IQ Testing – Biased or Useful?

During the course of recent decades, the voices of those who call for the abandonment of IQ testing as “racist” and “biased”, are becoming increasingly louder. Again and again we are being told that bit is something absolutely inappropriate to subject the representatives of racial minorities in Western countries to IQ tests, simply because these tests are believed to be utterly euro-centric.

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And, as we are all well aware of – thanks to the hawks of political correctness; the very concept of euro-centrism is now assumed “evil”.

For example, while referring to Richard and Charles Murray’s famous book “The Bell Curve”, in which authors had proven beyond any reasonable doubt that people’s ability to operate with abstract categories (their IQ) directly relate to particularities of their racial affiliation, countless “experts on tolerance” often imply that this book should be removed from public libraries, because of its alleged “racist” undertones. In their article “Superior Intellect?: Sincere Fictions of the White Self”, Hernan Vera, Joe R. Feagin, Andrew Gordon state: “Herrnstein and Murray repeatedly insult not only the intellectual capacity of people of color, for which they claim to have data, but also the moral character of people of color. For which they have no data” (1995, p. 303). However, we believe that it is conceptually fallacious to assess purely scientific issues through the lenses of morality and ethics, especially given the fact that in multicultural society, there can be no universally accepted criteria for the concept of ethics.

Therefore, we can only agree with Neven Sesardic, who in his article “Philosophy of Science That Ignores Science: Race, IQ and Heritability”, suggested that sociological data, in regards to the link between people’s racial affiliation and their ability to succeed in academia, remains absolutely valid, despite its clearly defined racist connotation: “The idea that human races differ in average cranial capacity or brain size sounds to many people like the crudest possible form of racist and pseudoscientific belief. But notice that the belief is nevertheless empirical, and that its truth-value cannot be determined by conceptual analysis or political condemnation” (2000, p. 595). In our paper, we will aim at exploring this thesis even to a further extent, while pointing out to the fact that it is namely due to the practice of IQ testing having attained controversial sounding, which explains why the integrity of educational standards in America is now being increasingly undermined.

Given the fact that American society now takes pride in growing ever-more multicultural, the educational policies in this country are based on assumption of people’s intellectual equality. However, one does not have to be overly smart to realize this assumption as being utterly fallacious, simply because the empirical studies on what defines people’s intellectual refinement point out to something entirely different. As it appears from Richard Lynn Tatu Vanhanen’s book “IQ and the Wealth of Nations”, the reason why after having liberated themselves of “White oppression”, virtually all African countries began to rapidly regress back in to primeval savagery, is because people’s average rate of IQ in Africa does not allow us to think of them as being anything but mentally deficient. For example, people’s average rate of IQ in Equatorial Guinea equals 59; whereas, White people who score less then 70, during the course of IQ testing, end up being declared imbeciles. Therefore, the fact that people in Third World countries were never able to break the vicious circle of poverty has nothing to do with the “legacy of colonialism”, or with “capitalist exploitation”, as many naïve Westerners continue to believe, but with the fact that these people can hardly be referred as utterly intelligent.

Here in what both authors stated in previously mentioned book: “IQs appear to be determined by the racial and ethnic make-up of the populations. For example, In Argentina and Uruguay, the populations are very largely European at 85 percent for Argentina and 86 percent for Uruguay. The IQs of 96 are typical of Europeans. The countries with lower proportions of Europeans and greater proportions of Native Americans, Blacks, and Mestizos have lower IQs” (2002, p. 63). And, as we are all well aware of – the drop out rate among Hispanics and Blacks in America’s accounts for 40%-45%. The environmental factors can hardly be blamed for such state of affairs. Hispanic and Black students simply have a lower ability of operating with highly abstract categories. Such their lower ability is genetically predetermined, as it has been proven in previously mentioned book “IQ and the Wealth of Nations”.

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However, admitting this fact would undermine the most fundamental tenets of doctrine of multiculturalism. This is why; the academic standards in America’s system of education continue to sink ever lower, as time goes by – as of today, American educators’ foremost concern has been transformed from helping students to attain academic excellence, to simply maintaining an illusion of “intellectual equality” among the students that belong to different ethnical groups.

And, as a direct result of it – America’s corporate employers now prefer hiring professionals from abroad, as opposed to graduates of American universities and colleges. For example, 80% of Microsoft software designers are naturalized citizens from Russia, India and China. The fact that many of them used to be hackers with extensive criminal records did not prevent them from being able to immigrate to America, because they posses highly technical knowledge that has an objective value, even though that it is very doubtful of whether they understand what the concept of “celebration of diversity” stands for.

As we have mentioned earlier, social scientists that refer to the practice of IQ testing as “biased” base their argumentation onto a fact that the very concept of IQ is a by-product of rationale-based White mentality; therefore, it does not quite apply, for as long as “ethnically unique” students are being concerned. For example, in his article “Explaining the Gap in Black-White Scores on IQ and College Admission Tests”, Ted Williams state: “The language of testing is a standard form of English with which some Blacks may not be familiar with (!); specific vocabulary items are often unfamiliar to Black children; the test are often given by White examiners rather then by more familiar Black teachers; African Americans may not be motivated to work hard on tests that so clearly reflect White values; the time demands of some tests may be alien to black culture, etc.” (1998, p. 95). Another example – in her article “Desegregating Gifted Education: A Need Unmet”, Donna Y. Ford sings essentially the same tune with Williams. According to her, the sheer dumbness on the part of many Hispanic and Black students is always somebody else’s fault: “African American males are there times more liable to than White Americans to be placed in classes for the mentally retarded, and one-half lass likely to appear in gifted programs…Several reasons help to explain the dearth of African Americans in public school programs for gifted. Among these are: abstract and disparate definitions of giftedness, inequitable practices for identifying gifted students, educators’ lack of understanding about cultural differences” (1995, p. 53). However, if this was the case, then it would not only be Hispanics and Blacks suffering from being exposed to a subtle racism of IQ tests, but Asians as well. Yet, the objective reality leaves no doubt as to the fact that, while being IQ tested, Chinese-Americans often score even higher then Whites.

According to “IQ and the Wealth of Nations”, it is namely in such countries as China, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, where the average rate of citizens’ IQ reaches as high as 110 (world’s highest). Grace Kao and Jennifer S. Thompson’s article “Racial and Ethnic Stratification in Educational Achievement and Attainment”, confirms the validity of this suggestion: “In 1995 (persons aged 26-35), among foreign-born Mexican Americans, only 29% of men and 27% of women had graduated high school. Native-born Mexican Americans also had relatively low rates of graduation (68% for men, 64% for women). Puerto Rican rates were even lower (54% for men, 53% for women). Groups with the highest high school graduation rates were native-born Japanese Americans (98% of men and women), native-born Chinese Americans (97% of men and 96% of women), foreign-born Japanese Americans( 96% of men and 92% of women)” (2003, p. 427). Therefore, there is absolutely no a good reason to think of practice of IQ testing as such that has been intentionally designed to deprive Hispanics and Blacks of their chances to attain academic prominence – the fact that they never cease whining about the “biasness” of IQ testing, does not make them brighter. It is perfectly understandable that representatives of Black and Hispanic communities do not particularly enjoy pursuing “professional” careers of burger flippers and cotton pickers, but this is how things in this world are – if you are dumb, you cannot possibly dream of becoming a scientist. If this was not the case, the world would have come to an end long time ago.

Many Asian teachers that had visited U.S., end up referring to America’s educational system in terms of institutionalized insanity – only in America, high school graduates that have a hard time pointing out at U.S. on world’s map, can enrol in universities (affirmative action). Only in America, students in many public high schools are being searched on possession of guns and drugs, before they can be allowed to walk into a classroom. Only in America, teachers that give low grades to representatives of racial minorities can be accused of “racism” and consequentially fired. Therefore, the situation with America’s system of education, in its current state, is best described as plain and simple disaster. For this, we have to thank our own “progressive” politicians, whose promotion of politically correct notions, in the field of education, had effectively reduced many American high schools into a kindergartens, where students are being encouraged to do just about anything, except studying.

The ultimate conclusion of this paper can be articulated as follows: it is not only that the practice of IQ testing is being useful in the field of public education, but utterly indispensable. Therefore, those who criticize this practice as being “racist or “biased” cannot be referred to as nothing but mentally inadequate individuals – apparently, these people have a hard time understanding a simple fact that their stance on the issue is being utterly counter-productive, in educational sense of this word. Moreover, it appears that they cannot even be argued with within the framework of logic – for as long as the issue of IQ testing is being concerned, they simply scream bloody murder, while instantly applying the labels of “racists”, “sexists” and “male chauvinists” to those who disagree with them. Therefore, we cannot even seriously consider these “sophisticates’” claims as to euro-centric biasness of IQ tests – after all, America’s current geopolitical might and prosperity cannot be discussed outside of the notion of euro-centric rationale. It is namely the people who were endowed with ability for abstract thinking, and not the ones endowed with “spirituality”, “emotional intelligence”(!) or “closeness to nature”, that up until recently, were able to maintain a particularly high standards of living in this country.

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Fish, J, (2002). Race and intelligence: Separating science from myth. Mahwah, N.J.:Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Ford, D. (1995). Desegregating gifted education: A need unmet. The Journal of Negro Education, 64 (1), 52-62.

Franklin, v. & Collier-Thomas, B. (2002). Biography, race vindication, and African American intellectuals. The Journal of African American History, 87, (2), 160-174.

Herrnstein, Richard & Murray, C. (1994). The bell curve: Intelligence and class structure in American life. New York: Free Press.

Kao, G. & Thompson, J. (2003). Racial and ethnic stratification in educational achievement and attainment. Annual Review of Sociology, 29 (5), 417-442.

Li, J. (2001). Chinese conceptualization of learning. Ethos, 29 (2), 111-137.

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Lynn, R. & Vanhanen, T. (2002). IQ and the wealth of nations. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Publishing Group.

Sesardic, N. (2000). Philosophy of science that ignores science: Race, IQ and heritability. Philosophy of Science, Vol. 67 (4), 580-602.

Vera, H., Feagin, J. & Gordon. A. (1995). Superior intellect?: Sincere fictions of the White self. The Journal of Negro Education. 64 (3)3, 295-306.

Williams, T. (1998). Explaining the gap in Black-White scores on IQ and college admission tests. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education,18, 94-97.

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