Re: What Are the Race Deniers Denying?

Ron Kephart (
10 Nov 1996 02:33:56 GMT ("Duncan R. MacMillan") wrote:

> However, I might add, that once it is established that any attribute
> (e.g. IQ) has different means for different races, however these races are
> defined, then this attribute (e.g. IQ) can itself be used as another racial
> marker for these same race groups, should you so desire.

No, it cannot, because the assumption that the attribute of "IQ" is a
"racial" i.e. genetically coded for attribute is not proven.

In other words, it is probably true, as claimed in the Bell Curve,
that people who are identified (or identify themselves) as belonging
to black, white, and asian "races" perform differently on "IQ" tests.
However, these "racial" groups are not biologically valid, so the
"IQ" differences cannot be attributed to biology. The differences
can be explained entirely by sociocultural factors.

Suppose you found a significant difference in the attribute "height"
between two "races". Does that mean that height can be considered a
"racial" attribute for these two groups? Not if you discover that
one of the groups, as it happens the one with the lower mean height,
has on average lower income, and therefore poorer nutrition, medical
care, etc., than the "taller race". In this (hypothetical) case the
difference in mean height between the two groups is explained by
sociocultural factors.

Actually, it's not that hypothetical. Franz Boaz published a study on
European immigrants and their children living in New York way back
about 1911, I think, in which he showed that the children born in New
York of immigrants born in Europe changed "races" due to different
diets, etc. I can't recall the exact title right now, and the ref is
in my office, but it shouldn't be too hard to find.

The sad thing is that Boaz knew this in 1911, but we are still mired
in trying to get the message out to people who apparently cannot
live without the folk taxonomy. Sort of like the creation-evolution
debate, isn't it?

Ron Kephart
University of North Florida