Friday, 11 March 2011

And you thought scientific racism was dead?

There I was reading Miss Snuffy's latest piece on English education - in which she speaks of the experience of three black kids at a public school - and, in the comments, I came across this (addressed to another commenter) from a person calling him/herself "cotewood":

I assume that you are not stupid enough to propose that the small, light Pygmy brain is, on average, equal to the large, heavy Ashkenazic brain

Grief - scientific racism in the flesh! And "cotewood" continues in this racist frame:

We will, therefore, certainly continue to waste money and effort trying to change Africans into Englishmen and women rather than adopting a public policy based on recognising the human reality.

I really had thought such views had died out and really didn't expect to encounter them in the comments on a national newspaper site! And let's be clear about this - the concepts that underpin scientific racism are nonsense. It may be the case that G B Shaw and H G Wells believed this rubbish but today when we can be pretty sure that the "black-white" IQ gap isn't down to genetics, it is a little trying.

For me, we have to make the case for reducing our reliance on race-based analyses since they become increasingly meaningless within an intergrated and intergrating society. Which is why the obsession - seen most recently in the UK's national census questions - with categorising the population according to their "racial origins" is counter-productive and leads inexorably to bad policy. And adds fuel to the fire of racist loonies like "cotewood" here!


No comments: