December 14, 2006

More free publicity from the $5 per word man

Malcolm Gladwell keeps picking away at his self-inflicted wound:

Bad Stereotyping ...

This is my third (and last) comment on the Ayres study. My first point, as those of you who have been following my thoughts on this know, is that price discrimination against black males by car salesmen is morally wrong. My second point is that it is a bad business strategy. My third—and in some ways most important point—is that its lousy stereotyping.

Let’s go back to the study. The male and female, black and white testers who Ayres sent out to car dealerships all gave the salesmen the same set of facts. They were all roughly the same age (late twenties). They all drove the same kind of car into the lot. They all dressed neatly and conservatively. They identified themselves as college-educated professionals (sample job: systems analyst at a bank). And they said they lived in the upper-income Chicago neighborhood of Streeterville. The car salesman, then, has several pieces of data from which to create his stereotype. He has the gender, race, age, occupation, educational level, and class (or at least a class proxy) of his potential customer. And what did he do? With the black men, he zeroed in on age and race, and ignored everything else.

In his critique of my analysis of Ayres, Judge Posner did the same thing. When he says that it may be “sensible to ascribe the group's average characteristics to each member of the group,” the “group” he’s talking about is race. But why is Posner—like the car salesmen—so hung up about race? Wouldn’t it be just as sensible, in the case of black men, to define their “group” as the group of college-educated, upper income professionals? So too with Steve Sailer. He says that car salesman are acting rationally, based on the fact that black men—as a group—like to be seen overpaying for cars. I have made my feelings known about what I see as the motivation behind that particular comment. But let’s just focus here on its appropriateness. Why is Sailer—like Posner and Ayres’car dealers—so intent on zeroing in on what is only one of many available and relevant facts about the customer?

The short answer to that question, I think, is that this is what racial prejudice is: it is the irrational elevation of race-based considerations over other, equally or more relevant factors.
But let me make two other points. First, thinking of the Ayres study this way gives us, I think, some insight into the anger that continues to be felt in the African-American community over discrimination. Put yourself in the shoes of one of those black males in Ayres study. You go to college. You get a good job. You make a lot of money. You move to a posh neighborhood. And when you walk into a car dealership all of those achievemens—and what they signal about you—vanish, and the salesmen only sees the color of your skin. Can you understand now why I’ve been hammering away on this subject?

Second, some of the commenters to my previous posts seem to have been of the opinion that price discrimination represented a kind of shrewd, profit-maximization strategy by salesmen. Shrewd? Tell me what’s so shrewd about being given four critical facts about a potential customer, and deciding to discard three of them?

The logical implication of Malcolm's argument is that Americans need to cultivate more sophisticated stereotypes, which is what I've been pointing out for years. In 2003 I wrote:

"I think it would be good for society if whites become more aware of black social class markers. Something that drives black anger is when a young black man with a college degree is crossing the street and he hears from inside all the cars at the stoplight the "ka-chunk" of white motorists locking their doors to keep him from carjacking them.

"For about a decade, I've assumed that a younger black man wearing those small, typically round wire-rimmed glasses is making a statement about his social class and aspirations, indicating something like "I'm no nerd, but I have definitely been to college. I'm hip-hop, but I'm not ghet-to. I'm cool, but I'm a thinker."

"The first celebrity I can remember with this look was John Singleton, director of "Boyz 'n the Hood," back about 1992. Laurence Fishburne's guru Morpheus in "The Matrix" (above) is another example. (The head doesn't have to be shaved and the lenses don't have to be tinted, but that doesn't hurt the image). You often hear a particular accent from wire-rimmed glasses wearing black guys, too: it sounds both black and educated, but rugged, not prissy."

In the past, the educated black man would adopt a white accent and white visual styles. But, the more recent generations of college-educated black men don't want to do that. They want to assert their blackness. On the other hand, they also want to assert their social class. So, they've adopted some subtle clues that other blacks can easily pick up on. Unfortunately, the little glasses and this new accent are too subtle for many whites to notice.

So, what America needs is More and Better Stereotyping!

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer


A fan said...


The reason Malcolm can't stop is because even ONE exception would threaten the consensus he's playing to.

You're asserting, "Here's a case of ..." rightly or wrongly in each case. Whereas Malcolm must claim, "There are NO cases of ..." and that's vulnerable to a single counter-example. Malcolm is trying to hold back the sea.

Vol-in-Law said...

"The short answer to that question, I think, is that this is what racial prejudice is: it is the irrational elevation of race-based considerations over other, equally or more relevant factors."

This is crazy - he explains how the study eliminated all relevant variables other than race & sex, then complains that the dealers focused on race & sex! Although he doesn't seem so bothered about the discrimination by sex.

To see if Gladwell's thesis was true, you would need a study where black males in a variety of clothes, cars etc tried to buy a car. If the dealers ignored all variations and charged a uniform 'black male' rate, he'd have a case that there was irrational stereotyping. The thesis would be strengthened if a variety of white males were charged variable rates according to their appearance while black males got a uniform, higher, rate. But as it is he's talking rubbish.

Rosco said...

Unfortunately, even black men with wire-rimmed glasses and college degrees can break the law. If educated blacks are offended about white fears over black crime then maybe blacks should do something to reduce the crime rate in their own communities instead of blaming everything on racism.

Theo_musher said...

White men with wire rimmed glasses can break the law too.

For me its vibes. I get bad vibes around violent people, no matter their heritage.

I don't walk around calculating probabilities based on race and crime statistiics.

ken shabby said...

A fan said…

“The reason Malcolm can't stop is because even ONE exception would threaten the consensus he's playing to…. is trying to hold back the sea.”

This is a good insight, and I think it explains well motivation for the intellectual white, economically segregated, uber-liberal wing of Galdwell’s party. For these well intentioned people, the race debate is more an abstract chess game since they usually only theorize about racism from exclusive neighborhoods rather than suffer it. This reasoning also plays a role for Mr. Gladwell as well, but there is something more fundamentally powerful at work I suspect.

I think Mr. Mr. Gladwell’s dogged determination to support his failed thesis with ever more elaborate and tenuous framings goes beyond intellectual gamesmanship. To Mr. Gladwell, this is a primarily powerfully emotional issue that blinds and deafens him to counter argument, fact or experience. Take a look at one of his earlier works on his parents, upbringing and sense of racial identity: Gladwell2.htm

From the picture in the article, I wouldn’t know his mother was black even standing next to his very white British father (a light-skinned Latina perhaps). From the article, Mr. Gladwell is at most 12.5% black and probably much less. Check out these photos before Mr. Gladwell grew his wild Art Garfunkel hairdo and darkly filtered his home page photo to look more ethnic; he looks no different from your average white guy. Gladwell/ Gladwell.html

Reading the article in the first link, Galdwell comes across as a very perceptive and sensitive son in relation to race. Still, he describes growing up in a highly literate and academic household in Canada. He probably lived in solidly middle-class safe white neighborhoods with good schools lacking any significant or persistent incidents or racism. The dramatic climax in the story above was his mother, a grown woman, once being called a nasty racial epithet from a child in 1960’s England from which she retreats into anger, sadness, reflection, etc. Although her feelings were no doubt genuine experienced, this episode is shocking only for those who are utterly unfamiliar with real life under the sharp edge of racism.

So from what deep well does Mr. Gladwell draw his powerful Righteous Black Anger? My guess is that his oppressed minority identity is largely an intellectual construct magnified by his sensitive and reflective nature. In passionately taking up the victim standard on behalf of genuinely aggrieved oppressed minorities he can find redemption in an emotional bond that is so tenious in fact. This new emotional bond is cemented not by logic of the argument he picked, but by passion with which he defends the faith.

All of which raises the issue of why is Mr. Gladwell argument, motivation or personal psychology are even worth discussing. Because, well-intended, intelligent, perceptive, sensitive or not – public people like Mr. Gladwell have enormous influence. I found Mr. Gladwell’s knee jerk labeling of all salesmen, Sailor, etc far more damaging than the idiotic ranting of the hate posted here by liberal Mobies like 1488.

Mr. Gladwell probably sincerely believes racism against blacks and women lies deep in the hearts of all salespersons (even the blacks and women salespersons who demonstrated the same profit optimizing strategy in the study he quotes). He probably believes it lurks many other places where it does not, and that only he can accurately identify it as such by the largely arbitrary criteria which he weaponizes his definition of racism.

For a multicultural society with real race divisions cutting all ways, the race card play by Mr. Gladwell’s to up his personal psychic street cred is irresponsible, damaging and needs to be aggressively squashed just as much as real racism does.


Gerald said...

In the wake of the Sailer/Gladwell brouhaha I've been reading lots of comments and postings regarding race and people's response to the concept of inherent racial differences.

One of the feelings I'm getting from a variety of posters and pundits is that there may well be differences in racial ability, but what good comes from acknowledging it? The idea being that only someone who desires to denigrate black people would take an interest in the topic for the sole purpose of causing discord and pain to black people and society in general.

In fact, it seems to me that a great many people who tend to shout "racist" are in this position. There is too much data for educated people to not understand it.

Part of their thinking seems to be that differences in IQ tests MUST stem from racism and the poor treatment of black people. In other words in the realm of nature versus nurture the answer is obviously nurture and its white peoples'/America's fault that it is the case.

As such our only recourse as moral people is to shout down anyone who points out these differences as a racist (because clearly that can be their only motivation in speaking publicly about it) and work on ameliorating the primary causes of the test score differences.

One might point out that rising test scores among the black population over the decades gives their position some cover and at least raises it as an arguable position.

In fact, my feeling is that the greatest part of problems within the black community are just that: culturally based problems stemming at least in part as a reaction to racism. Whether the shortfall is nature or nurture there is no innate compulsion that the black community be in the situation that it is now with the levels of crime/drugs/unemployment/fatherless children/etc.

So, I have reached a quandary. I don't enjoy being called a racist. It certainly isn't my intention to espouse racist ideology. I have no desire to purge Amerikkka of "mudbloods" or other insane thinking.

I gave the example in another thread: Jerry Pournelle points out that accepting the current reality might help policy makers to develop strategies that can help inner city blacks more than our current stop-up -the -ears and yell, "Racist!" course. Acknowledging the current gap in test scores, whatever their cause, makes presuming that inner city schools should function as a college prep that for a large percentage of the students is unrealistic for a host of reasons. Instead allowing the option of vocational training that gives students the ability to pursue high paying/skilled blue collar jobs would be tremendously beneficial for lower IQ people whatever their race.

So, there it is. I've allowed myself to feel dirty because I've read so many voices calling me racist, bigoted, hate-filled and generally evil. I'm considered the sort of person who should not even be tolerated must less engaged in discourse.

What is the proper stance to take on these controversial issues? Can any GOOD come from looking at this situation and simply saying, "Look, this is the situation as it is now. Whatever the cause we need to address it forthrightly and try to find a way forward that deals with reality as it is rather than what we wish it to be."

Or is such an approach doomed to failure? Only causing more problems, distrust, anger and social chaos.

Perhaps, in this case, the truth doesn't set you free.

Maybe, since I'm not a policy maker, I should just close my eyes and mouth the expected pieties. I'm not saying join in the two minute hate against people like Sailer. What good can come of doing anything else?

That's my question of the moment.

Alex said...

Steve, this is fun and all, but let's move on. You're giving him publicity too you know.

Anonymous said...

"One of the feelings I'm getting from a variety of posters and pundits is that there may well be differences in racial ability, but what good comes from acknowledging it?"

From my experience I think a lot of liberal white Americans, liberal Southerners especially, feel exactly this - that there is a big difference in median white & black intellectual ability, but that publicly acknowledging this fact to be true would have such harmful consequences that it should not be done.

I think they're wrong, I think "the truth will set you free" is the right approach here, but that's more a gut feeling than something I can prove. If discussing the truth would really cause genocidal inter-racial conflict then I can see that suppressing it would be better.

I don't believe it's credible that discussing the truth in this context would really do this, but I can imagine cases where it could, eg openly discussing the historical truth about Mohammed & Islam in the Muslim world would likely spark vicious riots (at least) from the aggrieved parties and is probably better not done.


ken shabby said...


The problem of ignoring our biodiversity may be worse than addressing them. We’ll never know because I’ve never seen an honest discussion of major stakeholders.

In a global, capitalistic world riches are increasingly concentrated in those blessed with off the chart skills and talents whether they are actors, professional athletes or Wall Street quants. Just as our increasingly competitive world identifies and elevates all talented people, we have a public policy that ludicrously claims there is no inherent differences, and that any differentiation is prima facie evidence of a historical continuation of overwhelming and pervasive racism (except in a few highly visible fields like athletics, although only blacks can proudly state what is obvious to everyone).

Thus we have much hand wringing when fundamental biodiversity consistently results in achievement gaps in schools, fewer women in science and engineering, fewer minority law partners, etc. which are loudly decried. Well-meaning PC conservatives and liberals who refuse to accept the realities of biodiversity then set to the feudal task of forcing absolute equality via misallocated funds, ineffective social programs, easily abused legal code, etc. at the cost to talented, hardworking non-protected minorities and potentially society at large. I say “potentially” because question is if all these taxes to maintain this illusion of zero biodiversity reduce civil disorder that is worth more than having a more efficient and fairer society.

Exactly because of historical racism, minorities and women probably overstate the contribution of racism in their worldview to their detriment. Public intellectuals like Mr. Gladwell encourage this destructive misperception by claiming racism runs so deep in our society that even money grubbing car salesmen cut their own commission checks to nurture their unconscious racism. By logical extension, blacks are invited to view all non-blacks as cursed by the original sin of unconscious racism. Furthermore, the significant racism that runs the other way (black on white) is given justification, anger is provoked and the overall situation is worsen with no possible reduction in tension (because the premise is false).

When affirmative action artificially elevates minorities from situations where they are as competitive as everyone else into more competitive situations where they are much more likely to fail, the only official explanation is racism. When minorities realize that they don’t have to work as hard and can game the system based upon their favored race status, human nature is to exploit such advantages. This phenomena is apparent to those exposed to it and gives credence to the fact that minorities on average are not as qualified, were not put through the same work ethic filter, etc as seeming equally qualified non-minorities. The very systems designed to alleviate inequality merely institutionalizes it.

So in net, all this happy talk about everyone being equal and any deviation from this religion is solely the result of racism gets us where: (1) elevated numbers of protected minorities in fields most don’t naturally excel at, of whom many of those with good work are probably frustrated, (2) an equal number of non-protected minorities and men who are denied access despite talents and efforts (esp NE Asians, Indians), (3) a situation reinforcing the stereotype of protected minorities in many challenging positions as less/incompetent, lazy or just indifferent because they have been artificially placed there and cannot be touched (screwing the competent protected minorities by association), (4) perpetual resentment and anger by protected minorities whose expectations are raised by the false premise of zero biodiversity when they see this never reflected in reality and an endless stream of high profile race pundits decrying the situation, (5) inefficiencies at a number of levels in society and, perhaps most importantly, (6) refusing to even look at other, perhaps less palatable, explanation that would lead to more effective solutions.

Perhaps the people that know better with the power to dictate such public policies believe that there ultimately is no solution even when looking at the real issue of human biodiversity. Maybe it’s better to sacrifice middle-class whites to vest into the system potential leaders of what appears our permanent black and Latino underclass. Expediency and practicality may just outweigh fairness and merit.

Even if such tradeoffs are acceptable, how does propagandizing zero biodiversity that clashes with reality, sets up false expectations that are never met in name or substance which in turns creates perpetual resentment and anger on all sides be a net benefit?


Audacious Epigone said...

I was surprised to find that when looking at crime rates at the state level, race is a better predictor than than the % single-mother households, % single-male only households, % of the population using illicit drugs in the last month, % of the population between 18-24, median age, poverty rate, % of the population with a bachelor's degree, % of the population having completed high school, the gini coefficient, the rate of gun ownership, and the rate of unemployment combined.

I think those dastardly car dealers know exactly what they're doing.

Gerald said...

Ken & Simon,

I agree with everything you say.

An example of affirmative action, based on the "differences are caused by racism -- there is no biodiversity" stance, causing harm to blacks is in the university system.

Being accepted to universities that their background (grades & study) and/or ability doesn't qualify them for puts black students in over their heads and causes a larger percentage of failure and dropouts. All this while taking on massive debt to pay for the school they shouldn't have been admitted to based on objective scoring.

Changes in the laws in California caused a shift from attending the highest level institutions to schools more appropriate for where they were in their lives. Consequently far more of these black students graduated and are no doubt leading more successful and productive lives.

So, there are many cases where pretending actually causes harm to black people that it is difficult for me to embrace the polite fiction.

But, then again. . .what if the pubic fully accepted that blacks on average -- at the moment, for whatever reason -- were less intelligent than whites. Is this a good and positive thing? What can such an understanding do to the already fragile psyches of black people (fragile as testified to by the large number of social pathologies within the black community -- crime, unemployment, fatherless children, drugs, etc)?

What kind of reaction would there be by other races to this information? I would hate to see the progress we've made in race relations be undone and a return to actual racism towards black people return to previous levels.

This is a situation where if policy makers embraced the data in private and could actually make some good decisions to help make things better then I might willingly embrace the public fiction.

But, as it stands where the policy makers act on their stated beliefs that the sky is pink. . .it makes it hard.

So, I'm still confused. My tentative position at this point is that policy makes should embrace the data while the public should eschew it.

As a non policy maker maybe MY best policy is the not pay attention to the topic, refuse (though not refute) the data and when people like Steve are being called racist for understanding science simply turn my head away from them and their unfortunate predicament.

But, if we allow policy makers to continue in promoting policies that cause harm to an already damaged black community because of faulty data rather than stand strong on science and pushing them to accept reality are we contributing to a bad situation?

Still confused on the proper course -- Gerald

Anonymous said...

The nigger will blame anyone but itself for its problems. I hope PC dogma goes out the window and the era of segregation can be brought back.


Anonymous said...

Crush41 said what I wanted to say. On the state level, race is a better predictor of crime than many other important factors combined.

Gladwell is here begging the question when he says, "racism is the irrational elevation of race-based considerations over other, equally or more relevant factors." What, Gladwell? Other factors are "equally or more relevant" as or than race? Prove it. Actually, there is proof of almost the reverse, i.e. race is a better predictor for criminality than almost anything else thought to predict for it.

Science vanishes the moment such language as "morally wrong" is tossed around. When moral feelings are brought in, that's your tip-off that logic, statistics, and facts will be second-tier in the discussion.

Anonymous said...


The proper course is not to be intimidated by threats. You're apparently anxious about an uprising of furious blacks (or Muslims, or others) burning truth-tellers and scientists at the stake. Such nightmares occur only when clear thinkers allowed themselves to be intimidated and start bargaining with themselves ("perhaps if I lie, they will not hurt me...perhaps if we fudge the statistics, we will avoid riots...don't stir up the beast...what is the best way to appease the monsters?"). That is the road to ruin, in my opinion. A firm commitment to truth is the only thing that avoids or mitigates social dysfunction and unreason. Bullies should not be truckled to.

You don't have to give your real name in random internet discussions, or blare your views via megaphone on Main Street. (You might be surprised, however, at the mostly positive response if you do - assuming a half-way decent Main Street. Positive not only for you, but for the society around you.)

ken shabby said...

Most everyone I know accepts some form of biodiversity, albeit in fragmented ways that aren’t allowed to come together in a coherent way. For example, the only people I’ve heard deny physical/athletic biodiversity are public figures in academia or other PC extremists. Most bright people I know concede that Ashkenazi’s are endowed with intelligence beyond what nurture can explain. Yet, many somehow reconcile this with the belief that everyone is equal by trying to selectively redefine the problem away (what is race, intelligence, IQ, environment, bias, etc.).

The problem of putting your head in the sand over this issue instead of facing the unfamiliar and unpleasant challenges of reality is that you leave the public debate entirely to individuals and bureaucracies that exist, profit and grow solely by identifying, exaggerating and even creating imaginary racial divides that become as damaging as if they were real. Social debate on the issue falls entirely into the hands of racial profiteers like Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson who simply keep the stoking the fires with the aid of media PC enforces.

For example, we get thousands of MSM stories nationwide convicting white Duke lacrosse players of gang raping a black exotic stripper when a dispassionate review of facts suggest the incident was a clearly a poorly conceived attempt at extortion. The unreported reality is that while there were over 3000 whites gang raped by blacks there were so few white gang rapes of blacks that federal crime databases has no statistics. Similar Alice in Wonderland, reportage of black/white crime stats completely invert the actual crime statistics, so that most blacks would be justified in believing that the white man is evil and out to exterminate him. This only promotes black on white violence, hatred and racism as a logical survival strategy if not forgivable payback while also creating more injustices against whites completing the cycle.

I once had a class with primarily black students from the inner city. When the issue of race came up, I was shocked over the degree of persecution and paranoia so many felt. For example, many angrily claimed all black/white analogies were good/bad associations slyly created by white racists to denigrate blacks. I offered a much more likely explanation that humans probably evolved fearing darkness which was reflected in the religious (the light, the way, the son of God) and societal (black plague) lexicon that became entrenched long before any significant black/white contact. After lifetimes of being told by authorities in black culture and MSM that racism exists in everything everywhere, blacks are constants and overwhelming victimized by whites and this black pogrom explains any real or perceived failure, no wonder blacks see conspiracy and greeted my contradicting explanation with skepticism.

What if people were to broadly accept the science that shows different groups have different cognitive abilities? Would it be that different from the acceptance that we have differing athletic abilities? Is it anything that most people would find that surprising anyway given what we see in the world around us despite pervasive PC MSM propaganda?

I don’t see the majority of whites becoming less well-intentioned or society being less compassionate. Currently non-protected minorities suffer state-sponsored racism which is justified by labeling them all active or complicit foot soldiers of an oppressive regime. This is a blood debt that can never be paid because it’s drawn on the PC utopia of all groups being exactly equal in all ways. I think whites would probably feel better about the system if their sacrifices were seen as improving the lot of blacks to make a more representative society rather than being endlessly accused of racism with such sacrifices viewed as eternally insufficient compensation.

I think the fragile psyche in black community would not be substantially harmed and may even be improved by an honest airing of cognitive biological differences between groups. To be honest, I don’t think it would come as a shocking surprise given the world we in and the fact that blacks tend to view the world in more brutally honest terms than most whites. Unfortunately, education is not very valued by many blacks (teach in an inner city school, talk to teachers who do or just listen to Chris Rock). Setting talented and aspiring blacks up to succeed in measurable scenarios based on realistic standards would be a huge improvement upon the current system. This would not only strengthen the black community, it would eliminate the currently justified bias that apparently equally successful blacks do not have the same talent, work ethic, etc of non-blacks who were not artificially elevated by programs like affirmative action.

Some leaders in the black community like Bill Cosby have correctly identified that perhaps most of the problems and solutions of the current black community lies in healing itself and not pointing fingers at others. Similarly, there needs to be brave leaders outside the black community who help stop perpetuating the eternal racism-victimization-dependency cycle the PC MSM bombards blacks with and that only the racist profiteers benefit from at the expense of everyone else, black and white.

I wouldn’t count on the ruling class to solve anything. They’re primary objective is stability and status quo to maintain and expand their power. It’s not blacks that threaten them but the sizable middle class whites. At best, you can hope that they’ll take the path of least resistance in ruling on this matter. Right now, it seems like a small, vociferous and highly motivated group of self-interested racial profiteers along with complicit MSM PC enforcers like Mr. Gladwell have the upper hand but I sense that a system that works so poorly based upon lies will eventually run its course.


Gerald said...

"You're apparently anxious about an uprising of furious blacks (or Muslims, or others) burning truth-tellers and scientists at the stake."

Howdy. Actually, that isn't my concern. Here is my mental picture. I imagine that the argument is won. People openly agree and it is accepted that racial differences exist and that currently blacks score, on average, 15 points lower than whites.

I imagine being black and how this would impact my view of the world and my place in it. Further, I imagine how such knowledge being accepted could impact race relations from the point of view of white people and the actions they take toward blacks.

It would take a long time to describe the various possible scenarios, but suffice it to say that many of them aren't very positive. I imagine that there is a great deal of quiet self doubt among black people as it is, this would only increase it exponentially. There is already a skepticism about black ability because of affirmative action. I imagine that that could get much worse as well.

As a white guy I look at Chinese people or Jews and it doesn't really bother me that on average they score better on IQ tests. For me, it's because I know that I score above average anyway. But there is also the reality that, at least in America, whites essentially set the normalization level of 100IQ.

After all, thats the definition of 100: average.

Now, I imagine being black and rather than being able to fall back on being average while other groups tend to score higher I know that my group tends to score lower than the average. This is quite a different proposition.

As to my self identity, I could be a degree'd person with a >100 IQ but I would have to wonder. Maybe I feel bright because I feel smarter than my neighbor. But in this situation, maybe my neighbor is below average for my group and I'm just average or slightly above for my group -- which is by definition significantly lower than average.

This introduces an almost unavoidable existential self doubt that I can't imagine being anything other than painful and destructive.

"A firm commitment to truth is the only thing that avoids or mitigates social dysfunction and unreason. Bullies should not be truckled to."

On most topics I would agree. But at this moment I can't help but wonder if being right about biodiversity has anything to do with whether or not accepting/discussing biodiversity in public is a positive thing in itself. Perhaps on this single issue the PC dogma is correct.

I was thinking about this earlier and it occurred to me that a possible analogy is to your wife asking if those jeans made her butt look fat. The pro race differences answer would be equivalent to, "No, babe. Your fat ass makes your ass look fat." :-)

Now, of course, no one who wants to stay married answers the question that way. Sure, you could argue that answering truthfully would benefit your wife in that she would be made aware of a problem and be more likely to take steps that would boost her self-esteem and her health.

But the reality is that you don't want to cause her pain and further such an answer could not only hurt her but your relationship as well. What good would being brutally honest do you?

Using this analogy I wonder if the proper answer to these biodiversity questions is, "Don't worry about those ridiculous tests. They're obviously biased, inaccurate, etc. You're a great people and we're lucky to have you."

Gerald Hibbs said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gerald said...

Ken, thanks for the thoughtful discussion. Likely I won't be writing to or monitoring this thread further as life intrudes. But I thank you for the reasoned discourse and thoughtfulness to help me muddle through my confusion. I won't be making any decisions on this issue any time soon. But I'm glad I had this forum to discuss/vent my thoughts/feelings.

Re: Your last posting.
I would agree that the biggest problems remaining in the black community are problems that only those in the black community can solve. I agree that race hustlers and conspiratorial thinking are actively damaging. I agree that the Lake Wobegon (every child is above average) thinking of our policy makers does damage to all people with lower IQs whatever their race and contributes substantially to many of the social pathologies of the black community.

I have hopes that blacks will begin to address the problems within their community/worldview that only they can address. But I have no hope that the political structure will ever deal with this issue in a realist fashion if only because there is an entire political party that benefits from the lies and corresponding demonization of dissenters.

Frankly I don't see a way out of this until we can bioengineer human adults and make it so that everyone actually is above average (by contemporary standards.)

Until then the social lubrication of polite fiction is looking more and more like the wiser course. You won't see me at the two minute hates , though, that much I can promise no matter which way I decide.

ken shabby said...


I think your concerns on how blacks would receive official confirmation of what they see everyday about cognitive biodiversity and what educated elites know is unwarranted. It seems your fears are based upon projecting your particular educated, white world view and value system onto others where it is largely alien. I think there is as much cultural diversity as biodiversity between groups.

If you get the opportunity you should volunteer at an inner-city school to see how differently intelligence, knowledge and education are viewed. Smart, motivated kids are not lionized but rather do their best to lay low and avoid trouble. Then you should go to schools in NE Asia, India or first immigrant communities in the US. These are two opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of the cultural value placed on education.

If you told a smart Chinese or Indian student they cognitively perform significantly below whites they would probably smile and point you to more accurate research. If you told a less gifted Chinese or Indian this they would become depressed. If you told a smart black he would probably already know this, but tell you he was by no means average. If you told a less gifted black this he may give you the smack down if possible, walk away and revel in his physical superiority, greater charisma, style, etc. If it really mattered, he would simply reject the information like many of Mr. Gladwell’s readers do and create another alternative explanation to meet his needs.

I think all humans have evolved to fundamentally love themselves, promote their strengths, marginalize their weaknesses and have a positively skewed self-image (thus 98% think they are smarter than average). How else could any of us, black or white, endure? If anything, I think blacks often demonstrate a dangerously high level of positive self-regard that can lead to many problems, but it certainly helps to roll with life’s blows. Plus, all humans have the incredible ability to selectively filter input, misinterpret and fundamentally lie to themselves to hold whatever worldview or identity is most important to them.

Fundamentally, I would imagine the impact would be similar to whites being officially informed they are not as broadly athletically gifted as blacks. Whites are far more into sports than blacks are into education, but they are also far less easily outraged so I’d call it a wash reactionwise. Perhaps such revelations should be jointly disclosed. The real danger would come from racist profiteers and MSM PC enforcers who would scream to high heaven because their gravy train or sacred ideology was threatened.

Comparatively little has happened in Michigan after a controversial anti affirmative-action measure passed recently. In that case you’re actually talking about cutting special interest handouts, and not just abstract mumbo jumbo that means nothing in real terms to the man on the street. I think society is moving towards a more realistic understanding of biodiversity and already dumping some of the PC excesses of recent times (e.g. feminism among college students is increasingly seen as fringe).

Finally, if you elect not to be honest then you have to continually manufacture an eternal stream of lies that can never explain the fact you’re trying to hide. My contention is that only creates more problems, costs, anger and racism that it avoids. People are not dumb; when they see reality doesn’t match the false promises they’ll know they are being lied to. They’ll assume they are eternal victims of racism and/or grasp some of the truth in a way that is more undermining that if were just dealt with directly.

Although I don't think it's possible scientifically or politically, I'm not sure I'd like a world where everyone is equal in all ways even if we could do it. We may all have to be put on drugs just to tolerate the lack of diversity and inspirational genius (not just cognitive).


Anonymous said...

"I was thinking about this earlier and it occurred to me that a possible analogy is to your wife asking if those jeans made her butt look fat"

I like the analogy of American black-white relations as a dysfunctional marriage! :)


pjgoober said...

Only an idiot could think that 1488 is not really a Moby leftist. Look what he wrote in a previous thread:

"What is wrong about calling a nigger a nigger?..."
he later goes on:
"To hell with the PC talk. You can't have it both ways. You can't expect people to be both PC and racial realists. Pick one or the other."

The moron EXACTLY parroted the leftwing (and a lot of the rightwing) denouncement of the mere discussion of possible racial differences. First, he equated not being PC to spouting off vulgar racial slurs. Then he says that people MUST spout off such racial slurs and otherwise become foaming at the mouth racists if they are to truly be race realists. Can he be anymore obvious?

Above he wrote:
"I hope PC dogma goes out the window and the era of segregation can be brought back."

Again, en exact parroting of the lefts arguments and even phrases now. We have to enforce absolute political correctness, or the masses will surely start foaming at the mouth and bring back segregation, lynchings, slavery etc..

Anonymous said...

I wonder, if I put wire-rimmed eye glasses on my dog, will my dog become smarter?

The same holds true for the negro.

Anonymous said...

"We have to enforce absolute political correctness, or the masses will surely start foaming at the mouth and bring back segregation, lynchings, slavery etc.."

I am not sure if 1488 is a moby or not, but my feelings about blacks have certainly changed ever since I read The Bell Curve. I honestly wouldn't want my daughter marrying a black man.

If the black/white IQ gap is genetic, well, then there are going to be changes in the attitudes among some whites.

Anonymous said...

1488 is not a moby. 14 and 88 are white nationalist code words

14= the fourteen words of the white nationalist movement, or the fourteen words of the first sentence of mein kampf.

88= 'HH', as H is the 8th letter of the alphabet. HH=heil hitler.

Don't believe me? Search the web? You can find this on both the SPLC website and Stormfront itself.

Deontologist said...

Ken Shabby says: “Fundamentally, I would imagine the impact would be similar to whites being officially informed they are not as broadly athletically gifted as blacks. Whites are far more into sports than blacks are into education, but they are also far less easily outraged so I’d call it a wash reactionwise.”

I don’t think this analogy is the most applicable to this situation. Intelligence is the fundamental characteristic that defines humanity and influences how people view themselves and their place in the world. Athletic prowess (like musical or artistic ability) is an aptitude that, if one lacks it, does not ultimately relegate you a debased position in society. The pain of realizing and acknowledging that you are dull-witted is not at all the same as the pain you might feel when you realize that you will never play in the NFL, NBA, or MLB. Indeed, admittance to the ranks of professional athletics is a much more rarefied achievement than admittance to the Ivy League or a high-IQ profession, like law, social science, or medicine. What average white guy really cares that he is likely to lose a pick-up game of basketball to the average black guy if he knows he can retreat to his comfortable home and sweet family while the black guy is going to his crime-infested ‘hood and a series of puerile relationships? This relative lack of athletic ability in no way impairs his ability to carve out a niche for himself in the world, to make a good living, and to live with dignity and self-respect. On the other hand, we would be asking the average black person to accept that he or she is fit only for the most menial employment and all but cut-off from the prospect of social mobility. We are asking them to acknowledge that they are less fit and less able human beings.

Perhaps a more fitting analogy would be if we asked all white and Asian men to acknowledge and accept that they were less masculine, less virile, and less sexually potent than the average black man. Like differences in cognitive ability, the differences in sexual charisma and “aptitude” are among those unspoken, yet obvious “facts of life” that we never (or rarely) address honestly in polite society. The ability to attract and satisfy a mate, particularly for men, is one of the major sources of pleasure, self-respect, and comfort in life. [Particularly if the mate is genuinely drawn to you because of what you are and not simply what you have and what you earn.] Thus, sexual potency (or attractiveness for women), much like intelligence, is more closely tied to our sense of self-worth. [There are enumerable numbers of relatively bright and gifted young men who are stymied and humiliated by their lack of virility. They have to fill up their lives with a succession of hobbies and secular passions (film, music, collecting, video games, blogging, pornography) or affect an attitude of detached cynicism (think Michel Houellebecq) in order to mitigate the unbearable loneliness and lack of sexual gratification they must endure.]

So, given the fragility of the male ego, what reaction would the average white male have if his girlfriend or wife admitted to once having had sexual relations with a black man in her younger years, perhaps out of a curiosity fomented by the festishization of black male sexuality in our culture? What might this man’s reaction be if, when asked, his wife or girlfriend answered honestly that this was one of the more, if not the most, sexually pleasurable experiences she has ever had. In other words, gentleman, what might your own reaction be if, when asked “does size really matter,” your wife or girlfriend issued a resounding and hearty “yes.” Could the less naturally blessed among you go on happily and just accept the wonderful “biodiversity” of the world without complaint? What lies might you have to tell yourself in order to go on as before?

Indeed, in matters of public policy, I agree the truth is always paramount. But, just because I acknowledge the lamentable differences in IQ between individuals and groups does not mean that I can put my head in the sand and refuse to acknowledge how devastating it would be for someone to encounter irrefutable evidence of their lack of intelligence. I also know it is just human nature—though we may have the best of intentions and try fight against it—to look down on those who we believe are less intelligent. Consider Steve’s review of “Borat” and his appraisal of it as a rehash of old “polish jokes.” What is the genesis of all those jokes about the dumb goyim? Perhaps it’s the fact that for centuries Jews watched dumb Slavs toil like beasts of burden in the field and, culturally, they gave voice to what was painfully obvious? I have a friend who is a professor of modern American history at a well-regarded large public research university. She is a progressive Jew, though not of the extremely-PC ilk. She possesses a razor sharp intellect and considerable verbal acumen. I once watched her engage a neighborhood dad (a white gentleman) in a discussion of American social and foreign policy. This man is no dolt. He is a responsible home owner; he owns and operates his own business, though what he does for a living is basically blue-collar labor. It actually pained me to listen to their discussion because his lack of knowledge and argumentative nuance was thrown into harsh relief by the sheer force and quality of her intellect. His humiliation at her hands (though unintentional) was palpable and grievous. All those who want a more frank and open discussion about human cognitive differences need to contend with the very real threat to race relations and possible upsurge in anti-black/Hispanic feeling that may follow any public acceptance of racial differences. Think about the historical relations between Jews and gentiles and then tell me that such concerns are unfounded.

aph said...

Why the hell does Sailer quote Gladwell's entire post, but not respond to it in any way? The man calls you a prejudiced dilettante (correctly, sad to say), and your rebuttal is "That reminds me of something I wrote a few years ago.."?