Luke Visconti's Ask the White Guy column is a top draw on DiversityInc.com. Visconti, the founder and CEO of DiversityInc, is a nationally recognized leader in diversity management. In his popular column, readers who ask Visconti tough questions about race/culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability and age can expect smart, direct and disarmingly frank answers.
I am a college biology professor who specializes in University Affirmative Action Programs. It is clear that human races are genetically different and have genetically adapted to where they evolved; these are scientific facts and are not debatable. For examples, because of body form and fat distribution, Eskamoes [sic] are better adapted for cold. The Thai, who evolved in hot & humid tropical forests, are superior thermal-coolers. Whites better absorb sunlight and make Vitamin D, whereas dark-skinned people are superior at blocking harmful UV radiation in the tropics. Tropical races have superior genetics for fighting malaria--for example, there are at least 7 different gene-based anti-malaria defenses among different populations in Papua New Guinea. I could list nearly 100 gene-based adaptations of specific human populations.
The point is that the races are not equal. For the most part, each is superior in their native environment. For example, white missionaries died like flies in Papua New Guinea due to inferior genes for fighting tropical diseases, whereas NA Indians died from lack of genes to fight European diseases.
Africans are generally better athletes than whites, but different African populations are better at different sports. Eastern Africans, who evolved in hot dry grasslands where long-distance walking was essential, are superior marathon runners. West Africans are the world's best sprinters and jumpers.
Unfortunately, 100 years of IQ studies suggest that Jews, Europeans and Northeast Asians have superior IQ. The Basque people also apparently have a high IQ. In contrast, hundreds of IQ tests have suggested that Africans are at least one Standard Deviation lower than Europeans in IQ.
During 200,000 years of evolution, virtually no African peoples moved beyond the Stone Age, devised a written language, learned to work stone or metal to any extent, or invented the wheel. Today, despite 200 years of contact with the Europeans, there is not a single "working" sub-Sahara country. Also everywhere Africans have settled, be it Brazil, Haiti or Sweden, they remain at the bottom of society and technical accomplishment. African societies tend to be brutal and backwards, and with a low standard of living.
Having superior cold or hot tolerance or superior sun block or malaria-fighting ability or better athleticism was very important 1,000 years ago. But in today's complicated technical civilizations, the most important factor for success is intelligence.
I'm not trying to be mean. I'm just trying to understand why the hundreds of black students who have come through my AA programs have generally not measured up to the average intelligence levels of white, Jewish and Asian students. What if, because of genes, the Eskimo will never be heat-tolerant, the Thai will never be cold-adapted, whites and Chinese will generally never be great long-distance runners or basketball players? And what if because of genes, blacks generally do not have equal intelligence to whites and Asians? A million years of Head Start and AA will not change that. Please send me your thoughts.
Science has made tremendous advances in understanding genetics, especially over the past five years. The mapping of the human genome has proven that the outward, physical manifestations of race are determined by a very small number of genes (less than 6 percent). Genetic studies have also proved that there are no significant differences between human beings and that there is only one species of human. The concept of race has been judged to be biologically meaningless and the American Anthropological Association also rejects the concept of race.
External differences in human beings can be traced to geographic isolation after human beings migrated from Africa. This has been documented by the National Geographic Genographic Project. We are all of African decent.
What's left to your e-mail is the social construct of race. Your eugenic observations on IQ make a scientifically invalid leap from culture to genetics to intelligence. On top of this, your reliance on a standardized test to determine intelligence is also bankrupt. We have written about standardized tests in the magazine and will have further articles in 2007. Tests don't judge intelligence, and many factors impact test scores, notably economic level. That poverty can be traced to race in our country is the result of bigotry and racism, not genetics.
As far as your comments about Africa, you can connect almost all of the current problems in Africa to colonialism. The disgusting behavior of "civilized" European nations has not been proactively redressed to this day. It is a system maintained to extract raw materials without having to pay a fair price for them.
It's sad to say that we human beings share a tendency to oppress. It is a common feeling to think that holding one group back elevates another group--but it doesn't work that way in an economic model, noted by no less than George Washington, who observed that an acre of land was less expensive in Virginia than an acre of land in Pennsylvania--despite the quality of the Virginia land being superior. His conclusion, borne out by economists, was that slavery depressed value and freedom elevated it. In my opinion, science has caught up to economics. Now it's a matter of we humans coming to grips with our own self-destructive behavior.
In closing, I have to note that I find it impossible to believe that a biology professor at a large public university would be so profoundly ignorant of the current state of genetic research and opinion. Your e-mail reflects a desire to be a bigot.
I'm sorry for your students. That you are involved with affirmative-action programs turns my stomach. You should consider yourself fortunate that you do not work for either of the two schools I am a board member of.