The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Separate But Equal Lies

Why its so important to have a say in history books. Note the following image and story:

The above appears to be a deliberate distortion of an event in the 19th Century, the battle of Adwa, where Ethiopians handed a humiliating defeat to the Italians. This picture seems to lie, stating that it was the Ethiopians who were defeated. Shameful. History is filled with this kind of crap.
Someone mentioned that they "weren’t bothered by the fact that Asians and Ashkenazi Jews were above them in I.Q."—and I let them get away with that. Again, if you want to Lump “Asians” or “Blacks” into separate containers, and then separate out Jews…and worse than that, a sub-set of Jews…please sell it somewhere else. I’m not buying here. Bobby Fischer isn’t white? Oh, please.
I’ll say this: I think this attitude is in part the result of a century of racist, Nazi propaganda saying “Jews aren’t white. Eventually, even some Jews will buy into it, just as blacks eventually bought into the “One Drop” rule. One thing is certain to me: I would never trust anyone who has those filters on to make a “culturally neutral” IQ test. We simply don’t see the same world.
Here’s another way of looking at why the “Ashkenazi Jew” situation ameliorates the terrible damage of believing you’re 3 points shy of Asians (while blacks are supposed to be about 15 points lower!) Imagine three families living on the same block. Asian, Black, White. The Black family is the poorest—by a lot. Asians are richest. The White family is about 3% less well off than the Asians. You’re in the White family, so on AVERAGE you are less wealthy than the Asians…but your brother happens to be a millionaire, a good deal wealthier than the average of the Asians. Wow. That takes the sting out a bit, doesn’t it?
Someone else asked why having less intelligence would be a problem. After all, there are mentally disadvantaged members of our community, and they do pretty well. O.K….a retarded member of your family will be cared for by others of your family and community. But if blacks were sub-standard (as a group) where would their aid come from? The same group that enslaved and denigrated them? Would it really be reasonable to expect blacks to feel warm and fuzzy about THAT possibility? And by the way…the position that IQ is genetically determined seems to be a position primarily on the Right…and isn’t the Right the same group that rails about “too much social services, welfare, and race-based considerations?” So what exactly stops you from seeing that, if blacks were actually (on the average) inferior intellectually, it would be a disaster, and it is completely natural and predictable that the subject would trigger fear?

Any teacher knows that if you tell most parents “your child is sub-standard” you trigger fear and anger, even though you aren’t talking about the parent PERSONALLY. Just apply this near-universal reaction, and you’ll understand exactly why black people might be a tad touchy about this.
Another subject. Thank God. NPR asked me to look at an enraged essay about the movie “Norbit,” in which Eddie Murphy exploits every imaginable stereotype about fat black women. I’m boycotting the film, but if anyone out there has seen it, I’d love to hear comments. It looks horrible.
Has anyone heard of a gentleman named Jed McKenna? He wrote a book called “Enlightenment, the Damnedest Thing.” The book strikes me as being the clearest, sanest discussion of the process of Enlightenment ever written in contemporary English, by a modern American. I’m extremely impressed. His Spiritual Autolysis process is as powerful a tool as I’ve ever seen, and goes to the heart of what I’ve been doing in this blog: emptying out my psychological basement, allowing people to add, attack, or comment, bringing old damage and concepts up where I can see them.

Note how easy it is to get stuck on the lower Chakra stuff: survival, sex, tribalism and power. Every time I talk about these subjects, blog stats go through the roof. Hah! And we wonder why its so hard to move our culture forward…

And applied to each of us personally, it should be obvious why it is so hard to move forward as individual, conscious beings. We are greedy, and mask our greed as political theory. We take no responsibility for the damage we do, projecting that guilt onto others. We have deep, pervasive perceptual filters, and believe we are clear-eyed. We are driven by emotions, and believe that we are logical creatures. We satisfy our most basic needs for security, power, and revenge...and mask it in the name of God. We are asleep, dreaming that we are awake. And those who actually wake up? We call them heretics, and burn them at the stake.

Just keep taking the blue pills. That steak is delicious...

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