Ever since the nineties when the book The Bell Curve implied that black people are less intelligent than whites and used junk science to back it up, the idea that I.Q. tests measure intelligence has been an especially touchy subject in the black community. But a recent study’s results suggests something we’ve been saying for hundreds of years: racists aren’t just mean, they’re more likely to be dumb. The study showed that people who score low on I.Q. tests are more like to align themselves with racially prejudiced beliefs as well as socially conservative views.

From The Huffington Post:

Dr. Gordon Hodson, a professor of psychology at the university and the study’s lead author, said the finding represented evidence of a vicious cycle: People of low intelligence gravitate toward socially conservative ideologies, which stress resistance to change and, in turn, prejudice.

Why might less intelligent people be drawn to conservative ideologies? Because such ideologies feature “structure and order” that make it easier to comprehend a complicated world, Dodson said. “Unfortunately, many of these features can also contribute to prejudice,” he added.

Dr. Brian Nosek, a University of Virginia psychologist, echoed those sentiments.

“Reality is complicated and messy … ideologies get rid of the messiness and impose a simpler solution. So, it may not be surprising that people with less cognitive capacity will be attracted to simplifying ideologies.”

These findings do not leave out the possibility of less intelligent people also being drawn to simplified liberal ideologies (such as moral relativism, for example), but researchers say that interest in more ordered ideas remains more likely. However, these trends also paint racism and prejudice as benign features of a slow mind, which simply does not fit with the violent and insidious history of race relations in America.

What do you think? Do I.Q. tests measure anything? And if so, do you think racists actually are less intelligent?

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  • Not wise

    This is not wise. Calling racists stupid fuels the myth that the only racists that hold back black people are the crazy ones in the south.

    I think some of the most dangerous racism is the racism of the well educated liberal and moderate elite. See, those people will never make you think that they are racist. But they will make subtle racist assumptions about your abilities and innocence. So subtle that you will not know if you are being discriminated against. You would not know that had you not been black you would have gotten that job or received a better deal on a loan.

    Added together, it is the subtle racists assumptions/actions of the seemingly sensible people that creates systematic racism. The more we continue to think of racists as crazy and uneducated, the harder it is to point out the true face of racism in America.

    • todd

      Crazy/uneducated != a conservative is going to burst across the counter and lynch you when you ask for an application. You’re not explaining what ‘liberal and moderate’ racism is, but I’m guessing it’s take 1000 of the welfare plantation theory. (Coming from people who support actual plantations, it’s a hoot)

    • :-/

      Todd, you make no sense. Not wise explained that there is subtle racism that can come from more liberal and/or moderate circles that don’t get necessarily get detected as such but can have an impact. Things like denying a rental or job application which can happen to anyone, but may be motivated by more than your credentials. Nothing about crazy conservatives bursting anywhere except for the fact that the stereotype of such people ignores the “lighter,” everyday racism.

  • Deveron Sheffield

    I don’t know if racists are stupid, but I do know they lack morality. They lack morality to know that what they do is shameful. They are also ignorant, as opposed to stupid. They don’t know, don’t want to know and don’t care.