So this Heritage Foundation immigration report, and its author's history when it comes to race and IQ, has prompted my politically-minded Facebook friends to give an absolute clinic on how not to respond on this issue. The response has been: this lunatic thinks that Hispanic Americans score lower on IQ tests and other standardized tests of intelligence than white Americans! How wrong! Only a racist could say that different races score differently on IQ tests. Which is playing precisely into the hands of the Steve Sailers of the world. The problem with people who argue for inherent racial inferiority is not that they lie about the results of IQ tests, but that they are credulous about those tests and others like them when they shouldn't be; that they misunderstand the implications of what those tests would indicate even if they were credible; and that they fail to find the moral, analytic, and political response to questions of race and intelligence.
Because this is true, folks: these instruments do find, according to their internal mechanisms, consistent racial differences. Take it from an official report (PDF) of the American Psychological Association— not, I hope we can agree, a racist organization. The report finds that standardized intelligence tests have found, consistently, that Asian Americans have a wider spread in IQ than other racial groups and a higher mean than other groups, that black Americans have a mean IQ that is a standard deviation below that of white Americans, and that Hispanic Americans lie in between the two. That is an accurate review of the extant literature. There is no more sense in denying perceived differences in IQ (not intelligence) between white Americans and Hispanic Americans than there is in denying a difference in high school drop out rates. The question at hand is the credibility of IQ itself.
My response is not to deny that these perceived differences are being accurately reported by the people who report them, but to say that the tests themselves are flawed and are not an accurate instrument for understanding real-world intelligence. I argue that the tests have a validity problem in that they don't correspond well to what we typically mean when we discuss "intelligence" in a lived sense, and a reliability problem in that the consistently perceived racial differences are not reflections of actual differences in intelligence but of systemic biases that render the metrics flawed. I also don't agree with the many ugly responses race realists have to the differences in IQ. But to say "there are perceivable differences in the results of IQ tests?" That's true, and it is treated as straightforwardly the case in peer reviewed literature in credible journals by responsible, non-racist researchers. Across a long time frame, between many different tests and many different administrations, those differences are perceived. What matters is that they aren't an accurate reflection of what human beings mean when they talk about real-world intelligence.
Racism thrives on conspiratorial thinking and the self-definition of racists as an oppressed group. When you say things that are true aren't, and especially when you do so in a way that treats the other point of view as forbidden, you play directly into their hands. I cannot imagine an easier way to give them fuel for their argument than to say that certain test results don't exist when they do. Perhaps it's easier to argue that way, and perhaps it's more emotionally satisfying, but it hurts the antiracist effort in the long run. More to the point: what are you so scared of? It amazes me how often I interact with white liberals who, despite being perfectly correct on the merits, talk about race in a state of absolute panic. I hate to cast aspersions but I sometimes suspect people I know secretly find the case against racism to be weak, and are afraid that if they have to argue, somehow, the racists will win.
Bullshit. The case against inherent racial inferiority is correct. The moral and analytic argument is on our side. You have to have the guts to confront the facts and make the case. Just as no one supposes that the racial achievement gap in grades, graduation rate, and college are somehow proof of racial inferiority, no one should mistake the perceived IQ gap as meaning something when it doesn't. Don't be afraid, and don't play their game. Stop getting panicky about race talk and engage. It's your moral responsibility.