Exploring the Connection Between Intelligence and Racial Attitudes

Recent findings suggest that individuals who perform well on intelligence tests might also exhibit a greater sensitivity towards racial equality and a rejection of racial stereotypes. This revelation comes from a comprehensive study recently highlighted by the Washington Post.

Researchers discovered a notable trend where participants with higher scores on intelligence tests demonstrated a better understanding of racial discrimination against black Americans and were less supportive of stereotypes labeling black individuals as “lazy” or “stupid.”

The research, featured in the Social Problems journal, analyzed data from the General Social Survey. This long-standing survey, run by the NORC at the University of Chicago and supported primarily by the National Science Foundation, has been tracking the perspectives of Americans on various social issues since 1972.

The data was collected from a diverse group of individuals across various economic and social layers. Although the findings show educated individuals are less likely to harbor racist views, they also generally do not support policies aimed at addressing racial inequalities. Many of these respondents appreciate the qualities of people of color but are hesitant to support proactive measures like affirmative action or economic redistribution, or they distrust government initiatives aimed at enhancing the success of racial minorities.

A few alarming statistics revealed by the study include:

Forty-six percent of participants with lower intelligence test scores described black people as lazy, compared to 29% of those with higher scores. This high percentage among supposedly more intelligent participants is concerning.

Twenty-three percent of participants scoring lower referenced black people as unintelligent, while this was also believed by 13% of those scoring higher – troublingly, this suggests more than 1 in 10 of the ‘intelligent’ respondents perceive a lower mental capacity in black people compared to the average population.

Additionally, 35% of lower scorers would be reluctant to have black neighbors, and 47% would resist a black individual marrying into their family. In comparison, 28% of those with higher scores shared the latter sentiment.

Ultimately, irrespective of one’s level of education, only 12% supported affirmative action in employment. While 55% of the ‘intelligent’ cohort supported anti-discrimination laws, compared to 48% of lower scorers, the difference was not substantial enough to signify a major shift in attitudes, once considering other influencial demographic factors such as education levels.

Certainly, factors like socioeconomic status, educational access, and geographical proximity to racially diverse communities also play critical roles in shaping individuals’ racial attitudes. The study provides a comprehensive yet nuanced view on how intelligence intersects with racial biases and attitudes.