The Scarlet R: Why I (Sometimes, Conditionally) Call Myself a Racist

As one who wearies of the fact that the wetware of my fellow mankind – as diverse as it may be – all tends toward an aptitude for furnishing ‘beliefs’ on the basis of maximized conversational utility rather than empirical reality, I have come to place a great emphasis on tweaking my own conversational algorithm in order to hack the source code of homo sapiens sapiens as it exists in 2017. Through the course of my experiments in naked candor and sincerity, I have observed that after I conversationally exhaust a persons’s ideological immune system, they typically all resort to the same exasperated plea:

“I just don’t get it — why can’t we all just treat people as individuals?!”


You see, many people advise me against using the word ‘racist’ to describe myself because, they say, it will cause people to jump to false conclusions about what I really stand for, which basically boils down to human equality and treating people as individuals.

This is doubtless good advice, although experience has shown me time and time again that people of our era have been culturally hardwired to automatically equate any proposal of the existence of human biodiversity with genocidal bloodlust, and are all but incapable of, therefore, seeing through the haze of their own conditioning.

I’m not trying to speak over the din of the bloodthirsty crowd looking to lynch anybody they deem “racist”. Instead, I’m trying to have quiet conversations out in the hallway. In this way, I can filter people out based on whether or not they have a kneejerk reaction to hearing me casually describe myself as a ‘bleeding-heart racist’.

I call myself a racist, on occasion and only obliquely, for several reasons. First and perhaps foremost, I call myself a racist as an act of solidarity with everybody on the alt-right. I will not assent, through any silence of mine, to the sloppy application of this verbal death sentence meant to de-humanize people and invalidate their oft-legitimate grievances. I will never disavow anybody. I will never do this because I will not let myself be bullied into turning my back on my fellow man and woman just because they are tainted, accurately or inaccurately, by the scarlet ‘R’ of our era. As anybody who knows me knows, this is not because I am trying to be a safe harbor, per se, for white supremacists and neo-Nazis, but because I have a deep aversion to this sort of de-humanizing hatred and exclusion levied against anybody. No matter how well a person conforms to the caricature of a ‘racist’ as somebody who spews racial hatred, yearns for revanchism and wants more of everything for white people at the expense of others, I still unequivocally assert that, if you dig deep enough, legitimate grievances do exist at the root of their illegitimate hatred, just as Barack Obama dully and similarly noted of Islamic extremists.

Secondly, I call myself a racist because I see it as a descriptive expedient which also makes a crucial point, however. I am skeptical of the dominant theory of racial sameness (that is, that most/all interracial disparities are caused by an historical context shaped by pervasive, systemic white racism – white power and prejudice); I am a race-realist inasmuch as I see the existence of heritable differences in trait frequencies between fuzzy sets of human populations – colloquially referred by most everybody as ‘races’ – as offering better explanatory and predictive power whilst relying on fewer presuppositions.

Unfortuntately, however – and perhaps this is why I just go ahead and describe myself as a ‘racist’ – people struggle to perceive their world as anything but reducible down to binaries and antitheticals. The distinction between my position – one of skepticism – is analogous to the difference between ‘not being happy’ and ‘to be unhappy’. One is basically an affirmation of neutrality in affect, while the other is an affirmation of being positively miserable. Likewise, my facile critics – indeed, perhaps everybody – typically crash and burn in their efforts to not equate “blacks maybe tend toward different temperaments and different modes of cognition” or “I am skeptical of the notion that ‘race’ is merely skin deep” with the notion that I a) think black people are all stupid and that b) I think they should all be gassed and c) that I’m a big Nazi idiot who deserves to die even though d) they don’t really think I should die because they’re morally superior, but if somebody else kills me then I deserved it for rocking the boat of human history.

Ultimately, I am merely against prejudice, be it for-or-against blacks or for-or-against whites.

Thus, although I do not discount the ultimate causal uncertainty at the heart of observed interracial disparities, I am profoundly critical of its veracity and durability as a scientific theory. Moreover, I am deeply opposed to the moral monopoly held by the racial sameness theory – a dogma, really – because of its reliance on scapegoats, as well as the collateral damage it inflicts on everybody, black and white alike.

And no, this does not imply that I reject the aforementioned wisdom of treating people as individuals. I am fundamentally in favor of colorblindness and formal equality, although this also means that I categorically reject the war on racism, at least as has come to exist in 2017, tainted by mission creep. I say this as somebody who believes he would have been marching there right alongside the likes of MLK in the Birmingham Campaign of ’63. Things warp with time and lose meaning. The war on racism is not immune from this karmic law of reality.

I ought, perhaps more accurately, to describe myself as a ‘race-realist’ or as an advocate of ‘human biodiversity’ or, perhaps truer to my own unique perspective, as a proponent of racial agnosticism — to refrain from making sweeping judgments and generalizations about people, be they positive or negative, based on their perceived membership in a group. The term ‘racist’, if you reject its usage as I do as a label meant to vilify, does a halfway decent job at conveying that one rejects the war on racism. However, if I was try. However, I am mostly ambivalent about this whole euphemism treadmill, preferring instead to defer to however else people would like to describe me.

As Joan Baez sang in “Farewell, Angelina”:

Call me any name you like I will never deny it.

Saintly, no?

This brings me to my next point, one of strategy. I call myself a racist in order to make it crystal clear from the outset that I will not ‘give an inch’ by permitting myself to be dragged into the mud pit of the hegemonic antiracist melodrama, with all its stock characters of heroes and villains. I will not let myself be bullied into letting that narrative – little more than an historical relic at this point in history – dictate the language or terms of my critique, just like how I will not let myself be bullied into playing a rigged game by shouldering fully the burden of proof with regards to the main points of the central debate on human biodiversity. My purpose is to open people’s eyes up to the plausibility of an alternative worldview, and to see the antiracist narrative as having been born in a different time to address social conditions which existed in conjunction with the long-discredited ‘polygenesis’ worldview, which now exists only in effigy form.

I will never turn my back on such an aggrieved people as those maligned by such a weasel word as the word ‘racist’.

It must be remembered that antiracist ideology first emerged as a consensus among aristocratic progressives – many of whom were once enthusiasts of eugenics – who saw the need to switch gears reductio ad horrendum after Nazism. They merely argued that there was nothing paradoxical about the existence of exceptional individuals rising up from every stripe of humanity, and that we ought not discard out of hand the limiting influence of environmental and cultural effects on human achievement. That was all. However, this once-radical ideal of abstaining from adhering to racial prejudices even in the presence of exceptions and outliers has long since deteriorated into a violently equal-and-opposite dogmatism. Nobody, in 2017 at least, is seriously entertaining the notion that races exist as ‘stable types’ fixed on a rigid hierarchy of intrinsic worth (as antiracism itself does with its rhetoric, albeit inverted). People like me are simply advocating that people be treated as equals.

Besides the “Why can’t we just treat everybody as an individual, distinct from any larger group?!” conversational terminus, the other, related terminus I often encounter is what is typically referred to as the Lewontin Observation/Fallacy, which I allude to in this post.

To put out the flames of the war on racism, to grapple with the mindless processes of mass psychology and the slow-steering ship that is human history, is to gaze into the dark heart of humanity.

To try to unlock hearts through conversation is like administering Turing tests. Nevertheless, it gives me solace to realize just how mindless people are when they hate others based on the scarlet letter they’re forced to wear. They do not know what they are doing, and their hatred of me is therefore hollow. To know that their hatred is hollow is a great burden lifted off of me.

Indeed, are not all white people, so the trope goes, guilty of implicit racial bias and white privilege?

Indeed, are not all white people guilty of racism?

You meet a killer halfway.


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