October 11, 2010

Henry Louis Gates on Malcolm Gladwell's family tree

Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates is continuing his series of DNA and genealogical inquiries into the makeup of various celebrities. The usual pattern is that the celebrities turn out to be a little whiter than they had expected. For example, Mexican-American actress Eva Longoria turned out to 70% European, which surprised her because she thought she'd be more like 70% nonwhite.

Now Gates has an article in The Root about New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell's genealogy. Gladwell's own discussions of his family tree (English on his father's side, Northwest European, Jewish, and middle class mulatto on his Jamaican mother's side) have always struck me as well-adjusted, without much in the way of Obamaesque self-torment. His affection for both his parents is clear. Growing up in Canada, he had pretty dispassionate opinions on race. He didn't seem to possess an Obama-like realization of the how far you could go in America on being part-black until after he'd already become a star in New York with his first bestseller The Turning Point, at which point he finally grew his Richard Simmons-like 'fro that is the only thing that helps you notice that he's part black.

The last (and best) chapter in Gladwell's recent bestseller Outliers concerns his Jamaican free-persons-of-color family tree. He drew from his family history an innocuous conclusion about how everybody in Jamaica could grow up to be a New Yorker writer if not for the discrimination that his middle class mulatto ancestors practiced by not marrying blacks, but it seems likely that his ancestors drew opposite lessons from their history about the importance of careful mate choice.

So, the only thing Gates can trip Gladwell up on is his pride in there being a slave or two not very far back in his family tree:
In the end, we failed to find a single slave in Malcolm's Jamaican ancestry. What's more, we found a stunning instance of the opposite: black slave owners on the family tree. ...

This means that Malcolm's fifth-great-grandmother, a free woman of color, owned slaves. She even spelled one of them out by name, leaving her slave "Ruthie" to her grandson, Malcolm's third-great-grandfather Benjamin Samuel Levy, another free man of color.

"Oh my goodness," said Malcolm, stunned. "The kind of mental jujitsu you have to go through is quite remarkable. It was a class-based society, and so color was class, class was color. There it is. How far back in her history do we have to go, do we think, to find a slave? Her mother or maybe her grandmother?"

I told Malcolm that we didn't know. Margaret Mullings is as far back along that line of his family as we could go. Her mother, most likely, was not a slave. But beyond that, it is unclear. Obviously, Malcolm descends from slaves at some point in his family tree: every black person in the New World, except for recent immigrants from Africa, did. But his ancestors did not stay slaves for very long. And as soon as they were free and could afford to do so, it appears that they began to buy slaves themselves.

Malcolm quite correctly perceived Margaret's decision to own slaves as a class issue. "I'm assuming it's a way of underscoring your new status," he said. "If you are a member of this special privileged class and you would like to heighten your position and assert your whiteness, having a slave is certainly one sign of doing that, isn't it?"

The answer to that question is, of course, yes. But I also tend to think the issue was perhaps simpler, more crudely economic. Margaret Mullings had a farm; she needed workers, and the workers were slaves. That was the system. Does that let her off the moral hook? No. But it was the system.

It would be interesting to find out how far back in the President's African family tree you'd have to go to find slaveowners.

54 comments:

Steve2 said...

I would be lying if I said I didn't suffer from a little bit of schadenfreude at having some of these pretentious celebrities' PC dreams of being a race victim shattered.

Anonymous said...

Gates writes pretty well.

C. Van Carter said...

There it is!

I love how great granny owning black slaves is beyond Gladbags comprehension: "If you are a member of this special privileged class and you would like to heighten your position and assert your whiteness, having a slave is certainly one sign of doing that.." Having a slave also means you don't have to pick the yams, you jackass.

Anonymous said...

Jessica Alba was notified by George Lopez that she was roughly 80% European in a similar stunt. Watch her reaction on video here,
http://community.livejournal.com/ohnotheydidnt/41667548.html?page=2

(scroll down to see video).



I think it would be interesting for some Jewish celebrities to undergo a DNA analysis. I deeply suspect many of them would find that they had statistically signifigant amounts of European lineage also. Larry David is 37% Native American for instance as Lopez mentioned in the video above.

ironrailsironweights said...

I read the linked interview with Eva Longoria, and it didn't sound as if she was disappointed about her largely European ancestry. She seemed more surprised than anything.

Peter

Anonymous said...

Steve-Sailer-types will have you believe that Gates and Gladwell are racial-hucksters but that is just not so if you actually read their writings.

On this blog, you will get plenty of generalizations about all kinds of people. Many of them are wrong.

dearieme said...

Mind you, you could also say "Malcolm descends from slaves at some point in his family tree: every white person in the New World does too, for such is human history". But it's less exciting, isn't it?

dearieme said...

"It would be interesting to find out how far back in the President's African family tree you'd have to go to find slaveowners." Ah, you are probably soliciting the view that it depends how effective the British were at stamping out slaveholding even among the Muslims in East Africa. There you are; you have succeeded.

Thursday said...

I went to see Arcade Fire on tour a couple weeks ago. Regine Chassagne, whose parents were both from Haiti, is clearly part black in ancestry, but even more clearly she is mostly white.

(The band is also interesting in that it's leader, Win Butler, is part of what may be a rising number of Mormons, or ex-Mormons, in popular culture.)

John said...

Minor quibble: the book was called The Tipping Point (not The Turning Point)

Anonymous said...

Also from Lopez Tonight, here is Charles Barkley and Snoop Dogg facing off over who has blacker DNA:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Exz0yNdvksg&feature=related

Interestingly, these celebrities view African heritage as a source of pride and European ancestors as a source of ridicule.

Anonymous said...

Mexican-American actress Eva Longoria turned out to 70% European, which surprised her because she thought she'd be more like 70% nonwhite.

But came as no surprise to any other living person on the planet with at least one functioning eyeball.

Scrutineer said...

"If you are a member of this special privileged class and you would like to heighten your position and assert your whiteness, having a slave is certainly one sign of doing that.." Having a slave also means you don't have to pick the yams, you jackass.

His whole professional life is an exercise in status signalling, so he has difficulty imagining other motives for behavior.

Anonymous said...

Given that American blacks have something like 16% white ancestry on average it seems very likely that a big portion of today's American blacks have *white* slave owning ancestors.

Further, a lot of white Americans are descended from immigrants who came to the US after slavery was abolished. A pretty big chunk of them should have no slave owning ancestors in their recent family tree.

This leads to some strange questions such as whether people descended both from slaves and slave owners owe themselves restitution.

Irish Ihadfood McHungry said...

For anyone whose done genealogy back to the old countries and understand the historical context of such times it's not unusual to find human suffering on a scale unheard of in the US or British Colonies. This suffering if far beyond anything endured during the 150yrs or so black chattel slavery was practiced in the southern states.

Forget the fact that slavery was a nearly universal outside Europe (and many places within Europe) just a few decades before the US Civil War ended it permanently in the Confederacy. Forget about war, disease, genocide, etc.

Just look at famines, possibly the most painful and prolonged suffering one can experience. Imagine watching your children, eldery and women slowly and painfully wither away before your eyes or become prey to vicious diseases and plagues. Imagine your strength, hope and will to live slowly draining out of their bodies and yours as days drag into weeks. Historically, many have willfully sold themselves into slavery to avoid just such a terrible end.

Between 1808 (when the US banned the slave trade) and shortly after the US Civil War in 1865 humans routinely suffer large mortality due to famine:

# Four famines – in 1810, 1811, 1846, and 1849 – in China claimed nearly 45 million lives.

# 1811–1812 famine devastated Madrid, taking nearly 20,000 lives

# 1815 eruption of Tambora, Indonesia. Tens of thousands died of subsequent famine

# 1816–1817 famine in Europe (Year Without a Summer) est 100,000 died in Ireland and perhaps 200,000 throughout Europe

# 1830 famine killed almost half the population of Cape Verde

# 1830s Tenpo famine (Japan)

# 1835 famine in Egypt killed 200,000[citation needed]

# 1844–1846 famine in Belgium

# 1845–1857 Highland Potato Famine in Scotland

# 1845–1849 Great Irish Famine killed more than 1 million people and over 1.5 - 2 million emigrated reducing the population by 25%

# 1846 famine led to the peasant revolt known as “Maria da Fonte” in the north of Portugal

# 1850–1873 as a result of Taiping Rebellion, drought, and famine, the population of China drop by over 60 million people[45]

# 1866 Orissa famine of 1866 in India; one million perished

# 1866–1868 Famine in Finland. About 15% of the entire population died

# 1869 Rajputana famine of 1869 in India; one million and a half perished

# 1870–1871 famine in Persia is believed to have caused the death of 2 million persons[46]

Very few places in the world were as desirable to live in as British North America and Colonial America for people of any color or class. The life for most people in the rest of the world (especially undeveloped places like Africa, India and China) was poor, nasty, brutish, and short in a way most modern people cannot understand.

Anonymous said...

You've got to be REALLY obtuse for Henry Louis Gates to be able to pull Occam's Razor on you.

Anonymous said...

"I think it would be interesting for some Jewish celebrities to undergo a DNA analysis. I deeply suspect many of them would find that they had statistically signifigant amounts of European lineage also. Larry David is 37% Native American for instance as Lopez mentioned in the video above."

In the genetic classification Lopez used, the "Native American" category was the default - DNA that could not be directly linked to a racial group was classified as "Native American". There are no Injuns in Larry David's family tree, it's just an artifact of imperfect genetic analysis.

People who really have 10% or more "Native American" blood tend to look like Sarah Palin or Joe Mauer. Their skin is less pallid and does not flush. Their hair is usually thicker and naturally black - not dark brown, but black. They are much less likely to go bald. Taken objectively, the results of the Lopez genetic tests say more about the primitive state of genetic testing than they do about any of the subjects.

n/a said...

"Larry David is 37% Native American for instance"

No, that result simply illustrates how bad the test employed by Lopez is. If you feel the need to do this sort of test, go with something like 23andMe and stay far away from "AncestrybyDNA".

"I think it would be interesting for some Jewish celebrities to undergo a DNA analysis. I deeply suspect many of them would find that they had statistically signifigant amounts of European lineage also."

Sure, Ashkenazi Jews are a Middle Eastern and (mostly southern) European mix; but they're highly inbred, so the European component is mostly highly shared within the Ashkenazi community. One of the most noticeable findings of tests like 23andMe is how much DNA AJs share with other AJs.

Harry Baldwin said...

Anonymous said... Also from Lopez Tonight, here is Charles Barkley and Snoop Dogg facing off over who has blacker DNA . . . Interestingly, these celebrities view African heritage as a source of pride and European ancestors as a source of ridicule.

I can't imagine them doing otherwise. How would it profit them? It would be like Obama stressing his white European roots rather than his African roots.

stari_momak said...

Having a slave also means you don't have to pick the yams, you jackass.

LOL

Anonymous said...

Most Americans don't have to go very far back in our families' histories to find oppressed ancestors--if that's what we think will give us victim status.

Sheez. These people make me sick.

Robert said...

These debates always make me wonder if certain people would agree that it would be better if no Africans had ever made it to the New World. Without slavery, very few would have. Didn't Cassius Clay say, after visiting the Congo, "I sure am glad they put my grandaddy on that boat!"?
What would America be like today without the history of slavery? Better or worse?

tommy said...

Jessica Alba was notified by George Lopez that she was roughly 80% European in a similar stunt.

Actually, she was nearly 90% European (87% exactly). Then she wanted to know if Spanish people were European per the DNA test. Duh.

Also from Lopez Tonight, here is Charles Barkley and Snoop Dogg facing off over who has blacker DNA

Snoop came up 23% Native American and only 6% white. I'm not surprised. He's got about as Indian a face as any black guy I've ever seen. I didn't see Barkley's full results, but Lopez stated he was 75% African and thus won the competition by 4%. He joked that he was going to call Snoop "whitey" for now on. Unless Barkley had a similar percentage of Indian blood, the whitey title probably belongs to Barkley himself.

ben tillman said...

Larry David is 37% Native American for instance as Lopez mentioned in the video above.

Please. That's just some sort of problem with the test.

I read the linked interview with Eva Longoria, and it didn't sound as if she was disappointed about her largely European ancestry.

In Texas, "Longoria" is a Jewish name. The fact that she has little if any Amerindian ancestry does not mean the rest of her ancestry is European.

Wanderer said...

Anonymous said:
Jessica Alba was notified by George Lopez that she was roughly 80% European


See here.

(and here -- Alba is 25% French-Canadian, 25% Danish, and half European-predominant-mestizo).

Anonymous said...

The band is also interesting in that it's leader, Win Butler, is part of what may be a rising number of Mormons, or ex-Mormons, in popular culture.

About 2% of Americans are Mormon or ex-Mormon, so you would expect to see a few here and there. I doubt, though, that even 2% of entertainment personalities are Mormon. Go back 30-40 years and you could say the same thing - Johnny Whitaker, The Osmonds, Mike Lookinland ("The Brady Bunch"), etc.

Anonymous said...

Steve, do any of your readers have anything positive to say about any African or African American on planet Earth?

Silver said...

On this blog, you will get plenty of generalizations about all kinds of people. Many of them are wrong.

True. But many of them are also right, or at least reasonable, ie reliable.

Basically you have here a bunch of WNs, pro-whites (usually the same thing just less racially intense about it all) and "HBDers" all eager to smash through pee-cee thought control. That enthusiasm means they're occasionally going to be overzealous and irrationally cling to a mistaken generalization.

Anonymous said...

"Steve, do any of your readers have anything positive to say about any African or African American on planet Earth?"

Do any of you liberal interlopers have a more substantive rebuttal than "You're mean!" or "Rude!" or some other huffy taunt most commonly unleashed by adolescent girls?

It seems that you do not.

Anonymous said...

Well, I should say that even if we accept that blacks have a lower IQ on average than whites, there is still overlap between the two distributions. Therefore, anyone who has nothing positive to say about any African American or African on the entire planet is just displaying his or her own bigotry. By the way Steve Sailer, you should really crack down on this. African Americans are what, 13-14% of the American population? It doesn't bode well for fostering "citizenist" ambitions if one major group of your citizens utterly despises another. I fear that your persistently snarky posts are simply egging on the worst elements of your readership.

Dahinda said...

"Margaret Mullings had a farm; she needed workers, and the workers were slaves. That was the system."

Isn't this how white descendants of lsaveholders defend their ancestors? Also, it is good to hear for once that blacks did own slaves. Black Africans were heavily involved in the slave trade and owned slaves as well. Whites were sold as slaves by Arabs who stole them from Europe for centuries as well but you rarely hear about this side of it.

Anonymous said...

I admit I'm confused. How does a black person "assert (their) whiteness"? Seems impossible to do. Does it work both ways? If I, a white person, do something bad, would that be asserting my blackness?

Anonymous Irish Ihadfood McHungry said...

Again, to put human suffering in historical context in America vs the rest of the world:

The most traumatic event by far in US History in terms of loss of life was the US Civil War. Out of a population of 31 million, 620,000 soldiers died. That was 10% of Northern white males 20-45yrs and 30% of Southern white males 18-40yrs or a total slightly less than 2% of the population 1860-1865.

And to put America's slavery/human bondage in historical context, latest dates of abolition or effective end of slavery around the world:

1833 British Empire
1843 India
1848 Denmark
1848 France
1863 Netherlands
1865 11 Confederate States<*****>
1886 Cuba
1866 Russia
1888 Brazil
1897 Zanzibar
1905 Thailand
1908 Ottoman Empire
1910 China
1911 North Africa
1923 Ethiopia
1924 Iraq
1928 Iran
1929 Burma
1930 Korea
1930s Morraco
1962 Saudi Arabia
1970 Yemen&Oman
1980 Mauritania
2003 Niger
2008 Nepal

slavery was gradually outlawed and suppressed in Muslim lands, largely due to pressure exerted by Western nations such as Britain and France.[2] However, slavery claiming the sanction of Islam is documented presently in the African republics of Chad, Mauritania, Niger, Mali and Sudan.

Steve2 said...

Steve, do any of your readers have anything positive to say about any African or African American on planet Earth?

Even though this is one of the stupidest questions, I've read in the comments section, I'll answer.

Since Barkley and Snoop were already brought up, I'll use them. I enjoyed Snoop's music and contributions to hip hop. Barkley was one of my favorite athletes growing up, and I still find him entertaining on TNT's show.

That probably doesn't make "Anonymous" feel better, because nothing would. But there it is.

tommy said...

Larry David is 37% Native American for instance

No, this is just a known flaw of testing Ashkenazic Jews for wide racial ancestry. For reasons that aren't entirely clear to me, AJs often come up as false positives for NA ancestry.

tommy said...

Steve, do any of your readers have anything positive to say about any African or African American on planet Earth?

I like Thomas Sowell's books. Satisfied?

Conatus said...

According to 1830 U.S. census records, 3,775 free blacks—living mostly in the South—
owned a total of 12,760 slaves.

American Heritage Magazine
"Selling Poor Steven"

I do not think this is discussed much in the schools or colleges at sensitivity sessions.

My favorite slave story is the one about Pope Gregory walking through a market and he sees a couple of blonde white Angles being roughed up because they were slaves.
The historian Bede (d. 735) reports that upon seeing some Anglo-Saxon boys being maltreated in a Roman slave market, Pope Gregory the Great (pope from 590-604) exclaimed: “Non Angli, sed angeli”—“Not Anglos, but angels”

As an Anglo, whenever I run into Italians and we have a few drinks I usually bring up the this story and then the subject of reparations. I got a drink once.

Luke Lea said...

"Steve, do any of your readers have anything positive to say about any African or African American on planet Earth?"

Regular readers will know that Steve himself has said many positive things about African Americans over the years.

By the way, I would guess that very few of his regular readers are WN's. Some are even bleeding-heart liberals who are trying to figure out how to adapt their egalitarian principles to the realities (possibilities, probabilities?) of HBD.

What differences would it make? I mean in the way we design social policy so that all Americans, no matter their intelligence, can share in the fruits made possible by the labor of their ancestors?

Acilius said...

"Do any of you liberal interlopers have a more substantive rebuttal than "You're mean!" or "Rude!" or some other huffy taunt most commonly unleashed by adolescent girls?"

When our host first enabled comments on iSteve, it was common for a discussion thread to feature several liberal commenters who included citations of academic articles in their objections to his posts. This not only made those threads worth reading, but I suspect it freed Steve to go further out in his speculations than he otherwise may have done. Since he knew that if he veered into the land of BS, he would be called on it, it wasn't entirely up to him to keep the blog honest. Now, though, those people all seem to have gone away, and the threads are frankly pretty depressing.

Silver said...

By the way Steve Sailer, you should really crack down on this. African Americans are what, 13-14% of the American population? It doesn't bode well for fostering "citizenist" ambitions if one major group of your citizens utterly despises another.

That's not really true. To be honest it sounds like something spoken by someone just working his way out of the fog of liberal delusion, aka mandatory white capitulation.

Racialism -- hell, good old bare knuckled racism -- is in no way incompatible with "citizenism." Again, look at L. America. Supposedly "racist" as hell but they still hold together.

I don't even have to go so far as that. My own childhood: an A-grade smart ass I'd upset my friends until they grew so frustrated they'd call me a "dago" or a "wog" but then the next day they're back at my house. Racism schmacism. It's nothing like the psychic deathblow that liberals bs-ers love to claim.

Nationalism on the other hand is a very different animal. These people will kill you "just for being different" and they'll think nothing of it. White nationalism, as opposed to mere racialism/racism, is a particularly nasty strain of nationalism because the white nationalist is acutely aware of the conditions required for national(racial) survival and is simply beside himself with fury that those conditions have been compromised, and not by a little, but by a whole bloody lot.

Make of that what you will, but it's a vital distinction.

James Kabala said...

" For reasons that aren't entirely clear to me, AJs often come up as false positives for NA ancestry."

The Mormons are right! (Or they are on the right track but have it backwards.)

Anonymous said...

It has nothing to do with being a liberal. Even most people who accept HBD don't despise an entire group of people, i.e. blacks. I am a bit alarmed at how many of the people here seem to have no positive opinions whatsoever about any African or African American. It's one thing to discuss the honest fact that blacks have a lower average IQ than whites. It's another to denigrate every single African American on planet Earth just because they're black.

I mean, let's think about it this way. If the white IQ distribution has an average of 100 and a SD of 15 and the black distribution an average of 85 and a SD of 15, you basically have 1/6 of blacks being smarter than the average white person in America. (Now, some caveats do apply. It's been suggested that the black SD may be as low as 90% that of the white SD and also that the average IQ of African Americans is somewhere in between 80-85, relative to the white average of 100. But, let's ignore these possibilities for the sake of argument here and use the conventional numbers.) That's not an significant number of blacks who are smarter than the average white person. There's no need to act like every black person is incapable of anything remotely intellectual in nature.

Anonymous said...

Correction to my previous post.
I meant to say that 1/6 of blacks being smarter than the average white person in America isn't an insignificant number.

Truth said...

"I like Thomas Sowell's books. Satisfied?"

Yes. And by the way I LOVE Morris Dees work, so we live in a colorblind society.

Anonymous said...

do any of your readers have anything positive to say about any African or African American on planet Earth?

Do any of you liberal interlopers have anything positive to say about any White or White American on planet Earth?

Even if only a grudging admission that this exchange is taking place soley as a result of white people making the internet available.

Anonymous said...

I am a bit alarmed at how many of the people here seem to have no positive opinions whatsoever about any African or African American.

I dont see that ownership of a reasonable IQ (or not) is the basis for liking or disliking a group.

Am I going to prefer a complete (black) stranger who has a higher IQ than my own (white) child. For me, I am happy to see whits as my distant extended family, specially in comparison with other groups. Doesnt mean I despise non-whites but I am allowed to play favorites.

It certainly seems like other groups are.

Anonymous said...

The commentator who is "alarmed" that so few people seem to have anything good to say about blacks has probably had little real interaction with them. Otherwise it wouldn't be such a mystery. Reality has an impact on most people that just theorizing can't match.

Anonymous said...

The point isn't whether or not people are allowed to play racial favorites. The point is that Steve Sailer doesn't play favorites, or at least he has stated that he doesn't

From the wikipedia page on Sailer, which references his debate with Jared Taylor.

"Sailer describes his personal ideology as "Citizenism", which he explains as:

I believe Americans should be biased in favor of the welfare of our current fellow citizens over that of the six billion foreigners... A huge number of Americans grasp that we are lucky to be American citizens and they want to pass on their good fortune to their posterity undiluted.[24]

He views this as an antithesis of racism, and he argues that African-Americans, Jewish-Americans, European-Americans, and other groups can rally behind this. He has also stated that "White Nationalism is worse than a crime, it's a mistake" and argued that the ideology, if widely adopted, would actually hurt American whites rather than help them.[24]"

Let's making something clear. Sailer's formulation of his ideology makes it clear that he values the interests of African American citizens over every non-American white person on the planet. That's why I'm a little bit perturbed by the rather palpable hostility on this blog towards African Americans.

Nick said...

"It's one thing to discuss the honest fact that blacks have a lower average IQ than whites. It's another to denigrate every single African American on planet Earth just because they're black."

The PC police insist that the former is an example of the latter. It's hard to care about tact when you're going to be labeled a Nazi regardless.

So sorry we're more interested in black crime and black educational/intellectual failure than in, say, the glories of New Orleans Jazz or the rare competent black lawyer or scientist. It just so happens that the negative aspects of American blacks pose a political challenge that must be addressed, whereas the positive traits do not. Related to this, the positive facts, in contrast to the negative ones, are not ceaselessly hidden, ignored or placed at whitey's feet.(Why isn't whitey responsible for all the glories of black culture, I wonder? Whitey's responsible for all the bad shit, after all. I must ponder this awhile.)

Anonymous said...

Well I'm not sure why so many people on here view blacks with utter disdain or want to turn this into a racial conflict. And why precisely are so many people here interested in black intellectual failure? Let me guess. It's certainly not due to a desire to solve the problem or out of sympathy towards the plight of blacks. Most people here want to harp on blacks just so that they can feel better about themselves. But that just raises an ugly question. What have you accomplished individually as a human being? I'd take a Thomas Sowell or a Kwame Anthony Appiah over most of the people here any day. Stop harping on the entire black race. If you want something to feel good about, go out and contribute something to the world.

tommy said...

And why precisely are so many people here interested in black intellectual failure? Let me guess. It's certainly not due to a desire to solve the problem or out of sympathy towards the plight of blacks.

White liberals and black leaders have no serious concern for solving the problem of black intellectual failure. Their supposed interest in black achievement revolves around self-congratulation, self-aggrandizement, and self-interest. Maybe you should take it up with them.

Most readers of this blog understand that there are no easy solutions to black intellectual failure and are tired of those who pretend such solutions exist. Unfortunately, the race un-realists control the public debate.

I'd take a Thomas Sowell or a Kwame Anthony Appiah over most of the people here any day.

I would take a Thomas Sowell over many of the people here (though not over Steve himself), but I would take most of the people here over your average citizen or even your average media personality. I would take your average white American over your average black American on most matters intellectual.

none of the above said...

This is the nature of blog comments. Even on the ones worth reading, the s/n ratio is very low.

I don't have a poll of isteve readers, but I assume many have no interest in white nationalism, but prefer truth to lies wrt race, IQ, immigration, and related issues Steve covers well.

Personally, I admire people who accomplish impressive things, think some issues through carefully and explain their conclusions, or make the world better. Plenty of blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Jews, whites, etc manage to do those things. I'd include MLK (the man, not the sanitized plaster saint) and Barrack Obama and Thurgood Marshal in that set, for all that I have fundamental disagreements with each. Thomas Sowell's writings (in his pre-crabby old man phase) had a huge impact on how I see the world. And so on.

Silver said...

White liberals and black leaders have no serious concern for solving the problem of black intellectual failure. Their supposed interest in black achievement revolves around self-congratulation, self-aggrandizement, and self-interest. Maybe you should take it up with them.

White liberal intellectuals know the score but cover it up for other reasons, and the same is probably true for black "leaders," although they're perhaps less aware of the implications liberals fear.

But the average white liberal and the average black are certainly genuinely concerned. The thing is that their methods (a) can't work and (b) are designed to solve what isn't even a real problem -- you know, The Gap, The Gap, The Gap. The average black would never in a million years have thought anything of any "gap," nor does his individual quality of life in any way depend on it being "narrowed," yet now he thinks there's a "problem" and he has been politicized by it, which is the real problem. Just typical liberal political bs which can do nothing but slowly destroy any country unfortunate enough to be exposed to it.

David Davenport said...

... reports that upon seeing some Anglo-Saxon boys being maltreated in a Roman slave market, Pope Gregory the Great (pope from 590-604) exclaimed: “Non Angli, sed angeli”—“Not Anglos, but angels”

One wonders if Gregory's interest in the boys was entirely high-minded.