Don’t Blame Me

Mus­ings are thoughts, the thought­ful kind. For the pur­pose of these ar­ti­cles, a-mus­ings are thoughts that might amuse, en­ter­tain and even en­lighten.

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Michael Walker

Iwas brows­ing the In­ter­net ear­lier to­day and I came across some ar­ti­cles about racial dif­fer­ences. I have to ad­mit that I al­ways feel un­com­fort­able read­ing such texts, even if they ap­pear to be well grounded in good re­search, be­cause I want to be­lieve that we are all cre­ated equal and that it is what we make of our tal­ents that makes the dif­fer­ence, but I guess I am naïve.

It is well known that the peo­ple of China en­joyed a rich civ­i­liza­tion long be­fore the Euro­peans ven­tured out of their hov­els, and this the Chi­nese can be proud of, but then they stopped and there came a time when var­i­ous em­per­ors changed so­ci­eties, changed univer­sity cur­ric­ula, and in­ven­tive­ness came to a grind­ing halt. So were the early Chi­nese brighter than the Chi­nese of the Mid­dle Ages? Prob­a­bly not, be­cause look how the Chi­nese are over­tak­ing the West again now!

Racial dif­fer­ences have also evolved as adap­ta­tions to dif­fer­ent en­vi­ron­ments. For in­stance, peo­ples in the trop­ics have dark skins pre­sum­ably be­cause these give pro­tec­tion against ul­tra­vi­o­let ra­di­a­tion that prob­a­bly causes skin can­cer, and Euro­peans and Ori­en­tals prob­a­bly evolved pale skins be­cause in tem­per­ate and cold en­vi­ron­ments, such skin tones al­low the syn­the­sis of vitamin D from sun­light.

I as­sume, per­haps wrongly, that sim­i­lar adap­ta­tions have evolved for in­tel­li­gence and per­son­al­ity. It was more dif­fi­cult to sur­vive in tem­per­ate and cold en­vi­ron­ments than in the trop­ics be­cause food was harder to ob­tain, and cloth­ing and shel­ters had to be made, so Euro­peans and Ori­en­tals evolved higher or dif­fer­ent in­tel­li­gence and in­ven­tive­ness to deal with these prob­lems.

Some be­lieve that colder cli­mates might also have helped evolve a lower gen­eral psy­cho­pathic per­son­al­ity. The prob­lems of sur­viv­ing dur­ing cold win­ters would have re­quired stronger bond­ing be­tween males and fe­males with greater and longer-term com­mit­ment by males to pro­vi­sion their fe­male mates and chil­dren, more re­spon­si­ble and con­cerned par­ent­ing, a greater sense of the im­por­tance of main­tain­ing har­mo­nious and co­op­er­a­tive re­la­tions within the group, and the de­vel­op­ment of stronger con­trol over ag­gres­sion and other forms of an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour to­wards other group mem­bers. These are not my thoughts; they are sim­ply bor­rowed.

Con­duct dis­or­der in chil­dren and early ado­les­cence is a fre­quent pre­cur­sor of psy­cho­pathic be­hav­iour in adult­hood. Con­duct dis­or­der con­sists of per­sis­tent dis­obe­di­ence, ly­ing, steal­ing, bur­glary, tru­ancy, van­dal­ism, cru­elty, and sex­ual pre­coc­ity. In the United States, Bri­tain and the Nether­lands, con­duct dis­or­der is about twice as fre­quent among black chil­dren as among whites, but is less com­mon among Ori­en­tals than among whites. This may re­flect the dif­fi­cul­ties of grow­ing up black in a pre­dom­i­nantly white so­ci­ety. It would be in­ter­est­ing to com­pare fig­ures for con­duct dis­or­der in chil­dren grow­ing up in Caribbean so­ci­eties where whites are def­i­nitely in the mi­nor­ity. It would be in­ter­est­ing to in­ves­ti­gate why Ori­en­tals suf­fer least from con­duct dis­or­der, even in west­ern so­ci­eties. Is the in­flu­ence of Ori­en­tal fam­i­lies stronger, per­chance?

Among young ado­les­cents, con­duct dis­or­der is ex­pressed as delin­quency. In the United States delin­quency (se­ri­ous ju­ve­nile crime) is about ten times greater among black boys and about four­teen times greater among black girls, as com­pared with whites. Con­duct dis­or­ders and delin­quency are also ex­pressed in sus­pen­sions and ex­clu­sions from schools be­cause of con­stant mis­be­haviour.

In Bri­tain blacks are ex­pelled from schools at about four times the rate of whites. In the United States blacks and Amer­i­can In­di­ans are ex­cluded from schools at about three times the rate of whites, and His­pan­ics at about the same rate, while Ori­en­tals are ex­cluded at about half the rate of whites. There are also race dif­fer­ences in sex­ual pre­coc­ity in early ado­les­cence. For in­stance, in the United States a sur­vey found that 33% of black thir­teen-year-olds had had sex­ual in­ter­course as com­pared with 15% of His­pan­ics, 14% of whites, and 4% of Ori­en­tals. Sim­i­lar dif­fer­ences have been found in Bri­tain where more blacks but fewer South Asian teenagers had had sex, as com­pared with whites.

I am a great be­liever in the in­flu­ence of en­vi­ron­ment and peer pres­sure, both pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive. Peo­ple who grow up sur­rounded by love, peace and har­mony are likely to blend in with their sur­round­ings just as those who grow up in cruel, vi­o­lent, self­ish en­vi­ron­ments will grow up re­flect­ing the habits and cus­toms that shape their lives. The will to con­form works both ways, for good and for evil, but if you be­lieve as I do, that we al­ways have a choice de­spite or be­cause of our en­vi­ron­ment, then our fates lie in our own hands.

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