My Most Racist Opinions: A Look At Black Athletes, First Nations Rights, and Stupid Cultures
By David Metcalfe
October 19, 2019
I’d like to share three of my most racist opinions. I personally believe that all humans are created equal and deserve equal treatment under the law, equal economic and social opportunity, and that race should not define how we treat an individual. However, despite these beliefs, certain ideas- just for positing them- apparently make me a “racist”, according to some “socially progressive liberals”. So, for their sake, I will embrace the label.
African American Athletes
According to social rights activist Dr. Richard Lapchick in his 2015 report for “The Institute of Diversity and Ethics in Sport”, 74.4% of NBA players are black. Out of the last 10 male 100m sprint champions (dating back to 1980), 9 were black. For long jump, 8 out of the last 10 champions were black (Carl Lewis won four, so that skews it a bit, but still). In “The NFL’s Racial Divide” by Jason Reid and Jane McManus, they note that 68% of NFL players are black, and among running backs, it’s 88%.
These statistics would already be significant if half of Americans were white and half were black. But what makes it even more crazy is that only about 13% of Americans are black. This means that a black person has a 7x higher chance of being a 100m sprinter or an NFL running back than a white person. Or a 6x higher chance of being an NBA player or long jumper than a white person. So what could possibly explain this?
Well, here is one idea I have, and keep in mind, due to a lack of empirical evidence, it probably falls more in the conjecture category than the theory category. Basically, let’s think about how African Americans got here in the first place. It wasn’t under voluntary circumstances. They were stolen from their homes in Africa, carried in ships, and forced into slavery in America. When American slave traders went to Africa to find potential slaves, they wanted the strongest, tallest, most physically fit slaves they could get, because they were a lot more valuable on the market. As for women, they wanted the best looking ones, because many of them were used as sex slaves (Wriggins, 1983).
What we have first is the artificial selection by slave traders through choosing who to bring. Secondly, there was artificial breeding of slaves. They were essentially treated like animals. Slave owners would tend to make higher quality slaves breed together rather than lower quality slaves. Between these two aspects of artificial selection, the gene pool was shifted to favour qualities more conducive to physical ability. Upon the abolition of slavery and entrance of black men into sports, this translated to increased athletic ability.
So, to summarize, the idea is that African Americans have been artificially selected by slave traders to have a gene pool more conducive to success in sport.
First Nations Incorporation Into Modern Society
Before considering First Nations people, let’s briefly look at how African American rights went.
So, as I mentioned earlier, white and black people started out under horrible circumstances. White people were very racist, and believed black people to be inferior to them. This played out practically in slavery and, even after the abolition of slavery, the practice of subjugation and segregation through “Jim Crow” and cultural racism. BUT African Americans were an incredibly resilient group. They fought for their rights, and in the 50s and 60s, the civil rights movement resulted in desegregation and equal rights under the law. From there, black people had huge success in American society and culture, from top selling albums to doctors, lawyers, and professors, to astounding athletes, and of course, the first black President in 2008.
Black people have not forgotten or forsaken their cultural heritage, but they have moved beyond it and embraced the society they are in. Race relations between black and white people are good now, and continue to get better and better.
First Nations people, on the other hand, have not gone that way as much in Canada. Just like black people, the beginning of cultural interaction between white Europeans and Native Americans was under terrible circumstances, due to the horrible racism and sense of superiority felt by the Europeans. This translated practically in the Europeans killing many Native Americans, stealing their land through force or sketchy trade deals, and the systemic racism that continued on culturally and formally in residential schools.
But there is this strange idea among some First Nations people, that rather than incorporate themselves into modern society, they WANT to be segregated. Not only do they want to be segregated, but they also want the rest of society to use their tax dollars to fund their post-secondary education, healthcare, and other living expenses. There are also a variety of tax shelters (they don’t pay GST or income tax when they are on the reserve, for example). There are also some First Nations people who believe that modern society is corrupt, and romanticize the societies and culture they had in the past. Instead of incorporating themselves into society, they would rather just have more land to themselves, pay no taxes, get lots of free money, and still have the benefits of modern life (smart phones, tv, medical science, etc.) without actually contributing anything to it.
But not all First Nations people are like that. There are many who work hard and achieve great success in regular society. Phenomenal hockey players like Carey Price, Jordan Tootoo, and a recent addition to the Edmonton Oilers, Ethan Bear, are beacons of hope for First Nations people to be represented in Canada’s favourite sport. When I went to conferences at Queen’s University Law School, I met many very intelligent, hard working, and passionate First Nations lawyers who recognized the value of incorporating themselves into modern society and, while recognizing the problems of the past, didn’t allow it to define them today. At the University of Alberta over the last year, I’ve met several First Nations academics who study these issues, and seek to find better solutions than the ones currently being offered. There are also a record 10 First Nations members of parliament currently serving in Canada, and there may even be a First Nations Prime Minister someday.
So, to summarize, I don’t think giving a child free things is going to make a child grow up to be responsible, hard working, and a good contributor to society. In the same way, First Nations people are not going to improve their situation by constantly demanding more land, more money, and more representation. They have to earn it, like everyone else. Just like with black people in America, their success will be found in their ability to integrate themselves effectively into modern society, while continuing to remember and appreciate their cultural heritage.
Some Cultures Are Stupid
There are a variety of indexes we can use to judge the success of various societies, but the “World Happiness Report” is usually considered the best standard. As you can see in the chart below, it considers financial, social, health and political well being. The countries in the top ten are here:
The countries in the bottom ten are here:
There are many factors that go into how well a country does in producing a good quality of life for its citizens. But one, sometimes overlooked, factor is the cultural values that people have. In Western societies, science, reason, and evidence are considered valuable ways to attain truth, and we assume humans to have innate value. But not all cultures are like that. Many are caught in superstition or complete ignorance.
Take, for example, the Karni Mata temple in India. It is a temple to worship rats, and there are 25,000 rats housed there. They use about 500 kg of grain and 500L of clean water to feed the rats every day, and spend large amounts of money to keep the temple in good condition. Meanwhile, India has nearly 2 million homeless people, and one of the highest rates of malnutrition in the world. They could be using some of those resources to help people, but instead it’s going to rats. This is not just a “different approach”; it is a stupid approach.
Or consider the “Millennium Villages Project” led by United Nations advisor and esteemed professor, Jeffrey Sachs. The plan was to provide certain villages in Africa with everything they would need to eliminate poverty and create long term, sustainable economic growth for themselves. They provided food, clean water, health clinics, bed nets, schools, roads, and education on better agricultural techniques and business strategies. On paper, the plan was perfect. However, what they didn’t recognize was what the role of culture would be.
Malaria is one of the leading causes of death in many areas of Africa. The mosquitos come out at night and bite people while they are sleeping. So, the solution is to give them bed nets with insecticide. This has been proven to reduce incidences of malaria in massive amounts. However, the African people would constantly misuse the nets. They wouldn’t bother putting them up every night, or they would use them as fishing nets or whatever thing. In African culture, malaria is seen just as an inevitable part of life, and they failed to understand the cause and effect of “bed nets = protection from malaria”, despite so many marketing and educational campaigns.
In other cases, the African people would be given clean water right close to them, so that they wouldn’t have to walk as far. And yet, they would still walk to the old well that was farther away, because time reduction was not viewed as a beneficial thing in their culture. If you want to read more on that: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/how-jeffrey-sachs-failed-to-save-africa/article14436055/
The list goes on and on. There are cultures where having sex with underaged prostitutes is considered a normal rite of passage for young men, there are cultures where women are seen as second class citizens, there are cultures where violence is assumed to be the proper way of solving disagreements, so on and so forth.
Countries may have high economic production, but if they are irrational, superstitious, and against the well being of all people, quality of life will be low for the majority of people. This is one of the key reasons why Western societies do so much better. They follow the evidence where it leads, and let rational, educated people make the big and important decisions (they are not always perfect at it though, of course).
Do black athletes perform so well partially due to their artificially selected gene pool from the slave trade? Should First Nations people seek to incorporate themselves into modern society, rather than segregate from it and demand free money? Are some cultural values just stupid and need to be replaced by more rational thinking?
I think these are all interesting questions to consider, and should be open to evidence based discussion. The ideas I presented here are interesting to posit, and they do have some evidence to go along with them. But this does not make them absolute; rather, it invites further thought and investigation from myself and others. Labelling the very notion of thinking about such things as “racist” is a hindrance to proper thought, and is unfortunately prevalent in universities today.