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August 4, 2007
Racism = Bad, right?
But I suspect that many a person out there
looks at the perennial problems of black
people in the United States along with
the difficulties of the nations of South
Africa, and deep in their hearts -- and
sometimes not so deep -- they believe
that black people are struggling under
the weight of some genetically inherited
(Dec 10 2007)
Let's think about Alternately, you could
how you would make just look at this one:
the case againt this.
(1) The difficulties of Africans and
African-Americans are different,
related only through history.
(a) Sub-sahara Africa
has major physical There's a left-wing
disadvantages: argument that it's
still reeling under
o few good harbors and poor river the cultural damage
transport -- it's of the colonial
rough and mountainous terrain period.
that drops off rapidly near the
coasts: impassible rapids and There's a right-wing
waterfalls are common (they have claim: "Africa did
no Nile or Mississippi). better under colonial
rule than without."
o the warm and wet equatorial
climate is ideal for growing I don't know what
parasites, notably the malaria- evidence there might
carrying mosquitos be for either.
At present I'd
tend to side with
Note: need to compare the lefties...
to India, South China,
Indonesia, etc. But then, maybe
the record of
(b) The problems of African-
Americans are certainly not
difficult to explain as
o racist treatment
o a sense of hopelessness
because the racist
treatment is well-known I sometimes wonder
if there might
o continuing shock from even be a private
traumatic historical fear even among
events -- slavery, the black people that
"civil rights" battles, the "racial
the 80s crack epidemic inferiority"
(CIA-assisted?) theory has some That fear
truth to it. could only
"It's a fact, some of our people
don't know how to act ... Can't
do anything without some fool
actin' up / You start to believe
that black folks are savages but /
before you do, allow me to say /
that in the old days we didn't
act that way ... "
Paris, "Days of Old"
(2) The biology behind the
"racial inferiority" theory
is very shakey.
(a) There isn't really
much genetic difference
between American blacks Expecting skin color
and whites, i.e. to correlate with
"race is a social intelligence is like
construct". expecting hair color
Note: Howard Cosell's
American blacks are
the result of a
program is only An incorrect counter-argument
superficially I've heard (NY times
plausible. editorial): evolution takes
too long to expect the
slavery period to have any
impact on genetic make-up.
But selective breeding programs
work faster than evolution:
that's the whole point.
confused about their
effect on plant lines?)
I think the real difficulty
is that "animal husbandry"
experiments usually take
place without the
the subjects with their own
(One might as easily argue
that southern slave masters
made poor breeding stock...)
(January 30, 2011)
Jonathan Marks, an anthropologist at
University of South Carolina, makes the
point that in Japan, where Korean's are
a discriminated-against minority, they
score ~15 points below the Japanese, This suggests that
but in the United States, Japanese the low scores of
and Koreans score roughly the same. Black Americans are
the result of their
minority status, not
because of it.
(b) my guess: the biology
behind all of the
"biology" theories is These days
fairly shakey. we're in love
explanations This is one
for human reason I suspect
behavior. there may be
a fair amount
racism out there.
(3) Question: what is the
economic mobility like My guess: it's been
of lower class white stalled out for
people? several decades.
If so, the impression
that whites are better
at "improving their lot"
may be mistaken,
a hold-over from an
earlier era when social
mobility wasn't a myth.
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