The Problem of the IQ Gap

To make clear at the beggining of this post, I do not endorse any genetic theory of significant differences across racial populations. That issue is one of great scientific complexity, debate, and the consensus is largely against genetic variability playing any role in differential aptitudes.

That said, the Black population in America as whole displays a lower average IQ than the mean population (although gains of a significant degree amongst the Black population has decreased the gap), presumably due to environmental factors.

Despite the prevalence of environmental factors, at the level of affirmative action, in which the applicants have already been socialized and exposed to their environment for their entire developement, we must consider that IQ does make a real difference in outcomes, because regardless of how that intelligence is acquired it is vital to success in academic and professional studies, as the controversial Bell Curve confirms (note: I understand the limitations but I did consult Dr. Hannon who told me that he had replicated all their findings outside of the racial ones, which leaves intact the findings about the importance of intelligence to outcomes).

Thus, when we fail to address the environmental conditions that create the IQ gap and instead choose to take a downstream approach, we risk privileging less qualified and more unprepared students into elite university, graduate programs and careers. This has created what is called the “mismatch effect” in which minorities actually are harmed by affirmative action and display much higher failure rates. Again, this has its limitations and is controversially but it logically follows. If we create systems that artificially depress the intellectual capabilities of racial minorities from birth, why would we enforce an egalitarianism in adolsence and adulthood that does not account for the harm that oppression and patterns of intellectual suppression that has already been done.

See this essay from the DANA foundation (brain research philanthropy) that addresses the issue of whether IQ is relevant or real:

Again, this link does not do the entire argument justice but a sociology student’s cursory analysis of the far inferior field of psychology seems to suggest a significant consensus that IQ does have real world impacts.

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