My Struggle with Race Realism
Gregor Wayne, American Renaissance, August 18, 2017
I have every reason to be repelled by race realism. My father is from East Africa and my mother is from Central America. I have lived most of my life in heavily Hispanic communities, where most people (my mother included) live below the poverty line. The Mexican border is less than 30 minutes away, and there are many illegal immigrants in my city.
My parents separated during my infancy and took turns rearing me. Up to my secondary education, I attended mediocre public schools that provided me two things: plenty of free time and a lot of average Hispanic students to observe.
At an early age, I knew I was different from other children. Their rap music bored or unnerved me. While they dreamed of being gangsters, I wanted to be a scientist or a professor. I enjoyed my admittedly substandard classes, and my teachers thought well of me. I was surprised when my classmates called me weird for behaving well. It didn’t occur to me that some children could not see the benefits of being civil and disciplined.
When I was in the fifth grade, a classmate bragged that his family had jumped the border and that he was as an illegal immigrant. This brat always interrupted the teacher and broke her rules. His behavior angered me. I concluded it was either bad parenting or he was just born that way.
This was about the time I met my childhood best friend. He was white, and we connected over a shared dislike of our classmates’ deviancy. When I stayed over at his house, I saw something new to me: a happy, productive family living together. I now knew that not all homes were broken. It inspired me, and I made a pledge to myself to create that kind of harmony when I had a family; I wanted to succeed where my father had failed.
My father was the only black person I grew up with. He told me that American blacks were as bad as the ones he left behind in Africa. They had no love for a conscientious black man: They broke in and stole his work bike, mocked him for working hard and trying to save money, and attributed their misfortune to the white man keeping them down. Oddly, America’s allegedly rigged system seemed to work well for a pure African.
At first I thought my father had internalized white racism. “He’s too hard on blacks,” I said to myself. “All his black friends are very nice.” Most of them lived in affluent neighborhoods, were pharmacists or doctors, and sent their children to the best private schools. Later, I discovered that I was spoiled in my interactions with blacks.
My father was not perfect, of course. Whenever I questioned or corrected him, his anger flared. My form of youthful rebellion was to start thinking WEIRD: Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic. My closest friends from school and church were white, and I started to imitate their rational, evidence-based approach to life. I did not immediately adopt their conservative politics only because the leftism of my ethnic community seemed to be supported by the facts as I then saw them: Blacks and Hispanics were as capable as whites but did not succeed because of racism.
Eventually, the search for evidence and reasons led me away from conventional leftism. I tried to scrutinize all of my own beliefs and to examine competing perspectives. My emerging habits of inquiry led me to learn more about race. Why did so many people not merely reject the idea of racial differences but refuse even to talk about it? My high school biology textbook explained that blacks were more susceptible than whites to sickle-cell anemia, so clearly there was some evidence of difference.
Starting small — I mean obscure YouTube channels and blogs — I was soon devouring the arguments for and against race realism. I discovered American Renaissance just before I graduated from high school. The study of race was powerful for me because it demystified so much of the world. Explanations of humans as ‘blank slates’ vanished; affirmative action’s failures now made sense. My alienation from blacks and Hispanics went deeper than a clash of culture: because of my mixed-race heritage, I did not fully belong to either of their kinds, or to those of my parents.
My enthusiasm was fueled by the intellectual power of the race realists who began as my opponents. Lacking sparring partners at home, I spent an unhealthy amount of time debating online. The race realists and alt-righters I encountered had rebuttals to all of my arguments, had read every author I could cite, and could discuss important thinkers and events I had never heard of. In short, they bested me, and I aspired to their level of intellectual skill.
My friends were open-minded and curious, so they were willing to consider my new race-realist views. They were whites who had grown up near dilapidated black urban areas, so had witnessed the reality of race firsthand. But how would my views would be received on campus?
When I left for Williams College, I wanted my opinions to be tested. As convincing as I found Philippe Rushton, Richard Lynn, and Linda Gottfredson, I knew there was more to learn, and I hoped someone on campus would provide good arguments against race realism.
Unfortunately, the campus atmosphere on race was more dogma and stigma than reflection and debate. I had known plenty of egalitarians in high school, but they would at least listen and respond to challenges to their ideas, unlike my thin-skinned college classmates.
Williams students took racial equality to be self-evident, and were constantly participating in minority student clubs, plays about white imperialism, or vigils for black victims of police brutality. I never heard any skepticism or even self-reflection about this activism or its motives. These broken records were supposed to be the best students in the nation?
Unsurprisingly, most of this activism was the work of upper-middle class whites, Jews, and Asians who had never stepped outside their homogeneous neighborhoods and have no real knowledge of the “disadvantaged people” they claimed to represent. They claimed to protest on behalf of Black Lives like mine but never asked me what it was like growing up as a minority. They assumed from my dark skin that I shared their contempt for Trump and his border wall, but they didn’t ask what it was like to live near the border. They preached campus diversity, congratulated each other on being so progressive, but appeared to socialize mostly with students of their own race.
The professors were no better. They would go out of their way to challenge student views on any other subject, but there was only one acceptable position on race: the races are equal and whites are guilty of privilege. Even Aristotle’s philosophy was dismissed out of hand because of his alleged sexism and racism.
I had dreamt of college as the ultimate battlefield of ideas. Race realism seemed one of the strongest ideas to me, so I was eager to see it vigorously challenged. What it received instead was unreasoned dismissal. There was no honor in that approach, no courage, no intellectual growth or education. The atmosphere of willful ignorance was suffocating.
It only exacerbated my frustrations when John Derbyshire was invited to speak on campus and was then disinvited. I am acquainted with Zach Wood, the student whose Uncomfortable Learning organization invited both Mr. Derbyshire and Charles Murray to the campus. He is a black Democrat from a working-class family and has seen more violence (perpetrated by blacks) than I ever saw living with Hispanics. He is no race realist, and he invited Mr. Derbyshire and Dr. Murray to expose their “extreme” perspectives to criticism. I disagree with his assessment but respect his willingness to explore other people’s ideas.
My peers are not so kind: many black students accused Mr. Wood of selling out, or even harming blacks. I am ashamed to admit it, but their vitriol dampened my support for Mr. Wood. Some of my friends ostracized another student for criticizing the cancellation of Uncomfortable Learning events. My fear and disgust with this close-mindedness soured me off campus life to the point that I considered dropping out.
Much of the progress whites have brought to the world has been through their openness to new ideas and willingness to test, revise, or reject their beliefs. Exemplary individuals embrace this challenge. Williams College used to embrace it too, but no more.
Eventually, I felt that I had to share my real views about race and politics with someone, so I confided in two white friends. Both are liberals who offered welcome challenges to my race realism, but they remain friends who take my beliefs seriously and still accept me. Critical questions posed in good faith by friends are infinitely more validating than demonstrations and slogans from strangers who claim to speak for me. And as friends, we can talk about race freely, even joke about it, without all the fear and solemnity that distorts more public discussions.
A few professors have also proven to be open-minded. They convinced me to stay at Williams and encouraged me to pursue the questions that interest me. The college may have admitted me because of affirmative action, and if so, it’s unfair that a more talented white student was turned down as a result. But as far as I know, I am the only race realist here — certainly the only mixed-race race realist — and the campus needs more unorthodox views.
When Charles Murray spoke on campus, a biologist named Joseph Graves spoke first to critique his arguments. Unfortunately, rather than offer biological evidence against Dr. Murray’s positions, Dr. Graves mostly just attacked Dr. Murray’s credibility — to student applause.
Surprisingly, Dr. Murray gave his speech without audience interruptions. I saw many grimaces but also a few approving nods. The audience questions were shallow, but I was encouraged that there were questions at all. Afterwards, I joined Dr. Murray and some professors at the local pub for a vigorous discussion of the social sciences, Trump, and academia.
It is not easy to accept that my genetic neighbors are on average more violent, less intelligent, and less productive than whites. And yet I will never be fully at home with any race; whether I remain in the US or move to Africa or Central America, I’ll be a racial outlier. Miscegenation will be an issue no matter whom I marry. Instead of the sure success that would await me if I parlayed race into an academic career, I will be shut out because I am a race realist. But I accept race realism nonetheless.
I know that I cannot save whites — they must save themselves — but I will advocate for their best interests. My desire comes from a sense of gratitude. They created the greatest art and literature, discovered rational philosophy and science, and established the most advanced nations and economies on earth. Humanity cannot afford for them to perish.