Here's my question:
Can you debunk those numbers up there without Googling them?
You're not a racist, right?
Good. So, I've been thinking about this a lot since the internet puked a bunch of white nationalist factoids in my face a while back. It was stuff like ...
* Black crime rates are drastically higher everywhere, even in places with no history of slavery, institutional racism, or European colonialism, such as Ethiopia and Liberia.
* Blacks score lower on average on every intelligence test ever devised, and are far more likely to show criminal or antisocial personality traits.
* Only 5 percent of black people say they "often" experience discrimination, and 30 percent say they "never" experience discrimination. Among whites, those numbers are almost identical. In fact, 43 percent of blacks say that the reason they struggle is "lack of motivation to work hard" (only 30 percent of whites will say this about black people).
* In Sweden, immigrants from Africa and the Middle East have a crime rate up to 500 percent higher than native citizens. The same is true in Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, and the UK, from the limited data available to us -- those governments actively suppress even the gathering of such statistics.
* Muslims around the world overwhelmingly say that homosexuality, abortion, and even drinking alcohol are all morally unacceptable, and that women should "always" obey their husbands -- openly rejecting progressive American ideals at every turn.
* Muslims around the globe also report bitterly unfavorable opinions of Jews, say that they do not make friends with non-Muslims and overwhelmingly believe it's unacceptable for Muslims to marry outside the faith -- all of which make it impossible to assimilate into Western society.
That's a small sample of the list. The people who call themselves "race realists" can whip out volumes upon volumes of this stuff on command, complete with colorful graphs. As we recently mentioned, they often refer to such info dumps as "the Red Pill" that will wake any reader up to the reality that minorities are the proverbial murderous robots swarming around white people's coma pods. Thousands of teenagers are reading material like this at this very moment, or listening to it on YouTube, all of it packaged as "The truth THEY don't want you to know!"
Here's my question:
Can you debunk those numbers up there without Googling them?
Let's say a kid -- maybe your son -- came up to you and dumped those links at your feet because he heard his favorite YouTube celebrity JonTron quoting them (and JonTron himself appears to be parroting a Red Pill factoid dump he'd recently encountered). How do you react?
Besides wondering what a "JonTron" is.
For most of the people reading this, merely seeing those stats gives you a nauseous feeling. These aren't just ugly ideas; they're genocidal. They bring to mind the sound of screaming minorities dragged from homes and the smell of humans in furnaces. It's a physical, gut-level fear of an ancient defeated monster bursting up from its tomb.
So do you scold the kid, ask where he heard such awful things? Would you tell him that this "JonTron" character sounds like a racist Nazi and forbid him from ever watching again? Do you walk away confident that those labels will be sufficient to shut down those wayward thoughts, secure in your ruling that this is a Forbidden Subject?
Because I think that's wrong. Dangerously, disastrously, fatally wrong.
In case it isn't obvious, saying you forbid a teenager from anything tends to backfire.
That's how we've been handling it -- either smearing the sources or shutting down the discussion as forbidden unless conducted entirely in bumper sticker platitudes about equality. It worked for a while. It doesn't anymore. That's because ...
... even a shitty one. You get that nauseated feeling I mentioned above because decades of socialization trained you to have it, taught you that even discussing the subject of racial superiority or inferiority makes you a monster. You were inoculated against it, in the same way society has been inoculated against toothbrush mustaches.
For lots of today's youth, the vaccine didn't take. Their gut doesn't turn when they see those stats at the top. You already know this if you've spent even five minutes reading YouTube comments or the r/The_Donald subreddit. It has been my observation that for the average kid raised in the free information era, their guts turn only in the presence of two things:
This is why their most important cultural voices came to the defense of JonTron and PewDiePie after their respective racism controversies. Racism is bad, they say, but censorship is worse. I realize that to readers over a certain age, those are both nonsense names. If so, you should know that among teenagers, YouTube personalities matter much, much more than TV or movie stars. The top five most famous celebrities among people age 13-18 are all YouTube hosts. PewDiePie -- the most famous one who was recently accused of making anti-Jew jokes -- has videos that got more viewers than the Seinfeld finale. The world has changed.
If everyone who saw this video formed their own country, it'd be bigger than the United Kingdom.
In my opinion, inoculating that age group -- turning the rejection of bigotry into an automatic reflex that requires no further explanation -- is no longer possible. They were raised in humanity's first era of total information transparency, in 4chan's "everything goes" culture. The more you tell them not to look into a subject, the more they want to do it. Racist shitheads are taking advantage.
Do you remember the day your parents sat you down and taught you how to masturbate? The day Dad showed you how to browse the best porn sites ("Remember son, even if you have the video muted, the LiveJasmin ads can still make noise") and Mom told you what to look for in a novelty butt plug?
I don't! For me and every single person I know, these were things we had to find out for ourselves, because they were Forbidden Subjects and us kids were not to be corrupted by them. "A good boy does not think of such things," they said. "Your curiosity is temptation, indulging it is sin." Their position has always been that giving real sex education to teenagers will encourage them to have sex. Speaking frankly about porn, fetishes, self-pleasure, or even sexual technique is giving the impression that it's within the realm of things teens are allowed to do (and we certainly can't have that).
Why, if that happened, then before you know it, we'd have exactly what teens have been doing since all of forever.
And yet 100 percent of those teens did discover those things, because the urges and curiosity were natural, and thus there will always be others (often with grossly cynical motives) willing to satisfy them. In my day, it was older kids with porn magazines. Now, The Forbidden is always a click away. The grownups in my life didn't give me answers about sex, so my worldview was shaped by pornographers and profiteers who told me what I wanted to hear (which boiled down to "Females only exist for male pleasure").
The exact same thing is happening to young kids who are curious about race. If you don't talk to them in a blunt, frank way that addresses the ugly parts, someone else fucking will.
Specifically, this guy will.
If you're nervous that I haven't rebutted the stats up top yet, I wrote a whole thing last week intended to be a brief intervention for any young person feeling the potent high of superiority that comes with the racial Red Pill. (There's an anti-feminist version, too -- Matrix symbolism seems to appeal to a particular type of insecure person.)
That's only skimming the surface, but the easy, broad rebuttal to any race realist talking point is that no matter how they cherry-pick their statistics, the end result of this new multicultural world is that standard of living has skyrocketed along with integration, and both war and violent crime have been falling for centuries. Those carefully selected Red Pill statistics are intended to answer the question "Why is society falling apart?" but the premise itself is laughably wrong. Humans are on average living longer, healthier, safer, cleaner, better-educated lives than at any point in our more segregated past.
If you tell me you have evidence that some races have the genetic markers of murderers, I'll point out those same genetic markers can be found in CEOs, war heroes, and world leaders. It all comes down to how impulses are controlled, harnessed, and nurtured. Conversely, I bet if I look into it, I will find multiple instances in which white people have in fact dabbled in violence -- some of whom even adopted "being white" as their cause. What inherent flaw in whiteness drove them to it?
Was it the higher propensity for sunburns?
I'll then say that focusing on racial differences isn't some new, cutting-edge thing. It's the same ancient tribalism that caused one caveman to bash in the skull of another due to a dumb animal impulse to protect his own genetic line. Because humans are social organisms, our evolution was based not on which individuals survived, but which tribes. So for a long time, the tribes that won were those that most fiercely fought the others. Skip forward tens of thousands of years and you have babies that will discriminate based on skin color right out of the womb, because fierce tribalism used to be an advantage.
Used to be.
Us humans existed as filthy, angry, short-lived beasts right up until we learned to cooperate across tribal lines. The more we cooperated, the more we succeeded. The differences didn't go away; we just learned to live with them.
The fact that Europe was incredibly multicultural when it was really getting its shit together seems to get conveniently forgotten.
But the tribal impulse is still inside us, and a big pile of "evidence" that you are great merely by virtue of your skin color hits like a shot of goddamned heroin, especially to a teenager already struggling with insecurity and their place in the world. The Red Pill is a relief, the lifting of a burden. "That nervous feeling you get when you see someone who looks and sounds different than you? That's a good thing! Embrace it! It's a result of you being more awesome than them! I hereby absolve you of ever having to do the hard work of bridging that gap."
For a kid who has been told that their race is the equivalent of Harry Potter wizards or Star Wars Jedi, declaring it a Forbidden Subject only solidifies it in their mind. Remember, they were presented this information as "The Facts THEY Don't Want You To Know." As you were inoculated against racism, they are inoculated against any attempts to quarantine ideas. Calling these ideas dangerous would be like my dad telling me, "Oh no, son, these magazines here are far too erotic for you. Only grownups can handle poontang this hot."
"Do you kids still say 'poontang'?"
Yet today I see the same tactics used against racism that the grownups used to try to inoculate me against illicit sex. "Discussion of this subject must be limited to shaming the enemy. Digging into the details is legitimizing the racists, treating it as just another opinion! To even acknowledge that there is complexity or nuance in the discussion is playing right into their hands, damn it! Punch them in the face!"
So they will criticize talk show hosts for having discussions with accused white supremacists, but the choice is not between giving these people a spotlight or denying it to them. They have their own spotlight -- curious teens can find these guys on YouTube or wherever they operate. It's a matter of whether or not you want to let them have that spotlight all to themselves. Me, I'd rather a curious young person see Tomi Lahren debating Trevor Noah than listen to her speaking unopposed on her own show.
"But I'd rather they not hear her at all!" you say. That's not one of our choices. Not in 2017.
The Flat Earth Society
If Flat-Earthers are still hanging around, you can bet racism isn't going down without a fight.
Sure, when the mainstream information flow was controlled by three TV networks and a few newspapers, you could prevent certain ideas from even raising their heads, stomp them underground. Those days are gone. (And good riddance -- remember that gay rights was one of the issues that used to get stomped.) But that means we have to engage all ideas head-on.
Racists, misogynists, anti-vaxxers, conspiracists -- when we opened up the gates of human knowledge, they came rushing in along with the rest. They came armed with piles of very convincing facts, carefully chosen and filtered from solid sources. You must be prepared to counter them with facts of your own while realizing that they have gotten very, very good at this.
A steady all-day diet of arguing on the internet may poison your soul, but it'll sharpen your debate skills too.
"But debating them is treating their position like it's mainstream and legitimate!" The country already considers those positions mainstream and legitimate -- look around you. Attitudes have definitely gotten better since the Bad Old Days, but still only 14 percent of whites support the "Black Lives Matter" movement, and only about a quarter think blacks are treated unfairly in the workplace or when applying for loans. Americans have a lower opinion of Muslims than nearly any other religious group, and about half of Americans (49 percent) think at least some Muslims are "anti-American." The majority of Americans don't think that holding negative views of blacks, Muslims, or immigrants makes someone "a bad person."
I'd say that approximately zero of those respondents think of themselves as bigots. Calling them Nazis hits them exactly as hard as when some PETA protest calls you a murderer for eating a hot dog.
Unless you're already in PETA, all this kind of thing does is remind you that you're running low on ground beef.
I think the dumbest mistake we make in teaching morality is when we give people two categories -- Good Actions and Bad Actions -- and say that only a bad person tries to explore the line between the two. Yet, how many of you are saying that right now? "Oh, so you think the subject of whether racism is bad is 'complicated'?!?"
All morality is complicated. A set of binary rules leaves you totally unequipped to make decisions that don't neatly fit into either category. I found that out the hard way, after a childhood of "All sexual pleasure outside of heterosexual marriage is bad, period." If all a kid has is "Racism is bad, period," that leaves them utterly defenseless against the Red Pill, a pile of facts that is always packaged as "This won't make you racist -- just educated."
It also does nothing to give that kid context when they hear the grownups say, "Come home before dark. I don't want you walking in that bad neighborhood!" and notice that the bad neighborhood also happens to be the black neighborhood. "Oh," says Mom, "we don't avoid it because it's black; it's because it's a high-crime area." So it's okay to act differently toward a race as long as it's not based on skin color, but on the race's behavior? "What? No! Have you been listening to that JonTron again?"
"Seriously, YouTube has a million gaming channels. Pick a good one."
Me, I want kids to see the Red Pill and immediately grasp what the authors have done. ("Hmm, that WordPress link looks pretty sketchy ...") I want them to know all of the tricks. I want them to know how to examine and process their own prejudices, to understand that it's okay to be curious about this stuff, and that smarter people have fallen into the same trap. If our side is right, then knowledge will protect them from hate. Declaring a subject forbidden doesn't protecting them from jack shit. Not anymore.
When I reached adulthood, I had come to a clear conclusion: "Everyone does weird sex stuff, it's simply not polite to talk about it in public." That is the message we're sending right now about race. "Everyone knows some races are inferior, but polite people don't say it out loud." This is why white nationalists say that leftist talking points on race are nothing but "virtue signaling." Seriously, it's their favorite phrase.
Thanks, Urban Dictionary. Sane and concise, as ever.
What other conclusion will a kid draw once they notice the grownups saying all of the right things while also never considering buying a house in a black neighborhood? Or when in one breath we tell them racism is nothing but easily dismissed bullshit from hatemongers, but in the next say things like ...
"She's got her father's temper!" (So you're saying personality traits are handed down by genes?)
"Japanese animation is so much more beautiful and emotional than Western. Likewise, BBC dramas are complex and nuanced in a way that Hollywood could never dream of." (So you're saying some cultures are set up to produce superior outcomes?)
"European colonialism has utterly destroyed Africa." (So you're saying that mass immigration from an incompatible culture can destroy a society?)
"Golden retrievers are the most gentle, loyal dogs you'll ever see!" (So you're saying that personality traits within a species are the result of breeding?)
At that point, your platitudes about all people being created equal will be accepted with a nod and a wink. You will have a generation of kids (most of whom are not yet old enough to vote -- this is not about the last election) who will only express their real opinions behind the mask of internet anonymity.
Hell, they'll even tell pollsters that of course they'd never vote for a white nationalist and then surprise you on election day (though in France, the 18-24-year-olds are already the most fierce supporters of right-wing extremists -- they're just a few years ahead of our curve). The kids will say all the right things -- the very people feeding them the Red Pill have taught them to. But then, at some point in the near future, their actions will blindside you.
Talk to them. Now, before it's too late. Actually, that's Step Two. Step One is listening.
Here is last week's five-minute racism intervention. Also see David's 5 Helpful Answers To Society's Most Uncomfortable Questions. David Wong is the Executive Editor at Cracked. His new book, WHAT THE HELL DID I JUST READ, is available for preorder now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, iBooks and Kobo.
Also check out 'How Am I Supposed To Explain This To My Kids?!' (Explained).
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