The American Blacks Were Bred for Brawn, Not Brains Argument

There is a well known IQ gap between Blacks and Whites in the US. One attempt of well meaning liberals to explain this gap is to say that Blacks were bred for brawn and not brains. A recent commenter posted just that argument. I did not disagree with him on that as I did not want to start a fight and also I was feeling lazy anyway, but one of my commenters already did.

If American Blacks were bred for stupidity, why are their average IQ’s higher than those of African Blacks?

Their ancestors from Africa went through two evolutionary selection events just coming to America. The first was in being selected as trade goods rather than being kept as slaves there. I suspect that the smarter of the slaves the African kings had available were selected for shipment since they would be more troublesome.

The second was surviving the trip. This has left them with a greater tendency to heart disease as a trade-off for living through confinement in a hot hold.

Yes, that argument of his is just wrong, but I hear it all the time.

Also Blacks underwent a big 7.5 point absolute rise in IQ in the past century or so. Charles Murray even admits this and in fact wrote a journal about it. And from the late 1800’s to now, Blacks underwent severe selection pressure for more progressive phenotypes versus more archaic ones such that Blacks now look more like we do than they look like their pre-Revolutionary ancestors!

The reasons for selection are unknown, but perhaps now Blacks had more choice about who to marry. Blacks now had money, and with money comes selection pressure. Females attempt to select the males with more money, power and prestige versus those with less. In a money oriented society, males with more power, prestige and money tend to be more intelligent, leaving aside exceptions like Robert Lindsay. Males attempt to breed with the best looking females, who often have more progressive phenotypes because progressive phenotypes are more attractive than archaic ones. Progressive phenotypes tend to be more intelligent than archaic ones for unknown reasons, or perhaps that’s just evolution in progress.

So both male and female Blacks started selecting a lot more for success and beauty, both of which are tied in with intelligence. This intense move towards a more progressive phenotype in 150 years seems to have coincided with major IQ gains in Blacks, both Flynn gains and more pure gains that actually reduced racial gaps.


Filed under Anthropology, Blacks, Flynn Effect, Gender Studies, Heterosexuality, History, Intelligence, Physical, Psychology, Race/Ethnicity, Regional, Sex, Sociology, USA

9 responses to “The American Blacks Were Bred for Brawn, Not Brains Argument

  1. Sami

    Hi Robert. The question I have is tangentially related to this post.

    As I’ve written before, I am of Lebanese ancestry. According to Richard Lynn, the IQ of Lebanese in Lebanon is between 82-86. This, however, seems wildly inconsistent with the success that Lebanese Americans have had in American society (as well as with the success of French Lebanese, who are almost as successful). As I’ve written elsewhere, Lebanese Americans get Ph.D’s at a rate of 3 times the population as a whole and Masters’ degrees at a rate of 2.4 times, and have household incomes $15,000 higher than that of the US population as a whole.

    Two plausible explanations seem most readily apparent. Either Lebanese Americans were insanely Flynn-effected upward in per-capita intellect since arriving, mostly between 1875 (roughly when the Lebanese/Syrian silk trade with Europe collapsed due to Asian competition and environmental changes in the Eastern Mediterranean region) and 1920 (following the Mt Lebanon famine in 1916 — really an attempted genocide by the Young Turk authorities during the waning days of the Ottoman Empire [another story for another day]), or, Richard Lynn is full of shit. Or some combination of both. What is your best guess?

    The “explanation” that some have suggested to me, mainly elsewhere, that most Arab Americans are the children of students who came to America to go to college, who then opted to stay in the US, simply is not accurate. Especially for the Lebanese, who, as I said above, mostly arrived as, more or less, illiterate peasants during the waning days of the Ottoman Empire. This theory does not even hold water concerning more recent arrivals from the Arab Middle East, who are a mixed bag, education-wise.

    • I have often wondered many of the same things myself. I would like to see some good IQ studies on Arab Americans for one.

      • Sami

        I’ve looked. Part of the “problem” is that they are simply classified as “white” by the US Government. Perhaps for that reason, I don’t know if such studies exist.

    • Tulio

      The same can be said of Nigerians. As for Lebanon, it’s a dysfunctional war-torn nation. Obviously the cream of the crop are the mostly likely ones to emigrate.

    • TRASH

      Lebanese are Phoenician and more similar to Jews or Sicilians than Arabs from Yemen or Morocco.

      You possess a very old and refined culture that has been present in the Mediterranean for thousands of years.

      I disagree that 86, which is getting near mentally retarded, is the IQ of Lebanon.

      Lebanese are economically dominant in parts of West Africa, some Canadian cities and a Detroit neighborhood or two. You are no fools.

  2. lucescu

    More by evolution than by slave masters. Recent Nigerian immigrants excel in sports. They were not ‘bred’ by Americans.

    100,000 yrs of evolution in africa is the real key

    • Jm8

      It could be a combination of both, as well as some cultural factors esp. in the African American case. There is variation within West Africa and US Blacks are not only of Nigerian origin; there’s quite a bit of Sengambian and Congolese in them also (and smaller bits of other things, African and not). (some types of) Senegambians and North/some Central Nigerians tend to be somewhat tall (good for basketball), while West Central Africans do not generally.

      • Jm8

        Edit: “…tend to be somewhat tall and lanky (good for basketball)—like Balkan Slavs, who also produce a significant number of basketball players—…”

  3. Lin

    (From another site…) (Off topic or not….)

    An existential question:

    Are humans androids created by God (a superior ET race)?

    Lets say you’re an android made of metal or more advanced synthetic material, would you feel effaced or ‘inferior’ of your construction as human might think of you? Androids have the potential as a new ‘species’ to better their human creators as some predicted but some ‘deficiency’ remained. Same with human as related to the Creator in the sky. God might not view carbon based biologicals as we humans do. We might have a different perception of chemical elements/matters from the Creator. But humans do progress fast.

    Some futurists predict war between androids and humans. Ever read Frank Herbert’s Dune? There’s a parallel between the Dune Butlerian Jihad and the Tower of Babel. The difference is God sensed the dangerous potential of men thousands of years ago, but humans learn slower (men vs robots nightfall war happens in the future). Thus proves the superiority of God.

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