Race: Some thoughts you may not ever have read anywhere else
Someday someone actually has to deal with it. The dishonesty and vacuity that pervade today’s “debate” on race make that “conversation” just plain pathetic. And in the United States of America! Really? Are you kidding me? Are you freakin’ kidding me?
Everyone tiptoes around everyone else and no one addresses some really important questions that actually would allow a real debate to happen. And, just posing them also even might allow the debate to come to actual conclusions.
First some background-setting bullet points. These are statements of fact that no one disputes, or even could dispute.
Point 1. If intelligence is measurable — it’s a BIG if! — then at any given moment any given race is more or less intelligent — on average — than any other given race.
Point 2. The study of “intelligence” is of recent vintage.
Point 3. There is no agreement on what “intelligence” means.
On Point 1. This is obvious. If on your Race Intelligence Scale, one race scores an average of x then another race will score an average of y. Either x or y will be the larger number…for the purpose of this example, call it x. In this case, the race that scores x will be more intelligent — on the average – than the race that scores y. The important point: if that difference is substantial, then surely there are bound to be society-wide tensions, as the races grapple with inter-racial interaction.
On Point 2. The concept of “IQ” itself is barely more than 100 years old. The Benet-Simon and Stanford-Binet scales are all turn of the 20th Century innovations. All of this means that intelligence averages that purport to cover large, identifiable groups of people are nothing more than snapshots.
On Point 3. Put 100 people into a room and ask them to write down their definition of “intelligence,” and you’ll obtain 100 different answers. More important: put 100 psychologists in the same room and ask them the same thing, and again you’ll obtain 100 different definitions.
Now: some questions that should be brought up so that the “discussion” of racial differences could have some meaning, context and ummm…intelligence.
Question 1. One race is “more intelligent” than another. So what? Are they both still human? Ummm…I dunno, but if they have sex, do they produce a little one? If so, then that answer’s easy: Yes.
But…and it’s a big one: we speak honestly of, for example: dogs. German Shepherds are more loyal, or easier to train or this or that. Cocker spaniels are great hunting dogs, and, yep, we breed ‘em for that. St. Bernards are the best “rescue dogs.” Greyhounds are the fastest. Schnausers are the cutest. Mutts are the most family-friendly. I made these up, but you know what I’m talking about. No one even blinks if someone says, “Oh, I LOOOOOVE Golden Retrievers! They’re the BEST family dogs!”
And, we do this for all animal families: cats, horses, cows, birds, etc. In fact I point you to this entry in Wikipedia: “As domestic cats are little altered from wildcats, they can readily interbreed. This hybridization may pose a danger to the genetic distinctiveness of wildcat populations, particularly in Scotland and Hungary.“
Anyone shocked by that entry? Of course not.
Now, substitute “human” where you see “cat” in that little snippet and read it to yourself. Here’s how it would read: “As domestic humans are little altered from wildhumans, they can readily interbreed. This hybridization may pose a danger to the genetic distinctiveness of wildhuman populations, particularly in Scotland and Hungary.”
Now how did that sound? More than a bit jarring, eh? Yet, we talk that way with no reluctance whatsoever when it comes to cats. Or dogs. Or horses. Or…name the species. Just not humans.
Question 2 (arising from question 1). Do we really think that the intra-species differences that we see in all other creatures are not present in humans?
Question 3 (arising from question 2). If we admit that the intra-species differences, both physical and mental that we observe in all other creatures are present in humans, then, again, so what?
Question 4. We all use the phrase “racial differences.” What are those differences? Are they physical, mental, moral, emotional, all of the above, none of the above? Someone ought to provide a listing of the “racial differences.”
Question 5. Let’s stipulate that one race is more intelligent than another race. One could say also that one race is less intelligent than another race. Either way, let’s stipulate one of the above assertions. The first question is, of course, “so what?” The next question is what do we know about that relationship?
For example, what if the situation is as shown below? Note: the below is purely hypothetical. Say, from right to left, it’s a period of 2,000 years, from 1,000 AD to 3,000 AD, and the lines represent average IQ scores for two different races at different points in time. What could we observe?
Hypothetical relative average race-wide IQ scores for two hypothetical races.
Observation 1: Well, at any given time, except for a few very brief periods, one race is, on the average, more intelligent than the other.
Observation 2: at the year 2000, Race 2 has a significant intelligence advantage over Race 1. Here I’m making the assumption, in using the word “advantage,” that a higher IQ score is desirable.
Observation 3: In the year 2000, Race 2 is about to “peak” and then drop below Race 1, which never, in this hypothetical timeline, achieves the pinnacle that Race 2 achieves.
Observation 4: Race 2 starts and ends at a higher average IQ score.
Obervation 5: Race 1 spends a significant amount of time at a higher average IQ score than Race 2.
Observation 6: Things are looking dicey for Race 1 at the end of the above hypothetical…But, things occasionally looked dicey for both races throughout the period of the hypothetical chart.
Note: This is only a hypothetical, and I’m not positing that this is how things are or were… But, empirically speaking, I’ll bet things were and are like this. Just a question of the actual measurements and the actual lines. Makes sense, and no one can either prove it or disprove it. (Btw: these are really just two random, curvy lines I drew on a paper and scanned to a computer graphic.)
Question 6. Since no “snapshot” — which is all we have — of a given race tells even close to the whole story, what if, as is most likely, two different races are growing in intelligence at different rates? How should their relationship be? Especially if the race with the lower average intelligence is progressing less quickly than the race with the higher average intelligence.
One of my points: make any of these observations, pose any of these questions, even make any of these measurements or do any of this research and you risk being violently attacked as a racist. Even though you are doing the societal equivalent of, say, measuring, based on widely-agreed upon standards, the relative height of two different trees. When you state that one tree is taller than another, you state nothing more than an obvious, measurable, simple, non-debatable truth. And, yet, you will be branded: racist!
That’s messed up.
Because a very simple, and again undeniable, truth is: of all characteristics that carry positive or negative meaning, all races possess them in greater or lesser average degree than all other races. So, intelligence, honesty, diligence, hard-workingness, laziness, niceness, cruelty, mercifulness, are present in all races to a greater or lesser extent than in all other races…at all times.
Name the characteristic, and someone has thought up some way to measure it. Now go measure it. Guess what: all races will score differently.
The BIG question: what to do about it?
Well, how about first admitting that it’s not actually a problem. Whenever it’s a problem, it’s because someone has fabricated a problem.
We’re all actually just human beings. How positively weird to feel obligated to say that!
“Race relations” are nothing more than a reflection of our feelings pertaining to thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of individual interactions between individual members of each race. That’s all. When we find a less intelligent, less accomplished, less this or that member of our own race, it’s not a big deal, so it’s not really a big deal when we find a less this or that member of a different race. Unless, that is, we choose to fabricate a big deal out of it.
People need to shut the heck up about race. A dialogue about race? That’s all we freakin’ do is dialogue about race! We need to give this stupid “dialogue” a freakin’ rest! Most of us don’t care the teentsiest-weentsiets, ittiest-bittiest jot about race. If you’re a good dude or dudette, then I don’t care if your skin is freakin’ purple, I’ll still like you. (Though I will notice it, find it odd, and wonder about it. When and if I get to know you well, I’ll ask you about it.)
When we all stop obsessing about race, you’ll see that it hasn’t really been a big problem in America for a very long time. Yes, it has been a problem, and there are pockets where it is still a big problem. But, nationwide? Nope. Not for a long time.