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Standardized IQ tests have often been criticized for being biased in favor of white, middle-class, English-speaking Americans. Here is an "IQ test" that illustrates why this criticism is made. It contains questions that assume knowledge of African-American culture. It is not clear whether these questions really reflect an individual's intelligence, whatever his or her race. But chances are that non-African-American education students will have trouble with it!


For each question choose the one "best" answer, even if another answer contains an element of truth:
  1. Which word is out of place here?
    1. splib
    2. blood
    3. grey
    4. spook
    5. black
  2. A handkerchief head is:
    1. a cool cat
    2. a porter
    3. an Uncle Tom
    4. a hoddi
    5. a "preacher"
  3. Chitlings will taste rubbery until they are cooked long enough. How soon can you stop cooking them in order to eat them?
    1. 15 minutes
    2. 1 hour
    3. 2 hours
    4. 24 hours
    5. 1 week on a low flame
  4. Hattie is on the county. She has four children and her husband is now in jail for nonsupport, as he was unemployed and not able to give her any money. Her welfare check is now $400/month. Last night she went out with a big player, and they had a great time (if you know what I mean). If she gets pregnant, then nine months from now, how much more will her check be?
    1. $150
    2. No change
    3. There is no way to know
    4. $50 more
    5. $50 less
  5. Hully Gully was first made famous by singers and dancers from
    1. East Oakland
    2. Fillmore
    3. Watts
    4. Yonge Street
    5. Motown

Answer key: The "best" answer is option "3" for each question, though in some cases that choice may be debatable by some people.

Key Discussion Points:

  1. In what sense(s) is this test "fair" or "unfair"? Explain.
  2. Does this test really reflect intelligence--even African-American intelligence? Explain.