The achievement gap between whites and Asians

They’re brighter than we are, that’s all.

Court Documents: Racial Preferences Massively Boost Black, Hispanic Applicants – The 74 (


Call them intelligence tests, achievement tests, standardized tests, multiple-choice tests, whatever.  They first appeared in the 1940s.  Some people swear by them; others condemn them.

In the 1960s, it became clear that some ethnic groups perform better on these tests than others.  In short, (1) Asians perform better than whites, and (2) whites perform better than blacks.  Please remember those numbers.

There has been a consistent hue and cry that those differences, particularly the last one, are due solely to racism.  And tremendous energy has been invested in seeking to eliminate that supposed racism; to no avail.

The latest trend has been to discard use of those instruments entirely — at least as it applies to admissions to elite high schools and to universities — and use other criteria for those admissions, that are more likely to favor black candidates.

This had led to its own controversies, and lawsuits; the article linked to concerns admissions at two universities; there are also controversies over admissions to the elite high schools in New York City, and especially the nation’s most-elite-of-all high school, Thomas Jefferson High School in Fairfax County, Virginia.

The complainants in these suits are normally Asian parents, who complain that the changed criteria have the effect of discriminating against Asian children.  Some of the differences are quite stark; I recall that the student body at Thomas Jefferson was formerly 30% or 40% Asian, much higher than the nation as a whole or the surrounding community.  (Actually, per Wikipedia, in 2020-21 it was 72%.)

Some of the differences appear with other forms of tests, such as those given to toddlers, which are typically non-verbal, not multiple-choice, and cannot have any discernible cultural bias.  From here (link):

As to the special “predicament” facing young black males, a report on the work of Robert Ferguson, “Peer Pressure, Stereotypes Fuel Minority Students’ Struggles,” notes:

For starters, Ferguson writes, efforts to dismantle the predicament should begin at birth, especially since research has shown that male children of color at each parental education level lag their peers in cognitive skills by age 2.

In other words, when poverty is removed from the equation, the disparity still appears — practically from birth.

The media have paid no attention to the first-mentioned difference, that between Asians and whites.

I propose the simplest, most obvious answer.

They’re brighter than we are, that’s all.


11/15/22 — Asian kindergarten students more likely to display advanced math, science skills, new study finds (

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