Race is not a Biological Reality
The journey black people have gone through over the years when it comes to racism has been long. Some researchers created the notion that race and intelligence were inter-dependent. Before the race science was first debunked, people believed that black people were less intelligent compared to the whites. No one considered the nature vs nurture believe but went ahead and followed the notion of the inferior race, possibly because it justified acts of slavery, colonialism, and other inhumane acts perpetrated by the white population against the black people (Evans, 2018). The tests that were conducted to prove that black people had a lesser IQ did not consider environmental factors, social-economic standing, and educational attainment.
On biological races, the article notes that one Nicholas Wade wrote one of the most race toxic books of all time that stated that races are different biologically. Specifically, he noted in his book that one of the biological differences between people of a different color is their brain development. He noted that black people’s brains developed slower than whites, and thus their IQs were lower (Evans, 2018). His claims to deny that race is a social construct and depict black people as lesser intelligent beings were quickly attacked and debunked by scientists and researchers. Over the year’s other researchers such as Nicholas Wade, Richard Lynn, Jordan Peterson, and Charles Murray have supported the view that race is a determinant of IQ and intelligence, although scientific facts prove the theory wrong.
According to the article, there are three main arguments that these proponents of race science use. One that whites faced much worse climatic conditions, which lead to evolution of better species than what Africans faced. Secondly, there is the claim that the human bodies continued to evolve until recently, with blacks being viewed as the original color, which means that when humans evolved into different colors, they also evolved in terms of IQ. Third, that IQ originates from genes, so different groups, or races have different IQs. According to Evans (2018), all these are baseless facts that have already been proven to be wrong and are only claims meant to prove whites are more intelligent than blacks, which is not the case, but mere social construction.
Social Construction of Race
Why I choose this example
The film Hidden figures is a biological film. Biological films are films that are made from real stories. Although it was initially a book with the same title, hidden figures depict the notion that race is just a social construct and not biological as many people would like to think. The film is set in the mid-1930s, a time when no black person would be considered intelligent, let alone a pioneer of mathematics and engineering (IMDb, 2017). However, the film tells a story of three black women, who despite being disregarded as women, and as being black, went ahead to use their intelligence and assist top national minds who worked at NASA. Since those in charge did not want others to know that the science and mathematics, they were working with to navigate to the moon was originating from women, and black women for that matter, they were hidden and called human computers, with their contribution not recognized.
How does it reflect the social construction of race?
Hidden Figures paints an ideal picture that race does not play any part in IQ development. The women in the film were used as human computers because they were highly intelligent. In an ideal society, these would have been working in top offices, complete with assistants. However, society at the time was afraid to admit that black people would be as intelligent and decided to keep them secret.
Relevance of Race
Race is not biological in any way. Even though it does not exist in any way, still, it remains relevant because it depicts differences in origin, cultures, and abilities. There are many factors that make race a relevant factor, such as climate. Depending on where a person comes from, their skin color may differ. Also, there are other differences such as philosophical, technological and even physical that supersedes race. Tests were done on IQ and intelligence prove that race is not a biological factor, rather just a factor of difference such as language and culture (Gannon, 2016). Everything else that a black person can do can also be done by a white person.
What does race mean to you?
Race is more than skin color, especially for an American. The history of racism still ranges on, what with people arousing the debate on intelligence, and its connection to race. So many people have suffered at the hands of racism and race. There are those who do not know what race means, but not a typical American. Whether a black or white person, there are ways in which race has affected him or her directly or indirectly. Race means more to some than it means to others. There is a person who knows that the job application or school application will be successful or not because they are white or black. The sad reality is that no one thinks race influences contemporary American society, but it does.
Evans, G. (2018, March 2). The unwelcome revival of ‘race science.’ Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/02/the-unwelcome-revival-of-race-science.
Gannon, M. (2016, February 5). Race Is a Social Construct, Scientists Argue. Retrieved from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/race-is-a-social-construct-scientists-argue/.
IMDb. (2017, January 6). Hidden Figures. Retrieved from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4846340/.