In this article, I am going to look at some of the personality differences between Blacks and Whites which likely predispose Blacks to have a higher crime rate. In particular, I am going to look at racial differences in impulsivity, aggression, stress, and psychopathy.
Racial differences in self-control
Firstly, Blacks are more impulsive than Whites are. Self-control is experimentally measured by having people choose between a reward they can get now and a larger reward they can get later. People who choose to receive a larger reward later have a greater ability to delay gratification and, so, more self-control.
Such studies have shown that low self-control predicts criminality and poverty even after controlling for IQ and parental socio-economic status (Moffitt et al. 2010). Moreover, racial differences in self-control have been shown to exist across many studies. Said differences exist around the world, in children and adults, and cannot be explained by racial differences in socio-economic status (Last, 2016). These differences likely contribute to racial differences in crime, poverty, and non-marital birth rates.
Racial Differences in Aggression
The personality trait most obviously associated with crime is aggression. There are several lines of evidence suggesting that Blacks are more aggressive than Whites. First, Blacks are more likely than Whites to get into fights at school.
Secondly, Blacks are more likely than Whites to bully people at school (Wang, 2013).
Thirdly, the more violent a crime is the more heavily African Americans tend to be overrepresented in it.
Thus, there is good reason to think that Blacks are more aggressive than Whites are.
Blacks also score higher than Whites on measures of psychopathic personality. Lynn (2002) described a common measure of psychopathic personality, the Psychopathic Deviate Scale:
“This was constructed by writing a number of questions, giving them to criterion groups of those manifesting psychopathic behaviour and ‘‘normals’’, and selecting for the scale the questions best differentiating the two groups. The criterion group manifesting psychopathic behaviour consisted of 17–24 year olds appearing before the courts and referred for psychiatric examination because of their ‘‘long histories of delinquenttype behaviours such as stealing, lying, alcohol abuse, promiscuity, forgery and truancy’’ (Archer, 1997, p. 20). The common feature of this group has been described as their failure to ‘‘learn those anticipatory anxieties which operate to deter most people from committing anti-social behaviour’’ (Marks, Seeman, & Haller, 1974, p. 25). The manual describes those scoring high on the scale as follows: irresponsible, antisocial, aggressive, having recurrent marital and work problems, and underachieving (Hathaway & McKinley, 1989). A number of subsequent studies have shown that the Psychopathic Deviate scale differentiates delinquents and criminals from nondelinquents and non-criminals (e.g. Elion & Megargee, 1975).”
Lynn then reviewed 5 studies comparing racial groups on this measure. In White, Asian, and African countries it was found that Blacks scored higher than average in psychopathic personality:…[ ]