McWhorter fails to mention the huge sums of money and incalculable amounts of effort on the part of well-meaning whites being expended every year in order to reduce black-white performance gaps in all fields, not just in IQ testing. The premise here is that blacks and whites have equal ability and therefore should enjoy equal outcomes in life. So this is one reason why we should discuss the genetic component of IQ and human temperament as much as possible: it will reveal what an utter waste of time and resources it is to uplift black people.
A second reason is that it will let whitey off the hook. If human intelligence, represented in psychometrics as g, is mostly genetic, then you cannot blame innocent white people for a problem they did not create. This will either reduce the amount of anti-white racism on the part of the Left, or embolden whites to resist such racism. Both outcomes are inherently good and would stem from open discussions of the genetic basis of IQ and human temperament.
In order to defend his intuition that Nurture always trumps Nature—at least when it comes to black shortcomings—McWhorter attempts to legitimize “Black American culture,” which, he writes:
grew from implacably oppressive slavery followed by a Jim Crow hegemony that recapitulated slavery in essence. These were people living in what my linguist’s training reveals as a life bound in orality rather than literacy. To live restricted to casual speech rather than the artifice of writing creates a psychology ill equipped to score highly on the distinctly modern stunt known as the IQ test.
There are so many things wrong with this it causes me to wonder whether theNational Review editors dumb down their editorial standards for black writers. Universities dumb down academic standards for black applicants in much the same way.
First of all, black slavery in America was never “implacably oppressive.” By the standards of the day, white Americans treated their black slaves quite benignly. Slaves were allowed to marry, and efforts were made to keep families together. They typically had Sundays off and were allowed to practice the religion of their choice. Further, a select few were even allowed to buy their own freedom. Thomas Nelson Page relates all this in The Negro: The Southerner’s Problem and also points out how during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, black slaves were offered their freedom if they would only rise up against their masters. They in large part refused. In many parts of the American South there were at least cordial if not affectionate relations between whites and blacks.