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Genes do differ among racial groups, measured IQs differ on average as well, and some of the genes that differ might affect IQ. My experience provides a window into (a) how it is that people become interested in this topic and (b) what material is available to those who do.
Regarding (a), it’s certainly true that if three different people had taken Mc Whorter’s advice and simply steered clear of the issue — my sociology professor, Eric Alterman, and my classmate — I might never have become so intrigued.
I, for one, am glad I was able to find a wealth of material explaining both sides of the issue in terms that even a journalism major could understand (before I decided to dig into those dense, obscure academic journals myself).
And that’s one reason I’ve created such material myself in the years since I entered the media.
I read Mc Whorter’s essay with special interest because I have violated the norm he proposes.
I have written about race and IQ on numerous occasions — and for a general audience, as I am not even a specialist myself.
Even some very smart and well-meaning people seem to assume that if racial groups differed in meaningful ways owing to their DNA, that would justify horrifying practices.
I think it’s good to have a robust discussion about these issues now, while the science is uncertain — because if we are not prepared for it, conclusive proof of genetic differences that drive socially important racial gaps could lead us down a dangerous path.I think we should be intellectually prepared for the possibility that this line of work won’t turn out the way we want.As I said, I’m not at all convinced that there is a genetic component to the black–white IQ gap.There is a stark environmental gap between blacks and whites in the U. — blacks have nearly triple the poverty rate of whites, and even blacks who aren’t poor are more likely than similarly situated whites to live in poor neighborhoods.As Mc Whorter writes, there are important cultural differences as well, regardless of class.