Submitted by Terence Blackett
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights …Declaration of Independence
In a preamble to my current book manuscript on the issue of “race relations” entitled ‘Unmasking The Phantom’: The Race Factor – Exposing The Problems Of Race Relations In America – it dawned on me based on a recent documentary by a very highly respected Black British journalist that this was the one area that I had not given enough academic resonance to, due in part to the dangerous minefield that has been created around this incendiary narrative.
Race and IQ have created many enemies across the academic as well as the social divide. The most damaging and soul-destroying accusation that can be levelled at any human being is to be classified as sub-human because of a range of numbers on an IQ sliding scale (reference made to the Australian Aborigines).
But first let us examine the social anthropology and the ethno-genesis on this questionable area of science which posits this notion of a hierarchy of intelligence between the “races” while creating a subjugation of the Black race, relegating them to the furthest end of this ideological spectrum.
There are many questions to be answered by social scientists, social policy experts and politicians who continue to bury their heads in the sand over this contention issue – most of them wanting to play the political correctness game as a form of appeasement.
For example, in Britain, the US and Canada – predominate 1st world countries where with an increasing Black population – can governments and policy-makers continue to overlook the escalating problems of Black underachievement in schools and an increasing marginalization of Black males who are jobless, incarcerated, disillusioned and teeter-tottering on the periphery of society resulting in sub-cultural strands of behaviour and exploitation defined as a “hip-hop, Gen-ex generation?
But before I begin to rant about the structural inequalities and the social transmogrification of opportunity based on privilege, class and elite meritocracy – let us go back and look at the paradigms of social anthropology and how the narrative and the dialogue on racial IQ and intelligence became such a medium of contention and how the dumming down of this issue even within academic circles is seen as intellectual terrorism – where the use of the enemy is not a suicide bomber who straps plastic explosives to a vest but rather uses the corollary of subtle genetic science to plant incendiary devices within the minds of groups of people to maintain an ongoing status quo.
In one of the earliest documented records of ideas on race, we find in the writings of Herodotus, the ‘father of History’ – writing approximately 440 B.C.E. where he researched marvellous histories of people such as Egyptians and Ethiopians describing many Africans as having black skin and wholly hair. But on occasion, he refers to people that were not Greek – mainly yellow and black people, as “barbarians.” However, it should be noted people of other cultures at that time also regarded those not of their own group as barbarians.
The scientific and academic avenues of inquiry on intelligence according to race have been studied from numerous angles – for example, Psychology, Epidemiology, Statistics, Phrenology, Palaeontology, Anthropology, Eugenics (not only the Nazis used this “science”), Forensics, Social Darwinism, Biomedicine and of course, Genetics are sciences that have all contributed to the hundreds of studies on, surrounding, or motivated by this topic on IQ and race.
The German-Jewish scholar and professor at Columbia University in New York City Franz Boas (1858–1942), persuaded anthropologists to drop their 19th century belief that there were largely insuperable differences between the major human races – differences that, it had been thought, could not even be decreased by interbreeding.
Boas did a job of social engineering the direction that social anthropology would take, however, the duplicity was apparent due in the most part to the already established ideas brought over from the Enlightenment Period.
For example, during the European Enlightenment, great philosophers such as Germany’s Immanuel Kant and Scotland’s David Hume were quite sure there were major and deep-seated racial differences between Blacks and Whites. In fact, Kant wrote in :
“The Negroes of Africa have received from nature no intelligence that rises above the foolish. Hume invites anyone to quote a single example of a Negro who has exhibited talents. He asserts that among the hundred thousands of blacks who have been seduced away from their own countries, although very many of them have been set free, yet not a single one has ever been found that has performed anything great whether in art or science or in any other laudable subject; but among the whites, people constantly rise up from the lowest rabble and acquire esteem through their superior gifts.”
If in modern American society today, a Black president did not sit comfortably in the White House in Washington DC – this Kantian statement would have been a soliloquy of sorts for many disillusioned Blacks around the world – not just in so-called 1st world countries.
But before anyone screams “intellectual tyranny” – let’s look at the mounting evidence on this issue on the science of intelligence and whether Black falls unceremoniously at the bottom of the league table in blinding disparity to both Whites and Asians and what is the real truth behind these claims.
Is there an inconvenient TRUTH* here for people of color to answer? And if so, how do we deal with its ramifications? And finally, is enough being done to level the playing field?
At the forefront in this debate is British born John Philippe Rushton who is a psychology professor at the University of Western Ontario in Canada and most widely known for his work on intelligence and racial differences, particularly his book “Race, Evolution and Behaviour”. His work in this area is highly controversial, and has been criticized by other researchers and civil rights organisations as being poorly researched and racist in nature.
He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American, British, and Canadian Psychological Associations. In 1988, he was made a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He has been head of the Pioneer Fund since 2002.
Rushton’s academic position is clear – Blacks are intellectually inferior due to genetic make-up; the size of their brains happen to be smaller; they have larger genitals – making them more promiscuous than whites or other groups.
Rushton’s scientific neo-Nazi ideology is couched in language that gives it a guise of academic acceptability but has been reprehensible in many quarters. Rushton’s key arguments enter a segregationist domicile where Blacks are seen as an inferior (Straw Man – just different) race; where Africans are portrayed as being far less intelligent than Caucasian or Asian folks.
His neoDarwinist evolutionary-type theory posits this malodorous Malthusian notion of “survival strategy” where Africans supposedly do not rely on cognitive ability for the propagation of their species – but rather on promiscuous sexual breeding, intermarriage and mass polygamy.
The perpetration of such massive intellectual fraud, coupled with no real basis where one can scientifically prove with empirical data analysis that has led Rushton to claim that genetically inherited sexual promiscuity is responsible for single-parent families and that the AIDS epidemic among Canadians and Americans of African descent, as well as increased crime rates among Blacks is fostered by his findings.
Actually in the early 1970’s, the Pioneer Fund (for which Rushton is Chair) paid the Foundation of Human Understanding to distribute hundreds of free copies of pamphlets by white supremacist psychologists Richard Herrnstein and Arthur Jensen (The Bell Curve advocates) to the registrars’ offices of universities across the US (and the UK – though many academics would try to disprove the following) in a blatant attempt to influence administration policies against the admittance of African-American students into tertiary education. This has been the dangerous precedent set in motion by racists whose sole agenda is to have influence on mainstream public policy.
On the other end of the scientific race and IQ debate are centrists and assimilationists like James Robert Flynn, Emeritus Professor of Political Studies at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand who researches intelligence and has become well known for his discovery of the Flynn Effect, the continued year-after-year increase of IQ scores in all parts of the world. Flynn wanted to define intelligence at least generally enough to be independent of culture, emphasizing that the style of thought required to deal with problems of survival in a desert (mapping, tracking…), is different from that required to do well in the modern West (academic achievement etc), but that both undoubtedly require intelligence.
The Flynn Effect really threw the cat amongst the pigeons (no play on words intended to offend my Buddhists brothers) as the increase of the average intelligence quotient (IQ) showed higher test scores over several generations (IQ gains over time) especially amongst African Americans. The effect has also had dramatic results on the other cognitive aspects of semantic and episodic memory. However, there are some scientists who challenge Flynn’s findings and cite that widespread emphasis on early education and improved nutrition has resulted in higher IQ’s even amongst Blacks.
In October 2007, James Watson, the legendary biologist, was condemned and forced into retirement after claiming that African intelligence wasn’t “the same as ours.” “Racist, vicious and unsupported by science,” said the Federation of American Scientists. “Utterly unsupported by scientific evidence,” declared the U.S. government’s supervisor of genetic research. The New York Times told readers that when Watson implied “that Black Africans are less intelligent than whites, he hadn’t a scientific leg to stand on.”
Although the science of race and IQ is in large measure based on shoddy science – academics are still somehow influencing public policy through their specious research findings and this is something which must be attacked from all sides on the academic divide. We must only be able to accept science which weighs heavily on the side of fostering cohesion, equality of opportunity and fairness.
Anything less we must tergiversate.