De-racialising intelligence, human potentiality and consciousness: A context for African Creative Gnosis

  • B Ajibade


Perhaps one of the more resistant difficulties in the interactions between Africans and other groups, particularly certain Western castes of minds is that which tends to discriminate, not just socially, but biologically. And the most fundamental biological differencing mechanism links to a purported racial disparity in the structure, capacity and functions of the human brain, and where human potentials, consciousness and intelligence are racialised. Although this racialisation of knowledge was expedient in the colonial encounter – for differencing, subjugating and enslaving Africa's people to the West – it has however remained resistant in certain circles, where contemporary empirical knowledge is deployed to construct a causal link between brain size and intelligence and intelligence and race, respectively. For instance Lynn (1993) declares that a relationship between brain size and intelligence is firmly established. And While Rushton (2002) maintains the racialisation of intelligence based on a scientific variation in the human brain size between whites and blacks, Allen (2002) agues against this notion that seeks to entrench a causal relationship between race and human potentiality, by which a black man can neither be as intelligent as a white nor products of African intellect as valuable as those of the West. What this paper attempts to do is use Lukacs' and Goldman's dialectics of human potentiality and consciousness, scientific literature, and African creative gnosis to demonstrate the inherent limitations of the logic that racialises intelligence. By gnosis, this paper refers to the intellectual and creative capacities inherent in the productions of Africans and people of generally black origin.

Sophia: An African Journal of Philosophy Vol. 8(1) 2005: 1-10

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eISSN: 1119-443X