Tag Archives: race

The Origin of the Race Concept

Graves’s The Emperor’s New Clothes has so many things wrong with it, so many untruths, half-truths, and examples of naivety, that it is difficult to know how to begin critiquing it. Nonetheless, such must be done, so I will begin at the beginning (page 1) and continue until the end of the first section (page 52).

First, Graves dances around with the definition of race. His first approximation seems reasonable, “The term ‘race’ implies the existence of some nontrivial underlying hereditary features shared by a group of people and not present in other groups” (5) but his thoughts go down-hill from there. Latter in the page he notes that “None of the physical features by which we have historically defined human races… unambiguously corresponds to the racial groups we have constructed.” First, Graves’ look for unambiguous markers is misguided. Not all human beings are born with a brain, but possession of the brain is nonetheless typical for the human race. Secondly, Graves attempts to jump between a physical definition of race and a socially constructed definition. Our concepts of race imprecisely but accurately describe real genetic populations (Parra, et al., 2003; Pimenta, et al., 2006) in spite of what graves later claims (36).. Ultimately, the definition Graves takes from the dictionary may be best: “A population of organisms differing from others of the same species in the frequency of hereditary traits; a subspecies” (6). Graves’ question, “How much genetic difference must there be before a subspecies can be said to exist?” is best answered with “a statistically significant amount.” If this implies races and sub-races, and sub races within those, so be it. In some cases, it may be that it is easiest to speak about those who left Africa and those who stayed (Underhill, P.A., et al., 2000), as Africans, Asians, and Europeans (Bamshad, et al., 2003), or even smaller groups. (Lindh, Andersson, & Gusdal, 1997).

Graves historicism confuses him as to the nature of those he disagrees with. Believing that genes vary in significant ways among breeding populations – that races exist – does not imply that “inequalities cannot be fundamentally altered by environmental interventions such as social programs.” Indeed, almost the reverse is true: if we are born with differing genetic propensities, identical environmental factors will lead to unequal environments. The conclusion then is that if we are born differently genetically, we can create unequal outcomes to lead to equal outcomes. As Stephen Pinker writes, “the more equal we make society, the higher heritability will be, and the more genes will matter” (Pinker, 2002, 77).

Going back to Graves’ definition, he claims that the “Jews were a cultural group rather than a biologically distinct population (to say nothing of a race)” (20). Again, the Jewish population appears to be an interaction between real genetic links and socially constructed ones. As Behar et al. 2003) summarize the evidence, “the Cohanim, a paternally inherited Jewish priestly caste, predominantly share a recent common ancestor irrespective of the geographically defiend post-Diaspora community to which they belong, a finding consistent with common Jewish origins in the Near East” (768). His social construction leads him to confuse anti-Judaic acts of Catholics with anti-Semitism, where he lists anti-Jewish attitudes (21) that were based on belief, not parernity.

Graves also suffers from his apparent ignorance of the tools of social science. He approvingly quotes Frederick Douglass’s thoughts on “the impossibility of legitimately comparing the innate abilities of different races in a society that maintained such disparity in the physical conditions in which the races lived.” Dougglass believing that was understandable, as John Dewer’s revolution of the social science had not happened when he wrote such words. But for the last century scientific examination of humans has relied on correlation and regression two tools that do not only require similar conditions but often spurn them (so that more variables may be examined). Social science does not work by naively comparing two groups identical in one category and different in two others, but by explaining the variance of dependent variables in terms of independent variables.

Related to this is Graves’ frustratingly simplistic statements on genetics. He expects us to believe that, somehow, the fact that there “is more genetic variability in one tribe of East African chimpanzees than in the entire human species!” means anything at all. What is his point? Is he claiming a consistent cross-species relationships between “genetic variability” (however he defines it) and phenotypic and extended phenotpyic variability? Such a statement could easily be read to imply that races matter, as when fewer things change they may matter more. Ultimately, Graves is silent on the meaning of this rhetorically nifty but substantively empty statement.

Bamshad, M.J., Wooding, S., Walkins, W.S., Ostler, C.T., Batzer, M.A., Jorde, L.B. (2003). Human population genetic structures and inference of group membership. American Journal of Human Genetics 72: 578-589.
Behar, D.M., Thomas, M.G., Skorecki, K., Hammer, M.F., Bulygina, E., Rosengarten. D., Jones, A.L., Held K., Moses, V., Goldstein, D., Bradman, N., & Weale, M.E. (2003). American Journal of Human Genetics 73: 768-779.
Graves, J. L., Jr. (2001). The emperor’s new clothes: Biological theories of race at the millennium. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
Lindh, M., Andersson, A.S., & Gusdal, A. (1997). Genotypes, nt 1858 variants, and geographic origin of hepatitis B virus–large-scale analysis using a new genotyping method. Journal of Infectious Diseases 175(6): 1285-1293.
Parra, F.C., Amado, R.C., Lambertucci, J.R., Rocha, J., Antunes, C.M., & Pena, S.D.J. (2003). Color and genomic ancestry in Brazilians. PNAS 100(1): 177-182..
Pimenta, J.R., Zuccherato, L.W., Debes, A.A., Maselli, L., Soares, R.P., Moura-Neto, R.S., Rocha, J., Bydlowski, S.P.k, & Pena, S.D. (2006). Color and Genomic Ancestry in Brazillians: A Study with Forensic Microsatellites. Human Heredity 62(4): 190-195.
Pinker, S. (2002). The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. Viking Adult: New York, NY.
Underhill, P.A., Shen, P., Lin, A.A., Passarino, G., Yang, W.H., Kauffman, E., Bonne-Tamir, B., Bertranpetit, J., Francalacci, P., Ibrahim, M., Jenkins, T., Kidd, J.R., Mehdi, S.Q., Seielstad, M.T., Wells, R.S., Piazza, A., David, R.W., Feldman, M.W., Cavalli-Sforza, L.L., & Oefner, P.J. (2000). Y chromosome sequence variation and the history of human populations. Nature Genetics 26: 358-361.

Reactions to The Emperor’s New Clothes,part of Biopsychological Development
1. The Origin of the Race Concept
2. Darwin and the Survival of Scientific Racism
3. Applications and Misapplications of Darwinism
4. Biological Theories of Race At the Millennium

Are Americans Hyperactive Neanderthals?

United States of Cavemania

During my recent journey across America (well, Indiana, Texas, and a few short stops) I read some journal articles for my class on genetic politics. I have already read three texts for that class, so it was an interesting change of pace.

Behavioral genetics and evolutionary psychology, two scientific disciplines with related but separate views on Human Nature, are controversial. And by “controversial” I mean “detested by the Left.” While BG and EP have different assumptions and often draw different conclusions, the Leftist belief of omni cultura ex cultura denies any genetic link to behaviors. When feminists attacked Harvard President Larry Summers for saying the sexes may think differently and apologized for it, we saw a once-great American university bow to Leftist pressure to bury genetic research.

This genetic politics post focuses on one surprising hypothesis generated by Behavioral Genetics (if not Evolutionary Psychology): that Americans may be more “Neanderthal” than other peoples. Specifically, an odd mutation linked to a form of ADD is prevalent among both whites and american indians. No “missing links” between this mutation and the standard genetic sequences are known. Either every single one has died out in the human population — or this mutation did not come from a human population.

Notes from a journal article and a commentary are extracted below.

In Our Genes,” by Henry Harpeding and Gregory Cochran, PNAS, 8 January 2002, http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/extract/99/1/10.

Evidence of positive selection acting at the human dopamine receptor D4 gene locus,” by Yuan-Cun Ding et al, PNAS, 8 January 2002, http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/99/1/309.

“Associations have been reported of the seven-repeat (7R) allele of the human dopamine receptor D4 (DRD4) gene with both attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and the personality treat of novelty seeking.” (Ding et al 309)

“calculations of the allele age based on the relatively high worldwide population frequency of the DRD4 4R and 7R alleles suggest that these alleles are ancient (>300,000 years old. refs. 25 and 26; see Methods). On the other hand, calculations of the allele age based on the observed intraallelic variability (refs. 26 and 26, see Methods) suggest that the 7R allele is 5-10 fold “younger” (30,000-50,000 years old). Such a large discrepancies between allele ages calculated by these two methods usually are taken as evidnece that selection has increased the frequency of the allele to higher levels than expected by random genetic drift (26).” (Ding et al 313)

“It is difficult ot imagine what type of bottleneck could produce such results, i.e., strong worldwide LD for a single allele (DRD47R), yet little LD for the remaining alleles. A model that is consistent with the observed results is the “weak Garden of Eden” hypothesis (24), in which the DRD4 allele would be hypothesized to be ancient and present in indigenous populations, whereas the 7R allele was spread by expansion out of (and into) Africa.” (Ding et al 313)

“Given the highly unlikely recombination/mutation events required to generate the 7R allele from the 4R allele, a possibility worth considering is that importation of this allele from a closely related hominid lineage. What lineage that may be can only be speculated, but Neanderthal populations were present at the approximate time the 7R allele originated. Under this model, the coalescence time for the 4R and 7R alleles then would be ancient, with the importation occurring only recently, as measured by LD. Obviously, additional experimental work may clarify these speculations.” (Ding et al 313-314)

“It is possible also to speculate, however, that the very traits that may be selected for in individuals possessing a DRD4 7R allele may predispose behaviors that are deemed inappropriate in the typical classroom setting and hence diagnosed as ADHD.” (Ding et al 314)

“The D4 dopamine receptor (DRD4) locus may be a model system for understanding the relationship between genetic variation and human cultural diversity.” (Harpending and Cochran 10)

“[Ding et al] showed that the allele associated with ADHD has increased a lot in frequency within the last few thousand to tens of thousands of years.” (Harpending and Cochran 10)

“This curious pattern, an allele that has been in the population for a very long time at a very low frequency, suggests that some kind of balancing selection has been maintaining 7R, but preventing it from becoming common until recently. An alternative is that 7R was incorporated form another hominid species during the expansion of modern humans.” (Harpending and Cochran 10)

“It is entirely possible that some psychological traits are adaptive yet, because they are irritating or undesirable, are called mental illness.” (Harpending and Cochran 10)

“Even if 40 or 50 thousand years were too short a time for the evolutionary development of a truly new and highly complex mental adaption, which is by no means certain, it is certainly long enough for some groups to lose such an adaption, for some groups to develop a highly exaggerated version of an adaption, or for changes int eh triggers or timing of that adaption to evolve.” (Harpending and Cochran 10-11)

“These selective forces must not be the same in all populations, because the 7R allele is quite common in some populations (South American Indians), exists at intermediate frequencies in others (Europeans and Africans), and is rare or non-existant in yet others (East Asia, !Kung Bushmen) (2).” (Harpending and Cochran 11)

“Because the prominent phonotypica effects of 7R are in males, we need to ask what is the niche in human socities for males who are energetic, impulsive (i.e. unpredictable) and noncompliant?)” (Harpending and Cochran 11)

“Boserupt (16) calls these ‘female farming systems,’ a euphemism for societies where men live off women. Freed from domestic responsibility, men can occupty their time decorating themselves and planning the next raid.” (Harpending and Cochran 11-12)

“There is an unsettling parallel with the dad males of the working class in contemporary industrial societies and the cad males of the underclass (17).” (Harpending and Cochran 12)

“One study found that a simple of difficult infants survived a drought at a higher rate than easy infants (18).” (Harpending and Cochran 12)

“It is probably no accident that two of the best known ethnographies of the twentieth century are titled ‘The Harmless People’ about the !Kung who have few or no 7R alleles, and “The Fierce People,” about the Yanomamo with a high frequency of 7R.” (Harpending and Cochran 12)

Gap Sex Caboose Breaking

I’m in the middle of a mind-melting project, so no time for a coherent blog post. Instead, I’ll vaguely fulminate against Jessee Jackson, Gap sex caboose breaking, and sexism. If you want a coherent application of PNM Theory to domestic politics, read Chirol. If you want a good summary of the Lacrosse incident, read . Else, read on.


Rev. Jesse Jackson, Founder and President Rainbow/Push Coalition, has announced his organization will pay the Duke scandal accuser’s tuition regardless of whether she’s telling the truth or not about being raped.

Too bad Elisabet Sunde wasn’t black. Then she would at least have
help paying for her lawyer.

Of course, if Elisabet Sunde was black, her name might have been Crystal Gale Mangum.

Regardless of the criminal‘s name, but it Janette Rivers, , or something else entirely, this case reminds me of an Oriental Sex Party.

Seriously. The washed up hack‘s presence should remind us that we have left the world of fact and entered the world of Race.

Similar hysteria was seen in China in a case that gave two men life sentences for soliciting a prostitute. As the AP reported:

A Chinese court sentenced a hotel worker and a prostitute to life in prison on Wednesday for organizing a three-day sex party for Japanese tourists – a case that outraged Chinese and reignited anger over Japan’s wartime conduct.

Its final day fell on Sept. 18, the anniversary of a Japanese attack in 1931 on a city in China’s northeast that Chinese regard as the start of World War II. The timing, which appeared to be coincidental, angered Chinese, many of whom believe Japan hasn’t atoned for wartime brutality, including mass rapes.

For that matter, remember Jewish Sex Gum?

The Chinese, Duke, and Arab incidents are symbolic, because they show a “deprived” group (Arabs, blacks, Chinese) taking sexual revenge against their perceived oppressors (Jews, whites, Japanese). It’s typical of both The Gap and Gap-like pockets in the Core. Just typical.

The End of Omaha Public Schools

Omaha Schools Split Along Race Lines,” by Scott Bauer, Associated Press, 13 April 2006, http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=1841310 (hat-tip: The Corner).

Omaha Public Schools,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 14 Apr 2006, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Omaha_Public_Schools&oldid=48371184..

“Winter came to Omaha
It left us looking like a bride
A million perfect snowflakes now
And no two are alike
So it’s hard for me imagining
The flaws in this design”

Theme from Pinata, from “Digital Ash in a Digital Urn,” by Bright Eyes

“We create a new people.

The next stage,
you will see!

Yasser Arafat, sampled in “Hezbollah Radio Advert,” by Muslimgauze

The big news is the end of the Omaha Public School District. The secret news is the triumph of complex adaptive systems.

Ernie Chambers, Architect of Destruction

On June 6, 2005, Omaha Superintendent decide to increase his power by annexing 25 schools currently part of the Elkhorn, Millard, and Ralston public school districts. Using an obscure Nebraska doctrine called “One City, One School district,” Dr. Mackiel planned to increase the centralizing influence of the Omaha Public Schools, the Office of the Superintendent, and, least of all, himself.

What he didn’t count on was complex adaptive systems.

The blow-back was severe. Nebraska’s legislature responded by passing a law in April 2006 creating an amorphous “Omaha Learning Community.” Yet the Unicameral then proceeded to tear OPS apart.

Senator Ernie Chambers, a traditional hero to Nebraska’s Left, used the opportunity of Omaha’s education flux to introduce a bill to split OPS into three smaller school districts. Citing OPS’s history of segregation (a charge that Dr. Mackiel no doubt denies), Chambers proposed creating a majority white, majority black, and largely hispanic school district. This way, according to Chambers’ logic, each community will be in charge of its own future.

Yesterday, the Legislature approved the measure. Governor David Heineman signed the law. The dismember of Omaha Public Schools is the law.

Will the reform work? Will it be better for whites, blacks, and latinos, parents and children, residents and taxpayers? I have no idea. I am as clueless as an Education Department bureaucrat, and Justice Department lawyer.

Yet the “global brain” isn’t clueless. Our world is a , where winning solutions are rewarded and losing solutions are punished. Well designed solutions become popular and thrive, while poorly designed solutions are shunned and die.

Nebraska’s devolutionary perspective with education in her largest city will be watched across the country. Papers in Arkansas, California, Indiana, , Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Washington, DC, Washington State, West Virginia, and around the world are following the news, running the AP story by Scott Bauer..

In a centralized state, like France, this sort of experimentation would be impossible. Instead of harnessing the power of complex adaptive systems through a federal government, dying countries like France put their faith in experts, soviet-style decision making, and “intelligent design.” The evolutionary advantage of complex adaptive systems are clear, from the United States of America to the Unix computer system.

The Courts should sit back, and we should all see if this reform makes education in Omaha better or worse. Trust reality, not Franco-Soviet-style “experts.”

Race, Sex, College, and Money

Census: College-educated white women earning less,” Associated Press, 28 March 2005, http://www.usatoday.com/news/bythenumbers/2005-03-28-income-education_x.htm.

“Re: NYT’S honest discussion about innate differences between the sexes,” by Dan tdaxp, private email, 17 October 2005.

College gender gap widens: 57% are women,” by Mary Beth Marklein, USA Today, 20 October 2005, http://news.yahoo.com/s/usatoday/20051020/ts_usatoday/collegegendergapwidens57arewomen (from Daily Kos).

According to this,” by johnny rotten, Daily Kos, 20 October 2005, http://dailykos.com/comments/2005/10/20/122420/25/12#12.

Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, founder of Daily “Screw ‘Em” Kos, has an interesting article on the sex gap in higher education

In May, the Minnesota Office of Higher Education posted the inevitable culmination of a trend: Last year for the first time, women earned more than half the degrees granted statewide in every category, be it associate, bachelor, master, doctoral or professional.

As women march forward, more boys seem to be falling by the wayside, McCorkell says. Not only do national statistics forecast a continued decline in the percentage of males on college campuses, but the drops are seen in all races, income groups and fields of study, says policy analyst Thomas Mortenson, publisher of the influential Postsecondary Education Opportunity newsletter in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Since 1995, he has been tracking – and sounding the alarm about – the dwindling presence of men in colleges.

I wrote about something similar in an email a bit ago — using material from Every Man a Panzer, Every Woman a Soldat as a foundation

Generally, males and females are optimized for different styles of networks — males for low-density nets and females for high-density nets. In other words, women and girls prefer “deeper” social relationships than men and boys. In education, this would imply that females learn best in social conversation circles and males learn best in dynamic activity circles. Both will spontaneously form these on their own — they are otherwise known as “gossiping” and “free play.” Structured gossiping and structured free play could be extremely effective. That modern education tries to quash the natural instinct to learn in an optimized way to force all children to sit in desks and shut up is bad, bad, bad.

Of course, the majority of these might be useless degress from Democratic conversion machines. A comment on dKos spurred my interest…

According to this article, college educated women make around 60% of college educated men.

Interestingly, college educated black women make more than college educated white women.

Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?

Indeed, it’s true:

Black and Asian women with bachelor’s degrees earn slightly more than similarly educated white women, and white men with four-year degrees make more than anyone else.

A white woman with a bachelor’s degree typically earned nearly $37,800 in 2003, compared with nearly $43,700 for a college-educated Asian woman and $41,100 for a college-educated black woman, according to data being released Monday by the Census Bureau. Hispanic women took home slightly less at $37,600 a year.


Chart of Income Among American College Educated Women by Race

With most college students being white women, and white women coming out last compared to any other group (except v. latinas y latinitas, with a $200 per year advantage), one has to wonder what higher education is for.

Democratic Underground on Depatriation of Black Babies

Foreigners Adopting More African-American Babies,” by Kimberly Russel, Voice of America, http://www.voanews.com/english/2005-03-01-voa1.cfm, 1 March 2005.

part of the problem is Americans fear losing their child to birth parents,” by JI7, Democratic Underground, http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=102×1273679#1273870, 1 March 2005.

The U.S. State Department says the number of couples adopting American babies from other countries has more than doubled over the last decade. At the same time some Americans don’t adopt babies from other countries, saying there’s a lack of babies up for adoption in the United States. But in reality, there are plenty of American babies who need a home. Most of them are African-American.

Allison Drake and Earl Stroud wanted to adopt a child. For a White baby, they would have had to wait for several years. Allison and Earl live in Ottawa, Canada. They did not have to wait to adopt Ethan, who is from Chicago, Illinois, where more than 80 percent of babies available for adoption are Black.

Increasingly, Black children are finding homes in Germany, France and especially Canada, which puzzles Earl Stroud.

I just don’t understand why American couples go to China and Romania and places like that, when they have kids in their own backyard,” says Mr. Stroud.

My first response was blank silence. And then a statement that must be the rarest in the English language: “Democratic Underground has an insightful post explaining this”:

part of the problem is Americans fear losing their child to birth parents

because of the laws in this country.

that’s why many go overseas to adopt.

those videos of adoptive parents having to return their crying adopted children to the birth parents are very powerful also. nobody wants to go through that.

Exactly right. American justice has consistently made domestic adoption a worse and worse choice. From quasi-genocidal horrors like the Indian Child Welfare Act to Ann Landers-inspired laws making it easy for adoptees to discover birth parents to plain lawsuits, America has enacted high internal tarrifs against adoption.

If multinational adoption prevents flip-flop parents from traumatizing samaritans’ lives, good.


Split in Martin Luther King’s own family reflects larger debate over gay marriage,” by Louise Chu, The Press-Enterprise, http://www.pe.com/ap_news/California2/Gay_Marriage_King_170060CA.shtml, 16 January 2005 (from The Corner).

Racism and homosexuality were invented at roughly the same time in roughly the same place — the middle-Modern Era in western Europe. It is wonderful that they have the same enemies

Martin Luther King Jr.’s youngest child lit a torch at her father’s tomb last month to kick off a march advocating a ban on gay marriage, creating a strong image linking the slain civil rights icon to today’s heated social debate.

The Kings’ youngest child, Bernice King, helped lead thousands of people in an Atlanta march last month that had an anti-gay agenda.

The march, organized by Bishop Eddie Long and his 25,000-member New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, also advocated issues such as education reform and affordable health care, but its listed first goal was an amendment to “fully protect marriage between one man and one woman.

Will we end both problems in this generation? I doubt it. Can they both fester and grow worse? Yes. But can we make progress toward a happier world? Absolutely.

I am thankful we have civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King III. I do not agree with everything he has said, but he sees clearly.