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by the way, since i'm on a roll getting folks on Twitter to unfollow me, here's another spicy take: "intelligence" as a concept is ableist and racist, it exists primarily as a colonial classifier, and if you think of yrself as "smart", stop.

that's not to say doing so is easy - i was a "gifted kid" and my mom's a professor, so "smart" is basically all i was allowed to be - but it's bullshit. it's hollow and worthless and soul-consuming.

"smart" just means you're really easy to indoctrinate with the belief that the harder you work, the more society will care about you, and/or that you have ADHD

@tindall or happen to have the privilege+luck of landing on a socially approved learning mode early, with resources to back it.

@tindall Back when I was a “gifted kid” I thought of “smart” as the opposite of a belief in hard work; but that’s because I have ADHD, as it turns out

@ghost_bird @tindall

Thank you.
I sooooo despise these words : "intelligent" or "smart".

I was a "gifted kid", but it allowed people to comment about my brother. He is far from "stupid" and not "less usefull" than me 😠

At the end of high school, I was a volunteer with 8-year old children, and some parents told their kids "look at him, work well and you'll have good results".
I had to say NO, I never worked in school, if they do like me, they'll end up with problems, not with my good marks 🤦🤦

@tindall can it be both? Feels like both for me personally

@schratze I thought I was both until my best friend (with masters in psychology who studied this) said that I wasn't ADHD, that many smart people have AD traits + energy levels.

I have found it really helpful to learn skills for ADHD (so it's probably just arguing about the label, and I don't have time for that) *but* when I compare useful learned skills with my friend who is ADHD: those skills help him too, but I learn 'em faster and can usually control my fidgeting. Mine is milder.

@tindall

@tindall i feel personally attacked (just joking, but also hitting very clise)

@tindall Totally agree!

I've taken to praising people for being "insightful" instead of "smart". Insightfulness is the quality I personally admire.

Insightfulness as I understand it has way more to do with questioning and making connections. Those are variable practices, not supposedly innate attributes with the colonial / ableist / eugenicist baggage of "IQ" or similar concepts.

@tindall This was one of the hardest mental OS patches for me to install, after being raised in a homeschool environment of full-on eugenicist exceptionalism.

@meena @feonixrift @tindall Damn. Now we feel lucky to have been homeschooled by a creationist parent instead of that. Thank goodness she was much better at teaching than indoctrinating, too.

@tindall hello fellow "gifted kid"!

Fuck the entire concept of gifted-kid-ness. It's took a lot from me too.

We weren't an economically or educationally privileged family, but my uni drop out parents fed me books and encyclopedias and whatever as a kid. Which was nice, but it all went downhill when my elementary school teacher "discovered" I was "gifted". Still picking up the pieces to this day.

@cadadr @tindall I did okay on it, tbh - or at least, it gave me a much-needed sense of self worth I wasn’t really getting anywhere else - but it still needed unlearning

@ghost_bird @tindall For me it was kinda both, at different times.

They sent me to a top private school at grade 5 w/ scholarship. There, it was my perk. But we were piss poor, and that did things to my mh.

I eventually rebelled & that came to an end at 8th grade. Returned to a public school. A whole new hell broke loose on me. "Smartness" was a big threat now. Did my best to be "normal" for years but failed.

When I was ~20yo I learned to embrace my differences, that's when I began to heal.

@cadadr @tindall Oh, yeah. I had the private school thing too - not a big success

@cadadr (But - veering off topic a bit - I think the actual problem there is just school as an institution. There wouldn’t have been any actually good decisions)

@ghost_bird Oh.. yeah. School.

The more I think about it the more I come to think of it like conscription for kiddos. Raising little patriarchally & neo-liberally viable teenagers that'll go 'yes sir' without a second thought.

@cadadr It’s a carceral institution, yes - designed that way from the start

@cadadr @ghost_bird @tindall One of the few things I appreciate about my extensive homeschooling, especially as the first-born, is that "gifted" didn't make sense in a classroom of one. I could develop largely at my own pace. (Conversely, I had next to no perspective on what were "normal" levels of e.g. social development.)

triggers discussion 

@jaycie @cadadr @tindall Going to mute this thread because it’s getting triggery for me. Apologies - I always forget this happens

re: triggers discussion 

@ghost_bird @cadadr @tindall Apologies here. I could have used more CWs here, too.

child abuse 

@cadadr @tindall i was a "gifted child" because my parents would beat god and the devil out of me if i brought home anything other than top a grade

@cadadr @tindall What is the concept of gifted kidness and why is it bad? I suspect you are talking about something in US schools, which I have not been to.

@river @tindall I suspect you have access to a search engine, so buzz off of my mentions acting as if I owed you definitions and explications. What kind of manners is this?

@cadadr This prompted me to write some thoughts I had about asking questions: river.cat/2021/11/questions

In this case I suppose the quick summary is, it's trying to have a conversation. If you don't want to answer then just don't.

@tindall yep. I had an an absurd IQ score, got my PhD young, and all the stuff that went to and came with that has left me with literal decades of therapy bills.

@tindall so I know very little about this (as a disclaimer), but...it feels like the current conventional idea of "smartness" is basically just...bad for everyone? Really in most cases, it ends up just being "good at STEM" or similar, which is stupid because:

- people who have amazing skills in all sorts of *other* things get treated like an idiot if they get a C in random math courses that have no impact on what they like to do anyway. It's also punishing when people learn things best in ways that STEM doesn't easily translate to (you can't exactly physically model algebra without some serious mind bending)
- if you do fall under "smart" then it suddenly becomes insanely easy to attach your whole identity to it, and now failure is terrifying because that's all you are anyway, isn't it? Better get used to failure then, because everything important that you're *not* good at will haunt you forever

The only times I've genuinely considered someone to be foolish are the cases where their own pride or arrogance results in willful ignorance (e.g. everyone's favorite former president, but if you think hard enough half of them fall under here)...but that's all taught essentially, none of it is inherent.

(I do think schools should cover some aspects of STEM anyway but more crash-course esque, i.e. more in the vein of "here's the arithmetic and statistics you need for finances and to not think vaccines kill everyone")
@tindall anyway really Daniel Thrasher covered this better than anyone else can https://youtu.be/WfowXmZ1FXM

@tindall I've always thought of "intelligence" as a passion to learn that school can't beat out of you. That or you have a really good memory. I can't count the number of times my parents accused me of being lazy because they couldn't comprehend that I, a "smart" kid, struggled to remember things.

@tindall (please don't take this too seriously) but I'm also kot strokg and not fast D:

@tindall i think this is also a releasing kind of thing (esp for marginalized communities) like the knowledge that smart isnt a thing can help internally cause you know you still gotta Appear Smart for jobs/school/etc. but know/understanding that it is all bullshit does help a bit (at least it helps me a former “gifted kid” who really just had autism and would do whatever authority told me because Fear and Violence)

@tindall being "gifted" is the most damaging thing you can tell a child.

@tindall I’m curious if you’ve read Freddie deBoer’s take on it.

@skybrian yep, that's basically exactly what I'm arguing against. He doesn't convincingly argue for his "heritable intellect" idea and cites nothing better than pop science, making me think he didn't really look into it more deeply than that in the first place...

@tindall He’s not a scientist, and neither am I, but I thought the science was solid? I should get around to reading Kathryn Paige Harden’s book.

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