Memo From Middle America | The Richwine Ruckus—What Do We Know About Mexican Intelligence Anyway?

I bring an unusual perspective to the recent furor over Jason Richwine’s Harvard PhD dissertation on IQ and immigration policy: I taught English in various private schools in Mexico for fifteen years.

Any Mexican family that has the money seems to send its children to private schools. There is quite a range, from very exclusive ones to shoestring operations.

In the schools in which I taught, the curriculum was rather solid, heavy on math and science, and on English as a foreign language (which is what I was teaching).

But the Mexican educational system also includes a vast public schools system which educates about 90% of students. (Education levels in Mexico are lower than those in the United States. Only 35 percent of Mexican adults have achieved a high school degree, compared with 87 percent in the U.S.)

I never worked in a Mexican public school. It sounds like I really missed out on the fun. In some parts of the country, Mexican public school teachers spend much of their time striking and protesting. Right now in the Mexican state of Michoacan, “normalistas” (college education majors—future teachers) are all riled up, and have hijacked 60  public buses and delivery trucks, of which they still have possession. They also kidnapped four police officers, graciously releasing them after eleven days.

If the American educational system becomes more Mexicanized, we might expect this sort of thing here.

Mexico is a very diverse country—geographically, culturally and racially. It has a white upper class controlling the lion’s share of the wealth. (See Shackled To An [Ungrateful] Corpse By Steve Sailer on May 5, 2000). If you’ve watched Mexican media or seen winners of Mexican beauty pageants, you see that the Euro-Mexicans are dominant there as well.

This Mexican upper class is of mostly Spanish descent, but there are also Jewish, Arab, British, American, European, Armenian and East Asian elements

At the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum are the Indians, prominent in southern and eastern Mexico, including some in isolated areas who don’t even speak Spanish. If they haven’t assimilated to Spanish culture in 500 years, why do we suppose they’ll assimilate to Anglo-American culture? Nevertheless, they are now appearing in the U.S.

Most Mexicans, though, are mestizos—that is, Spanish-speaking descendants of both Europeans and Indians. But the lines are not always clear. The Mexican population forms a spectrum, with rich whites on one end and poor Indians on the other, with the mestizo majority in the middle.

It’s acceptable for liberals to portray white conservatives as unintelligent. But you are not allowed to assert that average or mean IQs, partially determined by genetics, differ among the races—or even to ask if it’s true.

Nevertheless, the current scientific evidence does suggest that it is indeed true. Those who don’t like that are welcome to produce evidence to the contrary. But calling someone a “racist” is not a scientific argument.

Richwine got into trouble for linking IQ and immigration. But shouldn’t our immigration policy be the subject of much more scrutiny?

Immigration means allowing foreigners to become permanent residents of our country. Don’t we have the right to consider whether such additions are good for our country? That would involve not only considering IQ, but all sorts of other factors as well.

Mexico is the chief source of immigration to the U.S. In fact, Mexico is considered a partner in our immigration policy (an understanding on display during Obama’s recent trip to Mexico, see here).

So what is the national IQ of Mexico?

Bear in mind that Richard Lynn, one of the scientists studying in this field, freely admits that “Intelligence tests are imperfect measuring instruments….” That's an admission of humility which implies a plan to continue honing the tools in the future, a truly scientific approach.

Indeed, I’ve noticed that scientists who deal in this issue don’t seem at all the raving fanatics their detractors claim them to be. On the contrary, they present their findings in a calm, straightforward manner. Scientists who disagree with them ought to present their evidence, if they have it, in a similar fashion.

A chart compiled by Steve Sailer of Lynn and Vanhanen’s work on national IQ shows the mean IQ of the United States at 98, while the mean IQ of Mexico is 87 (with Mexican-Americans in the United States as 88). How was the 87 figure for Mexico arrived at? They calculated the white population of Mexico (at 9%) as having an IQ of 96, blended with Indian and mestizo children of southern Mexico.

In another source, published in 2002, by Lynn, Backhoff and Contreras (a Mexican researcher), since Spaniards (in Spain) have an average IQ of 98, the average IQ of white Mexicans was estimated at 98, with 94.3 for mestizos and 83.3 for Mexican Indians. (Ethnic and Racial Differences on the Standard Progressive Matrices in Mexico, Journal of Biosocial Science, January 2005.)

More recently, in his 2012 reply to Ron Unz on, Dr. Lynn quotes the figures of 88 IQ for Mexicans in Mexico, and 89 for U.S. Hispanics.

For more precise figures, we might look at educational results, which could be considered a proxy for IQ. It’s not a perfect correlation, of course, but it may be the best we have at this point.

Plus, it’s a particularly important question for U.S. immigration policy. After all, here in the U.S.A., thanks to our Supreme Court (Plyler vs. Doe, 1982), even illegal aliens must be educated on the public dime. In essence, we’re being forced to subsidize the education of millions of Mexicans in the United States. So it’s a valid question.

The most reliable source of international educational comparisons is  PISA, the Programme for International Student Assessment.

Mexico has steadily improved its PISA scores since 2003. And, the country scored higher than the Latin American average in all three areas—mathematics, science and reading.

On the other hand, Mexico had the lowest score of all OECD nations.

Furthermore, Mexico scored significantly lower than the U.S., for all our “diversity.” In Mathematics, the U.S. had a score of 487 while Mexico had one of 419. In the Sciences, the U.S. had 502 and Mexico had 416. In Reading, the U.S. scored 500 while Mexico had 425.

So will more Mexican immigrants bring our scores down even further? Or will it bring the Mexican immigrants’ scores up?

That’s a very legitimate question to ask. And that’s partly what Jason Richwine was asking.

VDARE.COM’s own Steve Sailer, in a series of journalistic breakthroughs that should have appeared in the Main Stream Media, teased out American PISA results by race and ethnicity.

Sailer showed that white American students did better than the students of most European countries, and only edged out Canada by one point.

Meanwhile, Hispanic students in the U.S. did better than Mexico and all the Spanish-speaking countries (with the exception of Spain). Hmmm. See PISA Scores Show Demography Is Destiny In Education Too—But Washington Doesn't Want You To Know.

Nevertheless, as has been pointed out here VDARE.COM, Mexican-Americans have still not bridged the gap in test results with white Anglos. And it doesn’t look they’re going to do it for a while. [See Children, Grandchildren Of Mexican Immigrants Fail To Close The Education Gap,By Edwin S. Rubenstein on May 24, 2005 ]

So yes, it’s perfectly legitimate for us to consider the IQs and educational performance of immigrant-sending countries, along with pertinent cultural factors and attitudes.

Mexicans and other immigrants do not come to our country as blank slates. They already have their own ability levels, interests, strengths and weaknesses, their own values and their own hang-ups. They’re not leaving them behind at the border.

Immigration is a public policy issue that’s about our children’s future. Shouldn’t we consider all these relevant factors?

Or is it better to simply remain ignorant and hope for the best?

In the words of the late Lawrence Auster,

A society, a movement, a belief system, that says upfront, “We can’t handle the truth,” is not long for this world.

American citizen Allan Wall (email him) recently moved back to the U.S.A. after many years residing in Mexico. Allan's wife is Mexican, and their two sons are bilingual.  In 2005, Allan served a tour of duty in Iraq with the Texas Army National Guard. His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his articles are archived here ; his News With Views columns are archived here; and his website is here.