Here’s a picture to stop you in your tracks, huh?
Today’s word is: steatopygia.
The photo comes from an old anthropology book, “The Living Races of Man,” by old-school anthropologist Carleton S. Coon.
FYI, this bootylicious Madonna and Child are not African; they’re Andamanese (from the Andaman archipelago near India).
The image was scanned and uploaded to the intertubes by a British-born conservative opinion writer named John Derbyshire. Mr. Derbyshire loves this book.
“We had a copy of Coon’s book lying round the house when I was a teenager,” he wrote in 2002, “and the photographs in it impressed themselves on my youthful memory.” (No shit? I wonder why.)
Derbyshire didn’t upload this picture because he’s an ass freak. (At least, not that he has acknowledged.) He had a political purpose.
Derbyshire, after all, once described himself as “a homophobe, though a mild and tolerant one, and a racist, though an even more mild and tolerant one,” in a 2003 online interview.
(He later clarified this in an email: “All I mean there is that I believe that race is real, and important. Nowadays, that makes you a ‘racist.’ Again, I consider myself mild and tolerant here -- I don’t believe in any discrimination by public authorities... [but] I can imagine circumstances where I would certainly practice private discrimination.”)
So what does the photo above have to do with race politics? Well, Carleton Coon’s brand of “physical anthropology” – focusing on the anatomical differences between human populations – is tied to old-fashioned ideas about racial development. Coon actually argued that there are five sub-races of homo sapiens which evolved along separate tracks, with whites and Asians being the most advanced.
That notion is rejected by the “Boasian school” of anthropology, which argues that race differences are a sociocultural construct.
In describing Coon’s “Living Races of Man” as a “splendid classic,” John Derbyshire wrote at National Review Online: “It is true that physical anthropology is now a ‘dangerous’ subject, like history in a communist country; but that is not my fault, or Coon's.... It is just part of the general idiocy of our age.”
Leave it to a white man to look at that picture and ponder his own genetic superiority. Whereas the average brother is likely to look at it and think, “The Creator has a master plan.”