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Systemic Racism: A Theory of Oppression by Joe R. Feagin, 2006.
Joe R. Feagin is Professor of Sociology at the University of Florida in Gainesville and is currently President of the American Sociological Association. (Email firstname.lastname@example.org)
Systemic Racism: A Theory of Oppression by Joe Feagin.
Social science has given up empirical science for narrative for the simple reason that just telling stories and making broad accusations are not falsifiable. As such, it is treated as a religion—one has faith that the reason minorities do badly is because we all live in a racist society. A society that is run fundamentally on racist rules of conduct, and where only White Americans are united in this conspiratorial effort to oppress others for the benefit of Whites alone. It is an interesting story with little coherency or even a systematic logic as to the benefit Whites receive—according to Feagin's analysis.
If Feagin is right, and systemic racism (henceforth racism) is a means whereby minorities are oppressed for the economic or emotional benefit of Whites, then Whites should be better off than any other ethnic/racial group. Reality is far different however. When we look at the economic success of Whites, they fall rather in the middle of the pack when it comes to income and wealth. In his book, The Jewish Phenomenon, 2000, by Steven Silbiger for example he lists the comparative household incomes of U. S. ethnics:
The reason for this is what Feagin worries people will find out or already intuitively know: different groups have different average mental abilities, conscientiousness, and even creativity (as measured by the behavioral trait of "openness").
In Systemic Racism: A Theory Of Oppression by Joe R. Feagin, 2006, he states that, "This archetypal oppression of black Americans is responsible for a substantial portion of the initial white wealth on which the American economy and government were built. For more than two centuries, enslaved African Americans labored arduously (usually on land stolen from Native Americans) to develop agricultural and other economic prosperity for millions of white Americans in many walks of life. For many white families, this early prosperity led to some assets being passed down over later generations of whites to the present day. This wealth generation could be seen in many areas. For example, the trade in enslaved Africans and African Americans was a central reason why New York City early became one of the world's major cities. World-famous Wall Street was early on a center for slave buying and selling. In addition, enslaved workers built many of the country's first great houses and mansions, including such famous homes of presidents as Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and George Washington's Mount Vernon. Enslaved African Americans also built major educational facilities, such as buildings at early colleges and universities like William and Mary and the University of Virginia. Enslaved workers also constructed the great buildings that have become the most important political symbols of the United States—the White House and the Capitol in Washington, D.C. Ironically, these enslaved black workers put a bold Statue of Freedom on the top of that Capitol dome."
Feagin tries to weave a story about how initial wealth of a nation—under slavery—is somehow a permanent wealth that never diminishes. In fact, wealth has to be continuously regenerated because any accumulated wealth in terms of infrastructure, manufacturing plants, buildings, natural resources like oil and water, personal assets, even the quality of agricultural land erodes and has to be rebuilt over and over again. Everything wears out rather quickly and only a sustained effort will increase wealth rather than let it slip away. What Feagin ignores is that slaves were an economic benefit until emancipation. After that, they became an economic liability and they remain so today because of their low productivity in relation to their high demands on society's resources from schools, to prisons, medical care, difficulty in educational achievement, etc. This also includes the aesthetic costs of a race that to many, have a tendency to elicit disgust due to their odd behavior and appearance.
Feagin, "As I will show, this white-generated and white-maintained oppression is far more than a matter of individual bigotry, for it has been from the beginning a material, social, and ideological reality. For a long period now, white oppression of Americans of color has been systemic—that is, it has been manifested in all major societal institutions. This oppression has long been a dialectical reality; while it has been an intense system of oppression, it has also constantly encountered resistance."
Feagin has a habit of mixing up several statements together like run-on logic that becomes incoherent when looked at after being taken apart. He claims that "I will show," but of course he never does, because he uses only Hegelian means of "thesis and antitheses argumentation" to make conclusions. He has no empirical means of presenting his arguments much less showing them to have any substance. He then claims that oppression is only attributed to Whites while Blacks are equally upset with, for example, Jews, Koreans, Hispanics, etc. because they also feel oppressed by these other minorities. He claims White oppression is a "material, social, and ideological reality," but he never explains the desire, the means or the process for such oppression. He claims racism is in "all major societal institutions." How and by what means I must ask? And a dialectical reality is no reality at all—like religion it is a dogmatic faith in an antiquated method. He also, throughout the book, likes to claim that Blacks were always magnanimously fighting back, resisting, planning, organizing, and keeping the family intact the best they could—even when the women were repeatedly raped by White masters.
The history of course does not show that. Whites tried to enslave Indians but could not. Blacks were selected because of their low intelligence and pliability. They could quite easily be brutalized into submission. And even the charges of rape may be less than correct, as women often will have sex with powerful men for resources, protection, and yes—maybe for love or lust. The fact that a woman submits to a powerful boss or a powerful master does not change the chemistry between the sexes.
Feagin, "Indeed, an additional sign of the centrality of black Americans in this country's history can be seen in the impact that centuries of black resistance to oppression have had on society. For centuries, black Americans have fought against their oppression, as individuals and in groups. They have engaged in slave revolts, in fleeing slavery to Canada, in legal challenges in court, in civil rights organizations and movements, and in urban riots and revolts. Indeed, over the long course of this history, black Americans have probably been the most consistent and insistent carriers of the much-heralded values of expanded liberty, equality, and social justice for this society."
There were a handful of intellectuals among Blacks that were leaders. What Feagin leaves out however is the compelling evidence that Blacks were unsuccessful in their struggle for equality until the Jews and some Whites came to their rescue, set up the NAACP, and provided the intellectual means for them to challenge segregation. On their own, and that is still the case today, they would make little progress. Even today, it is White males who are promoting Barack Obama to become the first African American President according to the primary polls. What happened to that systemic oppression?
Feagin, "Today, fortunately, these values are still very much in the air, but local, state, and federal governments in this country still lag greatly, and political parties still hesitate, in eradicating racial discrimination and other forms of racial oppression. Research study after research study demonstrates that African Americans, as well as other Americans of color, still must struggle against placement by whites at the bottom of this country's racial hierarchy. For example, a recent survey of 202 black Bostonians found that 80 percent viewed racial discrimination in Boston as a significant problem. More specifically, 85 percent of the respondents felt that African Americans lose out on good housing because of fear of how they will be received in certain Boston communities. Substantial percentages reported facing discrimination from the police or in workplaces, and nearly half felt they were unwelcome in shopping areas or restaurants in the metropolitan area."
This may well be true, but is it racism or is it the multiple social and intellectual shortcomings of Blacks and "some" others of color that is the cause of being treated, on average, as different. Human nature uses both stereotyping and information about individuals to make decisions. If an employer wanted a steady, trustworthy, dependable person of color as a computer programmer say, they would certainly select an East Asian over a Black person based on numerous differences in their patterns of behavior and innate talents. Since companies are restricted to a significant degree from using intelligence tests as a tool for selection, they are forced to use stereotypes that are based on hard facts about the average intelligence of different racial groups. To do otherwise would be detrimental to the process of hiring, based on probability, the best person for the job.
Feagin, "The great and disproportionately black suffering of men, women, and children after 2005's Hurricane Katrina was, simply put, substantially the result of slavery still unwilling to die. Scenes of black mothers and fathers in these Deep South areas being unable to feed, clothe, and protect their children were in some respects reminiscent of the eras of slavery and Jim Crow when black mothers and fathers were often powerless to care for their children properly. The large-scale suffering and death in the Deep South revealed once again that a majority of whites have long been unwilling to give up any significant share of the unjust enrichment that they have collectively gained over centuries of systemic racism and to do something substantial about the unjust impoverishment faced by enslaved African Americans and passed along to their descendants over several centuries to the present day."
And when it was all over and time to rebuild, who would do the rebuilding? Primarily Hispanics moved in to get the job done. A tad more intelligent than Blacks, and far more willing to work, they were the stereotyped ethnic group that had the best record to get the job done.
Feagin, "Today, very few white political, economic, religious, or educational leaders are speaking out about, and working diligently to reduce, the devastating consequences of centuries of white-on-black oppression. Indeed, from the 1970s to the present day, most of the country's white leadership has supported a slowing of progress toward, or an actual backtracking on, the task of remaking this country into a true democracy where there really is 'liberty and justice for all.' Today, we are once again in a deep struggle for the soul of this country, for, in spite of the widespread profession of certain religious commitments, a great many white Americans still put much effort into maintaining the well-entrenched system of racial oppression."
After 1970, equal opportunities for Blacks had been realized, and had also gone beyond a just and racially blind system of opportunity. All kinds of overt and covert means were used to place unqualified blacks in jobs, thus displacing Whites. Equality wasn't good enough, so reverse discrimination was advanced to force equal outcomes where a meritocratic system did not provide the results that Feagin and his Marxist cohorts' desired. The rules of the game have been continually altered after each attempt to show that Blacks can compete equally as well with other racial groups and the effort fails. He also claims that we need a "true democracy," but he failed in the book to elaborate what is wrong with the democratic process that we now have. He probably wants a "peoples' democracy" similar to that once found under Soviet Communism.
Feagin, "Even though they may not now be aware of it, many white families today are comfortable or affluent because of these past and vast federal giveaways [the Homestead Act]. The enhanced incomes and wealth garnered by white Americans in one generation have generally been transmitted by them to later generations. This type of inheritance has enabled later generations of whites to provide much better educational, housing, and other socioeconomic opportunities for their children than the later generations of black Americans whose ancestors did not receive access to such wealth-generating resources because of massive racial discrimination and segregation. The other side of this centuries-long unjust enrichment for white Americans is the centuries-long unjust impoverishment for African Americans; this unjust impoverishment has often, with the help of continuing white discrimination, been passed along from one generation of African Americans to the next."
Feagin's assertion just does not stand up to research on the generational transfer of wealth nor the accumulation of wealth by people who had very modest upbringings. Fortunes are lost and fortunes are made, but most people are just part of the middle class. Fortunes are not some tangible quantity that maintains value through time but is elusive to maintain without work and intelligent investment. All one has to do is look at those families who have become lottery millionaires overnight, and see how many of them end up broke, modestly well off, or turn their fortunes into even more money. Most of them, not having the intelligence or the caution to act wisely, lose much of their wealth. When it comes to generational wealth, the same thing happens. The irresponsible children that show up in every family tend to lose the family fortunes. Others however may remake new fortunes because of their own individual talent. Feagin simply has no hard data on how one generation with wealth can benefit all of the subsequent families that follow. The wealth is simply too often lost over time. But the genetic quality that runs in families is a far better indicator of future fortunes made and kept.
Feagin, "To make sense out of the experiences of all non-European Americans, we must constantly accent the role of whites, especially elite whites, as the originators, enforcers, and remodelers of systemic racism in the United States. In addition, white-on-black oppression is an independent social reality that cannot be reduced to other social realities such as class stratification, though all major forms of oppression do interact and intersect with it historically. Indeed, white-on-black oppression today remains a major nightmare weighing on the brains and lives of Americans of all backgrounds."
Feagin fails to recognize that the White elite generally tend to embrace affirmative action more than lower class Whites who are adversely affected by quotas, set-asides, easy college admissions, etc. Is Bill Gates one of those elite Whites when he gives millions of dollars to fight aids in Africa rather than helping his own kind? Most White elites are generally indifferent to who loses and who wins in the zero sum game of the racial spoils system. Elites run in a multicultural world of other elites from around the world, they are isolated from their own kind and their own country. What they are mostly concerned about is their reputation, and if they get involved in racial politics it is usually on the liberal side. Few elites seem to care about their own ethnic group—they have simply left the village for the cosmopolitan adventure.
Feagin's paranoid world view, "An approach accenting systemic racism differs significantly from the conventional race-and-ethnic relations framework. The word 'systemic' comes from two Greek words meaning to place or stand together. I use it here in the sense of an organized societal whole with many interconnected elements. In later chapters, drawing on the commentaries of many black and white Americans in major historical eras, I explore how U.S. institutions have been thoroughly pervaded by enduring racial stereotypes, ideas, images, emotions, proclivities, and practices. This system of white-on-black oppression was not an accident of history but was created intentionally by powerful white Americans. Whites labored hard to bring it forth in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and have labored to perpetuate this system of oppression ever since. While significant changes have occurred in systemic racism over time, critical and fundamental elements have been reproduced over this period, and U.S. institutions today reflect and imbed the white-over-black hierarchy initially created in the seventeenth century. Today, as in the past, this oppression is not just a surface-level feature of U.S. society, but rather pervades and interconnects major social groups, networks, and institutions across the society."
Feagin makes it sound like a vast White conspiracy is controlling America. But such conspiracies simply do not exist. And for what purpose? Now let's look at what is really happening in institutions: diversity training, sensitivity training, teaching the benefits of multiculturalism, banning any speech that is offensive to minorities, etc. If anything, the socialist/Marxist left is in firm control of institutional indoctrination programs. Whites have been put on notice that they are no longer in charge of the indoctrination agenda, and anyone who tries to open up the conversation to alternative viewpoints such as genetic differences between races is quickly condemned and censored. Feagin would be hard pressed to show any instances of institutions putting forth anything but a politically correct approach to human interaction and policies.
The Feagin narrative, "Examining the lived experiences of African Americans who endured slavery and subsequent racial oppression, I will show that they constantly contended with exploitation and coercion, including physical and psychological violence, at the hands of white oppressors acting as individuals and in groups. These black Americans describe their oppression as crushing physically and psychologically, yet they also recount much personal and collective resistance to it. To understand profoundly and well the nearly four hundred years of white-on-black oppression and other white oppression in North America, one should study closely the experiences, views, understandings, and interests of those oppressed, as well as the experiences, views, understandings, and interests of their oppressors."
Social science is no longer scientific because it has turned to narratives rather than hard research using well developed tests that are unbiased. By selecting a few personal stories by a handful of Blacks does not prove anything anymore than listening to Islamic terrorists telling us anything about what their real motivation is. Stories or narratives, especially when they are selected based on what Feagin wants to prove, are a poor substitute for unbiased research where if narratives are to be used, they have to be taken down in a methodological manner that can be quantified and verified, and then followed up with additional datasets to validate results.
Feagin on labor, "What are the motor forces that drive systemic racism? Why does one form of systemic racism, white-on-black oppression, have such centrality and staying power over the course of this society's long history? One major answer to these questions lies in the long-term dependence of white Americans on African American labor. As I have noted, systemic racism began historically with extensive economic domination and vigorous economic exploitation, that is, with the violent theft of other peoples' land and other peoples' labor."
So is that why after slavery was ended there were movements to relocate Africans back to Africa? And why is it the Blacks are unemployed but corporations are pushing for open immigration so that they can hire immigrants rather than readily available Blacks? I have never seen anyone claim that our economy would be better off with more rather than fewer Blacks. In fact, Blacks dominate in the public sector job market rather than the private sector job market because companies that want to make money would rather hire any other minority over Blacks (well, maybe not American Indians). Feagin is truly delusional, but then his whole theory rests on observations that are in fact just the opposite of reality.
Feagin's obsession with sex, "Historically, the enslavement of African Americans encompassed the exploitation of black men's, women's, and children's labor in fields and factories, yet it also involved the exploitation of the procreative (reproductive) labor of those who were enslaved. In the South and the North, the forced breeding of black women and men—and the rape of black women by white slaveholders and their hirelings—accelerated the reproduction of an enslaved people to the economic and sexual advantage of many whites. This unpunished rape of black women continued after slavery during the era of legal segregation, indeed until the 1960s. This sexual violence by white men during slavery and legal segregation has had major consequences to the present day. For example, Patricia Williams, a distinguished law professor, has recounted the story of Austin Miller, her white great-great-grandfather. Miller, a prominent white lawyer in the South, bought Williams's eleven-year-old black great-great-grand‑mother during the slavery era. He raped the youngster, who thus became the mother of Williams's great-grandmother Mary."
Of course, Feagin has no way of knowing how violent or how loving these Black-White sexual liaisons were, but there was one outcome that has greatly benefited Blacks far more than it has harmed them. Blacks have about 20% White or Jewish blood in them raising their average intelligence from 70 in sub-Saharan Africa to 85 in the United States. In addition, some Blacks have exceptionally smart White or Jewish ancestors and they are extraordinarily intelligent and are advocates for Black advancement. Barack Obama is a good example of just what having White blood can do for one's status (is his extraordinary charisma from his Irish side or his Kenyan side—which is probably a mixture of Black, Semitic, and South Asian ancestors). So Blacks today are far better off because of the admixture of White and Black blood. If there had not been sexual relations between Blacks and Whites, Blacks today would most certainly be far more oppressed by their own failures to be able to adapt to modern society.
Feagin ignores Africa, "These costs can be seen in every era, from slavery to the present day. Thus, a 1990s United Nations report calculated a Human Development Index to assess the quality of life for various groups and countries, an index that included data on education, income, and life expectancy. Among all the countries and groups examined, white Americans ranked first in quality of life, while black Americans ranked only thirty-first on the list."
One wonders where most African countries fell on the index—no doubt towards the very bottom. Again, Blacks are not seen trying to leave in droves to go back to Africa for the good Black life.
Feagin speculates, "Firmly at the top of the U.S. racial hierarchy are individual whites of all backgrounds and their families. They, as a group, hold the top position in terms of racialized privileges and power. Below whites in this racial hierarchy is the large class of men and women of color and their families. Initially, in the first century of European colonialism, the workers of color included some Native Americans and a great many African Americans, but in the nineteenth century increasing numbers of other workers of color were brought into the racial hierarchy by white employers and expansionists. At points in U.S. history, whites, especially those in the elite, have moved certain groups of color up or down the racial status continuum as they have seen fit. However, no matter what their work efforts, education, or income may be, Americans of color have never been able to attain the full array of privileges and power long reserved for whites."
I think Feagin would have a very hard time finding any area of "privilege and power" that minorities have not fully penetrated. In fact, it is even hard to think of what the average White would consider as "privilege and power" as most of us put up with the same government intrusions, difficulties on the job, trying to raise children, etc., as all other people. Most people, no matter what race, have similar concerns and struggles, even if overall they do better or worse than average. And, the most important fact that Feagin ignores, is that Whites fall in the middle of the economic success pecking order, with East Asians and Jews doing better than Whites and Whites doing better than Hispanics and Blacks—on average. It is pretty absurd then to claim White privilege and power and yet we are just average in the overall contest for success. If anything, Whites have failed miserably at promoting their genetic interests over other races.
Feagin claims, "Nothing is more central to U.S. history than the ongoing struggle of working-class and middle-class whites to maintain their unjustly gained material advantages and this psychological wage of whiteness. Indeed, this historical reality is the reason that the United States has much weaker unions and a quite different labor history from numerous European countries: The many better jobs, opportunities, and resources reserved for whites only have constituted a great 'social safety-valve;' sharply reducing labor struggles with capitalists over the course of this country's long history."
Labor history in the United States, when it comes to unions is very recent and the advantages that might have accrued to Whites over Blacks was short lived between the Great Depression and the introduction of affirmative action in the 1960s, a short period of 30 years. But why wouldn't capitalists use Black labor if it was valued equal to Whites to break up the power of White unions? Why would capitalists side with and pay higher wages for union labor when Blacks could have been used to bust the unions? In fact, that is why unions and socialism are so weak in the United States. Any nation that is highly diverse in terms of ethnic groups is also a nation that is far less egalitarian than the homogeneous states of Europe. When a people are of one kind, whether racially, genetically, or culturally, it is far easier to implement socialist policies. Where the society is fragmented unions are hard to maintain, along with many other socialist programs. (Salter, 2004)
Feagin, "U.S. racism is both complex and highly relational, a true system in which major racial groups and their networks stand in asymmetrical and oppositional relations. The social institutions and processes that reproduce racial inequality imbed a fundamental inegalitarian relationship—on the one hand, the racially oppressed, and on the other, the racial oppressors. For example, at an early point in time, one such inegalitarian relationship counterposed white slaveholders (later, white employers) to enslaved black Americans (later, free blacks). The system of racism aggressively separates and alienates those defined and elevated as the 'superior race' from those defined and subordinated as the 'inferior race.' Generally speaking, those targeted by exploitation and oppression lose substantial control over many important aspects of their lives—over their land or labor, over the products their labor generates, over their relationships to others in their work group and to those in the oppressing group, and ultimately over their ability to develop the full range of their talents and abilities as human beings."
In fact, Blacks are obsessed with other races status and tend to be in conflict with Whites, Jews, Koreans, Hispanics, etc. If there is any "complex and highly relational" system in place, it is maintained and made salient by Blacks—not Whites. Whites are basically indifferent to relationships with regards to the status of Blacks as a group—we simply don't care for the most part. In Hatred: The Psychological Descent into Violence, Willard Gaylin does not recognize what Feagin calls systemic racism: "A culture of hatred is not necessarily a culture of haters. At least it may not start out that way. Even were every German an antisemite, which we know was not the case, prejudice is still not hatred. The typical antisemite is not an active Jew hater. Like any typical racist, he is relatively unconcerned about the disdained population. He stereotypes them, denigrates them, and for the most part ignores them. He may be a bigot, concerned with protecting himself from the contamination of the pariah population in his clubs and community, even in his schools. He may take pleasure in their humiliation, but he is not preoccupied with them. He wants less involvement, not more. His sin is in his exclusion of an individual from his concerns and compassion on the basis of his prejudice."
Feagin observes, "Typically, old racist images, understandings, and related emotions become part of an individual white consciousness at an early age and, indeed, often exist in individual minds at a nonreporting and unconscious level. Thus, researchers have recently found that, when given a test of unconscious stereotyping, nearly 90 percent of whites who have taken the test implicitly associate the faces of black Americans with negative words and traits such as evil character or failure. That is, they have more difficulty linking black faces to pleasant words and positive traits than they do for white faces. Most whites show an anti-black, pro-white bias on psychological tests. In addition, when whites are shown photos of black faces, even for only 30 milliseconds, key areas of their brains that are designed to respond to perceived threats light up automatically. In addition, the more unconscious stereotyping they show on psychological tests, the greater their brains' threat responses when they are shown photos of black Americans."
The question remains, do Whites have a fairly accurate image of Blacks when it comes to perceived threats, respect for their intelligence, and comfort with their more expressive manners compared to Whites? White reaction to Blacks as described by Feagin seems to correlate well with what we know about the average differences between the two groups. It seems reasonable that the response is quite rational in terms of the differences between Whites and Blacks.
Feagin claims that, "Recurring discriminatory action and other oppression targeting Americans of color require a breakdown of normal human empathy. Major Western social theorists have mostly missed the central importance of the fact that all human life begins in empathetic networks that are central to human societies. The first network is the dyad of mother and child, a network linked to other relatives. Usually central to these first networks is a basic human empathy, a desire and ability to understand the feelings of others. Thus, as it develops, racial oppression not only severely distorts human relationships but also desensitizes the minds of those involved in oppressing others. Racial oppression requires and stimulates in the oppressors a lack of recognition of the full humanity of the exploited and racialized others. Psychiatrists use the term 'alexithymia' to describe individuals who are unable to understand the emotions of, and thus empathize with, other people. Hernan Vera and I have suggested going beyond this individualistic interpretation to a concept of 'social alexithymia.' Essential to being an oppressor in a racist society is a significantly reduced ability, or an inability, to understand or relate to the emotions, such as recurring pain, of those targeted by oppression. Social alexithymia thus seems essential to the creation and maintenance of a racist society."
The problem with this view of human interaction contradicts what we know about evolutionary psychology and the environment of evolutionary adaptation. When neighboring tribes found themselves fighting over scarce resources, the result was warfare—not empathy. Equal empathy for all humans on earth is a maladaptive social construct, brought about by an irrational universal moralism and human's easy indoctrinability with an innate desire to go along with what is the current zeitgeist. Concern for others, if one considers reproductive viability for genetic continuity, requires that one supports their own genetic kin over unrelated genetic kin. From a purely scientific materialist viewpoint, the more genetically different other humans are, the more indifferent one should treat them, directing scarce resources towards those you are more genetically related to. (Salter, 2003)
Feagin claims, "The view of the country held by African Americans has long encompassed a more inclusive 'family of humanity' understanding that runs counter to the autocratic 'white father' view of a rigidly and racially hierarchical society. In their recurring resistance movements, and in their antiracist framing of this society, African Americans have regularly rejected their enforced dependent status and indeed envisioned a world of truly egalitarian social relations. Interestingly, during the 1950s and 1960s and under the influence or pressure of the black civil rights movement, a significant number of white Americans abandoned elements of the old 'natural order' language and metaphorical understandings for society in regard to racial issues and understandings. They shifted, at least at the level of public commentary, to a view accenting the more inclusive 'family of humanity' in which all people should be treated equally under the law."
If Blacks are more egalitarian than Whites it surely results from either cultural influence or it is innate—or a combination of the two. But does Feagin have any evidence that Blacks are universal egalitarians? Fighting throughout Africa would indicate that they are not egalitarian, and in fact are highly tribal when it comes to treating "the other" as they would their own kin. Of any race where comparisons can be made, as Kevin MacDonald has shown, it would seem that Whites are the most egalitarian naturally, even though I believe it is highly maladaptive for Whites to be egalitarian since we produce more wealth than any other racial group except Ashkenazi Jews. Of course, every antiracist proclaims that Blacks have a whole litany of positive attributes versus Whites, even though the evidence is to the contrary.
Feagin states, "One striking feature of systemic racism is how long it has now persisted with a very inegalitarian hierarchy in place. The perpetuation of this highly hierarchical system has required a constant reproducing of the major inegalitarian institutions of this society, with their requisite discriminatory arrangements and processes. For white-on-black oppression to persist across many generations since the 1600s, many millions of white individuals and groups have had to participate actively in the ongoing collective and discriminatory reproduction of the family, community, legal, political, economic, educational, and religious institutions that necessarily undergird this oppressive system."
Whites are repeatedly accused of both being racist and at the same time being indifferent to the plight of Blacks. Simultaneously we are actively oppressing and inactively indifferent—we span the full spectrum of possible responses to another's existence. However, when Feagin repeats these accusations over and over again, he never names or describes those "inegalitarian institutions" and he never explains how Whites "participate actively" in oppressing Blacks. Feagin simply hates Whites to such an extent that he demagogues on racism with simplistic accusations without substance. For him the observation is that "some" minorities are worse off than Whites on average, and this is proof enough of our evil intent. No other evidence need be considered.
Feagin continues his conspiratorial paranoia, "At the macrolevel, the large-scale racist institutions, such as the racialized economy and governments, have imbedded white-controlled normative structures and social networks and routinely perpetuate—and are routinely perpetuated by the means of—internal racial hierarchies and inequalities. These institutions are constantly created, recreated, and maintained by the processes of institutionalization, such as by legal processes, and by the reproducing and conforming actions at the micro-level by the many individuals in the numerous social networks within these institutions. Which aspects of racial oppression are reproduced, and when and where, varies with the particular institution and with the whites who operate therein, but the accumulating and comprehensive effect of most whites operating in socially reproducing ways within major institutions has been to keep the overall system of racial oppression spanning many generations."
The simple fact is that societies cannot be centrally controlled or collectively controlled by any conspiring group. People within societies can take advantage of opportunities and individually do very well in acquiring wealth or power, but societies are self-organizing systems without any identifiable guiding hand even though many people would like the government to have the ability to correct all wrongs. No matter what is done to help Blacks, they are simply incapable of taking advantage of systems that are beyond their understanding, just as Whites are incapable of taking advantage of these same systems as Jews are—on average.
Feagin claims, "Very important in the perpetuation of systemic racism across the generations is the role of social networking, which is an essential type of social capital. For long periods, often centuries, most whites have had access to critical social networks beyond those of their immediate families. These networks of white friends, acquaintances, and neighbors provide access to critical networking resources, such as information about decent-paying jobs, health care, political participation, and educational opportunities."
This nonsense implies that Blacks are incapable of establishing social networks, at the same time that Feagin claims that the African community is one that looks out for each other, is more egalitarian and caring, etc. Whites are evil, patriarchic, individualistic, have a protestant work ethic, etc. These claims by Feagin are simply contradictory. Some people are good at networking and some are not. Social networks are found in every culture, though they can operate at different levels from the family to one's religious or political affiliation.
Feagin states, "Because of this social reproduction of white-normed and white-controlled institutions, from the 1600s to the 1960s—about 90 percent of this society's existence—whites were the major or exclusive beneficiaries of almost all major programs of government aid and resource support, such as the homestead (land) acquisitions. Year after year, decade after decade, century after century, major supportive resources and their dispensing institutions were reproduced almost entirely for whites only. For only 10 percent of the society's existence, since the late 1960s, have African Americans and other Americans of color had significant—if still substantially restricted by much racial discrimination—access to many of the major wealth-generating resources provided by an array of local, state, and federal governments in the United States. Moreover, for generations now, literally thousands of local and federal police agencies have protected the governmentally provided resource inequalities from protests and challenges by resisting African Americans and other Americans of color."
Apparently Feagin thinks that the police should simply step aside when Blacks feel they deserve more and simply steal, loot or rape their way towards getting their just deserts. That is, we must be a racist society because we try to prevent anarchy.
Feagin, "Historically and in the present day, whites have also benefited greatly from an array of privately provided services and resources, such as much better access to unions, better-paying union jobs, adequate housing, home buying resources such as mortgages, health care services, and good recreational opportunities. These good quality private services and resources have also been mostly provided by white-controlled and white-cloned private institutions, which have made these services and resources generally unavailable to African Americans for much of their history—or have more recently restricted their availability by means of overt, subtle, and covert discrimination. Over the centuries, systemic racism has reproduced, and been reproduced by, innumerable private workplaces that have excluded black workers and many other workplaces riddled with discrimination and embedding subordination of black labor to white interests. Likewise, systemic racism has reproduced, and been reproduced by, a large array of private real estate and banking organizations operating to exclude or restrict the access of African Americans and other Americans of color to quality housing and to neighborhoods with good services."
Open immigration has been encouraged by big (White owned) businesses so that they can get access to cheap labor from a large number of "people of color." There is no active program of bringing in White immigrants from Eastern Europe for example. So I ask, why aren't these White owned businesses hiring only Whites at higher pay to benefit Whites over Blacks? That is what Feagin is trying to claim. In addition, why are Blacks incapable of organizing themselves to try and stop illegal immigration that puts additional Blacks out of work? Most businesses would prefer to hire Mexicans over Blacks.
When it comes to access to mortgages and housing, Blacks again complain no matter what the market offers. Traditionally Blacks complained that they could not get a mortgage as easy as Whites, though the data shows they were often incapable of repayment. Then, the subprime market started handing out loans to anyone who wanted them, and Blacks are complaining that they should not have been given these very shaky loans. Blacks do poorly in any free market because they simply do not understand these markets as well as Whites do—on average.
Feagin has an odd notion about mental health, "Also important for white perpetuation of, and collaboration in, systemic racism is sustained collective forgetting of society's harsh realities. Perpetuating racial oppression over the long term requires much collective forgetting and much selective remembering, most of which abandons white responsibilities for past oppression or glorifies white achievements, all in line with whites' racial-group interests. The refusal of most white Americans—including many historians—to remember clearly and accept responsibility for a long and bloody past of racial oppression is harmful to them as individuals and to the society as a whole, for no society can forever live a profound social lie. Western psychology has long taught that repressed memories 'remain more alive than ever and give rise to severe neuroses. It is better to accept a distressing past than to deny or repress it.' This conclusion seems to hold for both individual and collective memories."
This is truly a load of rubbish. People hold all kinds of folk tales about many issues that are far from any truth, including belief in false religions (they can't all be true). If this is true, then any society that adopts a secular or a theistic belief system that is based on faith alone without any empirical basis, must be living a profound social lie, and they are therefore neurotic according to Feagin.
Educated Whites have a good understanding of history and how moral systems have changed. They certainly understand that slavery was tolerated in the past by virtually all major nations, and slowly was banned as barbaric. This understanding however does not mean that people living today have any responsibility for what others have done in the past, and few Whites obsess over past injustices—or current injustices for that matter unless they impact them personally.
Feagin, "Negative stereotypes and images of African Americans and other Americans of color are constantly used, refurbished, played with, amended, and passed along in millions of white kinship and friendship networks, from one community to the next and one generation to the next. Today, as in the past, most whites still view African Americans in terms of at least some of the age-old negative stereotypes—the hoary sincere fictions about black Americans being 'unintelligent;' 'lazy;' 'immoral;' or 'criminal.' Whites pass along such views even when faced with evidence strongly contradicting them, and many take action on the basis of these unsubstantiated collective notions. In their social networks, whites also pass along an array of sincere fictions about how whites as a group are superior—that is, hardworking, intelligent, and very moral. Most whites initially learn their sense of racial position, of white superiority and outgroup inferiority, as children in critical social networks."
Feagin ignores the latest data on different races compiled by numerous researchers in the human behavioral field. It has been established by psychometricians that there remains a 15 point gap in IQ between Whites and Blacks in the United States, and the average intelligence for Blacks in sub-Saharan Africa is about 70. It has also been shown that these differences are about 80% genetic and 20% from unknown environmental influences. With regards to laziness and immorality I am not aware of any studies, but the data does show that Black crime rates are much higher than White crime rates—probably caused by low intelligence along with anger over perceived victimhood. As for White superiority, I am not sure that would include hard work and morality, but Whites have in fact produced by far most of the modern technology that the rest of the world desires to have. So yes, when it comes to producing goods, services, research, scientific advancements, cures for diseases, etc., Whites stand far out in front of any other race except the even more productive Ashkenazi Jews. Stereotypes can be profusely false or generally true—and they are neither good nor bad.
Feagin, "Why are there certain fundamental similarities between white-on-black oppression today and that of the era of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington? The reason is clear, as I have shown in this chapter. The oppressive foundation of the country, laid well during and before the founding era, has never been substantially replaced. Acting in collaborative fashion, whites in various institutional sectors have worked routinely and often aggressively to maintain whites' disproportionate and substantial control over the allocation of the country's major economic resources as well as the country's major political, police, and media resources."
This statement is only partly true. Whites may be overly represented on police forces, but that is changing under affirmative action. As for economic, political and media dominance, again the Ashkenazi Jews are over represented while Whites are underrepresented (see Jews in American Politics, edited by Maisel and Forman with an introduction by Senator Lieberman, 2001).
Feagin reports, "A common white stereotype, during slavery as now, is that African Americans are generally lacking in intelligence and are unreflective—a view that we will see in the next chapter articulated by slaveholders like Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington. Yet nothing could be more inaccurate and unperceptive. Those enslaved often reflected deeply and analytically about their subordinated condition and about how to free themselves. From childhood onward, Douglass reports thinking deeply and intensely about his tortured human condition. Even before he was eight years old, he recounts that he was often asking himself, 'Why am I a slave?' and 'Why are some people slaves?'"
The facts do no support Feagin's imagination. Blacks in Africa, when taken as slaves, had an average IQ of about 70. One of the reasons they were used as slaves was because with their low IQ they were easy to capture, keep, and manage. Contrary to what Feagin asserts, they were not wily slaves, often escaping because of their analytical ability. Native Americans on the other hand could not be enslaved due to their refusal to work as slaves. Blacks slowly increased their average IQs to 85 due to an infusion of White genes over time, and a few of these Blacks had relatively high IQs due to having White ancestors that were quite brilliant. Feagin uses these few Blacks to try and show that all Blacks had at least an average IQ rather than just showing that with mixed blood Blacks, exceptions would be expected. These anecdotal narratives are quite meaningless when it comes to placing Blacks in the failed race niche.
Feagin states, "Under slavery, there was not only an exploitation of the labor of production of black men, women, and children, but also an exploitation of the labor of reproduction of black women. We should note too that white slaveholders increased the number of people enslaved not only by raping black women, but also by forcing some black women to 'breed' with black men chosen by the slaveholders themselves. Indeed, slave breeding in Virginia was one reason why some powerful and influential Virginia slaveholders had spoken against the overseas slave trade (for example, at the U.S. Constitutional Convention), for they and their colleagues had a surplus of enslaved black people for sale. Clearly, the slavery system was a complicated machine for generating economic wealth and power, which included a well-developed system for the social and sexual control of both black women and black men."
Like I stated above, mixing White blood with Blacks has provided them with an increased IQ (one standard deviation on average) that has benefited them immensely. If they today had an average IQ of 70 like their left-behind ancestors in sub-Sahara Africa they would be even worse off today in trying to compete in a Western technological society. And there is a good chance that they would have been sterilized or shipped back to Africa as they became a financial burden on society.
Feagin states, "Reportedly, Madison rarely spoke in public about his views of African Americans, yet he did publicly support organized efforts to emancipate and expatriate those enslaved. One reason for this was, as he often said, their racial 'peculiarities.' Near the end of his life, he became president of the American Colonization Society, which sought to move freed African Americans outside the United States. In an 1819 letter to Robert Evans discussing one emancipation plan, Madison suggests that this emancipation should take place only with consent of 'the Master & the slave;' and then he adds: 'To be consistent with existing and probably unalterable prejudices in the U.S. the freed blacks ought to be permanently removed beyond the region occupied by or allotted to a White population. The objections to a thorough incorporation of the two people are, with most of the Whites insuperable.'"
Not much has changed today. Even with so much effort put in to integration, Whites remain reluctant to live among Blacks unless the Blacks are in the minority and they have higher status than average Blacks. Whites simply do not want to be around the antics, the violence, the drugs, the noise, and the lack of care put into properties and landscaping by Blacks. There are exceptions, but on average this is how Blacks are viewed.
Feagin claims, "White New Englanders tried to reduce local black populations by driving them out with settlement laws, taxing them out, working for colonization overseas, and destroying their homes and community institutions. Pamphlets, editorials, and cartoons vigorously stereotyped black Americans and pressed for their removal from the North. New England whites actually invented 'Jim Crow' segregation with an extensive array of laws and customs excluding African Americans from public schools, juries, and the voting booth; segregating them in churches and public accommodations; and even unearthing their deceased loved ones for medical use by white doctors. By the time of the Civil War, a majority of whites in most northern areas held to a white-nationalist view. In spite of centuries of residence there, black Americans were seen as dangerous aliens. Across the country, the overwhelming majority of whites held an image of whiteness that was largely generated in counter-point to the negative imagery of blackness."
Yet Feagin claims that Blacks produced wealth for Whites because they were routinely oppressed to work hard for low wages. Something does not match up if they were not wanted and at the same time they were desired for their cheap labor. Apparently, Blacks were productive when as slaves they could be forced to work hard for no pay. But when paid to do the work they were not valued and other groups could easily displace them with greater productivity.
Feagin, "Most black Americans were forced to labor, by law or economic necessity, for white employers at low wages. In most employment areas in all regions, including federal jobs in Washington, D.C., better paying job categories were usually reserved for whites only. In the South and many areas of the North, numerous professional organizations and schools excluded or seriously limited access by African Americans. These included organizations and schools in law, medicine, dentistry, social work, architecture, chemistry, engineering, and publishing. Branches of major private associations, such as the American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association, in the South and other areas were segregated and would not allow black members."
Today, because of affirmative action, Blacks can go into the high demanding professions but they are often not qualified to practice. They can't pass the professional exams or they have to study for years to squeak by. With low innate intelligence, they often are just not up to the standards displayed by Whites and Jews, but are given a pass to get through course work. When merit is destroyed for a quota system, the results become increasing numbers of incompetent professionals.
Feagin, "As was the case during the slavery era, sexual violence was part of a much larger use of violence by whites, and especially white men, to enforce black subordination and segregation. Indeed, white Americans have a very long history of bloodthirsty lynchings of black Americans. From the 1860s to the 1990s, an estimated 6,000 black men and women were lynched by groups of whites, small and large, in many areas of the United States, most often in southern and border state areas. Many of these horrific lynchings were never recorded. Such displays of white violence often involved the ritualized dismemberment of the victim's body and the distribution of its parts to white participants, including women and children. The grotesque and violent rituals generally reflected a strong sense of white supremacy and racial superiority, as well as an intent to keep black Americans fully subordinated to white control."
All humans have a bloodthirsty side to them that can become common in any culture or subdued. Germany, the Roman Empire, the Vikings, the Japanese, the Soviet Union, American Indian Tribes, etc. The list is long and at certain periods horrific acts were carried out to instill fear in the enemy and loyalty from subordinates. There is nothing unique during this period of slavery as slaves always pose a problem of revolting.
Feagin's fairy tales, "During this extremely oppressive and dangerous era, African Americans were frequently forced to hide their real thoughts from those whites likely to do them much harm. They were forced to pretend to be dumb or a buffoon to survive under the constant threat of white retaliation and recurring violence. Ironically, many whites, then as now, would say that they 'knew their black folks' or that 'their black servants liked them.' Yet, it was usually the whites who were ignorant, naive, and simple-minded about those they exploited and oppressed. Rarely have so many Americans been wrong so profoundly than the millions of white segregators who professed dogmatism in regard to knowing 'their blacks.'"
This is just another just-so story by Feagin, because he has no way of knowing what is going on inside of White slave owners' heads. By cherry-picking comments and diary entries, any case can be made for all kinds of attitudes and beliefs. Folk opinions do not take the place of research. This sounds like what happened to Margaret Mead in her study of Samoans. She was simply played with by especially the young girls, they told her all kinds of false stories and she believed them and published the false research. Feagin sees what he wants to see as reality, not what is actually taking place. It would be interesting to compare the Blacks who were enslaved by the Arab slave traders, who maintained an active slave trade from 650 to 1900 (1250 years), to the slaves in the West. Did these Arabs "know" their Blacks—or maybe they just didn't care. (Troost, 2007)
Feagin, "A recurring commentary from whites during this era centers on the alleged lack of intelligence of African Americans. Here this supposed lack is extended to all people of color and linked to their continuing exclusion from voting and other aspects of the political process, a problem that lingers in some form for African Americans to the present day in several areas of the United States."
Feagin has a habit of not stating what period of time he is talking about and he tends to extend attitudes over long periods of time based on the flimsiest comments or writings of a few people. Today, it is recognized that East Asian "people of color" have a higher mental ability than Whites on average. Researchers are very aware what the average intelligence is for different races or for different geographic regions due to selective migration for example (smart kids leave the farm). The measured 15 point IQ gap between Blacks and Whites has not changed in over 100 years once adulthood is reached. Any environmental improvement in intelligence for Blacks is reported at young ages when intelligence is more environmental (pliable) than genetic. As children reach adulthood however, the genetic component increases to 80% and the unknown environmental component shrinks to 20%. No environmental cause has been found, nor is there even a very active research program to try and find a way to increase the adult average intelligence of Blacks, because every attempt has failed. A standard deviation gap of 15 IQ points cannot be closed through environmental changes. In addition, the real gap is three standard deviations from an average IQ of about 60 for Australian Aborigines on the low side to an average IQ of about 115 for Ashkenazi Jews. Steven Pinker has given recent speeches, and research by others are showing, that the high Jewish IQ is genetic, and occurred when eugenic pressures and literacy helped push their intelligence higher than the surrounding population, primarily in Eastern Europe over hundreds of years.
Feagin, "The bottom-line data on centuries of white-on-black oppression are not difficult to find, though our schools and the mass media rarely analyze their deeper significance. Numerous recent research studies have shown time and again the reality and consequences of continuing antiblack discrimination by whites. Basic statistics on white-black differences in life chances and experiences suggest just how much racial inequality remains. Currently, for example, the unemployment rate for African Americans is more than twice the unemployment rate for whites, a ratio that has stayed at or near that level for all the decades since such figures were first tabulated. Similarly, median black family income today is still only about 58 percent of median white family income, a percentage that is worse today than at the end of legal segregation in the 1960s. Today the poverty rate for African Americans is about 24 percent, about three times the white rate. An even larger percentage of the next generation of black Americans—the children—live in poverty. Perhaps most indicative of the way in which unjust enrichment and unjust impoverishment have been reproduced over many generations is the huge imbalance in the wealth of average white and black families."
Scientific explanations require parsimony—that is, do not explain observations using complex and unfalsifiable theories. Instead, the simplest explanation for all of these disparities is the low level of average intelligence in Blacks, just like the similar disparities between Whites and Ashkenazi Jews can be explained by genetic differences. One's mental ability goes a long way in determining how a person's life may turn out statistically. Smart people are better equipped for life in a technological society.
Feagin, "Recall from the preface the Florida study that found that black students with unusual names averaged lower scores on tests and got fewer recommendations to gifted classes than their siblings with less distinctive names, apparently because exotic-to-whites names brought the former children less help from their teachers. In ostensibly desegregated public or private school settings, black children today face an array of racial problems set for them by many whites, including teachers, students, parents and counselors."
Often these "exotic" names are due to the low intelligence of the parents. They attempt to name a child phonetically, and then fail to spell the name reasonably. It is no wonder that teachers sense these children are less intelligent, so it is hard to tease out the real reason for the poor performance—low intelligence or not being well taught.
Feagin, "One of the ironies of much white commentary on African Americans today is that whites are so far off the mark in evaluating black families—which most whites likely see as weak, disorganized, or 'broken.' While black communities do have significant family problems, they are no greater than those for white communities, especially communities of comparable socioeconomic circumstances. Indeed, in some important ways, African Americans have stronger family values than whites, and they also typically have strong family networks."
Earlier Feagin claims that Whites have strong networks and Blacks are shut out of this advantageous social arrangement. He seems to want to have it both ways. It is White oppression that causes so much Black pathology, and then he turns around and claims that on average, Blacks have stronger and healthier social communities than Whites. If that is true, then they should be able to out-compete Whites at their own game if they really do have the social cohesion and the intelligence Feagin claims they have.
Feagin, "Today, as in the past, the well-entrenched frame that the majority of whites use in making sense out of important racial matters seems to be a metaphorical extension of the patriarchal model. African Americans are still often viewed as dependent beings, even as children who should follow the lead of their white 'elders.' From this perspective, 'American society' still means whites, and 'moral values' mean white-preferred values. A majority of white Americans view the continuing racial hierarchy of white over black as legitimate because they believe whites are culturally and morally—and still, for many, biologically—superior to African Americans and other Americans of color. As I have demonstrated for earlier eras, whites have developed within this racial frame an ideology defending white privilege as meritorious and accenting the inferiority of African Americans and other Americans of color. White elites are especially important in crafting and perpetuating ideological and structural racism, as they were in previous historical epochs."
I find any discussion of morals and values, and who has more of these unquantifiable attitudes, to be useless. Whites and Blacks both vary individually with regards to individual world views when it comes to social values and morals. However, the question remains that with low intelligence, Blacks have less ability to use executive cognitive functions to discern the consequences of their actions and their decision-making. Though they make less money than Whites, like Feagin points out they have even less wealth proportionally than Whites—meaning that they lack forethought to invest wisely. Blacks are simply more impulsive and will tend to spend their money rather than save and invest it.
Feagin, "Some researchers play down the strength of these white views, arguing that the majority of whites mostly hold suspicions and uncertainties, rather than firm negative views, about African Americans. Yet much research using surveys, in-depth interviews, and journals contradicts this view—including much data from the private arenas of white interaction examined later in this chapter. In thinking about racial matters, the majority of whites today make much use of the old stereotyped views of African Americans. Thus, one recent national survey found that 58 percent of whites interviewed still admitted to a stranger, a pollster, that they held stereotypical images of African Americans such as these: African Americans are lazy, aggressive, or violent; prefer welfare; or are always complaining. One third publicly admitted that they held two or more of these stereotyped views."
The questions then become, are Blacks inclined towards these stereotypes or are they in error? Many Blacks do seem lazy; they are statistically far more violent than Whites; which is correlated with aggressiveness; they would probably rather have a good job than be on welfare— but with low IQs they can't find good jobs so welfare may be a better option; and they do as a group seem to complain incessantly about their lowly position and blame it on racism. The survey then may not be that incorrect.
Feagin, "Since well before Thomas Jefferson's time, large numbers of white Americans have also clung devotedly to the image of black Americans as somewhat or much less intelligent than whites. Then and now, many whites have been taught such stereotypes at a young age."
Feagin then goes on mentioning older research, calling it racist, and dismisses completely the exponential growth in behavior genetics research that shows conclusively so far that about 80% of intelligence is due to genes and not the environment when adulthood is reached. Much of this data is being compiled by cooperative universities, the National Institute of Health, and researchers from differing fields. Very sophisticated mathematical models are also being developed to track down the genes (some have been located) that contribute to intelligence. Feagin and his kind dismiss any research that does not agree with the Marxist program to simply deny any differences in people—assuming that all humans have equal abilities and it is only the environment that holds people back from achieving some unknown potential. (Is it possible that all humans could have an IQ of 200 if just given the chance?)
Feagin, "The absence of equal-status experiences with black families because of intentionally segregated neighborhoods and communities contributes materially to white unfamiliarity with black Americans. In Chicago, several journalists did some interesting field research on the impact of residential segregation on cross-racial attitudes. They interviewed Chicagoans in two adjacent working-class suburbs, one predominantly white and one predominantly black. Whites were found to be very isolated and mostly living out their lives 'without ever getting to know a black person.' In both communities, there were fears and suspicions of the other group. However, the source of the fears varied significantly. The black suburbanites were 'fearful because much of their contact with white people was negative;' while 'whites were fearful because they had little or no contact' with similar black Chicagoans."
This is an odd and confusing explanation. I could see Blacks becoming annoyed or disheartened by getting negative vibes from Whites, but why would that cause fear if there is no crime, abuse, or misconduct on the part of Whites? Even stranger is the notion that Whites fear Blacks because of a lack of contact—with similar Black Chicagoans? That statement is not clear and may mean that Whites usually come in contact with lower class Blacks and therefore fear potential violence. But I fail to see how having contact with other Blacks in your own socioeconomic status would make fear of Black street thugs any less.
Feagin, "One societal change evident during and since the civil rights movement of the 1960s has been the increase in public and academic discussions of the role of white men in racial discrimination, however gingerly this may be broached in much of the mass media and in other historically white institutions. This questioning of white male power and privileges by people of color is new for white men who have never encountered significant challenges to their top hierarchical position and power. Not viewing themselves as seriously implicated in racial oppression, they often refer to themselves (or their families) as 'not being privileged' or 'not being powerful.' Indeed, many view themselves as victims of the remedial programs that they see as unfairly benefiting Americans of color—who, in their uninformed view, are no longer victims of racial discrimination."
Few Whites would in fact see themselves as privileged or powerful because in a complex society where competition reigns supreme, we are all in positions somewhere in-between others with more or less power and privilege. It is rare for anyone to feel these emotions, even if a person does have relatively more power and privilege than average. Most people feel that they deserve what they have achieved, even if they come from a wealthy family that helped them get started. The death tax is so reviled because to most people it seems perfectly clear that parents should be able to pass on what they have achieved to their children. Even in Chimpanzee troops, offspring born to high status females also have high status and dominance. Power, dominance, prestige, privilege, wealth—these are unequally distributed among individuals but not among races, religions, ethnies, etc. (see Lynn and Vanhanen, IQ and the Wealth of Nations.)If you were born in Kuwait with massive oil reserves and few citizens, you at least have plenty of money without much effort.
Universally, fairness is in the eye of the beholder. Most Whites see Black failure either because they just don't try hard enough (the conservative perspective), they are not intelligent enough (the scientific perspective), or they are discriminated against (the egalitarian perspective). None of these is the single cause, but even if Blacks tried harder, never experienced another episode of discrimination, they would still fair poorly because of their cognitive abilities. When you look at the whole trajectory of Black–White relations, it is only natural that either side can experience unfairness. Quotas are unfair, as well as selecting people based entirely on race. All kinds of schemes have been implemented that place Blacks and other minorities ahead of Whites, and the courts have regarded these mechanisms of redress as unconstitutional. However, if Feagin really does believe that merit counts for something, we could once again open up job opportunities and advanced education to those who work the hardest and perform the best on standardized tests. There are statistical means of making sure such tests are not racially or culturally biased, and the government could offer free assistance to anyone that needs additional help to catch up if they got a slow start.
Feagin, "Systemic racism today is clearly different in some important ways from slavery and legal segregation, but in certain fundamentals—including continuing white-on-black domination and persisting racial inequality in wealth and privilege—it is broadly similar to the racial oppression of the past. Contemporary racism is still much more than a matter of scattered white bigots discriminating against other people, but rather is about central U.S. institutions that still remain racially discriminatory and quite inegalitarian. As under slavery and legal segregation, U.S. economic, political, educational, religious, and media institutions remain dominated by whites, racially hierarchical, often exploitative, and chronically undemocratic."
Feagin obviously does not have any examples of just how U.S. institutions remain racially discriminatory because he never discusses the process. This seems odd as he claims it is pervasive, conspiratorial, and even alludes to Whites having in place a system whereby Whites are actively indoctrinating each generation in these techniques of discrimination. He also throws in two other demands that are not his to make. He accuses institutions of being inegalitarian, yet there is no mandate for an egalitarian society. In addition he claims the institutions are chronically undemocratic and yet he doesn't explain what he means by this. The accusation is just left dangling as some sort of social menace.
Feagin, "The black accounts of racial oppression, as well as the white accounts defending it, indicate clearly that such oppression is not a modest accretion on an otherwise healthy social system, but rather is a systemic reality central to a very unhealthy society. Systemic racism is the United States, and the United States is systemic racism. This is true of this society today, and has been true for several centuries. A careful examination of the historical and contemporary realities of this oppression reveals remarkable continuities in institutionalized oppression over many generations. This country's major institutions have long involved social arrangements that are racially exploitative, hierarchical, white supremacist in rationale, and undemocratic in operation. Especially when seen from the black perspective, the continuities over the centuries are obvious, well institutionalized, and extraordinarily inhumane. Ridding U.S. society of systemic racism will require large-scale efforts, going well beyond the path-breaking civil rights movement of the 1960s, to bring massive changes in all historically white institutions."
Feagin assumes since Blacks still do not fare well due to their low intelligence that nothing has changed since the days of slavery. This is of course absurd, as attitudes have changed drastically during the 20th Century, but may be changing to once again take into account a person's genetics, as well as how they were nurtured. He wants to mold humanity into an undifferentiated mass of sameness, for no other purpose it seems than to make the world in his Marxist image. Every nation on earth, where there are competing ethnies, have similar tensions as found in the United States, and in many cases far worse as they explode into genocidal programs between groups. But Feagin must fail in his desire to rid the United States of systemic racism because first he would have to create such a system out of whole cloth, and then try and destroy it. As it is, it does not exist. Nowhere in the book does he make the slightest effort to explain the mechanism of systemic racism so that the theory can be tested in an empirical way.
Feagin, "A central argument of this book is that white-on-black oppression and its accompanying inequalities have been socially reproduced by the actions of white individuals and small groups set within critical institutional and community frameworks. Once members of a group are racially privileged, as whites were from the extensive exploitation of African Americans in slavery and legal segregation, they typically pass on that privilege—in the form of money capital, social capital, and/or cultural capital—to their descendants, over one generation after another. This family transmission of privilege and resources is strongly supported by an array of societal institutions. The ability or inability of individuals and families to transmit important asset-generating resources from one generation to the next is highly dependent on the support of major institutions. Reproduced over time are these racially structured institutions, such as the economic institutions that persistently exploit and discriminate against black labor and the legal-political institutions that protect that oppression. In every generation, major organizational and institutional structures protect the highly racialized enrichment and impoverishment that are central to U.S. society."
Feagin uses a lot of words to state what he sees as THE remedy for oppression against minorities—enforce a strict economic and political egalitarian system where everything is distributed equally to everyone regardless of anyone's personal merit, talent, efforts, intelligence, acquired resources, etc. That is, the state would hand out political offices, both public and private jobs, and distribute income, housing, etc. based strictly on one's membership in the society. There will be no need to work hard, take responsibility, be respectful of your own or other's property, because final responsibility falls to the government. This is really what he seems to think is necessary to end racism—but of course such political systems always end up being totalitarian and oppressive to all those not part of the ruling elite.
Feagin, "Since the days of slavery, most whites have revealed a rather high level of social alexithymia, the sustained inability to relate to and understand the suffering of those who are oppressed. As they have developed or participated in oppression, most whites seem to have lost much of their human propensity for empathy, especially across group lines. For centuries, this social oppression has both required and constantly bred a lack of empathy and recognition of the full humanity of Americans of color. Today, most whites still do not 'see;' or do not wish to see, the impact of institutionalized racism or to recognize its determinative role in everyday life. A substantial majority persist in denying that white racism is systemic, commonplace, and devastating for its targets. The wide-spread denial of the reality of contemporary racial oppression is part of the age-old white racial framing of society. Indeed, the commonplace character of the denial of racism's foundational reality was revealed when I recently did an Internet search using a leading search engine. Extensive searching of billions of Internet websites found no references whatever among white commentators to language indicating a serious in-depth discussion of racial oppression as a critical and continuing part of the foundation of the United States."
Apparently Feagin is unaware of National Public Radio, and the hundreds of antiracist/Marxist web sites that operate on the simple principal that racism is rampant and it is solely responsible for racial inequality. Of course, Feagin is using an egregious stereotype about Whites when he claims they lack empathy, and then we look at European countries, especially Scandinavian countries, that are by far more giving in aid to third world countries than any other countries. If anything, Whites suffer from the weakness of universal moralism rather than tribal moralism that is found among most people in the world. Whites will punish other Whites for failing to be adequately empathetic and forgiving, while Blacks are free to accuse Whites of every possible conceivable infraction of injustice. Whites are extremely generous—giving and supporting all kinds of programs around the world to help "people of color" that are in poverty or in need of medical care, etc.
Feagin, "Moreover, over more than two centuries, numerous black commentators have been eloquent in their examination of the negative impact of institutionalized racism on the entire society and on whites themselves, including the impact of oppressive institutions on whites' character and political ideals. These probing black analysts have generally been far more insightful than most white commentators on U.S. racial matters. With rare exceptions, leading whites have not examined critically the benefits or liabilities of systemic racism for themselves or the larger society. In regard to racial matters, the sociological intelligence of white Americans is on the average far inferior to that of black Americans. I will return to these resistance issues in more detail in the next chapter."
Feagin must be listening to a different group of Black commentators than I have been reading or hearing. One thing that strikes me over and over again is the almost illiterate presentation and the lack of logic that most Blacks are capable of providing. Feagin's bias I must assume is not his respect for Black scholarship because that could easily be verified. Rather, it is his deep hatred for Whites and all things Western. He suffers from the same envy that radical Islamists have toward the West—and the major cause of terrorism and hate. The West produces products, invents cures for disease, we have wholesome and tolerant gender relationships, we are free to pursue our dreams without condemnation by others (for the most part), and we are rationally biased towards what is real rather than what is imagined.
Feagin, "Today, the systemic racism of the United States, with its firm racial hierarchy, now has impact and influence across the globe, as white Americans have become what Amy Chua calls the 'world-dominant minority, wielding outrageously disproportionate economic power relative to our size and number.' This power is wielded not only by leading U.S. politicians, but more importantly by U.S.-based multinational corporations, which are clearly among the most powerful white-controlled organizations on the planet. The economic and political operations of U.S. multinational corporations, backed by closely linked high federal government officials, have created increasingly huge wealth gaps on a global scale, gaps that mostly privilege white groups and mostly impoverish and subordinate peoples of color."
Feagin is correct that there IS one identifiable racial group that has precisely the power, wealth, and influence he describes above, but it is not Whites—it is the Ashkenazi Jews. (This site has a review of Amy Chua's book World on Fire.)
Feagin, "Efforts to counter and change the white racial frame can be undertaken for all ages, but such efforts are especially important for children. Currently, the substantially segregated U.S. educational system colonizes young white (and other) minds with the white racial frame. If we are to dismantle the system of racism, this educational system must be dramatically reformed so that it is reasonably integrated along racial lines and, most especially, provides all the country's teachers and youth with the tools to recognize clearly, analyze critically, and replace substantially or completely the white frame with its many racial stereotypes and other bits of racialized misinformation, emotions, and inclinations to discriminate. By the time white children are in school, most already hold negative views of Americans of color. Their stereotyped views must be directly challenged and replaced in a new array of required school courses. At an early age, students everywhere need to be taught in schools and other settings just how to break down and critically analyze the many racial-ethnic stereotypes of this society. In addition, teachers and other change agents can insist actively and constantly on African Americans and other Americans of color being viewed seriously as equal and valuable members of society from whose creativity all can benefit."
A good education includes learning about the world as it is, not as it should be or the way people want it to be. Tackling any stereotype must include the recognition that there may or may not be a substantial correlation between a stereotype and what is reality. If one holds a stereotype that dogs generally will bite a passing stranger, it would be irresponsible to teach children that this is entirely a myth. So if Feagin wants honesty and truth when it comes to stereotypes, he has to be open to the possibility that there is substance to many of the stereotypes that we hold—such as the violence found in Black slums (best not to walk there at night) and awareness that Blacks are on average less intelligent than Whites (so make sure your Black surgeon is an exception and not correctly stereotyped as under qualified).
On the other hand, emotions are quite often implicit and occur spontaneously; it takes more effort to change emotions. Emotions however are my own to do with what I will and as long as they do not drive me to break the law they should be of no one else's concern. We also should never give up our right to be discriminating because it is an important part of our repertoire of living well. A non-discriminating society would not be civilized. What Feagin is really asking for is to use propaganda to enforce a Marxist style of what is truth—that which the state says it is.
Feagin, "No person is an island; all residents of the United States are part of the same deeply troubled society. All will thus benefit, yet to varying degrees, from a large-scale change in racial oppression, as well as from change in the often related oppressions of class and gender. Major racial change will mean that whites will lose much in the way of racialized power and privilege. Still, the payoff for them and for the entire society is large, for real liberty, justice, and equality are impossible without major changes in the racially oppressive structures of this society. Indeed, this planet will not survive much longer if we continue to rely so heavily on the white men now at the helm for key ideas, policies, and actions in regard to the world's ecology, economy, and politics. Systemic racism has killed not only people, but many important human values, scores of excellent ideas, and countless innovations and inventions. One need not be melodramatic to suggest that the survival of the planet likely depends upon the speedy elimination of racial oppression and other major social oppressions."
Activists warn us that unless we pay attention to their summation of current problems and take their advice about the solution, our way of life will be in jeopardy. And yet, history tells us that we will continue to live our lives substantially as before without major changes in our happiness, our family relations, our daily life at work, our individual problems, etc. I read recently that activists are the new religionists; they adopt a dogmatic stance and agenda, and then proselytize like crazy as if they know something incredibly unique. Feagin is the worst kind of advocate for a position that is just not sustainable under scientific scrutiny. He contradicts himself in almost every area, relies heavily on conspiratorial views of how a racist society might operate, he never considers the obvious alternative of differences in people, and most importantly he is hateful and intolerant of anyone who disagrees with the notion that Whites are all racists, acting in concert, to keep minorities oppressed.
The fact is we are not a troubled society at all if you look at the standard of living and the way people conduct themselves in their daily lives. There are a few radicals and haters, but for the most part the different races are capable of getting along quite well at work, and away from work we have the freedom to go where we want and to do what we want with whatever resources we have. He says, "real liberty, justice, and equality are impossible without major changes in the racially oppressive structures of this society." Yet there is no evidence that America would be a better place if an oppressive central government forced a radical egalitarian equality on all people—against their will. The only winners in such a system would be the oppressors in the managerial state. Science alone is the only means for getting at the mechanisms that drive human social interaction. Feagin needs to put forth a parsimonious theory of why Blacks fail consistently and then look at all of the evidence in a coherent way, including looking at alternative theories. This he has refused to do; instead he just condemns anyone who disagrees with him on racial issues as being a racist. That is not scientific, but is in fact hateful intolerance, no different from that he so vehemently condemns.