Racial Differences and my own Lying Eyes

All right, here we go.

Over down at John C. Wright’s blog they’re going at it in the comments sections about racial differences and whether or not they’re relevant in real life (and what counts as racial differences).

Vox Day generally holds to the view that racial differences are both extreme and divided on strict lines – assuming I’m understanding him correctly. As for John C. Wright, I’ll quote him directly:

I am the model of success for the Left. I actually could not be a racist even if I wanted to: I am like an Asimov robot, programmed not to notice it. Colorblindness seemed to be the one non-stupid idea that was supported by the Left. Left every man stand or fail on his own merits. What could be more American?

But then, the day when the Leftists decided all to savage my wife when my wife said men should be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin, I realized that the one, small, final ideal allegedly supported by the Left, the idea of a colorblind society, was an idea that the Left not only did not support, it was an idea they vocally, vehemently, obstreperously, obnoxiously and violently opposed.

So be damned to race and to all who speak of it.

I have some affection for tribalists, who seek to support their own tribe against all outsiders, especially when, as with the Jew, all outsiders are enemies. A tribe is real, a biological entity, so to speak. It has a continuity and perhaps even a shared culture and cult that persists.

But a race is not a tribe: it is an artificial invention of Victorian era Darwinists. What language to Whites speak? What religion do Whites share? What nation? Do all white still vow fealty to Europa and Japheth, our common ancestor and founder of our royal family, just as Africans vow to Ham and his wife Io, or Orientals to Shem and Asia?

Look: I don’t hold to what I’ll call Vox Day’s “ultra race” views. I’ve had black managers at work who have been excellent managers, and one of my all time favorite teachers was black. I know and am still friends with a person of Vietnamese descent, I’ve known and been friends with several East Asians, and my cousin’s father is Cuban. I like all of these people.

And of course I’ve disliked people of pretty much every race as well. So there’s that too.

Not that I think Vox would necessarily deny any of this, but I honestly think that races are too mixed in our current society for it to be as dominant a factor as he seems to think. I see interracial couples everywhere, and I’m not just referring to TV. Some people might not like this, and maybe they could give good reasons why – I’m not here to argue. I never really cares.

BUUUUUUUT…

The flip side is what my lying eyes show me. When violent crimes are committed by blacks not just more often but FAR more often than by whites, when poorly performing inner city schools are made up overwhelmingly of minorities, when virtually every ghetto in the country is made up primarily of blacks and latinos, when minority students score lower on standardized tests and IQ tests despite the fact that they and their schools get more government assistance and standardized test prep than everybody else, when East Asians and Indians score consistently higher on IQ tests and standardized tests…

…I can believe one of two things.

One is that the country with a black President and a black neurosurgeon as a serious contender for the presidency is still so overwhelmingly racist that they subconsciously skew IQ tests and standardized tests to make them unfair to minorities. I would also have to believe that our police force is not just racist, which is possible, but viciously and systematically racist, almost KKK level. And I would have to believe that over that despite getting an incredible amount of government assistance blacks and hispanics are still held down by….something. Pre-civil rights era restrictions, maybe?

The other thing I can believe is that somehow, what people identify as “race” normally corresponds in some ways to actual groups of people who share a lot of the same characteristics, including appearance, intelligence, and physical ability, among other things.

So while I don’t think that race is the be-all end-all, and I do think the influence of race has been diluted, I do indeed think it exists. And yes, it would indeed bother me if I watched a movie and Morgan Freeman was playing Abraham Lincoln, as it would bother me if Martin Luther King Jr. was played by Daniel Day Lewis. I also expect non-adopted siblings to be the same race. What can I say, I’m kind of racist that way.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Racial Differences and my own Lying Eyes

  1. Crude says:

    Re: John C. Wright,

    But a race is not a tribe: it is an artificial invention of Victorian era Darwinists. What language to Whites speak? What religion do Whites share? What nation? Do all white still vow fealty to Europa and Japheth, our common ancestor and founder of our royal family, just as Africans vow to Ham and his wife Io, or Orientals to Shem and Asia?

    This makes no sense. Yes, a race is not a tribe. But how in the world are these valid questions to those who believe that races, in fact, exist?

    How about this: ‘What’s the skin color of black people, barring extreme outliers? How about white people? Are these traits passed on by genetic inheritance? Do white people and black people have differing genetic lineages, distinct from each other yet common among themselves?’ And so on.

    That said, reading Wright’s whole comment, I’m not sure he’s denying the reality of races. In fact, going by that quote alone – I’ve not read the thread – I don’t get where he’s going with it all. Something just seems off-kilter there, or I’m lacking proper context.

    On the other hand, I’m not sold on Vox’s views about race, and I don’t get where he believes race ends and culture begins.

    • Wright, I think, doesn’t believe in races as currently formulated, and instead believes that what we think of as races is a concept that could be understood more accurately as tribes.

      But I’m still kind not totally sold. Say what you will, but the statistics are too consistent to me not to imply SOMETHING.

      Does it matter to my life? Well, if a white family wants to leave neighborhood getting progressively more black, they’re probably making the right choice. And if I see a group of young black men walking towards me I don’t think it’s racist to switch sidewalks. It’s just playing a numbers game.

      Being colorblind isn’t a virtue. It’s blindness; a defect. As the commenter he was responding to correctly pointed out, having real colorblindness would mean he was even missing out on some good sight gags in some media (the joke of Wayne Brady being Barney’s “brother” in “How I Met Your Mother” and Barney not registering that he was adopted). The joke wouldn’t have worked if the casting was truly colorblind.

      • Crude says:

        But I’m still kind not totally sold. Say what you will, but the statistics are too consistent to me not to imply SOMETHING.

        I agree. I think Wright’s best response would be ‘Those statistics are picking out people who by and large share a culture/tribe. The Venn Diagram of culture/tribe just happens to involve a major, but not perfect, overlap with race.’

        The problem is, if Wright does make that response – and I think it’s his best possible response – then it turns out that being colorblind is a bad idea, because the visual indicators of race will be among the most reliable factors in picking out tribe.

        I agree with you entirely otherwise.

      • Yeah. I’m perfectly willing to grant that Wright is correct. I just don’t think that colorblindness is a good or useful trait to have, and I think that expecting people portraying certain characters to resemble those characters in, at least, superficial ways is perfectly reasonable.

        I mean, if you don’t care, fine, but he’s being oddly rude about it, and I’m not sure why.

        If you read the thread, I’m finding Wright’s absolute “Don’t even talk about it” fanaticism a little odd, and out of character.

        Odd.

      • Zippy says:

        I just don’t think that colorblindness is a good or useful trait to have …

        Liberalism has always been about reconstructing reality to make certain facts disappear, and thus treating blindness to various true facts as a virtue:

        http://whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2007/05/equality_listmaking_and_degree.html

      • The Deuce says:

        To be honest, while I think Vox goes too far with his racial reductionism, and tends to attribute things purely to race that aren’t purely the result of race, I don’t really think Wright’s attempt to deny the reality of races in favor of tribes works. It seems obvious to me that race is a real thing that exists independently of what tribes people are in, even if it has a strong influence on it.

        Obviously black people are black, and white people white, because of different shared ancestries for instance. And it’s not just skin color. Black people noticeably have curly hair which is invariably black, whites have mostly straight hair of varying colors, East Asians have pointed eyes, etc. This isn’t surprising. If a group shares one genetic trait because of shared ancestry, of course they will share others. It’s not like I can have one ancestry with respect to one trait, and a different ancestry with respect to another one. My ancestry is my ancestry after all.

        In fact, there’s not a single genetically determined physical trait that doesn’t vary by race. Height, facial features, skeletal build, musculature, susceptibility to certain diseases, etc. All of these things vary on average by the same races that skin color does, and hardly anyone denies that this is due to racial genetic differences.

        As for IQ and various behavioral traits, while we can’t demonstrate directly that there are genetic differences between races like we can with immediately visible physical features, we DO know that these things have a significant genetic component from studying individual families within a race, and since every genetic trait that we CAN see directly varies by race, it stands to reason that the genetic traits we can’t do too.

        Anyhow, my point to all this is just that race is an obviously real biological phenomenon, and that while it doesn’t matter in the sense of determining a person’s ultimate worth, it does matter in the sense of being a real thing with real-world effects.

        And the concept of tribes, while also describing something real, doesn’t capture the biological facts I listed here. On the contrary, it depends on them, because race is very observably one of the big factors that determine what tribe a person tends to put themselves in. Look at just about any cafeteria in the world, and you’ll see that people of the same race tend to gather together and feel comfortable in each other’s company, even if they didn’t know each other before and weren’t in the same tribe. Hell, I’m married to a Japanese woman, and it’s still obvious that this is the case, and that she feels more comfortable in a crowd of other Japanese ladies than in a mixed-race crowd. And the same is true of white guy husbands, who tend to congregate in get-togethers of Japanese and Japanese-American families.

        So, to be frank, I don’t admit that John is right about this. I think he’s denying and refusing to think about something that is objectively real.

  2. Ilíon says:

    If you read the thread, I’m finding Wright’s absolute “Don’t even talk about it” fanaticism a little odd, and out of character.

    Not really. There are certain things that he simply will not think about … and he does tend to get rude when pushed on those things. And, regarding this particular subject, like just about everyone who has been marinated from birth in the premises of “liberalism”, he holds to certain approved positions that he will not critically examine, lest badthink.

  3. By the way, I do agree with him about the specific example of “The Martian”. For one thing, I’m surprised anybody would even notice tech guys standing in the background of scenes – who bothers to pay attention to the races of extras? For another, of the main characters, the races and sexes weren’t particularly unusual – the smartest guys and leaders on the Earth side of things were all men. The head of NASA was white, the guy in charge of the ARES programs in general was Indian, the guy in charge of ARES 4 specifically was white. Then we have the press girl and a satellite watcher on the female side. Yeah, Rich Purnell was black, but for one thing he was an aerodynamics grunt worker. For another, it was just a single character.

    This is also one of very few times I think a diverse cast actually worked in the movie’s favor. It helped drive home the idea of the whole world getting together and doing their best to help this lone man in danger.

    • Zippy says:

      People who freak out about smart and capable characters of a particular race or sex are as stupid and inhuman in their anthropology as people who freak out over lack of diversity in same. Reflexively anti-PC nonsense is as nonsensical as the nonsense which it exactly mirrors.

  4. Syllabus says:

    …I can believe one of two things.

    I’ll take option 3, Alex: because of the degree to which race, ethnicity, and culture are so densely intertwined in most (minority) populations, the effect that race has on group IQ differences is hard if not impossible to determine.

    Now, if I had to guess, I’m inclined to think that the difference is due to culture rather than race. I’d cite, for instance, differences in IQ between poor whites in Appalachia and, say, the average Midwesterner who lives a little farther west in comparison to, say, the differences between black kids who grew up on military bases in West Germany and the average inner city black kid. (This is basically the point that Tom Sowell makes.) Also instructive is intelligence differences, not across cultures, but across times — e.g., black education levels in the 1950s and 60s as opposed to today.

    • But when you correct for poverty levels, whites and east Asians will still win out on the IQ front.

      That’s my whole point – you’re just disputing a premise, which is that the statistics are remarkably consistent.

      I did a post awhile back where I linked to a few of the polls. Give me a bit and I’ll bring in the links.

      This is what my post is about – you can say all that, but my lyin’ eyes tell me differently.

      • Syllabus says:

        But when you correct for poverty levels, whites and east Asians will still win out on the IQ front.

        This would be a good argument if I had claimed that the difference-making causal factor is or is reducible to poverty. But I didn’t. It’s culture. The relevant sort of cultural ethic (hard work, devotion to self-improvement over self-gratification, and similar traits) occurs more often in European and east Asian cultures than it does with black culture in the US, but you’ve got some explicitly African (specifically Igbo, IIRC, but don’t quote me on that) cultures in which it also occurs, as opposed to the sort of native African-American subculture. The fact that these cultures and subcultures have a huge degree of overlap with racial groups makes it difficult to determine what precisely is playing the causal role. I suspect genes have something to do with it, but less so than culture does.

        That’s my whole point – you’re just disputing a premise, which is that the statistics are remarkably consistent.

        Nope. Not disputing that at all. I’m disputing the causal attribution “the statistical difference is due primarily to race“. That there are group differences is fairly uncontroversial. What precisely explains these group differences is a related, but distinct, question.

      • Okay, thanks for clarifying.

        You might be right, and you sound a lot like Wright. Note, though, that this still means that colorblindness is unwise to say the least.

        Also note that this:

        The fact that these cultures and subcultures have a huge degree of overlap with racial groups makes it difficult to determine what precisely is playing the causal role. I suspect genes have something to do with it, but less so than culture does.

        Doesn’t actually contradict this:

        The other thing I can believe is that somehow, what people identify as “race” normally corresponds in some ways to actual groups of people who share a lot of the same characteristics, including appearance, intelligence, and physical ability, among other things.

        …So I don’t really think we’re too far apart.

      • Syllabus says:

        Note, though, that this still means that colorblindness is unwise to say the least.

        There are at least two things you could mean by “colourblindness”. If you mean “ignoring group differences and traits”, then I would concur that this is an untoward attitude to take towards reality. If you mean “not imputing group characteristics to every person of a particular group you meet”, then I would disagree sharply. All else being equal, this is a moral imperative. There are contextual and prudential situations where this breaks down, but on the whole I would hold to it. (Also, because Wright is (and I am) to a great degree an individualist as far as I can tell, I suspect that’s what he means when he says “colourblindness”. Content of a man’s character and all that.) I suspect you mean the latter.

    • …Although, come to think of it, your premise may be similar to Wright’s. If you can make that case go for it, but keep in mind that my MAIN point – colorblindness is a defect and looking at the colors of people’s skin can, in fact, tell us real facts about the world – isn’t actually affected.

      • Syllabus says:

        Low income whites outscore high income blacks on the SATs, first off:

        I don’t — and didn’t — dispute that. I’m talking about the gaps between poor whites of a certain subculture and middle-class whites of a different subculture, not between poor whites and poor blacks.

  5. It’s my own fault for getting bogged up in all this, but note that my original point is really that colorblindness is a flaw, and noticing skin color is sometimes useful, and there is certainly nothing wrong with hoping that actors look reasonably like the people they’re portraying.

    As for it being about subculture…well, I don’t know. Africa being what it is compared to Europe and Asia being what they are seems to cautiously be in tension with the idea that race has nothing to do with it. But, maybe.

    • Syllabus says:

      As for it being about subculture…well, I don’t know. Africa being what it is compared to Europe and Asia being what they are seems to cautiously be in tension with the idea that race has nothing to do with it. But, maybe.

      I would be inclined to say that it has more to do with long periods of relative cultural/political/societal stability. Europe after the fall of Rome wasn’t too much different from Africa today, I suspect, but Europe now has got a good 1300 years of continuous civilization going on there, even with prolonged periods of unrest. There were some (not many) African civilizations of varying degrees of sophistication, but they didn’t have a period of continuity anything like that which Europe had. Also, Europe had uniting influences (eg Christianity) that Africa didn’t. Most of Europe is also waaaaay more hospitable in terms of climate than most of Africa. And the list of differences goes on.

      Does this mean race has nothing to do with it? No, because culture is an outgrowth, to some extent or another, of biology. But more/less hospitable environments can do wildly varying things to people with fairly similar biology. I’m not saying there’s no biological element, just that there’s no good way to tell whether there is.

      and there is certainly nothing wrong with hoping that actors look reasonably like the people they’re portraying.

      On that, we agree entirely.

      • See, this civilization to intelligence theory now sounds like Vox Day! You’re going through the spectrum here.

        I think we agree on most of this stuff, actually, and the parts where we disagree are pretty much areas I’m still fuzzy on.

        I do, however, think Wright was going a step farther than you. When you say that colorblindness – of the latter type you mentioned, which I hold to – is a virtue, that’s one thing.

        But when you start telling somebody to shut the Hell up because he points out that it impacts realism when the cast doesn’t look at all like the people they’re supposedly portraying, even in superficial ways…

        That goes beyond “wise” to “too far out there”.

        Thank you, this has actually been helpful in trying to understand where he’s coming from anyway.

  6. Syllabus says:

    See, this civilization to intelligence theory now sounds like Vox Day! You’re going through the spectrum here.

    Well, no. Vox is apt to say people are uncivilized or what-have-you based on what looks to me like a univocal conception of what civilization constitutes. What I mean by the term is just a certain, high amount of (complex) cultural continuity. What Vox seems to mean is “Anglo-European culture”. Having lived in various types of cultural milieus, I’d much rather live in the Anglo-American type, but that doesn’t keep me from denying a certain amount of continuity in cultures I happen to dislike. I think there are better and worse civilizations because there are better and worse cultures; Vox thinks (as far as anyone, including he, knows what he thinks) there is one civilization properly-called because there are better and worse cultures, and the rest is barbarism to one degree or another. We differ, as far as I can tell, in what we take civilzation to comprise.

  7. Jeffrey S. says:

    Hey Malcolm — I don’t drop in often enough to read and comment on your own blog. I think you have the better arguments here, especially compared to Wright, but you might already remember that I buy into the idea that race is real and that racial differences are real.

    I’m not sure what “Syllabus” is trying to say in response to you — for example, he’s wrong about Vox and civilization (Vox would definitely say East Asians — Japanese as one example — are civilized people.) He’s also just plain wrong about race and IQ — with the exception of one old study that had a small sample size (the infamous German military base study) most IQ studies consistently demonstrate that whites of ALL income groups outperform blacks. Meaning you can take an average white kid from Appalachia and they will have a higher IQ than the average black kid from a middle-class to upper-class black family from the suburbs of some big city.

    For all the gory details on race and IQ, you can’t beat the “Jayman” (who is himself half-black):

    http://www.unz.com/jman/jaymans-race-inheritance-and-iq-f-a-q-f-r-b/#poverty

    He has all sorts of great links on his website. He also goes nuts when people mention ‘culture’ because as even “Syllabus” has the good sense to acknowledge, culture has to come from somewhere (it doesn’t just emerge from the ether) and where it evolves from is from individual groups of people — i.e. races.

  8. Syllabus says:

    “Even” me. How sweet!

    Or rather, “even” “me”. The quotation marks are always a nice touch. I don’t know precisely what you’re trying to accomplish by putting my handle in scare quotes. It’s not much skin off my back, but it only makes you look petulant. You’re welcome to act like as much of a little girl as you like, but I’m not going to pay attention if you persist.

    As clarified above, income groups weren’t my main concern, so saying that “income groups don’t adequately explain the difference” is a wonderful counterargument to the argument that income differences account for group IQ differences. This is a counterargument that I cleverly sidestepped by never making that point (though it’s entirely possible I was unclear).

    Yes, culture has to come from somewhere. And yes, at least part of it comes from biology. But it’s also shaped by historically contingent events — the Christianity example — environment –Europe is much more suited to producing stable agrarian communities than a lot of places in Africa; the places that were so suited did, at one point or another, but they didn’t last for reasons that (as far as I am aware, and I am of course not an historian) are not well-established — and other such things (the amount of major inland waterways in Europe relative to its size as compared to those in Africa is, I suspect, relevant, but again — IANAH).

    That of course does have a great deal of effect on group biological differences, but absent a good causal attribution to some specific genetic or epigenetic markers, statistics regarding group differences are very interesting, but not (in my view) determinative in that way.

    As to what Vox thinks: yes, I may very well be mistaken as to what he thinks. I haven’t paid serious attention to him since… well, since his mentions of that simpering fop Scalzi passed from mockery to “this blogpost that was quite obviously some very stupid satire was literal and I am treating it as literal (or am I?)”-level obsession. I was going by recollection. If I’m mistaken, then, well, I’m mistaken.

  9. Quick answer as to why “American blacks” track as group when, in fact their racial backgrounds are either typically mongrel (for any American who’s been here more than 4 generations) or wildly disparate: cultural assimilation.

    Go back and take a look at Daniel Moynihan’s 1970s (IIRC) expose on the American Negro family and then read Thomas Dalyrymple’s Life at the Bottom. Both would appear to be about the same “race” and share the exact same pathologies but Dalymple is writing about chavs — what the U.S. call poor white trash.

    What they have in common is the cultural standards and expectations set for them. Black Americans and lower class British whites are indoctrinated by the numbers in grievance mentality, and welfare dependency.

    For another example of the difference between cultural indoctrination and race, check out Sherman Alexi’s “Absolutely True Diary of a Full-Time Government Dependent, then go look up the economic statistics for Amerindian tribes who were recognized as “real” Indians and those who were forced to sink or swim as “just Americans.”

    John is right: the bugaboo of faux races not only generates hatreds and distrust where left to itself, none would exist, but blinds the truly well-meaning to people suffering from real injustices.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s