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Harvard professor's talk in Trinidad
Posted: Monday, January 24, 2005

By Netsanet Amare

I was disappointed not to see any comment in the media about some of the content of Professor Gardner's address in Trinidad earlier this month.

Howard Gardner visted Trinidad recently to talk on multiple intelligences - an initiative of the Ministry of Education & UWI. 2000 people (mainly from the education field) clapped enthusiastically although he told them that:

Science was a European invention and that the IQ of black Americans lagged behind that of white Americans by 50 points, with no explanation of the invalidity and problems of IQ measures (for example, it's impossible to compare intelligence across cultures - the IQ is not a valid measure of intelligence, although it can be used as a useful guide in conjunction with other assessments as to what the person has learned up to that point in time; psychologists don't have an agreed definition of intelligence - how can you accurately measure intelligence when you don't know what it is; at this point in time there's no such thing as a culture fair test, cultural bias of test makers - if Trinidadians were to construct an IQ test Americans might come out with pretty low IQs!).

To add insult to injury, he 'explained' that IQ scores were increasing in the US population so that meant that 50 years ago white people were where black people are now!! (totally invalid for reasons partly explained above). He further commented that all people fear and dislike people who don't look like them or who aren't the same as them (can't remember his exact words, but something to that effect). He thereby brushed over the brutal and deadly effects of white racist policies (how different all our lives would be without white racism) and ignored the fact that history is replete with examples of cultures who welcome strangers often to their detriment.

I do hope that we non-white people can start to spot racism in all its various forms even when it is disguised as science and that we will be able to spot insult and give up applauding and paying huge sums of money for it!!

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