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Thread: Race: The Politics of an Illusion

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    Lightbulb Race: The Politics of an Illusion


    By Richard Davis (05/25/04)

    The first thing to understand about race is that there is no neutral perspective. Racial discourse is inherently political. We cannot shed our skins, literally or figuratively. Those who deny that race exists do so invariably for psychological and/or ideological reasons--and in most cases they’re also blatantly disingenuous. They make their livings promoting race, and it is the very last thing they would wish out of existence.

    That was clear from the PBS documentary "Race: The Power of an Illusion," a three-hour paean to racialist ideology, political correctness and black entitlements. According to the producers, race was invented by America’s Founding Fathers to justify colonialism, slavery and their own supremacy. What’s more, their white descendants still “make race” today by “disproportionately channeling resources, power, status and wealth to white people.” Naturally, the documentary was acclaimed (who dare not acclaim a program vilifying our white ancestors?).

    The series advanced the cultural constructionist theory that race is merely a social convention, a “pseudoscientific myth,” or as the producers put it, a “modern idea” that “doesn’t exist in biology.” This comes from a production company, California Newsreel, which actually bills itself as a “resource center for the study of race and diversity.” Who are the real illusionists here?

    In their new book "Race: The Reality of Human Differences" Vincent Sarish and Frank Miele debunk this ridiculous and offensive program point by point. They expose the incredible intellectual hypocrisy, if not downright dishonesty, employed by series producers to support their ideology. The authors set the record straight on the pre-American history of racial awareness and the empirical evidence supporting racial differentiation. Now, if only this book (or perhaps one like it) could be disseminated as widely as the PBS series.

    It probably wouldn’t matter. Racial ideologues, black or white, never let the facts interfere with their agendas. The late paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould, who is a minor villain in this story, apparently just ignored disagreeable data when he published. As the Sarish/Miele book makes obvious, the writers of the PBS series themselves must have knowingly ignored considerable evidence on the history of racial awareness to stay true to their politics. The record is unequivocal, for example, that humans identified races long before modern Europeans and formed judgments, often derogatory, based on those identifications. That includes ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Asians and Arabs.

    The Americans-did-it angle was adopted by the PBS producers solely to foster the appropriate guilt and resentment in their audience and to buttress claims against white Americans for racial preferences (the real purpose of the series). Race may not exist in biology, but it’s alive and well in culpability. The producers, incidentally, have no trouble identifying races when it comes to who owes whom.

    The illusion didn’t stop there. In the series, biology students were given six DNA markers from which, much to their well-photographed surprise, they were unable to identify different races, thus proving conclusively enough for the producers that race has no genetic basis. As Sarish and Miele point out, and as the writers of the documentary must surely have known, given the right DNA markers, one can determine race with almost 100 percent accuracy. Did the PBS writers think no
    one would notice?

    With common sense, history and scientific evidence all marshaled against them, race deniers rely heavily on semantics to prove their case, i.e., they characterize race in such a way as to make it untenable by definition. If race exists then there must be obvious, mutually exclusive genes clearly delineating different races and racial features, right? As the producers wrote, “No one characteristic, trait, or gene distinguishes all members of one so-called race from all members of another so-called race.” (Wouldn’t that make social policies favoring racial preferences problematic?)

    Would the producers be more agreeable to using “breeds” rather than races? The genetic variation in dogs was essentially undetectable until recently, Sarich and Miele write, yet would anyone claim that the physical and behavioral differences between a Poodle and a Rottweiler “don’t exist in biology”? Are the dogs making them up?

    Races are not, nor need they be, mutually exclusive categories or require mutually exclusive genes. They are “fuzzy sets,” as Sarich and Miele state, “variations on the basic human theme,” the results of geography, time and heredity. There is “gene flow” within and among them. Nevertheless, there is no reason to claim, as race deniers do, that genetic variability among races is quantitatively and functionally inconsequential. Biology obviously plays a role in differences of anatomy, morphology, body chemistry, intelligence and behavior. It isn’t the only player, but it is certainly in the game.

    Sarich, professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, and Miele, senior editor at Skeptic magazine, wander a bit through the heart of the book, providing detailed accounts of research and methodologies used. Occasionally interesting, this material is often difficult to follow and mostly superfluous to their rebuttal of the social constructionist theory.

    But, then, the theory itself is mostly superfluous to the producers of the PBS series. For them, politics precedes theory, and they assert a supposed construction of race (a white injustice) in order to re-assert an approved construction of race (for black justice). In the left’s mind, reversing racism has always sanitized it. And these professional race constructionists don’t hide their motives: “Our government and society have created advantages to being white... To combat racism, we need to identify and remedy social polices that advantage some groups at the expense of others.” If only they meant that last sentence.

    The PBS series feeds a burgeoning culture (and industry) of minority disaffection, resentment and entitlement. It reinforces the prevailing creed of victimhood, which holds whites responsible for all problems, personal and public, in the black community. Whites owe their advantaged or privileged position in American to racism alone, the racialists contend. That Asians are now assuming an even more privileged position vis-a-vis blacks and whites apparently only proves that they are racists par excellence. In truth, Asians know what countless other ethnic and racial groups have discovered--the key to success in America resides with the individual and his family, not his race. Privilege and advantage are predominantly self made both within and among groups, and it is this individual achievement that elevates groups, even from historically discriminated positions.

    In their last chapter, “Learning to Live with Race,” Sarich and Miele fashion a meager attempt to comes to terms with what it all means, presenting three scenarios on how we might deal with race--Global Meritocracy, Affirmative Action and Race Norming, and Rising Resegregation and the Emergence of Ethno-states. None of these is without its ample faults.

    The authors prefer the meritocracy, which favors individualism over group politics and thus requires the least government intrusion. In theory it also leads to the greatest good for all by constantly encouraging improvement. Thus they write that “the most important thing government can do is to remove all reference to group identity from both statutory and administrative law and to focus instead on enhancing the potential for achievement by individuals.”

    But there are “harsh realities” to any merit system, and at this point Sarich and Miele gratuitously insert an endorsement for a limited affirmative action program, though not one that “will continue lowering the bar until some racial (or other) quota, however much it is euphemized as a ‘timetable’ or ‘goal’, is met.” They should know better; the limited aspects of those programs never survive today's racial politics.

    In fact, while critiquing the affirmative action scenario, the authors relate how Berkeley’s experience with a “race-norming, quota-driven” admissions program from 1984 to 1996 led to an “apartheid-like situation” in which blacks and whites had “minimal social interactions but maximum resentment.” They write that it is “difficult to imagine policies that could have been more deliberately crafted or better calculated to exacerbate racial and ethnic tensions, discourage individual performance among all groups, and contribute to the decay of a magnificent educational institution.”

    They conclude that race norming can only “level down,” and that “any such leveling is necessarily at the expense of individual freedom and, ultimately, the total level of accomplishment.” Societies can level down to the point at which “it becomes impossible to maintain a modern, technological, self-regulated society.”

    Not long ago only the fanatical fringe dreamed of racial or ethnic separation, but as societies become Balkanized along ethnic and racial lines--America itself now being a “model to be avoided, not emulated”--segregated ethno-states seem ever more likely. One hears the call for separation often today from Muslims, black elites, whose rhetoric grows increasingly strident, and multiculturalists, who promote ethnic rivalry and discord as a dictate of ideology. All despise Western society and its underlying inclusiveness, which is founded on individual achievement and
    rationalism.

    Thus the world is fragmenting, and that leads Sarich and Miele to speculate about the “horrific prospect” of ethnic weapons, biological weapons targeted to a population’s DNA profile. Such weapons may already be scientifically feasible, they say. Will such a “race bomb” be the final, terrible refutation of the social constructions theory?

    Sarich and Miele point out that many race deniers hold a “sincere belief” that eliminating the biological underpinning for race, downgrading it to a mere social construction, is a necessary first step in eliminating racism. But the no-race theory provokes rebuttal, focusing even more attention on racial differences, and because the theory is indefensible and contrary to common sense and experience--children can differentiate races as early as age 3--it forces racialists into an increasingly dogmatic posture. And in truth, most proponents of the no-race theory don’t want to eliminate race any more than do the PBS producers, who come out demonstratively opposed to “colorblindness.”

    Americans deal with race as they find it, and the overwhelming majority of whites never encounter race at all in any determinate way, or share any racial culpability, personal or ancestral. The idea that whites comprise some monolithic entity that has acted in concert on race is the only racist illusion (and slander) being promulgated here. The farther race recedes in the white conscience the harder nonwhites fight to keep it at the forefront. They are the race constructionists at work today.

    The black community in particular has become obsessed with race virtually to the exclusion of all other matters (and any blacks pursuing other matters better pay appropriate homage to the racialists or risk being shunned). A person today would be hard pressed to find a black web site, novel, nonfiction book, column, talk show, college course, political rally, conference or any other form of public expression that wasn’t about race (usually exclusively). If whites devoted even one percent of their intellectual energies to “white” issues the outcry would be deafening. Race may bean illusion, but it has become an all-consuming illusion in the black mind, and anyone who believes that is eliminating racism has gone from illusion to delusion.
    .

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    Post Re: Race:The Politics of an Illusion [ad PBS documentary "Race:The Power of an Illusion"]

    "slavic" languages are absolutely arteficial (Read "slawenlegende"). The "glagolica", invented by a bunch of monks, is nothing but an ancient esperanto, creating new words, definitions and alphabet out of regional slangs.

    The craddle of European Civilization comes from the North. All blond people originate from the north. So if you see a blond-blue eyed Slovene, Russian, Czech, Polak ect., you can be 100% sure that his ancient ancestors originated from "Germanics" (Germanic = Nordic).
    "slovenja" was the settelment of the Langobards = Germanics/Teutons. "Poland" of the Goths and East-Vandals ect. ect. What do "slavs" tell us about their origin?
    Some silly story that they originate from some swamps in the east and popped out of no where into history.

    So you see my dear "Gorostan" [=Triglav], you are in reality a "Germanic" indoctrinated with panslav propaganda and historic fantasy stories. ~Dr. Brandt, former TNP and Skadi member

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    Post Re: Race:The Politics of an Illusion [ad PBS documentary "Race:The Power of an Illusi

    For those of you who haven't had experience with the American media, PBS is the "public" broadcasting service which occasionally offers interesting nature programs, but little else. Their political outlook can only be described as unabashedly Marxist and fiercely anti-White on issues such as reparations, immigration and welfare. They were the producers of such Negrophilic series such as "Ken Burns' Civil War" and "Ken Burns' Jazz," but this series trumps both of those by far. NPR ("public" radio) provides similar pablum for radio listeners. And you thought the corporate media was bad.
    Last edited by Stríbog; Sunday, September 19th, 2004 at 05:27 AM.

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    Post Re: Race:The Politics of an Illusion [ad PBS documentary "Race:The Power of an Illusion"]

    Quote Originally Posted by Tryggvi
    In their new book "Race: The Reality of Human Differences" Vincent Sarish and Frank Miele debunk this ridiculous and offensive program point by point. They expose the incredible intellectual hypocrisy, if not downright dishonesty, employed by series producers to support their ideology. The authors set the record straight on the pre-American history of racial awareness and the empirical evidence supporting racial differentiation. Now, if only this book (or perhaps one like it) could be disseminated as widely as the PBS series.


    I am reading this work currently. It is a fine read and I recommend it to anyone looking for a modern perspective on the biological reality of race.

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