On a run, there are many things that cross my mind. My mind cautions me to take many aspects of my life seriously, especially my writing. I get many interesting ideas when on a run. Most of my ideas for literary pieces came during a run. However, much fail to show up on a white background in black fonts or on any background or in any fonts at all.
Today, my thoughts questioned the definition of intelligence, who is deemed to be and who not? Who defines what intelligence is and on what premise is this built?
As a black woman in a predominantly white biased field of academic research and living in Germany, I am still learning what intelligence means. I say I am learning because I think intelligence is subjective. In academia, I think, the whole principle is to prove who is the most intelligent. Whose ideas are priceless, and who is a genius?
The question again is who decides? I think the environment decides, the institution, wealth, the nation, all those factors are contributors to deciding who gets heralded as intelligent or not.
Let me go back into history to make this more practical and easier to explain. When whites invaded Africa, in their reports back to their supervisors and country people. They claimed to have met savages, untamed, unintelligent species, which in a way was “objective” because the definition of what was acceptable, human, and intelligent was theirs and not the Africans.
I am not even going to talk about modern-day slighting of the intelligence of persons of colour. That will be for another day if ever. A recent conference I attended had over 70% of the keynote speakers from Europe but mostly from the US. I asked myself if these were the only ones who could speak to the subject or were they the ones we wanted to speak to the subject? Was there none from other continents who could speak to the subject or present other perspectives as well? What would such a conference look like?
Intelligence is subjective. I think what counts are: knowing what you know, validating your thoughts as solid and equally contributory to the needed change in the world regardless of how financially sound your institution is or which school you attended. Because at the end of the day, even a Nobel Prize does not guarantee a stamp of intelligence as much as what you perceive of your ideas and thought processes.