Pop Culture, Race & Politics

…oh, and about the harvard law student and her “racist” email

as i’ve expressed here before, one of the reasons i love the NBA playoffs so much is that its one of the few remaining places in america that makes no apologies for being a meritocracy. because of the best of seven game series structure, the best teams with the best players usually win, and that’s that. there are no cinderellas, no overmatched underdogs advancing to the next round, and no room for saccharin sentiment and overemotionalism.

also, because basketball is the only of the major world sports that requires each of its participants to run, jump, throw, catch, and move laterally while also possessing at least an above average amount of bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, to consistently excel in high-level basketball, you need to have teams equipped with world-class athletes. typically, these athletes tend to be giant men, and those who aren’t tend to make up for their shortcomings by being genetic freaks of nature. this is an inarguable fact

although basketball is played by millions of people around the world, the league where the best of the best compete is mostly populated by men with (somewhat) recent roots in sub-saharan africa. this is also an inarguable fact.

with these two pieces of information, someone could deduce that people descending from sub-saharan africa might have certain athletic advantages that allow them to be at the top of the athletic pyramid, traits formed over millions (or, if you’re a literal creationist, around 2,500…give or take a decade or two) of years of evolution, and this deduction wouldn’t be completely unreasonable. sure, how evolution, nature, and nurture interact to create valued athletic characteristics is a much more complicated and nuanced topic than just stating “africans are better athletes.“, but there’s enough physical evidence there to at least have the discussion.

this brings us to stephanie grace.

grace, a harvard law student, was the subject of an andrewsian-level internet firestorm last week when an email she wrote to a few classmates about the possibility that blacks may have genetic intellectual defects was forwarded all over the internet.

from abovethelaw (click to read the entire email):

I absolutely do not rule out the possibility that African Americans are, on average, genetically predisposed to be less intelligent. I could also obviously be convinced that by controlling for the right variables, we would see that they are, in fact, as intelligent as white people under the same circumstances. The fact is, some things are genetic. African Americans tend to have darker skin. Irish people are more likely to have red hair. (Now on to the more controversial:) Women tend to perform less well in math due at least in part to prenatal levels of testosterone, which also account for variations in mathematics performance within genders. This suggests to me that some part of intelligence is genetic, just like identical twins raised apart tend to have very similar IQs and just like I think my babies will be geniuses and beautiful individuals whether I raise them or give them to an orphanage in Nigeria. I don’t think it is that controversial of an opinion to say I think it is at least possible that African Americans are less intelligent on a genetic level, and I didn’t mean to shy away from that opinion at dinner

now, i completely understand why this email has been such a lightning rod. first, this wasn’t written by some backwoods tea-bagger with a baby on her hip and an ounce of tobacco in her lip. no, she’s an ivy-educated (soon-to-be) lawyer who belongs to the same law review that president obama was once president of…the complete antithesis of the “type” of white person that comes to mind when thinking of racial prejudice. plus, the entire civil rights movement in america (and any other country where there has been an oppressed people) was based on the fact that all men are created equal, and arguing that there are inherent inadequacies present in some races is all the justification racists need to continue to be racist. also, as a black american who usually thinks he’s the smartest person in the room (or, at least the most able to articulate his impressively witty observations), my first response to grace’s email was “f*ck you, stupid caveb*tch“.

but, while her assertions may have been disturbing, i have to wonder: are we more disturbed by her audaciousness of opinion, her dangerous naivety, or the (slim) possibility that she’s right¹?

my guess? more than anything else, the overwhelming response (which seems to vacillate between “she’s a dangerous racist that needs to be drawn and quartered. ali bomaye!!!” and “really, i’m not that mad. this just shows how white people really feel“) shows that most of us (and by “us” i mean educated black people) are hypocrites. we’ll discuss, debate, and joke about how we have certain inherent athletic, aesthetic, physical, rhythmic, and sexual advantages, but once the subject of intelligence is brought up, anything suggesting that we’re sitting anywhere other than the top of the human pyramid is immediately discounted and dismissed as racist, ignorant, and destructive. the only thing more dangerous than faulty opinions is the refusal to discuss them.

anyway, people of vsb.com, what’s your take on the email and the response it’s generated? was it wrong, racist, or just not very politically correct?

also, do you think it’s possible that evolution has allowed for people in certain parts to be predisposed to be better at certain things?

¹right now, there’s no conclusive evidence about race and its relation to intelligence. sh*t, there isn’t even any conclusive evidence that race itself actually exists. its all theory. for all we know, we (people with recent african) might be genetically superior to everyone else. who knows? my point is that just because something hasn’t been proven yet doesn’t mean it can’t be true.

—the champ

Filed Under:
Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a contributing editor for EBONY.com. He resides in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes.

  • BKSweetheart

    HA first again.. I’m on a roll beyatches!!

    • sisanda

      Roll Deez!

  • ComicBookGuy

    Been a long day. Will respond in the morning. I believe tomorrow will be an interesting day indeed. That’s what I love about VSB. Very informative. Had no idea that this email was out there like that, but then again not surprised the subject matter was brought up. Holla.

  • lawstudent

    I read this from a fellow BLSA member and have discussed the issue, I believe the main issue is not only that it is not true but 1. She actually voiced an opinion like that to others 2. Given the history of Blacks in America, a rash statement of that nature needs not be said by someone who has a pending federal judicial clerkship and has taken at least a semester if not a year of constitutional law and criminal law (which clearly explains to her how race and America are so intertwined) therefore her comment is just extremely out of line based on the lack of research and basis for her comment. So I would say it has aspects of all 3 of your assertions.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “…She actually voiced an opinion like that to others”

      now, this was a private email though, a follow up to a discuss she had over dinner. if every email i’ve ever sent to someone found a way to be published, i probably wouldn’t have a girlfriend, i definitely wouldn’t be employable, and i’d most likely have warrants.

      • Lawstudent

        True but it wasn’t too private because she sent it to people who barely knew her and it was over a list serve, All I’m saying is list serve= probably can expect to see it again. She should have known better. Now a private email to 1 or 2 close friends, I think, would be in a different category. In response to her job, would you feel comfortable with a person who may possibly becoming a judge one day feeling that Black people are just not as smart? I could definitely see a domino effect for the worse…

      • R.A.G

        A law student should have known better than “voicing an opinion like that…” in WRITING… not to mention being a white girl writing that type of nonsense to anybody w/ an oz. of african heritage. In her position, there is no excuse for naivety.

        • MzPW

          Fully agreed. Something suggests to me that this type of response was almost “planned”….how can someone, who boast of an Ivy League education with credentials of a world leader (although I side-eye my own comment on that one) NOT expect such a response to occur? What’s even worse is that the way she presents her argument comes off as so “factual”, some backwoods broad will take it to be fact. ANY person who has ever studied theory knows for a FACT that intellect cannot be fully measured or attributed to any biological development. Intelligence; if anything, intelligence is broken down into categories associated with ability. Naivete? Sure, she definitely has some. But the case here is that she happens to be the prototypical educated white woman who “knows everything” because she read a few books and lived in a special, lil’ world where her racial background meant automatic “genius” category….

          Ok, rant over.

          OK, rant over.

    • Peyso

      But is it really out of line?

      #1) She did some huge study on race in undergrad.
      #2) She said that it could be true.
      #3) Are you sure that her private idea will inhibit her from performing her job admirably?

      • coldsweat3

        I dont think doing a study on race in undergrad automatically makes someone have the neccessary credentials to discuss a linkage between race and genetics. In the entire email she rules out societal factors for African-Americans performing lower on standardized tests and other standards for measuring intelligence. Fact: There is no accurate way to measure intelligence because there are so many dimensions. As one who has clearly “researched” she would understand that IQ tests have been dismissed by the scientific community as having any real bearing on your level of intelligence. However, yes it could be true that those from the African descent could be genetically less intelligent than those from other nations, the only problem with this is that we are all one species and not even a subspecies. But i mean hell, it could be true.

        I think her viewpoints say a lot about America and how others view our people. The true implications of being genetically less intelligent than other races implies inferiority, thus superiority of the white race over us. I personally feel uncomfortable with those that can become future judges and prosecutors that wield the power to determine sentencing feeling superior than an entire segment of our society. When there are already huge gaps in length of sentence times for African-Americans, these type of individuals surely wont help bring about TRUE justice.

        • R.A.G

          cosign for the most part. & it could also be true that ppl of african descent are actually far more intelligent, but huge confounders such as social constructs & marginalization, etc. etc. & perhaps a lack of lust for world domination have prevented black folks from taking center stage. I don’t need to remind anybody that the many a black scholar & leader has risen from the darkest depths of back society…

          • Mo

            Agreed. As much as I think genetic factors are unarguable, I do happen to think that over time social and environmental factors play a role in evolution. If anyone has read Carter G. Woodson’s masterpiece “Miseducation of the Negro” (and if you haven’t, please get off this board and do that NOW), you know that his very argument was that Black Americans possess the same intelligence as their White counterparts. His assertion was that the environmental factors such as poverty and “slave mentality” was what kept us down. His claim is that once we a a people buy into the fact that we aren’t as intelligent, aren’t as business savvy, etc, that White people no longer need to physically enslave us. We’ve already built the cage, restricted our reach and stifled our advancement overall if we begin to buy into that logic.

            Over time, that thinking is passed down and it becomes a staple of our people. So, the real question isn’t so much if this woman is right or wrong. It’s more “do we believe it to be true? If so, why? And what do we do about it so we don’t begin putting yet another layer of “we can’t” into our mentality and push that onto future generations?”

        • http://www.grownfolkstalking.wordpress.com jaidevivre

          I don’t think she has to be qualified or have the “necessary credentials” in order to have a conversation. I didn’t read the entire e-mail, so please correct me if I’m wrong and she presents herself as an expert on the relationship between race and intelligence. If she did not, I agree with the Champ upthread. THis was intended to be a private discussion. Admittedly, she was dumb to commit it to writing. And I’m not defending or advocating her views, but I do believe there is a difference b/w public and private speech. THere are many things I would not say if I thought my boss or my mother would overhear. The good news is that now we know something about where she stands, which is always preferable to being wholly in the dark.

      • charli skipper

        “Are you sure that her private idea will inhibit her from performing her job admirably?”

        based upon her writing style, and her insistence on proving a point that–from the context of her email–it seemed no one else was interested in discussing further, she seems close-minded and sheltered. her arguments are made and supported very poorly. (honestly? you can prove that african AMERICANS are genetically predisposed to be less intelligent based on some scenario with twins in nigeria? and what about the millions of black people on this planet who are not african american? what of them? did they escape the faulty genes or is it just supposed to be implied that all blacks are genetically predisposed to be less intelligent, and we should just know she’s using homegrown negros as an example, while leaving out the majority of the world’s black population? i really don’t even know why i’m even looking this deep into this twit’s words in the first place, but i give her the sideeye for lack of reasoning skills alone. i mean, this is a 3L about to be released out into the world as an attorney.)

        further, as the clerk for a federal judge (and in all seriousness, i hope she loses that clerkship. i have no vitriol toward her based on her argument in any other regard–her opinion is her opinion. but someone stupid enough to transmit such garbage through email and reveal all their prejudices publicly does not belong in such a position and, while i wish her a nice life in every other regard, i would be happy to see this opportunity passed on to someone else) she will have a direct role in shaping the law. not that there aren’t already many people who silently share her views in positions of power already, but this airhead is dangerous. when you have had the opportunity to be exposed to all that education and can still lump a whole group of people into the “less intelligent” category–and have no fear about expressing it, whether it’s to a small group of strangers, or a big group of strangers, or a vegetable, animal or a mineral–you’re a special type of bigot. and the reason i think that it’s repulsive that she will be shaping the law is that when you write someone off as being less than you, and just being naturally equipped with a more inferior set of equipment than you, you can easily excuse injustices toward them and rationalize why they should be denied basic rights.
        ex: i think animals are great. but i’ll fight til my dying day to keep elsie on my plate with some steak sauce because i don’t see animals as having the same type of intelligence as people. therefore it’s ok to me that we use them to feed ourselves. this girl is in a position to be writing briefs and deciding cases (what many judicial clerks basically do) with that same mindset toward a people. yeah, i completely believe that her views will keep her from doing her job admirably. and if she’s able to keep that coveted clerkship position in a United States federal court, i think it’s a shame.

        • Peyso

          This is where i disagree w/ you. Analysis of her writing style and the way she is trying to prove a point is moot b/c it was intended to be a private conversation. We all say some really off the wall sh*t in order to prove a point to our friends. At least I do.

          Secondly, she hasnt lumped anyone into a group. At least not yet. Her email shows that she is willing to be persuaded. What else do you want from a judge? Being open to the idea is not an affirmation of that idea. I much rather havea judge and clerk who are opened to ideas rather than have an opinion.

          • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

            “Being open to the idea is not an affirmation of that idea”

            best point i’ve heard all day

          • charli skipper

            we disagree.

        • Peyso

          My last comment is in moderation so it will come through eventually but one thing is that whatever happened to free speach and the constitution?

          • coldsweat3

            I will have to cosign with champ on your line regarding being open to the idea. I think it is important for the judge to be open to the ideas but I believe saying “I would just like some scientific data to disprove the genetic position, and it is often hard given difficult to quantify cultural aspects.” in conjunction with the rest of her paper show more of a slanted viewpoint than fully being open-minded. Also, while we do have free speech, that doesnt mean people cant be judged for their comments. Taking this a step further. If Stephanie Grace were to be a judge and say a racial discrimination case came to her bench and the court case focused on a lack of hiring/promoting African-Americans to key position with a company because they maybe felt as though they werent intelligent enough to maintain those positions, how will you have a truly fair trial?!?!

          • MzPW

            Peyso May 4, 2010 at 1:57 pm
            My last comment is in moderation so it will come through eventually but one thing is that whatever happened to free speach and the constitution?
            ______________________________________

            Y’know, bro, I have to partially agree with you here. You’re right that everyone has the freedom of speech- that’s exactly the right that S. Grace exercised when she clicked “send” on this ridiculous e-mail. She also has freedm of thought, which she eloquently displayed in her email message. See, I haven’t heard one person yet knock her for expressing her thoughts and ideas (maybe I haven’t read all the comment yet); the argument has been over how simple and ridiculous her arguments are that Blacks are genetically predisposed to be less intelligent than whites. A simple flip of a few pages will put so many dents into that entire theory she presented. Example? Sure….if her theory is correct, during Neanderthal existence, there were also quite a few other culturally “civilized” groups living in Southern Africa; since these African cultures were “civilized” according to today’s defintion, does this mean that all people with genetic ties to Southern Africa are inherently more intelligent?

            Besides, as long as Sarah Palin is allowed to open her mouth for purposes other than eating and breathing, S. Grace’s simple opinion wll always be that: simple. I swear, opinions are like a**holes: everyone’s got one and it produces nothing but sh*t.

            OK, seriously. Rant over. ;-)

          • Big Man

            Free speech applies to the government’s ability to restrict speech. It has nothing to do with private actors, which I’m quite sure she knows as a lawyer.

            Furthermore, her free speech was not restricted. She said exactly what she wanted to say.

            And then everybody else said what they wanted to say.

            YOu don’t appear to be advocating for free speech, you appear to be advocating for a world where some people have the freedom to say whatever they want, and other people have the freedom to take it. That’s not a world I’m cool with. I’m cool with a world where you say what you want, and then you live with the consequences of your actions.

  • WestIndianArchie

    I could go on about how race is a social construct, and scientific study after scientific study have pretty much proven there are more than 7 races (black, white, latino/native america, middle eastern, indian, and east asian, and whoever the aborigines/people of oceania are) I think at last count, scientists have said there are 5,000 different “races” – this making the concept USELESS. – and if race does not exist, making arguments about race-based characteristics can not make any kind of sense.

    We really shouldn’t pay homage to these people by giving these d’evil’s any shine (c) jay-z/pe interlude.

    Rather than break down the inherent self hatred in what you just said, I’m going to just quote some white girl (I know you ain’t taking kindly to links, but she has the energy to rebuke the cr@p)

    “The asking of the question, and taking the question seriously, suggests that the answer just might be yes, no matter how many times the evidence points in the opposite direction. That does real harm to members of our community; it has done real harm historically to huge numbers of people, and will continue to do real harm in the future. ”

    http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2010/04/29/stephanie-grace-racist-harvard-emailer/

    Y’all still got time to pull this bs thread and do a “Is Tyler Perry good for black relationships”

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “Rather than break down the inherent self hatred in what you just said, I’m going to just quote some white girl”

      how is presenting a topic at a place primarily populated by (at least) somewhat intelligent black people exhibiting self-hatred?

      also…

      “I think at last count, scientists have said there are 5,000 different “races””

      …doesnt the fact that scientists can’t even agree on how many different “races” exist suggest that any conclusions made about those races is basically just intelligent speculation at this point?

      • http://facebook.com/ayan.warsame TheTalentedMs.Fiasco

        Hmm…it seems to me that she did not just make a comment on race and intelligence, but also race and violence. Here is what I thing is wrong with her statement and this argument in general.

        1. As stated above, it is unclear how many races exist. In Africa alone there is an extreme amount of genetic variation. If genetics are involved here, why stratify people based on an archaic view of race (black vs. white)? The whole construct of races today was created by a German scientist, Johann Friedrich Blumenbach , who was trying prove that White people were more intelligent. Blumenbach’s race classification is still used today.Does she even account for the genetic variation in White people? The term White in America has no meaning because you can be from Estonia or England and be considered white if you gave up your ethnic identity. This is what many Europeans did when they migrated to the US, so you could be Anglo-Saxon, Nordic, or Gaulish and still be considered White.

        2. I am an African immigrant and statistics show that Africans who immigrate to the United States do significantly better on achievement tests than African Americans (born and have ancestry in the US). If genetics is to explain intelligence, why do African immigrants do better than African Americans? Could it be related to the hundreds of years of disenfranchisement that has occurred in the US, where in African Americans were denied education and when they eventually received education, they received low quality education? The problem of low quality education for African Americans is still very relevant today. Living in the DC area has taught me the difference between a “black school” and a “white school.”

        2. The human genome project has failed to find an genetic link between intelligence and race. This question of race and intelligence is not a new one and to suggest that there is no research to back up an argument either saying yes or no is ridiculous. She could have easily pulled out statistics comparing IQ scores of blacks vs white that supports her conclusion. However, she would have had to address the drawbacks of those statistics, which is significant enough to incite an intelligent debate. This law student could have easily provided a sound argument in this email because sufficient research does exist.

        3. This law student also mentioned violence, which is a whole different topic altogether that is being ignored. She suggests that black people are not only less intelligent, but more violent as well. To me, this proves her ignorance. An good research knows to mention drawbacks of statistics and again there are MANY drawbacks. She uses crime statistics as evidence that black people are genetically predisposed to violence. However, there are many factors that contribute to crime statistics and she even mentions herself that we cannot control for all these factors.

        4. A sentence that I find troubling is “just like I think my babies will be geniuses and beautiful individuals whether I raise them or give them to an orphanage in Nigeria.” I find this sentence cringe-worthy. Basically she says that her children will be smart and pretty even if they are raised by Africans. That is an ignorant statement there.

        In conclusion, what is troubling about this email is not that the law student suggested that race and intelligence might be genetic, but how she presented the idea. Should have easily made an intelligent argument, but her phrasing suggests that she already made a conclusion; that black people are not as intelligent as white people as evidence by the quote from point 4. I think what troubles us the most is that she is supposed to be part of the educational elite and might have a high position as a judge in the future. However, haven’t the elite of our society often been known to be racist? If she is unaware of her privilege and accounts for her being in Harvard because she is genetically predisposed to be intelligent then that is even more troubling than this email.

        • http://ayan101.blogspot.com TheTalentedMs.Fiasco

          This is a mess of a comment! lmao I can’t count I swear, I added a point than forgot to change the number. 1 2 3 4 5….smh

          Anyway, ignore the typos because my brain is fried! I just took a long ass test. :(

          • MzPW

            You’re my new best friend. :-)

          • A Little Baffled

            Some of the things that are being said about African Americans may induce a few modern day Malcolm X’s, without Muhammad’s clan to assassinate him, if these people aren’t careful.

            Farrakhan has already resurfaced. lol. (May 9th, TV One on One, 9PM EST).

        • R.A.G

          COSIGN 1M% there really shouldn’t be any more comments after this one… u’ve said it all.

        • Jahmar

          Wow. I didn’t even know that she attempted to link blacks to violence. That would be like me linking pedophilia to whites. Also she is overlooking the fact that in 1950 blacks only made up 35% of the prison population(MUCH smaller than the 2mill pop. 2day) while whites made up 65%. Your’e completely right when you say she definitely did not have any expertise on the issue and presented her argument in an academically irresponsible way.

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          “she suggests that black people are not only less intelligent, but more violent as well”

          no she doesn’t. she makes a point that the stereotypical perception of african-americans being ultra violent wasn’t true 200 years ago. in fact, we were assumed to be generally docile and peaceful. she’s basically saying that outside forces have completely changed the perception/reality.

          i can’t believe i’m defending her, but i just hate when people get their messages misunderstood

      • Sula

        how is presenting a topic at a place primarily populated by (at least) somewhat intelligent black people exhibiting self-hatred?

        Problem is, The Champ, you did not JUST present the topic… You evaluated it, did a somewhat irrelevant basketball analogy, and formulated the beginnings of an opinion… so that takes away from the “presenting” of the subject… You have given your point of view on the matter…. I wouldn’t go as far as calling it self-hatred but it is at the very least rather self-indulgent…

    • Peyso

      ““The asking of the question, and taking the question seriously, suggests that the answer just might be yes, no matter how many times the evidence points in the opposite direction. That does real harm to members of our community; it has done real harm historically to huge numbers of people, and will continue to do real harm in the future”

      Actually this is false b/c we have never gotten a definitive “no”, so theoretically, the answer could be yes. Also, the answer to the question could be “no, and actually black ppl are more intelligent”. I think that not asking the question, assumes that black could NOT be more intelligent.

      We are willing to accept differences in phenotype but not in genotypes?

    • http://presidentialtelevisionandfilm.ning.com Monk

      “The asking of the question, and taking the question seriously, suggests that the answer just might be yes, no matter how many times the evidence points in the opposite direction. That does real harm to members of our community; it has done real harm historically to huge numbers of people, and will continue to do real harm in the future. ”

      I fail to understand the harm in asking a question. Actually, I feel just the opposite – Not asking questions can cause greater harm to society. Questions provoke thought and dialogue that leads to people making educated or at least, more wise decisions based on circumstance and whatever thoughts are expressed. Not asking questions leans towards a close-minded-ness that can be extremely harmful in many ways, especially if one wishes to grow as a person.

      To break it down to a third grade level, I recall my teacher saying, “the only stupid question is the one that’s not asked.” That stuck with me and made me a very inquisitive person and I know that has made me a better, wiser individual. In life, I feel we learn a lot from interaction and speaking about different things and different people. It’s kind of like exercise for the mind in a way.

      • http://www.grownfolkstalking.wordpress.com jaidevivre

        “I fail to understand the harm in asking a question.”

        I agree with this 100%. And frankly, the tone of this e-mail doesn’t even strike me as strongly or intentionally racist. This is an academic question. Is it good for us a race (in terms of progress, self-image, etc.) to have seemingly intelligent white people making statements like this? Probably not. Would she be someone I would be happy to have in a positon of power? Also, probably not. But I’m definitely not going to lose sleep over her raising a question that can’t or at least hasn’t been answered definitively.

        • Mo

          “And frankly, the tone of this e-mail doesn’t even strike me as strongly or intentionally racist.”

          Agreed. To me, it’s along the same lines of that coach who said he recruited black men for his football team because slavery led to black men being bred to be more physical and, thereby, more athletic. I cannot remember which coach said it (I’ll have to look that up later), but the point is that while it’s an unpleasant assumption, it’s just that…and assumption.

        • WestIndianArchie

          This question doesn’t need to be asked. It’s been answered thousands of times, no black people are not genetically dumber than whites. It has been answered dozens of times in this very thread.

          The only reason to keep asking this question is if YOU THINK THEY MAY BE RIGHT AND BLACK PEOPLE ARE DUMBER THAN WHITES.

          In which case, have at it…I’ll have nothing more to do with this.

  • Happy Meal

    welp assuming it is true that evolution may have given people from the motherland greater athletic ability, it still takes a great deal of nurturing of that talent to develop great athletes. Otherwise, competition at sporting event would be far more stiff if everyone n they mom had speed, stamina and athleticism to compete at the highest levels.

    Similarly, assuming she is right (though I STRONGLY disagree) and afr. ams are genetically less intelligent therefore requiring more effort to learn, then that condtition is furthered by the LACK of equal educational opportunities, and the supposed disparities in intelligience can still be mostly attributed to the fact that the same educational nurturing and investment is not made in black (or poor for that matter) people

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      then that condtition is furthered by the LACK of equal educational opportunities, and the supposed disparities in intelligience can still be mostly attributed to the fact that the same educational nurturing and investment is not made in black (or poor for that matter) people

      i think, achievement-wise, theres a bit of learned-helplessness thrown in there as well

      • R.A.G

        Can we talk about the white ppl who get ahead b/c they are wealthy &, well, white!?!? I really wonder how well all these white folks would do on standardized exams & what not sans their privilege…

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          Can we talk about the white ppl who get ahead b/c they are wealthy &, well, white!?!?

          sure. no one’s stopping you

  • http://www.pinchmycheekie.blogspot.com Cheekie

    You know what’s racist? Those Kobe LA Times pictures!

    Lemme stop. Didn’t read the email yet, but planning to when I turn my brain on for Tuesday. Lookin’ forward to the discussion in the morning!

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      seriously, forget about intelligence. i don’t think we’ve evolved far enough as a species to truly understand those kobe pictures yet. maybe that’s how we’ll all dress on mars in 2410

      • http://presidentialtelevisionandfilm.ning.com Monk

        This totally explains your whole ‘basketball wives’ theory in them being from the future. Maybe the players are too.

        Or he’s just gay, who knows?

  • sharde

    champ, first & foremost, this was a fantastic article, very well articulated. and second, this doesn’t surprise me, because yt has and will continue to make this claim no matter how many black people come up and rule the modern world. but i disagree with the theory that blacks are genetically inclined to be less intelligent, for the simple fact that before european mountain people even conceived the idea of a canoe, Africans were in Africa establishing African universities that people from all over the world were attending. i think any race of people, when presented with the right opportunities, will excell intellectually without bias. its ridiculous to assume underwise, how did she feel so entitled as to say this?

    • Mw09

      Why do we still have to have this conversation today to prove that black people are not inherently intellectually inferior to whites and that whites are intellectually superior to us?!?! I will NEVER EVER believe that whites are more intelligent than black people simply on the basis of their lack of melanocyte activity!!

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

        “I will NEVER EVER believe that whites are more intelligent than black people simply on the basis of their lack of melanocyte activity!!”

        do you think we (blacks) are a superior race?

    • Lanieanna

      This is obviously written by a person who does not know very many black people personally.

      Is it me, or does YT make it seem as though there are only sprinkles of exceptional black folk dispersed through out the massive sea of dumba$$, criminal minded, baby mamma, monkey lookin ninjas? OOOhhhhh this ish burns me up! I know my comment is a little off…. but This reminds me of the time I had a Bar-b-que @ my home, and invited a few co-workers(2520’s). They would always invite me to parties, so i thought it wold be nice to have them over… I would just assume they thought i lived in the projekks by their reactions to my home when they walked into my front door. The customer service manager passed the comment “……. you never told me you had a swimming pool!”… like who goes around telling people they have a swimming pool. wtf? When we got back to work, the talk of the day was about how beautiful and clean they thought my home was. I guess you could say I felt the way a woman that wore her hair natural would feel the very first time she wore a “pressed” do in public around yt’s that she sees every day……

      • http://presidentialtelevisionandfilm.ning.com Monk

        At least the whitey’s didn’t say, “What? You guys SWIM??” LOL!!

  • Leila

    I completely disagree with her e-mail for a long list of reasons. Where is she even gathering her data to back up her e-mail? I completely don’t believe African-Americans are “genetically predisposed to be less intelligent,” but instead are disadvantaged when it comes to getting access to an equal education and facing racism. I grew up in a white suburb and was in the top of my class for most of my upbringing, but that didn’t stop my teachers from telling my parents that I wouldn’t amount to anything or undergrad professors telling me that I wouldn’t get into grad school (which I did and graduated with a 3.9 GPA). I see the disadvantages in education everyday and that’s what affects how people excel in education, not their race. Sorry, but I don’t buy this argument at all.

    • MW09

      Yes…there is a lack of equality of opportunity in many areas with high black populations! If we all had the same resources as upper crust 2520’s this conversation…would still probably still exist because of the need of some 2520’s to constantly break down a black person’s spirit in order to get ahead. If black people really were inferior to whites than they would not even need to say it. It would JUST BE.

      • Leila

        “some 2520’s to constantly break down a black person’s spirit in order to get ahead”

        This is so true. I just don’t know where the idea that we’re less intelligent than white people comes from. I’ve taken classes with many students who grew up in Africa and they outscored everyone and complained that college in the US was too easy. I had a couple of friends (one from Ghana, one from Ethiopia) who majored in Math in college and never showed up to class with a notebook and graduated with a near perfect GPA. To me, it’s not genetics but access to an equal education system that is hindering us as a whole.

        • a plus

          “To me, it’s not genetics but access to an equal education system that is hindering us as a whole.”
          *Slow clap*
          Exactly!

    • Peyso

      “but instead are disadvantaged when it comes to getting access to an equal education and facing racism. ”

      She never said that this wasnt true. The existence of this does not have any bearing on the existence of genetic inferiority/superiority. Secondly, she didnt allude to achievement levels of black ppl either. She might go on to say something like that black people achieve in other ways (a racist comment nonetheless but different than what you arguing)

      Ultimately, many of the comments refuting Stephanie Grace are based in the same type of information that her opinions are.

      • http://presidentialtelevsionandfilm.ning.com Monk

        “Ultimately, many of the comments refuting Stephanie Grace are based in the same type of information that her opinions are.”

        I totally agree, Peyso, and I think that was Champ’s point in pointing out how many Black folks automatically assume or believe that we’re superior in many things. Although certain things such as intelligence and physical prowess maybe like comparing apples to oranges, I think many people are being more emotional oppose to presenting anything substantial just as Stephanie Grace really didn’t.

  • Madame Zenobia

    I was upset at first, I think really because I don’t like the insinuation that one race/group is genetically predisposed to being better than the next at anything. I was also mad because when these things are said it feels like its always about us (African-Americans.) People have spent centuries studying, researching and trying to prove that our intellect is inferior to everyone else and that is infuriating. However, (as difficult as this is to type) if we are genetically predisposed to a lower intellect that just makes everything we’ve done that much more impressive. And its not an excuse for anyone to not do their best in school or in life in general.

    All that being said, I read this article* earlier today and after reading it and understanding her email in context I really don’t have a problem with it. If you don’t feel like reading the link basically Stephanie Grace and a few friends got together and purposefully have convos about controversial issues, that day (a few months back) they were having a convo about affirmative action. She had some thoughts later she hadn’t said during the convo and wrote them in an email and sent it to the people who’d participated in the original convo. Flashfoward to two weeks ago, one of the chicks in the group and Stephanie get in to it and to get “revenge” the broad forwards this email to the Black Law Students. The revenge broad btw has written some controversial emails to the editor her-damn-self.

    Look was it dumb for her to email this around? Yes – let that be a lesson to all of us. But knowing the full story I can’t be mad. My friends and I do the same thing. We call it having an Uncomfortable Conversation and they are always fun, maddening, interesting and uncomfortable. I encourage everyone to do the same thing – get four or five friends from different backgrounds together and pick an uncomfortable topic to talk about and see what happens. End of diatribe.

    *http://gawker.com/5529322/racist-harvard-law-email-the-cat-fight-that-turned-into-a-national-scandal-updated?skyline=true&s=i

    • bittersweet’s baby

      That’s a fab idea. I think my friends & I do this unofficially, but it’d be much more fun to do it officially…

      • Madame Zenobia

        I’m telling you! We try to do it on breaks from school. We just pick a night and we all get together at someone’s house. We talk about everything from interracial relationships to should college athletes get paid to immigration to was the Jheri Curl really the worst/most embarrassing hairstyle ever? You’d be shocked even our “silly” conversations get heated. At the end of the night though its all love and its all good.

        • a plus

          was the Jheri Curl really the worst/most embarrassing hairstyle ever?

          yup. i’m struggling to think of one that can top it.

        • legitimate_soul

          “We talk about everything from interracial relationships to should college athletes get paid to immigration to was the Jheri Curl really the worst/most embarrassing hairstyle ever?”

          ^ No. I’d argue finger waves on a man is. But a good Bully Ray Cyrus style mullet trumps all of that.

          • Madame Zenobia

            I’ll say this anybody who ever had a Curl is ashamed and has done their best to burn all tose pics. So I think that it is the most embarrassing hair trend ever, but some of my friends argue for the Gumby….who knows. The rat tail maybe….

    • http://www.awesomelyluvvie.com Luvvie

      “Uncomfortable Conversation” – So THAT’s what it was called the day I said on Twitter that Eazy E didn’t get HIV from a woman. Or drugs. Or blood transfusion. Gotcha.

      He didn’t. Really.

      • MW09

        How did he get it then?!?

        Did he meet a guy or something of that nature?!?

    • Lurker^nth

      I think it’s very dangerous to assume that the “context” excuses the content of her message, especially because she will potentially be posed to influence decisions that have real consequences.

      • Peyso

        “Especially because she will potentially be posed to influence decisions that have real consequences.” – This is actually more dangerous. The constitution shouldnt and cannot be applicable in one direction. She cant be persecuted for her ideas, that is unfair and unconstituional

        • Lurker^nth

          Who said something about persecuting her for her ideas? I don’t think she should be hung. However, I absolutely think her clerkship should be at stake. Absolutely.

      • Madame Zenobia

        “she will potentially be posed to influence decisions that have real consequences.”
        So do the her peers in Harvard’s Black Law Student Assoc. and this just gives them another reminder as to why they have to be about their business just like the White students around them. That being said, I’m also not mad at her because I want lawyers and judges who are engaging in dialogues. At least she seems interesting in thinking about and exploring issues. Just because I don’t agree with her doesn’t mean she can’t work through those thought and ideas. At least she hasn’t just picked a stance and remained stagnant in it – like the judge in Louisiana who wouldn’t marry interracial couples.

        • Mo

          Word! Nothing further to add.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “get four or five friends from different backgrounds together and pick an uncomfortable topic to talk about and see what happens”

      i used to do this, but we called it “thursday nights in college” and it usually ended with someone having sex

      • Madame Zenobia

        Did these conversations take place with liquor around?

        • a plus

          if they don’t, they should.

  • http://keepittrill.blogspot.com/ Kit (Keep It Trill)

    The ancient Egyptians were black folks.

    They built the pyramids, among other things.

    Eliminate the imbalance of power, oppression, depression, and the stress of unrelenting racism, and more of us could find our genius, again.

    • http://www.awesomelyluvvie.com Luvvie

      If this comment was a person, it’d be whoever came up w/ KoolAid. THAT is how awesome it is. Carry on.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “Eliminate the imbalance of power, oppression, depression, and the stress of unrelenting racism, and more of us could find our genius, again”

      have we even lost it?

      • http://keepittrill.blogspot.com/ Kit (Keep It Trill)

        @ Champ

        Me: Eliminate blah blah blah and we can find our genius, again.
        You: “have we even lost it?

        No, not anymore than a seed loses it’s genetic potential.

        A young tree or plant that grows in a poor or hostile environment with insufficient light and nurturance will have a much harder time becoming all that it can be. Change the environment for that plant OR future seeds of it, and genetic potential can better express itself.

        Many of us grow up in the soil of racism and hate, which choke off a lot of nutrients. As a group, it’s hard to fully blossom under those circumstances.

        That was my point.

        • Peyso

          This isnt an appropriate response to the email though.

          • http://www.dcstreetwear.com ILoveme2

            You are playing the devil’s advocate like none other. LOL

          • Sula

            I am curious to know what is an “appropriate” response?

            KIT mentions that she does not believe there is a genetic difference of intelligence between races… based on the fact that historically, people of African Descent have shown tremendous “intelligent” abilities… How is that NOT an appropriate response?

            I know where you stand: constitutionally the chick has the right to say what she says. And we all agree with that. Now, next stop is what, according to you sir, is a good “rebuttal” of that theory… or is there no rebuttals possible at all?

            I would love to read an answer from you.

          • Peyso

            @ Sula – I dont think that she’s right. I think she’s a racist. But I’m willing to admit that my feelings come from my gut and not from much else (and maybe a little bit from that NIgeria comment). An appropriate response, IMHO, is one that responds directly to her idea. It explains why “intelligence” cannot be transmitted via genetics. It doesnt use the same methodolgy that she uses to make counterclaims. It doesnt mistake an assertion for a question. It acknowledges that you sometime may reach a valid conclusion despite the premises being faulty.

            The fact that we are the descendants of the first scientist and the people who created the first universities has no bearing on the concept. KIT wrote “Eliminate the imbalance of power, oppression, depression, and the stress of unrelenting racism, and more of us could find our genius, again.” – We could have done all of that inspite of being genetically inferior. Also, she didnt address our historical achievements so we cant say that she’s refuting them.

            The only “good” rebuttal is one that is proven. But the absence of proving something doesnt not equal disapproval

          • http://keepittrill.blogspot.com/ Kit (Keep It Trill)

            Peyso, Do you have a reading comprehension problem?

            Or, are you a “conservative” mole, infiltrating this site, trying to set the agenda for what shouldn’t be discussed, and trying to assassinate a real sista by calling her racist?

            Ain’t you a piece of work? That’s the standard operating procedure of the white racist and their sellouts, to twist things and label blacks what they are themselves. .

            You attempted a sly, character assassination again when you wrote, “Also, she didnt address our historical achievements so we cant say that she’s refuting them.”

            Yes I did. I tossed out a link to the history of the ancient Egyptians, something often overlooked. I assume most people here know about black American historical achievements, and did not feel compelled to list them.

            This hardly means I refute them, you hater. I also don’t like the sexist disrespect that came in the context of your calling me “the chick” – and I’m not one to moan about sexism easily, but you… damn, your last comment is full of disinformation and oozing with unwarranted hate.

            I notice, “Peyso” aka Mr. Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing, that you don’t have a link to your name or a blog that you care to share with the rest of us. I can’t help but wonder if you’re the epitome of one of “the infected ones” I wrote about in my current post.

            Y’all come read it. Here’s the link: Heal or Die: The Challenge To That Diseased Place On The Map.

            And Peyso, don’t even think about leaving me a comment on my blog. Far as I’m concerned, you’re a troll.

          • Sula

            @Peyso,

            The only “good” rebuttal is one that is proven.

            But the theory she is offering is not proven either… so how are we supposed to offer a proven rebuttal to a unproven assertion or question as you stated?

            And also, we may be able to arrive to a “true” conclusion using faulty assumptions but that doesn’t make that conclusion “valid”… Until we have a VALID way to arrive to a conclusion can we assuredly deem this conclusion TRUE.

            Until then, we are all just “opinionating” away… just like Ms. Grace is doing. And that, my friend, is a valid form of rebuttal: an opinion for another opinion.

          • http://keepittrill.blogspot.com/ Kit (Keep It Trill)

            Addendum. Peyso didn’t do “the chick” comment, so I stand corrected on this. Coming from the context of Sula, it was not offensive b/c Sula wasn’t attacking me, and btw, thanks for the support.

            I’ll also add that Peyso said, “But the absence of proving something doesnt not equal disapproval.”

            My interpretation: we can prove blacks are dumb, that doesn’t mean they aren’t.

            Hmmm. Interesting how that appears to be his recurring theme throughout this post… Steph Grace might have a job for him.

          • http://keepittrill.blogspot.com/ Kit (Keep It Trill)

            Damn, I’m so angry I can hardly type straight. Ms. Grace thinks blacks are stupid.

            I used the achievements of the old Egyptians as proof they are not.

            Peyso said, “But the absence of proving something doesnt not equal disapproval.”

            My interpretation: he (Peyso) or she (Grace) can’t prove blacks are dumb, that doesn’t mean they aren’t.

            Their “proof” is refusing to validate black achievements offered as proof that we are just as good as any other race.

            It’s disgraceful.

          • Peyso

            @KIT – I’m not sure you understand me. What I am saying is that I don’t agree w/ SG but my disagreement does not come from a logical place. Its a gut action. LOGICALLY, nothing you said refutes anything ÿou said. Maybe I suck at articulating my ideas but I have no problem w/ the way anyone feels. My problem is w/ why ppl feel that way

          • http://keepittrill.blogspot.com/ Kit (Keep It Trill)

            Peyso, I hardly know what to say. The way your words flowed makes it look like I was the one being called a racist, etc.

            What Stephanie Grace said is such an infuriating topic – on top of all the other media and GOP bull, that are nothing less than hate crimes we have to endure on a daily basis – that black folks are having a fit. I was so angry I could barely get my own thoughts together when I saw what you wrote.

            Anyway, I rarely hold grudges, as I do believe that solidarity is critical for our survival at this point in time, because the next step after the fringe ‘confirms’ what they want to believe, is putting us back on plantations since to them, we’re not smart enough to have equal opportunity (not they haven’t already in the prisons), and perhaps, followed by mass extermination.

            Anyway, your explanation of it being a misunderstanding is accepted. Being so pissed off myself that I can barely see the keyboard, I understand.

    • Alos

      We’re talking about Sub-Saharan Africans, Egyptians were more Arabic.

      • Humble_One

        @Alos

        “We’re talking about Sub-Saharan Africans, Egyptians were more Arabic.”

        Not historically. This is arguably true as far as recent history. There are Arabs that can easily pass for “African”.

      • Jahmar

        I am not completely sold on the all Black or all Arab Egypt thing. I have looked into once or twice though. All I know is that their were definitely several Black Pharaohs.

      • Sula

        The kingdom of Kush in Nubia was “subsaharan” as you put it…