John McWhorter, who teaches at Columbia, is one of a handful of blacks who write sensible things about race. He complains that the media bellow whenever police kill a black man but are silent when they kill a white man, and worries that claims of “systemic racism” are leading to a movement to exempt blacks from standards.
But Prof. McWhorter’s Substack review of Charles Murray’s latest book, Facing Reality, is deliberately blind. Its value goes beyond Prof. McWhorter, however, because it’s an explicit statement of the mental prison people on the Left and Right build for themselves — and for the country: “I reject facts I don’t like.”
Prof. McWhorter starts by patting himself on the back for his broadmindedness — “Murray’s work is too carefully reasoned and too deeply founded on scholarly sources to be dismissed as ‘racist’ ” — though he will dismiss it for equally disgraceful reasons.
Prof. McWhorter summarizes the book:
Facing Reality is seriously disturbing. Murray gives a great deal of evidence for two points. One is that black people aren’t, on the average, as intelligent as other people. The other is that black people in America are more violent than others.
Prof. McWhorter accepts that blacks are more violent, but insists it’s because of welfare, drugs, fatherlessness, etc. The part about IQ, though, “is tough reading.” Instead of attacking Dr. Murray’s data — he admits he can’t — he writes:
I suspect, in my gut, that the issue is cultural . . . . Abstract tests are a highly artificial thing . . . . Black American culture may be less consonant with that way of approaching things than white or Asian culture, and . . . could subtly discourage black kids from mastering the knack of jumping through the hoop.
Prof. McWhorter surely knows that white and Asian children do not spend their weekends “mastering the knack” of Raven’s Progressive Matrices. Still, he prefers to think blacks are just as smart, but have a “subtle cultural resistance to demonstrating it.” To his credit, he adds: “I openly admit, though, that this is also the way I hope it is, and that’s not science.” His hopes are no defense against Prof. Murray’s data. …
Finally, here is Prof. McWhorter’s true objection to learning about race and IQ: If the facts are as Dr. Murray says, meritocracy would mean that “we need to accept an America in which black people are rarely encountered in jobs requiring serious smarts.”
He adds: “I would have to work very hard to come up with a way of accepting that world.” So there you have it. Prof. McWhorter wants a certain kind of world, and doesn’t care how many facts we have to smother and how many whites and Asians we have to punish for him to get it. …
Prof. McWhorter’s funk over the data is important because he isn’t just anybody. He’s not completely blinded by the fog that hangs over every American university. He writes about the folly of thinking that it is “racist” to expect blacks to get math answers right. He ridicules the vendetta against Dr. Seuss. He worries about Critical Race Theory and the progressives’ grim “duty of identifying racism wherever they can find it.” He realizes that “woke” mobs are taking over institutions and “the alt-right” isn’t, and that there’s something wrong when people seriously claim that music theory is “white supremacist.”
But Prof. McWhorter has no idea where the madness comes from. He refuses to understand that it comes from denying the very facts he wants Charles Murray to shut up about. What explanation for black failure can there be but “white racism” if we can’t talk about race differences? …
Many people would say of Prof. McWhorter: “Of course he can’t accept the truth. He’s black.” I don’t like that argument. Anyone with imagination can see past the end of his own nose when he looks at the world. I know no race realist who doesn’t accept the data on IQ differences between whites and Asians (though Prof. McWhorter seems to fear only the black/white gap, not the even greater black/Asian gap).
Like it or not, Prof. McWhorter is braver than almost every white academic. He read Facing Reality and didn’t just call it trash. He admitted he can’t disprove the data and that his “hopes” about black IQ “aren’t science.” That is a lot further than most whites would go.
Beware of confusing groups and individuals. Saying one group is smarter or dumber than another group on average is a comparison of statistical properties of the group. It says nothing about any individual.
If, like the left, one rejects what we know about evolution and genetics and instead insists that all large groups must have identical statistical properties, then differences in outcomes between groups must be due to discrimination. In the case of blacks, they claim the differences are due to “systemic racism”, which turns out to be something that no one can specifically identity or pin down.
The left are prepared to dumb down the US and start a race war over their insistence that blacks and whites have the same average IQ — despite the mountains of evidence which says otherwise. This is the best studied question in all of the social sciences, and the left just will not accept the science.
We are all individuals, so if there is roughly equal opportunity for everyone then group differences do not matter.
The other issue in Murray’s book is aggression, which is the other obvious group difference that the left forbids anyone to notice:
Race is foisted into every topic imaginable except when we talk about the 150 people killed by gun violence this holiday weekend
— Kevin Dalton (@NextLAMayor) July 5, 2021