Why do black middle-class kids often become poor adults?
I recently came across an article from the Atlantic, and although it’s more than a year old, I wanted to respond to it.
Here’s the conclusion from this short article (and pretty much all you need to know about it):
Most economists lack a clear, definitive explanation for why, after reaching the middle class, many black American families quickly lose that status as their children fall behind.
There are three reasons (none of them especially politically correct):
(1) Many blacks who have middle-class jobs got their jobs through affirmative action and they are often government jobs where poor performance is tolerated. Thus many middle-class blacks don’t have the natural talents to be middle class, and they pass on their genes to their children.
(2) Middle-class blacks, compared to whites of the same income-strata, are more likely to waste their money on bling than save it to invest in their own and their children’s future. This is partially a function of middle-class blacks, because of the point I made in the reason above, having, on average, lower IQ than middle-class whites, and there is a strong correlation between IQ and future-time-oriented behavior.
(3) Because of who their relatives are, the neighborhoods they live in, and black kids’ natural affinity for hanging out with other kids of the same race, black kdis are disproportionately likely to hang out with kids who have ghetto values instead of middle-class values, and kids pick up their values from their peers.
I’ve long blogged about the importance of teaching middle-class values in the schools. If people actually listened to me, we could improve the behavior of black people (as well as poor whites and poor Hispanics) quite a bit and improve their life outcomes.
NOT REGRESSION TOWARDS THE MEAN FOLKS
This is one of the most over-cited things on HBD forums.
First of all, people don’t regress to the mean of their race, they regress to the mean of their great-grandparents. Because people tend to mate within their social strata, and that includes blacks mating with blacks, there isn’t the regression towards the racial mean that people think there is.
Secondly, most middle-class blacks have IQs between 85 and 100. You don’t need an exceptional IQ to get a government job via affirmative action. We are not talking about extreme outliers, we are talking about blacks that are just slightly higher in IQ than the average black (whose IQ is 85), so there really isn’t that far to regress.
Even a black kid with an IQ of 85, the average for the black race, could, with good values, take advantage of affirmative action to get a civil service job that pays a middle-class salary. And this is especially true if they get married. Two blacks, married to each other, each with affirmative-action civil service jobs, would be comfortably middle-class.
For a black woman, not having a baby before she gets married, and for a black man, not getting arrested, is a more important factor in attaining a middle-class income than having an exceptional IQ.
Regression towards the mean does a much better job of explaining why a white man and a white woman, who met at an Ivy League school, and bonded because they both come from blue-collar families, are very likely to have children who aren’t as educationally successful as their parents.