Not for want of trying

Half Sigma notes:

As Steve Sailer points out, Jon Krosnick, a professor at Stanford University, uses the following question to measure racist attitudes:

It’s really a matter of some people just not trying hard enough; if Blacks would only try harder, they could be just as well off as whites.

I presume that agreeing with this statement makes one racist, which makes me not a racist because I would disagree. The IQ gap between whites and blacks is such that no amount of trying harder will ever enable blacks to be as well off as whites, not in a country in which those with IQs below 100 aren’t qualified for decent career tracks.

Of course denialism of HBD is taken as a given, so the assumption is that agreement with the statement means that the respondent denies the “fact” that massive racism is preventing blacks from being as well off as whites, and such denialism of racism is considered to be racist.

Egalitarians originally pushed motivational theories of the IQ gap — e.g., explanations # 75, 76, 97, 106, etc.. Accordingly, Blacks don’t have high IQs because they are unmotivated to invest in Human capital (i.e., IQ) and they are unmotivated because of historic oppression or because of contemporaneous market discrimination. In the 1960s, though, it was shown in a massive national study that Blacks reported levels of motivation equal to if not higher than Whites. The conflict between the evidence from self-reported surveys, particularly ones from nationally represented studies, and the motivational theorist’s predictions was termed the “attitude-achievement paradox.” To escape this paradox, it was argued that Black self assessment didn’t well index practically important Black motivational levels. This is still argued, in some quarters. Hence, you can find rebuttals to these theories like the one below:

From: Downey et al., 2009. Rethinking the Attitude-Achievement Paradox Among Blacks

Given blacks’ current socioeconomic disadvantages, coupled with their historically oppressed relationship with whites, most scholars would expect blacks to express pessimistic attitudes toward schooling. But they do not. This puzzle was evident as far back as the 1966 Coleman report, which concluded that blacks “give a picture of students who report high interest in academic achievement, but whose reported interest is not translated through effective action into achievement” (Coleman et al. 1966:320). Others have had difficulty understanding black students’ optimistic educational expectations. Studying a sample of black and white high school boys from Indiana, Kerckhoff and Campbell (1977:24) wrote: “The expectations of the white boys seem clearly to be based on their past school experience as well as their ability and social background, but there is little understandable basis for the expectations of the blacks.” This pattern is also evident among researchers who have used ethnographic methods. For example, through observations of black students in a Stockton, California, high school, Ogbu (1989:102) identified what he called the “paradox of high educational aspirations but low academic performance.”

We identify two competing explanations for the paradox. The first questions the legitimacy of blacks’ attitudes. In contrast, the second accepts blacks’ pro-school attitudes as credible, but notes how blacks may face special challenges in converting attitudes into achievement…

…The evidence garnered here has implications for understanding the source of the black-white gap in educational performance. One set of explanations emphasizes how blacks have developed an oppositional culture that is resistant to school goals (Ogbu 1991). Blacks’ pro-school attitudes contradict this explanation, but proponents of the oppositional culture perspective have dismissed blacks’ pro-school attitudes, citing the abstract/concrete solution as a reason for viewing black’s optimism with skepticism (Farkas et al. 2002; Mickelson 2008). Our analysis suggests that if attitude achievement associations are examined across racial/ethnic groups, there is reason to view blacks’ attitudes with legitimacy. The paradox of blacks’ pro-school attitudes but poorer achievement (relative to whites) is not readily understood by dismissing blacks’ attitudes as wishful thinking. Blacks’ pro-school attitudes represent a rational response to their historically improving conditions and the contemporary payoff that blacks accrue from investments in schooling. [Chuck: Ok, but the theory presented in the last sentence (and discussed on page 15) doesn’t make sense of the high level of self reported motivation reported in the 1965 Coleman report which was mentioned in the opening paragraph.]

Since, it has been shown that Black self reported motivation is no less predictive that White self reported motivation. So now the trend is to consider motivational theories of the IQ gap to be racist, unless they are couched in sufficiently antiracist terminology. I’m not well read in liberal theology, but I’m pretty sure that positing a motivational theory is more akin to a venal sin than to a mortal one. Speculating about genetic differences is definitely a mortal one. Accepting White racism is just accepting White man’s fallen nature — or something like that.

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3 Responses to Not for want of trying

  1. Steve Sailer says:

    You could play a drinking game with PBS or NPR where everytime a poor black child is interviewed about their ambitions, and you knock back a shot for each time the word “doctor” or “lawyer” comes up, you could maintain pretty steady buzz.

  2. 猛虎 says:

    Chuck -> “In the 1960s, though, it was shown in a massive national study that Blacks reported levels of motivation equal to if not higher than Whites.”

    Maybe the abortion law during the 1970s is behind all this. Conventional family structures are broken because men could have sex at virtually no cost – the ‘bad guys’ have offspring (spreading more of their alleles). Divorce rate exploded. But we know that the divorce rate between blacks and whites has been widened since the 1970s. Blacks have been more negatively affected by these laws.

    Murray in his new book (Coming Apart) says something interesting. Men are less likely to be hardworking if they have no family or child to take care of. Especially when the government is taking care of the lazy guys (or girls). They are becoming lazy, thanks to the welfare state. And this phenomenon has virtually no effect on the “cognitive elite” as it seems.

    Coming Apart 4
    Coming Apart 5
    Coming Apart 6

    To some extent, this tends to confirm Kanazawa’s assumption in these two papers.

    Social sciences are branches of biology, 2004.

    In a recent study, Budig and England (2001) find that mothers earn less than non-mothers with similar characteristics. The negative effect of motherhood on wage is greater for married mothers than for unmarried mothers. Their finding is in stark contrast to Lundberg and Rose’s (2000) discovery that fathers earn more than non-fathers with similar characteristics. In other words, there appears to be a wage penalty for motherhood and a wage reward for fatherhood.

    Both Budig and England (2001) and Lundberg and Rose (2000) use a statistical technique called the fixed-effect model. By using two data points for each individual, before and after parenthood, the fixed-effect model controls for all unobserved heterogeneity, and allows these authors to rule out the possibility of selection bias. In other words, Budig and England (2001) demonstrate that it is not because women with lower earning capacities are more likely to become mothers that mothers earn less than non-mothers, and Lundberg and Rose (2000) demonstrate that it is not because men with higher earning capacities are more likely to become fathers that fathers earn more than non-fathers. It is motherhood itself that reduces wages, and it is fatherhood itself that increases them.

    Why Nobody Seems to Know What Exactly Social Capital is, 2009.

    In the United States, black women are far less likely to marry and far more likely to have children out of wedlock. In 1998, 21.9% of all white women, 15 and older, had never been married. The corresponding figure for black women was nearly double (41.5%) (Lugaila, 1998). In the same year, 22% of all births to white women were out of wedlock. The corresponding figure for black women is more than triple (67%) (Bachu & O’Connell, 2000). In other words, the incidence of out-of-wedlock births among black women is so high that only one third of black children are born to married couples. What explains this racial disparity and such a high incidence of out-of-wedlock births among black women?

    Recall that, from an evolutionary psychological perspective, no social relationships are inherently good or bad. No ties or associations automatically increase social capital. Social relationships and ties increase social capital only to the extent that they help individuals attain reproductive success. Even such fundamental and seemingly biological ties as marital relationships are not exempt from this rule. Marital relationships increase social capital only to the extent that they help individuals attain reproductive success. As Wilson (1987) points out, however, young black men, for a variety of reasons, do not often make good providers. They are far more likely to be in jail or unemployed than their white counterparts; a relatively few young black men are “marriageable” (Wilson, 1987). Many young black men are therefore not in a position to make parental investment in their children. Young black women do not increase their reproductive success by marrying them, especially since many of them collect public assistance, which they’d have to forfeit if they get married.

    Interestingly, what the authors said page 16, “2. Another possibility is that cognizant of the negative stereotypes of their racial/ethnic group, black youths are sensitive to providing information that may contribute to these stereotypes (Steele 1988). As a result, they may overemphasize their value for schooling in self-presentations to researchers, saying that they value school more than they really do.”, reminds me of this paper which discussed the self-deceptive enhancement among blacks. (Note that I am not buying the “motivation” argument as a way of explaining the B-W gap)

    Racial differences in narcissistic tendencies, by Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Marion T. Wallace (2011).
    http://www.zeigler-hill.com/uploads/7/7/3/2/7732402/zeigler-hill__wallace_2011.pdf

    However, it is also possible that poor adjustment may lead to the development of pathological narcissism. That is, individuals who harbor negative feelings about themselves may develop a façade of grandiosity to disguise these vulnerabilities. This possibility is consistent with the psychodynamic mask model of narcissism (e.g., Bosson et al., 2008).

    The reason that Black individuals develop such positive self-views may stem from parenting strategies intended to protect their children from the harmful effects of racism (Boykin & Toms, 1985; Hughes & Chen, 1997; Phinney & Chavira, 1995).

  3. 猛虎 says:

    In the Add Health data, you can see that blacks spend more time watching TV. At Wave 1, black children clearly spend more time watching TV, compared to whites (using the variable H1DA8). But perhaps the ethnic difference is simply due to the lower level of education of blacks. Even when I enter PA12 (parent’s education) along with the variable RACE, the pattern does not change. For each category, blacks spend more time watching TV.

    This is in stark contradiction with Ludwig and Cook’s finding (see page 266), in their paper “Weighing the “Burden of ‘Acting White'”: Are There Race Differences in Attitudes toward Education?”. The B-W difference in time devoted to homework is not significant and, as they say, “eliminated once we control for family characteristics.”
    http://home.uchicago.edu/~ludwigj/papers/JPAM-BurdenActingWhite-1997

    Ronald Ferguson, cited in “No Excuses: Closing the Racial Gap in Learning” (see page 143), tells the same story :
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/14/education/14winerip.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    But how is it possible to watch so much more TV without investing less time in homework ? I don’t think blacks are sleeping fewer hours than whites. Maybe they are watching TV while doing homework ? But if so, how could we explain the black “net advantage” especially if blacks do not invest more time in homework ? Blacks do not invest more time in homework and they spend more time watching TV. I wonder why blacks’ self-esteem and aspiration do not underpredict their achievement, if they really devalue education. Any idea ?

    P.S. miscellaneous papers for those who are interested.
    Is Parental Love Colorblind? Allocation of Resources within Mixed Families Marcos A. Rangel 2007
    Is there a (transracial) adoption achievement gap? A national longitudinal analysis of adopted children’s educational performance (2013)
    Birth Cohort and the Black-White Achievement Gap: The Role of Health Soon After Birth

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