When liberals discover that I have unorthodox views on race, they poke around for other unorthodox views. They think that if I am beyond the pale on enough fashionable subjects, it means I am a crackpot, and they can ignore the uncomfortable things I say about race.
The first poke usually goes like this: “And what do you think about gays?” My reply: “I sure wouldn’t want my daughter to marry one.”
This question of whom I want my children to marry—or even more provocatively: whom I want your children to marry—was raised by John Derbyshire in a recent VDARE.com column discussing, among other things, his own marriage to a Chinese woman: John Derbyshire On Immigration, Liberty, and Mating Choices,
In it, he wrote that, although he supported an immigration policy that “preserves the historic white-European ethnic core of the American nation,” he was
…fine with miscegenation—again, obviously. I don’t even have anything to say to racial purists. I just think they’re wrong; and also, to judge from their occasional emails, slightly nuts.
This is unusual. Most people who think race should be a criterion for immigration also think it should be a criterion for marriage. I certainly do (although, as I explain below, I don’t want to make laws about it).
But when VDARE.com Editor Peter Brimelow first asked me to reply to Derbyshire, I declined.
I am at too many psychological disadvantages. I like and admire John Derbyshire very much. His delightful wife has fed me Chinese food she made with her own hands and she grows azaleas that could win a prize. I have even met Mr. Derbyshire’s very pleasant children.
But I am not “fine with miscegenation,” and with considerable reluctance have decided to violate the demands of friendship and hospitality and explain why.
There are two levels on which one can oppose miscegenation: for one’s own family, and for everyone else. For my own family, as I once put it, I want my children to look like their grandparents, not like Anwar Sadat or Whoopi Goldberg or Fu Manchu. This is partly for unabashedly esthetic reasons; I like the way white people look, and that’s reason enough to want white children.
It is a near-universal human desire for people to want to see themselves rather than strangers in their children. (Of course, in contemporary America, as Steve Sailer has observed, only Jews are allowed to express it.)
Thus Lowri Turner is a blonde British woman whose second marriage was to a man from India. She already had two blond children, and now got a new daughter. You would think it had occurred to her that this time around her children would not look like her, but no:
[W]hen I turn to the mirror in my bedroom to admire us together, I am shocked. She seems so alien…
I didn’t realize how much her looking different would matter and, on a rational level, I know it shouldn’t. But it does.
Evolution demands that we have children to pass on our genes, hence the sense of pride and validation we get when we see our features reappearing in the next generation.
With my daughter, I don’t have that…
Even admitting to having mixed feelings about her not being blonde and blue eyed, I feel disloyal and incredibly guilty.[ “I Love My Mixed Race Baby—But Why Does She Feel So Alien?” London Daily Mail, July 12, 2007]
People of other races are no different. Most black people want black children and Asians want Asian children. When people imagine what it would be like to be a parent they imagine children who look like them.
Most people who can have children of their own do so rather than adopt. That is because they understand instinctively that family is about genetic closeness.
And most people who adopt would rather adopt a child of their own race. One reason is that they don’t want to stick an obvious “I was adopted” label on their children—but another is that they feel instinctively closer to people of their own race.
They are even more right than they realize. Frank Salter explains in his brilliant, unsung classic, On Genetic Interests, that if you have children with someone who is genetically very distant, you may be genetically closer to strangers of your own ethnic group than to your own children. Mr. Salter’s example is of an Englishman who mates with a Bantu; he would be genetically closer to any other Englishmen than he would be to his own mixed-race children.
And I don’t want my children just to look like their grandparents: I want them to be like them, too. Many traits are under at least partial genetic control, and our Bantu-English hybrid is probably going to behave differently from an Englishman.
But my preferences go farther than wherever genes are likely to take my children. At least in the United States, many half-white children identify more strongly with their non-white half. I don’t want half-Kenyan children who listen to rap music and identify with Africa, thank you very much. Nor do I want half-Japanese children who feel compelled to study tea ceremony.
Some bi-racial children really don’t know which way to turn. It is fashionable to claim that the “tragic mulatto” is a racist myth, but science has tracked him down. Dr. J. Richard Udry’s 2003 study of 90,000 middle- and high-school students found that black/white and white/Asian children were more likely to be depressed, sleep badly, skip school, smoke, drink, consider suicide, and have sex than children of just one race. [Health and Behavior Risks of Adolescents with Mixed-Race Identity, American Journal of Public Health, November 2003]
The authors of a 2008 study reached the same conclusion:
When it comes to engaging in risky/anti-social adolescent behavior . . . mixed race adolescents are stark outliers compared to both blacks and whites. . . . Mixed race adolescents—not having a natural peer group—need to engage in more risky behaviors to be accepted. [“The Plight of Mixed Race Adolescents,” NBER Working Paper No. 14192, July, 2008.]
Other research on white/Asian children found that they were twice as likely as mono-racial children—34 percent vs. 17 percent—to suffer from psychological disorders such as anxiety, depression or drug abuse. [Bi-Racial Asian Americans More Likely to Suffer Psychological Disorder, UCDavis, August 18, 2008.]
Instead of moving smoothly between both groups, many mixed-race children don’t feel comfortable in either. When they go to college, such “outcasts,” as they sometimes call themselves, start their own student groups. Harvard, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, UCLA, Bryn Mawr and other campuses have groups with names such as ReMixed, Half and Half, and Mixed Student Union. [The Risks of Multiracial Identification, by Naomi Schaefer Riley, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 10, 2006.]
Miscegenation can be dangerous: Lynn Barkley Burnett and Jonathan Adler, the authors of a 2005 study on domestic violence in the United States, found that “the incidence of spousal homicide is 7.7 times higher in interracial marriages compared to intraracial marriages.” The chances of being killed by your spouse are small, to be sure, but an older study found that white men who married black women were 21.4 times more likely to be killed by their spouses than white men who married white women. A white woman increased her risk of being killed 12.4 times by marrying a black man. [Fatal Violence Among Spouses in the United States, 1976-85, by James A. Mercy and Linda Saltzman, American Journal of Public Health, May, 1989.]
(I have no data on Asian spouses, although I doubt they are so great a risk.)
And this raises the question of what one might call degrees of miscegenation. North Asians—the Politically Correct name for Orientals—are smarter than we are, on average, so a purely pragmatic miscegenist might say that only they were fit candidates for marriage. And it is a fact that the “race purists” writing to John Derbyshire are likely to be less offended by white/Asian than by white/black matches.
But everyone draws the line somewhere. A Wogs-Begin-At-Calais Englishman would think marriage to an Italian was scandalous, while I suspect even relentless liberals would think Reese Witherspoon would be crazy to take a Congo Pygmy as her husband. If Neanderthal Man could be brought back to life, would he be a fit husband for your daughter? Some people would think you were a “racist” for thinking he wasn’t, but what about Homo Erectus? The more genetically distant the prospective mate, the more people recoil.
Should any of this be a matter of public policy? The plain fact is that for most of our history it has been. Between 1661 and 1725, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and all the southern colonies passed laws prohibiting inter-racial marriage and, in some cases, fornication. Of the 50 states, no fewer than 44 had laws prohibiting inter-racial marriage at some point in their past. (For the history, see “Miscegenation”: Making Race in America , by Elise Lemire, University of Pennsylvania press, 2002.)
Of course, this is now regarded with horror. But I think that, as a general rule, we should be very careful about overthrowing long-standing practices.
There is one argument for anti-miscegenation laws that is stronger now than ever. Whites used to have eight or ten children, but now they are not even replacing themselves, and every out-marriage is a tiny step towards extinction.
We are supposed to care about the survival of the snail darter and the spotted owl. If you have endangered salamanders living on your property, the feds may not even let you build a house. I care a whole lot more about the survival of white people than I do about snail darters, and by 2050 we are expected to be no more than 4 or 5 percent of the world population.
John Derbyshire argues that, since only about 9 percent of whites marry out, there is no justification for anti-miscegenation laws.
But this is a slippery slope. What percentage would justify proscription? Twenty-five percent? Fifty percent? By the time such laws were needed to prevent short-order extinction where would be the majority—including non-white legislators—necessary to pass them?
Derbyshire also believes that U.S. immigration law should discriminate on the basis of race, in order to preserve a white majority. But in principle, I see little difference between legally preventing white Americans from even meeting more non-whites and legally preventing them from marrying them—though I realize preventing marriage seems much more intrusive. To thwart the abstract desire to have imaginary Sri Lankan neighbors seems less harsh than to stop a marriage between two real people who presumably love each other.
But why preserve a white majority? Is it not because whites have a legitimate yearning for societies that reflect their own nature and culture, and that only whites can build such societies? If, in every generation, 9 percent of whites are contributing to their own demographic dispossession, that alone will ensure that they eventually disappear.
And what about the victims of miscegenation whom Derbyshire himself writes about: the Chinese men who wanted to attack him when they saw him with a Chinese woman, and the black women who hate it when black men chase white women? (Derbyshire leaves out other combinations but they can produce resentments that are just as strong.)
Racial-sexual loyalty is a powerful emotion. Should we just ignore it?
This said, I don’t like government intrusion into private decision-making. Even if it were possible to pass anti-miscegenation laws I would oppose them.
Of course, if there were enough popular sentiment to pass anti- miscegenation laws, they would not be needed. From 1705 to 1843, Massachusetts banned inter-racial marriage, but repealed the ban because most people thought it wasn’t necessary. The text of the new law argued that inter-racial relations were “evidence of vicious feeling, bad taste, and personal degradation,” so were unlikely to become a problem.
We have the opposite situation today: A ruling class that promotes miscegenation and reviles anyone who opposes it. Together with our mass immigration policies, this spells doom for the survival of whites and their culture.
So, despite the laws of friendship and hospitality, I’m not “fine with miscegenation.”