Too Hot to Miss: Above the Law Debates Race and Intelligence

Legal blog Above the Law posted a Harvard law student’s e-mail suggesting that race and intelligence might be linked — and it set off a highly unusual debate between the original poster, Elie Mystal (who is partly black) and the blog’s founder, David Lat (who is partly Asian).  The comments are a must-read.

In a rare move, Lat, a former federal prosecutor, posts in the comments and backs the Harvard Law student:

Let me play devil’s advocate for a second….

If we accept “race” as a biological concept — which I realize is questionable, becoming diluted through intermarriage, etc. — is it really so insane to suggest that some races might, ON AVERAGE, possess certain qualities to a greater or lesser degree than other races?

For example, would it be racist to say that, ON AVERAGE, African-Americans are taller than Asian-Americans? Or that Caucasians are more likely to have blond hair than Asian-Americans?

Mystal provides a lengthy response, summing that it’s “insane” to believe such a thing.  But of course.

A great point from Lat — made by race realists for years — is that it’s impossible to deny that race exists while maintaining affirmative action policies at the same time.

I for one am encouraged that 1) a Harvard law student is at least aware of — and doesn’t reject out of hand — a race/intelligence link, and 2) that an Internet pundit like Lat would put in a cautious defense and 3) that the entire business is now spilled over onto the Internet for robust consideration.  Is the Internet helping to dismantle one of the biggest myths of the 20th Century?

Christopher Donovan is the pen name of an attorney and former journalist. Email him

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