Moral Children or racist “experts” in the NY Times?

I was shocked to read that Adam M. Grant’s piece “Raising a Moral Child” was quickly becoming one of the NY Time’s most emailed and popular pieces.

On the surface, the piece reads well and provides some good insight into parenting and raising kids with morals (if not ethics. at least). I could see why it would be so popular and so engaging. Parent’s want their kids to be good and connected and a part of a larger community.

Good impulse.

Major problem.

One of the “experts” cited by Grant is J. Phillipe Rushton. Rushton, “gave 140 elementary- and middle-school-age children tokens for winning a game, which they could keep entirely or donate some to a child in poverty.”

Sounds great. Sounds like Rushton could teach us a thing or two about positive moral development. Sounds like Rushton could teach us about hwo to raise kids who help, love, and show compassion to others.

Let’s look him up. A quick Google search and….


To be honest, I first read about this piece at Africa Is A Country ( in the post “The #RaceScienceFiles: The New York Times edition” by Jessica Blatt. In her piece Blatt points out that Rushton has a troubled past and it is quite shocking to find him being cited as any sort of expert, let alone on morality. Rushton, it turns out, was a horrendous racist with very negative views on Africans and other minorities. That simple Google search I referred to quickly and easily brings up his CV or racism. The Southern Poverty Law Center has an easily found file on him. Wikipedia prominently includes these issues. Yet, Grant and the NY Times find no issue with putting him front and center in a piece on raising good kids.

” Blacks have an advantage in sport” says Rushton,  “because they have narrower hips — but they have narrower hips because they have smaller brains.” (

“Throughout the world, Europeans and East Asians (Chinese, Japanese and Koreans) average the highest IQs and socio-economic positions. The lowest averages are found among the Aborigines in Australia and in Africans and their descendants. Intermediate positions are occupied by the Amerindians, the South Asians from the Indian sub-continent, the Maori in New Zealand, and by the mixed race peoples in South Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The same pattern is found on many other social and life history indicators, such as educational levels, earnings, health, accidents, crime, marriage, fertility, and mortality.” (

He goes on to say, as cited here in the Ottawa Citizen (by Andrew Duffy)

For his part, Mr. Rushton said that while black academic achievement  can be improved, and while the IQ gap can be somewhat narrowed, there  will never be equality.  Parents, he said, easily accept the idea that some of their children  are more gifted intellectually or physically than other ones. As a  society, he argued, we have to accept the same notion.

“It’s very harmful, this philosophy we currently have, which is that  anybody, all of us, we can just reinvent ourselves. We can grow and  change and develop into something very different, that somehow we’re  not constrained genetically.  “The more you can realize who you are earlier, and that includes race  and IQ, then personally the more you can accept it, the easier it will  be.”

Mr. Rushton contends his ideas are controversial today only because  they do not dovetail with popular religious and political dogmas about  everyone being born equal. “It’s not happy news for a lot of people, so  in that sense it is controversial,” he said.

So perhaps Rushton’s conclusions aren’t as positive as we would think. How can we trust his statements, and why would we, on childhood morality when he views whole ethnicities of children as lesser merely because of their skin color and region. This is sickening and ignorant on the worst levels. The fact that Grant would deem this worthy of inclusion,  that The NY Times would deem it worthy of publishing, and now that huge amounts of folks see ti worthy of spreading is saddening. The only excuse for the latter group is ignorance, as Grant or the NY Times makes no mention of Rushton’s issues.

The NY Times and Grant owe its readers a retraction, apology, and edit of that piece. Either removing Rushton or adding information on his real views. Then the readers could decide on whether they would like to use his findings for the children’s moral development.



One Comment

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