"I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defense the only arms I allow myself to use -- silence, exile, and cunning." -- James Joyce
I'm just curious, but what conversation about race would you like to have Gene? Because I personally think that Scott Sumner's post is a beautiful example of how hard it can be to have an honest conversation with people on the right.
Well, for instance, I tried to explain to someone that there was nothing racist about Scalia's recent remarks on affirmative action. Well, I thought that because I am "stupid."But I can see why a progressive would find it hard to converse with Sumner on race: he is intelligent and thoughtful, and won't chant the appropriate cult slogans used by progressives.
Looking at your Twitter updates, I see I am absolutely correct: anyone who does not buy the entire progressive fantasy is a "reactionary."It is like trying to have a conversation about Scientology with Scientologists.
By the way, the use of "reactionary" is an almost sure sign of "thought absent in this space."
I've also tried to have conversations with my Republican friends in Georgia about the history of slavery, Jim Crowe, and structural racism, but it always devolves into them calling black people degenerates. That isn't exactly a productive discussion, so this problem seems cuts both ways. I disagree with your thoughts about Sumner. He's certainly thoughtful and intelligent (just like Noah Smith), but he doesn't even try to engage in discussion on race. He comes across as your typical right winger, someone who accepts the premise that racism still exists in the US, but immediately denies the problem when presented with real world examples. That reactionary comment on twitter was tongue-in-cheek. It wasn't meant to be serious or spark serious discussion. And my use of reactionary is a reference to the Dark Enlightenment types (i.e. Moldbug and other). I've been following your blog for years and I know you don't take those people seriously (most of them anyway). Also, for the record, I don't think Nick Rowe actually believes in that stuff.
And you never answered my question. What conversation about race would you like to have? Do you think structural issues are a problem for black people today? Do you think it's a cultural thing? Perhaps genetic? Or maybe a mix of all three? I'm genuinely curious.
I do not believe in any basic genetic differences between the "races": with Pius XI, I believe there is only one "human race." There are certainly historically created circumstances that create difficulties for black Americans today. That past has also created cultural patterns that disadvantage blacks in the US, for instance, the notion that doing well at school is "white." The whole topic is highly complex, fraught with difficulties and land mines... and dismissing people like Sumner and Rowe as unworthy discussants on this topic ADDS to those problems, rather than helping to alleviate them.
Yes, curious, the certainly are many racist white people! I would never deny that. I just don't think Sumner or Rowe are among them.I spent almost a decade of my life playing in a reggae band in which I was the only white member, and often playing in clubs in which I was the only white person. And I still go out and play with my great friends from that band, still often in clubs in which I am the only white guy. I have my "conversation on race" by actually setting aside my "white privilege," and entering into spaces in which my whiteness is certainly no privilege... and simply holding on to my faith that, as we are all children of God, I am still with my brothers and sisters. Among all of the many "progressives" I know, not one of them has repeatedly put themselves into a minority position as often as I have: in fact, most of them only know a few black professionals, and have never even gone to parties or slept over in housing projects, or spent many hours in black clubs and gatherings, which I have. That is how I have my conversation on race: by meeting people of other races as my brothers and sisters, among whom I am just as at home as I am with people whose skin color is more similar to mine.
What is this "conversation about race" supposed to involve? I've been left out of the loop. Can someone tell me?
Google "conversation on race".