My challenge to Ta-Nehisi:
[W]hat I really want TNC to address is the data. Yes, “race” is a social construct when we define it as “white”, “black,” “Asian” or, even more ludicrously, “Hispanic.” But why then does the overwhelming data show IQ as varying in statistically significant amounts between these completely arbitrary racially constructed populations? Is the testing rigged? If the categories are arbitrary, then the IQs should be randomly distributed. But they aren’t, even controlling for education, income, etc.
I do not know. Andrew is more inclined to believe that there is some group-wide genetic explanation for the IQ difference. I am more inclined to believe that the difference lies in how those groups have been treated. One thing that I am not convinced by is controlling for income and education.
African-Americans are not merely another maltreated minority on the scale of non-WASPs.
They are a community whose advancement was specifically and actively retarded by American policy and private action. The antebellum South passed laws against teaching black people to read. In the postbellum South, black communities were the targets of a long-running campaign of terror. The terrorists took very specific aim at the institutions of African-American advancement. They targeted churches. They targeted businesses. And they targeted schools. In the mid-20th century, as we have been documenting, it was the policy of this country to deny African-Americans access to the same methods of wealth-building, that it was making available to whites.
This alone would be bad enough, but what makes it much worse is segregation. In his book American Apartheid, Douglass Massey looks at the dissimilarity indexes among African-Americans in various cities across the country in the mid to late 20th century. To summarize (and I can talk more about this) the lowest levels of dissimilarity in black communities are higher than the highest levels of dissimilarity among “white” immigrants.
This is not merely a problem for your local diversity and sensitivity workshop. It is a problem of wealth and power. When you create a situation in which a community has a disproportionate number of poor people, and then you hyper-segregate that community, you multiply the problems of poverty for the entire community–poor or not. That is to say that black individuals are not simply poorer and less wealthier than white individuals. Because of segregation, black individuals and white individuals of the same income and same wealth, do not live in communities of equal wealth.
The consequences of this are profound.* In this paper sociologist John Logan looked at the intersection of housing and segregation and found that, because of segregation, affluent African-American families, on average, lived in poorer neighborhoods than white families of much lower income.