Ever heard of Muzikillz? No? Don’t feel bad, neither had I. Muzikillz is a successful DJ. That success didn’t come until she became a he. Not a surgical transformation, just a disguise to get bookings.
You see, potential clients loved her demo tapes. As long as they thought she was a man. Once they saw the attractive woman, the response was invariably along the lines Muzikillz describes.
He passed her tape around, without giving her name, and she quickly found herself booked on the strength of her music but then rejected when they found out who she was. “They said, ‘F— that girl, she is sexy, she’s only used her looks to get ahead.’ My publicist was like, ‘It’s her tracks on there – you were going to book her as a guy.'”
Source: Daily Life
Muzikillz (real name Tatiana Alvarez) decided to become a man – outwardly and only for work. She describes the difference.
As a “man” Alvarez was treated differently: offstage, she was ignored (“People don’t look at you as much”); onstage, she was trusted to do the right thing. “When you’re a female, there are always other people on stage watching what you’re doing. They think you’re stupid and say the most condescending, amazing things, but when you’re a man they just leave you alone.”
The phrase that drives a knife right through me there is “onstage, she was trusted to do the right thing“. As a man she was trusted to do the right thing.
A movie is to be made about her experience. I’ll be keeping my eye out for that movie.
Over the weekend I was searching for a bell curve of global age distribution and stumbled across this graph below.
If you click through to the source, you will see clearly the writer is hell bent on proving white superiority. I’ve seen this sort of thing before. I am also well aware of, for example, content bias in tests. I remember once doing an on-line IQ test from the USA and finding it included American history questions. I’m an Australian, I’ve never learnt the names of the presidents in order.
So I decided to do a bit of digging and found a 1998 book, “Affirmative Action: The Fact Gap” reviewed in the New York Times which investigates the differences in academic scores over years and looks at the many possible causes. The book also looks at the fact the gap is reducing. (I notice the bell curve above from the white supremacist looks rather old and isn’t dated – how convenient to ignore changes over time.) The first chapter of “Affirmative Action: The Fact Gap”, available on-line, is interesting reading.
The black-white test score gap does not appear to be an inevitable fact of nature. It is true that the gap shrinks only a little when black and white children attend the same schools. It is also true that the gap shrinks only a little when black and white families have the same amount of schooling, the same income, and the same wealth. But despite endless speculation, no one has found genetic evidence indicating that blacks have less innate intellectual ability than whites. Thus while it is clear that eliminating the test score gap would require enormous effort by both blacks and whites and would probably take more than one generation, we believe it can be done.
The best trend data come from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which has been testing seventeen-year-olds since 1971 and has repeated many of the same items year after year. Figure 1-2 shows that the black-white reading gap narrowed from 1.25 standard deviations in 1971 to 0.69 standard deviations in 1996. The math gap fell from 1.33 to 0.89 standard deviations. When Min-Hsiung Huang and Robert Hauser analyzed vocabulary scores for adults born between 1909 and 1969, the black-white gap also narrowed by half.
Source: New York Times
It is vital we read this work in context. As the authors note, “In a country as racially polarized as the United States, no single change taken in isolation could possibly eliminate the entire legacy of slavery“. Slavery advanced whites and did the exact opposite to the slaves, deprived of a family life and education. Such a legacy is not overcome in one generation.
The studies are done in the United States, but I suggest there may be similar experiences in other countries where one group has been systematically oppressed over generations.
… when we compare blacks and whites with the same twelfth grade test scores, blacks are more likely than whites to complete college. Once we equalize test scores, High School and Beyond blacks’ 16.7 point disadvantage in college graduation rates turns into a 5.9 point advantage.
Now isn’t that interesting?
I referred earlier to content bias of tests. There are others, detailed in the NY Times link above, but one other I find particularly interesting is labeling bias. I’ll let the author explain.
What Jencks calls “labeling bias” arises when a test claims to measure one thing but really measures something else. This is a major problem when tests claim to measure either intelligence or aptitude, because these terms are widely used to describe innate “potential” as well as developed abilities. The notion that intelligence and aptitude are innate seems to be especially salient in discussions of racial differences. Thus, the statement that “blacks are less intelligent than whites” is widely understood as a statement about innate differences. Yet almost all psychologists now agree that intelligence tests measure developed rather than innate abilities, and that people’s developed abilities depend on their environment as well as their genes.
I would agree. Knowing the name of a particular number POTUS is definitely a developed ability. No-one is born knowing.
All of which brings us back to the discussion of intersectionality. If you are female in a male-dominated environment, the odds are against you. If you are black in a white-dominated environment, the odds are against you. If you are a black female…….
Here is one of my heroine black females, Chimamanda Adichie. I suggest she has an IQ out of this world.
This article wouldn’t be complete without my favourite Tim Wise video, if you’ve not seen it before, to put some context around the United States environment.
More recent words from Tim Wise:
- Julie Bishop and the privilege of not self-identifying as a feminist (Trish Corry)
- Treaty Now (The Koori Woman)