Skip to main content

View Diary: Sullivan: white people are poodles, black and brown people are beagles (241 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Maybe he is respectable (and actually, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Puffin

    highly respected) because he is not guilty of the racism you and some others here accuse him of? Lots of claims here of Sullivan being a racist, no links yet to anything he's actually said, ever, that is racist.

    •  Here you go. (19+ / 0-)
      We remain the same species, just as a poodle and a beagle are of the same species. But poodles, in general, are smarter than beagles, and beagles have a much better sense of smell. We bred those traits into them, of course, fast-forwarding evolution.
      Hope that helps.

      A slower bleed-out is not a sustainable value.

      by MrJayTee on Wed May 15, 2013 at 06:54:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, keep posting that same passage (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Puffin

        out of context. Because you will indeed get a bunch of kossacks to buy into the "Sullivan is a racist" meme if all you give them is that out of context. It's working already. So keep it up.

        •  You're an idiot apologist. (4+ / 0-)
        •  I don't know, I read the whole article. After (6+ / 0-)

          reading the first couple of paragraphs, I was thinking that maybe he was being taken out of context as well. Then, there it is, not so much out of context. Without that comparison, the paragraph is good and so is the rest of the article.

          However, there is a problem with talking about breeds. It is filled with subjective thinking. Who the hell knows which breed is actually smarter than another? It's all based on our own value system, not anything to do with scientific evidence. If we like big dogs, then German Shepherds are smarter, but if we like small dogs, it's poodles. There is nothing scientific about the characterization. Just as there is no reason to research "intelligence" based on race.

          "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

          by ranger995 on Wed May 15, 2013 at 08:08:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  poodles aren't small, either (6+ / 0-)

            which kinda speaks to the idiot self-deception involved in the whole debate.

            Poodles aren't small.  
            Latinos aren't a racial group.
            IQ measures the ability to answer the questions on an IQ test.
            Pundits don't understand things any better than the people they condescend to.

            It's not a fake orgasm; it's a real yawn.

            by sayitaintso on Wed May 15, 2013 at 08:16:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Whatever. The idea is that we really don't know (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              melfunction, livingthedream

              anything about the intelligence of dog breeds, we just know that they are physically different. That's it. Then we place our own subjective ideas about how intelligent they are based on what is most pleasing to us in a dog.

              "If you don't sin, then Jesus died for nothing!" (on a sign at a Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans)

              by ranger995 on Wed May 15, 2013 at 08:22:35 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Dog breeds are a result (6+ / 0-)

            of human manipulation.  As a dog owner and lover, I have had smart dogs and stupid dogs in the same breed.  I even once had two dogs from the same parent dogs. One dog was relatively intelligent and the other dumb as a brick.

            The problem I have with Sullivan's analogy is that he is comparing human beings to dog breeds, which is like comparing apples to lettuce.  Yes, humans and dogs are both mammals, and apples and lettuce are both in the vegetable family.  All four are living beings.  So what does that prove?  Nothing, zilch, nada at all except that they all have a finite lifespan.  What I am saying is that Sullivan's analogy is a stupid analogy.

            The problem with measuring human intelligence is that it is another artificial measure which only measures how well someone does on a test designed by someone of the same background, learning environment, and culture.

            "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

            by gulfgal98 on Wed May 15, 2013 at 09:06:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  There are ways to measure canine (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Alice in Florida

            intelligence, such as problem-solving ability.

            Almost every Border Collie is smarter than any Afghan Hound. The exceptions are those 3 sigma cases bell curvers talk about.

            Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

            by blue aardvark on Wed May 15, 2013 at 10:51:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  You're a Racist (9+ / 0-)

          Let me cut through the insistent stupidity that enables racists to be racists.

          Racism is the use of race to make broad generalizations about people based on their race. Race itself is an invented categorization, and is useless to describe people's innate properties beyond some superficial appearances and a very few physiological tendencies (like succeptibilities to a very few diseases). Racism is an irrational basis for judgements, as is very well known, and has caused incalculable harm through all of human history (and doubtless before that).

          Saying that one race is smarter, while another race has some sensory advantage, the way different dog breeds have different advantages, is making a broad generalization about people based on their race. That's racism.

          Also racism is denying that a racist is racist, to enable their racism.

          Congratulations! You're a racist.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Wed May 15, 2013 at 09:07:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  MrJayTee you seem not to understand racism (0+ / 0-)

        very well if that is the best example you can come up with to show Sullivan is racist.

        Sadly, too many other people seem to be confused enough to uprate your poor example.

        We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

        by theotherside on Wed May 15, 2013 at 08:34:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The best? No, just a plump little sparrow, (5+ / 0-)

          Asking to be plucked from the flock.  

          And so I did.

          A slower bleed-out is not a sustainable value.

          by MrJayTee on Wed May 15, 2013 at 08:59:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Understanding Racism (5+ / 0-)

          One key to understanding racism is knowing that it is simply judging people based on their membership in a race, which is an artificial category that predicts nothing beyond some superficial appearances and a very few probabiliities of vulnerability to disease. Sullivan did exactly that. It's racism.

          Another key is knowing that denying racism is racism.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Wed May 15, 2013 at 09:10:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Your last line got me laughing, thanks (0+ / 0-)

            for that!  Ah yes, humans are quite the perfect creature and when they accuse one another of racism it is always a correct assertion.  To deny otherwise proves that it was racism in the first place.

            PS If you are serious about engaging in debate we should probably both agree to accurately describe what Sullivan did.  Go ahead and ask him the question if the IQ studies that he thinks proves there is a slight variation amongst the so called "races" means that a person or a race can be judged to be better or worse.  I'm fairly confident he would say that those studies have no bearing on any individual in any race and that is the antithesis of what you wrote.

            Sullivan is intellectually curious about many things.  Because he is also intellectually curious about the cross section of intelligence and sociology he obviously needs to be called a racist.

            We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

            by theotherside on Wed May 15, 2013 at 10:01:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Reading Comprehension (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MrJayTee

              I never said that every accusation of racism is correct. In this case the accusation is correct.

              The accusation isn't that he's "intellectually curious". (Is there some other kind of curious?) It's that he's making blanket descriptions of people based on race, which is racism. I suppose you just didn't get the first paragraph in which I made that clear.

              Sullivan said that White people are smarter. That is racism so blatant and undeniable that only a racist, whether actively or tacitly in support of some other agenda (like alliance with the rest of Sullivan's Conservatism) could miss it.

              Sullivan didn't even read the research he's praising. In the past he's pushed the fallacious "Bell Curve" racism, too. Which was consistent with his Republicanism (that he gave up only because he'd finally spent enough years gay in their company, and couldn't stand the cost of Conservatism anymore).

              He's a racist. Some racists are curious. But their racism prevents them from seeing the truth, blinded by bigotry. How do you score?

              "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

              by DocGonzo on Wed May 15, 2013 at 11:42:41 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Let's just leave it at this (0+ / 0-)

                You are vaguely aware of Sullivan's writings but you don't seem to follow him closely.  I've read his blog essentially daily for the last 13 years.  I know his thinking very well.

                He never left the Republican party because he never was in the Republican party.  

                He doesn't say that white people are smarter because that is not what the science says.  The science that he cites says that there is a small, but persistent difference in intelligence test scores across different ethnic groups when you try to account for different factors that affect intelligence.  And "whites" are not at the top of that list.

                So apparently he is some weird type of white racist who claims that other races are, on the whole, smarter than his white race.

                And finally, Sullivan didn't praise the research.  He clearly said that he didn't read it and he also said he is not defending (let alone praising) Richwine's position.  

                If you can't or won't accurately describe either Sullivan or his positions, it is nearly impossible to have an intelligent conversation with you on this topic.  But it is indeed much easier to simply call him a racist and call it a day than engage in a factually based debate.

                We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

                by theotherside on Thu May 16, 2013 at 04:52:54 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You Leave (0+ / 0-)

                  No, let's not leave it. You are free to do so, though.

                  I didn't simply call Sullivan a racist, I backed it up with facts and logic. The simple matter is that he said Whites are smarter than other races, using a dog breed analogy. That's racist.

                  It doesn't matter what else he's written, in that column or elsewhere. The rest of it might (or might not) be racist; that assertion is racist. The person who makes a racist assertion is racist. That assertion was a defense of Richwine's research, the entire point of the column, oxymoronic disclaimers to the contrary notwithstanding.

                  Smaller matters like whether he was a Republican or not: he's not a US citizen, or at least hadn't been until he finally attacked the Republican Party for abusing gay people like himself. So he's not an American party member. But his allegiance was Republican. Until that time his "Conservatism" saw him supporting Republicans like Bush Jr - and his Iraq War. He started to break with the Party over torture, but prior to that he was as Republican as any booster of that party during its drive through holding all three elected Federal chambers.

                  As far as implying (if your inference is correct) that it's not Whites who are smartest, though they're among the smartest races, that isn't unusual for a White racist. White racists will often say that East Asians are smarter, but inferior for some other reason (outside the scope of that article).

                  It's really not complicated: he defended Richwine's racist research by saying some human races are smarter, like some dog breeds (poodles) are smarter. That is racist.

                  And you are defending it, too. Feel free to leave it at that.

                  "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                  by DocGonzo on Thu May 16, 2013 at 07:46:33 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Once again (0+ / 0-)

                    We shall agree to disagree.  You mischaracterize both Sullivan's position and now you are misstating my position.  You are free to continue to state that Sullivan's entire point was to defend Richwine's research but you couldn't be farther from the truth since Sullivan explicitly said he didn't read the research and wasn't there to defend it.  In fact, he later said he would gladly print arguments that deconstruct Richwine's errors.

                    Hopefully if we cross paths again it will be on a topic that we have at least some common agreement on the facts at hand and what they mean because, if you are like me, then I'm sure you find it frustrating to read the same article and come away with an understanding that is so far from what you think was said and meant.

                    And, just for the record, saying one "race" has darker skin than other "races" like dogs have darker or lighter hair, is not racist.  Saying that one race is more prone to one disease like some dogs are more prone to a particular disease is not racist.  That is, if both of those assertions are true.  If they are not true, then perhaps it is racist.  Now, the question is whether or not IQ has any genetic basis whatsover like skin color and susceptability to a particular disease.  If IQ does have a genetic component then I'm not so sure we should call stating that fact "racist".  If IQ doesn't have any genetic component and a person continues to cling to the false claim that it does, I can understand why people would say that person is a racist.

                    In our current situation some people think that this question has been settled and some do not.  And some on each side seem to think this based mostly on their politics and not the current state of our scientific understanding.  I'm fairly agnostic but even if there is a genetic component it seems to be dwarfed by so many other factors that it doesn't seem very important.

                    But academic freedom is pretty important, at least to me and Sullivan.

                    We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

                    by theotherside on Thu May 16, 2013 at 11:29:18 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Keep It Up (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      MrJayTee

                      You can agree to whatever you want. You can leave it wherever you want. But despite asserting that "we" are agreeing to disagree, or that "we" will leave it at "that", you're not in a position to dictate whether I agree (to disagree or anything else), or leave it at anything (especially at your asserted position). You keep doing that: claiming victory and then retreating. It's inane.

                      You can also say that I am describing Sullivan's "entire point", in a paragraph where you accuse me of misstating both his point and yours. But I never said that it was his entire point. To the contrary, I said "The rest of it might (or might not) be racist; that assertion is racist.", explicitly discounting the rest of his "entire point". I don't care what else racists have to say - they're discredited by their racism. Though Sullivan was already discredited by all kinds of other things he's had to say (lolights of which I've mentioned), which is why I don't waste my time reading his "points". But here you're just changing what I said - another inane tactic, not too different from the first I just mentioned.

                      Now you're turning what Sullivan said about "human races = dog breeds" into "some races have darker skin". But he said "some races are smarter".  Again, you're changing the argument to suit yourself, regardless of the actual subject or statements.

                      On the substantive issue of whether some races are smarter than others: you equate race to genetics, when that's nonsense, too. As others have pointed out, actual reliable DNA studies show that among Africans there's more genetic diversity than among all the other races. "Race" is discredited basis for making accurate statements about entire populations, let alone about individuals. "Race" is cherrypicked phenotype expressions substituting for actual genotype differences in inane arguments. As to whether Richwine's underlying research is accurate or not, it's not even a genetic study. It's a survey of literature, which is always a highly subjective indulgence even in the hands of meticulous researchers. Even his PhD review board members, when challenged, disclaimed in their responses his conclusions from the survey - which should disqualify someone from a Harvard PhD, but evidently doesn't. The point of the validity of Richwine's "some races are smarter" conclusion, determined by the quality of his data collection, is moot though. Sullivan admitted he didn't read the study. But he embraced it's conclusion: some races are inherently smarter (despite living among the other races for many generations), like some dog breeds are smarter and others have a more acute sense of smell. A conclusion the PhD review board has since disclaimed, but which Sullivan embraces. Just like he embraced the fallacious Bell Curve that said the same thing. Racist.

                      Eventually you distance yourself from a claim that Richwine's research is a valid basis for anything. Whether for his own immigration policies that brought his research to public attention, or for Sullivan's conclusion that races are breeds, some of which are smarter than others. It's not just being wrong about a statement about racial tendencies that makes them racist. It's not knowing, and not caring to know (like not reading the research you're saying supports your statement), whether it's wrong, before making the statement. Racism isn't even wrong: it's not an intellectually valid exercise, it's just an attack without regard to right or wrong. And that is what Sullivan gave us in that paragraph, which serves to define his work. Racist.

                      You try to close with some kind of "academic freedom" smokescreen. The only academic issue is whether Harvard should be granting PhDs for the kind of crap Richwine gave it. The kind of crap whose conclusions are disclaimed by the PhD review committee when publicly confronted with it. Where is the attack on academic freedom? Even the freedom of Harvard to undermine its reputation for quality (which is a measure deeply integrated into our society, and so of public interest) isn't challenged. Nobody's doing anything to Harvard but calibrate our expectations of its degrees' indication of quality. Though an important part of academic freedom is its integrity, granting quality marks appropriate to its actual quality. So your attempt to imply that I am somehow opposed to "academic freedom" is just another inane rhetorical ploy.

                      So your posts are mainly strawman assertions that change as I consistently present the simple facts and logic showing Sullivan's' racism. Sullivan's racism uses Richwine's research only as a pretext for his prejudice. And Richwine's research is crap even his review board rejects. Keep trying: none of that is going to change, no matter what transparent feints you use to defend it all. It might work to keep you convinced that Sullivan isn't a racist, and worth reading. But when it reaches me it all falls apart instantly. Why don't you try thinking about what I'm offering you over and over, instead of sticking to your guns regardless of what you're shown? Prejudice is a terrible bog to wallow in.

                      "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

                      by DocGonzo on Fri May 17, 2013 at 09:53:05 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Leave him to heaven... (0+ / 0-)

                        A slower bleed-out is not a sustainable value.

                        by MrJayTee on Fri May 17, 2013 at 11:05:24 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  I truly appreciate the lengthy reply (0+ / 0-)

                        One or two paragraph replies typically aren't great at advancing the debate on complex issues such as this.

                        You write very well but our communication is rather poor, it seems to me.  You state in one post:

                        "That assertion was a defense of Richwine's research, the entire point of the column"
                        And then in your next post you state:
                        But I never said that it was his entire point.
                        I don't really know what to do with a commenter who writes that something is the entire point, I subsequently call you out on it, and then you deny that you said it was his entire point.  If I was going to be accusatory I would say that this is  bald face lying.  But, sincerely, I doubt that this is the case.  So I earnestly ask you, when you said that the "entire point" of Sullivan's column "was a defense of Richwine's research" what did you mean?  And can you not understand that I would take it to mean that you thought Sullivan's entire point was a defense of Richwine's research when you explicitly state it?

                        Similarly, in your third paragraph of this post, you state that I'm changing the argument.  I would disagree.  I am pointing out that very few people would deny that different "races" of people have varying shades of pigmentation and that they have different susceptibilities to various diseases.  Do you deny this statement?  If so, why?  If you accept it, is stating it racist?  If so, why?

                        Taking an educated guess (although I could be wrong) I'm guessing that you would acknowledge that the different "races" (however you want to construct that concept) do have different pigmentation and do have different rates of acquiring certain diseases.  If I'm right, we can agree to that and not call each other racist.  But when it comes to whether these same "races" score the exact same on IQ tests I think that you think it is racist to even consider that the different races would not score the EXACT same scores when all other factors are attempted to be teased out.   I think you are probably intellectually honest enough to understand that that is a prejudice that you have.  I myself have no such prejudice.  I am agnostic about what the data would indicate  if every person on the planet took an IQ test and then you grouped the test scores according to some sort of definition of "race" and then, somehow, attempted to tease out environmental factors.  

                        Anyway, this post is already long but I will entertain some of your other thoughts.

                        In paragraph five you state that I distance myself "from a claim that Richwine's research is a valid basis for anything".  I think that either I did not communicate as well as I could or you are misconstruing my statement.  Let me be clear.  I did not read Richwine's research.  I care very little about what he said as he is apparently a guy that is comfortable with posting on white supremacist websites.  It doesn't necessarily mean that his research is invalid but I think it would tend to lead to that conclusion.  One of the key points I'm making, and I think Sullivan is making, is that it is not a racist act to consider that "races" have different levels of melanin, different rates of acquiring different diseases and may have different IQ test scores (taken as a whole).   I think the science is settled on the first two points and I'm agnostic on the third, mostly because of the sordid history of eugenics.  It may be the case that the science behind a slight difference in IQ's amongst the races is as flawed as the  idea that cranial size proves the superiority of one "race" over another.   But you seem to be in the camp says that it is scientifically impossible for there to be any variance amongst "races" in the flawed and limited test that we call IQ.   The data and reports  that Sullivan and others cite seems to refute your stance but a lot of what Sullivan posted is at least 10 years old and I don't know if more recent data/reports confirm or refute what Sullivan has posted.

                        Finally, I'm not exactly sure what you are "offering me" and what you want me to take from your writings.  If science says that there is absolutely no genetic component to IQ test scores, great.  That is probably the ideal outcome in my view.  OTOH, if the science says that there is a slight difference in IQ test scores among the "races" that is a result of genetics, that it is an interesting finding that has not much more significance than whether T Rex could have run at 15 mph or 20 mph.  IOW, it's intellectually interesting but has little if no real world application.

                        But you seem to be saying that it is racist to even consider a genetic component to IQ despite the fact that the different "races" evolved with relatively minimal inter action over the course of long periods of times.   You may be exactly right but it would seem to be incredibly wrong to label all those that are open to science guiding the way on this issue as racist.

                        We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

                        by theotherside on Fri May 17, 2013 at 06:34:28 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

      •  So humans have breeds like dogs (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite

        Who then is the breeder?

        Whereat some one of the loquacious Lot--
        I think a Sufi pipkin-waxing hot--
        "All this of Pot and Potter--Tell me then,
        Who is the Potter, pray, and who the Pot?"
        - Khayyam

        Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

        by blue aardvark on Wed May 15, 2013 at 10:49:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The constant focus on (14+ / 0-)

      flawed tests revealing meaningless differences regarding a flawed concept (IQ), which doesn't truly reflect intelligence is racist.

      It's junk science that should be taken seriously, esp. when the implications are so hurtful and harmful.

    •  I'm happy condemning him (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MrJayTee, happymisanthropy

      for chastising gay men for their supposedly irresponsible sexual behavior while cruising xxx-rated websites for bareback sex.  

      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

      by corvo on Wed May 15, 2013 at 07:14:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  he's not a racist, he's a moron (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      old possum, happymisanthropy

      Where to start on believing the bullshit that Richwine is shoveling?

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site