Ota Benga

Ota Benga, a pygmy from the Congo brought to America in the 19th Century to demonstrate how superior the white race was.

After the atrocities of the Second World War, people have become scared and confused about discussing differences between different groups of people, in case they get accused of “racism”. Indeed, there are, especially in Britain, many over-zealous and, I think, misguided overly-politically-correct people who accuse all sorts of ordinary folk of racist talk quite undeservedly. For instance, when Mrs Duffy complained to the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown about the large number of immigrants being allowed into the country from the EU, he later accused her of bigotry (for which he subsequently had to apologize, though for political reasons only and not, I think, because he really thought she was right). Current Labour leader Ed Miliband has since admitted in Parliament that current regulations are indeed allowing unsustainable numbers of people in to the country from the EU, yet all during the last elections, no politician would discuss it at all. When asked they would talk only of restricting immigration from the rest of the world, which accounts for only portion of the total.

Of course, my view is that Gordon Brown’s accusation was entirely spurious. There is a big misunderstanding in this country about what exactly racism is, I believe. To clarify, I think that there are two types of racism, one bad, and one neutral, and people are confusing the two.

There are many people in the world who cannot see a difference between two people or groups of people without at the same time considering this to be a sign of superiority or inferority. If two people are different, they think, it means one is somehow ‘better’ than the other, rather than simply different: men are ‘better’ than women, whites are ‘better’ than blacks and so on, and on. Psychologists know that this perspective is part of the sado-masochistic mind-set (even in normal people). Erich Fromm’s book, The Fear of Freedom (Routledge Classics), is all about this. For such people, who represent a large portion of the population, it is almost impossible to understand how come people who come from the jungle and never managed to create a modern civilization for themselves could be regarded as equal to we Europeans. These same people will find some other excuse to exclude the Chinese from equality, of course. You will not be surprised to discover that I consider this to be the bad type of racism: it is severely incorrect on all sorts of levels, including lack of knowledge of basic facts of history. For example, as Jared Diamond pointed out so clearly in Guns, Germs and Steel, it just so happens that Eurasians had much greater access to the necessary resources, and the Eurasian biomes just happen to be the only ones large enough to grow a modern civilization all the way from the Stone Age to the Industrial Age – the same food plants and domesticatable animals can live anywhere from Portugal through to China and large populations can be supported even with primitive agricultural techniques. In Africa, for example, the biomes are restricted by the narrow width of that continent – a growing early civilization couldn’t spread North or South because the climate changes too much and the food plants they are familiar with won’t grow. Furthermore a whole new range of diseases thrive in each different zone and without modern antibiotics they have no resistance – the same applies to the Americas. Growing a civilization from these regions, while not on the face of it impossible, is clearly far more difficult. Therefore it is no surprise that the roots of modern civilization should lie in the Middle-East, right in the centre of the Eurasian super-continent. It has, obviously, nothing to do with any inherent ‘superiority’ of the peoples who lived there. It was just luck. This form of racism is also incorrect biologically: there appear to be no significant genetic differences between the races – fewer, indeed, than between extreme individuals of the same so-called race. It is also misguided just in terms of common sense: even if one ‘race’ did turn out to be a couple of percent less intelligent (say), this would only be an average: a genius of any race would outclass any ineducable European chav by a mile.

The neutral type of racism is implied by the above: it is the discussion or mention of differences, without the implication that it means one person or group of people is ‘better’ than another. I can observe that African athletes tend to do better at athletics than Chinese and European athletes, but that Chinese tend to be better at gymnastics, without in any way implying that this or that group are more ‘primitive’ or ‘better’ than another. The idea just doesn’t apply. This is hard to see for those of us who have been brought up in a competitive world, but the point is, we are all just human beings: not very smart, crazy apes, and that is it. The racism slur is used far too freely in this country as a means just to shut people up, and my view is, freedom of speech is being compromised too much. In reality, Britain is probably one of the most tolerant of individual differences in the world – too tolerant, probably. Really, if people come here, we should expect them to integrate into our culture (over time), yet many never do. Even so, the one thing we should be intolerant of is intolerance itself. A society filled with irrationally hating people will not, in the long run, be a peaceful society. But a society filled with people afraid of speaking their minds for fear of being (mostly falsely) accused of racism, is a society filled with slaves.

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