If black Americans were still oppressed, as they were during the slave era and to a lesser extent during Jim Crow in the south, we would expect to see their lives in turmoil with them occupying the lowest rungs of society. That is exactly what we do see in America! So black Americans must be oppressed, right?
Er, not necessarily. There is another explanation as to why blacks might find it difficult to scale the social ladder in the same numbers as whites and Asians. This theory posits a lower average intelligence for blacks than other races, as well as poorer impulse control. They also have more testosterone flowing through their bodies which tends to make them more masculine, muscular and aggressive. Just as men commit more crime than women, so blacks commit more crime than other races. With their lower intelligence and higher crime rates they are almost bound to end up at the bottom of society. On this view, black people don’t, on average, have the intellectual ability to succeed in a modern hi-tech society.
How can we decide which of these two theories, white racism or low intelligence, best explains the failure of many blacks in America?
Well, we could look to see if there is any evidence that blacks are being willfully held back. So if American blacks were being oppressed we wouldn’t expect to see programs designed to help black children perform better at school. Nor would there be quotas for a minimum number of blacks attending top universities, despite them having lower SAT scores than people of other races. Once at university they often find the work too difficult and so change to intellectually less demanding subjects like ‘African American Studies’, a subject that requires little of students other than a willingness to blame whites for everything. If the student comes to the conclusion that whites aren’t to blame for black failure then he clearly hasn’t been paying attention during the course and will probably fail.
If America were racist there would be no quotas for black people to fill prized government jobs, nor pressure on companies to employ their fair share of blacks. Left to their own devices companies would simply employ the best workers, regardless of colour. However, they are forced by law into employing their fair share of blacks. If blacks were just as good workers as Asians and whites there would be no need for such coercion.
America has run affirmative action programs since the mid-1960s. These are positive discrimination programs favouring black people over whites and Asians, an attempt to bring black achievement into line with other races and to act as a counter-balance to the deleterious effects of alleged racism. However, they have had almost no effect, just as would be predicted by the theory that blacks are less intelligent. If the problem were racism then these programs should help. If the problem is lower intelligence then almost nothing can help.
If America were really racist you would expect other races like Jews and Asians to fail in the same way that blacks have failed yet they don’t. In fact these groups have been spectacularly successful and often occupy higher social positions than white Americans. This could of course mean that Americans are racist only towards blacks but if this really were the case, they probably wouldn’t idolise Martin Luther King or have twice elected a Barack Obama as president.
If America was a uniquely racist country, you would expect to see blacks in other countries doing well. African countries, where practically everyone is black and where ‘white racism’ has no effect, should be thriving. However, this is not the case. Black people are stuck in poverty in pretty much every society they live, and majority black countries are nearly always riddled with crime, corruption and incompetence. Unless the whole world, including blacks themselves, is prejudiced against blacks I don’t know how else to account for their consistent failure other than to admit that they might simply be a bit thick.
The failure of blacks in black American cities is evident. Just look at Detroit, a city that is now bankrupt after years of corruption among black mayors and black local government officials, all voted into power by black voters seeking the good of blacks rather than the good of the city itself. Other majority black cities are going the same way.
If Americans were really racist you would expect the American media and academia to be able to say pretty much whatever they liked about blacks with impunity. However, the reality is that you will be thrown out of your job, have your lectures boycotted and you and your family threatened if you dare to suggest, be it ever so politely, that maybe, just perhaps, black people share a little of the responsibility for their failure in society. This is an opinion that simply cannot be voiced in public, at least not if you wish to keep your job and don’t want to get arrested on a charge of inciting racial hatred. Black people, on the other hand, can utter whatever anti-white sentiment they please with no consequences. Would this be allowed to happen if America were anti-black? In America you will be vilified for suggesting black people might be innately less intelligent than other races but you will be patted on the back for believing that whites are racists. Why one is considered beyond the pale while the other is applauded is a mystery to me. Both seem equally insulting to me though not equally true.
Do we have any reason to suspect that it is low black intelligence that is responsible for black underachievement? Yes, we do. Ever since IQ tests began black Africans have scored consistently around 70 (the white average is 100). Black Americans and people from the Caribbean, whose DNA includes on average around 25% ‘white’ genes due to interbreeding, score around 85, which is halfway between black Africans and white European, just what one would expect if intelligence were largely determined by nature rather than nurture, as most scientists now believe it is.
Some people who like to deny that there are such things as racial differences, or even that there are races, claim that IQ tests are biased in favour of the white people who designed them. (If race doesn’t exist, how can IQ tests be biased in favour of one particular race?) However, Ashkenazi Jews score consistently highest on IQ tests with an average of 115, with north-east Asians (Japanese, Chinese and Koreans) in second place with an average of around 105. White people, the ones who designed IQ tests, come in about third. Both the Jews and the Asians do better than white Americans in school, at university and in the workplace. They are also under-represented in prisons. So it seems that IQ tests do indeed measure something more than mere prejudice and if these tests really do have a white-bias then Jews and Asians have worked around it pretty well.
Whichever theory is correct, the ‘racist white people theory’ or the ‘less intelligent blacks people theory’, you would expect to see one or two black figures whipping up resentment against ‘racist, privileged’ whites, and this is indeed what you find. The result of this resentment is that some black people feel they are justified in robbing, raping, beating up and killing white people just because they are white and thus ‘privileged oppressors’. The mainstream media keeps quiet about black on white crime yet the truth is that black men are seven times more likely to commit murder than white men in America, and black on white crime is commonplace while white-on-black crime is extremely uncommon. This is why there is such a fuss when it does happen (Trayvon Martin in America, Stephen Lawrence in England).
Some people say that black people only commit more crime because of their dire social situation and poverty. This hardly explains why black men commit the crime of rape at much higher incidences than other races. Driven to rape by poverty? Really? Of course, social factors are important in how someone turns out but social factors don’t appear out of thin air. Detroit didn’t become what it is now through chance. Cultures are built on the backs of genes. Japan looks like it does, and functions like it does, because of the Japanese genes that built it. If you were to place a Jew or an Asian in a deprived environment like Detroit they would be far less likely to turn to crime as a solution to their problems. Different genomes respond to the same situation in different ways. It seems to me that Jewish and Japanese genes are well suited to life in a modern, democratic society.
Not only blacks but also white liberals blame whites for the failures of black people. This is because liberals believe that everyone is born equal and that any inequalities in outcome must be due to inequalities of opportunity. Hence all the affirmative action programs. For liberals, failure always indicates that the playing field was not even in the first place. Yet anyone who has thought about this for just a few minutes and who has an ounce of honesty in them can see that it can’t possibly be the case that all people are born equally intelligent. Even within families there are differences in intelligence. It is simply not realistic to claim that we are all the same. Neither is it desirable. Who would want to live in a world where everyone was an intellectual clone of everyone else? The world would be a very more boring place. Luckily, the actual world we live in isn’t like this.
In taking the side of the supposedly oppressed blacks, white liberals feel they are doing something good. They are fighting inequality and injustice like some latter-day Robin Hood. For vane people, feeling good about yourself is what really matters. Who cares if a white person is killed tomorrow by a gang of blacks who believe their victim had it coming to him because he was white? Neither the mainstream media, nor academics, nor politicians like Barack Obama seem able to see that by perpetuating the myth of whites oppressing blacks they become accomplices to the crimes committed by aggrieved black people.
Just in case anyone misunderstands me on this, I am talking here about statistical averages that I believe explain why many black people fail in America. If this were more widely accepted then there might be less bitterness among blacks towards whites, and hence less crime. However, averages are only useful for big numbers of people and tell you little about any particular individual. And of course there are many intelligent black people. For example, the black American economist, Thomas Sowell, is the second person whose column I read every week (the first is John Derbyshire).
Neither does my view mean that I dislike black people, though I do dislike race hustlers like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, men who have a vested interest in inflaming racial hatred for the furtherance of their careers. These men should be held accountable for inciting blacks to hate whites, something that was always bound to have bad consequences. I also think that Barack and Michelle Obama, some people in the Obama administration, the liberal media and many people in academia bear a lot of responsibility for the toxic culture of false grievance that now exists among some of America’s blacks.
There is a another theory which denies both that blacks are less intelligent than other races and that whites are racist. This theory claims that black people had been closing the achievement gap between themselves and whites until the mid-1960s when black race hustlers and white liberals started telling black people how disadvantaged they were. Various programs were then introduced in an attempt to give blacks a helping hand up. The theory claims that it was these very programs, plus the constant blaming of whites for all black ills, that led to the victim culture of many blacks and to the chaotic lifestyles that many of them lead today.
I like this theory, partly because it would be nice to think that if those programs were rolled back that black people could start to get their act together. It would also be nice to think that we didn’t have to send aid to Africa, bale out Detroit and other black cities and give plum jobs and academic places to people who can’t really cope with them until the end of time. The other reason I like this idea is that Thomas Sowell supports this theory.
And he could be right in thinking that this is largely a cultural problem. Peter Hitchens reported from Japan how ethnic Japanese who had grown up in Brazil found it almost impossible to adapt to the ordered ways of Japan. Their children remained rowdy, they stole from local shops and they played music too loud. If good behaviour were purely a matter of genes, then they should have been able to fit in easily. However, not even the most extreme genetic determinist claims that genes are everything and culture is nothing. Nature is what loads the gun and nurture is what fires it. You need both a bullet and a place to fire.
The reason I am a little doubtful about Sowell’s theory is that he feels black people only lag behind because they started off culturally behind other races and haven’t yet had a chance to catch up. He sees it like a marathon, with blacks starting one mile behind whites in the cultural race. Of course they haven’t caught up yet! It was only back in the 1960s that they gained proper rights that put them on an equal footing with whites. And though blacks aare now ‘running faster’ so are whites so the gap remains the same
Yet this makes no sense to me. Other races move to new countries and manage to integrate within a single generation. For me, the gap is more like the difference in height between Americans and the Japanese. Sure, the Japanese had a pretty poor diet for centuries and this is one reason they were on average smaller than Americans. (This is analogous to Sowell’s (culture gap’) However, now the Japanese diet is good and they are taller; yet still not as tall as Americans. If the height gap were all due to nutrition then the Japanese should have caught up in a single generation. The fact that they haven’t and are still considerably shorter than westerners suggests that genetic factors must be in play and that the Japanese never will be as tall as Americans, regardless of what they eat.