I've just scanned this thread, it's a topic of great interest to me. Before I take the time to examine individual posts and respond to a few specific issues raised, I'd like to post a link to a related recent thread in the Philosophy forum at A2K, along with the two responses I made there yesterday -- probably any responses I make specific to this thread will contain their essence. The topic of the original post of the Philosophy thread was political correctness vs. truth; the OP specifically mentioned Black and Hispanic communities in America.
MY 1ST RESPONSE TO OP (Political Correctness at the Expense of Truth)
Thanks for opening the door to frank discussion of this interesting, important and complex issue. I've been trying to post a studied reply for two days, but I failed to anticipate the extent of research and advancement of knowledge over the past 15 years.
I already knew, based on my continuing interest in anthropology, that the "big three" races are believed to have separated roughly 70,000 years ago (perhaps even earlier). The present politically correct idea that all three races, including all smaller ethnic subgroups, developed the same strengths and abilities, this ideal that all people are reasonably equal in all abilities, seemed, therefore, implausible to me.
The American Psychological Association published a public policy advisory in 2005 suggesting that (I'm paraphrasing) idealistic affirmative action policies based on the "discriminatory model", which presumed "equal socially valued outcomes", be tempered by a "distributional model" based on realistic "underlying group characteristics".
The stereotype of Asians as better than whites in math and physics has been (generally speaking) upheld by academic evidence. Does this mean whites are inferior to Asians in all things? I don't think so -- I mean, have you ever listened to traditional Oriental music? "Caterwauling" is a generous descriptive.
So why have past advances in math and science come largely from Western society? I haven't read any formal analysis, but my off-the-cuff guess would be that Asian/Oriental sociocultural norms have been traditionally so restrictive as to discourage abstract thinking (sociologists have questioned an apparent lack of abstract thinking in some Oriental cultures), but now the the second post-WWII generation of Asians in Western culture, fully adapted to Western intellectual freedom, are excelling in disciplines believed to require high levels of abstract thinking.
Some strengths and deficiencies and differences, particularly between ethnic subgroups of the same race, are perhaps largely cultural. But, all things being equal, some aren't -- including a few differences between the "big three" races. The sooner we accept this truth, supported by overwhelming evidence, studied and accepted internationally now by mainstream scholars, the sooner we can begin honestly evaluating the differences between American racial, ethnic, and cultural subgroups, then enact realistic solutions to real social problems. An honest evaluation, if well intentioned, could result in a win-win situation for all (at least, most) American citizens, but only if we are willing to discard outdated beliefs and face some politically incorrect truths.
CONFUSION: I just self administered one internationally accepted "culture-independent general intelligence test", and I failed. By Western intelligence standards, I'm mentally challenged. But I'm MENSA?
For further information, the basic Wikipedia article on race and intelligence is one good starting points; also googling "affirmative action" can prove quite revealing, and disturbing, especially case law studies. Or, follow "the evolution of man", especially new genetic studies and theories. Very interesting (IMO) but often confusing, especially when Heidelberg Man (homo heidelbergensis) gets thrown into modern man's genetic mix, which was believed to have originated 150,000 years ago in Africa -- but Heidelberg Man existed in Europe about 600,000 years ago? I re-read the article, which postulated that HM or proto-HM left Africa at least 600,000 years ago, then returned to Africa about 200,000 years ago to become part of our common ancestors... I dunno...
MY 2ND RESPONSE:
I've not yet read this myself, but here's a link to the APA meta-analysis, published in 2005, alluded to in my previous post.
I don't believe that Whites are superior to Blacks any more than I believe Asians are superior to Whites. All races, and (nearly) all ethnicities have strengths and weaknesses. Since our American society was founded on White Western European culture, our "sociocultural norms" are White-Western-European-friendly.
It's patently clear that 50 years of American affirmative action education measures have largely failed in the Black community, causing frustration and resentment in both the Black and White sectors. We keep trying the same methods over and over again, increasing in degree to the point of absurdity, somehow expecting different results. Akin to trying to make a non-English speaker understand what you are saying (in English) by saying it louder and louder until you are shouting. Perhaps a better alternative would be to learn a bit about the other person's language?