The most prevalent conspiracy theory of our time is so prevalent that it’s accepted as truth by most media entities. This theory has it that black and brown academic and economic underachievement can best be explained by structural racism and white supremacy. The truth is that, like most conspiracy theories, this theory goes directly against the relevant science, and can be disproven by it.
When 9/11 happened, a popular conspiracy theory said it was an inside job. One particular version claimed that, as the melting point of steel is higher than the burning point of jet fuel, the twin towers could not have collapsed on account of being struck by aeroplanes (the official explanation). They had to have been taken down by explosives placed within the structure of the buildings.
The way to refute this theory was to ask people qualified in the relevant science. You could say to a civil engineer or a physicist “Jet fuel can’t melt steel beams,” and they would tell you that it doesn’t have to melt the beams, it just has to heat them up enough so that they become too soft to support the weight of the building, at which point it will collapse. This is what happened in the case of the twin towers. Conspiracy theory debunked.
Anyone wanting to test other conspiracy theories can do likewise. If you want to know whether the Earth is flat you could ask an astronomer. If you wanted to know whether the Earth was 6,000 years old you could ask a geologist. If you wanted to know whether humans landed on the Moon you could ask an aeronautical engineer. And if you wanted to test whether the structural racism conspiracy theory was bullshit, you could ask a psychologist.
This is what a psychologist would tell you.
The science of IQ is the most robust and heavily supported of any social science. There is more evidence backing the validity of it than there is backing anything else. Most importantly, IQ also has more predictive power than any single other variable known to Psychology.
If you disagree about its predictive power, consider the following analogy.
You have two 13-year old boys. One is tested to have an IQ of 115, i.e. one standard deviation above average. The other is tested to have an IQ of 85, one standard deviation below average. The two boys are followed up ten years after the test. Without knowing which boy is which, you’re told that one has recently completed an accounting degree, whereas the other dropped out of school and drifted into petty crime.
Can you guess which is which?
Almost everyone would guess that the boy with an IQ of 115 became the accountant. And, in the vast majority of such cases, they’d be right. Accountancy is intellectually challenging: far more accountants have IQs closer to 115 than to 85. Likewise, far more petty criminals have IQs closer to 85 than to 115. Almost everyone knows this, and almost no-one questions it.
The fact is that IQ is so powerfully predictive that we can already get a rough idea of how a person’s life will turn out just from accurately measuring their IQ. The average person with an IQ of 85 will have much greater trouble learning and recalling information than the average person with an IQ of 100. Their impulse control, measured by ability to delay gratification, will be significantly inferior.
Because their intellectual ability and their discipline are poorer than than of the average person, they will be less able to meet the demands of the modern workplace. As such, they will be marginalised into unemployment and underemployment more often. Any population of people with an average IQ of 85 will be much poorer and much more criminal than any population with an IQ of 100 or higher.
85 is also the average IQ of black Americans and Pacific Islanders, with Maoris being slightly higher (around 90). This we know from the research compiled by researchers like Richard Lynn in books like Race Differences in Intelligence.
Psychological science, therefore, can predict on the basis of IQ alone that black Americans and brown Kiwis will be poorer and will be more involved in the criminal justice system than white Americans and white Kiwis. This can be confidently predicted even in the total absence of structural racism or white supremacy.
At this point, a believer in the structural racism conspiracy theory will argue that structural racism not only makes blacks and browns poorer and more likely to be involved with the criminal justice system, but it also makes their IQs lower on account of things like teachers ignoring them more often during class or discouraging them from study. Therefore, even if they do have lower IQs, it’s still white people’s fault.
For one thing, we know that this contention can’t be true because intelligence is mostly genetic and not environmental. Although the environment can have a powerful effect on the intelligence of young people, the effect of environment on IQ is no more than 0.2 by adulthood – a phenomenon known as the Wilson Effect. Therefore, low adult IQ is primarily a genetic phenomenon.
For another thing, we can observe the experience and outcomes of other racial groups who have similar IQs to white people.
105 is the average IQ of Far East Asians. The structural racism conspiracy theory would predict that Far East Asians do worse than white people, on account of that white people deny them opportunities for advancement and discriminate against them in business and politics. After all, white supremacists don’t like Asians any more than they like blacks.
The psychological science theory would predict that Far East Asians do as well or better than white people, on account of that their high IQs lead to successful careers and less criminality. Being high IQ and having good impulse control, they should study hard and get decent jobs.
As it turns out, Asian Americans earn 7% more than whites at the median. They are also significantly less criminal, despite that more of them are from poor families and many are even refugees. This directly refutes the structural racism conspiracy theory and directly supports the psychological science theory.
Ultimately, the main reason why blacks do worse than whites in America, and the main reason why browns do worse than whites in New Zealand, is because of low IQ. This low IQ leads them to make more impulsive decisions, which leads to poverty. This isn’t at all controversial among those who have studied the relevant science.
The conspiracy theory that says blacks and browns do worse because of white racism is bullshit. This means that the poorer outcomes of blacks and browns cannot be explained by white racism, but by factors inherent to the blacks and browns themselves.
If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2019 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis). A compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2018 and the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 are also available.