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Example research essay topic: Disproving Herrnstein And Murray Bell - 1,655 words

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CurveHerrnstien and Murray raises the point that the division between the well-paid elite and the lower class Americans are becoming widely divided. Upon raising this point they came up with the Bell Curve. The Bell Curve has two main components that correlate with income, the AFQT test (which measures intelligence), and parental SES (social economic Status). To Herrnstein and Murray, intelligence heavily correlates with income. They argue that that IQ is real and it does matter; in other words the smart people (or people with higher IQ) will get high-quality jobs, hence making their incomes higher.

They feel that inequality is, natural and fated. To prove their point that IQ does matter and the smart people just keep getting smarter and dumb keep getting dumber they analyzed the National Longitudinal Survey Of Youth (NLSY). Herrnstein and Murray show that the NLSY subjects who scored high on the Armed Forces Qualifying Test (AFQT, which Herrnstein and Murray treated as an IQ test) were doing well versus those who had scored on the low end ended up doing poorly. But the AFQT does not measure natural intelligence. Another component of the bell curve is a persons SES (social economic status) social factors like race, age, gender, community, environment, and parents social economic status contributes to how well a person is able to succeed. To Herrnstein and Murray SES is not a stronger predictive validity than the AFQT, but it goes hand in hand with each other.

They are basically trying to say that riches are usually inherited from one generation to another. For example, a well-endowed family has the money to send their child to a prestigious school, where a highly stressed learning atmosphere surrounds their child. Also coming from a well-endowed family, one can network with other elite people who may own big corporations. On the other hand, a child coming from a low-income household may not be able to attend a prestigious school then they loose out on the learning atmosphere and they do not get the opportunity to network with other elite people. Hence that is why the children of elite parents are less likely to end up poor. Herrnstein and Murray's Bell Curve is completely inaccurate and it is false.

First of all, you cannot base a persons intelligence income on just a test. But the book states that, IQ like test were only of modest importance compared with social context in explaining individual attainment, and that, Herrnstein and Murray exaggerated the role of the AFQT test relative to social factors. The AFQT test is more of a school achievement test rather than a natural intelligence test. It measures how well test takers learned and retained their knowledge of what they learned in school; and it measures their test taking skills. You cannot base a persons intelligence or achievement level on just a test. In some cases people may not be good test takers, but they still can have a great amount of intelligence.

Secondly, SES is a stronger predictive validity than the AFQT. In chapter four in Inequality by Design, research shows that if everyone had the same AFQT scores, but still differed from one another in social background, inequality in income would be unchanged. But if people were all equal in SES and differed from AFQT scores, income inequality would be reduced greatly. It is true that the probability of being in the bottom quintile of the income distribution is higher for African-Americans, Hawaiians, than for Caucasians, but the bell curves explanation of this fact is wrong, Herrnstein and Murray return to the NLSY and show that blacks and whites with similar AFQT scores earn the same income. They say that the AFQT scores explain the black and white gap in earnings. It is wrong because in reality they are not judged the same.

Why is it that an African-American with the same AFQT score as a white person has to work twice as hard to get a high-quality job? In America we believe that there is such a thing as equality of opportunity, which is everyone, has a chance to get a good education and work hard to achieve these high quality jobs. We also believe that people get the jobs and incomes that they deserve. But what we dont consider when we talk about how everyone has an equality of opportunity are social factors like race / ethnicity , sex, class, history, and government.

In the United States the ideology of all men are created equal, but some men are created more equal than others. People are born with different capacities, which they will seek to find out or not, but the question is does each individual have an equal chance at finding this out. Give people an equal chance is called the equality of opportunity, but class, gender, race, and government makes a difference and alters this opportunity. When Herrnstein and Murray constructed what they call, parental SES, they had a lot of key variables missing, which can affect who is at risk of being poor regardless if they are intelligent or not. One key variable they failed to incorporate while constructing the parental SES was parental home enviornent.

Parental home environment meaning that they did not include the number of siblings each respondent had, the community in which they lived in, and what class they came from. Many studies have shown that the more siblings that people have, the chances of them getting ahead, and their families effective wealth are less than those of people with less siblings. Class, there are three types of class types. First you have the elite class or the rich and smart class; then you have the middle class; and lastly you have the class that is in poverty. Class really does matter for example, say you were born into the poverty automatically you are stereotyped as dumb or of lower intelligence. Now if you were born into the elite class you are automatically stereotyped as prestigious and smart.

In a scenario where someone from the poverty class and someone from the elite class are applying for the same job whom do you think is going to get it? Even though these two candidates might have the same credentials more than likely the candidate from the elite class will get the job. As regards who gets jobs, although estimates of likely performance surely play a role (an estimate often governed by the employers estimation of the credentials of the prospective employee and the value of his or her "work experience, ") one's capacity to secure the job depends very much on social resources, including the candidates personal presentation of potential for the employer and on interpersonal networks. Indeed, "contact networks are usually the largest channels of job matching, " especially for jobs associated with higher incomes (Jobs, Wages, and Government Website). Another factor that they fail to consider is Gender.

Gender contributes to inequality, and it can affect your income regardless if you are of high intelligence. Women were not considered physiologically equal to men. Male authority came from a belief that males were genetically prone to be aggressive. Womens low wages and high family responsibilities play important independent roles. Women are seen as weak, we are seen as staying home and tending to family responsibilities. Todays society still thinks that women are not as strong as men are that they cant do manual labor like men can.

For example if a women were to apply for a stevedore position many people would think that the women is crazy, and they would think that she is not capable of unloading all those heavy crates. Another example is till this day you havent seen a corporate CEO, which is a lady. Thats because females do not hold as much power as men do. But physical appearance cannot measure your real strength, what if the woman looks fragile, but really is strong? Women are more likely to be poorer than men because low wages, and for those who are mothers, few hours of work account for most of womens poverty (Inequality by Design, pg 91). Statistics show that full time individual workers greatly differ in men and women.

There are about 36, 476 full time male workers versus the 26, 324 full time female workers, which is a difference of 10, 152 workers. Therefore if women are not occupied with family duties, the jobs that best fit them are the jobs that do not require too much labor, or in other words the lower quality jobs. Lastly Herrnstein and Murray fail to consider race. Race is another important factor of inequality. It continues to play a great role in deciding the success of Americans from jobs to housing to even education. The statistics show that: Race #of workers in thousands Median weekly earnings White 81, 758 610 Hispanic 11, 627 407 Black 12, 527 477 (weakly earnings.

htm) As you can see the number of white workers greatly outnumber the number of workers in the Hispanic and the Black section. You can also see that the weekly earnings have a great gap between the whites and the other races. There are strong stereotypes especially against Blacks. According to a study conducted in four major cities, the studies showed that race often manifested itself in the highly segregated market and housing section (the elite section), where employers preferred some racial groups to others (raceandsucess. htm). It is a typical stereotype that any other race besides the whites are likely to have a better chance to be on welfare and to commit crimes.

I think this stereotype makes other races have to work harder for a position even if they have the same credentials as a white person. In conclusion Herrnstein and Murray's Bell Curve is not accurate and is false because they seem to confuse correlation with cause. They fail to consider too many factors.


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Research essay sample on Disproving Herrnstein And Murray Bell

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