Wednesday, January 6, 2010

So-Called "Race Realism": A Reaction

If you go to Wickipedia, it explains "race realism" as the claim that races are real rather than social constructs, and that racial distinctions are enduringly important because racial groups differ by nature (genetically) with regard to such important behavioral tendencies as intelligence and impulsiveness. This claim holds that racial distinctions are real and measurable, and further claims those measurable differences are based in science instead of idealism. Examples of scientifically demonstrable racial distinctions are said to include different decision and reaction times, intelligence, crime rates, and medical characteristics, such as differing tendencies toward diseases such as osteoporosis or sickle cell anemia.[1] Critics often claim that racial realism is a euphemism for scientific racism. I would agree.

Dennis Mangan is the author of the blog Mangan's Adventures in Reaction and describes his views on race in various ways, one of those self descriptors being that of a "race realist". His way of explaining this viewpoint in an April 2009 post responding to James Collier of the blog Acting White: "it merely means the recognition of persistent racial differences in biology and behavior."  He further self describes himself  as " nothing other than a patriotic American, white and race-conscious to be sure, who wants to stop the rising tide of immigration and the declining proportion of whites in the country."
One of the commenters to this April 2009 post, Latte Island, in their comment, said the following

"I think the harsh tone of many race-realists, and I plead guilty here, is pushing back against the threat of losing our right to do our culture with people we choose freely"

From my viewpoint, I experience a choking level of incredulity in reading a statement like the above. Does such a statement stem simply from prohibitions against discrimination in some private settings and things of that order? Its never seemed to me that whites have difficulty doing their own thing amongst themselves. Isn't this what the defacto segregation of large swaths of America's neighborhoods and certainly her houses of worship is all about?

More broadly, this seems to me merely intellectual rationalization for why people don't want to live around people of other races, unless you are in a position of numerical, financial, political, military or other superiority. That would be okay, then you could deal with it, otherwise, separation is desired.

Mangan's commentors wonder aloud as to why someone who is not white would regard this "race realism" as sinister or threatening? That someone like me would not immediately conclude that this way of thinking applied to the world I live in, is antithetical to the interests of those I care about? That a world crafted to fit these ideas is not a world that would welcome my children?

Often this conversation Mangan's readers are having with each other strikes me as merely studied and practiced exercises in convincing themselves that their race based antipathy does not spring from the same source as the "white nationalists, Nazis, skinhead" types which they disavow.

I think its instructive, enlightening and should at least give them pause that this conversation, these ideas routinely attract this unsavory racist element. Why does that not give them some indication that perhaps there is something aberrant, perhaps even abhorrent, about these ideas and the conclusions they lead to?

I note from past conversations, that a response like mine often engenders a fierce response from adherents to these "race realist" views that I simply do not understand, that indeed I am to inculcated in multiculturalism and other traps of lazy thinking to cogitate with any objectivity on these things of which they speak.

I think not. I would in fact submit that the value of an idea or philosophy can be judged in part by its utility. I ask, of what utility is any ideology that must posit the alleged inferiority of one human being as against another to derive its energy or merit? Indeed, the very racists and supremacists which Mangan's philosphy attracts is partial evidence for the inherent error of this point of view. There are few ways in which one might apply this philosophy, this set of intellectualized prejudices, that would not be harmful to those whom race realism views deem as undesirable. That should be damning of these views alone, the fact that there is scarcely any way in which these ideas, implemented as social or political policy, would not result in terrible and grievous harm to those not favored by it. I cannot imagine a society fueled and organized by this way of thinking in which a decent human being would want to live. Dennis and his intellectual compatriots can. We look upon each other across a great divide.