Race and Intelligence: Your IQ- Is it a blank check for gaining employment, college admissions or other social decisions?

Professor Arthur R. Jensen of the University of California at Berkeley, whose research published in 1969 reopened the question of racial differences in mental capacities and theories of intelligence. He stated:

“When I worked in a psychological clinic, I have to give individual intelligence tests to a variety of children, a many of whom come from an improvised background.

Usually I felt these children were really brighter than their IQ would indicate.  They often appeared inhibited in their responsiveness in their testing situation on their first visit to my office. When this was the case I usually had them come in on two to four different days for half-hour sessions with me in a “play therapy “ room. In this room we did nothing more than get better acquainted by playing ball, using finger paints, drawing on the blackboard, making things out of clay, and so forth.

As soon as the child seemed to be completely at home in this setting, I would retest them on parallel forms of the Standford- Binet test. A boost in IQ of 8 to 10 points or so was the rule, it rarely failed, but neither was the gain very often much above this.”

Apparently “8 to 10 points “ is more than half the average IQ difference  of 15 points between black and white Americans, which solidifies the argument that most ambitious  individuals, if given the right education and opportunities, are just as likely to be successful.

So therefore I ask, is our IQ a blank check for gainful employment opportunities, college admissions or other social decisions?

Professor Jensen also stated,

“Whenever we select a person for some special educational purpose, whether for special instructions in a grade school class for children with learning disabilities  or problems, or for a “gifted” class with an advanced curriculum, or for a college attendance or for admission to graduate training or a professional school, we are selecting an individual and we are selecting them and dealing with them as individuals for reasons of their individuality.

Similarly, when we employ someone, or promote someone  in their occupation, or give some special award or honor to someone for their accomplishments, we are doing this to an individual.

See my previous articles for detailed information:

The Power of Q: Creative Geniuses,

The Intelligent Person

Night School/Day School: Even high School- The Power of AAA Dow Jones Performances (Aptitude + Ability + Ambition)

Inter-generational Equity: Protecting the Future of Cultural Continuity

The variables of social classes, race, and national origin are correlated so imperfectly with any of the valid criteria on which the above decisions should depend, or, for that matter, with any behavioral characteristics, that these background factors are irrelevant as a basis for dealing with individuals- ad students or as employees.

Furthermore, since, as far as research suggest, the full range of human talents is represented in all the major races of man and in all socioeconomic levels, it is unjust to allow the mere fact of an individual’s racial or social background to affect the treatment accorded to them.”

So once again I ask, is our IQ a blank check for gainful employment opportunities, college admissions or other social decisions?

In short, even though much research has shown that IQ differences matter for educational, occupational and other achievements, the magnitude of those differences also matters, and in particular cases other factors may outweigh IQ differences in determining outcomes.

However, the importance of other factors beside IQ is not a blank check for downplaying or disregarding mental test scores when making employment, college admissions or other social decisions.

Predictive Validity

Author Thomas Sowell, in his book, Intellectuals and Race stated that, IQ test or college admissions tests may not accurately measure the “real” intelligence of prospective students or employees- however “real” intelligence may be defined.

The practical question is whether whatever they do measure is correlated with further success in the particular endeavor.

Where is the corporation heading? What standards are the colleges and universities striving for?

Does the individual have the capacity to grow and develop? Do they even want to grow? Is the individual’s dreams and aspirations mutually aligned with the vision of the company?


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