In yet another instance, billionaire Elon Musk has once again lent his support to a troubling conspiracy theory, this time making racially insensitive remarks about Black students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
Musk faced backlash last year for promoting an unfounded and antisemitic conspiracy theory, claiming it to be the “actual truth.”
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Recently, Musk endorsed a tweet implying that Black students at HBCUs have lower IQs, specifically suggesting they shouldn’t pursue careers as pilots. Responding to a post highlighting purported lower IQ averages at HBCUs compared to U.S.
Air Force pilots, Musk tweeted a statement indicating that a tragic incident might be needed to prompt a change in the alleged policy. Notably, the term “DIE” in Musk’s tweet appears to be a deliberate rearrangement of “DEI,” representing “diversity, equity, and inclusion” initiatives.
The original tweet erroneously asserted that HBCU students had IQs nearing the threshold for “borderline intellectual impairment.”
Musk’s criticism was directed at a United Airlines program allowing HBCU students to interview for pilot positions, questioning the prioritization of DEI hiring over safety.
However, Musk’s assertions are flawed on multiple levels. The foundational notion of IQ as a measure of cognitive ability has long been discredited.
The original tweet also incorrectly suggested a correlation between high SAT scores and high IQ, and even misrepresented SAT scores at HBCUs, which, in reality, align with national averages. Despite underfunding challenges, HBCU graduates generally achieve positive financial and professional outcomes.
The racially charged conversation drew criticism for insulting the intelligence of entire universities and perpetuating a narrative that implies Black individuals are inherently unqualified.
Akil Bello, Senior Director of Advocacy and Advancement at FairTest, highlighted the blatant racism in the discourse.
This incident follows Musk’s pattern of controversial social commentary, including advocating against immigration and spreading misleading conspiracy theories.
The billionaire’s actions have not only caused advertisers to withdraw from platforms he’s associated with but have also led to a decline in ad revenue for these platforms. The discomfort arises not just from the content hosted on the platform but from the platform owner himself being the source of objectionable posts.