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December 14, 2016

If group differences are superficial, they will fade away

I appear to be part of that coven of demons known as the Alt-Right.  The Alt-Right are those men of Stygian evil who mention the word "race". Just mentioning that word brings accusations that you just need a small moustache to become a new Hitler.

Such accusations are just a method used by the Left in an attempt to shut up conservatives but, empty-headed though the accusations are, many conservatives are cowed by them. Only we "Alt" folk brave the storm of abuse and continue to talk about one of the most interesting of human differences.

But "Alt" is a broad church and what the various people say about race when they decide to do so is not any one single thing.  There always have been many and various views about what significance race has and that continues.

My view is that racial differences do exist and that they can make a difference. How anyone can behold the black/white situation in the USA today and think otherwise rather stuns me.  People obviously have strong abilities at ignoring reality.

But something I believe does get me into dangerous territory.  It is perhaps an optimistic belief but it is undoubtedly "incorrect".  I believe that racial antagonisms will fade away when there is no strong basis for them.

An immediate example of that is the Chinese presence in Australia.  For the first two thirds of the 20th century the Australian government had what was known as the "White Australia policy". It was a policy forged around conflicts between British and Chinese men on the Australian goldfields of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  The aim was to expel "Chinamen" from Australia and keep them out thereafter.

One way or another, however, a Chinese presence not only continued in Australia but grew slightly.  And once goldfield rivalries were out of the way, Australians found that the Chinese were no trouble at all.  They were peaceful hard-working family people who were rather good at business -- particularly restaurants.  Even in the 1890s Quong Tart's grand tea rooms in Sydney were much celebrated and in fact became a social centre. Quong Tart had however taken the precaution of becoming an Anglican.  Religion has always been a rather flexible matter among the Chinese.

So in 1966 a conservative government led by Harold Holt abolished the "White Australia policy".  And shortly thereafter there came to Australia a flood of refugees from the Vietnam war, most of whom were Han Chinese racially.  And migration from other parts of the Chinese diaspora also got underway.  So Australia now is about 5% Chinese ethnically.  You see Chinese wherever you go in Australia's big cities and even to a degree in the country towns.  I grew up in a small Australian town where the local department store was "See Poys" -- owned and run by polite Chinese.

So there have been race wars or even race riots against Australia's new Chinese population?  Not at all.  Chinese schoolkids might be called names by other kids in their schools but there is no adult equivalent.  Australians of Chinese ancestry do tend to be found in occupations that require brains but they go about their lives as peacefully as any other Australian.  There is no discrimination.   A few imbeciles may at times say abusive things but that is the limit of it.  The life of Chinese Australians is as peaceful as anywhere in the world, including China.

So the Chinese are genetically and obviously different from Caucasians but the differences are not anything that disturbs social peace.  They have very low rates of criminality and very low rates of dependency on the welfare system.  And if they show any indication of religiosity, it is generally as converts to one of the more fundamentalist Christian denominations. Chinese religious flexibility is about as far away from Jihad as can possibly be imagined.  They are our allies in the battle against spiritual darkness.

And they do their best generally to adapt to the host culture.  If it were not for their eyes, Australian-born Chinese would be indistinguishable from other Australians.  So we see a huge genetic difference between Chinese and others but that difference does not have anything negative associated with it so no racial antagonisms arise.

Mind you, one has to distinguish between attitudes and behavior -- a difference first highlighted in the 1930's by LaPiere in the USA.  He found that people who had anti-Asian attitudes did not behave towards Asians in an adverse way.  And I have certainly heard on a couple of occasions Anglo-Australians say critical things about the Chinese.  But again they did not discriminate against the Chinese in their behaviour

I have for instance on a couple of occasions known Anglo-Australians to make derisive remarks about "Slopes" (East Asians) who were in fact happily married to Filipinas.  It is reminiscent of Wilhelm Marr, the man who invented the term "Antisemitism" (He thought it was a good thing).  He married three times and on all three occasions he married ethnically Jewish ladies.  Psychologists generally think that it is behaviour that is important and I do too.

And there is one bit of behaviour in Australia that demonstrates vividly how well Asians and Caucasians get along. It comes from the fact that Asian ladies hate being so small amid a population of largish Caucasians.  So they are determined that their sons will be tall.  But the only way to achieve that is to get a tall partner. But nearly all the tall men around are Caucasians.  No problem!  The Asian ladies set theirs caps at tall Caucasian men and get them.  They know how to charm.

It is quite common to see in the big cities tall Caucasian men walking around with a little Asian lady on their arms.  The only time you see an Asian lady with an Asian man is where it is a TALL Asian man.  So both the Asian lady and the Caucasian man  demonstrate clearly that they are not racist in any behavioural sense.  They accept one another without regard to racial differences.  It may be worth noting that in the traditional Bogardus scale of social distance, marriage is the closest distance. So Australia is remarkably non-racist where East Asians are concerned.

A similar phenomenon has been noted in American Ivy League universities. The big sporting guys very often have an Asian girlfriend, which is frustrating to the Caucasian women.  When they go for some big guy they often find that an Asian lady has beaten them to it.  So among themselves they refer to their female Asian fellow-students as "The Yellow Peril".

I now want to go on to another big group difference that was initially quite fierce in its antagonisms but which faded away when the difference turned out to be attractive rather than negative!  Strange but true.  And that difference lives on in me personally -- as it does for most Australians who trace all or most of their ancestry to the British Isles.  I refer to the Irish/English difference, which was and still is also a religious difference:  The Protestant/Catholic difference.  And those were once very important differences indeed.  Large numbers of both English and Irish migrated to Australia over the years and they brought all their old prejudices with them.  So that surely was a good support for racial separatism.

And I do myself remember the tail-end of that separatism.  When I was young, I remember learning that in Brisbane, Protestants patronized a Department store by the name of "McWhirters"  and Catholics patronized antoher depatment store just down the road in Brunswick St. known as "T.C. Beirnes". And if a Protestant wandered into "T.C. Beirnes" it gave you a funny feeling.  You thought that a nun might suddenly leap out and grab you.  The two stores were as near to identical as could be, of course.

So how come I and a majority of Australians who are ethnically like me have both English and Irish ancestry?  There are few "old" Australians who cannot cheerfully nominate both their English and Irish ancestors.

What happened?  How did this dreadful miscegenation occur? How did our ancestors manage to get into bed together despite their profound racial and religious differences?  The answer is that the differences were not in fact profound.  But for horny young people they were sufficiently great to be interesting.  Young Protestants and Catholics could not keep their hands off one another despite the stern disapproval of both their families.

And I am old enough to remember how it was. We young Protestants felt that Catholic girls were more exciting because they thought sex was a sin.  Protestant teaching was of course also against pre-marital sex but the Protestant churches had a much weaker grip on their people than the Catholic church did. So because there were no real differences between the two groups, the religious difference was a spice, not a barrier, to adventurous young people. Young people like breaching barriers and much barrier breaching did go on. Most of my ilk are the product of it.

So the Protestant/Catholic difference has faded away in Australia.  Australians mostly don't even know one-another's religion -- Muslims excepted, of course.

The important part of the story is of course that the Protestant/Catholic difference was superficial. The two groups spoke the same language, looked the same and both grew up hearing only slightly  different versions of the story of Christ.

Both Great Britain and Ireland started out with a Celtic population that was later subjected to large invasions of Anglo-Saxons, Scandinavians and Normans.  And all four groups differed in little more than culture to start with anyway. So the differences between Britain and Ireland are to this day almost wholly cultural rather than racial.

It's not always so, but in the  British case the language differences appear to be a pretty good index of racial differences.  The language of almost all of both islands is English, with the language of the Celts relegated to Western fringes -- places like Connacht and Donegal in Ireland and the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.  In fact the only substantial Gaelic-speaking population remaining in the British Isles is North Wales, which is an appendage of England.

So there were no significant inborn differences between the English and Irish populations of Australia -- which made the cultural differences vulnerable to challenge and change.

So thus endeth my sermon: Group or racial antagonisms and separatisms do not persist where the differences are superficial. The corollary of that is that group or racial antagonisms and separatisms only persist when there are major and important differences between the two groups. Such antagonisms and separatisms are not silly, ignorant or evil but have real and important foundations -- JR






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