Ian Jobling, American Renaissance, June 12, 2021
This is part of our continuing series of accounts by readers of how they shed the illusions of liberalism and became race realists.
I am the child of two professors, who are, like most of their profession, dogmatically multiculturalist. From 1993 to 2002, I was a graduate student in comparative literature, and when I started out, I agreed with the Marxist, deconstructionist, multiculturalist intellectual orientation of the field. Although I soon began to be irritated by the mindless celebration of diversity, the lack of intellectual rigor, and the obscurantism of my field, it was not until much later that I started seriously to doubt the orthodox view of race that is at the basis of all contemporary work in literary studies.
Race is a major preoccupation of today’s literary critics. Look at any one of the countless introductions to literary theory, and you will find at least one chapter devoted to work on the representation of race in literature. Such literary criticism, whose premises are unchallenged within the field, is devoted to exposing the ways in which whites have misrepresented people of other races in the interests of dominating them. For literary critics, racial differences are entirely the result of our cultural history, and they see it as their duty to change our culture in ways that will make these differences disappear.
My shift away from racial orthodoxy began when I became familiar with evolutionary psychology, the field that argues that all aspects of human behavior have an innate cause and that culture merely influences the unfolding of our innate nature. I began to go to conferences and read internet discussion groups that dealt with evolutionary psychology. J. P. Rushton, Glayde Whitney, and Charles Murray regularly posted on Ian Pitchford’s evolutionary psychology listserv, where other research on human racial differences, such as that of Richard Lynn, was discussed. I read some of the books of these thinkers. Although I felt a bemused revulsion for them at first, I soon came to realize how plausible they were. I read other books about the links between genetics and behavior, and learned that all human personality traits show substantial heritability; even how we hold our hands, how often we laugh, and the strength of our religious beliefs appear to be heritable.
So, when you see that there is an average difference of 15 points between the IQs of American whites and American blacks, and of 25 points between American whites and African blacks, the conclusion that at least some of this variance must be due to biology naturally follows. The same conclusion follows from the large and well-documented variances between whites and blacks in criminal behavior. I started to realize that my culture is founded on a massive denial of the truth that is sustained by what must be the most pervasive and successful propaganda campaign in history.
I began to notice confirmations of the ideas of the “racist scientists” in the world around me. For example, as J. P. Rushton shows, blacks are higher in self-esteem than whites and willing to deny the most obvious facts about the world in order to maintain their high opinions of themselves. I witnessed a striking instance of this trait. I taught an English composition class, and I had many black students. A few were decent, and a very few even outstanding students, but most were not. About half were abysmally dull and unteachable, but they had no problems finding ways to blame me for their troubles.
Slowly, I came to realize the true meaning of black culture. Although I live in a neighborhood of downtown Buffalo that is still majority-white, the ghettoes are very close, and one feels their influence everywhere. Blacks had heckled me many times, had bullied me once, and even mugged me once. But I had not reflected on these experiences before I started reading about race. I now became fully conscious of the insecurity and disgust that my neighborhood inspired in me. Blacks were the primary reasons for these feelings, but I found the Hispanics and Arabs who also congregated in my neighborhood scarcely better.
I also began to notice the genetic deterioration in our society. My neighborhood thronged with the retarded, alcoholics, drug addicts, and the homeless, who were housed in downtown “group homes.” It added to the offense that rich bureaucrats who lived in upper-class neighborhoods would put these people in my midst and keep them away from their own homes. It horrified me that these people might be reproducing. I am amazed that people consider eugenic sterilization inhumane, but don’t consider it inhumane to subject residents of downtown neighborhoods to a parade of freaks.
Were these people — the blacks, Arabs, Hispanics, the handicapped, and the homeless — making my life richer and more vibrant, as liberal propaganda claimed they were? I had been inclined to think so before. I had thought it rather romantic to live in such a cosmopolitan environment, and I had even taken a sort of pleasure in the presence of freaks. But I came to realize that I had never genuinely enjoyed the daily sight of these people; they were offensive, discouraging, and alienating. The vibrancy and richness that remained came from the white people who were still clinging to their downtown neighborhoods.
The consequence of the American racial problem that was most personally relevant to me was its utter desolation of the humanities. When I started graduate school, I thought multiculturalist activism in literary studies was a peripheral phenomenon. Surely, underneath it all, I thought, remained some of the great intelligence that one sees in the classic works of literary scholarship written before the 1970s.
For nine long years, I persisted in the belief that there was something at the core of my field that was worthwhile. But when I finally finished my Ph.D., after having written a 350-page dissertation on Scott and Byron, published three research papers in scholarly journals, and gained the respect and friendship of the most intelligent people in the field, I realized I had been wrong. In fact, it was the intelligent people who were at the periphery of the field; the core was rotten.
People in my field have, by and large, ceased to be interested in producing interesting and challenging readings of texts. Rather, literary studies boils down to a competition among whites in which each tries to prove that he loves blacks more than his colleagues do. After reading hundreds of vapid books and articles in academic journals, I concluded that the only way to get ahead in today’s academy was to argue that some classic literary text was even more racist than previous critics had believed. I had no interest in spending any more time in such an abominably trivial community.
Like a few other people in literary studies, I had tried to integrate the interpretation of literature with evolutionary psychology. I found that evolutionary psychology had the potential to bring about a sea-change in the interpretation of literature because it offers theories of sexual behavior, social relations, perception, and language that are vastly more interesting and well-grounded than the established ones. As an example, I wrote an article that examined the way in which innate aggressive impulses were reconciled with modern norms forbidding violence in the historical novels of Scott. The evolutionary psychologists that I talked to took such interpretations to be obviously plausible, but I could never get most of my colleagues to grant my premise that a biological human nature existed, no matter how much hard evidence I gave them.
There are many reasons why people reject evolutionary psychology, but surely the primary reason is that multiculturalists believe that once people start thinking seriously about the biology of human behavior, they will start to have subversive ideas about the causes of racial differences. They are right about this; that had, in fact, been my own experience. I came to realize that I was in a field that had effectively barred the way against any progress in the understanding of its subject matter, because of its practitioners’ need to uphold the dogma of racial equality.
I found that, in order to be accepted in literary studies today, one must not only tolerate the fallacious view of race that inspires so much of the work in the field, but one must actively affirm it. The academy is pervaded by a nasty, policing atmosphere. My colleagues were always prying to make sure that I held the correct view of race. A conversational gambit they frequently use is asking someone how his ideas relate to racial issues. Apropos of nothing, literary critics say things like, “Well, I think we should bring race into this discussion” or “We should look at that argument from a post-colonial perspective.”
I became aware of AR’s website in 2001, late in my graduate career. I learned of it through one of my evolutionary psychology listservs. At that time, even though I had come to accept the reality of racial differences in behavior, I had not yet accepted the idea of a political project based on these ideas. My initial reaction to AR was therefore the same as my initial reaction to so-called “racist science” — bemused revulsion.
The first thing I remember reading on the website was an article called “Rearing Honorable White Children.” It was about families that had entirely seceded from American culture because they could no longer recognize it as having anything to do with themselves. They discouraged their children from watching television and blocked out most of the programming that came in through it because they didn’t want their children to be exposed to our culture’s massively distorted values. Instead, during the evening they played chess, watched classic films, and read and listened to classic Western literature and music. They home-schooled their children because they hated the anti-white atmosphere of our schools, and did not want their children to consort with the children of criminals.
My initial reaction, which had been programmed into me by years of multiculturalist propaganda, was, “What a bunch of weirdo Nazis!” But my impulse as an intellectual, an impulse that is so rarely in evidence in the academy today, is to get past the obvious and ready-made reaction, and to consider problems with some objectivity, to try to see things from a different perspective. And I realized that I couldn’t stand most of what was on TV either, that I disliked the version of history taught at American schools, and that what these parents enjoyed — playing chess, reading 19th century literature, listening to Beethoven — was exactly what I enjoyed doing myself. These people were, in fact, very much like me.
Not only that, they were like many of the white intellectuals I knew who had never doubted the orthodox view of race. My father, for example, is a professor of religious studies who is always going off to Africa or the Caribbean to teach blacks “liberation theology,” a sort of commingling of Marxism and Christianity. But what does he do in the evening? Listen to rap music? Watch Martin Lawrence movies? No, he reads Dickens, plays chess, and listens to the great 19th century German composers. Without knowing it, he too acts according to a spirit of racial loyalty, and while the expressed purpose of his life is to liberate blacks, he has no real sympathy with their lives and culture.
After I finished my Ph.D. last summer, I took a job doing low-level office work. I don’t like the pay, and I don’t like the tedium, but I do like the anonymity. No one cares what I think, so no one pressures me to engage in ritualistic affirmations of multicultural dogma, as I was forced to do in the academy. So I bide my time, wondering whether I am just a disappointed and bewildered crank approaching middle age or the harbinger of a coming Renaissance.