White Supremacy Defeated… yet again

I keep coming across racists/racialists who are obsessed with IQ. I dealt with this some in what I posted yesterday. Here is the relevant section:

The white supremacists love IQ because African Americans on average have lower IQs. The white supremacists argue that this is genetic, but there is no conclusive evidence for this hypothesis and much evidence against it. For example, the IQs of all children tend to be more similar and significant IQ differences are mostly seen in later education. The most obvious and simplest explanation is poverty. There are many factors related to poverty that are known to impact brain/cognitive development and hence IQ: pollution (such as lead poisoning from older houses), malnutrition (especially during pregnancy and early childhood), social stress, lack of educational resources, etc.

Here is a map showing the IQ differences in America with, once again, the same North/South divide (with the exception of West Virginia with its Scots-Irish population). The source of the map was using it apparently to make an argument for racism/racialism:

“Finally, it can be viewed in relationship to race. Alone, the racial composition of a state‘explains’ 72% of that state’s estimated IQ, with the two correlating at a robust .85. Expenditures per student, teacher salaries, and classroom size combined explain a paltry 15%. Considered independently, they are statistically insignificant and explain virtually nothing.”

There are different measures of IQ. This map is measuring math and science test scores. There does seem to be a correlation with ethnic diversity and lower average IQ (such as with California and the Southern states), although the ethnically diverse Texas is similar to some Northern states.

This map, however, makes the issue of race seem simpler than it actually is. When looking at other maps of IQ data, black populations in some Northern states have on average higher IQs than black populations in Southern states. And, even more significantly, white populations in many Northern states have on average higher IQs than white populations in Southern states (excluding Texas). So, doing comparisons just within single races, there are IQ differences that show a North/South divide for both black and white populations. However, the difference is most clear for white populations. This can only be explained, as far as I can tell, by poverty being the central factor in IQ differences. Blacks experience higher rates than whites of poverty in all states, but whites mostly just experience high rates of poverty in the South.

It seems the maps of IQ are essentially just another way of mapping poverty. So, why does poverty show a North/South divide? I’d also include in this question the issue of wealth disparity which also shows a North/South divide:

The 10 Most (and Least) Tolerant States in America

California and Texas are good ways of disentangling the poverty from wealth disparity. Both are wealthy states with high wealth disparity which causes them to measure positively on some indicators and measure negatively on other indicators. However, excluding Texas, most Southern states are both poor and have high wealth disparity. Many Northern states have both wealth and low wealth disparity, but there are states like Iowa which are relatively poor and yet have low wealth disparity. In a developed nation like the US, wealth disparity seems to be the more important indicator of social health (rates of high school drop outs, bullying, STDs, teen pregnancy, etc).

I decided to make a new post just with this material because of a response someone gave me on YouTube. NAARandom wrote:

“Whites in Northern states have higher average IQ than whites in southern states”

The south is “dumber” overall because it has a larger proportion of blacks than the north. The intra-racial differences in regional IQ are, at most, 3 points for blacks and 1 or 2 points for whites, and this can be easily explained by selection effects (more intelligent, ambitious, upwardly mobile southerners generally moved north, at least until the late 1940s, early 1950s).

As for southern west coast states having large ratios of nonwhites but “not the same degree of problems”, the two majority nonwhite western states (California and New Mexico), are having quite a few problems. The problems of California are relatively recent (probably in part because their rise in nonwhite population is a relatively recent phenomenon), and New Mexico has been near the bottom in most indicators for quite a while. To the extent that these problems are milder…

…in the west, it’s largely because they have different groups of nonwhites. Northeast Asians, for example, tend to have slightly higher IQs (by 3 to 6) than whites, so their presence in California partially offsets the economic effects of the huge mestizo population, which also has a slightly less severe depressing effect on average IQ than blacks (average Hispanic, which mostly means mestizo, IQ is 89, as opposed to 85 for blacks).

I find it endlessly amusing that people will avoid the simplest answers based on the data when it doesn’t fit their preconceived ideology. It’s scientifically known that poverty (and the factors related to poverty) has a negative impact on brain/cognitive development which is what is being measured by IQ tests. On the other hand, the hypothetical causal relation between racial genetics and IQ is unproven. There has been a fair amount of research and yet no conclusive data so far and no scientific consensus. So, why do racists/racialists prefer the inconclusive data instead of going with the simplest and most obvious explanation?

I realized this was a good opportunity to see if further data upholds the simplest and most obvious explanation of poverty. NAARandom mentioned Hispanics and Northeast Asians. NAARandom points out that Hispanics have higher average IQ than blacks, whites have higher average IQs than Hispanics and blacks, and Northeast Asians have higher average IQs than all of them (this is the case for the average IQ of all Asians in the US). If the poverty explanation is correct, a similar pattern should be seen.

In fact, that is the case with one exception. Yes, Hispanics have a lower poverty rate than blacks. Yes, whites have a lower poverty rate than Hispanics and blacks. Yes, Asians have a lower poverty rate than Hispanics and blacks. But, no, Asians don’t have a lower poverty rate than whites. Actually, Asians have around the same as or even slightly higher poverty rate than whites (depending if Pacific Islanders are included as part of the Asian demographic). Poverty alone explains the lower average IQ of Hispanics and blacks, but poverty alone doesn’t explain why whites have a lower average IQ than Asians. I suspect it’s just a matter of the intelligent (i.e., wealthy) Asians moving to Western countries. However, if one insists on racial genetics explanations, then it would be logical to assume whites (once adjusted for poverty) have inferior genetics.

I personally think that such an argument is just as silly when used against minorities as when used against whites. There are always complex factors, but it’s rational (going by Occam’s razor) to go with the simplest explanation. We know poverty causes lower IQ and we know poverty rates are different racial demographics. We know that black Americans have experienced centuries of enslavement and oppression which caused their present high rates of poverty. We know white Americans experienced centuries of privilege and opportunity which created their present lower rates of poverty. We know that whites in areas with higher poverty rates have lower average IQs. We know that blacks in areas with lower poverty rates have higher average IQs. We know all this. So, why speculate about racial genetics and IQ which we know so little about?

Related to poverty is the factor of wealth disparity. Many of the states (but not all) with high rates of poverty also have high rates of wealth disparity. The states with both whites and blacks with lower average IQs are states with both high rates of poverty and high rates of wealth disparity. Even if you wanted to try to blame their poverty on being dumb, you couldn’t blame the high wealth disparity on their being dumb. Afterall, if most of the smart people (white and black) left these problematic states, then wouldn’t all the population end up being poor and stupid instead of having an elite with most of the wealth?

To me, it seems like a vicious cycle. These poor conservative states are mostly the former slave states and so have societies that were based on class and race. For centuries, the ruling elite of these states intentionally created a poor and disenfranchised class (including both whites and blacks). We know that poverty causes low IQ. And we know that low IQ causes poverty. When you have a society that is built on a certain class staying stupid and poor, why would you expect any other results? You don’t need racial genetics to explain any of this. In fact, racial genetics has no explanatory value considering poor whites in poor states are experiencing similar problems as the poor blacks in poor states. Why not just accept the obvious? Why use convoluted logic to try to prove one’s racist/racialist beliefs? Why?

I brought up Southern West Coast states as an example of states with racial diversity and yet fewer problems than states in the Deep South. NAARandom pointed out that California also has problems. Yes, but fewer than the Deep South. California is more similar to Texas, both massively wealthy with high wealth disparity (also, California has the 5th and Texas the 3rd largest black population). Let’s look at Texas since few other states have such high rates and a long history of racial diversity. The blacks in Texas have an average IQ (92) around 5 to 7 points higher than the national average for average black IQ (depending if you go by the average of 85 or 87) and only 3 points below the Texas overall average (i.e., all races). What is one thing that distinguishes Texas? The most obvious factor is that Texas is wealthy. I’m sure, because of that wealth, blacks have more opportunities for education and self-improvement. Look at Alaska which is also a wealthy state and has the lowest wealth disparity in the entire country (by the way, Alaska has many positive factors, correlated to low wealth disprity, such as the best state for low rates of low birthweight). Blacks there have an average 95 IQ which, interestingly, is the average IQ of all Alaskans and which is the highest average black IQ in the country. This is even with blacks experiencing higher rates of poverty than whites in states like Texas and Alaska.

– – –

In the video where NAARandom responded to me, the issue of violence and race is brought up. That happens to be one of the issues I also analyzed in my post from yesterday. If you look at maps of various kinds of violence and homicide, you find a consistent pattern. Here is one example of a gun violence map (note that this is one of the factors on which California rates well):

So, how can this be explained? The white supremacist will immediately jump to the explanation of blaming it on the blacks simply because blacks live in the region. I’d respond in two ways.

First, a map of black doesn’t directly correlate with the gun violence map.

File:USA 2000 black density.png

Second, a study of this violence proves there is no correlation between Southern black populations and Southern high rates of violence.

A Matter of Respect
James D. Wright

Culture of Honor makes a compelling case that there is something about Southernness itself that accounts for the link between region and violence. The case begins with a review and reanalysis of the extensive research on region and homicide. University of Michigan psychologist Richard E. Nisbett and University of Illinois psychologist Dov Cohen find many common explanations for the South’s higher homicide rate wanting. The legacy of slavery is probably an inadequate explanation because the non-slave regions of the South show the highest homicide rates; temperature fails as an explanation because the cooler upland regions have higher homicide rates. Relative poverty rates cannot be ruled out as a causal factor, but the regional effect remains even when poverty is taken into account.

Two other results point to a fundamental cultural factor. The regional effect does not seem to operate in big cities (big-city homicide rates are about the same in the South as elsewhere); it appears only in small cities and towns (Southern small towns are a lot more violent than small towns in other regions). Also, there is little or no regional difference in black homicide rates, only in the white rates. So the Southern distinctiveness in homicide and violence is concentrated among small-town whites, strongly suggesting the impact of regional culture.

– – –

The entire argument of the white supremacist falls apart like the meaningless bigotry that it is. People are racist because they want to be racist. Yes, a racist can cherry-pick data to rationalize their racism, but they probably wouldn’t be looking for data that supports racism unless they already wanted to be racist. They are, of course, free to be racists. As has been said before, everyone is free to have their own opinion, but that doesn’t mean everyone is free to have their own facts.

12 thoughts on “White Supremacy Defeated… yet again

  1. Do blacks in the south and north are the same biologically-wise? E.g. it would be enough that only smarter blacks were emigrating north; that would create a pattern you have shown, without creating any need to appeal to poverty rates. No to mention of course the question of admixture – Jensen in g factor wrote that white admixture is higher in northern blacks than in south.

    Now, I do not claim you are wrong. It’s Jensen who showed that cultural factors in the south strongly depress black IQ there. Genes are not everything and the environment is very important (and the studies seems to suggest that in lower classes environment is much more important that in middle class and upper class).

    All I say that what you have presented here is not an argument which could convince hereditarians.

    • “Do blacks in the south and north are the same biologically-wise?”

      Most of the blacks in the North came from the same population of blacks in the South. And before that most blacks in America came from the same few tribes in Africa.

      “E.g. it would be enough that only smarter blacks were emigrating north; that would create a pattern you have shown, without creating any need to appeal to poverty rates.”

      There is no known evidence that this was the case or none that I know of. Why speculate about an unknown (only smarter blacks were emigrating north) when we can theorize on the proven facts (poverty and related factors have negative impact on cognitive development and IQ). Nonetheless, that would as I argued still disprove the white supremacists.

      “No to mention of course the question of admixture – Jensen in g factor wrote that white admixture is higher in northern blacks than in south.”

      You could only argue this by ignoring some of the known facts. The Southern whites who have some of the lowest IQs in the country don’t have more black genetics. They are among some of the whitest of whiteys around. As I pointed out in a recent post, Southern blacks are found in greatest concentration precisely where the Scots-Irish, Scottish and Irish are found in the least concentration.


      There are only two known commonalities between American blacks in general and American whites in the South. They are both environmental commonalities. First, as Thomas Sowell argues, blacks have a culture similar to poor Southern whites, a culture they certainly inherited from their time in the South and brought North with the mass migration. Second, the only other known commonality is poverty. Genetics is the very thing that most separates poor low IQ blacks and poor low IQ whites.

      “All I say that what you have presented here is not an argument which could convince hereditarians.”

      All the facts in the world couldn’t convince many hereditarians. I don’t deny the known facts about heredity and I actually find that field interesting, but I will never understand those who will ignore or dismiss known facts for the sake of speculation that better fits their interpretive lense. Why not begin with what we know? Why not go with the simplest explanation first?

  2. Ah, and one minor detail – I am not aware of any serious HBD researcher who would ignore environment in either individual or between-group differences. Most of bloggers and researchers (e.g. Lynn, Jensen) set environment at explaining something like 50% of the variance in IQ. Hence, “the white supremacists argue that this is genetic,” may be true, but this then ignores all serious researchers on group differences and even vast majority of the HBD blogs.

    In addition, there is a lot of evidence for genetic reasons and a lot against environment role – if you are writing about it, I presume you read at least Jensen the “g factor” where there is a summary of arguments. Regression to the mean is for starters one phenomenon which is really hard to explain if there are no genetic basis for IQ differences at all.

    • You have to understand this was written before I had any awareness of HBD researchers. I’m sure I’ve met them many times over the years in my various internet discussions, but I didn’t know of them as HBD researchers.

      I was responding here to white supremacists. I don’t know how many HBD researchers would identify as or could be fairly identified as white supremacists, but that is irrelevant to my post since even if that were the case HBD researchers and white supremacists are two separate categories, even if they have some overlap.

      There is a lot of evidence for and against genetics as the primary explanation of the IQ divergences that are observed between different demographic groups. At best, maybe half is genetic-based, but even genetics often rely on environmental factors to become expressed.

      There are so many factors, causal and confounding, and the complexity of relationship between factors is so great that no one can honestly claim to know the whole picture. We are still fairly clueless about how powerful various factors may be. I prefer intellectual humility rather than bold speculation. Too many ideological biases and assumptions undermine the scientific endeavor. We’ll have to wait and see as more quality peer-reviewed research comes in, but ultimate conclusions might not be long time coming.

  3. The James Wright essay contradicts your points. Did you even read it? He says plainly that blacks have a high rate of violence in those rich, egaltiarian northern states.

    Also why do you keep talking about the Scotch Irish when your own map plainly shows high rates of gun violence in the lowland south, not the upland south?

    On hbd chick’s blog you complained about the cofusion and inadequate racial classification of Americans. Yet here you freely indulge in that same thinking: self-identified race is glibly treated as a fair representation of ancestry, when we know it is definitely not. The amount of people who identify as mixed race is a fraction of the real number, and with blacks paricularly there is a strong bias for identifying completely with that race regardless of real ancestry–see Barack Obama. It is pretty unlikely that “blacks” in Alaska, who are a tiny part of the population, have as many African genes as “blacks” in Mississippi.

  4. Yes, I read the essay that I linked above. It would have been hard for me to quote from and discuss an essay I didn’t read. Besides, it is not as if it is a long and hard read. My comments obviously make sense, assuming one read the essay.

    Did you read the essay?

    As for me, I not only read the essay for I also read the book the essay reviews. I highly recommend the book.

    I never claimed nor do the authors claim that there aren’t various other specific demographic groups with above average rates of violence. The main point is that the data shows violence is highest in the US among rural white Southerners. Their rate of violence is higher than that of urban blacks in both the North and the South. Their violence is even higher than that of rural white Northernes who also have high gun ownership rates.

    I did leave out one important detail I had forgotten from the book. Poverty is correlated to increased violence in general. However, when poverty is controlled for in the data, there still is greater violence among rural white Southerners. So, even if poverty largely explains IQ differences, it seems to be only one small part in explaining violence.

    In reference to the map, it only refers to gun violence and not total violence. I used that map because it was available online. It was useful in showing the greater violence in the South, but it doesn’t as directly relate to the theory presented by Nisbett and Cohen. If I find a more relevant map online, I’ll replace the one above.

    I use race here because the authors were using it. This is a limitation of data which has often used race, despite its imprecision. This is largely to be blamed on such things as census records which allow anyone to identify as any race or ethnicity they so choose. Census records certainly don’t tell us much about genetics. Researchers maybe should avoid using race in this way, but then they’d have to discount so much data that is otherwise useful.

    The reason it is useful is that we can match up self-identified race/ethnic labels with known patterns of migration and settlement. By itself, race is not perfectly useful. But combined with other data, its usefulness increases.

    I don’t know the data you mention, but I’ll for the moment assume you are correct that black Northerners have fewer African genetics and more European genetics and vice versa for black Southerners. I admit that intuitively sounds reasonable. Considering that claim, Nisbett and Cohen’s data is even more intriguing. Blacks, unlike whites, show no more violence in the South than in the North. That would seem to disprove genetics as a primary cause of increased violence.

    The author of the essay got at this point from a different angle, but he mistakenly took it as a weakness in the theory of a culture of honor. He noted that some Scots-Irish also settled in the North, although it should be noted far fewer both in numbers and as a percentage of the Northern population. Those latter details when combied with other details are more important than he realized.

    As David Hackett Fischer and Colin Woodard convincingly argue, later migrations tend to have less impact once a particular culture has become successfully established and dominant in a region. As such, Scots-Irish in the North mostly assimilated to Northern culture. It was only in the rural South that Scots-Irish culture became established and dominant. So, it is more about the dominant ancestral culture than the particular ethnic ancestry of any given individual.

    If you honestly want to understand this issue, you’ll need to at least read the book in question. To grasp it most fully, you’d need to read some of the books Fischer and Woodard have written. I’d also recommend other books about the Southern culture of honor which can be found by searching for “culture” and “honor” on any of the bookselling websites.

    Once you’ve done that,come back and I’m sure we could have a very interesting discusion, even if some of our disagreements persisted. I don’t mind disagreements that are well informed.

  5. Recently, I came across some data that strengthens one point made in this post. About gun violence, there are a number of interesting things.

    Blacks are more likely than whites to be arrested for carrying illegal guns. However, the data shows that this is a result of blacks being stopped and searched more. When one breaks down the data, one finds that whites are more likely to carry illegal guns, just not be stopped and searched as much.

    This same pattern is found with drugs. Blacks are more likely to be arrested for carrying illegal drugs. It is the same issue of being stopped and searched more. Yet blacks are less likely, per capita, to use or carry illegal drugs.

    This makes sense when you give it more than a half a second of thought. If you are a black guy, you know that the police will go out of their way to find an excuse to stop and search you. Knowing this, you would be more likely to avoid anything illegal. But if you are a white guy, you realize you can carry illegal guns and drugs without police targeting you. Knowing you will get away with crimes to a greater degree than blacks, you will be more likely to commit crimes.

    It is called moral hazard. It is the same logic conservatives apply to people on welfare. But it applies just as well to the groups conservatives favor. For example, bailing out and giving subsidies to corporations causes moral hazard and increases risky, irresponsible choices by corporate management. As another example, not prosecuting white collar crimes causes moral hazard and so increases the rate of white collar crime.

    Another interesting factor relates to violence more broadly. Whites and Southerners disproportionately vote for Republicans whereas minorities and non-Southerners disproportionately don’t vote for Republicans. With this in mind, one should note that homicides and suicides (along with rates of economic inequality) increase in the years following a Republican getting elected as president.



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