Surprise! A Person’s Intelligence is Not so Closely Linked to Genetics After All.

Writing in the New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell argues that IQ is not fixed, and it has nothing to do with race but everything to do with the environment in which a person is raised. And also on the type of IQ test administered. Apparently, the standard IQ test, the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC), has been modified four times over the last century or so, because it gets easier for each generation that takes it.

Gladwell’s a much better writer than I am, and he’s done a lot more research on the subject, so I urge you to read the entire article.

Here’s an excerpt:

[I]t shouldn’t make much of a difference where a mixed-race child is born. But, again, it does: the children fathered by black American G.I.s in postwar Germany and brought up by their German mothers have the same I.Q.s as the children of white American G.I.s and German mothers. The difference, in that case, was not the fact of the children’s blackness, as a fundamentalist would say. It was the fact of their Germanness—of their being brought up in a different culture, under different circumstances. ‘The mind is much more like a muscle than we’ve ever realized. It needs to get cognitive exercise. It’s not some piece of clay on which you put an indelible mark.’ The lesson to be drawn from black and white differences was the same as the lesson from the Netherlands years ago: I.Q. measures not just the quality of a person’s mind but the quality of the world that person lives in.”

Read the full article here.

I don’t imagine the people who’ve been arguing on this blog that Black people are genetically less intelligent will read Gladwell’s article in its entirety. It’s got too many big words.

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