Wait, Who's Got a Crush on Obama?

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TNR's Alexander M. Belenky blogs the only moment in last night's Democratic debate anyone wants to talk about:

When Joe Biden talked about overcoming the stigma of being tested for AIDS ("I got tested for AIDS. I know Barack got tested for AIDS. There's no shame in being tested for AIDS"), Obama interjected that he got tested with his wife:

Barack Obama: Tavis, I just got to make clear that I got tested with Michelle when we were in Kenya in Africa, so I don't want any confusion here about what's going on.

Joe Biden: Well, I got tested to save my life because I had a blood transfusion.

Barack Obama: I was tested with my wife.

Tavis Smiley: And I'm sure Michelle appreciates you clarifying that.

Barack Obama: In public.

So while he's all for combating homophobia within the African American community, it seems he also doesn't want anyone to get the impression that he's on the down-low.

Steve Benen doubts that this was a homophobic comment. I see that and raise him one—the reaction to this indicates the normalization of homosexuality. To believe that Obama was fending off the charge that he was gay you have to believe he might sleep with Joe Biden. If you nix that possibility, Obama could only be embarrassed because right after Biden talked about how he tromped around Delaware "getting black men to understand it's not unmanly to wear a condom, getting women to understand that they can say no," he mentioned that the black dude he's running against just had an AIDS test. Obama wanted to point out that, no, he didn't need a test because he was cheating on his wife.

That's one explanation. The other explanation could be that some people hear "AIDS test" and think "gay sex" but want to lecture us on how enlightened they are. Which sort of knocks down my "normalization" hypothesis. Here's the video.

NEXT: Impeach Vader?

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  1. Nice “when did you stop beating your wife” move there, Biden.

  2. I have had an AIDS test.

    My French girl friend at the time would not let me sleep with her unless i did…so I did.

    Thinking back now though…and in light of this article….did she think I had been having gay sex?!?!

  3. The annoying thing is that both Obama and Biden immediately scramble to make excuses for getting tested. You don’t have to be in the hospital, or in Africa, or suspect your spouse of cheating, to think that getting tested is a good idea.

  4. There’s also the IV drug use–>AIDS connection.

  5. If HRC were smart, she would get herself and Bill tested.

  6. Hell, I had to get an AIDS test to get a life insurance policy. It ain’t no thang.

  7. Nostar,

    Publicly to destigmatize it, or do you think she might actually have slept with him?

  8. I can’t believe there’s even still people who think of gays first thing when they hear the word AIDS

  9. To believe that Obama was fending off the charge that he was gay you have to believe he might sleep with Joe Biden.

    Nothing in this scattershot shill job makes any sense, but your willingness to feign illiteracy to provide cover for yer boy on such an insignificant bullshit point is impressive.

    Way to suck it.

  10. “I can’t believe there’s even still people who think of gays first thing when they hear the word AIDS”

    I know. When I hear the word AIDS the first thing I think of is fags.

  11. Seriously? Who comes out looking good here? Who’s even getting schilled here, other than just mentioning Obama or Biden?

  12. “I got tested … with my wife … in Kenya … in public … I have a hard-on for females … I do not visit bath houses … the back hole says ‘exit only’ … I view non-gay pornography online … all the time … while watching reruns of ‘Baywatch’ … the scenes not involving David Hasselhoff …”

  13. “I can’t believe there’s even still people who think of gays first thing when they hear the word AIDS”

    Why not? In the Western World, AIDS remains pretty much a disease of homosexual men and drug addicts. Just look at the numbers.

  14. The more I think about it, the more odd it is that we know that Obama has had an AIDS test. Isn’t there supposed to be confidentiality rules in medicine? So, did he do it as some sort of publicity stunt? If so, why is he embarassed?

    Really, why would a married man need an AIDS test, anyhow? The doctors tried to give my wife an AIDS test when she got pregnant, but she decided it would just be a waste of time and money…

  15. Really, why would a married man need an AIDS test, anyhow?

    Well, there is the shocking, unbelievable possibility that either he or his wife have, at some point in their lives, had sex with someone other than each other.

  16. I can’t believe there’s even still people who think of gays first thing when they hear the word AIDS

    Right. When I hear AIDS I think of heterosexuals. Doesn’t every politically correct libertarian?

  17. When I hear AIDS I think of heterosexuals. Doesn’t every politically correct libertarian?

    When I hear AIDS tests raised in the context of hetero sex between blacks, yeah, sure.

  18. The more I think about it, the more odd it is that we know that Obama has had an AIDS test. Isn’t there supposed to be confidentiality rules in medicine?

    Well, we don’t know the results of the test, so that’s not nothing.

  19. lunchstealer,

    Willie is so slick, he could seduce the Pope into giving him a blow job.

  20. Wasn’t this the time in Kenya when both Obama and his wife had AIDS tests in an attempt to destigmatize the act of getting AIDS tests?

    Commentary on the liberal blogs on this seems to run along the lines of (scratch head) “WTF?”

    Tempest in a teapot.

  21. Meanwhile, here’s something that’s actually important. ChrisDodd wants to “change the debate” and is encouraging people to go to stops and ask questions of his competitors. Maybe if enough people did that posts about subjects like whether Obama gaffed wouldn’t exist.

    P.S. The debate featured zero questions about ImmigrationMatters. Not even a single mention of “immig*”.

  22. “I can’t believe there’s even still people who think of gays first thing when they hear the word AIDS”

    I know. When I hear the word AIDS the first thing I think of is fags.

    That cracked me up.

    Whenever I see the collectivist tendencies of black Americans, and think of the people that have emerged as their “leaders”, I can’t help but think that if left to their own devices their areas would be closer to Somalia then anything in America.

  23. Obama making it clear that he got tested with his wife seemed a just a quick quip that was not indicative of homophobia. It could have been HRC and the same quip would work, and probably would have been used.

    I have to stop shilling for Obama. People will think I’m a homer.

    (See the joke is he’s from my state, so a “homer” shills for his people and then because of the homophobia context. Dammit. I hate puns.)

  24. Whenever I see the collectivist tendencies of black Americans, and think of the people that have emerged as their “leaders”, I can’t help but think that if left to their own devices their areas would be closer to Somalia then anything in America.

    Grand, that rivals Jefferson’s “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just,” and has about as nice a ring to it. Kudos, though the sentiment is a sad one.

  25. I hate puns.

    Gosh, I’ve heard them say some very nice things about you.

  26. Whenever I see the collectivist tendencies of black Americans, and think of the people that have emerged as their “leaders”, I can’t help but think that if left to their own devices their areas would be closer to Somalia then anything in America.

    Yeah, thank God the wise white man is around to show them the way. Maybe all the black people could pass around and sign a Hallmark “thanks for the slavery” card.

    Jesus fucking Christ, even if you don’t think that sentiment is offensive, do you at least take half a second to think about how that’s going to come off?

  27. I ain’t gettin’ into the middle of this. One per day is enough.

  28. M,
    Instead, try saying this:

    Wheeeee!!!!

    Wheeeeeeee!!!!!

    Wheeeeeee!!!!

  29. Must be a reference I don’t get.

  30. If Obama mentioned AIDS test in Africa, homos aren’t the first thing that comes to mind – it’s black hetero sex.

    Also worth mentioning is that AIDS tests in the USA aren’t confidential anymore – they get reported to the government. So if you need to get tested use a kit you buy with cash or don’t get tested.

  31. I heard that when they test you for AIDS, they put a tiny wireless camera in your weiner which activates when you have an erection. That way the FBI can make sure you’re not getting aroused by anything that’s not permitted.

  32. Anonymo,

    Any idea how many centuries it will take for that excuse to no longer be valid? Just wondering if my great-grandchildren will still have to bow and scrape before African-Americans, because people with the same color skin as they have once enslaved people with the same color skin as A-A’s have.

  33. I can’t believe there’s even still people who think of gays first thing when they hear the word AIDS

    Well, yeah.

    Today, the face of AIDS is still largely that of a gay or bisexual man (though he is now more likely to be African American than white), a black or Hispanic injection drug user, or a black woman who has used injection drugs or who has been the partner of a man who uses them.

  34. Shhh, Paul.

    AIDS is not a gay disease. Anyone who opposes increased funding for AIDS research is, however, a homophobe who wants it to exterminate teh gay from the earth.

    But it’s NOT a gay disease!

  35. Wow, are leftists really this desperate for material that they’ll scream bloody murder because Obama objected to the implication that he cheated on his wife?

    “It could have been HRC and the same quip would work, and probably would have been used.”

    Actually, Hillary would have done better with “oh, I have Bill tested or STDs every month or so”

    Get it? He’s PROMISCUOUS!

  36. AIDS is not a gay disease.

    It’s a syndrome. That’s what the final “S” stands for.

    Just sayin’.

  37. crimethink,

    I’m not asking anyone to scrape and bow. If we were, say, listing reasons why Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton should be excluded from any serious political discussion and polite society as a whole, I’d be happy to join in. I’m not trying to assign guilt to people living today for things that happened ~150 years ago, and if you think I’m some kind of Whitey-blaming PC zealot, you’re gonna be in for a shock when you meet an actual one.

    Chalupa’s statement to which I objected: “Whenever I see the collectivist tendencies of black Americans, and think of the people that have emerged as their ‘leaders’, I can’t help but think that if left to their own devices their areas would be closer to Somalia then anything in America.”

    I believe this is a fair paraphrase of what he said: “Left to their own devices, black people cannot or likely would not have a civilized society without the assistance of white people telling them what to do.”

    And I believe that is properly read as a claim that black people inherently lack moral and intellectual faculties that white people enjoy. This appears to be a claim that whites are superior to blacks, and that is racist.

    If there are plausible alternate interpretations of Chalupa’s comment, then I might be willing to concede that perhaps he did not intend to convey what I saw in that statement, though I am not seeing any at the moment. But even if he did not intend to convey that, I still believe my reading of his comment is quite reasonable, and thus he should have taken care to rephrase it or clarify that he was not, in fact, espousing such ideas. I don’t think “Please make sure you don’t sound like a racist” is an oppressive or burdensome rule.

    I reacted with such fervor because a) racism is factually incorrect, immoral and has deeply negative effects wherever it is promoted; and b) I do not want Reason, we who comment here or libertarianism in general to be associated with racism. I believe the best way to achieve that is to swiftly and strongly denounce racism when it appears here.

    If you believe any portion of this argument is in error, I am open to counterevidence.

  38. Yeah, thank God the wise white man is around to show them the way. Maybe all the black people could pass around and sign a Hallmark “thanks for the slavery” card.

    Because if slavery never happened, they’d all be living in paradises like Rwanda and Nigeria.

    People from Asia come to this country, starting out poorer than blacks but don’t stay that way for long. And they somehow do it without government sanctioned discrimination in their favor or sucking the blood of the parts of the population that do produce. Why do you think that is?

  39. Back to the topic I won’t touch: This guy had an op-ed about SCOTUS and Brown in today’s NY Times.

  40. I thought the comment only reinforced something we all know…Joe Biden has a big mouth.

  41. Taking a break from my racist rants, the top video on cnn.com is about a “transgendered” seven year old. Thoughts?

  42. Because if slavery never happened, they’d all be living in paradises like Rwanda and Nigeria.

    OK, I cross-posted while you were writing this. Above, where I said it was possible you didn’t mean to sound racist in your original comment? I’m retracting that now. You, Grand Chalupa, are a huge, disgusting fucking racist.

    Say, why don’t you put your grand theories into practice. Go to Rwanda or Nigeria, kidnap hundreds of thousands of people, murder many in the process, with some sexual assault thrown in for good measure, separate families, transport them across oceans in conditions unfit for dogs (don’t forget to kill a sizeable portion of your “beneficiaries” along the way), force them (including the children) into backbreaking manual labor from which they will not profit, torture and murder those who resist. Repeat for several generations. Speaking of future generations, rape the women and force them to bear your illegitimate children, whom you will never acknowledge.

    If you’re correct, this will all be for their own good in the end. Remind me again why the fuck you hang out on a libertarian site with people who believe in freedom, individual choice and self-determination. Better yet, don’t and just stop hanging out here.

    People from Asia come to this country, starting out poorer than blacks but don’t stay that way for long. And they somehow do it without government sanctioned discrimination in their favor or sucking the blood of the parts of the population that do produce. Why do you think that is?

    I don’t know why, but I know your answer: because black people are inferior parasites on the master white race. Go the fuck back to Stormfront or National Vanguard or whatever pit of ignorance and bigotry you call home.

  43. I’m not trying to assign guilt to people living today for things that happened ~150 years ago, and if you think I’m some kind of Whitey-blaming PC zealot, you’re gonna be in for a shock when you meet an actual one.

    When you respond to Chalupa’s comment with a proposal that currently living blacks send a “thanks for the slavery” card to currently living whites, what am I supposed to think?

  44. Whoa. Looks like I cross posted too.

    So, what part of your above comment doesn’t support the theory that you’re a Whitey blaming PC zealot?

  45. highnumber, were you calling me one of four little piggies? Because I’m the one who went to (free) market.

  46. When you respond to Chalupa’s comment with a proposal that currently living blacks send a “thanks for the slavery” card to currently living whites, what am I supposed to think?

    I made that sarcastic suggestion because Chalupa argued that blacks owe white people for the gift of civilization, which they could not develop on their own. My comment meant, “That’s a grossly incomplete account of the historical relationship between whites and blacks, oversimplified to make whites (of the past) sound far more benevolent than they were.”

    My statements contain no suggestion that white people of today bear responsibility for the actions of some of their ancestors. I explicitly reject that, and as a libertarian, I believe responsibility is properly assigned to individuals on their own merits, not groups.

  47. So, what part of your above comment doesn’t support the theory that you’re a Whitey blaming PC zealot?

    Seriously, I’m not getting this. Chalupa is basically arguing that slavery was good because it brought blacks from Africa to superior living conditions in America and “civilized” them. I am arguing that this is a deeply flawed theory, and based on the tone of his comments, I believe it stems from racism. This idea is a “greatest hit” of racist ideologies.

    I hereby reject any blaming of white people today for slavery and other instances of racism in the past. I believe people should only be blamed for what they personally are responsible.

    Is this still unclear?

    If any of the other regulars are out there, I’d love to hear some other opinions. If I’m the one in error here, please demonstrate that to me.

  48. So when someone blurts out that you had an AIDS test, and you provide a reason that suugests it nothing to with your having sex with another man is homophobic?…What?

    It goes further to show how utterly useless that neologism is and the people that use it unironically.

  49. as a libertarian, I believe responsibility is properly assigned to individuals on their own merits, not groups

    AtA, your facetious phrase “the wise white man” threw me off. Thanks for restoring my confidence in your ideals [/no sarcasm meant, in case the high temperature of this thread might distort the reading].

    Relatedly, that a concept is shared by or

    is a “greatest hit” of racist ideologies

    doesn’t eo ipso discredit it. Ideas should stand or fall on their own merit, not on the basis of popularity or notoriety.

    Personally, I believe the problems of contemporary Somalia and Rwanda owe a great deal to the legacy of African populations’ victimization by First World colonizers.

    The comparative histories of cultural development and intercultural exchanges raise interesting questions that are worth trying to separate from evaluations of individuals’ moral worth.

  50. Go to Rwanda or Nigeria, kidnap hundreds of thousands of people, murder many in the process, with some sexual assault thrown in for good measure, separate families,

    That is indeed what Africans, with plenty of help from Arabs, did to each other – but only in fairly small parts of Africa.

    transport them across oceans in conditions unfit for dogs (don’t forget to kill a sizeable portion of your “beneficiaries” along the way),

    The Europeans running the ships died at about the same rates as the slaves. Back then life wasn’t OSHA’d and air-conditioned for anybody.

    force them (including the children) into backbreaking manual labor from which they will not profit, torture and murder those who resist. Repeat for several generations. Speaking of future generations, rape the women and force them to bear your illegitimate children, whom you will never acknowledge.
    If you’re correct, this will all be for their own good in the end.

    There’s nothing theoretical or conjectural here: blacks in the US and Europe are clearly far better off than blacks in Africa.

    So, is that global warming fad over yet?

  51. M,

    Thank you for your calm, rational response.

    Relatedly, that a concept is shared by or is a “greatest hit” of racist ideologies doesn’t eo ipso discredit it. Ideas should stand or fall on their own merit, not on the basis of popularity or notoriety.

    Agreed, so I will expand. Again, my reading of Chalupa is that he argues, in short, “Blacks are better off today because of slavery. Slavery brought them, and thus their descendants, to America, which enjoys a higher standard of living than the African societies where the descendants of slaves would likely be living had their ancestors not been enslaved and brought to America.”

    No one has yet attempted to contradict my interpretation, so I’ll take it as conceded until someone shows otherwise.

    The sum of my argument isn’t “This idea is wrong because racists hold it.” I do note that it has been used to justify many instances of oppression on the basis of race to support my conclusion that this is, in fact, Chalupa’s argument; that it has been around long enough to be widely discredited and he should know better; and that implementing this principle to make social policy invariably results in the wholesale violation of individual rights.

    But, like you said, this isn’t a deductive proof that this idea is incorrect. To accomplish that, I note that this idea, justifying oppression by claiming the targeted group is incapable of governing themselves without being coerced by a superior group, is naked paternalism. We libertarians reject paternalism in many forms, such as prohibitions on recreational drugs, alcohol or smoking. We recognize that a) claims the target will be “better off” with less freedom are often (though not always) factually dubious and frequently based on subjective criteria not shared by those whose freedom is being restricted; and b) even if they are “better off”, we believe it is still wrong to use coercion rather than persuasion to change their behavior. We believe in inalienable individual rights.

    My point is, if we recognize this in matters such as drug prohibition, which many of us consider extremely important, it is a serious error to not recognize this when discussing black slavery in the United States, which even the the most fervent advocates of drug rights, among whom I place myself, must agree involved far more brutality and violation of individual rights in nearly every aspect of life. I therefore feel justified in concluding that anyone who does not see this does so willfully because they do not believe blacks should enjoy the same rights as whites, and this is the definition of racism.

  52. I don’t really see what the fuss is all about. Biden went off on a rambling, bizarre speech in which he seemed to indicate he and Obama were gay lovers who went to get AIDS tests together. The audience was literally laughing at him. Obama had to come back with some sort of statement.

  53. That is indeed what Africans, with plenty of help from Arabs, did to each other – but only in fairly small parts of Africa.

    Tu quoque

    The Europeans running the ships died at about the same rates as the slaves. Back then life wasn’t OSHA’d and air-conditioned for anybody.

    Good for them. What’s your point? If I kidnap someone, injuring them in the process, does it lessen the injury I did to them if I sustain an equal injury?

    There’s nothing theoretical or conjectural here: blacks in the US and Europe are clearly far better off than blacks in Africa.

    Given a choice, in the present time, I agree I would prefer to live in the U.S. or Europe than in Africa. This is entirely beside the point. If the dichotomy for Africans was, in the time of slavery, a) live the typical life in Africa, whatever that was or b) live as a slave in America, I might well choose to live in Africa. But again, this is beside point. Slaves were not given a choice. Europeans did not come to them and say, “Would you like to come to America and work in our fields in exchange for enjoying a higher standard of living than you might have here (not our standard of living, mind you; you’re black so you don’t deserve that)?” They were seized with violence. I find it incomprehensible how anyone who remotely considers themselves libertarian, or indeed an adherent of any modern political ideology, can continue to make these arguments.

  54. Given a choice, in the present time, I agree I would prefer to live in the U.S. or Europe than in Africa. This is entirely beside the point. If the dichotomy for Africans was, in the time of slavery, a) live the typical life in Africa, whatever that was or b) live as a slave in America, I might well choose to live in Africa. But again, this is beside point. Slaves were not given a choice.

    No shit sherlock.

    Slavery:
    Bad for blacks 200 years ago
    Good for their descendents today

    Therefore, black people should be happy and shut the fuck up about it. Why can’t they all be happy and cheerful like when they were driving cabs in movies from the 1940s?

  55. Therefore, black people should be happy and shut the fuck up about it. Why can’t they all be happy and cheerful like when they were driving cabs in movies from the 1940s?

    Q.E.D., you are a racist.

  56. Maybe the Jews should “be happy and shut the fuck up” about the Holocaust since, when fleeing Europe, many of them came to cool places like America where they and their descendants now enjoy good lives.

  57. Grand Chalupa,

    Your behavior on this thread has forfeit your right to the name “chalupa” which is one of the culinary masterpieces of my homeland.

    From here on out I name you

    Grande Cabron
    (Pinche Cabron can be substituted at will)…

    FleM – I believe you need to examine the source of your views on this topic. You have expounded on them at length before. You clearly seem enamored of some misguided genetic determinism connected to race. Better, more recent science seems to indicate that view fails to explain the empirical world.

  58. You can name me whatever the hell you like as long as you do it from your side of the border. Concordado, amigo?

  59. Wow. This thread descended into stupid really fast.

  60. Anyway, on the subject of the post…

    My theory is Obama’s AIDS test is disinformation. He wants Americans to think it’s safe to sleep with him so he can spread the deadly bioterror superAIDS planted in him at that madrassa.

    Job offer from FOX News in 5… 4…

  61. Nobody here has mentioned Al Sharpton’s fantastic glare at Biden that the camera focused on for a good five seconds.

    And has anyone else noticed Obama’s attempts to sound “blacker” than usual whenever he is in the presence of massive crowds of black people? (Also seen in his speech in Philadelphia a while back)

  62. Um, the Jews should STF up about the Holocaust already. Or does American have to keep killing Muslims to prove which side its on?

  63. Unlike folk calling for a moratorium on the race discussion, I’ve gotta ask for a continuance. I think it’s great that people are able to speak their minds. We need MORE free discussion. I’m lovin’ it!

    Anyway, I have to say that I think I’m a racist. I’m not sure but I think that I might be. You see, I’m of the opinion that it’s very very likely that West Africans (and their descendants) are (on average) genetically less capable to succeed in modern society. The reason that I think that this is likely so is because of absolutely overwhelming evidence that is evident everywhere throughout all of history. (How’s that? 😉 Of course it is still possible that there are other explanations for black failure EVERYWHERE and EVERYTIME but I think that it is MORE likely that it is owing to an inherent lower IQ (or similar matters) on AVERAGE.

    BUT. Unlike you buncha crazy free-market libertarians I believe that this inherent difference is a reason why YOUR freedoms oughtta be curtailed somewhat. I think that your laissez faire libertarian free market is evil. It allows the more intelligent, talented, learned and capable to succeed on the backs of those less lucky with theior genetic endowment. – regardless of their race.

    In my opinion much of the disgusting crime that’s been committed against Africans throughout the yeaars has been because they were easy targets. They were less intelligent (on average) and were thus less successful and were thus more easilly taken advantage of.

    IT IS NO CRIME TO BE LESS INTELLIGENT OR TALENTED. It is a crime to take advantage of such people.

    And so, my economic philosophy envisions a better world where every American is guaranteeed free healthcare and housing and is protected from evil forms of advertising (such as by casinos, or targeted at children, etc.) and is otherwise societally guaranteed not to be impovereshed. Because, at the end of the day, those not as well off as you are generally in that position not owing to “laziness” or other such nonsense but owing, mostly, to lesser abilities than you have.

    (And yeah. It’s easier to believe that we’re all born with the same innate abilities – that way you can sleep righteously with no guilt about your comfort while others teeter on the edge of daily despair – but it’s obvious bullshit.)

    mnuez

    http://www.mnuez.blogspot.com

  64. I have little comment on the actual topic, because no matter what, they both (Obama and Biden) look like complete tools to a rational, and most likely libertarian, viewer.

    As to the racial issue – I can see where Chalupa’s and Mr Le Mur’s comments could be construed in a very bad light, but I also must admit, that, when I watched the movie Blood Diamond, I was angered at the way the peoples in the film were depicted as treating one another (ie, chopping off a fellows hands because you were afraid of his affiliations, unless he could work for your selfish ends), and that if it was at all accurate, then those people did not deserve my pity, or especially my aid. At the end of the movie they tried to imply that it was only the white man that was keeping these people down.

    But you can’t have it both ways. Either you can create your own liberty-respecting institutions and societies, or you can’t. And please keep in mind that this comes from someone who thinks “my” white folk are having a hard enough time as it is.

  65. Mneuz,

    I appreciate your honesty on the subject, but your solution is even scarier then pretending race doesn’t exist. A species that sacrafices the well being of its best individuals for the sake of the survival of the worst is committing suicide.

    Giving the less capable all the welfare they want would be a small price to pay if we could get them not to reproduce. Isn’t some form of sterillization an infiniteley better option than creating a permanent dependent class?

    Finally, consider this. If blacks and whites can never be equal, then in any free society they live in their will be inequalities. And there will always be white liberals and black “community leaders” to remind us of this fact. And of course black people are never going to admit the real reason for this, so they will always blame the white man. Therefore, any time two races that have such large natural differences between each other live together, there is going to be major racial tension. That’s the case for segregation (not in the Jim Crow sense, but in leaving Africa the fuck alone).

  66. [AIDS is] a syndrome. That’s what the final “S” stands for.

    Syndrome = a characteristic set of diseases; HIV is the pathogen.

  67. Obama’s response seemed to be that he wanted everyone to know that he was tested with his wife, in public. Not that he did this secretly, because of some other reason. David Weigel seems to think that reason could be anything. I don’t. One would have to have been in a coma for the last 25 years not to know what the insinuation was. Clearly, Obama wanted everyone to know he was not gay. Is it homophobic? No. But it certainly doesn’t help his case of tolerance if he’s afraid of being associated with the gay community.

  68. Logan,

    If I were at a speaking event where it was implied that I was a Lutheran, I would probably correct them and say that I’m a Catholic.

    Does that mean that I’m intolerant of Lutherans?

  69. Of course not. Though your fear of being associated with them might be.

  70. I’m not a “the black man is genetically inferior” asshole like some on this thread (and I can’t help that some on this board hold that belief just to raise the hairs on other peoples necks)

    But, when I hear AIDS, I still think gay or IV drug user, probably because the 1 person I know who has AIDS was both of those things.

    I don’t think it’s morally wrong to associate certain diseases/syndromes with a group of people, like saying “when I hear sickle cell anemia I think black people”.”

    But it is wrong to associate moral failings with a disease, unless you’re a damned (predestined damned) Calvinist.

  71. FWIW, “Is homosexuality the symptom of an infectious disease,” from Pinker’s preface to a new book Dangerous Ideas. Also “Thanks to tenure, the people who can’t tolerate biological insight into human affairs are still around in the universities.” – S. Pinker.

    Anyone interested in any of these issues will find the gnxp.com blog quite interesting – very little PC, but sometimes quite technical: read all about them thar “DQ2 isoforms”!

  72. Grande Cabron,

    “You can name me whatever the hell you like as long as you do it from your side of the border. Concordado, amigo?”

    I wonder what border you are thinking of?
    http://www.nmmagazine.com/FEATURES/50missing.html

    “And of course black people are never going to admit the real reason for this, so they will always blame the white man. Therefore, any time two races that have such large natural differences between each other live together, there is going to be major racial tension.”

    I wonder what they would be admitting to?
    http://www.santafe.edu/research/publications/wpabstract/200602006

    “We explore the dynamics of group inequality when segregation of social networks places the initially less affluent group at a disadvantage in acquiring human capital. Extending Loury (1977), we demonstrate that (i) group differences in economic success can persist across generations in the absence of either discrimination or group differences in ability, provided that social segregation is sufficiently great”

    Mneuz,
    Here are some links to some science on the subject

    Biology of race
    http://www.fiu.edu/~biology/pcb5665/RACEgen.pdf

    on intelligence and genetics
    https://pantheon.yale.edu/~scl39/files/GT_2004_NRN.pdf
    http://www.mankindquarterly.org/winter2003_meisenberg.pdf

    IQ and race
    http://defiant.ssc.uwo.ca/faculty/rushtonpdfs/Suzuki-Aronson.pdf

    A look at where our concepts of race come from
    http://www.apa.org/journals/releases/amp60116.pdf

    Causal mechanisms in group IQ differences (sorry couldn’t find a link to a free copy, here’s the abstract)http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=391627

    GENERATIONAL CHANGES ON THE DRAW-A-MAN TEST: A COMPARISON OF BRAZILIAN URBAN AND RURAL CHILDREN TESTED IN 1930, 2002 AND 2004

    ROBERTO COLOM a1 , CARMEN E. FLORES-MENDOZA a2 and FRANCISCO J. ABAD a1

    Abstract

    Although gains in generational intelligence test scores have been widely demonstrated around the world, researchers still do not know what has caused them. The cognitive stimulation and nutritional hypotheses summarize the several diverse potential causes that have been considered. This article analyses data for a sample of 499 children tested in 1930 and one equivalent sample of 710 children tested 72 years later, the largest gap ever considered. Both samples comprised children aged between 7 and 11 who were assessed by the Draw-a-Man test in the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Further, one additional sample of 132 children was assessed in 2004 in a rural area very similar in several diverse factors to the 1930 urban sample. The results are consistent with both the cognitive stimulation and the nutritional hypotheses.

  73. But, when I hear AIDS, I still think gay or IV drug user, probably because the 1 person I know who has AIDS was both of those things.

    A more rational reason to hold such a view would be that in the West, AIDS is a homosexual and IV drug using disease. Heterosexual transmission is either impossible or vitually impossible.

  74. Andstupid,

    “Heterosexual transmission is either impossible or vitually impossible.”

    Scary to think that someone can hold this view at this time in history.

    “This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which indicated that heterosexually acquired HIV infections represented 35% of all new HIV cases”
    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5306a3.htm

    http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/transmission.htm

  75. “Heterosexual transmission is either impossible or vitually impossible.”

    Are you retarded?

  76. He’s talking about automobiles.

  77. If any of the other regulars are out there, I’d love to hear some other opinions. If I’m the one in error here, please demonstrate that to me.

    Anonymo the Anonymous – I don’t respond to Grand Chalupa comments becaus he invariably comes off as a racist asshole. Ther’s no original thought, no novel analysis in his writings. I agree with you that this fuckin’ racist moron should be posting at KKK.com or whatever the small dicked racists call their internet septic tanks. Refuting morally weak, intellectually deficient, loudmouthed assholes just isn’t a productive use of my time. Or yours.

  78. J sub D,

    It is not “Grand Chalupa.”
    It is “Grande Cabron…” see above.
    ;^)

    More on the race/genetics/intelligence debate

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/06/brains_are_plastic_not_hardwir.php

  79. Neu Mejican – I am embarrassingly monolingual, so I had to look up Cabron in the Urban Dictionary (don’t you just love the internet’s resources?). Yes, cabron is a far more accurate moniker for this, and I’m using the term loosely here, person.

  80. J sub D,

    “I am embarrassingly monolingual”

    Nothing to be embarrassed about.
    As a gringo from Albuquerque, my Spanish is limited mostly to insults and menu items…(^_^).

  81. As a gringo from Albuquerque, …

    So, have you seen Bugs Bunny lately?

  82. Prefiero “pinche cabron.”

    M,

    “Wheeee” is my standard response to the racists here. One of them once referred to me as squealing. I was suggesting to offer them a squeal next time instead.

  83. I don’t respond to Grand Chalupa comments becaus he invariably comes off as a racist asshole. Ther’s no original thought, no novel analysis in his writings. I agree with you that this fuckin’ racist moron should be posting at KKK.com or whatever the small dicked racists call their internet septic tanks. Refuting morally weak, intellectually deficient, loudmouthed assholes just isn’t a productive use of my time. Or yours.

    That’s reasonable. But I didn’t want this to turn into one of those incidents where some retard write an offensive comment on a blog post and someone else tars the blog and all its readers with that view because no one explicitly called the guy a retard. Example, the “I wish that suicide bomber in Afghanistan had successfully blown up Dick Cheney” @ Huffington Post a while back. No, that’s not strictly a valid deduction, but that won’t stop people from making it and we can easily prevent it by speaking up.

    I figure making sure they don’t get associated with racists is the least I can do to pay back the Reason staff for the volumes of insightful and entertaining commentary they give us here.

  84. my Spanish is limited mostly to insults and menu items

    And the difference between those two is…?

  85. highnumber –

    Thanks for letting me in on the code.

    But talk about nativism! When will human beings ever begin spontaneously to “take down their walls”?

    😉

  86. …in the West, AIDS is a homosexual and IV drug using disease. Heterosexual transmission is either impossible or vitually impossible.

    FD&S, the crucial element is blood – noticably lacking in nearly all vaginal sex (and, hopefully, oral sex). If you have anal sex with a woman, or vaginal sex with a woman having her period, and she is HIV+, your chances of contracting HIV are about the same as when gay men have sex.

    P.S. Fat, drunk & stupid is no way to go through life…

  87. “Wheeee” is my standard response to the racists here.

    Yes, but can you say it in Spanish?

  88. Oops.

    …are about the same as when gay men have sex when one of them is HIV+.

  89. Just to be exhaustive, semen is also a vector/vehicle, which is why I puzzled over the denial of heterosexual transmission, though maybe I’d overlooked the context.

  90. That’s reasonable. But I didn’t want this to turn into one of those incidents where some retard write an offensive comment on a blog post and someone else tars the blog and all its readers with that view because no one explicitly called the guy a retard.

    Get over yourself. No one cares enough to “tar” this blog.


    I figure making sure they don’t get associated with racists is the least I can do to pay back the Reason staff for the volumes of insightful and entertaining commentary they give us here.

    HA, keep at it champ.

    And Neu Cabrone (I can do it too!)

    Did you actually read the stuff you posted here or do you just go to a search engine and nitpick what fits your agenda and then post it here? That wouldn’t surprise me, truth matters little to those with strong emotional attachtments to their fantasies. And people are lazy. The Mankind Quarterley article does not even try to refute the IQ/race correlation. The article from ssc.uwo says “While acknowledging the impact of biological factors on intelligence test performance, we have examined the impact of cultural/enviornmental factors”. It laughbly argues that Asian success in school is due to education being the only means for them to advance themselves due to white racism and at the same time tells us that white racism is the cause of black underachievment!

    As for the “race is a social construct” argument, its funny that you never hear it in medical journals. When talking about rates of alcohlism, high blood pressure or sickle cell disease medical professionals race is assumed to be real. This is because in the hard sciences there is less room for self-delusion.

    Go ahead and keep on believing that evolution made us different in height, skin color, susceptibility to disease, nose size, and just about every other physical trait but made sure our brains evolved at equal pace.

  91. When talking about rates of alcohlism, high blood pressure or sickle cell disease medical professionals race is assumed to be real. This is because in the hard sciences there is less room for self-delusion.

    Careful there! Next thing you know, someone’ll point out that medical science, where the stakes are high, refers to the “reproductive system” rather than, say, the “home entertainment system”.

    Not to derail the thread or anything. 😉

  92. FD&S, the crucial element is blood

    That’s simply not true. HIV can make its way into the bloodstream through mucous membranes, if the bodily fluids of an infected person come in contact with them.

    Think about it: If HIV could only be transmitted through blood, how is it possible for it to be transmitted from a mother to the unborn child? They have totally separate circulatory systems and blood supplies — in fact, they may not even have the same blood type.

  93. M,

    I’m not an expert, but I believe that it is roughly as likely for an infected man to transmit HIV to a woman via vaginal sex, as it is to transmit it to a man via anal sex. The difference is that it’s very unlikely for it to go the other way (from woman to man during vaginal sex), since only a tiny section of mucous membrane in the urethra is exposed to the woman’s secretions, and the flow direction obviously isn’t going to help the HIV get to it.

    So, it’s unlikely for a man who engages only in heterosexual activity, and no other risk-behaviors, to contract HIV in the first place, let alone spread it to female sex partners. The reason that HIV spreads far more quickly in the gay community is that most both “pitch” and “catch”. They can easily contract HIV when “catching” and then transmit it while “pitching”.

  94. crimethink –

    I’m no expert either, and neither would my wife be, if I had a wife, which I don’t, but not because…

    Anyway, what I learned is exactly what you posted, so I’m wondering how I gave another impression.

  95. Anonymo the Anonymous said…

    …I didn’t want this to turn into one of those incidents where some retard write an offensive comment on a blog post and someone else tars the blog and all its readers with that view because no one explicitly called the guy a retard. Example, the “I wish that suicide bomber in Afghanistan had successfully blown up Dick Cheney” @ Huffington Post a while back. No, that’s not strictly a valid deduction, but that won’t stop people from making it and we can easily prevent it by speaking up.

    I’m just a lurker, but I recommend HnR posts to my friends pretty frequently, and for racist comments like Grand Chalupa’s to float around unanswered makes it more difficult for me to use HnR to introduce them to libertarian ideas. So I appreciate, AtA, that you stepped up to repudiate yesterday’s round of the bigoted nonsense that seems to come in from left field whenever racial issues are discussed here. In threads that don’t start on Friday afternoons, there usually seem to be enough regular commenters that comments like Grand Chalupa’s and Le Mur’s can be thoroughly dismissed without much break in the interesting conversation. In the absence of the normal quorum, you did this blog (and certainly this reader) a major service yesterday.

    I agree with J sub D that there’s almost no hope of getting through to these know-nothings, but I’m glad you were there to keep any casual readers from getting the wrong impression about what kind of people libertarians are.

  96. Scrolling back up, it occurs to me that, egalitarian that I am, I took “heterosexual transmission” to include transmission from the man to the woman through semen, and just assumed everyone else understood it that way too, which is why I was perplexed to find it called “either impossible or vitually impossible”.

  97. so is the explanation for communism – and the ensuing chaos and shittiness that exists to this day – in russia and north korea that russians and koreans are less intelligent (suggested synonyms: childlike, innocent, playful) or because communism lowers iq?

  98. anonymo: you should probably know there are some folks who treat colonialism like a headcold (that lasted hundreds of years), but 9/11 like fatal cancer that killed us all yesterday, but we don’t know it yet.

    why?

    i don’t know. maybe the collectivist inside – the little voice that makes them feel badly about stuff done by “white” people in the past – is fucking with their shit. so during these conversations people are hamstrung by both a desire to “prove” their blamelessness (which is invariably presented as an explanation of the obvious) and as part of joining the most beloved fraternity in american culture, that of the victim.

    see, evil left wingers have been calling them names, and uh…it’s mostly too ridiculous to recount. (liberals bitching about being called traitors by team red kool aiders comes to mind.)

    it doesn’t appear to be fatal, nor particularly contagious. a bit flabbergasty, but i suppose that’s the point.

    “Just wondering if my great-grandchildren will still have to bow and scrape before African-Americans, because people with the same color skin as they have once enslaved people with the same color skin as A-A’s have.”

    have you really ever bowed and scraped because someone got on your shit about slavery (surely a stupid track to take with anyone, and just about irrelevant enough to be a stealth ad hominem), or is this just a “sick of the other side having a nuclear option in conversation” thing?

    also, being called a racist doesn’t have to be a nuclear option so long as you keep your head; but if you allow it to piss you off while you’re arguing with someone, you lose. get over it, white people (and otherwise!)

    also: does the state of poland prove all those polish jokes are true? (or is this the magic of communism attacking iq again?)

  99. Grande Cabron,

    Did you actually read the stuff you posted here or do you just go to a search engine and nitpick what fits your agenda and then post it here?

    Just some recent reading on the topic. Not intended to be definitive. Imagine…the science on the subject seems to take both genetic/biological and environmental/cultural factors (and their interaction) into account when discussing the issue. There seems to be some debate about the relative contributions of race on intelligence…imagine. Jensen’s camp falls on the biological side (giving race about 14% share…they are the “strong” biological/genetic poster boys), while quite a number point to environmental and historical factors. From what I have seen the bulk of the studies lean towards the interactionist account with environment mattering more in the disadvantage groups. Translated…the history of oppression matters when you use hard science to examine the issue.

    The Mankind Quarterley article does not even try to refute the IQ/race correlation.

    Your point? Need I point out the correlation does not equal causation card? Read it again and summarize their position. 5 points extra credit.

    As for the “race is a social construct” argument, its funny that you never hear it in medical journals. When talking about rates of alcohlism, high blood pressure or sickle cell disease medical professionals race is assumed to be real. This is because in the hard sciences there is less room for self-delusion.

    Did you read the article explaining the lack of a tight correspondence between the social construct of race and the genetic factors? Did you understand it? You recognize that the point of most of those articles was that it is a slippery, ill-defined, difficult problem to try and link race to genetics? Right? So far all conclusions are preliminary.

    Go ahead and keep on believing that evolution made us different in height, skin color, susceptibility to disease, nose size, and just about every other physical trait but made sure our brains evolved at equal pace.

    By “us” you mean what? Are you arguing that there is individual variation in our species? Or are you arguing for the genetic reality of the social construct of race? Given that the within group variation is vastly larger than between group… given that the mean difference between siblings is larger than the mean difference between races in terms of IQ tests I am not sure what your point is here.

    “And Neu Cabrone (I can do it too!)”

    LOL… as long as you do it from “your” side of the border.

    The question is…can you pull it off without making yourself look like more of a puta?

  100. Just for informative purposes:

    in at least Costa Rica, pinche simply means “cheap” or “stingy”.

  101. This was such a funny video! I suppose he has to be careful to clarify the circumstances as the media would be very quick to invent a story around the issue!

  102. On AIDS transmission via heterosexual sex: While it may be true that a healthy man will find it difficult to contract AIDS via vaginal intercourse with a woman, a man with any sort of cut, lesion, etc. on his penis (e.g. via STD) will be at greater risk to contract AIDS.

    Hence the problems of unprotected sex multiply.

    Regarding race, face it: Racists are fact-proof. There’s no getting through to those people. So just drop the Chalupa.

  103. there are some folks who treat colonialism like a headcold (that lasted hundreds of years), but 9/11 like fatal cancer that killed us all yesterday, but we don’t know it yet.

    Damn, dhex, that was good!

  104. being called a racist doesn’t have to be a nuclear option so long as you keep your head; but if you allow it to piss you off while you’re arguing with someone, you lose. get over it, white people (and otherwise!)

    True dat, and it goes for being called anything else also (I won’t go into specifics).

  105. Racists are fact-proof.

    What, then, has budged any racist’s attitude away from racism, or has that never happened?

  106. Good grief, talk about homophobic!

    “That’s one explanation. The other explanation could be that some people hear “AIDS test” and think “gay sex” but want to lecture us on how enlightened they are. Which sort of knocks down my “normalization” hypothesis. Here’s the video.”

    Here is a simpler explanation: Obama was simply addressing (circumventing) the possibility that he was ill with AIDS. Voters probably will not elect somebody who is terminally ill.

  107. dhex,

    The advice you give about keeping you cool makes sense, but as always it’s hard in practice. I wonder how many black people would be able to keep their cool in an argument if someone called them “nigger”, for instance. And, the difference is, virtually always the person calling a black person that is going to (rightly) be looked down upon by onlookers, but calling a white person a racist, without justification, never seems to have the same effect.

  108. wayne,

    He didn’t say anything to deny that he had AIDS; he simply said that he got tested with his wife (which is exactly what a possibly-infected person should do).

    When I hear about two men getting tested for HIV together, I think gay sex (and anybody not headbutting their gerbil thinks it too, whether they admit it or not).

  109. makes sense, but as always it’s hard in practice

    Beautiful things are difficult.

  110. Often true of women too.

  111. Mnuez,

    Interesting post. I have to say that I agree, but I want to think about your “solutions” (garanteed prosperity…) a bit.

    You need to be slapped on the side of the head for labeling yourself a “racist” though. There is nothing racist about looking at a set of evidence and coming to a reasonable conclusion based on that evidence. Those who don’t like your conclusion will happily call you a racist at the top of their lungs to drown out any comment you might make, so leave the name calling to the race baiters, there are plenty of those on H&R.

  112. Here’s an equanimity exercise.

  113. “By “us” you mean what? Are you arguing that there is individual variation in our species? Or are you arguing for the genetic reality of the social construct of race? Given that the within group variation is vastly larger than between group… given that the mean difference between siblings is larger than the mean difference between races in terms of IQ tests I am not sure what your point is here.”

    By “us” I think he meant humans. Of course there is genetic reality to the race construct.

    NM, are you saying that you do NOT see the obvious differences between races of people???

  114. Let me point out that the US military tests all of ite members for HIV infection. They are not doing that because of homophobia.

  115. Lowdog,

    Just for informative purposes:

    in at least Costa Rica, pinche simply means “cheap” or “stingy”.

    In NM it is closer to “fuckin'”

  116. the US military tests all of ite members for HIV infection

    Definitions of ite on the Web: In-The-Ear units are probably the most comfortable, the least expensive and the easiest to operate. They are also the largest of the custom made styles.
    http://www.drf.org/HH_dictionary/hearing_aids.htm

    I’m no expert, but if yours is an In-the-Ear member, you probably should have it tested.

  117. Wayne,

    Of course there is genetic reality to the race construct.

    Only if you use the terms genetic and reality in a very sloppy fashion. Race is a very loose proxy for genetics. An interesting meditation on race is the Frontline on the Jefferson-Hemings bloodline…

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/jefferson/

    I defy anyone to look at the family reunion photo and figure out which individuals identify themselves as black.

    A nice quote from the website:
    “Race, while it has some relationship to biology, is not mainly a biological matter,” professor Paul R. Spickard writes. “Race is primarily a sociopolitical construct. . . Not only is race different from what many people have believed it to be, but people of mixed race are not what many have assumed them to be.” This may seem self-evident to modern readers, but Americans have been deeply confused about race for much of their history, using terms like “Octoroon,” “Mulatto,” and “Colored,” defining and re-defining “scientific” racial categories, in an attempt to maintain lines that otherwise were too blurry to see. The “Illogic of American Racial Categories” is a definitive summary and analysis of centuries of national confusion about race.

    Here’s a photo to contemplate: what race is this person?
    http://static.flickr.com/28/59306714_bea9c9fcef_o.jpg

  118. Samuel R. Delany:

    Not so long ago I was a part of a symposium, on new literary history. There were these bunch of questions, eight questions, about fifty writers all were given, and one of them was, “Is there any group that you feel that you are politically allied to?” And my answer was, “Of course!” What are you asking? Are you asking, am I interested in black people because I’m black? Interested in people with beards because I have a beard? With people who are overweight because I’m overweight? Interested in males because I’m male? Or gay people because I’m gay? Or people who were born Episcopalian and eventually became atheist because I was a born Episcopalian and became an atheist? The answer to all of these is, “Yes, and so what?” Everybody is interested in the groups that they, in the categories that they belong to. How could you not be? All you’re asking is, am I a human being. But what the question implies-and this is the thing that it’s so hard to articulate-the question implies that there are these groups, and we all know what those groups are-they are gays, they are women, they are blacks, they are Jews. And that’s it. And that there is this place from which one can answer that question either “yes” or “no.” If you belong to a certain, unmarked group, then you can say, “No, I am not interested in all these groups.” Well, this is absurd. Of course you’re interested in the groups that you belong to. I assume white people are interested in white people because they’re white. Why the hell should they not be? It would be absurd not to be. Everybody’s got problems. I may even think my problems are more severe than your problems. You may think my problems are more severe, but you can do something about yours where you can’t do anything about mine. There’s a whole range of responses to these things, again, that if you start looking at the thing with a finer granularity, the question begins to dissolve. And I suppose I’m still one trying to dissolve some of the tensions between those that set that question in a place that it can be answered “yes” or “no” and the tension between the yes or no, the opposition between that yes or no has to be somehow deconstructed.

    http://www.blackbird.vcu.edu/v2n2/features/delaney_s_030104/delaney_s_text.htm

  119. GC: “The Mankind Quarterley article does not even try to refute the IQ/race correlation.”

    Since Grande Cabron hasn’t done his homework yet, I’ll post the abstract to the article he is referring to…

    The question of cognitive differences between human populations is one of the most contentious issues in the study of human diversity. After reviewing the worldwide patterns of cognitive test performance, this article evaluates alternative causal hypotheses and evolutionary mechanisms. Racial affiliation and latitude correlate with IQ test performance, as does economic development. Religion, a history of colonialism, and a history of Communist rule are important in some cases. This article proposes mechanisms of gene-culture co-evolution that can explain the worldwide patterns. The genetic component of these mechanisms is likely to become testable with further advances in molecular genetics.

  120. (and anybody not headbutting their gerbil thinks it too, whether they admit it or not)

    Shouldn’t that be anybody not forcing their gerbil to headbutt them? Just askin’, is all.

  121. “And, the difference is, virtually always the person calling a black person that is going to (rightly) be looked down upon by onlookers, but calling a white person a racist, without justification, never seems to have the same effect.”

    well, for starters there’s a lot more history between one term and the other. i don’t really think you can make a comparison between the two.

    but generally speaking, just calling someone a racist in the middle of a discussion is a nuclear option in most circles. perhaps the person has poor impulse control, or they just don’t like dealing with certain aspects of race in america. who does?

    i met someone friday who had a jamaican father and a chinese-malay mother, but grew up in jamaica and moved to new york in his teens. his accent is interesting, brooklynish with strong hints of BVE, and an interesting vowel-drawl that became more evident as he slipped into patois from time to time. he refers to himself as jamaican, however, when speaking of his cultural background.

    a good book on this subject is “how the irish became white.” race is clearly an almost purely social status-based classification at some points in american history. perhaps part of the issue is people confuse race and culture, or perhaps race and culture are naturally confused.

  122. NM,

    “Only if you use the terms genetic and reality in a very sloppy fashion. Race is a very loose proxy for genetics. An interesting meditation on race is the Frontline on the Jefferson-Hemings bloodline…”

    There are Caucasions, Negros, Asians, etc. These racial groups share genetically determined traits. To pretend otherwise is indefensible.

    Causasions look like Caucasions for genetic reasons. The same holds true for all races.

    I use the term “genetic” in the heritable sense. I use the term “race” in the easily discernible common trait sense. How are you using these terms?

  123. Wayne,

    Genetic = DNA
    Race = (not so) easily discernible common trait sense.

    The mapping between the two is hardly as straight forward as you imply. Did you look at the link to the photo? What race is that man?

  124. NM,

    I am honestly confused as to what point you are making with your citations.

    Frankly, Mr. Delany seems confused about race.

    By the way M, “ite” was a simple typo.

  125. “The mapping between the two is hardly as straight forward as you imply. Did you look at the link to the photo? What race is that man?”

    No, I did not. Let me take a guess at his race without looking: He is a mixture of races. So what?

    Do you deny that Negros from West Africa have common characteristics? Do you deny that Swedes from Stockholm have common characteristics?

  126. Wayne,

    I am honestly confused as to what point you are making with your citations.

    The simple version is that no honest look at the issues GC brings up leads to an easy answer. The science on this topic is burdened with a central problem… race is assumed to have a tight enough definition to conduct scientific inquiry on it…but in application things fall apart.

    If Samuel R. Delany is confused about race he is in the majority (the picture is him, btw).

  127. “The mapping between the two is hardly as straight forward as you imply.”

    NM, if you really believe that you are in terminal denial of reality. There is nothing evil in accepting reality.

  128. “The simple version is that no honest look at the issues GC brings up leads to an easy answer. The science on this topic is burdened with a central problem… race is assumed to have a tight enough definition to conduct scientific inquiry on it…but in application things fall apart.”

    Bull shit. You can identify a person’s racial background using DNA sequencing.

  129. Wayne,

    Do you deny that Negros from West Africa have common characteristics? Do you deny that Swedes from Stockholm have common characteristics?

    Is Swede a race now?

    Do you deny that there is greater genetic variety within the group you label as “negro” than there is between that group and the rest of humanity? Genetically “negro” maps to what?

  130. Anthropologists can identify a long-dead person’s racial background by looking at their skull.

  131. “Is Swede a race now?”

    Caucasion is what I meant. I suppose if you want to be a dense dickhead you could pull up a picture of a Swedish Negro, but that certainly would not further your point.

  132. “Do you deny that there is greater genetic variety within the group you label as “negro” than there is between that group and the rest of humanity?”

    No, I do not, but so what? Do you deny that Negros share common genetically derived traits?

  133. Wayne,

    Back to the Meisenberg review article (which sums up the science as of 2003).

    “Population genetics is the study of genetic variation in human populations, and IQ population genetics is the population-level study of those genetic variations that influence mental ability. Admittedly, this field does not yet exist as an area of established scientific inquiry because hardly any of the genetic variations that influence human cognition in the nonpathological range are known at the present time.

  134. NM, why are you so uncomfortable with accepting that there are clear, undeniable heritable traits amongst racial groups? There is nothing evil about being black.

  135. Population genetics is the study of genetic variation in human populations, and IQ population genetics is the population-level study of those genetic variations that influence mental ability. Admittedly, this field does not yet exist as an area of established scientific inquiry because hardly any of the genetic variations that influence human cognition in the nonpathological range are known at the present time.”

    Have you read “The Bell Curve”?

  136. [sigh…]

    That phenotypes are genetically inherited should be, I would think, beyond dispute. It doesn’t follow that race exists as a biologically useful word or anything more than, as others have noted, a social construct. Were it more than that, the increasingly common (but equally confused) notion of “mixed race” would be meaningless.

    That said, sure, geographically isolated populations or “diverse” populations in which individuals still tend to select to breed on racial grounds will evince statistically significant differences from group to group.

    There is no evidence, however, to the effect that such group statistical differences impose real limits on individuals. Thus, the fact that, on average, Ashkenazi Jews have a higher IQ than, say, non-Jewish Caucasians doesn’t lead to the conclusion that a given non-Jewish Caucasian will in fact have a lower IQ than the average Ashkenazi Jew. Indeed, his IQ might be higher than any Ashkenazi Jew that ever lived. An individual’s membership in a racial or ethnic category is effectively never sufficient evidence of his abilities, etc. Currently, it is at most useful for some medical purposes. Beyond that, it simply causes far more trouble than any probable information it supposedly signals.

    These things being so, race continues to be important only because we deem it important. Were we to cease doing so, especially for purposes of mating, it would cease to exist both conceptually and, over time, in fact.

    I recommend we start now.

  137. Wayne,

    “Do you deny that Negros share common genetically derived traits?”

    If you define negro as a genetically defined cluster, sure. Is that how the term is used? I thought we were using the “common sense” version of “race.” Don’t throw around accusations that I am in denial here. My position is that it is more complicated… this position does not require me to deny the existence of genetic influence.

    Look, I am not saying race doesn’t exist.
    I am not saying there is no genetic component to racial categories. I am saying that the mapping between the two is very very loose. It is not evil to admit this reality.

  138. DA,

    Nicely put.

    =^)

  139. “That phenotypes are genetically inherited should be, I would think, beyond dispute.”

    Wow, a grudging acceptance of reality. NM, you should try it too.

    “Thus, the fact that, on average, Ashkenazi Jews have a higher IQ than, say, non-Jewish Caucasians doesn’t lead to the conclusion that a given non-Jewish Caucasian will in fact have a lower IQ than the average Ashkenazi Jew.”

    True, but it does lead to the conclusion that Ashkenazi Jews have higher average IQs than non-Jewish Caccasians. Is it impossible that discrepancy is caused by genetics?

  140. Wayne,

    Have you read “The Bell Curve”?

    Yes. And that is related to Meisenberg’s quote how?

  141. “I thought we were using the “common sense” version of “race.”

    I don’t know what you mean by common sense versio of race. Maybe that is why I am so exasperated here. Maybe you and I are talking about completely different things.

  142. Wayne,

    Those quotes are from DA R.

    But I endorse them if it makes you feel better.

    You are being very combative here. This issue seems to make you uncomfortable.

  143. Wayne,

    You introduced the concept of “common sense” here.

    If Samuel Delany is thinks he is black, who am I to say he is wrong… But he has lighter skin than I do. So what is the basis for his self identification as part of the “race” you have been labeling “negro?” What is the central trait that the genetics is supposed to explain here?

  144. “… because hardly any of the genetic variations that influence human cognition in the nonpathological range are known at the present time.”

    You might not agree with the data in the Bell Curve, but it certainly addresses genetic variation with respect to intelligence, so Meisenberg is at least partially full of shit.

  145. DAR,

    Just to expand on the phenotype/genotype link.

    It is important to be clear that the mapping between the two is not direct. Epigenetic factors, experience, environment all interact with the genotype to determine the utlimate phenotype.

  146. “If Samuel Delany is thinks he is black, who am I to say he is wrong… But he has lighter skin than I do. So what is the basis for his self identification as part of the “race” you have been labeling “negro?” What is the central trait that the genetics is supposed to explain here?”

    Psych wards are full of people who think they are Jesus too, but I will go out on a limb and declare them wrong.

  147. Wayne,

    “so Meisenberg is at least partially full of shit.”

    You are miss understanding his point.

  148. “experience, environment all interact with the genotype to determine the utlimate phenotype.”

    If my genes code for blue eyes then my eyes will be blue no matter what my experience is.

  149. “You are miss understanding his point.”

    Maybe so. Maybe you are misunderstanding his point.

  150. Wayne,

    So Samuel Delany’s assessment of his own race is in error, you say. You are declaring that he is not “negro.”

    So what central trait, readily identifiable, defines his race. I ask again, what is it that the genetics is supposed to explain here?

  151. Wayne,

    “If my genes code for blue eyes then my eyes will be blue no matter what my experience is.”

    David Bowie has one blue eye and one brown.
    Is this genetic? (hint: nope).

  152. “Look, I am not saying race doesn’t exist.
    I am not saying there is no genetic component to racial categories. I am saying that the mapping between the two is very very loose. It is not evil to admit this reality.”

    Cool! We are making headway. I disagree with the “very very loose” statement. If Al Sharpton and Janet Jackson make a baby together, I would wager they won’t pop out a Shirley Temple look-a-like.

  153. Wayne,

    “Cool! We are making headway.”

    Not really. That has been my position from the start. Making headway would be your admission that things are more complicated.

  154. NM:

    Yes, I know. I was oversimplifying.

    Wayne:

    True, but it does lead to the conclusion that Ashkenazi Jews have higher average IQs than non-Jewish Caccasians. Is it impossible that discrepancy is caused by genetics?

    Insofar as intelligence is inherited, of course not. But grouping humans into one group versus another group because of accidents of geography and history is ultimately an arbitrary process.

    Look, let’s say we studied, oh, say, the Amish in the U.S. and discovered that they tended to have a greater likelihood of certain diseases than the general U.S. population, that they were statistically smarter (or dumber, doesn’t matter really) than the general population, and so forth. We might be able to find any number of statistically significant differences between the Amish and the rest of us. (Maybe even DNA markers to determine whether a long dead corpse was Amish.)

    Would any or all of that justify calling them a separate race? Why or why not? If so, how many or what sort of differences would suffice?

  155. “So Samuel Delany’s assessment of his own race is in error, you say. You are declaring that he is not “negro.””

    As I said, I have no idea who Delany is. I have no idea of his race, and even less care about it.

  156. “Would any or all of that justify calling them a separate race? Why or why not? If so, how many or what sort of differences would suffice?”

    So, it is the word “race” that you shy from? That is cool with me. We can just call them Amish. Personally, “race” is not a term so heavily laden with guilt for me.

  157. “Insofar as intelligence is inherited, of course not. But grouping humans into one group versus another group because of accidents of geography and history is ultimately an arbitrary process.”

    Grouping things according the their similarities is what humans do. I think you are confusing “race” with “racist”.

  158. NM,

    All the people you cited are of mixed racial heritage. Most of us are. So what?

  159. Wayne,

    “Personally, “race” is not a term so heavily laden with guilt for me.”

    Yet you seem to defend the reality of the 3 race distinction to the point of saying that it is against common sense to deny the mapping from race to genetics?

  160. I don’t shy from the term “race,” I only try to see it for what it is and is not. As you have been defending the use of the concept, whether the word itself is important to you or not, and especially in light of your 1:47 comment, I’d still like an answer to my questions.

  161. “All the people you cited are of mixed racial heritage. Most of us are. So what?”

    Now we are making headway.

    If you count Grace Jones as “mixed race” then you are beginning to see how loose the mapping from race to genes is.

  162. “True, but it does lead to the conclusion that Ashkenazi Jews have higher average IQs than non-Jewish Caccasians. Is it impossible that discrepancy is caused by genetics?

    “Insofar as intelligence is inherited, of course not.”

    That is a very controversial admission on your part. I agree with you.

  163. DAR,

    Your question about Amish: I would not call them a separate race.

    I think the term is pretty well defined as it broadly refers to fairly well defined groups of people. There is nothing evil about that.

  164. NM,

    Are you unable to see the Negro (and Caucasion) characteristics in the people you cited.

  165. I inferred no evil intent or connotation, but your answer is incomplete. Are you saying race is simply whatever ethnographers now say it is or historically have said it is or are you giving an ostensive definition, i.e., “here, this is one race and over there is another race.”? What are those criteria? Which are necessary (if any) and which are sufficient (if any) for a person to be a member of one race versus another?

  166. Wayne,

    regarding DAR’s comment you say..

    “That is a very controversial admission on your part. I agree with you.”

    It is, actually, much less controversial than you think. The smaller and more homogeneous the group of individuals under discussion, the less controversial it becomes to use genetics as a causal factor. It is far more difficult to maintain the genetic/group link when you increase the number of people you include in your grouping. The three broad racial categories you have been using have enough within group variability to make them fairly useless categories. They become very difficult to operationalize in a way that allows for rigorous testing of claims.

  167. I see my gerbil comment totally went over everyone’s heads. It’s probably for the best.

  168. my gerbil comment totally went over everyone’s heads.

    Qui tacet consentit 😉

    “ite” was a simple typo.

    And my response was a (perhaps, alas too) simple joke. It’s in da blood.

  169. Wayne,

    “Are you unable to see the Negro (and Caucasion) characteristics in the people you cited.”

    I don’t know. You have dodged this question many times here…which characteristics count as definitional of “Negro?” Which “Caucasian?”

    Once you’ve done that…explain which ones you think are linked to the genetics of intelligence.

  170. dhex,

    Communism doesn’t lower IQ. Its men with guns stopping those with high IQs from being able to produce. When its imposed on people with low IQs, well that’s even worse.

    And Americans care more about what happened to their countrymen 6 years ago more than they do what happened to people across the world 60 years ago. Sorry.

    Anyway, I enjoyed this thread, and its my fault for thinking that people could discuss this topic rationally. I’m reminded of the previous president of Iran (the “liberal” one) who say you shouldn’t insult other’s religions, and liberalism is the religion of the non-Islamic world.

    I encourage all to read “Race differences in Intelligence” by Richard Lynn, a psychologist with a PHD from Cambridge. The sheer amount of data he put together and the predictive power of the racial heirarchy theory (for example, that children who are half black and half white will have IQs between blacks and whites, and the same holds true for every other hybrid you can think of) should make those who are not blinded witht PC zealotry believers.

    And just to be better than those who nitpick books and articles they want to believe, and to keep an open mind, I saw “Guns, Germs, and Steel” the other day at the book store and will be sure to start reading it next week after summer school finals. Larry Diamond is an enviornmentalist if there ever was one, and Lynn quotes Diamond as saying that he found the Australian Aboriginals as smarter than the average American or European (Lynn points out that a large portion of Aboriginals failed to grasp the concept that moving liquid from one container to another conserves the total volume. He puts there average intelligence at the level of a European child. One of the two is deluding himslef here! For the current situation of what’s going on with the Aboriginals, check out this month’s economist.).

    I find it important to always question my own beliefs and read the other sides arguments even if I’m convinced they’re wrong. How bout starting a Reason summer book club and meeting again on the next open thread?

  171. you shouldn’t insult other’s religions, and liberalism is the religion of the non-Islamic world

    Well, that’s white of you 🙂

  172. (for example, that children who are half black and half white will have IQs between blacks and whites, and the same holds true for every other hybrid you can think of)

    Well, that would explain why Kirk was smarter than both Bele and Lokai.

  173. DAR and NM,

    I was away from the computer, hence my silence.

    I have been thinking about our discussion here. Maybe we are just talking past each other. You both seemed to be saying, “there is no such thing as race”. My reply to that is, “BS, of course there is and it is obvious”.

    When questioned about that point you then seem to be saying, “well, yeah there are heritable racial traits, but race is unimportant”. I agree with this position.

  174. And antecedently:

    Because his father was white and his mother black (in the older, European sense of the word, referring to various non-white peoples, rather than the current American sense, which refers specifically to those of sub-Saharan African descent), Feirefiz’ skin consists of black and white patches. His appearance is compared to that of a magpie or a parchment with writing on it, though he is considered very handsome.

  175. Wayne:
    “Are you unable to see the Negro (and Caucasion) characteristics in the people you cited.”

    NM’s answer:
    I don’t know. You have dodged this question many times here…which characteristics count as definitional of “Negro?” Which “Caucasian?”

    Negros are characterized with darkly pigmented skin and eyes, broad nose with large nostrils, kinky hair, full lips, etc.

    Caucasions are characterized with lightly pigmented skin and eyes, thin nose, straight hair, thin lips, etc.

    As you point out, there is a fair amount of diversity within each group, i.e. some caucasions are darker than others, etc.

    Frankly NM, if you are unable to look at Colin Powell, for example, and see both negro and caucasion characteristics then I have to suspect there is something wrong with your sensory organs.

  176. “Once you’ve done that…explain which ones you think are linked to the genetics of intelligence.’

    I refer you to “The Bell Curve” for a link between race and intelligence.

  177. “I inferred no evil intent or connotation, but your answer is incomplete. Are you saying race is simply whatever ethnographers now say it is or historically have said it is or are you giving an ostensive definition, i.e., “here, this is one race and over there is another race.”? What are those criteria? Which are necessary (if any) and which are sufficient (if any) for a person to be a member of one race versus another?”

    You seem to want me to join the “one drop of Negro blood makes a person a Negro” club. That is not what I think though. I think people of mixed racial heritage are simply of mixed racial heritage.

    Having said that though, there are obviously races of people.

  178. “If you count Grace Jones as “mixed race” then you are beginning to see how loose the mapping from race to genes is.”

    My apologies. I am not as familiar with Grace Jones as I thought I was. I would characterize Ms. Jones as Negro, although I would not be at all surprised if she had a caucasion in her family tree.

  179. Wayne:

    No, that isn’t what I was saying but, yes, at least we perhaps found a bit of common ground.

    BTW, possibly one of the funniest versions of Large Chimichanga’s position here is this classic SNL routine between Garrett Morris and Julian Bond. (Alas, only transcript available.)

  180. Wayne,

    “I refer you to “The Bell Curve” for a link between race and intelligence.”

    You are punking out on me here.

    You were willing to give me a list of genetically controlled features that you feel characterizes races and yet you are unwilling to speculate on which ones (or set of features) are central enough to the racial category to be the marker that could be used to predict intelligence.

    Referring me to the Bell Curve is a cop out. At best the book provides the data that needs explaining. It does nothing to provide evidence for a causal arrow.

    Race is a loose proxy for genetics.
    IQ scores a proxy for intelligence.

    The two proxies are correlated with one explaining at most 14% of the variance of the other. That’s about as far as the science gets us when it bases things on race rather than empirically defined genetic groupings. And as long as we use these socio-cultural proxies for genetic clusters, we will be shooting ourselves in the scientific foot trying to understand the relationship between genetics and intelligence at the level of populations.

    “I think people of mixed racial heritage are simply of mixed racial heritage.”

    Given that most of us are of mixed racial heritage (your words), what good does studying broad racial categories get you? Until you can come up with more carefully defined phenotypes, you will have a hard time determining the genotype that lies at their root.

  181. DA,

    Good SNL link.
    Funny stuff.

  182. GC,

    I encourage all to read “Race differences in Intelligence” by Richard Lynn, a psychologist with a PHD from Cambridge. The sheer amount of data he put together and the predictive power of the racial heirarchy theory (for example, that children who are half black and half white will have IQs between blacks and whites, and the same holds true for every other hybrid you can think of) should make those who are not blinded witht PC zealotry believers.

    People should read Richard Lynn (here is a link to a summary of the results http://www.gnxp.com/blog/2006/02/world-of-difference-richard-lynn-maps.php). I agree. But I find your position strange. You put yourself in opposition to those that are “nit-picking” data, but only provide vague references to the conclusions from one side of the case. Having read Lynn, Jensen, Murray et al. I find their conclusions premature and founded on weak theoretical constructs. I find the conclusions you draw from them unwarranted.

    (here is an interesting look at the statistics in the Bell Curve…it suffers from lack of peer review just as the Bell Curve does, but it makes some nice clean points about the validity of their analysis).

    http://www.srv.net/~msdata/bell.html

    If you find people’s reactions to your declamations unreasonable…it might be worth taking a look at why they react as they do. It could be their “PC zealotry” (doubtful) or it could be that you start from weak science and move towards unsubstantiated, unwarranted implications spun off from that weak science.

    Here are two to put on your reading list along with Diamond.

    Intelligence, Genes, and Success (1997)
    Inequality by Design: Cracking the Bell Curve Myth (1996)

    And of course there is always Gould’s classic
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~chance/course/topics/curveball.html

    A nice look at the genetic reality of race
    http://raceandgenomics.ssrc.org/Lewontin/

    This is from an entire forum on the topic.
    Views from both sides seem to be presented. (I could be wrong on this, I have only read a couple of the articles so far, but they were in opposition).

    Keep up that open minded attitude and I am sure you will rise back to Chalupa status soon (~_^)

    I am often a condescending ass…in case you haven’t noticed. You understand though, I can tell.

  183. Wait a second. Sulu’s gay?

  184. sulu’s way gay, dude.

    [quote]Communism doesn’t lower IQ. Its men with guns stopping those with high IQs from being able to produce. When its imposed on people with low IQs, well that’s even worse.[/quote]

    this does nothing to explain poland’s situation, however, since communism’s been gone for almost 20 years now.

    or perhaps things are more complicated than they seem?

    “And Americans care more about what happened to their countrymen 6 years ago more than they do what happened to people across the world 60 years ago. Sorry.”

    regardless of who cares or doesn’t care, we’re still living with the aftershocks of its effects hundreds of years later.

  185. Really? Sulu? John Wayne, too?

  186. A nice pro and con look at The Bell Curve

    http://felix.unife.it/Root/d-Mensa-files/d-Intelligence/t-Bell-curve-reviews

    From the “pro” side
    As described earlier, The Bell Curve asserts that differences in cognitive ability between individuals are due in part to differences in their genetic endowment. A great deal of research supports this conclusion (Bouchard, 1993; Pedersen, Plomin, Nesselroade, & McClearn, 1992). The question is, What can we infer from these findings about the origins of ethnic group differences? As any graduate student knows, the source of individual differences in a trait cannot be taken as evidence for the source of group differences in the same trait. A great deal of indirect evidence points to both genetic and environmental contributions to ethnic group differences in IQ. None of this evidence, however, is as firm as the evidence for genetic influence on individual differences in IQ. Many experts in the field (Snyderman & Rothman, 1988) agree with Herrnstein and Murray when they state that “it seems highly likely to us that both genes and the environment have something to do with racial differences. What might the mix be? We are resolutely agnostic on the issue; as far as we can determine, the evidence does not yet justify an estimate” (p. 311).

    From the “con” side
    Herrnstein and Murray use logistic regression to determine which is more important–IQ or SES–in determining socially undesirable behaviors. Logistic regression is a form of regression in which the dependent variable is binary. In all of their analyses, they assume a simple additive model in which the logit (a transform of the sample proportion) is assumed to equal B0 + B1IQ + B2SES + B3 age + random residual [numbers after Bs should read as subscripts]. They assume no IQ-SES interaction. They use the standardized beta weights to determine the relative importance of IQ and SES in determining the probability of various undesirable or desirable behaviors. Unfortunately, IQ and SES are highly intercorrelated (collinearity).

    There are two major problems with Herrnstein and Murray’s attempts to determine whether IQ or SES is more important. First, there is the collinearity problem. Weisberg (1985) describes the collinearity problem in linear regression: “When the predictors are related to each other, regression modeling can be very confusing. Estimated effects can change magnitude or even sign depending on the other predictors in the model” (p. 196). Next, there is the problem of deciding that the predictor with the largest standardized beta weight is the most important. Weisberg describes why this approach is faulty: “Unfortunately, this logic is faulty because the scaling depends on the range of values for the variables in the data” (p. 186). Perhaps these are the reasons why Herrnstein and Murray never published their logistic analyses in peer-reviewed journals.

  187. NM,

    Very impressive. You have demonstrated your vocabulary and your ability to use google. You have accused me of “dodging” questions, although I have tried to address your questions as far as I can tell.

    I asked you a simple question that I think you dodged. If you decide to answer, please use your own words, and for the sake of those not so smart as you please use simple, no need for the dictionary, language.

    1. Can you see the negro and caucasian characteristics in the people you chose as examples (Jessica Beall, Janet Jackson, Grace Jones) and one that I chose, Colin Powell?

  188. NM,

    “Race is a loose proxy for genetics.”

    Or, when stated in the language of genetics, phenotype is a loose proxy for genotype.

    Interesting take on genetics you have there.

  189. NM and DAR,

    Boiling down your positions on this whole debate (my words, so if I am wrong I apologize in advance).

    1. There is no correlation between race and intelligence.
    2. There is no correlation between race and genetics.
    3. There is a correlation between genetics and intelligence, although the size of the correlation is ambiguous.

  190. Wayne,
    With some correction, I will endorse your summary…

    1. The correlation between race and intelligence is vague and unsubstantiated due to problems with defining the variable “race.”
    2. There is at best a weak correlation between race and genetics due to problems with the vague definition of the variable race.
    3. There is a correlation between genetics and intelligence, although the size of the correlation is as yet undetermined at the level of populations. Within families, things are much clearer.

    I have been reading from the “Is Race Real” Forum I linked to above

    http://raceandgenomics.ssrc.org

    I think you would enjoy the articles.

    I have enjoyed the discussion…hope you can say the same.

  191. Phenotype/genotype

    Wayne: Or, when stated in the language of genetics, phenotype is a loose proxy for genotype.

    I am saying that race is too ill defined to use as a phenotype.

  192. “I am saying that race is too ill defined to use as a phenotype.”

    So, there is no such thing as race? Race has no meaning at all?

  193. NM,

    Yes, I have enjoyed the conversation. You are a slippery customer :-).

  194. NM,

    I went to your cited web site and started reading at the top. This is the first one I read. I have no qualms whatever with the content of this paper. It is only about 1500 words or so, and I recommend it to anybody interested in the topic race and genetics.

    http://raceandgenomics.ssrc.org/Leroi/

  195. Wayne,

    “So, there is no such thing as race? Race has no meaning at all?”

    That is not my position.
    Race is real in a way similar to “nationality.”
    Simple on the surface, but slippery when you try and examine it more closely, or use it rigrously.

    Defining race is much like trying to pin down mercury.

    From the race forum (Lewontin):
    There has been an interesting dialectic between the notion of human races and the use of race as a general biological category. Historically, the concept of race was imported into biology, and not only the biology of the human species, from social practice. The consciousness that human beings come in distinct varieties led, in the history of biology, to the construction of “race” as a subgrouping within species. For a long time the category “race” was a standard taxonomic level. But the use of “race” in a general biological context then reinforced its application to humans. After all, lots of animal and plant species are divided into races, so why not Homo sapiens? Yet the classification of animal and plant species into named races was at all times an ill-defined and idiosyncratic practice. There was no clear criterion of what constituted a race of animals or plants that could be applied over species in general. The growing realization in the middle of the twentieth century that most species had some genetic differentiation from local population to local population led finally to the abandonment in biology of any hope that a uniform criterion of race could be constructed.

    If race is not a useful category for studying other species…it seems likely to be of limited use in studying our own. Not useless, but limited.

  196. “1. Can you see the negro and caucasian characteristics in the people you chose as examples (Jessica Beall, Janet Jackson, Grace Jones) and one that I chose, Colin Powell?”

    Just to make sure I didn’t dodge this one.

    Now that you have provided me with the criteria you are using to define negro and caucasion characteristics, I find this a quite easy task. I am not sure you would get good agreement on those core characteristics if you asked 100 scientists what the core characteristics of each racial grouping was…but once you have defined them, then they are easy to spot (reliability/agreement between observers would likely be marginal, but it may be good enough once you define narrow, wide, curly, etc…).

    Jessica Beal, btw, seems not to have any of the traits you list as “negro.” Is she mixed race just because one parent has some of those traits? Or do those characteristics need to be manifest to count? Do genetic theoretical markers/potentials not manifest become part of the definition of race? If you are going to do a study like R. Lynn’s, you need to carefully define how you answer this kind of question. What counts as 50% Negro and 50% Caucasian in the “racial hierarchy theory?” The definition of groups will have significant impact on the answers the science provides.

  197. NM,

    Was that a “yes, I can see the N and C characteristics”, or “no, I see no hint that race exists in these people”.

    Maybe a better test would be to show a set of ten (or 100??) pictures of people of various mixed races and ask a random sample of ten (or 13??) people to identify the racial heritage of the people in the photos. That would be a pretty good gauge of racial markers.

    There is a quote from the web site you listed above that seem to fit my notion of our discussion:

    http://raceandgenomics.ssrc.org/Leroi/
    “One of the more painful spectacles of modern science is that of human geneticists piously disavowing the existence of races even as they investigate the genetic relationships between “ethnic groups.”

  198. “Jessica Beal, btw, seems not to have any of the traits you list as “negro.”

    I agree, and yet she clearly has some negro characteristics. By the way, there is nothing wrong with the word “negro”, so there is no need for you to disassociate yourself from it.

  199. “Now that you have provided me with the criteria you are using to define negro and caucasion characteristics, I find this a quite easy task.”

    NM, are you so terrified by political correctness that you pretend to need a “list of attributes” to identify a caucasian or a negro? Why on Earth do you (and DAR and a few others on H&R) think that such painful obtuseness is “good”?

  200. “Race is real in a way similar to “nationality.”

    I don’t see “race” to be at all similar to nationality, at least not in the 21st century. That is why I have been using the word “negro”. An “African-America” could easily be Caucasian, for example.

  201. Wayne,

    That was a yes, I can see the traits you list easily.

    ME “Jessica Beal, btw, seems not to have any of the traits you list as “negro.”

    WAYNE: I agree, and yet she clearly has some negro characteristics. By the way, there is nothing wrong with the word “negro”, so there is no need for you to disassociate yourself from it.”

    I am not at all uncomfortable with my own common sense definitions of core racial features (people’s brains are wonderful pattern detectors). There is a difference btw having my own sense of those characteristics and using them scientifically. For instance…no matter how hard I look at Jessica Beal (a task I will gladly spend time on), I can’t agree that she “clearly has some negro characteristics.” This is what I mean about lack of interrater reliability… without careful definitions of your categories, the subjects who get included in one group or the other get put there arbitrarily.

    “NM, are you so terrified by political correctness that you pretend to need a “list of attributes” to identify a caucasian or a negro? Why on Earth do you (and DAR and a few others on H&R) think that such painful obtuseness is “good”?”

    Nothing about political correctness involved here (are you terrified that your gut sense is not shared by others? I doubt it).

    I do research that depends upon clearly defined phenotyping of individuals. Large, fuzzy categories like “race” do not work well in scientific inquiry. Junk in leads to junk out.

    As a matter of fact, national groupings (being smaller and geographically contained) make better proxies than race for genetic clusters. Why? There is less disagreement about what they mean…more agreement about who gets to be included…less uncertainty about the criteria you are using, and even…smaller genetic variability.

    Science requires that the object under study be clearly defined. If I say I see/don’t see person A as member or race Q, and you disagree with me, we will need a list of criteria to use to determine who is “correct.” Without that, your object of study/discussion is not sufficiently well defined to avoid talking past each other.

    FWIW, consider the difficulty we have had communicating on the topic in this informal venue. I am sure that Lynn and Jensen and Murray all used different defintions/methods to group people into racial categories. What does this mean in terms of support for a general position that race determines intelligence to a significant degree? Is this true only at the intersection btw their definitions of race? Or does it mean that it is true for the full range of criteria they used?

    “An “African-America” could easily be Caucasian, for example.”

    So what does it mean when the Bell Curve says that African-Americans perform differently than Caucasians? Does their definition also include that Caucasian African-American? How many of them? What impact will that have on the results?

  202. I am all talked out on this subject for now.

    As I suggested earlier, maybe a better approach would be to test how well people can detect racial characteristics. Show a non-biased group of people photos of people of known racial makeup and ask the test takers to judge the racial backgound of those in the photos.

    I suspect that people would be very accurate in their judgement.

    Such an experiment would not be very useful, except to prove (or disprove) that people are “excellent pattern detectors” though, and that “race” is real.

    I have to check the wording in the Bell Curve as I read it years ago. If the authors use the term “African-America”, then they screwed up as they added unnecessary ambiguity. I know what I think “African-American” means, but I could be fooled by somebody maliciously setting a “gotcha” trap.

  203. Wayne,

    Alert.
    We have a name confusion…

    I posted:

    Jessica Beal
    http://www.mixedfolks.com/images/jenniferbeals.jpg

    The picture is of Jennifer Beals.

    So were you seeing Negro characteristics in the photo I posted of Jennifer B…or in your general Jessica B watching?

    Your answer will tell you something about my point. Jennifer B’s dad African-American. Jessica’s, no so much.

  204. BTW, I agree that Jessica Beall is quite easy on the eyes.

    I tried finding pictures of Jessican Beall (Beal and Beale) on the web and all I turned up were pictures of Jessica Biel who is also quite delectable but not the racially confused Beall I sought. My mother’s maiden name is Beall and I have full lips so maybe I am racially mixed as well, although I did not fare so well in the beauty department as Jennifer. We are all God’s children in the end though.

  205. Interesting coincidence that we were posting at the same time about more or less the same topic.

    My posting was about Jennifer Beal (or Beall or Beale), the dancer/actor in the movie Flash Dance. It was she that I reffered to in the “can you see N or C characteristics…”

  206. I am out too…

    Your experiment has been tried, I am sure.
    Here is an interesting abstract of one using a variation on the theme.

    Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2003 Mar;29(3):360-70.

    Believing is seeing: the effects of racial labels and implicit beliefs on face perception.

    Eberhardt JL, Dasgupta N, Banaszynski TL.

    Department of Psychology, Stanford University

    Two studies tested whether racial category labels and lay beliefs about human traits have a combined effect on people’s perception of, and memory for, racially ambiguous faces. Participants saw a morphed target face accompanied by a racial label (Black or White). Later, they were asked to identify the face from a set of two new morphed faces, one more Black and the other more White than the target. As predicted, entity theorists, who believe traits are immutable, perceived and remembered the target face as consistent with the racial label, whereas incremental theorists, who believe traits are malleable, perceived and remembered the face as inconsistent with the racial label. In Study 2, participants also drew the target face more consistently (entity theorists) or less consistently (incremental theorists) with the racial label. Results of both studies confirm that social variables can affect how physical features are seen and remembered.

  207. For what it is worth…

    I was using the posted picture.

  208. “So were you seeing Negro characteristics in the photo I posted of Jennifer B…or in your general Jessica B watching?

    Your answer will tell you something about my point. Jennifer B’s dad African-American. Jessica’s, no so much.”

    Same question back at you.

    As I said, in my mind’s eye I was picturing the Flash Dance actor, and yes I definitely see mostly Caucasian characteristics, but some Negro characteristics in her.

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