I recently got one of the emails that makes this whole
effort worthwhile. A reader criticized my idea that
maybe the color of the skin is in fact very important
when it comes to why races perform the way they do.
I wrote her back my usual "Forget it" reply which
is my response to the usual letter of this kind.
I cannot count how many letters of this kind I have
received, but not like this one. All the others were
from people regurgitating the same old cliches we
have all read a thousand times.
But this young lady let me know in no uncertain terms
she had read what I said. She really let me have it.
Lord, I LOVE that! I am so desperately sick of reading
the same old predigested crap, and it is such a relief
to have someone show they have actually read what
I said and thought about it.
You see, this young lady actually wanted to know
the exact point that I was making. Others who say
that really just want to shriek about the fact that
I am committing heresy. They want to repeat the same
old cliches. I did her an injustice and boy did she
let me know it.
So here is my reply to this e-mailer who has made
Old Bob very, very proud:
"Thanks again, X, for your patience and attention.
I am going to try this with you. So far, saying this
to other people has been like trying to push toothpaste
back into a tube, trying to get attention to the very
simple statement I am making."
"Many years ago, I was reading a critique of Rousseau's
idea of The Noble Savage. The writer agreed that the
eskimos and the people who live in 'that land beyond
argument,' the freezing lands of Tierra del Fuego,
are indeed inoffensive, non-aggressive people. The
same is true of the bushmen who live in the horrible
environment of the Kalahari Desert in Africa."
"But, said the writer, this is not because being
primitive and away from population centers makes you
nice. On the contrary, it is because you are unaggressive
that you have to live in such an awful place:
'"He concluded that 'Nonassertive, peaceful people
tend to live at unfashionable addresses.'"
"So it isn't that living in depopulated places makes
you inoffensive. You live in such places BECAUSE you
"Darwin said that when he first read Malthus, he
immediately thought of the theory of survival of the
fittest. In the same way, I thought this simple, sensible
observation about adaptation versus dominance may
be the key to the vexing problem of race."
"There are two general ways to survive. One is to
dominate and the other is to adapt. Our mammalian
ancestors lived beside the dinosaurs, and they did
so by being tiny, quiet, mouselike creatures who came
out at night. When the dinosaurs went extinct, we
came out and dominated the world."
"If I were a Martian coming to earth, I would notice
that the humans with the pink skin were dominant.
I would wonder why the ones with the pink skins were
dominant. If I read that there are two general types
of survival, one of adaptation and one of dominance,
I would say, "Well, the other two big races here have
adaptations. One has sickle cells which protect it
from malaria and a black skin, the other has epicanthric
eyefolds and horned skin, both of them protection
from extreme cold. So the pink ones dominate and the
other two adapted."
"Like any good theorist, I would THEN -- AFTER taking
the reality I see into account -- seek to modify or
contradict this all-too-obvious idea. But to a human,
this simplistic explanation of the world is hideously
insulting, degrading, and above all simplistic."
"But is it true?"
"This is a separate question from justifying the
survival of any race, and it is a mere theory of mine.
Here is where I run into trouble. I have taken a look
at reality first, and ask whether things are not simply
as they appear."
"I guess that, unlike me, other folks are human and
therefore go ballistic at the very simplistic approach
to a Great Question that I am suggesting."
"So the canned replies roll out:
'I know many nonwhites. Some of my best friends are
not white. There are a lot of BRILLIANT nonwhites.
The most brilliant person I ever met was a Negro gentleman.'
"And so on ad nauseum."
"And then there is my favorite: the person I am talking
to is shaking, red-faced, wants to kill me, and shouts,
'YOU ARE JUST BEING EMOTIONAL!!!!!!'"
"Then, sort of like Amen ends a prayer, there is
the final tag line, "HITLER was an evil, evil man!"
"So I just sit here waiting quietly for someone to
deal with a point I made -- not a complete theology,
just a point I made. "
"I am still waiting."