The discussion came up at work again - I didn't enter it - about how there must be something wrong with IQ tests, or their interpretation, or bad schools, or whatever, because African-Americans score lower on them. Folks were also quick to say that they were only a few points lower, which would seem to make the energy they devote to declaring them unimportant a little ridiculous. If the white average were 100 and the AA average 97, who would care, really?
So they have heard that the difference is in fact much larger, but don't want to say that out loud. Or something.
More fascinating to me (I will have to pipe down and just smile during controversial discussions more often) was letting the topic go where it would and noting the implications of what people were saying. There was some talk about poor whites also scoring lower, and political stereotypes about how they vote and their attitudes, and what could be done to teach them about such things as health care so they wouldn't believe these myths.
I first noticed wryly that they were not worried about teaching the African-Americans anything, presumably because they already voted the right way. But that led to a rather alarming thought, which I have have entertained the rest of the day, wondering if I have understood rightly. They believe that smarter people have some inherent right to rule those less intelligent. If this were brought out in the open, I think most people would recognise it for the racist, classist garbage that it is and claim not to believe it.
But I think they do, and mean themselves, mostly. Yet they are worried that the wrong sort of white people are going to rule black people just like in the bad old days, so they have to maintain that at the low end of the scale, there's little difference. So that the wrong white people don't get uppity.
Here's a novel thought for their consideration: Even if it were absolutely true and worse than it appears, and some groups really are less intelligent, it would still not give other groups the right to rule them. I am more fit to rule in my persona of Assistant Village Idiot than my real-life self is. Cut-throat competition and meritocracy, even if some were sure to fail, would be less racist and less damaging to minority groups than the current method of giving a few of the favorites a place at the table and letting them speak for the others. The buried, unacknowledged idea is far more dangerous than the mere suspicion and contempt for out-groups common across human history.
Also, I want to be on record saying this as a defense against the possible race of enhanced humans we will build over the next generations. You have no right to rule us, even if you are smarter.