Race and IQ

Race and IQ

Race and IQ

Race and IQ

Synopsis

Ashley Montagu, who first attacked the term "race" as a usable concept in his acclaimed work, Man's Most Dangerous Myth, offers here a devastating rebuttal to those who would claim any link between race and intelligence. In now classic essays, this thought-provoking volume critically examines the terms "race" and "IQ" and their applications in scientific discourse. The twenty-four contributors--including such eminent thinkers as Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Lewontin, Urie Bronfenbrenner, W.F. Bodmer, and Jerome Kagan--draw on fields that range from biology and genetics to psychology, anthropology, and education. What emerges in piece after piece is a deep skepticism about the scientific validity of intelligence tests, especially as applied to evaluating innate intelligence, if only because scientists still cannot distinguish between genetic and environmental contributions to the development of the human mind. Five new essays have been included that specifically address the claims made in the recent, highly controversial book, The Bell Curve. Must reading for anyone interested in racism and education in America, Race and IQ is a brilliantly lucid exploration of the boundary line between race and intelligence.

Excerpt

"Race" and "IQ" are terms which seemingly possess a clear and well-defined meaning for millions of people. Their common usage implies the belief in a reality which is beyond question. When, on occasion, the suggestion is made that these terms correspond to no reality whatever, but constitute an amalgam of erroneous and stultifying ideas of the most damaging kind, the suggestion is received either with blank incredulity or open derision. Nevertheless, the truth is that these terms not only are unsound but in fact correspond to no verifiable reality, and have, indeed, been made the basis for social and political action of the most heinous kinds.

What is considered so obvious and beyond question is the apparent fact that the physical differences which allegedly mark off the "races" from one another are indissolubly linked with individual and group achievement. Some "races," it is held, are in all these respects inferior to others. Hence, all that is necessary in order to arrive at a proper estimate of an individual's potential general abilities is to identify, usually by his external appearance, his "racial" membership, and this will at once tell one what the limits of that individual's capacities are, what he is likely to be able to accomplish, and, furthermore, what his particular "race" will be able to achieve. These three phenomena, physical appearance, individual ability, and group achievement, are inseparably linked with each other by heredity. This "manifest reality" is what is generally understood by "race." It is the popular, or social, con-

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