I don’t even know how to begin this blog.
Words continually escape me.
How can I express the hurt and outrage I feel at the comments made by Nobel scientist James Watson about the supposed ‘inferior intelligence’ of my race, of my people.
However, forgive me if I am not surprised.
People across the world are stunned because how could such a smart man believe such a stupid and prejudice thing? But you know smart people and very smart people often believe such things and are sometimes just as prejudice and racist as the ignorant among us. But because he is one of the most accomplished human beings to ever live his comments have hurt and brought tears to my eyes not because he is the first to have said such hateful and stupid things about my people but his comments have forced me to relive horrible experiences that I have had over the years.
As a black person I have seen so many looks of surprise on the faces of numerous individuals young, old, white, asian when they realise that not only am I capable of completing a sentence in English but also that I am smart, and in some cases if not most, smarter and better educated than they are. I have seen the look of pure horror on the face of a white roommate from a European country when she realised not only had I beat her on a Math exam that I had failed to study for (and she knew this because she was always begging me to study with her, I however would always choose to watch reruns of Golden Girls) but I had also received one of the best grades in the entire class. She was in such shock that she continuously tried to assert that the reason I had done better was not because I was smarter but because the teacher was easier..I don’t know if an easier professor can miraculously transform equations and facts on my exam into answers but I know this was her only way to rationalize the fact that I, a black woman woman, could ever beat her at anything.
And this was not only the only experience I have had with members of the white community expressing incredulity with my intelligence because of my race. However it was one of the most memorable and hurtful and the fact that I attended a predominantly white university in a predominantly white city these interactions and comments happened with some frequency.
Can a white person or asian person ever know what it’s like to be continuously questioned about your abilities, theories, or comments because you’re black? Black? Race, something that you obviously have no control over and something that even if you did have control over you would not change at least I wouldn’t. Many people of other races believe I wasn’t supposed to have been born with the brain or the looks that I have I presume it would have been more fitting if it had come in the body of a white male or female or an asian female or male but not in the body of female as dark as velvet.
My white professional and personal colleagues often can and are willing to, even if they fail to acknowledge, cloak themselves in the supposed certainty of the global hierarchy and intellectual superiority of their races. Read this great article on the hierarchy by Martin Jacques .
But I have no such cloak I don’t even have a damn shawl. Because as painful as Dr.Watson’s comments are they are held by numerous intelligent and brilliant people across the world.
Everyday when I wake up and go out into the world I have to fight a battle.
I fight to achieve true equality for my race, for my people in all things in all areas of this great and wonderful life. From science to perceptions of beauty we are just capable, just as competent and in some cases can even outperform any race when we do it should not be viewed as a fluke or some ‘mistake’ in nature but should be viewed as the individual or individuals who have bettered us all.
My battles have been tough I’ve been fighting this battle for years. I score some victories but since their are millions of others like Dr.Watson I still don’t know if I’ll ever win the war.