Polite Kid

Polite Kid

0 comment Tuesday, September 2, 2014 |
Many of you may have already read it, but the subject under discussion is the selection of one Tino Cuellar to head up the new administration's working group on immigration.
"Cuéllar has been described as a close adviser to Obama on immigration, and the American Bar Association recently suggested he could be on the short list to head the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency." In other news, president-elect Obama has announced that: a Mr. Fox will be placed in charge of the US Department of Hen Houses; The US Sheep and Lamb Protection Agency, will have a Ms. Wolf as its new head; the CIA will be co-chaired by Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale (of Bullwinkle fame;) and that the Department of Homeland Security shall have either Osama bin-Laden or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as its new secretary. It is believed that Mr. bin-Laden is the stronger contender of these latter two potential appointments, since President Ahmadinejad is currently running his own country and might have conflicting interests� As always, God help us all! Posted by John PM at 6:28 PM on November 24 Amen.
This would be funny were it not so tragic.

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Caveat: the following is not meant to disparage anybody who has few or no children. I am speaking in generalities and I trust that nobody will take offense at anything I say here.
In the recent discussion, the question of family size and number of children came up. Now, the most common reason we hear for encouraging large families these days, is the Mark Steyn-esque argument that we need to outbreed the Moslems. I think that's one of the least compelling, and the worst reasons, for having large families. First, can we, who are a dwindling number globally, out-reproduce the teeming Third World? Remember we are far outnumbered, and also keep in mind that this teeming Third World is knocking ever more insistently at our doors and windows. Those who are not already in our midst are on their way or planning to be on their way or trying to find out how they can get here, wishing to be somewhere in the 'rich world', as they call it in The Economist. So hoping to outpace the Third World in reproducing is a far-fetched hope.
There are better reasons for having large families, the best being that we love children and want to welcome as many as we can take care of into our already happy lives. And for Christians, we view kids as God's gift to us, and we want to raise them to know and love and serve and give glory to God.
As members of a large extended family called our nation or people, we want to raise our children to carry on the life of that group, and to continue our ways and our heritage into the future. Our children are the future for our particular line, and for our people.
Who should not have a large family, or perhaps any children? Those who don't want children, who are not prepared financially to care for them, or who are in some way not good candidates.
People should not reproduce carelessly and should not have children by accident.
But apart from all this, what are the advantages of big families?
Over the last 30-35 years, we've seen the triumph of the leftist-feminist idea that large families are harmful to women, who are thereby made nothing but domestic slaves to husband and children. Even many 'conservative' women believe this, and say as much. Once, only leftist feminists said and thought such things; now it's considered common wisdom among 'conservatives', sadly.
The other attitude that has won out since the counterculture days is the 'zero population growth' attitude, that somehow people having large families are irresponsible and backward and selfish, while having few or no children is the sure sign of an enlightened, environmentally responsible person.
Somehow, this ethic is never applied to the Third World peoples, whether they are at home in their native countries or whether they are here in our countries, breeding large families, at public expense.
Another argument that has been widely accepted is that couples cannot afford large families because today's world makes childrearing and stay-at-home mothering out of reach of 'average' people. I say this is not as true as we think; it's all a matter of priorities. It's only economically unfeasible for some people because they choose to spend their resources on pricey toys and gadgets, extensive travel, dining, and many other non-essentials while ruling out the 'expensive' family.
This is very much a 'live for today' attitude, which is at odds with conservatism or tradition.
Today we have much higher standards in terms of what we think is an acceptable standard of living. Many think poverty means having only one car, or living in a modest home rather than a McMansion, or shopping at a lower-price retailer (and I don't mean Wal-Mart) rather than having the trendiest, most up-to-date of everything.
In other words, many of us are spoiled and self-indulgent.
Most of us, myself included, could cut out a lot of the frills and nonessentials and thus have more money for the essentials. In this day of rising gas prices, and tightened budgets, we will probably have to cut out the fat.
But are there real arguments to be made for large families?
I grew up in a fairly large family of five children.
My parents were from large families, of thirteen and eight children, respectively.
Here's what I know from experience and observation about large families:
The children of large families are given more responsibility, usually through necessity, and they have to pull their weight and do their part. This encourages a work ethic and a mature attitude at an earlier age, as well as giving them confidence in what they can do.
They learn the idea of accommodating and getting along with others among a group of siblings.
Kids in a large family are each others' company and entertainment, as well as emotional support. You learn to interact with peers through interacting with your sisters and brothers. Granted, it's not always a bed of roses, but neither is life in the larger world. It teaches you a sense of reality.
"The great advantage of living in a large family is that early lesson of life's essential unfairness."
- Nancy Mitford
Older children in the family act as role models (in positive ways, and sometimes negative ways).
Older siblings can sometimes be an inspiration either to do good things, or an example to avoid, by bad example. Having younger siblings helps us learn childcare skills and responsibility, which prepare us to be parents in our turn.
Having many siblings tends to teach us not to be as materialistic, because resources are spread rather thinner in large families, and we learn to have regard for others and their wants and needs as well as our own.
Children in larger families have a less exaggerated sense of their own importance; in a larger family you are not going to be doted upon by your parents or grandparents as much as if you were an only child. You thus attain a sense of perspective about yourself and your value. You don't get the idea that the sun rises and sets on you, in a large family. It isn't all about you. There are other people to be considered, and everybody has to take their turn, and learn to wait.
I've noticed that many 'only children' have more trouble relating to peers, or that they tend to be more idiosyncratic, more inclined to be loners. That can be good or bad, but from an outsider's perspective, it seems rather lonely to be an only child. Friends somewhat take the place of siblings, but friends can and do come and go. They are not always there for life, as siblings usually are.
Now I can hear the arguments that 'brothers and sisters aren't always close; many times they can't get along, and even loathe each other.' That's as may be; no doubt it happens, but I don't see that in really well-functioning, loving families much. I didn't see any of that kind of conflict in my Dad's family; the bond between him and his brothers and sisters, and their loyalty to each other, overrode any squabbles they had, which were few.
Blood is, as the old saying has it, thicker than water. Friends can fall out and part ways forever, (and yes, so can family members) but especially with a large family, even if you are estranged from one or two of your siblings, there are plenty of others there for you. Large families present better odds of having supportive, loyal family members who will stick by you.
The same is true of parents and children. My beloved Grandma, with thirteen children and dozens of grandchildren and who knows how many great-grandchildren never lacked for someone to care for her at the end of her life. She did live a long and healthy and active life, and her health failed only at the very end. She was always surrounded by people who loved her as only family members can love.
Of course we can love those who are not kin. But there is a special kind of accepting, enduring, unconditional love that is found among close kin. We can see it also between loving spouses and among certain very close friends, but the family circle is the main source of such love, and after all, it's within the close family unit that we first learn love, acceptance, cooperation, self-sacrifice, and compassion. We also learn patience, and contrariwise, we learn how to stand up for ourselves, if we have contentious siblings.
The family is a microcosm of the larger world out there. It can prepare us to succeed and prosper, given the right conditions. Even a less-than-ideal family can teach us useful lessons.
And surely having large families, with many caring relatives is better for society, especially when seen from a conservative or traditional perspective. In the future, given the prevalence of small families, there will be many, many older people who will rely on nursing home care, and on the ministrations of strangers and the government to help them as they become infirm.
In past eras, when there were large families, siblings shared in the care of the elders when they could no longer take care of themselves, and there was less need for the old folks to be warehoused in nursing homes as they aged and their health failed. Usually, one of the many children could take in the ailing parent and care for them at home.
From a conservative point of view, smaller families and many childless adults will one day mean many frail elderly having to be cared for by the state and by strangers in the relatively near future. If our ideal is smaller government, and a shrinking of the 'nanny state', small families are counterproductive. The presence of strong (and large) family support systems means far less need for entitlement programs and institutions for the elderly.
Likewise, the leftist-feminist agenda has created a need for more day-care centers and has led to a tendency to put toddlers in 'pre-schools' at earlier ages, in the care of the school system.This contrasts to the customs of the past. When I was a child, most of us did not leave our mothers until age six, when we were required to start first grade. Now, at age six, most children are already veterans of the 'system', and fully acculturated to the public school institution.
So the smaller family tends to mean more isolation, early in life and late in life, with the reliance on the rather impersonal institution rather than the loving bosom of the family.
There are many reasons why the left pushed the idea the desirability of few or no children, and of the 'village' raising our children, as opposed to parents and the extended family having control over their children's upbringing. Overall, the agenda has weakened the family and home and the influence thereof, in favor of the influence of the state and debased popular culture.
And speaking of debased popular culture, has anybody noticed how much our popular culture tends to disparage and ridicule the family unit, especially the traditional family? Many sitcoms and movies tend to portray 'dysfunctional' families with obnoxious, boorish parents and malicious siblings. The family is treated very roughly in our entertainment media. I think this is intentional.
People in a society with mostly small families and a weakened family unit are often people with few close ties, people who are rootless and disconnected and more prone to alienation and anomie. They might be possibly more inclined to find 'surrogate families' in weird places, like cults, or political causes, or perhaps simply to remain permanent adolescents, doing adolescent things into middle age or beyond. We often read the standard excuses made by liberal sociologists and journalists about how fatherless kids, (of whom we have many now) or kids with weak family bonds, join gangs, and find their support system there. We are social animals, and people who lack the most primal connections will either tend to find some substitute, or perhaps just become isolated. There does seem to me to be a larger number of isolated, lonely people in today's America, compared to the past.
On WikiAnswers, someone asked about the advantages and disadvantages of a large family.
The only response was this:
If someone decides to have a large family that's their business, however having a large family you better have a good salary or both parents working as the cost of having a large family today is expensive. With a small family the costs are less.''
Is this what it really comes down to, dollars and cents? It isn't possible to count everything in economic terms. Doing so, or even attempting to reduce everything to the naked economic calculations, shows a kind of soullessness that is the unique product of our spiritually impoverished time.
Our parents and grandparents raised families, often large families, in less prosperous times than ours. If they did it, so can those today who want families.
It all comes down to priorities.
"He that raises a large family does, indeed, while he lives to observe them, stand a broader mark for sorrow; but then he stands a broader mark for pleasure too." - Benjamin Franklin

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Pat Buchanan has a new book coming out, as reported by Drudge:
NEW BUCHANAN BOOK DECLARES 'END OF AMERICA'
Sun Nov 25 2007 20:40:15 ET
**Exclusive**
"America is coming apart, decomposing, and...the likelihood of her survival as one nation...is improbable -- and impossible if America continues on her current course," declares Pat Buchanan. "For we are on a path to national suicide."
The best-selling author and former presidential candidate is on the eve of launching his new epic book: DAY OR RECKONING: HOW HUBRIS, IDEOLOGY AND GREED ARE TEARING AMERICA APART.
This time, Buchanan goes all the way:
"America is in an existential crisis from which the nation may not survive."
The U.S. Army is breaking and is too small to meet America�s global commitments.
The dollar has sunk to historic lows and is being abandoned by foreign governments.
U.S. manufacturing is being hollowed out.
The greatest invasion in history, from the Third World, is swamping the ethno-cultural core of the country, leading to Balkanization and the loss of the Southwest to Mexico.
The culture is collapsing and the nation is being deconstructed along the lines of race and class.
A fiscal crisis looms as the unfunded mandates of Social Security and Medicare remain unaddressed.
All these crises are hitting America at once -- a perfect storm of crises.''
Read the rest at Drudge Report, as linked above.
I don't see how any sentient person can fail to realize that we are in an unprecedented situation here in America, the like of which we have never experienced. However, the human tendency is to try to deny troubling realities and to pretend that all is well.
In some situations, that is a laudable tendency, to try to maintain a positive outlook, but in many situations it does not serve us well at all. In order to take appropriate action, we have to first acknowledge that the situation demands a response. The longer we delay responding, assuring ourselves and others that things are just fine, the more difficult it will be to rectify the situation, and usually the more costly.
The first reaction I had when I read the synopsis is: what, then, does Pat propose can be done? Apparently he does offer recommendations, such as:
� A new foreign-defense policy that closes most of the 1000 bases overseas, reviews all alliances, and brings home U.S. troops
� A purge of neoconservative ideology and the "Cakewalk" crowd" from national power.
� To avert a second Cold War, the United States should "get out of Russia�s space and get out of Russia�s face," and shut down all U.S. bases on the soil of the former Soviet Union
� To reach a cold peace in the culture war, Buchanan urges a return to federalism and the overthrow of our judicial dictatorship by Congressionally mandated restrictions on the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.
� To end the trade deficits and save the dollar, Buchanan urges a Hamiltonian solution: a 20% Border Equity Tax on imports, with the $500 billion raised to be used to end taxation on American producers
� To prevent America becoming "a tangle of squabbling nationalities" Buchanan urges: No amnesty for the 12-20 million illegal aliens; a border fence from San Diego to Brownsville; Congressional declarations that children born to illegal aliens are not citizens and English is the language of the United States; and a "timeout" on all immigration.''
I can't disagree on most of those points, especially the last part about a timeout on immigration.
But is it possible that Pat is sensationaliizing the situation in an effort to sell books? I ask this only because I know people will make that accusation, and the fact is, Buchanan has been predicting doom and gloom for a while now, and people will say, 'well, the sky hasn't fallen yet, has it?'
The fact is, I see him on MSNBC as a regular commentator on Tucker Carlson's show. And Buchanan seems to see the Republican party as the preferred vehicle for conservatives to take part in our system. Sometimes I wonder what his actual political position is now vis-a-vis the GOP? To my mind, the crisis we are in will require, to use the cliche, thinking outside the box, recognizing that our two existing political parties are a huge part of the problem, and as such cannot be expected to provide a solution.
What say all of you to Buchanan's diagnosis and prescriptions? Any thoughts?

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This story broke last week.
Texas Hispanics Fuel State's Population Growth
HOUSTON � A phenomenal surge in Hispanics has fueled the population growth in Texas, which gained more people over the last decade than any other state, according to United States Census Bureau figures released on Thursday.
People who identify themselves as Hispanic accounted for two-thirds of the state�s growth in the last decade. Hispanics now make up 38 percent of the state�s 25.1 million people, up from 32 percent a decade ago.
At the same time, demographers say, the growth in the population of white people who are not Hispanic has slowed markedly, rising by only 4 percent. Non-Hispanic whites now make up just 45 percent of the Texas population, down from 52 percent in 2000.''
This story is not surprising, since Texas became majority nonwhite a few years back.
There's been some gloating around the conservative discussions about this online, since so many people from other immigrant-saturated states were criticized by Texans for letting mass immigration overwhelm them. Texans are advertised to be of sterner stuff, and more willing to defend their territory which was so hard-won.
So what happened to the famed Texan spirit?
Naturally I have a bias toward Texas, but I can be objective enough to say that in a sense Texas has been weakened by a couple of factors. The first one that comes to my mind is that Texas, like much of the South, has been heavily colonized by Northerners, even before illegal (and legal) immigration began to be utterly out of control. For economic reasons many Yankees came to Texas and other Southern states probably starting, in earnets, during the recession of the 70s. The high-tech industry in Texas was a magnet for a long while, luring many people from outside the South and eventually, outside the U.S.
The population started to grow a lot then, and this influx alone started to erode the old Texas culture and demographics.
One way and another, there are fewer descendants of the old Texas colonist stock now, while there are vastly increasing percentages of immigrants from all over the world, some who came legally, most illegally. But a great many people in Texas, it's probably safe to say, have no ties whatsoever to the core events of Texas history and no part in the heritage of that state.
Another element in this story is the fact that there has always been a Spanish-speaking population in Texas, considering that it was once part of Mexico. However there is a mistaken belief that Texas was heavily populated by Mexicans who were then conquered by Anglo colonists and made subject to them. This idea presupposes that the Mexicans you see in Texas today are the 'original' indigenous people, the rightful owners of the land, in much the same way that the liberal storyline makes Indians the rightful owners of the Americas, and our ancestors evil interlopers. The fact is, it's probably likely that the average Spanish-speaker you see in Texas is a relative newcomer, if he hasn't just swum the Rio Grande.
Yes, there was a Spanish-speaking (though not necessarily Mexican) population in Texas at the time of the Anglo-American colonists' arrival. I have read estimates of the total population as low as 20,000, and if that sounds like a lot of people, the territory in question was even larger than the present-day state of Texas, so that number shows it was sparsely populated. And it must also be remembered that many of the Spanish-speaking residents were of actual Spanish, meaning European, Iberian blood, very dissimilar to most of today's Mexicans.
And the fact that there has always been a certain percentage of Hispanic people in the state of Texas has led to a certain complacency about their presence. Most people in Texas take the presence of Mexicans for granted, and many Texans, especially today's politically corrected ones, will vociferously defend Mexicans, and will tell you emphatically that ''they fought at the Alamo alongside the Anglos'' or similar stories. Yes, there were some who did fight against Santa Anna's troops at the Alamo, but you can see the defenders' names listed, and note that there was hardly a 50-50 partnership.
I count roughly twelve names, of all those listed, who were Mexican or of Spanish descent. They were far outnumbered by Anglo-Americans.
Incidentally, the list is one of the 'revised' ones, which has added names that were not included in the original roll. (Interestingly for me, at least two of the new names are known kinsmen of mine, though I was already aware of another kinsman who died there.)
If you are interested, this link tells the story of how the list was 'corrected', although I can't help wonder if some of this was political 'correcting.'
For example, this quote is telling:
"The Alamo problem, as in all of history, is that we think what happened in the past is static," said Stephen L. Hardin, a historian at Victoria College, who wrote about the Alamo battle in the revised handbook. "When evidence to the contrary pops up, it shakes up things and we deny the new because it challenges long-held beliefs."
Oh, yes, all the history we know has been biased and colored by our prejudices, and let's remember, there are many versions of the truth, and who are we to try to exclude 'conflicting narratives?'
As usual, I'm digressing. My point was that Texas has been politically corrected to some extent like every place else, and the schools have been dumbed down to accommodate multiculturalism.
I will say, too, that in recent years, the social sanctions against intermarriage, which used to be very strong, have largely disappeared. And what happens when people marry out of their group is that group bonds and allegiances are weakened and eventually disappear. That's why all advertising and entertainment pushes the outmarrying meme so relentlessly these days. France's Sarkozy has come right out and said we need more métissage.
So yes, more Anglo Texans have Mexican-American neighbors and Mexican-American spouses and half-Mexican children or grandchildren, etc. And this makes people excessively optimistic that in time, ethnic conflicts will evaporate away and we will all get together and wonder why we used to be so mistaken, and we'll all have a good old laugh about the bad old days.
It's true that many Mexican-descended Texans have roots in the state that go back at least a few generations. Most of these are people who speak English accent-free, or close. They are fairly well assimilated to American (Anglo/White) ways, and they do not present the culture clash problems posed by recent immigrants. Some (few) may side with the older-stock Texans on matters of immigration, but I sense that many of the younger people may suddenly discover their Hispanic roots and reverse-assimilate, as has happened with many young European-born descendants of non-European immigrans. Why not, when the host culture is too cowed to defend itself, and the natural inhabitants of the country seem willing to capitulate? Exotic roots have a certain cachet in this multicult-dominated world, and in the last analysis, blood will out. Blood is thicker than water. It's thicker than 'assimilation.' Blood is thicker than civic citizenship.
I think some Texans may begin to realize that they have been too sanguine about the presence of millions of immigrants, and too quick to assume that they will all 'fit in' and be good neighbors . I suspect that there are some clueless people who think that the Latinos will be magnanimous in victory if we are accepting of them and affable towards them. I don't share that optimism.
One more factor that has enabled this situation to grow out of hand is that Texas is a big state, and there are still pockets where immigrants have not come to be a sizeable presence -- yet. As long as people still have a familiar and homogeneous community to retreat to, they will not feel the pressing nature of the problem.
We will see in the next few years whether Texas submits to Californication or whether the old Texas spirit that motivated our ancestors reasserts itself. Time is growing short; if people remain inert, then Texas will go gently into that night.

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0 comment Monday, September 1, 2014 |
For what it's worth, "n/a" over at race/history/evolution notes posts some information on 'State-level differences in personality', from a report called "The Geography Of Personality; A Theory of the Emergence, Persistence and Expression of Geographic Variation in Basic Traits".
It's interesting stuff; from what I have read, it seems to tally with my own personal perceptions based on my having lived in and spent time in various states. For instance, guess which states are the highest-scoring states in 'neuroticism'.
NEUROTICISM
Personality traits: Anxious, stressful and impulsive.
Highest-scoring states: West Virginia, Rhode Island, New York, Mississippi, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, Arkansas.
Lowest-scoring states: Alaska, Oregon, South Dakota, Colorado, Utah, Washington, Arizona, Nebraska, North Dakota, Nevada.
The first state listed surprises me, but the fact that New York is among the highest-scoring is not surprising to me. No offense to any reader living there, or hailing from there, but New Yorkers do seem to fit the profile listed above as being 'anxious, stressful [sic], and impulsive.'
I guess that's why I never liked the Seinfeld show; it had too much of that neurotic energy about it, like many of the real-life New Yorkers I knew. Where else do you meet 'average' people who have spent years in analysis? It's a hobby, or more accurately, a lifelong project for some people there.
Again, no offense to New Yorkers, but there is something to the stereotypes. And those of us with personality traits which diverge from the norm in a given area are like fish out of water there. It's better to be among people who exhibit similar outlooks and character traits in order to feel most at home.
The state I now live in is one of the lowest-scoring on neuroticism, which again does not surprise me. This state also has a low score on 'extraversion' which is also evident here. People here can be very nice and are very polite, but they are not easy to get close to, nor particularly welcoming to people from other areas -- unless of course, said people are immigrants, in which case they are treated with exaggerated niceness. Still, people here are rather standoffish.
The states that score highest on openness are also for the most part very liberal states. That, too, figures.
The trait of conscientiousness is found more frequently in some Southern states as well as some 'heartland' states. Same with 'agreeableness.'
CONSCIENTIOUSNESS
Personality traits: Dutiful, responsible, self-disciplined.
Highest-scoring states: New Mexico, North Carolina, Georgia, Utah, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Florida, Arizona, Missouri.
Lowest-scoring states: Wyoming, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Maine, Alaska, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York.
But the question is: why do various states exhibit varying levels of these traits, with certain states showing a tendency to have a sort of identifiable persona? Is there something in the air and water that makes people in different states different? Would moving to one of these states make me or anyone else become the 'typical' resident of that state? Maybe -- to a limited extent. I often wondered if staying in that overcrowded multicultural warren that is New York City would turn me into a real New Yorker. No doubt it would have some effect on me if I had stayed there forever, but I don't think it would change my basic traits.
If the people in Washington State manifest different traits than the people in New York (City or state) it would probably be because the people who settled Washington State tended to be people of different ethnic stock than those in New York or Massachusetts. The early pioneers in the West tended to be Anglo-Saxon (New England stock, sometimes via the Midwest) or Scandinavian or German. New York obviously received many more Southern Europeans and Eastern Europeans.
It isn't the 'culture' which makes the person or the ethnic group, but vice-versa.
If I were planning to look for a new home, I would seek out the states where people had higher levels of conscientiousness and 'agreeableness' and lower levels of 'openness' and neuroticism.

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Once again, it's a liberal who speaks politically incorrect truths about racial matters. Nader is not on our side but even a broken clock is right twice a day: Nader: Obama trying to 'talk white'
Nader said he is not impressed with Obama and that he does not see him campaigning often enough in low-income, predominantly minority communities where there is a "shocking" amount of economic exploitation.
[...]
"He wants to show that he is not a threatening . . . another politically threatening African-American politician," Nader said. "He wants to appeal to white guilt. You appeal to white guilt not by coming on as black is beautiful, black is powerful. Basically he's coming on as someone who is not going to threaten the white power structure, whether it's corporate or whether it's simply oligarchic. And they love it. Whites just eat it up."
In the Free Republic discussion of this article, a commenter asks:
'How should Obama talk? Should he sound like an African-American? That makes no sense. He's 50% white, and the rest is a mix of his Arab and Kenya heritage.''
Another Freeper offers:
Uhhh....Ralph. He is white. He�s as much white as he is black.''
Another says:
Why are liberals so hung-up on race?'
Yet another bizarrely insists:
Obama is MORE white than black. Arab bloodlines are not considered black bloodlines.''
Another says:
While BO's father was from Kenya, his father's family was mainly Arabs. His father was only 12.5% African Negro and 87.5% Arab. (His father's birth certificate states he is Arab, not African Negro).
I'll leave it to you and others to sort this out as to legitimate sources, etc. One source is as good as the other. Pick your own pew. Since Obama is purportedly half-black and half-white, why does his "birth certificate" say "African". This is not 100% true.'
First, I've read the claims of his being mostly of 'Arab' ancestry on his paternal side. His father's appearance is 100 percent African as far as I can see; if there is any 'Arab' ancestry it must be so remote and so diluted as to be invisible. So I put no stock in that claim, although the Freepers seem willing to believe it because their only apparent objection to Obama is that he is a crypto-Moslem (and he may well be) who is partly Arab.
But the more baffling question for me is this: there seems to be a new (to me) definition of 'White.' Since so many on the 'right' are genuinely upset that Obama does not prefer his White ancestry, it appears that there is some newly-devised definition of White wherein anybody with half-White ancestry is 'White'. This was never the historic definition of White anywhere that I know of. So what is up with this new understanding of racial categories? Are conservatives finally surrendering to the 'race is a social construct' dogma? It could be interpreted that way. Or do conservatives think that when someone is half-and-half, one can pick a race? If so, the definition of White will be substantially changed.
This whole issue seems to be a curiously emotional one for many 'conservatives'. I've commented here before about how I've read so many rather hurt comments from Whites asking why Obama won't claim his White ancestry. They truly do seem genuinely wounded by this; they say things like 'he was raised by his White grandparents and grew up in White culture but he won't call himself White.'
Whence the hurt feelings here? I don't get it. I can see how the White relatives who raised him might feel hurt and rejected, but why should random White people be so emotionally invested in this?
I wonder if many people, 'conservatives' as well as liberals, truly crave acceptance by blacks and other minorities (but primarily blacks). Is this just one more manifestation of the White guilt Nader alludes to? Do we think that our Original Sin might be washed away by Obama's embrace of his White ancestry? Would that be the ultimate absolution White liberals (and 'conservatives') are yearning for?
If so, I would find that more understandable, though servile, and less troubling in a way than the idea that we are suddenly ready to re-define racial categories or to proclaim that race is, after all, a social construct, or whatever we decide it is.
Does a black man become White by 'talking White' as Nader says, or does reading ''lit fic novels'' make a black man White, as Steve Sailer implies here? I thought Sailer believed that race is real. Maybe I've misunderstood him all along.
...white Democrats haven't seemed to like black candidates much. They've looked down upon non-racialist pragmatic black politicians like former LA mayor Tom Bradley as Uncle Toms, yet also looked down upon racialist politicians popular with blacks like Rev. Jesse and Rev. Al as buffoons. So, Obama is the unexpected answer to their fantasies. A black candidate who has worked hard to establish a career for himself as a South Side racialist, but who is really a lit fic novel reading white man in a semi-black skin.''
Shades of 'Stuff White People Like.' Is being White a matter of having 'White' cultural preferences, like the caricatured, aracial 'Whites' of the SWPL blog? There are plenty of Whites who are not 'lit fic novel reading' types; where do they fit in?
There have always been a few blacks, regardless of whether they have White ancestry, who speak standard American English, have conservative ideas, or work in predominantly White professions or businesses. Are they then automatically Whites?
A prominent example would be Oprah. She 'talks white', so much so that she was on the receiving end of many jokes by some stand-up comics back in the early days of her career, before she became some kind of saint. She is culturally more White than black, it seems. She may claim some non-African ancestry, probably American Indian like 90 percent of blacks do. But does anybody say she is anything other than black?
To me, the old commonsense rule still applies. If someone looks black, they are black, even though they may have White genes. African genes are outwardly dominant. No one with one White parent and one black parent looks White. In the past anyone who suggested Obama might justifiably call himself White would be viewed askance, to put it mildly.
So what is going on with this silly-putty view of racial identity?
Somewhat pertinent is this post which discusses American blacks' ancestry:
Studies have repeatedly shown American blacks average ~20% European admixture, while white Americans show minimal if any non-European admixture. Gene flow was overwhelmingly one way.
It is no surprise that among American blacks "self-report of a high degree of African ancestry in a three-generation family tree did not accurately predict degree of African ancestry". The overwhelming majority of American blacks have "African" (black) parents and grandparents. No doubt most of Aframs' European genes entered the Afram gene pool more than 3 generation ago. Aframs without recent white ancestors may range from light-skinned to coal-black. We see no such variations in the phenotypes of white Americans.''
That first sentence I quoted disposes of one of the common myths or 'arguments' of the social construct devotees: the claim that 'many White Americans have African blood, so there is no true White American.'
I've heard that said or seen it claimed in many internet discussions.
But the racial myths and half-truths will go on as long as they serve the purpose of blurring all distinctions.

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I've mentioned before that I collect ephemera, my favorite era being the early 20th century. I love learning about earlier times from the ephemera of the age: written material, magazines, even the ads tell a story. The artwork and the illustrations were often beautiful, much more so than today's counterparts.
One thing that catches my eye in the old ads and magazine articles is the presence of many upper-class people, dressed in their finery, attending some soigné event. Many of the domestic scenes in advertising depict elegant women at home with their housemaids. This kind of thing is conspicuously absent in our modern advertising, for obvious reasons. The world has turned upside down from what it was 100 years, or even 70 years ago. The egalitarian, downward-leveling trend has become the hallmark of our age. There are no clear class delineations as there were back then, with moneyed people and their luxuries. Nowadays, the rich often dress, act, and speak just like those at the lower end of the economic spectrum. Think Paris Hilton.
And since the English language is on my mind these last few days, coincidentally I was just at a forum where the discussion centered on class
distinctions in the UK as reflected in language.
Apparently, there remain, despite all the leveling efforts of the leftists, differences in vocabulary as well as pronunciation in the UK.
This article from long-ago 1992 describes the class patterns in British English:
John Honey, an itinerant English professor educated at Cambridge and Oxford who is currently teaching in Japan, created a stir in Britain when his book was published. He urged Britons to acknowledge that speech accents are the coding of the class system and to strike a blow for equality by teaching everyone to speak the Queen's English, which Honey termed "received pronunciation," or R.P. The classic example of R.P. would be the crisp, clipped speech of most BBC news readers.
The Charles-Di split, then, is a matter of two different styles of upper-class speech. Prince Charles speaks a marked version of R.P. -- the upper-crust English, oozing privilege, spoken today mainly by senior members of the royal family, old Etonians and aging Oxford and Cambridge dons. R.P. speakers pronounce "cloth" as clawth and talk about the lorst pah of the British Empah (the "lost power of the British Empire").
Princess Diana has swung to the other end of the R.P. spectrum, occasionally assuming a trendy down-market variant, including traces of popular London speech, that approaches cockney. Its most prominent feature is "t-glotalling," which means strangling the final "t" in most words. Expert ears, for example, have detected Diana saying there's a lo' of i' abou' for "there's a lot of it about." '
From the perspective of today, it would appear that the 'received pronunciation' has long since lost the battle. I've noticed how 'the Queen's English' has been displaced in the British media by various regional accents and by more 'working-class' patterns of speech. When I watch old British films, (for example, today I saw ''Great Expectations" from 1946), the English spoken then is markedly different than that heard in the British media today.
There may be some of the older generation whose accents follow the old patterns but they seem to be few and far between.
I believe the cultural Marxists want to eliminate anything that hints at ''elitism'' and class distinctions and standards, the latter of which are
anathema to them in all areas of life. In the UK as in the United States and throughout the West, there is the mania for 'equality' and for a malicious pulling-down of those who are looked at superior or elite in some way.
And that, to me, is the crux of this issue of class distinctions in speech. The left is always busily destroying all vestiges of our former standards and ideals. Having distinctions of any kind amounts to ''discrimination" and this must always be stamped out.
This piece cuts to the chase, regarding speech:
Every detail of our selves and our lives � our appearance, speech, activities and associations � is perceived by others as an emblem of who we were, what we have become and where we fit in. The social profile of each person is recognizable and unique, like a fingerprint.
The ways we speak also reflect this combination of social similarity and diversity in fine detail.
[...]
Language has always helped to signify who we are in society, sometimes serving as a basis for exclusion. A Bible story tells how a password, shibboleth, was chosen because the enemy didn�t use the sh sound. "Shibboleth" has since come to signify an emblem of belief or membership, an identifiable sign of those who must stay outside the gate.
Societies use shibboleths in many ways. Indeed, speech is a convenient stand-in for other kinds of stigma that we recognize but do not openly acknowledge. For example, in our society, discrimination based on appearance, race, sex, religion or national origin is TABOO and often illegal, whereas discrimination based on particular details of language use by men or women, people of different religions, people from other countries and so on is often allowed.''
Do we have any class distinctions in speech in the United States? I would say we don't. It may be that some traditionally-minded people are unfavorably disposed towards those who have very uneducated speech, or strong regional accents in some cases. But this need not necessarily reflect a class bias, or a racial bias. We just tend to react somewhat negatively to someone who displays ignorance in their way of speaking.
It's often said, with some truth in the allegation, that people tend to judge those who speak with a Southern accent as ''ignorant'' or backward, even if the speaker uses impeccable grammar and syntax. The accent itself bears a stigma, I would say as much or more than ''ebonics''. And you'll notice I didn't specify that ''Northern people tend to judge'' Southern accents negatively -- just ''people.'' There are some who are born and bred in the South who carefully cultivate a neutral accent, modeling it on the media standard. Many of the younger generations do not sound Southron at all, even if their parents speak with a strong regional accent. I think this move away from the Southern speech is sometimes not a conscious thing; it's simply 'in' to speak standard American English as heard on TV or in Hollywood movies. Younger people who watch the mainstream media consciously or unconsciously absorb the accent they hear; it has connotations of being hip and cool, unlike the Southern drawl.
Other than that, however, we don't have a great deal of class distinction in our speech. Education these days does not do a very good job of educating. Sadly, most of those in academia these days are dedicated leftists who think that proper grammar and enunciation are ''elitist' and outmoded, as well as 'reactionary'. So who is there to uphold standards of good grammar and speech?
The linked PBS article argues (just as my linguistics professor did back in the 70s) that language is perpetually changing, and that we mustn't try to stop or impede the change. Language is 'organic', so the party line says. Languages just grow, like Topsy, and we can't control or even direct the change that inevitably happens. We can be 'descriptive' in discussing language, in other words, simply observe and note what we see and hear, but we can't be 'prescriptive' and uphold standards -- because everything is relative, you see. Who are we to judge the ebonics speakers or those who speak some sort of pidgin English or Spanglish or whatever argot?
A complex pattern of influences keeps the linguistic pot bubbling. Variation is everywhere. Change never stops. Language gatekeepers cannot control an ever-changing world of diversity. It�s hard on them, because in the gatekeepers' world, variation means error and change means decline.
What�s more, the very notion of a single standard of correctness in language is quite recent. "Correctness" is based solely on a purist�s own notion of what is socially or culturally correct: if it's not in, it must be out. A language purist works from a list of exceptions to the rule, ordinary speakers follow a hierarchy of patterns that reveal analogical similarities.''
Yes, the usual leftist arguments are heard in the realm of linguistics as in all other areas. Change is inevitable; embrace it. Celebrate it. Above all, don't judge it. Don't try to control it or contain it.
Change is sacred to the leftist.
And we ''language purists' who think (silly us) that there are rules and standards which apply to language just as to any other system, and who think that we should try to contain and direct change, are just sticks-in-the-mud who are impeding the 'diversity' and the richness of our ever-changing language.
I suppose we have to give the left some kind of credit for being consistent in their 'philosophy'. They are consistent to the point of being monomaniacal, when it comes to advancing their agenda in every area of life.
The larger question, though, is the loss of standards in our society.
I suppose it could be said that the beginnings of our country already contained the seed of our current obsession with 'equality' and leveling, which we see in the assault on all standards. Proper speech is now denigrated as archaic and rigid, the province of 'language purists'. Basic etiquette and social graces are scoffed at as passé and old-fashioned. Dress codes are going by the wayside, as people more and more tend to dress for 'comfort', regardless of the occasion. There are very few occasions for which Americans dress up nowadays. Jeans and T-shirts and athletic shoes are the universal uniform for all occasions from church on Sunday to the symphony. As I mentioned, even the wealthy are likely to slouch around in the ''uniform'' when in public.
Sexual mores, like all social standards, are now strictly up to the individual; who are we to judge? Tolerance of anything and everything is a mark of the sophisticated, ''enlightened'' 21st century American.
Profanity and obscenity are everywhere, with no respect for the people present. Oldsters, toddlers, nobody is spared the foul language.
The arts are no longer governed by any sort of rules regarding aesthetics or skill. This is true of the so-called 'fine arts' as well as popular culture.
Mediocrity and even ineptitude are no obstacle to attaining fame or success in the arts and popular entertainment.
Good taste has gone out the window; once I tried to discuss 'taste' with a liberal friend; it was a foreign language to her. ''Taste'' is an elitist construct, imposed by the aristocracy on the sainted common man.
The sad thing about all this is that the ''conservatives'' for the most part are rank egalitarians and levelers in most respects, just as the liberals and leftists. Perhaps the old American obsession with demolishing social class in general, the tradition of hating aristocracy, has gone too far. It seems to me that even conservatives have accepted many of the class warfare bromides of the left.
Our country was born from a revolution against English royalty, and there was an anti-aristocratic undertone to the slogans and sentiments of many of the Founding Fathers -- yet there was a movement to make George Washington a king, rather than President.
There was an old Southron aristocracy, and I am sure there were wastrels and other undesirables among their ranks, but on the other hand, many good men came out of that class: the aforementioned Washington, Thomas Jefferson, the Lees, the Pages, the Randolphs, the Taylors, and many more. Aristocracy is not an innately bad thing, provided they are principled.
Can anyone argue that democracy is preferable? How is it working out for us now?
Our forefathers, at least the Founding Fathers, opposed the idea of democracy and 'equality', despite Thomas Jefferson's unfortunate phrase ''all men are created equal."
Democracy does not exist for a long time - it wastes, exhausts and destroys itself. There was never a democracy that didn't kill itself" - Samuel Adams
"Democracy always leads to conflicts and instability, but never provides for the security of the citizens or their property. Usually it is very short at life, and very bloody at death" -- James Madison
There are many more such quotes in the same vein. Yet somehow Americans have become enamored of 'democracy' and equality.
Equality and liberty can't coexist. Neither can equality and standards. If we are to level everybody, standards must be pulled down; those who excel or distinguish themselves in any way are to be pounded down so as to prevent inequality.
Not so many decades ago, we had a culture which encouraged all, rich, poor, or middle-class, to aspire to civilized, genteel behavior. Children were taught to be polite and courteous, and respectful of elders. Girls, in particular, were taught social graces and were often sent to 'charm school' to learn how to groom themselves, carry themselves, and to be gracious.
Everybody could, and most did, aspire to ''better themselves." Even those from a poor background could become educated, or educate themselves, acquire some social polish, and improve their status in the world. Now, it seems every economic class emulates the lowest level of society. The gutter culture is 'cool.'
The old-style rich in America were standard-bearers. While there were 'black sheep' among them, in general they comported themselves well in public; it was considered part of the duty of the 'upper classes' to set an example. Now that we no longer have a wealthy class with any sense of noblesse oblige, or with a desire to uphold higher standards of behavior, we have no exemplars at all, except vapid celebrities, who are often troubled people with no detectable standards. Or there are the overpaid athletes who are idolized by many.
On this blog we've often discussed the leadership void. Leaders need not be politicians or 'statesmen' -- and how many of the latter even exist today? Leaders are standard-bearers and standard-setters. They are people who, at their best, honor and uphold social and cultural standards and traditions, and set an inspiring example. We all need something to which to aspire, and we all need to aspire to something honorable and worthy. We have few if any such leaders and standard-bearers now. I wonder if, by killing our aristocracy metaphorically, we have done ourselves in. We can see in history how much harm was caused by the Jacobins and their obliterating of class distinctions.
Standards are necessary; our mania for 'democracy' and 'equality' is proving to be very destructive to our society. I believe any effort to undo all the horrendous errors of the last five decades or so must include a renewed respect for quality, excellence, merit, and achievement, as well as for order and beauty.
We live in an ugly, sloppy age dominated by willful adolescents. At some point, the adults will have to reassert control.
The liberals say 'change never stops', and if they are right, then the pendulum has to swing back eventually.

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