what about effects?

Avatar

Freddie

Freddie deBoer used to blog at lhote.blogspot.com, and may again someday. Now he blogs here.

Related Post Roulette

43 Responses

  1. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    Yet, at the same time, we have a surprisingly integrated society compared to our European neighbors. There is something to be said for that. And there is something to be said for the progress we have seen, even if it is true that we have a “permanent black underclass.” We also have a black President, and though far from dead, racism has certainly changed in mainstream culture.

    So I guess while I agree with you on many points, I am not afraid for this country. I remain optimistic. Regardless of all that’s wrong with this nation, I think that we have the tools, the system, the will to improve our society though it may indeed take a very long time.Report

    • Avatar Bob Cheeks in reply to E.D. Kain says:

      Oh, I dunno, I thought the Court’s ruling was merely common sense….amazing!Report

      • Avatar Ryan in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

        That’s because conservatives have been largely successful in completely undermining the argument that gave us the 14th Amendment and the various civil rights laws in the first place. There’s nothing common-sense about a conception of “equality” that reinforces the majority’s status quo privilege.

        Anatole France’s satire is apropos: “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”Report

  2. Just to play devil’s advocate here, if decades of affirmative action have effected little improvement in the fortunes of black and Hispanic Americans, what is the justification for continuing those policies? In the Ricci case, it appears that an otherwise valid test for promotion was thrown out because of a disparate result, not because there was either a flaw in the test or because of any biased intent. If such measures do little to enhance the well-being of minority Americans, and create racial resentment in the process, why uphold them?Report

    • Avatar Ryan in reply to Dan Summers says:

      To answer the question for this specific case: Because it is outside the purview of the Supreme Court to govern on behalf of cities. As Ginsburg points out in the only necessary part of her dissent, no one is entitled to a promotion. And no one was given a promotion for unfair reasons. New Haven has no responsibility to hand out promotions it chooses not to hand out.

      That said, I think Freddie is wrong. Decades of affirmative action *have* helped reverse the trend. As E.D. points out, we do a pretty good job compared to a lot of other countries. That we’ve come so far but haven’t finished is precisely the reason to push back against the conservative idea that equality is only meaningful when it reinforces white privilege.Report

      • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Ryan says:

        Actually, I think most of her dissent is pretty necessary – if you just take the idea that “no one is entitled to a promotion” from it, then you’re left with a pretty strong argument against anti-discrimination laws in general.

        That said, I second your, uhh, second paragraph.Report

        • Avatar Ryan in reply to Mark Thompson says:

          Well, I actually think what you’re left with is “people have to obey the law” – in this case, Title VII. Which (presumably) would have prevented New Haven from using the test it came up with and promoting people unfairly. No one is entitled to a promotion, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t entitled to fairness when promotions are actually handed out. I take your point generally, though.Report

      • Avatar Kyle in reply to Ryan says:

        Ryan/Freddie,

        umm…do any of you have proof that “decades of affirmative action *have* [or have not] helped reverse the trend.”

        Not to sound testy but those are large claims to make without numbers, testimonial, and a more exhaustive retrospective than simply looking at our current society and saying that affirmative action has done little to nothing. Or conversely looking at social/racial change and saying that’s entirely because of affirmative action.Report

        • Avatar Freddie in reply to Kyle says:

          Can you put forward a credible argument, Kyle, that we don’t have racially stratified outcomes in terms of income, education, net worth, employment, or any number of other criteria that we use to determine material success?

          Consult the Census, if you’d like.Report

          • Avatar Kyle in reply to Freddie says:

            No. Nor, for that matter am I saying we’re post-racial or post-stratification. I like playing devil’s advocate but that would be an impossible and untrue argument for me to make.

            It’s just you assert that, “decades of affirmative action have done little to fix [economic mobility for Blacks and Hispanics].” A statement without numerical qualification, that Ryan and then Roque Nuevo both dispute.

            Now, I don’t know either way. I would just like to have a better understanding of what change can actually attributed to affirmative action programs so that we’re neither clinging to insufficiently helpful placebos nor too quickly casting aside a helpful remedy for the continued effects of past injustice.

            I completely agree that there isn’t enough of a change in economic mobility for Black and Hispanic Americans but affirmative action is a tool to achieve that not a goal in and of itself. I would be grateful if you or anyone else could point to analyses that would help better judge the efficacy or lack thereof of the programs at the heart of the Ricci ruling.Report

          • Avatar Chi in reply to Freddie says:

            “Can you put forward a credible argument, Kyle, that we don’t have racially stratified outcomes in terms of income”

            Freddie,

            Have you read Kanazawa’s paper on ‘the myth of pay discrimination in the US’?

            http://personal.lse.ac.uk/Kanazawa/pdfs/MDE2005.pdfReport

      • Avatar Chi in reply to Ryan says:

        “No one is entitled to a promotion. All firefighers were treated the same because none were promoted.”

        Quite an amusing comment on Kos in relation to this line of thinking:

        “That is indeed an accurate summary of Ginsburg’s position, which is precisely why it’s ludicrous. Suppose a private company promised — in writing — to promote someone to Public Relations Director based upon a written exam, and then after the test was done, it turns out a black guy had the highest score. Then the company bigwigs said “well… we really don’t want a black guy as our public face… so we’re going to rescind our agreement and invalidate the test.” The company in question freely admits that, if the guy had been white, he would have gotten the PR position. Do you really think this wouldn’t be a Title VII violation? Would “hey, we were so opposed to having a black guy in the position, that we decided not to promote anyone” been “non-discriminatory” under Ginsburg’s tortured logic as well?

        OF COURSE the city’s actions were in clear violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Ginsburg’s dissent borders on racist garbage. I read it twice and was disgusted both times. Shorter Ginsburg: “Fuck Title VII. Firefighting has a history of racial discrimination against blacks, so now it’s the white guy’s turn to suffer.” It is a spectacularly offensive opinion that left me sick to my stomach.Report

  3. I’m reviewing the decision now. The good news is that Kennedy’s opinion looks pretty narrow, and could be easily overturned legislatively, although I suspect it would die in a filibuster if such an attempt were made. That it is a narrow decision will also mitigate its impact even if it remains good law.

    The bad news is that, in order to make the decision narrow yet final, Kennedy makes some very questionable factual determinations. Given the way in which he approached his opinion, I’m actually quite surprised that he didn’t take the logical step of merely vacating (rather than reversing outright) the lower court decision and remanding for a determination on the merits. The only conclusion I can reach is that Kennedy was the only vote to vacate, meaning the case would have had a strange divide of 4 justices to reverse, 1 to vacate, and 4 to uphold. By voting to reverse, Kennedy ensured he would write the majority opinion.

    The part I find particularly problematic in terms of its discussion of the facts is the part in which Kennedy argues that the City’s refusal to have an EEOC compliance report done on the test is evidence that the City believed the tests to be job-related. Justice Alito’s concurrence then discusses that there was political pressure to vacate the results of the tests, suggesting that this was the real reason the results were vacated rather than a belief that there was a disparate impact violation. But reading those facts together, I wind up coming to the conclusion that, in the context of the City’s past practices, the City knew that the test was likely to be discriminatory but was ok with that because it didn’t think it would suffer any political consequences. The political pressure forced it to reverse itself. This is particularly true in light of the fact that the City’s failure to do the EEOC compliance evaluation was generally viewed as proof that the City had acted discriminatorily in the lower courts; it’s just plain odd that Justice Kennedy is taking it as proof of the opposite now.

    The other, bigger big problem with this decision that I see is that not only does it go so far as to effectively foreclose the possibility of a suit by the black firefighters, but it also appears to weaken the law of disparate impact in general. I suspect Justice Ginsburg’s dissent is correct in noting that an employer taking voluntary remedial action for disparate impact discrimination can now do so only if it can prove a violation against itself.

    In that light, I’m starting to think that the majority decision may actually be quite un-libertarian. It puts employers into more of a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t position. I know most libertarians are opposed to anti-discrimination laws in general, but supporting a decision that makes those laws more complex, and more difficult to comply with strikes me as a pretty un-libertarian result.Report

  4. Avatar Jaybird says:

    What bugs me about the decision is that I could see the court flipping around entirely if the colors were switched. I could see a 4-5 decision with the “liberals” on this side and the “Conservatives (and Kennedy)” on that side.

    This reflects poorly on the entire court.Report

  5. Without welfare and education reform which addresses minority empowerment through skill and knowledge attainment, the basic problem will remain unchanged, even if you strengthened affirmative action. Affirmative action would enhance the prospects of a very small percentage of minorities.Report

  6. I meant to write — affirmative action enhances only…Report

  7. Avatar Roque Nuevo says:

    First: I second the commenters who insist that “decades of affirmative action” certainly have done a lot to fix the problem of permanent black poverty.

    However, just so Freddie knows I’m not here just to cause him problems, I agree with the main thrust of his piece: we needed and continue to need affirmative action programs in this country as an exceptional case to our “color blind” constitutional order.

    It’s impossible to understand the situation of the “black underclass” as Freddie calls them, without understanding centuries of black slavery and especially a century of an apartheid-like legal regime complete with legalized lynchings that was armed against them following the Civil War. Apart from the issue of slavery, as bad as that is, the hundred years of legalized discrimination against blacks constitutes an historical crime against black people. This is always the background to any discussion of the “black underclass.”

    Once the damage has been done, nothing can take it away. Black people have been damaged by the white majority and nothing will ever change that. But the white majority can at the very least try and make it up with programs like affirmative action.

    These programs cannot last forever under our constitution. They are exceptions to our collective judicial philosophy, which is based on protecting individual rights from state control.

    I agree with Freddie that these programs must continue until they are no longer necessary. That is, when everyone recognizes that they’re no longer necessary. That time is still at least a generation away.Report

    • Avatar Chi in reply to Roque Nuevo says:

      “that time is at least a generation away”

      The problem with this view is that the differences between group averages has held firm at over 1 std deviation over 80 years. Note that Ashkenazi Jews have consistently tested 2/3 of a std deviation above other whites while Chinese have also consistently tested a few points above the european mean.

      Also, note whites whose parents earn less than $30,000 a year score slightly better than blacks from households earning over $70,000 while the children of the high school educated whites score slightly better than the children of graduate degree blacks.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:1995-SAT-Income2.png

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:1995-SAT-Education2.png

      http://www.gnxp.com/blog/2007/10/james-watson-tells-inconvenient-truth_296.phpReport

    • Avatar Chi in reply to Roque Nuevo says:

      “that time is at least a generation away”

      The problem with this view is that the differences between group averages has held firm at over 1 std deviation over 80 years. Note that Ashkenazi Jews have consistently tested 2/3 of a std deviation above other whites while Chinese have also consistently tested a few points above the european mean.

      Also, note whites whose parents earn less than $30,000 a year score slightly better than blacks from households earning over $70,000 while the children of the high school educated whites score slightly better than the children of graduate degree blacks.Report

      • Avatar Roque Nuevo in reply to Chi says:

        Are you saying that black people will continue to demand affirmative action programs forever because they are, in fact, inferior, and will always be inferior? This can’t be your position…Report

        • Avatar phector in reply to Roque Nuevo says:

          why not? It fits the evidenceReport

        • Avatar Chi in reply to Roque Nuevo says:

          “Roque Nuevo
          July 1st, 2009 at 2:56 am

          Are you saying that black people will continue to demand affirmative action programs forever because they are, in fact, inferior, and will always be inferior? This can’t be your position…”

          You’re misusing the word ‘inferior’. No group is inferior, that’s a moral judgment and is unhelpful. What does seem to be the case, is that groups differ on average over a number of traits. That doesn’t imply much about individuals because obviously you get very stupid whites and very smart blacks. You get very athletic white basketballers etc but if you look at averages they do differ. And as Saletan pointed out in Slate a month or so back “Don’t get me wrong. Genetic and environmental explanations aren’t mutually exclusive. In the case of IQ, everybody accepts environmental factors, and there’s plenty of evidence and argument against the hereditarian view. But that’s just one battle in a larger war. Beyond the march of test scores, there’s the onslaught of genetic research. We’ve already identified genes that correlate with traits and vary in prevalence between ethnic groups. Are you confident that intelligence will turn out to be exempt from this list?”.

          Steve Hsu notes here:

          “There is no strong evidence yet for specific gene variants (alleles) that lead to group differences (differences between clusters) in behavior or intelligence, but progress on the genomic side of this question will be rapid in coming years, as the price to sequence a genome is dropping at an exponential rate.

          What seems to be true (from preliminary studies) is that the gene variants that were under strong selection (reached fixation) over the last 10k years are different in different clusters. That is, the way that modern people in each cluster differ, due to natural selection, from their own ancestors 10k years ago is not the same in each cluster — we have been, at least at the genetic level, experiencing divergent evolution.

          In fact, recent research suggests that 7% or more of all our genes are mutant versions that replaced earlier variants through natural selection over the last tens of thousands of years. There was little gene flow between continental clusters (“races”) during that period, so there is circumstantial evidence for group differences beyond the already established ones (superficial appearance, disease resistance). ” http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2008/01/no-scientific-basis-for-race.htmlReport

  8. Avatar greginak says:

    While affirmative action has not ended the long term problems with a permanent black underclass, it is wrong to say it hasn’t helped. Many blacks, and women who are the largest beneficiary of affirmative action, have gotten jobs that never would have been open to them and moved up the career ladder. That there is a black middle class is somewhat attributable to affirmative action.Report

  9. Avatar Chi says:

    “But my question is open, and I apply it to the most thoughtful opponents of affirmative action and the most rabid and unthinking alike: what are the effects, for our country, of a permanent racial achievement divide? And can we reasonably expect to maintain a peaceful and just society with such a gap between the races?”

    Unfortunately, those gaps occur in numerous societies and are often intractable. See the Chinese in Malaysia and Indonesia, the Indians in Kenya and Uganda (before they were expelled) or the Japanese in South America.

    Groups have different average levels of ability. As Saletan recently wrote:

    “Genes don’t determine everything, and most genes don’t vary significantly between populations. But research is constantly finding new gene-trait correlations and group differences. If your faith in equality depends on an ethnically or racially even distribution of all ability-influencing genes, you’re in trouble.” http://www.slate.com/id/2217571/pagenum/2

    Or as Johnathan Haidt wrote:

    “A wall has long protected respectable evolutionary inquiry from accusations of aiding and abetting racism. That wall is the belief that genetic change happens at such a glacial pace that there simply was not time, in the 50,000 years since humans spread out from Africa, for selection pressures to have altered the genome in anything but the most trivial way (e.g., changes in skin color and nose shape were adaptive responses to cold climates). Evolutionary psychology has therefore focused on the Pleistocene era – the period from about 1.8 million years ago to the dawn of agriculture — during which our common humanity was forged for the hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

    But the writing is on the wall. Russian scientists showed in the 1990s that a strong selection pressure (picking out and breeding only the tamest fox pups in each generation) created what was — in behavior as well as body — essentially a new species in just 30 generations. That would correspond to about 750 years for humans. Humans may never have experienced such a strong selection pressure for such a long period, but they surely experienced many weaker selection pressures that lasted far longer, and for which some heritable personality traits were more adaptive than others. It stands to reason that local populations (not continent-wide “races”) adapted to local circumstances by a process known as “co-evolution” in which genes and cultural elements change over time and mutually influence each other. The best documented example of this process is the co-evolution of genetic mutations that maintain the ability to fully digest lactose in adulthood with the cultural innovation of keeping cattle and drinking their milk. This process has happened several times in the last 10,000 years, not to whole “races” but to tribes or larger groups that domesticated cattle.

    Recent “sweeps” of the genome across human populations show that hundreds of genes have been changing during the last 5-10 millennia in response to local selection pressures. (See papers by Benjamin Voight, Scott Williamson, and Bruce Lahn). No new mental modules can be created from scratch in a few millennia, but slight tweaks to existing mechanisms can happen quickly, and small genetic changes can have big behavioral effects, as with those Russian foxes. We must therefore begin looking beyond the Pleistocene and turn our attention to the Holocene era as well – the last 10,000 years. This was the period after the spread of agriculture during which the pace of genetic change sped up in response to the enormous increase in the variety of ways that humans earned their living, formed larger coalitions, fought wars, and competed for resources and mates.

    The protective “wall” is about to come crashing down, and all sorts of uncomfortable claims are going to pour in. Skin color has no moral significance, but traits that led to Darwinian success in one of the many new niches and occupations of Holocene life — traits such as collectivism, clannishness, aggressiveness, docility, or the ability to delay gratification — are often seen as virtues or vices. Virtues are acquired slowly, by practice within a cultural context, but the discovery that there might be ethnically-linked genetic variations in the ease with which people can acquire specific virtues is — and this is my prediction — going to be a “game changing” scientific event. (By “ethnic” I mean any group of people who believe they share common descent, actually do share common descent, and that descent involved at least 500 years of a sustained selection pressure, such as sheep herding, rice farming, exposure to malaria, or a caste-based social order, which favored some heritable behavioral predispositions and not others.)

    I believe that the “Bell Curve” wars of the 1990s, over race differences in intelligence, will seem genteel and short-lived compared to the coming arguments over ethnic differences in moralized traits. I predict that this “war” will break out between 2012 and 2017.

    There are reasons to hope that we’ll ultimately reach a consensus that does not aid and abet racism. I expect that dozens or hundreds of ethnic differences will be found, so that any group — like any person — can be said to have many strengths and a few weaknesses, all of which are context-dependent. Furthermore, these cross-group differences are likely to be small when compared to the enormous variation within ethnic groups and the enormous and obvious effects of cultural learning. But whatever consensus we ultimately reach, the ways in which we now think about genes, groups, evolution and ethnicity will be radically changed by the unstoppable progress of the human genome project. ”

    http://www.edge.org/q2009/q09_4.html#haidtReport

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Chi says:

      That is a lot of fancy talk that amounts to nothing. It’s his guess something will be found. However race has no biological basis. Substituting ethnicity may sound reasonable but is just as lacking without showing substantial evidence. Blacks in America are not descended from just one ethnic group in Africa. There was also substantial rape of slaves by slave owners so African-American blacks often have some white genes floating around.

      Separating environment from genetics is inherently hard and likely impossible especially from mega-complex behaviors and consequences like populations economics. I am not aware of any evidence that groups have inherent natural ability levels. There are so many complexities in testing and such that it is, also, likely impossible to ever find such.

      One of the hallmarks of modern human adaptation and reproductive success is culture. Our cultures evolve and change, so it is an open question how much biological evolution is occurring or how significant that would be when compared with culture.

      There is no evidence that there are genetic traits fixed at birth that limit or enhance social mobility.Report

      • Avatar Chi in reply to greginak says:

        “However race has no biological basis.”

        Actually, that is not correct.

        There are readily identifiable clusters of points, corresponding to traditional continental ethnic groups: Europeans, Africans, Asians, Native Americans, etc. (See, for example, Risch et al., Am. J. Hum. Genet. 76:268–275, 2005.) . This clustering is a natural consequence of geographical isolation, inheritance and natural selection operating over the last 50k years since humans left Africa.

        Two groups that form distinct clusters are likely to exhibit different frequency distributions over various genes, leading to potential group differences.

        Steve Hsu discusses this here:

        There is no strong evidence yet for specific gene variants (alleles) that lead to group differences (differences between clusters) in behavior or intelligence, but progress on the genomic side of this question will be rapid in coming years, as the price to sequence a genome is dropping at an exponential rate.

        What seems to be true (from preliminary studies) is that the gene variants that were under strong selection (reached fixation) over the last 10k years are different in different clusters. That is, the way that modern people in each cluster differ, due to natural selection, from their own ancestors 10k years ago is not the same in each cluster — we have been, at least at the genetic level, experiencing divergent evolution.

        In fact, recent research suggests that 7% or more of all our genes are mutant versions that replaced earlier variants through natural selection over the last tens of thousands of years. There was little gene flow between continental clusters (“races”) during that period, so there is circumstantial evidence for group differences beyond the already established ones (superficial appearance, disease resistance).

        http://infoproc.blogspot.com/2008/01/no-scientific-basis-for-race.htmlReport

      • Avatar Chi in reply to greginak says:

        “There is no evidence that there are genetic traits fixed at birth that limit or enhance social mobility.”

        Twin studies suggest that intelligence is significantly hereditary. http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126993.300-highspeed-brains-are-in-the-genes.html

        There is also evidence that personality features are too.

        “Personality types are linked with structural differences in the brain – which could explain why one child grows up to be impulsive and outgoing while another becomes diligent and introspective.

        Anatomical differences between the brains of 85 people have been measured and linked with the four main categories of personality types as defined by psychiatrists using a clinically recognised system of character evaluation.

        The researchers said the brain differences are structural and can be measured as variations in the size of specific regions of the brain that appear to be linked with each of the four personality types.

        Brain scans that measure differences in volume down to an accuracy of less than one cubic millimetre found, for instance, that people defined as novelty-seeking personalities had a structurally bigger area of the brain above the eye sockets, known as the inferior part of the frontal lobe.

        People with smaller volumes of tissue in this region displayed higher levels of timidity, approval-seeking behaviours and a greater tendency to seek gratification from external sources such as food or drugs, said Professor Annalena Venneri of the University of Hull.
        People with “harm-avoidance” personalities had significantly smaller volumes of tissue in brain regions called the orbito-frontal area and the posterior occipital region, compared with other personality types.”

        Also, see Steven Pinker’s ‘The Blank Slate’ or his NY Times article ‘Personal Genomics’ from earlier this year.Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to Chi says:

          Except that the genetic links to various personality factors do not add up to social mobility. A “harm avoidance” personality, if there was one, does not equate to low social mobility. In fact avoiding harm could lead to steady, unconventional plodding in school instead of going wild in the streets. You are linking individual factors to multi-causal outcomes. that doesn’t work. Even if there are links to certain characteristics, which i agree there are, that in no way proves they also lead to a vastly complex issue like social mobility.

          Intelligence testing a complex and controversial field. There is plenty of evidence there are biases in testing that are difficult if not impossible to remove. In any case intell tests are limited predictors of many things. Trust me on that, I was tested in junior high and found to have an IQ of 135. That somewhat clashed with my D – avg.

          Whatever “racial” characteristics that have been found are superficial. There is no evidence “races” represent different types of humans with deep differences. However there is plenty of evidence races are social constructs.Report

          • Avatar Chi in reply to greginak says:

            There is plenty of evidence there are biases in testing that are difficult if not impossible to remove. In any case intell tests are limited predictors of many things. Trust me on that, I was tested in junior high and found to have an IQ of 135. That somewhat clashed with my D – avg.”

            But how hard were you trying, with your studies? Remember that IQ is not deterministic at the individual level. It can be limiting, but not deterministic. At the group level, IQ correlates are usually robust. A high or low IQ does not mean that a person will be or not be a college graduate. It does predict (accurately) that more high IQ people will be college graduates than those with a lower average IQ .

            “Whatever “racial” characteristics that have been found are superficial. There is no evidence “races” represent different types of humans with deep differences. However there is plenty of evidence races are social constructs.”

            This is contradicted by what we see in the NBA or the Olympics. For instance no white or Asian has ever gone under 10 seconds in the 100 metres.

            Jon Entine has written about population differences in the sporting context. This is quite a long article, but addresses a number of the social construct type views.

            “The pool of potential great sprinters (and athletes with fast burst, anaerobic skills) is deepest among athletes of West African descent. Claude Bouchard, geneticist at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University, found that such populations have a higher percentage of “energy efficient” fast twitch muscle fibers to complement their naturally more mesomorphic physiques. “West Africans have 70 percent of the fast type muscle fibers when they are born,” adds Saltin. “And that’s needed for a 100-meter race around 9.9 seconds.”

            http://www.jonentine.com/reviews/straw_man_of_race.htmReport

            • Avatar greginak in reply to Chi says:

              Well then Japanese people have a genetic superiority at Sumo, that other Asians lack. . Finn’s are genetically more aerodynamic because they are the best ski jumpers. Norwegians, Swede’s and Finn’s are geneticly better at cross country skiing while somehow the English, greeks and danes, who are also a nordic people, are missing those genes. There is a ton of culture that goes into sports success. Are Aussie’s geneticly superior at swimming, while the Swiss and New Zealander’s ?? lack a swimming gene.

              “But how hard were you trying, with your studies? Remember that IQ is not deterministic at the individual level.”
              No i wasn’t trying hard and i was shy with little direction and afraid of standing out. Of course i could tell you almost line for line every damn star trek episode. That is my point. There are many reasons for academic success or failure aside from the genetic portion of intelligence. Early child ed has an effect on intell, i was lucky to be an only child. I had parents who were set on me attending college and lived in a community where it was the norm to go to college. If i hadn’t had those advantages i can’t imagine i would have gone to college, although i still would have tragically geeky interests. I have met many people only slightly brighter then a bag full of hammers who went to college, and succeeded afterwards, because of social and other advantages.Report

              • Avatar Chi in reply to greginak says:

                Did you read Entine’s article?

                “There are many reasons for academic success or failure aside from the genetic portion of intelligence.”

                Which no reasonable person would dispute. However environmental factors are often not independent variables, but are given their limits and direction by hereditary, neuro-endocrinological factors. I think that brainy people tend to assume that everyone could be like them if they had a more supportive upbringing. Sandra Scarr observed from the Minnesota Transracial Adoption studies studies show that “there is simply no good evidence that social environmental factors have a large effect on IQ, particularly in adolescence and beyond, except in cases of extreme environmental deprivation.”

                Of course how that ability is applied is another question.Report

          • Avatar Chi in reply to greginak says:

            “Except that the genetic links to various personality factors do not add up to social mobility.”

            Have you read Greg Clark’s book ‘A Farewell to Alms’ about the industrial revolution? Here is a pdf clarifying some of his points, including hereditability of traits and wealth:

            “Studies of criminality, using either twins or adoption methods, have similarly revealed a similarly strong genetic connection. One classic study is that of 14,427 Danish adoptees where the court convictions of the adoptees, their biological parents, and their adoptive parents are all known.

            When both sets of parents were non-criminal, the chances of the adoptee being convicted for a crime were 13.5%. When only the adoptive parent had a criminal record this chance rose very slightly to 14.7%. However if only the biological parent had a criminal record the chance of the adoptee having a criminal record rose much more, to 20.0%. If both sets of parents had a criminal record the chance of the adoptee having such a record was 24.5%. This suggests that genetic influences on the propensity to crime are much greater than environmental influences.10

            Could the same forces identified above also cause significant genetic change over the course of 20-200 generations?

            ….

            But the evidence from pre-industrial England suggests that economic success was highly hereditable. Given how hard it is to change by social policy traits that are acquired within families, this, in terms of modern social impact it does not matter whether the mechanism of inheritance was genetic or not.

            But evidence from the modern world establishes that economic success has a very important genetic component. Putting these together we can establish that there must have been significant genetic change from generation to generation in this dimension in societies like pre-industrial England.

            This evidence fits well with recent claims that the rate of evolution among humans speeded up in the past 10,000 years. A recent study of variations in DNA across individuals concluded that:

            “Rapid population growth has been coupled with vast changes in cultures and ecology, creating new opportunities for adaptation. The past 10,000 years have seen rapid skeletal and dental evolution in human populations, as well as the appearance of many new genetic responses to diet and disease.”13

            In one particular case, the evolution of lactose tolerance has been traced in Northern Europeans to only the last 5,000-10,000 years.14”

            McCloskey citing the review of the book by Robert Solow, argues that the experience of countries like India and China recently, and of immigrants to the US, shows that the idea that there are deep seated cultural or genetic differences in peoples’ ability to succeed economically, which stem from the long histories of these societies, is unsupportable.

            On the contrary, I think that there is a lot of modern evidence that is supportive of this possibility. What is emphasized in A Farewell to Alms is that the processes identified for England occurred in all settled pre-industrial agrarian societies, though perhaps with different force. That suggests that if we want to find the maximum possible cultural and genetic difference between groups in the modern world we should contrast the people from long settled agrarian societies with those from hunter-gatherer societies that never experienced settled institutionally stable agricultural systems. Can McCloskey point to a single hunter-gatherer group that has successfully and quickly adapted to modern capitalist economies?

            http://www.econ.ucdavis.edu/faculty/gclark/Farewell%20to%20Alms/EREH%20response%20-%20revised.pdfReport

  10. Avatar Chi says:

    “I am afraid for my country. This country has a permanent black underclass; Hispanic economic mobility is not much better. Decades of affirmative action have done little to fix that. Now, we appear ready to abandon those attempts to level the playing field entirely.”

    The question I have is what if traits which affect social mobility are substantially fixed at birth? Does this mean that the only way to maintain a peaceful society is through permanent quotas?

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126993.300-highspeed-brains-are-in-the-genes.html

    Note that in terms of cultural deprivation deaf children perform as well as other children on psychometric tests.

    “it has been noted that deaf children, a group with severe cultural deprivation due to lack of experience with language, do as well on performance IQ tests as normal hearing children without this deprivation. The implication is that cultural deprivation may not play the role currently being ascribed to it in the development of intelligence.”

    Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education Advance Access originally published online on May 11, 2005
    The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education 2005 10(3):225-231

    As things stand, if you look at NYLS scores over the past 30 years there is no evidence of racial discrimination in income.

    Kanazawa, Satoshi (2005) The myth of racial discrimination in pay in the United States. Managerial and decision economics, 26 (5).Report

  11. Avatar Dana says:

    Our esteemed host wrote:

    I am afraid for my country. This country has a permanent black underclass; Hispanic economic mobility is not much better. Decades of affirmative action have done little to fix that. Now, we appear ready to abandon those attempts to level the playing field entirely. Of course, principles and ideals are important. But my question is open, and I apply it to the most thoughtful opponents of affirmative action and the most rabid and unthinking alike: what are the effects, for our country, of a permanent racial achievement divide? And can we reasonably expect to maintain a peaceful and just society with such a gap between the races?

    This statement sort of begs the question: if nearly four decades of Affirmative Action have done little in this regard, why would anyone support it? Regardless of what one thinks about the idea of Affirmative Action, according to your observation, the program simply hasn’t worked.

    If Affirmative Action has not produced the results it was intended to produce, it seems to me that it’s time to ask why the program has failed.Report

    • Avatar Kyle in reply to Dana says:

      I think Mike gives a partial answer to your question, affirmative action is one piece of the puzzle. Until you address poverty issues (welfare reform) and education,

      I’d add that cultural issues and parental absenteeism and incarceration matter as well. The best way to solve the problems is – of course – open to wide disagreement but the rise or fall of an entire underclass of people does not rest on a single approach or solution. Never has, never will.Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *