Campus Reform | University researcher: ‘Intelligence is a White man’s mythology’

University researcher: ‘Intelligence is a White man’s mythology’

A graduate assistant at the University of Cincinnati wrote that “intelligence is a White man’s mythology.”

The graduate assistant, who has published academic research papers, said that calling females "smart" is "sexist."

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A University of Cincinnati graduate assistant wrote that “intelligence is a White man’s mythology.”

“Stop calling your female colleagues ‘smart,’ or ‘clever,’ or ‘brilliant,’” wrote Mel Andrews, who studies cognition and evolution. “It’s sexist and infantilising… it shouldn’t be surprising to you in 2021 that women are capable of thought.”

“You’re doing the same thing when you describe your Black and Latino students as ‘very bright,’” added Andrews. 

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“Intelligence is a White man’s mythology. A phantasmal concept. A non-referring term. Syncategorematic,” Andrews wrote.

Indicating that the post was entirely serious, it was followed by an excerpt from a chapter Andrews wrote for a book entitled Handbook of Parenting

Andrews cited works claiming that “more than a century of wanton reductionism and definitional vagueness in the study of intelligence and human potential has perpetuated a stratified social order and obscured the true dynamic complexity and diversity of human cognitive development.”

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Andrews’ most recent research paper received several thousand downloads.

"I was addressing a phenomenon that I have noticed to be common in academic philosophy wherein individuals emphasize the intelligence of minority scholars and students over the quality of the work they produce," Andrews explained to Campus Reform.

"It is the same phenomenon that occurs when a white instructor says to a Black student, in a surprised tone, 'oh, you’re so articulate!' It implies an expectation that Black students will be ineloquent. It was not—as is contextually obvious from what I had initially posted—a condemnation of intelligence ascriptions simpliciter."

"The Handbook is a text written for scholars in the field of developmental psychology, it would not be used in undergraduate or even graduate coursework," Andrews clarified.

Andrews also asked to be referred to as a "Marxist and an anarcho-syndicalist" with "they/them/theirs" pronouns, adding, "Your readers should love that."

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft