Monday, January 05, 2015

The black handicap

The idea that contemporary "white privilege" exists is hard to reconcile with real world actions and behaviors. Data from 23andMe shows that the threshold for black self-identification is around 28%. That is, among people who are, say, 20% black by ancestry, the tendency is to identify as white. But among people who are only 35% black, the tendency is still to self-identify as black rather than as white.

In other words, Americans are more likely to emphasize their non-white ancestry than they are to emphasize their white ancestry. Barack Obama is only the most prominent example of this--if everything about him were the same except he had two white parents and his name was Barry Johnson, no one would have ever heard of him, let alone elected him President. Blackness is, ceteris paribus, a benefit rather than a hindrance when it comes to getting ahead in modern America.

We see something similar to this among SWPLs who vociferously talk up their alleged native American heritage (ie, "My great-great-great grandmother was Cherokee"--never mind that the person who says this, even if being truthful, is only 3% American Indian). It also crops up in the observed tendency for people to identify less with and feel less pride in their ancestry the more accomplished that ancestry is, which conversely expresses itself as a tendency to identify with and take greater pride in one's ancestry the more that ancestry is said to have suffered historical grievances.

"White flight" is a phrase most people are familiar with. As Steve Sailer has noted on several occasions, one people need to start becoming accustomed to is "Flight from white".

6 comments:

Razib said...

In other words, Americans are more likely to emphasize their non-white ancestry than they are to emphasize their white ancestry.

i don't think you can say this much anymore. living in california it's pretty obvious ppl of white/asian and white/latino background don't fall into the same tendencies as ppl of black/white heritage. they don't deny non-white heritage, but since they look white and are treated as white, unless they are SJW types who are faking it, they pretty much assume they are white.

Audacious Epigone said...

Razib,

Officially white for potentially professional purposes, or white as in they don't adopt conspicuous underclass behaviors mostly associated with blacks like mixed black/white and lower class whites often do?

Aside from anecdote, I'm going off the strong trend away from identifying as ancestrally English over the last couple of decades and the high rate of "some other race alone" in the US census (since nearly all who identify as "some other race alone" are Hispanic--close to half, 42%, of Hispanics identify this way; 48% of Hispanics identify as white).

JayMan said...

"It also crops up in the observed tendency for people to identify less with and feel less pride in their ancestry the more accomplished that ancestry is"

I don't think that's it exactly. In addition to what Razib said, I think there's a key trend towards one group in particular (non-Celtic NW Euros) being distinctly unproud of their heritage. So identification trends in those directions, appearance (and "passability") discounted.

Razib said...

Officially white for potentially professional purposes, or white as in they don't adopt conspicuous underclass behaviors mostly associated with blacks like mixed black/white and lower class whites often do?

white as in most 1/4 asians don't look non-white, and no one knows they are non-white unless it somehow comes out. it's not a big issue. i know many of these people. this occurs even with half asians, who get treated as while quite often depending on how they look. same with latinos, of which there are many with a latino mom and nh-white dad here.

i assume the class valence is what you'd expect from additivity.

Audacious Epigone said...

Razib,

So the political/bureaucratic benefit of non-white status on the one hand but effective SWPL status in social settings, then? Based on GSS data, I suspect for Census purposes they identify as white less than would be predicted from ancestry alone.

Jack Burton said...

"white as in most 1/4 asians don't look non-white"

That's nonsense, they still have visible Asian traits.

Using the argument that "most people can't tell" is nonsensical, as most people are stupid, don't know much of anything about the world and science and can't remember what they did last week.