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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The legacy

Last week President Obama used "the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow" to explain Donald Sterling's attitudes towards black. Usually, when someone invokes that expression, they're using it to explain away some black dysfunction.

But are high rates of illegitimacy, murder, and rape, and lower rates of academic achievement really all just the legacy of slavery and segregation? When we live in a country where affirmative action has been in place for roughly forty-five years, how much does Jim Crow really explain?

Does it explain why blacks who come from families which make between 180 and 200 thousand dollars a year score lower on the SATs on average than whites who come from families which make less than 20 thousand a year -- and how those results remain remarkably consistent year after year? Can the legacy of past discrimination account for the poor SATs of blacks who grew up rich?

Do sub-Saharan Africans who never went through Jim Crow and segregation have low rates of murder and rape and high SAT scores?

Maybe it's time to admit that differences in accomplishment and temperament and behavior are the legacy of…..our diversity.

Or, maybe other groups should start using similar excuses.

Maybe Japanese-Americans should claim that their absence in the NBA is "the legacy of the internment camps" they were put into during WWII. After all, they were put into those camps.

Maybe whites should attribute their lack of dancing ability to America's repressive Puritanical heritage. After all, this country was founded by Puritans.

And maybe women should say the fact they never win The World's Strongest Man competition is the legacy of centuries of sexism. After all, there's no denying that women have been subjugated since the dawn of history.


arthur thurman said...

'Racism will end when all of the old white people die' is an expression that's been touted lately by more than one celebrity or politician of color. What is interesting to me is to look at pictures from the 1960's of the civil rights demonstrations. They have a very distinct salt and pepper mix in the crowds. I would love to ask some of the ones from the salt category how they feel today(if they're not already dead and out of the way of course) how they feel about those types of comments and if all this was truly worth the effort.

John Craig said...

Arthur --
Good point. My guess is a lot of them would say, what we were fighting for back then was justice and fairness. But somehow, in the last forty years, the concept of :civil rights" has been turned on its head so that now it means the opposite of what it used to.

Rona said...

"And maybe women should say the fact they never win The World's Strongest Man competition is the legacy of centuries of sexism."

What has now got to be the most insane ethnicity in the world, Swedes, claim exactly that.

Here's a video about Swedish feminist discovery about centuries long discrimination of women that has resulted in men being taller and stronger. Another inequality that must be fought. Perhaps by beheading all men above 5f10. Social Justice!!!

-- Rona

John Craig said...

Rona --
Just took a look at that video, it was mostly a guy talking about others' denial of biology in a commonsensical way, relating it to the denial of subspecies in other animals.

Anyway, your larger point, I agree completely. The liberals mock some conservatives for not believing in evolution, but that pales compared to their own denial of biological differences between groups of humans.

And yes, Sweden has gotten completely off the rails. I've heard (haven't confirmed it) that there is a movement there to ban urinals, since it's unfair that men get to pee standing up while women have to sit down.

Glen Filthie said...

I think we are going to discover some horrible facts in the next few decades.

1. No, or parents and grandparents were not ignorant, bigoted and hateful. They understood blacks and treated them accordingly.

2. We in our generation are not more sophisticated and enlightened than our ancestors. In fact, we are spoiled, sheltered and naïve of the real world. Ours is a deliberate and intentional stupidity too - just as Nazi Germany's was.

Hey - I ain't happy about any of this either. As a farm kid that worked closely with animals, I know that I can trump genetics (and sometimes 'intellect') - with training. If we want blacks to live and work to a higher standard they have to hold themselves to it the same way Whitey and the Asians do.

John Craig said...

Glen --
I don't believe the way our grandparents treated blacks was right; I certainly don't believe in Jim Crow. But the political correctness that has infected any public discussion of race in this country is pure willful obtuseness. While slavery and Jim Crow were terrible, they don't explain the kinds of racial differences we see expressed in SAT scores and elsewhere.

Glen Filthie said...

And yet - blacks themselves are now pushing for segregation, John. The mutton heads in Toronto are pushing 'Afrocentric' schools for black immigrants with a dumbed down curriculum that somehow makes everything "fairer" to black students. I suppose there is nothing wrong with Jim Crow if blacks do it...?

I have seen the slums and the projects. I have seen Africa. I have seen Detroit. The statistical and empirical evidence strongly suggests that these areas represent the default societal condition of the black man. Those hell holes I listed are what they are thanks only to intervention by whites; left on their own things would be much, much worse. None of this is up for debate, it is all a matter of public record.

The only question that needs to be answered is this: is it better to live as a slave, forced to be productive and orderly...or is it better to live as a savage and always facing famine, disease, and war?

As I said, I don't like any of this either.

John Craig said...

Glen -- I know, the Nation of Islam has been calling for segregation for years. Personally, I don't think the government should be in the business of enforcing either segregation or integration. As it is, all the white liberals who pay lip serve to enforced integration and multiculturalism themselves live as far away from poor black people as they can.

Everything you say is true about the slums and projects. If there were one black country, anywhere in the world, which had an infant mortality rate, literacy rate, GDP, etc, close to the civilized world, I might be convinced otherwise, but there are none.

Obviously, slavery is wrong, that's a nonstarter.

Anonymous said...

"Obviously, slavery is wrong, that's a nonstarter."
Try telling that to modern-day Africans. Also, many of the Westerners who bought slaves thought they were doing their Good Christian Deed, by giving their slaves a better life than whatever horrors remained in Africa. The only reason those people (and their descendants, the current "African-Americans") existed is because there was a demand for slave labor. If there wasn't a market for that, the stronger tribes who captured them would have simply killed them instead.

John Craig said...

Anon --
Everything you say is true: Africa is one of the few places left in the world where there's still slavery (a fact everyone turns a blind eye to); the Africans are the ones who sold other Africans into slavery in the US; and their "culture" was basically a stone Age one until the white man came along. But it still doesn't justify slavery.

Glen Filthie said...

I was doing a factory tour of a company that made solenoid valves in Pennsylvania. They take a block of brass, machine it, drill it out, put the guts in and create a finished product from raw materials.

The work had been streamlined and dumbed down to a point where a well trained chimp could probably do it. But all the workers were blacks. They were plugged into ipods and some stared into space as their hands worked independent of their brains. As we were taken through the factory they looked at us with guarded, furtive looks and they were not friendly. It was a no-brainer to guess that these people were working for close to minimum wages. They feared us too, I could tell by the way the looked at us. The head negro acted as the compliant servant at all times; and was always talking about how thankful he was for his job and how much he loved it. Were it not so pathetic I might have passed him a rag to wipe the crap off his nose with.

Is slavery a non-starter, John? I still remember that trip to that factory...and then going past the neighbourhoods where they lived. It was a culture shock for me, I am a farm kid from Canada and seeing that left my moral compass floundering.

Do we understand slavery? I don't think we do. We picture Kunta Kinta getting his foot chopped off by laughing, drunken white slave owners...but was it really like that - or was it the exception? Speaking for myself, I treat my animals as well as I can, and everyone I know does so too...we would no doubt treat slaves much better. I wonder if ownership of those blacks wouldn't actually make them treat the workers better - supposing they were actually held responsible for their welfare? We know slaves in Rome often fought alongside their masters and risked all to defend them...obviously slavery can be made to work. Does an unemployable illiterate black thug have a better life than a well cared for and well treated slave?

I think the question needs to be asked because at the rate we are going, I see full blown race wars coming.

John Craig said...

Glen --
There's no question that once you've had your nose rubbed in reality, you realize that the view of the world promulgated by The Cosby Show is nothing but propaganda. And I hate propaganda as much as the next person, the political correctness that demands we pretend not to notice racial differences. I also don't doubt that the reality of slavery was not quite as harsh as portrayed by recent Hollywood movies. But how can you possibly justify one human being owning another? There's just no way.

I was never a liberal, but I did start out in life apolitical, with good will towards all. Early on, at age 19 when I studied IQ differences, I realized that the liberals who tried to paper over real genetic differences in intelligence were wrong and the "racists" who recognized the effect of genetics were right. But even then, I was somewhat apolitical. In the early 70's, Jim Crow wasn't ancient history and I believed in (and still believe in) what the civil rights movement stood for back then. But after a lot of life experience seeing that the good will generally only flowed one way (I plan to write more about this later), I lost my reluctance to talk openly about the genetic basis of IQ, and of other things. But there's just no way, despite all that, anybody can convince me that you can morally justify owning another human being.

Steven said...

Glen Filthie, "I have seen the slums and the projects. I have seen Africa. I have seen Detroit.The statistical and empirical evidence strongly suggests that these areas represent the default societal condition of the black man."

I know why you are saying what you are saying but I'm going to try to make a little case against.

Barbados is in the 'very high' human development index category.

Take a look at Bridgetown, Barbados. It looks fairly affluent, modern and beautiful.

Barbados' population is 93% black.

The homicide rate each year over the last 10 in Barbados ranges from 7-12 per 100,000 per year. Bahamas, a fairly similar country, has a homicide rate that tends to be in the 20's. Jamaica's is closer to 40. African countries range from 3.8 (Niger) to 56.9 (Ivory coast). So you see the large difference between black societies in homicide. A high homicide rate is not inevitable- a medium or even lowish one is evidently possible- and there is a lot of flexibility due to culture and circumstances. It is proven that a homicide rate much lower that that of American blacks is realistic. I address this because it is one of the main issues brought up about blacks by people making your kind of argument. I think we can be a lot more nuanced about this.

note: I am informed that there is an ethnic group in Burkina Faso, with strong traditional values, that has a homicide rate as low as the Japanese. They number about 1 million. I'm trying to find out more.

Okay, now granted a lot of Africa is badly impoverished and slum like. However, I'm sure that there are parts of black Africa that would surprise you.

Sub-saharan Africa has been undergoing decent economic growth over the past decade. Growth rates there are among the highest in the world. Several Sub-Saharan African countries are breaking through into the 'medium' development level, all by themselves. (Okay, with the benefit of western inventions etc but you can say that for Japan, Korea and China too, all of which would still have pre-modern societies if it wasn't for the west, brainy as their populations are).

One of the only African cities with google streetview is Gaborone. If you take a virtual ride around Gaborone (also Maseru, Lesotho) you may be pleasantly surprised to see a town not of slums but of basic brick dwellings or villas, well spaced, tidy and orderly looking, with lots of decent roads. In the central area, you'll see some excellent large roads and infrastructure, albeit with not many cars on the road, some hi tech looking large buildings, lots of businesses. If you manage to find the more affluent areas, you'll see beautiful streets with quite lovely villas and houses.

Of course, the development path of African countries is perhaps only near the beginning. Who knows how far it could go?

I contend that Detroit, with its sky high homicide rate and rampant dereliction is NOT the inevitable condition of the black man in the modern world*.

*I say the modern world because that's what we're talking about. Obviously when most Africans lived in hunter-gatherer tribes, the modern kind of dereliction and deprivation did not exist and they lived in a beautiful natural world and had skilled ways of sustaining themselves.

Steven said...

Glen, every factory floor in the world where work is designed by the those principles has workers that look like that and work like that. What does this prove? In many developing or third world countries, the workers are working in that way for next to nothing while being desperate to keep their jobs so they or their kids don't go hungry. This tells you more about the modern economy and society than it does abut black people in particular.

I agree wholeheartedly with John. Slavery is deeply immoral. No human should be owned by another. Humans are not belongings. You wouldn't like it if it was you. Neither do black people, some of whom, just for the record, are geniuses.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Manning might disagree with you on Jim Crow:

Anonymous said...

"But how can you possibly justify one human being owning another? There's just no way."
Can you justify renting a human being? Ownership is just a long-term rental; and the owner of anything (human, car, house) bears the expense and responsibility for the upkeep of his property.
Economically, it seems to be a non-starter. Contrast the ownership of a car vs a horse. A car can be neglected for weeks, months, maybe years at a time, and it will still function. A horse, on the other hand, needs to be fed, watered, groomed, and doctored constantly, even if you aren't riding it. I can't imagine how a slavery model would be advantageous to an employer, who's only paying minimum wage. Also, as owner, you would be responsible for any crimes committed by your slave, much like for your child. There's also the problem of slaves killing each other over disrespeck and "his chains aint rusty like mines". You'd need insurance for that sort of hijinks, as well.
Morally, the justification is: Those guys are doing it, so why shouldn't I? It sounds shitty, but it's how we've operated since time began.

John Craig said...

Anon --
The difference between owning and "renting" -- by which I assume you mean employing -- is that the employee has a choice and the slave does not.

Steven said...

"Do sub-Saharan Africans who never went through Jim Crow and segregation have low rates of murder and rape and high SAT scores?"

Homicide rates.

Firstly, the only information on US homicide rate by race I can find is from Robert Lindsay in 2012. He quotes:

white: 4.5 (/100,000/a)
black: 34.4

But he doesn't give a source.It looks reasonable though, right?

I've been looking more closely at the international homicide rates from the big UNODC study in 2012. I don't know how valid the data is- you can make your own mind up about that. Lets look at some of the figures for SS Africa, emphasizing the lowest ones:

Burundi: 4.1
Niger: 3.8
Mozambique: 3.3 (remarkably)
Mali: 8
Senegal: 8.7
Gambia: 10.8
Nigeria: 12.2
Tanzania: 24.5
Uganda: 36.3
S. Africa: 31.8

Sao Tome and Principe: 1.9

Mozambique is a country of 25,000,000 people with a remarkable homicide rate for SS Africa of 3.3, lower than US whites (can this be true?). Nigeria is the largest country in SS Africa by population (168,000,000) and has a murder rate 1/3 that of African Americans.

Sao Tome and Principe natives look more black but may be mixed race with Europeans (Portuguese) and there are lots of immigrant workers there from mainland SS Africa. Population: 187,000. Homicides in the country in most recent year (probably 2012): 3.

I always find it interesting to actually think about what those numbers mean. With a homicide rate of 10/100,000/year, that is 1 person in 10,000 murdered. At 3.3, its 1 in 30,000. is that really the image of homicidal blacks you have? 1 in 10,000 commit a murder in a year (or less, if there are people who kill more than 1). I'm not sure if this is the right way to do it (I think I might be making a mistake) but over 70 years that's 70/10,000 or 1 in 142. 1 in 142 commit murder in their lifetime (or less), right? To me, that's a rare exception among a non-homicidal people. Vast majority are non-homicidal.

The European levels are even more remarkable when they're around 0.3-2.5/100,000. However, you also have:

Russia: 9.7
Moldova: 7.5
Lithuania: 6.6
Estonia: 5.2

SAT scores/IQ.

The answer to this is no. US black don't have lower IQ scores than Africans. In fact, there's a lot of evidence Africans have lower IQ scores. They may be expected to at least catch up, though, as white admixture in US blacks isn't enough to explain the IQ gains. However, to put the IQs of US blacks in perspective.

US blacks: 85 (normed to a white 100)
Trinidad and Tobago: 85
The Bahamas: 84
Uganda: 84
Indonesia: 87
Iraq: 87
Philippines: 86
Pakistan: 84
Saudi Arabia: 84
Algeria: 83
Tunisia: 83
Zimbabwe: 82
Egypt: 81

The reason I make this comparison is to show that black people aren't uniquely low IQ and actually fall within the normal range of N. African and Eurasian civilizations. Nobody doubts the ability of North African Arabs to have advanced civilizations, with orderly towns, nice architecture and learning. But there is a notion (racist prejudice?) that blacks are uniquely unable to a have modern society without turning it into squalor.

I'm thinking critics may say that the Arab potential is higher and that makes a difference (because the more nourished members will reach higher??). Not sure if there is something to that or not...

Steven said...

I should probably make my own blog to put this stuff- sorry! I'm on a roll. I guess comments sections are for comments and discussion anyway.

Take a look at Windhoek, Namibia:

Maputo, Mozambique:

Harare, Zimbabwe (lots of colonial investment but they haven't turned it into Detroit!):

John Craig said...

Steven --
Wow, that's a lot of information. I'm not even sure where to begin. First, to your larger point, I agree, there is a wide range of murder rates etc among majority black countries. And I'm sure there is a range of literacy rates as well.

And by the way, I would add Curacao to the Barbados as an example of a relatively "civilized" majority black country. But if we're talking genetics here, it's also worth pointing out that both countries have "black" populations of mixed ancestry. Here is what Wikipedia has to ay about the ethnicity of people from Curacao:

"The majority of the black population of Curaçao are of mixed-race ancestry (primarily African, Dutch, Sephardic Jewish, and Latin American, along with many other racial mixtures). Despite their ancestry, an overwhelming percentage identifies as 'black'."

Pop star Rihanna is barbadian, or as they call themselves, Bajan, and she is a not atypical example of the mix there.

So, we can't really compare countries like that to sub-Saharan countries with less admixture.

As far as murder rates go, I'm sure there is a range, but I've been told that like suicide rates, they are infinitely malleable by the government putting them out, and these governments often have incentive to fudge the numbers. Also, murder rates will vary partially depending on how often a body turns up. If people simply disappear, they are often not counted as murders. And in some Third World countries, accurate record are simply not kept.

As far as the IQ disparity between American blacks and sub-Saharan blacks, yet, it exists. American blacks average roughly 85, sub-Saharans in the 70-80 range. But again, American blacks on average have something like 25% white blood, which affects those numbers. And again, in Third World countries, the averages are depressed by poverty, poor nutrition and lack of schooling definitely have a strong effect.

Yes, the murder rates vary in white countries too. I suspect if accurate numbers were available for Albania and Chechnya, the rates would be even higher than in the former Soviet countries you mention.

You mention North African Arabs as having more potential for "civilization." Yes, nobody doubts that, look at the Pyramids etc, but they are a separate ethnic group, just look at the difference in appearance.

Bottom line, there are all sorts of differences between ethnic groups, and not all are the "legacy" of oppression.

Steven said...

Hi, thanks for the feedback/criticism. I would love to know how reliable the homicide rates are and the true homicide rates! By your logic, there could well be tonnes more. I will have to look into this more.

I know the Egyptians and SS Africans are different ethnic groups- even different races- but my point was that if the Arab N. African IQ is 81-85 and the SS African IQ can get to that level (already is according to some studies and even Lynn's figures for one or two countries), then there is apparently no intelligence reason why black Africans shouldn't be able to produce comparable levels of civilization.

Regarding admixture, are you sure its 25%. Robert Lindsay says 15%, which would apparently not account for a significant part of the IQ gains relative to Africans. He also writes:

"Jamaican Black IQ’s are 71.5 in Jamaica, but after they move to the UK, by the 2nd generation, their IQ’s are 86. So the Jamaicans in the UK somehow get a 14.5 point boost merely by moving to a Western country."

Steven said...

Admixture issue aside, I think its conceivable for the African IQs to get in the 80's. If so, that's the same as the current N African IQs, according to Lynn & V.

John Craig said...

Steven --
I think it would be near impossible to figure out the actually homicide rates for countries which give out misleading statistics.

The 25% number is something I've heard, I'm just throwing it out without researching it carefully. I'd be surprised if it were as low as 15%, but again, I have no way of knowing.

There's no one on the nature side of the nature/nurture controversy who doesn't believe that one's environment isn't partially responsible for some differences. It's the people on the other side who believe that genetics don't play a significant role in human (group) differences.

Steven said...

Good point about nature/nurture.

I guess you would have to live somewhere to get a good sense of how safe it is and how much crime there is.

Lies, damned lies and crime statistics.