The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewFred Reed Archive
Race, Realism, and Race Realists
Grant Me the Wisdom to Know the Difference
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information


Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used once per hour.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

“Race realists,” as they call themselves, very much want to think that Latin Americans are inherently stupid. The idea appeals to me. As a curmudgeon, I like to believe in the corruption, venality, concupiscence, and stupidity of our sorry race. Certainly it is the way to bet. Further, I admit, indeed espouse, the biological possibility that one genetic strain may be brighter than another.

While I want to regard all of humanity as inferior, with regard to particular groups vile ripples of unwanted evidence occasionally raise their ugly heads (if ripples have heads). Consider Latinos..After living for eleven years in Mexico, I cannot see that Mexicans are any stupider than anyone else. (This, of course, leaves ample leeway for being stupid.) The assertion among fans of IQ is that because of their admixture of Indian blood, Mexicans, and for that matter all mestizos of Latin America, are stupid. I don’t see it.

But personal observation carries no water with race realists. Fair enough. Let us consider brown people in Peru, a small, heavily mestizo Andean nation of some thirty million. Let us also consider the International Math Olympiad, an annual contest of high-end mathematical talent around the planet. In 2012, Peru finished 16th. Results from the Olympiad vary considerably by year, in 2013 Peru finishing 26, Australia 15 and 27 in those two years (and Mexico 17th in 2013). Yet it is hard for me to see how an inherently stupid people could make it to16th. This is especially puzzling because Peru does not have the highly-developed mechanisms for discovering talent that America has.

I consequently suggest that race realists, at least with respect to South America, have become more racial than realistic, and may suffer from a rectocranial inversion. I hope that Fred on Evrything can serve them as salutary forceps.

To believe a group stupid because of the evidence is one thing; to believe it in spite of the evidence is another. Which I think they are doing. In support of this blasphemy I adduce, first, the Peruvian kid Raul Arturo Chávez Sarmiento, who became the second youngest participant to win a medal in the Olympiad and went on to win both silver and gold medals.

Now, the usual explanation in IQist circles for Latino successes is that only the white ruling classes accomplish anything. Well and good, if it works. The truth is the truth. However:

Arturo Chavez

His two siblings are a physicist and mathematician, so there hasn’t been much regression to the mean in his family.

One data point does not a distribution make. At the end of this column are links to bios of the Peruvian math team. Click on a few and see whether you can find a white kid.

Also interesting is Jorge Ciri. Says the Wikipedia, “Jorge Cori (born July 30, 1995 in Peru) is a Peruvian chess prodigy. He is ranked No. 1 among Under-18 player in the Americas, No. 3 in Peru and No. 8 among all Under-18 players in the world.”

Jorge Ciri. If he is white, I’m Jean Harlow. (There is little evidence that I am Jean Harlow.)

Then there is Jorge’s sister, DeysiCori, women’s grandmaster. Wikipedia: “Cori is ranked 42nd in the world among women players and 3rd on the junior girls list.She is currently the only player in the junior girls Top 20 who resides in the Western Hemisphere.”

Deysi Cori. Norwegian, I guess. No trace of Indian blood. You teach her chess. I don’t do human-sacrifice. Not if I am the human, anyway.

Now, the existence of exceedingly smart Peruvian kids proves nothing conclusively. A Gaussian distribution being asymptotic, there is a calculable chance that a population with a mean IQ of 20 will produce, well, Gauss. It is a very small likelihood. Yet the Math Olympiad is not for the intellectually emaciated. Further, you do not get a high world ranking in chess by being merely very smart, or very, very smart. The probability that a small country still developing, of low average intelligence, much of its population in small villages in the mountains, would by freak mathematical accident produce these kids—anyone but a race realist stop and think.

If I am wrong, show me. As a curmudgeon, I believe that everybody is wrong about everything, including me. This produces a certain logical opacity, which encourages alertness.

So why do we have this Andean flowering now, and not earlier?

We can guess. As a correspondent of mine says, “This surge of young talent has all appeared within the last decade or so, which has coincided with economic growth and the appearance of a mestizo middle class.”

Here we have the old question of whether IQ produces prosperity, or prosperity produces IQ. (Or, perhaps, unleashes it).The IQist bible is IQ and the Wealth of Nations by Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhane. The book purports to show that a nation’s economic rank depends of the mean IQ of its population. The test scores the book uses tend to be a gobbledygook amalgam of different tests offered to different test groups at different times and would make a statistician’s hair curl. Still, if you accept these numbers as vaguely approximating reality, there is indeed a correlation between IQ and prosperity.

A problem is that prosperity can change almost overnight, at least with some populations, which leaves you, to the extent the IQ is genetic, with one IQ correlating with two very different prosperities. Oops.

Consider Taiwan in 1970 and now, China in 1850 when the British thought its people hopelessly inferior, and, er, now. Or Korea in 1950 and now, or Koreas north and south, same genetics but wildly different prosperities.

As for Peru, I have walked the streets of Lima extensively—it is a modern and functional city—without having the slightest feeling of moving among dolts.

Now: If a genetic group has never produced evidence of intellectual capacity, one might reasonably suspect that it doesn’t have any. You might be wrong, but you might be right. Once the said group has produced too much talent at too high a frequency to be attributed to long-shot, fourth-standard-deviation chance, genetic explanations for former lack of national prosperity cease to work.

I am not sure that we are not about to be surprised by a lot of Latin America. I note that the third (or fourth, depending on where you put Bombardier) manufacturer of aircraft in the world is Embraer, of Brazil. When I fly United from Mexico to the States, it is aboard an Embraer 145. The IQist explanation is that Embraer’s engineers are all of the white elite, or, so help me that “only the smartest Brazilians work for Embraer.” This latter suggests that Airbus and Boeing use ordinary citizens, perhaps recruited from a bus station.

Ridiculous Latin-American craft, of clay and wattles made, probably in the rainforest, doubtless with an abacus. Note logo on tail.

Are Embraer’s engineers white? Maybe. I don’t have mug shots. Nor do I know just how the rapid economic progress in Brazil is affecting the make-up of the professions. Yet I wonder whether there is not such a thing as getting too comfortable. Those airliners are not toys. US airlines buy them.

Maybe race realists need to be more realistic about race. How many exceptions make a norm? It takes very few Deysi Cori’s to wreck a perfectly good theory.

(Republished from Fred on Everything by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Race/Ethnicity, Science • Tags: Hispanics, Peru 
Hide 19 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
  1. Stats, gimme stats or I won’t believe it. Wait a minute, I don’t understand stats. Gimme one of those Latino kids to help me and then give me stats.

  2. Well, it’s always been a great puzzle of mine as to what happened to the obviously smart people who stood behind Mayan civilization. Maybe they moved to Peru?

  3. szopen says:

    You confuse statements about population average with statements about individuals from the population. In any population, no matter how small is average IQ, there always will be pleny of smart and very smart people. It’s just the fraction of the smart people will be smaller.

    But even this can be counterbalanced by the population size: imagine one population A in which, due to lower IQ average, only 1% of people has IQ over 120. And population B, with very high IQ average, where 10% of people has IQ over 120. If population A has 10 times more people than B, then A will have the same number of individuals above 120.

    And average IQ for Latin countries are not that small. About 90 – that’s the middle range of many european countries.

  4. bossel says:

    Don’t really know who these people are who “call themselves” “race realists”, but for the point about Richard Lynn:

    IQ and the Wealth of Nations: Richard Lynn Replies to Ron Unz

  5. I left a snarky first post but really you can look at these “race realist” questions as a population geneticist/IQ analyst or you can believe whatever it is your eyes want to and I think science trumps beliefs. I love Latin America, I love the people just like Fred Reed does but, butbutbutbutbut, the numbers don’t lie but our eyes and sentiments do all the time. So is Fred Reed a scientist or a glib wordsmith. The latter quite obviously, so I don’t attach any significance to his analysis. Zip, nada.

  6. Therapsid says:

    I don’t believe you’re interested in being granted wisdom at all. You don’t love *wisdom* in the sense that the ancient Hellenic philosophers did.

    Instead, you’d rather wallow in the mud of self-congratulation and self-worship… despite the fact that your intellectual output is of a decidedly mediocre character. If you’re in fact a member of the master race, then you’re not exactly an exemplary specimen.

  7. Priss Factor [AKA "Andrea Ostrov Letania"] says: • Website

    Race realists didn’t say mestizos and Indians are stupid as in retarded. They said the IQ averages are lower for them folks.

    One advantage of them folks is their origins are Asiatic. So, they tend to be calmer than blacks, and that can make for more social cohesiveness if they are guided in the right way.
    The downside of their Asiatic origins is that they make better followers than leaders.

  8. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:


    I’ve always enjoyed your commentaries, but this one puzzles me. Perhaps you’re being sarcastic somehow (?) or are just full of your Padre Kino wine?? Surely a smart fella like you should know that race realism deals with statistical averages of genetic populations. Perhaps you are focused on some of the reallyreally racist commenters that cling to race realist sites. Ignore them. Look at the science and rational publications. For you to cherry pick the exceptions to the average as your examples and focus on, it seems, some of the peripheral racist comments is irrational and not like your usual pointed viewpoints.

  9. Immigrant from former USSR [AKA "Florida Resident"] says:

    Very mild written presentation by the great scientist in “New Scientist”:

  10. Crowstep says:

    But don’t you see. You claim to be dismissing an entire field, but actually you are engaging in the science itself (or at least introducing a starting point for further discussion).

    If you were to argue against the point of an individual physicist, you wouldn’t be dismissing physics, you’d be engaging in it.

    I’m not sure who exactly you’re trying to argue against, since the fact that the average Mexican IQ is in the 90s neither supports not refutes the idea that there are a significant number of very smart Peruvians. But regardless, this is an interesting question, particularly the Math Olympaid data.

    Without knowing more about it I can’t say much, but perhaps the ancient Peruvians had sub-ethnic groups that were restricted to certain fields, which we know from India or the Ashkenazi can produce extremely smart people. Or maybe living in such a harsh, mountainous environment selected for intelligence, in the same way that surviving the Ice Age did for East Asians. Given their poor showing in PISA, I would lean towards the former hypothesis.

    The point is, you should drop the smug self-congratulation and actually talk about the science. The world will be better for it.

  11. what dave said. this is a website where razib khan or steve sailer blog, so next time I expect much better. and smarter.

  12. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    If intelligence is genetic, then the populations with lower iqs would continue to have lower iqs regardless of their upbringing and circumstances. I’m not sure this is the case.

    Any teacher with room full of motivated students and parents have a much different job than a teacher with unmotivated students and indifferent parents.

    There is a genetic inheritance to intelligence but how long does it take to emerge? I think the difference among human populations are slight and if after few generations the children had continued to have better schooling and a swing toward academic performance all populations would be along the same mean.

    I think the author of this article presents a good argument even if it’s not 100 percent presented in the scientific manner for which many are asking.

  13. gcochran says:

    If you’re curious about engineers at Embraer, you can check linkedln and see.

  14. XVO says:

    You are confusing individuals intelligence with average intelligence. “Race realists” wouldn’t make this confusion. The average IQ of mestizos is ~94 which certainly allows for a lot of intelligent and productive people, but it also results in less intellectual ability overall. Perhaps this is the side of the knife edge that allows their people to be manipulated and fooled by strong men again and again.

    Your assertion that Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia are on their way to becoming the next Japan and South Korea is very premature. How many times have they started down the path to modernity since independence only to be jolted off the path by a ruthless tyrant and gullible masses? Look at Venezuela?

  15. This stuff is just begging for testing with designer children. When a nation of geniuses who are biologically equal are created it will be called progress! Followers of social constructionism will sigh as race realist earn the praise of multicultural liberals for instituting equality. There is just a problem of manufacturing and controlling reproduction.

  16. fnn says:

    Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador have the highest homicides rates in the world. Allegedly even higher than any African countries.

  17. fnn says:

    Correction: exclude Guatemala.

  18. The Inca Empire was set at its geographical core in modern day Peru. And certainly the Incas possessed a class of people with some mathematical sophistication up to and likely past their conquest by the Spanish.

    From Wikipedia:

    “According to the mid-seventeenth-century Jesuit chronicler Bernabé Cobo (1983 [1653]: 253–254),[61] the Inca designated certain officials to perform accounting-related tasks. These officials were called quipo camayos, and the Incas had great confidence in them. In the study of khipu sample VA 42527 (Museum für Völkerkunde, Berlin), Sáez-Rodríguez (2013)[62] observed that the numbers arranged in calendrically significant patterns were used for agricultural purposes in the “farm account books” kept by the khipukamayuq (accountant or warehouse keeper) to facilitate the closing of his accounting books.[63]”

    The Spanish conquest was not so long ago that this class would necessarily simply have dispersed its genetic advantages, any more than like classes have done in, say, Britain. It may be that those who are doing well in Peru on math related tests are descendants of this class, perhaps with Spanish admixture.

  19. Svigor says:

    The thing that sticks out for me about Central & South America is that it is part of the vast swathe of the planet that is populated largely by hybrid peoples. Central Asia is their other great dominion.

    Neither region speaks well of their vigor.

Current Commenter

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone

 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments become the property of The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Fred Reed Comments via RSS
Personal Classics
Not What Tom Jefferson Had in Mind
Sounds Like A Low-Ranked American University To Me
Very Long, Will Bore Hell Out Of Most People, But I Felt Like Doing It
It's Not A Job. It's An Adventure.
Cloudy, With Possible Tidal Wave