Sometimes critics lie and attempt quote mining tactics to show that Jensen supported segregation policies. These claims are typically made by communist partisans. Fortunately, they are easy to disprove by the historical record.
Jensen writes in a reply to a critic in 1969:
Dr. Alfert gives us Webster’s definition of “racist,” and since she has called me a “racist” in print, she apparently has decided that this dictionary definition fits me. Anyone who tries to find anything in any of my writings or personal activities that corresponds to this definition will get some idea of Dr. Alfert’s recklessness in making these accusations. I have spoken and written emphatically against racial segregation and discrimination in any form. Does Dr. Alfert wish to imply that one is a “racist” because he has not written anything about specific court cases in the South? Of course, it is obvious to me that her use of the label “racist” is merely name-calling-an easy way to avoid the substantive issues. It is in a class with Thomas F. Pettigrew’s being quoted by a newspaper as labelling my HER article “obscene” and Martin Deutsch’s calling it in a public address “abominable. ”
I appear before you today for the purpose of raising what appears to me to be an essential preliminary inquiry to the Committee’s approval of the present form of H.R. 17846, the Emergency School Aid Act of 1970. That inquiry relates to the truth or falsity as a scientific matter of the basic factual assumption underlying this bill. On May 21, President Nixon submitted to the Congress a special message on aid to schools and recommended this legislation. There he stated : “It is clear that racial isolation ordinarily has an adverse effect on education.” That premise supports the present declaration of purpose in Section 2 of H.R. 17816—to prevent racial isolation in schools so as to improve the quality of education. I do not believe that this premise alone can be regarded as adequate justification for this bill. Recent comprehensive reviews of research on the effects of the racial composition of schools and classes in public schools come to conclusions which are highly ambiguous and inconclusive regarding the causal relationship between racial composition of the student body and scholastic performance. Most of the research on this subject to date has been too inadequate statistically and methodologically to allow any firm conclusion one way or the other regarding the effects of a school’s racial composition on achievement. I refer you to a thorough review of this research by Nancy H. St. John of Harvard University; it appears in the February, 1970, issue of the Review of Educational Research, a publication of the American Educational Research Association. Her review supports my conclusion, which is that we have no scientifically or statistically substantial conclusions at this time. I personally favor racial integration and I hopefully believe it is coming about. As an educator, I am concerned that it come about in such a way as to be of benefit to the schooling of all children. Achieving racial balance, while viewed by many of us as desirable for moral, ethical, and social reasons, will not solve existing educational problems; it will create new ones, and I am anxious that we provide the means for fully and objectively assessing them and for discovering the means of solving them. I am quite convinced on the basis of massive research evidence that the educational abilities and needs of the majority of white and Negro children are sufficiently different at this present time in our history that both groups-and particularly the more disadvantaged group can be cheated out of the best education we now know how to provide in our schools if uniformity rather than diversity of instructional approaches becomes the rule. Diversity and desegregation need not be incompatible goals. I think both are necessary. But achieving racial balance and at the same time ignoring individual differences in children’s special educational needs could be most destructive to those who are already the most disadvantaged educationally. The allocation of a school’s resources for children with special educational problems cannot be influenced by race: it must be governed by individual needs. To insure the developments of integrated education that could make it just and valid for all children, therefore, I urge that this Committee seriously consider the addition to the bill of a directive in Section 10 that a major proportion of the research funds provided for evaluation shall be used for a scientifically valid, objective examination of the educational effects of compulsory school desegregation. I further suggest that the technical requirements of the needed research are probably beyond the personnel and facilities of most school systems, and that major studies should be conducted by or in consultation with properly equipped research institutions under Federal support. In my opinion, based upon my studies for the past 20 years and more in the field of educational psychology, I am convinced that the study of racial differences and their applicability to variations in learning and organization of the educational process are essential to any true understanding of the problems which America’s schools face today in determining the future course of school integration.
Jensen writes in 1972, in the preface to Genetics and Education:
Many persons apparently fear that recognition of group differences in scholastic aptitudes and motivations, whatever their causes, is tantamount to supporting racially segregated schools. This is an unfortunate misconception. Although I have questioned purely environmental theories of differences in scholastic performance, I have never been opposed to racial desegregation. I am opposed to segregated schools. But as an educator I am concerned that desegregation should be brought about in such a way as to benefit all children. Achieving racial balance in schools, while viewed by many of us as desirable for moral, ethical, and social reasons, will not by itself solve existing educational problems. It will create new problems, and I am anxious that we provide the means for fully and objectively assessing them and for discovering the means for solving them. I am quite convinced on the basis of massive evidence that the educational aptitudes and needs of the majority of white and Negro children are sufficiently different at the present time in our history that both groups, particularly the more disadvantaged group, can be cheated out of the best education we can provide in our schools if uniformity rather than diversity of instructional aims and approaches becomes the rule. Educational diversity and desegregation need not be incompatible goals. I think both are necessary. But achieving racial balance and at the same time ignoring individual differences in children’s educational needs could be most destructive to those who are already the most disadvantaged educationally. The allocation of a school’s resources for children with special educational problems cannot be influenced by race; it must be governed by individual needs. Making an association, as some persons do, between the ‘nature-nurture’ question and the issue of racial desegregation of schools is, in my opinion, a most flagrant non sequitur. The pros and cons of school integration whether there are or are not racial genetic differences in mental ability, and the outcome of research on this scientifically legitimate question should have no bearing, either one way or the other, on the issue of school desegregation.