Re: What Are the Race Deniers Denying?

1 Dec 1996 23:41:12 GMT

In article <>, <CSKBB@CUNYVM.CUNY.EDU> wrote:
>>Note to Carl Skutsch: You are contributing yourself to the
>clutter on this thread. I'm trying to find out what the race deniers are
>denying. If you are one that things that there is no such thing as race
>in humans, please tell us what you mean by race.
>Frank Forman
> "It is a far, far better thing to be firmly anchored in
>nonsense than to put out on the troubled seas of thought" - John Kenneth
>Yo Frank, you want my views on race, you can get them here, right off
>the presses:
>1 - Race, as defined by most white nationalist types does not exist.
> This is the belief that peoples are linked together by some biological
> bond which is made physically obvious by shared physical traits.

Are you saying that white nationalists believe in some form of
telecommunication? No doubt some of them do, though I have never heard of
any. Now I am not sure whom they regard as white; in fact, I would be
surprised if there were not fierce disagreement on the matter. The
*earmark* of a white person, to most Americans, is just light skin. Greeks
and Arabs will be too swarthy to be properly called white by the whites of
North Dakota, but may very well be regarded as such by blacks and even by
whites in some cities. I think that Greek-Americans would resist being
bussed to black schools in New York City just as vigorously as those with
lighter skin.

I once spoke with a Cuban, who lived in Miami before he went to Ha'va'd to
get a doctorare in philosophy, and he was most vehemently opposed to
blacks. But his skin color was so swarthy that I would not have thought of
him as white were I to see him walking around on the street.

None of this means that such classifications have nothing to do with
biological descent. It's just that who gets grouped together depends on
the purposes of the grouping. There is exactly the same problem when it
comes to cutting up the world's peoples into different cultures. Liberals
like to stress the differences between black and white cultures in the
United States, but foreigners will often see their general attitudes
(pragmatic and objectivist) as similar. This in no way means that the
sociological notion of culture is spurious.

> The problem is, the racial thinkers can never pin down scientifically
> what race is.

You'll have to explain to me what a "scientific" pinning down consists of.
Biologists strive to classify by descent, ever since Darwin, but
classifying below the species level raises more the purposes of the
classifier than it does at the level of species and above. But even
regards species, there are fierce arguments whether the ability to
interbreed is the decisive criterion or whether the fact of interbreeding
in the wild. Furthermore, there are gradations of speciehood, depending on
whether the children, grand-children, etc. can produce further

Yes, certain groups of people share certain traits,
> (dark skin, rounder faces, etc) but those traits are constantly
> evolving as the human race interbreeds amongst itself (as it has
> always done).

True of cultures, too. Lots of intermingling. AND lots of arguments about
whether it is proper to speak of civilizations as macro-historal units. To
them are opposed the "world-systems" people, some of whom say the world
became "one" when the Egyptians and Babylonians teamed up and, over the
course of time, gobbled up the whole planet. Others say the world became
"one" in 1500 AD. And Samuel Huttington's _The Clash of Civilizations and
the Remaking of World Order_ is reviewed in both today's Washington Post
and New York Times.

Biologically we have a hell of a lot more in common
> with each other than a belief in race would suggest.

I can say the same thing about cultures.

>2 - Race does exist as a social construct. People have used this physical
> fact - humans living in the same area tend to develop similar features -
> to argue that these physical differences of appearance are very important
> and should be the basis of political / social alliances, along the lines
> of "my race good, your race can go to hell for all I care." While I think
> this is silly (and sad), it is a political reality that I cannot ignore.

I don't think aesthetics is all that important to white nationalists,
though they certainly think they are tops in that respect. (Much of the
world seems to agree with them, if you consider the proportion of blondes
on magazine covers in countries like both Japan and Brazil.) But even if
not, there is something to be said for trying to preserve the aesthetic
distinctiveness shown by the world's peoples. With animals we can buy and
sell, we do this regularly and even prize such distinctness to the point
that we breed animals that are not viable outside our care-taking. Some of
the most prized dogs are almost as neurotic as participants on this

Now we do not buy and sell people like we do dogs, but this does not mean
that aesthetic factors should count for naught. I have read that human
mates group by aesthetic factors as much as or even more than by
intelligence, but I have not examined any of these studies. The difficulty
is in finding a good scheme of ranking by beauty. But judges at dog shows
typically agree with each other within two or three points out of a
hundred, and so wine tasters. But it will be within a breed or a type of
wine, not across them. I don't know about mixed-breed dogs winning prizes
or about mixed wines.

> And, I should add, it is a belief shared by members of all racial groups:
> black nationalists who argue that whites are evil ice people are just as
> racist as whites who believe in aryan superiority and jews who believe
> that jews have a greater right to a homeland than palestinians.

Even the late Meyer Kahane said that Arabs could convert to Judaism. He
was not a racist. Actually, Israel's claim to a right to exist is based
upon Biblical prophecies and land grants by Imperial Britain. The problem
of rights to a homeland is unsolved and perhaps insoluable. The
Palestinians say that a majority of the Jews in Israel are not descendants
of those that lived there in Biblical times, but rather from a group of
people who lived north of the Black and Caspian Seas (earlier I said
between, but I've recently read up on the subject) and converted to
Judaism and were destroyed by the Rus in 965. These dispersed people
became the backbone of European Judaism, so claim the Arabs.

>3 - In my ideal world (unrealized yet), race will be as important as hair
> color in affecting our view of the world. I condemn all racism,
> wherever it comes from, because it creates artificial barriers between
> all of us humans--the only category that really matters.

I am not clear what the rationale of removing barriers is. I am not the
only one to hear a bland international style in symphony orchestras today
and much prefer the specific national traditions that are represented on
78 rpm recordings. The same goes for the compositions themselves and I
find it to be true among the other arts as well. I also do not object to
Singaporeans running their country the way they do, since they can change
it without nearly the difficulties facing those in Communist countries,
and it is pretty easy to leave.

Frank Forman
"It is a far, far better thing to be firmly
anchored in nonsense than to put out on the
troubled seas of thought" - John Kenneth Galbraith