“Sean O’Reilly was 16
when his mother gave him the talk that most black parents give their teenage
sons,” Denisa R.
Superville of the Hackensack (NJ) Record tells
us. Meanwhile, down in Atlanta: “Her sons were 12 and 8 when Marlyn Tillman
realized it was time for her to have the talk,” Gracie Bonds
Staples writes in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
There is a talk that
nonblack Americans have with their kids, too. My own kids, now 19 and 16, have
had it in bits and pieces as subtopics have arisen. If I were to assemble it
into a single talk, it would look something like the following.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
(1) Among your fellow citizens are forty
million who identify as black, and whom I shall refer to as black. The
cumbersome (and MLK-noncompliant)
term “African-American” seems to be in decline, thank goodness. “Colored” and “Negro”
are archaisms. What you must call “the ‘N’ word” is used freely among blacks
but is taboo to nonblacks.
“There is a talk that nonblack Americans have
with their kids, too.”
(2) American blacks are descended from
West African populations, with some white and aboriginal-American
admixture. The overall average of non-African admixture is 20-25 percent. The
admixture distribution is nonlinear, though: “It seems that around 10 percent
of the African American population is more than half European in ancestry.”
(3) Your own ancestry is mixed north-European
and northeast-Asian, but blacks will take you to be white.
(4) The default principle in everyday personal
encounters is, that as a fellow citizen, with the same rights and obligations
as yourself, any individual black is entitled to the same courtesies you would
extend to a nonblack citizen. That is basic good manners and good citizenship. In some unusual
circumstances, however—e.g., paragraph (10h) below—this default principle
should be overridden by considerations of personal safety.
(5) As with any population of such a size,
there is great variation among blacks in every human trait (except, obviously,
the trait of identifying oneself as black). They come fat, thin, tall, short,
dumb, smart, introverted, extroverted, honest, crooked, athletic, sedentary,
fastidious, sloppy, amiable, and obnoxious. There are black geniuses and black
morons. There are black saints and black psychopaths. In a population of forty
million, you will find almost any human type. Only at the far, far extremes of
certain traits are there absences. There are, for example, no black Fields Medalwinners. While
this is civilizationally consequential, it will not likely ever be important to
you personally. Most people live and die without ever meeting (or wishing to
meet) a Fields Medal winner.
(6) As you go through life, however, you will
experience an ever larger number of encounters with black Americans. Assuming
your encounters are random—for example, not restricted only to black convicted
murderers or to black investment bankers—the Law of Large
Numbers will inevitably kick in. You will observe that the
means—the averages—of many traits are very different for black and white
Americans, as has been confirmed by methodical inquiries in the human
(9) A small cohort of blacks—in my experience,
around five percent—is ferociously
hostile to whites and will go to great lengths to inconvenience
or harm us. A much larger cohort of blacks—around half—will go along passively
if the five percent take leadership in some event. They will do this out of
racial solidarity, the natural willingness of most human beings to be led, and
a vague feeling that whites have it coming.
(10) Thus, while always attentive to the
particular qualities of individuals, on the many occasions where you have
nothing to guide you but knowledge of those mean differences, use statistical
(10a) Avoid concentrations of blacks not all
known to you personally.
(10c) If planning a trip to a beach or amusement
park at some date, find out whether it is likely to be swamped with blacks on
that date (neglect of that one got me the closest I
have ever gotten to death by gunshot).
(10f) Do not settle in a district or municipality run
by black politicians.
(10g) Before voting for a black politician,
character much more carefully than you would a white.
(10h) Do not act the Good Samaritan to
blacks in apparent distress, e.g., on the highway.
(10i) If accosted by a strange black in the
street, smile and say something polite but keep moving.
(11) The mean intelligence of blacks is much lower than
for whites. The least
intelligent ten percent of whites have IQs below 81; forty
percent of blacks have IQs that low. Only one black in six is more
intelligent than the average white; five whites out of six are
more intelligent than the average black. These differences show in every test of
general cognitive ability that anyone, of any race or nationality, has yet been
able to devise. They are reflected in countless everyday
situations. “Life is an IQ test.”
(12) There is a magnifying effect here, too,
caused by affirmative action. In a pure meritocracy there would be very low
proportions of blacks in cognitively demanding jobs. Because of affirmative
action, the proportions are higher. In government work, they are very high.
Thus, in those encounters with strangers that involve cognitive engagement, ceteris
paribus the black stranger will be less intelligent than the white. In
such encounters, therefore—for example, at a government office—you will, on
average, be dealt with more competently by a white than by a black. If that
hostility-based magnifying effect (paragraph 8) is also in play, you will be
dealt with more politely, too. “The DMV lady“
is a statistical truth, not a myth.
(13) In that pool of forty million, there are
nonetheless many intelligent and well-socialized blacks. (I’ll use IWSB as an ad
hoc abbreviation.) You should consciously seek opportunities to make
friends with IWSBs. In addition to the ordinary pleasures of friendship, you
will gain an amulet against potentially career-destroying accusations of
(14) Be aware, however, that there is an issue
of supply and demand here. Demand comes from organizations and businesses keen
to display racial propriety by employing IWSBs, especially in positions at the
interface with the general public—corporate sales reps, TV news presenters,
press officers for government agencies, etc.—with corresponding depletion in
less visible positions. There is also strong private demand from middle- and
upper-class whites for personal bonds with IWSBs, for reasons given in the
previous paragraph and also (next paragraph) as status markers.
(15) Unfortunately the demand is greater than
the supply, so IWSBs are something of a luxury good, like antique furniture or
corporate jets: boasted of by upper-class whites and wealthy organizations,
coveted by the less prosperous. To be an IWSB in present-day US society is a height of
felicity rarely before attained by any group of human beings in
history. Try to curb your envy: it will be taken as prejudice (see paragraph
* * * * * * * * * * * *
You don’t have to follow
my version of the talk point for point; but if you are white or Asian and have
kids, you owe it to them to give them some version of the
talk. It will save them a lot of time and trouble spent figuring things out for
themselves. It may save
"Aristotle the Hun" was the name given to me more than 30 years ago when a friend noticed that in spite of my intellect I was still an Iowa farm boy.
Rev. Sam Sewell, is Director of Best Self USA, a Pastoral Psychotherapist, serves on the faculty of Naples Community Hospital as an instructor for Clinical Pastoral Education, President of the Theological Center in Naples, a member of Mensa where he serves as Gifted Youth Coordinator, a U.S. Navy Veteran, and a Member of the Association For Intelligence Officers. He is a frequent commentator on mental health and religious issues.His award winning research on family issues is published in several languages. Member of Sigma Delta Chi Honor Society
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