Monday, March 31, 2008

Big surprise: Lesbians are the most athletic sexual orientation group, gay men are the least: In my quest to document that we're not all the same, I looked at the relationship between sexual orientation and athleticism. The General Social Survey asked 1,723 people questions about these two characterstics, and here are the results:

Percent who say they are athletic

Lesbians 66.6
Straight men 43.7
Straight women 20.0
Gay men 17.3

Wow, gay men even lose out to straight women, and lesbians are almost 4 times as likely as homsexuals to describe themselves as athletic. Lesbians even outdo straight guys by quite a bit.

Lesbians are overrepresented among women who are really athletic, but don't make the mistake of thinking that most female athletes are into other girls: lesbians are 1% of all women, and 4% of all very athletic women.

By the way, this study reported an additive genetic variance of .58 for athleticism.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The blessings of diversity: Only in this age could people get away with claiming that diversity is a crucial asset to society's wellbeing. I gathered data on 82 countries from various sources (e.g., World Factbook) in order to examine the correlates of ethnic heterogeneity. Here are the Pearson correlation coefficients:

Correlations with an index of ethnic heterogeneity

Social welfare expenditures (health and education as % of GDP) -.30*
Income inequality (GINI coefficient) .22*
Per capita GDP -.36*
Male homicide victimization rate .45*
Female homicide victimization rate .37*

* p < .05, one-tail test

In case you're not into statistics, the results indicate that countries with lots of ethnic diversity tend to have governments that spend less on education and health; they are poorer and characterized by greater inequality; and they experience more violence. The larger the absolute value of the correlation, the stronger the connection: the inequality correlation is weak, the male homicide one is moderate.

Conservatives might like less government spending and not care too much about inequality, so it is liberals who should be most concerned about diversity.

Now, I can't claim that the correlations prove that ethnic diversity is causing all these bad things, but I can at least say that they tend to go together: where you see lots of different kinds of people, you often see bad social conditions.

These data were originally used for other projects, so it's not like I cherry picked indicators that would make diversity look bad. I do know that I have never randomly looked at correlations and found that heterogeneity is related to a list of positive social indicators.

Multiculturalists love to blow gas about how great it is to have a real mix of people, but I am still waiting for some demonstrations of it.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Ignore what you see on Law & Order: Americans might very well to think of a black man when imagining a straightforward, violent street crime, like a robbery or a male-on-male assault. And rightly so since they are overrepresented in these types of crimes. But who do you see in your mind's eye if the crime is what we might call a "disturbed crime"? By this, I mean crimes like pedophilia, serial killing, or stalking. Common street crimes are covered in the news every day, so people have a roughly accurate sense of the reality. Only high-profile disturbed cases are given extensive attention, and combined with images on Lifetime, people are likely to think these as "white crimes."

In an earlier post, I reported a study showing that more than 20% of serial killers are black, even though blacks are only 12.6% of Americans. I know from earlier explorations that racial distributions of incarcerated pedophiles match distributions in the general population, but I'll document that later.

I analyzed data on 1,788 domestic stalking cases in Colorado Springs reported to police in 1998, and compared the racial distributions of suspects with the racial makeup of the city. Using whites as the comparison group, here are the ratios of the rates:

How many times higher the stalking rate is compared with the white rate

Blacks 5.5
Hispanics 2.1
American Indians 1.2
Asians .79

So, does this look familiar? It lines up just like all street violence. Blacks are much, much higher than whites, Hispanics are in between the two, and Asians are less violent than whites. Take this ranking as a rule of thumb for all types of violence, and forget what you see on Law & Order.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Asian Americans are seen as different: As a follow-up to my earlier post on which ethnic groups are seen as most similar to one's own, I examined General Social Survey data for more than 1,200 Americans to see which ethnic group is perceived to be the least like one's own group. As before, the choices were white, Jewish, black, Hispanic, Asian, and all equally the same, or none is similar. It turns out that Asians are thought to be the most different by all groups except one:

Percent who say that they have least in common with Asians

Whites 33.5
Blacks 40.4
Jews 32.4
Mexicans 31.1
American Indians 32.0

All Americans 34.0

The number shown above for Mexicans is the only one that is not in first place: 37.8% of Mexicans said they had least in common with Jews.

So why does everyone think Asian Americans are so different? You might answer that they are not Christians, but many are Christians (e.g., almost all Filipinos) and anyway Jews are not Christians. Asians look a little like American Indians and Mex-Ams, so looks don't seem to be what people are focusing on. Perhaps East Asian cultures seem alien. Other ideas?
Disgust: Both white and black voters disgust me. According to Rasmussen, only 46% of whites and 16% of blacks think Obama should quit his church. I'm sure the whites who don't think he should are liberal or liberal-leaning, and give a pass to a black man no matter what he does.

Did you know that John McCain belongs to church where the pastor claims that leaders of the black community have plotted to kill whites, but hide the fact by making it look like random crime? Hmmm, that's a questionable membership: do you think he should stop going?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Do minorities feel that they have more in common with each other or with whites? The question of assimilation is one of the concerns of this blog. The General Social Survey asked more than 1,200 Americans with whom they had the most in common (other than their own group): whites, Jews, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, all equally, or nothing in common with any of them. Here are the percentages (those who broke the rules and indicated their own group are not listed):

Percent distribution

Whites 31.2
Equal in common with all groups 17.4
Hispanics 16.5
Nothing in common 8.3
Jews 3.7
Asians 3.7

Whites 44.4
Blacks 22.2
Asians 4.4
Equal in common with all groups 2.2
Jews 0.0
Nothing in common 0.0

Whites 25.7
Equal in common with all groups 22.2
Blacks 14.3
Asians 8.6
Nothing in common 5.7
Hispanics 0.0

Update: Whites
Equal in common with all groups 17.9
Jews 16.8
Blacks 16.5
Hispanics 14.2
Asians 8.5
Nothing in common 7.5

First, we can see that the largest percentage in all three groups say they are most like whites. This suggests that more minorities see themselves as more connected to the mainstream than to other minorities. Look, for example, at how no Hispanics or Jews think they have a lot in common. Some blacks and Hispanics do think they have the most in common: this is probably due to the fact that they are both poor minority groups.

And look at these PC robots who can't even admit that some groups are more like them than others.

Jews are interesting because one might predict that most of them would answer white since almost all of them self-identify as white, but more blacks and Mexicans than Jews think they have a lot in common with whites! A noticeable number of Jews feel they are very much like blacks: presumably, these folks are thinking of histories of abuse by white Christians.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Question: Can anyone give me an evolutionary explanation for why babies have an insatiable need to stick everything they see--much of it dirty--into their mouths?
Look on the bright side, folks: Wow, the fifth anniversary of the war. Sure, Iraq has been a disaster that will cost us multiple trillions, but why doesn't anybody ever try to find something positive in all the rubble? Maybe this war will convince people around the world that we're the really big, dumb bully on the playground you need to be friendly with: if some unknown kid in the crowd calls him a pinhead while his back his turned, he might be happy to pound in your face just because he doesn't like you.

You don't like that one? How about if we think of this war as really good practice for a future war that is actually important? Practice makes perfect, they say.

And everybody likes a parade, right? You can't have a good parade without some veterans, and you can't have veterans without some wars.

Am I getting nowhere here? Well, at least I tried--my mom taught me that if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.

Friday, March 21, 2008

How strong is black nationalism in America? The large membership of Obama's church makes me wonder if nationalist attitudes are common among blacks. Do folks seek out these messages in order to confirm what they already believe, or are they seduced by entertaining demogogues?

The Survey of Chicago African Americans asked close to 700 people questions concerning loyalty to blacks and separation from whites. Here are the questions with results listed in percentages:

"In general, do you think it's better for people of different
races - one, to keep to themselves as much as possible OR
two, to live and work together so they can learn to understand
each other?"

Keep to themselves 1.3%
Live and work together 98.7

"To make real progress in achieving equality, is it better
for Blacks - one, to work together with whites OR two, to
work together mostly with other Blacks?"

Work together 83.7%
Work with blacks 10.3
Both 6.0

"Is it more important - one, to help those who are worse off,
regardless of their color OR two, to concentrate on helping

Everyone 93.1%
Blacks 6.1
Both 0.6

"Is it more important - one, to promote Black culture as a
separate culture OR two, to emphasize what Americans have
in common?"

Separate 21.9%
Common 75.1

"Is it more important - one, for Blacks to build good relations
with Whites OR two, for Blacks to build pride and respect
for themselves, even if it means causing tension between Blacks
and Whites?"

Good relations 52.2%
Build pride 43.3
Both 4.5

"Is it more important - one, for schools in Black neighborhoods
to hire Black teachers OR two, for these schools to select the
most competent teachers regardless of race?"

Black 8.1%
Competent 90.6

"Blacks should always vote for Black candidates when they run for an elected office?"

Agree strongly 6.1%
Agree somewhat 13.1
Disagree somewhat 28.0
Disagree strongly 52.8

"Blacks are better off living with other Blacks in Black neighborhoods rather than living with whites?"

Agree strongly 5.4%
Agree somewhat 13.0
Disagree somewhat 33.0
Disagree strongly 48.6

"Black people should shop in stores owned by other Blacks whenever possible?"

Agree strongly 31.0%
Agree somewhat 28.5
Disagree somewhat 16.5
Disagree strongly 24.0

"Blacks should have control over the economy in mostly Black communities?"

Agree strongly 36.5%
Agree somewhat 25.7
Disagree somewhat 20.2
Disagree strongly 17.6

I am a bit surprised by these numbers. Much of my sense of black attitudes comes from listening to black leaders, and it appears that they are more extreme than ordinary blacks. The patterns of results suggest that most blacks believe in integration and focusing on what we have in common. The only area where we see most people expressing real black loyalty is in the area of supporting black businesses.

The data support the view that blacks generally view whites and integration positively, but they are impressed by the "audacity" and charisma of these race hustlers and are sadly pulled in a more radical direction.

Later, I'll look at how these attitudes vary by education. I suspect that our precious lefty professors have encouraged radicalism among upwardly mobile blacks.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Younger blacks are more, not less paranoid than older blacks: I hate to spoil the liberal lovefest over Obama's speech with facts, but that's my job, Man. He's arguing that this disturbing conspiratorial thinking is the understandable product of growing up in the pre-civil rights era. Old blacks think this way because they suffered daily humiliations like separate drinking fountains and such. Barack, on the other hand, is part of the younger generation that has a sensible view of racial realities in America.

The Survey of Chicago African Americans asked almost 700 people if they agreed with two statements: 1) "White doctors created the AIDS virus in a laboratory and released it into Black neighborhoods"; and 2) "The FBI and the CIA make sure that there is a steady supply of guns and drugs in the inner city."

Okay, 27.7% of Chicago blacks agree (strongly or somewhat) with the first one and 36.1% with the second. Here is the mean age for each answer:

White doctors created AIDS--Mean age

Agree strongly 47.68
Agree somewhat 46.72
Disagree somewhat 45.66
Disagree strongly 46.38

The FBI and CIA supply drugs--Mean age

Agree strongly 43.83
Agree somewhat 43.68
Disagree somewhat 49.61
Disagree strongly 50.03

Obama is dead wrong. Mean age does not drop among those who disagree with these kooky statements. In fact, just the opposite is true: age drops sharply among those who believe that the FBI and CIA supply black neighborhoods with drugs. These loathsome ideas are more, not less common among young blacks. The claim that Obama's generation is moving beyond race is false.

By the way, if any black folks are the least bit interested in facts as opposed to odious racial fantasies, the drugs coming to your neighborhoods are being supplied by non-whites, some of whom are black. Mexicans, Columbians, Dominicans, and Asians supply most drugs, but Jamaican traffickers have dumped marijuana in black neighborhoods for decades; Nigerians distribute heroine; and some black gangs like the Crips and Bloods have gotten sophisticated enough to bring drugs into the country.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

One example of how races differ: The current controversy over Reverend Wright reveals an important racial difference. Wright will scream something about white scientists inventing AIDS to kill black people, and this really disturbs whites, but black folks explain that the man is just blowing off some steam. It's just a good performance. When the man is done, we can go home, eat dinner, and watch the ballgame. Black American anger at its worst produces a handful of sorry bad asses with berets and leather jackets.

If a white man gives speeches like that, and large crowds gather, especially if they are young men sporting paramilitary attire, you had better pack a bag and get the hell out of Dodge ASAP.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Are race relations improving? Even on the road, I can't resist analyzing data. My sense is that blacks as a group have developed more positive attitudes about whites in recent years, but with preachers like Wright still going strong, maybe I'm mistaken.

The GSS asked blacks how close they felt to white, with answers ranging from "not at all" (0) through "not one way or the other" (5) to "very close" (9). Here are the means:

Mean closeness score

1996 5.65
2006 6.00

Blacks lean on the positive side, and have moved one-sixth of a standard deviation farther in that direction in the past decade. Maybe black views have softened since the times of Rodney King, O.J., and Farrakhan.

And while we're at it, how about whites toward blacks?

Mean closeness score

1996 5.10
2006 5.50

Whites are more neutral, but have moved in the positive direction as well--about one-fifth of a standard deviation.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Vacation: I'll be on vacation until late next week. I won't waste my Spring Break like misguided college kids who think life is measured by the number of times you vomit. On my list is to visit a Catholic cathedral which looks spectacular on the Internet. One of America's hidden treasures is its old Catholic churches. Chances are, the most beautiful structure in your own town is one of these (the old ones, at least) but most folks are completely oblivious to this.
Wright is a man, not someone to be understood: On O'Reilly's radio program yesterday, he argued that Reverend Wright should be given a break because, being an old black man, he's a hard life. Horseshit, I say. With fat donations like Obama's, he looks like he's doing just fine to me.

Five years in a prison camp is much more suffering than the extra pain inflicted on a typical black man who lives in America, but you don't see McCain spewing garbage. The special troubles of blacks have gotten so mild, they are offset by the pleasure enjoyed by self-pitying self-indulgence.

In less noble moments, I would like to play up the fact that I am the son of a white maintenance man. The pleasure of martyrdom would be delicious, indeed. To take responsibility for nothing would be luxurious. To see the world as evil and conspiring against little ol' me would give a great deal of satisfaction.

Myself, I respect Wright because he is a man, not a socially programmed automaton. As a man who has control over his life, his words make him an ass, not someone to be understood.
Inductivist as black leader: Let me anticipate black leaders reacting to the emerging story of Reverend Wright: "This ain't nothin' new. It's an ole' story. A black man sticks his head up, he almost grabs success, and The White Man knocks him back down in his place. You started to hope, didn't ya. You started to believe, didn't ya. But you forget where you live. You live in Amerikkka. So wake up cuz ya been had. Ya been took. Ya been led astray, led amok. Ya been bamboozled."

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Obama shouldn't be trusted: Conservative pundits are usually a least a little bit useful in making sense of controversial issues like race, but I'm flabbergasted at how even the most tough-minded are so squishy about Obama. They document how Obama has sat quietly through 20 years of this nutcase's sermons, he donates thousands of dollars to him, and he even exposes his own children to the "reverend's" rhetoric, and then they conclude that Obama is a good guy and a centrist.

Let's make it real simple. He talks like a moderate, but like even a good card player, his tells give it all away. What does Occam's Razor suggest? That he's a friggin' politician, and a damn good one. He has the soul of a radical, but a level of mental and verbal discipline that is almost inhuman. He shouldn't be trusted.
Race silliness from liberals: Nobody scolds and moralizes better than a liberal, but they are simply incompetent at seeing social reality clearly. They have been rending their clothes over Geraldine Ferraro's claim that Obama benefits in the presidential race from being black.

Now, I don't think anyone denies that some people don't vote for him because of his color, but liberals get so weepy about the plight of the black man that they can't see anything else through their tears. I have witnessed pundits actually argue that blacks don't vote 9 to 1 for Obama because of his race. I suppose they believe that blacks are the only colorblind group in America. You have to be on some sort of heavy medication to believe that.

As if the idea needed empirical support, I showed in an earlier analysis of General Social Survey data that blacks are by far the most ethnocentric group in America. People think I analyze the obvious, but when I do it, I am thinking of moron liberals. And if liberals scoff at the idea that blacks see color when they pull the lever for Barack, what do you think their reaction is when it is suggested that some white folks might root for him because he's black? Laughable, they say. "Democrats in Utah of all places voted for him, and we know what bigots they are."

Well, why did they vote for him? Great speechmaking appeals to them while it does not for Mississipi whites? Utahns want a likeable person while Mississippi Dems like jerks? "Well, Obama does well in small state caususes where bigots can be publicly shamed into voting for him." Problem is that Utah is a primary state. "Well, Utah doesn't have bigots like Mississippi so they vote on the issues." What issues, and you just claimed that Utahns were such horrible bigots that it is laughable to think they would vote for Obama because he is black? So which is it?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Elite white hostility toward whites: I've heard a number of journalists today suggest that most white Mississippian Democrats voted for Hillary yesterday because they hate blacks. Comparing the state to Georgia, Chris Matthews said that whites in metropolitan places like Atlanta are "too busy to hate."

These attitudes reveal the hostility that elites have for ordinary whites. I haven't heard anyone in the MSM claim that some whites are voting for Obama because he is black, and certainly not that doing so deserves brownie points. The conventional intepretation is that they have overcome their bigotry, and are voting simply for the real person, whoever that is.

So, if whites favor blacks, they're not really favoring them. They're just finally becoming decent. If, on the other hand, a white person votes against Obama, it is assumed that it is done out of hate. An elite white gains extra status for being simpleminded and cynical about race issues. "I'm so morally superior, I even brainlessly trash fellow whites."

The elite never feels the impulse to explore it any further: maybe the white person voted for Hillary because he knows enough to realize that an elite black man is likely to be very liberal, very concerned about blacks, and very unconcerned about whites qua whites. When a white woman asked Willie Brown, the then mayor of San Francisco, about how affirmative action hurts her children, he angrily responded, "I don't give a damn about your children."

The white voter may feel no ill will whatsover, but has decided that a man like Obama is a bad bet--he probably will not represent my interests. It's the same logic as racial profiling: I don't have all day to learn about this man's true character, but his race is an indicator. And a black man's politics can be predicted much, much better than his tendency to break the law.

Monday, March 10, 2008

In America, who is white? The General Social Survey has asked people over the years where their ancestors came from, and they routinely ask respondents what race do they consider themselves to be--white, black, or other. You might expect that no Japanese, East Indian, or American Indian would answer anything but "other", but you'd be wrong. Look at how individuals from different groups see themselves racially:

Percent who see themselves as a particular race

White 7.5
Black 3.2
Other 89.3

White 18.9
Black 3.3
Other 77.9

White 99.4
Black 0.6
Other 0.0

White 54.0
Black 0.2
Other 45.8

White 17.5
Black 0.0
Other 82.5

Puerto Ricans
White 54.8
Black 9.5
Other 35.7

White 77.0
Black 1.5
Other 21.5

West Indies
White 5.6
Black 94.4
Other 0.0

American Indian
White 68.4
Black 18.4
Other 13.2

White 16.9
Black 16.3
Other 66.9

White 1.0
Black 98.8
Other 0.2

White 73.8
Black 7.1
Other 19.0

American only
White 37.5
Black 59.7
Other 2.8

White 98.0
Black 1.2
Other 0.8

Clearly, many people are describing the color of their skin; that is what they understand "race" to mean. But I suspect that another factor is how you see yourself with respect to Americans descended from Europeans. If you identify with them, you are more likely to say you are white.

If people were merely describing their skin pigmentation, I would have expected more Greeks, Arabs, American Indians, and Mexicans to report "other." I'm sure many "American Indians" are whites who are so proud of their small amount of Indian ancestry, they claim it as their ethnicity.

Notice how almost no one whose ancestors were from Africa thinks of himself as white, and how quite of few blacks think of themselves as "Americans only", with no connection to Africa whatsoever.

Most important for this blog, most Mexican Americans see themselves as white, which is a positive sign that they identify with white Americans and want to integrate with them.

Update: I added American Jews to the bottom of the list. There is no indication that some in this group want to distance themselves from whites by saying their race is "other."

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Does a strong ethnic identity make one happier? Racial activists argue that a person of color needs to develop a deep connection to his people in order to have a sense of rootedness, self-esteem, and even mental health. A belief in the importance of group identification is seen in this year's primaries. I keep hearing journalists say how women and blacks are finally really swept up in a presidential election, as if having one's own run for office is the only thing meaningful about politics.

I've never really bought the idea--for minorities, women, or white men for that matter--but it could be true, so let's look at the data. Using General Social Survey data, I calculated the percent of people who report being very happy:

Percent who are very happy

English/Welsh 36.9
German 33.5
Filipino 32.3
Jewish 32.1

All Americans 31.9

American Indian 30.9
Chinese 30.6
East Indian 30.1
Mexican 27.5
Japanese 26.0
Puerto Rican 23.5
Arabic 22.9
Black 22.2
West Indian 18.2

American minority groups are the most group conscious, and yet they are the least happy. By contrast, people of English and German ancestry identify with with their ethnic groups less than anyone, but they are at the top of the happiness list. A skeptic might argue that their unhappiness is due to poverty, but Chinese, East Indians, and Japanese are wealthy groups but still have below-average numbers.

By the way, all Americans from NW Europe are above average: this mirrors quite closely the patterns observed globally.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Who do Hispanic men want to date most? Racial dating preferences is a popular topic on this blog, and I thought of a way to study it more systematically. I pretended I was a woman looking for a date on Yahoo Personals, and did a search of Hispanic males ages 20 to 32 in the LA area. I had enough time to look at 100 profiles. The men were asked to list the races of their ideal women. The choices are listed below. They could also answer "no preference." Here are the percent interested in each group:

Percent of Hispanic men interested in a given race/ethnicity

Hispanic 99
White 85
Asian 70
Pacific Islander 65
Interracial 61
Middle Eastern 60
Native American 60
Other 58
Black 55
East Indian 52

So, Hispanic men are clearly interested in their own women first. From all the blonde women I've seen in soaps, drawings, and tattoos, I suspected they might prefer whites. Caucasian women are second on the list, with Asians a distant third. On the bottom of the list, Blacks are probably there because of racial differences, while East Indians are perhaps seen as culturally as well as racially different. Why aren't they more interested in Native Americans? Is it their traditionally low social status, or is it something else? My sense of objective beauty would put East Indians higher (although there is great variety) and Pacific Islanders lower.

I'll do Asian men next.
A rule to live by: WWHO: Did you read the story about Harvard setting aside gym hours for Muslim women only? Now, a principled administrator would have looked at how other religions on campus were treated and would have concluded that it is not fair to give preferential treatment to one religion. You might respond that the ethics of a liberal require that we favor the little guys, and Islam is a small group in America. My answer is that Pentecostals are a small group too, but we can imagine Harvard's response to a request for special treatement from them.

I think I might have the answer to crack the mystery of elite ethics. Really, it's so simple even a toddler could grasp it. It could be called the "WWHO rule" (pronounced "who"). WWHO means What Would Hitler Oppose. If Hitler is against it, it must be the right way to go. If a Muslim girl comes to you and asks for the gym several hours a week all for herself, well obviously Der Fuhrer would snarl a "NO!" at her, so it must be a good policy.

The rule really applies to everything. Racial issues are obvious: mass non-white immigration is a must since that would drive the NSDAP nuts. And social issues are clear too: Gay marriage must be right because Herr Hitler loathed homosexuality (except for when he was a male prostitute in Vienna, they say). But the rule even works in the area of taste. Jazz is the greatest music ever since the Nazis hated it. Even science must conform to this principle: biological sources of behavior must be false since You-Know-Who would like that idea.

The Golden Rule or the old "What Would Jesus Do" might work for the hicks, but WWHO is the only way to go for the truly enlightened.
Turn the dummy voters away: Call me elitist, but after watching the primaries thus far, the least America could do is have a minimum IQ requirement in order to vote.

Looking at General Social Survey data, I am troubled about the number of dumb people who vote. In 2004, 27.3% of voters had IQs under 92: 27.4% of those who voted for Kerry, and 27.0% of those who voted for Bush.

The votes of those people carried almost SIX times the weight of American voters with IQs over 125 who were only 4.9% of the total. (5.8% of Bush voters were 125+; 4.1% of Kerry's).

Of course, the smart ones voted for the same two yahoos the dumb ones voted for, but at least they knew a few things about the candidates. I'm proud to say that I didn't vote for either one of them, and I ain't opting for Tweedledee or Tweedledum or Tweedledebbie this time around either.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Black and white IQs are moderately correlated across regions: General Social Survey (GSS) data show that mean IQ increases for whites in America as we move north. The same is true for blacks: the lowest average is in the East South Central region (ESC), while the highest is West North Central (WNC). I wanted to look at the relationship more closely, so I calculated the Pearson correlation for black and white mean IQs across the nine GSS divisions. It turned out to be .473. The correlation is lowered by the fact that, while whites in the Intermountain West are smarter than average, for some reason blacks are not.

Could it be that smarter southern blacks migrated to the west coast (blacks are above average there) while their duller counterparts got no farther than service jobs in Nevada? (I doubt that blacks are more than 1 or 2 percent, except for places like Vegas and Phoenix).

So how do we explain the moderately strong relationship between black and white IQs? Is there some kind of environmental factor that lowers intelligence in the south? If so, what would it be? (I'm sure Agnostic could help us out here). Or is it migration--more ambitious blacks and whites heading north to pursue better opportunities? (But how many low IQ blacks have been attracted to northern states with generous welfare programs?)

The differences are by no means trivial. The New England/ESC gap for whites is 8 points--more than half a standard deviation. For blacks, the IQ difference between the WNC and ESC regions is also about 8 points. The gap is so wide, ESC whites surpass WNC blacks by only 1 IQ point. (Keep in mind that the IQ test is based on vocabulary, and the GSS overall black-white gap for this kind of test is only 10 IQ points.)

Monday, March 03, 2008

Has the South converged with the rest of the country on racial attitudes? Fifty years ago, there was a clear divide between the North and the South on the question of race relations. Since then, has the North converted white southerners to its way of thinking?

The General Social Survey first ask Americans in 1972 if they were in favor of a law against black-white marriages. I averaged the answers for almost 10,000 people for the 1970s and then this decade, and did it by region of the country. Listed below are the nine regions, the estimates for the 70s, and the estimates for this decade.

Percent in favor of a law against black-white marriages--1970s and 2000s

New England 19.0--> 7.4
Mid-Atlantic 27.7--> 8.5
East North Central 31.6--> 9.9
West North Central 37.1--> 13.4
South Atlantic 54.3--> 14.5
East South Central 57.3--> 32.2
West South Central 42.2--> 11.3
Mountain 30.4--> 4.8
Pacific 22.0--> 5.3

Support for this type of law dropped significantly all over the country during this period, especially in the South Atlantic and West South Central divisions. This reflects both the dramatic change in racial attitudes among whites along with the growing feeling that other people should have the right to do whatever they would like, even if I don't personally like it.

The East South Central region (ESC) is the outlier here. While the two other southern divisions are very similar to the rest of the country, the ESC's level of support is still more than double any other area. (By the way, this region includes MS, AL, TN, KY.) The ESC has remained distinctive, indeed.

And notice how the numbers are not perfectly predicted by the politics of the region. Outside of the South, the Mountain States are the most conservative, yet they are the least in favor of anti-miscegenation laws. This ties in with my earlier post that argued that naivete, rather than experience, can encourage non-traditional racial attitudes.

Are gun owners mentally ill?

  Some anti-gun people think owning a gun is a sign of some kind of mental abnormality. According to General Social Survey data, gun owners ...