In response to the release of the 2009 PISA results by country and ethnicity within countries, Steve Sailer wondered if there exists a "silent but sensible majority" that believes, if not on the surface or just below it, that deep-down HBD is a substantial factor in how such things shake out. He excerpts from a reader who puts it in the 90%-100% range of the general population. Steve isn't so sanguine, and Inductivist quickly provided data from the GSS supporting Steve's sentiments, which are expanded upon below.
The GSS has a set of questions it has consistently asked relating to poor outcomes for blacks relative to whites. They compartmentalize neatly into four broad schools of thought on why racial disparities (specifically, why blacks have "worse jobs, income, and housing than white people") exist in contemporary Western society.
1) Blacks face discrimination--favored by whites like Tim Wise and most of black punditry
2) Blacks have less in-born ability to learn than whites do--a brief, crude description of HBD thinking
3) Blacks' lack of education--politically correct conventionalism favored by SWPLs and moderate leftists
4) Blacks' lack of willpower or motivation--many neocons and libertarians are here
The following graph shows the percentage of respondents agreeing with each of the following explanations by race. Whites are further separated by political orientation (split the difference a little closer to the conservative percentage and away from the liberal percentage on each explanation and you have the percentage for all whites). Because adding a legend made the graph feel clustered, bars are instead color-coded. White liberals are blue, white conservatives are white, blacks are black, Hispanics are brown, Asians are yellow, and Native Americans are red. For contemporary relevance, all data are from 2000 onward. The sample size for is 1111 for white liberals, 1631 for white conservatives, 817 for blacks, 318 for Hispanics, 172 for Asians, and 62 for Native Americans.
Despite being the most affirmed explanation, lack of motivation is still almost untouchable on the popular right. Can you imagine Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity agreeing with it? Maybe Michael Savage would, but having even briefly entertained the idea of differences in intelligence distributions by race, he's largely disowned by mainstream conservatives. If the cultural explanation is untouchable, it goes without saying that the HBD explanation is radioactive. Notice how whites, both liberal and conservative, are less likely than any other non-white group to attribute black failure to innate differences in intelligence.
Irrational racism (explanation #1) doesn't even get a majority of white liberals. NAMs have a vested interest in viewing white America's inherent discriminatory practices as a reason for their struggles, so it's not surprising that many Hispanics and Native Americans, who judge blacks relatively harshly elsewhere, show substantial support for the discrimination explanation.
On the mainstream left, that oh-so chronic problem, a lack of educational attainment, is the favored reason for black struggles among white liberals and Asians (who, despite often being thought of as natural intellectual allies of white HBDers, repeatedly show the greatest similarity with SWPLs on culture, politics, economics, etc). On the mainstream right, and among non-black minorities, the laziness explanation is the most favored.
Clearly, culturalism appears to have won out among the general population. The education and laziness explanations (#3 and #4) are the easiest for non-blacks to hold in the sense that they do not morally indict those holding them (as the discrimination explanation does), but they hold out hope that solutions to racial disparities are achievable, and relatively easily--send more blacks to college in the case of #3 and reverse the breakdown of the black family by ending the welfare lifestyle in the case of #4. The horrifying idea that biology might have something to do with the stubborn gaps that have steadily remained over the century they've been measured is something the vast majority of Americans apparently would rather not consider.
As an interesting aside, just over 13% of respondents did not agree with any of the four possible explanations, none of which was asked in a way to insinuate that it necessarily be the primary explanation. Thus it is completely understandable why respondents would've agreed with multiple explanations, but hard to imagine how to rationalize a respondent not favoring any of them. Perhaps this indicates that one in eight people simply refuse to think about racial disparities, even when prodded into doing so. Or is there another valid explanation out there that the GSS left out?
GSS variables used: RACDIF1, RACDIF2, RACDIF3, RACDIF4, RACECEN1(1)(2)(3)(4-10)(15-16), POLVIEWS(1-3)(5-7)