A Sociology of Immanence and Transcendence


Benjamin E. Mays


In 1963, about a generation ago, sociologists in America began to examine and reexamine their concepts of caste, class and status. Dennis Wrong presented a paper at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in which he stated that "Historically, biological continuity has been the major means of preserving the internal solidarity and the distinctive ethos of class from generation to generation..." (Wrong, 1969:518). Wrong mentioned George Orwell's observation, however, that new sets of classes are emerging that are not recruited by the intergenerational transmissions of privilege through the family and whose cohesion does not depend on familial socialization (Wrong, 1969:519).

Adapting to this new development, testing for intelligence was perfected in the United States during the first half of the twentieth century. And the testing centers, according to Wrong, "have become the vehicles for selecting the ruling elite or meritocrats" (Wrong, 1969:519). By way of tests, the non-elites are "scientifically proven to be inferior in ability to their rulers" (Wrong 1969:519)

This discussion by Dennis Wrong, a generation ago, helps us to understand the reason why the Bell Curve was published in 1994 (Herrnstein and Murray, 1994). lt is a continuous attempt to use biology as a way of claiming superiority by some people over others. It is a way of attempting to perpetuate the racial organization of American society into castes.



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