Intelligence versus what is considered smart. What’s the difference between them? You can be intelligent and smart, you can be intelligent and not smart, you can be smart and not intelligent, you can be neither smart nor intelligent. This is because in order to be intelligent a person has a vast knowledge on any particular topic. In other words the person knows a lot of things. In order to be considered smart a person must know how to implicate the knowledge they know. The person doesn’t necessarily have to know a lot of things but they do know how to use what things they do know to their advantage in life.
In I Just Wanna Be Average, Mike Rose argues that teachers in vocational education struggle with helping students apply knowledge: “Students will float to the mark you set… Vocational education has aimed at increasing the economic opportunities of students who do not do well in our schools. Some serious programs succeed in doing that, and through exceptional teachers… students learn to develop hypotheses and troubleshoot, reason through a problem, and communicate effectively- the true job skills.” The reason why teachers struggle with helping students apply knowledge is because the students are not being given enough knowledge to apply to things. That is because the students give up on themselves and, eventually, the teachers give up on them also.
This leads into another idea about knowledge. In Other People’s Children, Lisa Delpit elaborates on the idea that knowledge is controlled by other people: “These issues include: the power of the teacher over the students; the power of the publishers of textbooks and of the developers of the curriculum to determine the view of the world presented;… and the power of an individual or group to determine another’s intelligence or ‘normalcy.’” To put this idea into simpler terms, people do not control what knowledge they take in from their education. This makes it easy for textbook publishers and educational leaders to control what students learn. A lot of times the textbook publishers and educational leaders limit the amount of knowledge the students take in. This leads to the students not being given enough knowledge in order to be smart or intelligent making it hard for the students to succeed in life.
In Superman and Me, Sherman Alexie points out how someone’s identity can influence whether other people think you’re smart or intelligent: “He reads ‘Grapes of Wrath’ in kindergarten when other children are struggling through ‘Dick and Jane.’ If he’d been anything but an Indian boy living on the reservation, he might have been called a prodigy.” In this quote Alexie is referring to himself and the reason why he probably isn’t considered a “prodigy” is because of his race and his family’s background. His race should not influence whether or not he is considered smart or intelligent. However, in our American society race does influence whether or not people think you’re smart or intelligent.
Many times racial influence can lead to people making assumptions about other races and whether or not that race is smart or intelligent. For example, in Other People’s Children, Lisa Delpit assumes that White people are very closed minded: “When you’re talking to White people they still want it to be their way. You can try to talk to them and give examples, but they’re so headstrong, they think they know what’s best for everybody, for everybody’s children.” Based on this assumption, the closed mindedness of White people causes them to not be as smart or intelligent as other races. This however is an assumption because in 2015 the SAT test was given to elite people in the United States with a variety of races. After this test the mean scores were taken and White people had the second highest mean score. The race with the highest mean score was Asian people. Now if White people are not smart or intelligent then why did they have the second highest mean score? The answer is that most White people are not closed minded and therefore are smart and intelligent. There are only a few White people that are very closed minded and not smart or intelligent whatsoever.