Thursday, March 19, 2015

The triumph of racist Razib Khan

All my thoughts on Razib Khan here.

My web analytics were blowing up on Wednesday, with a bunch of people visiting my blog post written two years ago, Razib Khan and his continuing successful quest for respectability.

I finally discovered that the traffic was due almost entirely to the Twitter account of Slate writer Jamelle Bouie linking to that post:

Jamelle Bouie ‏@jbouie 7h7 hours ago

Wow, nice to know the New York Times is bringing on a “maybe blacks are born dumb” guy.Re this: … Not a joke: … … …

In the post Bouie links to, I referenced something Khan wrote in 2003 - but his attitudes about race haven't change as of December 2014. I got into it in the comments attached to a post in 3Quarks Daily which referenced Khan's post on the far-right web site, The Unz Review, entitled American Racial Boundaries Are Quite Distinct (For Now).

I knew that Khan was a socio-biology-based racist, but I had never considered how bad he was at writing about scientific topics. Although I suspect his lack of clarity is a feature used to mask just how extreme a racist he is. How else to explain this passage?
So I have to take issue when The New York Times posts articles with headlines such as White? Black? A Murky Distinction Grows Still Murkier. What genetics is showing is that in fact white Americans are shockingly European to an incredibly high degree for a population with roots on this continent for 400 years. If we removed all the history that we take for granted we’d be amazed that the indigenous peoples had so little demographic impact, and, that the larger numbers of people of partial African ancestry did not move into the general “white” population. This is in fact the case across much of Latin America, where many self-identified whites, blanco, have African and indigenous ancestry. But we do know the reasons for why North America was unique, a combination of a smaller indigenous population which underwent a mass die off, and folk migrations on a huge scale previously unimaginable in human history. Whole villages in Poland and Norway, not just working age males, decamped for the New World. 
He literally says "if we removed all the history... we'd be amazed...." that both Native Americans and people with African features did not "move into the general 'white' population."

Yes, if we removed all the history, the very thing that explains exactly why we shouldn't be "amazed" at the whiteness of the European population. The indigenous people were wiped out first by European diseases for which they had no resistance, and then European land expansion. And of course people of "partial African ancestry" were not considered partially black, they were considered fully black according to the one-drop rule and there were laws against miscegenation right up until 1967 and the case of Loving vs. Virginia. But not only that - since there were social taboos and outright laws against black/white marriage, a goodly portion of those who were "partially black" were the result of slave rape - and of course the children of raped slaves were invariably slaves themselves, and thus not likely to be having much sex with the general white populace.

History explains everything - so yeah, of course if you removed it you would be "amazed" by the state of whiteness. But why would you do that?

When I first read Khan's passage, I thought maybe I was missing something. But none of Khan's fanboys with whom I discussed this passage in 3QuarksDaily seemed to find anything I had missed. Khan doesn't offer an alternative explanation for why "white Americans are shockingly European" after he had removed all the history. So his argument is entirely non-sensical. 

And this is a blogger who has been included in the New York Times new online opinion writers.

Well but maybe the NYTimes feels that it needs to be much more inclusive than in the past. After all there is a certain segment of the population who believes we are all divided into "races" and that these races determine our intelligence and other personality factors. The NYTimes wants to include a writer who reflects their beliefs, not just writers who reflect the views of non-racists.

Gawker posted an article  New Times Op-Ed Writer Has a Colorful Past with Racist Publications but clearly it isn't in "the past."


  1. How are we defining racism now? I suppose it must be obvious to people who are more enlightened than I, but I'm having trouble spotting the racism in the offending passages.

  2. Yes you would have trouble spotting the racism by a single passage because Razib Khan is very slick after over 10 years of practice in obfuscating what he really means - which I mention in this blog post. It's more what he leaves out sometimes - like "all that history" - that is often most significant.

    I will have more to say about this subject in my blog.

  3. Anonymous4:09 PM

    And most importantly of all, the definition of "White" in America is, in fact, "PURE WHITE"!!!
    So of course they have no mixtures. In order to be considered "White" you must be 100% white!

    And as a side note, aren't all of the 6 million "White" people in America who's DNA has revealed 10%-20% African ancestry now considered to be "Black"? (What'll the neighbors say when they find out?) They must have had ancestors that were "passing" for white.

    Because in most states in the U.S., someone is considered "Black" if they have only 1/32, or 3%, African DNA (the One Drop Rule). All of these people who have 28% or less African DNA and self-identify as "White" are actually "Pure Black", according to the one-drop rule.

    And if they are not considered "Black", because they've been living as "White" people, i.e., if they're given a "pass" then that should mean that all of us so-called "Blacks" with only 1/32 African Ancestry are now "White".

    That would be so cool, because, now, finally we could get a cab! And we can get a loan at the bank! And a mortgage to buy a house! And our kids can get into the best schools! It's gonna be great when "White" America accepts those of us so called "Blacks" with less than 25% African DNA, as first class citizens.