More diversity illusions


Cover of the Race report 2016

It is unkind to mock the afflicted, but reasonable to ask them not to sneeze in our faces.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission in the UK has published a document entitled: Healing a divided Britain: the need for a comprehensive race equality strategy. Described by them as the biggest ever review into race inequality in Great Britain, providing a comprehensive analysis on whether our society lives up to its promise to be fair to all its citizens, the full report can be found here:

The Equality and Human Rights Commission does not regard itself as afflicted,  yet it is afflicted by significant bias: a tacit acceptance of a world view they believe to be inherently correct: that unless outcomes between ethnic groups are equal, that is prima face evidence of bias, also known as racial discrimination.

They state their objectives thus: The Equality and Human Rights Commission is calling on the UK, Scottish and Welsh Governments to address race inequality and discrimination experienced by people in Britain in a comprehensive and coordinated way.

They give details of inequality in education and learning; work, income and the economy; health and care; justice, security and the right to life; and the individual and society.

I started by looking at the references, and they mostly relate to government reports, trade union reports, a Guardian article and some books and working papers. There was nothing I could find from the peer-reviewed literature on scholastic attainment or intelligence, and nothing on genetics or the heritability of behavioural characteristics. This is a prime example of a confection which is lawyerly rather than scholarly. It is written by lawyers who ignore the world-as-it-is for the world-as-they-want-it-to-be; nay, the world as they command it to be.

At this point it might be wise just to turn away, because it is a weak publication, but to do so would make it seem that we have received the sneeze in our face without demur: that we had agreed that Britain is divided, and needs healing, and that new policies are required to make Britain more equal, and the underlying cause is racial discrimination by White British people.

The rejoinder is that Britain is doing its best to cope with large-scale unselective immigration, is paying the price with relative good grace, but cannot overcome genetic differences and deep-seated immigrant cultural norms. Furthermore, immigrants who are as bright or brighter than the locals do well, those who are less bright do worse, and the average intelligence of the country of origin is the best predictor of outcomes for immigrants to the UK.

Immigrant competences:

The suppression, or “ignoral” of these findings makes it possible to insult the White British majority with imputations of foul character, and to demand further taxation for race-based equality compensation schemes.

I will pick only a few areas for comment.

Here is a sample comment (page 5 bottom paragraph): It is indefensible that in 21st century Britain, Black workers with degrees earn over 23 per cent less on average than White workers with degrees; and if you are Black in England you are more than three times more likely to be a victim of murder and four times more likely to be stopped and searched by the police.

Degrees: University degrees in Britain are now obtainable from institutions of very different quality, ranging from the Russell Group who require very high exam results to institutions which require nothing more than good intentions. The latter weak institutions are numerous. Weaker students go to the weakest institutions, and gain less valuable qualifications. A good degree from a good university boosts income by about 60% over those without degrees. A bad university does not boost income to anything like that amount, if at all. The above percentages would be informative if the complication of heterogeneity of degree quality was acknowledged. Low scoring minorities are disproportionately represented in low achieving universities. Employers know all this, and many restrict recruitment to those universities who require high entry standards. A wise policy.

Victims of murder; and stop and search: What you will not find in this report is the descriptions victims give of their assailants. This would allow researchers to see whether Police are searching for suspects in line with the reported ethnicity of the assailant. Unless we know the race of the assailant the other statistics are misleading. If Black Britons are doing more of the crime, and offering more violence to those closest to them, other black males they compete with; they will be stopped and searched more often, and put in prison more often. This is a proportionate response, and would only be disproportionate if the data of the assailants were available. In the absence of UK data, here is some from the US. The overwhelming majority of black homicide victims (93 percent from 1980 to 2008) were killed by other black men.

Here is a study looking at criminal justice procedures, but controlling for IQ and previous criminality.

On education, the Commission report says (page 10, point 3): Ethnicity has been shown to impact a child’s educational attainment at GCSE level in England and Wales, and the GCSE equivalent (Standard Grade) in Scotland.6 Data in England shows that Gypsy/Roma, Irish Travellers and Black Caribbean pupils have the lowest attainment. In addition, ‘Is Britain Fairer?’ found that White boys receiving free school meals in England and Wales had the lowest educational attainment at the age of 16 in 2015.

“Ethnicity has been shown to impact…” is a curious construction. A more usual description would be “some ethnic groups get low examination scores”.

In criticism of Government initiatives they say (page 12, point 4, second paragraph): By addressing individual issues in a piecemeal way, without consideration of causes, drivers and levers for change, actions taken are unlikely to be effective in the long term or provide significant and sustainable change.

“Without consideration of causes” raises a wry smile, because they do not consider inherent behavioural differences at any stage. I think they would consider it morally wrong to do so. Blithely, they continue: For example, we will not make sustainable progress in reducing the ethnic minority employment gap unless we address the educational attainment gap.

Well, let us look at that. The US has tried to do that since the middle of the last century. Despite best and expensive efforts, the scholastic gaps at the end of schooling, though reduced, remain substantial, with commensurate impacts on later occupational achievements. Asians are ahead of Whites, who are ahead of Hispanics and Blacks. Using these data the proportions of the different racial groups who would be 2 sigma above the European white mean (and thus gain entrance to a highly selective university) are: Asians 4.78% , Whites 2.28%, Hispanics 0.82%, Blacks 0.47%.




For example, here is a bald statement which, in the Commission’s view, shows “inequality”:  Just 6% of Black school leavers attended a Russell Group university, compared with 12% of Mixed or Asian school leavers and 11% of White school leavers.

The predictions above would suggest that if entry were based on ability alone the rates of attendance would vary even more (this assume US results reasonable proxy for UK, which is close enough for illustrative purposes) . The main point is that differences in group level intelligence will have big impacts on participation at elite universities.

What they could have said is that since black school leavers have lower exam scores they go to less good universities. They could also have said that another genetic group, Asians, do better than Whites, so the big difference is between the scholastic levels of Blacks and Asians, not the fact of them being ethnic minorities in Britain. They could also have added “And this is in line with international scholastic ability, as shown in repeated PISA, TIMMS and other assessments.” The authors either intend to mislead, or have misled themselves so comprehensively that they cannot give a balanced account.

The Commission does not give tables or figures, perhaps because the greater scholastic abilities of the Chinese would be all too apparent. Instead there is a litany of percentages, from which it is difficult to draw any conclusions other than that minorities are hard done by. Often the use of percentages of percentages leads to confusion. Those seeking details are referred to other websites. It is the old “Supplementary Appendix 3” problem all over again.

Although the Commission is against racial stereotypes they cannot resist the temptation to use a new label “White boys FSM”. I wondered idly if this was white boys who, against the trend, were carrying out Female Sexual Mutilation, but it turns out to refer to Free School Meals: in other words, Poor Whites. It is now generally admitted that they are doing badly. Quite how this fits in with the narrative is unclear. The story seems to go like this:

White people are biased (hence the need for more anti-racial bias policies), and are prejudiced against other races. Formerly this bias was blatant, now it is subtle. Admittedly, they are not prejudiced against yellow skinned Chinese, and against brown-skinned Indians, but definitely against Black skinned Africans from the colonies, but not against Africans direct from Africa, who are doing well. But Whites are generally prejudiced anyway, so these exceptions need not concern us. Whites are even prejudiced against White people if they are poor because, I think, white people are racist and also class-ist, and hate foreigners and all poor people. Brexit has made them worse, because they now hate foreigners even more. Britain has had a spike of “hate crimes”. However, not given prominence in this report, Britain is still one of the world’s most favoured destinations for all immigrants. Nonetheless, more anti-racism policies are required.

You may need to help me here, because I have had to infer the argument from the tone of the report, and the contradictions are not discussed.

 One of their policy recommendations is interesting:

4. All governments improve the range and scope of the disaggregated ethnicity data available – including intersectional data – and ensure that ethnicity statistics and research findings inform their race equality strategies.

This is fine if they collect racial data on a broad range of issues, including the perceived race of assailants in reported crimes. It would be good if they could include data on racial differences in intelligence in their next report. None of this is likely to happen, but I am simply pointing out the obvious gaps in their arguments.

The Commission are entirely un-reflexive about immigration. It is presumed to be a good thing. They are secure in their opinions, and woe betide you if you do not share them. Criticising them may eventually get registered as a hate crime.

I know that I should track down every single thing they have left out, but it is August, the silly season, when people release silly stories to fill up the newspapers. Strangely, the sun is shining, so one should not get too agitated about biased, partial argumentation being used to strongly imply that racial differences must be the fault of one race, not the result of the different characteristics of all races. For example, the Olympic 100 metres final has been 100% West African for decades. This is not a black conspiracy, any more than East African dominance in long distance races is a conspiracy. It is a result of underlying genetics, plus some sponsorship.

Anyway, too much sunshine to push all this further.

I do not wish to speak ill of anyone, but I suspect this report was written by a lawyer.


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