Due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, all Pratt Library locations are closed out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our customers. Currently programs and events through April 11 have been cancelled. We will continue to update this page with more information as the situation evolves.
Prattlibrary.org will be kept up to date with further information regarding the closure of our physical locations. While our physical locations are closed, you may still use your Pratt Library Card to access Pratt Digital Library resources, including research materials, downloads, and streaming media for all ages.
The 1994 publication of The Bell Curve and its controversial thesis catapulted the topic of genetic racial differences in IQ to the forefront of a renewed and heated debate. Now, in A Terrible Thing to Waste, award-winning science writer Harriet A. Washington adds her incisive analysis to the fray, arguing that IQ is a biased and flawed metric, but that it is useful for tracking cognitive damage. She takes apart the spurious notion of intelligence as an inherited trait, using copious data that instead point to a different cause of the reported African American-white IQ gap: environmental racism - a confluence of racism and other institutional factors that relegate marginalized communities to living and working near sites of toxic waste, pollution, and insufficient sanitation services. She investigates heavy metals, neurotoxins, deficient prenatal care, bad nutrition, and even pathogens as chief agents influencing intelligence to explain why communities of color are disproportionately affected -- and what can be done to remedy this devastating problem.
Harriet A. Washington has been the Shearing Fellow at the University of Nevada's Black Mountain Institute, a Research Fellow in Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School, and a senior research scholar at the National Center for Bioethics at Tuskegee University. She is the author of Deadly Monopolies, Infectious Madness, and Medical Apartheid, which won a National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN/Oakland Award, and the American Library Association Black Caucus Nonfiction Award.
Books will be available for purchase at a signing after the program.
No registration required. Seating is first come, first serve. Please note that marking interest does not reserve a seat. Parking is free on Park Avenue and Cathedral Street after 6pm. Parking is $5 in the Franklin Street Garage after 5pm.
Re-opening activities are made possible in part by a generous gift from Sandra R. Berman.
The Brown Lecture Series is supported by the Eddie C. and C. Sylvia Brown Foundation.
Wednesday, March 25 at 7:00pm to 8:30pm
Central Library, Wheeler Auditorium
400 Cathedral Street, Baltimore, MD 21201