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June 05, 2003

"The Gap"

Two articles on the black-white academic gap that persists through socioeconomic levels. This one is about Dr. Ogbu's work in Shaker Heights and is rather detailed, while an article in The NY Times is much less meaty. Interesting reading, but I will add one thing that the articles don't mention, regression towad the mean (a point always brought up by Steve Sailer when I mention this topic). Jensen in The G Factor noted the importance of this, for instance, "gifted" black students (IQs above 120) were far less likely than gifted white or Asian students to have siblings who qualified for enrichment programs.

What I am curious about though, what about Americans who are members of the old black upper class, the individuals profiled in Our Kind of People. These are families with generations of high achievers who quite often tend only to marry "their own." I suspect this population regresses toward a different mean, that of W. E. B. Du Bois' "talented tenth," then the nouveau bourgeois that forms the majority of the black middle class.

Posted by razib at 04:02 PM

The young Colin Powell was terrified of his wife-to-be's parents, who came from the Birmingham black community's most distinguished extended family. His future in-laws had extremely rigorous standards of achievement and comportment that Powell's more happy-go-lucky lower middle class Jamaican family had never dreamed existed among blacks.

What I don't really know is how well this talented tenth class has survived the black power revolution of the 1960s, since its distinctiveness revolved around skin color prejudice -- e.g., "Only marry somebody lighter in color than a paper bag."

Posted by: Steve Sailer at June 5, 2003 05:11 PM

graham's book seems to indicate that it depends. in D.C. in probably has. in detroit it hasn't. in atlanta it's in the middle.

on an interesting note-studies often show a weak correlation between skin color & IQ and "white ancestry" & IQ (as measured by traditional markers like the MN group group). so despite assortive mating there has been a trend toward linkage equilibrium in black american populations. if present social conditions persist assortive mating might change that....

Posted by: razib at June 5, 2003 05:21 PM


Which studies are you referring to? Do you have a link? It seems to me that there would have to be a stronger correlation between the degree of white ancestry and IQ, at least with respect to blacks. How would you account for the IQ difference between American blacks and black Africans? I believe Steve has suggested that the difference could be attributed to the higher morbidity rates of black Africans.

I found this quote by Mr. Ogbu interesting:

"Blacks traditionally saw big leaps in social mobility only during times of national crisis such as war -- or during shortages of immigrant labor."

Posted by: RR at June 5, 2003 09:20 PM

i'm on the road-so i don't have the g factor on me-but look up some of sandra scarr's work. the process-linkage equilibrium-would account for it, as "high IQ" genes unlink from "white ancestry" genes by recombination.

Posted by: razib at June 5, 2003 10:09 PM

Iīd like to share the following link with GNP:


where historian Frank W. Sweet has posted several interesting papers (right at the bottom of the Web page) on this subject: black/white mix, "passing", the colour line and its fuzzy contour before Jim Crow, etc), e.g.: "Slavery and the "Race" Notion "
Genetics is also covered: see"The Heredity of Complexion"; "Where Did White Folks Come From? " and "Molecular Anthropology and the "Race" Notion "(ibidem), although as a layman I donīt know what you GNP experts might think of it. ;-)
Anyway, those papers make a fascinating read!
P.S.: Please check:http://web.princeton.edu/sites/english/NEH/GATES1.HTM on the lifelong "passing" of Anatole Broyard and light complexioned "Blacks" or "Creoles"; and further on Jim Crow and "passing":


Posted by: eufrenio at June 6, 2003 10:44 AM