Confronting racism starts with quality education | News, Sports, Jobs
With all the issues reduced, racism and white supremacy may be America’s top national issues. It would be difficult for a person with a solid educational background to adopt the authoritarian view that racism is good.
Wray Herbert argues that racism is a form of stupidity. Herbert is the editor of Psychology Today and a behavioral science editor and columnist for many revered publications. Herbert claims that low intelligence, lack of mental ability, and cognitive rigidity underlie people who hold white supremacist views.
Herbert’s assessment is supported by two researchers, Kristof Dhont (Ghent University, Belgium) and Gordon Hodson (Brock University, Canada), who found – through extensive longitudinal research – “that there is a clear link , predictable and causal between low intelligence and prejudice”. , including racism” (Association for Psychological Science).
Researchers know that many variables need to be considered before reaching a conclusion. Dhort and Hodson studied attributes of family socioeconomic status, population representation, verbal ability, math skills, meta-analysis of other research, longitudinal data, multiple measures of intelligence and the list of variables continues. Their conclusion was that “empirical evidence has consistently linked low intelligence to bias.” (ibid) A study of white children found that some could not understand how a short but wide-brimmed glass could hold the same amount of water as a taller but thinner glass. This concept, known as conservation, is widely considered an important test of mental capacity. Children who lacked this ability to differentiate also had more negative views of black children.
Longitudinal research provided the most compelling conclusion. The general intelligence of children aged 10 and 11 was re-measured 20 years later. It has been found that there is a clear correlation between low intelligence at a young age and later racism two decades later. Dhont and Hodson determined that adults with a strong educational background understood the concept that the world is changing and were more progressive in their thinking. Conversely, adults with lower mental abilities preferred a status quo world, bound to tradition and avoiding uncertainty.
The idea that the majority of the American population will be people of color by 2044, that the Latino Asian population is the fastest growing in America, and that 97.1% of Americans are – in fact – immigrants could greatly disturb a person with lower cognitive abilities. Their conservative status quo world is changing and displaying racism is their immature way of behaving.
The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that there are 838 hate groups in America. Based on research, we can guess with high certainty the mental cognition of hate group members.
Herbert states that “Right-wing ideologies offer well-structured and orderly views of society, views that preserve traditions and norms, so they are particularly attractive to those who are threatened by change and want to avoid uncertainty and ambiguity”. (ibid.)
Year after year, the support for public education below inflation, the banning of Nazi-style books, the embezzlement of public funds for private education, the depiction of teachers as having a “sinister agenda” and critical misinformation about race theory is occurring in many GOP-controlled states. These totalitarian actions are. . . not sober.
If this public education drought and authoritarian rule continues, fewer bright-minded graduates will become K-12 teachers and a less intelligent America and increased racism will be assured down the road.
Change is possible. First, weed out cognitively impaired legislators who deliberately dumb down states. Then, support lawmakers who understand the findings of parallel education-racism research and will confront white supremacy at its roots by increasing the resources of our pre-K and K-12 education system.
Walter Cronkite’s (1916-2009; American journalist) statement on libraries could be applied to the value of good to excellent public education and the eradication of racism: “No matter how much our libraries cost, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation”. . . . “And that’s how.”
Steve Corbin is Emeritus Professor of Marketing,
Northern Iowa University and freelance writer.