Overview of Arthur Jensen’s Effect on Racism
It is oft-quoted that God created all men equal. Whatever your view of God’s nature or lack thereof, Christians have a firm foundation for equality among humankind in the Bible. Just look at Galatians 3:28, Genesis 1:27, Acts 10:34… The list goes on. There are some genetic differences between peoples’ appearance that has to do with location of ancestors (i.e. people with more melanin survive closer to the equator), the surrounding people groups, and the level of isolation or intermingling between the two. We sometimes take the appearance differences between people and blow them up. At that, we achieve racism. Arthur Jensen, as intelligent as he was, was an accidental proponent of racism.
Jensen was a smart man: BA in psychology from UC Berkley, MA in psychology from San Diego State College, MD clinical internship at University of Maryland’s Psychiatric Institute, PhD in psychology from Columbia University, and postdoctoral research at the University of London’s Institute of Psychiatry. His work, however, helped propel racism for long after it should have died.
Jensen observed that children of the Caucasian race appeared to have more genuine mental disability than children of African-American descent when both were placed in special education setting. In fact, it seemed that the African-American children’s ineptitude was limited solely to the classroom. He concluded that this was due to the racial differences. He believed that race caused purely genetic differences in intelligence. In his own words, “There are intelligence genes, which are found in populations in different proportions, somewhat like the distribution of blood types. The number of intelligence genes seems to be lower, over-all, in the black population than in the white” (The New York Times Magazine, 1969). These words, to this author at least, seem hardly scientific. At a time when the racial barriers were working so hard to fall over, this...