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Explain Like I’m a Racist 5-Year-OldLike the popular subreddit “Explain Like I’m 5," which simplifies complex issues into easily understandable, digestible bites, “Explain Like I’m a Racist 5-Year-Old” breaks down complicated subjects on the intersection of race, economics and politics, making them so simple, even a bigoted toddler could understand them.  

Sick Kyle!

Hey racist baby! Who’s Kyle? Why is he sick? And why are you wiping your forehead with the back of your hand? Do you have a fever? And why are you wearing a white robe? Did you just get out of the hospital or something?

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No, I’m not sick. My dad taught me to salute everyone like this. It’s for blind people.

Oh, tiny Führer, you mean Sieg Heil. It has nothing to do with the visually impaired. It’s a Nazi salute, not a salute for people who can“not see.” Why are you wearing a white robe?

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It’s my uniform. I’m going to a meeting with my dad later. We’re going to roast marshmallows on a burning cross. I think there will be donuts too because the invitation had KKK on it. That’s Krispy Kreme for Kids, right? You wanna come?

No thanks, racist baby. I don’t think black people are invited.

Really? Is it because white people are smarter.

Huh? Where’d you get that from? Oh, let me guess...Your dad.

Actually, it was on the news. The white guy who discovered NWA recently explained that Africans have lower IQs. I think he won a prize for being the last person without a doorbell in 1962.

Ummm... No, racist baby. You’re talking about Dr. James Watson. He discovered the double-helix structure of DNA. And he won a Nobel prize in 1962, not a “no bell” prize. Now he’s under fire for saying that people of African descent are genetically less intelligent than whites.

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Ummm...Are you sure? I’m pretty sure there was something about Compton. What exactly did he say?

He was talking about “competence.” He said that 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.”

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Watson added that while he wishes everyone was equal, “people who have to deal with black employees find this is not true.”

See. I told you. He just said it. White people are smarter. Take it from the genius who discovered Doorbells with No Attitude. He’s a genius.

Hold up baby bigot. That’s not what DNA stands for.

Also, Watson is a molecular biologist. Taking his word on neuroscience and genetics is like taking your preacher’s word on financial investment.

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This is a favorite claim of racists who don’t read a lot. If you don’t believe me, you should check my emails. I hear it all the time. Many white people actually believe they are genetically superior. It’s where the idea of white supremacy comes from.

But my mama says that studies show that white people perform better on IQ tests. I’ve even heard her say that the IQ tests from around the globe show that white countries score higher.

Well, your mom is correct. Most scientists agree that intelligence is genetic.

There are studies of IQ tests that show Asian countries score the highest on IQ tests, followed by white countries. However, actual scientists usually disregard these studies because, when one reads the fine print, almost every study admits that the IQs from many of the countries (more than half, in some cases) are estimates or come from a small sample size.

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But it is all pretty racist.

How is it racist? It’s an IQ test.

Because the same studies show a correlation between gross domestic product (GDP) and IQ. Studies also show a relationship between health and IQ, rate of infectious disease and IQ, access to education and IQ, wealth and IQ etc. There is even a correlation between IQ and the temperature of the room. It’s almost universally known: People with more money, better lives and more opportunity perform better on IQ tests.

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Scientists and psychologist know that there are so many determinative factors and variation between countries and no study has ever been done with a large enough sample size from every country. It is only white people who look past all of these probable causes and conclude that race is the determinative factor.

Some people say that even the idea of IQ tests are inherently racist because IQ testing derived from the eugenics movement—the idea that it is possible to improve the human race by preventing certain people from breeding.

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The man who invented the first IQ test, Alfred Binet, even argued that his own tests couldn’t adequately measure intelligence. The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and the Advanced Placement Exam have similar origins in racism and eugenics.

However, psychologists also know one other thing.

What’s that? Donald Trump is a stable genius?

No, my little kiddie Klansman. Scientists know that IQ doesn’t mean shit.

But you said earlier that scientists agree that intelligence is genetic.

Yes. But there are many people—dumb people like the ones in my inbox—who don’t understand that IQ is different from intelligence. The vast majority of researchers agree that IQ is an arbitrary measurement of a handful of things that white people agree they do well on. IQ testing just measures the aptitude a person has in these preselected categories

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Intelligence is something else that isn’t really quantifiable.

There’s a guy named Howard Gardner who is the professor of cognition and education at Harvard University who theorizes that there are multiple intelligences

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Your words are getting too big. You know I’m a baby, right?

But you’re a white baby, so you should understand, right?

You’re being mean. You’re such an angry black man.

OK, let me break it down.

Imagine a black kid and a white kid took a math test and the white kid scored higher than the black kid, does that mean the white kid is better at math than the white kid?

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Of course it does.

OK. But you didn’t ask what kind of math. What if the black kid could add, subtract, multiply and divide large numbers in his head but has never heard of trigonometry, while the white kid had taken an AP calculus course? Does the access to that education make the white kid more intelligent?

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What if it was a basic multiple choice test and the white kid had tutors who taught him how to take tests while the black kid was winging it? Who’s smarter then?

Well...OK, but I thought Intelligence and IQ don’t measure what you’ve learned.

You’re right, they’re not supposed to. But all tests, even math tests, ultimately measure language skills. If two students have the same aptitude in every subject, the one who reads better will perform better, even in math and science. So first we have to consider the language that the test is in and who understands it better.

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Now here is where intelligence gets trickier than just IQ:

Let’s suppose the final question on this intelligence test was a complex mathematical problem that required calculating an equation of the force, distance and geometry needed to throw a ball through a hoop. Imagine that the white kid figured it out in five minutes and just before he finished, the black kid, who only knew simple math, picked up a ball looked at the hoop for one second and threw the ball through the hoop cleanly.

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Now here is the question:

Didn’t the black guy’s brain do the same math? When Steph Curry’s brain calculates the thrust and the parabola to shoot a three-pointer as he’s falling down, isn’t that just a math equation? How is it that Tom Brady can’t throw a ball as accurately when he’s moving but Russell Wilson’s brain can make that calculation while running full speed in the opposite direction of the receiver? It has nothing to do with strength or quickness. Is hand-eye coordination a kind of intelligence?

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IQ tests also measure logic. How about the black guy in every neighborhood who can fix any make and model automobile or someone like Jay-Z who basically learned Masters degree-level macroeconomics from simply observing the drug trade and the record industry? They probably wouldn’t score well on an IQ test but aren’t they just as intelligent as any mechanical engineer or MBA?

Is talent a form of intelligence? The brain of a person with perfect pitch is literally just comparing the frequency of vibration. A person who gets by on charisma and charm has essentially figured out human physiological body cues. How do we measure emotional intelligence?

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OK, I understand that part. But how can you say intelligence is genetic if it isn’t tied to race? Also, I think I just pooped in my diaper.

Because genetic traits and racial characteristics aren’t the same. And the fact that intelligence is genetic doesn’t mean anything individually.

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One great example is weight. Genetics is a factor in obesity and how easily a person can lose or gain weight. But no one knows how much of a factor genes play in that role and it varies from person to person. Environmental factors like diet, exercise and health are the major influences on weight.

If I am from a country with a high obesity rate, my individual weight is still determined by a combination of nature and nurture. Similarly, if people from Japan are smarter than people from Zimbabwe, it doesn’t mean an individual from Zimbabwe won’t be the valedictorian or a kid from Japan will automatically get a great SAT score.

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I understood all of that except the word “similarly.” So what does it all mean?

Racist baby, it means that IQ is useless. It is an arbitrary definition of selected attributes while intelligence is a complex combination of genetics and environment. IQ tests can’t measure intelligence any more than a 40-yard-dash and a bench press measures athletic ability

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It is true that white people do better on IQ tests. It is true that, on average, white students perform better on the SAT. But people who make more money also do better on both. People who have more access to education do better on both. Better-educated, wealthier, and people who have more opportunity in America tend to do better in life.

Those people get to make the rules and do shit like create studies validating how they got in their position.

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However, this means nothing individually. Kylie Jenner is a little whiter and a lot richer than Neil DeGrasse Tyson so, statistically speaking, she should have a higher IQ. I’ll take Barack Obama, who grew up poor, and let you have Donald Trump in a spelling bee any day.

So white people have higher IQs because they get to define what IQ means?

Exactly.

White people have more money, more access to schools and more opportunity, so they find it easier to ascribe their success to intelligence and genetics than privilege. Recent studies show that attributing any multifactored, environmentally influenced trait like IQ to race is unscientific at best and stupid in general.

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But you will also find that the people who argue that white people are more intelligent are rarely intelligent white people. It’s always the dumb ones who like to use ellipses as every form of punctuation.

I don’t know what a lip sees, but are you calling my daddy dumb?

Of course not. He’s smart enough to find a tiny little KKK uniform for his son. I gotta give him some credit!

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Actually, I made this myself out of diapers. I’m gonna make a hood out of the one I’m wearing if my mom can get the poop stains out of it. Or maybe I’ll just say it’s chocolate Krispy Kreme icing.

You’re a sick child.

No, I’m a racist baby. But Seig Heil to you, too!