West Caldwell teacher suspended for 'Chitling test'

May. 02, 2014 @ 08:37 AM

A psychology teacher at West Caldwell High School has been suspended without pay for three days and ordered to attend sensitivity training and issue a formal apology because of an informal test he distributed to students that contains African-American stereotypes.

Called “The Chitling Test,” it is supposed to demonstrate cultural bias in intelligence tests. Among the questions are ones asking how much a “soul brother” earns picking cotton for a full day, how long it takes to cook “cheap chitlings,” and “If you throw dice and seven is showing on the top, what is facing down?”

The school system is not releasing the teacher’s name, said Libby Brown, Community Services Director for Caldwell County Schools.

The test was handed out in an Advanced Placement psychology class on Wednesday. A student took a photo with a phone and posted it to Facebook with the caption, “Wow, what I learned in Psychology. How black I am by a 'chitling' test.”

Tina Coffey Wilson, an aunt of two West Caldwell students, saw the Facebook post and was outraged.

“I was astounded,” Wilson said. “My kids looked at me and said, ‘What are chitlings?’”

Wilson contacted principal Jeff Link, as well as the Rev. Terry Hunt of The Life Center in Lenoir, who contacted the Rev. Jimmy Norwood, a representative of the Caldwell County NAACP, and James Wilfong, pastor at West End Mennonite Brethren in Lenoir. The group met Thursday morning with Caldwell County Schools Superintendent Steve Stone and Lenoir Police Chief Scott Brown. Stone said a full investigation has been conducted, resulting in the suspension and other punishments for the teacher.

Stone called the test “blatantly racist” and inappropriate, and he said distributing it showed poor judgment on the part of the teacher. The test will never be distributed in any Caldwell County school again, he said.

Hunt said material like the test can inflame racial resentments.

“We felt like it was very inflammatory. It was intentionally directed toward the African-American community,” Hunt said.