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Race

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On May 27, a 34-year-old black male named Derrick Todd Lee was arrested in Atlanta for the serial murders of five women in Baton Rouge, LA, between September, 2001 and last March. Mr. Lee will be tried for the murders in due course, but how he was captured tells us something important about the realities of race and how much the liberal pseudo-science that denies that reality can cost us. Predictably, most of the national media have ignored the story.

A recent Public Broadcasting Service series tried to claim that race is merely a “human invention,” a social construct, and therefore that you cannot detect race from genetic evidence such as DNA.

As I argued in a recent column, the liberal-to-left-wing pseudo-scientists who make such claims are lying, for the purpose of bolstering the anti-white policies they favor and to salvage the notion that differences between the races are really the result of the “social environment” (especially “white racism.“).

If race is merely a “social construct,” then indeed you could not identify a person’s race by examining his DNA, any more than you could tell what language he speaks, what his religion is, or which baseball team he likes. All those preferences really are “social constructs” that do not exist in nature.

But race is real, which is how they caught Derrick Todd Lee. Authorities identified his race from a DNA sample connected to one of the victims, and that led them to suspect Mr. Lee as the killer. They already had a sample of his own DNA that he had given voluntarily during the investigation of another murder in the area.

But for months the manhunt for the killer who was terrorizing Baton Rouge concentrated on white males – mainly because an FBI “behavioral profile” suggested the killer was white. More than 600 white men had their cheeks swabbed for DNA samples by the police, and there was a minor dust-up about the legitimacy of such “racial profiling” of whites. (Note it was “minor”; racial profiling is taboo only when used to identify non-whites.)

But not until February of this year did the local law enforcement task force investigating the four known murders in Baton Rouge give the killer’s DNA to DNAPrint Genomics, a company in Florida that specializes in using genetic evidence to identify criminal suspects.

Within weeks the CEO of the company, Tony Frudakis, identified the race of the killer as being “85 percent Sub-Saharan African and 15 percent Native American.”

So much for the FBI “behavioral profile.”

By March 21, the truth had sunk in to the task force. It called a news conference to announce that the public should not assume the killer was white after all.

They wouldn’t say why.

It may not be important for the outcome of the investigation, which soon culminated in Mr. Lee’s identification, but it’s pretty clear why. Any public employee saying a scientific test shows the reality of race would lose his job and career, regardless of how many murderers he caught.

Yet it’s still not entirely clear exactly when the task force obtained a DNA sample from the unknown killer and, if they had one earlier than last February (by which time four of the five known victims had died), why they didn’t approach Mr. Frudakis’ firm before then?

It may be they were still relying on the FBI profile and various witness accounts of white males seen near the sites of the murders. It may also be they insisted on walking down those blind alleys because they either were afraid to look at the genetic reality of race or had themselves come to believe in the pseudo-science that denies race exists.

Mr. Frudakis says “he aggressively courted the task force, sending a representative to meet State Police Crime Lab personnel at a forensics conference in Chicago earlier,” the Baton Rouge Advocate reported last week, and the Associated Press quotes him as saying “his company’s test result led investigators to pay more attention to leads involving blacks than to other leads, and ‘that is why the case was solved two months after we ran the test for them.’”

He gave the task force his company’s findings “within a week,” and by the end of May, the suspect was in custody.

That’s great, but if the task force had consulted his firm earlier, several lives might have been saved.

Had the task force relied on the ace scientists interviewed in the PBS series, the killer would still be at large and the cops would still be scraping the cheeks of white men.

That’s why racial pseudo-science contributes to murder.

It’s also why the frauds who make up the pseudo-science, poison the public mind with it, and now dominate universities and the media ought to be booted out of both.

 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity, Science • Tags: Race 
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Superstitions about race never seem to die, in large part because those who peddle racial pseudo-science get funding and publicity from the U.S. government.

The Public Broadcasting System has just finished airing a three-part wallow in brainwash called “Race: The Power of an Illusion,” which purports, as an academic it interviews spouts, that “Race is a human invention.” The truth is that the illusion—”propaganda” would probably be a better word—is what PBS has served up to the taxpayers who finance it.

Produced by Larry Adelman and funded by the Ford Foundation as well as the taxpayers, the first part of the series concentrates on the “race doesn’t exist” theme, generously larded with shots of Adolf Hitler, lynchings of blacks, and the appropriate dirge music to make sure you’re in right mood for the message the series is sending.

The series interviews such heavies as the late Stephen Jay Gould of Harvard, geneticist Richard Lewontin, anthropologist Alan Goodman, and various black academics like biologist Joseph Graves and historian Evelyn Hammond (the source of the quote cited above).

Not one single scientist who believes that race really does exist is interviewed, though half a dozen could be named.

But bias isn’t the heart of the series’ problem. Plain untruthfulness is. The whole series is framed by a discussion in what’s supposed to be a high school science class, where students of various racial backgrounds are asked to select other students to whom they are probably most closely related genetically. Predictably, each student picks someone of the same or similar racial background. Predictably also, that turns out to be wrong—at least according to the program.

The class then took DNA samples form each other and analyzed them, and lo and behold, if it didn’t turn out that the racial “identities” the kids had picked were all wet.

The DNA tests supposedly show, as one pathetic kid named “Noah,” who looks like a teenage Woody Allen, blurts, that “we’re all just mongrels.”

The problem is that the test the students conduct proves nothing, as biologist Michael Rienzi points out in a blistering critique of the series in the June issue of American Renaissance, the monthly newsletter on racial realities.

As the program notes, the DNA the students are testing is what’s called “mitochondrial DNA,” stuff from the cells that is inherited exclusively from the maternal line. As Dr. Rienzi notes, “all mitochondrial DNA can tell any individual is the possible place of origin of one out of thousands of ancestors. It is impossible to determine race this way, and for the ‘experts’ to imply that this test somehow invalidates the concept of race is outright deception.”

In fact, as Dr. Rienzi also notes, a genetic test that does reveal ancestry and genetic relatedness (and therefore race) is readily available to any high school class, and indeed is accessible on the web. Its latest version, he tells us, “determines the proportion of ancestry that is Indo-European (Caucasian), African (sub-Saharan African; i.e., Negro), Native American (Amerindian), or East Asian (Mongolid/Oriental/Pacific Islander).” It’s produced by a company that specializes in identifying criminal suspects for law enforcement through DNA samples.

The PBS propaganda makes much of the claim that “there is no single gene unique to any particular racial group.” But so what? The implication the series insists on drawing is that members of any given “race” may differ from each other more than each does from a member of another “race”; therefore, race doesn’t really exist.

But as Dr. Rienzi points out, by the same argument, one could claim that, if, “for any particular genes or traits, two family members are less like each other than to a complete stranger, then ‘family does not exist, and family is an illusion.’”

A man with hair color different from that of his own brother would be said to be “more closely related” to a non-relative who has the same hair color.

The argument the PBS series is making is absurd on its face.

There’s a good deal more in Dr. Rienzi’s critique that’s a bit too complicated to discuss, but falsehood by falsehood he takes the PBS series apart at its seams.

PBS’s lies about race are worth exposing, not only because it’s not true that we’re all mongrels but also because those lies help perpetuate the anti-white claims that whites and their whole civilization are inherently “racist” and based on the repression and exploitation of other races.

Showing that it’s the anti-white crusaders who are doing the lying and perpetrating the pseudo-science—and who just possibly might like to do a bit of repressing and exploiting themselves—tells us a few truths, not only about race itself but also about how Americans of all races are being deceived about it.

 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity, Science • Tags: Genomics, Race 
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Two of the major superstitions of our time are the notion that man is merely a blank slate whose behavior is merely the product of the social environment and its sister, that race doesn’t exist. Yet one by one, the pseudo-scientific sources of these myths are being discredited by serious scientists, and last week, one of the biggest sources of all took a nose dive.

Franz Boas, often called the grandfather of modern anthropology and a pioneer pusher of the idea that race is not a very meaningful concept, merely a “social construct” not found in nature, probably ranks with Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud as one of the most influential thinkers of the modern age. As a Columbia professor from 1899 to 1942, he virtually created modern anthropology, and the students he trained—among them, Margaret Mead and some of the most famous names in the field—dominated the discipline until only a few years ago.

One of Boas’ favorite targets was so-called “scientific racism,” and much of his own writing was intended to combat what he saw—sometimes rightly—as unscientific or simply false thinking about race.

But it now turns out that Boas himself was guilty of no small degree of unscientific blunder—and maybe even fraud.

In 1912, Boas published what became a classic study that claimed to show that the skull shapes (“cranial forms”) of the descendants of European immigrants to the United States altered from those of the original immigrants. Boas offered no explanation for why the changes took place, but if they were real, his finding pretty much wiped out the idea that different racial and ethnic types differ in fixed physical characteristics.

Boas’s study, write Abram Kardiner and Edward Preble in their popular history of anthropology, They Studied Man, [pay archive]

“did much to establish the notion in human genetics that what are transmitted in the germ plasm are not fixed characters but potentialities … dependent upon the environment for the particular form they will assume. The ‘nature-nurture’ controversy was largely obviated by this alternative.”

In political terms, if human beings have few or no “fixed characters” and are shaped by the social environment, then what we know as modern liberalism is in business. So is communism, which also assumes that human beings can be transformed by manipulating the social environment.

It’s no accident that Boas was a lifelong sympathizer of Marxism.

Unfortunately, for the social and human engineers, the study has now been shown to be invalid. Last week in the New York Times Science section, science reporter Nicholas Wade reported on an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by anthropologists Corey Sparks and Richard L. Jantz that took another look at Boas’s study and methods. The effects of the new environment on the skulls of the immigrants’ descendants, they found, are “insignificant,” and the difference between the European and American born children were “negligible in comparison to the differentiation between ethnic groups.” ["A New Look at Old Data May Discredit a Theory on Race"By Nicholas Wade, NYT.Oct 8, 2002]

Moreover, as Dr. Jantz told the Times, Boas

“was intent on showing that the scientific racism of the day had no basis, but he did have to shade his data some to make it come out that way.”

In other words, Boas decided what his conclusions would be before he finished the research and then “shaded”—i.e., cheated on—the data to make them support the conclusion he wanted.

This is not science; it’s fraud — and modern liberalism is founded on it.

It doesn’t mean that the “scientific racism” Boas wanted to destroy is valid, but then again, as Dr. Jantz, says, it also “doesn’t mean cranial morphology [the classification of skulls by race] is meaningless either.”

Yet Boas was by far not the worst offender when it came to twisting data to support politically desired conclusions. His student Margaret Mead has been shown to have outright fabricated much of her data on Samoan sex life in the 1920s, and the claims about the lack of genetic influence on IQ of several other scientists trained or influenced by Boas have also been challenged by later research.

Anthropologist David Thomas, curator of anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, tells the Times

“once we anthropologists said race doesn’t exist, we have ignored it since then,”

but now, the reappraisal of Boas’ work

“really does have far-reaching ramifications.”

You can say that again.

Not only has a giant of modern social science—and a pillar of modern liberalism—tumbled from his pedestal, but the dogma that man is merely a blank slate, on which state bureaucrats and social engineers may scribble whatever ideologies they please, has toppled with him.

If that dogma really can be killed, then much of the tyranny and chaos it has helped create will die with it.

 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity, Science • Tags: Race 
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The nation was shocked, shocked to learn that the Rev. Jesse Jackson, speaking at Michigan State University last week, doesn’t like the Founding Fathers of the American Republic, thinks they were racists and sexists, and believes that democracy in America dates only from the enactment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

So what else is new?

The rhetorical stones Mr. Jackson pitched into the pond have stirred a few ripples among conservative sages and pundits, but there’s little reason for them to be surprised. Not only has Mr. Jackson himself a long history of spouting such remarks but also this is precisely what we should by now have come to expect from American black leadership. What we are seeing is the genesis and elaboration of a racial consciousness in place of a national consciousness.

As for Mr. Jackson, back in the 1980s he was leading demonstrations at Stanford University demanding that “Western Civ has got to go,” meaning that the university should drop its required course on the history of Western civilization and teach instead the kind of multiculturalist racial and political dogmatism that Mr. Jackson favors. What he said at Michigan State last week is merely the corollary to what he was telling us then.

What he said at Michigan State, to be specific, is that

“…democracy as we know it did not begin in Philadelphia, where a bunch of white men wrote the laws….These men’s wives were not allowed [to vote], these laws were made at a time when only white men had the right to vote…”

“True democracy,” in Mr. Jackson’s opinion, began only with the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965.

Mr. Jackson also had some generally illiterate things to say about recent U.S. foreign policy as well, but ignore that for the nonce and attend to the good reverend’s vast display of his own historical ignorance.

In the first place, the Founders did not claim to be founding “democracy”; they were quite explicit that they were “republicans” (with a small “R”) and that the Constitution they drafted and adopted contained a democratic along with monarchic and aristocratic elements.

If you had accused them of setting up a “true democracy,” most would have recoiled in horror at the thought of it.

In the second place, it’s quite true for the most part that “only white men had the right to vote.” In fact, for the most part, only white, fairly affluent, Christian men had the right to vote, but note that Mr. Jackson doesn’t seem to care so much about the property and religious qualifications. He’s really obsessed with racial qualifications, though he tossed a bone to feminists for good measure.

Are we supposed to be ashamed of or feel guilty about the fact that the white, male Founding Fathers didn’t let blacks and women vote? You bet your knee breeches we are, and with a good many white males today, Mr. Jackson’s guilt trip works well. Many do feel guilty about it.

But it’s very arguable that the “true democracy” favored by that Mr. Jackson and most of the guilt-ridden white men who swallow what he tells them is not all it’s cracked up to be. The country was far better governed in the days when the franchise was seriously restricted. For all Mr. Jackson’s contempt for the generation of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and a dozen other immortals of political thought and practice, “true democracy” has produced nothing whatever like them in its entire history.

But Mr. Jackson’s real message, of course, was to tell us, as he and his fellow pioneers in racial consciousness have told us before, that the Old Republic created by the Founding Fathers is finished, and it’s finished for essentially racial reasons.

“We [meaning the United States] represent 6 percent of the world,”

he intoned.

“Most people on this globe are yellow, black, or brown, non-Christian, female, young, poor and don’t speak English.”

Because the white-male-dominated republic of the Founders is a small minority of “this globe,” Mr. Jackson seems to infer that it’s about to vanish down history’s drainpipes.

It may well disappear, and the rising racial consciousness among the “yellow, black, or brown” peoples of which Mr. Jackson boasted will be one major reason for it. But the truth is that the white, male republic of the Founders was an even smaller part of this globe when it was established 200 years ago, and that didn’t stop it from getting started and prevailing against all sorts of odds.

Back then, you see, white males believed in what they were doing and had the wit and will to do it.

Today they don’t, which is why they pay any attention at all to gentlemen like the Rev. Jackson.

 
• Category: History • Tags: Race 
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When the Human Genome Project (the vast plan to decode and map all the genes of the human body) was completed last year, the first pronouncement about it from many scientists was that it proved “race doesn’t exist.”

The claim was not new. The notion that race is merely a “social construct” and a “biologically meaningless” concept as the New England Journal of Medicine editorialized had prevailed among most biological and social scientists for decades.

Now, however, the scientists have made yet another discovery: Race exists.

One scientist who says race exists is Dr. Neil Risch of Stanford University. His claims were surveyed in the New York Times Science section last month, and a good many of his colleagues are agreeing with him. Dr. Risch points out that some variations in human genetic endowment largely correspond to common ethnic and racial categories and, most importantly for his purposes, that the variations have immense medical significance.

In fact, that has long been known. As the Times article points out, Africans tend to have a genetic mutation that causes sickle cell anemia, while another that causes a certain metabolic disorder is rare among Chinese and Indians but present among Swedes. There are similar racial variations for such disorders or diseases as cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs syndrome and the ability to digest milk. Put simply, different racial groups inherit certain diseases or tendencies to contract them, and therefore there are genetic differences between the races. Race exists.

Dr. Risch isn’t the only one saying this these days. As the Times notes,

“Many population geneticists … say it is essential to take race and ethnicity into account to understand each group’s specific pattern of disease and to ensure that everyone shares equally in the expected benefits of genomic medicine.”

Dr. Risch argues that race

“has arisen because of the numerous small genetic differences that have developed in populations around the world,”

and he points to studies showing that

“these differences cluster into five major groups, which are simply the world’s major continental areas.”

Dr. Risch is not using his claim to justify donning a bedsheet, and so far nobody seems to have accused him of that (give them a little time, though).

His point is simply that denying the existence of race, largely for ideological reasons, is not only scientifically false but also medically harmful.

Knowing that racial variations in diseases exist is immensely helpful to doctors and researchers trying to cure or prevent the diseases.

Denying the reality of race doesn’t advance such efforts. It’s a little like trying to develop a space program if you assume the earth is flat and rests on the back of giant turtle.

The “race doesn’t exist” school of thought, of course, has been invoked to discredit segregation, white supremacy and apartheid (though all of those institutions developed well before any scientific concept of race existed at all). But challenging and abandoning the very concept of race when white racial power was the target was not exactly consistent with programs like affirmative action that counted by race.

Nor were the supposed racial egalitarians able to do without the concept of race when they wanted to dole out special privileges and treatment for the races they favored.

In short, when whites used race to justify and entrench their privileges, race didn’t exist; when non-whites used race to justify and entrench theirs, it did.

Denying that race exists, therefore, doesn’t mean that it can’t be used to serve a particular group’s political agenda, nor does affirming that race does exist necessarily imply that it will or should be used to serve another group’s agenda.

It does mean that scientists, of all people, ought to face the truth about what they study.

And it also means that race may mean more than differences in diseases. If race “has arisen because of the numerous small genetic differences that have developed in populations around the world,” then there logically ought to be other differences between the races than merely their proclivity to different health problems.

Each race, developing in a different environment, came into existence because of the need to adapt to such environments. It makes sense to believe that there may be many other differences between the races in addition to those we are—painfully—finally acknowledging as real.

Now that we know that race is real, the thing for serious scientists to do is to stop denying its existence and get on with finding out what else is real about it.

Once we know what race really means—not just for disease and health but also for intelligence, temperament and behavior—we’ll be able to forget about some agendas and pursue others that are based on something closer to scientific reality than to racial and political ideology.

 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity, Science • Tags: Genomics, Race 
Sam Francis
About Sam Francis

Dr. Samuel T. Francis (1947-2005) was a leading paleoconservative columnist and intellectual theorist, serving as an adviser to the presidential campaigns of Patrick Buchanan and as an editorial writer, columnist, and editor at The Washington Times. He received the Distinguished Writing Award for Editorial Writing of the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) in both 1989 and 1990, while being a finalist for the National Journalism Award (Walker Stone Prize) for Editorial Writing of the Scripps Howard Foundation those same years. His undergraduate education was at Johns Hopkins and he later earned his Ph.D. in modern history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

His books include The Soviet Strategy of Terror(1981, rev.1985), Power and History: The Political Thought of James Burnham (1984); Beautiful Losers: Essays on the Failure of American Conservatism (1993); Revolution from the Middle: Essays and Articles from Chronicles, 1989–1996 (1997); and Thinkers of Our Time: James Burnham (1999). His published articles or reviews appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, National Review, The Spectator (London), The New American, The Occidental Quarterly, and Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, of which he was political editor and for which he wrote a monthly column, “Principalities and Powers.”