“Don’t Believe The Hype: The Truth About Black Intelligence Revealed”
By Legrand H. Clegg II,* Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations
On May 29, 2018, actress Roseanne Barr tweeted that Valerie Jarrett, a Black woman and one of President Barack Obama’s closest advisors, is the product of “Muslim brotherhood and planet of the apes.” A few days later, a Black reporter from the MSNBC cable network interviewed a White supremacist, Arthur Jones, who was a candidate for public office in Illinois. He informed her that Black people are genetically inferior to Whites, and the fact that she was bright enough to attend Harvard University was attributable to her “White blood.”
There was swift reaction to both comments. ABC cancelled “Roseanne,” the popular, rebooted sitcom. Many Americans across the country expressed outrage over the statements of Jones. The sentiments expressed by Barr and Jones are not new. Long before the founding of the American republic, White people insisted that Blacks were a distinctly different species. Thomas Jefferson—though ably refuted by contemporary Black scientist Benjamin Banneker—consistently expressed this viewpoint. The United States Constitution still includes words (now invalidated by the 14th Amendment) that Black people are 3/5ths of a human being. Numerous clergymen have falsely insisted that Black people are the cursed descendants of Noah’s son, Ham. Legions of White historians and scientists have also taught that people of African descent are small-brained, genetically inferior sub-humans with no history prior to slavery and colonialism.
Furthermore, the American media have perpetuated Black degradation and stereotypes from the early Amos & Andy sitcoms to the current outrageous guests on the Jerry Springer Show and the actors and actresses on Real Housewives of Atlanta, etc.
Writing in the July 24, 1975, issue of Ebony magazine, Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, a distinguished Black psychiatrist, commented on the primary reason for the White preoccupation with Black intelligence:
The collectivity of whites has evolved patterns of societal structuring to cause blacks and other people of color to appear functionally inferior to themselves through both crude and highly refined methodologies to deprive peoples of color of the same social, educational, economic and political supports that they provide for themselves. They then say that such patterns of inferior functioning are genetically determined. Dr. [William] Shockley and all others who cannot cease talking and writing in a negative manner about the genetics of black people and other people of color, whether the discussion be overt or covert, are all simply victims not only of the genetic recessive deficiency state of skin albinism but also its component psychological disease state of racism (white supremacy).
By and large we as African Americans have long chosen to ignore White claims about our inferiority, and striven as a group to prove ourselves equal to all other people on this planet. While such a response is noble and laudable, it has not resulted in a cessation of White supremacist propaganda emanating from either the White masses or the White House. At this juncture in history, then, we must address these insults head-on whenever and wherever they appear, lest we lose another generation of Black youths to the forces of racism that have instilled in too many of them a sense of hopelessness and inferiority.
Ms. Barr’s comments resonate with many Whites not only because such sentiments have been so often repeated, but also because the destructive black ape image is subtly perpetuated by recurrent “King Kong” movies implanted in the national psyche. Over fifty years ago, African American talk show host Louis Lomax questioned the distinguished anthropologist Ashley Montague about White America’s obsession with equating Black people with apes. The comparison, Montague stated, was absurd because apes have thin lips and Black people have thick lips. Apes have straight hair and Black people have woolly, kinky or nappy hair. Apes have thick hair covering their bodies, while Black males and females generally have sparse hair growth over their torsos. Apes have flat behinds, while Black people have protruding behinds. Finally, a shaved ape has pink skin, whereas Black people range in color from Black to brown to yellow—not pink.
Even more absurd is the perennial claim of Black genetic inferiority, specifically as to intelligence. On an annual basis all American students are given batteries of standardized academic examinations to determine their intelligence levels. When tested, African Americans tend to score lower than their White counterparts. It is from the generalized results of these intelligence tests that most White supremacists derive their opinions that Black people are genetically inferior to Whites. Of course these and all other so-called objective measures used in this society to define intelligence are created by White people based on White culture and experiences and then applied to Black people who have been systematically excluded from such culture and experiences, and who have generally been subject to an inferior public school education.
For decades White educators and researchers have been puzzled by the persistent IQ disparity between African Americans and Whites, despite sporadic efforts to improve the quality of education provided Black students. The answer is simple. In a U.S. utopia where Black youths have experiences similar to those of Whites—including a stable home environment, gainfully employed parents, nutritious meals, excellent health care, clean and secure communities, first class educational institutions with supportive instructors, diverse recreational facilities, positive media images, favorable law enforcement contacts, a wholesome respect for one’s ethnic group and its history, self-respect and a sense of belonging to the societal whole, rather than being part of a despised and ostracized minority—the IQ gap will close. To use a well-worn cliché, this is not rocket science! There is an ever-widening gulf between the experiences of Black and White Americans that, under President Donald J. Trump, Whites in general are no longer feigning an interest in closing. Studies have shown that when African Americans experience educational parity with Whites, Black performance on such standardized tests as the SAT, ACT, GRE, etc., is virtually equivalent to their White counterparts.
Make no mistake about it, paleontologists, anthropologists, geneticists, etc., have shown that Black people are the genetically dominant parents of the human family. Our dominance is so apparent to White people that they have enshrined the concept that only one drop of Black “blood” determines that one is Black. So, for example, former President Barack Obama is Black as is former San Francisco 49’ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. In other words, if one is part Black and part White, the recessive White genes are completely obliterated. How, then, in some warped minds, does genetic dominance equate to genetic inferiority?
To counter the longstanding, calculated effort to inferiorize African Americans and to suppress, distort or ignore the history of Black people by the Western academic, scientific and media establishments, I have produced a video documentary titled “When Black Men Ruled The World.” Since its production in 1991, revelations regarding the Black origin of civilization in Egypt (i.e., Kemet, “The Black Land”) and the global expanse of Black people in antiquity and their achievements have been staggering! All of which underscores the world’s indebtedness to its Black forefathers and contradicts the myth that the Black race is inferior.
The words of White author Flora Lugard shed light on the grandeur of Blacks in antiquity:
The annals of all of the great early nations of Asia Minor are full of them. The Mosaic records allude to them frequently; but while they are described as the most powerful, the most just, and the most beautiful of the human race, they are constantly spoken of as black, and there seems to be no other conclusion to be drawn then that at that remote period of history, the leading race of the Western World was a black race.
Another White scholar, Richard Poe, reveals that among ancient people there was the “presumption that dark skin connoted higher intelligence.” In other words, in the ancient world the blacker you were, the more intelligent you were assumed to be! Why did the ancients view Black people with such respect and reverence? The answer is clear. DNA evidence traces all human beings back to one Black woman in Africa. Her offspring migrated from inner Africa down the Nile Valley and founded the ancient Egyptian civilization. From Africa these Black people spread around the world and laid the foundation of civilization in Greece, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley of India, Southern China, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands and Australia.
Furthermore, Dr. David Imhotep has written a remarkable book titled The First Americans Were Africans: Documented Evidence, proving that Black Africans began sailing to the Americas over fifty thousand years ago. He also reveals that later African migrants to the New World laid the foundation of the Olmec civilization in Mesoamerica that preceded the Toltecs, Aztecs and Mayans. This is why there are similarities between the pyramids of Egypt and those in Mexico.
We are all aware of the astronomical and architectural genius of the Black Africans who designed and built the pyramids of Egypt that no scientists or architects are able to replicate today. However, few realize that some of the neighboring temples contain blocks of stone weighing between 200 and 400 tons each, which are arranged and set up with remarkable precision. Fewer still are aware of the famous labyrinth—one of the wonders of the ancient world—built by the Pharaoh Amenemhet III, during Egypt’s Middle Kingdom. To appreciate the magnitude of this three-thousand-room structure, one must read the account of Herodetus, the widely travelled Greek historian of the fifth century b.c.e.:
I have seen this building, and it is beyond my power to describe; it must have cost more in labour and money than all the walls and public works of the Greeks put together…The pyramids, too, are astonishing structures, each one of them equal to many of the most ambitious works of Greece; but the labyrinth surpasses them…
What’s more, in their book Temples of the African Gods, Michael Tellinger and Johan Heine reveal that they have discovered in South Africa billions of ancient artifacts, including the remains of cities as large as Johannesburg and Los Angeles dating back over one hundred thousand years. Even more astounding are the findings of Dr. Thomas G. Brophy, a physicist who has worked with the NASA Voyager Project, the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics and the Japanese Space Program. Dr. Brophy has written a book titled The Origin Map: Discovery of a Prehistoric Megalithic Astrophysical Map and Sculpture of the Universe. In a partially excavated site in the Egypto-Nubian desert at Nabta Playa in Africa, Dr. Brophy has examined a number of stone structures dating from about 7,000 b.c.e. to 20,000 b.c.e. On the basis of these findings it appears that the ancient Africans left a stone map of the universe that is so precise and detailed that in some instances it exceeds our astronomical knowledge of the 21st century. Dr. Brophy speaks of the site as a “detailed astrophysical map of truly astonishing accuracy, with no less than staggering implications.”
Fortunately, today anyone wishing to view evidence of the splendor of Black civilizations may visit KING TUT: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh, which will remain on display at the California Science Center in Los Angeles until January of 2019. A banner featuring a large black statue of the Pharaoh greets visitors as they enter the museum—confirming DNA studies that reveal that 96% of the King’s genetic markers match current populations of sub-Saharan Africa.
One need not dwell on ancient history to detect the genius of Black people. We see it all around us in science, architecture, medicine, law, literature, politics, athletics, etc. even in the midst of horrendous oppression. Let us consider a small sampling of such genius:
The Black Child
As we have noted, White politicians, clergymen, scientists, academicians and others have been obsessed with the nature of Black intelligence ever since the first Africans were enslaved in the New World. In his book titled Even the Rat Was White, social scientist Robert Guthrie has observed:
The earliest (formal) effort by American researchers to investigate the black-white differences using Intelligence tests was made in 1897 when G.R. Stetson tested 500 black and 500 white public school children in Washington, D.C. The test utilized by Stetson consisted of four stanzas of poetry which the experimenter read aloud and the children were required to repeat. It is interesting to observe that in this exercise, of which little publicity was made, the black children excelled the white children; consequently, it was determined that the memory technique was not a valid measure of intelligence.
Since 1897, numerous other tests have been administered to schoolchildren of all ages and all ethnic backgrounds. When racial distinctions have been highlighted, the media have constantly focused on Black deficits and White superiority. What is virtually unknown is that, during the middle of the twentieth century, a number of White scientists conducted tests of Black and White neonates (newborns) apparently to determine their intelligence during their formative years before definitive socialization. While Black American children showed early precocity when compared to their White counterparts, African children were the most advanced.
During the 1950’s child development specialists Marcelle Geber and R.F.A. Dean conducted their studies in Kenya and Uganda. This was followed by similar investigations undertaken by Mary Ainsworth, another child development specialist, in South Africa and West Africa. Commenting on Geber’s discoveries, author Joseph C. Pearce has written:
She found [in Uganda] the most precocious, brilliant, and advanced infants and children ever observed anywhere. These infants had smiled, continuously and rapturously, from, at the latest, their fourth day of life…Sensor motor learning and general development were phenomenal. Indeed miraculous. These Ugandan infants were months ahead of American or European children. A superior intellectual development held for the first four years of life.
The following are comparisons made by Geber based on tests that she administered to African and European children:
Geber’s Black Child / White Child Developmental Comparison
Ainsworth’s Black Child / White Child Developmental Chart Comparison
As noted above, African American children have also shown remarkable precocity when compared to White children. Based on studies also conducted during the middle of the twentieth century, child development specialists Nancy Bayley and Etta Walters found that in “motor development” Black babies tended to be more advanced than White babies during the first 12 months. In the same vein, two other specialists, H. Knoblock and B. Pasamanick, have added that Black children have “superior motor scores and similar adaptive, language and personal-social cores, as compared with Whites through age two years.”
It should be pointed out that when the above scientists refer to Black children having “advanced motor skills” they are speaking of the children’s physical dexterity and straining to separate such behavior from that of advanced intellectual functioning. Recognizing this fallacious reasoning, psychologist Asa Hilliard has stated:
It is sometimes said that the precocity of the African [Black] child is only ‘physical’ and not ‘intellectual’ or ‘mental.’ There are two problems with such a statement: On the one hand, the developmental measures, which are cited in the professional literature, include measures of language and puzzle working (e.g. circle, square and triangle in a form board). Further, some of the ‘physical’ tasks which are measured included such things as intentional climbing and walking. Therefore, the use of language and intentional behavior hardly justifies the common investigative bias of calling some developmental test items ‘merely physical measures.’ On the other hand, there is no clear scientific distinction between ‘mental’ and ‘physical’ activities. It is more appropriate to think of these words as labels for aspects of the same human activity. Thus, the child who climbs stairs or, better still, who dances, is clearly demonstrating the inseparable nature of ‘mental’ and ‘physical’ activity. You simply cannot have one without the other.
Finally, a number of specialists have grappled with the issue of why Black children appear to lose their precocity after infancy as they begin the maturation process. In his book The Developmental Psychology of the Black Child, Amos Wilson has provided this opinion:
Generally, it would appear that the differences between black and white infants disappear between the ages of one and one half to two years and the equality of their mental and motor functioning begins to reverse in favor of the white child at around age three. We think that it is no coincidence that black intellectual functioning as compared to that of whites, as measured by standard I.Q. tests, begins to fall during the period beginning with the acquisition of language (starting somewhere around 12 to 18 months) and the formation of a stabilized personality structure (from three to five years).
For the first two to three years at least, it appears that the black child approaches the Greek ideal of a sound mind in a sound body. However, the ravages of racial prejudice and poverty destroy and distort much of his wonderful potential.
It is most interesting that White preoccupation with Black intelligence rarely if ever focuses on the above studies administered by White people using White standards that reveal the achievements of precocious Black children. Why is this information kept from the general public? Are there more recent studies? Do African and African American newborns still manifest these remarkable skills?
Black people do not resemble apes and have never been inferior to others. As noted above, Black people are the genetically dominate parents of the human race who laid down the foundation of global civilization. It is past time for White supremacists, who are not trained in genetics, to cease lying to themselves and to the public about the intelligence of people of African descent. It is also unconscionable for an ever-compliant media to continue dignifying these racists with generous coverage while ignoring the powerful evidence that refutes their malicious propaganda by revealing the truth about Black potential and achievements.