Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Why the West rules: latitude not attitude -geographical good fortune

In his book "Why the West Rules- for Now" scholar Ian Morris highlights the importance of geography. Contrary to what some critics of the book allege, Morris never claims geography is the only factor, on sole explanatory variable, but that, of several significant variables, geography is the primary one, or one of the most significant of the heavyweights. This does not rule out things like culture or "great men" and it is not "deterministic." Nor is geography static, for time itself and accumulated changes over long time spans, can change what geography means says Morris.

He also notes that what seems like innovations in "the West" are not necessarily unique. Aristotle developed new ways of looking at things but so did sages in Asia and the Middle East during the same time, in general concepts showing similarity. In other words as economies and societies developed they came up with similar concepts to handle similar problems or challenges. Time changes the meaning of geography. Isolated Britain was a backwater for millennia, until being drawn into a larger Eurasian orbit via the Roman empire. Even then it remained a relatively minor provincial place until changing economies and trade patterns made her outlier Atlantic location an asset rather than a liability. This in turn led to a spate of accelerating changes in Britain and elsewhere.

Morris also notes that there have been plenty of non-European innovators and deep thinkers outside of Europe. QUOTE: [i]"Newton and Descartes were geniuses, but so too were Chinese scholars like Gu Yanwu (1613-82) and Dai Zhen (1724-77), who also spent lifetimes studying nature. It was just that geography thrust new questions on Newton and Descartes." [/i]

It should be noted that Morris is a conservative, pro-Western scholar, and his book has been well received by some for just those attributes. The only quibble I have with his analysis, which is expanded in book length treatment in "Why the West Rules- for Now" is that he tries to incorporate Egypt into "the West". I think this is a bit problematic. It is true that ancient Egypt did influence "the West"- from trade, to historical memory (witness the Hebrew 'Exodus' tradition), to cultural influences, architectural influences to Egyptomania that extends into the 21st century. But this influence still does not remove Egypt from Africa anymore than Greek influence in Anatolia or North Africa removes Greece from Europe.

Egypt stands as part of Africa- and that includes geographically yes- not in just merely being on the continent, but in terms of its founding and core population being topical Africans, and its deep rooted cultural links with surrounding African areas, particularly the Sahara and Sudan. Egypt's cosest language link is with other African languages such as in the Chadic area, and credible Egyptologists have long shown that the closest cousin to ancient Egyptians are Nubians, not  "Middle Easterners." (Yurco 1989, 1996, et al.). Egypt is not a separate entity from Africa. As another conservative mainstream scholar notes on Egypt's cultural links with Africa:

"Archaeological evidence also strongly
supports an African origin. A widespread
northeastern African cultural assemblage,
including distinctive multiple barbed
harpoons and pottery decorated with
dotted wavy line patterns, appears during
the early Neolithic (also known as the
Aqualithic, a reference to the mild
climate of the Sahara at this time).
Saharan and Sudanese rock art from this
time resembles early Egyptian
iconography. Strong connections
between Nubian (Sudanese) and
Egyptian material culture continue in
later Neolithic Badarian culture of Upper
Egypt. Similarities include black-topped
wares, vessels with characteristic
ripple-burnished surfaces, a special
tulip-shaped vessel with incised and
white-filled decoration, palettes, and

Other ancient Egyptian practices show
strong similarities to modern African
cultures including divine kingship, the
use of headrests, body art, circumcision,
and male coming-of-age rituals, all
suggesting an African substratum or
foundation for Egyptian civilization.."

-- Source: Donald Redford (2001) The
Oxford encyclopedia of ancient Egypt,
Volume 3. Oxford University Press. p.28


".. but his [Frankfort's] frequent citations from African ethnography- over 60 are listed in the index- demonstrate that there is a powerful resonance between recent African concepts and practice on one hand, and ancient Egyptian kingship and religion on the other.."

Rowlands (Chapter 4) provides much additional evidence suggesting that 'sub-Saharan Africa and ANcient Egypt share certain commonalities in sunstantative images and ideas, yet whose cultural forms display differences consistent with perhaps millennia of historical divergence and institutionalization'.

"First, kingship in Egypt was 'the channel through which the powers of nature flowed into the body politic to bring human endeavour to fruition' and thus was closely analogous to the widespread African belief that 'chieftains entertain closer relationship with the powers in nature than other men' (Frankfort 1948: 33, ch. 2). Second, the Egyptian king's metaphorical identification as an all powerful bull who tramples his enemeis and inseminaes his cow-mother to achieve regeneration was derived from Egyptian ideas and beleifs abut cattle for which best prallels can be found in some, but not all, recent African societies.."

"Like the chiefs discussed by Rowlands, the king combines 'life giving forces with the power to kill" (Rowlands, CHaptr 4:52). Overall, this Egyptian concept of kingship, so akin to African models, seems very different to that held in the ancient Near ast (Frankfort 1948; Postgate 1995)"

"In conclusion, there is a relative abundance of ancient materials relevant to contact and influence, as well as striking correlations between ancient Egyptian civilization and the ethnography of recent and current sub-Saharan communities, chiefdoms and states... Perhaps the fact that commonalities do exist suggests that, because of great time depth and different organization, these commaniities may result from inherently African processes."

--David O'Connor, Andrew Reid (2007) ANCIENT EGYPT IN AFRICA. pp 15-22

As it developed over the centuries, Egypt became a major player in a key part of the Eurasian and Mediterranean mix, but this does not make it cease to be African. Greece became a major player int he Middle East and SW Asia but no one is seriously denying that Greece fails to be "European" because of this. Does Greece get separated from Europe and suddenly become "Asian" or "Middle Eastern"  because of long-standing Greek activity, trade and population flow with what is now today's Turkey? Few would say so, but when it comes to Africa, an immediate double standard appears. And few credible people are going insinuating that since ancient Greek temples or language do not appear in ancient Sweden or Britain then that means Sweden or Britain are not part of European civilization or culture, or that Greece did not influence Sweden or Britain through intermediate entities, in certain eras.

It should be noted that Egypt as a firmly African entity actually falls into Morris' general scheme without artificially making Egypt "non-African." The geography of Egypt was decisive in helping shape its rise- the productive north-south flow of the Nile, the surrounding deserts that shielded it from much invasion, etc etc, and the ancient Saharan climate change "pump" that moved people in and out of the Nile Valley until development accelerated to produce Egyptian civilization. The whole Nile Valley zone can serve as an example of early mover advantage in Africa, when geographical advantages are favorable. Likewise the diverse micro-climate zones of Africa helped nurture the evolution of AMHs. So sure, geography plays a significant role- on this Morris and I totally agree, and we agree that geography has been favorable to the West in many respects. No problem there either. I would only argue that Egypt is no exception to this pattern of how geography is important, but as an AFRICAN entity that has influenced "the West" in a number of ways. This is nothing new or necessarily controversial. Mainstream scholars have long seen Egypt as just such an African entity. QUOTE:

"Ancient Egypt belongs to a language
group known as 'Afroasiatic' (formerly
called Hamito-Semitic) and its closest
relatives are other north-east African
languages from Somalia to Chad. Egypt's
cultural features, both material and
ideological and particularly in the earliest
phases, show clear connections with that
same broad area. In sum, ancient Egypt
was an African culture, developed by
African peoples, who had wide ranging
contacts in north Africa and western

--Morkot, Robert (2005) The Egyptians: An Introduction. p. 10)

Morris likely included Egypt, Persia and Mesopotamia in his scheme becuse of the key influence they have had in the development of Western civilization- from the key early plant and animal domesticates, to advanced technologies such as writing to even cultural products nowadays deemed "European" such as the massively influential Christian religion. But ironically, if he is going to tout geography, then he must likewise yield to the geography and reality of Egypt in Africa.. Morris expanded separately in detail on some of the ideas in his book in various articles. AN excerpt from one is shown below:


[b]Morris, Ian. "Latitudes not attitudes: many reasons have been given for the West's dominance over the last 500 years. But, Ian Morris argues, its rise to global hegemony was largely due to geographical good fortune." History Today 60.11 (2010) [/b]



Most people, at some point or another, have wondered why the West rules. There are theories beyond number. Perhaps, say some, westerners are just biologically superior to everyone else. Or maybe western culture is uniquely dynamic; or possibly the West has had better leaders; or the West's democratic politics and its Christianity might give it an edge. Some think western domination has been locked in since time immemorial: others that it is merely a recent accident. And, with many westerners now looking to China's double-digit economic growth to pull the world out of recession, some historians even suggest that western rule has been an aberration, a brief interruption of an older, Sinocentric, world order.

When experts disagree so deeply, it usually means that we need fresh perspectives on a problem.

Most of those who pronounce on Western rule economists, political pundits, sociologists--tend to focus on recent times and then make sweeping claims about the past. Asking why the West rules, though, really requires us to work the other way round, posing questions about history, then seeing where they lead. As the masthead of this magazine puts it: 'What happened then matters now.'


The shape of history

Explaining why the West rules calls for a different kind of history than usual, one stepping back from the details to see broader patterns, playing out over millennia on a global scale. When we do this the first thing we see is the biological unity of humanity, which flatly disproves racist theories of western rule.

Our kind, Homo sapiens, evolved in Africa between 200,000 and 70,000 years ago and has spread across the world in the last 60,000 years. By around 30,000 years ago, older versions of humanity, such as the Neanderthals, were extinct and by 10,000 years ago a single kind of human--us--had colonised virtually every niche on the planet. This dispersal allowed humanity's genes to diverge again, but most of the consequences (such as the colour of skin, eyes, or hair) are, literally, only skin deep and those mutations that do go deeper (such as head shape or lactose tolerance) have little obvious connection to why the West rules. A proper answer to this question must start from the fact that wherever we go--East, West, North, or South--people ate all much the same.


So why have their histories turned out so differently? Many historians suggest that there is something unique about western culture. Just look, they say, at the philosophy of Socrates, the wisdom of the Bible, or the glories of Leonardo da Vinci; since antiquity, the West has simply outshone the rest.

Such cultural comparisons, however, are notoriously subjective. Socrates, for instance, was certainly a great thinker; but the years in which he was active, during the fifth century BC, were also the age of the Hebrew prophets in Israel, of the Buddha and the founders of Jainism in India, of Confucius and the first Daoists in China. All these sages wrestled with much the same questions as Socrates (Can I know reality? What is the good life? How do we perfect society?) and the thoughts of each became 'the classics', timeless masterpieces that have defined the meanings of life for millions of people ever since.

So strong are the similarities between the Greco-Roman, Jewish, Indian and Chinese classics, in fact, that scholars often call the first millennium BC the 'Axial Age', in the sense of it being an axis around which the whole history of Eurasian thought turned. From the Mediterranean to the Yellow Sea, larger, more complex societies were facing similar challenges in the first millennium BC and finding similar answers. Socrates was part of a huge pattern, not a
unique giant who sent the West down a superior path.

From a global perspective, Christianity, too, makes more sense as a local version of a broader trend than as something setting the West apart from the rest. As the Roman Empire disintegrated in the middle of the first millennium AD and new questions (Is there something beyond this life? How can I be saved?) gained urgency, the new faith won perhaps 40 million converts; but in those same years, in the wake of the Han dynasty's collapse in China, Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism offered their own answers to the same questions and won their own 40 million devotees. Soon enough Islam repeated the feat in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.

Even such astonishing Renaissance men as Leonardo and Michelangelo, who refined the wisdom of the ancient West to revolutionise everything from aeronautics to art, are best seen as Europe's versions of a new kind of intellectual which societies needed as they emerged from the Middle Ages. China had produced its own Renaissance men some 400 years earlier, who also refined ancient wisdom (in their case, of course, the East's) to revolutionise everything. Shen Kua (1031-95 M)), for instance, published groundbreaking work on agriculture, archaeology, cartography, climate change, the classics, ethnography, geology, maths, medicine, metallurgy, meteorology, music, painting and zoology. Even Leonardo would have been impressed.

Over and over again, the triumphs of western culture turn out to have been local versions of broader trends, not lonely beacons in a general darkness and, if we think about culture in a broader, more anthropological sense, the West's history again seems to be one example of a larger pattern rather than a unique story. For most of their existence, humans lived in small, egalitarian hunter-gatherer bands. After the Ice Age some hunter-gatherers settled down in villages, where they domesticated plants and animals; some villages grew into cities, with ruling elites; some cities became states and then empires and, finally, industrialised nations. No society has ever leaped from hunting and gathering to high technology (except under the influence of outsiders). Humans are all much the same, wherever we find them; and, because of this, human societies have all followed much the same sequence of cultural development. There is nothing special about the West.


Location, location, location

You may have noticed that all the historical examples I have mentioned--Italy, Greece, Israel, India, China--lie in a narrow band of latitudes, roughly 20-35[degrees] north, stretching across the Old World. This is no accident: in fact, it is a crucial clue as to why the West rules. Humans may all be much the same, wherever we find them, but the places we find them in are not. Geography is unfair and can make all the difference in the world.


When temperatures rose at the end of the last Ice Age, nearly 12,000 years ago, global warming had massive consequences everywhere, but, as in our own times. In impacted on some places more than on others. In the latitudes between 20[degrees] and 35[degrees] north in the Old World and a similar band between 15[degrees] south and 20[degrees] north in the Americas, large-grained wild grasses like wheat, rice and teosinte (the ancestor of maize) and large, relatively tame mammals like wild goats, pigs and llamas went forth and multiplied in the warmer weather.

This was a boon for humans, who ate them, but in the process of managing these other species--cultivating and tending the plants, herding and culling the animals--humans unintentionally domesticated them. We unwittingly altered their genomes so much that they became new species, providing us with far more food. Genetically modified organisms had been born.

Potentially domesticable plants and animals existed outside the lucky latitudes, but they were less common. Indeed many places, such as large parts of Western Europe, sub-Saharan Africa and Australia, had no domesticable native species at all. The consequence, given that humans were all much the same, was predictable: the domestication of plants and animals --farming--began in the lucky latitudes long before it began outside them. This was not because people in the lucky latitudes were cleverer or harder-working; nature had just given them more to work with than people in other places and so the task advanced more quickly.

Nor was nature even-handed within the lucky latitudes. Some places, above all the so-called 'Hilly Flanks', which curve from what is now Israel through Syria, southern Turkey, northern Iraq and western Iran, were extraordinarily well endowed; China between the Yellow and Yangzi rivers and the Indus Valley in Pakistan were somewhat less so; Oaxaca in Mexico and the Andes in Peru somewhat less still. Consequently, the Hilly Flanks were the first to see farming firmly established (by 7500 BC); then came China and Pakistan (around 5500 BC); then Oaxaca and Peru (by 5000 BC); and then, over the next 7,000 years, most of the rest of humanity.


Farming spread flora its original cores because it could support more people than hunting and gathering. The lives farmers led were often harder and their diets poorer than hunters', but that was beside the point. The farmers' weight of numbers, nastier germs (bred by crowding and proximity to domestic animals), more efficient organisation (required to keep order in larger villages) and superior weapons (necessary to settle constant quarrels) steadily dispossessed the hunters, who either took up farming in their own right or ran away.


The agricultural cores developed increasingly complex institutions as they expanded. Within 3-4,000 years of the start of farming (that is, by 3500 BC in Southwest Asia, 2500 BC in the Indus Valley, 1900 BC in China, 1500 BC in Mesoamerica and 1000 BC in the Andes) the first cities and states were taking shape.

Within another few centuries, most had bureaucrats keeping written records and by 2,000 years ago a continuous band of empires, with populations in the tens of millions, stretched from the Mediterranean to China. By then imperialists and traders had exported agriculture, cities and writing beyond the lucky latitudes as far afield as cold, rainy Britain in the northwest and hot, humid Cambodia in the southeast. These great empires--the Han in the East, the Mauryan in India, the Parthian in Iran and Iraq and the Roman further west--had many similarities; but the biggest, richest and grandest by far was Rome, the descendant of Eurasia's original, westernmost agricultural core in the Hilly Flanks.

Geography explains why farming first appeared towards the western end of the Old World's lucky latitudes; and, if the West had simply held on to the early lead that nature's unfairness had given it, geography would be the obvious explanation for why the West now dominates the world.

But that is not what actually happened. The West has not always been the richest, most powerful and most sophisticated part of the world during the last ten millennia. For more than 1,000 years, from at least 600 to 1700 AD, these superlatives applied to China, not the West.

After the fall of the Roman and Han empires in the early-to-mid first millennium AD, China was reunited into a single empire while the West remained divided between smaller states and invading Arabs. By 700, China's capital at Chang'an had probably a million residents and Chinese literature was enjoying a golden age. Woodblock printing presses churned out millions of books, paid for with the world's first paper money (invented in the 10th century). By 1000 an economic revolution had joined the cultural explosion: 11th-century China produced almost as much iron each year as the whole of Europe would be doing in 1700, on the eve of its Industrial Revolution. Chinese ironmasters produced so much, in fact, that they clear-cut entire forests to feed their forges, and--six centuries ahead of the West--learned to smelt their ores with coke.

For centuries, Chinese wealth and power dwarfed the West's. Between 1405 and 1433, while little Portuguese caravels tentatively nosed down Africa's west coast, Chinese emperors dispatched gigantic fleets across the Indian Ocean under the leadership of the eunuch admiral Zheng He (who, according to legend, was nearly three metres tall and 230 cm around the belly). Zheng's flagship was on the same scale as its skipper. At 80 metres long, it was the largest wooden ship ever built. When Columbus set sail in 1492, his own flagship was shorter than Zheng's mainmast and barely twice as long as the big man's rudder. Columbus led three ships and 90 sailors; Zheng led 300 ships and 27,870 sailors. His fleet extracted tribute from the cities of India, visited Mecca and even reached Kenya, where today Chinese archaeologists are diving to locate wrecks of Zheng's ships.

The power of place

The glories of medieval China seem, on the face of it, to disprove any geographical explanation for why the West now rules. After all, geography has not changed very much in the last 500 years.

Or maybe it has. Geography shapes history, but not in straightforward ways. Geography does determine why societies in some parts of the world develop so much faster than others; but, at the same time, the level to which societies have developed determines what geography means.

Take, once again, the example of Britain, sticking out from Eurasia into the cold Atlantic Ocean. Four thousand years ago, Britain was far from the centres of action in the Nile, Indus and Yellow River valleys, where farming had been established for millennia, great cities had grown up and labourers by the thousand broke their backs to immortalise divine kings with pyramids and palaces. Distant Britain had few of these things, which spread only slowly from the Mediterranean core to the Atlantic periphery. Geography made Britain backward.


But, if we fast-forward to 400 years ago, the same geography that had once made Britain backward now gave the island nation wealth and power. Britain had been drawn into a vastly expanded and more developed core, which now had ships that could reliably cross oceans and guns that could shoot the people on the other side. Sticking out into the Atlantic, such a huge disadvantage 4,000 years ago, became a huge plus from the 17th century.

The first sailors to the Americas were Italians (Christopher Columbus was from Genoa; the famous 'British' explorer John Cabot, who reached Newfoundland in 1497, actually grew up as Giovanni Caboto, in Florence). They were soon shoved aside by the Portuguese, Spanish, British, French and Dutch--not because the Atlantic littoral produced bolder or smarter adventurers than the Mediterranean, but simply because Western Europe was closer to America.

Given time, the 15th century's greatest sailors--the Chinese--would surely have discovered and colonised America too (in 2009 the Princess Taiping, a replica of a 15th-century junk, came within 20 miles of completing a Taiwan-San Francisco round trip, only to collide with a freight ship within sight of home). But in much the same way that geography had made it easier for people in the Hilly Flanks to domesticate plants and animals than for people in other parts of the world, it now again stacked the odds in the West's favour. The trip from England to New England was only half as far as that from China to California. For thousands of years this geographical fact had been unimportant, since there were no ocean-going ships. But by 1600 it had become the decisive fact. The meaning of geography had changed.


This was just the beginning of the changes. In the 17th century a new kind of economy took shape, centred around the North Atlantic, generating massive profits and driving up wages in north-west Europe by exploiting the geographical differences round its shores. In the process, it enormously increased the rewards for anyone who could explain how the winds and tides worked, or measure and count in better ways, or make sense of the secrets of physics, chemistry and biology. Not surprisingly, Europeans began thinking about the world in new ways, setting off a scientific revolution; they then applied its insights to the societies they lived in, in what we now call the Enlightenment. Newton and Descartes were geniuses, but so too were Chinese scholars like Gu Yanwu (1613-82) and Dai Zhen (1724-77), who also spent lifetimes studying nature. It was just that geography thrust new questions on Newton and Descartes.

Westerners answered their new questions, only to find that the answers led to still newer questions. By 1800 the combination of science and the Atlantic economy created incentives and opportunities for entrepreneurs to mechanise production and tap into the power of fossil fuels. This began in Britain, where geography conspired to make these things easier than anywhere else; and the energy windfall provided by fossil fuel quickly translated into a population explosion, rising living standards and massive military power. All barriers crumbled. British warships forced China to open to western trade in 1842; Americans did the same in Japan 11 years later. The age of western rule had arrived.

The lessons of history

So what do we learn from all this history? Two main things, I think. First, since people are all much the same, it is our shared biology which explains humanity's great upward leaps in wealth, productivity and power across the last 10,000 years; and, second, that it is geography which explains why one part of world--the nations we conventionally call 'the West'--now dominates the rest.

Geography determined that when the world warmed up at the end of the Ice Age a band of lucky latitudes stretching across Eurasia flora the Mediterranean to China developed agriculture earlier than other parts of the world and then went on to be the first to invent cities, states and empires. But as social development increased, it changed what geography meant and the centres of power and wealth shifted around within these lucky latitudes. Until about AD 500 the Western end of Eurasia hung on to its early lead, but after the fall of the Roman Empire and Han dynasty the centre of gravity moved eastward to China, where it stayed for more than a millennium. Only around 1700 did it shift westward again, largely due to inventions--guns, compasses, ocean-going ships--which were originally pioneered in the East but which, thanks to geography, proved more useful in the West. Westerners then created an Atlantic economy which raised profound new questions about how the world worked, pushing westerners into a Scientific Revolution, an Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution. By the mid-19th century, the West dominated the globe.

But history did not end there. The same laws of geography continued operating. By 1900 the British-dominated global economy had drawn in the vast resources of North America, converting the USA from a rather backward periphery into a new global core. The process continued in the 20th century, as the American-dominated global economy drew in the resources of Asia, turning first Japan, then the 'Asian Tigers' and eventually China and India into major players.

Extrapolating from these historical patterns, we can make some predictions. If the processes of change continue across the 21st century at the same rate as in the 20th century, the economies of the East will overtake those of the West by 2100. But if the rate of change keeps accelerating--as it has done constantly since the 15th century--we can expect eastern global dominance as soon as 2050.

An age of rapid change

It all seems very clear--except for one niggling detail. The past shows that, while geography shapes the development of societies, development also shapes what geography means; and all the signs ate that in the 21st century the meanings of geography are changing faster than ever. Geography is, we might even say, losing meaning. The world is shrinking and the greatest challenges we face--nuclear weapons, climate change, mass migration, epidemics, food and water supply--are all global problems. Perhaps the real lesson of history is that by the time the East overtakes the West, the question of why the West rules may have ceased to matter very much.



Two rules for being "really" black- no white wimmen, no Republican

The Axial age reconsidered

Cannibal seasonings: dark meat on white

"Affirmative Action" in the form of court remedies has been around a long time- since the 1930s- benefiting white union workers against discrimination by employers

Mugged by reality 1: White quotas, special preferences and government jobs

Lightweight enforcement of EEO laws contradicts claims of "flood" of minorities "taking jobs"

Railroaded 3: white violence and intimidation imposed quotas

Railroaded 2: how white quotas and special preferences blockade black progress...

Railroaded 1: How white affirmative action and white special preferences destroyed black railroad employment...

Affirmative action: primary beneficiaries are white women...

7 reasons certain libertarians and right-wingers are wrong about the Civil Right Act

Social philosophy of Thomas Sowell

Bogus "biodiversity" theories of Kanazawa, Ruston, Lynn debunked

JP Rushton, Michael Levin, Richard Lynn debunked. Weaknesses of Jared Diamond's approach.

In the Blood- debunking "HBD" and Neo-Nazi appropriation of ancient Egypt

early Europeans and middle Easterners looked like Africans. Peoples returning or "backflowing" to Africa would already be looking like Africans

 Ancient Egypt: one of the world's most advanced civilizations- created by tropical peoples

Playing the "Greek defence" -debunking claims of Greeks as paragons of virtue or exemplars of goodness

Quotations from mainstream academic research on the Nile Valley peoples

Cannibal flavors: dusky seasonings on tender white flesh

Enter the dusky types.. As far as a propaganda polemic, Mercer’s book, Into the Cannibal's Pot, is good. Even the cover art is masterful- behold the tender white maiden, symbol of Western civilization. She seems drawn up in a protective huddle- fearful, sad, vulnerable, symbolic of “beleaguered” white culture.. And lo, clouds of dread- on her body- dark, grasping hands play on tender white flesh.. Cue rhythmic soundtrack.. Now a looming shadow.. Now cometh the huge, primitive negro, his powerful thighs ominously ratcheting the quivering white maiden forward for.. well, you get the picture. Flee friends, flee! Mercer knows all the right buttons to push for her white readers. It is no accident that rapes of white women form a distinct section in the book, reported on in lurid detail. Its good red meat stuff… What white reader can fail to hear the anxious call to the colors, as the dusky cannibals close in…

Cover stories.. Mercer also has certain advantages as a writer on this subject, that make her, like “honorary white” righ-wing polemicist Dinesh Dzouza, a seemingly fearless reporter “saying what no one else dare say.” Indeed the Indian Dsouza specifically touts his background as giving him some sort of "special insight" into racial matters, the Johnny-come-lately immigrant having arrived on American shores in 1978 when the bulk of the hard civil rights work was done, and from which he benefited. He didn’t have to attend segregate schools for example and could marry his white wife Dixie without the insult of denial in public accommodations or government police breaking down their door in the middle of the night to stamp out “miscegenation.” Yet honorary white Dsouza (who later apparently cheated on and split from his white wife) calls for a rollback of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as “unneeded.”

Mercer likewise claims special insight into racial matters- touting her father’s activism against apartheid. Being a white woman and Jewish she can command twofold cover- harsher critics can be portrayed as beating up on a female, or anti-Semitism can be insinuated. Not surprisingly, the larger part of the negative reviews of Mercer’s book on Amazon do not address her claims in detail but get sidetracked over things like her Jewish background, Israelis, and other similar matters- diversionary strawman that conveniently, do not touch her arguments. But Mercer, like Dsouza, reveals how little she knows about the American scene.

Mercer package is not as it seems upon closer examination and the purported “lessons for America” aren’t all they seem either. Now let’s get down to bidniss and examine some claims made by Mercer:

1-- Any Claim Of “Founding” Populations Cannot Exclude Blacks.
Mercer downplays that part of the “founding” package was the backs and lives of millions of black slaves (as in the US) and indigenous peoples, as in South Africa. Like many a white right-winger, Mercer breezily presumes that mainly white people count on this score- as if blacks are merely miscellaneous extras in the noble white movie. They aren’t. And they, as “sons of the soil” – cannot be whitewashed away so easily. In the case of South Africa it is more obvious but it is thus also in the US. Depending on the era examined blacks made up 40-50% of the population of several southern states- a majority in some years. And they were the labor force that produced a great part of the astounding wealth that was a key part of the  American economy. The book Complicity by Farrow, Lang and Frank 2005 details this including the deep complicity of the supposedly more “liberal” white north in profiting from slavery.

2-- White South Africa Did Not Relinquish Power In The Name Of “Justice” And “Liberty  But From Calculated Self-Interest.

Are we really supposed to buy Mercer’s claim or insinuation that white people are really “yielding” their dominance in the “interests” of “justice and liberty?” It sounds suspiciously pious, a bit too good to be true.

In fact, white South Africa preserved the core of its dominance with the deal cut in the 1990s. The commanding heights of the economy (and a significant swathe of the middle range), most of the productive land, most of the finances, most of the technology control, most of the key pillars of the economy- from diamonds, to agriculture, to mining, to manufacturing, to the essential military formations and hardware, etc etc remain firmly in white hands.  The deal was cut because (a) maintaining the burdensome apartheid system became too expensive, (b) the system was too embarrassing internationally, and (c) economic changes made rigid application of numerous system controls untenable.

By the 1990s white leaders in SA had to ask some hard questions. Why deploy an expensive, massive security establishment to beat in the heads of people trying to bathe at some beach, or poor people erecting dismal shacks on the fringes of some area arbitrarily deemed “white”? Why does a black maid live with whites in the intimate circumstances- suckling white babies, cleaning the white old and infirm etc etc but becomes a discriminated against non-person when she simply wants a cup of coffee in some restaurant? Why try to maintain artificial and inefficient “color bars” when economic pressures caused employers to begin to flout them in a widespread way?  Declerc and Co looked hard at the landscape and saw the absurdity of it all. What worked in the 1950s was by 1990 untenable. But if it could still have worked, white South Africa would have kept right on with apartheid. There was scant regard for “justice and liberty” on many counts back in apartheid days. Mercer would have us believe that white people piously had a “change of heart”? Such a noble narrative no doubt plays well with the na├»ve “white faithful” but the reality is less flattering.

3—Likewise White America Did Not Eliminate Its Apartheid System Merely In The Name Of “Justice” Or “Liberty.”

Mercer applies her narrative of noble white people to America- ever so pious white people giving away stuff in the name of “justice.” Really? Such narratives play well with both white liberals (it makes them feel good) and white right-wingers (who seize on it to pump up a picture of white goodness and generosity to the “ungrateful” coloreds). But the reality is a lot less flattering to the white propaganda narrative. White America largely eliminated its own OUTWARD apartheid system because:

(a) economic changes made rigid application of numerous system controls untenable- the labor shortage and economic expansion of WW2 for example undermined racist barriers in some ways

(b) the system became too embarrassing internationally in the face of stinging Soviet exposure during the Cold War (the Soviets often pointed out American hypocrisy to talk about “democracy” while denying an important slice of the population full voting rights). America also was embarrassed by her apartheid policies when dealing with Third World nations she wished to get resources, trade, military basing rights and other things from. For example, historical documents shows Sec of State Dean Rusk lamenting how Jim Crow hurt the US internationally, and US President Eisenhower inviting African diplomats to the White House in apology because they were treated insultingly in segregated Washington, or even the leader of the “Free World” President John F. Kennedy urging DC/Maryland white realtors to ease up on their racist practices which were creating ugly diplomatic incidents (Klarman 1994).

(c) The system became too costly, not simply as regards the inefficiency of maintaining separate white and “colored” facilities (though the “colored” ones were markedly inferior and seldom “equal”), but that the political climate after WW2 brought new demands, lawsuits, strikes, boycotts, sit-ins etc that raised the costs of the US apartheid system. Another part of this also was the growing importance of the black vote to Democrats in certain areas- which added further pressure for concessions, and raised the costs of American apartheid to a level where whites were forced to make concessions.

The combination of these factors was much more potent than pious white “heart changes.” SOMe White liberals in the US like to pat themselves on the back for noble action on civil rights but the reality may not be so noble. It was economic pressure brought on by changes before and after WW2, and continual embarrassment and exposure of white hypocrisy internally and internationally, that made the most impact. This does not deny that SOME whites were interested in dismantling outward American apartheid in the name of “justice”- there were such honorable whites, but the majority didn’t give a damn about black people, except as they were exposed, inconvenienced, embarrassed, and/or could gain some advantage in the marketplace from blacks (such as through cheap labor, or blacks as buyers of white goods and services).

Fact is that in America large segments of white people, including white people in the supposedly more “enlightened” North, fought tooth and nail for decades to deny black people basic civil rights, and basic access to free markets. They fought tooth and nail to block blacks from getting jobs, moving up in the economy, obtaining housing, etc etc. As in South Africa, many white American unions worked mightily to blockade blacks and other minorities - from cleverly written discriminatory contracts, to hate strikes, to outright murder when blacks sought so-called “reserved” jobs. The pattern repeats itself with other non-whites such as Asians, as the mass pogroms, murders and discriminatory laws against Chinese and Japanese on the West Coast attest. In many cases, white America had to be exposed and embarrassed to make even minimal concessions, or as also in South Africa, saw the edifice of white greed crumble due to economic change and market pressures (WW2 in the US for example). Much more could be said, but the bottom line is that Mercer’s pious narrative of noble white people, when measured against the brutal facts of history, is on some counts sheer nonsense.

4—Contrary To A Barrage Of Self-Serving rightist/libertarian Propaganda, White People Have Not Been “Swamped” By “Affirmative Action” And Furthermore The Main Beneficiaries Of “Affirmative Action” Quotas Are White.

Mercer demonstrates that she knows little about the United States situation, though she presumes to be delivering “lessons for America.” Five points are applicable:

4a—Whites The Main Aa Gainers-
For one thing, most beneficiaries of “Affirmative Action”(AA) quotas in the US are white- specifically white women. AND in the past there were “white only” quotas for over 2 centuries benefiting white people.

4b—Aa Programs Began With White Unionists Not Blacks
 Second, AA quotas in America (lets not even count “white only” privilege for 2 centuries above and beyond that) originated as a benefit for WHITE union members in the 1930s discriminated against for belonging to a union. US Courts recognized that merely pleading with discriminators to “please stop” was meaningless and implemented “cease and desist” procedures with teeth, including making people who had been denied promotions next in line when promotions opened up. White unions, some of the most bitterest opponents of black opportunity, had no problem with such supposedly “unjust” court procedures when the beneficiaries where white. But when a black man denied promotion showed up for legal remedies then such things became “unfair” and “reverse discrimination.” Ironically unions have been leaders in systematically denying black people job opportunities in the US AND in South Africa. They are a telling demonstration of white hypocrisy and double standards.

4c—Aa Quotas Not Responsible For Black Gains-
Third, if Mercer knew anything about the US, she would know that AA quotas are not responsible significantly for black economic advance. As CONSERVATiVE scholar Thomas Sowell repeatedly shows, most US blacks had ALREADY pulled themselves above the poverty line, BEFORE quotas in the 1970s. Before AA quotas there was a rising trend of black income, and growth in managerial and technical jobs- with the post-WW2 expansion of the economy lifting all boats. Black college gains are primarily a result of things like the post-war GI Bill which allowed tens of thousands to go to colleges (despite opposition and sandbagging by white southern regimes) not AA quotas of universities. Such quotas exist but they are minor factors to black advances in education. Equal opportunity laws and court decisions certainly greatly helped along these rising trends for blacks, (particularly in the South- see scholar Gavin Wright's book Sharing the Prize-2013- as one example), but equal opportunity laws like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are not, and did not mandate sweeping quotas (quite the contrary actually), and such trends were ALREADY in place before the laws, and long before AA quota “remedies” in the late 1960s- like Nixon’s 1969 “Philadelphia Plan.” 

4d—AA Policies Weakly Enforced, Contradicting Claims Of Massive White “Persecution”
- Fourth, aside from quotas even enforcement of non-quota equal opportunity laws has been hampered by deliberately low budgets and staffing imposed by assorted politicians, as under the Reagan regime. The EEOC for example has a 2 year plus  backlog ofcases- hardly the express vehicle of employer oppression claimed by white propagandists in some quarters. And as for contract monitoring, one study found most companies not in compliance and that it would take 38 YEARS for ONE inspection/audit cycle to get around to a company as far as EEO compliance. 

4e- - “Reverse Discrimination A Minor Problem For Whites-
Reverse discrimination against whites in the workplace has occurred but it is minor according to credible studies of the issue. See for example the detailed analyses of Blumrosen (1996) . And the biggest cause of “reverse discrimination” lawsuits are not whites against blacks but- wait for it- white men against white women. But of course, few would know this from the white propaganda barrage against those “colored” supposedly “swamping” white people, and “taking white jobs” via “quotas.”  Detailed audits of employment discrimination show blacks were much more likely to be discriminated against than white men and likewise national surveys, and exhaustive reviews of discrimination complaints show relatively few whites have experienced reverse discrimination. (Ore 2005, Blumrosen 1996)

4f—Blacks Do Not Rely On “Quotas” To Much Extent For Higher Education- whites use them frequently via "legacy" and other special preference college admissions  
One of the first things to note about this issue is the little publicized use by whites of "legacy" or other "special" admissions in higher education- children of alumni or white kids playing sports with less popularity get preferential treatment, sometimes amounting to 15-30% admission rates outside "normal" channels. Books such as Affirmative Action for the Rich: Legacy Preferences in College Admissions and Color and Money by Schmidt 2007, detail the facts. Yet many whites only seem to get upset when minorities weighing in at 2-4% of admission quotas show up. This observation is not a justification for quotas but a point about the type of hypocrisy Mercer and other right-wingers specialize in. "Quotas" in “politically correct” places like universities has in SOME cases discriminated against whites. But the fact is that blacks do not rely to any significant degree on AA quotas for access to higher education. As already noted above, the GI Bill has been a much more significant factor in opening up such access than “affirmative action.” In addition the alleged numbers of blacks “swamping” white people are rather minor. 

Low Impact of AA- One study from 1982 to 1996, a "hot" period of AA before California's Prop 209 ban, found that black enrollments in college were a mere 9.7% and this climbed to a whopping 11.5% by 1996- a "massive" 1.5% increase that was comfortably outpaced by Asians and even Hispanics. The same study found that contrary to propaganda claims, black student enrollments at top-tier universities remained relatively flat- with "affirmative use of race in this [top-level] sector" not making much impact in enrollments. (Chang et al. 2000. Compelling Interest. Monograph: University of Stanford). In short, the much derided "quotas for blacks" had little impact on black enrollment in higher education overall- which remained flat. Again, the data shows that blacks do not depend significantly on "quotas" for their college access.

AA primarily a force on elite campuses with small numbers of minorities- Yet another review (Gurin et al 2003. How does Racial/Ethnic Diversity Promote Education? WJBS. 27:1) found that affirmative action exists primarily in highly selective colleges that barely have more than 8-10% black students. Such campuses are not where the vast majority, the OTHER 90-92% of black students attend. As far as college access, affirmative action is a minor player for blacks. Yet to hear the howling propaganda narrative, college campuses are swamped with "unqualified" blacks "taking slots" from "deserving white students." This is simply not the case. Again, keep in mind that all black attendees to the top tier schools do NOT need any quota arrangements- although the barrage of white propaganda makes it seem so.

AA closely limited by whites from very early on- hardly the wild “reverse discrimination” force claimed - And where is are these alleged legions of white people being “hurt” by AA? In fact, AA from very early on was narrowly limited by whites- from its very beginning it was under attack. The continual narrowing of AA programs, was long underway. In recent years it is seen in such Court cases as Grutter, etc has been causing a drop in admissions of black students. One review example (Gurin et al 2003) found that the liquidation or narrowing of AA due to court and legislative actions did cause a drop in minority admissions at higher ranked schools. But the numbers before and after show that “quotas” were hardly evil mechanism causing all these white “sufferahs.”  The AA reduction leaves smaller numbers of blacks in place, but the numbers were not that high to begin with.

AA opponents admit its limited impact - Even some academic OPPONENTS of Affirmative Action note its limited scope- in contrast to the right-wing propaganda narrative of its vast reach and influence. Richard Sander, a prominent opponent for example estimates that ending affirmative action would only curtail African-American law school enrollments by 14 percent. Whoa… Law school quotas in other words "increased the pool of black students admitted to the nation's law schools as a group by only 14 percent." (Sander and Taylor, 2012. Mismatch: How Affirmative Action Hurts Students It's Intended to help.) Note that- a mere 14 percent. So, if 100 black guys get into Berkeley Law schools, 14 vanished because quotas ended. But that still leaves 86 who DIDN’T need quotas. So where is this mass wave of white “suffering” due to quotas? Indeed Sanders holds that the end of AA quotas means that the WEAKER, less prepared minority candidates get eliminated. This is fair enough- they were not that many to begin with, contrary to the flood of white propaganda.

In federal contracting the same pattern again challenges the rightist/libertarian propaganda barrage: where are the piteous legions of white people allegedly being "hurt" by "quotas for blacks"? In fact since the 1980s, courts have sharply limited the use of "quotas" in contracting as demonstrated in the Croson case (1989) which ruled against minority-only contract awards, and the Adarand case (1990). In short, while courts have not entirely killed Affirmative Action or "diversity", from the 1980s they have sharply limited its applicability. And this was over 2 decades ago. California's famous Proposition 209 which outlawed was in 1996, almost 20 years ago. Cynical propaganda claims about white “sufferahs” are not only mostly bogus but woefully out of date as well. 

Court ordered remedies...

5—Rape Is A Serious Issue But Black Women Are Much More Victims Than White Ones. Nevertheless Mercer does a service in exposing the disgraceful behavior of some blacks in South Africa as regards rape of their own women.
 Mercer detail several cases of rape of white women in South Africa. These cases are heart-rending, and one rape case is one too many. It is noted that black women are at much more risk of rape than white women, either in South Africa and the United States, and white on black rapes were common until relatively recently.

Mercer does a service in exposing the disgraceful behavior of some blacks in South Africa as regards rape of their own women. A common complaint is that rapes of white women are taken more seriously than rapes of black women. This cuts both ways. Black female rape victimes who are much more victim in SOuth Africa are not taken seriously enough EITHER by blacks. Mercer exposes the callous treatment accorded these women. Even as regards SA president Zuma, the black victim's sexual history was deemed fair game, but Zuma's previous sexual history was treated much more gently. Mercer exposes this black hypocrisy. Mercer is also correct in noting that rapes of white women have gone up in SA but these are still far below what black women suffer on a daily basis. White women are the best protected of all women in SA. Still, one raped woman, is one too many, and the disproportionate appearance of blacks of a certain age in rape statistics is well known from crime reports and news stories. Few "deny" such.

Rape of “native girls” was widespread by white South African males. They had relatively little to fear in the way of punishment. The laws of the apartheid state, and the pre-apartheid regime made the "rape of black women less of a crime, less punishable, and of less consequence than the rape of white women." (Graham 2012, State of Peril).  South Africa has a high number of reported rape cases according to some reports but relatively few of the victims of these assaults are white. Rape levels in SA remain high, but one historian argues that there has been no statistical evidence of any "epidemic" of rape against white women, who are the best protected of all women in SA. Rape was a major but hidden social problem under apartheid. That social problem, which afflicts mostly black women cannot be hidden any longer.

As far as the US a similar situation prevailed. Tens of thousands of white on black rapes in the US for example occurred prior to the FBI investigations and civil rights protections of the 1960s, according to author Danielle McGuire. The horrific gang rape of Recy Taylor which many white newspapers declined to even report, is merely one example of white "role models" at work. White law enforcement authorities knew who the attackers were based on Taylor's description, but avoided doing an official police lineup, ensuring that Taylor would not be able to point them out in open court.

The white authorities claimed they had the men on bond, "pending trial", but court records show that they issued bond after Taylor's hearing, backdating their supposed "arrest." An all-white jury declined to indict the attackers, who did not even bother to show up in court.

Meanwhile, the black victim's house was firebombed by whites because she reported the rape. A detailed analysis of the case is in At the Dark End of the Street, 2011, by Danielle McGuire

Such cases are not unique. "Open season" white on black rape was widespread, even after the Civil War. As regards the history of rapes of black women, historians note:

"Virtually every known nineteenth-century female slave narrative contains a reference to, at some juncture, the ever present threat and reality of rape. Two works come immediately to mind: Hariet Jacob's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861) and Elizabeth Jeckley's Behind the Scenes or Thirty Years a Slave (1868).."
--Beverly Guy-Sheftall. 1995. Words of Fire

"After the Civil Ear, the widespread rape of Black women by white men persisted. Black women were vulnerable to rape in several ways that white women were not. First the rape of Black women was used as a weapon of group terror by white mobs and by the Ku Klux Klan during Reconstruction. Second, because Black women worked outside the home, they were exposed to employers; sexual aggression as white women who worked inside the home were not... [One white judge said to a black victim] 'This court will never take the word of a nigger against the word of a white man.'
-- Karen J. Maschke. 1997 The Legal Response to Violence Against Women

6—“Multiculturalism” And “Diversity” Has Actually Been Profitable For White People Despite Some Abuses.

6a—“The West” Had Multi-Cultural Problems Long Before Any Black People Showed Up.
Mercer suggests that “multiculturalism” is a dire threat to Western civilization. Really now? Diversity of race, language, religion etc is a source of tension EVERYWHERE ON EARTH not only in America or South Africa.  “Tension" does not need non-whites to happen. In America and Europe “diversity” has also caused "tension" WHERE THERE ARE MOSTLY WHITE PEOPLE- just ask the white Irish and almost everyone else, or the millions of dead Europeans fighting wars over religion and ethnicity. When has “the West” NOT known “problems” over “diversity”?

And in many cases it is WHITE people who instigated, created and pushed tension, sometimes with murderous results, as the numerous lynchings, riots and mass murders against black, brown and yellow Americans attest. WHITE America and WHITE South Africa are supreme examples of forces creating "tension" and "conflict." But to “the white faithful, only those troublesome cullud minorities are to blame in the simplistic racial fantasy world..

6b-"Diversity" And "Multicultural" Oft Serves To Make White People Feel Noble And Enlightened Not Guilty.
Multicultural initiatives are not necessarily anti-white- in fact some have been very useful in creating a more accurate narrative of history and policy- much better than previous segregationist or "manifest destiny" propaganda in various places and school textbooks well into the 1960s.

And "multiculturalism" does not necessarily create "white guilt." To the contrary- some "multicultural" initiatives promote white self-esteem and self-congratulation. Whites feel noble for "progressive" measures that removed the Jim Crow apartheid system, and other measures to help blacks get a stake in the system, like opening up democracy via gasp- actually allowing black people to vote! Imagine that!

6c—“Multiculturalism” Is A Good Way For White People To Fob Off Restive Minorities With Chump Change while The Core Of White Hegemony Is Preserved.
Another benefit of "multi-culturalism" to whites is that it allows questioning minorities to be fobbed off with chump change- a small grant here, a "diversity coordinator" job there. "Beads for the natives" if you will.. that warm the hearts of the colored gullible..  This keeps them quiescent and ensures that more fundamental questions about the power structure, and the systematic networks of embedded white privilege are not effectively raised. This is an old pattern going back to some of the "War on Poverty" programs when small-potatoes grants, jobs and programs were dispersed, "cooling off" unrest and/or criticism of discriminatory white privilege. In some cases it even helped split minority coalitions into petty recipients squabbling with one another over petty funding that ultimately served as a more effective lever of control than snarling dogs, ranting racists and blasting firehoses. 

6d—Multiculturalism Has Enabled A Lot Of White People To Get Paid And Is Good Cover For Continuing Policies With Discriminatory Intent Or Impact.
 Numerous so-called “diversity” initiatives have not really touched the core of white power or dominance. In fact whites have moved to profit from them: including assorted funding and jobs for white coordinators, bureaucrats and miscellaneous processors of paper. Hoods and robes are not needed for white people to enhance their control and profit. They are accomplishing the same by more subtle means- with a veneer of cool “multiculturalism” even seeming anti-racism these days.  Whites have figured out numerous ways to get paid using "multiculturalism." On top of material rewards is the “psychic remuneration.” White people get to feel good about themselves in the process.

Likewise white liberals who think “diversity” is cool are busy implementing seemingly non-racial barriers that HURT “diversity.” The numerous zoning laws and other restrictions that suppress the supply of housing for example has been very effective in “ethnically cleansing” assorted white neighborhoods (and associated things like schools) of “undesirable” minorities. Who needs dynamite or fire hoses anymore? Whites can create “black free” zones, all the while appearing cool, progressive, and into “diversity.”

Real "diversity"....

7—Whites Have Not Been Unfairly “Muzzled” From “Speaking Out” About Race, Or Indeed Whatever Is On Their Minds. To The Contrary, There Is No Shortage Of White People Venting,  Ranting And “Speaking Out.” 

Mercer insinuates that white people are no longer able to “speak out” due to “political correctness” and a media “blackout” that “muzzles” them, or covers up black misdeeds. But this insinuation is nonsense.

7C- White People Are Not Being “Muzzled.” In Fact They Waste No Time Expressing Themselves In The Media- Internet, Blogs, Books, Web Forums, Etc, Including Giving Free Rein To Racist Sentiments.

The Internet is awash with white racism in countless venues- from discussion forums, to blogs, to Youtube videos maintained by whites. Where is this so-called “muzzling”?  White South Africa has for decades manipulated media with unending propaganda to picture themselves as virtuous upholders of “civilization” as compared to the backward darkies. That has never stopped and South African media has no shortage of white “free expression.”

7b—Far From “Favoring” Blacks The  White Media Has Often Been Slanted In Its Coverage To Portray The Most Negative Aspects Involving Blacks.
And in older media like print books and magazine articles, white people have not been “muzzled” at all. In the US, the 1980s and 1990s for example saw a vast outpouring of books and articles against “political correctness” “liberals” and the pathologies afflicting blacks. Black crime, out of wedlock births, etc. etc. were, and have been well reported, and sneeringly commented on. None of it is “hidden” by “the media.” In fact, credible scholars of “the media” have noted how it continually plays on white fears and double standards- showing whites engaged in similar activity as blacks in a more sympathetic or neutral light for example.

Time and time again, white media have seized on the most sensationalist black imagery to reinforce the image of the feckless, threatening, primitive negro-- like the bogus, but suitably lurid “stories” of “baby rapes” during 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. Books like: Welfare: Race, Media, and the Politics of Antipoverty Policy. 2007.  By Martin Gilens) and The Black Image in the White Mind: Media and Race in America, Robert M. Entman, ‎Andrew Rojecki – 2010 expose much of this detail. Blacks have received little special treatment from “the media”- to the contrary. All this continues today, in more muted and coded form than in the past, but still in place. Where is this mysterious “muzzling” of white people the faithful cry so piteously about?

7c—White Right Wingers Have Themseves For Years Been Playing “The Race Card” In The Media And Milking Racial Tension And Imagery.
And white right-wingers for decades have been milking anti-black sentiment among whites often using “coded” references and campaigns. Yes there was a “southern strategy” and it was based on race as detailed works on the Nixon era show. This is but one example. The “coded” references of the Reagan regime on a number of fronts are another example. White right-wingers hypocritically cry about how the “liberals” are playing race cards, when they themselves have been milking “race cards” about “the culluds” profitably for years.

7d—The Media Often Focus On The Most Sensational Aspect Of A Story And Have Not Been “Covering” Up Where Blacks Are Concerned.
And “the media” is not engaged in wholesale “cover-ups” of black misdeeds or crime. In SOME cases, SOME national news outlets have not given full coverage of minority crime vis a vis white crime against a minority. Yes, and we all know they SOMETIMES do this because a white on black “racial” story will get more attention in a nation obsessed with race- like the infamous Twana Brawley hoax. That needs to stop- agreed. But OTHER crimes that have a sensational angle, including a racial angle, have not been “covered up” at all. The Central Park Jogger case was a media sensation- there was your brutish “cullud” criminals raping innocent white woman. There was no “coverup” and no lack of commentary on the racial subtext. The white media played it for all it was worth. Likewise the OJ case. The white media had a field day, including the nationals. What cover-up? What “blackout”? And local media has usually reported crimes involving “minorities” including giving descriptions, details etc. If someone gets raped and killed and the local media has descriptions or pics or mugshots, those are almost always published regardless of race.

Likewise the misdeeds of prominent black figures like singer R. Kelly, mayor Barry of Washing ton DC, Al Sharpton, or Detroit’s Kilpatrick are well known and have been extensively covered by the liberal white media. The alleged media “coverup” charged in white racist lore, is sheer fantasy and outright hypocrisy.

In SOME venues, like white politically correct ones, and non-white ones as well, anti-white sentiments have been expressed. Sure. Likewise in various white venues,anti-black sentiments flow freely. But is this some vast conspiracy by “the media” that is “muzzling” white people, supposedly “shutting down “free expression”? Not at all.

8—Is “Diversity” Really A Vast Oppression Of Economic Oppression Against White People? Mercer’s Broad Brush Claim Is Dubious. To The Contrary, Well-Armed Whites Control Most Of The Levers Of Wealth In South Africa And Are Comfortably Off Relative To Blacks.

Mercer claims that `Diversity' is a euphemism for racial retribution administered mostly by guilty white liberals in universities, corporations, and government. It is a thoroughly collectivist notion that condones punishing the current generation of white males for the sins of the past. It's most extreme form is practiced in post-Apartheid South Africa. Under the new feckless negro rule, racist labor laws have created `The world's most extreme affirmative action program'. Sounds dire, but is it really the vale of tears Mercer makes out?

8a. Whites Comfortably Situated Overall. And Are Not Facing “Genocide” or dire unemployment. 
For one thing whites are very comfortably situated in South Africa. They control most of the wealth, dominate finance, technology and the most lucrative economic sectors, and are among the best armed civilians per capita in the world. It is true that some lower tier whites have lost their long privileged places in the economy- places they secured because their “color bar” locked out free market black competition. But overall, whites are fairly well situated. No Zimbabwe will happen in SA. Whites are too rich, too important to the economy, and crucially, too well armed. Mercer is upset that whites have lost their PUBLICLY privileged positions of old, but said whites still retain a comfortable position and are not facing the hysterical “genocide” claimed in some quarters. 

8B. The “Extreme” Affirmative Action Is Partially Normal Political Spoils, Partly The Removal Of Less Productive Or Competitive Whites Who Were Sheltered By Apartheid Color Bars.
The “extreme affirmative action” lament by Mercer is also questionable. First some of what she claims to be “unjust” affirmative action is simply what happens when another political party takes office- it distributes SOME spoils to supporters. White people in the US do it all the time-just read about the white political machines in urban America. This is old fashioned politics. For someone who styles herself as bringing "lessons for America," Mercer seems strangely clueless to this basic fact of US life.Second a substantial proportion of less competitive, less productive whites were sheltered with privileged “color bar” sinecures under apartheid. With the end of that artificial shelter, it is inevitable that black alternatives fill the gap- whether in terms of less expensive labor, or more productive labor. Why should a company keep paying inflated white union benefits and wages when cheaper, more productive or motivated black labor can get the same job done? What is a libertarian like Mercer complaining about? Isn't this how the much touted "free market" is supposed to work? Or does that much hailed shiny model suddenly change when a black man shows up?

Mercer is careful to avoid discussing such issues in detail. In fact the removal of apartheid revealed South Africa’s dirty little secret. Mercer paints a picture of virtuous, productive white people, but the end of the Apartheid color-bar showed that many whites were not all the virtuous workers she touts, but too often, a sheltered, protected pampered class. In the US there are now numerous white South African immigrants and one sees them hustling on the job or to find work. Some Americans have little sympathy. Their response is: “You are no longer in your little sheltered race cocoon. Get out there and hustle like the rest of us Yanks. Welcome to the club.”

8c. Short-Sighted Black Quotaism Will Harm Long Term Prospects If The *Most Productive* Whites Go, But Normal Democratic Spoils And Normal Use Of Cheaper More Productive Black Labor Meant SOME Whites Would Inevitably Be Losers.
Does this mean that SA’s “affirmative action” policies above and beyond the 2 factors above are the best ones? No. There is a level beyond normal political spoils and economic efficiency where “quotas” are counterproductive. SA will find this out as more skilled workers leave. For now leaders are short-sighted about the need to retain the most productive whites. SA will pay the price in future years, but Mercer’s claim that massive white job losses are due to sweeping “affirmative action quotas” is dubious. 

Even if there were no black animosity in today’s South Africa and blacks loved all white people, that still would not mean that (a) politicians would not reward their supporters as in any democracy and (b) economic efficiencies would not cause the use of cheaper, more productive black labor. There two things are inevitable. It does not all boil down to Mercer’s simplistic complaint about “affirmative action.”

9) Far from being woeful victims pushed off their land like 19th and 20th century blacks, South Africa's whites get to keep all the land they expropriated in the past. Blacks by contrast get little to no compensation. To be sure, one can appreciate the sensitivity of the land issue and the cynical political realities that needed to be covered to ensure a transition to black government. It will take more decades for the land issue to be sorted, but the point is to expose the propaganda drumbeat of Mercer and others regarding so called white suffering and "genocide." Really? How much can you be suffering, and where is this so-called "genocide," when you get to keep almost all of the land you stole in the past, and if you decide to part with any of it, you get paid full price, while black folk mostly get nothing or pittances? This is "suffering"? 

When African tribes were defeated, or simply, when greedy whites coveted the land, cattle and other resources of peaceful black tribal people, both Briton and Boer decreed and implemented massive land confiscations, forcing blacks to become a rootless, landless, rightless proletariat- strangers on their own land, permitted only by sufferance of the new white overlords and landlords. On top of that they piled on various coercive measures to get black labor as cheaply as possible- from wage fixing at the mines, to so-called "tax collection' sweeps that amounted to little more than large-scale armed white thuggery and robbery of poor black people, seizing what little cattle they had left. Indeed it was common practice for Boers to keep black children seized in various wars in conditions of semi-slavery, the so-called "black apprentices."

And when blacks attempted to develop a "free market" peasant class of farmers using sharecropped or rented land, greedy whites moved to shut down even that, via numerous measures, including the so-called "Native Land Act" which reserved 87% of the land for whites while fobbing off the remaining 13% (much of it marginal) to blacks. See Colin Bundy's classic 1972 study: The Emergence and Decline of A South African Peasantry. African Affairs, Vol. 71, No. 285 (Oct., 1972), pp. 369-388.

And the final insult: even after their defeat by the white British during the Boer war, the white South Africans got their lands and overlordships restored to them. Tens of thousands of blacks who aided the British cause were betrayed by white perfidy. On top of that, almost as many blacks as Boers died in the British "relocation" camps, but their stories receive comparatively little attention. When blacks were defeated massive amounts of their land was confiscated and turned over to whites. When the Boer whites were defeated, they got most of the land and rights handed back to them. The treacherous white British even disarmed blacks after the war, while making sure the white Boers kept their weapons. As one detailed academic history notes, many blacks who aided their "white friends," the British against the Boers during the war were betrayed, and got nothing for the assistance they rendered. QUOTE:

"Meanwhile across the Protectorate’s southern border in the settler state of the Cape Colony the Tshidi-Barolong were unable to gain any advantages of substance from their assistance to the British. Although their support for Baden-Powell’s force was crucial to the British army’s success in holding Mafeking against all odds, they received almost nothing in return. They lost property, cattle and their firearms, hundreds of Barolong lost their lives, they received only minimal compensation, and were never granted land or any other tangible economic rewards for their participation in the struggle. After the war ordinary members of the Barolong community were less able than before to withstand pressures to work for white farmers or to enlist as migrant labourers on the Rand...

As soon as local military forces [Boer] were withdrawn the system of social control in the Rustenburg-Marico region collapsed, enabling the Kgatla to entrench themselves on white farms and effectively closing down the land area over which the guerrillas could operate and safely draw supplies. Once the war was over, however, the power of the new British-controlled state in the Transvaal was put behind the Boer farming community in re-establishing families on their former lands. Kgatla hopes were dashed of permanently securing more land by right of conquest to cultivate on their own behalf."
--Peter Warwick. 1983. Black People and the South African War 1899-1902

But that's not all. As credible histories show, not only did the white Boers get back their land and overlordship, but the white British supplied them with millions of pounds in financial assistance to rebuild. Says one modern textbook:
"Thus the Africans were the real losers in the war. In rural areas the British relocated Afrikaner farmers to their prewar farms, pushing aside Africans who had worked the land during the war. The British also provided white farmers with millions of pounds sterling in financial assistance and set about modernizing agricultural production. Little was done to aid African farmers."
--Roger Beck 2013. The History of South Africa: 2nd ed. p. 106

Free markets for me negro, but not for thee. Oh, and did we mention the massive bounties for white benefit in the mining industry, including black wages fixed at low levels, forced labor regimes and "pass laws" designed to keep blacks corralled in "native reserves" as a cheap pool or exploited migrant labor for white benefit? Then there is white manipulation of "free markets" to blockade black progress. As Bundy's classic study shows, in several areas black farmers were adapting quite well to the "free market"- and were sometimes more competitive with white farmers. What was the primary white response to "free markets"? The 1913 "Native Land Act" that reserved almost 90% of the land for white people. Other measures included raising taxes on blacks such as the 1908 "Natives tax Act" and heavy-handed white regime policies forcing out, or discouraging black farmers from getting land. White greed reduced much of the rising black peasant class to that of landless migrant laborer. Part of the white benefit package included such things as the Identification of Native Servants Act (1901), its amendment (1904), the amended Masters and Servants Act (1901), the amended Squatters' Rent Act (1903), etc etc- all designed to suppress black progress and increase white profits and wealth.

Yes, white people have been doing well, very, very very well in South Africa for a long time, rigging the game repeatedly for their own benefit over centuries. And they get to keep all those accumulated locked in advantages in wealth, land and other things, even after the Mandela transition. In the matter of land for example, Section 25 of the 1994 Mandela/DeKlerk constitution confirmed whites in full possession of all their previously claimed property, no matter how dubiously some of it might have been attained. In exchange blacks and others were "promised" land reform. Fast forward 20 years and little has changed. Land reform moves at a glacial pace for blacks.

As on authoritative publication puts it:
"In the process of trying to remedy inequality, the ANC has instead exacerbated it. The apartheid government often took land from black communities without just compensation and transferred it at nominal cost to white farmers. If the anc decides to return a particular parcel of land to a dispossessed black community while the white farmer to whom the apartheid government sold it is still alive, the state is constitutionally mandated to pay the farmer just compensation, despite the unfair circumstances under which the farmer acquired the land in the first place.Yet blacks do not get just compensation for land previous governments stole from them. The constitution states that South Africans whose property was dispossessed after 1913 as a result of racially discriminatory business practices are entitled "either to restitution of that property or to equitable redress." By 2008, however, 70 percent of the beneficiaries of the land restitution program had received no land at all, only small, symbolic financial awards that bore no relation to the past or current market value of their confiscated property. This is not equitable redress. 

 For instance, the Land Restitution Commission paid each dispossessed landowner in Paarl, a scenic town in the Western Cape's wine country, 40,000 rand (about $5,700), whereas it paid six current landowners in the same province 14.5 million rand (about $2 million) for about 250 acres of land. From its inception in 1995 through March 2008, the commission spent 7.8 billion rand (about $1.1 billion) to acquire property for land reform, which was paid mostly to white farmers, but only 4.9 billion rand (approximately $700 million) to distribute as financial compensation, which was paid primarily to dispossessed blacks...
 The example of the Popela community in the northern Limpopo Province is a case in point. The Popela community is resource poor, and its land rights were progressively eroded under colonialism and apartheid. The community had full rights to use its ancestral land until 1889, when the British expropriated it and gave title to a white settler who forced community members to provide free labor if they wanted to remain there. In 1969, the community was stripped of all its formal rights to use the land. In a landmark decision delivered in June 2007, the South African Constitutional Court ruled that certain community members were entitled to restitution of their land rights. Four years later, however, the Land Restitution Commission, which was charged with implementing the court's decision, has yet to purchase the land as mandated by the court. "
--SOURCE: Atuahene, Bernadette. 2011. South Africa's Land Reform Crisis: Eliminating the Legacy of Apartheid. Foreign Affairs 90.4 (Jul/Aug 2011): 121-129.
^^Note above the foot-dragging of the ANC in funding land reform efforts and accelerating them. It is not savage segregationists sandbagging the effort, but the entrenched ANC party bosses and hacks, who while trading on their "revo creds" from 30 years ago, pay little price for their inaction. Again the issue may take decades to sort and cynical compromises had to be made 20 years ago to do a deal, but stop with the dishonest propaganda about all this "suffering and genocide."

Another interesting irony: the end of apartheid has also achieved one of the major objectives of apartheid- that of raising white Boer economic status relative to English background whites.

After the 1994 Mandela deal, big white SA companies were overjoyed in that it freed them from the currency controls imposed by the apartheid regime, and international sanctions. They promptly took advantage of this to sell off less profitable enterprises and invest in more lucrative opportunities overseas. They was much self-serving publicity regarding "black empowerment" but what the big boys were doing was unloading their LESS PROFITABLE, NON CORE operations into black hands. The "empowered" blacks had to struggle to get financing to keep these unbundled enterprises afloat, while the white big boys walked away with the freed up cash. In in some cases, they later turned around and parlayed the more lucrative out-of-country investments back into South Africa to BUY BACK the assets they unloaded, at a nice discount. Sweet!

As many Anglo dominated corporations unbundled and divested under the Mandela deal that freed up their cash, white Boer South Africans also were able to buy up a number of assets, and thus make relative gains, in comparison to English South Africans. Hence the dismantling of apartheid actually helped along one of the aims of apartheid- to increase white Boer wealth. As one detailed scholarly study notes:
"Afrikaner businessmen with pre-existing capital were less exposed to the consequences of rising interest rates.Consequently, their ownership share of the JSE rose from 24 to 36 percent from 1996–1999 as large-scale Anglophone capital divested.87 Thus, paradoxically, one of the objectives of apartheid – raising Afrikaners to a position of economic parity with English-speaking whites – is being furthered by its demise."
--SOURCE: Padraig Carmody. 2002. Between Globalisation and (Post Apartheid: the Political Economy of Restructuring in South Africa. Journal of Southern African Studies, Volume 28, Number 2, June 2002


Mercer says some true things about today’s South Africa and rightly condemns the corruption and incompetence in some black quarters, And yes there has been a Western media spin re a pious “Mandelaism.” But her narrative is also stretched, distorted and dubious in some other places. It mirrors similar “white virtue” narratives in the United States, much of them also distorted and sometimes outright bogus. Read with a grain of salt. She has few lessons for America, save as an example of how the well funded cross-continental networks of racalist distortion and hypocrisy. 

Her “undeserving blacks” narrative on “affirmative action” is a case in point. Given the loss of the artificially protected “color bar” economy in SA, it was inevitably that a significant slice of whites would see job losses as cheaper, more productive black labor filled the long suppressed free market. This has noting to do with “political correctness” or “reverse discrimination.” It is plain Economics 101. Read Tom Sowell's "Economics" series. Similar things happened in the US in the southern textile industry. Civil Rights laws pried open the cosy job protection rackets of whites, and black employment made significant gains, as mill owners discovered cheaper, similar or more productive black labor could get the job done without paying any “white tax.” White job losses thus are not all due to the simplistically claimed “quotas” or “reverse” discrimination.

It is interesting that Ayn Rand lovers [like Mercer], who tout “free markets” start to complain and whine when unleashed ”free markets” take away the cosy, coddled white protections. Suddenly, things become “unfair” when black people begin to get a piece of the “free market.” Now here have we seen such hypocrisy befo children? Consider these and other points dear reader, before you jump hook, line and sinker into Mercer’s polemical "cannibal's pot.".

Enjoying his quota of white meat...


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