When Scott Alexander reviewed my Anti-Racialist Q&A, he wrote:
But I think the most astounding part is that it might be one of the first things I’ve ever read to argue against racism (NO GOULD AND LEWONTIN DON’T COUNT).
I mean, I’ve read a lot of articles condemning racism, and accusing people of racism, and being very upset about the racism inherent in society. But this might be the first one I’ve ever read to argue against it.
I thought: that can’t possibly be true. It can’t be that the great legacy of Condorcet, and Mandela, and Dr. King has decayed into my grubby little paws. That cannot possibly be the state of the world, can it?
Apparently it is.
1. The BBC Cartoon
The BBC made a cartoon about Roman Britain, with the following depicted as a “typical Roman family”:
Paul Joseph Watson acidly commented on the lack of historical accuracy here. Mary Beard (history professor at Cambridge) responded that it was, then Nicholas Nassim Taleb weighed in, asking where, exactly, the African genes went if this was real, which was followed by Nick Cohen riding to the rescue of Beard.
There’s only one problem here: Cohen, Beard and the BBC are all completely full of shit.
2. Caucasian Africans vs African Africans
If you read Nick Cohen’s article, as well as Beard’s, it relies on the careful elision of the difference between north Africans and sub-saharan Africans, or more precisely, between caucasian Africans and african Africans. In all of the writing on the Beard/Cohen side, the argument that pops up is: “There were Algerian soldiers in Britain, THEREFORE this picture shows a typical Roman family.”
Ahem. I am going to explain this really slowly, and with pictures, so that even Beard & Cohen can understand it. Here is the Algerian parliament:
And here is the Kenyan parliament:
Notice the difference?
Surprisingly, SJWs are fully capable of noticing the difference when it suits them. In the recent film “The Mummy”, SJWs were furious at the following woman being cast as an Egyptian princess:
Despite her being from, wait for it, Algeria.
Oh. Funny how that works, right?
The science that Mary Beard disdains backs this up. Here’s a figure from Genetic Characterization of Human Populations:
Caucasian is the race that includes Europeans, Arabs & other Middle Easterners, Persians, Indians and North Africans. This conclusion may annoy lefties and racialists, but that’s their problem, not mine. Of course, there are counter-arguments of the ‘how many colours are there’ variety, but no one seriously doubts the underlying racial and genetic structure. There is another way you can check this: mixed-race children. Children of East Asians and Caucasians, or of Africans and either, are instantly obvious. On the other hand, children of Europeans and Arabs, or Europeans and Indians, can very easily ‘pass’ in either society. The actress Indira Varma is Indian/European. Here she is playing a ‘Dornish’ woman, the Game of Thrones equivalent of a spanish woman:
And here she is playing the part of an Indian servant girl, in Kama Sutra: A tale of Love:
Also in the original Star Trek, Khan Noonien Singh, an Indian Sikh, was successfully portrayed by someone of pure Spanish blood.
Finally, somewhere along the line, the BBC, Mary Beard and Nick Cohen seem to have forgotten that the Roman empire was, in fact, an empire. If I were to draw a cartoon showing a pukkah sahib being fawned on by a native wife with a golden-haired moppet in the background, and then tried to pass that off as A Typical Indian Family in the Raj, I suspect Indians might havesomething to say about this.
3. Why this all matters
Why am I banging on about this?
Through a combination of laziness, arrogance and dishonesty, the aforementioned have managed to turn themselves into megaphones for the AltRight. First of all, the BBC was too lazy to do any research and tried to put one over its viewers, ignoring the fact that you simply cannot get away with this in the days of the internet. Then Beard and Cohen decided to turn this whole thing, not just on the existence of ancient African civilizations (which would have been bad enough) but into a referendum on the validity of anti-racism. By effectively shouting loudly “This picture HAS to be right, otherwise the the AltRight is right” – and then making the shoddiest arguments imaginable, they have broadcast the AltRight message far beyond anything in their wildest hopes.
I notice the scrofulous Vox Day is laughing himself sick over this. He’s quite right to do so; this isn’t just an own goal, it’s more like winning the entire tournament for the other side.
4. Some quick points on racialism & the ancient world
I’ve written twenty-thousand words against racialism, and I stand behind every one, and I have yet to meet any NrX or AltRighter who can argue against them. The distinct impression you get from this guff is that the BBC desperately needs to shoehorn black Africans into Roman Britian, because otherwise there is no trace whatsoever of African civilization before the white man showed up…
Well, that’s unmitigated bollocks. Writing in the third century, the Persian poet & prophet Mani wrote that there were only four great civilizations in the world: Romen, Persia, China and Aksum (modern day Ethiopia). Ethiopia famously is the home of King Balthazar who attended the infant Christ:
And of King Memnon who fought in defence of Troy:
As recently as the travels of Marco Polo in the fourteenth century, Europeans took it as read that there was a great Christian civilization separated from them by the Islamic conquest.
Also, while this whole “We Wuz Kangs” stuff about Egypt is crap, there was another civilization, as developed, namely Nubia, which was indeed formed by Africans.
If you are surprised to hear about any of this, it’s likely because you’ve spent too much time listening to Cohen, Beard and the BBC.
So, once more: the anti-Racialist case is far too important to be left to hacks. It deserves to be defended with facts, reason and logic, not with arrogance, laziness and dishonesty. Memo to the aforementioned: your rotten arguments don’t suddenly become good because you deploy them in a good cause. All you achieve is disgracing the cause in question.