By Guest Contributor Gene Demby, cross-posted from PostBourgie
After President Obama was re-elected last Tuesday, there was the predictable racist apoplexy from the knuckle-draggers on Twitter who wanted to voice their disgust. It was vile and stupid, but it’s hard to argue that spitting “nigger!” into Twitter’s river of digitized id has any real-world consequence. All you could really do is laugh at the horrible spelling and twisted logic and K.I.M.
But the day after the election, Jezebel’s Tracie Egan Morrissey decided to put some of those offenders on blast in a slideshow, in what was presumably an attempt to shame the tweeters. (Morrisey left their names and Twitter handles unobscured.) There was something about both the execution and tone of that post and the comments section that felt both cynical and self-congratulatory–look at how not-racist we all are, guys! 1 And perhaps not coincidentally, this kind of stuff clicks really well.
by Guest Contributor Nancy Leong
Earlier this week, a media firestorm erupted over a lengthy email written by Harvard Law School third-year student Stephanie Grace in which she stated that she “absolutely do[es] not rule out the possibility that African-Americans are, on average, genetically predisposed to be less intelligent.”
The controversy over Grace’s email is the latest in a series of periodic flare-ups over the question of whether a particular race or gender is intrinsically “more intelligent” than another. In such situations, debate inevitably ensues. Insults are leveled. Offense is taken. Carefully-worded apologies is issued.
Although in my view Grace is just plain wrong on the facts, my purpose here is not to spend time engaging her claim on the merits. Certainly we can argue over whether there’s a difference in “intelligence” between the races. But those debates eat time, drain resources, exacerbate racial tensions, and, ultimately, get us nowhere useful. So the problem isn’t only that some people answer the question “are blacks less intelligent?” in the affirmative. It’s that they care about the answer to the question in the first place. In my view, it’s a useless question, one not worth asking and not worth trying to answer.