Banning the SAT as Racist Is an Insult “Against Black Intelligence”

The soundness of Prof. McWhorter’s argument is neither increased nor decreased by the fact that he is black. His courage in stating the argument is increased by the fact that he is black.

(p. 4) . . . lately, evidence has mounted, steadily, that the SAT is in fact useful in demonstrating students’ abilities regardless of their economic backgrounds or the quality of their high schools. Some studies show scores correlate with student performance in college more strongly than high-school grades, and that without the standardized test data it is harder to identify Black, Latino and lower-income white kids who would likely thrive in elite universities.

. . .

The SAT as racist, objectivity as white privilege, making academic training easier to attract Black majors and graduate students — there is a family relationship between them. Namely, an assumption that it is graceless or unfair to require Black people to grapple with detail, solve puzzles and make sense of the unfamiliar. At least, we are not to be expected to engage in such things nearly as much as, say, white people.

. . .

I’m sorry, but I find this a diminished, not to mention depressing, and downright boring racial self-image. It just doesn’t correspond with so very much that Black people do, and are, and seek and always have.

. . .

No coherent admissions assessment would use the SAT as the sole measure of an applicant’s potential. However, the elimination of such tests from the process is less a favor to than an insult leveled against Black intelligence.

For the full commentary, see:

John McWhorter. “No, the SAT Isn’t Racist.” The New York Times, SundayOpinion Section (Sunday, March 17, 2024): 4.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date March 14, 2024, and has the title “The Best Way to Find Out if We Can Cool the Planet.”)

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