Posted by: captaindoctor | January 16, 2008

Conversations with Students About Racism, An Introduction

Teachers have tremendous power in shaping a child’s vision for his or her own future and for how he or she perceives the world around them. Of these visions few are as important as shaping a child’s sense of connectedness to diverse groups of people around town, the country, and the world. There are many things that teachers can explicitly do to shape a child’s outlook on life. Teachers can teach students about diverse cultures and ideals, they can have international food days, and they can bring in a variety of guest speakers to talk about diversity. However, much of what a teacher does to send messages about racial equality and harmony is transmitted subconsciously and implicitly. These powerful messages come in the form of body language, eye contact, giving positive attention, and other signs of non-verbal affirmation or rejection. When an educator is not aware of this it can be dangerous because a teacher can inadvertently and negatively affect the outcome of a student’s performance and not even realize that he or she is doing it. Teacher expectations of students do affect students’ actual performance so negative biases that teachers hold, before they step into the classroom, tip the scales one way or the other for certain students or groups of students. This is exactly why diversity education should be required for all pre-service educators, and this is why colleges and universities should make sure their programs are taught by the best faculty, so that teachers learn how to identify and control their hidden biases.

Among other things, diversity studies enable new teachers to recognize that it is impossible to completely transcend their own culture and upbringing, and that being bias-free is not possible. In my view one of the primary objectives of diversity education classes is to help teachers take stock of and to catalogue their own biases. Once one is aware of one’s own predispositions then one can work with them to control how they play out in the classroom. Without this level of consciousness teachers’ negative biases can work to adversely impact the future of a child, and that child can do nothing about it.

Teaching about diversity is no easy task. A great deal of the pressure for the success or failure of these classes falls directly on the professor. This is because he or she needs to find the right balance between comfort and discomfort in the classroom. The professor should want to challenge peoples’ commonly held misconceptions about race while at the same time not pushing students too far beyond their safety thresholds. Research has been done on the effects of arousal and stimulation on learning and attention in humans. This work provides guidance for educators because it suggests that lessons that are either very dry or very provocative inhibit learning because too much or too little stimulation is counter productive. The research indicates that there is a “zone” of optimal learning. This zone will differ from person to person but educators should be away of this as they seek to create curricula that will challenge students, but not so much as to force them to raise their emotional defenses. When one’s guard is up, learning is significantly slowed or halted all together.mig

When an educator can push a student to critically evaluate their long held assumptions, and do it in such a way that it doesn’t put the student on the defensive then the teacher can illuminate a disconnection between the student’s beliefs and behaviors. When this happens a window can open and learning can occur. Teachers call this coveted experience a “teachable moment.” Consider a student who has held onto the notion that black people are genetically inferior to white people. Show this student that people, black and white, have nearly the same genetic make-up, more than 99 percent the same. Show them a clip from a movie, bring in a guest speaker, and read interesting books and articles. With this information in hand the student might conceded that there is a problem with what they believe. This new knowledge can create an internal disconnect where the facts of the situation overpower long-held misconceptions and room is made for new understandings and attitudes.

Few are comfortable talking about race, especially in classrooms where multiple races are present. Successfully teaching about diversity therefore requires educators to actively work to build and maintain trust, comfort, and a level of safety in the classroom. There are a number of things that educators can do to build and maintain trust, comfort, and openness in the classroom. This paper will attempt to shed light on how to best approach four topics that often surface in diversity lessons where there are white students present. These comments and questions when not handled properly by instructors can impede students, both black and white from seeking to be involved in future class discussions about diversity. The four topics are as follows: 1) This is not about blame, it is all about acknowledgement, awareness, and open conversation. 2) Why do you keep talking about institutionalized racism and how do I understand this? 3) What does racism look like today? And 4) Why can’t I criticize black people without feeling like racist?

This focus of this series of posts is on teaching racial diversity to pre-service college students. It also focuses primarily on teaching white students about diversity. This is not to say that white students are the only ones who can benefit from a better understanding of how their biases can inadvertently negatively affect their students. Also, it is not to say that non-white students do not themselves suffer from racial prejudices and biases. What is true is that overall white students are the least aware of their hidden predispositions and the unearned privileges that life has afforded them.

Coming soon – Part II: “Not About Blame, it is All About Acknowledgement, Awareness, and Open Conversation”


Responses

  1. I wholeheartedly applaud everything stated in this post.

    An observation: overcoming one’s own racial prejudices is not only an intellectual matter but also involves moving towards a state of mind that is free from estrangement, or the feeling of “otherness”, in the course of interactions with members of ethnic groups that are not one’s own. This requires not only classroom learning, but also direct immersion in the everyday life of diverse cultures. But classroom learning would be valuable in provoking reflection and re-evaluation of assumptions that undermine good inter-ethnic relations.

    (I’m not a teacher but I have a lot of personal experience of cultural diversity.)

  2. Thank you John for your thoughtful and valuable comments. I agree with you, overcoming racial biases can best be facilitated by using a variety of approaches that are not limited to classroom instruction alone. In fact, I would say that full immersion programs (as you describe) are more effective in the short and long term in changing attitudes about “other people”. I have read about a number of schools that have tried such things successfully. However, I believe that this option exists practically for only a small number of schools. This is because schools are more segregated now than they were back in May 17, 1954 when Brown vs. The Board of Education was signed into law (J. Kozol in “Shame of the Nation”, 2005). Directly connected to this fact is the reality that neighborhoods are also more segregated than ever before. Statistically speaking very few people in America will step out of their houses in their bathrobes to get the paper while bidding a “good morning” to a neighbor who is a different color. For many youth in my area (up state NY) to find opportunities to intermingle with students from another race or background they will have to drive between 30 minutes and 3 hours. This distance can make such exchange programs impractical for many schools. I am certainly not saying don’t make efforts to facilitate these bridge building programs, all I am saying is that they can be hard to make work and sustain.

    On a much larger scale there are bussing program designed to import diversity to schools that do not have any. This is much more than a motivated teacher who wishes to expand the horizons of his or her students. This requires the moral fortitude of an entire community to vote to allocate money to such an endeavor. A notable bussing program that operates as we speak is the METCO program in the Boston Public Schools. The program is small in comparison to the number of kids in the BPSs who want into it, but by all reasonable accounts it is working to connect people in healthy ways who would otherwise never have met each other.

    If nothing more a teacher could show the movie American History X to a class. This movie nicely shows the development of a friendship between to inmates in a jail, one African American and the other a Skinhead. The two of them end up forced to work side by side in the laundry room and during their time together both learn that the stereotypes that they have been taught about the other are all wrong. Each is forced to reevaluate their view of the other. In the end each have an epiphany of sorts. In my view it is a good movie for illustrating the value of getting to know the people you fear or mistrust the most.

    In conclusion I would return to your initial point that effective education about cultural sensitivity and diversity cannot happen in the classroom alone. Books, lectures, and guest speakers are good places to start, but students need opportunities practice and test what they have learned. Educators who use a variety of approaches ultimately reap the most rewards. Thanks again for reading the post and for your comments.

  3. This is because schools are more segregated now than they were back in May 17, 1954 when Brown vs. The Board of Education was signed into law (J. Kozol in “Shame of the Nation”, 2005). Directly connected to this fact is the reality that neighborhoods are also more segregated than ever before.

    Interesting… I didn’t realize that first part, and I think I under-appreciate the segregation of neighborhoods. I mean, I understood that inequality is striking, and disparity is increasing, in recent years – but I had no idea that they were worse than before Brown. (!!!)

  4. If nothing more a teacher could show the movie American History X to a class. This movie nicely shows the development of a friendship between to inmates in a jail, one African American and the other a Skinhead.

    LOL. Then after that bit of fantasy come back to reality and inform that White child if he ends up in prison he will become some black’s punk UNLESS he joins a prison gang for whites.

    It’s amazing flat earthers like you folks actually exist. RACE is a biological/genetic fact. The races are different astronomically so. THough you don’t need to be a scientist to notice racial differences just eyeballs.

  5. What is true is that overall white students are the least aware of their hidden predispositions and the unearned privileges that life has afforded them.

    Hence White flight. Most White’s KNOW the differnces that exist between the races. Blacks and Mestizos move into White neighborhoods because they are clean, safe, and educationally conducive. White folks move out of darkening areas for the opposite reasons.

    Accept the fact: White man IS civilization. White students have absolutely NOTHING to feel guilty about other than their current Government.

  6. Teachers can teach students about diverse cultures and ideals, they can have international food days, and they can bring in a variety of guest speakers to talk about diversity.

    How true that is. Teachers can teach about the various cultures of the European man. The White race has an enormous amount of diversity in it. So much so that it dwarfs the others. But White children, sadly, aren’t taught this. They ARE taught to be happy, stupid, faceless consumers just like their teachers are and taught false ideologies like multiculturalism/multiracialism is good and race doesn’t exist (anyone with a double digit IQ or more gets a good chuckle over this one)… homogeneity=bad. Yeah tell Japan that one, lol.

  7. Anaplat,

    There’s nothing wrong with treasuring the European cultural heritage. Go for it! But don’t forget that the cultural leaders who have built “Western civilisation”, from Shakespeare (and before) down to the present day, have always based a large proportion of their success on being open and inquisitive about what other cultures have to offer. Without that open-minded attitude, there wouldn’t be much western culture to speak of. Every field of western arts and sciences is riddled through with insights from other cultures. If being proud of our culture means celebrating the principles that have made it successful, then we should be celebrating love for diversity as one of the foremost of those principles. Lucky for us, the builders of the west weren’t so arrogant they refused to learn from the rest of the world. Nothing kills a culture like xenophobia.

  8. I think we’ve found our first bona fide racist. Reinforcing socio-economic disparity and prejudiced self-righteousness is a myopic solution.

  9. I think we’ve found our first bona fide racist.

    Ah the ad hominems… Losers always resort to them when their arguments fall flat.

  10. “Western civilisation”, from Shakespeare (and before) down to the present day, have always based a large proportion of their success on being open and inquisitive about what other cultures have to offer. Without that open-minded attitude, there wouldn’t be much western culture to speak of.

    The “base” you speak of comes from the Wetern Man’s soul and intelligence. Do you honestly believe black Africans contributed anything to the genius of Shakespeare, lol?

    It is true that Western man is the most open minded. But egalitarian philosophies and ideologies (religions really) are destroying Western civilization the world over.

    I don’t think legalizing 30 million ILLEGAL mestizo’s in America woould add anything of value to America’s heritage which is Western, because it is Western aka WHITE.

  11. Reinforcing socio-economic disparity and prejudiced self-righteousness is a myopic solution.

    Denying the genetic reality of race and racial differences is stupidity. Flat earthers you are…

  12. Anaplat,

    Start by looking up the definition of a racist. Here it is for you: “A belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.” Now look over what you have written so far and ask yourself, “am I a racist”? Let me know what you discover after you have looked inward some.

    In the meantime this “flat-earth” person has some more arguments for you to think about.

    Race is both a biological and a social construct. However, it is far more a social construct than a biological or a genetic one. I fact, the genetic differences that determine skin color make up less than one tenth of one percent of our entire genetic sequence. People from around the world do have different features and this variability is reflected in their genetic make-up, but by in large most humans’ genetic construction is almost identical. This makes sense since from a scientific perspective there is only one race on earth, the human race. Anaplat you point out that there are visible physical differences between the people of the world (skin color, average height, facial features, and so on……) but that is as far as it goes. These subtle genetic differences between people do not account for any differences in intelligence, over-all athletic ability, or moral fortitude. Any one who still believes that White people are genetically superior to the other people of the planet is at best woefully uneducated and at worst a card carrying racist. So who are you? If the only book you read on the subject was Herrnstein and Murray’s Bell Curve then you need to do more. That book is faulty because it is based on poorly done research. Even Harvard, Herrnstein’s university, distanced itself from their work.

    While race is not so much a genetic reality is a very real social phenomenon. Racism is alive and well in America and elsewhere. Your comments make that point all too clear.

    One last point from me for now. You say that White people have nothing to feel guilty about. This is the only comment that you have made so far that I agree with. I do not feel that guilt is a productive component of a conversation about race and racism. Do I think that all White people should be punished or made to feel guilty for being White? “No”. However, I think that White people in the USA (for starters) should be able to say, “Yes it is true and I acknowledge the fact that I have unearned advantages that are based solely on my skin color”. With only rare and isolated exceptions there isn’t a White person out there who can say honesty that their skin color has stood in the way of them attaining the good life. Anaplat, imagine this: You are a white person (only a white person would write this: Accept the fact: “White man IS civilization.”……….couldn’t be farther from the truth by the way). Now imagine yourself as a person who is not White, is your life going to be harder than it is or easier? As a person of color will it be harder or easier to buy a house, get a loan, buy a car, get a checking account, go to Wal-Mart, move into any neighborhood you want, find a doll to play with that looks like you, file a complaint, find a barber……you get the picture right?

    Stay tuned Anaplat I have some more interesting things for you to ponder. They are coming soon.

  13. Now look over what you have written so far and ask yourself, “am I a racist”?

    I believe I am a racist because (by your PC definition) I think the White race is superior in many ways and in many ways NOT so superior. Take the phenomenon of egalitarianism and equality in the pyches of White people today. All around them is proof positive of superior Western civilization yet they cling to silly ‘equality” doctrines. They get these mainly from television, media, and their churches.

  14. I fact, the genetic differences that determine skin color make up less than one tenth of one percent of our entire genetic sequence. People from around the world do have different features and this variability is reflected in their genetic make-up, but by in large most humans’ genetic construction is almost identical.

    This is such a weak argument that has been lambasted so often it gets tiring. Earthworms have 70% of the dna characteristics as humans do. Chimps have 97%… Does that make them equal or even relatively so? Of course not. The fact is that RACIAL DIFFERENCES are genetic and are not some silly Bosnian “social construct”.

    Skin color, I agree has little to do with race. In fact there are North African Caucasians who are darker than some negroes. So what? Morphological characteristics like skin and eye color follow geographical boundaries according to climate.

  15. While race is not so much a genetic reality is a very real social phenomenon. Racism is alive and well in America and elsewhere. Your comments make that point all too clear.

    Whoa, now you are being judgmental and prejudice. Racism is a natural and healthy “feeling” if you will. You equate “racism” with “hate” that your television has programmed you into salivatating to like Pavlov’s dog.

    My “racism” is only about love; love for my own kind FIRST. Listen pal, you seem to ignore the fact that Western Man is the minority in the world. Blacks or Mestizo’s have NO complaint when the birthrate is skyrocketing in their Third World populations thanks to Whitey’s medical advancements. I don’t look forward to my children waking up in an America (world) that hates them thanks to politically correct bigots who want to blame everything on my kind because of OUR skin color!

    Back to “racism”. I can solve the racism problem in America. Total, geographical separation by race. That is the only solution. Fortunately nature, man’s nature, is already doing that. Most folks like to be with their racial kin be they black, white, or brown.

  16. “Yes it is true and I acknowledge the fact that I have unearned advantages that are based solely on my skin color”.

    I wish I got a dollar everytime I read this line of crap. Instead of writing “imagine this or that” state ONE example where being White has earned “unearned advantages”? Please don’t give me examples like our derelict President. He was born into riches 99.9% of White folks are not.

  17. You are a white person (only a white person would write this: Accept the fact: “White man IS civilization.”……….couldn’t be farther from the truth by the way). Now imagine yourself as a person who is not White, is your life going to be harder than it is or easier?

    How is it farther from the truth? You know what I mean by that? In America WHITE NEIGHBORHOODS are the safest, cleanest, and most attractive for educational standards. Non-White areas are no-go zones for White people and bizarro world war zones for those who abide there.

    If I were non-White living in America life is MUCH easier when it comes to corporate affirmative blaction/EOE hiring for postions that should go to the most qualified NOT the color of their skin. But we all know that most qualified usually means WHITE dude.

  18. As a person of color will it be harder or easier to buy a house, get a loan, buy a car, get a checking account, go to Wal-Mart, move into any neighborhood you want, find a doll to play with that looks like you, file a complaint, find a barber……you get the picture right?

    DID you ever suspect that maybe SOME banks have somethng called “credit checks”. I have them done everytime I take out a loan. Guess what? Bad credit probably means NO loan.

  19. That book is faulty because it is based on poorly done research. Even Harvard, Herrnstein’s university, distanced itself from their work.

    THey distanced themselves because the work, number one, is factual and blows apart the myth of intelligence equality in the races.

    I wonder why, NATION WIDE, black students still perform lower than White students. It must be that “institutional racism” Jesse keeps yapping about, lol.

    Nope. It’s genetic. No amount of headstart or no child left behind will bring the black up to a white mans intellectual standard norm.

  20. Captaindoctor,
    I’ve marked Anaplat’s recent spree of comments as spam, although trolling would be a more appropriate description of the comments. Offensive rants, vitriol, and hatred of that degree are not particularly welcome here, I should think.

    If you disagree, let me know – I can return them – but I think that he should be encouraged to “cool it” if he wants to be allowed to contribute comments here.

  21. […] Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr In following with Captaindoctor’s contribution to Migrations, it is only fitting that we take a moment to honor Martin Luther King, Jr., by […]

  22. My apologies for stepping on Captaindoctor’s feet on this one. I’ve restored Anaplat’s comments, as distasteful as they are.

    What bothers me is that such people take away from space for more thoughtful individuals. Perhaps if I had more patience for such people, it wouldn’t bother me. But, I digress…

    The bottom line is that Captaindoctor and I would like to emphatically state that:

    The managers of this site strongly condemn the comments of “Anaplat,” but in the name of open discourse have decided to reinstate him. It is our hope that his hateful and unenlightened comments will not stifle other, more thoughtful and intelligent postings.

  23. Why Do You Keep Talking About Institutionalized Racism and How Does One Understand This?

    One writer recently posted a series of comments to this website where the writer states a belief that African Americans are intellectually inferior to European people. The data they cite as “clear” evidence for this is: lower test scores, higher dropout rates, more dangerous neighborhoods, and higher incarceration rates. These statistics alone can usually be supported, but what cannot be supported is a connection between these disturbing trends and the cognitive ability of a group of people. The writer makes the same mistake that many others have made who try to explain what they see using only one lens, an ethnocentric lens. Far too many African Americans (and others) are still fighting what appears to be a Sisyphean battle when it comes to finding equal opportunity and treatment in America. There are many plausible explanations for why this may be so, but one is not tied to a genetic weakness or congenital cognitive shortcoming. What the writer of this post has not considered are the powerful effects of institutionalized racism on a group of people.

    Institutionalized racism is a hard concept for many people to grasp because for those who it does not touch its effects are largely invisible. Also, its effects are compounded over time, and in my experience people in general do not have good long term memories for such things. When thinking about the institutions that show preference with regard to race one must look at real estate, banking, education, marketing, sales, public relations, finance, governance, and law to name only a few. In the past these organizations acted openly and frequently to prevent minorities from participation in these endeavors. Today these organizations still show preferential treatments to certain people believed to be members of a certain race, but these actions are less frequent and more subtle in nature. This is an important point to bring up because often times White people will deny that our institutions are still acting preferentially. They base this on their observations which don’t included cross burnings on the bank lawn, stonings at the libraries, and Klan rallies at the department of motor vehicles. However, one is not likely to see today’s acts of hidden racism unless one is trained on what to look for.

    To try to better understand the cumulative effects institutional racisms on people please allow me to try this story, one that I believe to be a good parallel, one that for many may be easier to grasp. It might not surprise you to know that men and women see sexual advances by the opposite sex differently. More than 70% of the time when an unknown man makes an advance at a woman it is perceived by that woman as being an unwanted and disturbing sexual advance. When an unknown woman makes a sexual advance at a man the men more than 75% of the time perceive this as a good thing and they are pleased by it. Why do you think this is so? Are men so different than women? Why are men not so sensitive to this? Why are women so sensitive to this? If a woman comes up to me and slaps my rear and I get upset everybody will likely tell me, “Just get over it!” or “Stop lying, you loved it!” If I can’t just get over “it” then there is the perception that there is something wrong with me. If I slap a woman’s rear (more so a woman I do not know) she will likely get upset and telling her to “just get over it” will not likely work. Why is this so? The answer is this: Women have been subjected to discrimination, oppression, and violence since the beginning of time! Men have never been exposed to this for prolonged periods of time. So when a woman is objectified by a man it hurts more than when a man is objectified by a woman because for the women this is just another day in her life of being hurt, brought down, and reduced to nothing more than her secondary sex characteristics. Man has no enduring history of this happening to him and so a comment or a slap on the rear now and then does not hurt him, in fact he is likely to enjoy it because it is such an anomaly. The truth is that in most sectors of society men are favored over women. Significant advances have, and are being made, but this is still the reality for women in our society.

    Discussions about men and women are usually quite lively. In the past the above example has worked well to illustrate a point about the cumulative effects of being derogated by many different corners of society. Most people seem to be able to understand why a woman typically reacts differently than a man to being whistled at. They understand the reasons to be historical in significance. Educationally from this point it is not so much of a stretch to introduce African American’s situation. From here one can start to realize the significant effects and side-effects of prolonged oppression on self-esteem, self efficacy, and ultimately behavior.

    I know people who are White and who look at their lives and see that they had it rough. They were born into impoverished homes, raised by one parent, and swayed by troubling neighborhood influences, and yet they claim to have prospered in the end. These are notable accomplishments and I am always amazed by these stories of strength and perseverance. For these people it seems perfectly logical to say, “My life was never a bed of roses and look at me, I made my life what it is today. So why can’t you (African Americans) do the same?” In the absence of a clear answer to this question people will supply their own solutions, albi-them misguided and counter productive. When left without competent instruction one will often conclude that these “other” people are lazy and not motivated, that they like their current circumstances, or that they would rather take from the system than contribute to it. The truth is that there may be a few people who are like that, but this is the exception, not the rule. The vast majority of people want what most people want, a “good life”, and they want to work hard for it. When a White person uses his or her own life a rubric for judging a person of color’s life an error is usually made. The element that many people are not considering is the effect that race plays on ones chances of overcoming adversity. Racism goes to work on you the second you leave the womb. From the very moment your brain can process data from the world around you receive the messages that says, “You are not as good, you will not make it, you are second class citizens.” Most of these messages are not blatant; few come out and say them anymore (in the “old days” people used to say what they were really thinking. In some ways I feel like this may have been healthier for us all, to just say what was on our minds. Now many regularly use a new meaningless language that acts as a façade to accessing ones true feelings. We call this language political correctness). I find that my White people can significantly underestimate the cumulative effects of these powerfully negative messages. When people do this they commit a classic ethnographic error, they impose their way of life and their way of knowing onto another people, a people whom they say that they are trying to learn from and to understand.

    This error can be made by both White and Black people. I sometimes meet Black people whose lives to them have no connection to racism and its effects, or who didn’t feel their effects, or who overcame them. These people too will sometimes cast judgment on others who have not been able to overcome the effects of racism because they think to themselves, “Well I made it so why can’t you?” Statically speaking the vast majority of African Americans feel or have felt the suffocating effects of discrimination. We cannot allow ourselves to nod our heads in agreement when we hear a few African Americans speak out about “I overcame so why can’t you?” (For example maybe see Bill Cosby’s “Pound Cake Speech”) A preponderance of research indicates that these lucky few are the exception to the rule not the rule. All too often White people enjoy such talks given by Black people because they see it as vindication for all of their feelings and beliefs about the “other” Black people, not you “of course”. One person cannot and should not speak for his or her entire race, not that Bill was doing that, but I think many White people heard it that way because they liked what they heard.

    If one can understand why a woman might react in a certain way to a man walking behind her in a dark parking lot, then one can understand why an African American might be suspicious of a car salesman who won’t let them test drive a car they want to buy. The woman, because of the long history of abuse can reasonably fear the man in the parking lot, even though he is only walking to his own car. She doesn’t really know what he is doing, and there is good reason to be fearful, vigilant at the very least. In the same way an African American has good reason to wonder whether or not the car salesman lets his White customers test drive cars they want to buy. If people can connect these points, between men and women and Blacks and White, then they can start to understand why African Americans have such a hard time “just getting over it.” African Americans have a long history of being abused. Without training or specific experience (such as travel aboard) White people cannot relate to this concept. So rather than fight it or try to argue that it doesn’t exist I feel that they should just acknowledge it.

    To me institutionalized racism is enduring, cumulative, and subtle. The immense power of this type of racism cannot be brushed aside or ignored. It is simply not fair for anybody, Black or White, to imply that African Americans should “pick themselves up by their boot straps and move on”. This denies Black people of the reality that centuries of oppression and violence has robbed them of their ability to perceive success for themselves. Repairing such damage is possible, but it is a monumental task that will require many decades and generations of Black and White people working hard together to reverse these effects.

  24. These statistics alone can usually be supported, but what cannot be supported is a connection between these disturbing trends and the cognitive ability of a group of people.

    Sure they can… Black’s as a group have NEVER built a civilization. Never. Ever. You see pc bigots like some readers here can’t accept the documented facts that blacks and White folks ARE different. No amount of silly feminine hand wringing will change that fact.

    Sorry for spamming if by that you mean several posts one after the other, I apologize. And captaindude person try not to type a novel. It’s very boring and dry to read. Sum up your thoughts in one brief paragraph.

  25. This is an important point to bring up because often times White people will deny that our institutions are still acting preferentially.

    They are acting preferential to non-Whites, I agree. Institutional racism is more clap trap for liberal bedwetters who have an innate strain of self-hatred. I am amazed that White people actually fall into this brain-energy zapping quagmire for they have nothing to be ashamed of.

    In a REAL FREE AMERICA i could discriminate and not hire, say blacks or MEstizo’s, if I wished. But the snivel rights act took that away. Maybe next, they will take away freedom of association, and liberals will welcome this Orwellian/draconian nonsense because it makes them “feel good”. Women of both sexes they are….

  26. It is our hope that his hateful and unenlightened comments will not stifle other, more thoughtful and intelligent postings.

    Unenlightened? LOL, just because I believe in freedom and you don’t? All my friends are WHITE. Is that a crime now? lol!

  27. It is simply not fair for anybody, Black or White, to imply that African Americans should “pick themselves up by their boot straps and move on”. This denies Black people of the reality that centuries of oppression and violence has robbed them of their ability to perceive success for themselves.

    Fair? What does being “fair” have to do with anything? My God do you actually think people have a “right” to feel good or be happy?

    Yes blacks should get off their arse and take themselves up by the bootstraps. The fact that you make excuses for this implies that YOU have the racist attitude and blacks “need” your (our) help. Hundreds of years of oppression. Now that is funny seeing as blacks enslaved blacks to sell their slave to the highest bidder be they Arab, Jew, or Whitey.

    I know i know, it isn’t true because you didn’t see it on Oprah…

  28. This denies Black people of the reality that centuries of oppression and violence has robbed them of their ability to perceive success for themselves.

    Then what about the greater black on white crime? What about that? What about the media and their ignoring of the black on white genocide in Zimbabwe and South Africa ever since White’s there, foolishly, gave up rule?

  29. Some tidbits that might be interesting to discuss more, or explain, or debunk…

    (a) The suggestion that race or color dictates socio-economic status. Clearly this is a preconception of many, as witnessed by Anaplat.

    (b) Class mobility, and the obstacles that poor people (of all races) face in escaping their neighborhoods, discriminatory stereotypes, etc. In light of (c), African-Americans may have greater obstacles than Caucasians, however, including reduced access to quality education and to decent-paying jobs, and this could be explored as well.

    (c) Ethnocentrism. Perhaps an enumeration of the ways that this is detrimental to society, and the psychological basis for such prejudices, would be helpful at some point. Personally, I think that this is a natural trait borne out of tribalism. And, as Anaplat says, it feels natural, healthy, and even positive, to see only the strengths of one’s own culture, and debase the strengths of alternative cultures. We are, afterall, not so removed from our tribal mentalities.

    Of course those three are pretty ambitious (for me at least), and Captaindoctor still has the rest of this series of posts to publish!

  30. Tribalism is of interest to me in particular. My understanding of it as a phenomenon is only at a first-approximation level though, relying on indirect references to more learned scholars. For instance:

    According to a study by Robin Dunbar at the University of Liverpool, primate brain size is determined by social group size. Dunbar’s conclusion was that the human brain can only really understand a maximum of 150 individuals as fully developed, complex people (see Dunbar’s number). Malcolm Gladwell expanded on this conclusion sociologically in his book, The Tipping Point. According to these studies, then, “tribalism” is in some sense an inescapable fact of human neurology, simply because the human brain is not adapted to working with large populations. Beyond 150, the human brain must resort to some combination of hierarchical schemes, stereotypes, and other simplified models in order to understand so many people.

    I’m not well-read on alternative perspectives, but that makes sense to me.

    And, in tribalism, the logic follows that humans outside of our “tribe” are not “people,” or are at least inferior as people. Roughly 100 generations ago, we actually lived in tribes, where non-members of the tribe actually threatened our chances for survival, and this logic made sense then. Now, however, we live in nations, not tribes (and even in a global community). We’re co-dependent; and although we are each different, with some better in one metric or another, people within a given society work better together than against each other.

    In American society, this involves acknowledging that our “tribe” is large and exceedingly multi-ethnic. We may have no choice but to work with Dunbar’s number as a limit of the number of individuals that we can understand, but erroneous views of the remainder of our fellow citizens should be corrected.

  31. Captaindoctor’s analysis is most impressive. A few thoughts in his support:

    * Regarding institutional racism, one of the symptoms of this is the phenomenon known as “Driving While Black”. Phillipe Copeland describes it here:

    L.W.B. = Living While Black – Updated

    Phillipe comments in the same post:

    “One of the things that amuses me in 21st century America is the chorus of voices who claim loudly that racism is no longer really a problem. Blacks should just get over it and take advantage of their ‘freedom’ and acquire as much material wealth and social status as they can and then drop dead (this is the American way). This view is usually voiced by white Americans. This is my question, why should those who have suffered the least from the impact of racism, get to decide when it is over?”

    * Regarding Anaplat’s comments, the saddest and most revealing one was, “all my friends are white”. This stance shuts out any possibility of discovering a sense of common humanity with, um, most of the human race.

    * An appreciation for diversity obviously implies an acceptance that there are differences between different human groups. But whereas the racist sees differences as evidence for the superiority of their own group, the lover of humankind finds richness and wonderment in the differences. None of the differences are fundamental or make any one “race” essentially better than another, but differences do exist, and should be acknowledged and put in their proper perspective.

    * The first human beings are said to have come out of Africa, and the human race spread throughout the world by migration from the African homeland. So we are all Africans! In other words, what we have in common is greater than what divides us.

    * Going back to something Anaplat said, Shakespeare was one of the finest exponents of English rhyming poetry (especially sonnets). Indirectly, he got his skills from the Arabs. According to Wikipedia: “Classical Greek and Latin poetry did not use rhyme. Rhyme entered European poetry in the High Middle Ages, in part under the influence of the Arabic language in Al Andalus (modern Spain).[50] Arabic language poets used rhyme extensively from the first development of literary Arabic in the sixth century, as in their long, rhyming qasidas.”

    * “Western civilisation” got its main religion (Christianity) from Middle Eastern prophets. A lot of its mathematics came from India and from Islamic civilisation. The origins of modern scientific methods can be traced to the golden age of Baghdad. Great European philosophers like Thomas Aquinas owe many of their central ideas to a Persian, Avicenna (Ibn Sina). A large chunk of our heritage comes from China. What we call western civilisation is really just a subset of global civilisation. Considering ourselves to be separate from the rest of the world and superior, is plain ridiculous.

    * Picasso got a lot of his inspiration from African art. African-Americans pretty much invented modern popular music from jazz to rock, and white musicians like Elvis etc. etc., cashed in on what they learned from the Blacks. Innumerable examples of such cross fertilisations in the arts and sciences can be cited.

    * A significant proportion of present day Western wealth is inherited from the exploitation of slaves and colonial subject peoples.

    * To be ungrateful for that which is received from others is not civilised.

    * If Anaplat feels that “whites” are intellectually superior, he should be happy to demonstrate his own intellectual fortitude by being prepared to read longish postings without complaining of boredom!

  32. One other brief comment from me: regarding Anaplat’s comments on “White civilization,” and the inference that societies of more direct African descent are inferior for not having produced civilization – I would recommend that he read Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel. In it, Diamond pretty convincingly (to me) explains how the rise of civilization had nothing to do with ethnicity, but everything to do with geography.

  33. Dan,

    Concerning your comments on tribalism. It may well be so that the number of acquaintances we can comprehensively relate to is limited to a few hundred. But, if amongst those acquaintances there are representatives of various ethnicities, it is possible to get from them a degree of insight and identification with their group as a whole. This is probably roughly the same point that you are making about America being a “multi-ethnic” tribe. A close relationship with a member of a different ethnic group, especially marriage, can radically alter/dissolve narrow “tribal” identity.

  34. John,
    Absolutely. I think my concept of tribalism ties nicely into your original comment about immersion with other cultures/ethnicities, and Captaindoctor’s post on educating people where such first-hand experience is infeasible.

    And, as you note, it also reflects Anaplat’s comment that his views are related to “All his friends being white.”

  35. I think that this is a natural trait borne out of tribalism.

    Agreed. We are all “tribal” by nature.

  36. * Regarding Anaplat’s comments, the saddest and most revealing one was, “all my friends are white”. This stance shuts out any possibility of discovering a sense of common humanity with, um, most of the human race.

    THis is sad? You must hate White folks then. Politically correct bigots like this astound me. Human isn’t a race it’s a species. And some of the species I prefer to live apart from due to their inclination to violent crime and stupidity.

    I have all White friends because my area in which I abide is 95% white. I guess as far as you are concerned this MUST be remedied? Social Marxists like you want enforced integration. I say enforced because most people segregate (racially) naturally on their own. I dare say blacks prefer the company of blacks as white folks do of their own.

    End racism… separation of the races now!

  37. And, as you note, it also reflects Anaplat’s comment that his views are related to “All his friends being white.”

    It’s America and it’s a personal choice. This isn’t to say I have not had acquaintance with folks of other races. That is quite the contrary. I have worked next to many black and Mestizo people. I have found some of them very charming and likable. But I found many of them distastful too. When it comes down to it I prefer to live and associate with members of my tribe; the White race. Dont get me wrong. THe White race has its share of trash and stupid/evil people I would love to see cleansed from the gene pool.

  38. In it, Diamond pretty convincingly (to me) explains how the rise of civilization had nothing to do with ethnicity, but everything to do with geography.

    And who resided in those geographical locations? It is the people no doubt. It must really be a strain for people like you isn’t it? Everyday you wake up wondering if in some way you might have a dissident inclination or “bad” thought. God forbid if you are White and proud. That should be against the law. THat’s right it already is… I am so glad I shucked the yoke of political correctness years ago.

    The races are different. Blacks as a whole are less intelligent. ASians can be slightly higher. Does it really matter? Some say not. The fact still remains. Race will ALWAYS be an issue. Racism will ALWAYS be around in multiracial/ethnic states/nations.

    I believe for America to remain on top it must maintain its White majority. If that is lost then so is America. America was set out as a western nation. That isn’t anything hateful it’s just a fact. You really have to be a dreamer to think that a non-White majority America will retain its “staying power”. AS of today America is imploding dying really.

    Maybe White man should go back to Europe? I wouldn’t mind. But America is ours. The Amerinds had NO nation contrary to Hollywoods vision. Five thousand bands of looting, pillaging, killing, raping, cannibalistic savages makes not a nation. More recent archeological evidence proves that WEstern man was here first over 13,000 years ago. So if anything White man is America’s “native” not the “indian”.

    Either way you folks do bring is some valid points and I appreciate the responses.

  39. Picasso got a lot of his inspiration from African art. African-Americans pretty much invented modern popular music from jazz to rock, and white musicians like Elvis etc. etc., cashed in on what they learned from the Blacks. Innumerable examples of such cross fertilisations in the arts and sciences can be cited.

    Picasso was also a communist and his “art” sucks IMHO. Talk of REAL artists like Da Vinci or Leonardo or Rembrandt. So called “modern art” is garbage. It’s “art” for people with no talent. If an art piece needs to be “interpreted” it isn’t art.

    Black’s didn’t invent modern jazz although they played a big part in its sound and developement in America. The spirit of jazz goes back to the beginnings of time. It is the art of improvisation. I enjoy jazz. I would say 40% of the players in my CD collection are black. There is a difference in methodology between White and black jazz muscicians a different sound or “feel.

    Once again modern jazz wouldn’t exist without the white man. He is, after all, the inventor of the instruments played. Of course not all the instruments like the conga but the major instruments are his creation.

  40. If Anaplat feels that “whites” are intellectually superior, he should be happy to demonstrate his own intellectual fortitude by being prepared to read longish postings without complaining of boredom!

    Good point, lol. But I prefer short and to the point smaller replies not a proposition to Lichenstein or Ghettysburg Address.

  41. * “Western civilisation” got its main religion (Christianity) from Middle Eastern prophets. A lot of its mathematics came from India and from Islamic civilisation. The origins of modern scientific methods can be traced to the golden age of Baghdad. Great European philosophers like Thomas Aquinas owe many of their central ideas to a Persian, Avicenna (Ibn Sina). A large chunk of our heritage comes from China. What we call western civilisation is really just a subset of global civilisation. Considering ourselves to be separate from the rest of the world and superior, is plain ridiculous.

    The Middle East is comprised of mostly caucasians is it not? I believe Iran (Persia) is form of the word Aryan. Besides gun powder and spaghetti what “large part of our heritage” comes from China? Specious comments like that prove nothing. If anything China owes Western man everything from modern technology to the moral quality of cats and dogs as pets not dinner. :-)

  42. […] we’ve gone and gotten ourselves a hate-speech troll to comment on Captaindoctor’s post Conversations with students about racism. Here are some of the gems: My “racism” is only about love; love for my own kind FIRST. Listen […]

  43. I do not normally take this approach with people who I disagree, but I feel no more good can come from my interactions with Anaplat. The following message will shunt dialogue between Anaplat and myself, but it is my hope that others will continue to read, comment, and criticize my posts regarding this subject and others.

    Anaplat , can I be frank with you? You are a scary individual to me. You know why I think that? You are a living example of how a little bit of information can be worse than none at all. In my view you are not stupid. You present some elements of truth in a few of the things that you say (and I have read carefully all that you have written). However, the context of these few truths is distorted or lost entirely rendering your entire message meaningless. Furthermore, your ideas are outlandish, outdated, shortsighted, and clearly without credible scientific support. So I guess you weren’t sleeping through your entire high school social studies curriculum. At least you know who Picasso is. The trouble is that you missed something else, the most important stuff. You haven’t pulled your head out of the sand in a while. If you had you would have seen the rest of the world is changing around you. Have you not seen the tidal wave coming? The world is getting smaller not bigger. The people who used to live halfway around the world now live next door, in California and Florida there are more Spanish speakers than English speakers, if you send all of the illegal residents home the entire economy of the US will collapse, and a woman and an African American have a real chance to be the next president of the United States.

    In my view the idea of “race” is becoming more and more of a bogus construct. As more people inter-marry bloodlines mix, making it harder for the children of these pairings to say for sure what they are. If my dad is Black and my mom is White what am I, Black or White? I know a young person who is from a White Mother and an Asian Father, she will check-off Asian sometimes on the forms she must fill out and sometimes Caucasian, and no lawyer anyplace would challenge her on that. When these kids marry and have kids the next generation will be even more mixed. There are thousands of people who look Black but really are White and there are thousands of White people who are Black (if you follow family lineage). In the long run race will be a personal choice and nothing more. So you can put aside your “genetic superiority” garbage and try to justify your hate another way because probably half of the Blacks and Mestizos that you have met so far are really White. In fact you may have an African American or Mestizo grandparent that you don’t even know about. If that were a true story for you it would not be a unique one. If it were true would you hate yourself?

    Dinosaurs like you who still cling to outdated ideologies rooted in fear and misunderstanding block the way of the promise that is America. The future of this great nation as a business, industrial, cultural, and military leader rests on our ability to have citizens who can construct, play, and fight side by side. America is not heaven on earth but we are admired worldwide for what we do have in the way of giving hope and opportunity to all people willing to work hard. So what does this mean for you? It means there is no room for your kind anymore.

    Have you ever been to the American Museum of Natural History? My guess is not, too many bleeding-heart liberals, communists, and scientists all in one place for your liking. Some day, a day that can’t come too soon, school kids will walk past a glass case with a bunch of fools covered with white bed sheets. What’s left of your people will be in a glass case right next to Triceratops and the Dodo Bird. The plaque on the case will read, “White Supremacists, what they feared the most was change itself and as a result mighty evolution stamped them out.”

    You are a member of a fringe group held together by misguided, evil, and charismatic personalities. There is no second coming for you or for your fellow haters, in this life or the next (not that anybody knows if it exists). There will be no rising up, no reclaiming, and no insurrection for your ideas. Sure you and your people will never go away altogether. Small numbers of you will continue to buzz in the ears of good citizens by making the news, the daily talk shows, and the cover of the National Enquirer and Star Magazine now and then. However, in the end the courts both of public opinion and the law will send you back to your windowless, cold, and loveless sheds, or better yet in stripes and irons.

    You are stuck in another generation Anaplat. The ideology you cling to would almost be forgivable if you were your grandfathers age, but my guess is that you are younger than that, much younger than that. By holding on to these outdated and counterproductive notions you limit your own growth potential, spirituality, education, and economical prowess. You can also stymie the growth of others around you like your family (if you are a parent) or for your students (if, God forbid you are a teacher). You are dangerous racist because you can articulate and justify (however faulty and misguided) your messages of intolerance and hate.

    There may always be two sides to every story, but not every side is valuable. Love always trumps hate, good beats evil, and life wins over death. These dichotomies have more than one perspective, but one, in all but the rarest of cases, is better than the other. I am not all-knowing so I can make mistakes, but if I speak from a place of love, goodness, and life then I win my arguments by default over you. Anaplat, in the eyes of the world you lose because you come from the other side. A few will read your posts and say, “that’s my man!” but the vast majority will look at you like a rat in cage beckoning to be studied and analyzed so that we, our children, and our friends don’t end up like you.

    My desire in all of these exchanges is not to change your mind. I can’t expect to do that, you are too far gone. I think of us both as characters in a play and you are doing a great job at playing the narrow-minded and uneducated racist. I am trying to do a good job at playing the open-minded, liberal, tree hugging, people-person optimist. Nothing you can say will move me toward you, and nothing I can say will move you toward me. My hope is that the audience, the other people who might be reading this exchange, might get something out of seeing you, Dan, John, and me communicating. The audience will look at our characters and decide for themselves who is the protagonist and who is the antagonist. Personally, I believe that the crowd of people with whom you can feel supported espousing such rhetoric is getting smaller and smaller everyday and ours is getting larger.

    Thank you for energizing the conversation, but I feel like it is a waste of my time and mental energy to try to carefully craft further responses to your comments. Should you have something of merit to share in the future I may consider responding to you again.

    Even though I vehemently disagree with you I wish you peace and the prospect of freeing yourself from the hatred that you have inside of you. Also, thank you for strengthening my commitment to fighting the stain on society which is called intolerance.

  44. Anaplat , can I be frank with you? You are a scary individual to me.

    I am scary because you live in fantasy land. You care not for your race. I do. You think that there are absolutely no differences between the races. Your self-hatred oozes in statements such as “the world is getting smaller” or lies like “without illegal aliens the economy would collapse”.

    It’s amazing the stupidity of some people. All your assumptions are based on TV reality not real life. Illegal Aliens dont hold up the economy they are bringing it down. You provide no examples only opinion. You are scary my friend. You scare me because people like you are the supposed norm. Well, if you watch TV you, people like you, are the norm. To me you are abbie-normal. I could go on and on for pages and pages about the silliness and muddle comments you posted like “if you send all of the illegal residents home the entire economy of the US will collapse”… LOL… Where do you get this data from? I know… Your imagination. How come the Center for Immigration Studies has quite the opposite findings? Here are some facts you don’t want to know:

    Households headed by illegal aliens imposed more than $26.3 billion in costs on the federal government in 2002 and paid only $16 billion in taxes, creating a net fiscal deficit of almost $10.4 billion, or $2,700 per illegal household.

    Among the largest costs are Medicaid ($2.5 billion); treatment for the uninsured ($2.2 billion); food assistance programs such as food stamps, WIC, and free school lunches ($1.9 billion); the federal prison and court systems ($1.6 billion); and federal aid to schools ($1.4 billion).

    I could go on and on but why bother. This message board is pure entertainment. People like me are realists. You, sir, are not. I understand your frustration with the facts of life like RACE. But accept it: race is real and a proven fact. There are DNA tests to show geographic origin aka RACE. You can believe your zionist professor that race is a social construct, but, he is wrong. My 9 year old niece has a better cognizant understanding of reality.

    White folks, by and large, are superior. Non-Whites prove this claim as i have shown before. They love our culture, morality, and social norms hence they move into our hoods. Thus proving superiority. I don’t make the rules I observe them.

    Wake up and smell the coffee friend.

  45. The audience will look at our characters and decide for themselves who is the protagonist and who is the antagonist. Personally, I believe that the crowd of people with whom you can feel supported espousing such rhetoric is getting smaller and smaller everyday and ours is getting larger.

    Actually, people like me, are an ever growing minority. I say minority because true thinkers and achievers are just a minute section of the general populace. Most people are just idle consumers. One percent of one percent make the changes and are the movers and shakers.

    Get used to the idea. More and more young folks are waking to the social Marxist garbage god you pray to.

  46. Anaplat, in the eyes of the world you lose because you come from the other side.

    You really are an arrogant individual You “speak” for the entire planet? Sorry son you do not. You are an ever shrinking stain/blot on the white man’s soul. One day you will wake up and perceive the world exactly as I do.

  47. However, in the end the courts both of public opinion and the law will send you back to your windowless, cold, and loveless sheds, or better yet in stripes and irons.

    Ahhh.. the REAL hater finally shrugs his pretense. People like me should be locked up, aye? Oh, bedwetters like are a dime a dozen.

    I would love to see you dropped off in South Chicago, and if you survived, a ten minute stroll with our colored “equals” I would give you $10,000. I can imagine your eyes as you were dropped off right there in the midst of diversity you love so much, lol.

  48. God forbid you are a teacher.

    Bingo :-)

  49. In fact you may have an African American or Mestizo grandparent that you don’t even know about. If that were a true story for you it would not be a unique one. If it were true would you hate yourself?

    Sorry to disappoint but I took the DNA test and no non-White ancestry. That must stick in your craw. Take the test from DNAPRINT if you can afford $240.

    http://ancestrybydna.com/welcome/euro2.0/index.php

    Furthermore, your ideas are outlandish, outdated, shortsighted, and clearly without credible scientific support.

    In typical liberal fashion you are never specific. Which ideas are “outlandish”. My views on race and IQ or biological race? And please give us the “scientific support” you have. You never supply any because you know I am right and that is why you are scared to carry on this blogger debate/forum what -have -you. Sheep like you don’t have the nads for truth. You want big brother to carry you through life and tell you lies of “equality” and “institutional racism” because you have a streak a nihilist. I know because I used to think like you. But I took a big bite of reality sammich and saw dee light.

    Either way, thank you for being gracious enough to answer my posts. I think I will enjoy a German beer right now.

  50. Anaplat — if I had lots of spare time, perhaps I would engage with you further. However, there are clear signs that further discussions could go on interminably with very little progress. Life is short and I’d rather spend my energies where there is a better chance of positive outcomes. It appears that you have the virtue, at least, of honesty, and possibly as a result of this you will get feedback in future that will eventually push you out of the moral backwater you’ve chosen to inhabit. The racial attitudes you promote are of the kind that generate only bitterness, violence and war. You have been remembered in my prayers. I hope you discover a completely different philosophy to guide your talents, so that you may become a contributor to the wellbeing of humankind rather than an agent of mischief and discord. As mentioned above, I’ve decided it is best to withdraw from further discussion with you and this is my “goodbye”.

  51. As mentioned above, I’ve decided it is best to withdraw from further discussion with you and this is my “goodbye”.

    So shall I go ahead and ban this ignorant and hateful troll? (trogolodyte?)

  52. Captaindoctor — You are of course completely right about the world getting smaller and diverse peoples mixing more and more with one another. I’m clear about this because my own children are half-Chinese! Multiple ethnic identities are so common in New Zealand now that official forms ask the respondent to tick “the box or boxes” for “the ethnic group/s you identify with”. The oneness of humankind is central to my worldview. Nevertheless perhaps on occasion “racial” differences can be downplayed too much, with unfortunate side-effects. Respect for other human beings should not be dependent on sameness. Possibly there are groups that excel in particular ways and possibly there is a genetic component in the abilities that are present in these groups. For instance, I read a while back of research that indicates that Polynesians generally have a body type and constitution that is very well adapted to long ocean voyages. It would not be surprising if Australian Aboriginals have some inherited characteristics that help them with enduring harsh desert environments. Some groups of people seem to have a particular genius for trade, or for music, etc., and whether these special capacities are transmitted genetically or culturally or both, they represent real variations amongst different groups of human beings. A racist will point to these variations as justification for this or that group being “superior”. But in fact they are simply the outcome of the fact that nature endlessly produces variety through the processes involved in organisms adapting to their surroundings. Varying capacities exist because of the benefits they confer. When one looks at things from a global perspective, seeing humankind as a single body, different functions performed by peoples who are skilled in different ways all make contributions to the welfare of the whole. Emphasizing “sameness” too much can generating an expectation that everyone should be “like us”, which is insulting to the dignity and identify of people who in certain respects are not “like us”. But I must hasten to say that none of the differences is so great as to justify the idea that some races are basically more intelligent than others, or more inherently capable of being civilization-builders. Every human being has a remarkable range of adaptability. It can happen that a person of any race can be born in some remote village anywhere and end up doing something of world-shaping importance. The major significant mental attributes are present in everyone of every race. In short, a full perspective on humankind should recognize both its essential unity AND its wonderful diversity.

  53. Dan — re your last comment — I see no reason why extreme and dangerous views should be indulged. This is your blog so of course its your call. For my part I don’t mind if Anaplat has the last word in response to my criticisms, if you want to allow that.

  54. You are a teacher! That is very bad news for your students. So you’d give me 10K to walk around in South Central Chicago? Deal! I’ll give you the same if you give me the address of your school so I can mail them your comments. Do you want to know my guess? You’ll need the 10 bills because you’ll be out of work in four days, maybe less. Oh I know you’ll pull out your research and convince the school board that you are right on the money, “No… no all that I said on that post is true…. just look here I looked it all up…it says right here on the Arian Nation’s Website….look it’s all true!” Sure you’ll have your job back….LOL. In fact not only will you lose your job they’ll run you out of town, the county, and maybe even the state.

    I haven’t had TV in the house in 12 years. Give you one guess:

    a) Fox News
    b) CNN
    c) NPR/BBS World
    d) Aljazeera

    I could provide you with detail, research, and support for what I have said but that would take some time……verdict…….not worth it.

    For the sake of the kids in your class…….I hope your bed sheets shows through your shirt and they put you on the front page and ship you our of town.

    Whew….I think I will go and enjoy an organic green tea now.

  55. Ummmmmm Ummmmm…. and now I will purge myself of the negativity that I feel inside.

    Happy Happy Joy Joy Happy Happy Joy Joy

    John, I will focus on your thoughts now (soon)

  56. Hello John,

    I wanted to respond to this:

    “Nevertheless perhaps on occasion “racial” differences can be downplayed too much, with unfortunate side-effects.”

    I do agree with that statement. Perhaps in my fervor to challenge anaplat I didn’t articulate that point well (or at all). Heterogeneity maximizes genetic strength. It also makes for more vibrant and interesting societies. I do not mean to suggest that we should all seek to be “color blind”. In fact I do not wish that, nor do I feel it to be possible. In my perfect world we all see the differences that are around us, we seek to understand it, learn from it, and to respect it (the last point barring any “difference” that seeks to hurt, harm, or degrade).

    Your points about genetically rooted difference in certain people is accurate, and you cite as examples the Polynesians and the Aboriginals. Humans are very adaptable, they can adjust to very high altitudes, very cold, sun soaked, disease ridden environments, and so on. These adaptations are reflected in peoples’ genetics. Would you agree or disagree with me when I suggest this: The genetic differences that exist between, say an African American, an Asian American, or a European American is not sufficient for describing any intellectual or cognitive difference that may exist between members of each of these groups? That is not to say that humans are all born with similar abilities to process complex tasks, to execute intricate motor skills, and to reflect upon deeply rooted emotions because they are not. However, there is no evidence that I know of that suggests that one’s race or skin color produces a propensity for that group of people to be more or less mathematical, spatial, athletic, musical, emotive, or social. In my view any indication of such a relationship between race and cognition is due instead to environmental factors, not genetics. For me any study that draws this conclusion must be methodologically questioned. That being said, I feel compelled to say that genetics always matters for sure, but not so much when it comes shaping “good” and “caring” people. I guess in short I could say this: We are all born with equal potential for good and evil.

    What do you think about these ideas? Is this in line with your thinking or not?

    Thank you for the insight.

  57. […] There Human Races? In light of recent discussions on race, I came across a reading passage that I thought worthy of quoting. You see, I’ve been reading […]

  58. John,
    Good point – proof positive that I too have difficulty getting out of the Western-Civilization-centric mindset! There is a qualitative difference, I think, between Western Civilization and other civilizations, but that doesn’t erase the latter.

  59. Incidentally, to tie up a loose end on Anaplat’s comments:

    Regarding the missing Black Civilizations of Africa comments: Civilization has nothing to do with race or color, but everything to do with agriculture. Agriculture in Africa was impossible, as any study of geography would tell you, thus civilization was impossible. This is not a fault of or indication of inferiority of the African races, but it is a disadvantage.

    Arguing that peoples of African descent are inferior because they could not produce civilization betrays an extremely poor knowledge of geography.

  60. Dan,

    Some African civilizations of the past: Egypt, Ethiopia, Great Zimbabwe, the Ashanti Confederacy, the Kingdom of Dahomey, and many others. See “Africa” in Wikipedia, and other articles linked from there.

  61. Captaindoctor,

    You ask whether I agree with your description of human diversity in terms of being produced by both genetic and environmental factors. In brief, yes I agree. I emphatically agree with this statement: “In my perfect world we all see the differences that are around us, we seek to understand it, learn from it, and to respect it (the last point barring any ‘difference’ that seeks to hurt, harm, or degrade).”

    I don’t know enough about the science to have a definite opinion about the precise interplay between genetic and cultural inheritance. But it is clear that regardless of the differences that exist between populations, and whatever may be the causes of the differences, they are minor in proportion to the distinctive attributes that mark a human being.

    In regards to efforts to encourage racial harmony, practical implications that come to mind are:

    * We don’t need to be afraid of acknowledging actual differences — instead we should celebrate them.

    * The acknowledgment of differences needs to be counterbalanced by emphasizing that these differences are merely variations on a theme. The fundamental similarities are much more significant.

    * We should expect that personal engagement with people of different backgrounds to ourselves may be difficult at times. Cultural differences frequently create mismatched expectations and communication barriers. It ain’t easy, but the effort to overcome such barriers is extremely rewarding.


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