A short time ago I listened again to someone else complain about Dubya’s speech followed by the inevitable commentary about his intelligence and it made me think about a few things that I’ll share here.
1) I communicate well in English, be it through verbal or written means. I can carry on basic conversations in Spanish and Hebrew as well. But I am fairly awkward in both languages. Just because I speak poorly should I be concerned that people think I am stupid.
I regularly pass for being Israeli/Latino, but it is clear that I speak Hebrew/Spanish with an American accent. Does having an accent make me sound less intelligent? Or is there a bias against people who have a Southern drawl. FWIW, I can affect a mighty fine drawl of my own.
2) Do you think that someone who is deaf is less intelligent because they cannot communicate with you through conventional means?
3) If someone is mute, are they automatically stupid?
Some people might think that these questions are ridiculous, but I am willing to bet that there is a large chunk of the population that hasn’t considered any of this. This is not meant to serve as a defense of Bush, but as a basic exercise to consider how you view certain people and situations.
I have been guilty of judging people based upon their communication and not upon substance. Have you.