“SCIENCE FICTION OR SCIENCE FACT”: ARE WHITES INHERENTLY MORE INTELLIGENT THAN BLACKS ?

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The publication of Hernstein & Murray’s (1994) “The Bell Curve” appears to be the latest expression of pseudo-scientific theories with respect to race and intelligence. This paper gives an historical and ideological insight behind the development and application of intelligence tests by citing examples of their impact on legislation, social policy and intervention programmes in relation to Blacks. More importantly, a discussion of cultural bias in test design focuses on the response of Black psychologists who developed Black intelligence tests that portray whites as intellectually inferior in the same manner that Blacks are portrayed as intellectually inferior on tests devised by white psychologist. Furthermore, the hereditary perspective of intelligence is challenged by empirical evidence that centres on children with white ancestry to assess whether white genes influence intelligence while citing several sources that support the environmental explanation of the race gap in test scores. Consequently, this discussion questions the reliability and validity of intelligence tests that are used to reinforce the Black intellectual inferiority myth. The conclusive argument suggests in no uncertain terms that the Bell Curve is nothing more than the repackaging of racist pseudo-scientific conclusions by right wing academics, intent on rekindling a political debate premised on a racist manifesto to justify the withdrawal of intervention programmes that challenge existing social and racial hierarchies, that are perceived to transfer white power and privileges to undeserving Blacks.


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