Humans have got to be carefully taught—NOT to prefer their own race

(Note: While the initial entry is about liberals’ discovery of new and even more deeply rooted forms of racial discrimination to root out, the comments launch into wider thoughts about liberalism, how it is anti-life, anti-happiness.)

There is a huge, 4,700 word article in Newsweek (has that magazine ever had such a long piece, other than a book excerpt?) about a new frontier that’s been discovered in the ever widening search for white racial discrimination against nonwhites. Research shows that white babies as young as six months are aware that black people look different from their parents, and white three year olds when shown photos of white and black children say they prefer a white child to be friends with. The researchers acknowledge that the parents in the study, which took place in uber liberal Austin, Texas, are all white liberals devoted to a race blind world. Yet preference for whites still somehow creeps into their children’s psyches. The researchers argue that it is not enough for parents to tell their children in general terms that “everybody’s equal,” and that “all people are God’s children.” No, parents must specifically talk to their children about whites and blacks and tell them that blacks are the same as whites and that they must like blacks as much as they do whites. The researchers were taken aback when some of the white liberal parents withdrew from the study, because, as they explained, they were repelled at the thought of speaking to their children about race, about whites and blacks, which went against their belief in race blindness.

So it’s the old story, which I’ve written about so many times. What we might call Stage One Liberalism (which reached its apotheosis in the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Immigration Reform Act) tells whites that race doesn’t matter, that people are all alike, that discrimination is unnatural, and therefore if whites simply assert the sameness of all people and dismantle legal racial discrimination, unnatural race discrimination will come to an end and the world will be in harmony. But then Stage Two Liberalism discovers to its chagrin that race DOES matter in all kinds of ways (e.g., there are substantive differences in racial qualities and abilities, people have race consciousness and prefer their own race, admitting large numbers of racially different immigrants brings new problems and conflicts to the host society), and therefore, far from practicing mere race-blindness as the way to reach an equal world, whites must become super race conscious—actively removing racial stereotypes from their own minds, actively denying and suppressing all evidence and experience showing racial differences, actively engaging in all kinds of “outreach” to other groups, actively increasing nonwhite diversity so as to break down the remaining white resistance to diversity, and actively instructing their children that they must be as friendly to blacks as they are to whites.

The older liberalism, believing that race doesn’t matter, thought that in the absence of unnatural race consciousness, the natural equality and sameness of the human race would assert itself. But since, in the real world, race does matter, it turns out that racial equality requires an activist movement to overcome nature.

Here is the first part of the Newsweek article:

See Baby Discriminate
Kids as young as 6 months judge others based on skin color. What’s a parent to do?
By Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman | NEWSWEEK
Published Sep 5, 2009
From the magazine issue dated Sep 14, 2009

At the Children’s Research Lab at the University of Texas, a database is kept on thousands of families in the Austin area who have volunteered to be available for scholarly research. In 2006 Birgitte Vittrup recruited from the database about a hundred families, all of whom were Caucasian with a child 5 to 7 years old.

The goal of Vittrup’s study was to learn if typical children’s videos with multicultural storylines have any beneficial effect on children’s racial attitudes. Her first step was to give the children a Racial Attitude Measure, which asked such questions as:

How many White people are nice?

(Almost all) (A lot) (Some) (Not many) (None)

How many Black people are nice?

(Almost all) (A lot) (Some) (Not many) (None)

During the test, the descriptive adjective “nice” was replaced with more than 20 other adjectives, like “dishonest,” “pretty,” “curious,” and “snobby.”

Vittrup sent a third of the families home with multiculturally themed videos for a week, such as an episode of Sesame Street in which characters visit an African-American family’s home, and an episode of Little Bill, where the entire neighborhood comes together to clean the local park.

In truth, Vittrup didn’t expect that children’s racial attitudes would change very much just from watching these videos. Prior research had shown that multicultural curricula in schools have far less impact than we intend them to—largely because the implicit message “We’re all friends” is too vague for young children to understand that it refers to skin color.

Yet Vittrup figured explicit conversations with parents could change that. So a second group of families got the videos, and Vittrup told these parents to use them as the jumping-off point for a discussion about interracial friendship. She provided a checklist of points to make, echoing the shows’ themes. “I really believed it was going to work,” Vittrup recalls.

The last third were also given the checklist of topics, but no videos. These parents were to discuss racial equality on their own, every night for five nights.

At this point, something interesting happened. Five families in the last group abruptly quit the study. Two directly told Vittrup, “We don’t want to have these conversations with our child. We don’t want to point out skin color.”

Vittrup was taken aback—these families volunteered knowing full well it was a study of children’s racial attitudes. Yet once they were aware that the study required talking openly about race, they started dropping out.

It was no surprise that in a liberal city like Austin, every parent was a welcoming multiculturalist, embracing diversity. But according to Vittrup’s entry surveys, hardly any of these white parents had ever talked to their children directly about race. They might have asserted vague principles—like “Everybody’s equal” or “God made all of us” or “Under the skin, we’re all the same”—but they’d almost never called attention to racial differences.

They wanted their children to grow up colorblind. But Vittrup’s first test of the kids revealed they weren’t colorblind at all. Asked how many white people are mean, these children commonly answered, “Almost none.” Asked how many blacks are mean, many answered, “Some,” or “A lot.” Even kids who attended diverse schools answered the questions this way.

More disturbing, Vittrup also asked all the kids a very blunt question: “Do your parents like black people?” Fourteen percent said outright, “No, my parents don’t like black people”; 38 percent of the kids answered, “I don’t know.” In this supposed race-free vacuum being created by parents, kids were left to improvise their own conclusions—many of which would be abhorrent to their parents.

Vittrup hoped the families she’d instructed to talk about race would follow through. After watching the videos, the families returned to the Children’s Research Lab for retesting. To Vittrup’s complete surprise, the three groups of children were statistically the same—none, as a group, had budged very much in their racial attitudes. At first glance, the study was a failure.

Combing through the parents’ study diaries, Vittrup realized why. Diary after diary revealed that the parents barely mentioned the checklist items. Many just couldn’t talk about race, and they quickly reverted to the vague “Everybody’s equal” phrasing.

Of all those Vittrup told to talk openly about interracial friendship, only six families managed to actually do so. And, for all six, their children dramatically improved their racial attitudes in a single week. Talking about race was clearly key. Reflecting later about the study, Vittrup said, “A lot of parents came to me afterwards and admitted they just didn’t know what to say to their kids, and they didn’t want the wrong thing coming out of the mouth of their kids.”

We all want our children to be unintimidated by differences and have the social skills necessary for a diverse world. The question is, do we make it worse, or do we make it better, by calling attention to race?

Within the past decade or so, developmental psychologists have begun a handful of longitudinal studies to determine exactly when children develop bias. Phyllis Katz, then a professor at the University of Colorado, led one such study—following 100 black children and 100 white children for their first six years. She tested these children and their parents nine times during those six years, with the first test at 6 months old.

How do researchers test a 6-month-old? They show babies photographs of faces. Katz found that babies will stare significantly longer at photographs of faces that are a different race from their parents, indicating they find the face out of the ordinary. Race itself has no ethnic meaning per se—but children’s brains are noticing skin-color differences and trying to understand their meaning.

When the kids turned 3, Katz showed them photographs of other children and asked them to choose whom they’d like to have as friends. Of the white children, 86 percent picked children of their own race. When the kids were 5 and 6, Katz gave these children a small deck of cards, with drawings of people on them. Katz told the children to sort the cards into two piles any way they wanted. Only 16 percent of the kids used gender to split the piles. But 68 percent of the kids used race to split the cards, without any prompting. In reporting her findings, Katz concluded: “I think it is fair to say that at no point in the study did the children exhibit the Rousseau type of color-blindness that many adults expect.”

[end of excerpt of Newsweek article]

- end of initial entry -

Richard S. writes:

What does this study show? It shows that bias exists. That it doesn’t have to be taught. That it just is. Which every moderately intelligent human learns from experience rather early in life. The important question—the only question really—is how does a human being react to the fact of bias. Does he fall into the trap of bitterness and resentment because he’s short, or less than handsome, or a Jew not a WASP, or a black in a white world? Does he throw his life away brooding on the injustice, the unfairness of it all? Or does he pick up the tools he was given and get on with it, make the best of it. And in the process find out that it’s pretty damn good, life is pretty damn good, biases and all.

Why is liberalism so horrible? Because of its Luciferian war with the facts of life—one of which is bias—which it calls “unfairness.” Everything that is must be overthrown. So that what? So that justice be established here on earth. And in the process? In the process humans are just pawns, fodder to be fed into “the struggle.” The important thing is that the pawn’s consciousness be raised so that he’s made excruciatingly aware of every bias, every inequality, every “oppression” in life; and thereby be rendered miserable, so miserable that he loses his life, loses his chance at happiness. Happiness—which is holy.

Liberalism, in its insistence on unhappiness, is radically at war with our one chance at happiness, holy happiness.

LA replies:

A great statement. You’ve made my day.

LA continues:

By the way, can we imagine a Darwinian HBD’er writing such a great summary and refutation of liberalism? No, because Darwinian material reductionists have no conception of happiness, let alone of holy happiness, of which liberalism is the opposite. They have no truth to pose against the radically anti-spiritual falsity of liberalism. They have no good to pose against the evil of liberalism. All they have, at best, is the material self-interest (whether individual or collective) of organisms maximizing the frequency of their genes and their memes.

Happiness is alien to the materialist. The very concept of happiness implies that the world has a true order, and that for human beings to fulfill their potentialities within that order is happiness.

But for the Darwinians, the only truth is random material change plus survival of the fittest, which somehow produces all the wonders of existence. Yes, the Darwinians enjoy these wonders. E.O. Wilson and Richard Dawkins have constructed substitute religions based on intellectual enjoyment of the wonders of evolution. But is intellectual enjoyment of the wonders of evolution the same as happiness—happiness, which means rejoicing in the good?

At best, the Darwinians have a variation on the Beat view of life. The Beat view of life is that life is a mess, though with many wonderful moments. The Darwinian view of life is that life is a purposeless construct of randomness and survival, which somehow produces many wonderful things.

Happiness—and the hope of happiness—is alien to the Liberal, to the Materialist-Reductionist, and to the Hipster-Vitalist, who together represent the first three stages of Nihilism.

Alex K. writes:

You wrote:

“There is a huge, 4,700 word article in Newsweek (has that magazine ever had such a long piece, other than a book excerpt?)”

The piece is a book excerpt, from the upcoming “NurtureShock,” by the authors.

LA replies:

I tell you, I’m on top of everything, even a magazine I’ve read maybe five times in the last 25 years.

Jeff W. writes:

Here are some further thoughts about the four stages of Nihilism:

All four stages are joyless because they are manifestations of the will to power. Characters of all four types are power-seeking.

The liberal type says: “I deserve to rule because I am a really good person. I am an expert in ethics and good behavior who loves religion, though I do not believe in a sadistic God who would send nonbelievers to Hell. I am superior to the fundamentalist yahoos who believe that outmoded nonsense.”

The materialist says: “I deserve to rule because I know what makes things work. I get rid of all that vague, goody-two-shoes abstraction about goodness and ethics, and I just concentrate on the nuts and bolts. I don’t believe in any flying spaghetti monster. If you want things to work right, you will get rid of all the liberal/religious hogwash and start listening to me.”

The vitalist says: “Why listen to anal-retentive liberal and materialist types when you could be getting some action? I know where the action is. Don’t let them restrict you with their “ethics” or their rules and laws. You need to experience life! Life is not about rules and philosophies. Follow me and you can really live!”

The nihilist says: “The world is full of such disgusting creeps and frauds that there is really nothing good in it. Love is a fraud. There is no love. The only thing that feels good is destruction. Violence is the proper response to this world, and it feels so good! Suicide can also be good because it ends the pain. Let’s start doing what needs to be done.”

Each of these people seeks power over others, and each is out of communion with the living God, the source of all love. That is the root of their sickness and their joylessness.

LA replies:

Absolutely fantastic summary of the four stages. Wouldn’t it be nice if Fr. Rose could be alive today to see a publication that not only frequently references his ideas, but builds on them and applies them?

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 07, 2009 01:38 PM | Send

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