THANK GOD FOR READERS WHO CAN READ AND THINK | 2002-02-23
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 are inoffensive."
"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."