Printed in the Torrington Register on November 10, 1994
The cumulative frustration caused by the failure of government intervention to create an integrated egalitarian society is now boiling over in academia and on our op-ed pages.
A new book, “The Bell Curve” by Charles Murray and Richard Herrstein, resurrects the concept that intelligence has a racial component and further postulates that a disproportionate percentage of African-Americans are thus genetically incapable of entering the middles class. It fails to acknowledge how misguided social policies have decimated the black family and how structural changes in our economy make it virtually impossible for the working poor, who are disproportionately black, to afford safe housing and health insurance.
Especially disturbing is the pseudoscience used to further this thesis. While there is a difference between the IQs of blacks and whites, this difference narrows with increased economic status, yet does not close completely. Therefore, it is concluded that the difference is genetic. This fails to account fo the fact that our popular culture promotes blacks as either entertainers or athletes, thus discouraging academic excellence in blacks. In fact, some rap starts are actually middle-class blacks who pretend they are from the ghettoes.
Yet, it is not necessary to resort to social theories to prove blacks are equally intelligent as whites. Clear-cut evidence is available by examining the performance of blacks at a cerebral game dominated by high IQ types with the ability to think fast while exploring numerous permutations – chess. Recently, African-Americans from a public school in Harlem won the National Junior High chess championship vanquishing scions from the elite white private schools. In fact, the captain of “The Raging Rooks” often had to explain to bystanders at airports that their trophy was not for basketball. How do Murray and Herrstein explain this?
It has become virtually impossible for a low-skilled worker to support a family on a single salary as manufacturing jobs have been exported to other countries. Technological developments, an aging population, increased high-risk behavior and the lobbying by insurance conglomerates have rendered health insurance unaffordable to the working poor. Inner-city neighborhoods are now war zones as our government continues its failed war on drugs. Condom distribution, free abortions, free birth control, value-neutral sex education, and an anti-family welfare system and court decisions that made it economically impossible for the poor to attend religious schools have decimated black families. Yet Murray and Herrstein both argue for more birth control to stop “genetic dysgenesis.”
Rather than resurrect neo-Darwinist theories, our opinion molders should re-examine the public policies of the past generation that have contributed to the growth of the black underclass and the emerging white underclass. Nothing is to be gained by using the social sciences to promote unsubstantiated theories about racial differences in intelligence. Rather, the result will be further deterioration in race relations. Thus, politicians will continue to appease disenfranchised minorities with diversions such as politically correct school curricula and ignore the real issues: safe streets, good schools, jobs and a future for black children.