Is intra-Black “colorism” partially due to genetics?

In the last post I nihlistically concluded that: “The fact that there is a correlation, of course, does not reduce the environmental-genetic uncertainty much, as the correlation could always be explained environmentally.” I concluded this even after pointing to an analysis of the ADD health data by Guo and Stearns (2002) which found a wave I IQ heritability of .57 in the Black population. One might deduce that, were genes to explain 60% of the variance in the Black population, they should explain 60% of the variance between Black subpopulations defined by color. I dismissed this consideration, however, reasoning that environmentalists could always make their locality objection. Just as they vigorously maintain that one can not generalize within race h^2 estimates between races, they could maintain that one can not generalize these estimates between color groups within races. However, I just check the ADD health data. Apparently, the study was constructed to readily allow for behavior genetic analysis. Genetic kinships were oversampled and retained across the waves. The Black sample in wave III, in which color is recorded, contains enough full siblings, half siblings, MZ twins, DZ twins, and unrelated individuals to make a h^2 estimate for color, and if that index is found to be reliable enough, a within race between color continuum estimate of IQ h^2. This, of course, would be a relatively complex analysis — so I’m not going to attempt it myself. I spent the last couple of hour playing with the data and found that the IQ, color correlation did not vary significantly between related and unrelated individuals, which is suggestive. Anyways, if someone else is interested in working on this, let me know. Alternatively, you could sign up for one of this asshole’s courses:

“In my years as a white person co-facilitating anti-racism courses for primarily white audiences in a range of academic, corporate, and government institutions across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, I have come to believe that the Discourse of Individualism is one of the primary barriers preventing well-meaning (and other) white people from understanding racism. …In my experience, when white people insist on Individualism in discussions about racism, they are in essence saying: My race has not made a difference in my life, so why do we have to talk about race as if it mattered?…Obviously I disagree with these familiar dominant claims, as they stand in the face of all evidence to the contrary, both research-based evidence of racial discrimination and disparity on every measure (see Copeland, 2005; Hochschild & Weaver, 2007; Micceri, 2009; Wessel, 2005) and visible evidence of ongoing patterns of segregation in education, economics, and housing.”(“Why Can’t We All Just Be Individuals?: Countering the Discourse of Individualism in Anti-racist Education”)

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2 Responses to Is intra-Black “colorism” partially due to genetics?

  1. JL says:

    I also did not know that the Add Health data included so many relatives. That could potentially bias some analyses.

    Apparently, 12,200 participants will be genotyped for lots of SNPs for Add Health’s fourth wave. Those data could enable a definite test of the B-W hereditarian hypothesis.

    Chuck, did you know about the Fragile Families study? It’s a longitudinal study of 5,000 kids of various races born in the late 1990s, mostly to single mothers (hence the name). For some reason I did not know about this study until now. The latest data are from the 9-year follow-up. The data are available for download, and include IQ test results of not only children but also mothers and fathers.

    • Chuck says:

      The HH could have already been definitively tested. What we need to do is re-establish that it’s a live hypothesis which needs to be. No, I didn’t know about the Fragile Families study. Thanks. I’ll look into it.

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