was strong discrimination where blacks couldnt even go to college... so blacks really have had about 25-30 of schooling with racism..and we came up with the first heart transplant..we dominate sports..we were introduced to sports and we dominate all of them..

Whites are proven to have lesser Genetics and be predispositioned to Autism, Learning Disabilities, Born With out Limbs, Retardation...If they are prone to all of these lesser mental attributes..why can it not apply to the average IQ...

We all some how seem to forget that blacks and africans havnt adequate schooling and we still came up with some of the most used today inventions.

Europeans on the other hand stole their inventions and just improved them.

Guns and Gunpowder- stolen from asia

Most monuments in greece-stolen from africa -the same exact monuments found in africa dating thousands of years before

they claim europeans have larger brains and africans having the smallest..

Their has been a study on small brains saying that the smaller brains were able to work more efficiently and faster

Genetics found for Thrill seeking...and Risktaking...why cant their be a gene for Evil ness..Domination? their are many genes that we have no idea of what they are for..

The evil europeans enslaved the africans...still enslaving the asians..for factoriest...killed off the native americans..enslaved their own people...

All in all i believe that blacks and africans are smarter than europeans..

and by smarter i mean having the potential to learn and think faster than the europeans..while the europeans are blessed with the best climate in which to make better other peoples inventions and enslave africans are best with the best genetics....


Also when looking at those evolutionary charts you see a monkey evolving into a low browed human which then stands up and is us today? Why are white people so hairy like apes? why do they have low brows? god does not have that obviously if god made africans in his image.

Just a thought for you if you want to talk about my thoughts and yours

youtube.Com/Maikerunooberu also if you want to talk about more stuff

Anonymous said...

Sam H misspelled like 10 words, to the detriment of his cause.

Anonymous said...

And is Mika REALLY trying to prove blacks are smarter than whites via the example of voodoo?

Anonymous said...

I think that its not down to race when it comes to intelligence but black people have been put at a disadvantage in society, not getting the right education or time of day but just like if a white person didnt have the right education or the time of day. If the two races switched places and got black people got better oppurtunities then i can bet you that black people will be the smartest. Black people are just as smart as white people, even better in most cases. They have come so far and have put up with alot.They are strong people and i think they need to be treated far more better

Anonymous said...

Well, I was talking to a friend about this not long ago. I think this whole arguement goes back to the evolution thing (saying that whites are further evolved). I notice it was brought up, too. I'm not a scientist, so I can't argue with that. Ok, even if that were true, you still have plenty of blacks who are becoming doctors, lawyers,etc. These test scores only apply to very large groups, and you do have to wonder what subjects are picked out. Taken as a large group,yes, blacks may have the lower score. Then, we also must look at some reasons for that. Have they been raised to study well? Or did they come from homes where studying wasn't encouraged? Did the parents provide (or have the money to) books and learning materials? You have to want to buy educating materials and check with kids about their school so that they can get a good schooling.

I fell that tests are meant to study people as a large group, and they don't mean to say that one white person is smarter than all blacks or that one black is smarter than all whites, etc.

Anonymous said...

I think the comparison should be made between Africans in Africa versus Western culture and look at the difference in evolution between the two. Africa appears in many ways to have stood still while
Western culture has evolved rapidly. Whether it has been for the better is a matter of opinion.

Anonymous said...

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