Subnormal: A British Scandal – 20 May 2021 – 20/5/2021 – Thursday – BBC

In the 1960s, while young black adults were getting to grips with the struggle for black power and a long fightback against police abuse was starting, the majority of West Indian migrants were keeping their heads down. They were working hard and counting on providing better opportunities and education for their children. However, in a white-dominated country, where the politics were becoming increasingly racialised, there is a question of how society, and its teachers, see these young black children.

Before having a chance to develop intellectually, they were labelled as stupid, difficult and disruptive. The paradox is that many of the new migrants to Britain are in fact highly educated. One of them is Gus John, who arrived from Trinidad as a Dominican novitiate to become a priest. Almost immediately he was contacted by some black parents worried about the schooling of their children. Together with several other educators, John quickly realised that the system was not just inept, but actually rigged against black children.

At the same time celebrity psychologists Hans Eysenck and Arthur Jensen were propounding theories that black people were genetically less intelligent than white people. These theories infiltrated teacher training and found their way into schools. IQ tests were then based on these theories with the odds are horrendously stacked against children from the West Indies.

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