Some Brief, Friendly Advice About Race And Racism
So you've got some new, controversial opinions about race! You're afraid to talk about it in real life, though, because the grownups always start yelling. Well, I'm not going to yell at you. That'd make me a hypocrite, since I was just like you not too long ago.
Maybe you heard someone respectable cite a whole bunch of stats on black crime, immigration, etc. that sound pretty damned convincing. You don't consider yourself a racist, you know slavery was terrible ... but can't we just admit that certain people are committing all of the murders and collecting all of the welfare?
Alright. Before you go any further, all I ask is that you take a few minutes and ...
Agree That We Don't Want To Hurt Anyone
Virtually everyone suggesting you "get realistic" about race also insists that they harbor no malice. ("I'm not a racist," "I have nothing against minorities," etc.) You've known since preschool that it is wrong to mistreat another individual based on their skin color, religion, whatever. So let's start there, the premise upon which we all can agree: Mistreating people is bad.
It really seems like that should have made the formal commandments list.
In fact, anyone who disagrees with that isn't worth bothering with (that's an example of what modern scientists refer to as "a piece of shit"). That's not you. No, if you're having doubts, it's probably because you don't see why acknowledging differences equals hate. Is it hateful to notice that your best friend's genes gave her green eyes, pale skin, and a nice singing voice? So why couldn't someone else's genes give them brown skin and a tendency toward unemployment?
I used to say the same thing, word for word. But ...
Recognize That You're Reading A Sales Pitch
If a guy in a blue shirt materializes behind you at Best Buy and screams that the TV you're looking at is incredible and that he has one just like it at home, you know he's not making idle conversation; he's trying to sell you a TV. That doesn't automatically make everything he's about to say a lie -- there might be some great reason the goddamned screen is curved -- but you know he has an agenda.
Likewise, no writer, commentator or YouTube personality carefully crafts a tower of statistics on high immigrant crime rates or low black IQ on accident. They are trying to sell you on a certain way of thinking. Individual numbers you're seeing might be correct, but they have also been meticulously chosen to lead you down a certain path. So ...
Always Ask About The Endgame
Your source for the big pile of black crime statistics will say that the mainstream media ignores the "inconvenient" truth about race. And how, they ask, can data be evil? My answer to this clearly rhetorical question is, "When it's stripped of human context." This is why, right off the bat, you should always ask, "Even if all of your numbers are true, what do you propose we do about it?"
Among "race realists" (as some call themselves), there is a spectrum of answers. On the extreme end is ethnic cleansing of society until only whites remain (the position of white nationalists like Richard Spencer).
"I said 'peaceful ethnic cleansing.' What more do you want?"
At the other end, they "only" call for reducing government benefits/immigration (as seen in the book The Bell Curve), figuring that making life more difficult for the genetically inferior races will discourage them from breeding. But most will avoid the question. They'll say something like, "I don't know, but the first step is being honest about it!" or "I'm not advocating anything, I'm just sharing objective data!"
They're dodging for a reason. History has taught us that behind the curtain of "using data to figure out which race is best" is usually an intent to inflict real suffering on actual human beings. They are trying to get you in the back of the limo without revealing the destination, because they know you'd object.
You are a decent person. We've established that. But to remain decent, you cannot let a shroud of cold numbers obscure a pile of cold bodies.
Don't Let Them Brush Off Centuries Of History ...
There's this weird thing us humans do where we get bored with correct information and demand incorrect information as a change of pace. In an argument it's phrased as: "Oh, here we go with that old excuse again! Right out of the old leftist playbook! We've almost filled in the Racial Equality Bingo Card here!"
This is usually in reference to something that has been repeated a lot because it happens to be true. "So what did the doctor say?" "Oh, the same garbage about how I need to cut down on the fried food and fentanyl. He's like a broken record, that guy!"
In this case, "race realists" will roll their eyes at centuries of slavery and then another century of laws specifically designed to make it impossible for blacks to get the same education, jobs, or leadership positions as white people.
No one wanted to march and get their ass beat and arrested for kicks.
What you learned in history class tends to focus on the broad strokes (restricted voting rights, segregated schools), but it's impossible to fully wrap your head around how utterly cut off the targets were from any routes to success. It took the form of tens of millions of petty, frustrating everyday obstacles these people -- these human beings -- slammed into the moment they attempted any kind of personal or professional improvement. If your "race realist" insists those obstacles have been left in the distant past, they are the ones intentionally omitting "inconvenient" data.
... Or Let Them Pretend That History Has Stopped
It's the day-to-day stuff that's easiest to overlook. For example, probably 70-80 percent of good jobs are won through networking -- simply knowing somebody on the inside. (Disclosure: I got this position partly because I knew the guy who held it before me.) Now consider how impossible that task becomes in a society in which A) white people held literally all of the good jobs, and B) blacks were not allowed to live in many white neighborhoods or join white social clubs, churches, or really any institutions in which people might meet and converse.
Wherever humans would hang out and make professional connections, learn of job openings and close business deals, blacks weren't allowed in the room. That's not a metaphor; they physically weren't allowed.
And when they did manage to get a little wealth, that's when shit really hit the fan.
Meanwhile, managers overwhelmingly love to give jobs to old classmates or fraternity brothers -- so a world of white managers and segregated schools means lots of doors slammed in a lot of black faces. They weren't allowed to make the social or professional connections it takes to advance. Their children were thus relegated to poor neighborhoods with crumbling schools and high crime rates -- often as segregated from the white upper classes as their parents were during Jim Crow. It's a self-sustaining cycle, and it was absolutely designed to be that way.
To hand-wave all of that away (including centuries of Europeans ravaging Africa for profit -- this is a pattern you see around the globe) and insist that there must instead be inherent flaws in African genes that keep them poor is bizarre. It's like an arsonist standing on the ashes of a victim's house and asking why they haven't mowed their lawn yet. "And don't drag out that old 'My house was burned down' excuse! Have some self-respect!"
Watch Out For Double Standards
If your new race realist friend doesn't brush off the toll of slavery or European colonization, they may say that's proof of white superiority -- why weren't the Africans advanced enough to stop us? But if the principle is that the taking of goods by force is proof of genetic superiority, then they surely have nothing to fear from black crime. After all, theft and violence can only be inflicted on an inferior race by a superior one, right?
I mean, clearly the superior race wouldn't need to devote an entire fearmongering section of their "news" site to it ...
But this is an example of the double standard they'll hope you don't notice. A theft of a wallet by a black assailant is proof of an inherently immoral race that must be culled, while the theft of a billion dollars by a white CEO is a misstep that deserves probation and a fine. A murder in the street by a black assailant is proof of a corrupted genetic line; several million murders by a white dictator is boring history to be scoffed away because facts apparently have an expiration date. ("Oh, here they go playing the Hitler card again! Call Godwin!")
Remember That Prejudice Is Automatic, While Empathy Takes Work
In the course of their completely detached, unbiased analysis, approximately 100 percent of race realists discover that, in a shocking coincidence, the race they happen to be a member of is one of the Good Ones. Weird, right? The truth is that prejudice against people who look and sound different from us is hardwired into the human brain -- it's a leftover tribal instinct. Racial prejudice isn't the bold, analytical choice; it's the animal default.
And like poop-flinging, it's something we can overcome.
The "white genes are superior" sales pitch is seductive specifically because humans tend to grab information that affirms what we already want to believe. It will feel like logic, this process of reducing real men, women, and children down to points on a line graph, a series of troublesome problem to be "solved." You can start thinking that hiding the most crucial data from yourself -- specifically, the fact that these are living, breathing, thinking, feeling humans -- somehow makes you smarter.
If you want an example of genes affecting behavior, there you go. Your every instinct is to dehumanize people who don't look like you, to turn them into numbers, monsters, or cartoon characters, to pick out a select few to hold up as the Good Ones. Watch your race realist long enough, and they'll drop the mask -- they'll let slip a snide racist joke or reveal that they only get upset about sexual assault when it's black-on-white.
This is, in fact, humanity's greatest flaw, genetic or otherwise -- a natural impulse to choose tribalism over a far more prosperous world in which everyone has an equal chance to contribute. I wouldn't suggest breeding or murdering that trait out of the population, both because that seems like a Catch-22 and because I wouldn't have made the cut myself. I know from experience that talking works.
Don't Be Afraid To Get Your Own Numbers
Regardless of where on the spectrum your race realist rests (from "Genocide" to "Cut Their Food Stamps"), ultimately, they're starting from the premise that society has gotten too colorblind, and we need to correct in the other direction.
As any middle-aged white guy waving a sign this last year would be happy to tell you.
To debunk this idea, I could dump enough data here to crash your browser (in fact, some would argue that even attempting to boil an argument like this down to something that can be read in a few minutes is futile and counterproductive). But I promised to keep this short, and if it was any longer, the only people who'd read it are the ones who don't need to. So let me give you a snapshot:
* Blacks are three times as likely to be searched during traffic stops as whites ... but less likely to have anything illegal in the car.
* Whites are more likely to abuse illegal drugs than blacks, but blacks are far more likely to be arrested for it.
* Blacks get sentences 20 percent longer than whites charged with similar crimes
* Black children are perceived by adults to be both older and less innocent than white children -- and unsurprisingly get punished more harshly in school.
You're never too young to get screwed by someone else's racial baggage.
* In one study, 5,000 test resumes "ere randomly assigned either a black-sounding name (such as Lakisha Washington or Jamal Jones) or white-sounding name (such as Emily Walsh or Brendan Baker) to imply the applicant's race ... Resumes with white-sounding names received 50 percent more callbacks than those with black names." They found that merely having a "white" name on a resume was a boost equal to an additional eight years of work experience.
* In another study, white men with a criminal conviction were more likely to get a call back on a job application than a black man with a clean record.
* Yet another study found that, "With only one exception (the most affluent Asians), minorities at every income level live in poorer neighborhoods than do whites with comparable incomes." In other words, it's not just about poverty; the accomplished black dentist lives in a worse neighborhood than a white one.
You could argue that where you choose to live is purely personal choice, except no, it absolutely isn't.
* Black and Latino home buyers have been charged higher interest rates and given more "subprime" loans than whites with the same credit scores.
* In the decades after slavery, whites brutally lynched more than 3,000 blacks for reasons that ranged from "Accused of killing a white person, so why bother with a trial" to "Just for the sheer hell of it."
If all of these cold numbers bore you -- and remember what I said in #3 -- let me end with the story of one such black man, named Sam Hose. He was accused of killing a white man, and it was later determined to be self-defense ... but the mob didn't feel like waiting for due process. I'll let Daniel Silliman tell you what happened next:
First he was chained to a pine tree at a place called Old Troutman Field, outside the city of Newnan, which is about 40 miles southwest of Atlanta. Then his ears were cut off. Then he was stabbed several times, blood spurting to cheers from the gathered crowd. Then his fingers were cut off, severed at the joints.
His genitals were also cut off.
Then he was set on fire.
'Now he was twisting around the tree,' wrote one man who was there. 'Now biting at the bark of the pine, jumping and springing and twisting and fighting for every inch of his life.'
The local paper reported that Hose tried to pull himself up out of the fire with his fingerless hands. The chain that held him snapped, and he fell to the ground. His body was again hacked at with knives, but he wasn't dead, so Sam Hose was pushed back into the fire ...
Because this was America, a Christian country, the Sunday crowd that killed Sam Hose was coming from church. More than 500 came from nearby Newnan. Hundreds came from Palmetto, a city slightly to the north. Word of the in-progress lynching reached Atlanta right as people were leaving their morning worship services. According to historian Philip Dray, the news sparked 'a mad rush of worshippers to the train station seeking the swiftest possible passage' to the lynching.
Between 1,500 and 4,000 people would eventually show up to the scene. The crowd -- this product of superior, civilized European genetic stock -- hacked up bits of the chain, tree, and Hose's corpse to take home as souvenirs.
His knuckles would later appear for sale at a local grocery store.
On your race realist's spreadsheet, that's a single death -- insignificant in the grand scheme of things. But if you want all of the data, you have to factor in the very real human pain and terror and despair, generation after generation growing up believing that following the rules gets you nowhere, that the guys with badges are just another gang.
Ignore that, and you'll wind up succumbing to the same tunnel vision that allows the descendants of the lynch mobs to take to the internet to complain that the descendants of the lynched don't have their act together. You want to get "realistic" about race, there you fucking go.
Sorry, I guess I was yelling there.
David Wong is the Executive Editor at Cracked. His new book, WHAT THE HELL DID I JUST READ, is available for pre-order now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, iBooks and Kobo.
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