The subject of race and intelligence is a highly controversial one that has the potential of creating serious wedges with disastrous consequences if it is not approached with an open mind and the desire to investigate, identify and tell the truth and nothing but the truth without any shred of bias, prejudices, stereotypes and ethnocentrism.

In our contemporary world which is typified with increasing individuals, groups, national, and international competitions in almost every sphere of live, it is prudent, appropriate, and worthwhile to encourage discussions about race and intelligence objectively and dispassionately without making non-evidential generalizations and hasty conclusions.

Up until this date, all known attempts by way of categorization of racial and ethnic groupings as a standard measure of intelligence dominated by a unitary general cognitive ability have usually been found to be flawed and biased. People therefore ought to be treated as individuals and not as members of categorized groups. More importantly, it is a generally accepted fact that an individual's niche in society is not wholly dependent on his or her genetic hereditary (debating points; race and ethnic relations pages 33 & 38).

Any attempt therefore by any one-sided self constituted body to authenticate any so- called findings as a basis for awarding “intelligence points” to groups of people without honest and fair analysis of all mitigating factors that affect the development and or underdevelopment of individuals and groups will at best do more harm than good and rob society of its fair share of truthfulness. Realistically, any such approach in the future just as in the past will at best be unethical, unacceptable, and self-defeating on arrival.

Furthermore, such attempts are more likely than not to create false impressions and inculcate empty confidence mentality to certain groups who are “made” to feel superior by virtue of the color of their skins and their places of birth while at the same time consciously and clandestinely marginalizing and perpetually alienating other groups on the basis of ill-motivated presumptions.

One of the obvious questions that come to mind is that, if individuals are inherently and genetically intelligent at birth, why are such same individuals made to compete in schools, colleges and other areas of life with their so-called “unintelligent counterparts” and graded with the same standard measure for achievements. Also, why are there so many variations among the so called “intelligent” individuals and groups? Are they not all supposed to be intelligent and or (smart) people?

In the recent past, there have been attempts to examine the nature, origins and practical consequences of racial and ethnic group differences in relation to intelligence. One of such was the publication by Jensen with the title “How Much Can We Boost IQ and School Achievement”. One other publication on the subject of race and intelligence which has been widely debated and criticized is the “Bell Curve” which was published in 1994 by Charles Murray. The most recent work on the subject of race and intelligence is the “G” factor by Jensen which was published in 1998. In spite of the above attempts and several others there is yet to be any scientifically proven evidence that wholly links genetic inheritance to intelligence.

Most areas of discourse and controversy is the knowledge that most if not all of the so-called findings have been influenced in one way or the other by scientific racism where self acclaimed researchers have been found to exaggerate and manipulate figures or marginalize facts to satisfy their hidden agenda which is to promote one group of individuals at the expense of others.

Another area of controversy is the notion that racial categorization is an attempt to divide humans into “breeding populations” and that differentiating species into biologically defined races is meaningless and unscientific. In this regard, researchers have been vehemently criticized for making “mistaken claims of racially determined intelligence” (American Anthropological Association). These and other countless sources of contentions reinforce the need for the discussion and investigation on race and intelligence to be vigorously and objectively pursued.

There are others who also propose that scientifically, races do not exist in the first place; because all humans trace their original roots to one and the same ancestor and that the claim that there is correlation between different races and intelligence is a “dangerous myth”. They further infer that categorization of certain racial groups as superior to others by reason of genetically inherent intelligence is a social construction of a politically and economically dominant groups to maintain their own status and power in society (the G factor by Jensen).

Asian students, and more specifically Japanese and Chinese have been found to be high achievers not because they are genetically intelligent than others. Apparently, their significant achievement is mainly due to their cultural orientations and the fact that they work hard, more focused, and devote much more time and efforts to their chosen field of study than other students who have been made to believe that they are already intelligent (the learning gap 1992).
Conversely, there may be people who are more likely to perform poorly not because they are genetically stupid or inferior but because they have been over the years, deprived and alienated from available resources and facilities which have been made more accessible and readily available to others.

The debate about race and intelligence is worthwhile and need to be pursued to its logical and scientific conclusion, because unresolved debates about such sensitive issues create uncertainties and tensions among racial groupings. On one hand, it creates empty confidence and complacency which inhibits real sense of self actualization and the pursuit of excellence. On the other hand, it serves as a barrier and a breeding ground for prejudices, stereotypes, discrimination, animosity, hatred and vain suspicion.

True and accurate findings about race and intelligence will eliminate unnecessary rivalries and forestall dignity and respect for all. Those who are truly found to be intelligent either genetically or otherwise will have to be deservingly rewarded and acknowledged as such by society. In the long run, it will help minimize if not eradicate ideological racism which is more pervasive in the so-called civilized world.

While the discussions about race and intelligence continue let us be guided by one of the popular quotes by the late Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. that “people ought to be judged by the content of their character.



Source: Briston, Fredy