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Part 2: The Races of Humanity or: In Defense of the Biological Reality of Race and Towards a New Understanding of Diversity – Part 1

There’s been an interesting trend in critical theory as of late, saying the concept of race is a “social construct”. Critical theorists and writers posting from The Atlantic to St. Catherine University to other accredited institutions all seem to be writing about how race amongst humans is not something that is biologically rooted, rather it is created based upon social contexts under which people live.

Writer and theorist for The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates, explains this view best when he says:

Our notion of what constitutes “white” and what constitutes “black” is a product of social context. It is utterly impossible to look at the delineation of a “Southern race” and not see the Civil War, the creation of an “Irish race” and not think of Cromwell’s ethnic cleansing, the creation of a “Jewish race” and not see anti-Semitism. There is no fixed sense of “whiteness” or “blackness,” not even today…When the liberal says “race is a social construct,” he is not being a soft-headed dolt; he is speaking an historical truth (Coates).

While there is a lot of truth in the argument that humans construct views of people around us based on the context we’re in, claiming that race is solely a social construction or, as Mr. Coates says, “is no more dependent on skin color today than it was on “Frankishness” in Emerson’s day [he’s referencing Ralph Wald Emerson talking about Race]”(Coates), denies fundamental genetic differences amongst humans.

In what follows, I will lay out my argument that race is not merely a social construct, but rather the claim that race has biological roots and that there are clear and demonstratable genetic differences amongst different races.

Now all that being said, I feel like I must include this note: I do not believe any race is inherently superior, rather that there are differences in abilities between races and these differences, coupled with social context (here is where the social construction comes in), breeds feelings of superiority.

So, join me after the jump and all will be explained in depth!

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Equal in Ability vs. Equal in Being

So there’s a sad trend that I’ve noticed that occurs both in neo-reactionary circles as well as on Jared Taylor’s American Renaissance and that is to conflate equal in ability to equal in being. Specifically, the argument that is often touted is that “well some people are stronger than others and some races are smarter than others etc. so you can’t say humans are equal!”.  (an example is this article)

But to say this is to commit a fallacy. It assumes that the argument egalitarians make is that true human equality means that humans are all the same, when in actuality the argument is not that all humans are exactly the same, rather, that there is some common standard amongst humans and this standard (which I’ll talk about later) is constant. And if this standard is constant, it is a baseline for what it means to be human and thus, on the most rudimentary level, creates possessing this standard or characteristic (humans) would be ontologically equal – that is, equal in being.

This would be, for the most part, a species classification. For example: some breeds of dogs are smarter than others, some are more aggressive than others, and some are just down right cute. [fig 1.] But at the end of the day, they are all still dogs and thus, if one assigns moral judgements based on species, they would be ontologically equal while not being physically equal.

[fig 1. – My little baby in a cowboy hat for New Years!]

Now humans are an interesting bunch (one that I don’t care for all too much) in that there is debate over whether there is a unifying standard, that is, something that every human has and is something that makes us human. Theists would argue a soul, Kantian’s would argue rationality (haha), and others would argue nothing. I honestly have no idea. I have no idea if such a standard exists. So I will leave with a comment and a few residual questions. I don’t know if there is some unifying feature in humanity and to be honest, I don’t care a huge amount. But I do care when people falsely conflate equal in ability to equal in being. They are not one in the same – someone can be one but not the other (much like a square is a rectangle but not vice versa per se).

So readers: is there a unifying human standard? I would love to hear what you think.

But in your analyses please consider the following questions:

  • is the standard inherent to what it means to be human – that is, do all humans meet it?
  • if some don’t meet it, are they not human?
  • and if so, how should one evaluate them?