Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Inside Story Of Richwine's Dissertation That Became Too Racist For Heritage Foundation

Jason Richwine - An Equivalent to Paul Cameron?

There are some that will argue that IQ differences can be documented to exist between racial groups.  One recently in the news is now former Heritage Foundation Senior Policy Analyst Jason Richwine (pictured above) who co-authored a Heritage Foundation hatchet job on immigration reform.    It now seems that as time goes by, even more questions have arisen concerning his racist dissertation at Harvard and how Richwine was allowed to produce such seemingly flawed work.  In the interest of full disclosure, my late mother fits Richwine's definition of "Hispanic" - she was born in Honduras, raised Catholic and yet ostensibly considered herself as "white" - via Think Progress:

This is the chapter’s full definition of the term Hispanic and defense of its use:
Over 56% of immigrants living in the U.S. in 2006 were Hispanic — that is, born in either Mexico (32% of total immigrants), Central American [sic] and the Caribbean (17%), or South America (7%)…Hispanics are not a monolithic group either ethnically or culturally, but the category still has real meaning. Hispanics can be of any race, but they are most often “Mestizo” — a mixture of European and Amerindian background. Mexico, for example, is 60% Mestizo (LV 2006, 241). Hispanics also share ethno-cultural tendencies that are different from the majority Anglo-Protestant culture of the United States (Huntington 2004, 253-255). Most come from Spanish-speaking nations with cultures heavily influence by Catholicism. And many Hispanics choose to identify themselves as such, as the existence of groups like the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the National Council of La Raza (“the race” or “the people”), and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus readily demonstrates.
  From this definition onward the criticisms of Richwine expolde.  Here are excerpts:

Von Vacano sees this as fatally inadequate. “Any serious work at the doctoral level on these issues (even if mainly quantitative or policy-oriented),” he told me, “requires a substantive component of analysis from the qualitative, historical, cultural, normative, and theoretical perspectives (at least one or two dissertation chapters).”

These are not merely scholarly niceties: what Richwine means by “Hispanic” is critical to the success of both of his two core arguments. First, to prove that “from the perspective of Americans alive today, the low average IQ of Hispanics is effectively permanent,” he needs to show that one can speak meaningfully about“Hispanic” IQ. Richwine needs this claim to be true for the entire third section of his dissertation, the one that spells out the dangers of low IQ Hispanic immigration, to succeed. Establishing the negative consequences of Hispanic immigration means first establishing there’s such a thing as “Hispanic immigration” in a scientifically useful sense.

Because Hispanic identity is so hotly contested among scholars of race and ethnicity, that means both providing a clear account of why people from an arbitrary set of geographic locations are homogenous enough for generalizations about them are meaningful, controlled social science. Richwine fails to do so.

First, Richwine asserts Hispanics are mostly some “Mestizo” mix of Native American and European, making them genetically similar. But in the unnerving world of race and IQ research, what mix they are matters. Richwine believes that “socioeconomic hierarchies correlate consistently with race all across the world” because some races are biologically smarter; “there are no countries,” he writes, “in which ethnic Chinese are less successful than Amerindians.” It stands to reason, on his theory, that “mixed” Hispanics with more European or  Asian DNA will be concomitantly smarter, on average, than more heavily Amerindian or African ones. But Richwine doesn’t attempt to show that the mix of racial DNA inside any one “Hispanic” subgroup is consistent enough for generalization, let alone the category as a whole.

Even a cursory examination of research on Latin American genetics uncovers an impossibly complex genetic admixture, one that varies widely from country to country or even region to region.    . . . .  As von Vacano puts it, “there is no literature that can meaningfully support the idea that ‘Hispanic’ is a genetic category,” let alone one that can be equated with the colonially-superimposed “Mestizo” identifier...

Second, Richwine asserts that Hispanics share a similar culture that’s distinct from so-called “Anglo” culture. Richwine’s only support for this claim is a citation of Samuel Huntington’s Who Are We?, a book that warns of a wave of Hispanic immigration irrevocably altering American culture for the worse. Huntington’s claims about Hispanic inability to assimilate have been subjected to serious quantitative challenge, but more to the point, citing a polemic tract about immigration does not constitute explaining what the purportedly unified Hispanic culture is and why the fact that it involves a lot of Spanish-speaking and Catholicism might be seen as allowing one to make generalized claims about the group.

There's much more that deserves a full read.  The point is that, like Paul Cameron and his bogus "studies" on gays, Richwine seemingly has set his definitions so as to support his preordained conclusion.   It's sloppy scholarship at best and a deliberate effort to malign an entire social group at worst.    Richwine's "research" is all too familiar to those of us who have followed faux Chritofacist "research" for many years.  The goal was to malign Hispanics and the definitions and facts were manipulated to achieve the predetermined conclusion. 

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