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Race and Culture.



This is a better book than its often-crabby reviews would indicate. The New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
 Times Book Review said that despite the book's scholarly pose, "what animates it is preconception pre·con·cep·tion  
n.
An opinion or conception formed in advance of adequate knowledge or experience, especially a prejudice or bias.

Noun 1.
 rather than investigation, cultural determinism Cultural determinism is the belief that the culture in which we are raised determines who we are at emotional and behavioral levels. This supports the theory that environmental influences dominate who we are instead of biologically inherited traits.  rather than cultural inquiry." The Washington Post said that "it reads like a book that was not quite finished," since it did not match its many anthropological observations with a satisfying overall theory. The arguments Thomas Sowell Thomas Sowell (born June 30, 1930), is an American economist, political writer, and commentator. While often described as a "black conservative", he prefers not to be labeled, and considers himself more libertarian than conservative.  makes in it shold have received about as much attention as those by Charles Murray Charles Murray is the name of several notable people:
  • Charles Murray, 1st Earl of Dunmore (1661–1710)
  • Charles Murray, 7th Earl of Dunmore (1841-1907)
  • Charles Murray (poet), 1864-1941
  • Charles Murray (actor), 1872-1941, American actor from the silent era
 and Richard Herrnstein Richard J. Herrnstein (May 20 1930—September 13 1994) was a prominent researcher in animal learning in the Skinnerian tradition. He was one of the founders of Quantitative Analysis of Behavior.  in The Bell Curve--which means that in an ideal world, each book would have gotten about one-tenth as much attention as The Bell Curve actually received.

The chapter of Sowell's book dealing directly with inherited differences in ability, called "race and Intelligence," was written long before anyone had heard of The Bell Curve. Still, it is a very effective rebuttal rebuttal n. evidence introduced to counter, disprove or contradict the opposition's evidence or a presumption, or responsive legal argument.  to the Murray-Herrnstein argument that inherited and unchangeable un·change·a·ble  
adj.
Not to be altered; immutable: the unchangeable seasons.



un·change
 differences in intelligence play a major role in deciding which races succeed and which fail.

Sowell's discussion of this subject starts, as Murray and Herrnstein do, with the long-established observation that average IQ scores vary among races, with Asians and whites scoring higher than blacks. Some of the difference is very likely genetic, he says. "When the Chinese tested in Hong Kong Hong Kong (hŏng kŏng), Mandarin Xianggang, special administrative region of China, formerly a British crown colony (2005 est. pop. 6,899,000), land area 422 sq mi (1,092 sq km), adjacent to Guangdong prov. , Singapore, Boston, New York Boston is a town in Erie County, New York, United States. The population was 7,897 at the 2000 census. The town is named after Boston, Massachusetts.

The Town of Boston is an interior town of the county and one of the county's "Southtowns.
, and San Francisco San Francisco (săn frănsĭs`kō), city (1990 pop. 723,959), coextensive with San Francisco co., W Calif., on the tip of a peninsula between the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay, which are connected by the strait known as the Golden  repeatedly show a superior sense of spatial conception, it is difficult to deny that there is something there, whatever its origin might be."

But Sowell goes on to say that if genetics were the principal factor determining IQ score, it would be very difficult to explain a number of other well-established observations. For instance, in the last several decades the IQ scores of many ethnic groups in America have changed. In the twenties, the median IQ of Italian-Americans was 92. In the sixties, it was 103. For Polish-Americans, the median IQ rose from 91 in the twenties to 109 in the seventies. Sowell points out that both these groups tended strongly to marry within their own group during the period when their IQ was rising. Therefore, an improvement in genetic stock could not explain the IQ rise; it had to be environment.

Similarly, Sowell says the IQ scores for black Americans have varied heavily with region for many years--lowest in the South, highest in the North. This difference applies even with blacks who migrated fairly recently from the South, and who were obviously from the same gene pool as their lower-IQ relatives still back in the delta and the bayous. Blacks in the North have also had higher average incomes than blacks in the South. The Murray-Herrnstein hypothesis would see the higher IQ as the cause of the higher income. (Why are black auto worker in Detroit better paid than black sharecroppers in Mississippi? Because the auto workers are smarter.) Sowell says that causation more likely runs the other way. (Why do children of Northern black industrial workers score better on tests than the children of black sharecroppers in Mississippi? Because they grow up in a better environment and attend better schools.)

The IQ for America as a whole has risen dramatically through this century, believe it or not. The gene pool of America has constantly deteriorated during this period, if we are to believe the warning of alarmists who throughout this century have said that less-talented aliens are pouring in to burden our system. How could the scores have gone up? I once heard Charles Murray suggest in a seminar that "better nutrition" might have made Americans smarter. I believe Sowell when he says that the cause is improved mass education. (Public schools may be bad now, but a century ago many children barely went to school at all.)

Sowell's more important observation on this is that "race" itself is more a social than a biological conception, especially in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. . If you compare a Swede swede: see turnip.  and a Masai, you can see some obvious racial differences. But in America it is ridiculous to think that all "whites" are similar to each other, or are clearly different from all "Hispanics" or "blacks." The painful American convention of classifying those with any detectable African ancestry as "black" says a lot about American history but almost nothing about real, scientific distinctions among "races" in America. Lani Guinier Lani Guinier (born 1950) is arguably one of the foremost American civil rights scholars in the United States. The first black woman tenured professor at Harvard Law School, Guinier's work spans a range of topics, including professional responsibilities of public lawyers, the , with a Jewish mother and a Caribbean father, is an extreme illustration of a much broader fuzziness of American racial classifications. To say that the difference among American "races" is more in the mind than in the genes doesn't make the differences go away. People hate each other in many corners of the world, even when outsiders can barely tell the difference between the two warring groups. In Japan, a whole detective industry is based on finding out whether otherwise-respectable citizens are actually members of the untouchable untouchable

Former classification of various low-status persons and those outside the Hindu caste system in Indian society. The term Dalit is now used for such people (in preference to Mohandas K.
 caste known as burakumin. The reason the investigations are necessary is that the burakumin look no different from other Japanese. But when a definition of race has only a vague connection to biology, it can hardly support theories of deep differences in brain structure.

The main subject in Sowell's book is the connection between culture and economic, political, and academic performance around the world. Sowell says that because of America's edginess about its own racial problems, Americans resist the very idea that certain groups have developed certain skills or filled certain niches around the world. He says, in effect: Let's forget our own problems for a while and look at how the world actually works. He describes cultural specialization in East Asia, India, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Latin America, and Europe. The best thing I can say for his discussion is that each time it involved something I knew about first hand, for instance the tension between economically dominant Chinese and politically powerful Malays in Southeast Asia, his observation rang true. Sowell does not systematically examine why different groups have succeeded in business, academics, or politics. The best recent book on the cultural roots of economic success or failure remains Underdevelopment is a State of Mind, by Lawrence Harrison. But the book is fair-minded and worth reading, much more so than The Bell Curve.
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Author:Fallows, James
Publication:Washington Monthly
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jan 1, 1995
Words:1034
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