Race and Intelligence: Separating Science from Myth

By Jefferson M. Fish | Go to book overview

combination of gender and test score effects imply that a young woman who wishes to reduce her risk of poverty to the lower level of her brother has to score 41 to 55 points higher on the AFQT than he does (out of a possible 105 points). These figures assume that the young woman in question has an average chance of being married or not. Marriage gives a young woman access to her husband's earning power (Waite, 1998). For women married to white men, marriage acts like an antipoverty insurance policy; only 4% of them are poor. For unmarried mothers (African American and white), the risk of poverty is very great indeed—over one fourth are poor.

This analysis has addressed the order of finishing in the U.S. economic game. The rules of the game determine the order of finishing but not the relative sizes of the prizes (a distinction completely obscured by Herrnstein & Murray, 1994). In Inequality by Design, Fischer et al. (1996) discussed (a) the prizes, (b) how the distribution of those prizes has changed over time, and (c) how the United States compares with other rich countries in the distribution of them. That discussion provides more evidence of the importance of institutions in U.S. inequality and for the very small role that intrinsic individual differences, including abilities, play.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

This research is part of a project that also involves five other members of the Sociology Department at the University of California, Berkeley—Claude S. Fischer, Martín Sanchez Jankowski, Samuel R. Lucas, Ann Swidler, and Kim Voss—and Richard Arum of the Sociology Department at the University of Arizona. Together we published Inequality by Design: Cracking the Bell Curve Myth (Princeton University Press, 1996). The Survey Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Russell Sage Foundation supported the project.


REFERENCES

Ashenfelter, O., & Mooney, J. D. (1968). Graduate education, ability, and earnings. Review of Economics and Statistics, 50, 78–86.

Bianchi, S. (1995). Changing economic roles of women and men. In R. Farley (Ed.), State of the Union: America in the 1990s (Vol. 1, pp. 107–154). New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Bock, D., & Moore, E. G. J. (1986). Advantage and disadvantage: A profile of American youth. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Brewster, K. L. (1994). Race differences in sexual activity among adolescent women. American Sociological Review, 59, 408–424.

Brooks-Gunn, J., Duncan, G. J., Klebanov, P. K., & Sealand, N. (1993). Do neighborhoods influence child and adolescent development? American Journal of Sociology, 99, 353–395.

Crane, J. (1991). The epidemic theory of ghettos and neighborhood effects on dropping out and teenage childbearing. American Journal of Sociology, 96, 1226–1258.

Danziger, S., & Gottschalk, P. (1996). America unequal. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

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