March 1997

American Renaissance magazine
Vol. 8, No. 3 March 1997

 

CONTENTS

Diversity in the Human Genome
Funding the Human Genome Project
Ethical Perversions
Build the State, Destroy the Nation
O Tempora, O Mores!
Letters from Readers

COVER STORY

Diversity in the Human Genome

We are approaching a full understanding of the biology of racial differences.

There is a revolution taking place around us. It is a conceptual revolution driven by scientific knowledge. Its impact on mankind will be greater than that of the Copernican revolution and the Darwinian revolution. Its factual basis is knowledge of man’s genetic nature. This revolution — it can be called the Galtonian revolution — stands a fair chance of revolutionizing what we know about race. It sounds the death knell of politically correct egalitarianism as we know it today.

The Galtonian revolution got off to a bit of a slow start in the 1860’s when Francis Galton began his epoch-making studies of human individual differences, heredity and behavior. It was he who named the famous bell-curve statistical distribution a “normal” distribution. It was Galton who invented methods of analysis, such as regressions and correlation, in order to understand human heredity, and it was Galton who first uttered the phrase “nature versus nurture,” and coined the term “eugenics” (see AR, Feb. 1997). But the biology of heredity — the chemistry of units later called genes — was not understood until well into the twentieth century.

Until very recently most of our knowledge about genetics consisted of deductions from patterns of inheritance of traits among family members, and statistical inferences from traits in populations. We have known very little about the actual molecular chemistry of inheritance. This lack of knowledge has resulted in never-ending arguments about the causes of race differences.

For example, it is widely accepted among scientists (although rarely acknowledged in public) that blacks and whites differ substantially in average IQ. The never-ending arguments hinge on whether the cause of the difference is genetic or environmental. Over the last 40 years both environmentalists and hereditarians have generally agreed that an adoption study would settle the question. If black children, adopted and reared in middle-class white families, grew up to function intellectually and emotionally like whites it would be a strong argument for environment. If they grew up to function like blacks it would establish that the race differences were largely genetic.

The study has been done (Scarr and Weinberg 1976, Weinberg, Scarr and Waldman 1992) and the results are clear: By the time they are young adults, blacks who have been raised in bright, white middle-class homes and school environments show virtually no benefit from the experience; their average IQ is not raised. This is clear evidence for the hereditarian position, but it has not stopped the debate. Environmentalists simply reinterpret the evidence as indicating that outside-the-home societal prejudices hinder black IQ even more than anyone expected!

Arguments over interpretation can continue only because we lack molecular knowledge of the genes that influence IQ (except for a few rare abnormal mutations), and therefore do not know the distribution of such genes among the races. Only in the last few decades have scientific breakthroughs occurred in our techniques for studying genes at the molecular level. We are actually now beginning to read the genetic blueprint. Coordinated projects have been designed to discover all the genes that comprise Homo sapiens, in what may be one of the most portentous scientific efforts ever conceived. When the study — known as the Human Genome Project — is complete, we will not have the answers to all our questions but the genetic Rosetta Stone will have been decoded. Today we know so little that we cannot even speculate about what we will find written in the genes, but we will finally be able to read what is there.

Along the way to the ultimate goal, there are a number of interim goals. These involve finding what are called genetic markers, and putting together genetic maps. Projects of this kind are also going on for useful other species like mice and fruit flies, which are model organisms for research. In order to understand some of these endeavors, we need to understand some basic genetic terms and concepts. Readers may skip to the section “Whose Genome” if they wish, but they will understand the genome project much better if they are aware of some of the underlying science.

Genetics

Genes govern every detail of every structure and function of every cell in the human body. Although they operate in constant interaction with the environment, genes control every physiological function, from growth to healing to digestion to data-processing in the brain — and they do so from conception to death. A tremendous amount of information — the entire biological blueprint for each individual human being — is contained in the genes.

The material in which this information is stored is DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid. Humans have 23 separate but very long strings of DNA, which are called chromosomes. Genes, of which there are an estimated 50,000 to 100,000, are distinct portions of the DNA, and are arranged along the 23 different chromosomes.

The components of DNA that code or record the genetic blueprint are called bases (because their chemical nature is alkaline, or basic, rather than acidic). There are only four different bases, adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and thymine (T). They can be thought of as letters in the chemical alphabet that is used to record the details of the genetic blueprint. Just as the 26 letters of our alphabet are combined in different sequences to make different words with different meanings, the four bases are arranged in different sequences that indicate every detail of what a cell does and what chemical products it makes.

The “words” in this chemical language of bases can be very long. Each gene consists of a region of DNA (located on one of the chromosomes) that ranges in length from a sequence of a few thousand bases to over 100,000 bases. The complete set of this information about a species or individual is called its genome. The DNA of the human genome consists of a sequence of about 3 billion bases. If this material were stretched out straight, it would be about three feet long, but the DNA is helixed and folded and refolded into chromosomes that fit within the microscopic nucleus of a single cell!

If the four letters of the DNA code (A,T,G,C,), were printed in small type, it would take about 200,000 pages of print to specify the genome. It would take the equivalent of 200 Manhattan telephone books of 1,000 pages each to record all the genetic information contained in the nucleus of every human cell. Of those 200,000 pages, we now know the exact sequence of bases for about 200 pages, or one inch out of the three feet. And that one inch is in bits and pieces scattered throughout the genome rather than in one place. The longest continuous sequence (at least until recently) was 865,000 bases long; perhaps one-fourth of a millimeter. The purpose of the Human Genome Project is to locate and identify (or sequence, as the scientists say) all three billion bases.

A gene is a length of DNA where a specific sequence of bases acts as the code used to build a specific functional product for the body, usually a polypeptide or protein. These functional products are the building blocks of the body and are the ingredients of the body’s myriad chemical processes. The procedure for building these products is called translation or transcription, because the information in the gene is processed sequentially, base by base, to make something the body needs. It is these gene products, and the interactions among the products of many genes, that constitute the chemical and observable characteristics that make a person.

The position on a chromosome where a particular gene exists is called its locus. For example, at one locus there might be a gene that codes for eye pigment, causing its bearer to be blue-eyed. An alteration of the base sequence at that locus (a mutation) might change the gene to one causing the eyes to be brown. Each different form of the gene at that locus is called an allele. Many genes are exactly the same in all people, so there is only one form of the gene. All people have an enormous number of body functions and structures in common, and that portion of their genetic code is therefore the same. Other genes have alternative forms and therefore account for (or cause) human differences. A gene with more than one alternative form, or allele, that is common in a population (any gene can have rare, mutant forms, but they do not become common if the bearers do not survive) is said to be polymorphic. A population consisting of many people could have many different alternative alleles of any particular polymorphic gene.

Cell Division and Reproduction

Every DNA molecule is actually composed of two paired strands or sequences of bases. The strands are held together by chemical attraction between the bases, in a physical form that resembles the way the steps of a ladder hold the two sides together (see below).

In forming the steps, the bases on one strand always pair with the bases on the other stand in a specific way: T always pairs with A, and G always pairs with C. Thus the two strands contain two complementary versions of the same genetic information.

When a cell is going to divide and the DNA is to be copied, the two sides of the DNA molecule separate, as if they were unzipped, and each strand serves as a template for building the complementary strand. All the cell needs to do is pair every A with a T and every C with G, and the two DNA strands can be duplicated. When the cell divides, each of the two daughter cells thus gets an exact duplicate of the DNA from the parent cell. It is the chemical specificity of base pairing — T always to A, G always to C — that allows the body to make exact copies of its genes and thus maintain structural and functional coherence. This is self-replication, one of the fundamental properties of life.

(Cells make exact copies most of the time. Mutations are a wide variety of changes that can occur. An incorrect base may be substituted during the copying process, or a base pair may be skipped. A region of DNA may be duplicated or deleted, or moved from one place to another. Many alterations in fine and gross structure are possible, but they are rare).

Since gene loci are arranged along 23 chromosomes, it could have been the case that all genes were inherited as 23 “linked” sets. All traits would have been assorted, or arranged, into 23 categories that were inherited together.

However, a special kind of cell division takes place when the reproductive cells are formed, and the genetic material originally received from the (grand)parents is thoroughly mixed before it goes into an egg or sperm. The mother includes one copy of her genome in the egg and the father one copy of his in the sperm. With the exception of the sex-determining y chromosome, which comes from the father and results in a boy, the child therefore gets two copies of each chromosome, one from each parent, for a total of 46. If the two copies have genes with the same alleles (such as the code for blue eyes) the individual is said to be homozygous. If the alleles are different (one for blue, one for brown) the individual is heterozygous. An individual’s genetic complement is his genotype.

If we consider just one locus with two possible alleles (A1 and A2), there are three possible genotypes: two homozygous (A1A1 and A2A2) and one heterozygous (A1A2). Among humans there is an astronomical number of possible genotypes. For instance, imagine just one locus with 20 possible alleles: There are 20 homozygous genotypes in addition to 190 heterozygous ones ( [{20}{19}]/2 = 190) for a total of 210. With just four such loci, the number of possible combinations (genotypes) is 210 to the 4th power, or about 2 billion. With only five loci, the possible genotypes are more than 400 billion, a figure that far exceeds the current world population of less than seven billion. Of course, the human genome does not consist of 4 or 5 loci but something on the order of 50,000 to 100,000 genes. The number of different possible humans is therefore a number so large that the human mind can scarcely grasp it.

New genes are being discovered and mapped to a precise location on a chromosome all the time. A December 8, 1996 check of the Johns Hopkins on-line depository of human genetic data, “GenBank,” listed 8,271 entries for genes. It is possible to be sure of the existence of a gene without knowing exactly where on the DNA chain it is located, so a gene locus was known for only 5,310 of the 8,271. This is a very small percentage of 100,000, but in 1958 only 412 human genes were known, and most of them were not mapped to a definite locus. Every year we know more than we did the year before.

Whose Genome?

Since every person’s genotype is different, exactly which 3 billion or so base pairs are being mapped? The standard answer is that a “representative genome” is going to be completely sequenced and it will be the standard against which to compare chunks sequenced from particular individuals — mutations of medical interest, for example.

The representative genome was supposed to be a composite from a diversity of sources — anonymous donors who had given informed consent. In practice, most of the initial material came from three men and one woman, not completely anonymous and not with informed consent. Much of the material was ejaculate from a scientist working on the project.

The folks who worry about public relations and “ethics” became very concerned, because “elitist” ejaculate wouldn’t do. Feminists wanted women equally represented despite the fact that you cannot get a complete human genome sequence from women because normal women have no y chromosome. The problem went all the way to the top and the sequencing part of the project had to start over with sample DNA from a suitably diverse assortment of non-elite anonymous donors who gave informed consent.

In fact, it would have been interesting to have completely sequenced the genome of a single, known person. Knowledge of his genotype could have been compared with what was known of the person. But this would presumably have implied that there was an “ideal” person to whom all others were being compared.

Maps and Markers

One part of the Human Genome Project has been establishment of a genetic linkage map. Informative landmarks, or marker loci, have been determined at approximately equal intervals along the entire genome. The loci used are called “markers,” rather than genes, because the DNA is “silent” at these places, that is to say, it does not actually code for any known function or cell product. In fact, much of the genome is made up of this silent, “anonymous DNA.” Some people believe that this is excess baggage, perhaps left over from ancient evolutionary experiments. Others suspect it has important functions of which we are simply ignorant.

Many of these markers, or landmarks, are short, simple repeats of DNA base sequences with variations in the number of repeating sequences. The markers are used in procedures to help locate more complex, functional genes. Some are highly polymorphic, that is, a large number of different alleles exist for them. Besides providing an outline map for the genome, they also have a very interesting forensic use, and their patterns of occurrence provide important data about racial differences.

Comparing markers in genetic samples from different individuals is the essence of “DNA fingerprinting,” or profiling, a forensic technique that is only about ten years old, but has already become very important (see “DNA Fingerprints,” AR, Dec. 1996). This procedure can distinguish between individuals with 100 percent accuracy. Also, because different alleles for different marker loci consistently appear with different frequencies in different races and sub-races, ethnic identification is also 100 percent accurate.

A pre-publication copy of a 1996 U.S. National Research Council Report called The Evaluation of Forensic DNA Evidence says:

DNA analysis promises to be the most important tool for human identification since Francis Galton developed the use of fingerprints for that purpose. We can confidently predict that, in the not-distant future, persons as closely related as brothers will be routinely distinguished, and DNA profiles will be as fully accepted as fingerprints now are . . . The population of the United States is made up of sub-populations descended from different parts of the globe and not fully homogenized . . . Extensive studies from a wide range of databases show that there are indeed substantial frequency differences [in marker alleles] among the major racial and linguistic groups (black, Hispanic, American Indian, east Asian, and white) . . . The main reason for departures from random-mating proportions in forensic DNA markers is population structure due to incomplete mixing of ancestral stocks.

In other words, for as long as Americans are not a completely interbred people with precisely equal percentages of ancestors from every race, their DNA will always record the differences. For example, various marker alleles occur with different frequencies in individuals of different European stocks. Using such alleles in appropriate prediction equations, it could be quite straightforward correctly to identify a particular white American as being of, for instance, mixed Celtic (Irish), Nordic (Swedish) and Mediterranean (Italian) ancestry. Some sub-populations, such as various American Indian tribes, differ very substantially from each other in marker composition.

Genetic marker diversity can be used to investigate the veracity of oral traditions. Members of the Lemba, a black Bantu-speaking South African tribe, have an oral tradition that they are descended from Semitic, Jewish or Muslim, traders. One version of the tribal myth is that their ancestors included pre-Christian era Jewish traders stranded in Africa when their base city was sacked. The Lemba maintain the myth as well as some cultural practices, such as ritual slaughter of animals and male circumcision, which are not common among their Bantu neighbors. Genetic markers support the tradition. Common among Lemba men are y-chromosome gene markers that are also common among Semites but rare in other blacks.

Even at this very early stage of genomic analysis, in which polymorphic markers are used for identification, it has already become obvious that there are substantial genetic differences between the races. It is trivial to identify unerringly the race of any individual, including mixes of various races. This fact should forever dispel the myth of racial equivalence. Fashionable nonsense to the effect that race is a social rather than a biological phenomenon is clearly and demonstrably false. Advocates of a socialist utopia founded on the egalitarian fallacy are justifiably terrified of the genome project, because the possibilities for obfuscation and denial are being severely limited.

The Percent Scams

Knowledge from the genome project has already helped put in perspective some previously misunderstood, or intentionally misrepresented, genetic information — what I call the “percent scams.” There have been two main scams, one at one percent, another at six percent.

The one percent scam started from genuine surprise among scientists at the similarity in base sequences between early samples of chimp and human DNA. In some comparisons it appeared that we shared about 99 percent of our genetic material with the chimpanzee, and egalitarian anthropologists immediately exploited this similarity. If there is only one percent of difference between the two species, it must follow that all men are genetically functionally equivalent. By this “proof,” racial differences must be due to historical accident and cultural differentiation — not genetic differentiation — since there is no room for genetic differentiation.

Better understanding of the genome reveals that “percent difference,” is not a relevant comparison. Small differences can matter tremendously. Mice and humans, for example, have many DNA sequences in common, and many mouse genes are very similar to human genes. It takes a lot of the same genetic blueprint to build mammalian bodies with liver, spleen, digestive tract, skeletal systems, and nervous systems. And, in fact, there are many similarities between mouse and man, as any anatomy student can verify by direct examination. There are also important differences.

With apes we share many of our genes. However, we could share 99 percent of our base pair sequences and still differ in 100 percent of our gene products, depending on how the one percent difference were distributed throughout the genome. Since genes and protein products interact in complex ways, often small differences in genes can cascade to enormous differences in final traits.

As an example, consider that among humans the manifold differences between the sexes are, on present evidence, the result of a difference in only one gene. The gene in question is a regulatory gene, that is, its primary product interacts with the DNA to regulate the expression of many other genes. With the tdf gene (testes determining factor, also known as Sry, or the Sex determining Region of the y chromosome) you get a male; without the tdf gene, a female. Sry is only one gene out of 50,000 to 100,000. The argument that the “only one percent difference” between ape and man is evidence for genetic identity among humans can now only be maintained as a deliberate scam.

The six percent scam began in 1972 with Richard Lewontin. He is the brilliant Harvard biologist who co-authored (with Leon Kamin and Steven Rose) the Marxist screed Not in Our Genes, and coined the term “jensenism” to denigrate and demonize both an outstanding scientist and an entire area of investigation. In the early days of population comparisons of allelic patterns, Lewontin catalogued the frequencies across seven racial groups for 29 alleles from 17 gene loci, from which he calculated a statistical genetic diversity index. He reported that 85.4 percent of the genetic diversity was contained within local populations, an additional 8.3 percent of the diversity was between populations within a race, and only 6.3 percent of the genetic diversity differentiated the major races. (These are percentages of Lewontin’s index, and not percentages of genes, so the numbers are not comparable to the percentage of genes shared by humans and chimps.) Other investigators have reported similar results. From the finding that only about six percent of the diversity differentiated the major races, Lewontin ended his 1972 paper with the politically correct non sequitur that:

Human racial classification is of no social value and is positively destructive of social and human relations. Since such racial classification is now seen to be of virtually no genetic or taxonomic significance either, no justification can be offered for its continuance.

That paper and its conclusion became a classic in the egalitarian armamentarium but the Lewontin argument is a scam in the same way the Chimpanzee comparison is a scam. The fact that there is much genetic diversity among people within local populations is very important. However, the meaningful question about racial differences is not the percentage of total diversity, but rather how the diversity is distributed among the races, what traits it influences, and how it is patterned.

It has indeed been a surprise to many geneticists to discover how much genetic diversity there is in local populations. Two brothers, for example, share fully half their alleles by descent, but differ in countless ways. According to Lewontin’s statistical formulation they account for much genetic diversity just between the two of them.

Nevertheless, to understand how meaningless this approach is as an analysis of racial differences, one might consider the extent to which humans and macaque monkeys share genes and alleles. If the total genetic diversity of humans plus macaques is given an index of 100 percent, more than half of that diversity will be found in a troop of macaques or in the population of Belfast. This does notmean Irishmen differ more from their neighbors than they do from macaques — which is what the Lewontin approach slyly implies.

Patterned Diversity

Since the mid-1980s there have been a number of population surveys looking at genetic diversity, and virtually all the serious ones find the same racial patterning. The thousand-page tome published in 1994 by L. Luca Cavalli-Sforza and his colleagues ( The History and Geography of Human Genes) is one of the better known. They present 491 world populations using data for 128 alleles at 45 polymorphic loci. The populations are grouped in various meaningful ways, aggregated into 42 populations, which are combined into nine clusters.

Cavalli-Sforza et.al. are adamant that they are not studying races, but rather populations of humans. However, their nine clusters have a familiar ring: “Africans (sub-Saharan), Caucasoids (European) . . . Northern Mongoloids (excluding Arctic populations) . . .” (1994, p.79)

The figure on this page presents a graphic schematization of their major findings with regard to patterning of genetic diversity. In their words, from their genetic data, “the greatest difference within the human species is between Africans and non-Africans . . . The cluster formed by Caucasoids, northern Mongoloids, and Amerinds is reasonably compact in all analyses.” (1994, p. 83) Thus, from investigation of gene distributions not only are the races and major sub-races of man clustered, but also the relative degree of genetic difference reflects the degree of differences observed for traits such as intelligence and criminality — sub-Saharan Africans are most different from all other humans.

Another frequency survey was reported by the noted geneticists Nei & Roychoudhury, who looked at the distribution of 121 alleles of 29 genes for 26 population samples. Arthur Jensen then subjected the data to factor analysis with varimax rotation, a procedure that reveals which variables cluster together. With his kind permission, the results, which are to be published in his forthcoming book, The gFactor, are presented in the accompanying table.

Components of a Genetic Similarity Matrix for 26 Populations (Values less than 200 omitted)
Population Varimax Rotated Components
1 2 3 4 5 6
Pigmy x x x 651 x x
Nigerian x x x 734 x x
Bantu x x x 747 x x
Bushman x x x 465 x x
Lapp x 500 x x x x
Finn x 988 x x x x
German x 978 x x x x
English x 948 x x x x
Italian x 989 x x x x
Iranian x 635 x x x x
North Indian x 704 x x x x
Japanese 936 x 214 x x x
Korean 959 x 229 x x x
Tibetan 855 x x x x x
Mongolian 842 x 357 x x x
Southern Chinese 331 x 771 x x x
Thai x x 814 x x x
Filipino x x 782 x x x
Indonesian x x 749 x x x
Polynesian x x 526 x x 284
Micronesian x x 521 x x 328
Australian (aborigines) x x x x x 706
Papuan New Guineans x x x x x 742
North
Amerindian
x x x x 804 x
South
Amerindian
x x x x 563 x
Eskimo x x x x 726 x
Adapted from Arthur Jensen’s Table 12.N in MS of The g Factor.

The results show that by standard statistical procedures the genetic data from the 26 populations yield six components that show which populations cluster together most distinctly. The size of a numerical entry indicates how close a particular population is to the central tendency of a cluster. The Xs indicate values of less than 200, which have been left out for clarity.

Notice that some populations have a major loading on one component and a minor loading on another; these represent combinations of genetic clusters. The six components reflect clusters that are easily identified as the following population groups:

  1. Mongoloids
  2. Caucasoids
  3. South Asians and Pacific Islanders
  4. Negroids
  5. North and south Amerindians plus Eskimos
  6. Aboriginal Australians and Papuan New Guineans.

These genetically defined components are racial groupings quite similar to the population groups obtained in the Cavalli-Sforza study mentioned above. More importantly, these two examples illustrate that modern genetic diversity studies are converging on a human population structure that is amazingly similar to racial classifications suggested by classical physical anthropologists such as Carleton Coon, whose work has been thoroughly abused by a recent generation of politically correct scholars. These data are therefore a virtually irrefutable demonstration of the reality of race — a purely statistical analysis of allele frequencies gives results that are essentially identical to the racial groupings established by traditional anthropology.

The Genomic Future

The eminent human geneticist T. E. Reed has pointed out that we know almost nothing about the racial apportionment of human genetic diversity. Indeed only about five percent of the approximately 100,000 human genes have even been characterized, and only a few hundred have been used in population surveys. “What is known about the distribution of the other 99+ % of loci? Nothing!” he reminds us.

Unless censorship is imposed, we will soon be unable to avoid many truths. The range of possibilities is enormous. It is possible that the “only-skin-deep,” observable differences between the major races will turn out to be the tips of some very differentiated icebergs. Great genetic differentiation is suggested by the data summarized on the previous page. The human species, with its geographically distinct ancestral populations, may have much more patterned diversity than is commonly appreciated.

For example, what constitutes a genetic species? Lions and tigers, when brought together by human transportation systems, are capable of interbreeding, as are wolves, dogs, and coyotes. Humanity is indeed diverse and polygenic, and we will soon have the tools to know to what extent. It could easily be found that there is far more consistent genetic difference between the different races — all thought to be the same species — than there is between wolves and coyotes, for example, which can interbreed but are recognized as distinct species.

The Human Genome Project, even if completed on schedule in 2005, will not answer all our questions. Rather it will provide a framework within which, for the first time, it will be feasible and efficient to seek the answers. Much more physiological and psychological work remains to be done, and partial sequences will need to be gathered from many different individuals and races. However, for the first time we will be able to answer questions of great importance: What is human nature? Or rather, what are human natures? Why are some human groups statistically so very different for so many traits?

The “nature versus nurture” problem will be solved. The differentiation of the sexes, as well as the developmental revolutions that separate children from adults will also be understood with a completeness far beyond earlier comprehension. And to understand the origin of the kinds of racially differentiated traits catalogued by J. Philippe Rushton in Race, Evolution, and Behavior, modern science will be able to go beyond statistics, supposition, and ideology to definitive biological answers.

The ideologues of egalitarianism are well aware of these possibilities, and are already trying to block research and even discussion. “Hate speech” laws are being tightened in many countries, and discussion of race differences can get you fired or bring criminal charges in France, Germany, Canada, and Australia. In the United States, researchers routinely censor themselves and their “insensitive” colleagues, for fear of losing jobs or funding. Knowledge could be driven underground even more than it is today, but if science is unfettered we are on the verge of great new discoveries.

Until the previous century, chemists worked with the elements of air, earth, fire, and water. It was only with the establishment of the periodic table of elements that anyone could have imagined modern plastics or silicon-gallium computer chips. The Human Genome Project is discovering the human elements, and the consequences are likely to be just as profound and unanticipated. Dr. Whitney is a past-president of the Behavior Genetics Association. He is a professor in psychology, psychobiology and neuroscience at Florida State University.

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ARTICLE

Funding the Human Genome Project

The major force now driving the Galtonian revolution is the Human Genome Project. Planning began in 1986 and the United States Human Genome Project began formally on October 1, 1990 as a $3 billion, federally supported 15-year effort. This is the largest coordinated research endeavor ever undertaken, dwarfing even the Manhattan project of World War Two.

The actual work is being done at many different locations. The program is jointly administered by DOE (Department of Energy) and NIH (National Institutes of Health). DOE is involved because, after the atomic bomb, Congress charged DOE’s predecessor, the Atomic Energy Commission, with the study of genetic mutations, especially those induced by radiation. Given the difficulty of ending any federal bureaucracy, the DOE, along with NIH, remains involved. At the end of 1996 this two-headed giant was actually under budget and ahead of schedule.

In addition to government funds, several private foundations and foreign governments have committed yet more billions of dollars. At least 16 countries now have human genome research programs. HUGO (Human Genome Organization), with members in 50 countries, attempts to coordinate international collaboration on the genome project. 

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ARTICLE

Ethical Perversions

The biggest mistake yet in the Human Genome Project is a committee called ELSI (Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of human genome research). Richly overfunded at the beginning, DOE set aside three percent, and NIH five percent, of their respective genome program budgets for ELSI studies. Spin doctors sometimes tout this as a wonderful innovation: the first time that a major research program has budgeted a major amount to consider from the outset its own social and ethical ramifications.

In practice it has been a fiasco. Much of bioethics and legal scholarship has been captured by the politically correct, egalitarian-socialist, economic-redistributionist brand of postmodern deconstructionist scholar. According to this view, all people are identical in all important respects, except to the extent that their ancestors have been unfairly exploited by others. “Race” is an arbitrary and prejudicial construction of western civilization, in dire need of deconstruction. ELSI has to date distinguished itself by recommending that private insurance not be allowed to consider genomic data in assessment of risk, thus suggesting the transformation of a private profit-motive industry into a mechanism for socialist redistribution of risk and wealth. The chairwoman of ELSI and another member published a statement “deploring” The Bell Curve for misrepresenting genetic knowledge and “wrongly” implying that genetic knowledge has any role to play in societal decisions, which should be made on “moral, social and political” grounds.

Actually, there are many ethical issues in need of consideration. For instance, will we create designer offspring to order or limit ourselves to treatment of genetic disease? ELSI was to play a major role in public education concerning the genome, but that would be like placing hard-core communists in charge of education about free market capitalism. Recently the ELSI Working Group’s chairman has resigned, and in June 1996 an 11-member committee was established to review the structure and function of ELSI. A report was expected in January of 1997. 

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BOOK REVIEW

Build the State, Destroy the Nation

A deeply subversive study of the laws of nationhood.

Ethnonationalism: The Quest for Understanding, Walker Connor, Princeton University Press, 1994, 234 pp., $14.95 (soft cover)

It would be hard to think of a mainstream, commercially-published book that is more subversive to the contemporary notion of America than Ethnonationalism, by Walker Connor. In this collection of essays that were originally written between 1966 and 1992, Professor Connor establishes a set of propositions about nationalism that cast doubt upon the very legitimacy of the United States.

Needless to say, this was not his overt intention. However, his explanation of the nature of nationalism and his deft references to nationalist movements in every part of the world leave no doubt about the perils Americans ensured for themselves with the choices they made in the mid-1960s.

As he points out, the conflicts from around the world that fill the headlines make no sense to anyone who does not understand nationalism — and yet recent American scholarship has treated nationalism as if it were some kind of primitive emotion that will soon wither away. Most political scientists had taken it for granted that “modernization” would erode parochial loyalties, but Prof. Connor shows that the effect of increased communication is often to accentuate ethnic consciousness rather than attenuate it. Although he refrains from drawing conclusions about the United States, he argues that the coming era is likely to be one of intensifying national sentiment, and that any analysis that fails to reckon with its power is hopelessly superficial.

Language Problems

Prof. Connor points out that some misunderstandings about nation and nationalism stem from the misuse of words. He notes that the word “nation” comes from the Latin nasci, meaning to be born, and proposes a definition of nation that runs counter to current American dogma and also disqualifies nearly every sovereign entity on earth: “[A nation] is a group of people who feel that they are ancestrally related. It is the largest group that can command a person’s loyalty because of felt kinship ties. It is, from this perspective, the fully extended family.”

Prof. Connor points out that 90 percent of the political units that claim to be nations are not, and that with the exception of such places as Japan, Iceland, and Norway, they are all multinational states.International relations should be called interstate relations, and both the League of Nations and United Nations are “obvious misnomers.” The term “nation-state” properly refers only to those rare cases when state and nation coincide. Use of the word “nationalism” to mean loyalty to the state is so common an error that Prof. Connor has coined the term “ethnonationalism” to emphasize the kinship element that the word nationalism properly contains but has lost.

Nationalism is far more powerful than allegiance to a state or government: “[A]n intuitive sense of kindredness or extended family would explain why nations are endowed with a very special psychological dimension — an emotional dimension — not enjoyed by essentially functional or juridical groupings, such as socioeconomic classes or states.” Prof. Connor explains that “the national bond is subconscious and emotional rather than conscious and rational” and is reached through “appeals not to the mind but to the blood.”

Another characteristic of nations, even when they do not enjoy the self-determination that most of them long for, is an exclusive attachment to a certain territory. The Scots and the Welsh are, in this sense, nations, as are a nearly endless number of groups that do not have seats at the United Nations — Basques, Flemings, Tutsis, Tibetans, Kurds, Punjabis, and Bretons to name just a few.

Prof. Connor notes that even the United States at one time shared the sense of consanguinity and territoriality — blood and soil — of which nations are made. In his address at Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln spoke of the nation that “our fathers” had brought forth, and the song “America” is a tribute to the “land where my fathers died.” The Confederacy’s second-best known song, “The Bonny Blue Flag,” opens with a classic statement of the principles of nation:

We are a band of brothers
Native to the soil
Fighting for our liberty
With treasure, blood, and toil.

Appeals to national blood-kinship are so powerful that even Communists used them to gain power, despite Marx’ insistence that class solidarity takes precedence over love of nation. Ho Chi Minh rallied the people of both north and south Vietnam with these words: “We have the same ancestors, we are of the same family, we are all brothers and sisters.” Mao Tse Tung spoke to “all our fellow countrymen, every single zealous descendent of Huang-ti [the first emperor to unite China].” Prof. Connor also cites Bismarck’s famous exhortation to the Germans: “think with your blood.”

Of course, once revolutionaries gain power they become extremely hostile to fissiparous appeals to nation. The Soviets and the Chinese at least had Marx’ approval for stamping out nationalist movements, but many leaders who have struggled for independence in the name of self-determination promptly deny it to others as soon as they gain power. Anti-colonial agitators insisted that rule by aliens was intolerable, but immediately imposed it on others as soon as they inherited the multinational states the colonial powers left behind.

Prof. Connor points out that when Third-World (and other) leaders talk of “nation-building” they are really strengthening the state in a process that should be called nation-destroying. It was the Ibos who were building a nation during the Biafran war; it was the (multinational) Nigerian state that crushed it.

Nationalist conflict usually has simple causes: state and national borders that do not coincide. National sentiment is sure to arise when a nation feels that its sacred land is being invaded by strangers or when a nation chafes under alien rule. As history has repeatedly shown, local autonomy or even outright separation are the most reliable cures for national conflict.

Explicit Denial

Prof. Connor has been a lonely voice within American academic circles: “With but very few exceptions, authorities have shied away from describing the nation as a kinship group and have usually explicitly denied that the notion of shared blood is a factor.” This reluctance is paralleled by the refusal to acknowledge the importance of race within the United States, and one of the most interesting chapters in Ethnonationalism explains why so many academics have misunderstood the nature of nationalism and have been caught napping by its post-war resurgence.

One of the most frequent mistakes is to believe that all conflicts are economic. National conflicts usually are associated with economic disparities but money is not at the heart of the struggle. Prof. Connor describes cases in which economic gaps have been narrowed and even reversed without easing national tensions. At the same time, so long as people think of themselves as members of the same nation, they tolerate huge disparities in wealth by region, class, and profession.

Some scholars mistake symptoms for causes. For example, they write solemnly about “the weakness of government institutions” when the real problem is that the government is in the hands of one tribe whom all the other tribes hate.

Another common mistake is based on the view that nationalism is an unenlightened, juvenile sentiment. Thus it is thought to be always waning as peoples mature towards sophisticated one-worldism. It is true that many 20th-century European nationalisms were muted, first by the exhaustion of the Second World War and then by the imposition of Marxism. However, national movements that fashionable scholars had pronounced dead have sprung to life and others are stronger than ever.

Perhaps the most widespread error is to describe a national conflict in terms of one of its components, such as language or religion. Belgium, for example, is not wracked with dissent over language but has a national struggle between Flemings and Waloons.

The Irish problem is likewise misreported. The fight is not about religion but between natives of Ireland and the Englishmen and Scots who moved into the territory, often as alien rulers. In Prof. Connor’s view, the troubles could as accurately be described as a conflict over last names as over religion. It is a common mistake to confuse nation with some tangible element of nation:

[W]hat is fundamentally involved in such a conflict is that divergence of basic identity which manifests itself in the “us-them’ syndrome. And the ultimate answer to the question of whether a person is one of us, or one of them, seldom hinges on adherence to overt aspects of culture.

Prof. Connor argues that the ethnic bond can survive even if every distinctive cultural element has disappeared, since “cultural assimilation need not mean psychological assimilation.” He points out that at one time the Irish clung desperately to Gaelic for fear that national sentiment could not be nourished in English. English-speaking Irishmen learned to hate the English as much as Gaelic-speakers had.

Perhaps the most naive of the reasons for underestimating nationalism is the silly view that the more contact people have with strangers they more they will love them. The opposite is true. In the undeveloped world, many people still live with almost no awareness of the existence of people unlike themselves. Only with the arrival of the transistor radio do they discover that “their” president may not even speak an intelligible language or pray to the right gods.

Post-war modernization has had the same effect among Europeans, of sharpening rather than reducing nationalism. Prof. Connor cites the Basques and the Castillians, the Czechs and the Slovaks, the Flemings and the Waloons, not to mention the myriad incompatible nations that destroyed Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. In North America, French Canadians are moving towards independence rather than assimilation.

Among people who already think of themselves as a single nation, increased contact does reduce strictly regional differences. The disappearance of regional differences encourages the misguided to think that increased contact will have the same effect on national differences.

Current Racial Dogma

Nevertheless, in Prof. Connor’s view, what best explains American scholarship’s failure to understand nationalism is that it is non-rational. Academics hate the mysterious and unquantifiable, and therefore look for economic and class explanations for phenomena that stir the blood rather than the mind. Although Professor Connor does not touch on this, there can also be no doubt that current racial dogma has blinded academics to much that is obvious. Acknowledging the terrible difficulties inherent in multi-nationalism would cast a completely different light on the American attemptdeliberately to undertake the hazards of building a nation out of incompatible materials. To admit that a belief in common ancestry is the necessary glue of nations is to admit that the United States is not a nation and cannot be one.

The laws of ethnic kinship function just as well in the United States as anywhere else — except for one exception. As Professor Connor writes, “a prerequisite of nationhood is a popularly held awareness or belief that one’s own group is unique in a most vital sense. In the absence of such a popularly held conviction, there is only an ethnic group.” American blacks and Hispanics and even some Asians act like nations (Prof. Connor concedes that racially conscious blacks are, indeed, a nation); only whites are a mere ethnic group.

This is, of course, changing as more and more whites begin to see that they, too, are a nation with national aspirations. Eventually, the futility of multi-racialism will become clear and real nation-building will begin. 

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IN THE NEWS

O Tempora, O Mores!

Your President and Mine

William Clinton has been sworn in for a second term as President of the United States. The inaugural festivities in Washington over the weekend leading up to the swearing-in struck a certain theme. There were performances by Chaka Khan, “rhythm and blues vocalist;” the Six Nations Singers, “an American Indian vocal group;” the de Colores Mexican Folk Dance Company; and something called “One Family/One Planet, children’s stories about the Earth.” There was also an exhibit of the “Cambodian-American Heritage,” complete with “Khmer artforms.”

Elmo and his Sesame Street Friends seem to have been thrown in to amuse children, but at the same time adults could watch “Pueblo Dances” or see Music and the Underground Railroad, “a musical on freedom from slavery.” Another musical was called “King,” and celebrated the life of America’s patron saint. The words were written by Maya Angelou, the black poetaster who read lines at the first Clinton inauguration.

The folk-singers, Peter, Paul, and Mary were an unusual all-white event, but were followed by KanKouran West African Dancers and Drummers, who competed with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington. There was also Lilo Gonzalez y los de la Mount Pleasant, billed as “Salvadoran songwriter and music.” The program was rounded out with American Indian dancers called Blue Horizon Dance Company; Eth-Noh Tech Creations, which offered “Asian-American stories and dance;” and yet another batch of Indians called Dr. Arvol Looking Horse and the Northern Cree Drummers.”

In keeping with the prevailing mood, William Clinton chose to be sworn in on the day the country observed the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr. President Clinton also stopped by the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church on the morning of his inauguration. Other Presidents have visited the black church, which is handy to the White House, but the current President is the only one to do so on inauguration day. He dropped in at the time of his first inauguration as well, and on both occasions he is said to have prayed.

30 Years of Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa, the made-in-America African holiday, is gaining ground. It was cobbled together in 1966 out of various bits of African tradition by Ron Karenga, then a graduate student. Mr. Karenga, who is now a professor at the University of California at Long Beach, says he was inspired to this “political act of self-determination” by the Watts riots.

Last year, 13 million Americans are estimated to have spent $500 million celebrating Kwanzaa. Hallmark started selling Kwanzaa cards in 1992 and now offers 11 different varieties. From Dec. 26 to 31 — almost exactly the period during which Kwanzaa is celebrated — the National Museum of American History in Washington put on a display called “Traditions of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and the New Year.”

Every year William Clinton issues Kwanzaa greetings to the American people. Last year, he lauded the “seven principles of Kwanzaa” and added, “Today, we have a renewed sense of hope in America, a hope based on the idea that our great diversity can unite — not divide — our society.”

One of the symbols of Kwanzaa is the flag of the black nation, composed of three horizontal bars of color: red, black and green. Melanet, a black organization that promotes Kwanzaa, explains what the flag means:

Red, Black and Green are the oldest national colors known to man. They are used as the flag of the Black Liberation Movement in America today, but actually go back to the Zinj Empires of ancient Africa, which existed thousands of years before Rome, Greece, France, England or America.

The Red, or the blood, stands as the top of all things. We lost our land through blood; and we cannot gain it except through blood . . . The Black is in the middle. The Black man in this hemisphere has yet to obtain land which is represented by the Green. The acquisition of land is the highest and noblest aspiration for the Black man on this continent, since without land there can be no freedom, justice, independence, or equality.

Melanet, which can be reached on the Internet at melanet.com, notes that Kwanzaa is a seasonal holiday but urges Americans to celebrate its spirit all year ’round.

Honors for the Honorable

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has granted its 1996 Human Rights Award to former president of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. This is in recognition of his “exceptional work for human rights and democracy in Haiti.”

Mr. Arrested is an avowed Marxist and defrocked priest, who has denounced the United States as “Satan,” and complains of the “deadly economic infection called capitalism.” He has special praise for “necklacing,” the African and Haitian practice of burning political enemies to death by putting gasoline-soaked tires around their necks and setting them ablaze. He once called it “attractive, splendorous, graceful, and dazzling.” (UNESCO’s Man of the Year, The New American, Feb. 3, 1997.)

Words Come True

In the latest issue of his newsletter, columnist Samuel Francis notes the irony of Congressman Robert Dornan’s loss in the November election. Mr. Dornan has represented part of Orange County, California for 18 years, while the voting population became 50 percent Hispanic. He claimed to welcome this process. Early in 1996, he told an interviewer, “I want to see America stay a nation of immigrants. And if we lose our Northern European stock your — coloring and mine, blue eyes and fair hair — tough.”

The voters of Orange County took him at his word. They voted for a 36-year-old daughter of immigrants, Loretta Sanchez, who kept reminding everyone of her Mexican background. She had tried to run for office before, under her married name of Brixey, but wisely switched back to Sanchez to challenge the blue-eyed incumbent. (For information about The Samuel Francis Letter, write Box 19627, Alexandria, Va. 22320)

Americans No More

More than half the population of New York City is now made up of immigrants or the children of immigrants. The five top nations of origin from 1990 to 1994, with percentages of the total number, are: Dominican Republic (19.6), former Soviet Union (11.8), China (10.6), Jamaica (5.8), Guyana (5.5). Mayor Rudolph Giuliani thinks immigration is wonderful and helps “revitalize” the city. (Susan Rabinowitz, City’s a Red-hot Melting Pot: Immigrant Study, New York Post, Jan. 9, 1997.)

Immigrants from many countries, including the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Trinidad and Tobago, and Columbia, have the right to maintain their original nationality even if they become U.S. citizens. On December 10, Mexico passed a law providing for dual citizenship, and the law is likely to be ratified by Mexico’s 31 state legislatures soon. In India, the powerful Hindu-nationalist party, Bharatiya Janata, is promising to change the law to allow expatriate Indians to hold overseas citizenship. (Somini Sengupta, Immigrants in New York Pressing Drive for Dual Nationality, New York Times, Dec. 30, 1996, p. B1.)

The big push for dual nationality has been prompted by recent measures that would deny U.S. welfare and social security to non-citizens. People who have only an economic interest in America can now continue to feed at the public trough without violating their true loyalties.

Whites in the Trenches

Although blacks are 12 percent of the population, they are 30 percent of the Army. However, they go mainly into support units, and are only nine percent of the infantry. It is mostly whites who volunteer for the mud and grit of combat units. As the Wall Street Journal recently put it:

[T]hose parts of the Army with the longest hours and the most backbreaking work are increasingly peopled by young white men, while the 9-to-5 jobs in clean, well-lit offices are taken by soldiers who tend to be older, black and married.

Hispanics, who are 10.6 percent of the population are only 5.3 percent of the army. Of the women in the army, fully 50 percent are black. (Thomas Ricks, U.S. Infantry Surprise: It’s Now Mostly White; Blacks Hold Office Jobs, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 12, 1996, p. 1.)

More Tricks

In 1995, the Board of Regents of the University of California system voted to end affirmative action. The first students to apply for admission under the new, race-blind rules are graduate students who will start school this fall. The NAACP and the Mexican American Legal, Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) have sued, claiming that this is illegal because most graduate students work as research or teaching assistants. The plaintiffs claim that federal employment law rather than California university regulations should therefore apply, and that students should be covered by the affirmative action plan the University maintains to keep its status as a federal contractor. Graduate students are generally treated as students rather than as employees, but the Clinton administration is entirely capable of deciding otherwise. (Pamela Burdman, Complaint Hits UC’s Admission Policies, San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 11, 1997, p. A1.)

Will There Always be an England?

Tottenham, an area of north London, is heavily black. In 1985, Tottenhamites went on a rampage in which they killed a police officer and thrashed several others. Bernard Grant, the black member of parliament who represents Tottenham, said at the time that the police got a “bloody good hiding.” Now Mr. Grant has put in a request for five million pounds of government money to build a museum of black culture in Tottenham. The museum would highlight the “racism” that blacks suffer in England, and would showcase the efforts of Mr. Grant, M.P., on behalf of his people.

One of his latest efforts was to complain that there were too many Scandinavian nurses at Homerton hospital, which treats many blacks. “Scandinavian people don’t know black people,” explained Mr. Grant. “They probably don’t know how to take their temperature.” (Linda Jackson, Riot Museum “a Shrine’ to Tottenham MP, Sunday Telegraph (London), Dec. 29, 1996, p. 7.)

Black Default

In 1992, the most recent year for which figures are available, students at black colleges were three times more likely to default on government-backed student loans than were students at other colleges. Twenty-eight percent tried to stiff their creditors, compared to the national norm of seven percent. Also, the average annual default amount at a black college, $464,209, was nearly four times the amount at other institutions.

The default rate at black colleges is higher than that allowed by law, but Congress has so far granted special exemptions for them. Congress will have to vote another exemption by July next year or the money will stop coming in. (Loan Defaults Higher at Black Colleges, Washington Times, Jan. 22, 1997.)

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Letters from readers
LETTERS FROM READERS

Sir — After reading Peter Crittendon’s excellent article on eugenics I realize that I was among the dupes. I managed to get through graduate school thinking that eugenics had always been conservative and upper class.

The article set me to musing on the relentless way in which the radicalism of the past becomes the conservatism of today. Socialists used to promote eugenics but now conservatives who approve of it dare not say so for fear of censure. Likewise, “conservatives” would be happy with mere school desegregation if it meant they could be spared forced busing. In the face of government discrimination against whites, they bleat about a return to “color-blind principles” of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 rather than boldly claim the right of free association.

This dismal pattern of “conservative” support for yesterday’s radicalism is found everywhere. Conservatives who once fought the very idea of expanded federal power now try only to keep it from expanding so rapidly. Instead of abolishing welfare and social security they want to “reform” it. Rather than give marriage vows once again the power of law they want to stop homosexuals from taking them. Rather than require real integrity from their leaders they squawk about only the most flagrant corruption.

Conservatives seem to take the word literally; they try to “conserve” the insanity liberals foisted on them just last year. They have let what should be their real label — reactionary — be turned into a term of abuse.

Francisco Ortiz, Norfolk, Va.

Sir — I have recently been struck by two interesting contradictions promoted by our rulers. One is the claim that there is no such thing as race. Apparently because there is every possible gradation, from the fairest Nordic to the darkest Congolese, there can be no real difference between the two. But when the fate of the republic depends on it, that is to say, when it comes to handing out preferences, it suddenly becomes very easy to tell the races apart.

Another logical inconsistency is that (a) whites and blacks are equal but (b) the manifest shortcomings of the latter are the fault of the former. We learn, for example, that Hutus and Tutsis are killing each other because of their evil colonial masters. But if whites are evil and blacks are not, how can the races be equal?

Name Withheld, San Diego, Ca.

Sir — AR is carrying on a much-needed discussion about interesting questions but the debate will become irrelevant unless immigration is stopped in its tracks and turned around. Under current projections, whites will be just another minority in 50 years.

Did you vote for this transformation of our country? I didn’t. Immigration patterns reflect deliberate policy and can therefore be changed. For details I recommend Peter Brimelow’s book, Alien Nation.I order for whites to avoid irrelevancy or worse, I urge all readers to pressure their Congressional representatives.

Robert Paul, Las Cruces, N.M.

Sir — Your long-suffering book reviewer, Thomas Jackson, does it again! In the January issue he reported on what seven goofy Berkeley professors have to say about The Bell Curve and in the February issue he staggered back to civilization with news about what two crazy black people, Carl Rowan and RIchard Delgado, are saying about whites. It is fascinating for the rest of us to learn about the astonishing things written in books we will never read, and for that I am more grateful than I can say. However, I’m beginning to feel sorry for Mr. Jackson. Can’t you give him some assignments that are not the equivalent of an anthropological field trip to the nut house?

Andrew Harding, Tully, N.Y.

Mr. Jackson appreciates your sympathy. He says he quite enjoyed the book he reviewed in this issue, and is looking forward to writing up Prof. Richard Lynn’s Dysgenics. Still, we wonder if he doesn’t secretly enjoy his trips to the nut house. — Editor

Sir — In the January issue you report that federal regulators will now have the power to monitor the hiring and promotion policies of Texaco. This is shocking and frightening. Like all corporations, Texaco has a responsibility to its stockholders as well as to its employees to hire and promote people according to ability.

Private corporations should not be forced to become charitable institutions. A racial quota system cannot help but lower the efficiency and profitability of the company. Of course, federal regulators have never had to meet a payroll or satisfy stockholders.

Charles E. Weber, Tulsa, Ok.

Sir — What’s wrong with Ebonics? The Scots, Australians, Irish, and New Zealanders all have their own variants of the English language, as do Chinese engineers who wrote the instructions for my new camera. American Southerners have their own way of talking and would be annoyed to be told they were wrong. If blacks want their own language let them have it. Let them speak it in their own country.

Henry Arpen, Lexington, Ky.

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