Field Ruwe and the White Racist

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By Howard Bland

Recently, the UKZambians columnist Field Ruwe wrote a racist piece entitled “Zambia’s Vice President is Proof Intelligence in Humans is Same”, a title which I challenge anyone to make even marginal sense of.

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Read it here:

http://ukzambians.co.uk/home/2014/04/05/zambias-vice-president-is-proof-intelligence-in-humans-is-same/

 

And what a tawdry mess of an essay it is.

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From somewhat disingenuously implying a parity between early 20th century classical eugenicists and later 20th century eugenicists like Richard Lynn (hardly a pseudo-scientist, but a racist nonetheless), Mr Ruwe groundlessly overstates the impact that such research and the mere existence of whites themselves have on the self-esteem quota of Zambians (and all black Africans by proxy, if I may imply this to be his meaning,) before suddenly and inexplicably deducing that the Zambian vice president Guy Scott’s ethnicity is the underlying reason he was voted into office in the first place. In fact, according to Ruwe, Scott’s race is all that is admired of him by the black Zambian populace and therefore, by way of skipping an actual argument, the following is necessitated to be the state of self-aware affairs that some black Zambians and every white person finds themselves in:

 

“We, I mean most of us believe that he (Guy Scott) is more intelligent than we are. We believe that his engagement in various forms of reasoning is rapid, and he tackles problems by taking thought. This goes for every white person. Some of us think white people are super smart; that that they are blessed with more intellectual gifts than us; that they have more natural innate intelligence; that they possess survival-orientated knowledge that allows them to achieve goals they personally desire. Whites know this and in order to sustain our impression of them, it is only natural that they retain an element of aversive racism.”

 

Not only that, but, as he goes on to exclaim, the Western media’s mere mention of Scott’s ethnicity at the time of his installation in 2011 is clear proof that 99.9 percent of whites are racist, even if they don’t know it.

 

“For those not familiar with the term “aversive racism,” it is a type of subtle bias practiced even by well-intentioned white journalists and individuals in order to perpetuate negative feelings about Africans. It can be said that 99.9% of whites possess non-conscious aversive racism which can be dictated in their actions, comments and body language. I am including Scott in this category. They believe in the stuff peddled by eugenicist and unrepentant racist Richard Lynn and other pseudo scientists who continue to insist that the IQ of whites is higher than that of Africans no matter the level of education.”

 

“It can be said…” Oh, can it indeed, Mr Ruwe? If you had actually presented any rationale here, believe me, I’d cherish the challenge. But this racist spur isn’t worthy of the thinking African’s time. No one can deny that races stereotype and discriminate against other races, (just as discrimination occurs for all manner of standardised differences between our species, such as gender and sexual orientation), but to jump to the conclusions that you have done here betrays a less than noble agenda.

 

I admit the difficulty of ensuring I appreciate the calibre of Mr Ruwe’s learnedness on this ongoing debate when regarding one ridiculous article alone. The internet suggests a Field Ruwe that is a US-based Zambian academic with an M.A. in History; the author of a deliciously phrased and wonderfully funny article that bares no resemblance to the flat prose and abrasiveness of this more recent piece.

 

“You lazy intellectual African scum” by Field Ruwe

http://www.africanspotlight.com/2012/02/06/you-lazy-intellectual-african-scum-by-field-ruwe/

 

If these apparently different authors are one and the same (they are) then it seems we have hit on the prejudiced bedrock that explains his recent calamity of an article. Mr Ruwe, apparently, has not been all too happy with the direction that conversations have tended to sway between him and those with opposing ideas about race and culture. Not because the opposing side’s arguments have lacked substance, but because he hasn’t faired well in his counter attack, and to not have his guns loaded up against unsavoury perspectives is no one’s fault but his own. But there’s no use, as if it were a reflex action, in resoundingly labelling all opposing arguments (I’m being kind, he actually wrote all white people) as racists. A common tactic, despite both sides being as polemical as each other in our ongoing debate on the interplay between an individual’s race and their IQ. A question science hasn’t fully resolved yet (though that hasn’t stopped people like Mr Ruwe taking sides and advantage of their reader’s gullibility.)

 

Let us deal directly then with this nose dive of an essay he’s just put out. My rebuttal focuses on the first half of Mr Ruwe’s essay since his claim that whites are racist by nature, where even “well intentioned journalists” are unconsciously operating under abysmal intentions, demands challenge. The second half of his essay is simply an attack on Guy Scott’s character and career, which is all very well and fine with me (though Guy Scott seems an admirable enough leader in my opinion when you consider that he does not have an all-access pass to lead the country the way he might want to.) But by focusing on the shortcomings of one white man, Mr Ruwe is somehow trying to prop up his own beliefs regarding the similarities between white and black IQ’s (anyone else see how that should offend black people?). I hope my own essay demonstrates that this is a pointless, even self-defeating exercise, and not just because individual cases don’t tell us anything about populations at large, but because even the arguing of such a case should be something blacks find needless to the point of insult. I invite his rebuttal, in the hopes he can recall his own line of reasoning when I assert my challenges to the merest handful of his hollow rhetoric. In any event, one hopes we can contribute to the quality of the debate by way of this exchange, rather than stir the emotions and encourage the stupidity of those it matters most to.

 

Mr Ruwe,

 

Is the point of your essay honestly to argue that the white vice president of Zambia, Guy Scott, is just as corrupt, fickle-minded, untrustworthy and boorish as the black Zambian leaders he sits shoulder to shoulder with, and therefore racial differences are an illusion?

 

Let the logic of that sink in for a moment, if you will.

 

Or is it that environment alone determines IQ (I didn’t realise you were a scientist?,) and therefore black and white people are equal in IQ? Let me make clear how defunct this reasoning is. Watch how I can use your thoughtless statements against you to reason that whites are, in fact, inherently smarter than blacks: If external, non-genetic factors alone, (and in isolation from any causative effect said factors may incur on biology over successive generations), is what determines an individual’s IQ, then in what way will the difference in the average IQ between ethnic groups be expected to steer between one predominately nurtured in the environment of the developed world and one predominately by the environment of the third world?

 

Bingo.

 

So now you notice, with this derailment of the same train of thought, that Africans, by way of their prevalence in the third world, are therefore very likely to have a lower IQ than whites on average. And they probably do, regardless of the causes, as a century of IQ studies suggest. But is this the equivalent of demonstrating that blacks can’t have IQ’s as high or higher than whites? If you want to have this debate by automatically and inexplicably excluding exactly half of the human condition (our genetic make-up) then you will invariably stumble upon incomplete answers as a result (though you apparently care more about peddling an ideology than dispersing genuine knowledge in any event.) Anyone can look at any social research finding in isolation, and when it comes from the opposing view that genetics alone determines racial differences in IQ, the result is similarly defunct when we try to apply it to the behaviours and outputs of populations at large.

 

So what can we say once we admit that genetics and environment are both likely to impact the IQ differences between races? As it turns out, nothing new. However, since the coding of genes, their expression, and the environment we experience are all intertwined, to say that any of these things operate without affecting one another is a scientifically baseless statement. For media moguls and the general population, it is often a way to get around the uncomfortable fact that the genes of some races have assimilated a better expression of and capacity for intellect than others (on average.) It says nothing of the limits of these genes capacity for coding and expressing intellect in any racial group, however. In fact, we already know that IQ’s have been rising steadily for every race over the last century, though more rapidly for blacks. Which is where the environmental aspect and it’s effect on our genetics over successive generations comes in. Evolution by way of natural selection applies to every living organism (even if we don’t yet fully understand how the mechanism applies to the generational dissemination and assimilation of our intelligence capital.) Richard Lynn’s position is not that any of the above is false, only that the intelligence capital of populations can deteriorate over time, which you can not deny if you accept that it can and does go the other way. Where Lynn and non-racists like myself part ways is not on the fact that some races have, on average, higher or lower IQ’s than others, for we should expect these patterned degrees of difference between all standardised human groups on top of individual genetic differences. Rather, our position on how we use this knowledge is where we diverge. Eugenics is despicable and Lynn is a racist, but his science is sound (if unsystematic on occasion) and that shouldn’t perturb anyone. You don’t need to label verifiable data as pseudo-science, you only need denounce the immorality of eugenic suggestions that are proposed with regard to the science. You also absolutely do not need to regard the well established finding that there are both genetic and environmentally-induced differences between specific groups of people’s intelligence as some sinister bullshit that’s been fabricated by white racists for the sole purpose of destroying the black person’s image of him or herself.

 

Sincerely, I do believe that you are trying to raise the self-esteem quota for people of both your own and similar ethnic backgrounds with this piece. Black ethnic leaders have been prevalent throughout the later 20th, going into the 21st century for this very purpose. But, as the black economist Thomas Sowell has expounded, we don’t see Jewish, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, German (not anymore, thank God), French, Canadian, Mexican, Portuguese, Dutch, (I could go on), ethnic leaders. They are simply leaders. They don’t base their position in power or their approach to policy making on their ethnicity, and it’s a good thing too. Just as the healthiest, most developed societies have a separation of church and state, so too would a separation of race and state, arguably, reap better results for all. This is presumably why American conservatives pick on black America’s predominantly victimhood-focused ideology regarding the differences between black and white groups in all sectors, and president Obama’s policies in turn, (who has also jumped on the ethnic leader bandwagon without pause for thought; which is a great way to amass votes, probably not coincidentally). There’s also the consequences this has birthed in American society at large as a result, such as the issuance of race-based policies like affirmative action which, of course, will work for many (since there are many stupid people in any ethnic group,) but ultimately holds back the generational progress of the black populace at large by coddling the racist and unproven belief that blacks fundamentally need an artificially inseminated, government-instigated, charitable leg-up over other races to achieve the same things. Much like you are suggesting that blacks need you to twist the facts to empower their pride in the face of whites. Yes, twist the facts. Which is exactly what you and others keep doing in the media when you ignore genetics, decry scientific findings that don’t appeal to your sensibilities, and dismiss all discussion with the get out of jail free card that whites are all just racists deep down, and that alone explains any scientific finding regarding race and IQ. Mr Ruwe, your cause of empowering your fellow black African is noble, but achieving it by way of an ill-conceived and unargued interpretation of the last fifty years of social science, with racist accusations targeting whites thrown in, does nothing but betray your own capacity for aversive racism.

 

I may as well, somehow briefly, offer a few of my own conjectures at this stage. I find Western white on black discrimination charges to be nothing short of a politically exploitative affair in the vast majority of cases. The frequent public uproar surrounding white people’s discrimination against blacks seems to be more or less a propaganda tactic, and I’d go as far as saying it has become the fashionable thing among black and mixed youths in their search for identity, to the point where I’d sincerely encourage black and mixed youths to emigrate to relatively stable African countries and re-assimilate with these societies if they truly feel this way about their own Western societies or ancestry. Or at least give it a try, perhaps via a short term job posting, or during a gap year from school. I’d be interested to see more studies done on this phenomenon (as opposed to the reverse occurrence), but my inclination is that Western Africans do not travel to and assimilate into Africa in anywhere near the same amount of numbers that Western Asians (and other mixed-ethnicities and nationalities) tend to do with their own ancestral homelands (to one degree or another.) Which, if true, is an amazing irony. Considering the history of Western black ethnic leaders that have espoused the value of their africanism and the prevalence of black and coloured people ever-ready and willing to defend and represent their ethnicity and heritage quite outwardly. To this day you can readily meet many Western blacks who talk about, as if it’s an undisputed fact, their ancestors being “stolen” from Africa; followed by a lot of resentment at the Western society they now find themselves in, (my personal biggest gripe with these loathsome points of view being the common assertion that Hollywood is a racist enterprise.) So I am, therefore, curious why many more African Americans actually do not use their freedom to go back to Africa and reclaim bygone cultural ties. Why not? Perspective is everything, and they have only to gain, as do the Africans on the diaspora, from such a venture; at least knowledge-wise. And yes, there are intelligent reasons not to. Dictators, instability and poverty aren’t enticing to anyone’s migratory habits. But there are stable African nations with lots of opportunity, (I’m currently living in one), and it is their ethnic brethren that are suffering after all, so you would expect to see members of the international black community, more than any other group, rushing to Africa’s aid in her dire times. Curiously, we don’t see this, in fact we see quite the opposite, which is Western blacks staying in the West, African blacks emigrating to the West, but a surplus of other ethnic groups moving into Africa every year; handling the bulk of the development of the African regions they assimilate into by way of introducing or handling existing large-scale industry, developing the region’s infrastructure, and setting up small businesses.

 

Let’s get one thing straight, the white on black discrimination phenomenon doesn’t resonate with Africans on the diaspora in the same way, or nearly to the same degree, as it does with Western Africans. This is a continent still dealing with mass poverty, illiteracy, disease, gender-based violence and other heinous shortcomings of solidarity. And yet there are Africans on the diaspora (or outside it looking in) that seriously want to talk about the discrimination of a minority white population against a black majority one. If we want to talk about racial discrimination, let’s firstly admit that America and Africa do not suffer from it in the same vein. White on black discrimination is not worthy of attention in Africa anymore, not when black on black violence, and all the other realms of racial, religious, and tribal divide amongst Africans themselves is still painting the continent red. I’m flabbergasted when I see African intellectuals bringing American popcorn politics into Africa. There are more important and indeed more urgent things to be talking about.

 

I really should get back to Mr Ruwe’s essay:

 

You attack the British media for taking stock of Guy Scott’s ethnicity, but you see racism rather than appreciation and respect. You go on to assert that Western journalists reporting the story were guided by racism, but you didn’t demonstrate this at all before writing:

 

“It was clear the ulterior motive of some of the writers was to draw a distinction between the white vice president and the black president—scientist and sweeper; day and night; white and black; European and African; all in their aversive racist effort to activate stereotypes of Whites as intelligent and Blacks as dull and lazy.”

 

You only demonstrated that the reporters mentioned Scott’s ethnicity and academic background, as well as that of president Michael Sata. But why wouldn’t they? Did it ever occur to you that it’s not an insignificant achievement for a white African leader to be accepted by a black African population at large, especially in this day and age? Just three years prior to the start of Scott’s vice presidency, the neighbouring Zimbabwean government, led in excess of thirty years by the tyrant Robert Mugabe, concluded a decade’s worth of ethnic cleansing against Zimbabwe’s white population (and the thousands of blacks under their employ) with that sad man’s re-“election” in 2008. As if that isn’t enough, it seems every African and non-African I meet finds this to be a wholly acceptable, indeed a justifiable thing. Despite Zimbabwe’s ruling party losing an international human rights court case, as judged by a board of black Africans, which found Mugabe’s ruling elite guilty on all counts of illegal land theft based on racist policies and violent intimidation. It’s worth noting that the same Southern African Development Community (SADC), whose ruling Mugabe opposed and ignored (literally by burning down white farms), is about to have a leadership change at the end of this year… into the hands of Mugabe himself!

 

Digest that for as long as it takes.

 

In light of these things, and many other well documented moral atrocities, the majority of black African intellectuals, ethnic leaders, and journalists nonetheless lean in favour of adopting the following strategy in both their literary and vocal exploits: Let’s not focus on those issues affecting Africa’s actual progress and instead resurrect the bygone boogeyman of white supremacy any chance we get. This is getting out of hand, and I implore black Africans everywhere to see this grim visage for what it is: more racism. It’s abhorrent behaviour nothing short of an attempt to water the seeds for further racial divide within modern day Africa.

 

Now, for the sake of convergence toward common ground, no one can deny that blacks seem to be historically more riled, and perhaps personally affected by discrimination. But let’s not pretend that racial discrimination doesn’t exist between all races and that there are far worse examples to be found, past and present, which render the contemporary white/black friction as utterly trivial by comparison. I find it insulting that Africans from the West are still trying to teach each other, and now Africans from the homeland, that they cannot achieve much of anything unless discrimination from white people stops. What a ridiculous lie. Bad leadership, broken homes, and other cultural elements are worth the African’s thinking time, but not the weak charge of white on black discrimination. Stop feeding your brethren, and mine by way of friendship though not ethnicity, the notion that they cannot overcome discrimination the same way many ethnic groups have done and continue to do so. Even if this were once true, there is enough evidence today that suggests it no longer is. America has a partly African president, and blacks of all backgrounds have achieved commendable things in all sectors of human endeavour. As Thomas Sowell notes in his books, no race has evolved at a more rapid rate in terms of IQ, literacy, and industrial output than the black African; and they do it, as every race does, in the face of discrimination.

 

Let us wrap this up.

 

You label white people as inherently racist, whether they know it or not, in a way that no other ethnic group is, (which Gaertner and Dovidio never did), well, isn’t that convenient? What a terribly ignoble and baseless thing to have published. You readily jump on terminology like aversive racism, (as if the use of an academic sounding name alone feeds your opinion’s validity), but where is your evidence for its pervasiveness in whites above all other groups? Where is your argument? Where are your references to research demonstrating such conclusions as they appear in relevance to any of your claims? In short, how do we know, or more to the point, how do you know whether or not a lot of this isn’t just the product of your imagination? Anecdotal evidence over a long-lived period is not an insignificant thing, and I respect that you may have a lot of it, but without a rigorous consideration of global research it is all but worthless when applied to anyone but yourself.

 

And you, as an academic, should take this charge seriously. You have not provided a shred of evidence to convince any thinking person of your politically correct inanity. You’ve simply injected your own ideas into the world by way of authority. But why am I picking on you in particular? Quite simply, I do not want to see the majority of African intellectuals go the way of the majority of left-wing African-American intellectuals, whose sole purpose in ethnic debates, as it quite often appears, is to demonize white people (and undermine black people’s intelligence and nerve by proxy) based on a weak or non-existent argumentation aimed at the impressionable masses. I view this level of rhetoric as akin to that of the eugenicists. When you remove your own racism from a discussion about the problem of racism is when, and only when, sense will be made.

 

I close in response to a revealing irony regarding the implied meaning behind your own words:

 

“(Guy Scott’s) degrees in Economics and Science hang on his wall like those of other educated Zambians.”

 

Even if I were to be incredibly sweet and hand it to you that Guy Scott is the bumbling baboon you make him out to be, (whose academic background has seeded nothing but wall decoration), do note that you have not, in this instance, portrayed yourself any differently.

 

References:

 

Online Essays and Journals:

 

http://www.news24.com/Africa/Zimbabwe/Mugabe-to-become-next-SADC-leader-20130820

http://townhall.com/columnists/thomassowell/2002/10/01/race_and_iq/page/full

http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/law/11/2/235/

http://www.amren.com/news/2012/10/why-iqs-rise/

http://www.creators.com/opinion/thomas-sowell/who-is-racist-13-07-09.html

http://racialreality.blogspot.com/2011/08/devastating-criticism-of-richard-lynn.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/3156010.stm

 

Books:

 

The End of Racism by Dinesh D’Souza (1995)

Race and Culture by Thomas Sowell (1994)

Intellectuals and Race by Thomas Sowell (2013)

The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein, Charles A. Murray (1994)

The Mismeasure of Man by Stephen Jay Gould (1996: second edition)

The World Until Yesterday by Jared Diamond (2012)

Dysgenics: Genetic Deterioration in Modern Populations by Richard Lynn (1996 and 2011)

The aversive form of racism: Prejudice, Discrimination and Racism by Dovidio, John F.; Gaertner, Samuel L., eds. (1986).

 

 

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