Ex-Heritage Scholar Jason Richwine: "I Don't Apologize”

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Jason Richwine is sorry he’s not sorry.

The co-author of a controversial Heritage Foundation report on the cost of immigration reform is standing behind his past work that led to his resignation.

By now, you’ve probably heard about Richwine’s controversial 2009 doctoral dissertation at Harvard, in which he argued that Hispanic immigrants have lower IQs than non-Hispanic, white Americans.

Richwine’s theories on differences in intelligence levels between racial groups have some serious flaws. Hispanics aren’t so much of a race as a pan-ethnic group that comprises people who hail from many different countries and racial backgrounds. And scholars question whether IQ is an accurate way to measure intelligence among racial and gender groups.

The Atlantic goes more in depth on that here and Dan Drezner notes that Richwine’s dissertation didn’t necessarily gain traction in the academic world.

But in an interview with the Washington Examiner’s Byron York, Richwine stood behind his work and statements about the racial differences and intelligence.

"I don't apologize for any of the things that I said," Richwine continued. "But I do regret that I couldn't give more detail. And I also regret that I didn't think more about how the average lay person would perceive these things, as opposed to an academic audience."

Richwine claims that he’s “not naive” about how his work could be seen as offensive within the context of the immigration debate.

“I'm proud of it,” he told York. “But I do regret the way it has been used."

The Heritage Foundation quickly distanced itself from Richwine’s past work and statements last week. But the political damage has been done. As The Miami Herald noted, Richwine reinforced the stereotype of some immigration-reform opponents as racially prejudiced and nativist.

Richwine rejected the notion that he’s a racist in his conversation with York.

"The accusation of racism is one of the worst things that anyone can call you in public life," he says. "Once that word is out there, it's very difficult to recover from it, even when it is completely untrue."

But Richwine’s critics are joking that he someday might reconsider his non-apology apology. Here’s what Lalo Alcaraz tweeted today:

“Jason Richwine is going to do a country rap song with LL Cool J.”

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