A definitive statement on race

An assertive cultural faction must deal with the major issues in the culture that it operates. To that end, we must deal with the issue of race. More than “deal with it,” we must make a conclusive statement and enforce it.

The concept of race in America (and in fact the world) is an absolute mess. I don’t intend to solve all or even any of those problems here. Rather, I intend to lay out how I believe we ought to go about solving them and why. I don’t imagine that my presentation is comprehensive but I hope it at least illuminates the issue a little. We can use all the progress we can get on this.

The first issue with race is the modern claim of a social construct. Regardless of what information that phrase was intended to convey, today it roughly means “made up” or is a fiction of no relevant meaning. Is race “made up?” In a word, partly. A more academic claim is that race has no biological foundation. What does mean? In short, that race is purely socially constructed. The more formal definition is that a social construct is something that doesn’t exist outside of agreement between people. Socially constructed applies largely to meaning.

What is race? It’s a categorization. Any group of individual anything can be categorized in a seemingly endless number of ways. If those categorizations are based on some attribute or feature of the individuals within the group that can separate them, we have a “real” category. If not, we have an arbitrary one. If we then impose a meaning onto it, we have the socially constructed element.

So, if we have groups of people that can be categorized… let’s say by genetic similarity or skin color or literally anything, then we have a category of potential utility. If we then apply meaning to that category that is independent of reality then we have a socially constructed element.

Again, is race socially constructed? A little, yes. More so, race isn’t a static category… a concept that I will return to at the end.

Racial categorization today can be broken down most crudely as: Caucasian (white), Sub-Saharan African (black), Natives of the Americas, and Asian (east Asian)… but these three categories are obviously insufficient, failing to cover Polynesians, and Mediterranean and central Asians. But then even those categories are insufficient. Whites, for example, can encompass Nordic and Celtic people and so on. Sub-Saharan Africans have a a minimum of five (and really 12-14) very distinct groups that can be considered “racial.”

Consequently, race is just a very, very rough categorization that covers the three largest groupings of people with some generally reliable aesthetic characteristics.

If one measures those groups, will they find differences? Yes, obviously.

It basically doesn’t matter how you categorize people. If you separate over 4 billion people into a mere three groups, there is little doubt that group differences will emerge. You could do it by height, age, preference in food, and so on. It won’t matter. Group differences will emerge.

Are some of those measurable differences genetic in nature? Sure. All of them? Doubtful.

What is the meaning of race? It has, through history, had many different meanings to different people but what does it mean today? Depends on who you ask. To today’s radical leftists and yesterday’s racial supremacists, they agree that race is core to one’s identity. Is it though?

One problem with any categorizations (though categorization is critical to making the world comprehensible. It is the foundation of cognition) is that what’s true for the group may not necessarily be true for any individual in the group. Consider a group of people who average 5’ 6" with glasses. One might imagine a bell curve distribution where the majority roughly fit that profile but there’s no reason for that be true. The group could just as easily be 50% people who are 5’ with glasses and 50% 6’ people without and thus no one in the group fits the group profile at all.

With that in mind, is race a useful category? Well, depends…

Race, covering largely aesthetic qualities, is relevant in assessing those. It matters in fashion, for example. It matters.

But does race include any other factors? Yes. What? Unclear. It is here that things get dicey. Questions of IQ and personality attributed to racial groups are common. Are these reliable? In short, not really. There are striking IQ differences, for example, between ethnicities within races… the Nordic and Ashkenazi Jews for example besting the Celts and Slavs. The same is true within every racial category (consider the Igbo in Nigeria).

This leads us to the critical remaining issue of race: does race correspond to culture? A little. If you went back in time and switched out the Japanese for the British, would their cultures have been identical? No. How different? Impossible to say.

And so we’re left with a hard reality: questions of race are fundamentally aesthetic and cultural. The former is clear and obvious and the latter is opaque and muddled. The latter I will return to because it ultimately proves critical.

So what do we do?

Is it appropriate to have racial preferences? I would assume it depends. Aesthetic preferences appear reasonably hard-wired (not entirely). What of a racial preference in employment? Well, that seems highly suspect unless of course your business caters to a particular demographic. A handful of clothing companies some years ago had preferences for white models and employees and got in trouble for it. Of course, many companies that cater to non-whites have comparable preferences but are allowed. It kind of makes sense that brands that specialize in aesthetics would ultimately fracture along racial lines. This is most obvious in makeup and haircare products. Is this a bad thing though? Is it necessary to object to this? Having a preference for a black accountant is bizarre. A preference for a black model if you’re making makeup for black skin… well that just makes sense. Companies can’t make products for everyone… it’s just not possible.

And so we’re forced to return to the question of culture. No matter what categorization you use, differences will emerge, but there are clear ones along the broadest of racial categorization. White people are the wealthiest and their nations the most advanced, followed by Asians, and then black Africans. The attempt to explain this is at the crux of the issue.

Today’s radical leftists explain it, predictably, with explicit racism, making the claim that white achievement is entirely the product of exploitation, oppression, and their unique malice. This theory is obvious nonsense when one observes the achievements of different groups through history and today. Explain Botswana, for example (a Protestant, conservative, capitalist nation that went from poorest of the poor to increasingly prosperous in a mere fifty years).

Some take the crude intuitive explanation: they look different and their cultures are different, thus the former entirely explains the latter. This explanation is so crude and insufficient that the only explanation I can come up with for why it endures is that it’s easy and thus doesn’t demand further thought.

What if racial categories do produce cultural differences? Well, ethnic subgroups do. In fact any category of humans would produce cultural differences. Racial groups probably will as well. So what? Isn’t there value in that?

Consider the seemingly distinctly Japanese trait of of obsessive commitment to a singular thing. More than any culture on Earth, the Japanese produce people who commit to sometimes shockingly narrow endeavors in pursuit of perfection: the perfect rice, the perfect dance, the perfect pen stroke, and so on. This has produced a country with a truly distinct culture, one that has contributed much to the world. Does that not have value?

Let me reframe the question: if people are different, won’t they engage in conflict? I don’t think so. It doesn’t appear that it is our differences that produce conflict as often as our similarities. Consider, if you have two kids who both want mom’s attention, there is conflict, but if one one wants the father’s then no conflict emerges. The more people’s similarities approach, the more conflict will emerge.

Nations exist to serve those differences, and trade between nations enables those countries to exist peacefully and share the aspects of their cultures.

But what happens if we mix the people in one place as we have done in the United States? Conflict. Everyone can’t have the culture they want in the same place. As much as those cultural preferences are tied to race, we have conflict. It is a problem of socio-cultural scarcity.

Scarcity is a feature of reality. There isn’t infinite beachfront property, for example. If everyone wanted to live by the water, we’d be murdering each other over it. Luckily, some people prefer the mountains and others the plains. There is no avoiding conflict over scarcity but healthy political institutions can mitigate it as much as possible.

In the U.S., race is a problem simply because everyone wants their aesthetic and cultural preferences to be dominant because obviously they do. Black people generally prefer black faces and the same with everyone else. They want to see people who look like them on TV, on bus stop ads, and in the White House. Is that preference overwhelming? No. In some places, most infamously Brazil, that can be inverted, with racial groups striving to genetically aspire.

This is very common in countries like India and Brazil where it is very common to show a preference for skin tone, hair, and so on. It’s often discussed openly. In countries like Japan, it is made clear that no matter how long your family might have been in Japan, if they aren’t ethnically Japanese, they’re not really Japanese (common among old Korean families).

How is this to be resolved? Unclear. Admitting it might be helpful though. Should the Japanese be comfortable saying “you can be here but it is our racial identity that will dominate and you simply must deal with that without complaint?”

America was once primarily Anglo-Saxon (British) with Germans and Dutch as notable minorities. By the 20th century, the Celtic Irish (and Scots) along with the Mediterranean Italians had settled the East Coast and Appalachia with Nordic people settling in the Great Lakes region and Slavs just South. By the middle of the century, America was no longer “English.” It’s culture had shifted accordingly as well. The limited government advocates rarely, when discussing immigration for example, admit to how much those “white” European immigrants moved us away from what the Founders established. Should the dominant WASP (white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant) have asserted ethnic dominance? They tried and failed but should they have? Should the more generically “white” majority do so today?

Someone has to assert itself or there is no country. Today, the left wants anyone BUT white people (and non-whites who are culturally sympathetic) to assert themselves culturally. They don’t merely want white people to retreat into the background but they want the culture associated with them to do so as well. This has naturally produced tension.

English America is dead and has been since somewhere between the Civil War and the Progressive era. Its experiment of a Republic that supports an environment in which individuals can develop sufficient moral character to govern themselves, is gone. Should it be resurrected? Can it be without the genetic identity associated with its creation? Well, if the latter is true then good luck because those people are gone as well.

Now what happens if one group asserts a culture that is an optimal fit for them but not for another group? The second group will underperform, not necessarily out of defect but simply due to being a poor fit for the culture. This was concern that many 19th century American leaders had about black Americans, considering mass emigration as a solution. Given the enduring racial antipathy in this country, one can be forgiven for having sympathy for that position.

What if the dominant (not necessarily majority) group is simply hostile? This can also produce poor outcomes but doesn’t always (see Ashkenazi Jews again, who thrived for centuries in Europe under universally hostile regimes).

Regardless of what produces poor outcomes, resentment is likely to emerge. What duty does the majority have? Even a non-hostile majority must consider their duty to a poor performing minority group, just as the minority group must similarly consider their duty to the majority (this latter is a question that almost no one openly discusses in America).

Finally, we have the problem that race (ethnicity and similar) is static for individuals but NOT for groups over time. After all, what race are Tiger Wood’s children? Consider, if every white person started favoring short people, the average height would rapidly decline across generations. So too with any genetic attributes (whether we know that they’re genetically determined or not) associated with race and/or ethnicity.

This is a very touchy conversation in the U.S. and Europe but fairly common in the rest of the world. People want to have kids with people who possess culturally favored traits. To what extent is that proper? Should people select to favor the preferences of the dominant (not majority) culture? In the U.S., this reeks of Eugenics, which of course it technically is, and that causes us to deny it even when everyone engages in the practice in some form or another.

Ultimately, the problem is that we refuse to discuss race properly. We don’t have the answers but in America we refuse to even have the conversation, particularly among white people.

Can we admit that race is a crude category but not an arbitrary arrangement? Can we admit that some indeterminate part of culture corresponds to the genetic endowments of the people who created it? Can we acknowledge that race isn’t a static category across generations and that this is and should be considered? And finally, we have malice. Can we simply agree that malice is undesirable?

People on the right need to start having proper discussions about race among themselves and a consensus needs to emerge. We need to draw the lines and say “this is the new standard on how we consider and contend with questions of race.” The left has already done this but there’s is the most poisonous and destructive standard possible, rife with resentment, double-standards, and malice. This is, of course, by design, aiming at using race to destroy this nation. Are we really going to allow that? If America is to die, it strikes me as tragic to die over something so fundamentally idiotic.

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I completely disagree. The obsession with race is the problem. You have to have had the most in depth post I’ve seen written on this site. I think most conservatives find race based thinking as foolish being that conservatives tend to be more of individualists where as the race obsession mentality is based in collectivism. To me this entire conversation is so absurd. I have no idea why people obsess over these things in our modern society. I think for most of history which was full of ignorances often based on race, it was natural for travel and trade to be localized amongst people. This localization led to identification which was often biased against outsiders. As travel and technology progressed these biases progressed to include race. The timing of this progress leading into the industrial revolution created a demand from cheaper labor that came from what happened to be at that time other than white. This cheap slaves oversees replaced white slaves and the greater biases in American cultures were passed on once our advancements gave us the ability to see the travesty of such slavery. From there grievances were cast back and fourth in time in a battle to integrate. The left over remnants of this archaic thinking is what the race hustlers hold on to today. To me the only way to get over these biases is to let go of any serious significance to race. Or we could just continue back and fourth until all the people with odd number of freckles has eliminated the even numbered freckled people. That of course will only last until the people with freckles divisible by three blame the freckled people divisible by four.

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That’s a statement on race.

I’m not sure where we disagree. My point isn’t that we should discuss race endlessly but that we need to have a position that we deem definitive and then defend it when pressed.

Right now, the right is sloppy and ill-equipped and so when we’re attacked on racial lines, we tend to use the left’s framing and there’s no way to win when doing that.

It’s not about indulging in “racialized” thinking. It’s simply a practical matter of having an established position that the average person can defend sufficiently well to make race a less appealing target for the left. That is what they do: exploit the areas where we’re weakest. So… let’s shore up our position. If we do it well enough then we get the outcome you’re hoping for.

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I’m not sure I understand. Conservatives tend to be very independent because we are very much individualistic by our culture. That’s just it. It’s hard to shore up collective mindsets into non collective minds. That’s why the left hates us so much. We think for ourselves. Many of us will have similar thoughts on the dignity of human kind and in its respect to the necessity of its preserving. However, as a collective our thoughts are not constrained to the collective. We can all respect the dignity while maintaining differences of how we get there. Asking for a joint narrative is only effective when it applies to those who agree. And in most cases amongst conservatives is to be so tired of it that they just don’t want to deal with it anymore. It like children arguing over who gets candy first. So the only true joint narrative is that they don’t care. Often they will even be motivated to introduce shock value just just to scare off the ignorance of even embracing any race based ideology. This in turn brings in the actual racists along with the ignorant who buy into the lie of it. This followed by the leftists mind who hates their own self as an individualregardless of race) and tries to supplement it with false confirmation of previous example. It all just feeds on itself just like any other sin. It’s better just to call it out as it is. Stand your ground and stand for what is right without catering to people caught up into race based thinking.

Let me clarify.

The way today’s radical left works (distinct from liberals and other left-wing variants) is they use rhetoric to smuggle in moral claims, resulting in what I term a “Republican trap.” This is an outcome in which you’re technically correct but perceived as morally bad. Can’t win that way because no one wants to be on that side.

The radical left uses every issue that way, particularly race. They don’t care about any of the things they use… they’re merely means to an end. That end is undermining the moral authority of the institutions, traditions, and values of the country. They do this by undermining the moral standing of its defenders.

Traditional rhetoric doesn’t work because the left isn’t using classical techniques of argumentation. They don’t debate, discuss, or formally argue. Instead, they fling linguistic weapons for the above stated purpose.

Consequently, we need effective counters.

Are discussions of race exhausting? Often pointless or counter-productive? Yes. However, they’re immensely effective for the left’s ends and thus we can’t afford to lose.

Most critically… we can’t set our goal as a moral victory. The goal must be to win and by win, I mean winning the game that the left is playing. Your position is not to play but that’s not actually an option. Their game is imposed upon us. The left has been chipping away at the efficacy of your position for decades and it has finally collapsed. Whatever they are, they’re good at that.

So what we need to do is step back, look at how race is discussed on the right and the left and reassess how to deal with the topic in a way that is consistent with our core values (which you’ve articulated) AND which addresses their rhetorical approach. In other words, we need to find a way to discuss race such that we undermine their moral authority.

People are biased towards a binary. We don’t need to prove our point. We only need to show that they’re morally bad (within the context of said issue). Once that is achieved, and we’ve established ours moral standing, can we then move on to a reasoned, principled argument.

What you’re doing has a fatal flaw… that flaw is that they’ve spent decades refining not the best approach but the one that you’re least equipped to deal with. It’s like an NFL team bringing out the triple option. It’s not the best offense but if you’re not prepared for it, it’ll make you look foolish (to paraphrase John Fox). We’re losing and in large part due to our inability to hold moral territory on discussions of race.

I get it… I don’t want to discuss it anymore. No one sensible does. If we want to move past this nonsense, we have to illustrate to them that we know how to parry it and send them back to drawing board to find another issue to chip away at. It takes them years to do this (it used to take decades but their institutional power is so great that they turn this stuff out rapidly now) and every time they have to go back to drawing board, we buy ourselves time to move the country in the right direction.

I will leave you with this… “All lives matter.” Most people on the right thought this was effective rhetoric and many still do. It wasn’t. It was a catastrophe. The reason is that “black lives matter” doesn’t mean that black lives matter. It means “I am morally superior because I recognize the suffering of oppressed people and you don’t.” The “all lives matter” response didn’t effectively counter that. A better response would have been something like “Of course black lives matter to me, but they obviously don’t to you (whomever the target is). You don’t care about [insert black person who lost their life or business or black suffering or whatever]. You’re just here for the mayhem, the riots, the publicity,” and so on. This is why every time some conservative says “what about black on black crime,” I want to vomit. That response utterly misses what the left is doing. They’re smuggling in a subtextual claim… if you don’t counter that, everything you say in response will be tainted with moral rot and bad faith. This is how you end up, so often, with Republicans making the correct and true claim but people responding with some variant of “he’s right but I just don’t trust him.”

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Yeah, I just don’t agree at all. I don’t agree that the “traditional” method is not working. I see it working more now than any other time in history. We are seeing various individuals outside of the white race who are being affected and discriminated against the same way we have seen whites discriminated against for decades now. There are still issues with race based cultures that think it’s going to be good for them by voting pro and therefore con against others. But many of these are waking up to the reverse intended consequences. Especially in terms of the bigotry of low expectations. Yes, there is always more to be done. I’m not sure that looking the other way in our virtues to attract those outside our virtues is a good solution.

I’m not sure I understand the claim of “looking the other way in our virtues…” I don’t understand what you think I’m suggesting.

Simply put, I’m simply trying to provide us additional tools. Again, I want us to be able to push our values and use logic and reason but there is a reason there are three components to traditional rhetoric.

The left is lining up, like an NFL team, heavy on one side of the field… let’s say to run the ball. Your comments read like this to me “if we move defenders to that side and create an unbalanced line, we’re just abandoning our principles…” and then watching as they successfully run the ball every play.

Use the tools or don’t but I don’t understand how you can claim “it’s working.” If this is is what working looks like, what does failure look like?

Okay, I guess I just believe the roots of conservatism does not identify to race. To cater to anything based on race is in contradiction to its belief in the individual over the collective.

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Hmmm! What are the “three components to traditional rhetoric”?

I am enjoying this interplay; however, there are times I find myself wondering what is meant by that which is written.