Arthur Jensen The Bell Curve Controversy Race and IQ Arguments Pro and Con

About the college professor Arthur Jensen who proposed that the races are unequal in regards to IQ and follow a bell curve pattern, arguments for and against Jensen.

Arguments Pro and Con


Anti-Jensen: While individual blacks do score lower than individual whites, this finding cannot be applied across the board to the whole black race as a genetically determined characteristic. Cultural differences, discrimination, and lack of opportunity have held blacks back and affected the development of their natural intelligence.

From time to time, other studies have "proved" racial or ethnic groups to be intellectually inferior. In 1925, for instance, a British statistician claimed that Jews were mentally inferior to the general population. (More recently, in an Israeli kibbutzim environment, the IQs of European Jewish children increased from an average of 105 to 115, and those of Oriental Jewish children from 85 to the same 115.)

Pro-Jensen: Most scientists agree that genetic influences are about twice as important as environmental factors among individuals. Biologists generally concur that a genetically conditioned characteristic that varies among individuals within a subspecies (e.g. race) also varies genetically among different subspecies.


Anti-Jensen: Intelligence tests now in use were created for the white middle class and therefore are culturally slanted. They do not reflect the black vocabulary or black concepts. (In reaction to this, a black psychologist has devised a vocabulary test called BITCH-"Black Intelligence Test to Counter Honkeyism"-that is based on the language of the black subculture.)

Pro-Jensen: It was on the nonverbal tests that blacks most often failed. Using material common to many cultures, the nonverbal tests measure the ability to generalize, to see differences and similarities, to perceive relationships, and solve problems. On the Wechsler intelligence tests, for instance, blacks do better on vocabularly, general information, and verbal comprehension than they do on block designs and other sections dealing with abstract, nonverbal reasoning. The opposite is true for Orientals, Mexican-Americans, American Indians, Puerto Ricans, and Arctic Eskimos.


Anti-Jensen: Blacks have been so beaten down by the discriminatory environment in which they live that they have no motivation to do well on intelligence tests.

Pro-Jensen: Why then is there little or no difference in scores which involve memory and rote learning? If blacks were really poorly motivated to take tests, wouldn't they score low on everything?

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