Flickr

  • www.flickr.com
    Abiola_Lapite's photos More of Abiola_Lapite's photos

« Water Privatization Works | Main | Prince Charles Has a Brain! »

November 20, 2005

Comments

Abiola Lapite

"No, I meant selling IQ boosting drugs to blacks."

Why do you imagine only "blacks" (I assume you mean African-Americans) would be interested in any such drug, or that they'd be any more interested in it than people of other races?

"Even if no disorder was involved, who doesnt want to be more Intelligent?"

You clearly didn't recall what I wrote earlier about Sidis or "Little Man Tate" when you wrote this.

Chuckles

[...You clearly didn't recall what I wrote earlier about Sidis or "Little Man Tate" when you wrote this...]

I do recall it, but in such cases, the increase wouldnt correlate with greater happiness. I would boost IQ as long as it correlated with greater chances of Happiness and Material abundance.

[...Why do you imagine only "blacks" (I assume you mean African-Americans) would be interested in any such drug, or that they'd be any more interested in it than people of other races?...]

I dont assume they would be more interested than people of other races. I assume the drug is going to act at the population level. A white person taking the drug would be like a straight guy taking Hetracil.

Frank McGahon

[The difference is that we've been talking about changes which affect personality or appearance without being detrimental in any way - whiteness, maleness and heterosexuality aren't detriments - while you're talking about physical mutilation of members of one gender. There simply is no equivalence to be drawn between the two classes of scenarios.]

OK, let me try again because I think there is an equivalence. I think that one of the reasons we object to fgm, apart from the issue of mutilation*, is that we hope** that these young girls will get a chance to grow up in a society which doesn't require their perpetual submission. Likewise it might well be that one good reason to resist hetracil is that we hope that the society today's infants will grow up in will have less of a stigma attached to homosexuality.

** It might well be that this hope in either case is not well grounded but the future is not certain and the freedom/tolerance that gay men currently enjoy, at least in urban centres in the west would have been unthinkable to their counterparts thirty years ago. Who is to say that today's stigma will still be in place in twenty years time? Likewise it might not seem unreasonable to hope that liberalism develops in societies which practice fgm.

* To demonstrate why I think there's more to this than mutilation consider a society similar to those which practice fgm, except that instead of clitorectomy, a course of "Numbacol" is routinely prescribed for young girls which has the effect of reducing the functionality of the clitoris. I should imagine that this practice would be similarly condemned even though there's no mutilation involved.

Abiola Lapite

"the freedom/tolerance that gay men currently enjoy, at least in urban centres in the west would have been unthinkable to their counterparts thirty years ago. Who is to say that today's stigma will still be in place in twenty years time?"

It might, but then again it might not, and might even go into reverse. There are no guarantees in this world and encouraging trends don't always go on forever: remember that the Greco-Roman world had a much more positive attitude towards homosexuality in its pagan period than it did after the rise of Christianity, while the golden era of German Jewry was right before the Nazis came to power.

"instead of clitorectomy, a course of "Numbacol" is routinely prescribed for young girls which has the effect of reducing the functionality of the clitoris. I should imagine that this practice would be similarly condemned even though there's no mutilation involved"

It wouldn't involve mutilation, but it still would involve a loss of function, whereas people of all races and both sexual orientations are equally able to enjoy the same gamut of experiences. The only difference in going from gay to straight or black to white is that one gets to escape being marginalized - no one is talking about losing the ability to enjoy any pleasures one might formerly have indulged in: the closest analogy to what you're suggesting here would be chemical castration of the sort attempted on Alan Turing, which no one would hesitate for a second to describe as barbaric.

Frank McGahon

Ok, one last thought: Fast forward a few years, let's say you are married to Misaki Ito (!) and you want to start a family but have difficulty conceiving. Your adoption agency offers you an unusual choice, they have two pregnant women, indifferent between adoption and abortion. You get to choose one and she carries the baby to term for you and the one not chosen terminates the pregnancy. All other things being equal, the only difference between both women is that the first carries a caucasian fetus while the second carries a mixed african-asian fetus. Do you choose the one which approximates in appearance the outcome of a Lapite-Ito union or plum for the Spears-Federline option?

What I'm suggesting is that parents not only want the best for their kids, they also want them to be (at least a bit) like themselves. This probably doesn't have as much relevance to hetracil (or if it does, it reinforces the idea that parents would want to administer it to their kids) so much as the caucasafil pill

Abiola Lapite

"let's say you are married to Misaki Ito"

What a pleasant idea! Pardon me while I savor the thought for a second ...

"Do you choose the one which approximates in appearance the outcome of a Lapite-Ito union or plum for the Spears-Federline option?"

I'd think the brains-beauty combination of the first would win out over the white-trashiness of the second, of course! The point is, the two alternatives you're comparing differ in more ways than just a matter of skin color - I can easily envision even a few white parents opting for my genes over Kevin Federline's simply because they'd rather have a smarter child than a whiter one.

"What I'm suggesting is that parents not only want the best for their kids, they also want them to be (at least a bit) like themselves."

But altering a handful of skin color, hair structure and other genes and leaving everything else the same *doesn't* materially do very much to alter how related a child would be to you; any such child would still be far more related to you than the child of even a full sibling would be. There just aren't that many genes which differ between "racial" populations in frequency, and of that portion a vanishingly small percentage has anything at all to do with "racial" differences in appearance.

Andrew

"What I'm suggesting is that parents not only want the best for their kids, they also want them to be (at least a bit) like themselves."

I wonder if same-sex couples tend to adopt children of the same gender? (i.e. gay men adopting boys, lesbians adopting girls)

"I'd think the brains-beauty combination of the first would win out over the white-trashiness of the second, of course!"

yea I was going to say the same thing (Kevin Federline is really quite ugly) but I don't think that was Frank's point... the fetuses were "all other things being equal" (including, I assume, intelligence, overall attractiveness, etc) so in this thought experiment the only difference is the racial appearance.

Abiola Lapite

"the fetuses were "all other things being equal" (including, I assume, intelligence, overall attractiveness, etc)"

Given the alternative of a Spears-Federline baby, there's no way in hell other things could possibly have been equal.

"in this thought experiment the only difference is the racial appearance."

Rereading Frank's post, it would appear you're correct, and I read too much into his post (that's what he gets for using Ms. Ito's name like that); the thing is, I don't see why he'd expect me to give a different answer to the scenario he poses than the one I've already provided - if the two children are equally unrelated to me, why should I care what they look like? (Mind you, I still think any child of mine and Misaki Ito would be better looking than a Federline-Spears lookalike.) To the extent that looks matter, they do so only as an evolved proxy for measuring relatedness, which is of particular concern to men worried about paternity, but once I know the child isn't going to be mine anyway, what do I care?

As a practical matter, if I were to learn tomorrow that I couldn't have children of my own (heaven forbid) I wouldn't have any problem whatsoever adopting a child of a different racial background from mine, and I personally find contemptible couples who go out of their way to find infants in Eastern Europe when there are suitable non-white children close at home looking for parents (assuming they're doing so out of a racial preference on their part, rather than because of opposition from idiotic obstructionist bureaucrats and activists who think one's race determines one's culture).

Frank McGahon

[I wouldn't have any problem whatsoever adopting a child of a different racial background from mine]

But that's not the real issue. It's not whether you'd have a problem as such but rather, all other things being equal, and given a scenario where no child was going to be left on the shelf in the event of your "rejection", would you have a preference for a child that looked like it could have been yours. I'd say that most people would.

By the way, the main reason why parents trawl the near and far east for babies to adopt is that there are considerably more potential adopters than adoptees and adoption agencies, closer to home have a strong preference for younger couples. Additionally, potential adopters have a strong preference for younger adoptees, ideally babies. The non-white (and white too) children left behind you refer to are typically older and available only for fostering (with the prospect of being "reclaimed" by their natural mother when she "gets straight").

Abiola Lapite

"all other things being equal, and given a scenario where no child was going to be left on the shelf in the event of your "rejection", would you have a preference for a child that looked like it could have been yours."

I simply wouldn't care either way, and the only decent reason I can conceive for anyone else caring would be at best to spare the child the social pressures of being obviously seen to be adopted - but social pressures are what this entire discussion are about anyway.

"the main reason why parents trawl the near and far east for babies to adopt is that there are considerably more potential adopters than adoptees and adoption agencies, closer to home have a strong preference for younger couples."

I wouldn't be so sure of that. Ever heard of the NABSW, which infamously equated white adoption of black babies with "cultural genocide"? Then there are stories like the following:

http://72.14.207.104/search?q=cache:f4JUwPOa_tMJ:www.mercurynews.com/mld/miami/10286350.htm

["Jane is among a growing number of white couples and single women who are ready to become parents but find that there are not enough white babies to go around. So they decide to adopt a baby of a different race.

Although Jane is from Seattle, most prospective parents come from Western European countries and Canada, seeking to adopt black, Hispanic or biracial babies from private adoption agencies in the United States.

''Whether it is the United States or in Canada, our priority is to place a child in a wonderful, loving, supportive home,'' said Nidia Sica, assistant director of Adoption by Shepherd Care, a private adoption agency in Hollywood. ``We place our children with the best families out there.''

Most private U.S. agencies working with parents from Canada or overseas find that they place mainly black infants, followed by biracial and black Hispanic infants.

And white babies, including Hispanic infants -- in highest demand among American couples -- are generally adopted within the United States."]

That suggests to me that it wasn't so much a question of supply and demand but of racial attitudes driving white American preference for white babies, otherwise how could it have been possible for Europeans and Canadians to come to America to adopt black infants? The relative cost of adoptions also speaks against any such benign interpretation.

["The average adoption of a healthy Caucasian baby can take years and fees can run as high as $40,000, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

For mixed-race children, it can take a few months and cost $10,000 to $18,000."]

Further down we have this:

["Canadians prefer black babies because the adoption process is quicker, easier and less expensive than if they were opting for a child from China, Guatemala or Eastern Europe, Welwood said."]

Supply and demand speak louder than any words what white Americans looking to adopt really want, and that is a healthy little Aryan (or failing that, a China doll) to call their own. Racism in American adoption preferences seems quite widespread, arguably even the norm.

Frank McGahon

Fair enough about the US, it seems that this characterisation might be correct (although see below*), however it seems that the reverse is the case for Canada and Europe. I was thinking of the Irish and British context, where adoptions from East Asia are quite common, often by parents deemed too old (i.e. in their 30s!) to adopt "native" children. Also, I was thinking of the debate on gay adoptions where it is often implied that there are lots of unwanted potential adoptees who would be adopted, "six feet under" style, by gay couples, while in reality gay couple are just like straight couples - they want babies (to mould as they please!) which are in short supply** rather than the older children available for fostering or adoption.

* Interestingly, on foreign adoptions, I see here:

http://www.adoptioninstitute.org/FactOverview/international.html

That the top 20 sending countries for American adoptions in 2001 includes Jamaica, Ethiopia, Haiti and Liberia

** The mechanism being that, with greater availability of abortion and welfare support for single mothers, fewer babies are put up for adoption than would have been in the past.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Notes for Readers