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From an NPR book review earlier this week:

Oreo is the story of a biracial daughter of an African-American woman and Jewish father… The vehicle towards humor is the quirks of language in Jewish and black culture [sic], and at every turn takes the reader deeper into the satire, and into the heart of American identity.

A story about the daughter of a black woman and a Jewish father who abandons them is at the heart of American identity? You really can’t make this stuff up. It’s so blatantly preposterous that it is beyond parody. A whopping 0.2% of married white men have a black spouse. Roughly 1 in 40 white men in the US are Jewish. Yep, right at the heart of American identity.

The afternoon news show’s title, “All Things Considered”, is a misnomer almost on par with Orwell’s most notorious. There are far more factually and historically grounded attempts to get at the heart of American identity that would never be considered by government radio.

Colorado Congressman Doug Lamborn has reintroduced a bill first put forward in the 111th Congress for consideration in the 112th. If you’re of the same mind, encourage your representative and Senators to support HR 68. It’s as easy as emailing each of them a cut+paste message that identifies the legislation’s name (either HR 68 or the bill to prohibit federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting) and your opposition to funding a partisan organization using taxpayer dollars in an age of infinite media alternatives and an annual federal budget deficit approaching $2 trillion.

There is blood in the water. The time to act is now.

(Republished from The Audacious Epigone by permission of author or representative)
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  1. AE – This special was aimed at Lenny Kravitz. You miss three other low probability factors at play:
    1. A Jewish man abandoning his child.
    2. A Jewish man marrying a Gentile.
    3. A Jewish/Black marriage.

    Any Jewish man who did all three of those things would never hear the end of it from his own mother. My college was 25%+/- jewish (an Ivy), and I saw plenty of relationships break up over a partner being Gentile, especially if the girl was a Gentile as Judaism officially passes through the mother (unless you go through a conversion ceremony).

  2. Off-topic, but there's a new paper in Intelligence by Eppig et al. on US state IQ and "parasite stress". The authors claim that IQ differences (as estimated from NAEP scores) between states are largely explained by variations in infectious disease risk (r= -.67), because "intelligence emerges from a developmental tradeoff between maximizing brain vs. immune function". In previous papers, the same authors claimed that Lynn's global IQ data can be explained by disease load.

    Incredibly, they do not try test if the state IQ – disease association holds within races, even though this would be possible using NAEP data. They mention that there are racial differences in IQ, and that blacks are concentrated in states with high infectious disease risk (in fact, there's a correlation of .9 between percent black in a state and their disease load measure!), and then speciously conclude that race cannot be causally connected to disease load. From the paper:

    Other studies examining the distribution of IQ across the United States have controlled for race, as it has been documented to be associated with IQ (e.g. Ryan et al., 2010). Currently, the southeastern states in the USA have higher percentages of Blacks than states in other regions do. Southeastern states also have higher rates of infectious disease, due largely to climate (see introduction). Thus controlling for race, the distribution of which closely follows the distribution of infectious disease, does not add meaningfully to our analysis. Furthermore, we found that the percent of a state population who are Black correlates much more strongly with our measure of infectious disease (r=0.90, n=50, and p<0.0001) than percent Black does with average IQ (r=−0.51, n=50, and p=0.0001) (state data for percent Black from U.S. Census Beareau, 2000). In a multiple regression with percent Black and infectious disease predicting average state IQ, percent Black is only marginally significant (p=0.059), and has an additive R2 of only 0.045 over infectious disease. The high variance inflation factor (VIF=5.2) further complicates the use of this variable in our analyses. Thus, percent Black will not be used in our analyses for both theoretical and empirical reasons.

  3. Son of Brock Landers,

    Well, I'm not aware of empirical data on those three elements, but I did mention all of them. So that knocks the likelihood of a scenario like this occurring to below even .005% of all cases of procreation in the US. American identity… identified!


    So essentially they identify two separate variables that correlate with IQ, race and infectious disease rate, and rule out that these two variables are causally related in any way? Am I reading that correctly?

  4. TH says:

    So essentially they identify two separate variables that correlate with IQ, race and infectious disease rate, and rule out that these two variables are causally related in any way? Am I reading that correctly?

    Yes, pretty much. They just choose to ignore race completely even when admitting that it's an important variable. I'm somewhat surprised that Intelligence would publish this sort of paper.

  5. Hail says: • Website

    a Jewish father who abandons [his Mulatto child] is at the heart of American identity? You really can't make this stuff up. It's so blatantly preposterous

    Agreed on the "heart of American identity" thing, but there is good reason to suppose that a Jew in the old days would abandon his mulatto child if he impregnated a black girl. (The timeframe the mulatto girl would have been born was pre-Pill, pre-RoevWade, so the chance of such a cross happening is likely higher, too). See comment above by Son of Brock Landers: Imagine young,Levi-Cohen Jr., back from college, bringing home a Mulatto baby to his parents. There is a lot of shame in this, so it is more likely to happen than you imply.

    This special was aimed at Lenny Kravitz
    Other Black-Jewish mixes: #1, #2.

  6. Hail says: • Website

    A little later in the OP link, I find this:
    "Oreo arrived in 1974, during the height of the Black Power movement, with its focus on African-based identity, and black-male power. This is a novel about a biracial woman's search for her Jewish identity, complete with Yiddish word jokes."

    I think, ironically, this book strikes much closer to the heart of today's "American identity" than we would care to admit, or certainly to the archetypal ideal that culture-shapers tell us to idolize. (See Also the Obama Phenomenon).

    Think about it, the book apparently glorifies — in a way — blackness and Jewishness all at the same time. Two groups We Must Idolize, with one stone.

  7. The only NPR worth listening is "Intelligence Squared" Oxford-style debating. They actually have diverse panels and tackle relevant cultural issues.

    Cartalk is also great for entertainment purposes.

  8. Hail,

    In the sense that the review largely captures the contemporary multicultural worldview and celebrates all the Good things (black, Jewish, female), you're definitely spot on.

    The king,

    Yes, Car Talk seems… out of place on NPR. It's a riot.

  9. 1 in 500 white males has a black wife? Really? That seems high to me.

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