According to the recent comments made by Nobel Prize-winning scientist James Watson, your intelligence is marked by the color of your skin.
Watson caused international uproar after an article published in British newspaper The Independent quoted him earlier this month as saying he was “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa,” because “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours—whereas all the testing says not really.”
Although there is a natural desire to see all humans as equal, Watson continued, “People who have to deal with black employees see this as not true.”
Watson later apologized for this, saying, “I cannot understand how I could have said what I am quoted as having said.”
He’s probably more surprised than most.
In the last decade, Watson has unabashedly brought his half-baked theories and elitist ideas to the public.
During a lecture he gave at UC Berkeley in 2000, Watson explained the link between skin color and sex drive: “That’s why you have Latin lovers,” he clarified for the audience. “You’ve never heard of an English lover, only an English patient.”
Watson then presented his theory on body weight and ambition by pointing to the sullen image of waifish supermodel Kate Moss as evidence that skinny people are sad, and therefore more ambitious than fat people.
Apparently the 79-year-old Watson now gets his facts from Hollywood movies and ads in “Seventeen Magazine.”
But it’s one thing to attack sex and beauty, and quite another to attack intelligence, and link it to race.
In a documentary series broadcast in the UK in 2003, Watson stated: “The lower 10 percent who really have difficulty, even in elementary school, what’s the cause of it? A lot of people would like to say, ‘Well, poverty, things like that.’ It probably isn’t.”
It “probably” isn’t’? Watson, you’ll have to do much better than “probably” to gain in inch of legitimacy on this one.
But just five days after his controversial Independent comments, Watson wrote this in the paper: “The overwhelming desire of society today is to assume that equal powers of reason are a universal heritage of humanity. It may well be. But simply wanting this to be the case is not enough.
“This is not science. To question this is not to give into racism.”
Yes, to question convention is not wrong—but at what cost?
Blindly believing in the good of humanity may not exactly be scientific, but neither is a world-class, Nobel Prize-winning scientist standing before the world, making unfounded claims.
In this day and age, when corrupt, political oligarchies and the uncontrollable wrath of Mother Nature so often dictate the successes and failures of societies throughout the world, how can one begin to assert that Africans are inherently less intelligent than Americans?
Until access is equal, information is free, and the opportunity for growth is a universal possibility, talking about the inherent causes of world poverty and divided intelligence is completely arbitrary.
We live in a society where beauty is defined by the knife and intelligence is measured by an hour-long test.
And you’re telling us, Watson, that with all these factors impacting us on a daily basis we’re supposed to believe that people appear unattractive, or remain unambitious, or are simply unintelligent because it’s been predetermined by genetics?
To us, all the evidence seems to suggest, “not really.”