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The Black-White IQ Gap

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JP Rushton

Richard Lynn

L:inda Gottfredson


3300 words

(This goes along with my refutation of Steele here: Strong Evidence, Strong Argument: Race IQ and Adoption)

There is a 15 point, 1 standard deviation between black and white IQs. I will argue that they are not biased towards any group, as well as there being both positive and negative life outcomes based on IQ, crime included. This is due to false ideas of equality, some “blank slate” idea that we all have the same capacity for cognitive ability, athletic ability and so on. These egalitarian ideas, in turn, have devastating effects on our society, as we a) deny the reality of intelligence and b) deny any type of racial gaps in intelligence.

The famous words “Compensatory education has been tried and has apparently failed” in Jensen’s paper in the Harvard Educational Review that reignited the firestorm on the race/IQ debate called How Much Can We Boost IQ and Scholastic Achievement? is the reason why this debate got thrown back into the public eye (Jensen, 1969). It will be argued in this paper that he was correct and that his main thesis that blacks need differing education than do whites is correct and needs to be done.

IQ tests were first developed off of Army Aptitude Tests in the early 1900s by French psychologist Alfred Binet. They were originally used to identify at-risk populations in terms of who is mentally retarded. People then say that due to this, that IQ tests don’t test anything of worth due to the reason why they were originally developed.

In 1976, a study was conducted called the Minnesota Transracial Adoption study where they took children of different races who were adopted into different families and tested their IQs at age 7 and again at age 17. A follow-up study was published in 1992. What was found, was that IQs of transracially adopted children didn’t differ at all from children raised by their biological parents in the same area.

Dr. David Duke states in his book My Awakening: A Path to Racial Understanding (1998), that the authors waited about 4 years to publish these findings. This, of course, has to do with the political climate of today. Any allegations of “racism” can and most likely will end someone’s career; so most individuals just go the politically correct route to play it safe and keep their credentials. Blacks raised in white families hardly did any better than blacks raised in black families. If the differences supposedly were environmental in the way environmentalists say it is, how come blacks raised in rich white families didn’t reach the IQ of whites if “IQ is malleable by the immediate environment?” Because the differences are genetic.

Though, there are other studies that state that environment matters more than genetic factors. These three studies (Moore 1986; Eyferth 1961; and Tizard, 1972) all conclude that the black-white IQ gap is environmental in nature.

A study was conducted that compared IQ scores of 23 7 to 10-year-old black children raised by middle-class white families and the same number of black children but raised in black families (normal adoption) (Moore, 1986). The findings indicated that traditionally adopted black children raised by black parents had normal IQ scores (85), whereas those black children who were adopted by white families had IQs 1 standard deviation (100) above the black mean. Moore states that multivariate analysis indicates that the behaviors of black and white mothers were different in regards to how the black children were treated. She states that white adoptive mothers reduced stress by joking, laughing, and grinning. Whereas black adoptive mothers reduced stress in less positive ways including coughing, scowling and frowning. She also says that white adoptive mothers gave more positive reinforcement to their adoptive child’s problem solving whereas black adoptive mothers gave less (as I am arguing here, these traits are mostly genetic in origin, driven by IQ). She concludes that the ethnicity of the rearing environment exerts a significant influence on intellectual ability as well as standardized test scores. The sample sizes, however, are extremely small and to infer that the black-white IQ gap is environmental in origin because of a study with a small sample size is intellectually dishonest.

One study conducted in Germany in 1959 observed IQ scores of out-of-wedlock children fathered by US soldiers stationed in Germany during WWII and reared by white German mothers (Eyferth, 1961). Mean IQ scores for 83 white children and 97 mixed-race children were 97, 97.2 for the whites and 96.6 for the mixed-race children (Rushton and Jensen, pg. 261). However, these results are disputed. One, the children were extremely young, one-third of the children in the study were between the ages of 5 and 10 whereas the remaining two-thirds of the children were between the ages of 10 and 13. The malleability of intelligence is very well-known in regards to children. The heritability of IQ at age increases with age (a phenomenon known as ‘the Wilson Effect’), which Arthur Jensen states that as a child ages, social environment can increase IQ (as heritability for children aged 5 is 22 percent and children aged 7 at 40 percent). Though, as the child ages, genes activate, and they fall to their genetic potential, with genetic effects accounting for a lion’s share of intelligence (80 to 90 percent) and environment having no effect. Second, 20 to 25 percent of the ‘black’ fathers were French North Africans (Caucasians). This shows why the mixed-race children had higher IQs in the sample: about a quarter of the sample was Caucasian (Rushton and Jensen, pg. 261). Finally, rigorous selection was done on both the white and black soldiers. With 3 percent of whites getting rejected compared to 30 percent of blacks, it is shown that high IQ blacks were selected for, therefore, skewing the sample.

Yet another study on black and white children observed 2 to 5-year-olds in a nursery setting (Tizard, 1972). The white and black children both had IQs at 102.6 and 106.3 respectively. She found no significant gap in the three groups tested (white, black and West Indian). However, she did note that the single significant difference was in that of non-white children.

All three of the above studies that get cited ad nauseum have something in common: they did not retest the children again at age 17 like was done in the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study. This is very critical. As it was alluded to earlier, as children mature, genetics exerts more of an effect than does socialization. Any IQ differences that are brought about by socialization will be mediated by genetics at adulthood, falling to the racial mean. It also noted how the age of adoption does not influence children’s IQ scores after age 7 (Jensen 1998b). This is due to, again, genetic effects being heightened as age increases.

What the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study (Weinberg, Scarr, and Waldman, 1992) and the Eyferth study (1961) had observed was that the children born to a white mother and a black father had statistically significant differences in IQ in comparison to those birthed by a black mother and white father. This is attributed to prenatal environment. It was observed that mothers who had higher IQs and were more educated (which both correlate highly with each other), had children which, in turn, had higher IQ scores as well (Erikson, 2013). The results of the study suggest that mothers who are more educated have children who have higher intelligence. This should end this debate right there. Since, clearly, a white mother is more conducive to foster a higher IQ than is a black mother, this shows that racial differences in IQ are largely genetic in origin.

The black-white IQ gap has been noticed for over 100 years, ever since the test has been first conceptualized. Egalitarians may say that “they’re biased against minorities” or “they don’t learn the right things on the test”, all of these are easily refutable. This was true in the 70s, according to Herrnstein and Murray, but today there is no bias of that magnitude on these tests of cognitive ability.

Jensen states that genetic and cultural factors influence the black-white IQ gap the same as individual factors (80 percent genetic factors, 20 percent environmental). Since both individual differences in IQ, as well as the mean difference in the black-white IQ gap are genetic, this shows that some individuals are genetically predisposed to have lower IQs. Moreover, a multitude of traits in life fall on a bell curve, you will have some individuals at one end, and others at the opposite end, but you’ll see a majority fall in the middle of the racial mean (85 for blacks, 100 for whites, 104 for East Asians and 107 for Ashkenazi Jews). So, with equalized environments, the gap can be closed by around 3 points, but still a lion’s share of the gap is still there, which again gives credence to the genetic hypothesis.

Those who disbelieve the validity of IQ tests at the individual level, as well as the between-group level, say that test biases are the cause for lower scores in certain individuals in minority populations. Gottfredson et al state in their publication that was released after the controversial book The Bell Curve, Mainstream Science on Intelligence, that if you speak the language, IQ tests are not biased. If you don’t speak the language, you then get a special IQ test that is culture free, based on pattern recognition called Raven’s Progressive Matrices. Even then on these culture-free, word-free IQ tests, there is still a one SD gap, 15 points, between blacks and whites.

People have tried to bridge the gap, even going so far to make a test that’s ‘culture fair’ to blacks called the B.I.T.C.H. (Black Intelligence Test of Cultural Homogeneity) IQ test (Williams, 1972). What was found was that blacks scored highly, whereas whites lagged behind. But, the thing is, this test has ridiculous concepts that don’t test actual intelligence. The way that people say that regular IQ tests are biased towards blacks don’t even realize that the way the B.I.T.C.H. IQ test is set up does not mirror the supposed biased nature of regular IQ tests on blacks.

Flynn noticed that no matter which country you look IQs have gained around 3 points per decade. Herrnstein and Murray then coined the term The Flynn Effect, after the man who focused the most attention on the phenomena. Flynn argues that since IQ scores have been gaining the same amount of points in any population no matter where you look, that the black-white IQ gap has to be environmental in origin.

However, the Flynn Effect is a fallacy and is overstated. In 1945, the average IQ of whites in America was 85, the same as the black average today. That statement is supposed to show that the between-group differences are environmental in origin and since there haven’t been any big genetic changes in both populations to account for this difference, then the gap must be environmental in origin. Just because a change in one group over time is due to an environmental change, doesn’t mean, or even make it probable, that a difference between 2 groups at the same time is due to an environmental change. The Flynn Effect make’s that highly unlikely and here’s why.

Any country you look at, the rate of increase is 3 IQ points per decade; but gaps in IQ stay the same. This shows that this same uniform factor affects all groups the same throughout the world. And due to this uniform factor, as a result, you have a difference in IQ that’s being preserved. This suggests that the response on the parts of blacks and whites is due to non-environment factors, a genetic factor, which makes the difference in IQ remain as the Flynn Effect goes into effect.

Blacks and whites also have a similar environment, especially since segregation ended. Since environments are similar, the more and more similar the environment, the less and less differences are due to environment and the more and more they are due to genetic factors. So the 15-point gap surviving this change in environments proves that the racial gap is genetic in origin.

Dickens and Flynn state that black Americans have closed the gap in recent years, but this, however, is not the case. Most of those studies were done on children; Jensen states that the black-white IQ gap becomes more noticeable as they get older because genetic effects take over at adulthood with the environment having little if no effect on IQ (Rushton and Jensen, 2005). Jensen concludes that the SD gap between blacks and whites at early adulthood is about 1.2 SDs or about 17 IQ points. In Rushton and Jensen’s 2005 paper, Flynn and Dickens sidestepped a theoretical analysis in which it’s showed that the higher amount of white admixture a black has, the higher his IQ score is.

The Flynn Effect is not on g, or the general intelligence factor, which the most heritable items on the subtests show the most differences between blacks and whites (Rushton and Jensen, 2010). Since the Flynn Effect does not fall on g, this should not even be in the discussion. A Flynn Effect is not a Jensen Effect, which is real gains in over time (Rushton, 1998). Rushton found it ridiculous that we had a nation of mentally handicapped children 100 years ago. This was enough for him to disregard the Flynn Effect.

Other proposed causes for this gap involve a mechanism called ‘stereotype threat’ (Steele and Aronson, 1995). Stereotype threat is a situational predicament in which people find themselves falling into the stereotype of whatever group their group is a part of. Though, this is not the case for blacks. Blacks are rated as seeing themselves as more attractive, which a) shows more self-confidence and b) shows that the so-called effects of white racism making blacks feel ugly and inadequate in their own skin are simply not true. Kanazawa (2011) noted that both male and female blacks rated themselves higher than other groups; showing that there are no lingering effects of racism as well as this silly belief that just by thinking you’re going to fall into a stereotype means that you will fall into it.

Still, others may state that poverty is a cause for the IQ disparity between the races. People have causalities mixed up when they make this statement. Since lower IQ is correlated with lower SES, the cause of poverty is people being born with low intellect which manifests itself in the wealth attainment of the individual. Many recent studies have come out saying that poverty decreases IQ, yet the only environmental factors that can do such a thing is malnutrition, extreme abuse, and extreme isolation. Other than that, all a parent needs to do is just give the child an ‘OK’ environment and genetic factors will take care of the rest.

Critics of the public school system have said for decades that you can’t solve educational problems by throwing money at them, but those who believed in the public schooling system said it has yet to be tried. They did try, in Kansas, MO, and failed miserably (Ciotti, 1998). This desegregation experiment cost 11,700 dollars per student, more money spent per individual on a cost of living basis than 280 school districts around the country. This tax-payer money bought “higher teachers’ salaries, 15 new schools, and such amenities as an Olympic-sized swimming pool with an underwater viewing room, television and animation studios, a robotics lab, a 25-acre wildlife sanctuary, a zoo, a model United Nations with simultaneous translation capability, and field trips to Mexico and Senegal. The student-teacher ratio was 12 or 13 to 1, the lowest of any major school district in the country.”

Despite all of these variables to enrich the environment of the black students, even bussing in white kids from out of district, the gap did not diminish, test scores did not change and there was less, not more, integration. Moreover, numerous individuals say that poverty and schooling systems are the cause for anti-intellectualism in the black community. I, however, argue that there is a considerable genetic component to the black-white IQ gap (Rushton and Jensen, 2005 p. 279).

Where does all of this leave us? Yes, blacks are less intelligent than whites, but what does this mean for our society that we refuse to acknowledge the existence of innate intelligence, as well as racial differences in intelligence? The average IQ of a repeat juvenile criminal in America is 92 (Herrnstein, Murray, and Cullens, 1998). At adulthood, the average IQ for a repeat criminal is 85. The reason for the IQ of a repeat adult offender being lower than that of teenaged offenders is due to as you age, the environment doesn’t matter as genetics takes over at adulthood.

The fact that we are disregarding (intelligence) and its multiple covariates is extremely alarming. The fact that America is headed down the path to dysgenesis (Lynn, 2006) and we are not doing a thing about it troubles me greatly. The way we treat black underachievement in America is completely wrong. To succeed as a country, we need to recognize biological truths in that certain groups achieve highly whereas others have low levels of academic achievement, we need to recognize that there is no insidious plot to hold down others; we need to realize that some groups are less intelligent as others due to evolution in differing climates over tens of thousands of years. The trillions of dollars we have spent on all of these programs have not worked. We have tried them, and they have failed. No matter what we do, black underachievement will always be around. By recognizing black underachievement, they will be better able to succeed relative to themselves and not compare themselves to other high-achieving groups. There is a considerable genetic component to the gap (80 percent genetic) and that due to this, blacks should have differing standards in comparison to the rest of the population (Jensen, 1969).


Ciotti, P. (1998) Money and School Performance: Lessons from The Kansas City Desegregation Experiment

Cullens, F.T., Herrnstein, R., Murray, C. Does IQ Significantly Contribute to Crime? (From Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Crime and Criminology, Fifth Edition, P 30-51, 1998, Richard C. Monk, ed. — See NCJ-183062)

Dickens, W. T., & Flynn, J. R. (2006). Black Americans Reduce the Racial IQ Gap: Evidence From Standardization Samples. Psychological Science, 17(10), 913-920. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2006.01802.x

Duke, D.E. (1998). My awakening A path to racial understanding. Covington, LA: Free Speech Press.

Eriksen, H. F., Kesmodel, U. S., Underbjerg, M., Kilburn, T. R., Bertrand, J., & Mortensen, E. L. (2013). Predictors of Intelligence at the Age of 5: Family, Pregnancy and Birth Characteristics, Postnatal Influences, and Postnatal Growth. PLoS ONE, 8(11).

Eyferth, K. (1961). Leistungen verscheidener Gruppen von Besatzungskindern in Hamburg-Wechsler Intelligenztest fu¨r Kinder (HAWIK) [Achievement of children on the Hamburg-Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children]. Archiv fu¨r die gesamte Psychologie, 113, 222–241.

Flynn, J. R. (1987). Massive IQ gains in 14 nations: What IQ tests really measure. Psychological Bulletin, 101, 171–191.

Gottfredson, Linda S. “Mainstream science on intelligence: An editorial with 52 signatories, history, and bibliography.” Intelligence 24.1 (1997): 13-23.

Herrnstein, R. J., & Murray, C. A. (1994). The bell curve: Intelligence and class structure in American life. New York: Free Press.

Jensen, A. (1969). How Much Can We Boost IQ and Scholastic Achievement. Harvard Educational Review, 39(1), 1-123.

Jensen, A. R. (1998). The g factor: The science of mental ability. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Kanazawa, S. (2011). Why Are Black Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women? The Scientific Fundamentalist

Lynn, R. (1996) Dysgenics: Genetic Deterioration in Modern Populations, Human Evolution, Behavior and Intelligence Praeger, 1996

Moore, E. G. J. (1986). Family socialization and the IQ test performance of traditionally and transracially adopted Black children. Developmental Psychology, 22, 317–326.

Murray, C. (2014) Our Futile Efforts to Boost Children’s IQ

Rushton, J. P., & Jensen, A. R. (2005). Thirty years of research on race differences in cognitive ability. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 11(2), 235-294.

Rushton, J. P., & Jensen, A. R. (2010). The rise and fall of the Flynn Effect as a reason to expect a narrowing of the Black–White IQ gap☆. Intelligence, 38(2), 213-219. doi:10.1016/j.intell.2009.12.002

Steele, C. M., & Aronson, J. (1995). Stereotype threat and the intellectual test performance of African Americans. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69(5), 797-811. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.69.5.797

Tizard, B. (1974, February 1). IQ and race. Nature, 247, 316.

Weinberg, R. A., Scarr, S., & Waldman, I. D. (1992). The Minnesota transracial adoption study: A follow-up of IQ test performance at adolescence. Intelligence, 16(1), 117-135.

Williams, Robert L. (1972) The BITCH-100: A Culture-Specific Test.



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Charles Murray

Arthur Jensen

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