Musical Tastes and SAT Scores: Contaminated Correlatives


So I happened upon this “study” that supposedly shows that intelligence can be determined by musical tastes. Admittedly, the author states it’s not actually a “scientific” study, so it really proves nothing in the way of being a true measure of intelligence. What it does prove, however, is to be disparaging and racist.

Most of the music frequently associated with any ethnicity other than white is plotted on the lower ends of the SAT spectrum. Are we to believe that people of color are stupid? No. Surely that is not the point, is it? (Perhaps the author should clarify that.) What it does seem to point out is that more affluent schools have a higher rate of a white students. Why is that? Oh, well, let’s see: Lack of access to affluent schools by people of color—and this happens for many reasons. I won’t address all those here. The article also points to the tragic failure that is standardized testing.

Basically, charts like this prove nothing, and are quite offensive. Not to say people of color can’t like Radiohead, but why can’t smart people like Rap? Moreover, do all “smart people” veer away from music associated with certain cultures to assimilate? Is that forced assimilation?

It’s also interesting that “classical” isn’t associated with Beethoven. Maybe, and this is just my judgment, the author of this piece should reevaluate his own ability to classify and group pieces of information—maybe we should ask him his preference in music to see where he falls on his own scale.


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