Thursday, November 15, 2007
Each day we deposit more collective thought into a national knowledge reservoir called ‘acting white’, describing 360-degrees of race/ethnicity and behavior in America. But if we step back a bit there is a pressing need to add the idea of feeling the majority, or euphemistically ‘feeling the white’, whereby a person feels an implicit self-empowered status - a feeling typically associated with being white-skinned in America.
Implicit empowerment is the ability to take control of situations for sustainable self-benefit. Whites, as the majority inhabitants of this country, possess this empowerment, or more accurately half of whites possess it. On average, one-half of 200 million US whites born to above-average intelligence (IQ>100) have authentic empowerment, while those with below average intelligence (IQ<100) have the pretense of empowerment, via skin-color, more or less.
If you are ‘feeling the white’, whether liberal or conservative, you feel good about yourself, albeit protective of your legacy, via your race and your intelligence. For good and bad, the American Dream is your birthright. On the other hand, if you are solely dependent on the advantage of skin-color, your below average station has you feeling poorly of yourself and more critical of the impact of others, outsiders, to gain or maintain advantage over you. This occurs despite being born white.
With an average relative intelligence that is less than whites, US blacks and Latinos experience less of feeling the majority, or ‘feeling the white’, than do actual whites, and proportionately more pretense. Their pretense, unlike that of below-average whites, has taken on an ‘oppositional’ character and trails that of below-average whites. Below-average white behavior moves in the same direction of other whites, but still lacks critical skills, resulting in a fleeting benefit. Of all blacks, again on average, only 16%, or 6.4 million, have the potential to truly ‘feel the white’, as they have the intelligence (IQ>100) that propels them above the average white person. We see this result. Alternately, 33.6 million US blacks, with their limitations (IQ<100), are reasonably drawn to activities of pretense, reduced assimilation and oppositional behavior, much to the dismay of the top 16% of the group.
So what is to be concluded from all of this? For starters, our notions of equality of potential and result must become less rigid to the true and differing abilities of the people, particularly related to education. Racial disputes from all sides are too often surrogates for what a person or group is ‘feeling’ about where they reside in the order. This racial behavior must be challenged against a new backdrop that includes inherent disparities of geography, ethnicity, heredity, and social happenstance, none of which can be ideologically dismissed, or ‘normed’, out of relevance.
All people are not ‘equal’, or prepared to move forward in an equal manner or result, despite contrary declarations. Public and private education at all levels must reject the one size fits all attitude that forces reactive add-ons as band-aids rather than integrated branches of a responsive educational system. In place of these programs, we must create new programs that affirm and motivate children of varying ability from conception through adulthood, with equal enthusiasm regardless of intelligence level, or ethnicity. Why treat everybody the same when some are clearly smarter? Because in the end not only do we need each child to realize their full potential, but we desperately need them to feel empowered at all levels to take sustainable control of their futures as adults - and just perhaps also cut each other some slack on the journey.
James C. Collier
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