Nearly all the research that Murray and Herrnstein relied on for their central claims about race and IQ was funded by the Pioneer Fund, described by the London Sunday Telegraph (3/12/89) as a “neo-Nazi organization closely integrated with the far right in American politics.” The fund’s mission is to promote eugenics, a philosophy that maintains that “genetically unfit” individuals or races are a threat to society.
The Pioneer Fund was set up in 1937 by Wickliffe Draper, a millionaire who advocated sending blacks back to Africa. The foundation’s charter set forth the group’s missions as “racial betterment” and aid for people “deemed to be descended primarily from white persons who settled in the original 13 states prior to the adoption of the Constitution of the United States.” (In 1985, after Pioneer Fund grant recipients began receiving political heat, the charter was slightly amended to play down the race angle–GQ, 11/94.)
The fund’s first president, Harry Laughlin, was an influential advocate of sterilization for those he considered genetically unfit. In successfully advocating laws that would restrict immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe, Laughlin testified before Congress that 83 percent of Jewish immigrants were innately feeble-minded (Rolling Stone, 10/20/94). Another founder, Frederick Osborn, described Nazi Germany’s sterilization law as “a most exciting experiment” (Discovery Journal, 7/9/94).
The fund’s current president, Harry Weyher, denounces the Supreme Court decision that desegregated schools, saying, “All Brown did was wreck the school system” (GQ, 11/94). The fund’s treasurer, John Trevor, formerly served as treasurer for the crypto-fascist Coalition of Patriotic Societies, when it called in 1962 for the release of Nazi war criminals and praised South Africa’s “well-reasoned racial policies” (Rolling Stone, 10/20/94).
One of the Pioneer Fund’s largest current grantees is Roger Pearson, an activist and publisher who has been associated with international fascist currents. Pearson has written: “If a nation with a more advanced, more specialized or in any way superior set of genes mingles with, instead of exterminating, an inferior tribe, then it commits racial suicide” (Russ Bellant, Old Nazis, the New Right and the Republican Party).
It is amazing research, but it isn’t surprising. Other research has shown similar psychological responses. Immediately after boxing matches, people who look like the losing fighter are more often beat up. So, I wonder if whites did worse on tests after Obama’s election. It would be truly interesting, however, if both blacks and whites did well after Obama’s election.
The most interesting part about this research is the relationship between culture and psychology. What it demonstrates is how racial prejudice is internalized. However, the reason racism is internalized in this way is because it’s already predominant in the culture. Change the culture even slightly such as by electing a black president and the internalized racism changes as well.
This is a great example of how subtly racism influences people… without the individual necessarily even being aware of it. There has been much research along these lines. Most people aren’t overtly racist and would deny being racist, but racism is so powerful because it is so hard to detect in one’s own attitudes and behavior. Unconscious prejudices become established because the prejudices are a part of the way society is structured. I just wrote about a recent court case involving this: Institutional Racism & Voting Rights.
Awhile ago, I wrote another post satirizing the ideal of success in our society: How to be Successful. But my satire was based on actual data. One set of data was about IQ. Minorities are more likely to experience malnutrition and undernourishment and more likely to be grow up in areas with high pollution. Those factors are directly correlated with lower IQ. However, in the US, these factors are less extreme than would be found in developing countries and so minorities here are better off than other places. Anyways, my point is that IQ is influenced by many different external factors that the individual doesn’t control.
What all of this reminds me of is one of the most popular racist books written in recent decades: The Bell Curve by Richard J. Hernstein and Charles Murray. The conclusions from that book were refuted fairly quickly after it was published. Research such as from the above video just further disproves such attempts to make racism intellectually respectable.