Black Intelligence Test of Cultural Homogeneity

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The Black Intelligence Test of Cultural Homogeneity, or BITCH-100, is an intelligence test created by Robert Williams in 1972 oriented toward the language, attitudes, and life-styles of African Americans. The original sample used in the experiment consisted of 100 white and 100 black St. Louis high school students, aged 16-18 years old – half of them being from low socioeconomic levels and the other half from middle income levels. Williams also had data from two other samples of blacks and whites. These samples included 25 black and 13 white college students from Mississippi and 19 white graduate students from Boston University. Out of the 200 students who participated in the original sample the 100 black students answered 87/100 answers correctly and the whites answered 51/100 questions correctly. In the other samples the results were similar with the black students' scores being drastically different from those of the whites.[1] [2] The results of the test showed that the black group performed much better than the white group. White students performed more poorly on this test than blacks, suggesting that there are important dissimilarities in the cultural backgrounds of blacks and whites. The results of these tests and examination of the BITCH-100 confirmed Robert Williams' belief that his intelligence test dealt with content material that was familiar to blacks. However, there exists a restriction of range in the current form of the test thereby limiting its usefulness as an instrument used for selection.[2][3][4] Some argue that these findings indicate that test bias plays a role in producing the gaps in IQ test scores.[5]

Both of these tests demonstrate how cultural content on intelligence tests may lead to culturally biased score results. Still these criticisms of cultural content may not apply to "culture free" tests of intelligence. This test is criticized to test instruments of racism. This can affect people emotionally, leading them to engage in a specifically negative mental experience due to patterned physiological activity. [6] But this intelligence test is seen as less of a threat because it is supported by scientific validity studies.[7] The BITCH-100 and the Chitling test both have explicit cultural assumptions, while normal standardized tests are only theorized to have implicit bias. The fact that a test can have bias does not necessarily prove that a specific test does have bias. However, even on cultural free tests, test bias may play a role since, due to their cultural backgrounds, some test takers do not have the familiarity with the language and culture of the psychological and educational tests that is implicitly assumed in the assessment procedure.[8] Considering that approximately sixteen percent of Caucasian-Americans are post-secondary educated, in comparison with two percent of African-Americans, the disparity is clear. [9] It is a well-known fact that formal education and intelligence are correlated, therefore the environments that Black and White children tend to be socialized in are quite distinct.

In the case of African-Americans, there is a particular problem in the test environment. Many Black people were brought to America as slaves, so they came there not because they wanted to, but because they didn’t have any other choice. Therefore, the descendants of these enslaved people try to allocate time towards salvaging some of their African cultural roots, while overcoming the classical conditioning of American slavery, and trying to function successfully in mainstream American society. [10]

Beverly Daniel Tatum writes that dominant cultures often set the parameters by which minority cultures will be judged. Minority groups are labeled as substandard in significant ways, for example blacks have historically been characterized as less intelligent than whites. Tatum suggests that the ability to set these parameters is a form of white privilege.[11]

But the significant institutions by that time had become a strong part of the mainstream many of them engrained with the nonacceptance of the coloured population. For example the institute of testing Wechsler rejected to accept the integration of Blacks' population with the Whites' because different races, they said, would cause differences and difficulties. The greatest difficulty being the increase in number of individuals to be examined in order to adapt to norms that are feasible for all. [12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Matarazzo, J. D., & Wiens, A. N. (1977). Black intelligence test of cultural homogeneity and wechsler adult intelligence scale scores of black and white police applicants. Journal of Applied Psychology, 62(1), 57-63.
  2. ^ a b Williams, Robert L (September 1972). "The BITCH-100: A Culture-Specific Test". American Psychological Association Annual Convention. Honolulu, Hawaii. 
  3. ^ Matarazzo, J. D., & Wiens, A. N. (1977). Black intelligence test of cultural homogeneity and wechsler adult intelligence scale scores of black and white police applicants. Journal of Applied Psychology, 62(1), 57-63.
  4. ^ Racial Differences on a Black Intelligence Test Journal of Negro Education, 43, 4, 429-436, F 74
  5. ^ IQ Tests and the Black Culture McNiel, Nathaniel D.
  6. ^ Schacter, Daniel L., Daniel Todd. Gilbert, and Daniel M. Wegner. Psychology. New York: Worth, 2009. Print.
  7. ^ Psychological testing: principles, applications, and issues Kaplan, Robert M. & Saccuzzo Dennis P.
  8. ^ Assessment in Multicultural Groups: The Role of Acculturation van de Vijver, Fons J.R.; Phalet, Karen from the Special Issue on Advances in Testing Methodology from an International Perspective Applied Psychology. 53(2):215-236, April 2004.
  9. ^ Kwate, N. O. A. (2001). Intelligence or misorientation? Eurocentrism in the WISC-III. Journal of Black Psychology, 27(2), 221-238. [1]
  10. ^ Butler-Omololu, C., Doster, J. A., & Lahey, B. (1984). Some implications for intelligence test construction and administration with children of different racial groups. Journal of Black Psychology, 10(2), 64. doi:10.1177/009579848301000204
  11. ^ Tatum, Beverly Daniel (1997). Why are all the black kids sitting together in the cafeteria? And other conversations about race. New York: BasicBooks. ISBN 978-0-465-09127-0. 
  12. ^ Cynthia Butler-Omololu, "Some Implications for Intelligence Test Construction and Administration with Children of Different Racial Groups", The Journal of Black Psychology, 1984

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