What If Black People Are Just Stupid?

Let’s talk about race & IQ.

Steve QJ
5 min readJul 26, 2022


Photo: Wavebreakmedia/Getty Images

In 1971, Michael Cole, and a team of his fellow psychologists, travelled to West Africa to settle a question about race and intelligence.

They gave members of the Kpelle tribe various items (food, tools, cooking utensils, clothing) and asked them to sort them into categories. They then compared the results to a group of American students.

The Kpelle failed miserably.

Or rather, instead of grouping the items by type, as the students had, the Kpelle divided the objects into functional pairs. Here’s how Joseph Glick, one of Cole’s colleagues, described the experiment:

When the subject had finished sorting, what was present were ten categories composed of two items each — related to each other in a functional, not categorical, manner. Thus, a knife might have been placed with an orange, a potato with a hoe, and so on. When asked, the subject would rationalize the choice with such comments as, “The knife goes with the orange because it cuts it.” When questioned further, the subject would often volunteer that a wise man would do things in this way.

When an exasperated experimenter asked finally, “how would a fool do it,” he was given back sorts of the type that were initially expected — four neat piles with foods in one, tools in another, and so on.

As Cole noted in his report, the Kpelle weren’t less intelligent than the students because they thought oranges should be paired with knives instead of potatoes, they’d just grown up in a different environment with a different set of cognitive and cultural biases.

Or, to put it another way, the Kpelle weren’t wrong, but they weren’t white either.

Racial intelligence is one of those topics that’s a trainwreck no matter how you approach it.

Virtue-signalling politicians like Kate Brown lower test standards to “help students of colour,” race essentialists like Nicholas Wade publish pseudoscience about racial disparities, sociopaths like Payton Gendron use memes about IQ to justify racist mass shootings, the topic is so radioactive that most people just avoid it.



Steve QJ

Race. Politics. Culture. Sometimes other things. Almost always polite. Find more at https://steveqj.substack.com