No, John, Let's Talk About Race
Here’s a dictum I have read now and again on the internet: “an organization that isn’t explicitly anti-Left will eventually be swallowed up by the Left.” Here’s another I am making up on the fly (although I am sure others have said it many times before): “an organization that isn’t explicitly anti-nonwhite will eventually be swallowed up by nonwhites.”
Nowhere does this seem more pertinent than in John McWhorter’s recent piece at National Review entitled “Stop Obsessing Over Race and IQ.”
In it, he posits that the racial IQ gap might exist but recommends not talking about it anyway. Of course, this makes perfect sense, given that McWhorter is black and stands to gain by suppressing truths that make people like him look bad. In his article, he gives objective argumentation the old affirmative-action college try, but never addresses his obvious conflict of interest as a black person who is downplaying the deleterious shortcomings of his race. He even admits his rather unscientific partiality when he writes, “I have always hoped the black–white IQ gap was due to environmental causes.” That blacks in general are not terribly capable of objective scientific reasoning is also not surprising (given the historical record), but the fact that National Review, even in its current state of decrepitude, is actually lending its imprimatur to such a person, contrarily is.
How much longer before NR just cuts out the rigmarole and starts recruiting writers from Black Lives Matter or the NAACP?
Of course, I understand that the Alt Right bashing National Review these days is a little like exhuming a dead horse and beating it until it doesn’t look like a horse anymore. We all know how far Bill Buckley’s flagship publication has fallen into irrelevant cuckery these past, what? Thirty years? (It would be sixty if you count all the relevant cuckery, but that’s another story). There’s nothing new here. But McWhorter’s piece is so dishonest and so insidious I’d be missing a golden red-pill opportunity if I didn’t respond to it.
Also, perhaps I could shame the NR editors into showing at least a little self-respect during their long, sad goodbye. Guys, even for cucks, this is cucking.
McWhorter begins his article by asking what we have to gain by discussing the intellectual inferiority of blacks. Could you imagine anyone asking that question about any other topic? Since when is a matter of science (in this case, evolution and genetics, among others) fit not to be discussed? For a certain time in the Soviet Union they carted people off to the Arctic Circle to cut timber for twenty-five years if they dared challenge the bogus science of Trofim Lysenko. The Muslim world is also full of taboo topics which could get one killed if broached in public (I’m reminded specifically of the Muslim college professor in Nablus who dared suggest that, according to Infogalactic, “Islam developed as a religion gradually within the historical context of Judaism and Christianity rather than being the revelation of a prophet.” He was thrown out of a window by his students for his efforts).
So, yes, putting a lid on the free discussion of scientific ideas has quite a few precedents. But are these precedents any civilized society should emulate? McWhorter seems to think so.
McWhorter fails to mention the huge sums of money and incalculable amounts of effort on the part of well-meaning whites being expended every year in order to reduce black-white performance gaps in all fields, not just in IQ testing. The premise here is that blacks and whites have equal ability and therefore should enjoy equal outcomes in life. So this is one reason why we should discuss the genetic component of IQ and human temperament as much as possible: it will reveal what an utter waste of time and resources it is to uplift black people.
A second reason is that it will let whitey off the hook. If human intelligence, represented in psychometrics as g, is mostly genetic, then you cannot blame innocent white people for a problem they did not create. This will either reduce the amount of anti-white racism on the part of the Left, or embolden whites to resist such racism. Both outcomes are inherently good and would stem from open discussions of the genetic basis of IQ and human temperament.
In order to defend his intuition that Nurture always trumps Nature—at least when it comes to black shortcomings—McWhorter attempts to legitimize “Black American culture,” which, he writes:
grew from implacably oppressive slavery followed by a Jim Crow hegemony that recapitulated slavery in essence. These were people living in what my linguist’s training reveals as a life bound in orality rather than literacy. To live restricted to casual speech rather than the artifice of writing creates a psychology ill equipped to score highly on the distinctly modern stunt known as the IQ test.
There are so many things wrong with this it causes me to wonder whether the National Review editors dumb down their editorial standards for black writers. Universities dumb down academic standards for black applicants in much the same way.
First of all, black slavery in America was never “implacably oppressive.” By the standards of the day, white Americans treated their black slaves quite benignly. Slaves were allowed to marry, and efforts were made to keep families together. They typically had Sundays off and were allowed to practice the religion of their choice. Further, a select few were even allowed to buy their own freedom. Thomas Nelson Page relates all this in The Negro: The Southerner’s Problem and also points out how during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, black slaves were offered their freedom if they would only rise up against their masters. They in large part refused. In many parts of the American South there were at least cordial if not affectionate relations between whites and blacks.
If it’s “implacably oppressive” slavery you want, then look no further than black-on-black slavery in Africa or, better yet, Muslim-on-black slavery. According to M. A. Khan in Islamic Jihad, Muslims herded over 2 million black slaves out of Africa in the 19th century alone – a far cry from the 400,000 black slaves brought to North America along the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in a span of over 400 years. Ronald Segal, in Islam’s Black Slaves, states that Islamic slave traders possibly enslaved around eleven million blacks in total, with estimates going as high as thirty million. And in many cases theirs was a truly wretched existence, with the women toiling as sex slaves and with the men being worked to death as conscript soldiers or galley slaves. In just about all cases, male black slaves captured by Islamic slave traders endured castration, a practice almost unheard of in the white, Christian outpost of the United States. Remember, eighty-to-ninety percent of black slaves perished before even making it to the Muslim world, again a far a cry from the sixteen percent of black slaves who died en route across the Atlantic (1.9 million out of 11.7 million according to my Mainstream of Civilization history textbook from 1989).
Then McWhorter tries to sell us on the idea that Jim Crow laws “recapitulated slavery in essence” but doesn’t tell us how. Yes, Jim Crow laws enforced white hegemony over black, but it also kept the black crime rate down and did more than anything other than slavery to protect blacks from themselves. Thomas Nelson Page again reports how, during the Reconstruction Period between slavery and Jim Crow, the black crime rate (including sexual crime) exploded. Stephan and Abigail Thernstrom, in their study America in Black and White, show how black crime again exploded, this time after the demise of Jim Crow in the mid-1960s. In addition, without Jim Crow to keep them in line, black illegitimacy and drug dependency has gotten out of control. So exactly how does Jim Crow recapitulate slavery? During slavery, slaves had to stay put or become outlaws. During Jim Crow, blacks had freedom of movement, the ability to attend schools and universities. They could quit their jobs and go into business for themselves. They also enjoyed free public education and government services paid in large part by the white taxpayers. (This kind of largesse is still going on, by the way, with the average white as of 2014 putting in over $220,000 into the system over a 79-year lifespan, and the average black taking out over $750,000 over roughly the same period.)
I understand that blacks still did not have the same freedom and standard of living that whites had under the seventy-five-odd years of Jim Crow. But they were certainly safer. They also had it better than the vast majority of the rest of the world during that time. For example, from 1890 to 1965 (roughly the lifespan of Jim Crow laws), there were numerous catastrophes far worse than Jim Crow which devastated people around the globe who have since never used these catastrophes to explain why they shy away from literacy. Leaving out obvious events like the two world wars, these include the Armenian Genocide (1915), the Russian Civil War (early 1920s) followed by the Holodomor (late 1920s to early 1930s) and some sixty years of the gulag, the Jewish Holocaust, the Bengal Famine in India (1943), and Mao’s great famine in China (1959-1962). All of these events claimed the lives of millions and for decades disrupted the lives of many millions more. Yet, none of these people use these historical events as excuses for failure in the way John McWhorter uses slavery and Jim Crow.
Indeed, McWhorter’s illiteracy-by-oppression argument really only works with black people. It fails on an additional level since, in their long history in Africa, very few blacks were ever literate to begin with. His argument assumes that slavery and Jim Crow bound black people “orality” rather than “literacy.” But no. Blacks, especially the sub-Saharan kinds—had been illiterate since the beginning. There are few written historical records of sub-Saharan Africans prior to their contact with whites or Arabs. There are few records of math, astronomy, or other kinds of higher learning. Few maps. Few written examples of bookkeeping, recipes, poems, prayers, plays. If we want to study Africa’s past beyond, say, 500 years ago, we would have to employ teams of archaeologists, or consult whatever records we can find written by whites or Arabs.
In fact, exposure to white civilization, even as slaves, did more to make blacks literate than anything else up to that point in history. After all, whites introduced them to Christianity and taught them to read the bible. What were sub-Sarahan blacks reading before that? National Review should be embarrassed by this: publishing something that gets history completely bass-ackwards. Slavery in America did not instill “orality” in black culture since black culture, such as it was, was already rife with it. If anything, slavery in America removed some of that “orality” and took the first steps in replacing it with actual literacy.
Then there is McWhorter’s cheap shot at psychometrics. The IQ test is nothing more than a “stunt,” huh? That is, according to McWhorter, it’s all publicity and PR rather than actual educational measurement. Can McWhorter point to actual questions on the exam and explain how they are insufficient to measure intelligence? Can he show us where not only the IQ tests get it wrong but also the SAT, LSAT, GRE, MCAT, and every standardized measure out there, which also report blacks as having the least intellectual aptitude? Of course, he can’t, and he doesn’t. This reminds me of how psychometricians reacted to Steven Jay Gould’s strident anti-testing polemic, The Mismeasure of Man, which was essentially to ignore it.
Then comes the crux of McWhorter’s piece: why we should avoid talking about the black-white IQ gap in anything other than dense scholarly tomes. He gives three reasons why anyone would want to be “honest” about this topic (his scare quotes, not mine). The second and third are barely worth discussing since they are pure fantasy. McWhorter himself admits as much about the second reason, which is that honesty about IQ will inspire white people to heap even more charity upon blacks, now designated a “special needs” race. His third reason is that some believe that honesty about IQ will help us celebrate racial differences. That is, presumably, some races are really smart, and others are good at other things, like digging ditches or dribbling basketballs or what have you. Like that would go over well.
Neither of these reasons are real reasons. But McWhorter’s first reason is. Here it is in its entirety:
The first is that the IQ gap delegitimizes policy devoted to redressing the injustices that black people have suffered. That is, one might argue that because black people are on the average less intelligent than other people, our efforts to give a hand to black children in education and point poor black people to employment opportunities are misguided. Rather, society should accept that a disproportionate number of black people will labor at the bottom of the occupational scale and that in general black people will be underrepresented in the higher echelons of society.
And the correct response to this would be “And…? Your point, sir?” For once, McWhorter is absolutely correct. But the problem here is that such argumentation leads to a conclusion that he (and presumably the NR editors) simply don’t like. Therefore, it won’t do…truth be damned.
McWhorter tries to couch his disgust at this perspective in fatalism. Basically, he believes that white people are just too darn nice to accept such a “brutally open, race-based meritocratic consensus.” So since it is impossible to achieve, why talk about it?
Those who are revolted by the very idea of such a conclusion — including me — can rest assured that the moral development of the West, halting and imperfect though it has been, has produced a bulwark against complacently accepting racial stratification. As I have written often, educated Americans in particular now harbor nothing less than an anti-racist religion that will never accept such a mode of thinking as anything but antiquated and morally repulsive.
Well, this may be true about the college kids and graduate students McWhorter surrounds himself with as a linguistics professor at Columbia University, but it isn’t about whites at large who are beginning to realize the price tag attached to ignoring the truth about race. This was one powerful reason why Donald Trump won last November. Whites are beginning to wake up and realize that racial differences need to be discussed openly and then acted upon as part of official policy. This is the only way we can avoid being exploited and ultimately swallowed up by non-whites (including the blacks for whom John McWhorter speaks). He may paint them as underdogs and victims who need protection from the truth, but racial differences go far beyond mere IQ. Blacks also have absurd levels of crime, violence, drug abuse, and corruption in their communities – just like they do in their home continent of Africa. When the truth comes out, they don’t seem much like victims anymore. Quite the opposite, actually.
McWhorter also gives off a whiff of menace towards the end of his article. Another reason to avoid discussing race? Why, threat of violence, of course! Observe:
As a topic whose discussion will yield injury, fury, and doubletalk with no countervailing benefits in terms of prescriptions for how society ought to operate, it ought be exempted from open discussion.
So is National Review allowing one of its writers to actually threaten people into groupthink? Is McWhorter saying he would personally injure a person if they discuss race openly in one of his classrooms? Or would he just sit back and watch as his students do it since the instigator probably had it coming anyway? This would be like Bull Connor warning blacks not to complain about being stuck at the back of the bus since such talk could also lead to “injury, fury, and doubletalk.” Does this mean that McWhorter supports suppressing that kind of speech too?
Did National Review editors even read this article before it was published? Did they not see the insidious threat behind it? Shut up about race, McWhorter tells us, or you will be injured. Is this really the message National Review wishes to give its readers? Or maybe it’s a passive-aggressive attempt to intimidate people like me who like to talk frankly about race and don’t usually read National Review?
When McWhorter listed his three reasons for “honesty” about race, he forgot a fourth: white nationalism. Racial differences point to the general incompatibility of different races which occupy the same space and compete for the same resources. Since these differences are based in genetics, there is little anyone can do about them. As the numbers of non-whites continue to swell, whites are going to recognize less and less about the America they’ve known and loved. Soon, it won’t even be America anymore, and whites will be forced to fight for what they never should have given away in the first place. This is the ultimate price of keeping frank racial discussions in the closet, and one, I am sure, no one wants to pay. Thus, it would be best for all if the races admitted our differences and separated as soon as possible.
But to effect this, whites will need to start with a no-blacks policy, something National Review should have adopted before publishing obscurantist pablum from John McWhorter.
From Counter Currents Publishing (July 10, 2017)