|American Renaissance magazine|
|Vol. 21, No. 6||June 2010|
Black Metal Ethno-nationalism
Waging culture war.
MTV cannot be counted among the champions of European civilization. In fact, its instincts are so far to the left, that an accurate expression of its red shift values would require complex mathematics. Fortunately, and as Eric Owens pointed out in his November 2000 article for American Renaissance, “The New Nationalist Music,” not all modern popular music comes from the left of Trotsky. Mr. Owens’ article provided a useful overview of the various nationalist music scenes that emerged since the 1970s, each offering an alternative subculture for young generations disillusioned by the mainstream.
Much has happened since 2000, however, and at least some of the music scenes surveyed by Mr. Owens have seen considerable growth and gone on to spawn new scenes. It is worth re-visiting Mr. Owens’ topic, and shedding some light on what has driven the growth of nationalistic music during the past decade.
Although Mr. Owens discussed several genres (Oi!, Apocalyptic Folk, Nationale révolutionaire, and Black Metal), I will focus only on Black Metal. This is my area of expertise and, most significantly, some Black Metal artists have achieved commercial success and even collected industry awards. Commercial success poses a number of interesting questions regarding Black Metal’s potential gradually to legitimize its more radically anti-system ideals, despite efforts to censor it from without or white-wash it from within.
Before we examine Black Metal, we should review the most significant historic events in and outside of the scene from a racial point of view. To my mind, they are the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe and its rise in the West, the appearance of more explicitly political or nationalist offshoots of Black Metal, and the increasing visibility and acceptance within the mainstream of bands with links to Black Metal.
Origins and Offshoots
Black Metal originated as an offshoot of Heavy Metal, and is so called because of the occult and satanic imagery and lyrics that first defined it in the 1980s. Although it retained the basic elements of guitars, bass, drums, and vocals, from its beginnings, its sound was more extreme, its lyrics more esoteric, and its tone more serious. Black Metal artists during the 1980s were too few and obscure for us to speak of a scene proper, and its fans were part of a wider Heavy Metal/Thrash Metal subculture.
It was not until the early- to mid-1990s, with the rise of a radical circle of Black Metal musicians in Scandinavia, especially in Norway, that Black Metal developed into a full-blown scene. It would probably have remained obscure and would not have grown as rapidly as it did were it not for the media profile achieved by a small number of Black Metal artists, who, between 1992 and 1993, chose a scandalous route to notoriety: church arson. This was obviously calculated to shock and terrorize, and in the resulting wave of publicity the perpetrators explained their acts within the framework of a neo-pagan, anti-Christian ideology. This not only politicized their crimes, but showed them to be a rejection by proxy of the egalitarian, liberal, universalist values of modern society that the perpetrators associated with Christianity.
Only a few musicians were involved, and all but one received short sentences, so this did not drastically affect the scene: it only delayed a few albums by a year or two. But it did mark the outer boundaries of the political thinking of some Black Metal artists. In like manner, some showed an interest — sometimes fleeting, sometimes long-lasting — in what they considered the diametric opposite of the current age: National Socialism.
“The Loyalty for Country”
from Veles’ The Black Ravens Flew Again (2004)
The loyalty for country
The light of lightning is a sign for us
We must go to the road of battle
For the fathers world transfer the blood
It cleanses the enemies’ sin …
The loyalty for country
This is the most important thing
You raise your head with honor
With dignity you must go ahead to death.
Black Metal artists of the 1990s inherited the link between their music and nationalist ideology — of which National Socialism is the most notorious byproduct — from the later albums of one of their major influences: the Swedish band Bathory. Founded by Tomas Forsberg in 1983, Bathory’s first three albums used obvious satanic imagery and lyrics. In the subsequent three albums, however, Forsberg, who died in 2004 at age 38, adopted a more sophisticated musical and lyrical approach, inspired by classical music and Romantic art, and drawing on Scandinavian mythology.
At the same time, Mr. Fosberg developed a neo-völkisch, Nietzschean ideology that rejected Christianity as a foreign, destructive cultural force, and called for a return to European pagan roots. (The German word völkisch blends notions of race and people with a romantic conception of folklore and the organic; it has no exact equivalent in English.) A Celtic cross, or sunwheel, appeared on his fifth album, Hammerheart, and the next, Twilight of the Gods, was partly inspired by Nietzschean critiques of modernity and rejection of Christianity. Mr. Forsberg once noted that Sweden had had 2,000 years of paganism and only 970 years of Christianity. He described himself as willing to fight for his “father’s gods,” noting that they represented values worth sacrificing for.
Even more controversially, Twilight of the Gods contained what some interpreted as oblique references to the Waffen SS. Later, the Black Metal of the 1990s made this ideology more radical and explicit, eventually giving rise, as we shall see, to a sub-genre known as National Socialist Black Metal (NSBM).
During the late 1980s and 1990s, Black Metal inspired two notable and often interlinked sub-genres: Viking Metal and Folk Metal. The Viking Metal sound of Scandinavia is characterized by bombastic synthesizers, epic chanting, and Wagnerian melody. It can be likened to late Romantic classical music played on heavily amplified electric instruments. The imagery of Viking Metal bands revolves around Norse mythology, Norse paganism, and the Viking age. Bands like Enslaved, Einherjer (Norway), Falkenbach (Germany), and Tyr (Faroe Islands) are typical examples.
Folk Metal had its origins in the British Thrash Metal band Skyclad, whose album, The Wayward Sons of Mother Earth (1990), is considered the earliest example. The idea of incorporating traditional folk instruments and themes into an extreme metal framework was then taken up by bands like Storm (Norway), Cruachan (Ireland), Amorphis (Finland), Moonspell (Portugal), and Orphaned Land (Israel), but it did not truly come of age until the 2000s, with Finnish bands like Finntroll and Moonsorrow. Folk Metal naturally led to identifiable regional scenes, centered in Scandinavia, Russia, Ireland, Germany, and the Baltic states. There is even a Folk Metal scene in the United States, with the band Agalloch as a well-known exponent.
Although there are points of contact between National Socialist Black Metal and Folk Metal, Folk Metal bands are generally apolitical. They are quite popular in Europe, where they often give concerts and enjoy regular coverage in metal magazines.
Still, the völkisch aspects of these bands are evident not only in the fact that they often choose to sing in their native tongues rather than the global Pop-music language of English, but in the imagery of their album covers and publicity photographs. Whereas pure Black Metal musicians favor black leather, spiked armbands, cartridge belts, long black hair, and corpse-like face paint, Viking and Folk Metal musicians prefer ancient and early medieval warrior costumes from Northern Europe. They often brandish swords and axes, and battle reenactments are popular within the subculture.
Some of the Viking and Folk Metal bands have drawn inspiration from J. R. R. Tolkien. The Encyclopaedia Metallum (the online encyclopaedia of metal music) lists over 100 bands for whom Tolkien has been a lyrical influence. Other bands have merely taken their names from The Lord of the Rings: Gorgoroth, Minas Tirith, Gandalf, Sauron, Cirith Gorgor, and Dagorlad are examples.
Tolkien’s appeal is not surprising. He was preoccupied with folklore, local history and landscapes, rural ideals, anti-urbanism, anti-modernism, anti-industrialism, and anti-liberalism. Nor is it likely to be a coincidence that in the climactic battle between good and evil in The Lord of the Rings, when Aragorn rallies his forces for combat, he addresses them as “Men of the West.”
Communism falls in the East
During the early 1990s, Scandinavian Black Metal reached and inspired young men in Eastern Europe, then only recently emerged from decades of communist rule. Communism is predicated on modernity, egalitarianism, universalism, centralization, and homogeneity. It therefore demands a strict orthodoxy, which in the East was enforced by totalitarian means. Historic national identities were suppressed in favor of a standardized Soviet identity, and the Soviet bloc, comprised of once-sovereign nations, was reduced to provinces run from Moscow.
The fall of communism in 1989 led to a reassertion of long-dormant national identities. In this context, a radically neo-völkisch music scene almost inevitably attracted a young generation eager to reclaim its ancient roots in search of deeper meaning. Young Black Metallers in Eastern Europe were also drawn to National Socialism, perhaps because it was the diametric opposite of the hated former oppressor.
National Socialist Black Metal (NSBM) is said to have originated in Norway during the early 1990s, with Varg Vikernes and his solo project, Burzum. NSBM took root most deeply in Eastern Europe from the mid 1990s, especially in Poland, Russia, Belarus, the Ukraine, and East Germany, though it had some presence in France and Greece. Bands like Graveland, Veles, Infernum, Kataxu, Ohtar, Thor’s Hammer, Capricornus, Sunwheel, and Gontyna Kry (all from Poland), Nokturnal Mortum (Ukraine), Temnozor (Russia), and Absurd (Germany) are well-known NSBM bands. If they thrived, it is because the NSBM scene, like the Black Metal scene, developed its own labels and distribution, which operated out of sight of outsiders.
It is important to note that NSBM bands differ significantly in approach from skinhead bands. NSBM is contemptuous of mass politics, and focuses on the spiritual and cultural roots of European man and racial nationalist identity. Anti-Semitism is present, but mostly implicit and rarely expressed in the albums except in a generalized, neo-pagan opposition to Judeo-Christianity and Islam; the three monotheistic religions are lumped together as “three weeds from the same root.”
NSBM is the most controversial of the offshoots of Black Metal, and it represents a fundamentalist minority. It takes on greater significance as part of the wider neo-völkisch pagan Black Metal scene. The larger movement is comprised of bands that may well reject National Socialism, but are nevertheless sympathetic to some of its ideas and sentiments: the ideology of blood and soil; nature mysticism; the rejection of Christianity as an alien occupation force; an appreciation of European pagan traditions and mythology; racial nationalism; the rejection of liberalism; the exaltation of elitist and heroic values; and the glorification of war seen as a spiritual experience. There is no clear divide between explicitly racial and implicitly racial bands, and together they give the entire Black Metal scene a flavor it would not otherwise have. In light of these influences, since 2000, Eastern Europe has become a prodigious factory of high-quality Pagan Black Metal, and some of the bands have become successful enough to attract the interest of some of the larger specialist Western record labels.
Commercial success has highlighted an interesting contradiction. Nationalist Black Metal bands in Eastern Europe, not unlike people from the Third World, see the West as rich, and want a piece of the Western El Dorado. They also want to be treated as equal partners, and fear being seen as naïve, primitive, and provincial. Yet, at the same time, these bands see the West as degenerate, and dread the prospect of Westernization or, worse still, Americanization. To them America is synonymous with corrupt capitalism, cultural death, brainless consumerism, and mass immigration.
So far, Eastern Europe has not suffered large-scale immigration from the Third World, and its populations are almost entirely white. The transfer has already begun, however, and, even in 2003, black Africans could be seen in the streets of Kharkov in the Ukraine. I suspect that as Eastern European nations are absorbed into the European Union and their laws are harmonized with it, and as the viruses of political correctness and multiculturalism take hold, we will see an even greater radicalization of the ethno-nationalist sentiments that appeared after the fall of communism. Nationalist Black Metal is important in this process because, as we saw in the 1960s in the West, music is an important element in political and cultural dissidence.
The significance of Black Metal is not lost on the Eastern European Left, which now copies its Western equivalents and has mobilized “anti-Fascist” thugs against racial nationalist Black Metal musicians. The Ukrainian pagan Black Metal band Kroda, for example, expresses its romantic, Ukrainian nationalism in terms that leave little room for multiculturalism (see sidebar). In June 2009, “antifa” terrorists attacked Kroda. They demolished a car, destroyed instruments, and seriously injured members of the band, forcing it to cancel its tour through Poland, Germany, and Austria.
Artists, record labels, and mail order houses in Eastern Europe have sporadically faced persecution from the government either for expressing ethnonationalist views or merely for being part of a subculture that recognizes nationalism. Roman Saenko of the Ukrainian Black Metal bands Drudkh and Hate Forest faced periods of intensive police investigation, while a number of people associated with pagan bands and labels in Eastern Europe have been periodically harassed and even imprisoned.
The emergence of radical, nationalist music in recent decades is not simply an oddity that occurred on the fringes of the West and took root in the East. A Black Metal scene exists in almost every European-derived country, including the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Some of these bands are just as radical as those that have emerged in the post-Communist East.
Perhaps this is because, as Tomislav Sunić suggests in his book Homo Americanus, it made little difference that communism fell in the East because by then it had arisen in the West, though in a more insidious and sophisticated form. Whereas Eastern European communism was vulgar and obvious and took the form of truncheon-wielding commissars and gulags, in the West it has taken the form of political correctness, ethnic sensitivity training, multiracialism, feminism, non-white racial preferences, homosexual rights, Freudo-Marxian scholasticism, anti-hate laws, and self-censorship. Professors at Western universities display Communist flags and posters of Marx and Lenin in their offices. The West even has its own version of the commissars, in the form of screaming, bat-swinging, masked, “anti-racist” terrorists. The rise of explicitly nationalist Black Metal in the West has been driven by a cultural hegemony based on the same principles that applied in the East.
Black Metal has achieved greater visibility and industry recognition than would have been imagined possible some years ago, given how antithetical it is to the values of modern Western societies. To the great irritation of certain anti-white groups on the Left, Black Metal and Black Metal-derived albums of a nationalist character — including those by Burzum — are regularly stocked by mainstream music chains and megastores, and are available through standard Internet outlets. Moreover, Norwegian Black Metal bands such as Dimmu Borgir, Enslaved, and The Kovenant have not only been commercially successful, but received the Spellemannprisen, also known as the “Norwegian Grammy awards.” Albums by bands like Nightwish, whose founding members have roots in the Black Metal scene, have gone multi-platinum in Finland. Slowly but surely, artists of an alternative sensibility have been making inroads into the mainstream.
“Sunwheel on the Helmet of Steel”
from Capricornus’ Alone Against All (2004)
Sunwheel on the Helmet of Steel
Once shone the European sky
The smashing force of hellborn beast
The will that no one could resist
The spirit was born
All weakness has gone
The battle took place
We forged our Race
Legions of vengeance are growing fast …
Proudly return from glorious past
Needless to say, the award-winning bands are, as far as I know, apolitical, and in some cases may have liberal attitudes. What is important, however, is that they are part of a wider network of extreme metal bands, labels, and enthusiasts. They are only the visible part of the iceberg, with at least a significant part of the 90 percent that the mainstream does not see comprised of people who reject political correctness and multiculturalism, who reject the entire academic, media, and political establishment.
These people yearn for something better: a new nationalist order that prizes strength, and virility, rootedness, heroism, and glory; that values quality over quantity, instinct over rationality, landscape over cityscape, hierarchy over equality, originality over standardization, organic community over atomized individualism, traditional (complementary) sex roles over the modern war of the sexes; that does not feel the need to justify itself to others, and that proudly asserts its Whiteness and Europeanness.
This is not to say that Black Metallers and their fans would be able to articulate their worldview in such explicit terms, or even that they would be able to recognize that there even is a worldview encoded in their music. Likewise, it would be wrong to assume that Black Metallers generally live up to their own ideals. Like all marginal subcultures, Black Metal attracts some number of unbalanced types who drink excessively and seem bent on self-destruction. There are also nihilistic and highly misanthropic strands within Black Metal that need not concern us here.
Furthermore, outside the relatively small and highly politicized NSBM scene, it would be a mistake to assume that the wider Black Metal scene is anything more than an implicitly white community. Dissent from the liberal-egalitarian dispensation is mainly aesthetic and spiritual, not directly political: fans dress a certain way, they decorate their homes in certain ways, and they read certain types of books (usually horror, science fiction, occult, fantasy, and history).
One colorful Black Metal fan I know lives in Bedfordshire, England. His cottage is painted all black inside, he uses a coffin as a coffee table, and has stuffed tarantulas and mediaeval weapons on the walls; some of his decor, which includes a Hitler Youth poster, accords with his racial nationalist sympathies. Most Black Metal fans, however, are middle class and hold ordinary jobs, though they may decorate their houses with a few Gothic ornaments. Music, not race or politics, is what they have in common.
Yet, because of the inegalitarian and völkisch ideology embedded in the music, it is not surprising that I commonly meet Black Metal enthusiasts in racial nationalist circles. Some belong to nationalist parties; others are affiliated with para-political pagan entities, forums, tribes, or organizations.
What we see is a very loose network of cultural and political dissidents, some racially aware, others not. This network continues to grow. Even if we might see only 50 to 200 people at a typical concert, the Encyclopaedia Metallum already lists 1,100 Viking/Folk and over 17,000 Black Metal bands.
I do not doubt that the lunatics on the Left hope that with enough miseducation, propaganda, and sufficiently draconian laws, they can force European heretics into submission, even if they can never convert them. I believe they will never succeed, for we are dealing with people who never accepted the liberal, universalist, egalitarian project. What is more, they are numerous and spread across a complicated network of interlocking scenes and subcultures, all decentralized, not all of them musical, and with constantly shifting boundaries. This does not offer the Left an easy target.
Of course, Black Metal has not been completely immune to orthodox impulses. Some four or five years ago the British extreme music magazine, Terrorizer, which is available on newsstands, published an interview with Spear of Longinus, an Australian Black/Thrash Metal band that had released an album called The Yoga of National Socialism. Although the interview was strictly about music, the magazine apologized in the face of complaints, calling the interview a “misstep.”
In 2007, the German magazine, Rock Hard, which generally celebrates dissent and non-conformism, ran an article titled “Der rechte Rand im Black Metal,” (“Black Metal’s Far-Right Border”) complaining about labels and mail order houses that sold what they considered politically incorrect Black Metal. I have a music label of my own, and during the mid-2000s a number of metal magazines and distributors boycotted some of the bands on my roster, complaining about their politics.
Many musicians simply want to avoid trouble. Consider the case of Kroda. Despite its members obviously political views, after the Warsaw attack they issued a statement claiming that they are simply a Pagan Metal band that is “OUT of modern politics.”
As it does anywhere, the prospect of commercial success can cause the jettisoning of principles. In the Black Metal scene, the few, larger, commercial enterprises tend towards political correctness, while the numerous, smaller, underground ones tend towards political incorrectness. When he signed with one of the larger, commercially oriented specialist record labels, Roman Saenko, who had enjoyed a long underground career as a racial nationalist artist, quickly papered over his racial ideology and close links with NSBM by making incredible anti-racist statements and denials. His new label realized that his band Drudkh had proven to be a big seller and wanted to protect its investment. Following Drudkh’s re-incarnation as a politically correct band, it was white-washed by the larger magazines and distributors that once boycotted it.
On the other hand, there are artists who will not compromise. Hendrik Möbus, who grew up in Eastern Germany, continues to produce nationalist Black Metal and organize concerts despite police raids, confiscations, and even prison time for such things as selling nationalist material. “I want to show that it is possible to make concerts with ‘controversial’ (yet perfectly legal) Black Metal bands in Germany,” he has written, “if you have the stamina and the spine to pull it off, regardless of the combined pressure from Antifa, media, and authorities.” For him, the slogan, “Black Metal is more than just music,” is a living reality.
Hendrik Möbus’ comparatively high media profile in Germany has certainly contributed to his persecution. In countries whose laws are not so restrictive, heretics need only show some backbone. When the British extreme music magazine Zero Tolerance, which is also available from newsagents, ran its own interview with Spear of Longinus in 2007, it ignored complaints and found its sales and advertising unaffected.
The underground Black Metal scene is as much a self-contained universe as modern academia, and this insulates Black Metallers from the practical consequences of heterodoxy as much as the academic universe insulates Leftist crazies from common sense. Underground Black Metal operates with its own internal economy, code of conduct, media, distribution, and trade vernacular. What is more, Black Metallers revel in their own marginality, so even those who are not explicitly ideological resist yielding to outside pressure. This, and the willful pursuit of obscurity and anonymity of some of its actors make it impossible to ban it or shut it down on a wholesale basis, at least not without resorting to openly totalitarian methods that would only further discredit the system.
In short, while it is true that mainstream popular culture is a desert for European-descended peoples today, there are growing oases where many of us can find genuine dissent. They are providing cultural and creative spaces within which we can elaborate a new paradigm for the future, rather than simply lament the present or mourn the past. Just as importantly, they provide economic and professional opportunities for those who wish to make a living in a manner consistent with their temperament, conscience, and ethnic interests.
I suspect we live in times when we can expect two parallel universes — ours and our opponents’ — to become progressively more extreme and polarized, as each side tries to outlast the other. Our opponents have been on the ascendant for a long time, but are showing increasing signs of fatigue and desperation, as it becomes apparent that they have failed, are bereft of ideas, and can offer nothing but a managed descent into tyranny and universal poverty. We, on the other hand, have been on the decline for a long time, and many among us are bound to disappear; but those who remain will be the strongest, the fittest, the most fanatical, the most vigorous, the ones who never lost themselves in the dark age of chaos.
For us it is a race against time, because present trends place a finite horizon beyond which any effort will be futile. We must make sure we are ready when the present system comes crashing down, as it must. The battle will not be won with Black Metal, of course, but music is important — has always been important — in any counter-cultural movement, and because it is a quintessentially European art form, it provides a radical, pure, and ferocious source of energy and conquering fury. Without it we will never win the culture war.
Mr. Kurtagić is a novelist, commentator, musician, and the founder and director of the record label Supernal Music.
Kroda Speaks of the Ukraine
Postscript by Jared Taylor
Needless to say, AR does not endorse Satanism, attacks on religion, or National Socialism. Nevertheless, its editors have come to the conclusion that the music trends Mr. Kurtagić describes are signs of what may be a significant reaction against the egalitarian, homogenizing ideology that is destroying the West. Outsiders to the “scenes” Mr. Kurtagic introduces to us have few independent means of judging them, and Mr. Kurtagic makes clear that many are hard to categorize. However, celebrations of European roots strike an important blow for the West.
But what does one make of the music of these bands? It is likely to sound alien to anyone who likes classical music, country and western, jazz, or even most of the softer, cheerier kinds of pop or rock music. Much of it tends to have a crashing, driven quality. Some pieces are quietly lyrical — or at least start out that way before reaching more typical levels of frenzy. It cannot be denied, however, the work of the better known Black Metal bands is musically inventive, seriously rehearsed, and tightly performed. These are not hobbyist garage bands. I find this music most interesting with the volume turned low — not how the musicians expect to be heard.
YouTube.com has countless concert clips and music videos from hundreds of Black Metal bands. Just type in some of the names mentioned in this article, and you will find yourself in a strange and sometimes disturbing world. The lyrics — and comments from viewers — are usually in foreign languages, which makes these “scenes” even more obscure. What you see may not be the future of Western Civilization you may have in mind, but it is certainly not a celebration of “diversity.”
from Graveland’s Creed of Iron (2000)
The days when ancient blood
Will awake in the hearts of white men and women
Our banners will rise to the sky
And will flap with joy on wind
Ancient wisdom and strength will return
Divided nations will become unity
And cry of thousands of throats
Will disperse darkness …
New generations will be bred
When ancient blood will return us our will
We will not be afraid of darkness any more …
We will join proud heroes
Who with might and main gave their lives away
And belong to the past fighting
For honor and pride of our race …
Genes or Environment?
A 35-year study offers an answer.
Joseph M. Horn and John Loehlin, Heredity and Environment in 300 Adoptive Families: The Texas Adoption Project, Aldine Transaction, 2010, 209 pp., $49.95 (cheaper on Internet)
The Texas Adoption Project (TAP) was one of the most thorough and long-running efforts ever undertaken to investigate the relative effects of environment and genes on intelligence and personality. It was a 35-year study of 300 families that had adopted children from the Methodist Mission Home of San Antonio, Texas. This slim, well-written book is the TAP’s final report.
Adoption studies are useful, of course, because they allow researchers to distinguish fairly easily between the effects of genes and environment. In an ordinary household, the parents provide all the genes of their children as well as the household environment, and egalitarians have long argued that environment counts for far more than genes; middle-class children do better than poor children, not because they inherited good genes, but because their fortunate parents gave them fortunate environments.
Because adopted children are genetically unrelated to their adoptive parents, they are natural study subjects: Do biological and adopted children growing up in the same family resemble each other because of their common family environment, or do the genes they inherited from different sets of parents play a more important role?
Many adoption studies have tried to answer this question, but the families in the TAP were particularly good research candidates for several reasons. First, the families were studied until the children, both adopted and biological, were adults. Most adoption research does not follow subjects for decades, so cannot determine if the relative importance of genes and environment changes over time. Another common defect in adoption studies is that little is usually known about birth parents, but a great deal was known about the TAP birth mothers. Unwed women who planned to give their children up for adoption lived at the Methodist Mission Home for some time before they had their babies. While they were at the home, they took a series of intelligence and personality tests. In some cases, a fair amount was also known about the birth fathers as well.
One disadvantage in the TAP, however, was that the average intelligence of the birth mothers was not that different from that of the adoptive parents. It is easier to separate the effects of genes and environment when there is a large IQ difference between birth and adoptive mothers, but the Methodist Mission Home operated in a way that tended to keep IQs similar. When a woman decided to enter the home, both her parents and the parents who planned to adopt the baby were expected to share the costs of room, board, and medical treatment. This meant that birth and adoptive mothers both tended to be middle class. However, there was a considerable range in intelligence and personality in both groups, so it was possible to see if placing a child from a less intelligent mother in a home with intelligent adoptive parents would raise the child’s intelligence — or vice versa. Many of the families also had biological children, so it was possible to see whether being reared in the same family made children similar to each other even if they were not biologically related.
The method used in the TAP to analyze the effects of genes and environment was the path model. The figure on this page is an example of a path model for a typical family of two parents and two children. The caption under the figure explains the model. Squares are observed variables, that is to say, values that can be measured. In this case, they are the tested IQs of the mother and father (IQM and IQF) and of child 1 and 2 (IQ1 and IQ2). The researcher tries various values for the contributions of genes and environment to the children’s intelligences, and chooses the model that best explains the observed variables.
The trouble with this model is that parents give children both genes and environment. The causational paths of x and y, that is to say, the influences of the mother and father on the intelligence of the children, includes both, and there is no good way to separate them.
The figure on the next page shows the path model the researchers used in the TAP, which plots the genetic and environmental influences in a family of two parents, their two biological children, and two adopted children, each with his own set of parents. Sophisticated modeling of this kind — it is not necessary fully to understand the model but the caption offers a reasonably good explanation — lets scientists separate out the effects of genes and environment.
The findings of the TAP are in line with many other studies: Genes count for a great deal more in the development of intelligence and personality than family environment. If anything, the TAP results suggest that growing up in the same family can make people less like each other, as they establish personalities to distinguish themselves from each other. Finally, family environment has some effect on intelligence when children are young, but drops essentially to zero by the time children become adults.
Parents are often astonished to learn that although genes account for perhaps one half or more of the variation in the intelligence of their children, the remainder is almost certainly not the result of the environment the parents provided. When children grow up in the same family they have what is called a shared environment — the same parents, house, neighborhood, etc. — and a non-shared environment, which is all the unique things that happen to them and to no one else. Path modeling of the kind used in the TAP makes it possible to distinguish between the effects of shared and non-shared environment, and what children have in common doesn’t seem to have much effect on the way they turn out. Living in the same household doesn’t appear to influence children nearly so much as the unique experiences they have on their own.
It would be wrong, however, to conclude that households have no effect. Adoptive families do not represent the entire range of all families, since agencies do not place children in indigent or obviously abusive homes. No doubt, children who grow up in complete misery and squalor suffer because of this, but within the broad range of the middle classes, the effect of household environment on intelligence is small for children, and drops to nothing for adults.
The TAP found that correlations in intelligence and personality were greater between fathers and their children than between mothers and children. The authors could give no explanation for this, but whatever the cause, it does not support the view that environment overwhelms genes. Mothers usually spend more time with children than fathers do, so their environmental effect should be greater.
One of the TAP’s most intriguing conclusions concerns the manner in which personality is, or is not, influenced by family environment. When parents (both birth and adoptive) and children were compared on the results of personality inventory tests, the correlations were closer between birth mothers and their adopted-away children than for parents who reared their biological children themselves. In other words, the children whose personalities were most like that of their mothers’ were the ones who never knew their mothers. As the authors note, “The suggestion is that processes like imitation and identification, which would tend to lead to positive correlations, are being outweighed by processes like contrast or competition, which would lead to negative ones.” Children may be developing their personalities in opposition to their parents rather than in conformity with them.
The TAP reached other conclusions that are in line with other studies: About one quarter to one half of differences in personality are due to genes and the rest to unshared environment. Over time, however, children do develop personalities that tend to resemble those of their parents. Perhaps genetically-based similarities become more evident after a child moves out and is no longer trying so hard to be different from his parents. Not surprisingly, the adult personalities and IQs of unrelated people growing up in the same household have a correlation of zero.
The TAP offered an interesting opportunity to study what is called genotype-environment correlation, which assumes that parents provide environments for their children that match the parents’ genotypes. For example, high-IQ parents are likely to surround their children with books and educational games, thus giving them an IQ-boosting environment in addition to good genes. Low-IQ parents would presumably do the opposite, so that genes and environment work together to push children toward extremes.
Adopted children are genetically unrelated to the parents so genotype-environment correlation should presumably have less effect on them, leaving adopted children, as a group, with less variation (a smaller standard deviation) in intelligence and other traits. The TAP found no such results with, if anything, a tendency towards a smaller standard deviation in biological children. Allegedly IQ-modifying environments did not have much effect at all. However the TAP results are analyzed, they run directly counter to what has been an article of leftist faith for decades: that privilege, not genes, accounts for success.
The authors of the study point out, however, that unshared environment (and measurement error) account for a great deal of individual variation, and this means that much remains unexplained. What is it about the unshared environment that accounts for 30 to 40 percent of individual variation in intelligence and personality? The authors suspect that as techniques for measurement and observation improve, it may be possible to find out how individual, unique environments act on individual genotypes, but warn that knowledge at this level may come at an unacceptable cost in privacy. It would probably require intrusive techniques to find out how unshared environment really works.
Finally, the authors note that their calculations for the genetic influence on variations in intelligence — 25 to 35 percent rather than 60 percent or so — are lower than those often found in studies of identical twins reared apart. They explain this by describing the difference between additive and nonadditive effects. Additive effects are the cumulative result of genes acting individually, whereas nonadditive effects arise from configurations or combinations of genes. Examples of the latter would be of dominant and recessive genes, in which the effect arises not just from the presence of genes but from how they combine with each other. Another non-additive effect is called epistasis, which results from genes acting together in ways that go beyond whatever effect each would have had individually.
Because identical twins have identical genotypes, they share both additive and nonadditive effects, so the influences of genes and environment are clear. Ordinary siblings have unique gene combinations in which nonadditive effects work in unpredictable ways. These effects tend to make siblings different from each other or from their parents — thus giving the appearance that genes were playing a smaller role — but these very differences arise from nonadditive genetic effects and are therefore the result of the action of genes.
This study did not have a racial angle. All the parents and children were white, so no formal conclusions can be drawn from it about whether growing up in a white family would raise the IQs of black children. Nevertheless, the implications are clear. The environment parents provide for their children has surprisingly little influence on how they turn out, and may even push children to become less like other family members because of competition or the desire to be different. This effect would surely be greater in families — whether biological or adoptive — composed of people of different races.
Perhaps the greatest value of this study for non-specialists, however, is the clear way in which it describes how the research was carried out, and the many steps taken to ensure the most accurate results. The authors explain a host of details, whether about statistical methods or practical matters, that bring their story to life. This is the kind of science egalitarians hate, but the TAP was conducted with such obvious care, rigor, and dispassion that it should be convincing to all but the most crazed ideologues.
A Window on the Soul of Flanders
On April 22, the Belgian government fell when the Flemish — or Dutch-speaking — parties walked out of a coalition with the French-speaking parties. What prompted the crisis was a complex question of the rights of French speakers in traditionally Dutch-speaking suburbs of Brussels, but the real issue was whether Belgium should survive as a unitary state. New elections, now called for June, will not solve that problem. In the view of the Vlaams Belang, the dynamic, Flemish-nationalist political party that calls for the partition of Belgium along linguistic lines, that problem can be solved only when there is an amicable divorce between the two linguistic groups, and the political map is redrawn to match the ethnic map (for more on the activities of the Vlaams Belang see “European Nationalism on the March, AR, July 2008). They argue that from its establishment in 1830 as a neutral buffer-zone to contain post-Napoleonic France, Belgium has been an artificial creation with no roots and no future.
The Vlaams Belang (VB) is therefore one of the foremost contemporary examples of the power of ethno-nationalism. Its leaders recognize that “multi-culturalism” is suicide, and that true nations are made of people who share the same heritage. The party stands for strict limits on immigration, especially of Muslims and other Third-Worlders who will never be Flemish. Its bold motto, Eigen volk eerst! (Our people first!), has won it the loyalty of increasing numbers of Flemings and the hatred of “anti-racists” who would love to see Europe smothered in newcomers. Its political successes are an inspiration to nationalists everywhere and to the small number of Americans who follow its fortunes and pray for its success.
Americans, however, have few good ways to keep up with the VB. Most US newspapers rarely mention it, and when they do, they are careful to call it “extremist” if not “fascist.” The VB has a large and active web page and many excellent publications but they are all in Dutch — except for one, The Flemish Republic. This is a free, English-language quarterly that states its purpose in the nameplate: It is to explain “why Flanders should become an independent state.”
One of the ways The Flemish Republic (TFR) promotes independence is to underscore the financial costs to Flanders of union with the poorer, less productive French-speaking region known as Wallonia. In its most recent issue, TFR points out that the unemployment rate in Wallonia is nearly three times that of Flanders, and that Flanders pays for the bulk of Walloon unemployment benefits. It notes that of those Walloons who are employed, 29 percent work for government; only 16 percent of Flemings work for government.
TFR also points out the costs to Flanders of membership in the European Union. If it were an independent country its net, per capita annual contribution to the EU would be €286, or the equivalent of more than $1,500 for each family of four. This is twice as much as the sum paid by the Germans, four times as much as the French, and six times as much as the British. The VB argues that if Flanders had its own say in EU deliberations, it could work out something fairer.
However, the greatest price Flanders pays for being part of Belgium is the immigration policy that the socialist federal government forces on it. For example, although it is the French-speakers who claim to favor Third-World immigration, the federal government assigns 88 percent of successful asylum seekers to Flanders and only 12 percent to Wallonia. Why? Because most asylum seekers are penniless, and it is the region, not the federal government, that writes welfare checks.
An article in the latest issue of TFR points out that in Brussels, immigrant gangs of black Africans, north Africans, and Eastern Europeans have turned parts of the city into no-go zones where the police fear to tread (see also “Black Démolition,” AR, June 2005). Even journalists may be assaulted by immigrant “youths.” TFR notes that the socialists who run the city actually want more such immigrants because Third-Worlders can be put on the fast track to citizenship and will vote socialist. An independent Flanders — Eigen volk eerst! — would put a stop to that.
Each issue of The Flemish Republic covers these and other subjects in articles written in idiomatic English and geared to foreigners who may not be familiar with the intricacies of Belgian history or politics. That the Vlaams Belang takes the trouble to publish in English shows how well its leaders grasp the importance of what the party is doing, not just for Flanders but for all people who refuse to be submerged by the multi-culti tide.
The 2010 party congress
Your editor ran across a copy of The Flemish Republic on April 18, at the 2010 Vlaams Belang party congress in Antwerp. I was in Belgium for a week on business, and was eager to see the party in action. As I approached the congress venue there was no question I was in the right place; the building was festooned with the huge black-and-yellow party flags. I looked around for demonstrators — not a one. Later I learned that someone had thrown an egg at the building, but that “anti-racists” had pretty much given up on the VB 10 years ago. Flemish nationalism is here to stay and the Left can do nothing about it.
The congress itself was an impressive gathering; an estimated 1,300 activists in an auditorium equipped with the latest in big-screen video. I couldn’t understand a word anyone said, but I could feel the electricity run through the crowd when charismatic leaders took the podium. This is clearly a party that is going places, one that inspires fierce loyalty and dedication.
After the formal program, I was swept along with 1,000 other thirsty people to a long bar and a score of tables set up in the lobby. I struck up conversations with English-speaking activists who were delighted to meet an American who shares their vision of a free and independent Flanders. We bought beers for each other and traded perspectives on the suicide of the West and what it will take to bring it back to life. If anyone can do it, it will be people like these VB activists: thoughtful, good-looking, well dressed, committed to preserving their heritage and passing it on to their children.
Like increasingly successful nationalist parties in other small European countries (see “What Happened in Austria,” AR, December 2008), the men and women of the Vlaams Belang are building a political force that can press their vital interests at the highest levels of national and European governments. As I left Belgium to come home, the VB was already making preparations to turn the government crisis into an opportunity. As Filip Dewinter, chairman of the VB group in the Flemish parliament explained, “The crisis clearly proves the Belgian model is a complete failure.” “The disease is Belgium and the only remedy is Flemish independence,” he added.
Flanders is a nation yearning to be free, led by people who want nothing more than to secure their future as a people. This is an inspiring movement with a bright future, and one of the best ways to follow its successes is to subscribe to The Flemish Republic.<
Subscribe to The Flemish Republic by writing to:
Madouplein 8/9, B-1210, Brussels, Flanders, Belgium
The Galton Report
How to explain the black-white IQ difference?
The lower IQs of blacks compared to whites were first demonstrated in the United States in 1917 when soldiers drafted into the Army were tested for intelligence, and it was found that the black average was 83 compared to the white average of 100. This result has been confirmed in many hundreds of later studies, with black-white IQ differences typically between 15 and 17 points. This means about 15 percent of blacks have an IQ higher than the average white (or a little fewer, because many studies have found that black scores are not as broadly distributed as those of whites). Blacks who have high IQs tend to have whiter skins and other markers of white ancestry, which gives them more white genes for IQ. This is obvious from such public figures as Colin Powell, Jesse Jackson, Condoleezza Rice, Barack Obama, and Oprah Winfrey.
At the lower end of the IQ distribution, about 2 per cent of whites and about 16 per cent of blacks have IQs below 70, the threshold for mental retardation. Charles Murray and the late Richard Herrnstein showed in their 1994 book The Bell Curve that these IQ differences do much to explain why, on average, blacks do poorly in school, college, and employment, and are over-represented among single mothers and those on welfare.
Ever since this IQ difference was demonstrated there has been debate about whether the causes are genetic, environmental, or some mixture of the two. In recent years, James Flynn, emeritus professor at the University of Otago in New Zealand, has been the leading advocate of the environmentalist case, while Professors Philippe Rushton and Arthur Jensen have argued the hereditarian position. Before he emigrated from the United States to New Zealand in 1963, Professor Flynn took part in civil rights marches, and he continues to be active in leftist causes. He has now spent the last 30 years trying to prove that the black-white IQ difference is determined wholly by environment. This is a formidable task, given the huge amount of evidence favoring a genetic basis, including the smaller average black brain size, the fact that black infants adopted by white families do not register IQ gains, and the universally observed low black IQ throughout the world.
Nevertheless, Professor Flynn leaves no stone unturned to promote his case. In his 2007 book What is Intelligence? he asserted that “there have been thousands of blacks of genius or talent,” and cited Saint Augustine, Victor Hugo, Paul Robeson, and Thomas Sowell as examples. This is hardly a persuasive list. Saint Augustine was born in North Africa and was of Berber (North African Caucasoid) descent. Photographs of Victor Hugo suggest he was pure Caucasian without a hint of Negroid features. Paul Robeson was certainly a black singer of talent, but singing does not require a high IQ. Thomas Sowell is a black political scientist of some talent who clearly has some white ancestry. This bizarre quartet are apparently the best examples of black genius and talent that Professor Flynn can muster.
Professor Flynn has also sought to support his contention that the causes of the black-white IQ difference are environmental by maintaining that the American black-white IQ gap has been declining in recent years, and that between 1970 and 1992 the gap decreased by 5.5 IQ points. He contends that this narrowing can be projected into the future and that in the fullness of time will be closed completely, and blacks will have the same average IQ as whites. When this time comes, people will look back and realize that the low black IQ was entirely due to discrimination by racist whites.
Professors Rushton and Jensen have refuted Professor Flynn’s contention that the American black-white IQ gap has been narrowing in recent years. They show that from 1917 to 2008 there has been no black gain in average IQ, and also that from 1954 to 2008 there has been no gain in average black educational achievement measured by math and reading in the National Assessment of Educational Progress studies.
Professors Rushton and Jensen propose that the black-white IQ gap in the United States is about 80 percent genetically determined. They argue that it is widely accepted that the heritability of intelligence within races is between 50 and 70 percent, and that the heritability of the intelligence difference between blacks and whites is about the same or even higher. Certainly, it is inconceivable that it could be zero. If their 80 percent estimate is accurate, it means that if blacks could be given all the environmental advantages of whites, the black-white IQ gap could be reduced to 80 percent of its present value, i.e. to about 13 IQ points.
Professors Rushton and Jensen accept that the IQs of both blacks and whites have increased since the 1930s, but they produce evidence that the g component of intelligence has not increased at all. Intelligence can be divided into g and non-g components. G is the “general factor” that is a partial determinant of performance on all cognitive tasks. The non-g components consist of other abilities that are independent of g (e.g. reasoning, verbal comprehension, spatial ability, memory, etc). The professors used a statistical technique to measure both the g and the non-g components of intelligence and concluded that it is only the latter that have increased, probably as a result of improvements in education, health, and nutrition. This is a novel and interesting finding with regard to the Flynn effect, though some scholars have reservations about the methodology used, and remain skeptical about how accurately g can be separated from non-g components. Professors Rushton and Jensen also demonstrate that the tests whose results are most heritable produce the largest black-white IQ differences, showing that the stronger the genetic input, the greater the black IQ deficit.
The conclusion that the black-white IQ gap has not declined since 1917 is a serious problem for environmentalists. The environments of American blacks have improved greatly since 1917, with the achievement of higher living standards, better health care, integrated schooling, full civil rights, and affirmative action. The environment of whites has also improved, but that of blacks has certainly improved more.
So why has the gap not been reduced? Perhaps Professors Rushton and Jensen may have underestimated the genetic contribution to the black-white IQ gap when they put it at 80 percent. If the gap has not declined since 1917, it means it is resistant to environmental improvements and may be entirely genetically determined. If it is possible to reduce the black-white IQ gap no one now knows how this can be done.
Professor Flynn has yet to answer these points but he is a tenacious advocate of lost causes and we have probably not heard the last from him.
Flynn, J.R. What is Intelligence? Cambridge University Press, 2007.
Rushton, J. P., & Jensen, A. R. (2005). Thirty years of research on race differences in cognitive ability. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 11, 235-294.
Rushton, J. P., & Jensen, A. R. (2010). The rise and fall of the Flynn effect as a reason to expect a narrowing of the Black-White IQ gap. Intelligence, 38, 213-219.
|IN THE NEWS|
O Tempora, O Mores!
Arizona v. Aztlan
If Americans ever get their country back, future historians may write that the counterrevolution began in Arizona. The state set off a national uproar when Gov. Jan Brewer signed a law allowing state and local police officers to enforce federal immigration laws. As leftwing commentators and Hispanic activists continue to talk nonsense about what they call a “Nazi” law, it is worth taking a look at what it actually does.
It simply makes violations of federal immigration law a state crime as well. Thus, since federal law requires that immigrants carry their green cards with them at all times, so does Arizona’s. Police in Arizona can ask about a person’s immigration status only during the course of “lawful contact,” such as a routine traffic stop or arrest. Before asking about immigration status, however, an officer must have a “reasonable suspicion” that someone is an illegal alien. Examples of reasonable suspicion include: Pulling over a driver who has no license or other form of official ID; seeing someone buying fake IDs or sneaking across the border; arresting a previously deported gang member. The law says police “may not solely consider race, color or national origin.” [Mark Krikorian, Fact Sheet on the New Arizona Immigration Law, Center for Immigration Studies, April 29, 2010.]
A different bill sent to the governor four days after the immigration-control measure may be as important as the immigration law. It bans ethnic-studies courses that advocate separatism and racial resentment. It makes it illegal for any school to teach a course that advocates the overthrow of the US government, promotes class or racial resentment against any group of people, is intended for any particular ethnic group, or advocates “ethnic solidarity.” The chief target of the bill is the ethnic studies program used by the Tucson Unified School District, which promotes the radical Aztlan agenda that calls for the “reconquest” of the Southwest by Hispanics and its forceful separation from the United States. [Arizona Legislature Passes Bill to Curb ‘Chauvanism’ in Ethnic Studies Programs, Fox News, April 30, 2010.]
Mass immigration has driven the number of foreign-born US residents to record levels, and while immigration is beginning to change areas such as Iowa and the rural South, most immigrants continue to live in the so-called gateway states that have customarily been home to large numbers of foreigners. According to the Census Bureau’s most recent American Community Survey (2008), California tops the list with 9,859,027 foreign-born residents, followed by New York (4,236,768), Texas (3,887,224) Florida (3,391,511), and Illinois (1,782,423). The states with the most foreigners are generally the most populous. Arizona is the 14th overall in population, but eighth in terms of the number of foreign-born residents, which may explain why so many Arizonans are angry about lax border enforcement. By 2008, there were more than 38 million immigrants living in the US. From 1990 to 2008, 14 states saw their rate of immigrant influx increase by 200 percent or more. [Stuart Fox, Which US State Has the Most Immigrants?, LiveScience.com, April 28, 2010.]
Diversity is Our Strength
According to a recent poll taken during the media frenzy over the new Arizona immigration law, 49 percent of US voters say relations between whites and Hispanics are getting worse, up from 34 percent in December. Only 28 percent think relations are improving. Only 19 percent of respondents say relations between blacks and Hispanics are improving, while 37 percent believe they are getting worse.
When it comes to blacks and whites, 55 percent think relations are improving, which is down seven percent since December. Seventy-seven percent of voters surveyed think relations between whites and blacks are better than they were in the 1960s. The poll also found that despite the media outcry, 64 percent of Arizonans support the new immigration law, as do six out of ten US voters. [49% Say White-Hispanic Relations Getting Worse, Rasmussen Reports, April 28, 2010.]
The Obama Effect
A recent survey of American high school students by Hamilton College in New York found that blacks are more sanguine about the future than whites. Seventy percent of black students ages 15 to 18 thought they would be living better than their parents, compared with just 36 percent of white students. Experts say optimism among blacks appears to be related to enthusiasm for President Obama — the so-called Obama Effect. “Young African Americans have this serious afterglow that is not as strong with whites and Hispanics,” says John Della Volpe of the Harvard Institute of Politics. Two thirds of black students give Mr. Obama a “good” or “very good” rating, compared with just 23 percent of white students.
DeQuan Foster, a high school sophomore from Newark, says having someone that looks like him in the White House has strongly influenced his belief in the future. “You’re always told anything is possible — but when you see it, you believe it. It makes me want to try twice as hard.” [Martha Irvine, Poll: Black Teens More Optimistic Than Peers, AP, April 29, 2010.]
Blacks vs. Asians
Tian Sheng Yu was a 59-year-old Chinese immigrant who ran a painting and remodeling business in San Francisco. In April, he took his son Jin Cheng Yu on a shopping trip across the bay to Oakland. While the elder Yu was parking the car, two young black men attacked his son for no apparent reason, punching him in the face. Unwilling to let the incident pass, Yu tracked down his son’s assailants, and began scolding them in his native Mandarin Chinese. One of the blacks hit Yu in the face, knocking him to pavement. He hit his head when he fell, went into a coma, and died four days later.
The attack on the Yus was just the latest in a series of black-on-Asian assaults in the San Francisco area. In March, a 52-year-old woman identified only as Mrs. Cheng was waiting for her daughter at a bus stop when a 15-year-old black boy grabbed her from behind, choked her, and threw her off of the five-foot high platform into the path of an oncoming bus. Although the bus managed to stop, she was knocked out and shattered several of her teeth. In January, a gang of black teenagers beat 83-year-old Huan Chen to death as he left a San Francisco bus station.
Many Asians in San Francisco think blacks are deliberately targeting them. “It is San Francisco’s dirty little secret,” says community organizer Carol Mo. Miss Mo was one of hundreds of Asians who demonstrated at San Francisco City Hall in April, demanding that police and the Board of Supervisors do more to protect them from blacks. City and police officials are downplaying the importance of race. “We are seeing large kids or kids in large numbers taking advantage of people of smaller stature,” says Capt. Greg Suhr, adding, “We have Hispanics in the neighborhood who are targeted fairly frequently.”
Asians are losing patience. “This is a hate crime,” says Young Kong, a local talk radio show host for a Chinese-language station. “The supervisors don’t want to say it because they don’t want to exacerbate the tension. They are too chicken, too politically correct.” Even some blacks admit there is a problem. “Let’s face it, if older black men were being killed by marauding groups of kids, we’d be going crazy,” says Lynette Sweet, a black woman running for a seat on the Board of Supervisors. “We in the black community have to take responsibility for our kids.” [C.W. Nevius, Dirty Secret of Black-on-Asian Violence is Out, San Francisco Chronicle, May 2, 2010. C.W. Nevius, Asian American Attacks Focus at City Hall, San Francisco Chronicle, April 29, 2010. Henry K. Lee, S. F. Man Beaten in Oakland Dies — Suspects Held, San Francisco Chronicle, April 21, 2010. Chip Johnson, Attack Shows Common Decency in Downward Spiral, San Francisco Chronicle, April 20, 2010.]
Tensions are also high in New York City. In early April, police arrested a 15-year-old black girl, a 12-year-old black girl, and a 15-year-old black boy on hate crimes charges for a series of attacks on older Asian women on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Officers are still looking for another boy and, both teenagers. Police say the group attacked the Asian women over a ten-day period in late March and early April. With the boys acting as lookouts, the three girls would approach lone, Asian women in their fifties to seventies, and hit them. They didn’t rob the women; they just beat them up. Because of their ages, the suspects will be tried in juvenile court. [Pablo Guzman, Teen Suspects to Appear in Family Court Saturday, WCBS-TV, April 10, 2010.]
Blacks and Asians don’t get along in Philadelphia, either. Last December, black students at South Philadelphia High School chased more than 30 Asians through the halls and beat them. Thirteen Asians ended up in the hospital. In January, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund filed a complaint with the US Department of Justice, accusing the school district of “deliberate indifference” to frequent attacks on Asians, both before and after the December incident. Cecilia Chen, an AALDEF lawyer, says that if the school had listened to the students’ complaints it could have prevented the attacks. The school district says it is “working diligently to address racial tensions and reduce violence in our schools” and has started “diversity training” for staff and students. [Dafney Tales, Asian Group Seeks Federal Help, Philadelphia Inquirer, Jan. 20, 2010.]
Reading, Writing and Umoja
Joseph Littles-Nguzo Saba Charter School is one of 30 charter schools in Palm Beach County, Florida, and the only one with an “African-centered” curriculum. Its lesson plans are organized around the seven principles of Kwanzaa, which include such things as unity (umoja), self-determination (kujichagulia), purpose (nia) and creativity (kuumba). The school, which opened in 1999, serves “at risk” black students.
For the past five years, however, the school itself has been at risk. It consistently ranks at the bottom of Palm Beach schools, earning overall “D” ratings. District administrators accuse the school principal, Amefika D. Geuka, of misusing public money, hiring uncertified teachers and not running background checks on them, and of hostility to their recommendations for improvement. They want the school board to shut the school down.
In April, the Palm Beach County School Board considered that recommendation, but put off a decision for another month to give the school more time to prepare a response. School board member Frank Barbieri says he wants to keep the school going, if at all possible, because of its “unique” curriculum. “Forty percent of African-American students don’t graduate,” he says. “We’ve got to do something to help those children get through the system.” [Cara Fitzpatrick, Afrocentric Charter School in West Palm Beach Gets One-Month Reprieve from Proposed Shutdown, Palm Beach Post, April 7, 2010. Cara Fitzpatrick, Palm Beach County Proposes Shutting Down Troubled Charter School with Afrocentric Curriculum, Palm Beach Post, April 2, 2010.]
|LETTERS FROM READERS|
Sir — It is disappointing that “Hippocrates” of your resurrected Galton Report in the May issue did not analyze Prof. Lynn’s Italian study more critically. First, Prof. Lynn’s geographic divisions are questionable. Tuscany, which is widely considered to be the area that has produced the largest number of Italian geniuses, is more properly considered central than northern Italy. Next, in his study, Prof. Lynn used academic test scores of 15-year-olds as a proxy for IQ scores, and the two types of test are not exactly comparable.
Further, even if his data were reliable, Prof. Lynn’s conclusions are doubtful. Historical records suggest that some 80 percent of Italian immigrants during the turn-of-the-century “great wave” originated from southern Italy. However, multiple indices of educational/professional attainment show that Italian-Americans compare well with other white Americans. “Selective migration” is unlikely to explain this completely or at all, since early measurements of Italian migrant IQs were also low, roughly comparable to Prof. Lynn’s modern estimates.
Prof. Lynn asserts that southern Italian IQs are only slightly higher than those of American blacks, and yet southern Italians in America routinely perform at a level comparable to other whites. Admixture with other white Americans cannot explain this high achievement either, as the low IQ estimates of Prof.Lynn should result in a relative depression of IQ scores of part-Italian hybrids, who would still be expected to perform less well than other white Americans. I note as well that southern Italy/Sicily were Greek colonies during that nation’s major contributions to the Classical Culture, and that genetic contribution to the population cannot be ignored.
In addition, Prof. Lynn’s comments on the “admixture” of North African genes in southern Italians are based on outdated studies. For example, more recent findings from the Cavalli-Sforza group (Science 319, 1100-1104, 2008) suggest that Tuscans from northern Italy are likely to be genetically closer to Middle Easterners than Sardinians are.
Data published on the plosone.org website by a team led by David López Herráez has found that the total of “non-European genetic structure” in Sardinians is not higher than in Tuscans or in north Italians from Bergamo. Other data, published at racialreality.110mb.com, suggests that the high-achieving Tuscans seem particularly enriched in “Middle/Near Eastern” ancestry, although most of that is probably of ancient rather than of modern origins. There is no current evidence that southern Italians have a high degree of “Middle Eastern/north African” ancestry sufficient to lower their IQs to the levels Prof. Lynn claims.
It is true that compared to southeastern Europeans and southern Italians, peoples of northern and central Europe are more derived from Paleolithic peoples, who emerged from the Near East tens of thousands of years earlier than the Neolithic peoples. Southern European ancestry is enriched with a greater Neolithic contribution of ancient, but more recent, Near Eastern origin. Prof. Lynn could argue that the longer sojourn in the harsher European climate may have increased Paleolithic European IQ more than their Neolithic counterparts. However, even southern Europeans are part Paleolithic, and it is unlikely that the resulting IQ differences are as great as Prof. Lynn’s estimates.
More to the point, when Prof. Lynn refers to Near Eastern/north African admixture in southern Italians, he is confusing this Neolithic ancestry — agriculturalists who emerged from the Near East thousands of years before the start of recorded history to introduce farming to Europe — with such modern, historical Near Eastern/north African peoples as Phoenicians or Arabs, who appeared thousands of years after the Neolithic peoples but still shared certain ancient gene markers.
Dr. Lynn has made many vital contributions in the area of IQ research. His studies of the global distribution of IQ and, with Tatu Vanhanen, the correlation between IQ and national wealth, are masterworks. However, the differences in IQ he has found in different peoples — Africans, for example — are reflected in their relative performance in the American context. If there is no such correspondence in the case of “white ethnics,” his data and conclusions may require a second look. Italian-American achievement in the US coupled with recent population genetics studies that throw light on questions of admixture suggest that Prof. Lynn’s hypothesis is not correct, and that he has not answered the questione meridionale.
Harold Stowe, Portland, Maine
Sir — As an Italian-American of southern Italian and Sicilian ancestry, I was disturbed by the photographs you chose for your article about Richard Lynn’s study of Italian IQs. I have many photographs taken by family members on their numerous trips to Sicily and southern Italy. The landscape and towns look nothing like the slum photo you chose to represent Sicily!
What you did was disingenuous, akin to traveling to Philadelphia and only photographing the crime-ridden, burned-out black ghettoes of North Philadelphia, while ignoring the opulent, up-scale white neighborhoods of the far Northwest part of the city.
I certainly hope AR is not prejudiced against southern Europeans, especially Sicilians and southern Italians. Whatever some “Nordicists” may think, we are white people, too, often with a loyalty to our people and race not usually found in Europeans.
Carmela Cacia, Philadelphia, Pa.
We sell hard copies of back issues for $4.00 each. All back issues are available for sale, not merely the ones listed on this page. Older back issues are no longer in stock, but we offer high-quality photocopies for the same price. Prices for postage vary. Please contact us at (703) 716-0900 or [email protected] for purchase details.