Arts

A Simple Test

A simple and inexpensive scientific test devised in the 1950s could have saved Hollywood a great deal of grief and adverse publicity.

There is evidently a great deal of dissatisfaction with the choice of actress for the part of Nina Simone in an upcoming biopic. The actress selected is not sufficiently black. This mistake could have been avoided had the producers invested in a simple  HB pencil available from Staples for a mere $5.29 for a pack of 24. (Pencils can even be obtained free from any IKEA branch, but they may be too short for the test. It is best to consult an expert or run a few experiments with subjects whose historical racial profiles are well known.)

The Pencil Test” as it was known, proved very effective for determining “how black” a person was for the purposes of population registration. When a person’s racial heritage is not certain or clear, simply putting a pencil in their hair can go a long way to determining their classification: It the pencil falls out easily, then the person is largely to be considered white. If the pencil remains in, but falls out after the head is shaken around, that person is of mixed racial heritage. With a racially pure black person, it is expected the pencil will remain fast regardless. This test is sufficient in most cases. Obviously, if there is further doubt, more rigorous tests involving blood and DNA can of course be undertaken, but the point of the pencil test is to avoid these costly and invasive procedures in the vast majority of cases.

There is much the Progressive Left can achieve in advocating more for this test, not only of course in ensuring that actors are sufficiently black, or white for the part, but also in determining the extent of transgressions involving cultural appropriation and other problematic concerns around multiculturalism.

On the other hand, if you think the adoption by ‘progressives’ of ideological thinking devised by Hendrik Verwoerd is insane, then read Brendan O’Neill’s excellent piece in The Spectator. (And then read his other piece on the subject.)

Of course, the new ‘Children of Verwoerd’ now increasingly in evidence over at The Guardian.

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