Friday, February 20, 2009


Very interesting article. I'm sure I didn't get the insider stuff, like all those names of athletes. I was discussing professional sports with my son some time back, and we had to laugh about how we didn't know anything at all about media sports. He said, "I don't even know the names of the teams." That was pretty funny. My understanding is that there was some sort of expansion back in the 80s or 70s or whenever, and I don't know any of those teams. But my father liked the Dodgers, so I was stuck in the car hearing Vin Scully back in the 60s. Farmer John hotdogs.

But that's neither here nor there. It's this race thing. Jason Whitlock, some sports guy on Fox I guess, says, "During my childhood, it was obvious that white kids and black kids bought into the myth of black athletic superiority." And there's the thing. "Myth"? What if it's true? "I don't and never have believed that American blacks are superior athletes to American whites. I do believe that our disparate American histories caused black culture to value and strive for athletic achievement more than white culture. That cultural emphasis on athletic achievement produced a high proportion of great black athletes."

Well, the economic argument does indeed go a long way. Immigrant groups always go into sports. Take boxing, a sport I do have some interest it. Irish, then Italians (and some Jews), then blacks, then Mexicans. Since there's a larger pool to draw from, of men who are willing to get hit in the head for money, a larger proportion of that disfavored group will excel at the sport.

So economics is a powerful argument. But little black children learn to walk much sooner than other races. Is that fact racist? Well, it's racial, anyway. I suppose there are such things as bad facts -- things that are best not said. Is this one of them? Too late. I've said it.

I can't find my source, so don't go quoting me, or outright believing me -- but I am certain that black children walk much sooner than whites. Are they superior? Depends. The obvious explanation is that environment selected for this trait, of earlier maturation. Carrying a child on your hip across the broad savanna is less advantageous then having that child walk. Families who's babies could walk sooner had a survival advantage -- their genes were selected. Same thing with skin color: dark skin is selected by harsh sunlight, light skin is selected by mild sunlight. In the tropics I'd get skin cancer and die; in the north country blacks would get rickets and die. Which is superior? Context decides the matter.

Same deal with IQ (of which mine is very very high (and I'm so tall (and blond also, which everyone knows is superior))). Different races exhibit different statistical advantages. Several meta-analyses have it that Ashkenazi Jews score highest in verbal ability -- about 108. East Asians score a total of about 107; "whites" score about 100, Inuits about 90, Southeast Asians and American Indians about 87 each, Middle Easterners, Indians, North Africans, and Pacific Islanders score about 85; sub-Saharan blacks about 67, and Australian Aborigines 62.

How meaningful is this? Not very. Culture teaches us how to take tests. Jews do well because they above just about any other group have been the people of the book -- literacy would be a form of sexual selection, like big tail feathers. Aborigines don't even have a native system of writing. Is this because they are inherently incapable of it, due to lack of intelligence? A chicken/egg thing, which doesn't really matter. Their culture did not require it. Some races are taller than others. But several generations of changed diet can smooth out the differences. In any case, an IQ of near 60 is solidly in the "retarded" category. A whole race that's retarded? One hardly thinks so.

Well, there's a lot that could be said. Lot's of ammo for racists, here. The response is to deny the evidence, or rationalize it. Let's rationalize -- make it rational. What's so great about a higher IQ? Well, it's a nice number to prove how much superior I am than you. As for genuine intelligence, one can figure things out faster, generally. Whether or not what is measured by an IQ test is actual useful intelligence is debatable. An ability to, say, hunt an animal or build a shelter, or resolve potentially deadly conflicts. -- survival is what intelligence is for ... and thriving, of course, living an excellent life. And we've all seen the little morality plays, where the city slicker is helpless before the wily country folk.

Context determines intelligence. Being good at useless things isn't a survival trait. I can't find water in the Nullarbor Plain. Could I learn to? Certainly. But I'd never be as good at it as someone who grew up doing it. Low survival intelligence, then. And of course there's the sort of emotional intelligence that allows one to be happy. I'm quite backwards at that. So much so that sometimes my survival is in doubt. But that's another story.

So, are blacks superior athletes? No. Because framed thus, the question is meaningless. On average, might we expect blacks to outperform whites at some physical skill that uses speed, strength or endurance? I think we might. Might we expect whites to outperform blacks on standardized IQ tests? Yes. Is the cause of such disparities genetic? -- or cultural with some large component of psychology involved? Yes. To both. Black children adopted into white families still under-perform on tests. White kids growing up in black neighborhoods might under-perform on the court. On average. Statistically. Is one better than the other? The answer reflects context and one's bias.

Averages of course aren't about real people. The fact that the norm clusters around a mean is meaningless, when we examine the ends of the bell shaped curve. At the extremities, we are likely, I believe, to find extreme genius of any ethnicity, as we will certainly find the same severity of mental retardation at the other end of the spectrum. A white cretin is distinguishable from a black one by gross physical features only.

The point is, so what. We're not all equal in our abilities. Some of those abilities have a genetic component that is limiting or determinative. No one argues about height. Why would they argue about a predisposition to muscle-fiber type, or speed of motor-unit recruitment? -- or visual acuity, or verbal celerity? If God did not make us all equal, can law, or argumentation, or stubbornness? As with any physical attribute, it is what it is. The shape of a nose, the texture of hair -- these things through artifice can be changed, but it's only arbitrary preference that requires it. Michael Jackson tried to change his race, age and gender not because of his age or race or gender, but through self-loathing and sexual dysfunction. A little mental shift, and he would have said so what to his brothers, who mocked his nose and gave him a complex: wouldn't it be nice to have a tiny nose ... like Peter Pan. How sad.

Now, of course, I myself can afford to be magnanimous and fairminded in all this, because my own IQ is so very, very, frighteningly, astoundingly high. So you should believe me, even though I haven't documented any of this, because, first, [a] I'm so smart, and two, [b] I have no vested interest, and c, 3) how could I be wrong, and lastly, I'm very handsome and all the chicks dig me so much, and number f, I am so much smarter than all you idiots, and stronger too, and the bomb on the beebeeball court. How I pity you. Pathetic, is all. Just disgusting. You make me puke. Now go fix me some toast.

And isn't it odd that Ashkenazi ends with Nazi?


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