From Tom Simon:
The piece [about how culture does not come merely from genetics] is directed towards those who have lately been much in evidence on this blog, who think that Culture X is always and necessarily superior to Culture Y, because the people of Culture Y are genetically incapable of learning the habits that have made for a high degree of material success in Culture X. This idea is hogwash, and is the very definition of racism.
This is an unfair comment for a number of reasons. To wit:
- It assumes that the original posters were equating Culture X with superiority, when as far as I saw nobody was doing so…except for them.
- To be fair, it is true that somebody attempted to equate race and genetics with culture. Alas, the entire response is a red herring. The “Why” is a philosophical question, but besides the point. What matters is whether or not it is true that certain cultures will have more or less problems assimilating with certain other cultures.
- Racism only makes sense when applied to individuals. Whether or not certain groups tend to exhibit certain behaviors on average is either true or not true. It becomes racism when you believe that an individual person is inferior to you just because of their race.
Let me elaborate. My great-grandmother lived in mob territory. When my grandmother – her daughter – and my grandfather were going to get married, she was initially very worried because my grandfather was Sicilian.
This was an eminently reasonable thing to worry about. Sicilians in the New York area tended to have mob connections. As it turned out, my grandfather did not, but one would be a fool not to worry. And when my great-grandmother discovered he did not, she withdrew her objections.
This is not racism. Racism is learning he’s a good guy, his family’s made up of good people, there is nothing at all for her to be concerned about, and her hating him anyway because he’s Sicilian.
This a long-winded way of saying that pointing out that certain immigrant groups acted certain ways has nothing to do with racism. The worst it can be is wrong.