White (and it’s ALWAYS white) disability activists: Intelligence is our species’ fucking calling card, and you want to tell my Black ass that it doesn’t exist? Y’all got me twisted. I’m not talking about what you get on one of those culturally biased IQ tests (and they all are, even the “culture-fair” ones*), because those are rigged against us anyway. (Considering the fact that all the major ones come from the United States, racial rigging is to be expected, sadly enough. Brown v. Board has been law for less than a century.) I’m talking about the raw ability itself, not proxy measures.
I know you do this to avoid racism. I know you want to respect people with intellectual disabilities. These are noble goals. But the way it comes across is, frankly, kind of racist. Because Black folks have wanted you to see our intelligence, our knowledge, our wisdom, our reason respected for centuries. Either intelligence has a big “White Only” sign on it, or you say it’s all made up by white people. You trying to sell me woof tickets? You are still centring yourselves—and continuing to look racist in the process. Either way, Black people never get to be intelligent. White people set the boundaries every goddamn time.
I have had white disability activists jumping down my throat because I don’t subscribe to the “intelligence doesn’t exist/is all socially constructed” view. I don’t even talk about it much these days because of it. But I am sick to death of this “antiracist” racism.
*Yes, I meant that. In Cross-cultural neuropsychological assessment: theory and practice, V. Nell (2000) encountered a Black South African woman in his practice whose eager, intelligent behaviour didn’t match her performance on the pattern-matching test, which would have reflected an intellectual disability if it were accurate. It turns out that she thought the ‘official’ method for solving the problems was too obvious, and actually thought what the tester wanted was more complex.