Iwas browsing the Internet earlier today and I came across some articles about racial differences. I have to admit that I always feel uncomfortable reading such texts, even if they appear to be well grounded in good research, because I want to believe that we are all created equal and that it is what we make of our talents that makes the difference, but I guess I am naïve.
It is well known that the people of China enjoyed a rich civilization long before the Europeans ventured out of their hovels, and this the Chinese can be proud of, but then they stopped and there came a time when various emperors changed societies, changed university curricula, and inventiveness came to a grinding halt. So were the early Chinese brighter than the Chinese of the Middle Ages? Probably not, because look how the Chinese are overtaking the West again now!
Racial differences have also evolved as adaptations to different environments. For instance, peoples in the tropics have dark skins presumably because these give protection against ultraviolet radiation that probably causes skin cancer, and Europeans and Orientals probably evolved pale skins because in temperate and cold environments, such skin tones allow the synthesis of vitamin D from sunlight.
I assume, perhaps wrongly, that similar adaptations have evolved for intelligence and personality. It was more difficult to survive in temperate and cold environments than in the tropics because food was harder to obtain, and clothing and shelters had to be made, so Europeans and Orientals evolved higher or different intelligence and inventiveness to deal with these problems.
Some believe that colder climates might also have helped evolve a lower general psychopathic personality. The problems of surviving during cold winters would have required stronger bonding between males and females with greater and longer-term commitment by males to provision their female mates and children, more responsible and concerned parenting, a greater sense of the importance of maintaining harmonious and cooperative relations within the group, and the development of stronger control over aggression and other forms of antisocial behaviour towards other group members. These are not my thoughts; they are simply borrowed.
Conduct disorder in children and early adolescence is a frequent precursor of psychopathic behaviour in adulthood. Conduct disorder consists of persistent disobedience, lying, stealing, burglary, truancy, vandalism, cruelty, and sexual precocity. In the United States, Britain and the Netherlands, conduct disorder is about twice as frequent among black children as among whites, but is less common among Orientals than among whites. This may reflect the difficulties of growing up black in a predominantly white society. It would be interesting to compare figures for conduct disorder in children growing up in Caribbean societies where whites are definitely in the minority. It would be interesting to investigate why Orientals suffer least from conduct disorder, even in western societies. Is the influence of Oriental families stronger, perchance?
Among young adolescents, conduct disorder is expressed as delinquency. In the United States delinquency (serious juvenile crime) is about ten times greater among black boys and about fourteen times greater among black girls, as compared with whites. Conduct disorders and delinquency are also expressed in suspensions and exclusions from schools because of constant misbehaviour.
In Britain blacks are expelled from schools at about four times the rate of whites. In the United States blacks and American Indians are excluded from schools at about three times the rate of whites, and Hispanics at about the same rate, while Orientals are excluded at about half the rate of whites. There are also race differences in sexual precocity in early adolescence. For instance, in the United States a survey found that 33% of black thirteen-year-olds had had sexual intercourse as compared with 15% of Hispanics, 14% of whites, and 4% of Orientals. Similar differences have been found in Britain where more blacks but fewer South Asian teenagers had had sex, as compared with whites.
I am a great believer in the influence of environment and peer pressure, both positive and negative. People who grow up surrounded by love, peace and harmony are likely to blend in with their surroundings just as those who grow up in cruel, violent, selfish environments will grow up reflecting the habits and customs that shape their lives. The will to conform works both ways, for good and for evil, but if you believe as I do, that we always have a choice despite or because of our environment, then our fates lie in our own hands.