"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