An intelligence test

Heads up, gentle reader. I’m about to give you an intelligence test. To begin the test, read “The Talk: Nonblack version“.

The single most important kind of intelligence is the ability to see past your own strongly-held preconceptions and your tribe’s conventional wisdom and engage reality as it actually is and facts as they actually are.

Now I’m going to ask you some questions about your response to the article.

1. Did you fail to notice that the key paragraph in it is this one: “Thus, while always attentive to the particular qualities of individuals, on the many occasions where you have nothing to guide you but knowledge of those mean differences, use statistical common sense:”

2. Did you recoil from refuse to accept any claim in the article that you recognized as true or probably true because it would hurt peoples’ feelings?

3. Did you at any point refuse to believe a fact claim in the article because you think the world would be a worse or uglier place if the claim were true?

4. Did you finish the article believing that John Derbyshire (the author) is a racist?

5. Do you believe I am a racist for having asked the previous four questions?

If you answered “Yes” to any of the above questions, you failed the test.

EDIT: Changed the phrasing of question 2 slightly as some people found it confusing.

382 thoughts on “An intelligence test

  1. Unfortunately, this article times out for me. Is there any way we could get a transcription? I’d like to know if I am indeed intelligent.

  2. This article is almost a perfect kook test to separate thinkers from emoters.

  3. The Volk at MeFi are going ape over The Talk, and National Review is in full retreat mode. I wonder how many have actually read it, and how many have read about it.

  4. What does it make me if I passed the test but I’m left in a vaguelly unhappy mood, i.e. “I wish things weren’t like that, but sadly, they are”?

  5. >What does it make me if I passed the test but I’m left in a vaguelly unhappy mood, i.e. “I wish things weren’t like that, but sadly, they are”?

    It makes you a decent human being.

  6. @esr

    Did you fail to notice that the key paragraph in it is this one: “Thus, while always attentive to the particular qualities of individuals, on the many occasions where you have nothing to guide you but knowledge of those mean differences, use statistical common sense:”

    I did indeed keep remaining myself of that paragraph as I read through the points. For most of his points that paragraph put them in a context that made them understandable. Yes, if you have nothing to guide you but statistics “Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally.” makes sense. But does:

    “Before voting for a black politician, scrutinize his/her character much more carefully than you would a white.”

    really make any sense? I thought this was the weakest of his points. It has nothing to do with statistical averages at all. In this case you’re always talking about a specific person, whose life and beliefs are wide open to scrutiny. There will never be a case when you have nothing but racial statistics to guide you on selecting a political candidate.

  7. I’m not entirely sure if I failed or not. My responses:

    1. No.
    2. What do you mean by recoil? Yes, some of the truths in the article are unpleasant. That does not mean that I am unwilling to follow the advice they imply in appropriate situations.
    3. No, though I may regret its truth.
    4. No.
    5. No. IMHO, you are trying to do exactly what Mr. Derbyshire is trying to do–get people to think, not just about the implications of the information in “the talk”, but about the implications of certain whites’ refusal to recognize the truth of that information. That’s not racist, although people who believe that one must find that all blacks are good, intelligent, industrious [insert positive social characteristic here] in order not to be racist will probably conclude that it is.

    I also think that your quiz is not really an “intelligence” test. It’s really a test of the reader’s willingness to consider information that clashes with his/her preconceptions. That factor is critical, and lack of it may look like unintelligence and will lead to unintelligent behavior, but it isn’t intelligence per se. “Sanity” may be a better term.

  8. @Len “I wonder how many have actually read it, and how many have read about it.”

    I bet the breakdown is like this:

    How many have actually read the article: few.

    How many have read *about* the article: many.

    :-(

  9. >“Before voting for a black politician, scrutinize his/her character much more carefully than you would a white.”

    Interesting. You’re the second person to have singled this out as the least defensible bullet point where I could see them do it. I think it does in fact follow logically from different observed mean levels of propensity to criminal behavior, but Derbyshire should have done a better job of connecting those dots.

  10. I read it. It doesn’t seem offensive, but it does seem pretty cowardly, in line with a lot of the negative stereotypes about white people. I’m a white guy in a predominately black neighborhood. I don’t live in fear for it.

  11. 1) No.

    2) Yes, probably a little, here and there. (But WTF does “recoiling” have to do with IQ???)

    3) No. (Then again, I’m not prepared to swear they’re correct, either, since I was too lazy to follow the links and check how palusible they were.)

    4) Hmmmnyeahou… Yes and no, kind of. No, as in “Perhaps not strictly logically speaking”, but yes, as in “The author certainly must have known how offensive a lot of people will find it just because of their race, so one thing he showed was that he’s perfectly prepared to offend a lot of people just because of their race”. (And is that not pretty much the very definition of a racist?)

    5) No. Not _for that_, at least… Otherwise? Yeah, well, sorry, but I wouldn’t put it past you.

    :: Nope — _you_ failed _my_ test. The world just isn’t as black-and-white (Heh…) as you, if this silly little “test” of yours is anything to go by, seem to want to make it.

  12. I finished the article believing that the author is a racist, but not because of any of the reasons you assume. There are various giveaways in his word choice, for example “any individual black is entitled to the same courtesies you would extend to a nonblack citizen”. Everywhere in the article it’s ‘nonblack person’ or ‘nonblack citizen’, but ‘blacks’ (who we are left to presume, are not persons nor genuine citizens).

    In my experience only homophobes will refer to a fellow human being as ‘a gay’, and only racists will refer to another human being ‘a black’. As though they are members of a different species.

    What you also always fail to recognize, Eric, is that the reasonable progressive position on race doesn’t deny that there are statistical differences between racial groups. For many progressives that is the end goal, but no reasonable person thinks it is the present reality.

    Instead, the reasonable progressive position states that these differences do not justify the kinds of choices that racists often say they do. For example, even if you are statistically more likely to be robbed by a black person, that does not justify (morally) the claim that you should “Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally”, or worse yet, “Do not act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress”. That shit is morally abhorrent, no matter what the realities are about statistical risk. It is completely dehumanizing.

    Now, I am not a hypocrite. I admit I share the fear of being robbed in nonwhite neighbourhoods. Even Jesse Jackson admits to having such fears. But I won’t pretend that my fear (whether it is statistically justifiable or not) provides a moral justification for treating other human beings as less-than-equal. And so I wouldn’t teach my kids to drive by people in need of help just because they’re not white.

    I don’t think *you* are particularly racist, for what it’s worth. You’re an old-fashioned reactionary, and in this case you just have the wrong idea about what the orthodox liberal view is. It’s a common story for you, not just on race but on guns and on social justice – in your search for liberal hypocrisy, you always wind up triumphantly shooting down a straw man.

  13. I agree that, considering the talk in itself, the key paragraph is #10. However, there’s another very important paragraph in it, paragraph #4. It’s important because, as far as I can tell from reading the links about “the talk”, nothing corresponding to it appears in the black parents’ version of the talk. That bears some thinking about.

  14. @PapayaSF

    Looks like NR just fired him over this article.

    “Derbyshire advises parents to tell their children not to live or stay long in predominantly black communities.”

    Um, no, I don’t think he did say that.

  15. I coded a shuffle-deal dealy to select from the logical fallacies in your argument, and it decided on:

    http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/mathew/logic.html#begging

    However, I do think that such a discussion cannot be undertaken seriously without actually stipulating, for the nonce, that your claims are correct.

    If it is correct — as you seem convinced — how much do you think factors like _poor nutrition_ skew the results? And do you plan to do anything about it?

  16. >Everywhere in the article it’s ‘nonblack person’ or ‘nonblack citizen’, but ‘blacks’ (who we are left to presume, are not persons nor genuine citizens).

    The very fact that he uses the phrase “nonblack citizen” destroys your argument; it is not a phrase that makes sense unless “black citizen” is symmetrical with it.

    >But I won’t pretend that my fear (whether it is statistically justifiable or not) provides a moral justification for treating other human beings as less-than-equal.

    I do not require any “moral justification” for acting on the truth as it it really is; truth is its own warrant. But you reveal a confusion in your own thinking. It is not “treating other human beings as less-than-equal” to make rational decisions in risk situations; it is only that if you make decisions which are irrationally biased.

  17. To be clear, for you it is never rational to help others when doing so would pose some risk to yourself? Say for example, in Peter Singer’s case where a small child is drowning in a river?

  18. >However, I do think that such a discussion cannot be undertaken seriously without actually stipulating, for the nonce, that your claims are correct.

    Please be careful to distinguish between my claims and Derbyshire’s claims. This test is not about the factual content of Derbyshire’s article, it is about the reader’s ability to process those fact claims intelligently and sanely.

    >how much do you think factors like _poor nutrition_ skew the results? And do you plan to do anything about it?

    For Derbyshire’s purpose (giving survival advice), it doesn’t matter what the reasons for means differences like those in intelligence and observed propensity to criminal violence are. If wandering into a black neighborhood is unsafe for a white person, it doesn’t matter much whether the differences are genetic or due to poor childhood nutrition. What I might do to attempt to solve these problems is likewise irrelevant.

  19. All pretty much sad-but-true. Though I suspect the piece makes more sense when you follow and read some of its embedded links… it seems there’s some “the talk” meme out there that I wasn’t aware of.

    If nothing else it’s a great sorting mechanism, to separate the analytical from the emotional. I know a number of people who, while knowing that everything in it is true would still react with violent horror to anyone *saying* so, and would publically swear it’s all hateful lies.

    Not sure what practical purpose it’ll serve, other than possibly ending the author’s career by writing the unmentionable.

  20. >To be clear, for you it is never rational to help others when doing so would pose some risk to yourself?

    Shame on you. That’s not a justified inference from anything I have said.

  21. > “For example, even if you are statistically more likely to be robbed by a black person, that does not justify (morally) the claim that you should “Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally”, or worse yet, “Do not act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress”. That shit is morally abhorrent, no matter what the realities are about statistical risk. It is completely dehumanizing.”

    You implicitly claim you don’t avoid concentrations of blacks, that you do aid blacks who appear to be in distress.

    I don’t believe you. The personal behavior of progressives is entirely and uniformly incompatible with their theoretical beliefs – observe how much money they spend to make sure that their children do not go to schools with a substantial number of black children.

  22. I think the answers to #1, 2, 3, and 5 are obviously “no”. 4 is questionable, though – Derbyshire’s #10 contains a number of very tenuous statements, most of which seem to hew closer to racism than safety. I value truth, and I won’t criticize him for bits like the IQ test data(which, while I don’t like it, seems to be simple truth no matter how we run the tests), but “Don’t help black people in trouble” is ridiculous and offensive.

  23. I also am a white guy in a neighborhood (and an apartment building) with a lot of blacks. I lose no sleep over it. Here in the ‘ville (Louisville) it is pretty common.

    I thought one point Derb made was interesting. Point 10f about not living in a city run by blacks. I have no desire to live in Detroit or a place like it. Louisville has a lot of blacks but the power structure is white. I love my town and do not wish to see it destroyed.

    My problem with Taki mag is the antisemitic comments I read over there a lot. Derb and others often write about jews having “too much” influence in the media, or in government.

    That kind of stuff chaps my ass.

  24. >That kind of stuff chaps my ass.

    And mine. Can you actually point at an instance of Derbyshire (not commenters there) making anti-Semitic comments?

  25. As for his career, he is getting chemo for lymphatic cancer, so maybe he decided to throw some caution to the winds about this piece.

  26. 1. Yes I did fail to notice that particular key paragraph because it was not on the “Connection Interrupted” page that I actually got instead of the article (lol). I think it could be edited down somewhat.

    2. I never do that anyway. No matter how much it hurts my feelings, “Connection Interrupted” is probably true.

    3. Again, I never do that anyway. Perhaps what “Connection Interrupted” is trying to tell me is that there isn’t enough volunteers for the Bufferbloat Project ;)

    4. No opinion here, since he didn’t write the article that I actually read. Based on the previous three questions, I’m guessing that he probably isn’t.

    5. No.

    Let’s see if the connection works this time… got it!

    LOL: 10f; fortunately, I live in Canada and have no plans to move to the US. Disagree strongly with 10g; white, yellow, brown, green, and purple people can be just as crooked as any black, so I recommend evaluating potential politicians with equal, and very great, care.

    Alright, _now_ I shall take on the five questions for real:

    1. I don’t believe that is the key point. I think it is (4) “The default principle in everyday personal encounters is, that as a fellow citizen, with the same rights and obligations as yourself, any individual black is entitled to the same courtesies you would extend to a nonblack citizen.” This isn’t to blunt the statement in 10, I just don’t think it is at the same level of importance. Wow… I think this is the first time I’ve ever failed an intelligence test.

    2. No. Most of the statistics he refers to I knew already. I have also had consistently poor experiences with Indians and, to a lesser degree, Natives. I’ve found the former group to be more consistently dishonest while I’ve found the latter group to be victims of substance abuse and other forms of addiction. (Note: By “Indians”, I am referring to natives of the Indian subcontinent, or what most people would call “East Indians”. By “Natives”, I am referring to North American natives most people in North America call “Indians”.) I still treat them according to his point 4, assuming the best about a person until proven otherwise. I also apply all of his (10) subpoints to all cultures, including Caucasians and subcultures (i.e.: I “Do not attend events likely to draw a lot of [white supremacists, white homeless, white conspiracy theorists, white Christians, etc. not limited to "whites", of course] simply because the mob mentality tends towards destructive behaviour that I don’t want to be associated with, let alone threatened by.

    3. No.

    4. Yes, but probably not for the reasons you’re testing for. I’m not going to repeat what Bennett has said, but I agree with all of it except “What you also always fail to recognize, Eric” simply because I don’t know you well enough to make any such categorical statement about your recognitions (note: I still agree with the rest of that paragraph.) More generically, however, I believe the author is racist because this “talk” is specifically about blacks without recognizing that there are other skin colors that tend to warn of potential danger, especially red. Granted that Natives do tend to have issues which indicate a need for “statistical common sense”, I specifically chose red because when someone who is not normally red suddenly turns red, it is generally a bad sign. Blue is probably a bad sign as well because the Na’vi are still pissed off at Selfridge ;) You might also need to be careful around black people who aren’t normally black because one is unlikely to be in the best of moods right after being hoisted out of Quecreek :p

    5. No, but I do think you need to apply some “statistical common sense” to people who use the word “black” to such a degree when referring to human beings.

    Thanks for the quiz!

  27. >As for his career, he is getting chemo for lymphatic cancer, so maybe he decided to throw some caution to the winds about this piece.

    The most vicious and damaging falsehoods are precisely those that can only be challenged by a doomed man with nothing left to lose.

  28. I beg to differ.

    I agree with every point in the article except #11, which is a myth. Blacks are not less intelligent.

    The main explanation of this fact is another point which should probably have been in the list: Some blacks (generally not the IWSBs) would rather be welfare recipients all their lives than do the work it takes to become successful. This attitude often begins as early as grade school — almost always by the end of high school — and has several sources. #1 is Al Sharpton, who tells all who will listen that such effort is a waste of time because “the system is rigged”, and Whitey owes you a living anyway because of past sins. #2 is the alleged fact (I must admit this is hearsay) that black teenage girls have made it a policy that boys who disregard Sharpton’s advice don’t get laid. Then there’s the welfare system, which subsidizes unwed motherhood (and the forced collection of child support from guys who didn’t agree to any such thing, by mothers who didn’t have to keep the child but did because they wanted the welfare payments). Welfare mothers not only set a bad example, but many of them pay no attention to how their kids are performing in school, whether they agree with Sharpton or not.

    Finally, there are the two areas where the present system still is genuinely prejudiced against blacks: (some) police departments, and the drug laws (which were written to punish minorities — look it up in any decent college library).

    Given the combination of all these factors, it is understandable, though not forgivable, why such a large number of blacks fail at life, especially economically. But except for those screwed by the last two factors I mentioned, they don’t have to be that way, and it’s their own fault if they are.

    I’m certainly not taking the blame. My father’s family wasn’t even in the US before 1950, and my mother’s relatives fought for the Union in the Civil War. That ought to count for something.

  29. @Tom

    ““Derbyshire advises parents to tell their children not to live or stay long in predominantly black communities.”

    Um, no, I don’t think he did say that.”

    From Derbyshire’s article:

    “(10b) Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods.”

    “(10f) Do not settle in a district or municipality run by black politicians.”

    How do you interpret these points?

  30. >How do you interpret these points?

    They’re not equivalent. Notably, some cities with predominantly white populations are run by black politicians and vice-versa.

    A major point of this intelligence test was to assess whether you can continue to reason effectively about factual assertions that you find deeply uncomfortable. If you interpreted “(10b) Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods. (10f) Do not settle in a district or municipality run by black politicians.” as “Derbyshire advises parents to tell their children not to live or stay long in predominantly black communities.” you failed the test.

    The reason adding “(10b) Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods” doesn’t rescue that interpretation is left as an exercise for the reader.

  31. Eric, I don’t see the (10) subpoints as factual assertions in and of themselves, but as advice. Certainly many of those points do contain factual assertions, but they subpoints themselves are recommended behaviours, not facts. Rather than saying it’s not rocket science, I’ll try to come up with something in rocket science as an example:

    a) Due to control system difficulties and inconsistencies in the aerodynamic behaviour of your craft, I highly recommend that you use bank modulated entries.

    b) Alpha modulated entries suck!

    In this case, a) is behavioral advice, while b) is a factual assertion. Do you get it?

    Terry

  32. Okay, I give up. I mean, I can see that :

    (10f) Do not settle in a district or municipality run by black politicians.

    does not mean the same thing as

    “Derbyshire advises parents to tell their children not to live or stay long in predominantly black communities.”

    But this one:

    “(10b) Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods”

    seems pretty darn close to :

    “Derbyshire advises parents to tell their children not to live or stay long in predominantly black communities.”

    I mean, yeah, they’re not *exactly* the same, but the sentiment seems pretty similar. If anything, Derbyshire’s statement seems stronger – he’s flat out advising people (or his children) to “Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods”, while the paraphrasing (“Derbyshire advises parents to tell their children not to live or stay long in predominantly black communities.”) at least allows for the possibility of spending a short time in one.

  33. Disclaimer: I haven’t managed to read the article, because (I guess) the server wasn’t expecting the load it’s receiving, so I’m absolutely sure there is some subtlety that some of the critiques (many of which I have managed to read) are missing. So this comment might miss the boat completely, and I’m not even addressing your test because I lack the first qualification to take it (not having read the article), so I’m merely going to comment on the article itself third-hand…

    While I haven’t read the article, I am certainly willing to believe that all the fact claims in the article are true, for the simple reason that the worst indictment any of the critiques I read was that some of the examples were “dated.” The question, then becomes whether the recommended actions are correct.

    While “statistical common sense” is a worthwhile metric to live by, humans suck at both statistics and common sense, and it seems possible that the article will be used by many with no statistics background and not much common sense to justify a range of avoidance behaviors based on the apparently simplistic bullet list.

    Whether or not the author himself actually thinks in the stark absolute terms that “Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally” and “Do not attend events likely to draw a lot of blacks” imply, it still seems likely that the article might incite people to follow those maxims literally, without developing the nuanced tools necessary to further discern truly dangerous situations. (The mere mention of “statistics” and “common sense” doesn’t actually do anything to help develop those tools.) This sounds (essentially) like a return to segregation or worse, and the heightened resultant lack of contact (aside from the occasional “black friend”) between the races might actually result in more misunderstandings and make us all less safe.

    In other words, to synthesize the reactions of Josh and Bennett, the bare recommendations given in the article (again, filtered through the prose of those commentators who think the article itself is quite racist, because I haven’t seen the article) could probably be used by some readers to self-justify behavior that is not racist, but perhaps both selfish and cowardly.

  34. Of course, I’m treating “neighbourhood” and “community” as synonyms here…

  35. Let’s see about #4:

    “I am a homophobe, though a mild and tolerant one, and a racist, though an even more mild and tolerant one, and those things are going to be illegal pretty soon, the way we are going.” – John Derbyshire

    Yeah, so I think he’s a racist. It seems clear that he set out to write the advice given in this article in order to perpetuate institutional racism. Stamping out institutional racism is generally worth more than the minor statistical risk of getting into a bad situation.

  36. Did anyone *read* the article? The items (10a-i) are guidelines to stay safe in the situation where you have no direct previous knowledge and can therefore only be guided by statistical likelihoods.

    They say nothing about a situation where you have managed to acquire direct, previous knowledge. And once you’ve acquired that knowledge, you may discover that a particular predominantly-black community is just fine. And in that case, letting generalized statistics-driven inferences override concrete specific knowledge would be prejudice. But nobody is actually suggesting that.

  37. Yeah, he’s a racist dipshit? Why? Because he doesn’t understand that IQ tests are just a number based on how similar the testee is to the normative population. In other words, culturally biased as all fuck. The claim that blacks are less intelligent than whites *immediately* discounts every other claim he makes.

    And your tone is of supercilious asshattery.

  38. >In this case, a) is behavioral advice, while b) is a factual assertion. Do you get it?

    Yes. It seems very obvious to me which factual assertions underpin given pieces of behavioral advice, so I haven’t been distinguishing the two much. Perhaps I should not assume others find the connection as clear.

  39. >“I am a homophobe, though a mild and tolerant one, and a racist, though an even more mild and tolerant one, and those things are going to be illegal pretty soon, the way we are going.”

    OK, I think this is Derbyshire having a snark at terminological political correctness. I’ve read some of his other stuff, and he has a very dry, acerbic sense of humor and delights in playing the contrarian.

  40. I answered “no” to every question but the one on whether the man is a racist or not. I think he is, not because of the argument he makes (which is mostly reasonable), but because it (I would suspect intentionally) pretends to isolate a single characteristic and forgets everything else. The truth is: when you evaluate the risk someone entails, a lot of characteristics beyond race should be taken into account (clothes, attitude, situation, social status, etc), the author fails to even mention this (beyond the reference to getting black friends as a sort of commodity, which was very *VERY* dehumanizing).
    I was once on vacations in NYC and I remember feeling really afraid in a Latino neighborhood I was passing by on my way to somewhere else. But it was not about race. I am hispanic (and not my-grandparents-came-from-spain Hispanic, but a truly brown skinned hispanic) and I’m used to hispanic people. It was about socio-economic class. The people looked dangerous. That’s it. (On a funny note, me being afraid there is ironic, since I live in one of the 3 most dangerous cities in the world xD)
    On the 83 mean IQ thing… That seems too low to be true, which reinforces my idea that the man might be a racist, but I withhold judgement (as I don’t know the facts, I am too lazy to look them up and I don’t think I know more than one “pure” black person).

    Beyond that, I agree to a large degree with Bennet (up there). He summed it nicely with this:

    “Instead, the reasonable progressive position states that these differences do not justify the kinds of choices that racists often say they do. For example, even if you are statistically more likely to be robbed by a black person, that does not justify (morally) the claim that you should “Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally”, or worse yet, “Do not act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress”. That shit is morally abhorrent, no matter what the realities are about statistical risk. It is completely dehumanizing.”

  41. >And in that case, letting generalized statistics-driven inferences override concrete specific knowledge would be prejudice

    Quite. And doing that as a matter of habit when racial categories are involved is exactly what a sane person calls “racism”.

  42. 1. I would agree this is a key thing, however I suspect I think it is the key for different reason that you do. I’ll explain more in the next point.

    2. No, but I have serious trouble accepting some of them because they are either unsubstantiated – as (9) where 5% is based on “my experience” and 50% is so pulled out of thin air that author doesn’t dare to give it even this thin excuse – or apply statistic in a wrong way, such as applying general population stats to obviously not general population encounters (such as: if you encounter poorly dressed man begging for change on the street, applying statistics including college professors and highly paid lawyers to evaluate him is next to useless). The author mentions “ceteris paribus” a number of time, but he fails to notice that many situations he describes are definitely not “ceteris paribus”. In some cases, he walks right into the reason why it is not – such as racist affirmative action policy that promotes underqualified people – but still talks about it as if the race of the person is the reason and not the policy which put this person into position that he is not the best match for. The race may indeed be a heuristic here until racist policies exist, but the author seems to derive this heuristic from supposed statistical deficiences of black people, which is wrong – here correlation exists, but the cause is different.
    Some of the advice go even further where ceteris paribus plainly makes no sense – such as voting for specific politician (as if politician’s qualities are randomly assigned) or staying out of sketchy neighbourhoods. Here again correlation and casuation are confused and I have strong impression it is done on purpose, to make the article more provocative and enlist very common sense advice to the service of author’s point. It’s like saying “avoid black people running at you with the knife”. Of course. Avoiding the same kind of white people would do you good too, and for exactly the same reason. Quoting statistics here is plain stupid – who cares about statistics when the man has a knife? Who cares about statistics when you see a crowd of unknown men that are sketchily dressed and look like they’re up to no good? This is obviously not a randomized statistical sample, so use your common sense, not statistics.

    3. No, but again I would refuse to believe claims that are not properly substantiated – and many at best given anecdotal evidence as proof, at worst – we are asked to take author’s beliefs as an axiom. It’s fine for the format – since it’s presumably in the form of “talk to author’s son” and for a child, at least until certain age, it is normal to accept parent’s beliefs and claims as truth without questioning them. We, however, are not his children and we can and must question him and call him out when we see that his bases are weak and his reasoning is faulty.

    4. I have no idea if he’s racist. He might be and he might not be. That also depends of what one means by racist. If it’s one who believes race defines human behavior and abilities in very large degree, than he seems to hold such belief. Though maybe it is a mistaken impression due to what I described in (2) above where cause and correlation are confused. If it’s one who believe people should have different rights depending on race, then I do not see, from the article, any base to think the author supports it.

    5. No, there’s no base for this claim in either of two senses described above.

    I must note the part about IWSBs sounds disgusting, but fairly believable. I have no idea if it’s true or not in US society in general, but the logic does not seem contradictory. I would be happier if it wasn’t true, but as you pointed out, that doesn’t mean anything.

  43. >Because he doesn’t understand that IQ tests are just a number based on how similar the testee is to the normative population.

    That belief is fashionable but utterly false. Supposing it were true, however there is still a case to answer about a lot of other race-correlated measures such as propensity to criminal violence. And that case still needs to be answered regardless of the causes of those differences – whether one believes they’re genetic or environmental.

  44. I understand that one of the main arguments of the article is that you’re supposed to be guided by statistical knowledge when you have nothing else to go on. So, yes, with a statement like:

    “(10b) Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods”

    there’s an implicit:

    “unless you have direct knowledge that it’s safe”

    But you can say the same thing about the paraphrasing, i.e. with

    “Derbyshire advises parents to tell their children not to live or stay long in predominantly black communities.”

    you have an implicit

    “unless you have direct knowledge that it’s safe”

    The statements still seem pretty close to me – unless, of course, you think the point of the paraphrasing is to cut off that last, implicit bit, in which case I see your point.

  45. I’m certainly not taking the blame. My father’s family wasn’t even in the US before 1950, and my mother’s relatives fought for the Union in the Civil War. That ought to count for something.

    Sadly, it’s not that simple.

    If you’re pale-skinned, they aren’t going to ask whether or not you take the blame. And they sure as heck aren’t going to ask what side of the Civil War your ancestors fought on – it counts for nothing.

    All that counts in the here-and-now is that you’re A) white, B) visibly prosperous and C) all whites got their prosperity and fortune by exploiting blacks.

    What follows is personal experience.

    I used to work as a loan officer at a bank that catered to primarily black neighborhoods in the early 1990s. We would issue CRA loans – there were both quotas to be met, and they required about 4x the paperwork that a non-CRA loan did. Those loans involved background checks that were extensive.

    The usual end-state on a CRA loan ran like this:

    “We won’t give you the CRA loan for house in [black neighborhood] with a value of . We can give you a non-CRA loan with interest rate of [Y%] for that neighborhood; it will require a down payment of [$Z].”

    “We will give you the CRA loan for a house in [better neighborhood] with a value of [$X * 1.1 to 1.2] with an interest rate of [Y%-2] and a down payment of [$Z - $10,000].”

    In this way, the CRA was fatally flawed. It did not re-develop communities. We ALL knew what would happen to those loans we wrote in the bad neighborhoods; the person we’d write the loan to – usually in their 30s – would eventually discover that their property had declined in value compared to the number on the loan, and they’d eventually move, try to sell the house, and be stuck with paying for it after they’d left.

    CRA loans that were issued largely were used as “Here, get the HELL OUT. Please!” escape hatches by the people who took them – most of whom had slightly less fondness for their old neighborhood than Johnny Cash had for Folsom Prison.

    They also had about 1/8th the default rate of pre-2008 non-CRA-loans, and still do. Anyone who says CRA loans were the root cause of 2008 have no real clue how the program worked. Most WHITE home owners probably couldn’t pass the tertiary reference checks that a CRA loan recipient had to pass. (One of the questions I still remember is “Have you ever had an unemployed relative or friend live in your home and pay you in cash for rent, or stay with you for more than 60 days?”)

  46. Intelligent tests have been, and still can be, culturally biased, but it’s a dodge to claim that all are. Note that Derbyshire and other non-PC commenters on the race and intelligence minefield tend to be white, but of the handful I’ve encountered all freely admit that other racial (or “racial” if you prefer) groups (i.e. Jews and East Asians) have average scores higher than whites.

  47. >the man is a racist [...] because [he] (I would suspect intentionally) pretends to isolate a single characteristic and forgets everything else.

    Remember the purpose of “the talk”. It’s a set of survival heuristics. If you can isolate “a single characteristic” that compresses most of the information about the ambient threat level, that’s actually good. The time to write a Ph.D. thesis on the edge cases is when you’re out of danger.

  48. Sorry, ESR, this is barely one step above Yellow Journalism.

    Right off the top: If you look at the methodology of the “talk” as a litmus, even the notion of using “whites” as a statistical norm in many of the supposedly empirical stats presents is itself a bias.

    Any scientific paper (not that this “talk” is purporting to be a scientific paper) is supposed to create a systematic way of not only proving its analysis, but also how the analysis could possibly disproved.

    The creator of this “talk” has clearly never read Guns, Germs and Steel, which covers much of this topic. That work tries to reduce bias systematically and presents its methodology clearly as an actual methodology, not a polemic, as this paper does.

  49. What Derbyshire says is mostly true.

    As others have noted, there may be other factors in intelligence such as nutrition (or lead poisoning). I consider the drug war and the high rates of incarceration of black men (generally the dumbest ones) a covert eugenics program. I am opposed to it, but understand that it may be necessary considering that politics prevents us from letting evolution take its natural course. As it happens, I do think blacks are getting smarter, for whatever reason.

    However, one big point: I have worked with quite a few black co-workers, and while most of them are less capable than the whites I work with and less committed to doing their jobs, very few are anti-social. In fact, their social intelligence frequently appears to be higher than the social intelligence of whites. What is more, perhaps because the blacks I work with are at least as intelligent as the average white, some would at least partially agree with Derbyshire’s assessment, just as some are beginning to recognize their (partially) European ancestry. Whatever happens, the more we break down racist barriers the more the black community will flourish, the more the best parts of black society can flourish, and the better for the whole community. Breaking down racist barriers, however, includes breaking down false notions of equivalence.

  50. My (testable) theory of this is that the “no” answers to these questions, if given to random selection of U.S. residents, would not be correlated with _g_, as shown by standard IQ tests, and have a stronger correlation with answers to questions that Eric and I would be able to agree /were/ tests of racist beliefs and/or beliefs about race that are unsubstantiated by scientific research. (1,2,3,5 – No, 4. Yes).

  51. You should probably add that anyone seeking to rules-lawyer or grammar their way out of answering “no” to any question has also failed.

    This is pretty basic stuff. You don’t go down to the black neighborhood if you’re white, duh. Unless you know somebody there, double duh. Everybody knows this, everybody behaves as if this is true. I’m a Canadian and I know it, even though we only have one “black” neighborhood in the whole freakin’ country. Jane/Finch Corridor in Toronto. Don’t go there at night, somebody might take a shot at you.

    Only LIBERALS seem to have a problem with guys who say it outside their head, even though they practice it religiously. That I think is because only Liberals try to get what they want by making other people shut up.

  52. Oh, you know what? I’m going to back off from that statement, because I realise on re-reading that as they are currently worded, it’s really hard to say “yes” to 2 or 3 without already implying some sort of error on the answerer’s part. They’re just a bit too “when did you stop beating your wife”. Maybe there’s a version of it that can be presented in a more impartial manner.

  53. >My (testable) theory of this is that the “no” answers to these questions, if given to random selection of U.S. residents, would not be correlated with _g_, as shown by standard IQ tests, and have a stronger correlation with answers to questions that Eric and I would be able to agree /were/ tests of racist beliefs and/or beliefs about race that are unsubstantiated by scientific research. (1,2,3,5 – No, 4. Yes).

    That would be an interesting experiment to perform. And I suspect you might well be right. But, so what?

    Are we obligated not to maintain true beliefs that happen to be emotionally important to evil people? If so, why?

  54. @esr

    I understood the article’s purpose, but my point is precisely that it deals with edge cases. You would rarely ever find a situation in which race is the best indicator of risk. Most of the time you can evaluate it on far more reliable traits (i.g. clothing). For instance, if you see a black man in need of help because his Mercedes is on fire, and the man is wearing a clean-cut shirt, then race wouldn’t be the best indicator for you to decide whether to stop or not. I think most real-life situation resemble my example more closely than a hypothetical situation in which no other information besides race is available. Ignoring this IMHO indicates at racism.

  55. It should also be noted that his evidence makes it clear that American blacks are mostly descended from just a few tribes in West Africa (about two-thirds just one tribe, Yoruba), whereas Africa has more genetic diversity than the rest of the world together – which is to say that Yoruba and Tutsi may well share less genes than Japanese and Danes.

    Or in other words, even if we prove that [Tribe X] has an average IQ of 40, that would not prevent [Tribe Y] from having an average IQ of 170.

  56. This discussion brings up a pet peeve of mine. These days we have an official and popular demonology in which a “racist” is one of the worst things to be (even as the chief enforcers of this view insist that “race” is an imaginary concept). Unfortunately it is in the personal and political interests of the enforcers to apply this one-word and heavily-loaded label to an absurdly wide variety of thoughts and behaviors. Everything from Hitlerian genocide, to being wary of young black males on the street, to noting embarrassing statistical differences between races when it comes to intelligence or crime: all a big lump of “racism.”

    It’s blatantly a faith-based doctrine and groupthink, oversimplifying in order to shut down discussion and banish non-doctrinal views. Take an enforcer’s long-form accusation and change “racism” to “sin” or “blasphemy” and note that the emotional content is pretty much the same. Humans seem to need religious beliefs, and “anti-racism” is a currently popular religion, especially among secular progressives.

  57. “Please be careful to distinguish between my claims and Derbyshire’s claims. This test is not about the factual content of Derbyshire’s article, it is about the reader’s ability to process those fact claims intelligently and sanely.”

    I have not read the article. It times out, and I have not looked further for copies of it. That being said, it seems to me in general that – given the questions you have asked, particularly #4, the two are inseparable. If the claims are not true, then one has to wonder what his reasons for making those claims are. If they are not true (and if there is significant reason to believe they are not true), then one can answer yes to #4 without, by any reasonable basis, failing the test.

    As I have not read the article, the only claim I have seen is the one you quoted (and a few quoted by others), so I don’t know – for example – how common he believes “occasions where you have nothing to guide you but knowledge of those mean differences” to be, and how well-grounded that belief is in reality.

  58. @PunkCapitalist,

    Is it a black Mercedes on the runway at Entebbe? Of course, that doesn’t blunt your point, which is that you usually have plenty of information other than race to inform you of pending trouble in a given situation.

    Terry

  59. >They’re just a bit too “when did you stop beating your wife”

    They weren’t intended that way. I was asking people to audit their own reactions.

    But the question you raised is still interesting and in fact the exact sort of thing I was hoping to see in this thread. Are we obligated not to maintain true beliefs that happen to be emotionally important to evil people? If so, why?

  60. People who characterize individuals of a racial group based upon statistical abstracts of social dysfunctions of that group that just so happen to coincide with racist stereotypes of that racial group are seven times more likely to be racist than people who characterize individuals of a racial group based upon interpretations of religion, literature, music, politics or philosophy.

    You are all witness to the failure of humanities education in America.

  61. @Terry Wilson

    Sorry, didn’t quite got what you meant. I’m not sure if it was an objection or a joke. My English is not sharp enough to pick up that sort of subtleties and/or your comment relied on some sort contextual knowledge I lack.

  62. I am a South Asian by origin and brown skinned. I find nothing racist in saying that certain ethnic groups have a marked hostility towards certain others. What’s wrong with stating facts and historical truths?

    I think sometimes the “master race” guilt of white race is more responsible for PC nonsense than the actual outrage of the historically affected racial groups.

    And by the way, race issues worry me far less than it appears to worry a lot of people. So you happen to have a different skin colour and cultural background. So? What should I do about that?

    I believe that, in general, for the good of humanity, the principle of birds of a feather should flock together applies. And by that I don’t necessarily mean race, but also cultural, historical and social backgrounds. And so long as people (historically white races) don’t have this insane desire to invade other nations for their wealth and riches, things should be fine.

    P.S. Anybody read Edgar Wallace’s “Sanders of the River” series and find them funny and humourous? I was not surprised to find that these days, such literature is considered “racist”.

  63. For myself, I had no fears. While not actually on the autistic spectrum (to the best of my knowlege), I skirt too close to possibly cloud my analysis of something because of worries about hurting feelings, making the the world an uglier place, or any such utterly unimportant nonsense. People can handle the truth (after all, they already are). Much of what’s written in that article is mere common sense, of the “the things we know, but do not say” variety, and could be said with equal truth by white or black. The weakest point, about black political leaders, is easily answerable. Were I black, I certainly wouldn’t want to live in Detroit or Compton or Harlem. Of the rest, none of it is enough to actually prove Derbyshire is a racist, but the Bayesian in my thinks it counts as evidence of racism, simply because only frank racists would be so fearless about saying these things.

  64. > That would be an interesting experiment to perform. And I suspect you might well be right. But, so what?

    Well, my point was that this isn’t actually an intelligence test. One of the most pertinent errors made online is when a group assumes that the opposing side are *stupid*. I read this blog partly because however profoundly wrong I believe the consensus view here is, there’s very few people who can validly accuse you guys of being stupid. I think (I may be wrong) that conflating intelligence and political tribalism is something that you, as a group, strongly identify as being a trait of the left. This post smacked of that error.

    I also think that if Derbyshire comes across as rhetorically extreme here, it’s because he’s mirroring what he conceives as a highly emotional — and racist — tone taken by the article he links to (the one about the black converstional). That’s a dangerous maneuvre also; it’s the sort of argument aikido that can blow back on you. I think it did to Derbyshire here. A little bit of why I said what I said was that I suspect Eric of doing a connected but more controlled and effective epideictic in this post — suggesting a novel “kind of intelligence” in this test because one of the dominant opposing framing against IQ is that there are “multiple intelligences”. I’ve seen him do the same in framing non-liberal arguments using the language of “othering” and so forth. There was something overridingly tempting in flipping it back, and saying: no, there’s only one real measure of intelligence, and this doesn’t correlate with it.

    Finally, if you’re going to eke it out of me, and in answer to Eric’s follow-up question, it’s absolutely fine to hold opinions that happen to be important to people whose behaviour you don’t like. But if one of your nearby arguments is that it’s okay to make exclusionary decisions based on statistical cross-sections, I think you may have to suck it up a bit if people back away from you because of your own strong statistical correlation with bigoted idiots. And you may have to accept that it’s going to be tougher to make your points in public discourse, without having to place the whole blame on some conspiracy of a Politically Correct mafia with their own agenda. People decide this stuff is creepy because a huge chunk of creepy people believe it, just as you (and, actually I think a lot of the world) think that a lot of leftwing thinking is a horrorshow because tyrants have held it to be true. We can argue intellectually about whether either of those matters are true, but it seems like a perfectly reasonable first approximation to start backing out of the room when someone says be the Other Kind of Samaritan to black people.

    My own inclination is that you have to watch your emotional weak flank far more than you have to fend off the full-frontal arguments. As someone who identifies culturally with the left more than the right, I feel that I’m probably more likely to make “road to serfdom” errors in my thinking; I have more to learn from the grievous errors made by those like me, than those unlike me.

    The biggest danger about strong opinions is that their strength comes from a combination of personal experience, and a personal sense of urgency or priority. If you think that the number one problem of the world is the poor, your solutions and approaches are going to arch that way. If you think the number one problem of the world is race, then your solutions will arch *that* way. But your selection of what the number one problem is, is not independently derived. Is Eric’s delight in sex, software and guns from some sort of a priori deduction of the right values in politics? Or is Eric’s political stance derive in part from his delight in sex, software and guns? What are the blind spots of people who like sex, software and guns? What are the blind spots of people like me who like sex, software, humour and decentralization? What are the blind spots, indeed, of people who think a lot about race, and place a lot of importance on race politics? I find my weak spots by examining the company I keep, including those here.

  65. Nobody should be ashamed of saying anything so preposterous as Derbyshire does. Being bold in his assertions don’t make them any more or less correct. Nor do I see that it adds any clarity to the more important matter of how one should treat ones fellow citizens to try and assess Derbyshire’s degree of racism.

  66. @Danny – I think that the real point you have made isn’t actually that this test isn’t of intelligence, but merely that there’s a large number of stupid people (racists) who will give the right answers for the wrong reasons, which swamps its actual effectiveness as an intelligence test. What it sets out to test – the ability to rationally evaluate claims rather than jumping to emotional conclusions – is an “intelligence thing”, somewhat, or at least a legitimate “kind of intelligence” that should not be so easily dismissed – but since it’s so one-sided, it’ll get heavy correlations from people whose emotional conclusions happen to yield the “right answers” here.

    A proper “intelligence test” of this form should have questions that pattern-match to emotional issues on all sides of a wide variety of political issues, so that people on all sides have a chance of failing it. It would probably also be nearly impossible to avoid attacks on the test itself as being biased.

  67. >I think (I may be wrong) that conflating intelligence and political tribalism is something that you, as a group, strongly identify as being a trait of the left.

    I personally do not make that error, if only because I believe (on evidence) that libertarians average much brighter than leftists. :-) Whether it’s a characteristic error of the conservative types that hang out here is something I’d have to plow through a large sample of back comments to determine.

    >he’s mirroring what he conceives as a highly emotional — and racist — tone taken by the article he links to (the one about the black converstional).

    That’s plausible – only my guess is he’s deliberately anti-mirroring it by adopting a dry, rational affect while saying provocative things. Easy stance for him, my limited exposure to his previous writings suggests he’s like that all the time.

    >I suspect Eric of doing a connected but more controlled and effective epideictic in this post — suggesting a novel “kind of intelligence” in this test because one of the dominant opposing framing against IQ is that there are “multiple intelligences”.

    Nope. Wasn’t being that devious, not this time. You are correct that I am capable of such rhetorical maneuvers, but I didn’t have “multiple intelligences” or any other particular theory in mind. What I was labeling “intelligence” I should more properly have called “sanity”, as Cathy pointed out – but I didn’t want to get sidetracked into the definitional argument I saw coming, so I risked a different definitional argument instead.

    >But if one of your nearby arguments is that it’s okay to make exclusionary decisions based on statistical cross-sections, I think you may have to suck it up a bit if people back away from you because of your own strong statistical correlation with bigoted idiots.

    You’re correct that I am not warranted to be surprised by that reaction. But I’m also not going to let it influence my thinking or writing. Arthur Koestler: “One should either fearlessly write what one believes to be true or else shut the hell up.” Words to live by.

    >you (and, actually I think a lot of the world) think that a lot of leftwing thinking is a horrorshow because tyrants have held it to be true

    Is that what you think? Huh. Interesting.

    No, it’s not that leftwing thinking is a horrorshow because tyrants have held it to be true. Many tyrants have held non-left-wing thinking to be true, and that didn’t make it horrible either.

    Left-wing thinking (and right-wing thinking) is a horrorshow not because it is believed by tyrants but because (and to the exact extent that) it functions as an enabling device for tyrants. This is a very different claim. What the tyrant believes matters very much less than the extent to which the beliefs of his victims make them accomplices before, during, and after the fact of the tyrant’s brutalities.

    Whether it’s left-wing cant about equality and social justice or right-wing cant about religion, tribe, and soil – the key point is that the cant rationalizes coercion and oppression. You are headed down that road any time that any political value of any kind is elevated above individual liberty and the right to be left the hell alone.

    Or, to put it slightly differently: The right way to judge political thinking is by its facility at turning people into obedient tools for the oppression of their fellows.

    >Or is Eric’s political stance derive in part from his delight in sex, software and guns?

    Off-topic for this thread, but I will tell you exactly what my central problem is – what drives my politics. It’s genocide. The most formative influence on my politics was reading The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich and thinking very hard about how Germany went from the Weimar Republic to stoking the furnaces at Dachau. My conclusion was that there is a short, straight path from statism to genocide, and the only way to avoid that grimmest of destinations is never to get on the train.

  68. There is a paratextual clue that could support an affirmative answer to question 4, namely that the author chose to publish it at all. Not being familiar with his previous writing or the context of the publication, I’m ill-equipped to interpret some important details of this clue: the sincerity of the article, its intended rhetorical effect, and the intended audience’s prior exposure to his use of both.

    If I kill the author, so to speak, and view it as a collection of assertions in a vacuum, then I suppose I pass. But it’s difficult to ignore the fact that he chose to make these assertions specifically, knowing that they’d satisfy many heuristics for identifying racists without saying anything individually illogical. Like one kid hovering his finger a few inches away from another and protesting he’s “not touching him,” it’s a fact made irrelevant by the context of its delivery. What offends isn’t the question of physical contact, but the annoyance; what offends isn’t the question of racial prejudice, but the willingness to accept common hollow rationalizations for the same.

    My guess is that the author actually intended for people to ask themselves just how hollow those rationalizations really are. Empirically speaking, the answer is usually “very,” explaining the predictably spectacular backfire.

  69. >For Derbyshire’s purpose (giving survival advice), it doesn’t matter what the reasons for means differences like those in intelligence and observed propensity to criminal violence are. If wandering into a black neighborhood is unsafe for a white person, it doesn’t matter much whether the differences are genetic or due to poor childhood nutrition. What I might do to attempt to solve these problems is likewise irrelevant.

    I think part of the issue here is whether putting an emphasis on survival advice is the best thing. What if there’s a feedback effect between the propensity of blacks to criminal violence and the survival-oriented decisions whites make to avoid becoming victims of criminal violence at the hands of blacks? Evaluating the value of different courses of action based solely on personal survival often leads to prisoner’s dilemma type situations. What if that applies to the advice that white and black parents give to their children about interactions with other races?

  70. Unfortunately leftists aren’t dissuaded by genocide. Not that they want to do it (at least most of them don’t), it’s just that they see themselves as anti-genocide, and that it’s something “the other side” does. (That Stalin and Mao left mountains of bodies dwarfing Hitler’s is explained away.)

    The political question I’ve been dealing with is how to convince a leftist of the error of their ways. It’s hugely difficult, because otherwise very bright people get emotional and lose the ability to judge the evidence objectively. So many people in my cohort seem to have heard, back in the ’70s, about the glories of the European social welfare states, and want more of that here… at the same time they collapse into bankruptcy over there.

  71. Except from a lack of understanding of IQ tests (eg, read Flynn), I do not see much that is problematic in it. You get basically the same advice in South Africa for the same reasons.
    http://www.voyage.gc.ca/countries_pays/report_rapport-eng.asp?id=270000#3

    I cannot translate it to my own country (the Netherlands) for obvious demographic reasons. But there are few no-go areas around here. And even less guns to shoot passer-by-s with.

  72. Is this only me, or is the USian society really dumbed down by all this political correctness and tolerance for everybody propaganda so that they don’t see, or refuse to see, the basic facts?

    The world isn’t a tolerant place. The people, for the most part, want you to mind your own business and not interfere with them minding their own. There is a cultural tendency to divide people into “us” and “them”, be it with stereotypes or whatever else, and denying this (or acting as if denying) leads to disaster, because people don’t really like it when you muck with their traditions (one of this traditions might include not mucking about with you, yep). It takes being very careful to prod someone else’s culture without aggravating the bearer of said culture. And it’s generally impossible to just declare all people are brothers and expect that they immediately start hugging each other. This is not racism, that’s just how people coexist with each other. One either deals with it or makes a fool of himself, ultimately.

  73. @ben re: > he doesn’t understand that IQ tests are just a number based on how similar the testee is to the normative population. In other words, culturally biased as all fuck.

    To steal a line from another board, ‘life is an intelligence test’. Also, if it was just cultural bias, don’t you think people would have scrambled by now and come up with an IQ test that wasn’t biased? Think of the accolades + rewards. On the other hand, I bet you can’t imagine that if there was an IQ test ‘fair to blacks’, that Jews, Asians and whites wouldn’t do better at it even so, the same as now.

  74. >To be clear, for you it is never rational to help others when doing so would pose some risk to yourself?

    Shame on you. That’s not a justified inference from anything I have said.

    Sure it is, although you’ll note I asked for clarification because I wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt.

    In your comment, you endorse Derbyshire’s article, in which he advises people not to help black people in need of assistance. And you morally justify your endorsement of it on the grounds that “truth is its own warrant”. You can only use that justification if you think that both of the following premises are correct: a) rationality is always aligned with self-interest, and b) acting rationally is always morally justified.

    On the other hand, if you think that rationality sometimes demands that we altruistically take on risk in order to help other human beings, or if you think that we are sometimes morally obliged to act irrationally to help other human beings in an altruistic way, you should be able to identify at least one major error on Derbyshire’s argument.

    It wouldn’t be a major shock to discover that a libertarian thinks there is no moral duty to help other people, but I wanted to be sure that this is actually what you were saying before firing off a ‘shame on you’ of my own.

  75. I answered “No” to everything but #1, since the point just wasn’t very interesting to me. I didn’t pick out any key points because the whole thing just seemed like a stream-of-conciousness rant of worries about blacks (justified or not). I doubt anyone sees your choice of “key” points as a basis for a test of intelligence of analytical thought.

    Getting into the more general discussion though, I think it’s good that we have some irrational immune response against racism. I get bored of hearing pointless speculations about one race or another. Lately though when I hear about someone being fired over some minor racial remarks I feel like it’s turned the corner and become a *auto-immune* response.

  76. the Bayesian in my thinks it counts as evidence of racism, simply because only frank racists would be so fearless about saying these things.

    Bayesian thinking for humans is utter tripe.

  77. The one consistent factor I see throughout all the points of this essay is ascribing characteristics to blacks that are certainly more consistently correlated with low-income low-education populations.

    Is it a “black” neighborhood you should be afraid of going into? Or is it simply a neighborhood with a lot of crime and poor people?

    Are “blacks killing whites” more often than the opposite? Or is it the gangs that kill people as part of doing business, which includes whites and blacks alike?

    Is it “blacks” that foreclose more than whites on their houses? Or is it the people most failed by the educational systems that were left open to the tender mercies of smooth-talking bankers?

    Why judge by skin color when you can judge by appearance of class? That seems, after all, to be a much better predictor for expected harm than race.

    It’s worth pointing out that several of the articles linked by the author include “studies” that lump blacks in together with Hispanics. Another demographic correlated with high poverty, gangs and faced with racism.

    The author’s advice, to be truly useful (though still ugly), should simply explain that one should avoid the downtrodden underclasses of one’s society in order to increase one’s personal safety, and give the characteristics of said same.

  78. I live in Bulgaria and there are almost no black people here so I have no experience in black/white drama. My reaction was this: “I hope that guy is just being racist, otherwise things look really bad.”

  79. I find the assertion that this is an ‘intelligence’ test hard to swallow. To me, the key element is about intellectual integrity – the ability to accept unpleasant facts as true requires being honest with oneself. Cleverness is not the prime requirement, although it’s useful for identifying false conclusions that an author may try to draw from whatever facts were selected. It’s quite a racist article, I think, but the idea that only a racist author can write a racist article is bogus.

  80. I’ll be honest: I don’t hate blacks; neither do I have much hope for them. In a sense, you could say that (1) I am not a racist, or at least a race-hater; and (2) that, to paraphrase Kanye West, I don’t care about black people. Quite frankly, I tend to write them off; I believe that they for the most part hate the USA, and that, in their defense, they have some justification for hating it.

    The same, however, can not be said about white Leftists, whom I DO hate. They hate America, not because of slavery, but because it has not exterminated Red State Americans, whom they view as “judging” them. And, speaking for myself, I do indeed judge them. I believe that they are, for the most part, similar to Bill Maher, in that they are entirely selfish in their political views. I believe that, for the most part, their leaders became Leftist in the 1960s in order to justify their cowardly fear of the draft. I believe that they support abortion because they practice it regularly in order to spice up their sex lives. (I realize that you differ from me on this particular issue, Eric; but unlike the Leftists, you do not want to make abortion mandatory. They do. One of Bill Maher’s chief targets of hate is mothers with babies).

    That brings me to another uncomfortable truth about Leftists: they are technically right about the Darwinian theory of evolution, but only in the sense that they are right that there is something called the theory of evolution, that it was formulated by Darwin, and that it appears to be scientifically correct. Most of them, however, have no clue as to what it entails. If you asked a random Leftist to explain the theory of evolution, he’d say, “SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST, BITCH! That means that you weird inbred rednecks have NO RIGHT to give birth to babies, motherfucker! And Sarah Palin had no right to give birth to that fucking retard!” At this point, if you were smaller than him or were outnumbered, he’d attack you; if not, he’d run away like the coward he was, and find an old woman to push down stairs.

    Another fact no one wants to mention: Leftists–as Derbyshire says about some blacks–will go out of their way to cause harm to anyone on the opposite side.

    See, I can say the truth about matters other than race as well.

  81. >Remember the purpose of “the talk”. It’s a set of survival heuristics

    why ‘survival’? Is any encounter with a group of ‘black’ people a matter of survival?

    How statiscally likely is it for ‘whites’ to be assaulted/mugged etc. by ‘blacks’? I am talking about absolute percentages here, not comparisons to other groups: how many ‘non-whites’ have been assaulted/mugged by ‘blacks’?

    vice-versa, if we are talking about ‘survival’, are ‘blacks’ the most dangerous threat to a ‘white’ person? Is there not any other description (with or without racial labels) that better describes the facts?

  82. a separate post for two more general comments:

    first, ESR seems to assume that all of the Derb’s points are “facts”: I would say that some of his statements are not even falsifiable: “5 per cent of ‘blacks’ very hostile”? (why not, 7, 10, 3,5?) the others “willing” to be? are these the ‘facts’ by which rational people rationally judge these matters?

    second, isn’t it preposterous to say that these “facts” can only be stated “by a doomed man with nothing left to lose.” when most of the comments here and on other sites proudly repeat them? Does anyone here sincerely think these views/facts are not approved of in some (large?) parts of society?

  83. >You agree with Derbyshire’s tripe? I thought even you above that.

    Whether I agree with it is not the point. I posed a test to see if people can respond to Derbyshire’s claims with reasoning rather than emotional denial.

    I have deliberately said nothing about which of his claims I believe.

  84. >why ‘survival’? Is any encounter with a group of ‘black’ people a matter of survival?

    Reread the article. It’s largely about ways to avoid putting yourself in dangerous situations. Derbyshire does not come anywhere near claiming that any encounter with blacks is dangerous. See, for example, his discussion of what he calls “IWSBs”.

  85. I think I’ve read enough of his opinions to bother with his discussion of IWSBs, whatever those are.

  86. >“5 per cent of ‘blacks’ very hostile”? (why not, 7, 10, 3,5?)

    Derbyshire is reporting his experience. In view of such incidents as this one, 5% does not seem at all implausible. My own personal experience might actually support a higher percentage than 5%, though not much higher – not as much as 10%. I think it’s a mistake to overfocus on the specific number; Derbyshire’s point is that there is a (small) cohort of violently hostile blacks that are particularly and lethally dangerous to whites.

    >when most of the comments here and on other sites proudly repeat them?

    Nobody here is at risk of being fired or ostracized for doing so. Derbyshire got fired.

  87. I couldn’t imagine why black people would hate someone like John Derbyshite.

  88. “Before voting for a black politician, scrutinize his/her character much more carefully than you would a white.”

    Before voting for ANY politician, scrutinize your own character to discover why you think voting for anyone for anything is EVER in your best interests.

  89. >I couldn’t imagine why black people would hate someone like John Derbyshite.

    Racially-charged black-on-white violence is not particularly uncommon. This St. Patrick’s Day incident in Baltimore is representative and was caught on video. There has been an underreported rash of similar incidents in the Midwest over the last two years, notoriously at the Wisconsin State Fair. In Florida a British tourist couple was recently robbed and murdered by a 16-year-old black youth who boasted publicly of the crime. It is well known that there are parts of Detroit where an unarmed non-black person should only go if intending suicide.

    Are we to assume that all the victims in these incidents were bigots? Suppose we made that assumption; would it justify the hatred and violence?

  90. I’m saying that if someone punched John Derbyshite in the face, it would be because he was John Derbyshite and not because the person who punched him was racist against pompous stuck-up snot-nosed English giant twerp scumbag fuckface dickhead assholes.

  91. Obviously, I think the article is a pretty accurate, if rather sad, reflection of reality. However, I think people’s reaction to it is interesting from the point of view of how our minds work, from the point of view of why people believe certain things.

    Most people have this crazy idea that they believe what they believe because they have weighed the evidence and come to that conclusion. This is patently false. Honestly, I am a pretty pensive person, as are many people here, but I can readily admit that I hold many, probably the majority, of my beliefs for no good reason at all, they were just kind of inherited or programmed into my brain without much cognitive filter.

    This particular article raises one of the most common forms of illogical faith, namely believing what things “ought” to be, rather than what they actually are. (I vaguely thing there is some Ayn Rand in there, but I have never read much of her stuff, so don’t really know.) In this case obviously black people ought to be simply the same as white people with darker skin, they should be equally smart, equally moral, equally kind, and equally employed. This “ought”-ness overrides a plain observation of the facts and leaves one with a queasy feeling of dissonance, believing what you should believe, rather than what your eyes and brain sees.

    Another place this is very common is in the area of religion, and religious type things. For example there is an almost universal believe in some sort of karma system built into the universe, whether actual karma, or St. Peter’s big book at the Pearly Gates, or some other such punishment/reward for your good or bad deeds. What goes around, we are assured, comes around.

    That despite the fact that the plain facts demonstrate that karma doesn’t happen, not this side of heaven anyway. Atilla the Hun died in bed of a nosebleed at a ripe old age, Mao Tse Dung died in a pleasurable old age and is venerated even to this day. But our moral minds, or social group think just can’t accept that we live in such an indifferent universe, and so we choose to believe what ought to be rather than what actually is.

    The Apostle Paul, in 1Corinthians 15 tells us that if Jesus Christ was not raised from the dead then we should eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we will die. I always though this recommendation was a good one, despite the disapproval with which it was spoken.

  92. >I’m saying that if someone punched John Derbyshite in the face, it would be because he was John Derbyshite and not because the person who punched him was racist against pompous stuck-up snot-nosed English giant twerp scumbag fuckface dickhead assholes.

    So I think it’s safe to assume you have no factual or logical refutation of Derbyshire’s article to offer, then.

  93. I’m not in the habit of making snap judgments about persons I don’t know personally. If I were to meet socially with Derbyshire or with you, and get to know you very well, I could give a more informed opinion as to whether any of you are racist.

    I am also of the opinion that Americans should get out more. I am a Brazilian, and I am white. We have a large black populace. I don’t see a lot of racial hostility around these parts. I don’t believe that there is anything genetical about hostility. Poverty, not genetics, is the great determinator of anti-social behaviour. When I’m walking alone at night, I would be more scared to meet a white man dressed in rags than a black man dressed in sharp, new clothes.

    I have frequented music clubs with large black populations. Samba clubs. R&B
    clubs. I have never been attacked in any of them, verbally or physically. Here is a tip to you guys: drop the American Puritanism and start to breed with each other, black with white with hispanic with jew with arab, so that the concept of race will start to become dilluted. Does this notion makes any of you uncomfortable?

    I don’t think uncomfortable truths should be ignored. I don’t think the supporters of those ideas should be automatically ostracized. But I do think we should be extra careful of ideas that have been used again and again to justify attrocities. And you will call me a Liberal mastermind that is out to shield the masses from uncomfortable truths, but that is okay.

    I’ve read a 19th century novel about the “The War of the End of the World” that happened in the Brazilian badlands, and the author, while recognized as a progressive for his time, had the typical 19th century’s man idea about race, and let me tell you, it’s painful to read. The notion that the black races are savage, that mixed race people are unstable and prone to mental perturbations, etc.

    I do believe that all that scientific, genetical determinism tends to dehumanize individuals, even if we keep telling ourselves to remain attentive to the particular qualities, that those are only mean differences, etc. Most people would incurr in the error of seeing all blacks like that.

  94. I failed… I know why. Truth sometimes isn’t easy… I also did a little experiment and copied the article, substituted Easter Bunny for Black and Cottontail for White, then reread without the same emotions being stirred but, more to the point of the article, a healthy respect for statistically higher risk situations involving the Easter Bunny… Thanks for making us think!

  95. Read novels of Jules Verne, Conan-Doyle, and Karl May. All were written around 1900 and extremely popular.

    All would defend the intelligence and morals of black people.

    Apartheid (USA kind included) is a 20th century abomination.

  96. From what I’ve seen about the original black “the talk”, it’s about being extremely cautious around the police, not around white people in general.

    I think it’s an intelligence test to demand information about the size of an effect when you’re looking at statistics. How much can white people improve their safety by avoiding black people? Are there any individual costs to white people from avoiding black people? How does this compare to looking at class, as suggested above?

    How is one to have more detailed information about individual black people if one does a great deal to avoid contact with them in general?

    In re intelligence level on the left– I thought leftwingers were pretty bright, partly because I was buying into their self image, and mostly because I was selecting for information sources which have intelligent people (NPR, Making Light, Alas a Blog). I was shocked at how dull-witted the comments were at DailyKos.

    I’ve got good Bayesian evidence that discussing whether people are “racist” makes conversations blow up, so I don’t do it.

  97. I am also of the opinion that Americans should get out more. I am a Brazilian, and I am white. We have a large black populace. I don’t see a lot of racial hostility around these parts. I don’t believe that there is anything genetical about hostility. Poverty, not genetics, is the great determinator of anti-social behaviour. When I’m walking alone at night, I would be more scared to meet a white man dressed in rags than a black man dressed in sharp, new clothes.

    I have frequented music clubs with large black populations. Samba clubs. R&B
    clubs. I have never been attacked in any of them, verbally or physically. Here is a tip to you guys: drop the American Puritanism and start to breed with each other, black with white with hispanic with jew with arab, so that the concept of race will start to become dilluted. Does this notion makes any of you uncomfortable?

    We have rich white folks go slumming in certain black areas here, too. Doesn’t prove much. And unlike say Sao Paulo, business travelers (especially white ones) in the US don’t require bodyguards.

    Also, you need to read the blog more or at least actually learn something about the US, before offering the sweeping generalizations. ISTR it was only a day or two ago that we had a discussion about interbreeding in the US….

  98. Yes, Verne and Conan Doyle were not racists (I never read Karl May, so I can’t talk about him), but still “scientific racism” was very prevalent in the 19th century and there was ample use of it to justify British imperialism. Apartheid did not sprung from nowhere in the 20th century. The ideas behing it (and Nazism) were older.

    I think one of the ways Libertarians and Conservatives are unjust to Liberals is in how much they complain about political correctiness and the grievance factory, and they minimize just how widespread racism was before the Nazis helped make it the worst, most deadly sin one human heart can have, and Liberals made it anathema to say one bad thing about “minorities”.

    19th century racism was not militant. It didn’t need to be. It was simply a part of the general make-up of most societies. It was just the way it was. Relaxed and often non-agressive, because it was simply evident to most people that non-whites were inferior, even to those who fought for their rights. Just like you supposedly could tell things about a person’s behaviour from analyzing their facial configuration.

  99. Btw why did the original article talk about the genetic make-up of black Americans?

    I do not see what the relevance is of this information in the rest of the article.

  100. I think it’s an intelligence test to demand information about the size of an effect when you’re looking at statistics. How much can white people improve their safety by avoiding black people?

    Painful to admit, but just avoiding certain areas (that happen to be majority black) makes the US safe like Switzerland.

    Are there any individual costs to white people from avoiding black people? How does this compare to looking at class, as suggested above?

    That’s a good question. Anyone looking to counter “the talk” might want to try to form a compelling answer. Otherwise, I don’t really know.

    How is one to have more detailed information about individual black people if one does a great deal to avoid contact with them in general?

    The same way you get introduced to anything unusual, different or strange- in small doses in a secure neutral setting. Which is why integrated (across all boundaries, class and race) housing and schools are such a nice thing if done properly. Unfortunately that’s largely an impossible dream because we’ve mostly chosen to forget how to keep order and deal with crime.

    In re intelligence level on the left– I thought leftwingers were pretty bright, partly because I was buying into their self image, and mostly because I was selecting for information sources which have intelligent people (NPR, Making Light, Alas a Blog). I was shocked at how dull-witted the comments were at DailyKos.

    Welcome to the club.

  101. @ESR “I have deliberately said nothing about which of his claims I believe.”

    You have said that you believe considering him to be racist to be something that makes one fail an intelligence test.

  102. > You have said that you believe considering him to be racist to be something that makes one fail an intelligence test.

    You can disagree with someone you don’t consider racist. But the only appropriate justification for disagreement is if you’ve thought the article through and arrived at a conclusion, not because you’ve mentally lumped the author in with “them” to avoid thinking about ideas which make you uncomfortable.

  103. 1) No.
    2) Hell no. When I first meet people I eventually screen them for this characteristic. I *loath* it. It means that you are not just ignorant of the truth, but afraid of it. Begone with thee.
    3) No.
    4) Maybe.
    5) No.

    A lot of this analysis is overly simplistic.

    10f: The point about cities led by blacks (listing Detroit) fails to take into account the Curley effect (http://www.economics.harvard.edu/faculty/shleifer/files/curley_effect.pdf), which was named after an Irishman. That is, we’re only looking at this behavior in one context without looking at the overall occurrences thereof.

    10b: There is a question of whether poverty is a result or cause of lower intelligence (it may be both). Criminals, especially violent criminals tend to be those with low intelligence and low time-preferences. Given that, a better statement might be “stay out of poor neighborhoods”. This is much more readily apparent on the surface by how well buildings are maintained, the types of establishments featured on major thoroughfares, etc. Blacks are on average less financially well-off, but simply assuming that one surface characteristic is the key instead of another is foolish unless it can be properly demonstrated as the key element.

    It also doesn’t generalize properly, where applicable:

    10a: “Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally”, yet I would ask why I would, knowing nothing else, engage with a concentration of people of any appearance that I don’t know personally. That strikes me as potentially dangerous.

    10e: If the number of blacks suddenly swells, leave. Umm … if the composition of any area suddenly changes, you should be on alert. Maybe its because it is 5:30 and everybody working at the local factory just managed to show up now, or maybe its a white lynch mob here to kill the few blacks in attendance. Maybe its an Improve Everywhere bit. It doesn’t matter. Reassess the situation, and leave if appropriate. Not because a bus-load of black jazz musicians showed up to an outdoor music event.

    10h: If you’re not physically up to a brawl, don’t get in the middle of a domestic assault/abuse case, but call the cops and stand ready to assist as appropriate.

    10i: “If accosted by a strange black …” – you could remove the word black from that phrase and it would be perfectly decent advice. What being black has to do with it, I don’t know.

    Finally, a lot of this doesn’t apply to me, either:

    11: On average blacks may be less intelligent than whites. Assuming for the moment that this is the case, a more important is: What is the average intelligence of a black person I’m likely to encounter? I bring this up, because as a software engineer who lives in a mixed-race neighborhood (predominantly white), but tends to shop upscale and doesn’t live in a poor or bad section of town, the average intelligence of blacks tends to match that of the average white person. I tend to avoid areas which have severe crime problems (which are pretty localized) and thus I manage to avoid a good chunk of the problematic population (both black or other), leaving my encounters to be comparable to those with non-black people.

    Thus, I am unable to determine whether the author is racist and suffering from confirmation bias, or is simply sloppy in his analysis. A lot of this should be looked at in greater depth, of course. In the end, though, I’m still stuck with that whole malice/stupidity decision.

  104. Like a few other here, I had to look into the primary meme before I could participate in the test. Apparently, the origin is a conversation that black parents typically have with their (mostly male) children in the hopes of improving their survivability in encounters with (mostly white) cops.

    No, I didn’t get a case of the vapors reading Derbyshire’s memetic riposte, and none of his citations or links blew my monocle off. I didn’t even bother chasing many of them down because they were old news or obvious or both.

    I will say that it struck me as a very scatter-shot approach given the narrow counterpoint (parental warnings to black youths about policemen), and the list gave the general impression of a rant, if not an especially venomous or racist one. It tries to be simultaneously pithy, anecdotal, exhaustive and scientific, as though it will all average out to something wise and insightful. Instead, it sometimes seems ironically emotional and pleading. When an author turns in a piece of writing that lists points “10a” through “10i”, and it isn’t either a legal document or intentional humor, it’s possible that little foamy flecks of spittle are forming at the corners of the fellow’s mouth. On the other hand, he could just be British.

    As for the content, points 9 and 12 struck me as quintessential begging, and precisely the wrong way to use the right data… not for bullshit egalitarian reasons or political correctness, but because you are more likely to be blinded to threats from other races once you accept the premise that they require “less” scrutiny than their black counterparts. Meanwhile, points 13 through 15 come off as so robotically weird and confessorial that it veers close to parody. Imagine a father and son on a small fishing boat, floating amidst Norman Rockwell-esque scenery, and the father sagely advises his son to “consciously seek” friendships with “IWSBs,” but to beware of the market dynamics involved. So, while I don’t think that Derbyshire comes off as a racist or raving loon, he doesn’t necessarily come off as a completely dispassionate observer either. I guess the overall impression I get is that of an affluent, uptown Archie Bunker crossed with the Irving Kristol “mugged-by-reality” breed of neocon who over-argues his point in the hopes that firing every bullet in the gun and then throwing the gun will finally slay the shibboleth.

    Or, once again, maybe he’s just British!

  105. Nancy –

    My impression is that Liberals, on average, are more intelligent than Social Conservatives, but both of them are less intelligent than Libertarians.

  106. 1. That paragraph didn’t stick out, but the intended theme did.

    2. Not because it would hurt peoples feelings. Living with people means giving them an opportunity to do the right thing while protecting myself. If I presume they’re just going to do the wrong thing then I’m not really giving them an opportunity. However if I leave myself in harms way when statistics tell me I’m in a situation I can’t control, I’m being stupid.

    3. No. Most of that article sadly had real life instances to back them up. The world is ugly, and people are horrific to each other. The truly sad fact is the black community is much more horrible to themselves than anyone else, but they’re still hung up on whitey.

    4. Actually yes. He and I are both white, I take it, so by definition we’re racist.

    5. You’re white dude, so you’re racist like me. There’s no hope for us.

  107. @Max E. “You can disagree with someone you don’t consider racist.”

    To say, essentially, “no intelligent person could consider the person who wrote this article to be racist” is a rather strong endorsement, even if he doesn’t specifically agree with any of its factual claims.

    “But the only appropriate justification for disagreement is if you’ve thought the article through and arrived at a conclusion, not because you’ve mentally lumped the author in with “them” to avoid thinking about ideas which make you uncomfortable.” – However, ESR is saying that one cannot legitimately “lump the author in with ‘them'” even _after_ thinking the article through and arriving at a conclusion – that that can’t _be_ your conclusion from reading the article, and if it is you clearly haven’t thought it through.

  108. Pingback: Here’s A Test for You | Daily Pundit

  109. >I thought leftwingers were pretty bright, partly because I was buying into their self image, and mostly because I was selecting for information sources which have intelligent people (NPR, Making Light, Alas a Blog). I was shocked at how dull-witted the comments were at DailyKos.

    Wow. As bright as you are, libertarians are the only political population in which you won’t feel surrounded by idiots. What I don’t understand is how you avoided noticing this for over thirty years despite yourself identifying as a libertarian.

  110. What I don’t understand is how you avoided noticing this for over thirty years despite yourself identifying as a libertarian.

    Because I find a lot of pure libertarian stuff kind of boring. I’ve heard the ideas before. Also, a good bit of libertarian writing is culturally right-wing– more pugnacious than I like– so I don’t read it.

  111. >However, ESR is saying that one cannot legitimately “lump the author in with ‘them’” even _after_ thinking the article through and arriving at a conclusion – that that can’t _be_ your conclusion from reading the article, and if it is you clearly haven’t thought it through.

    That’s right. Because if you conclude that Derbyshire is a “racist”, and your evaluation of his position is sound, then your definition of “racist” is broken in a very specific and serious way. The discussion on G+ has gone more in that direction than it has here, so see my remarks there for development.

  112. >Also, a good bit of libertarian writing is culturally right-wing

    Oddly, I have not encountered much of this at all. I say “oddly” because it seems like a plausible indictment – there’s enough crossover between libertarians and the small-mouthed variety of conservative that I’d actually expect more right-wing pugnacity than I see.

    But then, I don’t pay a lot of attention to “movement” libertarians; I read economists and theoreticians like David Friedman instead. So it is quite possible you are correct and my sample is skewed.

  113. My one, major objection to the whole thing is when the subject of IQ tests come up. Stop talking about that stuff. Put away your test results; they are worthless. Don’t talk about cultural bias; the whole world is culturally biased, and will stay that way. Blacks are just as smart as anyone else, no matter how many charts you create.

    How do I know this? I talk to people. You can tell how smart or stupid someone is if you can get to know them. I’ve known plenty of blacks that can’t write well, can’t do math, barely can read, and yet they are obviously smart. You can see it in the little, daily problems they solve, the metaphors in their speech, and their relations with other people. Natural selection does not favor stupidity, anytime, or anywhere.

    The above is very important in regard to ‘the talk’ as a WARNING. “Sharp wits lurk in unpolished skulls.” Don’t stop in a lonely place to help anyone. Call the cops; it could be a robbery attempt. The pretty woman could be ‘bait’.

    As an aside, I have to say that ‘the talk’ is way ahead of the usual one. When a white kid gets old enough to ask, “Why are people so prejudiced against blacks?”, the usual parental response is, “Just you wait. You’ll see.”

  114. “That’s right. Because if you conclude that Derbyshire is a “racist”, and your evaluation of his position is sound, then your definition of “racist” is broken in a very specific and serious way.”

    One could not have a sound evaluation that does not depend on a broken definition? For example, someone in this thread argued that in applying Bayes theorem, since people who are not racist (in the sense of the legitimate definition) tend to avoid writing on these topics, then – on occasions where you have nothing else to guide you, so to speak, you can evaluate someone as racist based on this.

    I personally think racism is strongly correlated with, and partly defined by, a belief that “occasions where you have nothing to guide you but knowledge of those mean differences” – or, at least, that the other information you have doesn’t have sufficient weight to be relevant – are far more common than they actually are in reality. Derbyshire apparently believes they are common enough to be worth writing this article about.

    Would you care to point out what the difference is, in your estimation, between his positions and those of James A. Donald, who IIRC you have called a racist?

  115. Like Roger Phillips on Sunday, April 8 2012 at 6:07 am (but for different reasons), I don’t like your point #1. When an article presents an argument, and none if it seems factually or logically unreasonable (except perhaps quibbling about numbers), why bother to find the key paragraph? (How often to follow the advice is another matter, not easy to answer.)

  116. My actual response to Derbyshire was to lament the lack of biochemistry education.
    While it’s undeniably true that some derive much power from the race card,
    it’s also hard to locate any legitimate scientific basis for it.

  117. >When a white kid gets old enough to ask, “Why are people so prejudiced against blacks?”, the usual parental response is, “Just you wait. You’ll see.”

    Not only does this fail to describe my parents, it doesn’t describe the parents of anyone I know with whom I have ever approached the question of how attitudes about race are formed.

    I myself am a terrible data point, because I never needed to ask this question as a child. Nobody around me displayed any anti-black prejudice, ever – I was only dimly aware of it as a feature of bad old days long before I was born. I had to learn it was still a live issue after my family returned to the U.S. at the age of 13, and by 13 I was quite capable of gathering evidence myself and drawing my own conclusions.

    But every peer I ever discussed the matter with reported hearing minor variations on “Blacks are just people. Racism is evil.” To which my reaction was “Well, sure! Why would you believe anything else? Why would you even want to?” I was more naive about the mechanisms of human belief formation then.

    Possibly this is SES-based. I’ve seen various lines of evidence that suggest the incidence of race prejudice increases further down the scale from the SES I was raised in. You need to bear in mind that I probably never met an English-speaking adult without a college degree before I was in my teens.

  118. I would like to take the test. Unfortunately, I don’t find reasoning about race even slightly uncomfortable.

    Can someone kindly supply me with examples of:
    Tax funding not corrupting the thing funded?
    Equivalently, cases of coercion ‘for your own good’ in fact leading the victim to be better off?
    A human being manipulated to the point where they can no longer choose to do physically possible things?
    A physical situation where two logically contradictory things occur?
    Academics in prestigious situations in fact opposing the state power structure?

    Many thanks in advance.

  119. @Alrenous “… Tax funding not corrupting the thing funded?”

    I suspect this is hard to reason about in a neutral way since it’s easy to assert one way or the other that something is or is not corrupted, or that (and there is a legitimate argument here, but if accepted it does make your question a matter of tautology/contradiction) benefiting from a tax-and-spend system constitutes corruption in itself.

  120. >Would you care to point out what the difference is, in your estimation, between [Derbyshire's] positions and those of James A. Donald, who IIRC you have called a racist?

    Well done, that question cuts right to the heart of the matter.

    The difference is that James A. Donald has repeatedly shown evidence of irrational bias and emotional fixation on the notion that blacks are inferior. His is not Derbyshire’s cold-blooded calculation of conditional probabilities, but a palpable and primitive hatred. When Derbyshire marshals facts, he does so with the epistemic qualifications of someone who is actually thinking about them. When JAD marshals facts, he does so in a slipshod and semi-accidental way that makes clear that he doesn’t really care about the quality of his sources as long as they reinforce his desired conclusion.

    Derbyshire will not go beyond the evidence. He will occasionally subtly bait readers into thinking he is doing so, but the appearance is a rhetorical trap (what Danny called “apodeictic” – I actually had to look that one up, point to Danny!) designed to bait his opponents into exposing their inability to parse an argument properly. JAD is not capable of that sort of subtlety; indeed, he is incapable of remaining within the bounds of evidence, readily volunteering crazed and bigoted positions even when he has to know they will damage his credibility with his audience.

    JAD is what actual racism looks like. As with faith-centered religion, the content of his beliefs is not actually his most serious derangement; what’s truly broken is his mechanisms of belief formation about race. The difference from Derbyshire – a sane man reaching unpleasant conclusions – is quite stark.

  121. >For example, someone in this thread argued that in applying Bayes theorem, since people who are not racist (in the sense of the legitimate definition) tend to avoid writing on these topics, then – on occasions where you have nothing else to guide you, so to speak, you can evaluate someone as racist based on this.

    Actually, I indicated that it counted as evidence of probable racism, and I stand by that based on my experience. However, I should have clarified that it’s nowhere near conclusive evidence.

  122. @Dallas: Believing that some, or most, people of certain races are different in some ways is not racism, especially if backed by experience. It’s only racism if you single out people to hate (or to treat differently) because of their race per se.

    The commuter trains I ride daily are full of badly behaved people, quite a few of them young and black, on a daily basis. I wish those people weren’t around. But I don’t generalize that feeling to all blacks, so I am not a racist. If those people would simply behave, no one would have a problem with them and they’d be successful in life.

    But try telling one of them that and they’ll say you’re a racist. That is racism on their part.

  123. >I suspect this is hard to reason about in a neutral way since it’s easy to assert one way or the other that something is or is not corrupted, or that (and there is a legitimate argument here, but if accepted it does make your question a matter of tautology/contradiction) benefiting from a tax-and-spend system constitutes corruption in itself.

    I define corruption as being counter-productive. The welfare system is supposed to make the lives of the poor easier. It makes their lives harder.

    The point of looking at ground-level corruption is to come at the second question from another direction. If several programs of funding were shown to achieve their goals, rather than to hinder their goals, then it is time for me to re-evaluate my conclusion that taxes are inherently bad.

    By analogy, what if being mugged reliably lead to great, lasting spiritual comfort for the victim? The problem of muggers gets difficult if that is the case.

  124. “Not only does this fail to describe my parents, it doesn’t describe the parents of anyone I know with whom I have ever approached the question of how attitudes about race are formed.”

    @esr: You were very fortunate, as was I. My parents were like that, and I went to a special high school that isolated me from a lot of trouble. I’ll point out, though, that reality for many American high school students is that they know that they have to avoid entering by certain doors if they want to keep themselves from getting sucker-punched.

  125. “The welfare system is supposed to make the lives of the poor easier. It makes their lives harder.”

    So you say. And, sure, of all the welfare recipients, it’s possible that some of them would be working, if they didn’t have the “easy choice” of welfare. But is it not also possible that some of them would be starving?

    Determining which there are more of – or whether the world is truly better one way or another – requires a lot of difficult reasoning about counterfactuals and utility functions.

    For one of your other questions, what if someone is addicted to methamphetamine and you take away their drugs and force them into treatment, and it works and their life is ultimately better afterward? Ignoring for the moment the legitimate argument that methamphetamine could not have succeeded in the “market” to anywhere near the same extent without the conditions created by prohibition of other less harmful drugs.

  126. Libertarians aren’t actually intelligent, they just delude themselves into thinking they are.

  127. >Determining which there are more of – or whether the world is truly better one way or another – requires a lot of difficult reasoning about counterfactuals and utility functions.

    Or perfectly normal studies of history.

    Soup kitchens existed before tax-funded welfare. Beggars beg for booze because they can survive off soup kitchens and the food McDonald’s fails to sell, and suchlike. Ending the welfare system tomorrow would not cause starvation in any of these people because it doesn’t support any of their food sources.

    In other cases, it would cause starvation because families have had more children than they could afford unaided. Which can computed by comparison to similar families that were excluded for one reason or another.

    Whether 30s food stamps in fact caused more people to starve is a little more difficult, but only because the accounting records are obscure. To find the answer, tot up the cost per meal of food stamps. Compare to cost per meal of what the poor but stampless ate. Find out where those stamp dollars were coming from.

    In every case I’ve looked at, there’s things like falloff of Church tithes when the stamp levies come down. Soup kitchens start closing down when the legislation passes, and more close down than the legislation gives back in meals. Stuff like that. Sometimes, such as the case of health insurance, the money comes directly from the people it is supposed to be helping, causing all the deadweight and overhead to be pure loss.

  128. @esr:
    “But then, I don’t pay a lot of attention to “movement” libertarians; I read economists and theoreticians like David Friedman instead.”

    Eric, what’s your take on Ron Paul and his proposals?

  129. >Eric, what’s your take on Ron Paul and his proposals?

    Way too complicated for a comment. Perhaps in a future post.

  130. The Talk Non-Gentile Version:

    There is much talk about “the talk.”

    “Robert Bricklayer was 16 when his mother gave him the talk that most gentiles give their teenage sons,” Mary Millertannerson of Muncie, Indiana tells us. Meanwhile, down in Grand Rapids, Michigan: “Her sons were 12 and 8 when Anne Springcoiler realized it was time for her to have the talk,” Gracie Cowtiller writes in the Spokane Telegram. Even Leonard Guildsystem wrote about the talk in the New York Post.

    Yes, talk about the talk is all over the place.

    There is a talk that those of our ethnic persuasion, those who can trace their maternal line back to Moses and their indigestion to flatbread and bitter herbs, often have with our children. If I were to assemble it into a single talk, it would look something like the following:

    * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    Among your fellow citizens are 300-million who are non-Jewish, and whom I shall refer to as goys, as the cumbersome phrase “numerically-superior putzes” seems to be in decline. Here are some tips, given to me by my father and his father before him, which will help you deal with them

    (1)You must not tell them about your social theories, for they may actually implement them.

    (2) American gentiles are mainly descended from northern-European populations, with some secular-Jewish admixture, genes swapped at the cost of some very disappointed mothers. The overall average of non-jewish admixture is 2-5 percent. The admixture distribution is nonlinear, though: It seems that around 1 percent of the white population could be termed “jewie”. They will be your biggest academic threats.

    (3) Although you will best most goys in all academic pursuits, they will beat you in sports. Do not be upset when this happens, success in sports is a poor-predictor of future economic success. Also, it’s completely arbitrary, senseless and dangerous. Let them hit the ball with the stick, it calms them.

    (4) As you go through life you will experience an ever larger number of encounters with goys. Assuming your encounters are random—for example, not restricted only to politicians or insurance salesman—the Law of Large Numbers will inevitably kick in. You will observe that the means—the averages—of many traits are very different for goys, as has been confirmed by methodical inquiries in the human sciences, e.g., good eyesight, self-confidence, and a tendency to blame innocent, productive minorities for floods and other disasters. . .

  131. @esr

    >”Eric, what’s your take on Ron Paul and his proposals?” Way too complicated for a comment. Perhaps in a future post.

    That would be very interesting, as would be a post on your stance on economics. For a long time a simply assumed you were an Austrian (probably because most neoclassicals don’t reject democracy), but I think I’ve seen some neoclassical economics in your latest posts. I’d particularly find interesting to know what a hard-cience-oriented man like yourself thinks about the AE’s apriorism vs Neoclassical’s Positivism/Empiricism debate.

  132. >The Talk Non-Gentile Version:

    Speaking as a gentile who has always felt comfortable and welcomed among Jewish friends, I found this hilarious and largely true. Well, except for the part about all bright goys being part-Jewish – we could be part Chinese/Japanese/Korean, too, that would also be a sufficient explanation.

    I especially liked “You must not tell them about your social theories, for they may actually implement them.”

  133. >For a long time a simply assumed you were an Austrian (probably because most neoclassicals don’t reject democracy), but I think I’ve seen some neoclassical economics in your latest posts.

    I’m influenced by both schools. If you’re trying to model my thinking, David Friedman (neoclassical) and I tend to parallel each other a lot and have influenced each other. More precisely, he’s influenced me a lot in general economics, and I’ve influenced him a little in areas near information goods and non-monetized markets. But I accept more of the Austrian analysis than I think David does, and am also more interested in limits on rationality and some of the stuff coming out of behavioral econ.

    In truth, I think the neoclassical-vs.-Austrian feud is basically rather silly. I’ll probably blog about this sometime.

  134. I’ve always heard goys. But as the product of dirty atheist cohabitation, my Hebrew is non-existent, mostly gleaned form Saul Bellow novels.

  135. >Not to nag, but I would have gone with “goyim”, not “goys”.

    So would I in replying. But it seemed more polite to follow Andrew’s usage :-)

  136. That was quite tactful, but let’s not let tact get in the way of my education. Goyim it is, my polymath superiors.

  137. Interesting, ESR’s description of James A Donald and true racism is almost identical to the sixty cycle hum of the haterboy.

    I wonder if there is a pattern here.

  138. @Mrs. Raymond: I have been reading everything the Derb has written since I first found out about him, and he does indeed claim to be a racist, though of a mild and mellow kind. Some of us have teased him about this from time to time, seeing that he married a Han gal. When he was in China with his wife, she got cussed at a bit by the other Chinese folks for being a race traitor. No shrinking violet, she cussed right back at ‘em.

  139. >I wonder if there is a pattern here.

    Of course there is. Racists and haterboys are similar in that their emotional fixations swamp their ability to think rationally. The result in both cases is the sixty-cycle hum, the monotonous exhalation of hatred.

  140. >Some of us have teased him about this from time to time, seeing that he married a Han gal.

    Yes. Which is the best evidence, for anyone lacking the discernment to get this from his writing, that Derbyshire is not in fact a racist, knows very well that he isn’t one, and only describes himself as “racist” out of a perverse fondness for putting the wind up bien pensants. Really, one would have to be as thick as a cinderblock not to notice this.

    The contrast with James A. Donald, who denies he is a racist but exhibits all the symptomata of racism in their most classic and disgusting forms, is both ironic and instructive.

    By the way, I will note that while I understand Derbyshire’s presentation of himself as a “racist” to be a form of dry satire, I wish he’d stop. I fear that his little joke gives cover to monsters. It’s a form of English snottiness taken to excess; I get it, but I don’t think I’d much like him personally.

  141. Do you also mean to tell me Hitler wasn’t a racist because Nazi Germany was allied with Thailand and Japan?

  142. Having received so, so much benefit from immigration, Canada has very little racism. In a Toronto public school, Europeans Asians and Indians are roughly equal in number: there are no majorities. But there’s one exception: Canadians are hugely racist against Native Americans and Inuit. Why? Our policies have prevented assimilation and fed them demeaning welfare. Policies that discriminate, even preferentially, between ethnic groups cause racism, obviously. Everyone knows this, but guilt and institutionalized politeness keeps us from biting the bullet and encouraging assimilation. I bet affirmative action has similar effects in America.

  143. >Do you also mean to tell me Hitler wasn’t a racist because Nazi Germany was allied with Thailand and Japan?

    The best answer to that question is another: has Derbyshire evinced any desire to consign non-Aryans to death camps?

  144. >I bet affirmative action has similar effects in America.

    Yes. Affirmative action has been the life-support mechanism for our ragged remnants of anti-black racism for, oh, at least thirty years.

  145. “Not to nag, but I would have gone with “goyim”, not “goys”.”

    @Nancy: So why you nagging? …and you wonder why your children never call….
    (:-) (I’m wearing my yarmulka for this one.)

  146. HBDchick has written that she thinks libertarianism will only work among people from Northern Europe, or maybe even only among English folk.

    I believe Prince Metternich, at the Congress of Vienna, was of the same opinion, sort of; he said that only the Anglo-Saxons were capable of responsible self-government. I kinda doubt that, seeing how my people (Anglos) have been behaving lately. Maybe we just need a good King.

  147. I passed Eric’s test, but in general I don’t like talking about race issues, because to me, it’s simply a no-win situation. Maybe that’s a cowardly position, but outside of a crowd like the commenters here, whose politics may be diverse, but whose interpretations of them are definitely not conventional and tend to much be more well thought-out, I honestly do not think there is anything to gain, only something to lose, by even broaching the subject. The best I can do is try to live by the proverbial principle of treating people based on the content of their character and not care what people might (and will) infer about me.

    Actually, Derbyshire’s political writings came as a complete surprise to me. I seem to be the only person on the planet who first discovered John Derbyshire from his truly excellent math books, “Prime Obsession” and “Unknown Quantity”. I would heartily recommend both books, which are completely orthogonal to politics by the way, as tremendous resources for anyone interested in their subjects. I found both challenging, enlightening and thoroughly enjoyable and will definitely want to read them again in the future. In fact, over the course of finishing “Unknown Quantity” there are chapters I did read several times.

  148. Whether Derbyshire’s statements are true or not, the column is at the least unhelpful because his recommendations will aggravate racial conflict. He recommends avoiding black people and avoiding being as friendly to black people as you would to people of other races. Blacks affected by these recommendations will acquire a sense that they are not part of the community, because the people who take Derbyshire’s advice will tell them this through so many nonverbal cues. On the aggregate this will turn into resentment, striking back will seem morally justified based on the weight of perceived harms, and the result will be more racially motivated black-on-white crime. The nonblacks who take Derbyshire’s advice to be afraid of black people will react subconciously by pushing blacks away from social functions and job opportunities that they control, which further aggravates the situation. The blacks who are already in Derbyshire’s 5% of hostiles will be less likely to have their harmful worldview challenged and will be more likely to see it reinforced.

    In short, if you constantly tell a person (of any race) that he will never be anything more than a thug, and discourage all his attempts to be anything better than that, then that person is likely to turn out to be a thug. Few people have the will to persevere forever against uniform social pressure.

    The column is racist since it recommends judging people by their race before anything else is known about them, regardless of their individual merits. The higher rate of black crime is used as a justification for racial prejudice. Derbyshire (the author) can call this a Swiftian satire of “The Talk” that inspired his rebuttal. To answer “Yes” to question 4, a reader may not buy it and may argue that Derbyshire is a racist on the (further arguable) grounds that only a racist author could write a racist column, or that his column will promote racism, or from outside knowledge of Derbyshire’s other writings and reputation, or that he uses a selection of themes (IQ, crime) that are commonly used by racist writers and less often used by other writers, making it statistically likely that the writer using these themes is a racist.

    Derbyshire justifies having a general fear of blacks from his claim that about 5% of blacks are hostile to whites and about half of blacks are tolerant of this hostility. He pulls this from personal experience. That’s not exactly a scientific study, so it is not unreasonable to refuse to believe this is a fact. A reader may also have personal experiences that are different from Derbyshire’s, and will likely value these experiences as more trustworthy than his. If Derbyshire’s claims of fact from personal experience would produce an uglier world than the world the reader recognizes from facts of personal experience, then a reader can intelligently answer “Yes” to question 3.

  149. @esr:

    The difference [between JAD and] Derbyshire – a sane man reaching unpleasant conclusions – is quite stark.

    I agree that there is a huge difference. However, nothing I have seen (including the fact that his wife is not white) is dispositive on the issue of whether or not Derbyshire is, in fact, a racist. To be clear, I certainly believe a racist could have written that article.

    Racists and haterboys are similar in that their emotional fixations swamp their ability to think rationally.

    I don’t agree with this at all. This sounds like a conclusion born of personal experience of the kind “when I get emotional, I don’t think right.” But as a generalization, I think it might be backwards. “Man is not a rational animal — he is a rationalizing animal.” I think the ability to think rationally can in some cases purge the worst excesses of primitive emotions, and in other cases can mask them quite well, so that someone who is intelligent can often think up and persuasively present rational arguments for his irrationally-derived position.

    OTOH, some people just flat-out don’t care what you think of them, and don’t bother pretending to have good intellectual arguments.

    I find some of JAD’s writing quite repugnant, but do not assume that he could not clean them up as well as Derbyshire’s writings if he cared to invest the energy and thought to do so. Nor do I assume that the fact that Derbyshire’s writings are more rigorous and dispassionate means he’s not a racist. So, for example, if I at some point concluded, based on additional evidence, that Derbyshire was, in fact, a racist, I might even come to the conclusion that JAD is a more “honest” racist.

    But, as with JAD’s writings, the Derbyshire article has (IMO) some significant flaws, which have been addressed by several commenters here. It is not necessary to use or even think the word “racist” to address these flaws (in fact, it gets in the way), but the same is actually true of JAD’s writing as well, even though some of that clearly matches what almost any of us mean by “racist”.

  150. @ Andrew Cohen: That is just very funny, and I thank you. I grew up surrounded by Jews, and that was very helpful to my intellectual development. Being a weird nerdy kid, I might have been at risk for swirlies and such at school, had the PTA and school board not been heavily salted with Jews. They would not have put up with that kind of shit.

    My high-school band in which I played clarinet, was arguably the best one in the state of Florida, and was about 50% Jewish. I mind the time we had a football game on Yom Kippur, and the bandmaster said, ” We can’t do a halftime show; the Gentile band will play in the stands.”

    What annoyed me the most about Jews when I was a kid, was that they didn’t let me hang out with them as much as I wanted to.

  151. Actually, the word’s “epideictic”. In the context, it’s self-describing :)

  152. @justthisguy
    I’m in high school now, first year. But I don’t play any instruments anymore because I read something Minsky Wrote about how music can take over your mind, distracting you from academics. Also, I’m not as fond of practicing as I am of unhelpful rationalizations.

  153. >What annoyed me the most about Jews when I was a kid, was that they didn’t let me hang out with them as much as I wanted to.

    Heh. You were lucky, comparatively speaking. I went to a Catholic high school after returning to the U.S., so I didn’t get to have Jewish friends until I went to University of Pennsylvania and noticed that most of the bright kids there had something in common. A twentysomething Jewish lawyer I worked with back in ’05 told me that thirty years later UPenn was still fondly referred to as “Jew U.” among his peers; apparently the high percentage of Jews from the big Apple in the student body didn’t decrease after my time there.

    Those years were enough of an influence that I picked up a fair number of Yiddishisms I still use. Which dates me a little, because those speech habits (and the ever-so-faint second- and third-generation traces of shtetl accent that went with them) seem to have been lost among today’s New York Jews, at least if my informant in ’05 was representative.

    It may be of anthropological interest to some of you that my exposure to American-Jewish speech habits and culture was reinforced by science-fiction fandom. Fandom has a comparatively large and visible Jewish presence everywhere in the U.S., but that’s especially so in the Northeast. The joke that the perfect nightspot for SF fans would be a combination Chinese restaurant, Jewish deli and bookstore is as funny-true in 2012 as it was in 1976.

  154. >Also, I’m not as fond of practicing as I am of unhelpful rationalizations.

    Stick around, kid. I like your sense of humor.

  155. Alan on Saturday, April 7 2012 at 11:57 pm said:It should also be noted that his evidence makes it clear that American blacks are mostly descended from just a few tribes in West Africa (about two-thirds just one tribe, Yoruba)…

    Whose evidence? Derbyshire said nothing to indicate this. It is almost certainly untrue – slave traders running to North America drew from the entire West African coast, from Cameroon to Senegal. I’d like to see a cite for this claim.

    To be sure, on old maps, there were four recognized regions along that coastline:

    The “Grain Coast”, in Liberia and Sierra Leone (or Pepper Coast, from the melegueta pepper, also known as “grains of paradise”).

    The Ivory Coast (“Cote d’Ivoire” in French, now the country of that name).

    The “Gold Coast” (now Ghana).

    The “Slave Coast” (Togo, Benin, and SW Nigeria – the latter being where the Yoruba live).

    But the Slave Coast was not the only source of slaves, nor were the Yoruba the only tribe exported as slaves from there.

  156. Rene on Sunday, April 8 2012 at 12:05 pm said:19th century racism was not militant. It didn’t need to be.

    To the contrary, 19th century racism was very militant and ideological. It needed to be because it was fighting against the principles of individual liberty and equality before the law. Formal racism was invented in the US, by Southerners who had to rationalize slavery. As the contradiction between race-based slavery and those principles became increasingly obvious and remarked on, Southerners became militant racists in defense.

    After the Civil War, Southerners doubled down, to justify white political supremacy in defiance of the Constitution. The racist propaganda was paralleled by a massive racist terror campaign.

    By the late 19th century, liberty and equality were coming into increased conflict with imperialism and colonialism. Formal racism became a prop of reactionary imperialists. (Other imperialists adopted assimilationist ideas: we will enlighten the natives, and then treat them as equals.)

  157. >But the Slave Coast was not the only source of slaves, nor were the Yoruba the only tribe exported as slaves from there.

    I agree that Alan was way overinterpreting that portion of Derbyshire’s article. However, I know something independently that reinforces Alan’s claim.

    There’s a whole cluster of syncretic Afro-Caribbean and Afro-South-American religions that incubated among slave populations in the New World. The best known members of this group are Voudun, Santeria, Candomble, and Umbanda. Thing is, if you look at the god-forms and rituals they have in common, it is very clear that the root stock of the entire group was the Yoruba religion. This is strong indirect evidence that the Yoruba were a dominant religio-cultural influence – and perhaps genetically a plurality as well – in New World slave populations.

    Why do I know about this? Because this group of religions gets along extremely well with modern Euro-American neopaganism. There are some important similarities that are understood on both sides; we can speak each other’s symbolic language and function in each other’s rituals without all that much difficulty. Yes, I speak from personal experience – if I wanted to evoke an orisha, I could probably do it. At least one adherent of these religions has been a repeat commenter on this blog. If he is still around, he will know what I mean when I report an affinity for the red-haired soldier who is not to be named.

  158. I once read that African genetic variation dwarfs Asian Indian and European combined, which makes sense right: The further away from Africa, the less time, post-migration, for mutations to occur.

  159. This is assuming only a few tribes migrated, and there was little genetic exchange (aka fucking) afterwards.

  160. Asaf on Sunday, April 8 2012 at 6:30 am said: Are “blacks killing whites” more often than the opposite?

    According to the FBI at this web page, in 2010, in cases where the killer’s race was known to law enforcement, 447 whites were murdered by blacks, while 218 blacks were murdered by whites. 2,777 whites were killed by whites, and 2,459 blacks were killed by blacks.

    Since whites outnumber blacks in the US about 7 to 1, this means a black is about 15 times more likely to kill a white as a white is to kill a black. A black is as likely to kill a white as a white is; and over 80 times more likely to kill a black.

  161. I find two main problems with the article. If the statistics are so clear, then why aren’t there some examples? What are the odds of being harmed in a crowd a black who I don’t personally know? How does that compare to being harmed in a crowd of whites who I don’t personally know? It may be a very low risk still and I’m not particularly risk adverse and don’t want my children to be risk adverse either, so I can’t tell if that’s useful information or not.

    Second, in the subparts to number 10, if you substitute “person” for “black”, the statement still holds. For example, 10a avoid concentrations of persons not all known to you personally … 10i If accosted by a strange person in the street, smile and say something polite but keep moving. It will still reduce your risk to follow that advice. The bottom line is that people are dangerous and if you want to minimize risk go become a hermit and don’t have contact with people.

    My answers.

    1. Yes, I didn’t notice that was they “key paragraph” because there’s no hard data or real statistics.

    2. No, as I couldn’t care less about hurting people’s feelings, but do question whether or not given my low level of risk aversion, that any of the advice is useful to me.

    3. No.

    4. Yes, but I believed that BEFORE reading the article.

    5. Maybe. I’m a little surprised that you’d find an article with so little hard data so important.

  162. >5. Maybe. I’m a little surprised that you’d find an article with so little hard data so important.

    You should have chased more of the links.

    Admittedly, I may not be able to evaluate how that article looks to someone who wasn’t already pretty familiar with the fact base going in. I already knew about most of the statistical evidence from other sources, or in some cases the same sources but I’d read them previously.

  163. ESR,

    I think if you would compare the No results with actual IQ tests, the interesting part of the result was not the average of IQ tests buttheir statistical distribution: it would be wide, very low and very high. It would be the dumbest and the brightest. Because PC is generally for middle to moderately high intellects – looking intellectual without much effort. So un-PC is generally both below and above that.

  164. Google has about half a million hits for “goys”, and a little over a million for “goyim”, so I’d say that there’s a preference for “goyim”, but “goys” isn’t obviously wrong.

  165. @ESR “You should have chased more of the links. Admittedly, I may not be able to evaluate how that article looks to someone who wasn’t already pretty familiar with the fact base going in.”

    There are no links cited for the numbers in #9, and “in my experience” implies none exist. I am also inclined to doubt that they actually represent any real data collected by the author, rather than just making a number that “feels right” to him, because A) I assume he would have said so if he had and B) “five percent” and “half” have the quality of sounding like made-up numbers.

    Something else to note – to my ear, “blacks” sounds offensive in a way that “black people” does not. I can’t really clarify why this is, and it might simply be that I was primed to think that by hearing JAD use that language in the other thread, but it seemed to me like “language a racist would use.” Not enough to be decisive, but enough to move the balance a few points over. And saying that word choice doesn’t matter is a false rationalism.

  166. Those years were enough of an influence that I picked up a fair number of Yiddishisms I still use. Which dates me a little, because those speech habits (and the ever-so-faint second- and third-generation traces of shtetl accent that went with them) seem to have been lost among today’s New York Jews, at least if my informant in ’05 was representative.

    So far as I know, that is the case. Up to age 11, I lived in an area that was heavily Jewish, with lots of the older generation still around. (Brighton Beach, I left just as lots of Russians started arriving- BTW the largely Jewish Russians were very different from the previous wave of Jews). The younger generations, to my ear, didn’t pick up the ‘old yid’ thing- I’d bet they found it too embarrassing and low-status. That was certainly the case at the magnet school I attended from 11-17 – anyone with any kind of class or status consciousness tried VERY hard to shed any accent they might have.

  167. Oh and the whole idea that Ashkenazi Jews are poor at physical pursuits is a fallacy. They seem to find physical pursuits a poor use of their time, when they have the luxury of making the choice. But when they don’t have that luxury and feel they need to apply themselves in… grittier pursuits- well a few generations back there was no shortage of Jewish bruisers, thugs, gangsters and professional athletes. You still see the professional athlete thing.

  168. Bret, As for replacing ‘black’ with ‘person’ yes these basic concepts can be applied quite broadly but that is not the point, the point (or at least a possible point) is that according to the PC model you are not to notice anything like this unless it is about white heterosexual males. In fact if you end up on the receiving end of a gang banger’s black racism you probably deserved it

  169. Sorry for the double post, but for those who aren’t familiar with this post, read it: Kafkatrapping

    It has extreme relevance to this subject in general.

  170. Triple post!

    Meta question: ESR if I have a comment on an old post / related to an old post, should I comment on that post, on the current post, or email you?

    Also, feel free to cat my three posts together is you want.

  171. So, while I failed the test, this seems to fall inline with the thought I have whenever I think about the individual vs. the whole: “sterotypes exits for a reason”.

  172. 1. No.
    2. No, I recognized several claims as false however.
    3. No, I found most of the “facts” irrelevant to the claims.
    4. No, I already knew John Derbyshire was a racist.
    5. No, but I had previously suspected and continue to have suspicions.

    Does that mean I passed your “intelligence test”?

  173. White supremacy ceases to be offensive once you come to the realization that we really are better than everyone else.

  174. @Rich Rostrom:

    According to the FBI at this web page, in 2010, in cases where the killer’s race was known to law enforcement, 447 whites were murdered by blacks, while 218 blacks were murdered by whites. 2,777 whites were killed by whites, and 2,459 blacks were killed by blacks.

    I’m not going to say those numbers are meaningless, because raw data is almost always useful. Of course, you have to realize it’s almost always incomplete for it to be useful. For example, most people are killed by someone they know. But let’s assume (like you apparently have), for the sake of argument, that we really don’t care about that.

    Since whites outnumber blacks in the US about 7 to 1, this means a black is about 15 times more likely to kill a white as a white is to kill a black. A black is as likely to kill a white as a white is; and over 80 times more likely to kill a black.

    Statistics are such fun. Black-on-black violence would be the elephant in the room, except everybody leads with it to the detriment of further analysis. The statistics you give show, not only that a white person is 1.8 times more likely to be killed by a white person than by a black person, but also that a black person is 3.4 times more likely to be killed by a white person than a white person is by a black person.

    BTW, isn’t that latter statistic the true answer to the question you purported to address? I presume the question wasn’t asked by a murderer who wanted to know how he was doing in the competition for most hits, but rather by someone who wants to know how much the races have to fear from each other. The answer is apparently that white people don’t have any more to fear from black people than from other white people, and black people have less to fear from white people than from black people, but much more to fear from white people than other white people do. Of course, that’s all rather simplistic, because most people do a pretty good job of staying out of neighborhoods where they are likely to be in trouble, so if enough people took that data as gospel and decided to go to downtown Detroit in the middle of the night, the data might well change a bit.

    Still, if you look at this rationally from the perspective of people who aren’t killers (which, thankfully, is still a large majority of all the populations discussed), a black person has a lot more to fear from anybody he encounters than a white person does. As I just pointed out, this is already influenced by the fact that peoples’ behavior modulates their encounters with other classes and races, and as others have pointed out, this is partly due more to other factors such as income than race. Race and income are heavily correlated in this country, and I welcome attempts to tease out the correct answer, but I am not persuaded that intelligence is that big a part of it. I know lots of dumb rich people and lots of poor smart people.

  175. @Nancy Lebovitz That is a very interesting article. I wonder if any of the people who “passed” today’s test “recoil from/refuse to accept any claim in” _that_ “article that [they] recognized as true or probably true”. [It occurs to me, on reflection, that ESR's question is worded to allow an easy out of simply denying recognizing anything as probably true - though I'm not sure how this can be untangled without outright telling people what to believe... which defeats its purpose as an intelligence test]

    “Specifically, 86% rejected the policy that employers and graduate schools should be allowed to take into account grade inflation at elite schools when evaluating the applications of Ivy League students.” – This item seemed particularly shocking to me, since it basically means that “Ivy League students” should be a protected class, but minority groups as conventionally defined should not be. (I find myself wondering if there’s any correlation between that answer and actually being a student or alumni of a prestigious school – holding self-serving ‘irrational’ beliefs is at least instrumentally rational.)

  176. Eric’s posts about race politics are always entertaining, not least for the comments.

    As I do not live in America I do not feel I am in a position to comment on Derbyshire’s collection of anecdotes, other than to note that it seems a poor foundation on which to base an “intelligence” test, as Eric does.

    From a distance, though, there is something … creepy … about the way people here seem to so readily identify race as a reliable marker of qualitative ability (or in Derbyshire’s model, risk) without adequate evidence – and no, random news links are not evidence.

  177. From a distance, though, there is something … creepy … about the way people here seem to so readily identify race as a reliable marker of qualitative ability (or in Derbyshire’s model, risk) without adequate evidence – and no, random news links are not evidence.

    And your willingness to assume, from a distance and with no direct knowledge whatsoever, that those of us *in* the US lack adequate evidence- to be remarkably arrogant on top of unjustified.

  178. > Bret, As for replacing ‘black’ with ‘person’ yes these basic concepts can be applied quite broadly but that is not the point, the point (or at least a possible point) is that according to the PC model you are not to notice anything like this …

    An other point, in light of ESR’s question #4, would be :
    If you can replace “black” by “person” and get the same or better results in terms of survival advice, why is the author so fixated on race ?
    Rule of thumb : if a person explains the world primarily or exclusively in terms of race, there’s a good change he’s a racist.
    He could just be trowing sticks in the PC hen house, though …

    FWIW, that’s why my answer to question #4 was “He might be, I don’t know” (and “no” on all other questions)

  179. The John Derbyshire “talk” is kind of pointless for actual child-rearing, I think.

    To be concrete for a second, I was raised in the South Side of Chicago. My family was middle-class and white, and there was a fair amount of violent crime in my neighborhood. Given population demographics, most of that crime was probably committed by black people. And I think I always knew this, at least since I was old enough to know that there was such a thing as crime.

    But I was never given a “talk” about needing to beware of black people. With all due respects to Rogers and Hammerstein, you don’t have to be carefully taught to hate. In-group/out-group bias is as old as human nature. Kids automatically divide people into categories; they’re natural essentialists. An obsession with rules and categories is a Piagetian stage, ferchrissake. Show a kid a few examples of creepy crackheads who happen to be black, and she will make assumptions about black people, whether you intend it or not. A lot of explicit race talk is pretty much superfluous; give your kids examples of dangerous people, and they will get the message. (For what it’s worth, in my personal life it would be stupidly non-specific to fear “black people,” because they are close to the majority of my neighbors; I fear unsafe locations and people behaving in bizarre or threatening ways.)

    What’s actually difficult, what does have to be taught, is how to live with our neighbors. How to suspend judgment. How to step back and judge people by their actions instead of their appearance; how to supplement instinct with reason. I remember being taught that we don’t insult other people’s religions, that we don’t use slurs, that we’re sensitive to what will hurt or inconvenience the people we share a city with. This is the part of socialization that actually needs lots of effort and attention.

    I don’t care what John Derbyshire thinks about black people — it’s a free country, etc. People are going to think all sorts of things. I do think that he’s pretending to be practical while instead being polemical. He wants to flout political correctness. That actually has very little to do with staying safe from crime or raising children.

  180. esr wrote: “You should have chased more of the links.

    Your instructions weren’t to read the article, chase the links, do rigorous statistical analysis, etc.

    I have now chased some of the links and they don’t make you look better. According to one of the links, FBI data shows that in 2010 “blacks murdered 447 whites”. That’s about a 1 in 1/2 million chance of being murdered. Pretty small to cause one to avoid black crowds or any of the rest of Derbyshire’s advice.

    Are you armed and dangerous or white and wimpy or what?

  181. I’ve never really understood the importance of anti-PC anyhow. What *use* is it?

    It’s good for people to know that there are racial (and economic) disparities between populations when it comes to crime, educational attainment, test scores, etc. But everybody with any interest in the subject knows that, including liberals. Nobody is really surprised that there’s a demographic skew in who’s at the tech conference or the private school.

    It’s not useful to obsess about race to the point that it damages your relationships with non-white people who are important to your real life. I do worry that devoting time and energy to the topics in Derbyshire’s article has a bad effect on real-life personal relationships. Treating people decently is difficult and unnatural; being a racist is easy and natural. Evolution built us to be biased, and we have to put some effort into avoiding that. You probably get more harm than good out of letting “race realist” arguments have space in your head.

    I’ll defend people’s right to say pretty much anything in public without censorship. And I think we’re too quick, as a society, to lock contrarians out of prestigious positions. But this particular kind of contrarianism doesn’t seem very interesting or useful. (I do, however, think that it would be good if the scientific community accepted the possibility of rapid, recent human evolution, because that would allow useful progress in basic science. I want to *know* how genes have changed since agriculture, and the specter of racism that hangs over that whole field just gets in the way.)

  182. I’ve never really understood the importance of anti-PC anyhow. What *use* is it?

    Funny you should ask.

    I’ll defend people’s right to say pretty much anything in public without censorship.

    Well it seems you already know. PC *is* systematic sensorship, slow-motion incremental Stalinism through ruthless intimidation. Pushing back against that is a good thing.

  183. @PunkCapitalist I was making a humorous reference to an Israeli hostage rescue operation in Uganda in 1976. That is a pointless objection the specific “Mercedes” example, but affirms your general point about racism and “statistical common sense” being relatively useless in predicting how safe you are in a given situation. The jist of it is that I agree with you.

  184. @Asaf

    “Why judge by skin color when you can judge by appearance of class? That seems, after all, to be a much better predictor for expected harm than race.”

    I wonder if that’s why Stalin got more traction than Hitler. The former probably has more blood on his account, but most of the reason for that is because Hitler was very undiplomatic. I’ve noticed that in modern international diplomacy, the appeal to morals in righteousness is mostly lip service meant to keep the masses from questioning their government’s motives so closely as to, you know… take democratic action about it. “No nation has friends, only interests” still seems to hold true. Hitler failed to realize that attacking his neighbours when he wasn’t far enough ahead in the arms races was not in his best interests. If he had waited three years, the world would be very different right now.

  185. >I have now chased some of the links and they don’t make you look better.

    Again, please distinguish between my claims and Derbyshire’s claims. I have deliberarately not said which of his conclusions I endorse or don’t endorse. The test was of the reader’s ability to process unpleasant fact claims without flinching, and more generally of the ability to parse Derbyshire’s argument rationally rather than emotionally. Reading the test as my endorsement or criticism of any specific thing he wrote is a mistake. I have opinions about that but am deliberately reserving them.

  186. One could even go further and dismiss class (in a sense of annual income) as a predictor, further refining it to “tribal culture to which the subject ascribes and which he reflects in his clothing choices”. For example, it would be different to face a black hipster man wearing big sunglasses, a Scottish-patterned shirt and a mustache in the middle of the night than a baggy pants and blingy-golden-jewel-wearing gangsta.

  187. Somebody getting wounded by gunfire at a Six Flags in 1987 is not much of an unpleasant fact in this day and age. However, advising people to avoid the situation because of that “fact” is unpleasantly racist.

  188. @esr:

    The test was of the reader’s ability to process unpleasant fact claims without flinching, and more generally of the ability to parse Derbyshire’s argument rationally rather than emotionally.

    Unfortunately, the backstory is that the article was practically designed to be processed emotionally. I realize that’s part of what you think makes it valuable for your purposes, but testing for whether someone could qualify to be Spock or Data doesn’t really begin to paint the full story of their intelligence.

    There is no question that some of the people Derbyshire tweaked needed tweaking; OTOH, the readers or followers of some of those people are just looking for answers, and to them this article will just feel like a smug false equivalence.

    Here’s an unpleasant fact claim for you: although all good parents try to give their kids multiple versions of “the talk” on multiple occasions, either white parents are already better at giving the talk, or the talk isn’t quite as necessary for white kids, or some combination of those, because according to the statistics that Rich Rostrom gave earlier, a black parent is 5.7 times more likely than a white parent to have to go the morgue and identify her murdered child, and despite the fact that most people suck at math and statistics, almost every black person in the country understands this implicitly.

    I’ve already discussed some of my rational responses to this article, but given the article’s back story (content, timing, other things going on in the world), my primary emotional response to the article is that it’s just plain mean-spirited.

  189. “Reading the test as my endorsement or criticism of any specific thing he wrote is a mistake.”

    The test claims that anyone who dis-endorses (is that a word?) any of his claims so strongly as to consider him to be racist for making them is wrong. That _is_ an endorsement, if only a weak one. You’re not saying “these claims are true”, but you are saying “these claims are not racist” (and it’s hard to see how they can be non-racist if they are false).

    Anyway, right now, my biggest problem with the test per se is “claim [...] that you recognized as true or probably true”. It makes the question so easy to say “no” to, that saying “yes” is probably a better indicator of intelligence (i.e. ability to critically evaluate one’s own thought processes, by recognizing having done #2/#3) than saying “no” (as in “no, I didn’t recognize these claims as true or probably true, only probably racist”). Did Tim F pass, disregarding that he apparently misunderstood #3? And as I said before, there’s no way around it without telling people what to believe, which, even if it wouldn’t ruin its suitability as an intelligence test entirely, is impaired by the fact that you’re not even telling people what you believe.

  190. Some excerpts from “The Talk: Nonmale Version”:

    (1) Among your fellow citizens are one hundred fifty million who identify as male, and whom I shall refer to as “men.”
    …..
    (6) As you go through life, however, you will experience an ever larger number of encounters with male Americans. Assuming your encounters are random—for example, not restricted only to male convicted murderers or to male investment bankers—the Law of Large Numbers will inevitably kick in. You will observe that the means—the averages—of many traits are very different for male and female Americans, as has been confirmed by methodical inquiries in the human sciences.

    (7) Of most importance to your personal safety are the very different means for antisocial behavior, which you will see reflected in, for instance, school disciplinary measures, political corruption, and criminal convictions.

    (8) These differences are magnified by the hostility many men feel toward women. Thus, while male-on-male behavior is more antisocial in the average than is female-on-female behavior, average male-on-female behavior is a degree more antisocial yet.

    (9) A small cohort of men—in my experience, around five percent—is ferociously hostile to women and will go to great lengths to inconvenience or harm us. A much larger cohort of men—around half—will go along passively if the five percent take leadership in some event. They will do this out of gender solidarity, the natural willingness of most human beings to be led, and a vague feeling that the bitches have it coming.

    (10) Thus, while always attentive to the particular qualities of individuals, on the many occasions where you have nothing to guide you but knowledge of those mean differences, use statistical common sense:

    (10a) Avoid concentrations of men not all known to you personally.

    (10b) Stay out of neighborhoods with large percentages of men.

    (10c) If planning a trip to a beach or amusement park at some date, find out whether it is likely to be swamped with men on that date.

    (10d) Do not attend events likely to draw a lot of men.

    (10e) If you are at some public event at which the number of men suddenly swells, leave as quickly as possible.

    (10f) Do not settle in a district or municipality run by male politicians.

    (10g) Before voting for a male politician, scrutinize his/her character much more carefully than you would a woman.

    (10h) Do not act the Good Samaritan to men in apparent distress, e.g., on the highway.

    (10i) If accosted by a strange man in the street, smile and say something polite but keep moving.

    (10j) Avoid entering romantic relationships with men. Buy a vibrator and attempt to condition yourself to be a lesbian.

    (11) Men are more than nine times more likely to commit a crime than women and 10 times more likely to commit murder. They are twice as likely to become alcoholics and three times as likely to develop antisocial personality disorder.
    ……
    You don’t have to follow my version of the talk point for point; but if you are a woman and have daughters, you owe it to them to give them some version of the talk. It will save them a lot of time and trouble spent figuring things out for themselves. It may save their lives.

    END OF EXCERPT

    I passed Eric’s test when I read the article. But then I realized that there are just as many, if not more, major statistical difference in antisocial behavior between men and women as there are between white people and black people (the statistics for part 11 are from here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_and_crime#In_the_United_States and here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mental_illness_and_gender. I rewrote those portions of the article with that in mind. The advice it generated seemed obviously insane.

    The only difference between Derbyshire’s article and my modified one that I can think of is that it is a lot more expensive for a woman to shun men than for a white person to shun blacks. But that raises a problem in Derbyshire’s article, namely that while his statement that being around black people may be risky in some circumstances, he doesn’t make any cost-benefit analyses. He just says “This increases the odds of you being in danger, so don’t do it.” There are lots of things people do every day that put them in greater dangers (driving, for instance) but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do them.

    I also agree with the many commenters who have pointed out that the odds of you encountering a situation where there is no information you can use for risk assessment that is far, far more salient than race (i.e. clothing, income, behavior). It seems like the harm this article does by breaking down anti-racism taboos (even if doing that wasn’t Derbyshire’s intention) might outweigh any actual benefit it produces in safety advice.

  191. Eric,

    “That[you can't conclude Derbyshire is racist from this writing by any line of reasoning]’s right. Because if you conclude that Derbyshire is a “racist”, and your evaluation of his position is sound, then your definition of “racist” is broken in a very specific and serious way. The discussion on G+ has gone more in that direction than it has here, so see my remarks there for development.”

    I’ll list off my line of reasoning to conclude that Derbyshire is racist (not to say that he is generally (that is not to say he is “a racist”), but in this particular article being racist.)

    1. Everything about this article, from the title on down argues on black vs. non-black. From what little I can tell of the implied “The Talk: Black Version” (i.e. what Sean O’Reilly’s mom and Marlyn Tillman tell their children), he’s railing something that is actually _less_ racist than what he writes. I decided to measure this by seeing how many times Chrome’s Ctrl-F function finds the string “black” in his article, and in the articles he is apparently basing his “talk” on. I seriously doubt my web browser has any racial prejudices, but I could be wrong, lol. It finds 46 occurrences of “black” in Derbyshire’s article (including inside words such as “nonBLACKs”). (Note: I counted them manually, there are 69 more in the sidebars and comments ) This is against only 7 in Staples’ article and just 2 in Superville’s article! (note: only 1 in the comments as well!!) Doesn’t that make at least a _bit_ of a case, Eric?? (Doing it for “white”: 19 vs. 0. vs. 0)

    2. Almost all of his advice is not particularly useful unless applied beyond his specific “black vs. nonblack” context. Worse, when applied racially, it exacerbates the situation which leads to his point 11 and my point following…

    3. I agree that his point 11 is a fallacy that stems from the effects of the poverty and injustice from prejudiced behaviour. This is based not only on my observation of races other than black, but on the behaviour and attitudes towards and of certain white people groups (i.e.: gay, homeless, Christian, and libertarian) and myself personally (yes, I have been treated so unjustly that I have completely lost my temper and thus “justified” the otherwise slanderous opinions in the minds of those behaving unjustly towards me. I am white and currently wearing a clean cyan button-down shirt, but my tie and business jacket are currently in the closet.) I’ve also read T. Colin Campbell’s “The China Study” and thus also know well how much “poor nutrition” has to do with this effect (but I’m not saying that nutrition has no effect on intelligence.) Linkin Park wrote a song (perhaps unwittingly) about this effect on human intelligence. It’s called “Breaking The Habit”.

    Eric, if you thus conclude that my ” definition of ‘racist’ is broken in a very specific and serious way”, please tell me _exactly_ what that way is.

    Terry

  192. > 1. Did you fail to notice that the key paragraph
    > in it is this one
    No.

    > 2. Did you recoil from refuse to accept any claim in
    > the article that you recognized as true or probably
    > true because it would hurt peoples’ feelings?
    No.

    > 3. Did you at any point refuse to believe a fact
    > claim in the article because you think the world
    > would be a worse or uglier place if the claim were true?
    No, though the factual claims in the article were not what got him fired.

    > 4. Did you finish the article believing that John Derbyshire
    > (the author) is a racist?
    Yes.

    > 5. Do you believe I am a racist for having asked the previous
    > four questions?
    No.

    > If you answered “Yes” to any of the above questions, you failed the test.
    No.

  193. Eric,

    I don’t think your test is as orthogonal to the truth of Derbyshire’s fact claims as you intend it to be. Let’s take for example his claims about IQ. I have never examined studies in that area in sufficient detail to form an opinion of their validity (and the ones he cites are paywalled, so I’m not going to examine them on-the-spot). But let’s suppose I were an expert in the field of psychometrics, and that I had reviewed all these studies in detail and concluded them to be such slop that they border on fraud. In that case, I think I don’t think it would be any kind of abuse of the word “racist” if I were to label Derbyshire as one for using those studies in support of his argument.

  194. >2. Almost all of his advice is not particularly useful unless applied beyond his specific “black vs. nonblack” context. Worse, when applied racially, it exacerbates the situation which leads to his point 11 and my point following…

    This is just a way of admitting that you reject plausible claims not on the basis of truth but because you think believing them might make the world a worse or uglier place. You fail the test. The truth is what the truth is, not what makes us comfortable.

    >3. I agree that his point 11 is a fallacy that stems from the effects of the poverty and injustice from prejudiced behaviour.

    You fail again. If point 11 (lower average intelligence of blacks) is true, it doesn’t matter for Derbyshire’s survival-advice purposes – or the purposes of my test – what the reasons for the divergence in means are. By wandering off on that tangent, you demonstrate again that you would rather dismiss or ignore the implications of unpleasant fact claims than actually cope with them.

    As a separate point, I will note that Derbyshire’s claims about the psychometric evidence are completely consistent with my knowledge of that evidence. It is not required that I endorse any of his conclusions or judgements for me to note this, and I don’t want to be sidetracked into a discussion of that evidence. Remember the point of the test; it is not about whether Derbyshire’s claims are true but about whether the reader is able to process them with rational analysis.

    >Eric, if you thus conclude that my ” definition of ‘racist’ is broken in a very specific and serious way”, please tell me _exactly_ what that way is.

    You appear to believe that the article is racist because it says bad things about black people that you would prefer to dismiss or explain away. That is not sufficient; the bad things have to be untrue, and the claims have to be rooted in prejudice rather than rational judgment, for the term “racist” to apply.

    I have explained, previously and on the G+ thread, why applying the word “racism” to the speaking of unpleasant truths is a is a dangerous mis-definition that puts bigots and haters in the right – empowers them, makes them noble truth-tellers in a world of lies. Please do not give evil people that gift.

  195. Small group of climate researchers does something shady with data -> entire field is obviously wrong and frauds.

    Guys posts seemingly racist article, has prior quotation admitting he is racist -> obviously that guy is joking.

    Are you sure there aren’t any tests you are failing?

  196. >But let’s suppose I were an expert in the field of psychometrics, and that I had reviewed all these studies in detail and concluded them to be such slop that they border on fraud. In that case, I think I don’t think it would be any kind of abuse of the word “racist” if I were to label Derbyshire as one for using those studies in support of his argument.

    It might still be a misuse of “racist” if he were honestly mistaken about the quality of the studies, rather than lying.

    But in reality the situation is actually more difficult than that, at least for anyone who wants to tag Derbyshire as a racist. Because when he says that the standard-deviation difference between whites and blacks is robust over an extremely wide range of attempts to measure intelligence, he’s factually correct. The same standard deviation of differences in the other direction separates gentile whites from Ashkenazic Jews and what Derbyshire calls “Northeast Asians” – hence my crack to Andrew Cohen upthread about not all the brightest white kids being part-Jewish.

    As I noted to Terry Wilson, we should not get sidetracked into a discussion of that evidence here and now. The important point is that Derbyshire’s claim actually does proceed from evidence, rather than from fantasy and desperate need-to-believe. I’m still trying to keep the discussion focused on rational evaluation versus anti-factual cringing.

  197. Terry Wilson said: More generically, however, I believe the author is racist because this “talk” is specifically about blacks without recognizing that there are other skin colors that tend to warn of potential danger, especially red.

    I don’t think that follows – that one is racist for warning (using unpleasant facts) about statistical dangers from one skin-color-group, without bringing up others that are less relevant.

    Unless you live on or near a reservation, it doesn’t come up nearly as often as the 1 in 8 Americans who identify as “black”; that’s why I think it’s not necessary to bring up the (presumably real) dangers of the statistical Red Man, because statistically they’re fewer and less common.

    I don’t see why we can infer racism (especially, remember, given the recent context of Racial Conflict Rhetoric after the Martin shooting) from not bothering to mention the Red Man.

    (I’ve often thought Derbyshire was sometimes a fool, and usually cantankerous – I’ve never thought him a bigot.)

  198. >Guys posts seemingly racist article, has prior quotation admitting he is racist -> obviously that guy is joking.

    No, I don’t really think it’s a joke, though there are elements of cynical humor in it. It’s more like an instance of illustrating absurdity by being absurd. But I think it’s too subtle for his audiences, and (as I’ve said before) it provides cover to monsters. I wish he’d stop, but I think he’s enjoying pissing off the people he pisses off too much for that.

    But your analogy with climate science is more on point than you may know. We can tell AGW is bunk because the theory can’t predict or even retrodict what happens in the real atmosphere. Similarly, we can tell that tagging Derbyshire as “racist” is mistaken because it predicts behaviors he does not exhibit and fails to predict behaviors that he does exhibit, like marrying a Chinese woman.

  199. @esr:

    fails to predict behaviors that he does exhibit, like marrying a Chinese woman.

    I still don’t get how this is relevant. On the flip side of Derbyshire’s comments, I grew up and live in Texas, and I can assure you there are several places in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana where a black man venturing after dark would be in almost as much danger as a white man venturing into Detroit after dark, but where an asian woman would be offered free drinks at the bar by any number of patrons vying for her phone number.

  200. > like marrying a Chinese woman.

    “In addition to the ordinary pleasures of friendship, you will gain an amulet against potentially career-destroying accusations of prejudice.”

  201. I imagine that the original article will most likely provoke a lot of emotional angst and discord. Regardless of the nuts & bolts of common sense education, playing the odds in everyday living, or just lazy latent racism; this meme will further the cause of Balkanization. Is that good or bad, or to-be-determined?

  202. And on a related note: does marrying a Chinese woman prove he’s not a sexist?

    Because similar “intelligence tests” have been written by Derbyshire regarding women that would be far easier to deride.

  203. ESR “Remember the point of the test; it is not about whether Derbyshire’s claims are true but about whether the reader is able to process them with rational analysis.”

    Not with question 4 on it, it’s not. That one is _absolutely_ about whether they are true, because if he knows they’re false or if he willfully fails to apply good standards of evidence, then they would indeed indicate racism. For #9 for example, I don’t agree that someone who makes up numbers like “5%” and “half” about something like this with no basis beyond “in my experience” actually demonstrates “the epistemic qualifications of someone who is actually thinking about them.” Am I not allowed to hold this opinion without failing the test?

    “Similarly, we can tell that tagging Derbyshire as “racist” is mistaken because it predicts behaviors he does not exhibit and fails to predict behaviors that he does exhibit, like marrying a Chinese woman.”

    Please explain why “has unjustified beliefs about the actual magnitude of mean differences between racial groups and/or the extent to which these remain after other indicia are normalized out and/or the extent to which you are likely to encounter situations where other indicia are not available” is not a valid definition of racism, or why it is contradicted by marrying a Chinese woman.

    I suspect that I actually come down on the “evaluation of his position is [not] sound” side of your false dichotomy (“Because if you conclude that Derbyshire is a “racist”, and your evaluation of his position is sound, then your definition of “racist” is broken in a very specific and serious way”) – in so far as you consider any evaluation that does not concur with your belief in his epistemic qualifications to be unsound. Am I wrong?

  204. @ esr
    > the speaking of unpleasant truths

    As others have noted, it is not at all clear that the anecdotes collected in Derbyshire’s piece collectively equal truth.

    This seems (not at all unusually) to be an example of your confirmation bias at work.

    And when you duck and cover on the question of which, precisely, of Derbyshire’s points you agree or disagree with, it is not difficult to imagine that you know this but choose to ignore it for the sake of your ongoing memetic war against the evil collectivist left.

  205. >but where an asian woman would be offered free drinks at the bar by any number of patrons vying for her phone number.

    Then you should at least consider the possibility that what endangers black people there is not racism but racially-coded classism – which I think is actually much more common now and has been for at least a generation. The check on this is how much the threat recedes if the black is wearing an expensive suit and speaks with a light or nonexistent accent.

  206. >Kids automatically divide people into categories; they’re natural essentialists.

    An interesting demonstration of that: In kindergarden, a heavyset black kid sitting across from me threw up on the table between us. For a number of years I lumped any overweight black or hispanic kid I ran into in the “likely to lose their lunch in front of me” category. Interestingly, this didn’t apply to dark-skinned kids of normal weight, or to overweight white kids. As I gained a broader sample size and found that such kids didn’t throw up more than the average, I eventually got over it, but it shows what kinds of odd correlations kids can find in the events of their lives.

  207. >How does marrying a Chinese woman prove he isn’t a racist?

    One of the most consistent features of racist belief systems is that miscegenation is bad and corrupting. Even in the antebellum South a white racist might use a black or Amerind woman sexually, but would not marry her or acknowledge her children. Marrying “outside your race” still constitutes pretty effective circumstantial evidence against racism.

  208. Funny, kn, but not on point for at least two reasons.

    First, you can’t assume your conclusion about Derbyshire; when he said “In addition to the ordinary pleasures of friendship, you will gain an amulet against potentially career-destroying accusations of prejudice.” he could have been offering either advice to racists on how to avoid being tagged or advice to non-racists about how to avoid false accusations. Thus, the quote doesn’t tell you which camp he’s in even if he married his wife as an execution of the quote.

    Secondly, he advises collecting friends as amulets, not a wife. See also my earlier comments about white racists using nonwhite women sexually but not marrying them or acknowledging their children, both of which Derbyshire has done.

  209. So which is it? Racism goes hand-and-hand with not mixing racial blood? (Obviously false.) Or the appearance of mixing racial blood? (Also Obviously false. Was Strom Thermund not a racist until the day it came to light that he had a child with a black woman?)

    Do we have a use a post-Civil War US sensibility towards racism? Were antibellum railroad operators not racist for preferring Chinese workers to free blacks? Are you actually arguing that in order to be racist, you must have bigoted views towards all racists, otherwise, you just don’t get your membership card?

    Who’s failing the intelligence test again?

  210. We do know that Derbyshire does not find women outside of the age range 15 to 20 sexually attractive. We do know that he would prefer if women were not allowed to vote. We do know that he thinks women who do not have a man to take care of them need to be cared for by the state.

    I don’t find his sexism or his racism incompatible with his marriage to a Chinese woman.

  211. “Was Strom Thermund not a racist until the day it came to light that he had a child with a black woman?”

    Edit: that should be switched around obviously.

  212. > Similarly, we can tell that tagging Derbyshire as “racist” is mistaken because it predicts behaviors he does not exhibit and fails to predict behaviors that he does exhibit, like marrying a Chinese woman.

    But is racism a binary thing, or a spectrum? It’s probably useful to distinguish between Hitler, Jefferson Davis, John Derbyshire, and a complete non-racist.

    >Then you should at least consider the possibility that what endangers black people there is not racism but racially-coded classism – which I think is actually much more common now and has been for at least a generation.

    It’s quite possible, although I also don’t think it’s a good idea to treat all racists as being identical in exactly what they hate.

  213. >Not with question 4 on it, it’s not. That one is _absolutely_ about whether they are true, because if he knows they’re false or if he willfully fails to apply good standards of evidence, then they would indeed indicate racism.

    I partially agree. If Derbyshire is lying about the evidence or willfully fails to apply good standards of evidence, it is indeed evidence of racism. However, you seem to want to tag him as a racist even if his claims are honestly mistaken, and that I reject. I think it doesn’t matter in deciding whether he is racist whether they are true, it matters whether he has sufficiently rational justification for believing them.

    >I don’t agree that someone who makes up numbers like “5%” and “half” about something like this with no basis beyond “in my experience” actually demonstrates “the epistemic qualifications of someone who is actually thinking about them.” Am I not allowed to hold this opinion without failing the test?

    Nope. I’m afraid you fail. The epistemic qualification that demonstrates he was thinking is exactly “in my experience”. An actual racist would rush to overinterpret his own experience as a general negative claim about blacks, and try to talk the listener into buying that claim. Derbyshire’s phrasing implies that he recognizes the listener’s experience may well be different and that his data is incomplete.

    Whatever his other flaws, Derbyshire is a careful thinker and a careful writer. He doesn’t insert qualifications like that by accident or without knowing what they mean.

  214. >As others have noted, it is not at all clear that the anecdotes collected in Derbyshire’s piece collectively equal truth.

    No, but so what? Remember what the test is about. All the claims may be false – but if you reject them because they are unpalatable to you rather than on the evidence you still fail.

    You are failing the meta-test.

  215. >Was Strom Thermund not a racist until the day it came to light that he had a child with a black woman?)

    On the contrary. Having a child with a black woman and failing to acknowledge it is very direct evidence of racism.

    >Racism goes hand-and-hand with not mixing racial blood? (Obviously false.)

    Not obviously false; fear and hatred of miscegenation (coupled with sexually using “inferior” women on the sly) has always been one of the most consistent features of racist belief systems. You do know that the last anti-miscegenation statutes weren’t cleaned off the books in the American south until the 1960s, right? So we’re certainly not talking about only antebellum attitudes – in fact the record is pretty clear that anti-black racism actually reached its most virulent pitch after the Civil War.

    >Were antibellum railroad operators not racist for preferring Chinese workers to free blacks?

    Ask the Chinese. I think they’ll telly you they got a pretty racist raw deal, and I agree.

    >Are you actually arguing that in order to be racist, you must have bigoted views towards all racists, otherwise, you just don’t get your membership card?

    No. If you can’t see the difference between that and loathing of miscegenation being a consistent feature of racism, I’m not the one with the comprehension problem here.

  216. “Having a child with a black woman and failing to acknowledge it is very direct evidence of racism.”

    I presume everyone takes it on faith that there was a quid pro quo with Essie Mae Washington-Williams to reveal the details after his demise and commence the whitewashing (he ackowledged her, cared for her, educated her)… in which case, by your definition, I would consider him not racist after the fact because the revelation came at his behest.

    ” fear and hatred of miscegenation (coupled with sexually using “infrerior” women on the sly) has always been one of the most consistent features of racist belief systems. ”

    Obviously false. As you said, many, clearly racist, men didn’t mind mixing their blood. Whether or not they tried to conceal this, I would not say they are not racist because they didn’t mind genetically mixing with them.

    “You do know that the last anti-miscegenation statutes weren’t cleaned off the books in the American south until the 1960s, right?”

    And? Do you understand that I am saying you can be a racist even if you all racial bloodlines to mix? Why do you think pointing out historical data is going to persuade me to your absurdly narrow definition?

    “No. If you can’t see the difference between that and loathing of miscegenation being a consistent feature of racism, I’m not the one with the comprehension problem here.”

    Yes, I do (I am pointing out the obvious argument how he is a racist and you are presenting an absurd argument for how he is not) and I still don’t think you’ve remotely explained why you can’t be a racist if you are willing to mix blood (and/or acknowledge it) with some other race.

    As far as I can tell, you stepped yourself into a typical Darbyshire comment: “I am racist, just a mild one at that.” But at least I would have more respect for that intellectual honesty rather than the stupidity of claiming you can’t be a racist towards one or more ethnicities if you are willing to marry another ethnicity.

  217. Okay, I’ll bite:

    (1) I did notice that the paragraph about “statistical common sense” was key. I see no reason, though, to accept its implied premise that its ancilliary bullet points constitute statistical common sense. When two populations are as diverse as ‘Blacks’ and ‘Whites’, going by the difference between their averages rarely makes sense. To make sense, this difference would have to be greater than the standard deviation within each population. Mr Derbyshire provides no evidence that it is. Consequently, his argument fails to support his broad prescriptions that follow.

    (2) and (3): no.

    (4) I finished the article with no particular beliefs about Mr. Derbyshire being a racist or not. I did get the impression that he is a hack, based on the disproportion between his broad prescriptions and his skinny statistical evidence ‘supporting’ them.

    (5) I do not consider Eric a racist. The questions he asked in this thread did not change my perception about the matter. I did get the impression that he got carried away by a mischievous joy from poking conventional ‘liberal’ wisdom in the eye.

  218. – “However, you seem to want to tag him as a racist even if his claims are honestly mistaken, and that I reject. [...] it matters whether he has sufficiently rational justification for believing them.” — One can’t ‘honestly’ lack rational justification? “Man is not a rational animal, he is a rationalizing animal.” I almost left out the “willfully” qualifier from my statement, and I think I should have.

    — “Nope. I’m afraid you fail. The epistemic qualification that demonstrates he was thinking is exactly “in my experience”. ” — Okay, then, how do you “experience” that? What was his methodology for determining if any given person he meets is in one of those two categories? Sounds more like an assumption than an experience.

  219. >Marrying “outside your race” still constitutes pretty effective circumstantial evidence against racism.

    It’s good evidence against racism *towards that particular race*. It is not good evidence against racism in general. One could see miscegenation with Asians as perfectly OK but with blacks as being an unforgivable sin.

  220. Interesting. You’re the second person to have singled this out as the least defensible bullet point where I could see them do it. I think it does in fact follow logically from different observed mean levels of propensity to criminal behavior, but Derbyshire should have done a better job of connecting those dots.

    That point jumped out at me as well, however even with those dots connected, it doesn’t seem that much more defensible to me.

    If an individual believes that the character of their poli-critters is important then they should scrutinize said poli-critters. I don’t believe you SHOULDN’T scrutinize a black candidate so much as you shouldn’t give a white candidate a free pass because statistics say they’re less likely to be a stand-up character. Perhaps i’m reacting more to the way I read the point than what the point was actually saying.

    If the point was focusing on how to proportion the limited time you spent in such scrutiny, that seems more defensible (you have to split your time without solid information one way or the other).

  221. “they’re less likely to be a stand-up character” == “they’re more likely to be a stand-up character”

    I think my cynicism is getting to me. My brain now auto-correct’s more likely to less likely when talking about the character of politicians.

  222. “The prudent man perceives the danger and protects himself. The fool walks on and suffers injury.”
    Having grown up in a neighborhood that was initially, predominantly white, then gradually was overtaken by blacks during “white flight”, my experience taught me a few things:
    Tagging a whole community with one tag is a mistake.
    There is good and evil in all races.
    There are evil attitudes and influences in life that must be over-ridden and replaced with GOOD.
    Without a moral compass a civilization is certain to run aground.
    Jesse Jackson’s quote in the above piece, is probably a universal experience among blacks
    and whites alike.
    Anything that is subsidized, increases.

    My answers were all “No”, with a heartfelt, “I wish it weren’t that way”.

    One final test for the white liberals who wish to excuse everything for blacks, and to blame all whites for the mistakes of past generations is this:
    On a balmy summer Friday or Saturday night:
    Attend an all black function of age group 30 and below.
    Walk alone, down ONE (1) city block that is predominantly black.
    I have had Dallas policemen strongly advise against such foolish behavior. “You may walk in, but you won’t walk out.”

    This year I was hoping for a Herman Cain/Allen West ticket.

    This conversation, “The Talk: Non Black Version”, is long overdue.

  223. @esr:

    Then you should at least consider the possibility that what endangers black people there is not racism but racially-coded classism – which I think is actually much more common now and has been for at least a generation. The check on this is how much the threat recedes if the black is wearing an expensive suit and speaks with a light or nonexistent accent.

    I don’t think so. In a lot of those places a well-dressed, well-spoken black man would probably be in more danger than one who “knows his place.”

  224. >It’s probably useful to distinguish between Hitler, Jefferson Davis, John Derbyshire, and a complete non-racist.

    Granted. But there’s a logical fallacy that gapes wide for you when you start speaking about “spectra” in situations like this. Beware of seeing so many shades of gray that you can’t talk about black and white any more.

  225. As a fell Texan, I can (sadly) confirm Patrick’s analysis. “Uppity” blacks are less tolerated than the average when you run across those “Fine Southern Gentlemen.”

    Thankfully, this attitude is few and far between, but I grew up redneck, I know the archetype pretty well.

  226. >One can’t ‘honestly’ lack rational justification?

    One can, but so what? You seem to be changing the subject.

    >What was his methodology for determining if any given person he meets is in one of those two categories?

    When anyone – black or white – is in the hostile 5% (or whatever the number is) it’s not a difficult thing to spot. I have experienced racial hostility from blacks myself; it wasn’t a subtle phenomenon. Thankfully, I haven’t had to cope with it often – but one of the times that it happened, surrounded by angry black youths on a night train out of Trenton many years ago, was one of the very few times in my life that I have known powerful physical fear.

  227. >It’s good evidence against racism *towards that particular race*. It is not good evidence against racism in general. One could see miscegenation with Asians as perfectly OK but with blacks as being an unforgivable sin.

    That is theoretically possible, yes. But not the way to bet.

    I was thinking about this while I was at MMA class and I figured out something about this whole thread that had been eluding me before. That is, a lot of people who aren’t finding Derbyshire’s Chinese wife evidence against racism probably have an oversimplified model of how racist beliefs form and are maintained. This leads to errors which I would have replicated myself before I read a couple of good sources on the topic, most notably a history of slavery that was focused on the difference between classical Greco-Roman slavery and the antebellum Southern version; the intention was specifically to analyze the relationship between racism and slavery.

    What I learned is that anti-black racism (or any other particular kind) seems to be an instance of an instinctive template that combines xenophobia with an emotional revulsion against contamination by filth, where filth is equated with “people not like us”. This is easier to see when you can contrast the racial rationalizations for New World slavery with the Greco-Roman version, which wasn’t racialized. You can also get this, actually, from studying anti-Semitic propaganda, in which the motif of filth and impurity is even stronger and more foregrounded.

    Where I’m going with this is that prejudice against just one kind of Other isn’t the way racists generally roll; they tend more to have everybody who’s not recognizably “their people” equated with filth. Nazis didn’t just massacre Jews but blacks and gypsies as well. Conversely, scratch an anti-black racist and your probability of finding prejudice against Jews – and Chinese! – is quite high.

    So, as I said, Derbyshire’s Chinese wife isn’t conclusive proof that Derbyshire isn’t a racist. But it’s significant indirect evidence of same.

  228. I failed due to answering yes on #4, only.

    4. Did you finish the article believing that John Derbyshire (the author) is a racist?

    I finished the article still wondering if Derbyshire is a racist, although I couldn’t locate any explicitly racist statements. However, I knew that the article would appear to be racist to most people. Furthermore, based on the solid analysis within the article, Derbyshire is obviously intelligent enough to realize how the article appears. Yet he published it anyway.

    A person who intentionally publishes an article, knowing that said article appears to be racist, seems very likely to actually be a racist. Appearances are part of reality, even when they are misleading. Thus I answered yes for #4.

  229. “…..contrast the racial rationalizations for New World slavery with the Greco-Roman version, which wasn’t racialized.”

    @esr: The key to understanding this difference is to note that in Graeco-Roman times, slavery was perfectly normal and OK. Slaves were simply low status members of the same society as their masters. (You might make and exception for the Spartans and the Helots.)
    OTOH, when the American South was colonized, English society had progressed to the point where slavery was immoral. Serfdom was a thing of the past. You could not keep people as slaves. The plantation owners had a real problem with this. They could not get and keep English workers, and the Indians were no help. In order to use African slaves they had to make up the whole ‘race’ story. “You can’t keep people as slaves, but the Africans are of a lower order and are not fully people.” This was their excuse. They *had to* racialize their victims.

    People need to learn this early, and know enough to not try to keep the story going. It’s evil, and needs to die.

  230. @esr:

    That is, a lot of people who aren’t finding Derbyshire’s Chinese wife evidence against racism probably have an oversimplified model of how racist beliefs form and are maintained.

    I don’t know that I actually have any model of this; certainly not a good one. All I have is observations.

    So, as I said, Derbyshire’s Chinese wife isn’t conclusive proof that Derbyshire isn’t a racist. But it’s significant indirect evidence of same.

    I think you will find that many overt instances of racism are specifically directed at men. Since you’re thinking about instinctive templates, is there perhaps one that says that “other” men are to be killed and “other” women are to be assimilated? (I know I’ve seen nature shows that show this sort of thing happening with other mammals, up to and including primates, and several passages in the bible, including the story of Moses, would seem to indicate that it doesn’t stop with chimpanzees.)

  231. @LS: The Old South included some white slaves and some black slaveowners.

  232. >A person who intentionally publishes an article, knowing that said article appears to be racist, seems very likely to actually be a racist.

    This doesn’t seem nearly as obvious to me. But then, I’m a pugnacious contrarian.

  233. >Since you’re thinking about instinctive templates, is there perhaps one that says that “other” men are to be killed and “other” women are to be assimilated?

    Oh, yeah, sure. Rape of the Sabine women and all that. But you don’t get racialized chattel slavery from that one; the whole point is that the women are sufficiently “clean” to breed with once their men have been slaughtered.

  234. After reading many of the comments here, I am now wondering if esr’s original test was truly an “intelligence test,” or if it was a Voigt-Kampff test disguised as an intelligence test. From what I can tell, it’s possible that unintelligent, irrational people could pass it with flying colors and bright empaths could fail it completely.

    Honest answers will hinges on the individual definition of “racism” — which has long since entered the murky, Orwellian territory of English — and on one’s parsing of certain words from this phrase from the article: “…on the many occasions where you have nothing to guide you but knowledge of those mean differences…” In particular, the meaning of “many” and “nothing” will vary widely through any population, and not just in edge cases.

    For instance, white people like myself who were born and raised in majority black cities would rarely have “nothing” to go on but the skin color of those around me. There’s just a lot more contextual info that I can process, almost all of it more helpful than race.

    So, by that criteria, if Derbyshire is a typical exurban type with little real experience with black people, it would make sense strategically for him to keep a wide berth from them, and to advise his similarly naive offspring to do the same, simply because he’d be putting himself in an alien situation without much to go on as far as figuring out what is a threat and what isn’t. It doesn’t necessarily make him a racist, anymore than “the black talk” that he was trying to parody. It is just one kind of survival strategy that he finds especially helpful. There doesn’t seem to be anything inherently evil about this strategy (except arguably for “10h”), and it’s seems that some might be intended as jest (particularly 13-15, which are almost impossible to take seriously). But it’s equally clear that there are many intelligent people in the world who have access to more accurate and useful survival tools than Derbyshire does, and much more sensitive antennae when it comes to figuring out who is a threat and who isn’t, regardless of race. The more you find yourself restrained to the laboratory position of “no useful information available apart from race”, the less life experience you likely have… or, ironically, the less intelligent you might be.

  235. Um, because he considers Asians to be a model minority and because he can threaten his wife with deportation.

  236. >Um, because he considers Asians to be a model minority and because he can threaten his wife with deportation.

    So, do you have any evidence for these claims, or are they just fantasy projection?

  237. >But it’s equally clear that there are many intelligent people in the world who have access to more accurate and useful survival tools than Derbyshire does, and much more sensitive antennae when it comes to figuring out who is a threat and who isn’t, regardless of race.

    I’m not your hypothetical clueless exurban. Between 1976 and 1983 I lived in the University City area of West Philly, which was and is bordered by slummy areas inhabited by black people. Most of the University crowd has little or no contact with that surround despite living within blocks of them; I was an exception, because I half-accidentally became friendly with some local black musicians and jammed with them occasionally.

    A notable feature of West Philly black culture at that time, which I picked up quickly and used, was that musicians of any color were respected and not casually messed with. I thus made a point of carrying an instrument case visibly when I had to walk through black neighborhoods and was never hassled. Years later after I had moved out to Malvern I explained this tactic to an academic from Penn and he literally paled in shock. It seems I got out just in time; this was just before the crack epidemic of the mid-1980s, when the ghetto culture got a lot more vicious; according to him, a white boy trying the same stunt even two or three years later would probably not have made it out alive.

    Nothing about my experience disposed me to argue the point. I knew from the body language of those who watched me pre-crack-epidemic that I was on black turf by sufferance, which could instantly be withdrawn if I breached the fragile etiquette of the situation. As long as I was just a musician and didn’t dis anyone, no problem – but I was careful neither to look nervous nor to make eye contact that could be considered challenging because it was quite clear that a serious beating or worse could easily follow. It wasn’t at all implausible to hear that the thin bubble of tolerance accorded white musicians later vanished.

    I’m explaining all this to establish that I survived quite effectively in a black urban environment and even had friendly relations with individuals in it. I had no racist feelings about the blacks I moved among, but I had no illusions about them either. Most of Derbyshire’s street-survival advice would have seemed no more than obvious common sense to me even then, even though my aura as a musician allowed me a few liberties that he would doubtless recommend against taking.

    Derbyshire’s advice still seems like obvious common sense to me now. I wouldn’t try to buy tolerance with an instrument case today even if I were sure the street culture had recovered from the crack epidemic; I think that signal is much less likely to work for a middle-aged man with brawler’s muscles on him than the skinny elfin-looking kid I was in the 1970s. I wouldn’t go back to those streets without a firearm I could reach easily; I wouldn’t advise any white person less ready than me to handle trouble to go there at all; and even armed and as ready as I am, if my route took me near an idle group of more than two or three young black men I’d either seek an alternate route or abort the mission entirely.

  238. CB: I’ve walked in many “bad neighborhoods”. The only time I was seriously alarmed at the lack of social order was in Baltimore, where a pair of black people were having a heated conversation at the top of their lungs across the street. In the next block there was a clump of idle black men gathered in front of a store. And, really, it wasn’t the blackness, it was the shouting and the idleness that alarmed me. A crowd of young bored men is not a good thing to be around if you are distinguishable from them in any way, and maybe not even then.

  239. Obviously false. As you said, many, clearly racist, men didn’t mind mixing their blood. Whether or not they tried to conceal this, I would not say they are not racist because they didn’t mind genetically mixing with them.

    Don’t ever underestimate the mind’s powers of denial, especially when the volatile, hard-wired triggers of disgust or moral self-assuredness are present. In particular, don’t mistake a man’s willingness to use an available woman sexually (i.e., as an unimportant means to his own end of physical pleasure and/or power) with his considering the outcome (which might include children but might also entail ritual defilement or other consequences) acceptable.

    It’s entirely possible that such racist attitudes could coexist with that willingness; some might entertain an analogy to that of a pet: She lives in my house, I feed her, and we provide each other with companionship, but she’s not a real person.

  240. @esr

    Wow, Eric, you are getting awfully close to actually pissing me off…

    “This is just a way of admitting that you reject plausible claims not on the basis of truth but because you think believing them might make the world a worse or uglier place. You fail the test. The truth is what the truth is, not what makes us comfortable.”

    You can’t accept the possibility that his “plausible claims” do not support his “behavioural advice”. I think this is because you can’t even examine the possibility that “advice” and “plausible claims” are not one and the same (I’ve gone over this before.) Do you even realize that this article even contains explicitly racist (or at least race-oriented) behavioural advice? If you answer ‘no’ to that, than this so-called “intelligence test” is a case of the blind trying to lead the blind.

    “You fail again. If point 11 (lower average intelligence of blacks) is true, it doesn’t matter for Derbyshire’s survival-advice purposes – or the purposes of my test – what the reasons for the divergence in means are. By wandering off on that tangent, you demonstrate again that you would rather dismiss or ignore the implications of unpleasant fact claims than actually cope with them.”

    Eric, with all due respect (and I must iterate that I would like to find a gentler or more diplomatic description, but my mind fails to override my innate need to make this point very strongly), what you have said here is utter and complete bullshit. The reason why I am on this so-called tangent (which is where I was at before I had ever heard of this “Derbyshire”, not arrived based on his point 11) is because I have read, and accepted, a myriad of unpleasant facts from at least four different full size books (i.e.: screw that you can base such a judgment of my reasoning abilities on my reaction to one obscure article.) It would take me too long to transcribe them so I’ll just give you the titles: “Dumbing Down Our Kids” by Charles Sykes, “No Easy Answers” by Brooks Brown, “You’re Teaching My Child What?” by Dr. Miriam Grossman, and “The Burden of Bad Ideas” by Heather Mac Donald. Before you continue slandering my ability to process unpleasant assertions, read these four books please.

    “As a separate point, I will note that Derbyshire’s claims about the psychometric evidence are completely consistent with my knowledge of that evidence.”

    So it is with my own.

    “It is not required that I endorse any of his conclusions or judgements for me to note this, and I don’t want to be sidetracked into a discussion of that evidence.”

    Okay. I’m posting and showing my agreement with this in order to show my objectivity.

    “Remember the point of the test; it is not about whether Derbyshire’s claims are true but about whether the reader is able to process them with rational analysis.”

    Have I not done so? How hasn’t my analysis been rational?

    I’ll try to tackle the closest thing I’ve seen so far to a valid accusation that I have not been “able to process [claims] with rational analysis.”

    “it doesn’t matter for Derbyshire’s survival-advice purposes – or the purposes of my test – what the reasons for the divergence in means are.”

    I take it that you think my belief that there are causes (what you call “reasons”) why black people are less intelligent than non-black people is somehow irrational? If I knew _why_ “The mean intelligence of blacks is much lower than for whites”, I can’t use that knowledge to better apply Derbyshire’s so-called “survival-advice” in a more effective manner which has the added bonus of being non-racist (or rather, not race-oriented.) Do you think that my inference that Derbyshire framing the effects of these causes (which he probably doesn’t understand) in a highly racial context shouldn’t lead me to suspect that maybe he does have a racist bone in his body (perhaps, hopefully, just the stirrup in his ear, the smallest bone I can think of.)

    “You appear to believe that the article is racist because it says bad things about black people that you would prefer to dismiss or explain away.”

    Actually, it is his behavioural advice that leads me to believe that he is racist, whatever assertions he makes to back it up. If point 4 were successful in covering his ass, I don’t thing the National Review would have fired it. Unfortunately, his advice advocating “statistical common sense” in and under point 10 actually contradicts point 4. If you believe “any individual black is entitled to the same courtesies you would extend to a nonblack citizen” and in the next breath say something like “Do not act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress”, it does seem pretty hypocritical, doesn’t it?

    “That is not sufficient; the bad things have to be untrue, and the claims have to be rooted in prejudice rather than rational judgment, for the term ‘racist’ to apply.”

    Okay, I’ll disprove this “Do not act the Good Samaritan” bit. (It was much easier than I expected, lol.) “Good Samaritan” hyperlinks to an article on Quintin Guerrero, a New Yorker who was killed in about this time last year for intervening in highly extenuating circumstances were deception was apparently not used to trap him. Another Good Samaritan is quoted in the article as saying, “A lot of drivers don’t like to get involved, but I don’t mind being involved. If more drivers would get involved the streets might be a little be safer. (sic)” That seriously weakens this link’s support for Derbyshire’s point 10h. One of the greatest things anyone ever said is “Love thy neighbour as yourself.” Isn’t that part of point 4? Oh, never mind. Hey, even with the hyperlink in the article, “Do not act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress, e.g., on the highway.” contains no assertions of fact. None. Nada. Nope. It’s _implied_ “fact” concludes with someone advising the exact opposite of what Derbyshire is advising. Based on this, I must conclude that Derbyshire’s point 10h, is indeed, _untrue_, and Eric, while I’m currently not 100% sure that you possess such an ability, I’ll let you figure out the implications.

    Terry

  241. @ esr
    > I’m a pugnacious contrarian

    Never a truer word was spoken.

    At times this is a useful technique to encourage the checking of assumptions. Truth be told, one of the reasons I still read this blog is to make sure I understand why I disagree so often with the politics you profess.

    But in this case I think your delight in being both pugnacious and contrary has encouraged you to overlook the nastiness peeking out from the lines of Derbyshire’s piece.

    If there is a lesson in the “meta” “intelligence” test you have extracted from Derbyshire’s piece, as best as I can make out, you seem to be saying that caring what people think (or, more cynically, caring at all) is to be considered some sort of softheaded liberal affliction.

    It is that lack of empathy which makes the dry libertarian blind spot on matters of race and sex in particular so inherently distasteful to me.

    Obviously this is not a view shared with many other commenters here.

  242. @Sigivald,

    “Unless you live on or near a reservation, it [red skin color] doesn’t come up nearly as often as the 1 in 8 Americans who identify as ‘black'; that’s why I think it’s not necessary to bring up the (presumably real) dangers of the statistical Red Man, because statistically they’re fewer and less common.”

    Well, I brought up red mostly to pick upon the color most people turn when embarrassed or angry, including myself.

    As for “Unless you live on or near a reservation”… um … I lived in downtown Calgary, Alberta for eight years and moved from there to the North Central community of Regina, Saskatchewan. I also managed to get screwed over by a church planted out of Nigeria (i.e.: I was the only white guy there, and one of two non-blacks, the other being Chinese) and the Indian (i.e. he speaks Hindi) business owner next door. My best friends in Calgary are Vietnamese. Despite all the encounters I’ve had with native drunks (and victims of other addictions), I still have had the most trouble with The White Man.

    Terry

  243. esr wrote on Tuesday, April 10 2012 at 12:23 am ( http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=4270&cpage=1#comment-378101 ):

    “Oh, yeah, sure. Rape of the Sabine women and all that. But you don’t get racialized chattel slavery from that one; the whole point is that the women are sufficiently “clean” to breed with once their men have been slaughtered.”

    So “their women are usable, the stronger male essence of OUR precious bodily fluids will make our half-breed offspring OK — it’s only their males who have to die” is somehow NOT proof of seeing these “Others” as on the whole inherently inferior, i.e. racist?

    Your logic sometimes astounds me.

  244. Hey, Eric, you still haven’t addressed the reply I and several others gave to your Q 4, “Did you finish the article believing that John Derbyshire (the author) is a racist?”; namely that he must have known how his article would offend a lot of people because of their race, and he published it anyway, thus showing that he was perfectly willing to offend a lot of people because of their race.

    Please explain how any reasonably sane and intelligent person would NOT have to conclude that yes, someone so willing to intentionally offend a lot of people because of their race has to be at least somewhat racist.

  245. OK, sorry about the serial spamming… Maybe it’s because I’m the only one awake right now, being on the other side of the world from you Yanks. Anyway, a propos of that whole “Don’t be a Good Samaritan to a black person in need” bit — it shows, if nothing else, that Derbyshire (and those who endorse this point of his) either weren’t very good little pupils in Sunday School, or they’ve forgot what they learnt there: Helping the “Other”, even though there was no “rational” reason like kinship to do so, and even though it entailed a higher risk than only helping people of his own tribe, was the whole darn POINT of the parable; it was precisely this that made him a Good Samaritan. Derbyshire’s implicit recommendation, “only be a Good Samaritan to people of your own race”, is an exact recipe for how NOT be a Good Samaritan at all.

    (It’s funny, BTW, how often it turns out that we avowed atheists know Biblical history better than the Jeezmoids who spew some half-digested, half-garbled version of it in purported “support” of their old prejudices.)

  246. Quote from Rachel Hislop of Global Grind, who is black, in response to “The Talk: The Non-Black Version” by John Derbyshire.

    Racism is not a priority to white people because they aren’t subjected to it, just as starvation is not a reality to the well fed. Most don’t know they are holding a privilege until they are stripped of it, or exposed to someone without it.

    Read more: http://globalgrind.com/news/talk-accepting-our-social-responsibility-post-trayvon-america#ixzz1rdu5Ri4h

    Revealing that her response to what she perceives as racism was to assert that racism is a one way street. She denies that blacks are racist towards whites. I’m not sure how she expects to open “honest race dialogue” with such a gross lie. There are others in what is a fairly brief letter. Step one in improving the world is to perceive it as it is, not as you want it. Eric, do you have any advice for engaging with folks whose thought processes are so crippled, other than “don’t?”

  247. >Wow, Eric, you are getting awfully close to actually pissing me off…

    I’ll probably piss you off worse when I say that I cannot extract much from your response other than vigorous handwaving. Fortunately, pissing people off never bothers me much; I have a heuristic that if I don’t make 10% of my audience uncomfortable I’m not challenging them enough.

    >Do you even realize that this article even contains explicitly racist (or at least race-oriented) behavioural advice?

    It contains advice that uses skin color as a discriminator. I don’t concede that such advice is inherently racist.

  248. @ESR – so then you agree with Derbyshire that his behavioral advice (point 10) is the rational course of action if his fact claims are true? That it is not is the main substance of Terry’s comment. You did not address the behavioral advice at all in your “intelligence test”, except in question 4 (which necessarily concerns the whole of the article)

  249. >So “their women are usable, the stronger male essence of OUR precious bodily fluids will make our half-breed offspring OK — it’s only their males who have to die” is somehow NOT proof of seeing these “Others” as on the whole inherently inferior, i.e. racist?

    Consider the representative case I mentioned. Why do you suppose “stronger male essence” is what the Romans believed about themselves with respect the Sabines and other barbarians? In fact, from at least late Republican times – and probably earlier – there was a strain of Roman moralism that held up the Gauls as models of rugged rural simplicity and vigor that had retained virtues lost by corrupt, indolent city-dwelling Romans.

    The Romans didn’t think the Sabines were “inherently inferior” at all. And if they had ever maintained such a silly idea, the defeat at the Caudine Forks would have disabused them of it.

  250. >Please explain how any reasonably sane and intelligent person would NOT have to conclude that yes, someone so willing to intentionally offend a lot of people because of their race has to be at least somewhat racist.

    Will I do as an example? Because I’m so used myself to provoking people with politically incorrect ideas in order to kick them into thinking, I don’t assume that anybody epatering les bourgeoises actually intends a stab through the heart.

  251. >you agree with Derbyshire that his behavioral advice (point 10) is the rational course of action if his fact claims are true?

    Rereading, I think 10h (do not act the Good Samaritan) would be overcautious for me. But my risk evaluation for encounters with single individuals of any color is influenced by the fact that I’m almost never unarmed outside my home and can in any case fight pretty competently empty-hand.

    10c/10d/10e (in public settings, avoid blacks in large numbers) could probably use some qualification that the age average and range of the crowd matters a lot. Homogenous crowds of young black men are potentially extremely dangerous; crowds including older blacks, children, and a higher proportion of females much less so.

    Otherwise I think all the advice follows pretty obviously from the fact claims.

  252. Terry,

    I’ll help a little:

    > I take it that you think my belief that there are causes (what you call “reasons”) why black people are less intelligent than non-black people is somehow irrational?

    No he doesn’t believe that. He’s pointing out that for purposes of individuals dealing with the problem now, it doesn’t matter what the cause is. Derbyshire’s talk is about individuals and the now. I cannot go back in time and make sure everyone has good nutrition to prevent problems now.

    I believe, and I suspect that you, esr and Derbyshire agree, that we must study the intelligence gap in order to actually help. People will be offended. People will lash out. But we cannot find solutions if we aren’t willing to look at the problem.

    Yours,
    Tom

  253. >Eric, do you have any advice for engaging with folks whose thought processes are so crippled, other than “don’t?”

    Not really. If I were feeling in need of entertainment, I might tweak such a person by aping the language of victim studies: “Who are you to other me and assume so glibly that you know what my experience is like?” I could go on like that for 20 minutes if I needed to; their cant is not complicated, because it’s really a kind of duckspeak for avoiding thought. But I’d do it knowing that it wouldn’t actually make any difference to a Rachel Hislop’s thinking. You can’t fix stupid.

  254. Christian R. Conrad: Your logic sometimes astounds me.

    Eric has a weird way of describing ethical relationships: “neither [Christianity nor conservatism] requires or entails hatred as such, just regarding others as lesser breeds without the Law and without ethical reciprocity”. So maybe he just likes to use a different word than other people use to describe violent bigotry.

  255. >Marrying “outside your race” still constitutes pretty effective circumstantial evidence against racism.

    I’ll take this opportunity to point out that James A. Donald is married to a Vietnamese woman, and has two sons.

  256. >I believe, and I suspect that you, esr and Derbyshire agree, that we must study the intelligence gap in order to actually help.

    Indeed. And we know some things about it that are important. One is that the Flynn effect tailed off in the 1990s, so at least for people in developed countries we’ve probably collected almost all the gain in mean intelligence that we’re going to get from nutrition and lifestyle interventions.

    Shit oh dear, I just had a disturbing thought. Despite the Flynn effect, the standard-deviation IQ differences (between whites and blacks, and between Jews/Asians and whites) haven’t gone away. What if the mechanism of the Flynn effect not only raised averages everywhere but converged them across different populations? That would imply that some of the mean differences used to be larger. Possibly much larger. That would explain a lot of nasty history in way that wouldn’t make anybody happy, except maybe a Nazi. I hope this conjecture is wrong.

  257. ESR: “Consider the representative case I mentioned. [...] The Romans didn’t think the Sabines were “inherently inferior” at all.”

    Here’s another idea: Let’s not consider the hardly-representative 2.5KY-old case you mentioned, and in stead recall that you dragged that up in response to people telling you that miscegenating with women of “an inferior race” is in no way proof that the miscegenator is not a racist. I don’t see how the Romans high views of the Sabines proves that. Or are you saying that all the Southern slave owners who made hordes of little mulattoes in the huts out in back of the plantation thereby proved that they weren’t racists either?

  258. You do know that the last anti-miscegenation statutes weren’t cleaned off the books in the American south until the 1960s, right?

    Later! Loving v. Virginia decided that miscegenation statutes could not be enforced anymore, and that was in the 1967, but some of the statutes and constitutional provisions stayed around as dead letters. Alabama finally got a referendum to eliminate its in 2000. (It was low-hanging fruit, for sure. The state Attorney General, William Pryor, who pushed for the referendum, is now a federal appellate judge on the 11th Circuit.)

  259. >Eric has a weird way of describing ethical relationships

    Here’s what I said originally:

    As much as I dislike Christianity and conservatism, neither belief system entails hating on other people – this is smug left-liberal moral vanity talking. A blind, arrogant and mistaken belief in a One True Way, maybe; occasional outbreaks of murderous conversion-by-the-sword, maybe – but neither of these requires or entails hatred as such, just regarding others as lesser breeds without the Law and without ethical reciprocity.

    To dispel the obvious confusion, I was quoting Kipling’s “lesser breeds without the Law”; and as George Orwell pointed out

    It is assumed as a matter of course that the ‘lesser breeds’ are ‘natives’, and a mental picture is called up of some pukka sahib in a pith helmet kicking a coolie. In its context the sense of the line is almost the exact opposite of this. The phrase ‘lesser breeds’ refers almost certainly to the Germans, and especially the pan-German writers, who are ‘without the Law’ in the sense of being lawless, not in the sense of being powerless

    And grendelkhan is right. I prefer describing violent bigotry that is not racist with a word other than racist.

  260. >people telling you that miscegenating with women of “an inferior race” is in no way proof that the miscegenator is not a racist.

    Wow, are you confused. You’re reporting a non-argument against a position I never actually took.

    I’ll try explaining very simply and slowly; do try to keep up. The behavior characteristic of racists combines the following features: (a) a horror of miscegenation and “mixed blood”, (b) use of “inferior” women for sexual gratification, (c) refusal to marry the “inferior” women one has used for sexual gratification or acknowledge the paternity of “mixed-blood” children.

    Now try checking this template against Strom Thurmond and the Roman rape of the Sabine women. Strom Thurmond exhibited racist behavior over most of his lifetime; the Romans, killing Sabine men to take Sabine wives, did not.

  261. >I’ll take this opportunity to point out that James A. Donald is married to a Vietnamese woman, and has two sons.

    [citation needed]

  262. @Tom DeGisi “No he doesn’t believe that. He’s pointing out that for purposes of individuals dealing with the problem now, it doesn’t matter what the cause is.”

    It does if the cause A) can be directly measured [or by a different proxy other than race] and B) there is no or negligible further difference between groups once the ’cause’ factor (or at least the other measurable correlated indicia) is normalized out. If those are true, then the claim is weakened to “it’s easier to look at race”, which is something that has to be examined for whether it is actually true and by how much, and if someone believes that it’s not worth a little bit of additional mental effort to avoid false positives (Especially in case 10h, which does actual harm to someone for their race rather than merely opportunity costs of association) and not be objectively racist, then I think they can legitimately be criticized as racist.

    In other words, if you have a number of different measurable factors, and you choose to consider “race” and ignore “everything else”, and “race” isn’t actually in fact a significantly better indicator than “everything else”, then you’re a racist precisely _for_ a failure to use statistical common sense.

    On the G+ thread, ESR read into the article a claim that race is a better proxy than everything else that was not actually present. Quote: “but what Derbyshire is saying is that race is a strong predictor after those indicia are normalized out.” He did not in fact say that. One can argue that it is implied that he believes that (I do not think so, I think he just thinks it’s easier), but he has not stated what his grounds for that (either) belief are.

  263. >Derbyshire’s implicit recommendation, “only be a Good Samaritan to people of your own race”, is an exact recipe for how NOT be a Good Samaritan at all.

    You almost certainly misunderstand Derbyshire if you think that’s that he’s saying. None of his advice bears at all on, for example, American Indians.

  264. (It’s funny, BTW, how often it turns out that we avowed atheists know Biblical history better than the Jeezmoids who spew some half-digested, half-garbled version of it in purported “support” of their old prejudices.)

    “I’m angry that I know more about their religion than they do!” –Greta Christina, giving just one minor out of many reasons why “angry atheists” have a right to be angry.

  265. 10c/10d/10e (in public settings, avoid blacks in large numbers) could probably use some qualification that the age average and range of the crowd matters a lot. Homogenous crowds of young black men are potentially extremely dangerous; crowds including older blacks, children, and a higher proportion of females much less so.

    It also depends on the people. If I see a crowd of blacks who look like Maurice Moss I’m not going to be bothered in the slightest. If they’re rough-looking, fuck yeah I’m gonna stay away! But I’d stay away from rough-looking whites just as assiduously; and seeing one such roughneck — black, white, or other — will make me be on guard and observe his movements very carefully.

  266. @esr:
    “It seems I got out just in time; this was just before the crack epidemic of the mid-1980s, when the ghetto culture got a lot more vicious; according to him, a white boy trying the same stunt even two or three years later would probably not have made it out alive.”

    I’m familiar with those neighborhoods myself (University City, Spruce Hill, Powelton, etc), and I can tell you and your friend this: being white sometimes had it’s advantages during the crack craze, even if you were in the gritter parts of town (west of 45th street, north of Spruce). That was because you were assumed to be a customer, and dealers liked return business.

    Anyway, I don’t think this has much to do with the point of my post, which was that ceteris paribus laboratory conditions rarely exist to the extent that someone like Derbyshire presumes in his point 10 prescriptions. It’s akin to saying, “In a sterile, featureless world full of naked strangers, steer clear of the black ones.” This might be good, sound advice or it might be terrible advice, but for most people its not enough information to make a good decision. Or, more pointedly, people who can’t find any more useful information than skin color are probably too stupid to be walking around unattended.

    All that said, I do see many people here that could be failing the intelligence test, if only for empathic reasons. The case for arguing Derbyshire’s racism has nothing to do with the statistical data he offers or the conclusions he draws from it, or even from his confrontational (and sometimes weirdly robotic) tone. It stems from the fact that the world isn’t a naked and featureless void in which race can be partitioned from other co-factors, and the value that Derbyshire’s seems to set on race is too high to be purely dispassionate of it.

    Meanwhile, other factors abound, even for people who don’t live among black people (in my case, “among” meaning the gorgeous creature currently adorning my bed a few feet away). This is one of the reasons why I suspect Trayvon’s “hoodie” has become so iconic, and why the fevered memetic war of imagery is the most interesting part of this case.

    There are two Trayon Martins currently fighting for brain-space in the image market. One Travyon is an All-American Kid who wears sporty shirts, rides horses, holds babies and plays for the local football team. The other Trayvon Martin is a Gangsta who sports tattoos, has gold fronts for his teeth, and shoots the finger on his profile pics. The image of him in the hoodie is the one that tries to connect the two, and it doubles as his death shroud since it was what he wore the night he was shot. Recently, I think I heard Heraldo Rivera and a few other stepped in it by pointing out the obvious: “I tell my kids not to dress like that.” Dress, age, body language, age, accessories, locale, speech, vibe, tone — these are all data points that give relevant information to people who are paying attention, and who know what to look for, and how to parse out red herrings.

    Reading Derbyshire’s point 10 again, I think the best argument that he is a racist could be found in it. Points 9 and 12 are begging to the point of delusion, but point 10 is even weaker because the examples he provides are so flabby and easily defeated. A sudden swell of black people, you say? Why, they might be going to church. A sudden swell of white people could also mean church, or it could mean another Kristallnacht. Maybe Derbyshire thinks all the myriad co-factors in determining what’s actually happening go without say, but when you are making absolutely brainless prescriptions like “Before voting for a black politician, scrutinize his/her character much more carefully than you would a white” or soulless ones like “Do not act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress”, it’s probably best to at least bring them up, unless you are being intentionally provocative.

    I’ve heard that many of Derbyshire’s former colleagues are describing his article as an act of self-immolation, a letter of resignation and the like. It’s possible this is true. I’m reminded of Helen Thomas’ recent grand exit from the stage (“All Jews should get the Hell out of Palestine”), and I think it’s possible that this list is a similar defiant Act III. Like esr, I enjoy reading things that challenge me, and enjoy challenging others. Personally though, I find esr’s test more interesting and challenging than what Derbyshire wrote. Yes he was setting fire to P.C. sacred cows, but there wasn’t anything particularly new or unassailably logical about his views. It’s greatest crime is that it’s boring… Archie Bunker would at least slip in a sly joke to let you know he wasn’t a total ignoramus.

  267. >Quote: “but what Derbyshire is saying is that race is a strong predictor after those indicia are normalized out.” He did not in fact say that.

    Sorry, I still don’t see any other way to interpret Derbyshire’s article. He didn’t say, for example, to avoid poor urban blacks in large numbers; he just said to avoid blacks in large numbers. He’s a careful writer, so I take this to mean that he thinks blackness is a more reliable indicator of threat level than (for example) whether you’re in a run-down neighborhood or not.

    Since I’ve already explained why I think 10c/10d/10e are oversimplified, I hope we can just skip the part where some dimwit attributes this theory to me.

  268. @ESR I already supplied an alternate interpretation – that he thinks it’s _easier_ than guessing by other means (or, equivalently, easier _to_ guess their income by only looking at their race) with both discrimination against middle-class black people and risk of improperly trusting low-income white people as unfortunate side effects of making that tradeoff to save mental effort.

    In either case, he doesn’t say _why_ he thinks that it remains a good indicator after controlling for other observable factors (your theory) or why he thinks it’s easier (my theory), so I’m free to assume this belief was not reached by rational means (since most people who hold it do not arrive at it by rational means, I’m only using statistical common sense – or – since if he had actually thought about it, rather than it being an unconscious assumption, he would have written about it).

  269. – “Since I’ve already explained why I think 10c/10d/10e are oversimplified, I hope we can just skip the part where some dimwit attributes this theory to me.”

    They could be “oversimplified” in your view because he simplified it to reach an audience (what audience?), or it could be because his actual beliefs are simpler (and more racist) than yours. This is very important to question 4.

  270. >I already supplied an alternate interpretation – that he thinks it’s _easier_ than guessing by other means (or, equivalently, easier _to_ guess their income by only looking at their race) with both discrimination against middle-class black people and risk of improperly trusting low-income white people as unfortunate side effects of making that tradeoff to save mental effort.

    I think there’s not enough actual difference between this position and the one I attributed to him to be very interesting, especially in survival-threat situations. We all satisfice; we all have to deal with multiple concurrent demands on our cognitive capacity. Both your interpretation and mine are just ways of saying “when under pressure, blackness is a reliable shortcut indicator of threat level”.

  271. > [citation needed]

    Unfortunately, I’d have to cite from usenet, and Google Groups’ search is borked, and apparently has been for some time. You might ask him directly.

    He’s said she and her family were refugees from Vietnam, and hearing her stories is part of what convinced him to renounce communism. (Though he doesn’t mention that in this version.)

  272. >4. Did you finish the article believing that John Derbyshire (the author) is a racist?

    I am not convinced this question is an entirely fair test of rationality (which may be a better label in this context than “intelligence”). While I agree the article does not constitute prima facie evidence of racist belief, if the entire world followed his advice in sub-points for 10 (most specifically: 10a, 10e, 10h, and 10i) when dealing with other cultural groups, you are denying yourself plenty of safe opportunity to follow point 13. In other words: his advice becomes self-contradictory when taken to the [full, illogical] extreme, and thereby implies these beliefs have not undergone sufficient conscious, deliberate scrutiny before presentation. Even in a less extreme reading, this unexamined nature could be considered a strong (albeit highly indirect) indicator of racism.

    Would you say that I have failed your test for answering “yes” to question 4, using the argument above?

  273. I would also add that, that he felt the other two articles (one of which wasn’t actually about race, so the fact that his article about race was framed as a response to it additionally shows that he thinks only black people wear hoodies) needed to be rebutted is an additional, though weak, indicator of racism.

  274. They could be “oversimplified” in your view because he simplified it to reach an audience (what audience?), or it could be because his actual beliefs are simpler (and more racist) than yours. This is very important to question 4.

    Yes, this sounds like the key to answering question 4. What does the author’s oversimplification of each scenario say about his rationality? The preface, “all else being equal”, is usually a ringing alarm bell to me that someone is about to say something either highly logical or brutally stupid… “all else” is rarely if ever “equal” in the range of human interactions, and the degree to which people think it is is usually a good indicator that they either aren’t very observant or are purposely leaving out data that might serve to weaken their argument. In Derbyshire’s case, the former wouldn’t make him a racist, but the latter probably would.

  275. James A. Donald is a former communist? The world makes a bit more sense than it did a moment ago.

  276. >Would you say that I have failed your test for answering “yes” to question 4, using the argument above?

    Not very severely; you at least tried to engage Debyshire’s argument rationally rather than emotively. But I still think you failed, because your counterargument is unsound even in its own terms.

    My own experience is a demonstration. With some minor qualifications, I have followed the advice in point 10 for nearly 40 years – yet, I have not found myself short of contact with what Derbyshire calls IWSBs. If I can follow Derbyshire’s advice and still have black friends (and in the past, black girlfriends) then why can’t he or anyone else?

    In fairness to your argument, one of the consequences of my peripatetic, crib-bilingual, multi-continental, multi-cultural childhood is that my ability to adapt to unusual social circumstances and odd-colored people is probably well above average. Still, the fact that I can square your circle implies as a general proposition that it can be done.

    Because I don’t see a contradiction here, it follows that I don’t see evidence that Derbyshire failed to scrutinize his premises. I do agree that said failure would be suggestive of racist fixations if it were present.

  277. (10i) If accosted by a strange black in the street, smile and say something polite but keep moving.

    Being a quintessential New Yorker, I have to point out that this is marvelous advice for strangers of *any* race, age, shape or size. The key difference is I never bother to say anything polite. If they persist I find a menacing scowl usually does the trick, although YMMV depending on how physically intimidating you happen to.

    That said, aggressive hustling has largely vanished here since the Giuliani years, in all but the most touristy areas and those likely to be packed with softhearted, wide-eyed liberal arts students (Washington Square Park, for instance). Recently, I took a trip to Chicago and was shocked to the point of laughter at the bustling crowd of traditional, old school hustlers that worked the train station. I wouldn’t say it made me nostalgic, but it was interesting to watch some dummies getting lured into conversations with them. FWIW, the hustlers were mostly black and middle-aged, but not all. My favorite was probably a white girl with a sob story who worked the cab stand. I could almost hear tiny violins playing as she spoke to me.

  278. >Being a quintessential New Yorker, I have to point out that this is marvelous advice for strangers of *any* race, age, shape or size.

    Only in large cities. As the population density drops, the threat level from such an encounter falls off. But the rapidity with which it falls off depends on your estimation of whether the stranger belongs to groups with relatively high incidence of criminal behavior, including (a) young males, (b) blacks, (c) alcohol or drug users. Other cues (for example, hoodie vs. polo shirt) also matter.

    I think the particular way Derbyshire’s advice is phrased suggests that he lives in a suburban or exurban area adjacent to a large city in which he has to travel on foot occasionally. That is, as opposed to being a well-adapted urbanite or a small-town dweller.

  279. “Because I don’t see a contradiction here, it follows that I don’t see evidence that Derbyshire failed to scrutinize his premises.” I think in light of this one difference is where we put the burden of proof. I think that having a hidden unstated premise, such as the one we just discussed above that race is supposedly a more reliable indicator of a threat situation than other factors and remains even when these are controlled for, is prima facie evidence that he failed to scrutinize it – even if, as you say, there is no other interpretation.

  280. >But let’s suppose I were an expert in the field of psychometrics, and that I had reviewed all these studies in detail and concluded them to be such slop that they border on fraud.

    Why not suppose the moon is made of green cheese and the landings were faked while you are at it?

    >As a separate point, I will note that Derbyshire’s claims about the psychometric evidence are completely consistent with my knowledge of that evidence. It is not required that I endorse any of his conclusions or judgements for me to note this, and I don’t want to be sidetracked into a discussion of that evidence. Remember the point of the test; it is not about whether Derbyshire’s claims are true but about whether the reader is able to process them with rational analysis.

    Actually, that isn’t completely separate, since that I already knew they reflected our best current knowledge meant that I didn’t have the cognitive dissonance and emotional difficulty processing them that someone with only the Moron Stream Media knowledge of the work would.

    >That is not sufficient; the bad things have to be untrue, and the claims have to be rooted in prejudice rather than rational judgment, for the term “racist” to apply.

    Actually, I have read claims multiple times that saying true but disparaging things about blacks is more racist than saying untrue things.

  281. > I think the particular way Derbyshire’s advice is phrased suggests that he lives in a suburban or exurban area adjacent to a large city in which he has to travel on foot occasionally.

    Yes, I think it goes without say that Derbyshire comes off more like an affluent Connecticut commuter than a cynical city-dweller. However there are portions of Manhattan where someone like Derbyshire could reasonably cloister himself and follow his own advice, namely the Upper East Side. In my experience, the ultra-liberal Democrats on the Upper West Side follow similar rules of interracial conduct, but would never be so impolitic as to admit this out loud.

    Which brings up another interesting question. It’s clear to me by his phrasing of 10 that the vast majority of his contacts with black people are both random and involuntary. Possibly, this is an alternate answer for the generalization problem. If he lived and worked around black people and had diverse range of contacts with them, the scenarios he chose to describe his position would probably be more precise and varied, even if his behavioral recommendations didn’t change. It might work well as advice for his particular demographic (i.e. exurban/suburban, white collar Caucasians with little-to-no street smarts) but for other demographics it could be completely useless — or even worse than useless, since misjudging a potential black ally or a non-black foe can be fatal for someone who must interact with many different races on a daily basis. When almost of your contacts with a certain demographic are involuntary and conducted on alien turf (street hustlers, muggers, public service workers) they will yield overwhelmingly negative results.

    In that sense, Archie Bunker comes off as a better judge of racial differences than Derbyshire, in a “familiarity breeds contempt” sort of way. By comparison Derbyshire comes off as somewhat cowardly and afraid of his own shadow. For instance, one might take his advice and apply it to all strangers, regardless of race, and logically conclude that they’d be even safer than Derbyshire fancies himself. Since doing that it would also short-circuit their normal enjoyment of life and pursuit of life goals, it becomes not about safety but about what you are willing to risk to make life bearable.

    This might be the subconscious reason that many assume him a racist. Most people feel automatic contempt for both cowards and racists, and find there is often a great deal of intersection between the two. Nowhere does Derbyshire recommend state-enforced “segregation” as a way of enhancing his personal safety, but racists who drew the same conclusions about race differences have done so in the past and continue to do so.

  282. Homogenous crowds of young black men are potentially extremely dangerous; crowds including older blacks, children, and a higher proportion of females much less so.

    To men. There have been several incidents of ghetto girls swarm-attacking white women.

    He didn’t say, for example, to avoid poor urban blacks in large numbers; he just said to avoid blacks in large numbers. He’s a careful writer, so I take this to mean that he thinks blackness is a more reliable indicator of threat level than (for example) whether you’re in a run-down neighborhood or not.

    Especially in recent years, the influx of large number of blacks to a public area is often a leading indicator of heightened danger.

    There have been incidents of blacks swarming an area (sometimes spontaneously, sometimes by conscious intention) followed by attacks on non-blacks. These areas are not “run-down neighborhoods”; that’s where the blacks already are.

    To give one example: North Michigan Avenue in Chicago is the city’s most prestigious shopping and dining area; it is several kilometers from any run-down neighborhood. (The Cabrini-Green housing project was 1.5 km west, but has been almost entirely demolished.) In the last few years, black youths gathered nearby (often at the McDonalds on Chicago Avenue two blocks west). They would then march to and along Michigan in groups of ten to twenty-five, forcing others off the sidewalk. Sometimes they would attack and rob people. Sometimes they would enter a store for a mass grab-and-run shoplifting spree. If confronted by police they would scatter; any who were arrested would claim to be innocent passers-by; it would be difficult to prove otherwise, and only minor charges could be brought anyway.

    Another danger is the possible outbreak of inter-gang violence. Chicago’s North Avenue Beach is adjacent to Lincoln Park and the Gold Coast, two very tony neighborhoods. Last Memorial Day, the beach was closed down. The official explanation was that extreme heat had caused several cases of heatstroke, and ambulances were obstructed by crowds. However, police officers commented privately that the real problem was large numbers of black youths getting into fights (confirmed, obliquely, by the press and witnesses). Such fights can quickly escalate to gunfire.

    One of the worst mass shootings in south Florida history (two killed, twelve wounded) occurred on March 31, when members of rival gangs quarrelled at the funeral of a gang-affiliated shoplifter (broke his neck jumping off a parking garage to escape store security).

    This latter incident occurred despite the presence of older people and children (a five-year-old girl was wounded).

    What Derbyshire said, in effect, is one should avoid concentrations of miscellaneous blacks. If one knows who they are and has positive assurance they are not dangerous, then there is no threat – but otherwise, as a general rule – stay away.

    The suggestion that this rule should apply equally to any group of strangers is politically correct, but false. The chance that a group of strange blacks includes violent criminals and even murderers is roughly 10x the same probability for a group of strange whites.

    Incidentally, Derb’s advice is essentially equivalent to advice given to out-of-town fans at the last Chicago Worldcon – by two impeccably liberal fans, in much more alarmist terms, though the racial element was left unspoken.

  283. “It’s clear to me by his phrasing of 10 that the vast majority of his contacts with black people are both random and involuntary.” – This had not occured to me, and I can already think of several of his points it puts in a very different light.

  284. The suggestion that this rule should apply equally to any group of strangers is politically correct, but false.

    Well, it might be politically incorrect, but it’s not “false.” Even if the black/white proportion of violent attackers was 100:1, you would still be quantifiably safer by applying these rules to everyone (i.e. moving to the woods, becoming a hermit).

    The math is trivial: the less total contacts (involuntary or voluntary) that someone has with other human beings, the less likely they are to be robbed, shot, stabbed or otherwise intentionally harmed. The relative danger of various racial contacts isn’t a true/false question, but a matter of gauging risk/reward, just like everything else in life.

    As Milton Friedman once noted in a marvelous speech, you can greatly enhance your survivability by “not driving a car, and never crossing a street.”

  285. @Grantham – This is, I think, one of the reasons that 10h is so singularly objectionable to many people – being attacked by someone who appears to have stopped on the highway due to a car breakdown is such an absurd scenario (especially to people who live near cities and are therefore envisioning a busy highway rather than an isolated rural one) that its probability likely doesn’t rise above the noise floor (which noise floor is relatively high for the fact that you’re driving on a highway at all). The other reason, of course, is that it measurably harms someone rather than simply denying them social interaction.

  286. @Random832, strange then that I am more bothered by 10g, considering that it might earn me a less-scrutinized and sleazy John Edwards at the expense of moral and intellectual champion like Clarence Thomas.

    That was the suicidal stroke of the article for me, where it seemed I was watching a man destroy his future credibility to defend a worthless idea. Once Derbyshire applies his “Law of Large Numbers” to the notable microcosm of the political arena — one of the few areas of civic life where individuals are the rule rather than the exception — he casts a shadow on his far more defensible views about statistical safety.

    With that said, a question for esr (and forgive me if you’ve already answered it, and I’ve missed it): Since it is possible for an unintelligent bigot to minimally pass your test by simply answering “no” to each question, is there a followup question or questions you can think that might detect a false positive (i.e. a racist) who has slipped through the fence?

  287. >Since it is possible for an unintelligent bigot to minimally pass your test by simply answering “no” to each question, is there a followup question or questions you can think that might detect a false positive (i.e. a racist) who has slipped through the fence?

    Hm. I can’t think of one that confines itself to using response to that article as a test.

  288. > Since it is possible for an unintelligent bigot to minimally pass your test by simply answering “no” to each question, is there a followup question or questions you can think that might detect a false positive (i.e. a racist) who has slipped through the fence?

    Oooo. Good question.

    Yours,
    Tom

  289. >Well, it might be politically incorrect, but it’s not “false.”

    It’s false in the sense that additionally applying the no-Good-Samaritan same rule to whites probably doesn’t decrease your risk by more than statistical noise.

  290. @Grantham “strange then that I am more bothered by 10g,” I hadn’t thought about that. I think this indicates a cognitive bias on my part. The harm done to one family by leaving them stranded on the side of the road is more easily visualized than the harm done to a region by the wrong politician getting into office. [I also hadn't been thinking of it in terms of how it undermines his alleged statistical justification]

  291. >esr, do you know of Jeff? You seem like you should.

    Of course I know of him! I linked to his blog in this.

  292. @ESR “It’s false in the sense that additionally applying the no-Good-Samaritan same rule to whites probably doesn’t decrease your risk by more than statistical noise.”

    The no-Good-Samaritan rule is statistical noise in the first place, as applied to a broken down car on the highway.

  293. > It’s false in the sense that additionally applying the no-Good-Samaritan same rule to whites probably doesn’t decrease your risk by more than statistical noise.

    How many Good Samaritans are murdered each year by the people they tried to help? Depending on that answer, it *all* might be statistical noise, regardless of race. If only ~450 American whites are murdered by American blacks each year (according to Derbyshire’s own cited numbers), and Good Samaritan death are a subset of that, one could argue that we really aren’t talking about a rational fear, and might be more logically afraid of flying.

  294. >This had not occured to me, and I can already think of several of his points it puts in a very different light.

    How? My contacts with black people are not random and involuntary; these days they’re mainly through my martial-arts school and SF fandom. Yet, remembering West Philly and keeping an eye on national crime statistics, none of Derbyshire’s claims seem implausible to me at all.

  295. >Depending on that answer, it *all* might be statistical noise.

    True. I won’t argue the point until and unless we get more specific facts. Perhaps Rich Rostrom will present them; he’s obviously good at the kind of digging.

  296. >Oooo. Good question.

    Yes, it is. In my defence, I guess I was just assuming we don’t have racists among my readers, other than known ones like JAD that stick out a mile. He’s the only current regular I can think of that might present a false positive.

  297. > True. I won’t argue the point until and unless we get more specific facts. Perhaps Rich Rostrom will present them; he’s obviously good at the kind of digging.

    What’s tough is, we’d have to cross reference any interracial Good Samaritan deaths we find (if in fact anyone has compiled them) with the total number of interracial Good Samaritan acts that result in, I don’t know, a “thank you.” While someone could plausibly find the first data set, it’s almost impossible to quantify the second number, or even to begin to know how to research it other than random polling.

  298. I was thinking that it inherently biases his experience towards hostile interactions (since involuntary interactions are more likely to be hostile than voluntary ones, since a mugger for instance is less likely to _not_ approach you than a non-mugger). I would guess he therefore meets fewer black “investment bankers” [etc] proportionally to the total number of his encounters, than a truly random sampling of the whole population would suggest, without realizing it. It also probably hugely inflates his “five percent” figure. And it’s a bias that’s hard to perceive unless you’re looking for it, so it doesn’t make me think he’s irrational.

    I do have a question – in those national crime statistics you refer to, _are_ all those other indicia normalized out?

  299. “What’s tough is, we’d have to cross reference any interracial Good Samaritan deaths we find (if in fact anyone has compiled them) with the total number of interracial Good Samaritan acts that result in, I don’t know, a “thank you.” ”

    I think it’d suffice for a first approximation to get an idea of the number of genuinely broken down cars (which is probably large), and take the total number of “good samaritan deaths” (is that even a thing?) as a proxy for the number of people who fake a broken down car in order to ambush whoever stops. Or is the suggestion that someone whose car is actually broken down is nevertheless going to assault the person who stops if that person is white?

  300. It strikes me that there are two related types of racists; those that favor only their own race, and those that are only anti-some other particular race. I actually know of example of both, but they tend to morph into one another with changing evidence, since even racists are usually more open to evidence than the average “liberal”.

  301. > Of course I know of him! I linked to his blog in this.

    Right. He is Mr. Voice In The Wilderness, ranting daily and well over the whole Gramscian culture war thing. You seem like you are in each other’s intellectual weight class, but with different specialties and talents. That you both hit the same note on Derbyshire is comforting, somehow. I will say he thinks Romney is more of a problem because Romney is clueless about the culture war, while you think Santorum is more of a problem, because you don’t like Santorum’s positions on the culture war.

    Santorum, in my way of thinking, keeps bringing up the same kind of uncomfortable truths that Debryshire does. Birth control and progressive social policy have not done women any favors.

    Yours,
    Tom

  302. >I do have a question – in those national crime statistics you refer to, _are_ all those other indicia normalized out?

    Blacks look bad, as a population, whether you normalize for SES or not. The only way they don’t look bad is if you segregate by IQ bands. That is, at any fixed IQ level, the distribution of criminal histories doesn’t differ significantly between blacks and whites. This is a bit more difficult to notice because blacks have a slightly narrower dispersion of both IQ and measured propensity to criminality than whites do.

    Draw your own conclusions from that.

  303. >Birth control and progressive social policy have not done women any favors.

    Careful. You are arguably right that “progressive social policy” has been bad news for women, but birth control is a different matter. Having your life ruined by multiple unplanned pregnancies – even if they happen to be with someone you’re married to – isn’t a fate to wish on anyone.

  304. >I actually know of example of both, but they tend to morph into one another with changing evidence, since even racists are usually more open to evidence than the average “liberal”.

    Either that, or the difference is superficial because both kinds are really running on the same xenophobia/fear-of-pollution instinctive template. That fits my experience.

  305. The combination of birth control and progressive social policy has completely messed up the incentive structures for marriage and sexual behavior in a way that leads to many, many more single mothers, Eric.

    Was I more careful than you thought?

    Yours,
    Tom

  306. > and take the total number of “good samaritan deaths” (is that even a thing?)

    I don’t know. That’s sort of the problem. I suppose any violent crimes against Good Samaritans whites committed by black would do, but that would require certain assumptions about what constitutes a Good Samaritan. Would the person who takes out his wallet to give some money to a panhandler, and is subsequently beaten and robbed qualify as a Samaritan, or is he just a sucker? Who (if anyone) compiles such statistics and what are their metrics? And how many such Good Samaritan interactions take place that don’t result in any harm, regardless of the motives of the panhandler. Do we count those as successful transactions? How about if I give a jump to the old black lady in the parking lot, and he manages to resist her ferocious, inborn urge to murder me? Where are such interactions measured?

    It’s only logical that societies keep far more useful and accurate records of interactions-gone-wrong than the ones that don’t, so the odds of a Good Samaritan being harmed will always be missing a necessary component, if we are only talking dispassionately about risk-aversion.

    That is what is most bothersome to me about 10h; it is vague to the point that Derbyshire might as well have said “assume all black strangers in distress mean to do you harm” with the same degree of authority. In fact, maybe that’s what he is saying, but I’d need to see some sort of hard numbers to back that up before I could conclude he wasn’t be irrationally fearful. I’m not sure if those numbers exist, and if Derbyshire doesn’t have them either than the inclusion of 10h is suspicious.

  307. > I was thinking that it inherently biases his experience towards hostile interactions (since involuntary interactions are more likely to be hostile than voluntary ones, since a mugger for instance is less likely to _not_ approach you than a non-mugger)

    Yes, that is precisely what I meant. The same is true in non-criminal, forced interactions, such as the DMV. Nobody wants to be there.

  308. >Was I more careful than you thought?

    OK, a bit. I didn’t realize you were stressing the conjunction. You should still be careful in how you present that, because a lot of people will go out of their way to misconstrue it.

  309. esr said (in reply to the starting quotation): >How does marrying a Chinese woman prove he isn’t a racist?

    One of the most consistent features of racist belief systems is that miscegenation is bad and corrupting. Even in the antebellum South a white racist might use a black or Amerind woman sexually, but would not marry her or acknowledge her children. Marrying “outside your race” still constitutes pretty effective circumstantial evidence against racism.

    I think the problem here is the conflation of two meanings of “racist” in modern American English usage.

    The first, which the fact of that marriage does not disprove, is “someone who has racially bigoted beliefs of some sort” (typically for or against one or more races); one can easily enough be bigoted against black people while having no ill-will towards Asians, for example.

    One can also be “a racist” by this measure while holding only the mildest bigotry against the most uncommon racial group and never acting upon it, but philosophically it’d still be accurate.

    This is the sort of racism, especially given the “applies even if you never act on it” that people – who aren’t just being trolls or liars – mean when they say “everyone is racist”, because it’s awfully hard to avoid having at least one such bigoted belief, even if one knows it’s bigoted and never acts on it.

    Likewise the justified moral derogation of the appelation “racist” is lower here than for the other category, and lowest exactly to the extent one deliberate doesn’t act on it or encourage it.

    One can usefully view that sort of racism, for these purposes, as like the Christian concept of original sin – everyone has it [in this case because it's so hard to avoid picking up the tiniest bit of it even unconsciously], and what matters is how you resist it; merely having it doesn’t make you Wicked – it’s giving in to it that does.)

    The second, which I must assume ESR meant, given his explanation, is “a racial supremacist”; one who believes A Race (almost always his own, for obvious psychological reasons) is better than all the others, even if the others are not equally bad. A white supremacist would not marry a Chinese woman, for the reasons explained above.

    This racism is the racism of the Klansman or the Nazi.

    But they’re not the same thing, despite being the same word.

    (And in no case will I – or I presume ESR – accept the requirement for “racism” of “having the power to enforce that desire with the State’s arm”, as occasionally presented by people who’ve gone through Victim Studies indoctrination.)

  310. >He didn’t say, for example, to avoid poor urban blacks in large numbers; he just said to avoid blacks in large numbers. He’s a careful writer, so I take this to mean that he thinks blackness is a more reliable indicator of threat level than (for example) whether you’re in a run-down neighborhood or not.

    It would seem that he deems blacks as dangerous not because they’re black (or inferior or icky or mud people or whatever KKK reason could fill the blank) but because they often possess a hostility towards whites that is considered acceptable in all too many quarters, and given that fact, if you’re all white and stuff, you might want to avoid that dynamic altogether.

    You could certainly argue that he has a negative opinion of blacks as a group (while being perfectly fine with black individuals). You could also argue that his inclusion of point (11) about the IQ points was mean-spirited and even irrelevant to his larger point.

    But I’m unsure that he’s “racist” in the KKK sense of “I hate Those Mud People because they’re icky” but rather “racialist,” in that he recognizes the degree to which we organize ourselves, develop subcultures, and otherwise see the world, by race.

    He’s given an interview to Gawker, post-“The Talk” kerfuffle, in which he says:

    “My own sense of the thing is that underneath the happy talk, underneath the dogged adherence to failed ideas and dead theories, underneath the shrieking and anathematizing at people like me, there is a deep and cold despair. In our innermost hearts,we don’t believe racial harmony can be attained. Hence the trend to separation. We just want to get on with our lives away from each other. Yet for a moralistic, optimistic people like Americans, this despair is unbearable. It’s pushed away somewhere we don’t have to think about it. When someone forces us to think about it, we react with fury. That little boy in the Andersen story about the Emperor’s new clothes? The ending would be more true to life if he had been lynched by a howling mob of outraged citizens.”

    The whole interview is worth reading.

  311. esr> It’s false in the sense that additionally applying the no-Good-Samaritan
    esr> same rule to whites probably doesn’t decrease your risk by more than
    esr> statistical noise.

    The no-Good-Samaritan rule and the scrutinize-Black-candidates rule both reflect a failure of Derbyshire’s to distinguish a statistical distribution’s central tendencies from its tails. His failure to distinguish, in turn, leads him to fallacious—and possibly racist—overgeneralizations about Blacks.

    Hate crimes, committed by anyone against anyone, are very much a statistical-tail phenomenon. Almost all people in almost any social group will leave you alone. But suppose that your chances of this are 99% in a ‘bad’ neighborhood and 99.99% in a ‘good’ one. That would mean your chances of getting harmed would increase a hundredfold when you walk from the good neighborhood into the bad one. And yet, the difference between the central tendencies would be almost negligible.

    And that’s what you’re dealing with when you vote for politicians or help people in a stranded car. These people will likely be average-enough members of whatever demographic they belong to. So even if Derbyshire is right about his urban-survival advice, his generalizations about the average behavior of Blacks is way off-base.

  312. Pingback: A Frank Discussion About Race | TeeJaw Blog

  313. @Sigivald:
    >One can usefully view that sort of racism, for these purposes, as like the Christian concept of original sin

    From the Christian perspective, it’s not only *like* the concept of original sin, but is in fact a result of original sin.

  314. @esr

    “I’ll probably piss you off worse when I say that I cannot extract much from your response other than vigorous handwaving.”

    Actually, no. I have nothing to mark, so you get an automatic zero (lol).

    Terry

  315. “In my experience only . . . racists will refer to another human being ‘a black’. As though they are members of a different species.”

    Correct me if I’m mistaken, but who is it exactly that demands colors be used when discussing events, crimes or otherwise? Isn’t the term “Black” in much demand from the “black” community?

  316. @esr:
    >I’ll take this opportunity to point out that James A. Donald is married to a Vietnamese woman, and has two sons.

    [citation needed]

    My reply seems to have fallen into the spam trap. The short version is that JAD has claimed this in scattered usenet posts of years past, and at at least one point has cited David Friedman as someone who has met his wife face-to-face.

  317. > Isn’t the term “Black” in much demand from the “black” community?

    That’s debatable (though my own experience is that black is back in vogue, and in some ways never wasn’t), but I think Bennett was referring to the “a” in “a black.” The idea there would be, you might say “a cow” to describe an animal and “a black cow” to further describe it, but that “a black” is much closer to the former than the latter.

    That’s still arguably more about style than substance. The same person that uses “a black” might just as readily use “a white” to describe a white person. Many do so, in my experience, and though most that do are from the lower or lower-middle rungs of society, some of them might just be using more economical language, and trying to remove themselves as much as possible from the typical P.C. weenie who would call someone a “salesperson“.

    For another example, a poster above used the phrase “swarms of blacks.” That sounded a lot weirder to me than the phrase “a black”, since “swarms” is normally used to connote locusts, bees and other insects. But I can’t just assume the poster is a racist based solely on that wording, no matter how odd and dehumanizing it sounds. It could just be an difference of style; word-choice is tricky that way.

  318. To Bennett
    re: “In my experience only homophobes will refer to a fellow human being as ‘a gay’”

    Let me expand your horizons then, because first of all, many of the ‘gay’ people I know will refer to themselves and others as gay. This includes the best man at my wedding, various friends over the years and members of my extended family. In fact, the phrase: ‘He’s so gay!’ Is a favorite of one of these guys, used in the same sense as ‘flaming queer’ was once used (and still may be for all I know).

    None of these people, in my own experience, have objected to my referring to them as ‘gay’, and some of this crowd has been very vocal in the past about things that offend them.

    I do not say this to denigrate your own experience. I can perfectly accept that in your own personal experience this has become a very valid marker for homophobia. I would just like to let you know that it is not universal.

    When I was 8 years old we moved to Chicago from Iowa and nobody understood what I was talking about when I said I wanted a ‘Pop’, because of course, they all called it ‘Soda’. Now I live in Israel and if you ask for a Soda they assume you mean ‘Soda Water’ and will bring you a bottle of seltzer.

    It’s a big world and sometimes people use different words to mean the same thing, and sometimes they use the same word to mean different things

    peace, love, and all that

  319. IEW0564 ERROR test invalid – not-valid for testing intellect;

    Though statistically unimportant – this one line strikes me as racist

    “except, obviously, the trait of identifying oneself as black”

  320. @John Mahler – You did not understand the claim. It was about the use of the word as a noun, specifically, not about the use of the word in general. Your post cites examples of its use as an adjective.

    If your post had read: “… many of the ‘gay’ people I know will refer to themselves and others as ***gays***. … the phrase: ‘He’s ***such a*** gay!’ Is a favorite of one of these guys”, you would have a point. As it is, it simply looks like you misunderstood.

  321. > > Since it is possible for an unintelligent bigot to minimally pass your test by simply answering “no” to each question, is there a followup question or questions you can think that might detect a false positive (i.e. a racist) who has slipped through the fence?

    > Oooo. Good question.

    > Yes, it is. In my defence, I guess I was just assuming we don’t have racists among my readers, other than known ones like JAD that stick out a mile. He’s the only current regular I can think of that might present a false positive.

    I think finding these followups would be alluminating. I’m going to put my subconscious to work on it. My conscious hasn’t a clue.

    Yours,
    Tom

  322. Man, am I ever late to this party ;)

    I saw this guy’s article on Monday and immediately wondered if you would address it in some way…I was utterly unsurprised to read of the ungodly shitstorm that followed, and the oh-so-predictable PC sacrificial lamb that was made of his career at NRO.

    Truthfully, I consider his article to be depressingly candid. The only bullet-point that remotely skimmed near ‘racism’ was the one about black politicians being scrutinized. I don’t think it was racist, but it certainly made my eyebrows raise – I loathe all politicians equally, and scrutinize all accordingly ;)

    You highlighted one other point – about not being a samaritan – that hit me especially hard in the sadness lobe. For many years I have grimly offered advice to not use deadly force to assist in the cessation of black-on-black violence. If you need to draw a weapon, do so, but use it to ensure your safety as you extricate yourself and get the fsck out of Dodge.

    I’m not so sure this article qualifies as an ‘intelligence test’ in the way you mean it to….more of a ‘critical thinking’ test. I’m sure that many people that ‘fail’ are, in fact, quite intelligent people. I suspect it is their prejudices that cloud their ability to process the article critically.

    Try another question – name one thing with which you would be in agreement with Hitler.

    I liked his taste in dogs and Alpine views. Nazi uniform was pretty snappy too ;)

    I can almost feel the fluttering heartbeats from here…..

  323. It could just be an difference of style; word-choice is tricky that way.

    True. I read of the recent state fair riots being described as “herds of blacks” causing mayhem. Given my knowledge of human group behavior, I thought the use of “herds” was meaningful and appropriate in that context, although I just *knew* that the PC racism soothsayers would decry it.

  324. @Dan – Catch-22: “given your knowledge of human group behavior”, why isn’t “crowds” equally meaningful?

  325. @Random832 – I presume you are questioning “crowds” vs “herds”.

    Simple answer – “herds” is semantically richer, to me at least. “Crowds” suggest some sense of number, but “herds” also evokes behavioral implications in that particular context.

    If you described a “crowd” of people to me, I would perhaps be thinking of similar potential behaviors, but in that specific context, the use of the word “herds” to me was much more vibrant.

  326. Just to emphasize the distinction :

    Consider a “crowd” of people at a gun show
    Consider a “herd” of people at a Black Friday sale opening.

    Did you see different group dynamics in your head?

  327. @Random832

    being attacked by someone who appears to have stopped on the highway due to a car breakdown …. The other reason, of course, is that it measurably harms someone rather than simply denying them social interaction.

    It does not “measurably harm someone” to not help them. This is the same kind of mushy thinking as saying that tax cuts “give money to the rich”. Not taking is not the same thing as giving, and not helping is not the same as hurting. I once conclusively demonstrated this by pointing out to a Prog radio talk show co-host that by his logic, I “give” him his TV every day by not breaking into his house and stealing it.

    The stranded motorist is no worse off for my having driven by and not stopped than he was before I came along. Furthermore, if I don’t stop but someone else does, the motorist is not in any way “harmed” by my personal inaction. In fact, the motorist is only “harmed” if EVERY SINGLE DRIVER WHO PASSES fails to stop or otherwise render aid.

    On the flip side, no one is “helped” by all the people who refrain from injuring him, but all it takes is one person to act against him for him to suffer actual harm.

    If any of us use our cell phones to notify the proper authorities that a car is broken down, the motorist will receive aid. It’s safer than trying to stop my car, which is not equipped with the same lights as an emergency vehicle, and besides I’m not certified to render any kind of roadside assistance. God forbid I become a “vigilante” or “cop wannabe” like George Zimmerman for “pursuing” a situation. Better to just call 911 and let those proper authorities take care of things than to get personally involved, right?

    RIGHT?

  328. @The Monster “In fact, the motorist is only “harmed” if EVERY SINGLE DRIVER WHO PASSES fails to stop or otherwise render aid.”

    An outcome of which your decision not to stop (and Derbyshire’s publication of a supposed general rule that one should not stop) increases the probability. I intended this meaning in my use of the word “measurable”, and deliberately did not say “direct”.

    The precise effect would also depend on how much traffic the road gets (how many people are likely to come by), and how remote it is (how long a proper emergency responder would take to arrive), how much danger, if any, the driver is in (how much time they have, though time has value regardless) and of course whether you do in fact call 911.

    God forbid I become a “vigilante” or “cop wannabe” like George Zimmerman for “pursuing” a situation. Better to just call 911 and let those proper authorities take care of things than to get personally involved, right?

    The existence of “good samaritan law” liability shields indicate that this is not something the authorities wish to discourage people from doing.

  329. An outcome of which your decision not to stop (and Derbyshire’s publication of a supposed general rule that one should not stop) increases the probability.

    My decision not to stop does not measurably “harm” anyone. It just doesn’t HELP anyone. There is a huge difference which I’ve explained and you are deliberately ignoring. You are equating a positive obligation to help with a negative obligation to do no harm. Stop it. My failure to help someone does not harm anyone.

    Furthermore, I have outlined a way that I can take appropriate action to help without subjecting myself to any threat. You’ve missed the point of my snark about not being a Zimmerman, which is that the alleged positive obligation to help is something you can conveniently invoke when it suits you, but when someone takes the initiative to help his community by watching out for suspicious behavior, that obligation magically vanishes. Then state employees swear out a false affidavit stating that the helpful citizen was “instructed” by the dispatcher not to do so, despite the recording indicating that no such instruction was given. The passive wording “we don’t need you to do that” is not even a suggestion, much less an instruction. But to understand that, you have to understand that “don’t need to” isn’t the same thing as “need not to” just like “not help” isn’t the same thing as “harm”. And that’s my beef with your characterization. The two things cannot be equated. No amount of repetition on your part that my failure to act increases the probability of harm changes the fact that I have not “harmed” the motorist any more by driving past the scene and not stopping than if I had not driven past the scene at all. I am therefore guilty of “harming” everyone in the world who suffers any injury simply because I have not sought them out to render assistance.

    To use one of ESR’s favorite expressions, the idea is nonsense on stilts.

  330. @The_Monster

    Not helping certainly does not make you a criminal (there’s no such thing as a right to be helped, as you properly point out), but it does make you an asshole (if there are no reasonable pointers of risk, and race has not been accepted by many in here as a sufficient indicator).

    The fact that socialism is ethically wrong does not mean that charity is not a good thing…

  331. I didn’t say that _any_ culpability attaches to you or Derbyshire at all. All I said was that the probability [and it doesn't matter what if you weren't there, since we're talking about if you ARE] of them coming to harm is increased, so this number can be multiplied and the resulting expected differential value ACTUALLY CALCULATED, as _opposed_ to the other situations where it’s impossible to guess what effect some white guy deciding not to walk through a neighborhood will have.

  332. I wasn’t even stating my actual position. I was in fact saying it to explain why 10h got a stronger negative reaction from people [yes, including me], saying that this is due to a cognitive bias (not a generally positive thing to have) because it tells a more vivid story than the others – which is the SAME bias that made Derbyshire include it at all when the actual probability of being in danger in that situation is small.

  333. It’s called “good-story” bias – the same sort of thing Bruce Schneier calls a movie plot threat: The implied stories, both of someone stopping to help someone and getting beaten up for it since it was actually an ambush, and of someone being stranded at the side of the road indefinitely because no-one will stop to help them, are very vivid so people tend to assign them more weight than they really deserve. And since he says _categorically_ do not stop for a black person in distress, this logically includes cases of obvious injury, or even if someone is trapped in a car that is on fire.

  334. @PunkCapitalist

    Not helping certainly does not make you a criminal (there’s no such thing as a right to be helped, as you properly point out), but it does make you an asshole (if there are no reasonable pointers of risk, and race has not been accepted by many in here as a sufficient indicator).

    But any time you stop your car on the side of a road there is risk. Even if the person in question is a white grandmother with a cane in a high-class suburb, the mere act of stopping to help subjects you to a non-trivial risk of being hit by one of the other drivers.

    (In reality, I’m usually the guy who does stop and help people out, at least on a street and not a highway, where there’s a better chance to avoid those collisions. On the highway, I’m more likely to call *55 and have the KHP Motorist Assist people take care of it.)

  335. I didn’t say that _any_ culpability attaches to you or Derbyshire at all.

    But you did say that I “harm” the person by not helping them. And that is crap.

  336. I said “it” measurably harms someone. That’s how the story ends, regardless of how much weight you put on your, Derbyshire’s, or anyone else who didn’t stop’s role in it.

  337. You’re still misreading “it”. I wasn’t talking about _the person’s actions in not stopping_, I was talking about _the scenario as it plays out_.

  338. More crap. The words “harms” and “denying” are verbs. They indicate actions. Actions have actors. Equating action with inaction is exactly what I’m objecting to here. It’s a rhetorical trick to get the audience to lose track of the fact that not helping isn’t harming, and declining to engage in a particular social interaction does not “deny” anyone else choosing to do so.

    I don’t see how saying that “the scenario as it plays out” “harms” someone is any different from saying that the “actions in not stopping” (What “action”? You’re objecting to inaction here. Calling inaction “actions” is just another example of the BS you’re trying to pull.) “harms” them.

  339. Heck, I call bullshit with a foghorn on the whole drivel ‘math’ behind this claim that not helping raises the probability of harm. Utter shite.

  340. Hmmm.

    I hear the message, it is about understanding & I also believe that statistics are relevant but let’s put Intelligence tests aside for just a moment & ask ourselves what it’s really about, where we’ve come from as a race/nation (of European decent, White if you like) & what we’ve achieved, wherever we may be in the world. What is angering our people more than anything is the erosion of what we represent, what we stand for, more than anything it’s the fact that we are a building nation that has greatness as a benchmark, just look around Europe, the US, South Africa & many other enclaves of White civilization. We have been lulled into a false sense of security just like the frog in the pot that has slowly come to the boil. Our responsibility is not to the world but to OUR people to preserve what we stand for & to protect our people wherever they may be. Don’t waste time arguing with those that are contrary to what we believe and stand for, if we are progressing keeping our standard & looking after our own then those of our people who are unsure or mistaken in their ideas will change & return to their place in the fold as it where, we must work for each other, in support of each other.

  341. Did you finish the article believing that John Derbyshire (the author) is a racist?
    For me, this question sticks out from the others, because it involves the author’s honesty and clarity of thinking. As I see it, at least one of the two must be suspect.
    Society is an enormous hodge podge of feedback loops. This fact is fastidiously absent from the piece. For instance, rascism in hiring and housing are facts. The Great Migration happened at the height of American manufacturing, and the availability of good, relatively low-skilled factory jobs was a serious factor. Unfortunately, a generation or two later came the great American de-industrialization, and large black communities were without support. (Chicago has one tenth the number of factory jobs it had at the end of WW II.)
    That’s at one end of the scale of size and responsibility; no “one” is responsible. But the behaviors prescribed in the “talk” are exactly those which perpetuate some of the problems. If the author believes he is being honest with himself, I doubt his competence.

  342. Eric, I betcha that very very smart people have more fellow–feeling for other very smart people, regardless of ethny, than they do for dumb guys of their own ethny.

    Most people aren’t very very smart, and tend to associate with those who resemble themselves.

  343. >Eric, I betcha that very very smart people have more fellow–feeling for other very smart people

    Certainly true of me. Thing is, I suspect it’s true of John Derbyshire, too.

  344. I dunno.. Like me, the Derb isn’t super-smart. I believe he’s posted his IQ as 135. My SAT scores, from 1967, will just barely get me into Mensa. I figure I am “smart enough”, but wish I had more gumption, or whatever it is, to go out there and bite off a piece of the world and make it mine.

  345. 1. No, that’s reading comprehension 101.

    2. Imagining myself to live immersed in the national slavery-guilt “race” psychosis which permeates U.S. life, no. I’ve lived and worked there, I know what it’s like inside the heads of white Americans. Where I live, none of it is true. I rejected a lot of the “advice” because it did not follow from the facts, except in a very literal, isolated, naive sense, like dumping your fat friends because of that study that found the biggest predictor of obesity is knowing heavy people.

    3. This question is essentially the same as the last one.

    4. I can’t tell for sure if Derbyshire is a racist, but he is certainly someone who believes his own pleasure at poking holes in subtle and well-intentioned logical fuzziness on the part of what Americans call “liberals” is more important than healing a centuries-old pox on U.S. culture. If we apply Derbyshire’s own methodology to him, we should assume he is racist just to be safe, as statistically, people who obsess on such topics are usually racist.

    5. This question is essentially the same as the last one.

    Race is a cultural notion, any biological underlay it may have is too vague to be of any scientific value. Consequently racism must be defined in a social context. Here’s a different context which may provide some perspective: Where I live we have many African migrants. They are under-represented in the criminal system and do well at school. On the other hand, our indigenous people have problems analogous to African Americans’, and Derbyshire would probably give the same ‘talk’ about them.

    But he doesn’t need to, because we have any number of commentators lining up to do so. They say they are not racist because they only speak the truth, for example finding undoubted instances of corruption in indigenous-run organisations. What makes these commentators racist in practice is the context: they are silent on corruption within political parties or mining companies but suddenly are concerned when it occurs among some of the most oppressed people in the world.

    In the U.S., truth alone is a defence against libel. Elsewhere it is more subtle: a published allegation must be both true and in the public interest. The selective use of truth can be harmful and even malicious.

    As for this being an intelligence test – a bigot with an I.Q. of 80 would pass it without a thought. It’s more of a challenge for liberals, who score higher on I.Q. tests than conservatives, but not as smart as libertarians. I mean real libertarians of course, left-wing ones; I don’t know how the anarcho-imperialists who own this blog score – too small a sample, I guess. :)

  346. 1) No, it’s easy to notice.
    2) Yes, about “not playing the Good Samaritan”, but I felt really nasty about a few others, the phrase “swamped by blacks” in particular.
    3) No, but for a few moments I wished that I was hypocritical enough to attempt such a feat of doublethink.
    4) Yes. I’ve also read that he literally called himself a “sexist”, or something like that.
    5) No, absolutely not.

    However, I had a very disturbing emotional response all in all; I *literally* almost started CRYING! I also vehemently cursed life for being so shitty, and dreamt about how we might be able to reduce the worst of genetic inequality in the future, and so on.
    (I’m a male. Although a lot of internet commenters would undoubtedly deny me the honor based on what I just wrote.)

  347. This is just pure racism. Both the original article and this one.

    What makes the original piece racist is the perspective of attributing all of these traits to black people with some weak qualifying at the beginning. Take away the racist perspective, and most of it is common sense advice: avoid dangerous neighborhoods, avoid dangerous company, don’t move into poorly run municipalities, etc. These are true about all kind of people, no matter what the color of their skin is.

    What makes this blog entry racist is that it the original piece is not open for discussion. It is taken as hard facts when in fact is is a highly biased perspective. It also assumes that those who agree with it are smart, while everyone else is stupid. And it turns normal reactions towards the piece into a litmus test of intelligence.

    A test, which >>you<< failed as well. You blindly accepted your own tribal strong-held preconceptions by taking the article at face value.

    I am not playing your game. I am rejecting your self-given intelligence bestowing authority.
    You will think that I am an idiot. Fine. I think you are an idiot as well. A racist idiot, to be precise.

  348. What makes this blog entry racist is that it the original piece is . . . taken as hard facts . . .
    Where?

  349. As I think others have pointed out here, Derbyshire has no trouble at all describing himself as a racist–because, whatever else he is, he’s honest and the designation is accurate.

    “blockquote>You will observe that the means—the averages—of many traits are very different for black and white Americans, as has been confirmed by methodical inquiries in the human sciences.

    Elsewhere, he has spelled out in more detail what he means by this statement, and what he means is that blacks are less intelligent, and more antisocial, than whites, and that the reasons for these average differences are primarily genetic. That, in a word, is racism.

  350. Here’s the problem with both articles. For most people, what is termed here as “statistical common sense” is used far beyond the “hazard of life and limb” circumstances outlined. Sure, when it comes to personal safety, we use a variety of quick rules of thumb to judge hazards, of which race is a fairly minor indicator (if on one side of the street you see a black middle-aged businessman with a briefcase glasses, and on the other you see a white skinhead with army jacket and tattoos, which side are you going to cross to?)

    But as others point out above, in any relationship that goes beyond assessments of immediate safety, if you rely too much on these statistical generalizations, you’re a fool as well as a bigot. Just because men on average have more upper-body strength than women, are you really that confident that you can beat that woman you met at the bar in an arm-wrestling match? Just because men tend to do better than women in math, are you going to tell my math-loving daughter that it’s a bad idea for her to take science classes (as some counselors do?) It’s the same thing when you judge someone’s political honesty, or whether they would make a good tenant in your apartment, or whether you want to hire them for a job, primarily based on your assessment of “racial averages.” And if those assumptions make you act in a way that is indistiguishable from a racist, then how can you say you AREN’T a racist?

    There’s also the problem of self-fulfilling prophecies. If a teacher, for instance, goes under the assumption that her black students are stupider than her white students, then she is very likely going to make that prediction come true even if it wasn’t true before.

  351. Ouch, I used to respect esr until I found out he has opinions about things that are not computer related.

    The single most important kind of intelligence is the ability to see past your own strongly-held preconceptions and your tribe’s conventional wisdom and engage reality as it actually is and facts as they actually are.

    Curious whether esr is really capable of doing this. Blog so far looks like he’s pretty sure “everything I already believe” qualifies as “objective clear thinking,” so I kind of doubt it.

  352. I “passed”, by your test – I answered “no” to all five questions. And equally importantly, I agree that your test is fair, and passing it is a good thing.

    I agree with some other commenters that the article could be worded more carefully to prevent its misuse by those who are inclined to ignore its “while always attentive to the particular qualities of individuals” disclaimer. That means not that I dispute that Derbyshire is telling the truth, but that I worry (slightly) about the practical consequences of his article. But that is a minor flaw of the article.

    On the subject of the truth of the paraphrasing, I agree with Desmond’s comment at http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=4270&cpage=1#comment-377754.

  353. I “passed” the test. It seems obvious what he stated. It also seems obvious that the US politicians try to suppress such beliefs since while stereotypes exist for a rational reason, building a cheery consensus between races is beneficial for their job performance. Even if the consensus must be built with irrational, emotional arguments. For example many of my friends from China will automatically avoid black areas since it’s super obvious to them that “blacks are statistically violent,” when asian homocide rates are something like 30x lower than black rates. If some PC types want to call this “racism” then that’s fine — it’s an attempt to suppress thoughts by labeling them as socially unacceptable, but it doesn’t address any of the rational arguments I use to direct my behavior, so I will continue to be rational. Interestingly the sword of statistical discrimination cuts both ways, and I tend to trust and wish to work with say Jewish academics or asian overachievers more so than “let the good times roll” average white bread guys.

    I generally extend all these arguments also to people who are some intersection of low income and ignorant, and I avoid them when they are congregating in crowds, for the same statistical reasons of safety. I may be wrong but since much of such discussion is socially prohibited I simply don’t discuss it and continue to act upon what I believe to be rational. This relates also to my belief that large numbers of people remain poor or miserable because of systematic “market” inefficiencies where by analogy with efficient financial markets they refuse to behave approximately rationally, seek continual self improvement, or discount the future at a low rate indicative of a long life.

  354. It is also interesting his comment that the statistical discrimination actually reverses its effect when you have an exemplary individual of a group that would be classically discriminated against (what he calls IWSBs).

    I believe this is because ordinarily if some group of people, say Romanians, blacks, short people, FLOSS programmers, or any other group X, have some statistical problem, say bad job prospects or too much trolling, then naturally they might wish to get rid of this problem since it makes their group look bad and gives them a disadvantage (the statistical discrimination will start to kick in where others will look at the mean behavior of the group and start to put more distance from themselves to the group, which is completely rational, and distinguished from racism because it does not require a belief that any group is inherently inferior). So individuals of said group will look to their leaders who will tend to be more upper class and not have the problem (in the case of the black community, Oprah, Jay-Z, Al Sharpton, etc). If the leaders are responsible then they will propose solutions that lessen the problem. Naturally even outsiders to the group will usually hold such leaders in respect because they hold positions of social prominence, and people greatly admire leaders who have come from poor beginnings because of the great distance they’ve had to travel, and the corresponding likely good values and character they are therefore presumed to possess. Aside from political correctness and government mandates, this is actually a rational reason why one might wish to hire an IWSB over a white person (if you had no information other than race to go on).

    Unfortunately it seems that some of the black leaders are defaulting on their community, e.g. especially in rap where successful rappers glorify the use of the N- word, making obscene amounts of money through selling cocaine, blowing it all on hookers, homicide, blaming white people, etc, as a way of reclaiming their roots, but then don’t have any more positive message to their community other than that all of their people should aspire to be similarly successful. Or black politicians supporting welfare and the often drug and violence riddled public housing — while it can be understandable that some people have physical or mental disabilities and can’t work, or welfare could be used temporarily while looking for work, it seems that these should be at most temporary, and if it continues for more than a year one should be required to put in say 40 hours a week of volunteer work if no paying work can be found. Instead welfare and “the projects” have been turned into some sort of whirlpool of destruction whereby the values of all of the black community are systematically warped and destroyed, and individuals who might aspire to have better values are forced to “not conform” and go to great lengths to leave their community, get a good education, law degree, and then try to serve as leaders only to find they are in politics which has a similar whirlpool of destruction.

    This is why I believe that while multiculturalism is nice in moderation for preventing strife between groups, it should always bow to rationalism which is the use of logically correct arguments based on scientifically correct factual information. In particular all groups which have some systematic problem should always have their leaders held up to the difficult but rational litmus test, “What are you doing to address the problem your community has?” And to the extent that one set of values is clearly resulting in better outcomes than another set of values, it should be explained patiently, over and over, why one set of people with the better values tend to create better outcomes and do better in society. Perhaps ESR might sympathize with this since he had to go up against Stallman who had created a whole slew of problems for the FLOSS community and challenge Stallman’s values.

    But by some overreaction against the historical imperialism, slavery, etc, the PC crowd is often unwilling to even discuss whether different groups of people have better or worse values (so the better values might rationally be adopted by those with problems), or even reflexively calls any such discussion “racism” as a way of ending all discussion. Unfortunately by not holding people up to the standard of rationality, all sorts of demons from our primitive evolutionary past start bubbling up, opening the door to arbitrary whims of emotion as a form of leadership, of which welfare, gang violence, property redistribution, or looking back further in history, imperialism, Soviet communism, medieval serfdom, religious rule, etc were all heavily involved in these sorts of emotional but rationally unchecked leadership. I believe holding all people to the strict standard of rationality is a precondition for technological advancement, human flourishing, and economic growth.

  355. I think Derbyshire is correct that blacks and whites statistically vary, and that this should have some bearing on choices you make. This is especially true when “all else is equal” and you have highly incomplete knowledge but must choose between trusting a black and white male that are similar. You’d have to go with the statistically more solid bet.

    However, the thing about “don’t stop to help blacks on the road” is off base for the following reason. In that case, it is not a choice between exposing yourself to a white or a black person. It is a choice between a black person and no person, so the comparison is different. No helping a white person is safer as well, even if it is safer than helping a black person. In the case of seeing a black person in need, you have to ask “given what I know, what is the risk of this going badly? am I willing to take that risk?” A similar problem appears a few times.

    That Derbyshire doesn’t see this doesn’t necessarily make him a racist, but perhaps a bit dim witted.

  356. I’m very sad that, soon after seen RMS alive, as a bigger fanatic then he was before,
    I’m very sad to find out that ESR becomes… what to say? Public gigolo?

    In my best attempt I find out this “article” (crap artefact) as a cheap try to remain some public interest (by “provocation”).
    In fact, I’m shocked. It is not ironic, humorous, or anything else driven by sense…
    I’ll quote mr Hugo above:

    > This is just pure racism. Both the original article and this one. (etc)
    WHY?
    It does not any sense to argue why & what: if you got so deeply, you can’t understand.
    AND NOW, IQ TEST:
    I’ll just show you one typical sentence example:
    “I DO NOT HAVE ANYTHING AGAINST [you_type_it], QUITE THE OPPOSITE.”
    Is it correct sentence? Yes = fail.
    It is common fault for homophobes, racists etc primitives. Why? Well, if you can’t get it, well…
    you failed.
    All this crap (“article”) could be compressed to this cliche (sentence above).

    NOW, I’ll give you same “PR THERAPY” that you gave us, curious readers that lost precious time on this crap. I’ll give you same dose of “non-insulting, pure logic, non-racism Lo Q test”:
    WHAT IS CONNECTION FOR FOLLOWING WORDS:
    Hillbillies, Rednecks, Idiocracy, Bushisms, WASP, WMD (Weapon of mass destruction)?
    . . .
    Funny is that for rest of the planet POW does_NOT mean Prisoners_Of_War; it is for People_Of_Walmart.
    l33t Hax0rz.

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