Former Heritage Foundation ‘scholar’ also dismissed black intelligence

Share The Grio Share The Grio
Jason Richwine talks about the importance of race and IQ in the immigration debate. (Photo courtesy of You Tube.)

Jason Richwine talks about the importance of race and IQ in the immigration debate. (Photo courtesy of You Tube.)

Jason Richwine, the controversial co-author of the Heritage Foundation’s widely discredited study on the costs of immigration reform, resigned from his post at the think tank on Friday, though he has not backed down from his assertion, made in his 2009 Harvard dissertation, that Hispanic immigrants have IQs too low to broadly assimilate into U.S. culture.

NBC Latino: Heritage immigration study co-author: Latinos incapable of assimilating like Irish, Sicilians

But as Mother Jones points out, the Harvard dissertation wasn’t the only instance in which Richwine asserted that whites are genetically more intelligent than non-whites. And Hispanics haven’t been his only targets:

In 2008, he told an audience at the American Enterprise Institute that “major” ethnic or racial differences in intelligence between the Irish, Italian, and Jewish immigrants who flocked to the United States at the turn of the 20th century and the immigrants coming to the US today justified severely restricting immigration.

… At the 2008 talk, Richwine said, “I do not believe that race is insurmountable, certainly not, but it definitely is a larger barrier today than it was for immigrants in the past simply because they are not from Europe.” The 2008 AEI panel focused on a book by immigration reform opponent Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which favors strict limits on all immigration. Krikorian’s book, The New Case Against Immigration, Both Legal and Illegal, began with Krikorian stating that the difference between modern immigration and immigration at the turn of the century “is not the characteristics of the newcomers but the characteristics of our society.”

Richwine firmly disagreed with part of Krikorian’s assessment. The “major difference,” he said, was the race of the immigrants: “There are real differences between groups.” He contended that today’s nonwhite immigrants are dumber. “Race is different in all sorts of ways, and probably the most important way is in IQ,” he said. “Decades of psychometric testing has indicated that at least in America, you have Jews with the highest average IQ, usually followed by East Asians, then you have non-Jewish whites, Hispanics, and then blacks. These are real differences, and they’re not going to go away tomorrow, and for that reason we have to address them in our immigration discussions and our debates.”

Richwine remains unapologetic about his beliefs, telling the Washington Examiner on Monday:

“I am a much better writer than I am a speaker,” he told me. “I probably would have written those things differently than I spoke them. What I emphasized was that ethnic group differences in IQ are scientifically uncontroversial. That being said, there is a nuance that goes along with that: the extent to which IQ scores actually reflect intelligence, the fact that it reflects averages and there is a lot of overlap in any population, and that IQ scores say absolutely nothing about the causes of the differences — environmental, genetic, or some combination of those things.”

“I don’t apologize for any of the things that I said,” Richwine continued. “But I do regret that I couldn’t give more detail. And I also regret that I didn’t think more about how the average lay person would perceive these things, as opposed to an academic audience.”

The question now, it seems, is whether the Heritage Foundation was aware of Richwine’s long history of viewing non-whites as genetically less intelligent when they hired him to write their definitive work on immigration.

Follow Joy Reid on Twitter at @thereidreport.