Race and Intelligence: Separating Science from Myth

By Jefferson M. Fish | Go to book overview

conscious or unconscious opposition to adopting White ways that are associated with good IQ test performance because doing so threatens their collective identity. For involuntary minorities, cultural bias in IQ tests means not just that they are not familiar with the intellectual tasks in the tests or with how to perform those tasks. For them, the bias extends to the instrumental, relational, and expressive meanings of the tests.

One prerequisite for increasing the IQ test scores of involuntary minorities is to recognize that the tests are a part of White American culture and intellectual attributes, and that they are perceived to be such by involuntary minorities. A second prerequisite is to recognize that Blacks belong to a distinct type of minority group whose experiences and interpretations of the tests may lead them to resist the tests consciously or unconsciously. Finally, residue of various forms of discrimination should be eliminated and programs should be developed so that the minorities will develop nonthreatening interpretations of the tests and test-taking.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The preparation of this chapter was supported by the University of California, Berkeley, faculty research fund. The research was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Education (NIE Grant G-80-0045). I am grateful for the institutional support. However, the opinions expressed in the chapter are solely mine.

Earlier versions of this chapter were presented at a colloquium in the Department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley; at the University of Toronto, Canada; and at the New York Academy of Sciences conference on race and intelligence: “The Bell Curve Reconsidered: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Race and IQ.”


REFERENCES

Alland, A. (1973). Human diversity. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.

Bailey, D. K. (1987). Methods of social research (2nd ed.). New York: The Free Press.

Baumrind, D. (1972). Subcultural variations in values defining social competence: An outsider's perspective on the Black subculture. Unpublished manuscript. Institute of Human Development, University of California, Berkeley.

Benjamin, L. (1991). The Black elite: Facing the color line in the twilight of the twentieth century. Chicago: Nelson-Hall.

Bock, R. D., & Kolakowski, D. (1973). Further evidence of sex-linked major gene influence on human visualizing ability. American Journal of Human Genetics, 25, 1.

Brand, C. (1996). “g, ” genes and pedagogy: A reply to seven (lamentable) chapters. In D. K. Detterman (Ed.), Current topics in human intelligence: Vol. 5. The environment (pp. 113–120). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

Campbell, A. (1971). White attitudes toward Black people. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan.

Carnoy, M. (1994). Faded dreams: The politics and economics of race in America. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Chopra, S. L. (1966). Relationship of caste system with measured intelligence and academic achievement of students in India. Social Forces, 44, 573–576.

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