Skip to main content

Michael Levin and J. Phillippe Rushton Convinced Me of the Genetic Reality of Race

This is part of our continuing series of accounts by readers of how they shed the illusions of liberalism and became race realists.

I was raised in an upper-middle class Republican home in New England. It was obvious from reading the newspaper and watching the news that blacks had higher rates of crime and other problems. On the other hand, there were two black students in my high school. They were pleasant and liked by everyone. Based on the way I was raised (“you can be whatever you want to be”), I assumed that the problems that blacks tended to have were due to broken families, a lack of a work ethic, and perhaps some residual racism.

While in college (where again most all the students were white), I had a philosophy professor who recommended Stephen Jay Gould’s The Mismeasure of Man which, as most readers will know, repeated the conventional wisdom on issues of IQ testing, the heritability of intelligence, and race. I pretty much accepted it. I certainly didn’t know Gould was a Marxist. I recall having read somewhere that there was a prominent physicist, William Shockley, who argued that racial gaps in intelligence had a genetic component, so I knew that some smart people took a different position.

Things changed when I went to law school in a large city that had a substantial black population. I noticed that when blacks were talking on the street they tended to be loud. Sometimes it was hard to tell whether they were laughing or fighting. One thing that struck me was that black men would occasionally make sexual comments to attractive black females walking by. From the look on the females’ faces, it seemed that they were accustomed to such comments.

Shortly after I graduated from law school, The Bell Curve came out. It convinced me that gaps in intelligence had some genetic component. After that, Michael Levin’s Why Race Matters and J. Phillippe Rushton’s Race, Evolution and Behavior came out. They convinced me that racial gaps in intelligence were largely genetic. As much as these books, what made me a race realist was realizing that the world makes sense if you accept that races are by nature different. How can one account for the fact that in every school the same gaps show up in academic achievement? How do you explain the high success rate of Ashkenazi Jews, who have been persecuted (supposedly the explanation for the low IQ of blacks)? Why do Asian students do so well at math? Just as people differ in intelligence, so do groups. Why I believed otherwise is now hard to understand.

If you have a story about how you became racially aware, we’d like to hear it. If it is well written and compelling, we will publish it. Use a pen name, stay under 1,200 words, and send it to us here.