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From the NYT:

Violence Surges in Chicago Even as Policing Debate Rages On
By MONICA DAVEY MARCH 28, 2016

The word “even” in that headline is pretty funny. “Predictably” would be more logical than “even.”

… Chicago has long been troubled by violence, but murders and shootings have risen sharply this year. Violent crime remains below the levels of two decades ago, and criminologists caution against finding trends in only a few months of data. But City Hall, the police and community leaders are alarmed by the surge: As of Friday, 131 people had been murdered here in the first months of 2016, an 84 percent rise in homicides from the same period in 2015. There had been 605 shootings, nearly twice as many than this point last year.

The increase could hardly have come at a more difficult time. The city is at a pivotal moment for law enforcement, mired in a crisis over police conduct and discipline and over distrust of officers, particularly by African-American residents, who make up about one-third of Chicago’s population.

You know, this outburst of black on black killings isn’t some random fluke like the weather, it’s a direct result of last fall’s BlackLivesMatter agitation in Chicago and Obama Administration anti-police interventions, just like the pattern in St. Louis and Baltimore.

I’m sure we’ll soon see more learned articles about how there is no Ferguson Effect because, while homicides were up almost 17% overall in the fifty biggest cities from 2014 to 2015, crime wasn’t up in El Paso. So that proves there’s no general Ferguson Effect. Instead, the only thing that’s up significantly is black-on-black homicides in heavily black cities where there has been Soros-funded anti-law & order agitations. Science!

Doing a text search, I find no hits for “Ferguson” or “Black Lives Matter” or “Soros” in this article, but “Justice Department” does come up:

The Justice Department is scrutinizing the patterns and practices of the city’s police force; the mayor on Monday named an interim police superintendent to replace the department’s fired leader; and voters have rejected Cook County’s top prosecutor, defeating her in a primary on March 15. The release in November of a police video that showed a white officer shooting a black teenager, Laquan McDonald, 16 times caused longstanding anger about police conduct to boil over. …

Since January, officers have recorded 20,908 times that they stopped, patted down and questioned people for suspicious behavior, compared with 157,346 in the same period last year. Gun seizures are also down: 1,316 guns have been taken off the streets this year compared with 1,413 at this time last year.

In an unusual video address meant to reassure Chicago officers, John J. Escalante, who has been the interim superintendent, told the police, “We are aware that there’s a concern among the rank and file about not wanting to be the next YouTube video that goes viral.”

Dean Angelo, Sr., the president of the local police union, said public scrutiny had an effect on officers. “They’re being videotaped at every traffic stop,” he said.

But the drop in street stops by the police could be tied to a departmental change that took effect in January, requiring officers to fill out a far more detailed form for each one. The change was imposed after the American Civil Liberties Union raised questions about whether officers were targeting minorities in their stops. The department recently simplified the required paperwork, and the number of stops has since been on the rise, officials say.

Speaking of halcyon Oak Park v. homicidal Austin right across Austin Blvd.:

“I’m really tired of it, and tired of worrying,” said Gloria Johnson, 37, who serves food at a restaurant in Austin, a neighborhood where the authorities say violence has been particularly harsh. Like other parts of the West Side, Austin has long wrestled with economic distress, gangs and crime, and Ms. Johnson bears a long scar on her elbow from a bullet fired about a decade ago. “But it seems like this year is just the worst of the worst,” she said.

In summary: #BlackLiesSlaughter

 
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Lin-Manuel Miranda in “Hamilton”

From my new column in Taki’s Magazine:

A striking example of how identity politics turn in practice into the Zillionaire Liberation Front has emerged in the war over which Dead White Male to kick off the currency to make room for a woman: the $10 bill’s Alexander Hamilton or the $20’s Andrew Jackson. Bizarrely, the reactionary genius Hamilton, apostle of rule by the rich, is rapidly morphing in the conventional wisdom’s imagination into an Honorary Nonwhite.

Read the whole thing there.

 
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Screenshot 2016-07-21 19.57.24

From the Washington Post:

More people were murdered last year than in 2014, and no one’s sure why
By Max Ehrenfreund and Denise Lu
Jan. 27, 2016

The number of homicides in the country’s 50 largest cities rose nearly 17 percent last year, the greatest increase in lethal violence in a quarter century.

A Wonkblog analysis of preliminary crime data found that about 770 more people were killed in major cities last year than the year before, the worst annual change since 1990.

The killings increased as some law enforcement officials and conservative commentators were warning that violent crime was on the rise amid a climate of hostility toward police. They said protests and intense scrutiny of officers who used lethal force had caused officers to become disengaged from their jobs, making streets more dangerous. Some have called it the “Ferguson effect,” after the St. Louis suburb in which Michael Brown Jr. was shot and killed by a police officer in 2014.

Alternatively, the anti-cop / anti-white agitation could be stimulating blacks to shoot each other out of what Keynes called “animal spirits.” Or maybe something is going on in the drug trade. Perhaps heroin is spreading from the white hinterlands to the black inner cities? (I’m not at all in touch with what’s going down on the streets. For that matter, has anybody said “What’s going down on the streets” since a 1970s cop show?)

Keep in mind that St. Louis, where the Ferguson Effect (whatever it’s cause) was very large in the first half of 2015, isn’t in these stats because it’s not one of the top 50 cities in the country.

A closer look at the figures, however, suggests no single explanation for the increases and reveals no clear pattern among those cities that experienced the most horrific violence.

Several cities that recorded the largest increases in homicides — Nashville and Washington, D.C., for instance — had no widely publicized, racially charged killings by police. Many other big cities recorded modest increases or even declines in the number of homicides, with no deviation from the pattern of recent years.

13 cities had fewer homicides in 2015 than in 2014

36 cities had more homicides in 2015 than in 2014

The worst increase in percent terms was in Cleveland (+91%, Tamir Rice). Baltimore (Freddie Gray) was up 59%. St. Louis (Michael Brown), which is too small to make the 50 biggest city list, increased from 73 in 2003 to 159 in 2014 to 188 in 2015.

A general pattern was that increases in homicides, especially in absolute number terms, tended to be larger in cities with large black populations than in cities with large Hispanic populations. For example, the Post provided this graphic of California and Texas:

Screenshot 2016-01-28 20.46.59

Also, Hispanic cities have smaller numbers of murders per capita than black cities, so their data can be noisier from year to year just from smaller sample sizes. In contrast, Baltimore had 346 homicides last year, up 59% from 204, which is a pretty big sample size. In contrast, Denver’s homicide rate grew 65%, even faster than Baltimore’s, but Denver still only had 51 homicides in 2015. So, it’s not clear how significant Denver’s change from 2014 to 2015 was.

So, something seems to have gotten black slum dwellers agitated enough to kill each other in considerable numbers. Perhaps it’s all the agitation by black protestors working hand in glove with the Administration, the media, and the NGOs? That’s happened before, back in the 1960s. But the 1960s were a long time ago, so a lot of hard-earned lessons have been forgotten.

 
• Tags: Black Crime, Crime, Homicide, Race 
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Back in the previous decade, you could look up on the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics website a convenient graph in HTML form of “homicide offending” trends over time.

But the Obama Administration stopped maintaining that website (you can still find it here on Archive.com’s Wayback Machine). As of 2011 they made you look up the racial ratio in homicide offending rates in a less convenient PDF report. Here’s a screen capture of the homicide offending rates by race graph from that 2011 PDF:

Screenshot 2015-11-08 21.41.07

But in 2013, the Obama Administration’s Bureau of Justice Statistics dropped the homicide offending numbers from their latest homicide report in favor of only mentioning homicide victimization.

While that seems petty, it makes it easier for SJWs to fantasize about evil white men gunning down black baby bodies. And that matters more than knowing the numbers.

 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Crime, Homicide, Homicide Rate, Race, The Gap 
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Screenshot 2015-10-27 19.43.58

One of the messages we hear constantly out of the media centers of Manhattan and Washington is that meekly accepting the plans of Manhattan and Washington to disperse underachieving minorities is the moral duty of flyover white schools and neighborhoods.

On the Upper West Side, though, the rules are different …

From the New York Times:

Manhattan Rezoning Fight Involves a School Called ‘Persistently Dangerous’
By KATE TAYLOR OCT. 27, 2015

It is as though the neighborhood were divided by an invisible wall.

On one side, children attend a public elementary school where test scores are high, the students are mostly white and well off, and the parent-teacher organization can raise $800,000 a year to pay for things like a resident chef.

On the other side, children attend a public elementary school where 87 percent of the students are black or Hispanic and 84 percent receive some form of public assistance. Just over a tenth pass the state reading and math tests. There is no library or art teacher.

The first school, Public School 199 on West 70th Street in Manhattan, is also seriously overcrowded, with a waiting list of nearly 100 children for kindergarten in recent years. The second, P.S. 191 on West 61st, has many empty seats.

Now, to address the overcrowding at P.S. 199, the New York City Education Department is proposing to redraw the line, transferring to P.S. 191 several blocks of apartment buildings where children are currently zoned for P.S. 199. The change would be controversial under any circumstances, but it is particularly so because the state this year put P.S. 191 on its list of “persistently dangerous” schools.

At heated public hearings, some parents on the Upper West Side have said they will move if they are rezoned to what they see as a failing school. Many have expressed resentment that some new buildings under construction would be zoned for P.S. 199 while their own buildings would be cast out. At a public meeting this month, when P.S. 191’s principal tried to speak about how she was addressing her school’s problems, she was shouted at.

The passion is not limited to people whose children attend city schools.

“I’m not a racist — it’s not that I don’t want my children to go to school in a mixed school,” Jared Larsen, who lives in a building that would be rezoned and has two children currently attending private school, said at a recent hearing. “But at the same time we want the best for our children. We want the best for our property value.”

The situation mirrors a rezoning battle playing out in Brooklyn, where the department wants to reduce crowding at a school similar in its demographics and popularity to P.S. 199. There, too, the department is proposing to move some students into a school with a mostly black and Hispanic population drawn from a large housing project. In that case, the department was unprepared for the intensity of opposition, not only from the parents whose homes would be rezoned, but also from current parents at the mostly minority school, who fear that their children will be displaced.

Parents at P.S. 191, which draws many of its students from a nearby housing project, Amsterdam Houses, have been less vocal. Conversations with several of them outside the school on Monday suggested that many did not have accurate information about the rezoning proposal, and that the timing, coming just after the school received the “persistently dangerous” label, had sown confusion and mistrust. The designation is used for schools that have a high rate of violent episodes over a two-year period. …

A report last year by the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that New York City had the most segregated schools in the country.

 
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From my new column in Taki’s Magazine:

Occam’s Rubber Room

by Steve Sailer

In the 14th century, the English philosopher William of Ockham introduced what has come to be known as Occam’s Razor for its usefulness in slicing through intellectual bloviations: Among competing theories that predict equally well, the simplest should be preferred.

About a decade ago, I coined the term Occam’s Butterknife to characterize the contemporary liberal insistence upon implausibly convoluted explanations.

But now that race man Ta-Nehisi Coates is back with a giant article in The Atlantic about “The Enduring Myth of Black Criminality,” I need a more all-encompassing term to describe this increasingly fashionable rejection of reality. Let’s try: Occam’s Rubber Room.

Read the whole thing there.

 
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From my new book review in Taki’s Magazine:

It’s informative to compare two current memoirs focused upon race: the rapturously welcomed Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, which I reviewed a week ago, and The Coloring Book: A Comedian Solves Race Relations in America by the veteran Irish-American comic Colin Quinn, last seen stealing the movie Trainwreck as Amy Schumer’s father.

Americans all claim to be fascinated by diversity, but the popularity of Coates’ old-fashioned black-white tunnel vision demonstrates once again that the conventional wisdom hasn’t become more sophisticated in the past half century. It’s always that Selma bridge in 1965.

In contrast, around 1966 the 7-year-old Quinn’s family moved to Brooklyn’s deteriorating Park Slope, then one of the most ethnically mixed (and junkie-infested) spots in America.

He loved it.

Read the whole thing there.

Here’s a picture of Park Slope in the 1970 Hal Ashby movie The Landlord starring Beau Bridges, shot when Quinn was about 11:

And here’s the exact same view in 2011:

 
• Category: Humor, Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Books, Race, Stage 
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From my book review in Taki’s Magazine:

The important new book Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America, by Los Angeles Times homicide reporter Jill Leovy, is the hybrid of a true crime tale about the struggle of white LAPD detective John Skaggs to find the killer of the son of a black LAPD detective and a taboo-breaking scholarly analysis of America’s plague of black-on-black homicides.

At a moment when the conventional wisdom is coalescing around the idea that the big problem with the criminal justice system is white policemen being too mean to black criminals, Leovy drops a bombshell carefully justified by what she learned reporting from 2001 to 2012 on black crime in South Central Los Angeles. She argues the opposite: that white people should work harder to track down and lock up black murderers. …

If “black lives matter,” it’s time to get serious and admit that the main killers of blacks are, overwhelmingly, other blacks.

Read the whole thing there.

 
• Tags: Books, Crime, Race 
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Track and Battlefield
Everybody knows that the “gender gap” between men and women runners in the Olympics is narrowing. Everybody is wrong.
by Steve Sailer and Dr. Stephen Seiler
Published in National Review, December 31, 1997
Everybody knows that the “gender gap” in physical performance between male and female athletes is rapidly narrowing. Moreover, in an opinion poll just before the 1996 Olympics, 66% claimed “the day is coming when top female athletes will beat top males at the highest competitive levels.” The most publicized scientific study supporting this belief appeared in Nature in 1992: “Will Women Soon Outrun Men?” Physiologists Susan Ward and Brian Whipp pointed out that since the Twenties women’s world records in running had been falling faster than men’s. Assuming these trends continued, men’s and women’s marathon records would equalize by 1998, and during the early 21st Century for the shorter races.
This is not sports trivia. Whether the gender gap in athletic performance stems from biological differences between men and women, or is simply a social construct imposed by the Male Power Structure, is highly relevant both to fundamental debates about the malleability of human nature, as well as to current political controversies such as the role of women in the military.
When everybody is so sure of something, it’s time to update the numbers. So, I began an in-depth study with my research partner, Dr. Stephen Seiler, an American sports physiologist teaching at Agder College in Norway. (Yes, we do have almost identical names, but don’t blame him for all the opinions in this article: of the two of us, I am the evil twin).
The conclusion: Although the 1998 outdoor running season isn’t even here yet, we can already discard Ward and Whipp’s forecast: women will not catch up to men in the marathon this year. The gender gap between the best marathon times remains the equivalent of the woman record holder losing by over 2.6 miles. In fact, we can now be certain that in fair competition the fastest women will never equal the fastest men at any standard length race. Why? Contrary to all expectations, the overall gender gap has been widening throughout the Nineties. While men’s times have continued to get faster, world class women are now running noticeably slower than in the Eighties. How come? It’s a fascinating tale of sex discrimination, ethnic superiority, hormones, and the fall of the Berlin Wall that reconfirms the unpopular fact that biological differences between the sexes and the races will continue to play a large, perhaps even a growing, role in human affairs.
First, though, why is running the best sport for carefully measuring changes in the gender gap? Obviously, there are different size gender gaps in different sports (and even within a sport: in basketball, for example, the gap in slam dunking is enormously greater than in free throw shooting). Indeed, women do sometimes “beat top males at the highest competitive levels” in equestrian, yachting, drag racing and a few other riding sports, as well as in some stationary events like shooting. One self-propelled sport where women arguably outperform men is ocean swimming, in which they’ve achieved amazing firsts like paddling from Alaska to Siberia. (This is a rare sport where a higher body fat percentage is a boon.) Two Olympic sports are open only to females: synchronized swimming and rhythmic gymnastics. In America, however, both the male and the feminist sports establishments roundly ridicule these events (undeservedly in the case of rhythmic gymnastics, an enchanting exercise). Similarly, other demanding but female-dominated physical activities like dancing, aerobics, and cheerleading are seldom considered sports at all by Americans.
Thus, the current climate of opinion demands that we analyze a “major” (i.e., traditionally male) sport. In these games, however, women’s sports advocates insist on “separate but equal” competition. Separateness, however, badly hinders the equality of measurements. Since they play in what might as well be alternative universes, it’s difficult to confidently quantify, for example, precisely how much better the NBA’s Michael Jordan is than the WNBA’s Sheryl Swoopes.
Fortunately for our analytical purposes, men and women currently compete under identical conditions in ten Olympic running events, making their times directly comparable. In general, track is ideal for statistical study because it’s such a simple sport: all that matters are the times. Another advantage to focusing on running is that it’s probably the most universal sport. Track medalists in the 1996 Olympics included an Australian aborigine as well as runners from Burundi, Trinidad & Tobago, South Korea, Mozambique, Norway, and Namibia. Running is so fundamental to life and so cheap that most children on Earth compete at it enough to reveal whether they possess any talent for it.
So, Ward & Whipp were certainly correct to concentrate upon running. As they noted, the gender gap did narrow sharply up through the Eighties. Let’s focus upon those ten directly comparable races. Way back in 1970, women’s world record times averaged 21.3% higher (worse) than men’s. But during the Seventies women broke or equaled world records 79 times, compared to only 18 times by men, lowering the average gender gap in world records to 13.3%. In the Eighties, women set 47 records compared to only 23 by men, and the gender gap shrank to just 10.2%. Further narrowing seemed inevitable in the Nineties.
Yet, male runners are now pulling away from female runners. Women’s performances have collapsed, with only five record-setting efforts so far in this decade, compared to 30 by men. (The growth of the gender gap has even been accelerating. Men broke or tied records seven times in 1997, the most in any year since 1968.) The average gender gap for WR’s has increased from 10.2% to 11.0%. And since four of the five women’s “records” set in the Nineties occurred at extremely questionable Chinese meets (as we shall see later), it’s probably more accurate to say that for relatively legitimate records in the Nineties, men are ahead of women 30 to 1, and the average world record gender gap has grown from 10.2% to 11.5%.
Despite all the hype about 1996 being the “Women’s Olympics,” in the Atlanta Games’ central events — the footraces — female medalists performed worse relative to male medalists than in any Olympics since 1972. In the 1988 Games the gender gap for medalists was 10.9%, but it grew to 12.2% in 1996. Even stranger is the trend in absolute times. Track fans expect slow but steady progress; thus, nobody is surprised that male medalists became 0.5% faster from the 1988 to the 1996 Olympics. Remarkably, though, women medalists became 0.6% slower over the same period.
Why is the gender gap growing?
1. In the Longer Races. From 800m to the marathon, but especially in the 5,000m and 10,000m races, the main reason women are falling further behind men is discrimination, society forcing women to stay home and have six babies. Of course, I’m not talking about the industrialized world, but about a few polygamous, high-birth rate African nations. All 17 male distance record-settings in the Nineties belong to Kenyans (9), Ethi
opians (5), Algerians (2), or Moroccans (1). A culture can encourage all women to pursue glory in athletics or to have a half-dozen kids, but not both. Thus, Kenya’s high birth rate (not long ago it was more than five times West Germany’s) has contributed to an ever-swelling torrent of brilliant male runners, but has kept any Kenyan woman from winning Olympic gold.
Wilson Kipketer of Kenya
These facts, though, raise a disturbing question: Why is women’s distance running so debilitated by sexism in these obscure African countries? Because, as bankrobber Willie Sutton might say, that’s where the talent is. You can’t understand women’s running without comparing it to men’s running, and that has become incomprehensible unless you grasp how, as equality of opportunity has improved in men’s track, ethnic inequality of result has skyrocketed. The African tidal wave culminated on August 13, 1997 when Wilson Kipketer, a Kenyan running for Denmark, broke the great Sebastian Coe’s 800m mark, erasing the last major record held by any man not of African descent.
African superiority is now so manifest that even Burundi, a small East African hell-hole, drubbed the U.S. in the men’s distance races at our own Atlanta Games.
Yet, there are striking systematic differences between even African ethnic groups. This can best be seen by graphing each population’s bell curve for running. The Olympic events from 100 meters to the marathon run along the horizontal axis, and the percentage of the 100 best times in history go along the vertical axis. For Kenyan men, for example, a lovely bell curve appears showing which distances they are best suited for. These East Africans are outclassed in the 100m and 200m, but become competitive in the 400m, then are outstanding from 800m to 10,000m, before tailing off slightly in the marathon (42,000m). Not surprisingly, the Kenyan’s peak is in the middle of their range — the 3,000m steeplechase — where Kenyans own the 53 fastest times ever.
In contrast, for the black men of the West African Diaspora (e.g., U.S., Nigeria, Cuba, Brazil, Canada, Britain, and France), only the right half of their bell curve is visible. They absolutely monopolize the 100m. Men of West African descent have broken the 10 second barrier 134 times; nobody else has ever done it. They remain almost as overwhelming in the 200m and 400m, then drop off to being merely quite competitive in the 800m. They are last sighted in the 1500m, and then are absolutely not a factor in the long distance events.
While there are the usual nature vs. nurture arguments over why African runners win so much, there is no possibility that culture alone can account for how much West African and East African runners differ in power vs. endurance. Track is ultracompetitive: Coaches test all their runners at different distances until they find their best lengths. Even in the unlikely event that Kenya’s coaches were too self-defeating to exploit their 100m talent, and Jamaica’s leadership was ignoring their 10,000m prodigies, American and European coaches and agents would swoop in and poach them. No, what’s infinitely more plausible is that both West Africans and East Africans are performing relatively close to their highly distinct biological limits.
None of this conforms to American obsessions about race. First, we dread empirical studies of human biodiversity, worrying that they will uncover the intolerable reality of racial supremacy. Is this fear realistic? Consider merely running: are West Africans generally better runners than whites? In sprints, absolutely. In distance races, absolutely not. Overall racial supremacy is nonsense; specific ethnic superiorities are a manifold reality.
Second, our crude racial categories blur over many fascinating genetic differences between, for example, groups as similar in color as West and East Africans. And even within the highlands of East Africa there are different track bell curves: Ethiopians, while almost as strong as Kenyans at 5,000m and longer, are not a factor below 3,000m. And the African dominance is not just a black thing. Moroccans and Algerians tend to be more white than black, yet they possess a bell curve similar to, if slightly less impressive than, Kenyans. Further research will uncover many more fascinating patterns: for example, Europeans appear to be consistently mediocre, achieving world class performances primarily at distances like 800m and the marathon that fall outside of the prime ranges for West Africans and Kenyans.
These ethnic patterns among male runners are crucial to understanding the causes of the growth in the gender gap, because it appears that women runners possess the same natural strengths and weaknesses as their menfolk. For example, the bell curves for men and women runners of West African descent are both equally sprint-focused. Therefore, if a nation’s women perform very differently than its men, something is peculiar. With high-birthrate African countries like Kenya and Morocco, it’s clear the social systems restrain marriage-aged women from competing. This offers hope that the distance gender gap will someday stop widening. Indeed, since the Kenyan birthrate began dropping a few years back, we have begun to see a few outstanding Kenyan women.
2. In the Shorter Races. The gender gap is widening not just because men (especially African distance runners) are running faster today, but also because women (especially East European sprinters) are now running slower.
From 1970-1989, white women from communist countries accounted for 71 of the 84 records set at 100m-1500m. In contrast, white men from communist countries accounted for exactly zero of the 23 male records. Those memorable East German frauleins alone set records 49 times in just the sprints and relays (100m-400m). This was especially bizarre because men of West African descent have utterly dominated white men in sprinting. Another oddity of that era is that communist women set only seven (and East Germans none) of the 48 female records in the 5k, 10k, and the marathon.
The crash of women’s running was br
ought about by two seemingly irrelevant events in the late Eighties: Ben Johnson got caught, and the Berlin Wall fell. At the 1988 Olympics, in the most anticipated 100m race of all time, Johnson, the surly Jamaican-Canadian sprinter who could benchpress 396 pounds, demolished Carl Lewis with a jaw-dropping world record of 9.79 seconds. Two days later Johnson was stripped of his medal and record because his urine contained steroids — muscle-building artificial male hormones. Embarrassed that it had let a man called “Benoid” by other runners (because his massively muscled body was so flooded with steroids that his eyeballs had turned yellow) become the biggest star in the sport, track officialdom finally got fairly serious about testing for steroids in 1989.
Then the Berlin Wall fell, and we learned exactly how East German coaches enabled white women to outsprint black women: by chemically masculinizing them. It turns out that masculinity — in its lowest common denominator definition of muscularity and aggressiveness — is not a social construct at all: East German biochemists simply mass-produced masculinity. Obviously, the communists weren’t the only dopers, but they were the best organized. Newsweek reported, “Under East Germany’s notorious State Plan 14.25, more than 1,000 scientists, trainers and physicians spent much of the 1980′s developing better ways to drug the nation’s athletes.” East German coaches are now finally going on trial for forcing enormous doses of steroids on uninformed teenagers. The Soviet Union, although less brilliant in the laboratory, also engaged in cheating on an impressively industrial scale.
Even today, this pattern of women’s records coming mostly from communist countries continues: four of this decade’s five female marks were set by teenagers at the Chinese National Games, where tough drug testing is politically impossible. (The 1997 Games in Shanghai were such a bacchanal of doping that all 24 women’s weightlifting records were broken, but weightlifting’s governing officials had the guts to refuse to ratify any of these absurd marks.) In contrast to the astounding accomplishments by China’s fuel-injected women, Chinese men’s performances remain mediocre. [Note: a few weeks after this was published, the Chinese Women's Swim team was disgraced at the World Championships in Australia, when a Chinese woman swimmer was caught trying to smuggle Human Growth Hormone into the country, and numerous teammates were caught by steroid testing.]
Exemplifying the differences in drug testing between the Eighties and Nineties are the contrasting fates of two Eastern European women: Jarmila Kratochvílová and Katrin Krabbe. The extremely muscular Miss Kraticholivova, described by Track & Field News as a “Mack truck,” won the 400m and the 800m at the 1983 World Championships, and her 800m record still stands. Runner Rosalyn Bryant commented, “I’m still not envious of the ‘Wonder Woman’ of Czechoslovakia. I could have chosen the same way, but I didn’t want to change my body, given to me by God, into a new shape. … Five years ago she was a normal woman. Now she is all muscles and runs World Records.” Her rival Gaby Bussmann called her, flatly, “a man.” Miss K. replied, “One day, if [Ms. Bussman] produces performances like mine, she will have to have sacrificed some of her good looks. In athletics, one has to decide how much to sacrifice. The women of the West don’t work as hard as we do.” Miss K. was never caught by the drug tests of her day.
In contrast, Katrin Krabbe, a product of the old East German training system, won the 100m and 200m at the 1991 World Championships to rave reviews. Track & Field News called her “beautiful” and “sleek,” and pointedly contrasted her to the “masculine” Miss Kraticholivova. Even before her victories, young Ms. Krabbe had signed a million dollars in modeling and product endorsement contracts. Although she couldn’t have been very heavily doped by Eighties’ standards, in 1992 she was disqualified because of tampering with her urine sample. Thus, East German women won eight medals at the 1988 Olympics, but during the 1992 and 1996 Games combined, reunited Germany’s women could garner only a single bronze.
Flo-Jo, Before (1984)
The communists were almost completely stumped at producing male champions because the benefits of a given amount of steroids are much greater for women than men. Since men average 10 times more natural testosterone than women, they need dangerously large, Ben Johnson-sized doses to make huge improvements, while women can bulk-up significantly on smaller, less-easily detected amounts. The primitive testing at the 1988 Olympics did succeed in catching Benoid; yet the female star of those Games, America’s Florence Griffith-Joyner, passed every urinalysis she ever faced. The naturally lissome Flo-Jo may have been the world’s fastest clean 200 meter woman from 1984-1987, but she kept finishing second in big races to suspiciously brawny women.
Flo-Jo, After (1988)
She then asked Ben Johnson for training advice, and emerged from a winter in the weight room looking like a Saturday morning cartoon superheroine. She made a magnificent joke out of women’s track in 1988, setting records in the 100m and 200m that few had expected to see before the middle of the 21st Century. Then, she retired before random drug testing began in 1989, having passed every drug test she ever took.
Why didn’t the East German labs synthesize successful women distance runners? Although artificial male hormones are fairly useful to distance runners (in part because they increase the will to win), sprinters get the biggest bang for their steroid buck. The shorter the race, the more it demands anaerobic power (which steroids boost), while the longer the race, the more it test
s aerobic and heat dispersal capacities.
Doping has not disappeared from track, but runners have responded to better testing by using fewer steroids, and by trying less potent but harder to detect drugs like Human Growth Hormone. These new drugs affect both sexes much more equally than Old King Steroid. The decline in steroid use has allowed the natural order to reassert itself: before steroids overwhelmed women’s track in the Seventies, black women like Wilma Rudolph and Wyomia Tyus dominated sprinting. Today, lead by young Marian Jones, who is potentially the Carl Lewis of women’s track, black women rule once more. However, white women are still much more heavily represented among the top sprinters than are white men.
This could mean that the “ethnic gap” in natural talent between West Africans and Europeans is smaller among women than men. Or, more likely, doping continues to enhance women’s times more than men’s. Thus, if testing can continue to improve faster than doping, the gender gap would tend to grow even wider.*
In conclusion, studying sports’ gender gaps offers new perspectives on a host of contemporary issues seemingly far removed from athletics, such as women in the military. Ironically, feminists in sports have successfully campaigned for the funding of thousands of sexually segregated, female-only teams, while feminists in the media and Congress have compelled the Armed Forces (outside of the defiant Marines) to sexually integrate basic training and many operating units, even including some combat teams.
Who’s right? Female college coaches have some powerful reasons for believing that coed competition would badly damage their mission of turning girls into strong, take-charge women. For example, they fear that female athletes would inevitably be sexually harassed.
Even more distracting to their mission than the unwanted sexual advances from male teammates, however, would be the wanted ones. This opinion is based on more than just lesbian jealousy: research on single sex vs. coed schools shows that teenage girls are more likely to develop into leaders in all-female groups, whereas in coed settings young females tend to compete with each other in coyly deferring to good-looking guys. Any hard-headed female basketball coach could tell you that merging her team with the school’s men’s team would simply turn two dedicated squads now focused on beating their respective opponents into one all-consuming soap opera of lust, betrayal, jealousy, and revenge. (Does this remind you of the current state of any superpower’s military?) Yet, feminists utterly forget to apply their own hard-earned wisdom to the armed forces: on the whole, deploying young women in cramped quarters alongside young fighting men does not make the women into better warriors, it make them into moms. For example, the Washington Times reports that for every year a coed warship is at sea, the Navy has to airlift out 16% of the female sailors as their pregnancies become advanced.
Reorganizing the military along the lines of the sexually segregated teams characteristic of contemporary college sports will do much both to more fully use the potential of women in uniform and to quell the endless sexual brouhahas currently bedeviling our coed military. Yet, the crucial issue remains: Should women fight? The main justification feminists give for a coed-izing the military is that lack of combat experience unfairly hampers female officers’ chances for promotion.
We can again turn for guidance to female coaches. The main reason they favor sexual apartheid on the playing fields is that in open competition males would slaughter females. It seems reasonable to conclude the same would happen on the battlefields. This may sound alarmist. After all, running’s gender gap is a rather marginal-sounding 1/8th; surely, many women are faster than the average man, and, by the same logic, many would make better soldiers.
First, though, as economists have long pointed out, competition occurs at the margins: runners don’t race against the average Joe, but against other runners. And soldiers fight other soldiers. Second, while the moderate width of track’s gender gap is representative of many simple sports that test primarily a single physical skill (the main exceptions are tests of upper body strength like shotputting, where the top men are as much as twice as strong as the top women), in free-flowing multidimensional sports like basketball where many skills must be combined, overall gender gaps tend to be so imposing that after puberty females almost never compete with males. Consider what traits help just in enabling you to dunk a basketball: height, vertical leaping ability, footspeed (to generate horizontal momentum that can be diverted into vertical liftoff), and hand size and hand strength (to dunk one-handed).
Not one of these five individual gender gaps is enormous, but they combine to create a huge difference in results: almost everybody in the NBA can dunk compared to almost nobody in the WNBA. Basketball, however, is far more than slam and jam. Throw in the need for massiveness and upper body strength in rebounding and defense, wrist strength in jumpshooting, etc., and multiply all these male advantages together, and the resulting gender gap in basketball ability is so vast that despite the WNBA’s state of the art marketing, it’s actual product resembles an all white high school boys’ game from a few decades ago.
Although the unique ease of our Gulf War victory encouraged the fantasy that technology has made fighting almost effortless, the chaos of combat will continue to demand a wide diversity of both physical aptitudes (like being able to hump a load of depleted-uranium ammunition) and mental attitudes (like the urge to kill) that interact to create a huge gender gap in fighting ability.
While in theory it might be nice if we could accommodate ambitious female officers’ need for combat experience by negotiating during wars with our enemies to set up separate all-female battles between our Amazon units and their Amazon units, this is where the analogy with sports finally breaks down: opponents in war don’t have to play by the rules … causing our women to be defeated, captured, raped, and killed. Still, if (as, in effect, so many feminists insist) female officers’ right to equal promotion opportunities requires that they be furnished with female cannon fodder, there is one proven formula for narrowing the gender gap to give our enlisted women more of a fighting chance. Feminist logic implies that just as our military once imported ex-Nazi German rocket scientists, it should now import ex-Communist German steroid pushers.
Steve Sailer is a businessman and writer. Dr. Stephen Seiler is an American sports physiologist at Norway’s Agder College. Yes, they really are different people, and, No, they haven’t yet decided which one is the evil twin. Background statistics are posted at http://www.isteve.com/addtrack.htm . This is the final draft rather than the slightly shorter and slightly different one published in National Review. So blame us for anything you don’t like, not the magazine.
Updates as of 4/12/2014:
- I was trying to be optimistic about the future of women’s running in 1997, but my reference to Marion Jones, the American heroine of t
he 2000 Olympics, turned out unfortunate: she went to prison in 2005 in relation to her steroid use.
- I was naive about the explosion of new distance running records set by East Africans in the mid-1990s. In retrospect, it appears that the anti-anemia drug EPO arrived in East African distance running circles around 1995. Before then, EPO seems to have been largely restricted to some European runners.
- I updated my data analysis by nationality and race up through the 2008 Olympics here.
- Current best times in all track and field events are kept up to the moment by Peter Larsson here. Feel free to check out how much the big picture has changed statistically over the last 17 years since I wrote this article.
(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
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The Washington Post editorial board has drawn a line in the sand against anti-white black solidarity, at least where it really matters: Washington D.C. city council elections.

Anita Bonds’ misguided focus on race 

By Editorial Board

D.C. COUNCIL member Anita Bonds (D-At Large) is not the first District official, nor sadly is she likely to be the last, to try to use race to her advantage. But her awkward comments about the role that race will play in the city’s upcoming election and voters wanting their “own” should not go unchallenged. 

Ms. Bonds appeared Monday on WAMU-FM’s “Kojo Nnamdi Show” with the five other candidates vying for the citywide seat in the April 23 special election. She was asked about recent comments by a union official endorsing her. The official said there is a strong desire within the black community that the seat be held by an African American. 

“Happy to hear that,” was Ms. Bonds’s response. She said, “People want to have their leadership reflect who they are” and longtime residents “fear” being pushed out by the city’s changing demographics. “The majority of the District of Columbia is African American. .?.?. There is a natural tendency to want your own,” she said.

The horror, the horror. Seriously, that’s a perfectly reasonable thing for any politician to say. But, it’s not okay with the Washington Post editorial board. This stuff’s personal. If they help push blacks out of power in Washington D.C. their lives will be a lot better, so they are going to be as anti-black as they gotta be to get the job done.

Ms. Bonds, The Post’s Tim Craig reported, appears to be trying to rally black voters to her bid by noting that the council, now with seven white and six black members, has never had eight white members. 

But, it will soon, at least in the Washington Post editorial board’s dreams of cashing in big on their real estate investments.

Ms. Bonds told us she is aghast that anyone would interpret her remarks as a plea to vote for her solely because of her race; she said she was merely expressing appreciation about having received the union endorsement. Her spokesman stressed that the campaign has never used race as a basis to garner votes and that the council member was simply responding to a direct question that should not be taken out of context. … 

 But the failure of Ms. Bonds to make clear that a candidate’s skin color should not be the determining factor was disappointing, particularly since the council on which she hopes to continue to serve will have to deal with challenges confronting a city undergoing dramatic demographic change. 

Translation from Editorialese: Challenges to include blacks not letting the doorknob hit them on the butt as they leave D.C. for places where the locals don’t have their hands on The Megaphone like we do here at the Washington Post.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
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The Minnesota Timberwolves go into the season with only five black players on their 15-man roster, and some people are calling it a conspiracy. 

From Jerry Zgoda and Dennis Brackin of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: 

“How did we get a roster that resembles the 1955 Lakers?” asked Tyrone Terrell, chairman of St. Paul’s African American leadership council. “I think everything is a strategy. Nothing happens by happenstance.” 

That strategy, Terrell and others in the black community believe, is to sell tickets to the Wolves’ fan base, which is overwhelmingly white. 

Lou Amundson, JJ Barea, Chase Budinger, Andrei Kirilenko, Kevin Love, Nikola Pekovic, Luke Ridnour, Ricky Rubio, Alexey Shved, and Greg Stiemsma make up 2/3 of the T-Wolves roster, and they are all white. 

Minnesota civil rights activist Ron Edwards thinks something is up too, and he told the paper, “It raises some real questions to me about what’s really intended. I think, personally, that it was calculated. Is this an attempt to get fans back in the stands? Minnesota, after all, is a pretty white state.”

I don’t see much evidence at all that white Americans like foreign whites more than African-Americans, but it might someday happen. More likely, a small market team management might try a strategy of building a whiter team in the hopes of getting better team play interaction effects.

So far, the Timberwolves’ Achilles heel (or anterior cruciate ligament, in the case of Ricky Rubio) has been injuries. Rubio, the former Spanish child prodigy point guard, has been out since the middle of last season, and Love, the closest thing to a white American superstar the NBA has at present (at least as measured by his huge points/rebounds numbers — the rest of his game …), recently broke his hand. So, we won’t see if this strategy, if it is a strategy and not just randomness, works or not until the second half of the season.

One interesting study that I haven’t seen done is differences in injury rates between races. I wouldn’t be surprised if the prejudice against, say, white running backs in big time football might be based on a greater likelihood of white runners to get too dinged up to be effective. 

Back in the 1980s, Bill James did a rare race study comparing white and black pairs of baseball players with similar rookie year number for speed-related stats such as triples, grounded into double plays, defensive range, and percent of time caught stealing. He found a strong tendency for black ballplayers to maintain their speed later into their careers than white players. I can’t find James’ essay online, but here is Jon Entine’s summary of it.

Now, this analysis couldn’t distinguish between the differential effects of injuries on speed and the differential effects of aging on speed, but it’s still about the best starting point I’ve heard of.

For example, on paper, Oakland’s Reggie Jackson and Bob Allison, a 1960s Minnesota Twin who was electrifying for a few years, looked equally fast as rookies, but Allison’s speed fell off faster, while Reggie stayed fast enough to stay in the league long enough to put up Hall of Fame career numbers. James also cites Davey Lopes’s then-amazing 1985 season with the Cubs as a 39 year old part-timer in which he stole 47 bases in 51 attempts.

You might think that somebody would have looked into this more over the quarter of a century since then, but sabermetrics appears pretty allergic to obvious racial analyses. With the gigantic obsession in 21st Century America with fantasy sports leagues, in which hobbyists draft lineups and compete with each other based on their players’ subsequent stats, you would think this question would be a big one. Instead, though, stat analysts appear content to let racial stereotypes and hunches, rather than statistically informed analyses, drive fans’ decision-making in this regard.

I wouldn’t be surprised that black athletes have greater resilience to the wear-and-tear of injuries, but I can think of a couple of other explanations for James’ results.

The first is that James’ methodology of finding matching pairs might not be that good. Assume that the black bell curve of speed is shifted to the right of the white bell curve, but you have only crude measures of baseball speed. For example, Allison led the league in triples as rookie with 9, which is a good indicator of speed, but it’s a small sample size. Some of the other stats, such as defensive range and caught stealing, are confounded by baseball savvy. Maybe white baseball players tend to be savvier as rookies, while blacks tended to be multi-sport athletes who only decided to concentrate upon baseball at a later age? (Certainly Reggie Jackson evolved into one of the more cunning ballplayers by late in his career, but he was a star football player in college.) 

So, maybe Bob Allison was never quite the spectacular athlete that Reggie Jackson was, he just happened to have somewhat similar numbers based on not totally reliable measures. For example, James makes a big deal out of both guys being good college football players, but Allison was a fullback while Reggie was a defensive back. Big difference in likely speed. Perhaps white players who appear to be as fast as their matched black counterparts aren’t really as fast on average, they’re just the best that James’ system can come up with. For example, I presume he didn’t find any white matches for, say, Ricky Henderson, Willie Wilson, or Vince Coleman.

The second issue with the study is … juicing. We don’t know much about pre-Canseco experiments with steroids, but I’m developing some suspicions. 

I saw Reggie Jackson’s t itanic homer in the 1971 All-Star Game off the light stand on top of the third deck in right field of Tiger Stadium. It was almost unprecedented, but by 30 years later it wasn’t so amazing. Barry Bonds hit two similar blasts in the 2002 World Series that the TV cameraman couldn’t track.

As he got older, Reggie developed the top-heavy look of a serious lifter that became common in 1990s baseball. California muscle building culture was way ahead of the rest of the country in technical sophistication in the 1960s and 1970s.

Or consider James’s example of Davey Lopes

I was a huge Los Angeles Dodgers fan during their strong 1970s, and I recall being at Dodger Stadium in the late 1970s when all the Dodger sluggers (the 1977 Dodgers was the first team with four 30-homer men) took a pregame jog through the outfield. They were men of average height, but extraordinarily wide.

Lopes was a leadoff man / second baseman whose career high in homeruns through age 31 was 10. Then he started developing more power and at age 34 in 1979 hit 28 homeruns, which seemed a bizarre total for a middle infielder at the time.

(Lopes’ development, now that I think about it, had something to do with moving the outfield fences in at Dodger Stadium. In Sandy Koufax’s 1960s, centerfield was 410 feet, then they brought it in to 400. The Dodgers had a lot of players who could hit minimal homers just over the outfielder’s glove — Ron Cey drove my Dodger-hating roommate crazy with a lot of cheap home runs that barely made it over the fence.) So, management then made the centerfield fence only 395′. Then MLB set a minimum of 400 in center, so they had to move it out again, but I don’t remember the exact years.)

I’m just tossing some evidence out there, mind you, not drawing conclusions.

By the way, I only saw about a minute of the World Series, but I was happy to see that the Giants’ young superstar catcher Buster Posey seemed to be built more like an old fashioned lithe athlete, in the mold of Roger Federer or Chris Paul, rather than a top-heavy 1990′s slugger. Hope (and fandom) springs eternal …
(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
• Tags: Race, Sports 
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Speaking of Arthur Jensen, Occidentalist has a table listing all 40 academic studies he could find of the white-black gap in average IQ in the U.S. They range from 1918, when it was measured at 17 points, to 2008, when it was found to be 16 points. So, don’t let anybody tell you The Gap hasn’t closed over the last 90 years.

Seriously, is there anything in the human sciences more stable than La Griffe’s Fundamental Constant of American Sociology? It’s really odd when you stop to think about how stable it has been. I suspect that differences in average height have changed significantly more over the generations. For example, when I was a kid, the Dutch weren’t particularly tall, not the way they are now.

Things change.

Except this …

Indeed, I’m wondering whether there isn’t some kind of behavioral feedback at work regarding IQ that somehow keeps The Gap about the same. I don’t have any candidates in mind for what that stabilizing mechanism might be, but it’s worth considering.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
• Tags: IQ, Race, Race/IQ 
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Philip Roth’s recent screed about his novel The Human Stain not have anything at all to do with his literary booster Anatole Broyard (1920-1990), whose passing from black to white Roth hadn’t heard about until first meeting him in 1958, inspired Paleo Retiree (formerly Michael Blowhard) at his new group blog Uncouth Reflections to recall that virtually everybody in New York’s arts & literature world gossipped about Broyard:

Many, many years ago, while Broyard was still in his prime, a book critic I knew told me that Broyard was black/Creole; another friend, who’d hung around the NYC lit-intellectual world in the ’50s and ’60s, confirmed it to me; and the black intellectual Albert Murray told me about it too. Murray told the tale with great amusement: he thought Broyard’s adventures were pretty funny. … 

Despite the big fuss at the time the info about Broyard’s blackness went public, I suspect that it had been an open secret in some fancy NYC circles for decades. I mean, even I knew about it. (Never met Broyard myself.) 

All of my sources told me that there were two reasons Broyard didn’t want to identify as black: 1) he didn’t want the racial thing to be a big issue in his life (it wasn’t a topic that interested him much), and 2) as a Creole, he genuinely didn’t think of himself as black. (My acquaintances all told me that Broyard was a successful ladies’ man too.) Needless to say, once Broyard died and the fact that he’d been black became more widely known, most commentators turned the discussion into one “about race” — something that struck me as wildly unfair given that Broyard wanted his life and his work to be about different subjects entirely.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
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Judging from the comments so far, not many post-Broyard celebrities have been revealed to have actively passed from black to white. 

I can think of a number of part-black actresses who switch back and forth between white and black roles:

Rashida Jones — “Parks and Recreation” — Her father is Quincey Jones
Maya Rudolph — “Saturday Night Live” — Her mother was the late singer Minnie Riperton and her father is an entertainment industry insider, friend of Spielberg, etc.
Rebecca Hall — Ben Affleck’s girlfriend in “The Town.” Her mother is Maria Ewing, a part-black opera singer.
Jennifer Beals — “Flashdance”

The first three are daughters of people in arts & entertainment. Quincey Jones, producer of “Thriller,” may well have an entire trophy room for all the awards he’s won. Rebecca Hall’s father, Sir Peter Hall, was knighted for being one of the top British stage directors of his generation. So, their daughters have incentives to play up their ancestry.

There are more white roles for actresses, and nonwhites tend to jealously guard the nonwhite roles. So, the rule of thumb appears to be that you have to identify as part black to get the black roles, but that won’t stop you from getting the white roles, especially if you are show biz royalty.

In the case of Vin Diesel (“Fast & Furious”), his Wikipedia article currently says he says he’s part black, but I vaguely recall him not saying that a decade ago. His family background is complex (he’s never met his biological father, his step-father who raised him is black), so if my recollection is right, I would guess he’d fall in the personal reasons category. (By the way, I’m always struck by how similar his facial expressions are to Jerry Seinfeld’s.)

In contrast, sexual orientation works somewhat differently. Gay actors who want leading man roles are discouraged from coming out. One late-blooming action star, who used to make most of his money gentrifying homes, has been plagued for several years by an ambiguous article that appeared in the L.A. Times real estate section just before he hit it big describing the spectacular renovation he and his “partner,” another male actor, did of a once-moldering mansion that they were now putting up for sale for millions. I’m sure he wishes now that the newspaper had put “business” before “partner.”

Both straight and gay audiences seem to like having straight male actors play gay roles — e.g., Tom Hanks winning an Oscar in “Philadelphia.” Straights are reassured, and gays like that it Undermines Stereotypes, plus they get kind of a thrill out of the idea that a regular guy could be talked into it.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
• Tags: Movies, Race 
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From my new column in Taki’s Magazine:

Obama’s sudden rise from part-time legislator/part-time lecturer to Presidential Timberhood was conventionally interpreted as the triumph of his supreme personal merit over discrimination’s crushing weight. A less-popular suggestion was that in 21st-century America, identifying as black is good for your career. 

One way to test this question is by looking at the phenomenon of people changing their racial identification, AKA “passing.” Traditionally, mixed-race people tried to socially separate themselves from the black masses, and some tried to pass as white. Is that still true? Or has the flow reversed in recent decades, with racially ambiguous people now asserting their blackness? 

Passing is back in the news because of the curious onslaught that famed novelist Philip Roth (Portnoy’s Complaint) mounted last week against Wikipedia over its allegation that one of his better novels might have been inspired by the glamorous man of letters Anatole Broyard (1920-1990), one of the last Americans known to have passed as white for career reasons.

Read the whole thing there.

Are there any celebrities since Broyard who are now known to have passed for career purposes?

I’m thinking of “passed” in the active rather than the passive sense, of cutting ties with tell-tale kin to change one’s racial identity. I’m sure there are people today whose, say, 1/4th black grandparent switched and now they are 1/16th black and don’t make a big deal about it. That’s what I would call the passive sense of passing.

Also, I’m sure there are people who insist they are all white for personal rather than career reasons — such as mom cheated on her husband with the saxophonist, but eventually they reconciled and decided never to mention that one child doesn’t the really look like the others.

Broyard told, I believe, his daughter that he switched to white because he didn’t want to get stuck being the Negro literary intellectual, that he really wasn’t that interested in race stuff and wanted to follow where his tastes led him. That sounds a slight bit high-minded. Or maybe he did it just for the girls.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
• Tags: Books, Obama, Race 
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From the L.A. Times:

Is it ‘relevant’ that James Holmes is white? 

By Michael McGough 

At the risk of being accused of having an obsession with references to race and ethnicity in journalism,  I want to call attention to a controversy over the fact that some news reports identified James Holmes, the accused shooter in “The Dark Knight Rises” movie theater shootings,  as a white man. (The L.A. Times story did not so describe him.) 

This is from Richard Prince’s “Journalisms” feature on the website of the Maynard Institute: 

“News consumers learned that the man suspected of shooting 70 people in Aurora, Colo., on Friday was white before they knew his name. 

“NPR described the man accused of killing 12 people and injuring at least 58 others as a ‘white male in his early 20s.’ On Pacifica Radio’s ‘Democracy Now,’ host Amy Goodman said the gunman was ‘believed to be white, about 24 years old…. 

“Paul Colford, spokesman for the Associated Press, explained to Journalisms at midday,  ‘I’m told that ‘white’ was part of the original police description, though that element will be dropped. Race is included when a story contains a racial element, and so far this one apparently has no such element.’” 

It’s true that most newspaper style guides counsel against identifying crime suspects — and other people — by their race, a practice dating to the 1960s.  Before then, it was common for news stories to refer to a suspect, even after he had been captured, as a “Negro man.”  The exception to the modern colorblind policy is when race is “relevant.” 

That’s obviously the case in, say, the beating of Rodney King by white police officers or a description of a congressional candidate who is the first African American (or white, though that’s unlikely) to hold a political office. Race is also relevant when the suspect is still at large, though there have been instances of stories that tell the reader to look out for a suspect with “black hair and brown eyes” without mentioning race. 

Beyond that, though, relevance is in the eye of the beholder, and readers often behold things differently from the way editors do. 

To complicate matters, the same editors who would enforce a ban on racial descriptions in a crime story might nudge a reporter to make clear, indirectly, that the subject of a positive portrayal belongs to an underrepresented group. 

Finally there’s the double standard for breaking news and feature stories: Physical description is at a minimum in breaking stories, but when a reporter is in feature mode, quasi-racial descriptions like “the blond, blue-eyed tot” or “the teenager in dreadlocks” come out of the tool kit. 

In the case of the Colorado shootings, the arguments for identifying the shooter as white would be: 

Readers/listeners are curious, just as they’re curious about whether the shooter was young or old or male or female. The problem with this argument is that for many readers that curiosity is tinged with a kind of prurient racism. 

This is a story with anthropological/sociological overtones. One reason readers may have been curious about the race of the shooter was that the supposed rarity of nonwhite serial killers has been a topic of more or less informed discussion for years. …

Is this racist? Racially insensitive? Or unobjectionably informative? You tell me. 

My view is: Of course the race of the Colorado killer is relevant. It’s news.

As a commenter points out, the first three facts that the police gather on a suspect are sex, race, and age: e.g., “A male Caucasian about 25.” For the press to go and proactively delete race shows their dedication to keeping the public ignorant.

The news media should drop its campaign to control the flow of facts about race out of disdain for its readers’ “prurient” curiosity. The press writes about race constantly, but it tries to massage readers’ opinions on race, most obviously by trying to cover up the fact that, according to the Obama Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics website, the majority of homicides since 1976 have been committed by African-Americans.

To give an example from the same edition of the Los Angeles Times of how baldly the prestige press often covers up race:

$50,000 reward offered in slaying of cook in Sherman Oaks 

July 23, 2012 | 10:31 pm

Los Angeles officials will be announcing a $50,000 reward for information in the slaying of a 38-year-old man shot outside a Hoagies & Wings in Sherman Oaks. 

Raul Lopez, who worked as a cook at the restaurant, had pushed out a group of men who had become angry while waiting for food before he was shot June 29, police said. 

Police said the men had shouted racial slurs at employees, causing other customers to leave and prompting Lopez to take action.

There is no mention in the rest of the posting about the race of the killers, who are seen on security video, even though that’s doubly relevant, since it can help somebody collect the $50,000 reward by identifying them, and because the killers “shouted racial slurs.” But withholding relevant information serves the higher purpose of thwarting prurient racists’ curiosity by not validating stereotypes.

See, leaving the impression that this could be a killing by a gang of white racist no doubt Romney-supporting anti-Latino murderers roving Ventura Boulevard is a good thing. (This strategic ambiguity might, for example, help the SPLC get some more donations from confused old rich people in Sherman Oaks. And the SPLC needs the money.)

In contrast, the lowly Sherman Oaks Patch reports:

The five suspects are thought to be in their 20s or 30s, and lead homicide detective James Nuttall said Tuesday that the men, all African-American, were driving a newer model black Cadillac Escalade on 26-inch chrome rims. 

Okay! That’s useful, relevant news. It’s also, like most crime stories, a stereotype-palooza.

Keep in mind that this reticence about race and crime doesn’t have anything to do with preventing further violence. This L.A. Times columnist is proud of how the press hammered on the subject of race in the Rodney King beating, which eventuated in 53 people dead and a billion dollars in riot damage.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
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Ron Unz has a big article in The American Conservative on a perennially interesting and important subject:

Race, IQ, and Wealth 

What the facts tell us about a taboo subject 

By RON UNZ • July 18, 2012 

At the end of April, Charles Kenny, a former World Bank economist specializing in international development, published a blistering attack in Foreign Policy entitled “Dumb and Dumber,” with the accusatory subtitle “Are development experts becoming racists?” Kenny charged that a growing number of development economists were turning towards genetic and other intrinsic human traits as a central explanation of national economic progress, often elevating these above the investment and regulatory issues that have long been the focus of international agencies. 

Although Kenny suggested that many of his targets had been circumspect in how they raised these highly controversial ideas, he singled out IQ and the Wealth of Nations, published in 2001 by Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen, as a particularly extreme and hateful example of this trend. These authors explicitly argue that IQ scores for different populations are largely fixed and hereditary, and that these—rather than economic or governmental structures—tend to determine the long-term wealth of a given country. 

Kenny claimed that such IQ theories were not merely racist and deeply offensive but had also long been debunked by scientific experts—notably the prominent biologist Stephen Jay Gould in his 1980 book The Mismeasure of Man.

Read the whole thing there.

 
• Category: Economics • Tags: IQ, Race 
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Over at West Hunter, Greg Cochran has been introducing a a fairly new and potentially important theory of the genetic origins of race differences in IQ.  It’s less a theory of evolution than of devolution. The mechanism causing effective differences, he argues, is less selection for higher IQ due to differences in the environment (e.g., winter versus tropics selecting for forethought); instead, a large driver is differential rates in random mutation leading to differences in average level of deleterious genetic load, which tend to correlate with climate warmth.

Sanctuary 

What would happen if people moved somewhere where the mutation rate was far lower? 

Their genetic load would decrease with time, assuming that they were still subject to much selection. Today, everybody has hundreds of nicked or broken genes:  selection keeps eliminating them, while mutation keeps creating them.  The suspicion is that their effect is quite large.  This hypothetical population would have fewer and fewer.  In a few thousand years, they would lose most of the variants that decrease fitness by 1% or more.

Cochran’s next post looks at some data on the rates at which random mutations creep into the reproduction process.

Too Darn Hot? 

Posted on July 14, 2012 by gcochran9 

Several recent papers  give me the impression that there is regional variation in mutational load.   One can slice this a number of ways. Dan MacArthur and company looked for mutations that knocked out genes – loss-of-function or LOF mutations.  Mutational load is the sum of all deleterious mutations – LOF mutations are a clear-cut subset of total mutational load. 

Some of the LOF mutations they are found are common, and are presumably neutral, maybe even beneficial, but most are rare and likely deleterious.  The kicker is that they found significantly more LOF mutations in their African population sample than in their European and East Asian samples – 25% higher.  That was unexpected. 

Population history (and mutation rate) determine the variation you expect to find in neutral genes, but significantly deleterious mutations should be in mutation-selection balance.  A neutral variant might easily be a million years old, but a deleterious variant will  last, on average, 1/s generations, when s is the decrease in fitness caused by that variant.  A mutation that decreases fitness by 1% should disappear in  100 generations or so, about 2500 years.  Ancient bottlenecks should not influence the frequency of such noticeably deleterious mutations. 

Another related paper, by Jacob Tenessen et al,  looked at a large set of coding genes, sequencing many times (average depth of 111x)  for high accuracy. As in in MacArthur’s paper they found that the average person carries many probably-deleterious mutations, mutations which are individually rare.  Each person carried, on average, mutations expected to change function (almost always for the worse, although usually only a little for the worse)  in 313 genes (out of the 15,585 they studied. 

They looked at African-Americans and Americans of European descent, about a thousand of each.  They saw what MacArthur’s group did: there were significantly more probably-deleterious mutations in the 80%-African population.  When they used a loose definition of functional variation, about 20% more : with a more conservative definition,  which should have a higher fraction of truly deleterious genes, about 29% more. 

…    The only simple explanation (that I can think of)  is a higher mutation rate.

One possibility is that heat tends to cause a higher mutation rate.

Henry Harpending then summed up:

Pre-term Births 

Posted on July 16, 2012 by harpend= 

The model that Greg is dancing around suggests (1) that there is variation in mutation rate dependent on temperature or something correlated with temperature, (2) higher mutation rates cause a higher genetic burden in human populations, (3) leading to IQ reduction and other minor dings

Here’s my model of this theory (which is probably pretty woozy):

Imagine, say, a factory that builds a complex product, such as a car, according to a complicated set of instructions. But, the instructions on how to build the next car are passed on via the Game of Telephone, with mistakes inevitably creeping in. Sometimes, big mistakes are made, and the resulting car is such a disaster that it can’t function at all and has to be scrapped. But, most of the individual mistakes are minor and just mean, say, that instead of delivering 268 horsepower, the engine generates 267. Over time, the Telephone Game build up mistakes until a car is completely unusable and has to be scrapped. At that point the workers go find a better car and get the instructions for that car relayed to them. So, on average, most cars don’t come off the assembly line performing at spec, but they perform well enough to make it through a test drive. 

Now imagine two factories making the same car from roughly the same overall design. One is in Nagoya and the other in Lagos. It’s so hot and humid alla the time in Nigeria, unfortunately, that the workers get distracted during their Game of Telephone and have a higher rate of errors when transmitting plans from one generation to the next. 

In the comments, commenter extraordinaire Jason Malloy writes:

See these posts from February and April for the conceptual background. 

While not fully or explicitly articulated, this is the first New Big Theory of race differences in quite a while, and an interesting alternative to the reigning sociobiological models available since the 1980s. In the latter models intelligence and reproductive differences are seen as consequences of natural selection in divergent latitudes, but this new model replaces natural selection with accumulated mutational burdens. The differences at lower latitudes are not selectively advantageous, but dysfunctional. 

Dr. C
ochran notes that complex adaptive systems, involving the functioning of many genes, should be the most vulnerable to genetic load, so this would obviously be the brain and probably reproductive physiology. So in addition to higher general mortality, dysfunctions associated with mutational burdens might include: 

Mental
- Lower intelligence
- Higher retardation
- Higher mental illness 

Reproductive
- Lower birthweight
- Higher premature births
- Higher infertility
- Higher reproductive deformities
- Higher miscarriage (and general obstetric complications)
- Lower sperm quality 

Of course there is a difference between establishing population differences in genetic load, and proving that this is related to population differences in socially valued traits. I’m not sold on this as a replacement for sociobiological models, although there are aspects that make it useful and attractive in different ways. For example, I recently found that ethnic differences in rate of homosexuality are inversely correlated with latitude. Since theories of selectively advantageous homosexuality fall flat, this theory seemed like a better fit.

In the comments to Henry’s post, I offer a couple of tentative criticisms, which you can read there.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
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From the New York Times:

Earliest Americans Arrived in Waves, DNA Study Finds 

By NICHOLAS WADE 

North and South America were first populated by three waves of migrants from Siberia rather than just a single migration, say researchers who have studied the whole genomes of Native Americans in South America and Canada. 

Some scientists assert that the Americas were peopled in one large migration from Siberia that happened about 15,000 years ago, but the new genetic research shows that this central episode was followed by at least two smaller migrations from Siberia, one by people who became the ancestors of today’s Eskimos and Aleutians and another by people speaking Na-Dene, whose descendants are confined to North America. The research was published online Wednesday in the journal Nature. 

The Na-Dene speakers include the Navajo and Apache of the American Southwest, although no U.S. tribes were included in the study because of political opposition to genetic research. It’s my vague impression that Na-Dene speaking Indians tend to look more Siberian than other American Indians, which wouldn’t be surprising since they had ancestors in Siberia more recently.

The finding vindicates a proposal first made on linguistic grounds by Joseph Greenberg, the great classifier of the world’s languages. He asserted in 1987 that most languages spoken in North and South America were derived from the single mother tongue of the first settlers from Siberia, which he called Amerind. Two later waves, he surmised, brought speakers of Eskimo-Aleut and of Na-Dene, the language family spoken by the Apache and Navajo. 

But many linguists who specialize in American languages derided Dr. Greenberg’s proposal, saying they saw no evidence for any single ancestral language like Amerind. “American linguists made up their minds 25 year ago that they wouldn’t support Greenberg, and they haven’t changed their mind one whit,” said Merritt Ruhlen, a colleague of Dr. Greenberg, who died in 2001.

Reductionism is popular in physics, but not in the social sciences since the 1960s, or maybe not since the stock market crash of 1929. Anthropologist Robin Fox jokes that his field suffers from “ethnographic dazzle” or stamp collectoritis.

The new DNA study is based on gene chips that sample the entire genome and presents a fuller picture than earlier studies, which were based on small regions of the genome like the Y chromosome or mitochondrial DNA. Several of the mitochondrial DNA studies had pointed to a single migration. 

A team headed by David Reich of the Harvard Medical School and Dr. Andres Ruiz-Linares of University College London report that there was a main migration that populated the entire Americas. They cannot date the migration from their genomic data but accept the estimate by others that the migration occurred around 15,000 years ago. This was in the window of time that occurred after the melting of great glaciers that blocked passage from Siberia to Alaska, and before the rising waters at the end of the last ice age submerged Beringia, the land bridge between them. 

They also find evidence for two further waves of migration, one among Na-Dene speakers and the other among Eskimo-Aleut, again as Dr. Greenberg predicted. But whereas Dr. Greenberg’s proposal suggested that three discrete groups of people were packed into the Americas, the new genome study finds that the second and third waves mixed in with the first. Eskimos inherit about half of their DNA from the people of the first migration and half from a second migration. The Chipewyans of Canada, who speak a Na-Dene language, have 90 percent of their genes from the first migration and some 10 percent from a third. 

It is not clear why the Chipewyans and others speak a Na-Dene language if most of their DNA is from Amerind speakers. Dr. Ruiz-Linares said a minority language can often dominate others in the case of conquest; an example of this is the ubiquity of Spanish in Latin America.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
• Tags: Genetics, Race 
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From the L.A. Times:

Is talking about slave eugenics a fireable offense? It depends.

By Dan Turner 

When Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder opined about slavery, eugenics and black American athletes, it ended his career as a sports commentator on CBS. When American Olympic sprinter Michael Johnson made similar comments to a British newspaper, it left some wondering whether he’d face the same fate — Johnson, too, works as a sports commentator, for the BBC. 

The answer is, probably not. That’s because Johnson, unlike Snyder, is African American and thus can say things about African Americans that whites can’t …

And so forth and so on.

Americans aren’t very censorious about sex anymore, so what we get titillated and censorious about now is talking about race. But, that keeps us from actually thinking much about race. Nobody has much investigated the Snyder-Johnson hypothesis.

How much evidence is there for genetic selection of blacks in the New World? Let’s look at the simplest relevant database for evaluating the Snyder-Johnson theory: Wikipedia’s list of the 83 men who have run 100m in faster than 10 seconds. Of those 83, 81 are of at least partial black African descent, and most top New World sprinters are very African looking (i.e., not very admixed with other races — e.g, Carl Lewis. So is Michael Johnson, for that matter, although he wasn’t a 100m man.) All that’s pretty good evidence that black African genes help. 

Out of those 81, I count 14 runners born and raised in Africa. That 14 includes 12 running for African countries and two who grew up in West Africa but run as adults for Norway or Qatar.

My basic assumption is that in most complex situations nature and nurture are of roughly similar importance. North America and the West Indies have better nurture than Africa, so it’s hardly surprising that a majority of black nine second men are from the Diaspora rather than from Africa. (Of course, in the short run, drugs matter: Jamaica’s rise relative to the U.S. from 2004 to 2008 stemmed largely from America finally cracking down on drugs — e.g., Marion Jones going to prison — but Jamaica not. But, in the long run, this tends to work out.)

The West African figures aren’t as impressive as the 38 from the U.S., 11 from Jamaica, and five from Trinidad. Yet, excluding American and West Indian blacks, Nigeria leads the world with eight men under 10 seconds. In other words, Nigeria has four times as many sub 10 second men as the entire 6 billion people who aren’t black African by ancestry.

So, from this data I can’t reject my null hypothesis that blacks in the English-speaking New World are pretty much the same genetically as their distant cousins in West Africa, but just benefit from an environment more conducive to super-fast sprinting. But I can’t confirm it either: the data fall right about where either notion is plausible but not persuasive.

Einstein said that explanations should be as simple as possible, but no simpler. The 100m dash data is congruent with a model with two, possibly three major factors:

- Nature — On average, blacks tend to be faster runners for , especially men of West African descent in the sprints, the shorter the better.

- Nurture — On average, the environment (defined broadly to include health, wealth, coaching, shoes, organization, drug test evasion sophistication, etc.) is better for sprinters in North America and the West Indies than in Africa.

What I can’t tell is whether we need a third factor, which is differences in nature (genes) between West Africans and their distant cousins in the northern part of the New World. Because I don’t see an obvious mechanism for selecting for faster sprinters, and because it’s not obvious we need to find one, I’m not enthusiastic about this hypothesized third factor. But I can’t totally reject it either.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
• Tags: Olympics, Race, Sports 
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Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, VDARE.com columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.


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