Blacks at law school 50 percentile points lower than whites

Scott Dillon, an enterprising student at the Indiana University at Bloomington School of Law, suspected that the school’s claim that it used race only as “one factor among others” in its admissions procedures was bogus. As Peter Woods reports at NRO, when the school refused to release its admissions data to Dillon, he filed a state public access complaint and acquired the relevant information for the years 1990 to 1999. According to Dillon, “For each year for almost a decade, the average black student offered admission had an LSAT score of roughly the 30th percentile nationally, while the average non-minority admit had an LSAT score in roughly the 80th percentile.”

I’ve heard of some stunning racial disparities in graduate school admissions before, but never one like this.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 22, 2003 12:09 AM | Send


I’d like to remind everyone of this January VFR blog entry by Mr. Auster which links to a sort of disgusted “confession” by an IU Law School admissions-committee member:

Posted by: Unadorned on May 22, 2003 6:37 PM

Do you know if the article to which Mr. Auster links is archived anywhere? The link appears to have expired. Sounds like it would be worth a read.

Posted by: Joel on May 22, 2003 6:44 PM

I looked the article up at Google and found it at FrontPage Magazine, where it had been re-printed:

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on May 22, 2003 7:10 PM

And thanks to Unadorned and Joel for reminding me of that powerful quote by Robert Heidt. It came in handy at a thread at where I’m throwing in a few points about racial differences in intelligence—a subject almost never discussed in the mainstream, so I couldn’t resist the chance. My own comments (all familiar to VFR readers) are 16, 41, 54, and 55.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on May 22, 2003 7:19 PM


One question though on your rebuttal to the Flynn theory. When I first read about it, (on AmRen I think,) I saw the same argument made against it, vis-a-vix, whites being retarded if you go back to the 1800’s.

But when I read the summary of this theory, I didn’t interpret Flynn as saying that you have to keep subtracting for every decade you reach back until one had no brain at all. I thought a reasonable interpretation was that you start with a baseline that would have been fairly constant up to a certain point in recent history where IQ would have begun an increase due to external factors.

That’s not to say his thesis is correct, but I wonder if your rebuttal is premised on a reasonable take on his views, as I’m sure he didn’t believe that pre-20th century whites were idiots.

Posted by: Joel on May 22, 2003 8:58 PM

I’ve picked up things on the Flynn effect here and there, it never made sense to me, and most of the criticisms of it were not easy to understand either. You may be right that he does not keep projecting the process all the way back. But how far back does he project it? Even two or three generations would make everyone a lot stupider than would be believable.

Another thing I’ve never understood is the idea that the IQ of 100 is not an absolute measure but something that is re-normed from generation to generation. They just take the mean for the white population and call it 100. This is puzzling to me and I don’t understand its implications and when I’ve asked people about it they couldn’t explain it very well either.

I am certainly not an expert, or even particularly well read, on the question of race and IQ. I’ve done general reading, and put together my own understanding of the essential points of the subject from that reading. Yet that’s not nothing, since we’re living in a world where very few people are even aware of those points. Just read some of the obscurantist nonsense at the Lucianne thread. Or read any mainstream newspaper article on the subject.

Posted by: Lawrence Auster on May 23, 2003 12:54 AM

OK, these are good points. I’d say that answers my question. Thanks!

Posted by: Joel on May 23, 2003 10:48 AM

Mr. Auster writes:
“Another thing Iíve never understood is the idea that the IQ of 100 is not an absolute measure but something that is re-normed from generation to generation. They just take the mean for the white population and call it 100.”

I am no expert on IQ specifically but I did make a living for many years designing measurement systems, applying statistical methods to analyze the results, and making substantive dollar-impact decisions based on those results. What Mr. Auster says here shows that IQ is in fact a relative measure; that is, we establish a baseline and measure differences from it with no direct access to any absolute or “hidden” variables that lie beneath the measurement.

That makes the Flynn result seem more than a little odd to me though. If all that we have from a metrology standpoint is a relative measure, then Flynn would have to come up with a whole new theory and methodology in order to say anything about some putative absolute measure that lies beneath it. That whole new theory and methodology would only be as certain as all of the peer reviewed work, completely independent of the relative IQ method and data, that supports it.

I haven’t read much on this since _The Bell Curve_, but I think what is at work may be an attempt at postmodern deconstruction of IQ. On the one hand we are to believe that the IQ results that show blacks as consistently below whites in intelligence are suspect because of shifts in some underlying absolute intelligence measure, with IQ as “only” a relative measure. On the other hand we are not shown what that underlying absolute measure (established completely independently from IQ) is, so we can’t review it to test the accuracy of the claims against the relative IQ measure. So we are wrong, the story goes, but they can’t say why we are wrong or by how much we are wrong.

This is completely off the cuff for me, it should be emphasized: this is what I *think* is going on with the Flynn effect stuff. I do have some practical expertise in measurement and statistical analysis in situations where measurements are made on physical things, and money is made or lost depending on the results and the decisions made based on the results. I don’t claim any special expertise on IQ or the Flynn effect though.

Posted by: Matt on May 23, 2003 11:58 AM
Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember info?

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):