Friday, July 3, 2009

The Smartest People Alive

If we are judging one's intelligence by their level of education - African immigrants kick butt.
And this is not limited to just this one report.
A Black Enterprise report done last year had the same results.

So how are American tests racially biased?
How is being Black a liability when it comes to test scores?
IMO - It's not so much about one's race as it is about one's culture.


Max Reddick said...

I think that our culture--and when I say our culture I am speaking of American culture and African American culture--has become one that devalues effort. We have an ideal of success, but the effort requisite for achieving that success is missing.

I get so many students who have every advantage imaginable, but they want to get the most from the least effort. However, those students coming from third world countries who know what it means to be hungry and homeless and hopeless work their behinds off.

Anonymous said...

As a Nigerian... I remember my dad teaching me math at age 5. At high school I lived in the boarding house. It was "cool" to wake up around 2am in the morning to study for an hour.

High-school education was not free. (at least not in my school). And there was no way in hell I could go home and present a C, D or F to my parents who were paying. Just impossible.

I have a child in 2nd grade now. And I teach her ahead of the cirriculum. I know many other Nigerians that do the same thing.

A. Spence said...

Growing up with an Ethiopian mother, education was the most important thing in our house. She didn't settle for anything less. Because she saw the opportunities that we (Americans) take for granted.

uglyblackjohn said...

The fact that the kids that were paid to do well in school (in Chicago) did well shows that the ability is there - just not the motivation.

The fact that African immigrants out earn African Americans coupled with this report suggests that the problems are cultural - not genetic.

The real problem is in translating a culture of success to a wider audience.

D.J. said...

I was chatting with a guy on facebook yesterday from Kenya. I asked him if English was his second language. He proceeded to tell me that that English was like his fifth language. he told me that there where 42 tribes in his area of Kenya each with it's own language plus there was a common language they all had to learn in order to speak to each other, he said he knew about three or four other tribes languages as well as his own, the common one and English.

Most of us made it thruu High school (french, spanish,etc...) and can't do a thing with it.

Education and the importance of it is just treated very differenty in this country for some is clearly a culture thing.

DPizz said...

I suspect most immigrants outperform Americans in general, not just on tests, but probably economically as well. Of course it's cultural, but I think there is a HUGE relative circumstances factor.

I liken this to the often cited observation of how Mexican immigrants have a much greater work ethic and motivation than Blacks, as demonstrated by their willingness to do many of the Jobs that, apparently, other Americans and Blacks won't do, and their ever presence in the parking lots of Home Depots and Lowes, offering themselves for any sort of labor, while Blacks are conspicuously absent.

Of course they're more motivated than American Blacks, if these illegal Mofo's don't put in work, they will die/starve - generally having no safety net or support system, further complicated by their illegal status.

Additionally, the comparative standard of living and potential opportunities, even as an illegal immigrant and attendant level of earnings, is likely so much greater in the US than their home countries, it's easy to see why they might pursue their American experience with such vigor. I would argue these extra-normal factors necessitate a particular culture and motivation, if this group is to survive.

Rightly or wrongly, starvation and death is generally not the situation faced by, let's say, poor American Blacks. They can turn to family, friends, and the government for basic survival. So, no, they are not as hungry as immigrant Mexicans, in this example.

I think this can be extended to most immigrants and probably to your testing example. So, of course, they bring a different cultural view, motivation, vigor to things such as desire to pursue higher learning (which they may not have had access to in their own countries), willingness to perform menial labor, etc. but they are bringing a substantially different set of circumstances and relative conditions, in part, from their home countries that would likely fuel these differences in cultural values.

My point is - it's all relative. On certain levels, the comparison of the performance of immigrants to Americans is highly distorted; however, your point that a group's success is largely tied to its cultural values is not lost. At this point I don't anyone is arguing that a group is not inherently capable because of their race.

As far as graduation rates and culturally biased tests go, these are two different things.

uglyblackjohn said...

@ DPizz - I said "racially biased" not "culturallly".
And since culture is learned - it can also be changed.

DPizz said...

In the context of a test being racially biased, race is a proxy for culture. No one is saying simply by virtue of the amount of melanin in one's skin that a test is biased. They're saying because of one's race and the implicit attendant culture that a test can be biased.

uglyblackjohn said...

@ DPizz - Nope.
The limitations put on what it means to belong to one culture or another is what limits the base of knowledge required for these tests.

DPizz said...

The issues surrounding racially biased testing have nothing to do with defining what it means to belong to one culture or another, it deals with the fact that all things being equal, test scoring should be be normally distributed across a given set. When this does not occur and the results are subsequently found to be disproportionally associated with particular groups, a test can be biased. Any groupings, classifications, and attributions are derivative of the initial findings that test results are not normally distributed (again under normalized, all things being equal conditions). Bias in testing is after-the-fact observational. The "labeling" of the disproportionately affected groups is merely descriptive of the common attributes of the sub-set - in this case race or culture.

uglyblackjohn said...

@ DPizz - Again.
Race and Culture are NOT the same thing.

DPizz said...

Again, in the context of racially biased testing, race and culture ARE the same thing. The terms are used interchangeably, one is a proxy for the other. Please read any literature on racial/cultural bias in testing. I understand that ethnic origin and culture are not literally the same thing, but in the context of racially biased testing they are, because everyone understands (except for the Bell Curve guy) that the simple fact of your ethnicity has nothing to do with potential academic performance, intelligence, etc. NO ONE is attempting to make this argument of genetics any more! The cases in recent current events were not about genetics, yet they still used the terms racial bias. Therefore, IN THE CONTEXT OF TESTING BIAS, when one refers to racially biased testing they are explicitly referring to culture, which generally follows racial groupings (hence the use of the terms racial bias). In the testing context, there is simply no distinction between race and culture - yet you erroneously continue insist, that there is some difference in this context. If you want to debate literal racial bias assertions, you would have to argue with the Bell curve guy of 20 years ago, because no one today is making that argument.