chapter  7
14 Pages

The Race Question

Differences in achievement across ethnic groups are not peculiar to the United States. Strikingly similar patterns of discrepant achievement among ethnic groups can be found in many other nations around the world. Japan is a good, although perhaps surprising, example. In Japan, the pariah-caste Barakumin have been subjected to prejudice for centuries, confined to ghettos, limited largely to butcher and tanner trades, and prohibited from marrying outside their group. They exhibit much lower academic achievement and career attainment than do mainstream Japanese and, notably, their mean IQ is about one standard deviation below that of the non-Baraku majority (De Vos & Wagatsuma, 1966). However, unlike Black and White Americans, there is no race difference between the Barakumin and the Japanese majority. To some observers, parallel gaps in achievement in Japan and the United States both reflect “early damage to self identity and self-respect visa-vis cultural expectations held toward the traditionally disparaged group” (De Vos & Wagatsuma, 1966, p. 262).