La Raza

Suppose you have a well-mixed population with some set of traits that have some kind of social importance or interest. Or for that matter, suppose their traits are utterly boring: that’s unusual and would be interesting. You have to put a name to that population: race is a perfectly good word. How different from some other population do they have to be in order to be called a race? Different enough that someone gives a shit.

What kind of origins make a legitimate race? The answer is, any kind of origin. It doesn’t matter how they got here, it matters what they are. I’ve been reading a tome in which the author says that many of the groups we think of as races are fairly recent formations (a few thousand years ago). Europeans are a mix of three groups ( hunter-gatherers, Anatolian early farmers, and Indo-Europeans off the steppe) that were originally about as genetically distant from each other as Germans and Chinese today. He seems to think that somehow invalidates thinking of Europeans today as a race. Or maybe he’s just blowing smoke. Anyhow, it doesn’t matter at all. Europeans would be what they are, act as they do, be as different and as similar to each other as they are, if they’d been manufactured ( to the right spec) in a test tube 6022 years ago. The same is true for everyone else: Amerindians are mostly a mix of Sibermen and Chinesians (quite a long time ago), but although that is interesting, it hardly means that “Amerindian” isn’t a real category.

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92 Responses to La Raza

  1. catte says:

    It might come from mistakenly applying modern standards to past events. It would be a bit weird today to say that half-black half-white people are a separate “race”, but that’s because they live among fully white and fully black people. Put them on an island (or kill all the whites and blacks), and people would start to call them “race”. This is kind of what happened with Mestizos, I think.

    • Smithie says:

      Mulattoes are more or less considered a race in both Haiti and South Africa. From that lens, it is almost strange that they aren’t over here.

      • Christopher B says:

        If by ‘here’ you mean the US, it’s likely because certain political groups benefit greatly from applying the ‘one-drop’ rule as they have since the 1860s.

    • razla says:

      It’s weird because these first generation mixes are not an isolated population that is evolving separately. Roma, for instance, are a mix of Southeast Europeans, people from West Asia, and North Indians. They live among Europeans, but they are reproductively isolated. So you can sensibly talk of a “race”. Uyghurs are also a “race” because they’re a panmictic isolated population.

  2. pyrrhus says:

    Any excuse to deny the existence of HBD will do for most of the Narrative pushing drones…

  3. Wherever you draw the line to declare something a race, someone else can draw the line just a touch further on and say “not a race, don’t be silly.” The current phrase is “moving the goalposts.”

  4. We have endured so many bad arguments and obfuscations by racists and anti-racists as well as so many downright lies about race –specified in some manner or another — that it would be better to drop the term and start over with some clearly defined terms??? Define certain kinds of genetic or geographical or ancestral categories (which need not have definite boundaries), for example???

  5. Bert says:

    Since race is about ancestry, could you simply use the term “ancestral cluster”? There’s still a lot of wiggle room, but the basic meaning is clear.

    • MawBTS says:

      You could, but imagine an human that was created in a lab, base pair by base pair. This human might be considered the member of a race…despite having no ancestry!

      It doesn’t matter how the sausage is made. All we need is a system that lets us classify the human diversity we see around us.

    • gcochran9 says:

      “race” is a four-letter word. “ancestral cluster” requires 16 letters.

      • William O. B'Livion says:

        Yeah, but just think about how much better it is if you get paid by the word!

        And it increases your average word size!

        • DataExplorer says:

          The word “race” carries so much baggage. I prefer to use the word “group”. I.e. people are more susceptible to hearing about “group differences in IQ” rather than “race differences in IQ”.

      • John Carr says:

        Perhaps someone could come up with a term such as Regional Ancestral Common Evolution that we could use a 4 letter acronym for. Any ideas?

    • You are a little late; they have already declared that ancestral cluster either don’t exist or say they exist but not ‘european’ and ‘african’.

      • Bert says:

        The point is that ancestry obviously exists. (For now at least; in the future maybe MawBTS’s example will be common.) “Your grandparents are a social construction” wouldn’t fly.

        • magusjanus says:

          The point is that race also obviously exists. Up until very recently “race is a social construction” wouldn’t fly. Yet here we are.

          I think you’re underestimating the Enemy’s willpower and evil.

  6. Gord Marsden says:

    Any data on how Amerindians fare on the IQ scale, one woukd expect 100 to 105 but that isn’t apparent in their current situational behaviour

  7. MawBTS says:

    Scott Alexander wrote a googolplex of words on categorisation. He says that when categorical boundaries become fuzzy, the deciding factor should be usefulness.

    Is the Ship of Theseus, replaced one plank at a time, still the ship of Theseus? Who cares? The important question is: does it retain the qualities of the original? Is the copy still blessed by the gods, still capable of sailing from Iolcos to Colchis, and so forth? That’s the issue we care about, not some interminable existential debate about the reality of reality.

    Racial boundaries are vague, but useful. Can you can predict things about a group by knowing if they have black skin or white skin? To an approximation, yes. I feel this utterly trumps any debate about whether race is a real thing. Or should trump it. Steve Sailer wrote about things that work in reality but not in theory, and I think racial classifications are one of them.

    (I don’t agree with the things he says about transgenderism, though I wasn’t sure how to voice my objections until I saw this.)

    • dave chamberlin says:

      Nice links. Star Slate Codex has a bunch more. It’s nice to see Gene Expressions back in place the way it once was. I see West Hunter is no longer in the category of “belongs to the emperor” but has been demoted to “various others”. Oh well. Razib Khan of Gene Expressions is not only a geneticist but a fantastic resource for all of us folks who don’t read constantly and have an IQ in the stratosphere. He tries to explain us uninformed masses things like genetic distance between groups. When he talks about race, I listen, when other people talk about race, I don’t.

      Speaking of transgenderism Scott Alexander lives in San Francisco, the world’s zoo for oddball sexual directions. If you live in that town you can’t help but have your perspective distorted as to just how rare transgenderism is. It’s a tough road being born homosexual and I don’t like it when closed minded mean people give them shit. But come on, enough is enough. From what I can tell there are three categories of sexuality. Straights, gays, and confused sluts.

    • Jim says:

      Almost all words are vague. What’s the difference between a mountain and a hill or between a sofa and a chair? One of the vaguest of all words is the word “vague”.

    • dearieme says:

      “Is the Ship of Theseus, replaced one plank at a time, still the ship of Theseus?”

      If they didn’t replace the timbers, yes.

    • Anon says:

      Scott Alexander sure does like spending a lot of time and effort explaining things that are trivial to people who aren’t autistic, although I suppose that’s just psychiatry in a nutshell.

      • Anonymous says:

        The internet, especially the internet of 5-10 years ago or so when Alexander’s formative experiences were taking place, is full of people arguing in bad faith from a position of social-acceptability high ground. A lot of his argument style seems like a reaction to that stuff from a person with no other defense mechanism available.

        • SMack says:

          You said it. Scott has a missionary zeal on the matter of smuggling common sense past the defenses of orthodoxy. He has a genuine passion for understanding how the minds of the willfully ignorant work.

          That’s a reason to like him, but not necessarily a reason to read him.

      • gcochran9 says:

        ” psychiatry in a nutshell” !

  8. Greying Wanderer says:

    pretending that race (aka population structure) doesn’t exist prevents a debate over the second part of “race is real and it matters” – and at least medically it clearly does matter even if genuine liberal minded types* cringe at accepting the broader reality.

    (*as opposed to those pretending they believe it for reasons of political, social or economic self-interest)

  9. Frau Katze says:

    I get the impression that there are big efforts going into convincing Europeans (in Europe) that they’re a continent of immigrants. Thus, why not add loads and loads North African Muslims and sub-Saharans?

    These two groups aren’t working out very well (although I remain convinced that the extremity of the doctrines of Islam is making things much much worse).

    Here in BC we have some problems caused by a large influx of Chinese. They are more distant genetically from us than North Africans, but culturally they are much easier to live with. Lots of atheists, some Christians and Buddhists. You don’t hear much about Buddhists driving trucks into crowds or attacking police with grenades.

    Sometimes, culture matters a lot. Muslims fail to get on with anyone else all around the world. (I’m sure there are atheists among them but they’re afraid to say so.)

    • dearieme says:

      “I’m sure there are atheists among them but they’re afraid to say so”: I knew one who said so to me. His ambition was to emigrate to a country where he could live in peace without a perpetual fear of being revealed as an apostate. Poor sod.

  10. Every measure has a range of convenience. If a classification has predictive utility, use it.

    • j says:

      That’s the problem. It is called prejudice. Race has broad predictive utility, but it is unjust to atypicals.

      • DRA says:

        If you know an objective measure of someones capabilities, (say IQ, but any useful metric) you can judge on individual merit. If you only are allowed to observe external appearances, then you are left to prejudge individuals on their visible appearances and your knowledge of the average characteristics of those who share those characteristics.

        I question the morality, motives or/and IQ of those who limit employers (for example) to only judge people on visible group characteristics.

  11. Yudi says:

    “I’ve been reading a tome in which the author says that many of the groups we think of as races are fairly recent formations (a few thousand years ago).”

    David Reich’s book, I presume?

  12. M. M. says:

    OT:

    https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/02/the-unwelcome-revival-of-race-science

    The long read–The unwelcome revival of ‘race science’
    Its defenders claim to be standing up for uncomfortable truths, but race science is still as bogus as ever.

    The recent revival of ideas about race and IQ began with a seemingly benign scientific observation. In 2005, Steven Pinker, one of the world’s most prominent evolutionary psychologists, began promoting the view that Ashkenazi Jews are innately particularly intelligent […]
    The background to Pinker’s essay was a 2005 paper entitled “Natural history of Ashkenazi intelligence”, written by a trio of anthropologists at the University of Utah. In their 2005 paper, the anthropologists argued that high IQ scores among Ashkenazi Jews indicated that they evolved to be smarter than anyone else (including other groups of Jews).

    • Philip Neal says:

      By Gavin Evans. “Gavin Evans lectures first year and post-graduate students in journalism at Birkbeck, and over the past decade has also lectured at Birkbeck in critical thinking, media law, online journalism and aspects of media theory. He also supervises MA dissertations at Cardiff University, where he lectures in research methodology, and he is a senior lecturer at the London School of Journalism.”

    • The Z Blog says:

      A pretty good rule for evaluating an essay is the use of the word “debunked.” With rare exception, any essay that contains that word is nonsense. I suspect the reason for this is the people fond of using this word don’t accept that there can be immutable facts about the world. For them, there are only clever arguments, whose veracity is determined by popular support.

    • candid_observer says:

      “…Steven Pinker, one of the world’s most prominent evolutionary psychologists…”

      Huh? The author doesn’t even know the difference between evolutionary psychology and cognitive science?

      Obviously a real authority on the subjects of his article.

    • MawBTS says:

      Four whole paragraphs before they mention Trump. Très bien!

  13. jb says:

    The purpose of denying the existence of race is to deny the existence of difference. Actually, the purpose is to deny the existence of one difference in particular.

    A scientist might say “human races don’t exist” and mean “human variation is too complicated to be usefully be characterized by the term ‘race'”. However the folk understanding of “human races don’t exist” is something more like this:

    There is no human variation. Aside from some unimportant superficial differences, which we can’t get away with denying because people can actually see them, all human populations are exactly the same genetically, and therefore it is impossible — logically impossible I tell you! — for blacks to be less intelligent than whites.

    Differences in intelligence are the only thing race deniers really care about. If the denial of race couldn’t be used as an argument against differences in intelligence then nobody would even bother.

    • SMack says:

      “Differences in intelligence are the only thing race deniers really care about.”

      Satoshi Kanazawa would like a word with you.

      • jb says:

        OK, saying black people are ugly might conceivably bother a few people who aren’t worried about other possible racial differences. 🙂

        But for the most part I stand by my claim.

  14. Janet says:

    I’m a bird-watcher, and it’s routine to refer to “races” of birds, if there are significant morphological differences (which may involve behavioral differences, such as preference for different habitats or different songs) — provided that they can all still successfully interbreed.

    The other word to use is “subspecies”. Now THAT would make some heads explode, wouldn’t it? I can speak of the plumage variations between Dark Eyed Juncos such as Junco hymenalis carolinensis, J. h. oreganus, J. h. montanus, J. h. cismontanus, etc. without a care in the world. But not so with H. sapiens.

  15. Ryan Baldini says:

    Yes, lots of obfuscation from people at the top. Grad students usually eat it up because they want it to be true.

    That said, I think the question “what makes a legitimate race?” is still not the best question to spend much time on (beyond applying common sense). It’s arguing about the meaning of a word. Semantics. Who cares?

    What we really care about are questions like “is there a genetic component underlying the black-white IQ gap?” The answer to this question doesn’t depend on anyone’s answer to the above question. You can even define black and white here in the loosest of ways: self identification on surveys, and the finding still holds. It discourages semantic gymnastics. It’s concrete. It has real-life implications.

    • Pincher Martin says:

      What we really care about are questions like “is there a genetic component underlying the black-white IQ gap?” The answer to this question doesn’t depend on anyone’s answer to the above question. You can even define black and white here in the loosest of ways: self identification on surveys, and the finding still holds. It discourages semantic gymnastics. It’s concrete. It has real-life implications.

      The problem with this sort of obfuscation is that it encourages others to shade the truth and it doesn’t really save you any grief. Just ask Charles Murray. He took a similar tack in The Bell Curve, but you wouldn’t know it from the way his critics responded.

      Might as well tell the truth. If we can define a genetic race consistently and independently of how people self-identify – which we can – and we can ascribe a consistent range in some physical or mental quality to that race which differs from other races – which we also can – then we have proved both the concept of race and its utility.

      • RCB says:

        shrug

        Imagine you’re a scientist (perhaps you don’t have to imagine). You can assess one of the two following claims
        (1) Genetic differences partly underlie the IQ gap between blacks and whites in the US
        (2) The race concept is legitimate and/or useful.

        Seems to me that the first claim, though politically off-limits right now, at least lends itself to concrete, empirical, scientific investigation. You could imagine doing experiments, collecting relevant data. That’s what scientists are for. It’s how we learn things.

        The second claim is subjective. It immediately gets into semantics: what is race? What is useful? Smart, eloquent people who don’t actually know anything (or want to hide something) can make forceful, convincing arguments in that debate. We don’t want that.

        Furthermore, a definite answer to the first claim renders the second one pretty much irrelevant. Who cares what person X thinks if the science on a concrete topic is settled?

        • Pincher Martin says:

          RCB,

          Neither claim, as you have stated them, is significantly different from the other. The first claim might sound more scientific to you, because you use the word “genetics” in it, but it assumes everything in the second claim that you find so subjective.

          Both claims need an independent idea of race. That means that we need to be able to group someone in a race without reference to traits that we associate with that group. We can do that with DNA.

          But both claims also need to establish at least some differences between the races (IQ, height, disease risks, other physical or mental traits, etc.) that are separate from the objective (DNA) definition of race. Or why would there be any useful reason to know about race?

          Take two races of people with the exact same level of mental and physical traits. We know they are two separate races is because they have distinct ancestral DNA. But both races look the same. Both are the same average height. Both have median IQs of 100. Both have the same risk to the same diseases. Both have the same level of economic development. And so on.

          The utility, therefore, of knowing that that we are looking at two spirit races is trivial. There’s nothing to be gained from it.

          • RCB says:

            They’re not the same.

            One could come up with a reasonable definition of race, apply it to two groups, and find that they do count as different races – and yet there may be no innate IQ difference between them.

            Alternatively, one could observe two groups, see that there’s are innate cognitive differences between them, and yet not think it reasonable to call them different races. Males vs. females, for example. Or, compare my kids (who don’t exist yet) to Richard Feynman’s kids. I suspect my kids will be innately dumber on average than Feynman’s, but I don’t think it’s of much use to apply the term “race” here.

            My argument is just that focusing on the concrete and empirical is the better use of one’s time. “What is race?” “Is race real?” “How many races are there?” aren’t very concrete or empirical questions, in my opinion. That’s an argument about the definitions of things. I don’t find it to be very productive. If we could definitively answer the question “is there a genetic component to the IQ difference between US blacks and whites?”, there’d be no reason so ask the question “is race real?”

            • Pincher Martin says:

              RCB,

              One could come up with a reasonable definition of race, apply it to two groups, and find that they do count as different races – and yet there may be no innate IQ difference between them.

              Well, yes, I just stated as much. But I went even further than you did and said that you might not observe ANY significant physical and mental differences between the two races.

              Alternatively, one could observe two groups, see that there’s are innate cognitive differences between them, and yet not think it reasonable to call them different races. Males vs. females, for example.

              How is one ever going to conflate gender with race?

              We have a handy way of objectively identifying races with ancestral DNA. How is that method ever going to mix up gender with race? (We also have handy ways of objectively separating the genders.)

              Or, compare my kids (who don’t exist yet) to Richard Feynman’s kids. I suspect my kids will be innately dumber on average than Feynman’s, but I don’t think it’s of much use to apply the term “race” here.

              Feynman is Jewish, no? Ashkenazi Jews, on average, have higher IQs than gentile whites, no? You are currently posting at a blog in which the author is famous for hypothesizing, among other things, that the difference in average IQ between Ashkenazi Jews and gentile whites is due to genetic factors, no?

              My argument is just that focusing on the concrete and empirical is the better use of one’s time. “What is race?” “Is race real?” “How many races are there?” aren’t very concrete or empirical questions, in my opinion.

              You stated two claims.

              (1) Genetic differences partly underlie the IQ gap between blacks and whites in the US.

              (2) The race concept is legitimate and/or useful.

              You mistakenly believe there is something more scientific about the first claim because it is more particular.

              You are wrong. The second claim is no less scientific than the first claim. It is just a more general way of stating the first claim. And the second claim is necessary to probe certain ideas about race that are not conveyed in the first – for example, that Jews might be smarter than white gentiles for genetic and racial reasons.

              • Pincher Martin says:

                … continued to RCB

                Oh, and if you are an Ashkenazi Jew, and therefore of the same racial group as Feynman, then the relevant reason for why your future kids will not be as bright as Feynman’s kids would be familial and not racial … and this, too, could be tested, just like gender.

              • RCB says:

                “The second claim is no less scientific than the first claim. It is just a more general way of stating the first claim.”
                The second claim does not contain or imply the first claim, so it is not more general.

                IMO, to demonstrate the first claim requires collecting data or running experiments. You could imagine reasonable ways to address it using methods available to us. Adoption studies, QTL studies on families of mixed race heritage. Addressing the second claim, however, seems to me to be more subjective. One has to define what they consider to be a good definition of race – about which I think reasonable people could disagree – and then come up with some criteria of what is “useful” or “valid” – about which reasonable people could disagree – and then argue that their race concept meets that criteria. That’s entirely feasible; I could make a forceful argument myself. But IMO it deals more with the definitions of things, and so leans a lot more on philosophy and less so on empirical evidence than does the first problem, IMO. If you disagree, fine.

                My point about my kids vs Feynman’s kids was not intended to cross the usual racial groups. Suppose I’m Ashkenazi. Or, alternatively, pick another genius of primarily British heritage (like me). The point is: his kids and my kids are well defined groups with clearly distinctive ancestral history (one of them all come from one founding couple, the other from another). The F_ST between his kids and mine is probably greater than between many racial groups (should be about 0.25). Even more, the breeding values for IQ are probably pretty different. According to your claim “We know they are two separate races is because they have distinct ancestral DNA”, it would seem that we are safe in calling these two groups separate races – but is that useful? This is the kind of discussion that the first question (“what is race?” “is it useful?”) brings up. I don’t really care to get involved in it because IMO it’s unimportant semantics.

                To be clear, I do think the race concept is broadly useful. I use the typical American race distinctions all the time. The vast majority of the time, it is justified by common sense. And most common-sense people have no problem with the concept either: fortunately, they never had a professor tell them that it’s a “social construct”. My point is just that I’d rather see more time spent on precise, empirical problems than to see linguistic debates about what race means. I’d be happy to have people disagree on the “meaning of race” if in turn meant that scientists could be allowed to research the genetics underlying cognitive differences between blacks, whites, asians, etc. I don’t care how you or anyone else defines “race”, but I do care about resolving empirical questions. That’s all.

            • Pincher Martin says:

              RCB,

              See my most recent response to you at the bottom of the page below.

  16. George says:

    I agree. Just because something can be broken down into component parts based on it’s history doesn’t mean we shouldn’t refer to it as the whole assembly. For example when we talk about trucks or cars we don’t refer to them only by their component parts. That would be stupid and take forever. Instead we use the brand name as a short hand and it instantly conveys the information. If we want to go into specifics then we go to that component level.

  17. The Z Blog says:

    The focus on fringe cases and the conflation of reason and morality is the way in which our betters flip debate on its head. Back in the olden thymes, when “gay marriage” fad got going, the popular lines from Lefty were “why shouldn’t they be as miserable as the rest of us?” and “why should gays have a chance to marry?”

    These were not affirmative arguments in favor of redefining the institution of marriage to exclude reproduction. They were not even arguments. They were tactics to turn reality on its head and conflate morality and reason. The whole point was to may gay marriage the default position and defense of the tradition in the role of radical fringe idea popular with bigots.

    It worked and it is working with biological realism, for now at least. I suppose at some point, the people in charge will have to decide if they can tolerate further genetic research or perhaps put researchers in camps, so their work cannot get into the pubic domain. It is amusing how the people who used to claim they were rationalists, rejecting the oogily-boogily of religion, are now running what amounts an Inquisition. We have banned books, banishment, show trials for sinners. It’s only going to get worse.

    • biz says:

      Didn’t allowing women past child bearing age to marry already decouple marriage from reproduction?

      • The Z Blog says:

        If a mechanic uses one of his wrenches as a hammer, it may be effective, but it does not mean the wrench is now a hammer.

        Funny how people struggle the concept of exceptions.

        • biz says:

          Your metaphor is not apt.

          Which is a larger exception class to the rule that marriage must be coupled with reproduction: gay people (approximately 1-2% of the population) or older heterosexual people past reproductive age on a second or third marriage (a much larger fraction of the population).

          • The Z Blog says:

            No, you are completely wrong. The purpose of a wrench is loosen and tighten bolts. Just because it could be used for something else, does not change its purpose. Just because some people use marriage for something other than its intended purpose, does not change its purpose.

            But you are a good example of the type of sophistry the Left is fond of using. The goal is to quickly shift the focus from the main point onto some extraneous topic, and then shift the burden of proof onto the people holding the default opinion. It’s a product of the hive mind.

            • biz says:

              Believe me, I’m the last person to go along with any sort of hive mind.

              The unavoidable chronology is that if the intended purpose of marriage at some point was to provide certain conditions and social legitimacy for child-rearing, it clearly strayed from that purpose decades before gay marriage was on the radar. Sometime during the middle third of the 20th century, marriage clearly became understood as a vehicle to lend legal and social legitimacy to romantic relationships, and not primarily as a social prerequisite to child bearing.

      • Ursiform says:

        I recall there being an argument that God could work a miracle and allow an older woman to conceive. Of course once your invoke miracles …

        It’s like the argument that you have to keep brain dead people on life support because God could work a miracle. God requires life support to work a miracle?

  18. BucardoReal says:

    […] ”that were originally (hunter-gatherers, Anatolian early farmers, and Indo-Europeans off the steppe) about as genetically distant from each other as Germans and Chinese today.”

    That is complete stupidity. The Paleo-European groups that colonized and invaded Europe in successive waves share a More Recent common ancestor between any of them, than between the Germans and the Chinese at present.

    I think it was in 2014 when the DNA research of Kostenki-14 (Eske Willerslev) showed that at least 37,000 years ago, there were populations that were, as he said: ‘genetically pure’ European.

    • gcochran9 says:

      They’ve measured the gene-frequency differences & computed the Fst. You are mistaken. Drift.

    • RCB says:

      Greg is talking about F_ST, which is proportion of variance between groups relative to total variance (usually measured across many loci).

      Take two random white nuclear families from Great Britain and compute the F_ST between them. It is entirely possible, even likely, that the F_ST between those families will be greater than between Great Britain as a whole and Iraq as a whole. Why? Because most close family members (e.g. siblings) share a very recent common ancestry relative to the baseline we’re comparing to (that of all of Great Britain).

      So, you’re right that the Paleo-Euro groups share a more recent common ancestor than Germans and Chinese. And Greg is right that relative genetic variation is was greater between the Paleo-Euro groups. The statements aren’t inconsistent.

      Someone correct me if I’ve got that wrong.

    • RCB says:

      Actually, I believe the F_ST of two randomly selected sibling groups in a large outbreeding population should be approximately 0.25.

  19. candid_observer says:

    Suppose scientists conclude that peoples from Europe average out with IQs 1 SD (or well more) above those of the peoples of SubSaharan Africa, and do so mostly for genetic reasons.

    Is that now OK to say out loud because neither of them are races?

  20. thesoftpath says:

    Maybe we should think of them as breeds . . .

  21. BucardoReal says:

    If the meaning of ‘race’ is the same as ‘subspecies,’ what prevents classification of humanity into races / subspecies? Of course it will not be for lack of means.

    • MawBTS says:

      None of these “we just need to brand ourselves better!” ideas are going to work.

      This kind of talk has been classified, at times, as “scientific racism”, “race realism”, and “HBD”, first by proponents, then by detractors. The euphemism gets a few years of use, then it becomes toxic. Instead of being a racist, you become a cowardly racist.

      • BucardoReal says:

        I agree, that’s why I do not call myself ”race realist”, ”HBD” and so on. I am not a scientist, but if you asked me why I believe in the existence of human races, I would say that I simply focus on the concepts of race or subspecies as an anthropologist or biologist would do; Darwin did not call himself a “racial realist” and conceived sub-Saharan blacks and Europeans as different subspecies.

        These expressions have become popular since the idea of the non-existence of human races began to be popularized in the second half of the twentieth century, especially from the field of genetics (Lewontin etc).

  22. j says:

    May be this La Raza thing is transitory or exists only in our West Hunter minds. In Cixin Liu’s “The Three Body Problem” everybody is Chinese and speaks Chinese, including the representatives of Britain and the United States.

    • BB753 says:

      Typical Chinese ethnocentrism! Lol! So, a movie adaptation is in production? Dumbing down the plot will prove difficult.

  23. j says:

    La Raza means exactly the opposite of what is called Race in the USA. José Vasconcelos proposed the word in his ideological essay “La Raza Cosmica” (1926), an agglomeration of peoples of the world of all colors and origins that would build Universopolis, an utopia. Of course, words mean what YOU want them to mean, you are the Boss, dixit H. Dumpty.

    • gcochran9 says:

      Mostly it means mestizos.

    • BucardoReal says:

      I’m sorry, but that’s not true. The ”Day of the Race” was born as a response to the nationalist and racial spirit of the time, when nationality was seen as a kind of religion. Vasconcelos referred to his concept of ”Cosmic Race,” was the Spanish Faustino Rodríguez-San Pedro (as President of the Ibero-American Union) who had the idea in 1913: ”to externalize the spiritual intimacy existing between the Nation discovering and civilizing and those formed on the American soil, today prosperous States,” becoming adopted by many Spanish-speaking countries.

      On October 12, 1914, the Union celebrated for the first time the ”Day of the Spanish Race.” Subsequently some felt the need to strengthen the Catholic nexus as the axis on which Spain and its former colonies should unify, so that over 1930 the traditionalist Ramiro de Maeztu proposed a variant that became popular: ”Día de la Hispanidad” (Spanishness Day?, I don’t know the literal translation) and was finally replaced in 1958 (in Spain).

      So one thing is what was celebrated in its origin and another thing is what is celebrated now, when some countries have changed the name to ”Day of Cultural Diversity.”

      • j says:

        None of the original concepts you mention had anything to do with race as it is understood today in America. La Raza, originally, did not refer to genes, but it does today. Let the Real Academia decide.

        • BucardoReal says:

          At that time they spoke of the existence of different races, as we understand it today: a subgroup within a species that has biological characteristics that differentiate them from the rest of the species. The fact that they did not know the relationship between race and genetics for obvious reasons does not imply understanding race in a non-biological way. I do not know what the Real Academia has to say about a registered historical fact: if you want the definition of race in Spanish, it means the same as in English. I’m Spaniard.

  24. Citizen A says:

    So much effort expended for so little gain. Race is a construct- I may be closer to someone who looks quite different, but what does it matter if I get along with them?

    The real question is when our corporate overlords begin to cross the fountains of data with the unmentionable- what happens when we quantify work outcomes based on genetic tendencies?

    So now we have these fountains of data: https://harpers.org/archive/2015/03/the-spy-who-fired-me/?single=1
    Don’t work well with others who are more productive- hours reduced!!!
    Late for shifts- hours reduced!!!
    Conflicts with management- terminated, baby.

    So, if you combine the secret sauce you just might find ideal worker bees in the Amish community, and then what? I guess the difficult ones will find uses for their combative power in imprisoning their more difficult and damaged compatriots- the part I find interesting is when they start applying scientific management to upper management….nepotism might once again be useful- or not.

    Data is going to be overwhelming, and like in the old land, your ASBO might limit your ceiling quite low, eh?

    The real freakout will occur in the Nordics, because data.

    Sweden is already going freakout over just the obvious stuff……lol.

  25. Michel Rouzic says:

    The way I see it race is about ancient separations and divergences, like when sub-Saharan Africans forked away from the rest of mankind, anything else is “ethnic groups”, and then you have ethnic groups based on smaller more recent but clear divergences (like R1b Germans and R1a Poles who nonetheless evidently belong to the same race), and since of course you have a lot of mixed situations you have ethnic groups as a blend, although when that blend isn’t very smooth you might even want to think of that ethnic group as a social construct, blending can make it hard to draw lines. Drawing lines when attempting to classify is always hard anyway, even drawing the lines to define what’s a planet or not is a frustrating endeavour, nature has no need to make the difference between species, subspecies, races or ethnic groups clear. There’s no need to draw lines to identify strong separations and divergences though, they’re clear facts outside of any attempt to classify them.

    Of course those who like to claim “there’s no biological basis for race” are not interested in any of that, they’re all about semantic obfuscation (race isn’t real because we can all reproduce together so since we’re all the same race there can’t possibly be racial differences, well except outside of immediately obvious cosmetic ones, if even that, it’s bad logic on purpose) to defend a worldview from reality. We do have a labeling problem if we think of “Europeans” as a race, North Africa and the Middle East at least as far as Afghanistan are filled with people who are about the same race but are clearly not Europeans.

  26. Pincher Martin says:

    RCB,

    The second claim does not contain or imply the first claim, so it is not more general.

    Sure it does.

    IMO, to demonstrate the first claim requires collecting data or running experiments.

    Or you could, like Charles Darwin, just observe a lot and then make reasonable inferences based on your observations – inferences you would be fully prepared to emend or change if new, contrary data came to light. You could make these reasonable inferences even if you don’t fully understand the scientific mechanism by which they work.

    Addressing the second claim, however, seems to me to be more subjective. One has to define what they consider to be a good definition of race – about which I think reasonable people could disagree – and then come up with some criteria of what is “useful” or “valid” – about which reasonable people could disagree – and then argue that their race concept meets that criteria.

    All of which is also necessary to back up your first claim: “Genetic differences partly underlie the IQ gap between blacks and whites in the US.”

    I can hear the critics already. “What do you mean by blacks and whites?” “There are no racial differences, so how can you prove there are genetic differences?” And on the flip side: “Since blacks and whites have different genes, how do you know the genes for IQ are the same in blacks and whites? Perhaps what appears to be a deficit in black genetic IQ, vis-à-vis whites, is merely a genetic difference not found in whites that has yet to be triggered by the right environment.”

    And so on.

    Of course I give merely a taste of what’s to come. The critics will be much cruder and bold in their attacks. It’s ridiculous for you to think you could avoid the talk of race in your more particular racial hypothesis because you believe it to be more objective.

    My point is just that I’d rather see more time spent on precise, empirical problems than to see linguistic debates about what race means.

    Wouldn’t we all? But you can’t choose your critics or name their terms of debate.

    • Ryan Baldini says:

      “Sure it does.”
      Compelling stuff.

      Actually it doesn’t, which we already both said. But that was at least 1 day ago, so I could imagine you having trouble remembering it.

      The convenient thing about black and white in the US is that they are already self-assigned labels used by the government. So no, I don’t have to spend time defending a preferred definition of race to observe genetic differences in IQ between those two groups. (Fortunately the labels do map strongly to continental ancestry – or race, i would say.)

      • Pincher Martin says:

        Ryan,

        I shouldn’t have to explain the obvious.

        And while you might think it important that you said something similar to RCB’s comments a day ago, and that there is comfort in numbers when you are wrong, you’re not going to be any more right about the topic by establishing a quorum who think that by adding “genetics” to a racial discussion makes it any less about race.

        The convenient thing about black and white in the US is that they are already self-assigned labels used by the government.

        So?

        Look at the hypothesis again: >“Genetic differences partly underlie the IQ gap between blacks and whites in the US.”

        Still think the debate won’t be about race? If so, then I guess avoiding the obvious is not just a feature of the other side in this debate.

        • Pincher Martin says:

          Correction:

          Look at the hypothesis again: Genetic differences partly underlie the IQ gap between blacks and whites in the US.”

          Still think the debate won’t be about race? If so, then I guess avoiding the obvious is not just a feature of the other side in this debate.

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