The Art of Now

Science for Tomorrow

Race and Retardation?

Society is built upon assumption, and it is our responsibility to get it right.

Mental retardation is a condition including below-average intellectual function, and a lack of skills necessary for daily living according to New York Times Health.

My question is why black people are diagnosed with metal retardation nearly twice as often as their white counterparts.

According to one study published by the American Journal for Public Health, the black-white ratio amidst ten year olds in Atlanta diagnosed with mild mental retardation is 1.8:1.  For additional information:

While mental retardation could be cause by a plethora of health and environmental factors, within at least 30 to 50 percent of cases, physicians are unable to determine an exact cause according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.  For additional information:

We are guessing.

As a back-up plan, doctors use IQ tests, and individuals scoring below 70 are then labeled retarded.

In retrospect, the validity of a test is based upon a series assumptions.

Do the test takers speak the exact language? Within what cultural context are the questions formulated?  Who determines the correct answer?

If we are to assume anything, it should be that race does not affect one’s intelligence.  While a test may be imperfect and unavoidable as an absolute last case scenario, we could better interpret results.

My solution is to compare IQ results to peers within similar societal categorizations including race, socioeconomic level, gender, region etc.  While admittedly this idea is still significantly flawed, the presumption IQ test takers are a homogenous group is actually retarded.  With access to background information, results could be individually scored against an increasing similar constituency to remove cultural bias.  I would rather believe in intellectual equality (whether true or not) than assume one test could properly serve the variety of humanity.

  1. theartofnow posted this