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1.5 Million Missing Black Men (nytimes.com)
291 points by kiddz on Apr 20, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 352 comments

> The black women left behind find that potential partners of the same race are scarce, while men, who face an abundant supply of potential mates, don’t need to compete as hard to find one. As a result, Mr. Charles said, “men seem less likely to commit to romantic relationships, or to work hard to maintain them.”

Interesting, I never thought about this side-effect of mass incarceration. Another aggravating factor in a repeating cycle?

I remember reading a hypothesis of why many middle eastern countries generate so many young angry jihadists is that most of the young men had never had a stable interactions with women in their youth. Most grew up in socially conservative environments and missed out on the stabilizing effect of having relationships with women, not having a sexual output, not having reasons to stay alive for a girl at home, or even missing out on having a female perspective on things (women are arguably less war-prone than men).

Middle eastern young males obviously experience a different social environment than black men do but I'm curious if stable relationships with women really do lead to less violence/crime by males? Or is that merely hopeful thinking by social conservatives?

The idea that boys need exposure to women before adulthood, with the exception of their mother, is a relatively modern one. The extent to which the modern west mixes the sexes through education and other social activities is unprecedented, so the Middle East is not nearly alone in this respect.

Of course, things change in adulthood, and if young Middle Eastern men who would normally be entering stable relationships with women are prevented from doing so, I can imagine how that would enable angry jihadists. But at that age, the blame probably lies with other social/economic factors and less with their family unit.

And the effect that marriage has on the behavior of men is fairly well-known: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2015/04/...

> The idea that boys need exposure to women before adulthood, with the exception of their mother, is a relatively modern one. The extent to which the modern west mixes the sexes through education and other social activities is unprecedented, so the Middle East is not nearly alone in this respect.

That's true, but if the prosperity and peace of the modern west also are relatively modern and unusual, perhaps the exposure to women has a positive effect.

There have been so many factors that have changed in relatively modern times, that this is one time to say correlation doesn't equal causation.

But we certainly shouldn't discount the possibility that there is a causal link.

At the same time, it seems like marriage is much more costly and difficult for men to achieve in much of the Middle East/South Asia. So you still have a larger population of unmarried men without many marriage prospects.

The major restraining factor on young men in a village or tribal setting was always the rest of the village. When the demographics became unbalanced (war, famine) then young gangs were always to be feared (Peter Pans lost boys would not have been cute)

We are fortunate in having overcome hunger in 4/5ths of the world - but it has left a lot of time on people's hands compared to a hunter gather lifestyle and a lot of unsupervised time similarly

That said - holy moley! this is insane!

But does this work for other sexual choice communities? I suppose there must have been class divides where "working class" men were more likely to go to jail so changing the sexual choice landscape? Gay men?! Ex-military? Prior to public transport was there geographic boundaries? Education?

This is a fascinating subject - why are black women limiting themselves to a reduced choice of black men when presumably other races are open? What is it that makes that choice / boundaries? Clearly parental type must have a big impact, but what else?

This is an indictment of US post-slavery culture to be sure, but thinking about it it is massively wider in scope.

Any pointers to research on this?

> We are fortunate in having overcome hunger in 4/5ths of the world - but it has left a lot of time on people's hands compared to a hunter gather lifestyle and a lot of unsupervised time similarly

Actually, some studies have shown that hunter-gatherers have much more free time than we do. Our wants grow more quickly than our technology can satisfy them.


But this "free time" came at the cost of constantly having to scavenge for more food, move to new areas, fight for survival, etc.. I see primitivists hawking this on hacker news quite a lot now, but you can post that link a hundred times, it still won't make 10k BC any more appealing than 2015.

It turns out that after you feed, shelter, and clothe people, they still want more stuff. What a fucking surprise. But at least I'm not starving, freezing, naked, bleeding out on the plains after being gored by a rhino or squashed by a mammoth.

"Is Marriage for White People?" attempts to answer that question. As I remember it, the main answer was that black women don't want to date outside their race.


But - why? Because their fathers were black and so they associate positive feeling with that colour? Why skin colour? Why not height or body type or behaviour?

What about social pressure (you are a "race traitor" fords ting non blacks). Is it an anti white thing? Is the proportion of Hispanic dating higher? What about comparing across cultures - is the incidence of dating cross race lower than in say the UK?

The fact that we are raising race to its own singular cause for this sort of marriage-limiter shows how much race issues have a grip on our societies, but it's interesting to think around the subject.

Still would be interested to know how one can find a epidemiological "natural" experiment to solve this.

Race is simply a salient category in American life, that shapes people's social experiences in a wide variety of ways.

It's also pretty ordinary for people to prefer mates that have a broadly similar life experience and perspective as themselves. It's easier to sustain a relationship when you have more common ground.

I remember a debate about high achieving black women "marrying down" (with school dropout black guys on low income) or "marrying out" with white guys.

Attitude seems to be changing for the better anyway.

Here's also an article [0] on the subject that cause quite a stir back in 2011.


I read that article, and articles like it. They all leave out one thing, and I'll get hammered for stating this, and it's only my hummable opinion.

As much as people want to to homogenize the sexes, their are differences in factors that determine desirability.

Powerful women(degrees, income, position in society, etc.) are judged differently in my surrounding(I said in my surroundings, antidotal, don't kill me); than powerful men.

Are a lot of women are attracted to powerful men--yes, for the majority. Unless the man has horrid genes, and even then they line up. The man with the biggest cave still seems to attract to most--especially later in life.

It works in the opposite direction for women. I have never met a man(except in scripts, on t.v.) that judges women on degrees, or wealth, or status in society. I have never heard a man say, "I find women in power/authority sexy!" I don't know why. I hope it changes. I just think we forget about millions of years of biology--men are looking for good genes, a kind disposition--maybe someone to raise the spawn?

Yes, it's wrong. I'm just tired of hearing "Why is she single--she is so accomplished?" Yes, I hope it changes. Go ahead kill me. There's too many examples to list, and it's politically incorrect to even talk about. Again, I'm sorry if I offended anyone.

It's not offensive, it's just yet another example of "every anecdote I have from this specific culture supports X!! Why don't we just admit that X is clearly biological and not a property of culture at all!??!"

I don't know about power, but ambition is pretty important to me.

Not exactly highbrow research, but OkCupid has an interesting post indicating that black women are less likely to get replies in their online dating service: http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/your-race-affects-whether-...

The OkCupid research shouldn't be presented as some universal scientific fact. It doesn't account for socioeconomic backgrounds for one, nor does it account for country of origin. Having lived in Africa, Europe and the US, it's clear that interracial dating carries much more historical baggage in the US than it does in Europe and Africa. It's also probably clear to most people in the US, that acceptance of interracial relationships has changed markedly in the past decade alone. A second OkCupid study in 2019 would very likely show significantly different results.

A fact being sociological doesn't make it false.

The OKCupid analyis is based on US dating data...right? Why would anyone try to analogize that to universal human behavior, rather than taking it as a description of the situation in the US?

"Race" is a culture-specific category.

One thing that was striking to me was the map showing the male:female ratio among the black population in the US. Without using any actual statistical tools, it's apparent that areas with a higher black population also have fewer men for every woman.

See this map: http://www.censusscope.org/us/map_nhblack.gif

I remember reading somewhere (probably here) that the same effect is shown in areas with heavily skewed male/female ratios in general. That in places with a lot more men than women both men and women converge on wanting a long term relationship, but in places with a lot more women than men - men would typically prefer not having a relationship i.e. more single mothers in NYC than on the west coast.

There was also a subtext idea about women (in general) being competitive and 'slut shaming' as an evolved mechanism to collude with each other and push the sexual availability/access down in order force men to have to invest more time/effort/resources into a relationship. I'll try and see if I can find whatever it was - the idea was cool (if not obvious) and the unintentional collusion part didn't occur to me.

There's probably a lot at play though it's hard to make any real statements about evolved behavior outside of cultural pressure and without a lot of time to look at things.

in places with a lot more men than women both men and women converge on wanting a long term relationship, but in places with a lot more women than men

There's also the narrative that places where men outnumber women, men become increasingly competitive and violent towards women and each other. An example is any blue collar "boom" town like North Dakota's fracking industry.

In china where men outnumber women due to family preference for a male heir, it has resulted in straight men having to compete with each other on an economic status basis to attract women, what happens in north Dakota is not a universal phenomenon.

This is vastly overstated. Historically there are 1.05 male births per 1 female birth without any technical sex selection going on. Which for a population the size of China works out to an extra ~33 million men. Interestingly in the US and globally men of every age but ~10 years old die more frequently than men so older woman significantly out number older men. It's a fairly significant gap which is one of the reasons this chart looks so shocking. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db88_fig4.png

Roughly stated the younger the population the more men you end up with. Generally this is balanced by woman having shorter 'breaks' between relationships until old age when women significantly out number men. See: 1950: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_China#/media/Fi...

vs: 2010 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_China#/media/Fi...

It's hard to read, but the gap actually looks smaller for 15 year olds now vs 1950.

China has a ratio of 112:100 men to women at birth due to gender selectivity. It's that women outlive men which brings things into 'balance' if you include all ages.

Never the less, you see increased bride imports from impoverished SEAsian neighbors. There is also great pressure on the males to show how meritorious and deserving they are economically, in 'attracting' a mate. I say attracting in quotes, because it's often more disproportionately economic than romantic attraction.

> Historically 1.05 Men have been born per 1 woman without any technical sex selection going on.

Don't male infants die slightly more, too?

Yes, but you can say the same thing for 2 year olds or 22 year olds. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080324173552.ht... The 1.05:1 ratio applies at birth, and men steadily die faster after that.

That said, in devoloped nations like the US few infants die so the difference is not that large.

Edit: see page 7 http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr62/nvsr62_07.pdf Per 100,000 births of each gender, 99,301 men see 1, vs 99,427 females a gap of 127. By 30 the gap is 1,148 (97,400 vs 98,548)

At 75 it's 62,720:74,464 a gap of -11,744 which is even larger when you consider the population is ~2/3 the size.

And at 100 the absolute gap is only 1,900 (997 : 2897) but there are ~3x as many woman as men.

PS: Edited the line you quoted for clarity.

It has also led to a sharp rise in kidnapping and trafficking: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missing_women_of_China#Sex_traf...

Do you have a source on that? I haven't heard of any analysis on this front.

If you search "north dakota gender imbalance", you'll get a lot of narratives of it, but I can't point to statistical evidence.


Thanks. Looks like most of the data is anecdotal at the moment but it's something to keep an eye on and see how/if it pans out. For the people involved.. I hope it's a blip and not a trend.

This dynamic has always frightened me about China's "one child" generation coming of age. Instead of a group of disaffected Jihadists, you have a large and influential political force in an increasingly belligerent and powerful nation.

> increasingly belligerent

I'd argue that China's belligerence is lower now than it has been. They've moved from a very communist that strongly distrusted and arguably even hated the West, to a semi-capitalist one who mostly just wants to compete with the West (and makes oodles of $$$ selling to us).

The US has been drum-beating against China a lot recently, but frankly that seems more about the US losing in the "trade wars" than anything specific China did.

China's neighbors would likely disagree about China only wanting to trade. They're very aggressively laying claim to large swaths of sea around the Philippines, Vietnam, and Malaysia that clearly do not belong to them. Annexing water territory that does not belong to them, is no different than China taking Tibet by force on the basis that they proclaim it belongs to them. As such it's clear that plenty of their extreme belligerence is still intact.

In what way would you say those terroritories do not belong to China, or any other country in the region? Or better yet, what makes even places like Canton, Shanghai even belong to China? (Keep in mind I'm not saying these lands do or do not actually belong to China, but I'm merely asking under what grouds do you make these claims)

> In what way would you say those terroritories do not belong to China, or any other country in the region?

All I know is that when one country wants to take what another country currently has, people die. It's the slaughter of impressionable young nationalists in war that I object to, not which country has suzerain over which scrap of land.

Hitler seemed to take Austria with very little if any bloodshed. Even in retrospect resisting might have been worse for the average Austrian. No one was coming to reinforce the Austrians if they resisted Hitler's annexation.

It doesn't really address the question at hand but I do agree with you, especially considering the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

> not which country has suzerain over which scrap of land

Personally, I don't care much for which country "owns" which scrap of land either, but usually it is the very same passionate nationalists that you referred to that disagree with us. Which is why, I've asked the original question, with what right does any country own a certain piece of land, or not own certain piece of land.

Yichi, the Devil called, he doesn't need any more advocates.

China is involved with territorial disputes with a large number of neighbors. China claims almost all of the South China Sea though it Nine-dotted line[0] map. There have been a large number of disputes that have resulted from that[1]. Examples are China's East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ECS AIDZ)[2]. China has threatened to take action against aircraft that don't identify themselves or obey China's orders[2]. There are many more example in the in-depth The Atlantic article "China's Dangerous Game"[3].

[0] - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nine-dotted_line [1] - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Territorial_disputes_in_the_Sou... [2] - http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2013-11/23/c_1329116... [3] - http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/11/chinas-d...

> China is involved with territorial disputes with a large number of neighbors

To clarify, China is militarizing long-standing territorial disputes.

Also note that there is no risk of military conflict between any of the neighbors or between the neighbors and the U.S., despite territorial or other disputes. Vietnam and the Philippines aren't threatening each other, nor are Japan and South Korea, Japan and Vietnam, or any of those countries and the U.S. But almost everyone seems to be in a militarized dispute with China.

I think (may not be) he's talking about the fact that China's male-to-female ratio is just under 1.2, which is insane for a country their size. Lots and lots of single unhappy men in a society where one is pressured to marry ASAP does not make for a happy society.

He was. He also suggested that China was:

> an increasingly belligerent and powerful nation

Powerful is of course true. Increasingly belligerent was the point I was responding to. If you look at China's recent history, they're a lot more West-friendly now than at any point since WWII.

It's not been a good look for China historically either. Particularly around the fall of the Ming dynasty, there was a large male-female imbalance, and low and behold, in some of the places where that ratio was worst, there were some of the most destructive of the peasant rebellions.

Their increased activity in the South China Sea is a counterpoint to that. I don't know about belligerence, exactly, but they're certainly being more assertive about some aggressive territorial claims.

That's more complex than it appears. As others have pointed out, many of China's neighbors feel it has really stepped up its territorial attitude lately, eg Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines to name but 3. Part of the reason that the government is pushing the trans-pacific partnership (which does not include China) is to get the other SE Asian countries on a more competitive economic footing by opening up access to our markets, so as to put a brake on China's rush towards being a hegemonic power.

The Chinese engage in cyber-espionage operations against their "peaceful" trading partners, rattle sabers over Taiwan and various islands, and so forth.


They used to talk about a "Peaceful Rise" and had for a very long time. They stopped.

I know of two very large cyber espionage incidents that can be traced to individuals in China. It may or may not be government sanctioned, but the evidence that it is is somewhat compelling. For one, the hackers only work during business hours. Secondly, the tools used had a very specific signature of state sponsored espionage.

China isn't the only country engaging in cyber-espionage operations against their "peaceful" trading partners


Once again, I never said they were the "only" country. Merely that the trend was in favor increase, not decrease.

>the Chinese engage in cyber-espionage operations against their "peaceful" trading partners

Thankfully, the US and other "good" countries are above such things.

I never said that.

I'm just stating the trend is the opposite of the comment I replied to.

What do they say about glass houses and the NSA?

I was stating the statement about the trend was incorrect.

Factual statements isn't throwing stones. The "Peaceful Rise" propaganda/party line really did stop awhile ago.

Have you seen them build islands in the south China sea recently?

The #1 belligerent nation on Earth now is uncontestedly the USA and this is not because Americans are belligerent and aggressive by nature but because it happens that the globalists and the Elite made that country their HQ conducting their business operations out of it.

The #1 belligerent nation on Earth's power is unassailable while buttressed by Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada, South Korea and others, no illuminati necessary.

You don't have to believe in the illuminati to believe that large global entities (including both corporationsand nations) will work to protect their interests. Many large nations (including China) and most large corporations have a vested interest in seeing the US do well, so their investments and interests that are tied to the US do well.

A world where the US faces sudden economic problems is a world that sees economic problems on their own horizon.

Illuminati & NWO is so 2000s dude!

Now it's all about the globalists and world government!

Except they're not "coming of age"; they already have. Enforcement of the one-child policy started in 1980. The first children born under it are turning 35 these days.

I think your worry is a very reasonable one, but it has not become a reality. I wonder why not.

The one child policy has not always and everywhere been enforce with full power. You get a certain buffer effect from men getting a younger female companion: measured in person years, you'll have more single-men-years than single-women-years this way.

> why many middle eastern countries generate so many young angry jihadists

This is akin to wondering why Europeans generated so many young angry crusaders. The term jihadists denotes a religion and a region. Its associated with Middle Eastern countries by definition. Angry young militants from other religions and regions are given different names.

If we look at objective measurements of violence, like murder rate by country [1], we can see that the Middle East is not particularly violent, rather its on par with America. It is harder to find meaningful information on militarism. We do know that the Middle East was host to 3 of the 4 world conflicts that killed more than 10,000 people in 2014 [2]. All of these conflicts have included significant foreign and local involvement. Their causes are complex. In my opinion, they are driven by a desire to control the world's most valuable resource (Oil!) not by cultural factors.

Finally, it is worth noting that Americans use the word Jihad to mean holy war, but in the Middle East the word does not have the same violent meaning [3].

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intention...

[2]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ongoing_armed_conflict...

[3]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jihad#Current_usage

Yes, but why Europe produced so many angry young crusaders is also an interesting question that touches on gender and family issues. IIRC the Norman practice of dividing an estate among all surviving sons led, after a few generations, to large populations of land-hungry armed horsemen on tiny estates. Thus the Normans exported mercenary and conquering armies all over Europe, starting with England through the Crusades.

I agree that it is interesting to wonder why certain cultures are more violent and militant than others. My points, more clearly:

1. That # of Jihadist does not indicate how violent and militant a culture is because it is not a cross-cultural term.

2. That cross cultural measures of murder rates do not indicate that the Middle East is home to particularly violent cultures.

3. That the Middle East is home to lots of military action, but that it is produced by foreign and local interests and can be explained by financial motives rather than cultural ones.

> I remember reading a hypothesis of why many middle eastern countries generate so many young angry jihadists is that most of the young men had never had a stable interactions with women in their youth. Most grew up in socially conservative environments and missed out on the stabilizing effect of having relationships with women, not having a sexual output, not having reasons to stay alive for a girl at home, or even missing out on having a female perspective on things (women are arguably less war-prone than men).

This has been my experience in San Francisco, thanks to gender imbalances

The main reason for disaffected middle eastern young men is:

1) lack of career prospects, especially for university graduates 2) because of #1, young men cannot afford a matrimonial house and ceremony, so can't get laid (adultery is a capital crime.)

That's why 72 virgins in the afterlife is very appealing ... because they aren't getting any in this life.

Yet another reason why a society only is as stable and wholesome as its average nuclear family unit.

I know this is treading off-topic, but interestingly, "lefty wacko uber-progressive" Seattle (I put that in quotes as it's not my thoughts, but some of the commenters found on The Seattle Times would likely describe it as such) has the highest percentage of nuclear families in the 50 largest cities in the U.S.

Source: http://blogs.seattletimes.com/fyi-guy/2014/12/28/end-of-the-...

The burden of proof should really be on the OP, who didn't provide any evidence to back the hypothesis up.

I think you and your parent comment may be using two different definitions of "nuclear" though. One definition is the traditional mom-dad-2.3 kids arrangement, but a broader and equally valid definition can include polygamy, gay parents with a surrogate, lesbian parents with a sperm donor, couples where the mom and dad have split and started new families but still have kids in common, and a million other combinations. The most important positive factor seems to be stability, which is easier to maintain when your peer group is accepting of whatever weird arrangement you have. That acceptance is a strengthening factor for the traditional nuclear family as well as the non-traditional combinations.

"Nuclear" should mean that newly married couples form a new household rather than integrating into the household of the extended family.

Why the nuclear rather than the extended family would be considered important for social stability is anyone's guess. We live in an incredibly atomized society that values personal freedom and autonomy over interdependence and social connection, but that doesn't mean "stability".

Scandinavians have a very low rate of marriage and a high divorce rate, and yet are as stable and wholesome as you can imagine.

The key isn't the marriage rate, it's the prevalence of intact families. Scandinavians don't marry, but they do live together and raise children together. The prevalence of intact families (meaning children living with both biological parents) is higher in Scandinavia than it is in the US, even though the marriage rate is lower.

I don't know that people necessarily have to be married and stay married to make the nuclear family work, even if that is the typical manifestation. If two unmarried people have children and contribute to a stable life, then they still are a strong nuclear family even if not bound by marriage. Similarly, if a divorcee pairs up with someone else and doesn't get married, the children can get a de-facto stepparent.

I'm going to see if I can scare up some data regarding families in Scandinavia, but I don't think your point necessarily contradicts the parent post.

With few laws that differential between marriage and people living together, marriage mostly becomes a symbolic ritual. It would be interesting to see how legal systems for alimony or custody of children effects marriage statistics.

>many middle eastern countries

I'd be careful of generalizing across such a diverse region. Isn't it actually a fairly small minority of countries in the Middle East that "generate [lots] of young angry jihadists"?

Most of the 18 countries considered part of the middle east have outputted their share of young men - especially if you rank the countries by population. And a significant percentage of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan were foreign fighters from middle eastern countries not central asia, particularly the leading figures. I believe most people on HN are aware extremists represent a small percentage of the total populations.

That's missing the point. The question is what percentage of the countries in the Middle East are producing significant numbers of "jihdists".

I would rank these middle eastern countries as the origin nationality of most jihadists.

High: Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt (most members of the original Al-Qaeda and current leader were Egyptian, and then there are Sinai groups)

Medium (mostly just financing since they have low populations and high income): United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain.

Low: Turkey (?), Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Israel, Cyprus.

These are obviously based on nationalities of jihadists, not based on percentages of populations whom become jihadists - which I suspect you are confusing my comment as implying.

Iran high? I wasn't aware of that. Could I ask what you are basing that on. Do you mean Iranian militias which are effectively the army and doing things which could be said to protect their country (as with US soldiers in all kinds of places they probably shouldn't be). If so I don't think that comes under the heading "angry young jihadis"

Iran has backed many jihadist groups. Two examples: Hamas, they are a group against Isreal which receives support from Iran. Iran also backed the Shiite "Mahdi army" during the Iraq war which fought a jihad against American/coalition forces, and today are still involved in a 'defensive jihad' against IS.

There are other examples. Jihad has been fought by both Sunni and Shiite groups. But more so by Sunni groups such as IS and AQ - who have tended to have more of a global objective against the west. While Iran and Shiite groups (such as in Syria/Lebanon) are mostly interested in local power grabs to keep spreading their Islamic Revolution outside of Iran.

I highly recommend this New Yorker piece on Iran and their secret proxy wars:


You're shifting the topic. We're talking about how many young Iranian men become terrorists, not the support of various groups by the Iranian state.

Most nation states, certainly including the USA, have at one time or another given material and financial support to terrorist groups. I don't condone it, but Iran is hardly exceptional in that regard.

>These are obviously based on nationalities of jihadists, not based on percentages of populations whom become jihadists - which I suspect you are confusing my comment as implying.

You asked why many Middle Eastern countries produce "so many" jihadists, implying that the majority of these countries are producing a high number. Thus, it makes no sense to respond by listing examples of terrorists or terrorist groups originating in Middle Eastern countries, since one could give similar examples for more or less any European country or for the USA. We have our homegrown terrorists too (both Islamic and otherwise).

A quote from my comment above:

> I believe most people on HN are aware extremists represent a small percentage of the total populations.

I stand by my decision to assume that most people here are smart enough to know the difference. Key word is most people clearly...

Ok, we are getting bogged down because you're persisting in the belief that I'm misinterpreting you in a certain way. I'm not. Let me spell this out as clearly as possible:

I know that you don't care about the number of extremists as a percentage of the total population. I never thought that you did. Neither of us does. Ok?

You're still avoiding the main issue. Are most Middle Eastern countries producing an unusually high number of extremists? You can't show that they are by showing that they produce some extremists. But that's all you've done so far.

In other words, what distinguishes most Middle Eastern countries, in your mind, from e.g. Britain, France and the USA? All of these countries produce some Islamic extremists. So clearly, if you're going to say that there's something special about Middle Eastern countries in this regard, you're going to have to crunch the numbers. I don't see any numbers in any of your posts so far.

Again, none of this has anything to do with the number of extremists in comparison to the total population. The question is whether the number of extremists is significantly larger than the number produced by non-Middle-Eastern countries. In other words, when you said "so many" in your original post, were you correct to imply that the number is generally higher in the Middle East than elsewhere?

I guess you don't want it to be the case, but the answer really is "most of them". Exceptions would be Israel (if you consider Palestine separately), UAE, Kuwait.


I don't think you've looked very carefully at the graphic in the second article. You might want to compare the bar chart on the right against a list of countries in the Middle East. The Middle Eastern countries listed are:

Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Yemen

Of those, only Jordan and Saudi Arabia are contributing large numbers of fighters. On the whole, the Middle Eastern countries on the list are contributing relatively few. The next biggest contributors are Tunisia, Bosnia and Kosovo, none of which are in the Middle East.

On top of that, note that BELGIUM is sending at least as many fighters as all of the following Middle Eastern countries (and yes, I am taking into account the different scales on each chart):

Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, Palestine, Turkey, Yemen

Basically, I think you may be forgetting that the "Middle East" isn't anywhere outside of the USA and Europe with lots of brown people.

Way to put words in my mouth. "Brown people" all over the world thank you for your brave service. I know what the Middle East is, jackass. Nowhere did I say that other parts of the world were not contributing large numbers of fighters. That's irrelevant to my original point. Way to massively ignore Iraq and Syria, too. Like, did you think you would just sneak that by somehow? The truth is, most Middle Eastern countries are contributing hundreds if not thousands of fighters, and you can't ignore that, no matter how all-caps you can type Belgium. Oh and the people in Belgium, France, UK, etc.? Middle Eastern expats (or their children), many of whom hold dual citizenship.

> Way to massively ignore Iraq and Syria, too

I didn't mention them because they're not listed on the bar chart. But including them would skew the analysis for obvious reasons.

Again, your source doesn't show that the Middle East is producing more Islamic extremists on the whole than many other regions of the world. If you agree with that, then we agree. Of course, pretty much every country in the Middle East is producing a non-zero number of Islamic extremists -- as is pretty much every country in the West. If that is your only point, why draw attention to the Middle East specifically?

>Middle Eastern expats (or their children), many of whom hold dual citizenship.

You'll need another source on this. It might be true, but it's important to bear in mind that (i) many Muslims are not from the Middle East and (ii) Islamic extremism is not limited to the Middle East. So I am not sure that e.g. the majority of homegrown Islamic extremists in the UK have Middle Eastern backgrounds. It's possible, but I'd like to see some evidence.

Can't reply to juliangregorian's latest comments, so I'll reply here.

>I didn't draw attention to M.E. specifically, you did.

You’re missing the context of the thread. I was replying to someone who singled out the Middle East. From what you say, it seems that you’re not attempting to defend what the OP said, you’re just pointing out that most Middle Eastern countries are producing some number of Islamic extremists. Well, ok, no disagreement there. However, on the evidence we’ve seen so far, it seems that Middle Eastern countries don’t produce an unusually high number compared to many other regions of the world. For that reason, I object to the OP’s singling out of the Middle East as a source of Islamic extremists. It would be better to single out the countries responsible.

I’m still a little skeptical of your claim that most homegrown terrorists in Western countries have Middle Eastern backgrounds. This certainly isn’t true in many cases. For example, the 7 July bombers had Pakistani backgrounds. Do you have a source on this or is it just a hunch?

Yes, actually it's articles like this one: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/belgium-muslim-you...

Abdel appears to have an African background, at least on his father's side. (The article is not very specific.)

Now you're changing your argument. I realize yesterday was a long time ago, but you were the one arguing that extremism was limited to small pockets of the Middle East. I didn't draw attention to M.E. specifically, you did.

Nice ninja edit. Why don't you provide some sources for once. I'm getting sick of your poor argumentation and I'm not your research assistant.

When you make an argument it's a good thing if you provide the sources you're using. That way you check your own biases; other people know if you're just cherry-picking or if you're being misled by faulty sources.

How does this belong in HN? And have you looked at what those countries been put through by us? It's easy to believe media propaganda, but are you doing yourself or the world a favor by willfully ignoring the real geo-political reasons that caused so many crises in those regions?

I'm pretty sure no geo-political reasons cause many middle eastern societies to treat woman lower than dogs and cats.

Those my friend, are religious and cultural norms put in place by their own people. No amount of external pressure has ceased the ungodly treatment of woman, homosexuals and other "miscreants" as they are deemed in much of the middle east.

> I'm pretty sure no geo-political reasons cause many middle eastern societies to treat woman lower than dogs and cats.

The U.S. and western powers keep the conservative Middle Eastern dictatorships in place, preventing any social and political reform. That is, in fact, a major cause of resentment by people of the Middle East toward the West.

In fact, Al Qaeda's goal is to overthrow the Middle Eastern dictatorships (and inflict their own oppressive dictatorship on the people there). They targeted the U.S. because they believed that American support is the reason those governments are stable, and that they first have to drive the U.S. out of the Arabian Penninsula.

The people in most Middle Eastern countries have no choice in the matter, and geopolitics is a major reason why.

It's a major cause of resentment, but that doesn't mean they've thought it out. I'd argue that the US has been a socially moderating force, not that that was intentional or a US goal.

I don't think there's any evidence Iraq, Libya, Egypt (under Morsi), Syria (under whatever remains) and eventually KSA are going to end up with better treatment for women when all their political reform is over.

Iraq under Saddam was more secular - women's rights to vote, education and political office went back to the 70's. In some areas, they may be holding on, but overall I doubt they'll end up being better off.

Egypt had a huge social/political change, and democracy meant a MB majority. Now they're back with Mubarak-lite (and they all blame the US for abandoning Egypt to the MB).

The dictatorships may be based on nominally secular values that Western countries prefer, but they also have choked out the civil society that is the foundation of liberal democracy.

Can you explain geo political reasons that lead to stoning for infidelity?

Surely we're not just pointing out flaws, but drawing conclusions based on causation. To cast such a wide net and attribute their misfortune to malice when there are so many plausible arguments for why that is is willful ignorance.


> Is there a gay crime wave? I haven't noticed one.

I can think of two possible, orthogonal answers why that (sort of) fit the hypothesis:

- the key is not 'stable relationships with women' but 'stable sexual relationships';

- many gay men do have stable relationships with women, in the form of strong, non-sexual friendships.

[Edit: I neither support nor reject the hypothesis; I just don't think gay men are necessarily a good control group for it.]

Gay suicide due probably to social pressures. Hopefully gay rights will lessen these problems.


Are you citing suicide as a violent tendency?

Two issues.

First, the point could be: I'm curious if stable relationships with the gender they find attractive really do lead to less violence/crime by males?.

Second, there are significant differences in the brains of heterosexual and homosexual men (one of the points made by those saying it was not a choice). These could mean that the above point only applies to heterosexual men.

Wait, what?

Are you claiming that gay men don't have stable relationships?


Not usually, I guess.

[Sorry for my poor assumption there, thanks for clarifying :)]

I don't know if romantic relationships would prevent civilians becoming terrorists, but in at least one case, they were deliberately used to turn terrorists back into civilians:


the other aspect not to be missed as it lines up gang studies is that there is big lack father time with both sons and daughters..in ME its a culture of multiple wives..different from gangs with single moms..but same effects angry young men

> I remember reading a hypothesis of why many middle eastern countries generate so many young angry jihadists

Maybe we don't need to look further than the psychological impact of enforced genital mutilation past the age of infancy.

Many middle eastern countries practice polygamy which deprives many lower status men of the chance of having a partner and children. The high status men also enforce heavy penalties for adultery to ensure their collection of wives is not cuckolded by other men. Coupled with the inequality where women are treated as property and this indeed does remove the tempering influence of women.

There is little doubt that the triggering of protective behaviour that comes with fatherhood is a benefit to any society.

For the Middle East it can be much simpler than that. I read something like Middle East experiences a population boom with like 50% of population being younger than 25. (exact number may differ) With so many young men there is not enough land from parents for them to inherit. With no decent education to increase productivity and a rigid political structure there is a huge pressure in the society building up.

Monogamy was an amazing invention, as it did something with all the surplus males with nothing to lose.

On the list of modern ideas, you might also want to toss in the pile women being less war-prone, especially over there if nothing else.

I think similar dynamics applies in India too. It has been changing a lot in recent time.

In my experience, having a stable girlfriend for the past 3 years has been like looking in a mirror every month or so.

She calls me out on things that I do habitually or without thinking, usually because they are selfish and hurt her or our relationship in some way. These are habits or personality traits that my close friends and family wouldn't be aware of, but that my girlfriend has exclusive access to as the one with whom I share the most intimate details of my life. She forces me to reflect on why I am the way that I am; sometimes directly when we fight, but often indirectly through her questions and observations.

I'd like to think that our relationship has made us more empathetic and introspective. I don't think it has made me any less extreme in my ideals though.

My personal view is that extremism is generally bred by a low standard of living and a high degree of economic inequality that is forced onto a united group of people that feel like they deserve more than the system has given them. The uniting factor could be race, religion, age - anything, it doesn't really matter.

I've recently been struggling with the notion that, as a 22-year old who is about to graduate, I am to enter an economy and a system set up and controlled entirely by the captains of finance and government who allowed the financial crisis of 2007 to occur, and who have been unable to "fix" the economy through monetary and fiscal reform. This has pushed me towards the study of Bitcoin, a "radical" tool that traditional economists are quick to dismiss as a libertarian/anarchist fantasy. I don't subscribe to any political viewpoint - I simply see a broken system that has destroyed the lives of many of the constituents that it was created to serve through corruption and negligence. Bitcoin is just another tool, such as Quantitative Easing and Interest rate manipulation, that we could possibly implement to reduce the volatility of the financial system and remove some of its susceptibility to greed and corruption.

My interest in Bitcoin nothing compared to ISIS, the PLO, the Black Panthers, or any other minority group that was oppressed and decided to try and change a system that it found unfair and stacked against it. The difference is that these "extremist" groups use violence to fight their battles, because they see the alternative life of dying poor and oppressed as a non-option.

If we were to advance every civilization to a point where the standard of living was high enough and the measure of inequality was low enough, I think we could eradicate most forms of physically violent extremism. Mental "extremism" in the form of thought-experiments pushing the boundaries of the current system would continue, but to the benefit of society in general. Will this ever happen? Probably not.

Your comment went a bit off topic, but I'm guessing you are a developer and will be entering into a tech economy powered by the QE you find so evil.

I tried my best to address of [1] the causes of extremism and [2] the effects of male-female relationships on extremism.

I study economics and am facing unemployment upon graduation. I'm thinking of travelling, teaching, and/or working for an NGO or a non-profit.

I don't find QE evil. I find it to be an ineffective solution to a problem caused by the corruption and negligence of a select cohort of my elders who hold positions of power in this country. These individuals are not evil; we are all susceptible to greed and selfish interests. They are the product of whatever environment they were raised in.

I'm not crying and wringing my hands without offering a solution. I'm proposing that a New Deal-style investment in infrastructure, education, R&D, and the introduction of virtual currencies could help the economy in the long run.

What do you think?

While reading your original post and before I got to the part about bitcoin I was thinking bitcoin might be a good way to respond to the problems of greed and corruption you point out. It's early days for crypto currency so we're still in a bit of a wild west show. Just want to let you know other people are thinking along those lines too. Thanks for the thoughtful post.

Thanks, I'm not sure why I'm being downvoted. Maybe it's because I'm not backing up my statements about the corruption and negligence of those in charge of the financial and economic well-being of the country.

Congress appointed an independent, 10-person panel of lawyers, economists, businessmen, financiers, and auditors (known as the FCIC) to explore the causes of the financial crisis. Here are there findings, for anyone who is interested in learning a bit more about a topic that is not very well understood for the amount that it is casually discussed.


> women are arguably less war-prone than men

I don't think are actually any studies that support this, unfortunately. War simply isn't a consequence of gender, it is a consequence of ideology and fear.

All of the relevant poll results that I could find at PollingReport.com[1][2] indicate that women are less likely than men to support war.

[1] http://www.pollingreport.com/iraq17.htm

[2] http://www.pollingreport.com/iraq18.htm

Well if you read anthropological literature you'll quickly find references to strong positive correlation between social status of women and peacefulness, and the inverse of course.

There's a long history of wars ostensibly being fought on behalf of women, and women pressuring men into enlisting. One example is the Order of the White Feather. During WW1 and WW2, women would shame men who weren't wearing a uniform by presenting them with a white feather, a symbol of cowardice. Propaganda frequently justifies the need for war by claiming that it is about defending women, and nations are often personified as women, e.g. Liberty, Columbia, Lady Britannia, etc.

If you are English you grew up with the stories of Boudicca who battled the Romans, the notion of the warrior woman is pretty deeply embedded in our national psyche.

> it is a consequence of ideology and fear

... and competition for resources

It's not hard to find references to such studies. See eg

"Scholars and polling organizations have also noted a consistent gender divide in public opinion on military action, beginning with World War II through the most recent U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, with men expressing higher levels of support for military action than women (Bendyna et al.,1996; Berinsky, 2009; Burris, 2008; Fite et al., 1990; Moore, 2002; Nincic and Nincic, 2002; Rohall et al., 2006; Shapiro and Mahajan, 1986; Smith, 1984; Wilcox et al., 1993)" (from https://www.academia.edu/1802567/Race_Gender_and_Attitudes_T... )

I think Osama Bin Laden had so many life-stabilizers i.e. women throughout his lifetime and yet he pursued the terrorist career with vengeance till the last breath.

You can't take a single person as proof or disproof of anything (except maybe absolute statements, which the OP didn't make).

That middle eastern hypothesis is wrong, offensive and off topic.

I think it's an interesting point. Even more interesting is your attempt to shut down the conversation because it offends you.

> Even more interesting is your attempt to shut down the conversation because it offends you.

That brings up an interesting issue for me. It's a somewhat popular trope, that there is an equivalence between Amy offending people and Bob asking her to stop. It's really a rhetorical tactic -- an attempt to disrupt Bob by forcing him to philsophically justify what is obviously and intuitively true to everyone.

There may be a question of whether something is offensive or otherwise does harm to others, of course. But absolutely if someone finds something offensive, they should stand up and say so -- and not be shut down by the new political correctness (i.e., the frequent knee-jerk reaction to people who point out issues of race, gender, etc.).

People don't trn and shut down these conversations because they're offensive. They try and sht them down because they're toxic.

Try wandering into any programming thread and talking nonsense about eg static typing then complaining about people trying to shut down the conversation.

I'm a Black Man. Growing up there was a realization that being alive and out of trouble over the age of 21 was an accomplishment. This would extend to middle class. Due to a history of American apartheid, there were often just a few degrees of separation between middle class and working/poor class kin.

I hope you don't mind me asking you this.

I've had this idea, that I think may make the situation better. They idea is that in black-on-black, as well as victimless crimes, the defendant is allowed to be judged by a jury of black people. Then the black community can decide for itself what punishments are best for the community, and could give more lenient punishments if the current ones are seen as harsh enough to be harmful.

Do you think it could work?

Are you American? If so, why do you think the parent is more qualified than you to answer such a question? What if only all-white juries were allowed to prescribe punishment for white defendants? I think there are much better solutions to the problem than the one you suggest (the recent crack/powder cocaine sentencing reform is one). You'll have to ask why congress has refused to enact laws that would reduce disparity in sentencing.

This just sounds like another version of separate but equal. I understand the logic, but we want to work toward one big united community, not legally define racial communities. It's pretty obvious historically that separation doesn't work at all.

separation doesn't work for what?

It doesn't solve the problems of racial inequalities, and it generally makes them a lot worse.

Interesting point. A fraternity brother of mine was in a documentary called Gideon's Promise. The tragedy is that many of the people that get incarcerated never make it to court. The accused end up with underfunded, overburdened public attorneys They might end up taking a very bad plea deal.

In the US we had segregation, not apartheid. There is a difference.

As a white man living in the South, we still have segregation in practice. I rarely had interaction with blacks because they did different things and took different classes at school. We all went to the same schools---just didn't have the same classes or have the same social circles. Not much shared in the way of culture. I have had some black friends over the years who get berated by other blacks for "acting white."

There is nothing white people can do to fix this. Blacks have always decided what kind of culture they want to have and they will continue to do so.

> There is nothing white people can do to fix this. Blacks have always decided what kind of culture they want to have and they will continue to do so.

This is so clearly untrue that I wonder if it's worth pointing out the obvious. In fact, black-skinned Americans rarely have had the option of self-determination, and mostly that is due to white-skinned contemporaries who enslaved them, forced them into ghettos, segregated them in public life, and denied them political rights, and social and economic opportunity.

More concretely, in the southeastern United States, blacks were slaves (something local whites fought a war to try to preserve; take a step back and think how bizarre that is) and after that oppressed: They couldn't eat in the same restaurants, go to the same schools work the same jobs, live in the same neighborhoods, sleep at the same hotels; talking to a white-skinned women could result in a black-skinned male being lynched. Even today, there is much discrimination; consider whether they can join certain college fraternities in Oklahoma, for example, or walk the streets without being harassed or worse.

To suggest social segregation is due to the choices of black-skinned Americans is absurd.

> "I have had some black friends over the years who get berated by other blacks for "acting white.""

What can white people do to fix this specifically?

Well, lots of white people perpetuate the same stereotypes, so obviously if you do that, stop it. And you can call other people on their bullshit if you ever hear it.

Assuming you never encounter this particular type of racism, it's still all connected. Addressing any type of discrimination and racism helps solve the general problem, which this "acting white" stereotype is just a symptom of. I think it's a little disingenuous to look at these individual symptoms and say "nothing I can do". "Nothing I can do about prison populations, those people made their own choices." "Nothing I can do about poverty, I already support them through taxes, they can improve themselves if they want to." "Nothing I can do about education inequalities, they can apply to college just like I did." etc.

Not saying you share these opinions, but you hear them a lot. And it's not like black people have no responsibility here, but there's plenty to be done by everyone.

We could make it more acceptable to be black.

This is a bunch of anecdotal bullshit, crime rate statistics paint a much different picture

> There is nothing white people can do to fix this.

Well, except confronting our own biases, encouraging diverse hiring practices, confronting both overt and covert racism when we see it, educating ourselves on racial privilege, fighting racial profiling and sentencing in our justice system, and just in general fighting for racial equality.

I'm confident the younger generations are much more sensible towards most all of those points. But the most crucial IMO is fixing the justice system which is run by much older generations (even more so than politics) so unfortunately it will be a long time until that catches up.

Or advocating for massive reparations.

You're a Cultural Marxism peddler.

I am white and I think I am in the very same group as blacks and all other races, namely the group called "individuals". All we need to do is fight for individual rights and teach people respect is earned on an individual basis. Nothing can be assumed from group membership in real life; every leftist would agree with this statement, yet you want to make laws based on group membership. Nothing can be assumed based on group membership. Whoever does is the true racist. Stop peddling your divisive ideologies. Stop drawing lines around people. We drew lines around places in maps and today we have wars over those lines. Your lines around people create the same kind of conflicts on a smaller scale. Please stop it. There's only one kind of person, the individual. Let's protect individual rights and everyone will be OK, and by that I mean everyone, not just the groups your crony leftists select to be privileged to the detriment of some other group's disadvantage.

You can try and create "race", "religion", "gender" labels all you want but to me there's only one sort of person, the individual, and nothing can be said about an individual a priori.

Stop propagating divisiveness.

> Nothing can be assumed based on group membership.

Nothing should be, but unfortunately for many minority groups, it is. The fact that it doesn't affect you is the great benefit of being white (and, if such things don't affect you, probably male).

> Nothing can be assumed based on group membership. Whoever does is the true racist.

Yeah exactly, and there are tons of these people, and at the moment they tend to have a lot more money and power than the people they make assumptions about.

Promoting individual rights doesn't do enough, because we've had such a long history of not promoting them. You have to acknowledge race in order to fight the racists of the world.

>You have to acknowledge race in order to fight the racists of the world. //

Can you give a solid example? I can't see how labelling someone "race X" allows you to fight against unequal opportunities or other discrimination or prejudice.

I mean that you need to acknowledge the concept of race. Say you're facing a 10% unemployment rate in some city. If you treat everyone as an equal individual, the solution will be some combination of economic changes, lowering taxes, increasing subsidies, whatever.

Now imagine 90% of the unemployed are black, in a city where blacks are the minority. Clearly there is more than an economic problem here. Promoting individual rights is not going to help, because all races have identical rights in this scenario, and businesses should always have the right to not hire someone.

The solution would depend on the underlying problem, but it might very well involve giving some sort of temporary advantage based on race. The parent comment advocated forgetting all race, religion, gender labels, but we can't do that until everybody agrees to let those labels go. Until then, we need to acknowledge race and gender so that we can recognize when a problem exists, and address it.

From a colorblind perspective, race is already solved, right? All races have equal rights, discrimination based on race is illegal, legally we're all good.

How is that fair though. You make a statistical restitution of sorts but if there are 20 jobs and 100 candidates of equal standing. 50 candidates fit one biological classification (A) unrelated to the job and the other 50 fit another (B). How is it fair then to ensure that a certain number of A > B get the jobs available?

Why is it that when the number [getting the jobs] A < B by design it is wrong, but when A > B it's right.

Moreover what you appear to be arguing is not even that the candidates have equal standing with regard to ability to perform the roles but that you should select A > B even if on average candidates in group B are more able to fulfil the job requirements.

So now you reject candidates who are more able to do a job simply because they fit unrelated classification A. How is that discrimination good?

Why is it alright to antagonise people now because of their race when it wasn't in the past; don't you think that will just foment ill will and a greater focus on irrelevant biological classifiers?

We shouldn't discriminate against a poor person because they're poor and in group B, we should offer opportunities for all poor people to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps regardless of unrelated biological classifications. By this means we will remove needless discrimination rather than shift it around. If, in order to make restitution you feel that there are excessively many poor people from one group, then make more opportunities available to all poor people. That way all those who wish to take advantage can do so regardless of whether their earlobes are attached or whatever hangup you have.

No, you misunderstand me, the solution would not be to force companies to hire some percentage of black people, or anything like that. Companies should hire whoever is best for the job.

But it is absolutely fair to address the reasons black people are so disproportionately unemployed. Is it because employers are unconsciously discriminatory when evaluating candidates? Yes, according to a a few studies. What can we do about that? I don't really know, but helping poor people in general will not solve this problem.

Is it because particular communities have been caught in a cycle of poverty and lack of education for centuries, because of slavery and segregation? Yes, often it is. You are not racist, you had nothing to do with those crimes, but unfortunately the antagonism of the past is still very much affecting the people of today. It is not antagonistic to address these longstanding issues. Again, I don't know the solution, but it might involve offering college scholarships specific to black people. It might involve some kind of affirmative action.

These ideas are not antagonistic to non-black people, even if a white guy gets rejected from a college that accepts a less-qualified black guy. We cannot treat everyone equally when some people are starting so far behind.

Yes, we should offer opportunities for all poor people, but that won't do enough. Biological classification A is at a huge disadvantage, and all the people responsible for it are dead, so we can't punish them or make them fix it. We have to try to fix it.

>We have to try to fix it. //

Yes. But we won't fix it by layering on more irrelevant discrimination.

You have to start where you are, making things unfair now because they were unfair before just retains the acceptability of creating unfair systems.

Thanks for giving up your further insight. I suspect we won't both move beyond where we are unless you have a different angle to give that you think is more convincing?

I'll just give you a quick analogy to explain why I don't see it as discrimination.

Say an innocent person is accused of murder as a teenager, spends 30 years in jail, and then is released when the real killer is caught. As a society, we owe this guy something, right? We can't treat him like a normal unemployed person, because he's at a severe disadvantage through no fault of his own. For simplicity's sake we'll say all the police and prosecutors involved with his case are dead, so the responsibility lies entirely with the society/government they represented.

Ok, now imagine he never gets any kind of compensation, never gets a stable job, and dies leaving kids behind. Do you believe society owes his kids anything? They are at a severe disadvantage, still basically as a result of society's mistakes. You might say it was irresponsible of this guy to have kids with no means to support them, fine, but I would say the bulk of responsibility still lies with society as a whole.

And since our society has limited resources, if we were going to compensate these kids, we would necessarily be taking money away from something else. Money that might have been used to pave some roads, or fund some art, or pay some government employees. And even though the other potential recipients of this money had literally nothing to do with the original crime, it's not unfair to take it away.

Now imagine this whole story happened to a bunch of people, all of whom happened to be black. And that today, 95% of the black people in our fictional town are related to one of the original wrongly accused victims. Society owes something to almost all these black people, right? We don't owe them anything because of the color of their skin, it's just that all of the victims are black, and nearly all of the black people are victims. If there were an easy way to figure out exactly who was affected by the original crimes then we would, but there isn't.

So basically I'm only making two points:

1) Society's responsibility does not die with the victim.

2) Saying "all black people deserve compensation" is not racist when nearly all black people are affected by slavery and segregation and modern discrimination. If we could quantify exactly how much every person's life was affected by these things, that would be great, but obviously that's impossible. We really want to say "all victims of slavery and racism deserve compensation", but the only realistic way to identify that set is "black people".

Thanks for expanding on this.

My immediate response is that, right, the children of the wrongly imprisoned person (let's call them "CWIP") are disadvantaged. So one of them goes for a job and the other candidate's parent wasn't wrongly imprisoned so you give the job to the CWIP, rather than to the person who spent years studying to be sure to qualify fully, lived through extreme poverty, cared for their sick parents ... the CWIP get the job through accident of birth ... and this is supposed to be better than having people get a job through accident of birth [eg because of an unrelated biological characteristic].

So, then you want to expand this and say, "well, look, more of these people with this characteristic have been disadvantaged in the past". But, they're only a group because of that characteristic. There are people who've been similarly disadvantaged outside that characteristic-group and adding additional disadvantage to them because of something they didn't do, that none of their ancestors even did, based solely on irrelevant biological characteristics (let's call that "IBC"; yes, things like skin colour). Surely you can see how injust that is.

Are you going to then flip things around and say, well we acted injustly to this generation because they didn't have the right IBC and now these children were discriminated against unfairly, so now we'll have to be unfair again? Anything else would be morally inconsistent and partial. So you wind yourself in knots.

Lets take your hypothetical end position, you want to help the disadvantaged in that town, because 95% of those you feel are disadvantaged are because they're CWIPs. What's wrong with offering assistance to all those disadvantaged? Are you concerned that one of those 5% of disadvantaged people might be a descendant of a juror/judge/policeman who acted improperly? Surely equal grace to the disadvantaged is better that injust discrimination against the rest of that 5% who weren't involved?

Let's take a different tack: Logically, you're going to want to discriminate in favour of those with long-standing native North American ancestry too. So do you favour all tribes? What if one tribe was instrumental in wiping out another, do you favour them both, despite the ancestors of the one having the other's blood on their hands. If it doesn't matter if your inherited genetics are from ancestors who were Blackfoot or Assiniboine [two tribes who IIUC warred against one another], why does it matter if your ancestors were French, Portugese or British [or whatever]? If none of those matter, then why do other inherited IBC matter?

Suppose I'm rich, from a family of millionaires for multiple generations; do you still want to discriminate for me against the poor because of IBC?

Perhaps USA is different but in my country, UK, it's possible for a motivated individual to go from decrepitude to being part of the 1% within a generation. Certainly it's possible for nearly all those who wish to work hard to get education (non-academic trade qualifications for example) that will set you up with a reasonable standard of life if you're prepared to work hard. [Aside: this is becoming more difficult it seems.]

You've put the case for ongoing racial discrimination very well but the way you propose introduces further injustices by design; you lift up all those who're black (say). The way I propose may mean that injustice takes a generation or so to be fiscally corrected but doesn't introduce further injustices which will take further generations still to correct; I choose to offer help to all those who're most disadvantaged regardless of irrelevant biological characteristics.

PS: I just wanted to add, I like your analogy and it certainly gave me pause and I'll definitely think on it some more. Thanks.

You seem to only be able to think from the perspective of central planning. I invite you to stop invoking this earthly "god" and give people a chance.

Can you give me an example of how a town where 90% of the unemployed are black could possibly come into being in the free market where voluntary trade and contracts are enforced by the governments courts (and there are no group-membership based laws)?

I'll give you the beginning. Once upon a time there was a town where all sorts of races lived in (no one bothered to count because these people learned the lessons of Nazis using Dutch records to kill Jews and they didn't want that again). Then you fill in the blanks, then all of a sudden without government interference in the market, 90% of the unemployed are black.

I eagerly await your reply.

Without granting that your premise is either meaningful or coherent, racism in the population could easily explain it. The absence of group membership based laws doesn't impy the absence of group membership based attitudes that are implemented through individual decisions.

It's not all of a sudden. And I'm not talking about super blatant racism where every business owner is like "I don't like those black folks so I just won't hire them".

It's not all of a sudden because in the US, we had slavery and then Jim Crow. There was never a time where everyone lived equally, and then all of a sudden all the black people were unemployed. They've always been disproportionately poor, uneducated, unemployed, and that's a really tough cycle to get out of.

And it's not blatant racism. A black guy with a Harvard MBA doesn't have much of a problem getting a job in this town. But there's still plenty of subtle, unconscious racism. A black guy is more likely to be rejected for any given job than a white guy with a comparable resume. There's plenty of studies on this issue, here's the first one I found: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=422902

The employer here doesn't hate black people, they just decided to hire the white candidate for a reason they probably wouldn't be able to put their finger on.

These black people don't have any business connections, so it's a lot harder to get internships and jobs. Half the adults they know when they're in college are unemployed or in jail. This is more of a poverty problem than a race problem, but race still plays into it. You can't get a job in your dad's office like your white friends did, because your parents were constantly passed over for jobs like that.

These black people have a much harder time starting their own business. Their family doesn't have any money, and they seem to have more trouble getting a loan than white people do.

I want to reiterate that this is not all of a sudden. There has never been a time in the US where all races lived in equality and harmony. If 90% of the unemployed are black, it's probably always been that way, right up until none of them were unemployed because they were all slaves.

Thank you. This needed to be said, and it is all that needs to be said. You are being treated in a grossly unjust way by being downvoted.

> encouraging diverse hiring practices, confronting both overt and covert racism when we see it, educating ourselves on racial privilege, fighting racial profiling and sentencing in our justice system, and just in general fighting for racial equality

It's odd that in the last 40 years of policy where these things where all mandated, promoted, and force, it only made things worse - for everyone (ex: dumbing down the education system to the lowest common denominator, hiring based on race rather than merit, breaking up the black family structure, seeing racism under every rock and corner to excuse bad behavior, promoting said bad behavior as either "authentic" or as the natural result of "white racism", etc).

Maybe, just maybe, your personal bias of viewing blacks as some type of helpless children that have to be taken care of - is the problem, and not the solution.

Since we're sharing anecdotes:

    As a white man living in the South, we still have segregation
    in practice. I rarely had interaction with blacks because they
    did different things and took different classes at school. We
    all went to the same schools---just didn't have the same classes
    or have the same social circles.
As a white man who was a child in southwestern Missouri in the 1980s, I took the bus to school. A black family with children moved into the area. When the black children tried to board the bus, the white children screamed and yelled at them and wouldn't let them board.

I never saw them again, so I don't know if they went on to have the same social circles as white people.

I grew up white in the south, too.

I took me years to really grok how I was part of the problem. Eventually, I figured out that I needed to do this:

    s/white people/people/g;
    s/black people/people/g
Even today, I almost always have to spend a little cognitive load to patch my own though process at runtime.

When I fail to overcome my upbringing, I fail to make new friends. I fail to be funny with strangers. I don't get smiles because, without thinking about it, I wasn't giving 'em.

This is subtle. It's not just hard to talk about, it's hard to think about.

I'm already friendly in equal measure to people of all races.

You are right that white people being friendly is an issue. But that is the fly in the room. Black culture is the elephant.

Admittedly, though, white culture has been in decline since the late 18th century, so that's also a problem. Whites are doing all kinds of things to exacerbate the problem. Like accepting postmodern views that reject individualism and reason in favor of racism, classism, feminism, psychological determinism, and so on. Totally rejecting individual responsibility. In other words, yes, white culture is a huge problem---but not in the way people think.

Actually, the segregation is a bit more sinister than just because they "did different things", although perhaps you don't realise this because you're white.

Back in the mid 90s my wife's family wasn't allowed to stay in the nice part of a motel somewhere in the South. They had to stay in the slightly crappy "black" block of the motel. The irony is that all the cars parked in front of the shitty "black" block of the motel were expensive ones. Also they're not even black, they're Asian. Apparently every business in that part of the town had de-facto segregation like this.

I'm curious if it's still like that. I've seen on recent TV documentaries (e.g. Louis Theroux) that there is still a hell of a lot of racism down there, so I imagine things haven't changed very much for the better.

What the South had for much of the 20th century was much closer to apartheid. Blacks were not allowed to vote, for example, or to exercise generally protected rights that whites had, such as the right to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances. In a merely segregated situation, different races would be prevented from mixing but treated by the government as equal citizens. That did not come close to happening: the various Southern governments did not even make a pretense of being neutral arbiters of segregation, but were quite openly White governments, acting as shamelessly violent partisans of the White population's interests.

Louisville, Kentucky, had segregation but not Jim Crow. The black population was a minor but important voting bloc, that could unite to oust mayors who really crossed a line with the racist bullshit. But make no mistake about how people were "treated as equal citizens" under segregation. When the city started establishing a system of large parks, black people were to be excluded, and when the black community protested, the city created a smaller, special park that black people could visit. Add to that the problems of educational segregation, political corruption, voter fraud and intimidation.

The North was not much better, where racial segregation in places like Chicago and Seattle was enforced through redlining, blockbusting, restrictive deed covenants, &c., and outright government policy.

Much of the country was ruled by an explicit white supremacist ideology for much of the 20th century, often enforced through open terroristic violence (lynching).

Hi Javert, To fix something implies it does not work properly. When you say there is nothing white people can do to fix this, what is this broken "this" needing to be fixed?

Edit: By the way I upvoted even though I think your line of thinking is incorrect, and that it intentionally contributes to the racial problem we face here.

Edit2: I meant "un"intentionally. Sorry.

Black culture.

However, it doesn't really need to be fixed. All that needs to happen is for individuals to decide that they want to live rational, virtuous lives.

If you doubt that black culture preaches the opposite, listen to (modern) black music. (Or look at black incarcertaion rates.)

I say "modern" because much of the best American music was created by blacks. But that was a while ago.


Thanks for the clarification. Email me at 1000app@gmail.com so that I can email you my thoughts on this. From a black person's point of view. I suspect we will have to go a few back and forth. Maybe.

well that and slavery

Is it slavery if people are working for almost free in prison because of some absurd crime and a bullshit justice system? Yes.

Therefore slavery still exists. It just got sneaky.

Well sort of sneaky - the English were calling their white slaves convicts. When people did crimes like steal bread, they could be sent all the way across the oceans on six month voyages to work. Yeah, they could eventually be free... but even if they managed that; then getting back was near impossible for most.

In fact the 13th Amendment explicitly calls out being convicted of a crime as an exception to the "no slavery" thing.

The full text of the amendment:

> Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

> Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

By word count, 30% of the amendment allows slavery under specific circumstances, but somehow that seems to get left out of the curriculum of most american civics classes (that I've seen / gone through anyway).

the point I was trying to make was that there are actually things worse than apartheid

And these "missing men" are only the ones currently incarcerated. After incarceration many men have difficulties securing employment, which further destabilizes relationships.

Moynihan in 1965, writing at the Labor Dept.: "The steady expansion of welfare programs can be taken as a measure of the steady disintegration of the Negro family structure over the past generation in the United States." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Negro_Family:_The_Case_For_...

The welfare state and the drug war have had devastating effects on the U.S. black population. To take just one statistic, when Moynihan published his report, the black out-of-wedlock birth rate was 25%. Now, it's over 70% (and almost 30% among the white population). Complete tragedy.

The other reply is completely correct. You are misinterpreting what Moynihan meant when he wrote:

>"The steady expansion of welfare programs can be taken as a measure of the steady disintegration of the Negro family structure over the past generation in the United States."

What he meant was that, as we see a crumbling of black family structure, they will require greater help, which came through welfare. Here is the heart and soul of his argument: "at the heart of the deterioration of the fabric of Negro society is the deterioration of the Negro family"

I don't think he would have argued that reducing welfare would help these people, and to imply that is disingenuous at best.

The country's response to a crisis of the black American family was to imprison a large number of black males, adding another crisis to the situation.

Considering that and other forms of discrimination, it's amazing that the black middle-class has expanded so much.

Imprisoning someone isn't a response to anything but crime.

Imprisonment for a crime is not discrimination. You're insane.

> Imprisonment for a crime is not discrimination.

I wish it was so. Consider however:

* Many laws are and have been discriminatory. For example, laws banning minority activites such as homosexual sex or interracial marriage; laws imprisoning Japanese in WWII or banning forms of political speech in many eras; laws banning peaceful protest during political conventions; laws that penalize poor people's vices (crack, dope) much more harshly than rich people's vices (cocaine, prescription drugs).

* Police enforcement is sometimes discriminatory: Much research supports that some minorities are harassed by law enforcement (e.g., 'driving while black', or stop-and-frisk in major cities). What might be overlooked from a middle-class white can result in jail time for a poor black.

* Prosecutor enforcement is sometimes discriminatory: Research supports that some minorties are charged with harsher crimes than other citizens, for the same behavior. The powerful and connected get a pass.

* Judicial enforcement is sometimes discriminatory: Research supports that convictions and sentencing are harsher for minorities. Also consider the long history of blacks facing all-white juries. Also, the poor have much less access to judicial resources, such as a good lawyer.

There is a long history of blacks, for example, being defenseless against all-white police forces, governments and judicial systems. You can see it today; consider Eric Garner and other recent cases, where people even can be killed with no reprocussions.

Everyone is a criminal. (Think: have YOU ever done anything illegal? Tried pot? Downloaded music? Thrown eggs? Driven buzzed?) Some criminals are disproportionately targeted and disproportionately punished. Lucky for you you got a pass.

I didn't read that implication in the GP's statement.

Moynihan was snubbed for writing the report and liberals and conservatives alike have since been very afraid to comment on the state of black families in the US.

The black family unit in the US has been under attack for over 500 years. During slavery, blacks were prohibited from marrying and relationships between father, mother, and children were torn apart at the slaveowners whim. Slavery was still in existence 150 years ago, and it existed on US soil for 350 years prior. Reconstruction offered brief solace, but then came Jim Crow, white terrorist organizations like the KKK, a so-called social welfare system that overzealously institutionalized and split apart poor families, the war on drugs/crime, Clinton era cuts to welfare that disproportionally affected working single mothers and poor children of color, etc.

Correlation vs causation issues? Welfare is available to everyone, why would you say this is only affecting a certain race?

Seems more appropriate to look at other trends rather than a 1965 article.

The numbers are boggling. I don't understand how Americans tolerate such a blatantly racist prison system.


because it isn't obviously racist. you can't just say "more african americans and hispanics are arrested than whites or asians, therefore, police are targeting african americans and hispanics unfairly." that's not how it works.

wrt. drug-related crimes, sure, there seems to be a weird disparity (does it take into account 'casual' drug users vs. 'hardcore' drug users?).

wrt. violent crime, however, the percent of arrestees who are black matches very closely with the percent of victims who say their assailant was black. and this has been constant throughout thirty years of crime victimization surveys. see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_crime_in_the_United_St... and https://www.ncjrs.gov/App/Publications/abstract.aspx?ID=2560...

you can't say that african americans are arrested at unfair rates. it's more nuanced than that: african americans are probably arrested unfairly for drug-related crimes, but they probably aren't for violent crimes.

unfortunately, I think this is a compounding problem: more african american men in prison means more single-parent households (that are probably also in poverty), which means more crime, which means more african american men in prison.

>African Americans serve virtually as much time in prison for a drug offense (58.7 months) as whites do for a violent offense (61.7 months). (Sentencing Project)

I think the fact that blacks are given much less lenient sentencing is enough to put the game largely in the oppressive class's favor, and to call the system racist.

And, if purely by statistics, it's hard to argue that this skewing is because all of these people are drug dealers (if they're all drug dealers, who are they selling to?)

i would agree with you if most prisoners were not there on drug charges, or if black Americans didn't spend as much time in prison as violent criminals.


It is blatantly, flagrantly institutionally racist.

> (Number Of People Serving Time For Drug Offenses In US Prisons)

> Federal: "Between 2001 and 2013, more than half of prisoners serving sentences of more than a year in federal facilities were convicted of drug offenses (table 15 and table 16). On September 30, 2013 (the end of the most recent fiscal year for which federal offense data were available), 98,200 inmates (51% of the federal prison population) were imprisoned for possession, trafficking, or other drug crimes."

The US imprisons more people than any other country; many of those prisoners are there for drug crime; white people and black people take drugs in roughly similar proportions yet black people are far more likely to be imprisoned for similar drug offences.

> (US Drug Prisoners) "The United States leads the world in the number of people incarcerated in federal and state correctional facilities. There are currently more than 2 million people in American prisons or jails. Approximately one-quarter of those people held in U.S. prisons or jails have been convicted of a drug offense. The United States incarcerates more people for drug offenses than any other country. With an estimated 6.8 million Americans struggling with drug abuse or dependence, the growth of the prison population continues to be driven largely by incarceration for drug offenses."

Edit: changed first sentence which was attacky to this which I think is less so.

The vast majority of people in prison for drug offenses are in there for dealing, not using. So the point about blacks and whites using at the same rate is a red herring.

Whites seem to deal at a higher rate: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/09/30/w...

And that's not a red herring at all. Correlating use with dealing is pretty logical.

From your link:

> "This partly reflects racial differences in the drug markets in black and white communities. In poor black neighborhoods, drugs tend to be sold outdoors, in the open. In white neighborhoods, by contrast, drug transactions typically happen indoors, often between friends and acquaintances. If you sell drugs outside, you're much more likely to get caught."

Makes sense to me. I cannot recall ever being offered drugs by a white person while I was walking down the sidewalk. (While hanging out on the beach is another story...)

To add to thatswrong0's comment. The line between possession and dealing is arbitrary, and not exactly cut and dried[1]. See also sentencing disparity in crack vs powder cocaine.

1. http://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/crime-penalties/federal...

DanBC - You are drawing conclusions from insufficient data. You assume that black prisoners serving time for drug convictions are disproportionately punished.

In reality, as widely documented, drug busts are often the only way to get a violent person off the streets. It's not "justice" per se, since they're sometimes punished for the lesser crime, but police typically know who the bad guys are in their neighborhood, who the likely murderer or rapist is, who's breaking and entering, but it's not all that easy to apprehend someone and get a conviction. And if they don't get a conviction, there's the risk of double jeopardy -- can't be prosecuted for the same thing twice. So sometimes it's more expedient to get them off the streets on a lesser charge such as possession.

If you explore the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (bjs.gov) you will discover some startling and depressing facts. About half of the roughly 16,000 gun homicides per year are committed by black males 16-39, and most of their victims are also black. What takes so many black males out of society can be explained by this type of statistic -- gang bangers fighting it out in the ghettos. (Hispanics are also disproportionately represented, but not as highly as blacks.) By contrast, the majority of white deaths from guns are suicides.

Indeed if it weren't for this tragically high violence among Blacks, guns would hardly be considered a political hot potato issue in the U.S. because per capita violence would be about on par with Canada and Western Europe.

Then of course there are many other crimes of violence and property -- robberies, muggings, rapes, B&E, shoplifting, etc., that snare black youth in the legal system for years.

The U.S. has a socio-economic problem with the African-American population that has not alleviated, 50 years after the Civil Rights Act that emancipated Black people, gave them the power of the vote, moved the country toward greater protection of minority rights, and opened the legislative door to quotas and affirmative action to try to uplift the black population economically.

Obviously, there is still racism in modern day U.S. society, but it is almost more notable by its infrequence, e.g. the headlines that happen every time a white cop shoots a black suspect, a tiny fraction of overall shootings yet given disproportionate attention by society because of residual outrage at the casual profiling and brutality from an earlier era.

What can be done? In my opinion, economic development would help to alleviate these problems more than almost any other solution that's been tried. I would focus on ghetto areas, both black and Hispanic, and designate them as "special economic zones" that would have greatly reduced taxation and regulation, similar to what's been successfully done in China and other developing areas. For example, an entrepreneur would be able to establish a factory in an SEZ with minimal EPA scrutiny and minimal paperwork, something that normally would take months or years, with all sorts of NIMBY lawsuits and red tape.

Get people working real jobs, get them on a path to middle class prosperity, and their children will see a way out of the hopelessness and despair that characterize the ghettos.

It's obviously racist, it's just implicitly racist rather than explicitly so ;)

Perhaps it is because American politics use racism as a wedge, to divide dissent groups into non-cooperating entities. That results in many unpleasant consequences, but it does keep the public distracted away from any issues of actual importance in any given elections cycle, such as sound budgeting, police militarization and accountability, media consolidation, monetary and fiscal policy, and corruption within the elections system.

Noting that the criminal-processing industry uses mostly black men as its working fluid is of secondary importance to noticing that the system has long since ceased to be a cost center justified by the benefit to public safety, and policing is now a corrupt and for-profit business.

Americans tolerate such a blatantly racist system because the racism is just one outward symptom of a disease that is nigh impossible to cure without also killing the patient, namely that policing and prosecution are performed with ever-decreasing respect for the civil rights of the public, and the constitutional boundaries imposed upon the state's agents.

I can't even get the freaking Homeowners' Association to stop bothering me about the variety of plants on my lawn. I can't imagine how I could possibly overcome the momentum behind the entire system, short of open rebellion.

Trouble is, it got that way one arrest at a time. Each one may seem defensible in isolation. Its only by looking at the statistics that the problem leaps out at you.

So you noticed, and wrote a blog entry. What actionable plan can we suggest? Or will we just make more blog entries. I honestly don't have any answer.

I didn't notice; I didn't write a blog entry.

I don't even live in that country.

These are the first google hits for relevant search terms.

As for what can be done about it: the fact that people feel helpless in the face of 1 in 31 Americans being in some form of correctional control or 1 in 6 black American men having been incarcerated (as of 2001) is pretty scary.

Sucks to be them I guess.

Writing congress, writing your rep, fighting for police and justice reform, donating to the southern poverty law center http://www.splcenter.org/ and the ACLU.

I don't think the SPLC is really in the same league as the ACLU. SPLC is entirely politically motivated. The SPLC is famous for their "hate group" list. The problem is, a hate group is whatever the SPLC says it is. Their criteria are quite loose and their application of that criteria is quite loose as well. You won't find eco-terror and animal rights groups on the SPLC hate group list because it doesn't align with SPLC's political ideology. One might try to rationalize the hypocrisy by pointing out that the SPLC says it applies hate speech based on hate for "immutable characteristics" but SPLC seems fine to bend that rule to denounce anti-religious hate.

I hope anyone reading your comment and feeling generous donates to the ACLU instead of the SPLC.

> I don't think the SPLC is really in the same league as the ACLU. SPLC is entirely politically motivated.

The ACLU and SPLC are both "entirely politically motivated", being non-profit groups founded to address political issues.

The issues each is focused on, of course, are different from the other.

Writing politicians: and what solution do THEY have? Isn't that more blogging? If we're to believe social and economic forces are to blame, then justice reform is way too late to be effective. What, we stop arresting criminals because 'its society's fault'? That's the hole we've gotten ourselves into.

Want some interesting perspective - in 1968 Jim Crow laws were still in effect (aka separate but "equal") until they were finally made illegal.

But you can be positive that just making it illegal in 1968 didn't end the practice, it most certainly went on into the 70s

That's only a couple of generations ago.

It's crazy that some people don't understand why it take so long to recover from hundreds of years of that, people of color were literally second class citizens.

To be clear, you are talking about the post-civil war period to the civil rights act period as when blacks in most of the USA were second class, correct? Because, before that, blacks were not second class citizens in any way, they were property in many areas.

Right of course.

What I am trying to point out is how some naive people look around and say well I got myself a job and got myself stable without assistance so why shouldn't everyone have to do it on their own?

But the thing is, if you are white in the USA, your great grandfather probably came to this country as an immigrant and lived very simply while making a little progress and making a little money. Then your grandfather took that momentum of stability and went a little further, then your father went a little further.

People of color don't have that momentum unless they were very fortunate. There are exceptions of course but their great-grandfathers, while not slaves were very held down in society.

Even when that weight is suddenly lifted in the 70s, it didn't magically give them generational momentum.

So some teenager looks around today and says, gee what is the problem, I can do it, why does anyone of color need special preference. It's dangerous ignorance.

Except that doesn't happen with recent immigrants who do very well, some of them Africans.

The self-selected groups of recent immigrants are not a random sampling of their countries of origin [1]. 1. http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/1814529?uid=2&uid=4&si...

Interesting! Great link, thank you.

Historically this was solved by polygamy. (The cause of the missing men back then was usually war and travel danger on business expeditions.)

Polygamy is still occurring, except without the official status of wife.

Makes me wonder if the benefits of outlawing polygamy in the US might not outweigh the harm - especially because it happens anyway.

I know a few happily married couples in "open" relationships. Poly or whatever you wanna call it. And I know a few unhappy, obviously sexless couples in traditional marriages as well.

For me, marriage is both an outdated and terrifying prospect. The thought of being with one woman for the rest of my life, sexually, is off-putting. So instead of doing what many others do - cheat, get caught, divorce, repeat - I just choose not to marry. Unless I find someone of a similar mind-set.

Dating sites are filled to the brim with women/men who want a "discreet" relationship. Instead of being open about our needs and communicating and accepting those needs, we choose to hide/vilify those who are brave enough to do. So as a society we keep up this fake appearance of "proper" when increasingly more and more are cheating, getting divorced, being miserable...why? Why is this necessary? I don't get it.

Sorry for ranting. It's just what you said struck a chord with me.

The problem with polygamy in a peaceful and prosperous society is there will be huge inequality between the most attractive and the least attractive in terms of the ability to find sexual partners, which will be a strong factor in social unrest. Potentially there is a correlation between countries permitting polygamy and terrorism. Monogamy and polygamy are two sides of the same coin. I think over time society will choose the one best suited to its current circumstance, but it can take a while.

Sex isn't a 'need', get over yourself.

Sex has been one of the major driving forces behind every decision I've made since I turned 13 or so. How I dress, how I talk, why I buy the things I buy and 50% of why I wake up at 5 am to go to the gym, why I go out to obnoxious bars and clubs... how is that not a 'need'? In the hunter-gatherer sense I guess it's not since I won't die if I don't have it but the want to have it as much as possible controls a huge percent of my daily actions. So maybe an 'addiction' then? Fine but now we're splitting hairs.

I would ague that marriage is not a need. It's an artificial construct that we impose on ourselves in a time when we don't need to do it. Women don't need you to survive, they can be their own providers now.

And why do you need to be betrothed to one woman for all eternity? Nature would love for you to spread your seed amongst many more women - larger bio-diversity.

But nobody is stopping you if traditional marriage is what you want to do, of course, more power to you.

While this is technically true, it's stated a little too glibly considering that we're talking about life-or-death (over the long term) evolutionary drives here.

One thing that has always bothered me is that almost any argument against polygamy works just as well as an argument against banning extra-marital sexual relationships.

As you said, polygamy already exists, just without the legal framework calling it a marriage.

Polygamy is a bad thing because it concentrates power, decreases equality for women and increases resentment by lowers status men, who have little hope of a happy life. Usually polygamy only create a small set of legitimate heirs and a larger subset of 'bastards' who also have little prospects in life within these societies.

Polygamy is actually a rarity in human societies, and while it definitely exists as a cultural practice, it's usually in a society with heavy restrictions on freedom. What is more usual is monogamous relationships with a small amount of adultery on the side. Given the choice of the two, the latter is arguably a better choice for societies, which is why it is the norm.

Is this an inherent feature of polygamy, or simply a consequence of the fact that polygamy occurs mostly in less-developed non-Western societies?

Polygamy is pretty common cross-culturally in agricultural societies, if not commonly the dominant form of marriage.

Many of us learned a short, sanitized history of human rights in school. The story tends to focus on progress. We once had Inquisitions and witch burnings, and then the Enlightenment put an end to that. We had slavery and Jim Crow, and then the Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil Rights movement fixed those.

The unspoken implication is that the problems are now solved. Schools teach children the injustices of history, but rarely talk about the injustice of the status quo. The message is that the evil is past, and that present authority is legitimate and benevolent.

So, what injustices will students learn about in 2100?

I think that today's mass incarceration, the war on drugs, and unequal education will be towards the top of the list. Students will learn how we once had 5% of the world's population, but 50% of the world's inmates. They'll learn how many of those inmates were in jail for nonviolent offenses, especially drug offenses. One of the root causes for the cycle of poverty, crime, and jail time is unequal education. It manifests in the many communities and schools that simply don't teach children the skills necessary to succeed or make a legitimate living. Students of the future will probably learn how some of the worst schools in the industrialized world in the early 21st century were sometimes a few miles away from the best, separated by a certain road or a set of train tracks. "Schools" with fifteen year olds that were barely literate, with armed police officers on staff, with metal detectors at the entrance.

Then, they'll learn how those injustices were fixed.


I'm sure at some point we'll shift from punishing the poor to trying harder to empower them--or at least empower their children--to live better.

What can we do today to be part of that?

Will this have an effect on U.S diversity ? In a way, it may foster more interracial relationships on affected areas

I can't find the study to cite, but if I remember correctly an old study found that while most males of all ethnicities are open to relationships with females of different ethnicities given attractive qualities are sufficient (I could be wrong but only physical attraction was measured in this study); they found that most females tend to only go for males within their own ethnic group. The exception was Asian women with Caucasian men. Maybe if this trend continues, it will change for African American women as well (though for that past several years, there have been similar articles like this concerning African American relationships)?

Ok cupid suggest that black women are rather likely to answer back to white men who write to her (http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/your-race-affects-whether-...), moreso than black men who write to her.

I found a reference to the study: http://www.slate.com/articles/business/the_dismal_science/20...

"Another clear gender divide, this one less expected, emerged in our findings on racial preferences, reported in a forthcoming article in the Review of Economic Studies. Women of all the races we studied revealed a strong preference for men of their own race: White women were more likely to choose white men; black women preferred black men; East Asian women preferred East Asian men; Hispanic women preferred Hispanic men. But men don't seem to discriminate based on race when it comes to dating. A woman's race had no effect on the men's choices."

In Asian culture Asian woman always have a strong preference for other Asians (this is of course generalizing across the different Asian cultures), especially from the same Asian race. But there's a strong fetishizing of Asian women by certain non-Asian men so there's a disproportionate amount of Asian-women-chasing by white men that gets misconstrued as preference by Asian women. If everyone preferred blue M&Ms, you'll simply see more blue M&Ms in everyone's mouths, regardless of their race.

The Asian women fetish is quite unique in that there's really nothing else like it for women of another race present in American culture. You'll find it in pop culture such as Weezer's album "Pinkerton," named after the character from Madame butterfly who marries a Japanese woman.


"Asian Americans of both genders who are U.S.-raised are much more likely to be married to Whites than their non-U.S.-raised counterparts."

I found a summary of the study: http://www.slate.com/articles/business/the_dismal_science/20...

"Two wrinkles on this: We found no evidence of the stereotype of a white male preference for East Asian women. However, we also found that East Asian women did not discriminate against white men (only against black and Hispanic men). As a result, the white man-Asian woman pairing was the most common form of interracial dating—but because of the women's neutrality, not the men's pronounced preference."

"Asian Americans of both genders who are U.S.-raised are much more likely to be married to Whites than their non-U.S.-raised counterparts." This statement is not actually related to the point I'm making. Of course it will be true (for so many reasons) since people raised in the US are exposed to, and interact with, non-Asians.

There's no general white male preference. I didn't say that. I'm saying there's a small niche of white males who have fetishes, and it exists where there is no nice of Asian men who prefer white girls, or Asian women who prefer white men. I've seen white males go only for Asian women because of this. And because societal norms across cultures is for the men to chase woman, you'll get some small group of white men who will heavily pursue Asian woman.

Also, from the same article: "Social enterprise research by the Columbia Business School (2005–2007) concluded that while East Asian women statistically prefer East Asian men for marriage, they show no discrimination against White men, causing Asian women/White men pairings to consistently become the prevalent form of interracial dating & marriage in the United States.[6]"

Summary: Asian women prefer Asian men, but do not discriminate White men, so statistically (especially if there is a subset of Asian-fetishizing white men) you'll see more interracial pairings. If one is a latent racist, one might attribute such pairings to an intrinsic desirability for one's race.. OR, one would realize that all things have an objective cause besides the fact that one's own race is always better.

>But there's a strong fetishizing of Asian women by certain non-Asian men so there's a disproportionate amount of Asian-women-chasing by white men that gets misconstrued as preference by Asian women.

It takes two to tango.

Asian woman, especially in the US, would not be strongly against relationships with non-Asian men. Plus the societal norm is for the guy to initiate and pursue. So if you have a small subset of white men who have a fetish for Asian women, you'll naturally get more of those pairings simply because Asian men dont have as much of a fetish for other races as white men do.

If you do the math, you'll also see this. If Asian women had equal preference for white or asian men, you'd see a fairly equal distribution of Asian/White pairings (with that of Asian/Asian). If you take a look outside you'll see there are still vastly greater amount of Asian-Asian pairs than Asian-Nonasian. The Asian-men preference will be greatly less pronounced for Asian American women, but it's extremely strong for Asian born women.

If you don't agree with looking, or you lack a sufficiently large sample size of Asian friends to gather info from, see this quote from Wikipedia:

"Social enterprise research by the Columbia Business School (2005–2007) concluded that while East Asian women statistically prefer East Asian men for marriage, they show no discrimination against White men, causing Asian women/White men pairings to consistently become the prevalent form of interracial dating & marriage in the United States.[6]"

I'm guessing this comment is based on personal experience, perhaps difficulty in success with some Asian women.

I once dated a very attractive Asian woman. What was surprising to me was that lots of Asian guys who would have normally passed me on the street without comment were all of a sudden making snide remarks. It seemed to me that these guys felt like I was stealing one of 'their girls' or something. It's just an anecdote, but it was surprising to me. It probably happens to anyone in a mixed race relationship, in the same way that unattractive guys with a hot girlfriend get comments about 'she can do better than you'.

Im going to have to call you out here. I think you are clearly trying to irk me. But I didn't suggest that white men dating Asian girls is a bad thing, or any racist anti interracial attitude. So I'm not sure what the point of your comment was. It's kind of offensive and latently racist to suggest that I must be Asian and I must be bitter because you took one of "my girls."

Why not just respond to the point I made attempting to explain the prevalence white mail Asian female pairings.

How am I supposed to make my point (assuming I'm right about this) when I've got people like you attacking me with off-topic slightly racist remarks?

Simply not true. As another user pointed out, "it takes two to tango."

And from personal experience, Asian women are just as into white men as white men are into Asian women.

I'm a white guy, and the only women who have ever been super into me immediately after meeting me in a club have been Asian. This has happened multiple times in clubs in SF, LA, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.

Go go Gangnam in Korea. You'll see the xenophobia exhibited by their woman. You'll realize that its latent racism to generalize across all Asian cultures and automatically attribute your dating success to the desirability of your own race. Its also egocentric to generalize one's own limited viewpoint with absolute certainty.

If you come from Asian culture, you'll realize that the poorer will prefer foreign men if for no other reason than for socioeconomic reasons, and for a well-to-do girl where this factor is nonexistent its pretty well known that both genders have a strong preference from their own country (not just for any "Asian").

>The Asian women fetish is quite unique in that there's really nothing else like it for women of another race present in American culture

I wouldn't say it's a fetish for Asian girls(physical traits and sexuality). What attracts many white males is the fact many Asian women are usually more mature, intelligent and feminine than others.

Also imagine what ran through Hitler's mind when he decided to formulate his opinions on Jews. It probably started with some limited interaction with or exposure to them, and it probably turned out negative (in your case regarding Asian women, it turned out positive). He then extrapolated that into a generalization... and then some unimportant things happened next. A negative fetish, if you will.

A wrong idea is bad, regardless of if it is a positive idea or negative one. It makes you disregard other Asian women, or other people, who actually hold those qualities, and it makes you think less of them when they fail to satisfy those qualities. I hope that helps you understand why such generalizations, even if positive, are racially insensitive.

>What attracts many white males is the fact many Asian women are usually more mature, intelligent and feminine than others.

a few too many generalizations there ;)

It is in fact that generalization (which is not true) that makes it a fetish. Its a fetish when you have an unrealistic and unhealthy mental image and obsession with something.

Unbelievably sad.

This is your drug war success.

Nixon declared drugs public enemy #1 in 1971. Also in 1971 the US Supreme Court ruled that Brown required active desegregation and mandated busing as a means of achieving it. [1]

That's more the 100 years after the Reconstruction Amendments. [2] Racism is the weft upon which much of US history has been woven.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swann_v._Charlotte-Mecklenburg...

[2]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reconstruction_Amendments

That's a good point. Everyone always blames this on conservative policies like the war on drugs, but in reality liberal policies like school integration have also contributed to the issue, e.g. by creating gangs and balkanizing communities.

Did I read that right? School integration creates gangs?


>Rucker estimates that each additional year of exposure to desegregated schools increased black men’s annual earnings by roughly 5 percent, increased their wages by 2.9 percent, and led to an annual work effort that was 39 hours higher. At the same time, for these black male adults the probability of poverty decreased by between 1.6 and 1.9 percentage points. Overall, five years spent in desegregated schools yielded an estimated 25 percent increase in annual earnings and increased annual work effort of 195 hours. Desegregation also resulted in significant long-run improvements in blacks' adult health, as measured by self-assessed general health status; the effect of a five-year exposure to school desegregation is equivalent to being seven years younger.

Some of the first American gangs were Irish (Forty Thieves, Dead Rabbits) and integration of the Irish in American society certainly didn't cause an increase in Irish street gangs.

> School integration creates gangs?

C.f. http://www.amazon.com/World-We-Created-Hamilton-High/dp/0674...

> Rucker estimates that each additional year of exposure to desegregated schools increased black men’s annual earnings by roughly 5 percent, increased their wages by 2.9 percent, and led to an annual work effort that was 39 hours higher.

Also, what exactly does that mean? E.g. a person going from an all black school to a school that's 90% white is going to have almost nothing in common with someone going from an all black school to a school that's still 90% black. I skimmed over the study, but I'm having trouble understanding how they are controlling for demographics and what they call the 'black-white exposure index'.

I don't follow at all. You're blaming balkanization on integration? Sure, white flight was an unintended consequence but that surely wasn't the goal and no fault of the policy itself. And how is this connected to gangs? Gangs can't exist in segregated schools how?

> Sure, white flight was an unintended consequence but that surely wasn't the goal and no fault of the policy itself.

It's not entirely accurate to say it was an unintended consequence. The Coleman Report predicted these sorts of issues if desegregation was implemented in the way that it was.

> And how is this connected to gangs?

C.f. the book I linked to.

And this is what I don't understand about the politics. Support for the drug war is strongest among African American leaders where you'd expect it to be weakest.


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