Stellenbosch University File photo: African News Agency (ANA)
Stellenbosch University File photo: African News Agency (ANA)

Academics want study on coloured women's 'intelligence' removed

By Dominic Adriaanse Time of article published Apr 26, 2019

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Cape Town - A number of academics have called on the study by Stellenbosch University researchers on the cognitive function of “coloured” women to be removed from a UK-based academic journal publishing site.

This comes after the university expressed concern over the impact of the article “Age and education effects on cognitive functioning in coloured South African women”, by Department of Sport Science researchers.

The academics, who included UCT associate professor of English Dr Barbara Boswell and Unisa Research Professor Kopano Ratele, have written a letter to the editorial board of Aging, Neuropsychology and Cognition for the article’s removal.

According to Boswell: “These academics, who borrow from eugenics and racist science, have conducted themselves nauseatingly and soil the name of good, ethical, research.

“The impact of this pseudo science, if left unchallenged, will provide justification to employers and universities not to hire women of colour due to alleged cognitive deficit.

“Put another way, people of colour will remain ‘the drawers of water and the hewers of wood’. Why did so many millions fight the apartheid regime if such racist arguments are elevated to the level of science?”

Boswell said their crowdfunding campaign on awethu.amandla. mobi had garnered more than 3400 signatures online and continued to grow.

Once they had reached their target, they would submit their letter to the editorial board to retract the article.

Using a group of 60 women (18-64 years), separated into four age groups and two education groups , the study observed “An age-related decline for all domains, with low scores observed for processing speed already in young adulthood. The high education group scored significantly better in all cognitive domains. Young to middle-aged coloured women present with low cognitive function and which is significantly influenced by education”.

In a statement earlier this week, the university’s Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies professor, Eugene Cloete, said: “We are concerned about the pain and anger the article has solicited within the academic community and broader society.

“As an institution, we are opposed to racism, including intellectual racism or attributing cognitive capacities such as intelligence in terms of race.”

Cape Times

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