Conservatives Are Wrong on Race

To the Editors

Let's see if I got the latest brilliant argument from our doctrinaire conservative friends on race relations ("Defending The Bell Curve," Opinion, Oct. 24, 1994). There is a genetic component to intelligence. Whites outscore Blacks on IQ tests. Therefore affirmative action. Head Start and abortion rights should be scrapped.

The fact is that educational achievement, not IQ scores, drives socioeconomic success. This is independent of the fact that there are environmental factors to intelligence and, when it comes to each of these factors, inner-city Black children get the shaft. Not to mention the other environmental factors like, family stability," that also impact educational achievement.

After that, these children get an inferior education in violent resource-strapped urban schools, and then we wonder why college-preparedness varies so much between races. Are we really supposed to believe decreasing aid to inner-city education will make things fairer?

Affirmative action is a flawed solution, but the refusal to acknowledge different levels of opportunity for Blacks before the college level discredits knee-jerk conservative attacks.

And talking about knee-jerk rhetoric, where does abortion fit into this? (Planned Parenthood is the Anti-Christ!) McGuire and the conservatives want to have it both ways--playing the race card to win elections in the suburbs and then pretending there are no real differences between races when it comes time to make public policy.

If you truly want to be consistent that race should not be important, you would reject the ugly, racist hypothesis that Blacks are inherently less intelligent than whites. And if you took the time to interact with Black students at Harvard as individuals, instead of discounting them as a group, you would realize that they are every bit as smart as you think you are. Michael Pine '95

The writer is the former co-chair of the Harvard-Radcliffe Hillel Inter-ethnic Committee.