Racism, Guilt, Self-Hatred & Self-Deceit, par Gedaliah Braun.
Question: can such a true belief – a fact – be racist? The very idea seems absurd. A fact is merely something that is the case, and such a thing cannot, in and of itself, be racist. To call something racist is to say it is morally bad and it would seem absurd to call a fact morally bad.
But if a fact cannot be racist, neither can a proposition, for a proposition is simply what is made true (or false) by facts. A proposition, therefore, is like a ‘picture’ of a fact: to every fact there corresponds the proposition which would assert that fact, while, conversely, to every proposition there corresponds either a fact (which makes it true) or the absence of that fact (whose absence makes it false). So propositions and facts are intimately related, and if facts cannot be racist neither can propositions.
‘Blacks Know Difference Between Right and Wrong But Will Usually Do the Wrong Thing’ (p. 23)
During the month I spent in South Africa in January 1986, I took every opportunity to ask blacks what they thought about black vs. white rule (etc.). Almost without exception they said they did not want black rule and for the same reasons: the white man was cleverer and more honest.
The most memorable conversation was with a young woman taking a computer course in central Johannesburg. At first she expressed a noted hostility towards whites, saying she hated white people. All whites? I asked. No, just the Boers (Afrikaners). All Boers? No, just those who hated blacks. So what appeared an extreme view turned out to be quite reasonable: hating those you think hate you.
Nevertheless, there was this antagonism towards whites and so I said to her, ‘You must be anxious to see an end to white rule’. Her answer? ‘No way!’ She didn’t want black rule? Not at all. Why not? Her answer, almost word for word: ‘The white man knows the difference between right and wrong and will usually do the right thing. The black man also knows the difference but will usually do the wrong thing!’. And as I heard these words I knew I would not soon forget them.
The Concept of ‘Rape’ in Africa (p. 50-51)
I have long suspected that the concept of rape cannot mean the same in Africa as elsewhere. And now (over the Internet, MSNBC Home), I find this from Newsweek (“Breaking The Silence”, by Tom Masland, dated 9 July 2000; emphases in original):
According to a three-year study [in Johannesburg] … more than half of the young people interviewed – both male and female – believe that forcing sex with someone you know does not constitute sexual violence. … [T]he casual manner in which South African teens discuss coercive relationships and unprotected sex is staggering.
Masland is stunned by blacks’ behaviour, asking ‘Why Has The Safe-Sex Effort Failed So Abjectly?’ Well, aside from their profoundly different attitude towards sex and violence and their intense libido, a major factor has to be their diminished concept of time and their inability to think ahead, resulting in a ‘just-don’t-give-a-damn’ attitude.
Nevertheless, I was still surprised by what I found under ‘rape’ in the Zulu dictionary: Act hurriedly; …. Be greedy. Rob, plunder, … take [possessions] by force. The ‘problem’, of course, is that there is no mention of sexual intercourse! In a male-dominated culture, where saying “no” is often not an option, ‘taking sex by force’ is not part of their mental calculus. Furthermore, rape clearly has a moral dimension. To the extent that Africans do not consider coerced sex to be wrong, then, by our conception, they cannot consider it rape; because rape is bad, and if such behaviour isn’t bad it isn’t rape.
Do Blacks Treat Blacks Better Than Whites Do? (p. 67)
He claims that having such black ‘role models’ would undermine the ‘system’ and that blacks in these positions will treat blacks better than whites will. I would challenge all of this. To begin with, experience indicates that black bureaucrats tend to treat blacks worse than whites will, and that they will not be ‘more inclined to [provide] social goods to other blacks’. On the contrary, their need to feel superior means making blacks – the alleged beneficiaries of this ‘good will’ – feel inferior.
As to things running well, there is abundant evidence to the contrary. Remember what American blacks say: ‘If you want to die, go to a black doctor. … to jail, a black lawyer’. In South Africa, Nomavenda Mathiane, a militant black writer, reports being ‘appalled at the manner in which black officials deal with [black] customers’, many of whom, she says, ‘travel all the way into town rather than face the long queues at [black-run] banks’ (Sunday Times: “Let’s learn to do it well”, 19 December 1993, p.17).
Stark Confirmation From The New York Times (p. 68)
A piece from the ultra-liberal, anti-white New York Times discusses the difficulties affluent blacks have in hiring nannies (“Nanny Hunt Can Be a ‘Slap in the Face’ for Blacks”, by Jodi Kantor, 26 December 2006; all emphases added):
… interviews with dozens of nannies and agencies … in Atlanta, Chicago, New York and Houston turned up many nannies — often of African-American or Caribbean descent … — who avoid working for families of those backgrounds. Their reasons included accusations of low pay and extra work, fears that employers would look down at them, and suspicion that any neighborhood inhabited by blacks had to be unsafe… . “Very rarely will an African-American woman work for an African-American boss,” said Pat Cascio, the owner of Morningside Nannies in Houston and the president of the International Nanny Association…. . Many of the African-American nannies who make up 40 percent of her work force fear that people of their own color will be “uppity and demanding,” said Ms. Cascio, who is white. After interviews, she said, those nannies “will call us and say, ‘Why didn’t you tell me’” the family is black?
The ‘Myth’ of Black Inferiority (p. 71)
On the question of meritorious blacks being tarred by affirmative action, Shelby Steele, a black American writer, had this to say (Harper’s Magazine, February 1989):
… this myth [of black inferiority] is sadly reinforced … by affirmative action programs, under which blacks … [gain entry to] college with lower … scores … than whites. … … The families of these students … have pounded into [the students] the fact that blacks are not inferior. And … more than anything, it is this pounding that finally leaves a mark. If I am not inferior, why the need to say so? [In other words, thou protesteth too loudly; “The Recoloring of Campus Life: Student racism, academic pluralism, and the end of a dream”, p.50.]
‘Why Do You Need a Dictionary?’ Written vs. Oral Languages (p. 102)
My first inklings regarding African languages arose from a conversation with students in Nigeria about a coconut in a tree. How would you say where the coconut was – e.g., that it was about halfway up the tree? You couldn’t say that; all you could say is that it was ‘up!’. Right at the top? Nope; just ‘up!’. In other words, no gradations.
A few years later in Nairobi, two women expressed surprise that I had an English dictionary. Isn’t English your language? Yes, I said; it’s my only language. Then why do you need a dictionary? They were puzzled that I needed an English dictionary and I was puzzled by their puzzlement. There are always times, I said, when you come across a word you’re not sure about and so you look it up. But if English is your language, they said, how can there be words you don’t know? What? I said. No one knows all the words of his language.
But we know all the words of Kikuyu; every Kikuyu does. What? (even more surprised). Eventually it dawned on me: being entirely oral, their language existed only in the minds of its speakers. But given blacks’ lack of curiosity and the absence of any external input, the overall size of such a language will remain more or less constant – and, pretty much stagnant. And since such a language exists only in the minds of its speakers, they must know all its words, because if they don’t know them, where else could they be? A written language, on the other hand, existing as it does partly in the written word, can grow beyond the capacity of anyone to know it in its entirety.
The Concept of Precision (p. 103)
My queries into Zulu began when I rang the African Language Dept at the University of Witwatersrand and spoke to a white guy. I asked him whether ‘precision’ existed in Zulu prior to European contact. “Oh” he said, “that’s a very Eurocentric question!” and refused to answer. I rang again, spoke to another white, with the identical result.
So I called the University of South Africa (UNISA), the large correspondence university in Pretoria, and spoke to a young black man. What was the Zulu entry for ‘precision’. ‘To make like a straight line’, he said. Was this part of indigenous Zulu? No; this was added.
As has been my experience in Africa, we got along like a house afire. I explained my interest in Zulu. He understood and found my questions of great interest.
The Nature of Abstract Entities (p. 103)
Before going any further, let us consider the nature of abstract entities. First, they are usually intangible and can’t be perceived by the senses. The number seven is prime; this primeness, however, cannot be seen, felt or heard; it can only be perceived by the mind. Further, abstract entities are often things which do not exist. ‘What would happen if everyone threw rubbish everywhere?’ refers to something that could happen but hopefully will not happen. Nevertheless, we can think about it.
Everything we observe occurs in time and everything we see exists in space; yet we perceive neither with our senses, but only with the mind. Precision is also abstract; while we can see and touch things made with precision, precision itself can only be grasped by the mind.
Acquiring Abstract Concepts Requires Self-Consciousness (p. 103)
How do we acquire abstract concepts? Is it enough, e.g., to make things with precision to have the concept of it? Africans make excellent carvings, made with precision. So why isn’t the word in their language? Well, to have the concept of precision we must not only deal with precision but must become aware that there is such a thing and then give it a name.
How, e.g., do we acquire such concepts as belief and doubt? We all have beliefs; even animals do. When a dog wags its tail on hearing his master’s footsteps, it believes that he is coming. But it has no concept of belief because it has no awareness that it has this belief and so has no awareness of belief per se; in short, it has no self-consciousness.
A rat conditioned to expect food after pressing a bar but who then finds that sometimes it doesn’t come, will begin doubting whether the bar will bring food; but it does not have the concept because it lacks the self-consciousness needed to become aware of the state of mind we call doubt.
The Concept of Promising In Zulu: ‘I’ll try’ (p. 104)
After discussing ‘precision’ (with the black guy at UNISA), he assured me it was otherwise for ‘promise’. Hmmm? How about ‘obligation’? We looked it up. The Zulu entry means ‘as if to bind one’s feet’. No, he said; that was added. But if Zulu didn’t contain the concept of obligation, how could it contain the concept of a promise, since a promise is simply the oral undertaking of an obligation? For him this was a ‘light-bulb’ experience. I was interested in this, I said, because Africans so often failed to keep promises, and, never apologized – as if it didn’t warrant one.
Yes, he said; in fact, the Zulu word for promise – isithembiso – is not the correct word. When a black person ‘promises’ he means ‘maybe I will and maybe I won’t’. But, I said, this makes nonsense of promising, whose very raison d’être is to bind one to a course of action. When one is not sure he can do something he will say, ‘I will try, but I can’t promise’. He said he’d heard whites say that and had never understood it till now. In other words, as a young Roumanian friend so aptly summed it up, when a black person ‘promises’ he means ‘I’ll try’!
The problem here is clearly not linguistic. If it was, blacks would long since have learned the correct meaning; nor can it be a coincidence that the exact same ‘problem’ happens to occur in Nigeria, Kenya and Papua New Guinea. Much more likely is that they lack the very concept and hence cannot give the word its correct meaning. And that almost certainly reflects an intellectual incapacity.
Blacks and Time (p. 106)
My thinking about this began in 1998. As I pulled into my garage (behind my apartment building), several Francophone Africans drove up and stopped right in front of my garage. ‘Hey’, I said, ‘you can’t park here!’ Perfectly friendly and respectful, they asked ‘Oh, are you leaving [now]?’ ‘No’, I said, ‘but’ (stating what one would think was the utterly obvious) ‘I might later.’ ‘Park over there’ – and they did.
The point is, their thinking seemed to encompass only the here and now: if you’re leaving [now], we understand; but otherwise, what’s the problem? I had further such encounters and the key question was always ‘Are you leaving [now]?’
Future, Time and Space All the Same Word in Zulu (p. 106)
The future doesn’t exist; it will exist but doesn’t exist now. People who have difficulty in thinking of things which do not exist, will ipso facto have difficulty thinking of the future.
It appears that the Zulu entry for future – isikhati – is the same word as the word for time, as well as the word for space. In other words, none of these concepts exist in Zulu thought, period. It also appears that there is no word for the past – meaning, the time preceding the present. This should not be surprising since the past no longer exists, just as the future does not yet exist. Hence, people who have difficulty in thinking of things which do not exist will have difficulty in thinking of the past as well as the future. This has an obvious bearing on things like gratitude and loyalty – both of which are noticeably uncommon in blacks.
The reader may wonder why it took me more than twenty years to notice these things. Briefly, I think it is because our assumptions about time are so bed-rock that we’re not even aware of having them and so are equally unaware that anyone might not have them. Consequently this possibility is simply not on our radar – and so of course we don’t see it even when it stares us in the face.
Math and Geometry: A Problem for South African and American Blacks (p. 107)
A quote from an article noting the problems South African blacks have with mathematics (“Finding New Languages for Maths and Science”, The Star [Johannesburg]; 24-Jul-02, p.8):
[Xhosa] is a language where polygon and plane have the same definition; … where concepts like triangle, quadrilateral, pentagon, hexagon are defined by only one word.
Skeptic Becomes ‘Much Less Skeptical’ (p. 127-128)
Jared Taylor, author of Paved With Good Intentions, spent a year going about and speaking to university students.
Once their more militant fellows have left the room, some blacks become downright cordial. “You’ve opened my mind to a new way of looking at things”, one will say with a smile. … Some blacks are genuinely pleased to meet a white man who is not afraid of straight talk about race (American Renaissance, “Violating the IQ Taboo: A Report from the Field”).
Having reviewed this book and its thesis that black ‘anger’ is a con game, he says: ‘In 1993, I was very skeptical of Dr. Braun’s thesis. As I speak to more and more audiences, I find myself much less skeptical today.’ Indeed, in his book he foreshadows some of my claims about black anger:
‘… our society teaches blacks to hate whites. … [It] has done everything within its power to encourage [this] [p.108]. … Blacks have heard this so frequently they cannot help but absorb it [p.42].
In The End of Racism (1995), Dinesh D’Souza tries to ridicule the idea that black anger is a scam (p.390); yet he says (p.325) that ‘black rage is largely a response not to white racism but to black failure’. But if he is right, it is hard to believe blacks don’t, in their heart of hearts, know just what he knows, and hence hard to believe that they are not, in their heart of hearts, engaging (as I say) in a gigantic con game.
Black Theology and Black Power: Confirmation In Spades! (p. 130)
In the National Review Online (“‘Context,’ You Say? …”, 19 May 2008), Stanley Kurtz discusses the above titled book (1969) by James H Cone (black), ‘founder’ of black liberation theology (my emphases).
Cone understood his task as both “radical” and “prophetic”. It was … prophetic in its determinedly angry and denunciatory tone. … Cone demands and commends anger, … The black intellectual’s goal, says Cone, is to “aid in the destruction of America as he knows it.” Such destruction requires both black anger and white guilt.
But this of course is exactly my theory! The only reason blacks are able to so successfully use ‘anger’ as a weapon of psychological warfare is because of white racial guilt, as a result of which whites already blame themselves and hence accept that they have done the black man wrong, which in turn means that they have accepted the legitimacy of this ‘anger’. The two go together hand in glove.
Blacks Were Aware of White Self-Hatred Long Before Whites!
Even more startlingly revelatory (from the same NRO piece) is this passage, showing the absolute centrality of white self-hatred – and black awareness thereof – and how at least for some blacks it lay at the very heart of the so-called Civil Rights Movement:
In the preface to his 1970 book, A Black Theology of Liberation, [Rev. Jeremiah] Wright wrote: “There will be no peace in America until whites begin to hate their whiteness, asking from the depths of their being: ‘How can we become black?’” [my emphases].
Perhaps Wright didn’t know it, but he was, even then, preaching to the converted!
Whites’ ‘Secret Formula’ for Education (p. 142-143)
On a visit to Johannesburg in July 1988 I again spoke with Erich Leistner (of the Africa Institute of South Africa). He told me that many blacks think that whites have a ‘secret formula’ for education (like Coca Cola’s), which they refuse to share with blacks, and that that is why blacks are less educated! Leistner also mentioned how blacks insist on following whites’ routines to the letter, whether it makes sense or not. ‘If the whites have a study period at 2 o’clock, then so must we’, no matter how inconvenient it might be. In other words, outward form and ritual – ‘education’ is white man’s magic. In The Citizen (“Western Democracy is losing ground all over Africa”, 30 December 1993, p.12): ‘“It would seem Africans failed to obtain the correct formula for democracy”, said an African diplomat in Kenya’.
In fact, magic is as good an explanation for black failure as ‘discrimination’. In both cases nothing is allowed to count against the ‘favoured explanation’: no matter what, it is the fault of whites, either ‘racism’ or withholding ‘magical secrets’. Indeed, they are remarkably similar, for when all visible discrimination is removed, blame is then laid on invisible – ‘institutional’ – racism, just as, when witchcraft fails, it is due to ‘unseen forces’.
Robert Frost’s Definition of a Liberal (p. 158)
No one could have put it more succinctly than the American poet Robert Frost: ‘A liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in a quarrel’. In short, a liberal will always take the side of his adversary, even when the adversary literally wants to kill him. If he’s a Jew, he’ll take the side of the Arabs; if he’s white, he’ll take the side of blacks; if male, females; if heterosexual, homosexuals; if Christian, Muslims; etc.