Facing Reality About I.Q.


I was disturbed by Charles Murray’s book Facing Reality and by Amy Wax’s review of it (“Inconvenient Truths,” Winter 2021/22). They both rightly criticize academics for refusing to recognize that blacks on average have lower I.Q. scores. The establishment must accept this fact. Yet Murray and Wax treat low I.Q. as the principal reason for black inequality more generally. That is not a fact.

Blacks’ below-average income and condition result mainly from severe social problems like violent crime and single parenthood, which have worsened dramatically since the 1960s and continue to keep blacks from joining the middle class. How could low I.Q. be the cause when I.Q. scores have risen for all groups in this period?

Murray and Wax risk deepening blacks’ humiliation and, unwittingly, confirming the Left’s belief that minorities have no hope of getting ahead unless good jobs are simply allocated on the basis of race and gender. Let’s remember that meritocracy is hard on the losers (including on many whites). Compassion is called for, even if denial is wrong.


Lawrence M. Mead

New York University

New York, NY



Amy L. Wax replies:



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