Academics discover tans

I would just like to highlight the absolute insanity of this abstract from Shades of Privilege: The Relationship Between Skin Color and Political Attitudes Among White Americans, by Yadon and Ostfield:

Shifting racial dynamics in the U.S. have heightened the salience of White racial identity, and a sense that Whites’ social status and resources are no longer secure. At the same time, the growing size of non-White populations has also renewed attention to skin color-based stratification and the potential blurring of racial boundaries. We theorize that Whites with darker skin will be motivated to protect the boundaries of Whiteness due to the loss of status they would face from blurring racial boundaries. Consistent with growing evidence of skin color’s importance for Whites, we demonstrate that darker-skinned Whites—measured via a light-reflectance spectrophotometer—identify more strongly with their White racial identity and are more likely to hold conservative political views on racialized issues than lighter-skinned Whites. Together, these findings offer new insights into the evolving meaning of race and color in American politics.

Bold mine.

This paranoid insanity is from an actual paper published in an academic journal, “Political Behavior“, which you can subscribe to for the totally not a scam price of a hundred dollars a year.

Let’s work through this barely literate dumpster fire:

“Shifting racial dynamics in the U.S. have heightened the salience of White racial identity, and a sense that Whites’ social status and resources are no longer secure.”

How do you heighten the salience of something? To be salient is to stick out (like a cliff). It is already high. A better word would be “importance,” which does not carry the connotation of already being tall.

The comma in this sentence is incorrect; as we learned back in second grade, commas should be used when listing three or more items. Commas should not be used when only listing two items. A comma error buried somewhere deep in a paper is an understandable mistake; a comma error in the very first sentence of the abstract shows that the authors did not master second grade (and neither did, apparently, any of the reviewers from “Political Behavior” who came in contact with this paper).

Even without the mistake, it would remain a mushy sentence. What shifting racial dynamics? What white racial identity? What social status and resources?

“At the same time, the growing size of non-White populations has also renewed attention to skin color-based stratification and the potential blurring of racial boundaries.”

What time? No time frame has been established.

The words “at the same time,” and “also,” are doing the same jobs in the sentence; one or the other should be deleted.

The grammar of this sentence is subtly off: how does a “growing size” (the subject) “renew attention”? A “size,” growing or shrinking, is not an entity that can pay attention to anything. People are paying attention.

I am quite skeptical that Americans are more concerned today about the possibility of blurred racial boundaries than they were back when miscegenation was illegal.

Then we reach this whopper: “We theorize that Whites with darker skin will be motivated to protect the boundaries of Whiteness due to the loss of status they would face from blurring racial boundaries.”

Right-o.

This is the paper that people have been talking about recently because they found that “white” Trump voters have slightly darker skin than “white” non-Trump voters. This is unscientific bullshit because their study design does not test their hypothesis in any way, shape, or form. Merely discovering that Trump voters are darker than non-Trump voters doesn’t tell you why they are Trump voters. Maybe whites with darker skins vote for Trump because they are manual laborers with tans who believe that Trump wants to help manual laborers. In order to test their hypothesis, they’d have to actually set up an experiment that varies some condition, like skin color or rigidity of racial boundaries, and then see how people react. For example, they could take two groups of volunteers and give one group tans while the control subjects stayed pale. The two groups’ attitudes toward other racial groups and racial identities would be tested before and after tanning to see if skin darkening triggered a shift in political attitudes. Of course, this shift could have been triggered by the chemical effects of increased Vitamin D, the warmth of the sun, or similar factors, so you’d want a third group of volunteers whose skin was darkened via makeup.

Alternatively, you could test the blurriness of the racial environment by assigning volunteers to do some tasks with two different groups: a control group in which all of the other members are distinctly white or black, and a group in which most members are varying shades of brown/mixed-race. Subjects’ political attitudes would be tested before and after treatment, to see if those subject to the blurred racial boundary group became more motivated to protect the boundaries of whiteness than those who participated in the distinct racial boundaries group.

Or you the authors could admit that they’re talking out of their asses.

“Consistent with growing evidence of skin color’s importance for Whites, we demonstrate that darker-skinned Whites—measured via a light-reflectance spectrophotometer—identify more strongly with their White racial identity and are more likely to hold conservative political views on racialized issues than lighter-skinned Whites.” 

Growing evidence? Was the Civil War not enough evidence for you?

If skin color is so important for whites, then darker-skinned whites are the losers on the white totem pole. Darker-skinned whites would want skin color to be less important for getting some of that White Privilege, not more. They have found no evidence that “skin color” is motivating these people at all. More likely, whites who call themselves “white” do so because they do not have any concrete tie to an ancestral European country. They are not Irish or English or French or German or Italian because none of their grandparents and few of their great-grandparents hailed from these countries. Their ancestors have lived in the US, by and large, for hundreds of years (my ancestors have been here for 400 years, perhaps more); at this point, their ethnic group is simply “White.” Whites are an ethnic group just as much as any other.

“Together, these findings offer new insights into the evolving meaning of race and color in American politics.”

No, you found out that Trump voters are slightly darker than Hillary voters (which any idiot who has ever seen a Southerner could tell you) and then retconned an insane justification for why slightly brown people are the real racists.

Meanwhile, light skinned, high-status whites like Elizabeth Warren and Shaun King have actively embraced trace (if any) non-white ancestry to claim to be Indian and black. The Kardashians have built a billion dollar cosmetics and media empire; part of their success is due to carefully cultivating via makeup (and probably plastic surgery) their mixed-race appearances. If I were a noticing sort of person, I might notice that the darkish-skinned whites who vote for Trump don’t seem to get much out it, while the Kardashians make serious money appearing racially ambiguous on TV. I might notice Bank of America’s blandly named, billion dollar Commitment to Support Economic Opportunity Initiatives:

Bank of America announced today that it is making a $1 billion, four-year commitment of additional support to help local communities address economic and racial inequality accelerated by a global pandemic. The programs will be focused on assisting people and communities of color that have experienced a greater impact from the health crisis.

I might notice that people these days seem to increase their status by being perceived as not-white, rather than white.

But what does it matter that there’s an insane line in a poorly written abstract from two authors who probably just discovered that Southerners have tans?

  1. It suggests that (at least some) liberals have absolutely no idea what motivates conservatives. It is possible that they have never met a conservative and have only heard of them in scary stories their parents told them at bedtime. They essentially lack “theory of mind” and cannot model conservatives’ inner states.
  2. The people who wrote this are so bad at science that they did not even realize that their experimental design is not an experiment and does not at all test their hypothesis.
  3. Some of the people involved in the publication of this paper may well have realized that the line was insane, but let is pass either because they wanted to smear conservatives or because they thought they themselves might face retribution if they objected to the insanity.
  4. The “journal” which published this paper did not notice that the experiment did not actually test the hypothesis.
  5. Now that it is an “actually published paper” in an “actual academic journal,” it has the appearance of authority. This is the sort of thing that reporters pick up and summarize as “scientists have proven that whites police the boundaries of whiteness to protect their privilege,” and then gets repeated over and over ad nauseam until it becomes common wisdom like the IAT.

Black reactions to white people tanning

As I promised yesterday, I found the reactions on this post: Darkness Matters, to the phenomenon of white people using Melanotan II to, well, tan rather interesting. Her are a few quotes:

“Dr. Bey explained why whites have so much aggression, anger and hatred towards us and how they are planning to wipe us clean off the map. What I’m about to say is going to shock you. In the words of Booker T. Coleman, “Don’t believe anything I say. Do your own research. I could be lying to you.” Whites are kidnapping us, melting down our organs, cutting open our skulls and eating our pineal gland in order to become “powerful” and injecting our melanin into themselves.”

You know, I had not even considered cannibalism as a possible method for getting a tan. Also, I think she missed the part where it’s a fake hormone made in a lab that isn’t even identical to the real one in your body (and technically, it’s not fake melanin, but fake a-MSH.)

Some of the comments on the post are equally interesting:

“Not to forget mentioning the Rhesus Negative Blood type. Having learnt a lot about it (my mother is this blood type and I’m sure a lot of you know that it is the oldest blood type on this planet), it is no surprise to me that this, besides the melanin, could be why Caucasian ‘celebs’ are snatching up Black babies QUICK. It’s the cure. Even if the Caucasians are calling it the ‘Anunnaki blood type’.
They are trying to graft themselves back in because – and this could not be stressed enough, they’re fully aware that their time is up. …”

Actually, blacks tend to be Rh positive, like virtually everyone else on the planet. Rh negative blood is only found in >10% of people in Europeans. So, no, Europeans aren’t stealing black babies to get Rh negative blood. That’d be like stealing blacks to get blond hair.

Anunnaki? Or you can delve into the truly crazy shit.

Okay, I just want to pause here and issue a PSA on behalf of all whites, everywhere: No, we aren’t eating your brains. We don’t want to eat your brains. Or your skin. That’s disgusting. Also, this Anunnaki bullshit is pure crazypants. 99.99% of whites do not believe this. For goodness sakes.

Back to the comments.

“the blood bank won’t stop calling me and always trying to tell me that there is a blood shortage. They ask if, you could like to have your blood go to sicklwe [sic] cell children. I have found that they put a little mark on it so it is used for particular people.
They also run genetic test on your blood when you donate it and they have you sign away rights kind of alla Henretta Lacks. I’ve had one of them say that my blood helped people get well faster and that I should donate as much as possible. This has freaked me out and I haven’t been back since. I’m thinking of changing my phone number as I know they can track you through your cell phone using GPS. I don’t plan on being snatched.” (my bold)

“… I always told my family that whenever you see missing black kids that are posted on the news or on the board at Walmart, they are in underground slave camps and will be used for experiments. They are preying on the weak.”

“Do you think that maybe the babies are their own insurance policies to keep them alive if, the need a pigment fix. Do you think they would have their children drained of their blackness for such a thing?”

“And those abandoned warehouses, university hospitals that are Khazar funded, like NYU, LONG island Jewish, Columbia, Etc…are where they conduct experiments.”

Who are the Khazars, you’re wondering? “The Khazar theory” is a now-disproven theory of Ashkenazi Jewish origins favored principally by anti-Semites, Neo-Nazis, and people who don’t know any better. (We know it’s been disproven because we have genetic testing, and it turns out that the Askenazim are half Italian, half Middle Eastern, with no Khazar blood.) The one bit of truth to the idea is the fact that there was once a Jewish Khazar state, but it later converted to Islam, and thus it became rather lacking in Jews.

“Whites have always lusted after melanin, which explains their obsession with black sexuality. Whitewomen allowing random blackmen to impregnate them with a half-black baby with the consent of their white boyfriends and husbands. White female celebrities adopting black babies from Haiti and various countries across Africa, and so forth. What are white folks trying to accomplish? They want to mold black and half-black babies into white people under the guise of multiculturalism.”

“I think Dr. Llaila Afrika posited that the study of melanin is the ONLY thing they are doing in science nowadays & I believe he is right.”

“I notice they push the interracial agenda.Just look at paula paton and robin thicke.She is biracial but says she’s black and their child looks white he has blonde hair and blue eyes.This is what they are trying to do breed out the black race and replace it with a more fertile and tanner lookin white race.”

“Victoria Rowell is another mixed blackwoman that birthed a white daughter with blonde hair and blue eyes, and she had the nerve to say her daughter is black by extension because she’s a black female…Insanity! Halle Berry is another stupid mixed blackwoman playing games with our bloodlines. Stacey Dash is half-black and half-mexican…all of her children have white fathers. Yet, she wants to portray herself as a black female. All of these women want blackmen to support their careers, and ignore the “Elephant In The Room.” They have white babies. Our race gains nothing by the likes of Tamera Mowry birthing white babies with whitemen…Nothing!”

” I’ve always known that something was amiss but couldn’t out my finger on it. You know when I “woke up”? When 9/11 hit. A friend of mine gave me The Protocols in school and while I did read it, It didn’t really register. When 9/11 happened, something clicked for me. Then I began to feel different. TV became a nuisance and my mind wasn’t clouded with football and music videos and clothes and shopping. I wanted more but couldn’t place what that was. When someone introduced me to some radio stations that talked about blacks and our sad state of affairs, I wept. At last!!! I’m not crazy after all.”

Honestly, I think combining Melanin Theory and Nazi propaganda is kind of weird.

(According to melanin theorist Wade Nobles, “That in the evolution of the species, in what some people call the Ontogenetic evolution of humankind, that in the evolution of the species the human family separated in a sense that one branch of the family stopped its evolutionary path and simply depended upon the central nervous system as the total machinery for understanding reality. Whereas, the root of the family continued its path and not only evolved a central nervous system but developed what I called at that time an essential melanic system. And that I even went so far as to try to develop a little formula and suggested that CNS + EMS = HB. CNS (Central Nervous System) + EMS (Essential Melanic System) = HB (Human Being). That the central nervous system combined with the essential melanic system is what makes you human. That, in fact, to be human is to be Black. To be human is to be Black.” From the Wikipedia.)

The whole post and comments are kind of like the Precious Bodily Fluids scene in Dr. Strangelove:

There was also a reference in the thread to the Night Doctors, so I looked them up on Wikipedia:

“Night Doctors, also known as night riders, night witches, Ku Klux doctors, and student doctors are bogeymen of African American folklore who emerged from the realities of grave robbing, medical experimentation, and intimidation rumors spread by Southern whites to prevent workers from leaving for the North. …In order to further emphasize the rumors, white owners would dress in white sheets to represent kidnappers. They wandered the African American communities to make them believe that they would be abducted, taken to medical facilities and killed.”

“In New Orleans there was an interesting variation on the night doctors called the “needle men”. Thought to be medical students from Charity Hospital (now the Medical Center of Louisiana at New Orleans), the needle men would poke an unsuspecting individual in the arm, resulting in death.”

“I sure don’t go out much at this time of year. You takes a chance just walkin’ on the streets. Them Needle Mens is everywhere. They always comes ’round in the fall, and they’s ’round to about March. You see, them Needle Mens is medical students from the Charity Hospital tryin’ to git your body to work on. That’s ’cause stiffs is very scarce at this time of the year”.

“Johns Hopkins Hospital was believed to be a source of “needle men” and the “black bottle men.” They were thought to kidnap African Americans right off the street. A woman from the book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks states that “You’d be surprised how many people disappeared in East Baltimore when I was a girl. I’m telling you, I lived here in the fifties when they got Henrietta, and we weren’t allowed to go anywhere near Hopkins. When it got dark and we were young, we had to be on the steps, or Hopkins might get us.””

On a related note, Michiko Kakutani gives us a quick view into mainstream writer Ta-Nehisi Coates’s new book:

““Between the World and Me”… offers an abbreviated portrait of the author’s life at home, focusing mainly on the fear he felt growing up. Fear of the police, who he tells his son “have been endowed with the authority to destroy your body,” … The “need to be always on guard” was exhausting, “the slow siphoning of essence,” Mr. Coates writes. He “feared not just the violence of this world but the rules designed to protect you from it, the rules that would have you contort your body to address the block, and contort again to be taken seriously by colleagues, and contort again so as not to give police a reason.” … They were not human to me. Black, white, or whatever, they were menaces of nature; they were the fire, the comet, the storm, which could — with no justification — shatter my body.” (bold mine.)