White Violence, White Data

Here is my response to those who like to argue that blacks commit a higher percentage of violent crime. Such data simply shows the how many blacks were convicted, and not the actual racial rates of criminal activity. Besides, we know many other things as well.

We know that blacks are disproportionately targeted and profiled, stopped and frisked by the police. We know that blacks are more likely to be arrested more often and convicted more harshly than whites for the exact same crimes. We know blacks are more likely to be charged, convicted, and incarcerated for gun-related crimes and drug-related crimes, despite the fact that whites are more likely to carry illegal guns, to carry illegal drugs, and to use illegal drugs. We know that, when convicted, blacks are sent to prison for longer sentences, even for the exact same crimes. We know this was even institutionalized with drug laws which made the sentencing longer for drugs commonly used by blacks than drugs commonly used by whites.

The police focus most of their time in poor minority communities. It is unsurprising that they find more poor minority criminals. We tend to find what we look for. The data makes it obvious that many whites disproportionately get away with crimes because the police are mostly concentrated in the poor minority communities. A white person can shoplift and walk out of a store at the same time as a black person, and yet the black person will more likely get stopped when the alarm goes off. Whites have the privilege to more often get away with crimes.

Whites commit most of the white collar crimes. These crimes cost untold millions of dollars of damage every year.  They destroy lives and sometimes entire communities when untold numbers of people lose their life savings. Yet these crimes are the least likely to go to court or to lead to conviction and incarceration.

Whites also have a long history of mass violence that dwarfs all the individual violence of blacks combined. Most large-scale wars, wars of aggression, and world wars are started by majority white countries with white-dominated governments. The largest genocides were committed by whites. Most school shooters and serial killers are whites. Most of these acts of violence by whites rarely lead to trial, much less conviction, for the simple reason that much of this is state-sanctioned violence. The government doesn’t even keep good data about police corruption and police brutality. When police kill innocent people who were a threat to no one, typically the officer gets paid leave. Even when whites commit war crimes, there are rarely any consequences, except in the most extreme cases such as the Nazis. As long as they were on the winning side, they get accolades, parades, and medals.

Nonetheless, even ignoring the racial prejudice, in terms of raw numbers most homicides and other violent crimes are committed by white Americans. So, numerically speaking, an American is on average far more likely to be harmed by a white than by a black. This is even more true for anyone living in a white majority community for most crime against whites is committed by whites, and most communities in this country are white majority. Of course, most whites live in white majority communities. This is the very reason most crime in this country, violent and otherwise, is committed by whites. If racial prejudice in policing and the courts were ever to end, if we were to ever know the real number of white crime, it would be even higher still.

Racists have no response to all of this overwhelming proof of widespread racism. There can be no response to such political evil except to either demand justice or remain in silent shame.

* * * *

This has been on my mind for a long time. I want to write a detailed post about this one day. The data used by racists (or racialists or race realists or whatever, same difference) is frustrating because it isn’t honest data being used to make an honest argument.

There is one telling detail that I decided to leave out of the above summary.

White Southerners show the strongest support, of any demographic, for illegal wars of aggression and illegal torture. White Southerners, especially in the poor rural South, are among the most violent and crime-ridden in the country. They also are the most supportive of state violence used in policing, in the War on Drugs, and through mass incarceration. Whites in general and white Southerners in particular are strongly supportive of the harsh racial prejudice used against minorities by police and the courts. Most of the police, judges, and jurors convicting minorities harshly are white.

None of this gets included in rates of violence. Support of state violence is considered normal and acceptable, at least by whites who are disproportionately less likely to be the victims of it. When the victimizers keep the data, it is unsurprising what kind of official data is kept and shown to the public. And it is unsurprising what gets ignored and whitewashed. Most of the data is kept by whites for the purposes of a white majority society.

We need to be more careful and more honest about what data we use and for what purpose we use it. Data never speaks for itself. Instead, data speaks for those who control how the data is gathered, measured, and used. We need to keep that in mind, if we care about morality and justice, if we hope to ever create a free and fair society.

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30 thoughts on “White Violence, White Data

  1. Drug use is a complex issue. Drug use is only a crime because it is criminalized. And criminalizing it increases the violence related to it. This is no different than Prohibition.

    The racial component has to do with poverty. Minorities are disproportionately poor. Social problems like drug use often do correlate to poverty and so impact the demographic groups that are disproportionately poor. With the history of racism in the U.S., from slavery to mass incarceration, from sundown towns to redlining, blacks have been oppressively put into and sometimes forcefully kept isolated in desperately poor communities.

    Even so, it isn’t clear what the actual racial breakdown is for drug use. Some data shows whites use more drugs. Other data shows blacks do. And still other data shows it is about even. Whatever it is, the drug use disparity for races is very small. It can’t explain the racial disparity for drug arrests and convictions.

    What is the point of criminalizing drugs? As I’ve pointed out before, it seems to have few other purposes other than a method for attacking minorities and the poor, most especially poor minorities. It’s the same game of power and oppression played during Prohibition.

    The issue isn’t racial disparities in crime. The data for arrests and convictions aren’t about trying to understand the problem but about justifying the system of social control.

  2. “White Southerners show the strongest support, of any demographic, for illegal wars of aggression and illegal torture. White Southerners, especially in the poor rural South, are among the most violent and crime-ridden in the country. They also are the most supportive of state violence used in policing, in the War on Drugs, and through mass incarceration. Whites in general and white Southerners in particular are strongly supportive of the harsh racial prejudice used against minorities by police and the courts. Most of the police, judges, and jurors convicting minorities harshly are white.”

    Why do you think that is? And I don’t buy the internal nations theory which is basically racist against Northern Mexicans/South Westerners (particularly Hispanic) and Scotch-Irish. Do you think that imposed military cult by both the North (after the civil war) and the South (during the Confederancy)? You should look into that because the South’s economy until 1960s was almost entirely dependent on the military and military spending? IT is still largely so now. Do you think that is an accident?

    Also, in your anti-racist research, you are making an error: You are transhistoricizing “whiteness.” The concept of white nations is at most 250 years old. Even in the 19th century Europeans did not see themselves as unified races–that almost uniquely North American, and by the way, so are concepts like “Asian” and “Pan-Asianism” as well as “black.” To talk about the history of violence and large scale war as if it is a white issue is to trans-historicist the category. In both Marxist analysis and in anthropology we see this an error and a way in which anti-racists actually end up aiding the very concept they are fighting against.

    That said, you are right. In terms of national violence, both Asians and Europeans make the tribal violence of Africa dwarf down. Furthermore, “Racists have no response to all of this overwhelming proof of widespread racism. There can be no response to such political evil except to either demand justice or remain in silent shame” is the lynch pin isn’t it.

    The R.R. arguments on this are based on taking post-colonial violence and poverty tensions and explaining them back in history while ignoring similar patterns in European and Asian history which don’t show up now due to relative wealth both in North America and globally.

    • I’m sensing an aggressive edge from you here. I’m not quite sure how to respond. As usual, I don’t actually see much disagreement on most fundamental issues (largely just occasional miscommunications), although I’m a bit perplexed by your response to internal nations theory.

      “Why do you think that is? And I don’t buy the internal nations theory which is basically racist against Northern Mexicans/South Westerners (particularly Hispanic) and Scotch-Irish.”

      I do ‘buy’ the internal nations theory, assuming I know what you are referring to.

      I don’t see it as racist. Why do you think it is racist? I’m not following the logic of your racist allegation. Maybe I’m missing or misunderstanding something. Could you explain further?

      As I see it, internal nations theory simply points out that different ethnic groups have different cultures that get established where they are concentrated in high enough numbers or where a ruling elite was able to enforce it for long enough. In the case of ruling elites, they were typically racist, but I don’t think that therefore makes the theory about them racist.

      There is much else going on here. Ethnic culture and regional traditions are just one piece of the puzzle. I’ve never been one to claim one piece of a puzzle is the entire puzzle.

      “Do you think that imposed military cult by both the North (after the civil war) and the South (during the Confederancy)? You should look into that because the South’s economy until 1960s was almost entirely dependent on the military and military spending? IT is still largely so now. Do you think that is an accident?”

      I have looked into that kind of thing.

      The South has been known as a violent place for centuries. Even early on before the Confederacy and the Civil War, the South had a strong military/warrior tradition. This past century or so of history has magnified those factors, but it wasn’t something simply imposed on the South out of nowhere.

      I would argue the US economy in general, cross-regionally, is dependent on military spending, on the military-industrial complex, on the continuance of a military empire. The South has played its role as both partner and pawn in this game of militarism. If there wasn’t an already established culture there for a military tradition, it wouldn’t have been as suited for the location of the defense industry and military bases.

      I don’t say this as a way of excusing the North. The North has looked for ways of gaining control of the South, although that may have backfired in giving the South a foothold in regaining significant control of the Federal government. My main point in this isn’t the vying for power between regions, but the power they are vying for and the violence it is based upon. Also, I was making a point about those excluded from such power, both within the US and in other countries.

      “Also, in your anti-racist research, you are making an error: You are transhistoricizing “whiteness.” The concept of white nations is at most 250 years old. Even in the 19th century Europeans did not see themselves as unified races–that almost uniquely North American, and by the way, so are concepts like “Asian” and “Pan-Asianism” as well as “black.” To talk about the history of violence and large scale war as if it is a white issue is to trans-historicist the category. In both Marxist analysis and in anthropology we see this an error and a way in which anti-racists actually end up aiding the very concept they are fighting against.”

      I would have thought you understood my view better than that by now. I realize history is more complex than any social construct placed upon historical events.

      I don’t personally think race is a valid category whatsoever. It is simply a social construct that is enforced on society and on individuals. I use this category not because I accept it as fundamentally true and scientifically valid but because it is socially real in the minds of most people. Such social realities can be as powerful as more tangible realities.

      I use racial categories in a very loose way because that is how they are defined by those who believe in them. I’m speaking to a mainstream mentality. I’m not making a personal argument for a particular racial vision of society and history.

      “That said, you are right. In terms of national violence, both Asians and Europeans make the tribal violence of Africa dwarf down. Furthermore, “Racists have no response to all of this overwhelming proof of widespread racism. There can be no response to such political evil except to either demand justice or remain in silent shame” is the lynch pin isn’t it.”

      That is my basic point. I was using the mainstream belief in trans-historical races to make my point, but I wasn’t actually advocating for trans-historical racialism.

      “The R.R. arguments on this are based on taking post-colonial violence and poverty tensions and explaining them back in history while ignoring similar patterns in European and Asian history which don’t show up now due to relative wealth both in North America and globally.”

      I’m not sure I fully understand what you mean here, but I get the gist.

      • “I don’t personally think race is a valid category whatsoever. It is simply a social construct that is enforced on society and on individuals. I use this category not because I accept it as fundamentally true and scientifically valid but because it is socially real in the minds of most people. Such social realities can be as powerful as more tangible realities.”

        How is that not true of a “nation”? Why do you accept one social construct and not the other as valid? Indeed, the origin of race and the origin of nation come from the same time period and the same thinkers and until “race” was further biologized in the 19th century, were used interchangably.

        Race realists talk about “uncomfortable or hard truths” too. This is why I press you on this: you point out one category for which they are unquestionable correlations and actually accept an even more obtuse category because it provides you were a narrative. “Military traditions” do not emerge from nothing, and if you look at the history of the Scotch-Irish and the English planters themselves, the tensions of the South predate it for material, not purely “cultural” reasons. This is why my mild hostility comes from is that for all your talk about evidence, you actually haven’t thought out our categories to their logical historical ends.

        What is a “culture”? How is it possibly “More real than race”? Both have correlations one can take for evidence, but both are weak-tea as explanations. Ultimately its saying “Why the South act like that because the people who make up the South act that way.” That’s circular. If you say its because “they are Scotch-Irish” that’s ethnicist. If you say there is a history there, you actually have to explain it.

        Hence why the “internal nations” theory fails–it actually accepts the very same abstractions as the racial narrative from people who reject the racial narrative.

        “I use racial categories in a very loose way because that is how they are defined by those who believe in them. I’m speaking to a mainstream mentality. I’m not making a personal argument for a particular racial vision of society and history.”

        When you speak to the mainstream in the mentality of the mainstream you concede to the mainstream the validity of its categories whether you believe in them or not. This is why I don’t talk about race EVER in an uncomplicated way and naturalize the terms. Sure, other people use them that way. That is actually a large part of the problem.

        • Well, here is something of substance we maybe can actually disagree about. Maybe or maybe not.

          “How is that not true of a “nation”? Why do you accept one social construct and not the other as valid? Indeed, the origin of race and the origin of nation come from the same time period and the same thinkers and until “race” was further biologized in the 19th century, were used interchangably.”

          I use categories such as race and nation in a descriptive sense, not a prescriptive sense. The social constructs are socially real. even if they aren’t physically real. I’m not accepting either and certainly not advocating either. I’m simply speaking of them.

          Although not scientific categories, race as a social construction does have scientifically measurable results. For example, because of US laws, a loose eugenics was practiced for centuries on the US population. Because of this, the US is the only country in the world with a clear bimodal distribution of genetics according to the social construction of black and white races. That bimodal distribution is still relatively minor in the big picture, but is physically real.

          Acknowledging this reality doesn’t mean I’m accepting of this reality. Races still aren’t real. The exceptions to the rule are still immense. Nonetheless, social constructions are very much real things that have real impact. Many social constructions, if one has the power to implement and enforce them, can be made real. It would require immense effort and social control to make races physically real, but it could be done if there was the political will to do so.

          “Race realists talk about “uncomfortable or hard truths” too. This is why I press you on this: you point out one category for which they are unquestionable correlations and actually accept an even more obtuse category because it provides you were a narrative.”

          I’m speaking of the evidence. Like race, nations can be made real in that they can have scientifically measurable effects. They are ultimately fictions, but very powerful fictions. Many people don’t understand what a social construction is. It isn’t just a story we tell ourselves. They often are backed by political force. You can call that obtuse, if you want, but it doesn’t alter the social reality we face. The Cavalier culture in America was largely a fiction, even from the beginning, but the social and political traditions did form out of actual British traditions. Those traditions very much were and are real.

          ““Military traditions” do not emerge from nothing, and if you look at the history of the Scotch-Irish and the English planters themselves, the tensions of the South predate it for material, not purely “cultural” reasons.”

          I never in my entire life have argued that anything is caused by purely cultural reasons. Why are you arguing against something I’m not even arguing for? My whole point is that it did not emerge from nothing. I’ve never separated the cultural from the material. It is meaningless to talk about either in isolation.

          “This is why my mild hostility comes from is that for all your talk about evidence, you actually haven’t thought out our categories to their logical historical ends.”

          You’ll have to explain that further, if you want me to understand. I’m not sure if there is any real disagreement here or not. Which historical ends do you speak of?

          “What is a “culture”? How is it possibly “More real than race”? Both have correlations one can take for evidence, but both are weak-tea as explanations.”

          They are just pieces of evidence. Almost everything, including most supposed material hypotheses, are weak tea as explanations when taken in isolation. It is only when you put all the pieces together that a clear picture possibly forms, but even then we are always in the territory of speculation.

          “Ultimately its saying “Why the South act like that because the people who make up the South act that way.” That’s circular. If you say its because “they are Scotch-Irish” that’s ethnicist. If you say there is a history there, you actually have to explain it.”

          No, it is not. The theory is based on history and demographics. It is looking to the cause of why populations are the way they are, not merely describing them. It is like dismissing the category of depression as merely describing people as being depressed. Theories of depression do categorize people by describing behaviors, but they do much more than that. They look to deeper causes and they make predictions based on patterns.

          By the way, if you understood the theory of regional cultures, you’d know that it often has little to do with actual ethnic ancestry. Any person of any ancestry who is raised in a regional culture will tend to adopt it, just like with the children of immigrants learning a new language or like me starting to pick up a Southern accent when I lived there as a kid.

          The whole point is looking for the causal links. Entire books have been written about such. I don’t attempt to articulate the entire theory and all of the evidence every time I write about it.

          Also, it is just a theory, like any other theory, whether Marxism or Spiral Dynamics. It isn’t my belief system. It is just one of many ideas I like to play around with. I speculate. It is just what I do, how I amuse myself. I’m always looking for new evidence and new views. If you have any, please offer them and I’ll consider them.

          At the moment, I find social construction theory to be compelling. I think it helps explain why races and nations aren’t merely social but also material in their results. But my mind has changed a lot about these issues over the years. Studying about race and genetics has forced me to think much more carefully, but it also forced me to take the category of race much more seriously as well, instead of just dismissing it out of hand as just a belief. A social construction is something far greater than belief alone.

          “Hence why the “internal nations” theory fails–it actually accepts the very same abstractions as the racial narrative from people who reject the racial narrative.”

          I’m open to counter-arguments. I’d love to read a book that made a thoroughly detailed, evidence-based counter-argument. But I have yet to come across such a book. I’m always looking for the contrary evidence. I just haven’t found it to be as compelling, so far. Don’t just tell me this theory fails. Prove it. I’m not sure what it would mean to prove it false, but you seem to think it is an easy thing to do.

          “When you speak to the mainstream in the mentality of the mainstream you concede to the mainstream the validity of its categories whether you believe in them or not. This is why I don’t talk about race EVER in an uncomplicated way and naturalize the terms. Sure, other people use them that way. That is actually a large part of the problem.”

          I agree. There is a risk there. I’m trying to understand how a ‘mere’ social construction can have real world consequences, even scientifically measurable. It is mind-blowing that a belief in race when enforced for a few centuries can partly achieve that social vision in reality. The bimodal distribution of genetics according to racial categories is as real as it gets. That is eugenics in action.

          This is why I take the mainstream mentality so seriously. It isn’t just a deluded worldview. It is a powerful worldview. As a society, we are capable of all kinds of things, if we choose to make them possible.

          I’ll take heed of your warning. But I’m not entirely sure what to do about it. The main part of our problem is that we don’t know how to talk about any of this. We lack a useful and accurate terminology.

          As you know, I’ve been reading a ton of books about race. I know all the arguments for and against the use of race labels. I know this debate in greater detail than I know most other things. I know why you make your argument and I know why others make other arguments. Yet there is no agreement about how we move this debate forward.

          • “Although not scientific categories, race as a social construction does have scientifically measurable results. For example, because of US laws, a loose eugenics was practiced for centuries on the US population. Because of this, the US is the only country in the world with a clear bimodal distribution of genetics according to the social construction of black and white races. That bimodal distribution is still relatively minor in the big picture, but is physically real.

            Acknowledging this reality doesn’t mean I’m accepting of this reality. Races still aren’t real. The exceptions to the rule are still immense. Nonetheless, social constructions are very much real things that have real impact. Many social constructions, if one has the power to implement and enforce them, can be made real. It would require immense effort and social control to make races physically real, but it could be done if there was the political will to do so.”

            One) There are all sorts of problems with this that I do think have deeper implications than you do. For example, a formal reality and a physical reality? What is the difference? Is race somehow formally real, but not physically real even though it has physical effects? Or are confusing correlative power with explanatory power.

            Two) The idea of nation is not cause, even if viewed as demographics plus history. It would still be merely corelative in and of itself. The idea that because Scotch Irish settlers predominate in a region and that region has traits actually essentializes the idea of Scotch-Irishness. Some what are demographics? Who lives there in past. What is history, actions of the past. Let’s formalize the argument:

            “X lives in Y area. People in why area act the way X has historically acted. Therefore, Y area is a result of “x” in history” That’s actually still circular. You have to explain WHY X acts that way, not THAT X acts that way. To not make that distinction is a distinction between correlative observation and casual proof. The Internal Nation theory, like most nationalist theories, takes X as a natural category, but all we know about X is that it is correlative to a set of traits. Therefore, nations can be a way of understand development that can lead to causes, but cannot ipso facto be a cause without itself being circular. Trying to use internal nations to explain the differences in regional culture when the internal nations are basically just describing regional difference is still self-referencial.

            Do you see the problem? You at least need one step out. Why are the Scotch Irish that way if there are not purely genetic reasons for it? (And if we think there are only purely genetic reasons, we have what is essentially Ethno-race realism). Otherwise, we are confusing a descriptive rubric with an explanatory one.

          • “One) There are all sorts of problems with this that I do think have deeper implications than you do. For example, a formal reality and a physical reality? What is the difference? Is race somehow formally real, but not physically real even though it has physical effects? Or are confusing correlative power with explanatory power.”

            There are endless deeper implications. I’ve been trying to wrap my mind around social constructs for a while now. It still bewilders me. I don’t claim to have much understanding for what is actually going on, but I do feel certain it is extremely important to understand.

            You ask good questions here. I’ve asked similar questions. I just don’t know the answers. If I let all unanswered questions stop me from using uncertain and confusing terms, I might never speak again. Human language in general is a mess.

            “Two) The idea of nation is not cause, even if viewed as demographics plus history. It would still be merely corelative in and of itself. The idea that because Scotch Irish settlers predominate in a region and that region has traits actually essentializes the idea of Scotch-Irishness. Some what are demographics? Who lives there in past. What is history, actions of the past.”

            I don’t clearly see anything as cause, in the ultimate sense. Everything is caused by other things, going back and back. It’s causes all the way down. Of course, it is correlative. All theories that look at history are correlative because there is rarely good data from the past. Also, there is no way to repeat the experiment or alter the conditions for a new experiment. The past remains the past. This is as true for a nations theorist as for a Marxist trying to make sense of what came before.

            I think my understanding of such things is different than how you see it. There are plenty of people, including HBDers, who essentialize in that manner. I see all of this more in dynamic terms of complex webs of interrelationships. The Scots-Irish aren’t just a ‘people’ but part of a larger social ecosystem (both in Britain and in the US) of other ethnic groups, geography, politics, and economics. It isn’t an essential identity but a semi-stable pattern of relationships with specific groups, of ways of relating and being related to.

            I’m not sure you understand that difference, but I think it is important. It is a way of seeing the world that few understand, especially not race realists.

            “Do you see the problem? You at least need one step out. Why are the Scotch Irish that way if there are not purely genetic reasons for it? (And if we think there are only purely genetic reasons, we have what is essentially Ethno-race realism). Otherwise, we are confusing a descriptive rubric with an explanatory one.”

            You are missing large parts of the argument because of oversimplifying. It isn’t circular because history shows that these regional cultures can and do change over time. There was no Scots-Irish originally. They are a typical border people. The issue of causation is what created the border that created a border region and hence a border people.

            At first, it was the Romans who created Hadrian’s Wall. Then the English gave them land at the borderland in Ireland. And after that the Scots-Irish came to occupy the borderland created by the English in North America. All of these borderlands shaped the ‘cultural’ underpinnings of a particular region.

            Even the intelligent HBDers admit that the environmental conditions can and often do precede all else, even genetics. To understand causation, you have to look at the conditions that made something possible and probable. Then you need to look at similar environmental conditions to find the common patterns of social order, behavioral patterns, and psychological traits. We do have some interesting data about other border people. Sure, we are speculating a lot here in trying to connect the dots, but we aren’t operating on mere circular definitions.

            It isn’t all that strange and radical to observe that border people tend to have social problems that apply to unstable societies. Borders, after all, are historically unstable regions. The interesting part is why do borders often maintain social problems even when they stabilize or why do former border regions often maintain social problems even when they stop being official borders.

            Why do we still speak of and treat Appalachia as a border region so long after the Native Americans were put on reservations? Why do we still think of states like Kentucky as a border state even after more than a century following the end of the Civil War? Or to shift back to the originating point of the Scots-Irish, why is there still a border between England and Scotland almost two millennia after the Romans built it?

            Obviously, it isn’t just about these regions, but how they fit into the larger societal ecosystem. Borders like nations are just social constructs, just collective fictions, stories we tell ourselves and tell each new generation. A border in some ways is just a circular definition, but it is still real in terms of consequences, even if you can’t see it with your eyes.

            Yet, there is more to a border or a nation than just circular reason. There are an untold number of causes. Just because we don’t fully understand those causes and how they relate doesn’t mean it is merely a circular definition. That is just being dismissive and unfair. We describe as the first step in seeking to better understand. All research has to begin with descriptions in order to define what is being studied.

            Nation theorists don’t stop at definition. If they did, their theories wouldn’t be all that interesting. It is the data that is presented that makes it truly interesting. That is one area where I give hbdchick credit. She doesn’t just speculate and offer circular definitions. She looks at the best data she can find. Other nation theorists do the same thing.

          • “Obviously, it isn’t just about these regions, but how they fit into the larger societal ecosystem. Borders like nations are just social constructs, just collective fictions, stories we tell ourselves and tell each new generation. A border in some ways is just a circular definition, but it is still real in terms of consequences, even if you can’t see it with your eyes. ”

            The border does not have real consequences. The guns that enforce that border do, and the people who tell the stories that build the master narrative do. The nations in and of themselves explain nothing, they merely name. The difference between liberal idealism and Marxian analysis has always been that key point. You describe forms as if they are not correlations of the material things that enforce them. They may have use as quick descriptors, but they have NO explanatory power.

            This is why at the end of day, I am not a liberal. It is what I see as the deepest thing that separates the liberal from the Marxian plane of analysis. The liberal sees the abstraction that names a social complex and says that itself explains those relations, the Marxist asks “who holds the gun that makes that “abstraction” have real consequences.”

            You seem hesitant to take that next step. Sometimes I think because it implicates the heroes of liberalism profoundly… liberalism itself being a correlate set of ideas that emerged from people with money and armies who revolutionarily imposed their vision over a society whose prior vision was crumbling, but they were flesh and blood men who vision can from material reality. These descriptors are only helpful as short-hand–if we used to explain what they merely describe, we end up in mystification.

        • I do take your challenge seriously. And I’m always glad that you challenge me. But I’m just not sure what it all means.

          There are some things we may fundamentally disagree about. Other things, though, will require much thought to suss out. As always, most of our disagreements are probably a lot less fundamental than they first appear.

          I suspect when we each use terms like “culture” and “nation” we aren’t meaning exactly the same thing. If all we are doing is arguing about definitions of words, that is less of an issue of concern. So, it depends what is being referred to beyond terminological differences and miscommunications.

          I have been bothered by the language of races for a long time. I don’t use “black” and “white” lightly. I just don’t know easy ways of speaking of such issues. Part of my problem is that I get tired of over-explaining every single term I use, redefining what I’ve defined a hundred times before. At some point, I just assume that either someone understands what I mean or they likely aren’t worth worrying about.

          I’m not sure where I stand on our minor conflict here. My views truly are on shifting ground. That is the way I prefer it. I don’t want to ever feel too certain about my views.

          • “I have been bothered by the language of races for a long time. I don’t use “black” and “white” lightly. I just don’t know easy ways of speaking of such issues. Part of my problem is that I get tired of over-explaining every single term I use, redefining what I’ve defined a hundred times before. At some point, I just assume that either someone understands what I mean or they likely aren’t worth worrying about.”

            I find that I must use the term but immediately undermine the term.

          • What about other social constructs? Do you immediately undermine every social construct you use every time you use it?

            Specifically, what about social constructs such as “Western”, “European”, “American”, etc? How are those social constructs any different than “white” or “Scots-Irish”?

            I ask those questions in all seriousness. Our language is filled with many terms that refer to social constructs that are vague and unclear, that are contestable. We’ve barely scratched the surface of social constructs that could and maybe should be challenged, questioned, and doubted.

            Why just stop with labels for racial and ethnic identities?

          • My point is that they aren’t. Which is why I think your inter-national theory is mystification. IT is a specific logical error called hypostatistization: taking an abstract descriptor and giving it real existence because it does correlate to some real attributes.

  3. I was thinking about my frustration here. Part of it is that the larger point is getting distracted from. The same point could be made by replacing “white” with “Western” or with another similar descriptor for societies and communities of majority Euopean ancestry populations. But

    But that doesn’t really change anything. “Western” and :”European” are also social constructs, and ultimately no more valid than “white”. There is no objectively definable place that is West or Europe. It is as meaningless to call diverse people Western or European as it would be to call diverse people Eastern or African. Besides “Western” and “European” are typically euphemisms for “white”.

    All language is built on social constructs. And all social constructs are ultimately false or at best partially true. They are, after all, generalizations and reality provides numerous exceptions. Most such categories have vague borders. Still, we use social constructs because we couldn’t speak about reality otherwise.

    • Anytime I use words like “white”, I automatically have a thousand qualifications in mind, but mostly these are implicit. To openly and carefully state every single qualification would require turning simple posts into lengthy complex essays that no one would ever read.

      I could vaguely refer to qualifications without spelling them out, just to indicate that qualifications do exist and that I’m aware of them. But I don’t know if that would be much improvement for clarity of communication and for furthering debate.

      If I rewrote this post with every possible qualification explicitly stated, would that actually make for a better post? Would it in anyway fundamentally change the central argument? I honestly don’t know.

  4. I was typing something and my computer ate the comment while I was still typing it. Let me simplify what I wrote, instead of rewriting it in its entirety.

    I basically was pointing out that I’m referring to self-identified labels. When I speak of the views of white Southerners, I’m referring to people who choose to identify that way in censuses, polls, and surveys. These same people then answer questions about their views on a wide variety of issues such as support for specific wars, for torture (or advanced interrogation techniques, punitive crime control, and drug wars.

    I’m not forcing any of this onto these people. I’m not even arguing about whether they should or should not identify this way. It is simply how they choose to identify. This post wasn’t exploring the issue of why people choose to identify as “white”, “Southern”, “American”, “Western”, etc. I simply took those self-identifications as a given within the collected data. My focus instead was on the views of those who identify as such, not on why they identify as such or whether they should identify as such.

    It would be different if these were social categories and labels being forced onto them. I think dark-skinned people should be wary about accepting the label of “black” even in terms of black empowerment. Labels such as these were forced onto that population in the past. Nonetheless, most dark-skinned people have chosen to self-identify as “black” even though no one is forcing them to do so.

    That people choose these labels says something about our society and about these people. The same goes for ethnic/ethno-national/ethno-regional identities. My making observations about people who choose these labels is not to imply that I’m stating approval or advocacy for the moral merit or truth value of these labels.

    The original main point of my post still remains.

    • “I’m not forcing any of this onto these people. I’m not even arguing about whether they should or should not identify this way. It is simply how they choose to identify. This post wasn’t exploring the issue of why people choose to identify as “white”, “Southern”, “American”, “Western”, etc. I simply took those self-identifications as a given within the collected data. My focus instead was on the views of those who identify as such, not on why they identify as such or whether they should identify as such.”

      The very act of naming is an act of enforcement where you mean it to be or not. This is true for “blacks” as well. Whites emerged as a consequence of naturalizing blackness, a concept that did not exist in Africa before the slave trade as we agree. But you can’t say “white people.” I don’t choose to be white or not. My whiteness shifts based on the community I am in, NOT my self-identification.

      I am pressing this because I want to you see the difference between liberal and Marxian analysis is more than about markets, or socialism. It is an fundamentally different epistemology and historigraphy.

      It may not always be hostile to liberalism, in fact, it does emerge from it. Marx and Engels started off as liberals. IT was there frustrations with the explanations for society that led to the shift. Again we are talking about specific people and social structures in material reality, not just a set of ideas. Not that you believe these ideas have some kind of non-social meaning either, but the frustration you have with someone like me is tied to this particular kind of analysis.

      I think internal nations may describe the problem, but it does not explain it even in correlative terms because it is a hypostasization. And it definitely has no causal explanatory power.

      • “The very act of naming is an act of enforcement where you mean it to be or not.”

        My point is that I’m not the one naming and enforcing. I’m describing the results of those who have chose to name themselves thusly and who have enforced it on themselves. Sure, like all of us, we are indoctrinated into these naming systems. But that doesn’t change the fact that we are no more or less free in choosing these names than we are about any other aspect of life.

        “I don’t choose to be white or not. My whiteness shifts based on the community I am in, NOT my self-identification.”

        Well, the vast majority of so-called white people are self-identified as white. You are highly unusual. You aren’t the norm. If you don’t self-identify as white, then my post obviously isn’t referring to you. Maybe other self-identified whites would identify you as white as well, but that is an issue between you and them, not between you and I.

        “I am pressing this because I want to you see the difference between liberal and Marxian analysis is more than about markets, or socialism. It is an fundamentally different epistemology and historigraphy.”

        I am pressing you in return because I don’t get the sense that you know where I’m coming from. My looking at things as complex webs of interrelationships, of causes that are effects, with endless contributing and confounding factors isn’t “liberal” in the normal or mainstream sense. I don’t know what my epistemology and historiography is, but it doesn’t follow the linear models of standard liberalism.

        Your attempt to categorize me is as frustrating to me as maybe it feels to you when others attempt to categorize you as “white”. You seem to assume that I have a fixed position. I throw out ideas all the time, but that doesn’t mean they are my beliefs. I just play around with ideas for the fun of it, whether liberal ideas or Marxist ideas or whatever. I have no ideological loyalty.

        This is why I can write a post about Southern economics being pre-capitalist and then later write a post about Southern economics being capitalist. My own position is that neither “capitalist” nor “pre-capitalist” really captures the full complex reality. They are just different lenses to look at the world, and there are many other lenses as well.

        I play around with theories in the way PKD does in his Exegesis, although with less ungrounded manic exuberance.

        “It may not always be hostile to liberalism, in fact, it does emerge from it. Marx and Engels started off as liberals. IT was there frustrations with the explanations for society that led to the shift. Again we are talking about specific people and social structures in material reality, not just a set of ideas. Not that you believe these ideas have some kind of non-social meaning either, but the frustration you have with someone like me is tied to this particular kind of analysis.”

        Part of the problem is that I’m not a materialist. I see the world as being much stranger than materialism. Something like Marxism seems to barely scratch the surface, from my perspective. I’m frustrated with liberalism, Marxism, and most other -isms. Not that I’m denying -isms either. I just think we need to find new paths of thought, experience, and action, both individually and collectively.

        “I think internal nations may describe the problem, but it does not explain it even in correlative terms because it is a hypostasization. And it definitely has no causal explanatory power.”

        I’m big about describing the problem. A doctor always first diagnoses in order to apply the most appropriate procedure or medication. I don’t see Marxist materialism as having any fundamental explanatory power either. I don’t want to just know about positions and relations of material power, but what is behind it all, the hard to grasp human reality of behavior (the soft mushy reality that only the social sciences have gone very far in explaining).

        • Try claiming you aren’t white with white skin. You’ll find people will not let you nor is your white privilege dependent on that claim. The only think weird about me is my liminality makes that obvious.

          • I understand. None of us are genuinely and fundamentally free. There is always something that precedes or underlies any claim of freedom we can make. We are creates of environments, both physical and social.

            I fully realize that I never chose to be white. Nor did I choose to be American. I wouldn’t even know what it would mean to deny all these external claims on my identity. At the root of my being, I have no idea what I am or even what I could be. That not knowing is my starting point.

            I don’t have the same kind of liminality you experience. But I have my own experiences that have brought my awareness into a liminal space. For me, depression was the crack in the normal. a crack that I fell through. I’ve lost myself in depression, almost entirely at one point (suicidally speaking), and came out the other side like a battered boat without an anchor in a vast ocean.

            When I say that I have no loyalty, I mean that in a deep sense I don’t really understand the concept of loyalty in any grand way. I have loyalty to my closest friends. I even have loyalty to my cats. But this is more of a primal loyalty, a gut level attachment. It’s personal and intimate. It is an expression of basic humanity, my being human.

            Of course, I realize when you speak of ideology you mean something very different than what most people mean. I use ideology in its colloquial use and its etymological meaning.

            There are many ideologies that seek to claim me. That is how our world works. There may be no way to escape the ideological, depending on what what means by that term. But I will always seek to find that space between ideologies or, failing that, set ideologies against each other.

            I don’t care if it is political ideology or racial ideology. I don’t want to be loyal. Maybe my claims and attempts at ideological disloyalty are pointless, but they are how I seek to maintain my sanity in a world that wants to keep me blind and stupid. I’ll fight the good fight as best as I know how for as long as I’m able.

            I’m sure I’ll lose my battle. Those who embrace ideological loyalty tend to win the war of ideologies, of course. I refuse to play that game, even if it means I lose by default. I’d like to believe that my defiance counts for something. Anyway, liminality is just a more fun game to play. I’ll take liminality over loyalty, even as all the world demands my loyalty and will punish any denial of it. If I can maintain some space within myself that remains unclaimed, then that is the greatest freedom I feel capable of.

            Maybe denying ideological loyalty is just a gesture. I can only hope that it is more than an empty gesture, but I’m not in a position to say what it ultimately means. It is an impulse I feel and I don’t know if I can explain it to someone who doesn’t feel it as well.

        • “Your attempt to categorize me is as frustrating to me as maybe it feels to you when others attempt to categorize you as “white”. You seem to assume that I have a fixed position. I throw out ideas all the time, but that doesn’t mean they are my beliefs. I just play around with ideas for the fun of it, whether liberal ideas or Marxist ideas or whatever. I have no ideological loyalty. ”

          It is frustrating to have it pointed out that you have no control over your identity. Identities are social, not individual. The identity out adopt is just a ideological construct, but the identity you are is what people label you. Of course, this is not the real you. Neither is the you in your head. The reality of a person is not something that can be known during his or her life. Hence the old dictum, “call no man happy until he dies” because only then do we have an idea of what I life could mean and what names would be fair.

          ” I have no ideological loyalty. ”

          All people have ideological loyalty, it is when what they can’t question. What they cannot speak about. This “I have no ideology, I believe in science” is itself extremely pernicious. Thing about the people you are arguing with Race realist, radical identarians, etc. They make the same claim. They don’t have an ideology. They have science.

          ” don’t see Marxist materialism as having any fundamental explanatory power either. I don’t want to just know about positions and relations of material power, but what is behind it all, the hard to grasp human reality of behavior”

          The problem is that I think fundamentally you have the order operations wrong. What is behind it is history. What it is mere justification. Ideology is just a coherent system of rationalization from which we can derive an identity. It fills a tribal need. It also has truth claims, and some tribes are more in line with the what we can discern about reality than others, but that does not make it any less tribal.

          Science can disprove, but rarely can it prove. So too when dealing with identity confirmation.

          • “This “I have no ideology, I believe in science” is itself extremely pernicious.”

            But that isn’t what I said. I wasn’t claiming belief in science as a non-ideology. I said precisely what I meant.

            I simply have no ideological loyalty. This isn’t meant to imply that I have no ideological influences or tendencies. I have many, but they aren’t narrowly dogmatic or even necessarily consistent in all or most ways. There are worldviews that fight for my attention and for my loyalty.

            “Thing about the people you are arguing with Race realist, radical identarians, etc. They make the same claim. They don’t have an ideology. They have science.”

            I don’t claim to not have an ideology. My point is that I don’t have a single ideology. I have many ideologies or many ideologies have me, which is to say no single ideology has me fully. My psyche is the meeting ground of ideologies that I have come into contact with, some consciously and much less-than-consciously. These are more like demons that seek to possess me.

            “Science can disprove, but rarely can it prove. So too when dealing with identity confirmation.”

            That is the most interesting thing I’ve seen you state so far in this discussion. I agree. I’m not seeking ultimate answers, totalizing systems, absolutist ideals, etc.

            My mind is too messy for that, in both good and bad ways. I have no ideological loyalty in that I’m severely divided and internally conflicted. That is my weakness, but it is also what I try to use to my advantage in seeing beyond boundaries. I can play with an idea without feeling like I must be wholly invested in it.

            My loyalty is to my curiosity because I don’t know how to not be curious. It is the demon that has managed to possess me to the greatest degree, so far. Curiosity is truly a demon. It leaves me dissatisfied and restless. It haunts me in the form of depression and sometimes a detachment.

            My lack of ideological loyalty isn’t necessarily of moral merit. It is just a description of the condition I find myself in.

            I don’t know if any of that makes sense to you. It is how I make sense of my own experience. Take it or leave it.

  5. My point is that, if you don’t question as harshly every single social construct as much as you do racial and ethnic social constructs, then you aren’t being consistent. You’ve given no justification for this inconsistency.

    Labels such as “Christian” and “Jewish” are also social constructs. Objectively speaking, there is no evidence for a “Jesus Christ”, “God”, “Jehova”, etc. For example: There is no evidence that all “Jews” are a genetically distinct population and certainly not a single ethnic group with a direct ancestral link to the earliest Jews.

    My theory isn’t mystification. That is just bullshit. You are making a straw man argument and then beating it with the political correctness stick. On top of that, you are hypocritically being inconsistent.

    Every generalization in the world can be said to be false. Even homo sapiens isn’t really just a single species. Some humans have neanderthal genetics and others don’t. Some humans have denisovans genetics and others don’t. Some humans appear to have other hominid genetics and others don’t. Supposedly, homo sapiens’ genetics are close enough for them to produce viable offspring with chimpanzees and bonobos. According to your “logic”, one is forced to conclude that the label “human” is a hypostatistization.

    All language is based on generalizations and abstractions. There is no “tree”. The concept of “treeness” doesn’t exist in the real world. It is an abstraction. It is a generalization with many exceptions. Depending on where one lives, one’s idea of a “tree” would be very different.

    Humans have been trying to categorize reality for millennia and most of the categories we use, including in science, are nothing but pragmatic categorizations. The evidence is always shifting. Species that seem superficially similar sometimes don’t share the same evolution. But we don’t dismiss the attempt at seeking understanding just because our understanding is always shifting with new evidence.

    You aren’t being intellectually fair and consistent in your criticism. I’m calling you out on that.

  6. “The border does not have real consequences. The guns that enforce that border do, and the people who tell the stories that build the master narrative do.”

    Guns don’t have real consequences either. Only people can make borders and guns have real consequences. Even before guns, people were enforcing the real consequences of borders. The creation and defense of borders is built into our instincts. Most species defend territories and these territories tend to be larger and more clearly defined with the more highly intelligent social species.

    “The nations in and of themselves explain nothing, they merely name.”

    The problem is your assertion is false. Would you claim that a tiger defending its mating and hunting territory is not defending something real? Any other tiger can come along and smell where that tiger has peed and rubbed its glands. Any other tiger knows precisely where the borders of that territory are, as easily as a human can look at a map or a sign stating the location of a boundary.

    “The difference between liberal idealism and Marxian analysis has always been that key point.”

    Since that key difference is invalid in the case of this theory, then I don’t see the point you are trying to make.

    “You describe forms as if they are not correlations of the material things that enforce them. They may have use as quick descriptors, but they have NO explanatory power.”

    I’m describing forms, I’m pointing out observations, and I’m looking at similar examples to consider examples. Like others, I’m basing my theorizing on historical data and on more recent data such as from scientific studies on psychological traits in populations, cultures of trust, etc. Many people are studying population differences from various angles.

    You declare that none of this has explanatory power, but that is just your subjective opinion.

    “This is why at the end of day, I am not a liberal. It is what I see as the deepest thing that separates the liberal from the Marxian plane of analysis. The liberal sees the abstraction that names a social complex and says that itself explains those relations, the Marxist asks “who holds the gun that makes that “abstraction” have real consequences.””

    The failure of many liberals and Marxists is that they only look at the pieces they have while ignoring all the rest. They try to create theories based on partial evidence. Neither the liberal or Marxist can see what the other sees, a pair of blind fools. The Marxist sees liberalism as nothing but superficial abstraction. And the liberal sees Marxism as nothing but superficial materialism. Both are partly correct in their criticisms of the other.

    This is why I prefer to go a different path. I don’t have a label for it, though. I’m only a liberal in the loosest of senses. I do want broader theories with greater explanatory power as does the liberal (which those like you call abstractions), but I also want to know who holds the gun (and who creates the border). By the way, a gun is a social construct as well, one made real. Give a gun to an isolated indigenous person who has never seen a gun and he might just use it to crack open nuts.

    The idea of a gun is a social construct, no different than a border. It is always a matter of having the knowledge of how to use a gun or border once it has been built. Who holds anything, whether gun or border, whether social construct or material resource, is who holds the potential for real consequences.

    “You seem hesitant to take that next step.”

    If anything, I sense I want to go further than you want to go… or else I want to a different direction than what you approve of. I’m a wanderer. I don’t follow approved pathways, whether liberal or Marxist.

    “Sometimes I think because it implicates the heroes of liberalism profoundly… liberalism itself being a correlate set of ideas that emerged from people with money and armies who revolutionarily imposed their vision over a society whose prior vision was crumbling, but they were flesh and blood men who vision can from material reality.”

    I regularly criticize liberals and liberalism. I also regularly criticize Midwesterners as much as I criticize Southerners. I save some of my harshest criticisms for the town I live in which is a liberal Midwestern town with one of the highest racial arrest disparities in the country. I love implicating the heroes of liberalism, especially profoundly. I’ve written some detailed posts about the failures of liberalism.

    “These descriptors are only helpful as short-hand–if we used to explain what they merely describe, we end up in mystification.”

    I don’t limit myself to mere descriptive attempts to explain. I’m always looking beyond mere theories to ever new data.

    This goes back to one of our earliest arguments about defining categories such as “liberal” and “conservative”. I pointed out that one of the main studies I was using had measured ideology in numerous ways which undermined your criticism that it was only being measured simply and narrowly.

    We can argue about such data (its quality and significance). But I won’t accept your false allegations that my theories aren’t based on data, that they are just self-referential abstractions, just superficial descriptions.

  7. I have a love-hate relationship with large theories. I want to find theories that compellingly have the greatest explanatory power. But my doubts, criticisms, and questions usually win out in the end.

    Whiggish histories always make me feel wary. On the other hand, part of me is attracted to theories like that of the Axial Age and Spiral Dynamics. I love an elegant theory. I particularly like how Ken Wilber has attempted to create a larger framework of knowledge, including Spiral Dynamics, and yet I don’t trust Wilber as a guide. He lets too much of his ideology get in the way.

    Like HBDers, I do give Wilber some credit for what I think he gets right. The idea of an integral theory feels right, whether or not he gets the details right. I ascribe to what he explains in the following quote:

    “An integral approach is based on one basic idea: no human mind can be 100% wrong. Or, we might say, nobody is smart enough to be wrong all the time. And that means, when it comes to deciding which approaches, methodologies, epistemologies, or ways or knowing are “correct,” the answer can only be, “All of them.” That is, all of the numerous practices or paradigms of human inquiry — including physics, chemistry, hermeneutics, collaborative inquiry, meditation, neuroscience, vision quest, phenomenology, structuralism, subtle energy research, systems theory, shamanic voyaging, chaos theory, developmental psychology—all of those modes of inquiry have an important piece of the overall puzzle of a total existence that includes, among other many things, health and illness, doctors and patients, sickness and healing.”

    I don’t think any theory, whether that of nations or Marxism, is entirely true or entirely false. I’d rather find a meta-theory that allows us to explore and connect other more narrowly/tightly focused theories.

    What I’m wary of most of all is ultimate explanations. When I propose or discuss a theory, I’m never arguing for it as an ultimate explanation. I see everything as at best just another piece of the puzzle. HBDers who see HBD as be the be-all end-all or Marxists who see Marxism as the be-all end-all are both equally deluded. I don’t tolerate dogmatism of any variety.

    You complain about description. You apparently assume that I’m claiming ultimate explanations. But then you seem to be demanding of me to give ultimate explanations or else dismiss correlated data. I don’t play that game. I don’t think in such simplistic terms.

    • I am not complaining about descriptions. I am complaining about stating a description AS a causation. There is an important difference.

      The analogy to medicine you used was important: many errors in psychology came from confusing the fact one can describe a thing with something causing a thing. We often have to act on the description, particularly in medicine and sociology, but that does not mean we understand the actual cause.

      I say embrace your own grand theory. Take it as if you actually completely believe it. See the results, like a scientific experiment. Take it too the absurd conclusion.

      • I don’t believe in ultimate causes. Nor have I made such a claim.

        Everything in the world is an effect caused by something else. Everything is a link of causation, a web of causal factors. Everything is description and every description refers to causes and effects, intentionally or unintentionally, directly or indirectly.

        I do take grand theories as far as they go. But they usually don’t go far enough for my taste. I run them hard and they quickly begin falling apart.

        My curious mind doesn’t allow me to have ideological loyalty. My mind flits off to some other theory or set of data, some other viewpoint or line of thought. My mind often flits back to old ideas and then flits off again to something new. That is just how my mind works.

        Trust me, if I was capable of ideological loyalty, I’d probably be content being the most ideological loyal person around. It is easier being ideologically loyal. I don’t want to live my life eternally dissatisfied and detached, but that is all I know.

  8. I feel strong reluctance to take responsibility for other people’s problems. I realize others essentialize racial and ethnic categories, but I don’t.

    I will often qualify my statements about race and ethnicity, for the sake of clarity. Even so, I don’t feel an obligation to qualify anything. To me, such qualifications are ever-present and numerous beyond count. They are just there in the background. It is good to talk about them sometimes, but we shouldn’t feel obliged to limit ourselves to the limitations of others.

    Most discussions I have in my blog are with people I already know. They know my views and know the qualifications I have in mind, or so I assume. I don’t feel the need to constantly repeat myself.

    When I say “white” or some similar category, you can trust that I am not referring to an essential category. I’m using it as a social construct. You can also trust that I’m not using it as an ultimate explanation. Instead, think of it as some combination of a descriptor and an indicator of a web of confluent factors, both causes and effects along with some confounding.

    I’m not a linear thinker. I never have a single idea, perspective, theory, or set of data in mind. Everything I have ever come across is in my mind. I even can hold two contradictory thoughts at the same time. I never explicitly state all that is in my mind, for that would be impossible, but it is all in my mind informing and framing anything I do explicitly state.

    My using a word or an idea is not evidence of my believing in it. I sometimes simply use a particular thing to make a point. That was the case for the term “white” in this post. The point of the post was what “white” was pointing to. Look at what the finger is pointing to, rather than looking at the finger. What was being pointed to was violence in a specific context of geography, ancestry, and demographics. It was a broad point being made and so I used a broad category to frame it.

    “White” is a loose term. I was using it to both refer to those who self-identify as “white” and more generally those who have European ancestry, most especially Western European ancestry. This is a loose category in that includes a wide variety of people, but it is also a clearly defined term in that the ancestry of these people is grounded in historically and geographically specific populations.

    Like any term, it is a generalization. Not all “whites”, “Europeans”, and “Westerners” are the same; just as not all “Marxists” and “liberals” are the same. Generalizations have specific exceptions, but to the degree they are accurate they are generally true. which in no way inherently and automatically implies they are essentialist truth claims.

    Racial and ethnic essentialism is an assumption I do not hold. Many people do believe in essentialism and that is problematic. Still, that is their problem, not mine.

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