Arguments for Our Side
Some ideas on how to debate the race question
by Jared Taylor
For more than ten years I have been an open advocate of racial consciousness for whites. During that period, in hundreds of radio interviews and dozens of television appearances, I have debated people who defend current racial platitudes. In this process, I have come across a number of effective arguments, and several to which there appear to be no effective replies. Readers of AR may find some of these arguments useful.
Our society is filled with debates, whether over the air, in print, in classrooms, or in private conversation.
These debates are what establish the “opinions” of the vast majority of Americans who do not have ideas of their own. Most people absorb what they hear around them and are most likely to absorb what they hear most often. Americans encounter dissident views on race so infrequently they will not be persuaded through simple repetition. A defense of white racial consciousness must therefore be clear, even arresting, in order to have an effect.
Unfortunately, the other side has, until recently, so dominated the debate and so grossly misrepresented our views that anyone who departs from racial orthodoxy will at some point have to contend with the charge of “racism.” “That’s a racist statement,” your opponent will say, in a tone that suggests he has just dropped a nuclear bomb, and for timid people — about 95 percent of whites — that ends the argument. The “racist” apologizes, back-peddles, and shrivels into silence.
You, of course, are not going to do that, but the whole “racism” issue means you must defend against an accusation, and gets in the way of making positive arguments. Some racial advocates try to put opponents on the defensive by asking them to define “racism,” but this is a bad mistake.
First, it gives your opponent the floor, whereas you should be using the time to make your own points, not letting him explain why you are a bad person. Second, you will not get a definition. You will get a long list of things like slavery, segregation, apartheid, genocide of the Indians, colonialism, Jim Crow, etc., followed by, “That’s what racism is.” If it is a public debate and your opponent is trying to prove his virtue by being nasty to you, he may add, “and it was racists like you who did those things.”
The fact that the “racism” accusation is usually so effective is actually an advantage for us, because the people who make it have probably never seen it fail. You therefore have an opportunity to shock them by walking away from ground zero without a scratch. If you are in a radio debate, or some other forum in which you need to save time, deflect the “racism” charge in a light-hearted way by saying, “Come on, say something original.” No one ever expects that reply, and during the surprised pause that follows you can make a positive rather than defensive argument.
If the “racism” argument comes up again — and often it won’t — or if you want to go on the attack, you might say: “Don’t you realize that you’re not making an argument any more? When you call me a “racist,’ all you’re doing is calling me names. Of course, when you’re reduced to name-calling it’s the most graceless way of admitting you’ve lost the argument.”
If someone calls you a “racist,” he has completely shifted his ground and isn’t dealing with facts or logic anymore. He is saying “You’re bad!”, which is pure emotion. Prof. Michael Levin, author of Why Race Matters, says this kind of childish outburst makes no more sense than calling someone a “poopoohead.” Grownups do it only because it works, and it works only because so many whites are invertebrates.
The silliness of the “racism” charge is especially clear if you are talking about racial differences in IQ. Just point out that the only legitimate issue is how to interpret the evidence. Your conclusions are either right or wrong. If someone stops trying to explain why you are wrong and instead starts calling you names, it’s a sure sign he can’t explain why you are wrong — which is because you are right.
A somewhat milder way to make the same point is to evoke a more innocuous racial difference, especially one favorable to blacks. Point out that many researchers think blacks have more inherent athletic ability than whites. This is a scientific question of interpreting the evidence, and is just like evaluating the evidence for IQ differences. Is it “racist” to conclude that blacks are better athletes than whites? Once again, anyone who accuses you of racism is no longer thinking logically and is making an emotional, ad hominem appeal out of desperation.
Likewise, in the context of any discussion of race and IQ, it disarms the opposition to point out that the very same evidence for higher white than black IQ suggests north Asians have higher IQs than whites. It is an odd form of “racism” to reach conclusions unfavorable to whites.
When someone calls you a “racist” it is the most graceless way of admitting he has lost the argument
Accusations of “white supremacy” are less common than “racism,” but are easy to defeat. There is no harm in becoming indignant. “White supremacy is the desire to be supreme, to rule over others, to oppress them,” you say. “Not a thing I have ever said so much as hints at that. This is nothing more than ignorant name-calling.”
Occasionally someone will call you a “white separatist.” This is a somewhat less emotion-laden term, but to many people it still implies forcible separation with fire hoses and snarling police dogs. I find the best reply is, “I believe in complete freedom of association.” This turns an accusation into an opportunity to make a positive point.
The Fairness Doctrine
Undoubtedly the greatest threat to whites today comes from immigration. Racial preferences, guilt-mongering, anti-Western education, even anti-white violence are manageable problems compared to a process that is displacing whites and reducing them to a minority.
With a change in thinking at the right levels, anti-white policies and double standards could be done away with practically overnight, but that would still leave us with nearly 100 million non-whites living in the country. Demographic displacement would be difficult to reverse even with a radical change in popular thinking. In their bones, whites know this. They are profoundly disturbed by the thought that their grandchildren could be racial minorities in a largely black-and-Hispanic America.
Therefore, I find that one of the most effective and important points we can make is that this is not inevitable, and that we have every right to oppose an immigration policy that hastens this process. What is the best way to approach this?
One of the characteristics of whites is that they must believe their political positions are fair. It is not sufficient justification that something merely be in their interests. I believe this is one of the distinguishing virtues of European peoples, but in the dangerous game of demographic competition, it is a potentially fatal flaw.
People of other races seldom worry about fairness. If something is good for them, they support it, no matter how unfair it may to others. “Affirmative action” is an obvious example. It makes no difference to most blacks or Hispanics that preferences for them require discrimination against whites. Preferences are good for them, so they want them. They don’t care if whites suffer.
The current fuss over the disfranchisement of felons reflects the same thinking. Blacks are much more likely than whites to be felons, so disfranchisement hits them hardest. Blacks don’t even make a pretense of coming up with principled reasons why released prisoners should vote. All they need to know is that changing the rules would mean more black voters, more black elected officials, and more power and benefits for blacks. No further justification is necessary.
In a radio debate about reparations for slavery, my black opponent openly admitted that all he cared about was advantage for blacks. “If we are to pay up for past wrongs,” I asked him, “do we owe reparations to women because they couldn’t vote until 1920? What kind of principle are you establishing here?” “I don’t care about other groups,” he said. “I’m talking about reparations for African-Americans.” A white would not have felt he could completely ignore the notion that there should be consistent rules that apply to all groups.
We find this same lack of concern for principle in virtually every black attitude. Slavery practiced by whites 150 years ago is an abiding evil for which we owe compensation, but slavery practiced in Africa by blacks today is of no interest or significance. The current black obsession with slavery is therefore not principled opposition but a way to hector whites.
Blacks support welfare, the Democrats, abolition of the death penalty, extension of federal power, progressive income taxes, and government set-asides for the same straightforward reasons. They were glad to see O.J. Simpson beat the murder conviction, not because he was innocent but because he is black. Anything good for blacks is good. Many blacks go even further: Anything bad for whites is good. This simple, unprincipled mentality keeps blacks united in support of their own interests.
Whites, to their credit and their hurt, don’t think this way, and this is why every racial argument must be couched in terms of fairness. Whites will not respond to mirror-images of the appeals that work for blacks.
Whites are the only people on earth who have to be convinced that it is not unfair for them to survive as a majority race in homelands of their own. This is a terrible sickness, and can be cured only with an appeal to fairness rather than to simple group interests. You should always emphasize that you want nothing for whites you are not happy to grant to all other peoples: The freedom to be left alone to pursue their destinies.
|Equal rights to be left alone.|
Equal treatment is so basic to the idea of fairness that even children understand it. This is why the arguments for our side that work best are almost invariably of the what-if-the-shoe-were-on-the-other-foot variety.
John Ney, in a 1982 pamphlet called “Miami Today — The U.S. Tomorrow,” makes a reciprocity argument I have been using ever since: What if hundreds of thousands of poor, white Americans were pouring illegally across the border into Mexico, demanding school instruction in English, celebrating Fourth of July rather than Cinco de Mayo, turning entire communities into white-American enclaves, demanding open borders, operating criminal gangs, and even talking darkly about breaking off a chunk of northern Mexico and turning it into an all-white republic? Could the Mexicans be tricked into thinking this was a delightful form of cultural enrichment? No. Mexicans would be outraged and would call out the army to stop it.
The same argument works for all non-white countries. Would it be fair to expect Nigerians to accept huge flows of Asians, say, who were going to reduce black Nigerians to a minority in a few decades? Wouldn’t it be right for Nigerians to oppose this?
Whites understand this principle perfectly when the victims of displacement are not white. It is even trendy to oppose China’s program of sending Han Chinese into Tibet to obliterate Tibetan culture. Whites recognize that even the most primitive, stone-age people of the Amazon or New Guinea deserve to be left alone and not have their culture swamped by outsiders.
It is only when the problem of white dispossession is presented as a clear parallel to the obvious injustice of non-white dispossession that most whites begin to realize they have a moral case for survival. Obvious as this approach really is, most whites have never thought about the problem this way, and it can make a strong impression.
Here is another way to put the case for equal treatment. It is clear that Hispanics (and every other immigrant group in the country) want their numbers to grow. Hispanics want more Hispanics because their interests are different from ours and they want their interests to prevail.
They want elected officials, official Spanish, celebration of their holidays and folkways. They want the United States to reflect them. As non-Hispanics, we want the country to reflect us. Entirely aside from the fact that Europeans founded this country and established its institutions, our desires are perfectly symmetrical to those of Hispanics: They want the country more Hispanic; we want it less. Why are their desires legitimate but ours reprehensible?
There is no answer to this question. Again, if we imagine the situation reversed — white Americans in Mexico trying to remake the country in their own image — there would be no question about who was right.
A different way of saying the same thing is to ask someone to imagine what the Southwest United States would be like if it were invaded and conquered by Mexico. Americans and their culture and society would be displaced by Mexicans. Americans would become refugees and flee to parts of the country not yet conquered. That, of course, is precisely what is happening to large parts of the Southwest. Mexicans are achieving the effects of conquest — many openly call it reconquista — without firing a shot. Why must we accept and even celebrate the very thing nations send their young men into battle to prevent?
Here is another equal-treatment argument based on white Americans’ love of self-criticism. Years ago, we used to hear the expression “ugly American.” It meant Americans who went to other countries and expected the people to speak English, who wanted to find American food, and who generally expected foreign countries to act American. This, of course, was universally condemned. Why, then, do we invite foreigners in the United States to act like “ugly Mexicans” and “ugly Haitians” who expect us to adapt to their languages, religions, celebrations, and cultural peculiarities? Why was it wrong for us but right for them?
There is another shoe-on-the-other-foot argument that approaches immigration from a different angle. Ask any white American whether he can imagine emigrating to Haiti or Cambodia or India and assimilating. Not even the most empty-headed liberal can honestly say he can. Why, then, do we expect people from Haiti and Cambodia and India to come here and become Americans? If we could never become them, how can they become us? At the very least, this question raises the issue of cultural and national differences.
Americans don’t want to become Haitians or Cambodians or anything Third World because those countries are failures. How will people who have built failed societies help us build one that works?
The usual liberal response actually suggests that Americans perhaps could become Haitians after all, because it is pure voodoo. The theory is that although Americans could never assimilate in India or Nigeria, Indians and Nigerians can become good Americans because of American exceptionalism. This is some kind of magic, practiced only in America, that suspends the laws of human nature and makes all people love each other.
The basis for this fantasy is that people came from all over Europe, and settled in after only a few hiccups.You, of course, can point out that this theory completely ignores race. Europeans assimilated because they were white, not because of some exceptionalist voodoo Jefferson and Madison brewed up.
We have two sets of non-whites who have been here longer than the Italians and the Irish, and they still don’t fit in. We have given up expecting our own Indians even to live in the same places and under the same rules as whites, but we are supposed to think Mixtics and Nahuatls and Bolivians in bowler hats are going to make great neighbors and PTA members — thanks to the voodoo of American exceptionalism.
These days, American exceptionalism is just a fancy way of saying American whites aren’t allowed to have a country of their own.
Europeans assimilated because they were white, not because of some exceptionalist voodoo Jefferson and Madison brewed up.
|Good PTA member.|
The multi-cultural propaganda has been so powerful that an astonishing number of people think America was founded with the idea of making it into a multi-racial paradise, nation of immigrants, and haven of diversity. It is always worth pointing out that this is a new-fangled notion completely alien to the traditional conception of America.
You should emphasize that up until the 1960s virtually everyone took it for granted that this was a white country (with a few blacks and Indians), and that until 1965 we had an immigration policy specifically designed to keep the country that way.
Explain that you are defending the original conception of the country and that your opponent’s idea of aggressive multi-racialism would have shocked and outraged Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Truman, and just about every other prominent American up to and including John Kennedy.
Explain that you are defending the view that prevailed from colonial times until just a generation ago, and that your opponent is promoting a revolutionary transformation of a country that was working just fine.
Sometimes people refer to multiculturalism as part of the “American experiment,” implying that Third-World immigration somehow fulfills our destiny. First of all, it is insulting to talk about America as an “experiment,” as if it were boys having fun with a chemistry set, but if the “American experiment” ever meant anything, it was things like federalism, self government, and manhood suffrage.
These days, no one who refers to the country as an “experiment” can have much attachment for it, because experiments are deliberate ventures into the unknown that can go horribly wrong.
Entirely apart from nonsense about “experiments,” you can usefully go on the offensive by asking if it is even theoretically possible that multi-racialism will not work. Could the country break up into ethnic enclaves? Could internal disunity make a coherent foreign policy impossible? Could there be race war? Liberals resist admitting even theoretical possibilities of this kind, but they cannot rule them out.
You should ask why we must run even a minimal risk of disaster. We know these things don’t happen in homogeneous countries; what are we gaining from multi-racialism, that comes even close to justifying the risk of civil war or Balkanization? This is another question for which there is no answer.
An entirely different tack to take in a debate about race or immigration is to point out the hypocrisy of whites.
I like to tell radio audiences that almost all whites think as I do, and that I am unusual only in speaking publicly — and that I can prove this is the way whites think. Actions, I explain, speak louder than words. Whites leave when the neighborhood begins to turn black or Mexican. I emphasize that this is so predictable there is a name for it: white flight. These refugees in their own country may be too browbeaten to admit they are leaving because of race, but when they move out of a neighborhood that is changing, why do they always go to one that is whiter than the one they left?
“Can you name a single majority-non-white neighborhood you’d like to live in?” I like to ask. “Or a majority-non-white school you’d like your children to attend?” If whites refuse to be minorities at the local level, why should they want to be a minority at the national level? Why should they want more and more non-whites coming into the country, turning ever-vaster areas of it into places in which they would refuse to live?
At this point it is easy to mock William Clinton. While he was in office, the Great White Father spoke of the joys of diversity, of looking forward to the time when whites become a minority. And where did he decide to buy houses after leaving the White House? In Chappaqua, New York, which is about as white a place as can be found this side of Iceland, and in Georgetown, the whitest part of Washington, DC.
Senator Edward Kennedy, I like to point out, is just as hypocritical. He was an important backer of the 1965 immigration reform that threw the country open to Third-Worlders. He is always promoting integration, and talks as though living with Mexicans and Guatemalans were a wonderful thing.
Yet in his own life, he has steered entirely clear of the benefits of multi-culturalism. His children went to private schools and vacation in Hyannis Port. There aren’t likely to be many Haitians around when Edward Kennedy goes for a swim. He is therefore a great proponent of diversity, but only for people who don’t have the money for private school and vacations on Martha’s Vinyard.
You can always add that people like him are good examples of the fact that the purpose of a liberal education is to give people the right attitude towards minorities and the means to live as far away from them as possible.
A similar approach with liberals is to ask them if racial integration is an important national objective. They can hardly say anything but yes. You can then say, “In that case, why don’t you act on your principles and buy a house in a black neighborhood?” I have never heard of even the most deluded white person ever doing this, so you can be sure your opponent hasn’t done it either.
If he then says the reasons are not race but crime, bad schools, etc., you have a choice of replies:
(1) Your opponent won’t move into a black neighborhood for exactly the same reasons other whites move out of them. It’s therefore hypocritical for him to criticize white flight or to criticize people who want to keep the country white.
(2) Crime and bad schools are precisely the social ills integration is supposed to cure, so why won’t your opponent please lead by example?
In either case there is no good answer.
In private discussion, you are not likely to be debating a black person, but this happens from time to time on radio or television. Just as African heads of state commonly believe in juju, many middle-class American blacks believe all sorts of preposterous things. It is useful to get them to state these things on the air (or before a white audience) because it emphasizes the chasm of differences that divide the races even after 40 years of “civil rights” and “reaching out.”
Blacks love to rail about the sins of the white man, and even the mildest things you say can set them off.
Mention black crime or illegitimacy, suggest blacks are responsible for their own failures, argue that affirmative action is discrimination against whites, and you will get the standard litany. It is entertaining to lead them on: “Is there anything else you can think of whites have done?” Your opponent warms to his task.
When you run into a black who clearly hates whites, it can be entertaining to ask if anything bad has ever happened to any black people anywhere in the world that was not the fault of white people. Believe it or not, some blacks will not or cannot answer this question.
When your opponent has finally exhausted his litany of white wickedness it is enlightening to ask, “Do you think whites are a uniquely evil people?” You are likely to get a “yes.’ You can follow with: “Can whites be cured, or are they hopelessly evil?” “If whites are hopeless, shouldn’t you be working for complete separation from them rather than integration?” “Shouldn’t whites just be exterminated?”
Whites almost never draw blacks out this way, and the answers will surprise any whites who are listening.
A similar approach with blacks is to ask them whether they believe specific things most whites think are completely wrong: Does the government deliberately supply dope and guns to black neighborhoods so blacks will take drugs and kill each other? Did whites invent AIDS as a way to get rid of blacks? Before the white man arrived, did African blacks have a high level of scientific knowledge? (When you get a “yes,’ ask for specifics and expect to be regaled with stories of airplanes, brain surgery, electricity, communication with other planets, etc.) Were Africans the first people to discover America? (Once again, politely ask for specifics.)
Don’t even try to rebut the fairy tales you will hear. It will have no effect on blacks, whether speaker or audience, and not even the goofiest whites believe African princes were flying airplanes or discovered America.
The point is to encourage blacks to say what they really believe about whites and about themselves. Most whites have no idea what fantastic things many blacks believe, or how much they hate whites. It is exceedingly jarring to them to hear these things vigorously expressed by the teachers and community leaders who are likely to be your opponents in a public debate.
Please note that an approach of this kind would not work with whites. Even delusionally liberal whites know they shouldn’t say whites are biologically unique in their evil, and they would never suggest they should be exterminated. Even if you could get a white to say this sort of thing publicly, other whites will either not believe him or dismiss him as a harmless nut.
When blacks talk this way, though, it is both believable and frightening.
A surprising number of blacks know about something Andrew Hacker wrote about in his book, Two Nations. Prof. Hacker writes that he asked white students how much money they would have to be paid in order to go through life as a black person.
They reportedly said they’d have to be paid millions of dollars, and blacks say this shows how terrible a disadvantage it is to be black. You can then ask, “If being black is so awful and being white is so great, how much would you pay to be white?” Since you are dealing with a white-hater he is likely to reply, “I wouldn’t pay a thing to be white. You couldn’t pay me enough to be white.” You can then point out his attitude is identical to the one he is criticizing in whites.
Something to consider when debating blacks is that arguments based on arithmetic are likely to mean very little to them. I well remember a radio debate with a black about crime, in which I pointed out that blacks are more likely than whites to be charged with hate crimes.
He laughed dismissively and, to my surprise, said he had the FBI hate crimes report with him (I was on air by telephone, so could not see the others on the program). He triumphantly read out that blacks committed only 22 percent of hate crimes, while whites committed more than 60 percent.
After a few minutes of trying to explain that this figure proved my point — that 22 percent is greater than the proportion of blacks in the population — I gave up. A surprising number of whites have trouble understanding any kind of per capita argument; for most blacks, it might as well be quantum theory.
In any kind of debate there are a number of points to bear in mind.
The first is never to raise your voice. It may be hard to avoid this, because the other side is likely to treat you like a degenerate and insult you. This is so unpleasant that many people avoid debates of this kind even when they know they are right.
Do not return insult for insult. The purpose of the debate is not to defend your manhood, but to advance calm, reasoned arguments for a point of view many people have been taught to think is shocking. When the other side misbehaves or gets emotional, your reasonable tone — if you can maintain it — only makes you more persuasive.
Of course, there are limits beyond which no one should have to go. Several times I have had to threaten to end the interview if I am not allowed to speak or if the host does not restrain a guest who repeatedly insults me.
Out of the hundreds of times I have been on the air, only twice have I had to say, “I’m sorry, but I see it’s not possible to have a civilized discussion with you,” and hung up the phone. That is a last and desperate resort, because it is important and useful to make a case for our side whenever possible, even against the heaviest fire and under the most disagreeable circumstances.
The effort may not seem useful at the time. Particularly if you speak before a live audience where questioners must stand up before people who know them, you may face what appears to be an unrelieved wall of opposition. This is only because so many people on our side are frightened and intimidated.
Chances are, several people will come up furtively afterwards and tell you how pleased they are at what you said. I thank them, but I also chide them for their silence. I like to remind them that according to our national anthem, this is supposed to be the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Radio programs, to which people can call anonymously, are a much better indicator of the level of support for our ideas. If the host is a “conservative,” it is not uncommon for virtually every caller to agree with me. Even when the host is a liberal, and he and most callers are hostile, many potential supporters will call the AR office or write to us. Over the years, I have noticed that increasing numbers of callers know who I am, have read my books or take AR, and call to agree with me.
“‘White male’ is for lab rats and crime suspects. You’re a white man.”
Even supporters, though, sometimes fall into bad habits that reflect our benighted times. Nothing irritates me more than whites whose first words are, “I’m a white male, and ...” I interrupt them and say, “‘White male’ is for lab rats and crime suspects. You’re a white man.”
I’m also sick of whites whose first words are “I’m not racist, but” and who then go on to make some mild, common-sense point about black crime or racial double standards. I like to ask them, “Why’d you think you had to tell us you aren’t a racist?” Often they don’t even remember they said that, and the answer — if you get one — is likely to be pitiable jabber about how many white people really are “racist.”
While the caller fumbles, I point out that whites are so terrified of being called “racist” they deny the charge even before they begin to speak, and this terror means they are not likely to talk honestly about race.
To speak honestly often appears to be a lonely task. When the immediate response is hostile, it can seem that very little is being accomplished, but it is likely that seeds are being planted in people’s minds that will germinate later.
It is vitally important that sensible views on race and immigration be broadcast to as large an audience as possible. There are now quite a few organizations that consistently promote a fair-minded view of what is at stake, and the more they are able to do so — and the more effectively they do it — the less lonely our work will be.