Author: Jay M

The black-white cognitive ability gap and social outcomes

Most people are aware that there are significant disparities between blacks and whites in the United States with regard to a wide range of important social outcomes, including crime, income, education, poverty, welfare usage, etc. For almost every measurable metric of important life outcomes, blacks perform significantly worse than whites. In this post, I will cite studies showing that many of these disparities are likely caused by the significant cognitive differences between blacks and whites. I begin by illustrating a few examples of the disparities between blacks and whites with respect to important life outcomes. Then I briefly review evidence demonstrating the predictive validity and causal influence of cognitive ability for these outcomes. Next, I present data illustrating the scope and magnitude of the black-white cognitive ability gap. Finally, I provide evidence indicating that many of the aforementioned disparities between blacks and whites are (mostly) eliminated after controlling for youth cognitive ability.

Poor environmental explanations of the black-white cognitive ability gap

In this post, I will consider some of the most commonly posited explanations of the black-white cognitive ability gap. Firstly, I consider what I call the Test Bias Hypothesis, which posits that black-white differences in cognitive test scores are the result of biased tests rather than genuine differences in cognitive ability. Secondly, I consider the Schooling Hypothesis, which holds that the cognitive ability gap is the result of differences in schooling between blacks and whites. Finally, I consider the Socioeconomic Hypothesis, which affirms that the cognitive ability gap is the result of the SES gap. I will argue that each of these hypotheses fail to adequately account for the cognitive ability gap. The predictions made by each of these hypotheses (insofar as they make predictions) are consistently falsified by the preponderance of data.

The magnitude and scope of black crime

The purpose of this post is to cite the extent of black crime around the world. The first section is concerned with black crime in the United States. This section should not be terribly surprising to most people since I assume (hope) most people are aware that black people are disproportionately engaged in crime in the United States. I believe the latter two sections contain information that most people are not aware of. The second section covers misconduct among black children in the United States. The third and final section covers black crime and misconduct outside of the United States. The last two sections, especially the last section, will probably be educational for the vast majority of people reading this post. If not, the post at the very least serves as a useful fact sheet for those interested in this topic.

Achievement beyond IQ: group differences

In this post, I will show specific examples of group differences in success that are not the result of differences in intelligence or cognitive ability. I will begin by citing evidence Asian American overachievement in a variety of metrics of success – e.g., academic achievement, income, occupational prestige, etc. – are not entirely the result of an advantage in cognitive ability. In the future, I plan to add data to this post showing that other groups – including Jews, women, and certain groups of black people – also achieve more than what would be predicted based on their intelligence. 

The early emergence of black-white disparities

Most people are aware of the significant disparities between blacks and whites regarding a wide range of important social outcomes, including crime, income, education, poverty, welfare usage, etc. I have written extensively on racial disparities in crime and on the degree to which disparities in IQ explain many of the important racial disparities. In this post, I will review studies and data that show that many of these disparities appear extremely early. Specifically, I will show that disparities in IQ, cognitive skills, misconduct, and self-regulation appear extremely early in life. For each of these categories, I will show that we find black-white disparities at pre-school age or even earlier. The general pattern for these disparities is that they gradually grow as children age, until the magnitude of the disparities eventually mirror the gaps that we find between black and white adults.

State activities compatible with libertarian ownership rights

In a previous post, I stated that people have a variety of libertarian ownership rights. The post covered self-ownership rights, world-ownership rights, and some considerations related to the nature of those rights. In this post, I will consider the implications that I believe these ownership rights have on the permissible activities of a state.

Normative skepticism is unreasonable

Normativity is concerned with what we ought to do, how the world ought to be, what we have reason to do, what is good/bad, right/wrong, what is justified/unjustified, warranted/unwarranted, etc. Normative claims can be contrasted with descriptive claims as the latter are concerned with how the world actually is (or has been or will be) whereas the former are concerned with how the world should be. The purpose of this post is to argue against normative skepticism, which I define as the rejection of normative reasons. Thus, I will argue in this post that there are normative reasons.

Police killings and black crime

In light of the killing of George Floyd, there has been much discussion regarding anti-black bias in the criminal justice system (CJS) in the United States. It seems to me that the mainstream assumption is that the disproportionate police killings of black people is strong evidence of an anti-black bias in the CJS. My goal in this post is to refute this assumption. I believe that an honest and impartial assessment of all of the relevant data provides strong reason to deny that the disproportionate police killings of blacks is evidence of anti-black bias. I will argue that the best explanation of disproportionate police killings against blacks doesn’t involve any appeal to an anti-black bias. The best explanation consists in the fact that black people disproportionately engage in criminal activity and the fact that the police disproportionately kill criminals.

Exploring two common explanations of the black-white crime gap

The purpose of this post is to explore two commonly hypothesized explanations of the high levels of criminality in the black population. The first explanation states that high rates of black crime is primarily the result of systemic racism against blacks. The second explanation states that high rates of black crime is primarily the result of the structural or socioeconomic circumstances that black people find themselves in. I will present data that should prompt skepticism of both of these explanations. I’ll begin by describing racial differences in crime.

Studies attempting to explain the black-white crime gap

In a previous post, I provided reasons to be skeptical of SES-based explanations of black criminality. This post provides studies that attempt to more rigorously examine the relationship between SES and black criminality. At the city and state level, crime is more strongly associated with the presence of blacks than it is with low-SES conditions. At the neighborhood level, studies suggest that controlling for SES can statistically account for a moderate portion of the black-white gaps in crime (although findings are mixed on the magnitude of the explained gap). Regardless, as I will argue below, such studies cannot demonstrate causality. That is, they cannot demonstrate that racial differences in neighborhood SES cause any portion of the racial gap in crime.

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