Over the last week and a half, I've been havingâ€”and if you're reading along and commenting, you've been indirectly havingâ€”a conversation about race with John McWhorter and Steve Sailer. This wasn't an agreed-upon discussion. It just started up, and people joined in, as often happens on the Internet. Yesterday, Noah Millman of The American Scene weighed in. I'm calling this a conversation even though not everyone involved is enamored of, or even talking directly to, everyone else. And there's a good chance we'll drift back into silence at this point, as each of us moves on to other things. But it's worth summarizing a few points we've covered so far. ...By the way, this one post by Noah is unrepresentative of the usual high quality of his writing. So, don't hold this one against him.
1. Sailer, the person in this conversation who most vigorously defends categorizing people by race in the course of assessing their worth to society, has offered to give up that practice. In exchange, he wants proponents of affirmative action to give up the converse practice of categorizing people by race in the course of trying to equalize opportunity or outcome. I'm inclined to take this deal. My impression so far is that McWhorter, despite his criticisms of affirmative action, wouldn't. But I'll leave that question to him.
I'll try to straighten out Mr. Saletan's confusions in VDARE.com on Sunday evening. I realize that these are difficult, subtle topics, and that people who haven't put anywhere near as much time into studying these subjects as I have can't really be expected to summarize my views accurately — even if they intend to be fair, they simply lack the depth of understanding to do a competent job — but these mischaracterizations of my positions in Slate and, especially, in The New Republic, are getting silly.
In the meantime, if you want to know what I've actually said about race and IQ, I put together handy Frequently Asked Question lists back in 2007 (after Saletan got in so much trouble with his friends for doubting the wisdom of Watsoning Dr. Watson):