Prof. Levin is at his most original and provocative when he sets aside well-established data on intelligence and takes up the even more controversial question of morality. Other researchers have suggested that blacks differ from whites in ways other than IQ, but have not followed this argument very far.
For example, the widely used Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), which subdivides personality into a number of categories, shows consistent differences in how blacks and whites evaluate themselves. Blacks, for example, hold themselves in higher regard than whites (or, in today’s jargon, have “higher self-esteem”). They are consistently more likely to agree with statements like:I am an important person.
I am entirely self-confident.
If given the chance I could make a good leader of people.
I have often had to take orders from someone who did not know as much as I did.
The common assumption that blacks are “taught to hate themselves” is wrong; blacks are quite pleased with themselves. At the same time, they consistently score higher than whites on the MMPI scales for such things as Hypomania, Psychopathy, Schizophrenia, and Masculinity, which are precisely the traits that distinguish incarcerated criminals from the rest of us. They tend to agree, for example, with statements like:Most people are honest chiefly through fear of being caught.
Most people make friends because friends are likely to be useful to them.
Most people will use somewhat unfair means to gain profit or an advantage rather than lose it.
It is not hard for me to ask help from my friends even though I cannot return the favor.
Finally, even within races, moral reasoning is closely associated with intelligence. Intelligence does not guarantee good behavior, but a certain level is necessary for self-knowledge and the comprehension of moral distinctions.
Prof. Levin does not flinch from drawing what may appear to be an unkind conclusion: Given the crime rates, social irresponsibility, lack of foresight, impulsiveness, and general self-centeredness of black behavior, blacks probably have a different inherent capacity and appreciation for morality.
That blacks care less about others and worry less about the future is suggested in virtually every area of behavior. Crime is only the most obvious example, nor is it the expression of wretchedness and self-loathing that excuse-making whites pretend it to be. Prof. Levin notes that “the criminal behavior of young black males just does not look like an expression of despair. In account after account, these individuals come across as full of themselves and unrepentant.” He might have added that if blacks were really reduced to hopelessness by white oppression, they would presumably have high suicide rates, whereas in every age group blacks kill themselves at only one half to one quarter the white rate.
The other prominent black deviation from white morality is reckless procreation, but other traits are just as striking: unwillingness to do volunteer work, support charities, donate organs, volunteer as medical test subjects, keep quiet in theaters, recycle trash, save money, exercise, or keep houses in good repair. Black mothers are twice as likely as white mothers to smoke, drink, and take drugs during pregnancy, even when doctors tell them not to. Blacks between ages 15 and 24 are ten times as likely to have fatal gun accidents as whites of the same age even when gun availability is controlled for. By white standards, black behavior is impulsive, shiftless, and inconsiderate.