The Brown Dog

Joseph Kay, American Renaissance, September 23, 2011

What is your “default” society?

When I was travelling in rural Mexico I noticed that every gas station/general store had a collection of feral, medium-sized short-haired, floppy-eared brown dogs lolling about. They seemed to be everywhere. A friend who grew up in Panama said that they were so common there that they were called “dog of Panama.” I would guess that these creatures result from dogs freely breeding without human intervention–the “default dog,” so to speak.

It soon occurred to me that these “default dogs” had a human equivalent–towns, cities or neighborhoods populated by people of common ancestry, probably of similar IQ, pretty much free to live unhampered by outside intervention. Put another way, fill a city with blacks, Hispanics, Irish, Germans, Greeks, or whatever, and with minimal outside interference you’ll eventually see the human version of the medium-sized short-haired brown dog. The “brown dog” signifies the emergent distinctive group-related pattern, not universal human traits. The utility of “the brown dog” concept is that it encapsulates and predicts a distinct cultural evolution: assemble enough people sharing a common ancestry, leave them alone for a few decades, and “their” brown dog will appear.

A town populated with Germans free to express their cultural proclivities will eventually become a “German brown dog:” clean, well maintained houses with plenty of flowers, a multitude of civic organizations, swept sidewalks, food markets heavy on pork, cafes with great pastries, a well-groomed park complete with a bandstand, a zoo, a brewery, and museums. In fact, the rural version of the German brown dog can still be seen in upper Mid-Western American farm communities: straight upright fences, expensive blue Harvestore silos, freshly painted houses, and neatly parked, modern farm equipment (I checked mailboxes to ascertain ethnicity).

Two brown dogs of particular interest in today’s political climate are the black and Mexican versions. They are ubiquitous because non-blacks and non-Mexicans avoid living in those areas, and because the government is reluctant to enforce outside social norms. The phrase “autonomous homelands” comes to mind.

The McDonalds-like uniformity is striking. A visitor who was parachuted into Newark, Camden, Detroit, East St. Louis, Gary Indiana, New Orleans, or any number of other black urban neighborhoods would be hard pressed to identify exactly where he was, but he would not have to look at a single face to know he was in a lower-class black neighborhood. It is important to note that everything about these neighborhoods happens spontaneously. There is no central plan, nor do residents consciously try to emulate other black localities. No government agency says, “Let’s make this place comfortable for underclass blacks by recreating other poor black neighborhoods.” And yet, all these places share distinctive visible traits that proclaim: “You are among poor blacks.”

The tip-offs are litter and graffiti everywhere, vacant stores, small markets typically run by Arabs or Koreans with iron bars on the windows, abandoned buildings with broken windows, trash-filled empty lots, the absence of national chain stores, vandalized parks and schools, run-down housing, tricked-out old cars, and the like. Not visible but equally part of the neighborhood are high food stamp usage, single-parent families, corrupt politics, high unemployment, widespread drug use, and violent crime. This is not just any slum; it is a black slum.

Even more remarkable is that these lower class black “brown dog” conditions thrive outside the US. When I visited St. Lucia in the Caribbean I felt as if I were in New York City’s Bed-Sty or Chicago’s South Side. There are also similarities from what I see on television between West Africa and black-dominated cities like Detroit and Newark–even a similar penchant for kleptocratic political leaders reluctant to surrender power.

The brown dog is not the time-honored pattern of immigrants consciously recreating their old-world village habitats prior to assimilation. If that were the case, all old-world traits in the US would uniformly weaken over time. In the case of lower-class blacks and poor Hispanics, this drift toward the brown dog has only accelerated as these groups come to dominate their local environments. Two hundred years after the last black slave arrived from Africa, 150 years after emancipation, and despite billions in governments spending to promote racial integration, lower-class black-controlled US neighborhoods are becoming more like West African cities.

This gravitation toward some cultural end point is unrelated to poverty, though specific brown dogs do reflect social class. Middle-class blacks have a different brown dog from that of poor blacks. Side-by-side comparisons of semi-autonomous Irish, Jewish, Chinese, Indian, Korean, German, and Mexican neighborhoods with equally low incomes would still show substantial differences–there is no such thing as a universal slum.

New York City’s Chinatown is among the city’s poorest, most congested neighborhoods, but it overflows with thriving small businesses (many on sidewalks), crowded cheap restaurants, and high-performing though often ancient schools with graduates going on to prestigious colleges. It is also completely safe for visitors even late at night. My recollection of San Francisco’s Chinatown is identical, and I suspect that Chinatowns worldwide are similar. Nobody walking through Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach, which is packed with often poor Russian immigrants would ever confuse it for lower-class black-dominated Trenton, even though much of the housing stock is as old as the housing in black slums.

The source of this uniformity may well be genetic, though I cannot find any scientific evidence for an assertion that culture is genetic. But how else can one explain close similarities between peoples who have been separated for centuries? Why, for example, does Haiti resemble West Africa, economically and culturally, but not its more prosperous, better administrated island neighbor, the Dominican Republic? Why is it that the lively services in black churches are so similar to Haitian and African church services? It is hard to argue that distinctive cultures in multiple settings can linger almost unchanged for centuries, without an underlying biological substrate.

To repeat, the virtue of the brown dog concept is that it symbolizes a plain-to-see phenomenon that currently lacks a name: the relentless drift to a “default” ethnic/racial condition when a people are left to their own devices. More important than linguistic convenience, however, is eliminating the guess work when anticipating the future. At least with some but not all groups, the past is also the future, sometimes even more so, and this seems to happen regardless of billion-dollar government programs. Finally, the brown dog phenomenon has powerful implications for those who insist that the American melting pot can assimilate everyone, as in some old-fashioned Hollywood movie, in which we all live happily ever after in some homogenized white-bread Utopia.

Determining a group’s brown dog is an empirical question that requires careful inquiry. Eastern Europe Jews who arrived over a century ago have not re-created shtetl-like Jewish neighborhoods. The run-down rural shtetl of Eastern Europe, though often romanticized, was not their brown dog. Life there, including choice of occupation, was tightly regulated by anti-Semitic governments. Given the opportunity to escape these constraints and enjoy economic and educational freedom, they created prosperous neighborhoods in dozens of American cities and throughout Europe and Israel. Perhaps more to the point, thanks to different brown dogs, the Somalis of Minneapolis may never resemble their Swedish neighbors.

Before Third-World immigration, the United States was on its way towards an American brown dog–one with regional and class variants, to be sure–but one that was distinctively American. Now, we are headed towards a whole pack of brown dogs that would be more at home in other countries.

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Joseph Kay
Joseph Kay is a retired academic who suffers from compulsive truth-telling disorder.
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  • Anonymous

    Race is NOT a cultural construct.

    Culture is a racial construct.

  • Sonya

    Brown really is the default of domestic dogs left to their own devices for several generations. Countries with long term stray populations show that a mid sized brown/gray dog is the default color when all the various breeds mix time and time again.

  • Anonymous

    This story could use an illustration:

    http://www.mexico-with-heart.com/mex-images/brownies.jpg

    I found this by Googling “Mexican street dog”

  • b h

    You take 100 Greeks, a 100 Finns, a 100 Japanese, a 100 Chinese, a 100 Nigerians and 100 Angolans, put all six groups on their own identical islands, (same size, resources, climate, etc) make sure all their kids learn English (to midigate for cultural differences) and then come back in 50 years. The islands populated by Greeks and Finns will probably be most similar to each other and likewise the two populated with Nigerians and Angolans and with Japanese and Chinese will be as well. Overall, the ‘Asian” islands will be much more similar to the “white” islands then the “black” ones in terms of development, living standards and even the dialects of English spoken by the inhabitants. The point is, genetic differences between races affect the kinds of civilizations they can produce. Africa is Africa because it’s full of Africans. Detroit is Detroit because it’s full of Africans. Vermont is Vermont because it’s full of whites.

  • olewhitelady

    I assume that the “Third-World immigration” of the concluding paragraph includes the transport of African slaves to America. Otherwise, the thesis of the article–that blacks worldwide are inherently different from whites and Asians–would not hold up.

    American ghettoes contain the most African of the nation’s blacks. Those with greater proportions of white ancestry are generally smarter and able to move beyond the ghetto. And, since the sexual revolution, fewer white men need to seek out promiscuous black women in black neighborhoods, so that infusions of white blood are greatly curtailed. Also, the danger of predatory crime in such areas keeps whites away. Thus, ghettoes are becoming concentrations of Africanism in a way they never have before.

  • James

    I was recently in Montego Bay, Jamaica. I was fascinated by the similarities between their culture and value system and that of black Americans. It was the most squalid place I’ve ever been in my life and is what Detroit would have been today if not for being propped up by the Federal government. It was also a glimpse of America’s future if current trends continue……and it’s won’t take long to get there at the current rate of disintegration.

  • WR the elder

    It is a sad commentary on American higher education that academics do not feel free to speak their mind until they are retired.

    In any case, that was a good read. It is true that if you put a group of ethnically similar people in one place and leave them alone you will most likely get their “brown dog” within a generation or two. The problem is that certain groups have “brown dogs” that are likely to bite and are prone to “mange.”

  • Steve

    I was stationed in Korea shortly after the end of the war. I patrolled and flew over many very, very poor villages. Several things impressed me. There was no trash laying about, everything was picked up. They even swept the dirt courtyards. Everyone was clean and everyone worked, no matter what you did at least you did something. When I returned State-side I remember the “poverty” in America. Dirty, lazy shiftless people who lived in conditions a poor Korean would find repulsive.

  • Ken in Fishkill

    I went on my honeymoon to the Bahamas, and as soon as we were walking through the air port in Nassau, I turned to my wife and said; “This place is the South Bronx w/ palm trees”.

  • Anonymous

    “Before Third-World immigration, the United States was on its way towards an American brown dog—one with regional and class variants, to be sure—but one that was distinctively American.”

    I respectfully disagree. There were always deep divisons within white Americans. That’s why we have such a bitter culture war between whites who live in blue states and ones who live in red states. Whites from New Jersey don’t have a whole lot in common culturally with whites from Alabama or Montana.

    But these divisions shouldn’t be seen by white nationalists as a stumbling block. There will never be a unified white American nation anyway. The future of the United States will be the Disunited States. Whites in Alabama will have their own nation separate from non-whites as well as separate from white people from New Jersey.

  • Anonymous

    Seems the samething happens with horses. Some years ago I saw a documentary about wild mustangs. This man had a bunch of them on his land out in Montana or somewhere. He said he was starting to see horses that looked like Przewalksi’s wild horse which is believed to be the ancestor to our domesticated horses.

    Przewalski’s wild horse is rather small in size, is a dun (tan) color, has a dark line down its back, and a short mane like a zebra. I actually have a horse that is half Paint and half Thoroughbred. Although he’s tall (from the Thoroughbred), he has the dun color, the dark line down his back, and his mane, although not as short as a zebra’s, is short conpared to most horses. I guess you could say he’s a throwback.

    Hmmm, makes me wonder what we will look like as this race mixing continues. It’s rather scary.

  • MAJ

    Sometimes, I suspect, the most frightening thing about the squalor and crime and trash and sub-civilized environment of most blacks is that they don’t really care.

    While whites are horrified at ghetto living it may not mean a whole lot to blacks – who ultimately seem rather unconcerned whether they live in a garbage pit or a suburban McMansion (soon to become a garbage pit anyway).

    Dealing with such a mindset is something whites must understand if the US is to survive.

  • on the lam from the Thought Police

    Slums are the products of the people who live in them. Blacks carry their slums with them, like turtles carrying their shells. When blacks move into a thriving white working class neighborhood they turn it into an asphalt jungle of crime and moral depravity.

  • Anonymous

    In a similar vein, the brown dogs theory holds true in California. As California becomes more like Mexico, the culture shifts from Anglo-Saxon to Chicano.

    I noticed that in Mexico, East LA and other Central American countries, it all looks and feels the same, same smells, same businesses and same decor.