January 4, 2007

The D.C. press corps and Barack Obama

One thing that gets overlooked in all the national media frenzy over the potential Presidential candidate is how Barack Obama's African name and African father subtly help his image among bigfoot Washington D.C. journalists.

Something I noticed after a number of visits to D.C. is how much white Washingtonians prefer African immigrants to American blacks. One reason is because on average the African blacks are much more obsequious toward whites than the American blacks of Washington D.C., who are far more surly and slow-moving than the American blacks in, say, Chicago. The African-American checkout ladies at CVS drugstores always remind me of John F. Kennedy's saying that Washington D.C. combines Southern efficiency with Northern charm. The African immigrants, in contrast, are much more polite and thus make more desirable servants for our ruling elite. Some of this white preference for Africans rubs off on Obama.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer


Grumpy Old Man said...

Your post reminds me that back in the day, the columnist Harry Golden suggested, tongue-in-cheek, that Southern racial conflict could be eased by buying turbans for American blacks, because Africans were treated with Southern hospitality rather than the Jim Crow rules.

Golden also had the "vertical Negro plan" where tension over segregated lunch counters could be eliminated by taking out the seats.

There's nothing new under the sun.

Anonymous said...

Most of the white elite in D.C. attended private prep schools and Ivy League universities with more rich African immigrants than with inner city U.S. born blacks. Obama probably reminds much of the DC establishment of the smart immigrant kid from Penn or Brown.

On a side note, you should also mention that D.C. also have an abscence of blue collar whites. I assume that most of the elite in D.C. never interact with any blue collar whites since the closest blue collar whites live in Baltimore, Hagerstown, or Winchester. This lack of interaction probably shapes their hatred of blue collar whites. When they visit places like Alabama, Michigan, or Nebraska the D.C. elite see many whites doing jobs that only blacks or hispanics do in D.C.

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of the Obama-mania stems from the fact that he is not a rabble rouser like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.

In fact, Obama probably represents to white liberals the "Ideal Black Man." Think about it, Barack Obama has class and style. He is also a great public speaker. He doesn't launch into firey "get whitey" speeches and is also not very partisan.

In short, Obama is a white liberal's wet dream come true.

Anonymous said...

The blacks in D.C. are historically the descendants of around 40,000 blacks who encamped around and in that city looking for a meal or property ticket during and after the War Between the States. That's quite a few generations of folks expecting handouts. - Steve could probably tell you precisely how many black generations that is - from 1865, 66. - I'm guessing it's about double its white counterpart.

It's no coincidence that Washington, D.C. is always around the top of the crime statistics.

Obama and his African brethren must seem like a breathe of fresh air to the cocooned white elite in D. C.

Anonymous said...

It may have something to do with the self-selection of African immigrants to this country. Every African or child of an African immigrant I have ever known had a graduate degree in science or engineering or was in the process of obtaining one.
Consequently, when I hear that someone is an African, I assume they are intelligent and highly educated.

Anonymous said...

Boy I agree with Horatio and that is why I see African Immigration as a good thing for the country where Mexican immigration is a negative.

I have a friend from Nigeria who is an engineer who talks about how he cleped (sp?) a few math classes against his advisors advice and he did great. His wife has a PHD his oldest daughter has a masters, his son is well on his way to an engineering degree and his remaining son is doing well in grade school.

Anonymous said...

Most African immigrants I encounter seem to be genuinely nice people. In contrast to American born blacks most of whom aren't very nice.

Anonymous said...

The Obama-Phenomena exposes how race is secondary to class in explaining the structure and power in America. Class here signifying not only wealth but also certain rarified educational and socialization experience.

Obama is certified elite: Punahau School, Occidental, Columbia, Harvard Law. Also, he’s no affirmative action flyweight: magna cum laude and president of the Law Review as well as law professor at University of Chicago. To top it off, he hides his intelligence well behind a Tiger Woods-like charisma, has excellent people and effective public speaking skills. No doubt any lily-white Wall Street PAC or DC players would feel more comfortable with Obama at the dinner table than 99.999% of “whites”.

However, Obama’s qualities do not explain how he so quickly arose from relative obscurity to contend for the top office of the land. There are many others who similarly certified and talented who slave for decades (or more sanely go into the private sector) and are(would) never (be) selected by the political elites or the donor class behind them. The painfully obvious explanation is that Obama bring race as well as class to the table.

While race may be secondary to class in explaining our American power structure, race is the obsession of our times and promoted at every turn by our MSM, academics and politics. Class on the other hand is largely ignored or branded divisive. This is not just a diversionary conspiracy; most Americans contrast the rigidity of race with an optimistic fluidity of class. In fact, the likes of Obama, Powell, Woods, Berry, etc. demonstrate race can be as much if not more fungible as class. Indeed, Jews and Asians have demonstrated such en masse via educational and material success despite historic or contemporary institutional prejudice.

The explanatory power of race over class is just one of the noble lies that attempt to harmonize our particular American sense of equality with the unfairness of life. Although fruitless, the most impassioned dreamers and disadvantaged can at least busy themselves with attempts to race normalize every human talent and social reward at the expense of the large but inert middle class who have a diminishing voice in things (e.g. immigration).


Anonymous said...

It's not just the elite, college educated, African immigrants that are like that. I've worked entry level retail with some from Ghana, and they were a hell of a lot more pleasant to be around than the average middle class white. It's not "deference to whites" either, because I observed them behaving the same to everyone. Some possible explanations are the high religiosity they displayed (Christian, which might be the majority in Ghana but I don't know) and how relatively well off they might have thought themselves, whereas many in retail have just started their first job and feel entitled to something better.

Anonymous said...

The question of African immigration into the US would make an interesting article for Steve to research.

I’ve noticed two types of African immigration into the US: (1) the elite well-educated students and professionals and (2) the masses driving taxis in NYC, etc. I’m guessing the latter overwhelm the former, but my exposure has been more of the former.

I agree the civilities of the elites from Africa are more akin to British than American norms. I’ve liked and hoped for the success of everyone I’ve met. However, I have been disappointed by the actual abilities I’ve witnessed in the field.

I’ve reasoned this is because they’ve systematically been put in way over their heads dues to affirmative action and the absolute dearth of American blacks in any of the sciences at a high level. One unfortunate result can be people like Philip Emeagwali – the “Father of the Internet”, Africa’s Bill Gates and history’s greatest African scientist according to his website.


What are the long-term outcomes of such elites from Africa? What has been their contribution to their fields? To which sub-culture in America do they acculturate to? Are there enclaves in the US where they have enough critical masses to maintain their own values and, if so, how do they perform over time?


Anonymous said...

The link above:



Anonymous said...

Regarding the highly-educated cohort of African immigrants (as TGGP wrote, there is at least one other cohort), it is foolish to estimate their long-run impact by assuming their offspring will inherit their high educations and pleasant manners.

Both reversion to the mean and assimilation to surrounding cultural norms suggest that the descendants of those hyper-elite Africans who come here with graduate degrees and pockets full of money (largely embezzled from Western aid funds or extorted from Western oil companies) will be just as dull and truculent as the other descendants of African immigrants in this country.

Steve Sailer said...

In the huge 1980 National Longitudinal Study of Youth database, using the military's AFQT as the IQ test, black immigrant youths scored five points higher on average than American-born blacks. Working backwards from regression toward the mean, that suggests their immigrant parents scored even higher.

Anonymous said...

Five points above American blacks is still 5-10 points below USA non-hispanic whites, right? How long before any inherited money gets frittered away?

Even that 5 point advantage will fade away in another generation or two.

Anonymous said...

"Five points above American blacks is still 5-10 points below USA non-hispanic whites, right?"

5 points higher means roughly IQ 90, roughly global median IQ, also the median IQ of Turkey. It's close to the median IQ of US Hispanics, slightly above the median IQ of south-east Asia and slightly below the median IQ of the Republic of Ireland. So it depends how you look at it.

I'd say this emphasises the importance of culture & other factors over raw IQ - countries and cultures can have similar IQs but widely different characteristics.

Steve Sailer said...

Immigrants from Africa tend to be from the educated elites of those countries. For example, veteran NBA center Dikembe Mutombo from the Congo enrolled in Georgetown U. to major in International Studies, and was only snatched up by the basketball team after he had started classes. Hoya basketball coach John Thompson must have damn near had a heart attack in excitement when he saw an unknown 7'-2" 275 pound black guy with a big stack of books under his arm on his way to the library to study.

Anonymous said...

To put a finer point on my earlier question: how much do the elites from Afria immigrating to the US come from distinct ethnic subgroups?

Although Africa has been historically organized along tribal lines, how strict were these divisions and how far back do they go - far enough to have developed meaningfully ethnic subgroups?

It's been remarked that India's overall low academic performance vs the exceptional performance of certain subgroups may be due to such long-term historical/cultural segregation. How much does this apply to Africa?


rcocean said...

Why is everyone high-fiving over high IQ, Elite Africans coming to this country?

These people are needed in Africa. We have enough high IQ engineers in the USA. Africa, OTOH, needs these people.

As for the MSM Oboma love in. MSM = DNC. The DNC/MSM needs 90% of the black every 4 years to win. They are afraid that the Repubs will put an AA like Rice on the ticket and lose.
Oboma is their great "Black Hope".

Anonymous said...

Africa might "need" these people, but Africa isn't utilizing them very well at the moment. It's a really lousy deal for them as well. Even if the immigrants I knew stayed in retail their whole lives (and they seemed to ambitious and hardworking to do that) it's a better outcome than getting their arms and legs hacked off with a machete, which has been known to happen in Africa. I think Samuel Huntington noted in Who Are We that African immigrants to the U.S are more likely to hold desk jobs than native whites. How many of those jobs even exist in Africa? How many of them are just government posts that leech off the citizens rather than doing anything productive?

Anonymous said...

In Nigeria, the intellectual elite seems to be the Ibo. I knew two Nigerians in med school (one at Duke)--both Ibo.

rcocean said...

BTW, Obama just shows the absurd nature of "Affirmative Action".

What possible justification is there for this 1/2 white 1/2 African who grew up in Hawaii getting a preference over a some white class working kid?

Its simly insane that someone can come here from Africa, become a citizen, and then get PREFERENCE in employment and education over native born whites or Asians.

Only a liberal could justify it.

Anonymous said...

As a non-American I feel free to offer advice on the American problem that I know will never be taken. But here goes anyway.

White Americans should stop beating themselves up over slavery. It’s absurd. Americans did not invent slavery, but they fought a bloody Civil War and many gave their lives to end it. Americans should celebrate that they ended slavery in the New World. And much of the pressure to end this institution came from Christian groups with a particular vision of justice, the Quakers being foremost. Celebrate your achievement here, and give credit where it is due. When it is understood that white Americans are not the devil incarnate, but instead the liberators of the slaves, then blacks will be less likely to use the excuse of slavery for their current woes. It is very dangerous to give blacks a justification for their continual predation on whites.

Secondly: inform blacks of the facts about Muslim slavery: that historically Islam is the greatest enslaver of blacks; that Muslim enslavement of sub-Saharan blacks continues to this day with daily raids on villages and the stealing of men, women, and children. Perhaps then blacks will understand that Islam is not its friend and, again, that white Americans are not the worst people this world has to offer. (Who was it convinced blacks in the 60s that Islam was their natural religion?)

Related to this make it clear that the black enslavement of blacks was at the heart of New World slavery and continues to this day in Africa, being related to its many genocidal wars.

White Americans need to stop telling the world that white Americans are the worst people in the world: because as recent events make clear, the world is all too ready to hear that message, believe it, and act upon it.

Anonymous said...

There is one thing I have always wanted to congratulate Steve on: the thesis that white liberalism is part of the moral and intellectual one-upmanship game played by whites against whites — that it is essentially part of the class wars. This is really the Great Explainer, and once you see it you see it everywhere and throughout history (what really destroyed the Crusades chance of success, but inter-European rivalry that was really a one-upmanship game?). In Western countries the elites battle it out in smugness wars, where even the reality of terrorism is denied to make it seem that those who believe in it are really just racist xenophobes. Never in the history of the World have so many people believed such self-deceiving lies as they do now. One thing is clear is that if the immigration battle is lost then the West will be lost to our grandchildren. What will America decline into: read the novel Snow Crash for a scarifying vision of the near future.

Anonymous said...

I think when the Frankfurt School, Marcuse & co crafted 'cultural Marxism' (the basis of Political Correctness) as a means to destroy western Enlightenment civilisation, they deliberately designed it to appeal to status anxiety in the western elites. PC isn't a spontaneous phenomena, but it harnesses certain innate in-group/out-group desires we all share.

Anonymous said...


A very interesting and disturbing thought!

In a sense this is one of Dawkins' deadly memes — or better, a computer virus that is designed to spread and to destroy the host system. PC the first virus!

Anonymous said...

I remember before the name 'political correctness' became the norm, the name that was used was 'ideologically sound'. I distinctly remember when the transition occurred. It was, of course, first used a badge of honour.

Anonymous said...

David Hume:
"In a sense this is one of Dawkins' deadly memes — or better, a computer virus that is designed to spread and to destroy the host system. PC the first virus!"

It's ironic that the cultural Marxism meme was engineered to destroy the resistance mechanisms of Enlightenment civilisation in order to prepare the way for the triumph of Communism, but then Communism died, and the opportunist infection of Islamism looks likely to take its place instead.

Personally I'd have preferred Communism, *sigh*

Neshobanakni said...

Important observations and wonderful advice from David Hume. I don't always agree with Steve Sailer, but I always learn from his websites.

Ken Shabby: Did you ever get that promotion? I hope it's a good, sturdy brush.

Anonymous said...

"It's ironic that the cultural Marxism meme was engineered to destroy the resistance mechanisms of Enlightenment civilisation in order to prepare the way for the triumph of Communism, but then Communism died, and the opportunist infection of Islamism looks likely to take its place instead."

There is a book here — and maybe the most needed book of our time!

One of the things that I don't think is fully appreciated is just how widespread is the destructiveness of the PC concept in Academia. The idea that evidence doesn't really matter, and that agreement is a substitute for thought has penetrated into the highest reaches of physics. For example, there are many complaints now about the culture of String Theory in the U.S. and the parlous state it is in. Some very prominent physicists have been arguing that empirical evidence may be unimportant and should be deprecated in judgements of a theory's strength and viability. Some are calling this the rise of post modernism in physics, but it is more directly a corrolary of the PC meme and the cultural Marxism that Simon has pointed to. "As long as we have agreement and conformity we are on the shining path to the future."

I think people have just not grasped how thoroughly Western culture has changed in the last twenty years.

Thanks for the remark Neshobanakni