Monday, December 7, 2009
Do blasians = whites?
(top left, Tyson Beckford; right, Naomi Campbell)
The recent all-Tiger-all-the-time news coverage got me to thinking about his racial background, and I intended to write a short piece this morning about people of mixed African and Asian descent, with an emphasis on their athletic ability. But when I started doing a little research I found myself sidetracked by references to well known people who are of that heritage.
For starters, Tiger Wood's father, whom everyone just thought of as black, was in fact a quarter Chinese. That came as a surprise. Then I read that top model Tyson Beckford was part Chinese (his Jamaican mother had "some Chinese heritage," according to Wikipedia). Evidently Naomi Campbell has a "Chinese Jamaican" father (whom she has never met), also according to Wikipedia. Judging from her appearance her "Chinese Jamaican" father probably had some black blood; maybe "Chinese Jamaican" actually means "Chinese/Jamaican." (It is unclear which part of her lineage she inherited her diva-like phone-throwing tendencies from.)
With both Beckford and Campbell, their Asian heritage is something you wouldn't realize at first, but once you're told of it, you can detect it. Certainly both are splendid specimens.
I'm half-Japanese, half-Anglo. Growing up in Boston in the 1960's, I was a relative rarity. These days Eurasians are much more common. There are so many of them in my hometown in Fairfield County at times you almost think you're in Hawaii. People of mixed black and Asian descent, on the other hand, are, if not quite tions or ligers, still relatively rare -- except in Jamaica. Ian Fleming referred to them in Dr. No as "Chigroes"; now the more acceptable terms are "blasians," or "Afro-Asians." (The term "comblinasian" is a Tiger coinage minted in an effort to universalize his appeal and maximize endorsement deals.)
My original point was going to be that the black-Asian combination seems a good one for athleticism. Asians tend to be smaller on average, but they are generally fit, with loose, sinuous muscles, while blacks are generally considered the most athletic race overall. The men in both races are usually lean, at least while young. Apart from Tiger Woods, reigning Olympic decathlon champion Bryan Clay is half Japanese and half black. A girl with that background ran on my daughter's middle school track team, and she was very fast. (The family moved away while she was still in middle school, so I don't know how she developed athletically.) Tyson Beckford certainly looks like a natural athlete. If such a combination does result in athletic ability, it wouldn't be unique in nature: mules, for instance, are known for their power.
Of course, such a relatively small sample size means little. So we'll have to wait for more data points before drawing a conclusion about the natural athleticism of Afro-Asians.
But then I started thinking of the other ways in which this particular combination would work.
For instance, blacks have an average IQ of 85, whites 100, and East Asians 110. Therefore it would stand to reason that Afro-Asians would roughly approximate the average white IQ.
On various measures of behavior blacks and east Asians rank far apart, too. On a per capita basis, according to government statistics, blacks commit roughly ten times as much of the major categories of violent crime (murder, rape, assault and battery, and armed robbery) as whites do. But northeast Asians (Japanese, Koreans, and Chinese) are, on average, the least violent race in this country.
This difference is not surprising when you consider that violence is highly correlated with male hormones. According to Army tests, blacks are the race with the most testosterone flowing through their veins, and Asians the least.
It's often seemed to me that in terms of inhibitions, whites generally act like Asians who've had a drink or two, and blacks act like whites who've had a drink. This is partly why blacks tend to regard whites as nerdy and lame and boring, and whites regard Asians the same way.
On this measure, as on the others, do Afro-Asians, those most exotic-looking of creatures, have natural instincts and aptitudes which average out to those of whites?
Does this mean that Tiger Woods is effectively white?
(And does it explain why he only goes after white girls?)