“Never admit more than five Jews, take only two Italian Catholics, and take no blacks at all.” ~ Milton Winternitz, Dean, Yale Medical School, 1935
Winternitz’s sentiment seems terribly outdated, but not surprising for its time. Stephen Steinberg did a historical analysis of Jewish quotas in the early 20th Century. But Steinberg does not answer the core question: Why would a learned man like Winternitz think like this?
The in-group/out-group emotional drives offer one explanation of why racism occurs.
The in-group/out-group emotional drives offer one explanation of why racism occurs. As humans evolved in social groups, tribes were threatened by foreigners that looked a little different, dressed a little differently, and spoke a little differently. Psychology identifies this as an inbuilt empathy and compassion felt for the in-group and the resentment of, and lack of empathy for, the out-group. “Us vs. them” still has a primal force about it; a conflict of that nature energizes us.
Sports facilitate a Freudian sublimation of the primal in-group/out-group drives.
Sports facilitate a Freudian sublimation of the primal in-group/out-group drives. This manifestation is not always harmless. In England, rioters, police, and bystanders have been killed in incidents of football hooliganism, arising entirely from violence inflicted by fans of one club on another, followed by vigilante retribution. But sport riots have become rarer, and in any case are far less destructive than territorial or genocidal wars between nations.
One hallmark of psychological maturity is to be able to apply ethical principles objectively to all humanity and rise well above the in-group/out-group rage and euphoria.
Humans are conceptual beings. One hallmark of psychological maturity is to be able to apply ethical principles objectively to all humanity and rise well above the in-group/out-group rage and euphoria—or at least to circumscribe it as a non-violent following in competitive endeavors, such as sports or business. But field experiments in psychology indicate that this milestone of maturity is not reached by many adults.
There was and still is racism on the planet. It’s a manifestation of the in-group/out-group impulse that many have not overcome with conceptual thinking.
There was racism even in the post-Enlightenment West (the “Old Racism”), and, as that has begun to diminish, a “New Racism,” one astonishingly propagated by intellectuals and governments, has taken root.
It’s more instructive to talk of making a distinction in favor of, or against, a person based on the group, class, or category to which that person belongs. We should discriminate based on merit. Normal eyesight may be essential for an air force pilot. An honors degree in physics may be deemed mandatory to pursue a doctorate in physics.
Unmerited discrimination, which is our focus, is often referred to as “racial” discrimination at law, even if it’s based on groupings other than race per se.
Unmerited discrimination, which is our focus, is often referred to as “racial” discrimination at law, even if it’s based on groupings other than race per se.
For instance, the relevant United Nations charter (pg. 216) says “… the term ‘racial discrimination’ shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.”
In Australia, for example, racial discrimination is deemed to exist “when a person is treated less favourably than another person in a similar situation because of their race, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin or immigrant status.”
In Nazi Germany, Cambodia, Turkey, and the former Yugoslavia, notions of racial purity constituted the basis for genocide and ethnic cleansing as recently as the 20th Century. The U.S. civil rights movement began only in the Fifties and decisive legislation was passed only in 1964. South Africa ended apartheid in 1994, less than a generation ago. Thankfully, that sort of segregation, let alone genocide, has become unthinkable in the developed world today.
Yet, a genocidal mass slaughter of the Tutsi by members of the Hutu majority government took place in Rwanda, Africa as recently as 1994. In Myanmar (a.k.a. Burma), over half a million people have fled persecution by the military since August 2017. The United Nations describes the situation as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”
Sometime soon in the 21st Century, we hope to report that the primitive, institutionalized form of violent racism has died once and for all, at least in the West.
In the old form, the victims in the West were gays, Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Jews, the indigenous, and immigrants and refugees from the less-developed parts of the world: the out-groups.
In the Sixties, the Frankfurt School adherents let loose a whole new form of racism. The victims of this racism are the meritorious of any race or creed, for even those who benefit will have their credentials doubted. The primary targets of this racism are whites (Caucasians), but Jews and Asians (including those from the Indian subcontinent) have become even bigger victims.
What’s this “Frankfurt School,” and how did this happen?
Marxist intellectuals who wanted a society of egalitarian outcomes were distressed that such a society had not come to pass (to say the least)! Coming together in the 1920s, at the Institute of Social Research in Frankfurt, Germany (the “Frankfurt School”), they resolved to extend Marxism theoretically. They studied Freud, Sartre, Kant, and many others. First, the Marxist economic oppression theory was extended to assume that nations, races, and genders oppress one another. Freud’s repression theory was used to explain why the masses hadn’t risen in revolt against their capitalist masters. But Capitalism could not be defeated by any theory based on logic and evidence, so logic, reason, evidence, definitions, and language were all to be attacked.
Intellectuals immersed in the Frankfurt School narrative came to American universities in force, by design, and rose to prominence in the ivory towers of academe. Becoming the dominant in-group in the Humanities, they schooled the next few generations of psychologists, philosophers, legal scholars, historians, journalists, and sociologists.
The stage was set for an all-out assault on the foundations of Western Civilization: objectivity, free speech, free trade, the triumph of science and rationality, romantic literature, exacting art, notions of masculinity and femininity … even the existence of gender other than as a subjective mental construct. Today, this anti-modernist obfuscation is promulgated on university campuses and in populist media … then repeated mindlessly by politicians.
One outcome of this nihilism are “narratives” that its adherents think trump reality. One such narrative (the “New Racism”) maintains that the lack of equality in pro rata outcomes is prima facie proof of racial or gender-based discrimination. Correction must be made by forcibly changing outcomes. Incessant pressure must be applied to corporations, schools, institutions of higher learning … even to Hollywood and social media—to “make things right.”
New Racism’s master narrative—that “non-egalitarian outcomes are proof of discrimination”—was even applied to social engineering in the economy with dire consequences.
Indeed, New Racism’s master narrative—that “non-egalitarian outcomes are proof of discrimination”—was even applied to social engineering in the economy with dire consequences: Since more home loans were approved for whites than Blacks or Latinos (albeit whites were below Asians in a pro rata sense), the Feds instituted a regime to correct the “racism.” The resulting degradation of credit standards (including “subprime mortgages”), became the volatile fuel that helped to spark the global financial crisis.
An incisive philosopher detected this virus almost 50 years ago, well before it went viral:
“Today, racism is regarded as a crime if practiced by a majority—but as an inalienable right if practiced by a minority. The notion that one’s culture is superior to all others solely because it represents the traditions of one’s ancestors, is regarded as chauvinism if claimed by a majority—but as “ethnic” pride if claimed by a minority. Resistance to change and progress is regarded as reactionary if demonstrated by a majority—but retrogression to a Balkan village, to an Indian tepee or to the jungle is hailed if demonstrated by a minority.” ~ Ayn Rand, Return of the Primitive: The Anti-Industrial Revolution (p. 142, The Age of Envy).
New Racism is now business-as-usual in most universities in the West. Generally, restrictive quotas on Jewish and Asian applicants benefit white applicants, while, in turn, restrictive quotas on white, Jewish, and Asian applicants assist those who can tick a favored-minority box.
The biological realities are complicated. Just how much of IQ is heritable? Genetic in origin? Environmentally influenced? Improved via interventionist programs in early life and the improvement sustainable? Indeed, can IQ tests even measure cognitive ability reliably? Doesn’t the Flynn Effect prove that social context matters? Although these are important questions for research into how we can improve cognitive abilities, they are irrelevant in judging the candidature of any given individual.
However, across campuses, any hint of this debate is shut down violently by the new racists. It is raging online, though. If you are interested, see both sides of it here: Critics of Charles Murray in Vox, Kirkegaard, and the Sam Harris interview of Murray. Murray is the Left’s poster boy of prejudice, but many forget that he is only one of many academic voices asserting statistically significant differences.
Unfortunately, much of the debate is centered on mean IQs, rather than variability. The higher the variability around the mean, greater will be the frequency of scores high enough to push some individuals into the cognitive elite (the top 2%). Higher variability, and higher median scores, do explain how outcomes differ in a climate of equal opportunity. Effort and motivation matter just as much, if not more. Virtually in no group are effort, motivation, and ability the same—an observation of variability in outcomes is merely that—an observation, not a proof of prejudice.
If they wished to be fair, universities—returning to the ideals of those like Martin Luther King, Jr.—would blind themselves to the candidate’s ethnicity, race, heritage, and gender, as they do in blind peer review journals, and simply choose the best qualified people. New Racism’s recipe, “Affirmative Action,” cannot be justified even by the effectiveness of programs such as “reading to infants in intellectually and economically challenged backgrounds.”
A serious legal challenge to affirmative action arose when Abigail Fisher, a Caucasian woman, was denied admission to the University of Texas at Austin (UTA). Fisher sued UTA, alleging that her being white was instrumental to her rejection, which therefore violated her Constitutional rights. In its decision in the Fisher case, the U.S. Supreme Court did not outlaw affirmative action, but laid down “strict guidelines” that must be followed if race is used as a criteria for acceptance.
Then, in 2014, a new lawsuit thoroughly exposed the Marxist narrative for what it is: Racist against minorities, too.
Now even the Harvard Law Review concedes that Harvard may be violating the law if setting racial quotas, which is well beyond what’s legally permissible under Affirmative Action policies as clarified by the Fisher judgment. In July 2015, under the Obama Administration, the Department of Education first stalled, then dismissed the complaint that Harvard’s policies were racist. In November 2017, though, it was reported that the Justice Department has taken over the investigation. Legislation facilitates keeping student records private, but now the Trump Administration has thrown its support behind the Asian-American coalition against the Ivy League. It now appears that Forced Diversity v Merit will go to trial in early 2019.
It’s not just Harvard of course; neo-Marxist Racism has a long reach in the Ivy League generally and much farther both in the United States and in the world at large.
Diverse outcomes give us role models, the social engineers argue, and that will set a chain of egalitarian events in motion. The Atlantic, for instance, opined that if Obama didn’t get into Harvard on merit, then he is in fact the exemplar of why affirmative action is a good thing: It gave us a great African-American role model. But wouldn’t we rather look up to Clarence Thomas, Martin Luther King Jr., Serena Williams, Thomas Sowell, Muhammad Ali, Sidney Poitier, Denzel Washington, Aretha Franklin, and countless others who climbed Everest-like heights, unaided?
Breitbart News, in fact, alleged that Obama may have lied to the public about his GPA scores, and that he “… said he was ‘goofing off for the first two years of college’ and had a ‘lackadaisical approach to his [Occidental] studies.’ One of his Occidental professors said Obama ‘wasn’t a very serious student’ and another said that Obama ‘wasn’t working hard enough.’”
Given Barack Obama’s lack of writing experience and, allegedly, talent, well-researched opinions have been expressed that he used a ghostwriter for his “very well-written” autobiography. Even then, there are additional claims that some of the specifics were made up. In other words—written not only by a much better writer, but embellished, too.
Fellow liberal Christopher Hitchens was far less charitable about First Lady (and, to some, future presidential candidate) Michelle Obama’s Princeton thesis: “To describe it as hard to read would be a mistake; the thesis cannot be ‘read’ at all, in the strict sense of the verb. This is because it wasn’t written in any known language,” and, in a subsequent interview, he said: “It’s a trudge. It’s a hateful, lugubrious, boring, resentment-filled screed,” and that “it’s a degradation of the act of reading.”
Kitty Kelley’s biography on media superstar Oprah Winfrey claimed that she “embellished her poor upbringing and made up stories about sexual abuse to boost her ratings.”
Are the owners of the three biggest African American success stories all frauds? We don’t know for sure. But doubts linger, because New Racism heavily favors their narratives. Absent this new form of racism, we would not be so distrustful.
With the ability to “choose” race, there appears to be an unexplained growth in the favored-minority segment of the population.
In fact, Barack Obama was half-white and grew up in a white middle-class family. In Australia, too, Marxist Racism favors certain minorities. Journalist Andrew Bolt wrote a series of essays alleging that a fractional (e.g. one-eighth) ancestry of the right kind was enough to get even “the rich and the blonde” into the favored categories.
And why would one do that? Stress the one-eighth that’s not visible to the eye if you truly believe that society scorns your one-eighth? For a preferential treatment in education and employment, including career advancement. Indeed, now, with the ability to “choose” race, there appears to be an unexplained growth in the favored-minority segment of the population.
Today, corporations have measures of diversity outcomes only for favored minorities, which blatantly disregard population and gender variability in cognitive abilities and motivation. Ignored minorities face a double whammy, see, for instance: Anglosphere Prejudice against Outsiders, where we discover that the fewest complaints of racial bias arise when no in-group has a majority, and, at best, a weak plurality, such as, in academia.
And that’s where the United States may be headed: a majority-minority nation by 2050, when no one may be in a majority. Some surveys find that the in-groups see this as a threat. They claim that even some Democrats shifted their vote to Trump after that “scary” census forecast. This trend is not unique to the United States. Yet, many whites willingly become minority expats in Asia and the Middle East. The explanation? Psychologists writing in Vox would say: “… because their status is not threatened.”
Throughout its entire history, and it continues today, the West has implemented an immigration policy socially engineered to retain a Christian and white majority in the population for as long as possible, see, e.g., Moral Nation and Limitless Immigration. Worldwide, virtually all major political parties have always been enthusiastic supporters of this style of social engineering. A commitment to anything approaching unbounded immigration or open borders has always been a recipe for political death.
Old Racism is diminishing, but far from dead. However, New Racism will make it far worse. The road to meritocracies via psychological maturity is through the Western Civilization ideals of reason, individualism, and constitutional republicanism. And removing the dominance of in-groups, such as via “Unbounded Immigration,” could make that traverse much quicker.
The ideal then, is not to emphasize race, ethnicity, or heritage, but to practice ignoring it.
“Show your psychological maturity by disregarding race, heritage, and ethnicity with impunity, and your sensitivity by paying close attention to the individual.” ~ Vinay Kolhatkar
This essay benefited from comments made by Walter Donway and Donna Paris on earlier drafts.