Despite progress made, the truth is that many whites in America look down upon blacks as intellectually inferior, just as many ' upper castes ' in India look down on dalits ( Scheduled Castes ) as inferior. So what should blacks and dalits do ?
I have just read the book ' Jefferson's Secrets ' by Andrew Burstein.
Jefferson, the third President of the United States of America, was the man who drafted the American Declaration of Independence in 1776 which said " We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal---". However, despite theoretically being against slavery and slave trade ( calling it ' a moral depravity ', ' a hideous blot ' and against the law of nature that all men are entitled to liberty), the fact is that Jefferson did not regard blacks as intellectually equal to whites. He himself owned hundreds of slaves, and never emancipated them, unlike George Washington who emancipated his slaves by his will.
In the American Declaration of Independence which Jefferson drafted, while there was a general statement that all men were created equal, there was no denunciation of slavery or the slave trade, and no express statement that blacks were equal to whites
In his ' Notes on Virginia ' and other writings and speeches Jefferson expressed his views that (1) whites and blacks constituted two separate nations who could never live peacefully together ( his view was coloured by the revolt of blacks in Haiti under Toussaint and the abortive rebellion in Virginia ), (2) blacks were intellectually inferior to whites, and (3) blacks should be gradually emancipated, but deported to Africa or the West Indies.
Many people in America and India still regard blacks and dalits as inferior ( though they may not openly say so ) e.g.the eminent scientist and Nobel Prize winner, William Shockley .( see my blog on him on justicekatju.blogspot.in ).
Of course people like me who are not prejudiced do not regard blacks or dalits as intellectually inferior, but my opinion will carry little weight unless blacks and dalits themselves prove their intellectual equality by their deeds. And what should those deeds be ? Those deeds will be excelling in intellectual fields e.g. mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, etc, not just in physical sports like boxing, basketball, or athletics.
Till now how many blacks and dalits have got Nobel Prizes in Physics, Chemistry and Medicine or have made great scientific discoveries or inventions ? Perhaps none ( unless I am mistaken ). But unless you win prestigious prizes in science, e.g. Nobel Prizes, Fundamental Physics Prize, Fields Medal and Abel Prize in Mathematics, Lasker awards in Medicine, Break Through Prizes, Tang Prizes, Eppendorf prize in Neurobiology, Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, UNESCO prizes, etc and become members of eminent Academies and Institutes of Science e.g. Fellow of the Royal Society, American Academy of Advanced Science, CERN,etc, and make great and path breaking scientific discoveries and inventions, you will continue to be regarded by many people as intellectually inferior, and then you will have only yourselves to blame.
So to establish themselves as equals blacks and dalits must excel in the fields requiring intellectual skills and talent.
It is true that one of the main reasons why they could not do so was economic deprivation and discrimination. But this must not become an excuse. You must work much harder than whites or upper castes, to make up for the handicap you suffer from, and show by your accomplishments and achievements that you are their intellectual equals.