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Radiolab

Are some ideas so dan­ger­ous we shouldn’t even talk about them? That ques­tion brought Radiolab’s senior edi­tor, Pat Wal­ters, to a sub­ject that at first he thought was long gone: the mea­sur­ing of human intel­li­gence with IQ tests. Turns out, the tests are all around us. In the work­place. The crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem. Even the NFL. And they’re mas­sive in schools. More than a mil­lion US chil­dren are IQ test­ed every year.

We begin Radi­o­lab Presents: G” with a sen­tence that stopped us all in our tracks: In the state of Cal­i­for­nia, it is off-lim­its to admin­is­ter an IQ test to a child if he or she is Black. That’s because of a lit­tle-known case called Lar­ry P v Riles that in the 1970s … put the IQ test itself on tri­al. With the help of reporter Lee Rom­ney, we inves­ti­gate how that law­suit came to be, where IQ tests came from, and what hap­pened to one lit­tle boy who got caught in the crossfire.