Thursday, November 1, 2007

Another Nigerian heard from.

The most eye-opening comment I’ve received in 10 months of blogging came this week from Comb & Razor, a Nigerian music blogger.

Regarding Idang Alibi, the ashamed-to-be-black Nigerian newspaper columnist, Comb & Razor wrote:

“i can testify that the point of view he expresses... is far from uncommon amongst Nigerians--and other black Africans, i would guess. ... many people look at you like you’re crazy for even thinking of contesting the idea that white people are more intelligent than blacks.”

Wow. For real?

I can readily imagine one guy like Idang Alibi, who seems to enjoy writing outrageous and shocking things. But now another columnist at the Daily Trust in Abuja, Nigeria – a woman named Zainab Kperogi – has echoed Mr. Alibi’s sentiments.

Here is some of what she wrote:

“Before we get carried away by emotions and become enmeshed in the theory of black pride, we should ponder awhile and do some soul-searching. When we do that objectively and look all around us, we will not disagree too much with [James D.] Watson.”

“[A]lmost every other race in the world has evolved from the animalistic level, but the black man is rather descending further into it. Whenever debates like this crop up... our first and instinctive reactions are misdirected indignation and denial.”

“We often blame slavery and colonialism for our backwardness but we were not the only ones that have so suffered. India was also under British rule but unlike us, they are not only a nuclear power but one of the world’s leaders in Information Technology.”

“There are many factors militating against our development, among which are that we lack depth and perseverance. ... [W]e do not have a maintenance culture and do not mind staying in filthy environments. Most of our workforce is redundant and civil servants most often than not loaf around.”

“Most of us blacks simply do not have the capacity to think very deeply and a people that can’t do this, in addition to planning, strategising and organising, can’t make progress. About 70% of blacks lack these attributes and the few that have them are too engrossed in their individual achievements and cannot be bothered with the common wealth.”

“If we are tired of insults, why don’t we try to prove the White supremacy theory wrong by developing our societies? No one can deny that our African rulers lack focus, vision and strategy and the fact that they are kleptomaniacs. ... How can anybody blame the whites for thinking we’re less intelligent?”

It blows my mind that this is the character of a public discussion in a major newspaper in the capital city of Africa’s most populous nation.

Think about what Bill Cosby is catching hell for saying. Now re-read Zainab Kperogi. “Most of us blacks simply do not have the capacity to think very deeply...”

It’s one thing to want to shake folks up... to demand the best from your people. It’s another to be fully invested in the psychology of black inferiority.

I don’t know how Africans can get past that.

By the way, Idang Alibi, in his Daily Trust column today, revisits the subject of race and intelligence. He promises to continue next week. Also, he has decided to write a book about it!

“I was simply overwhelmed by the torrents of positive responses I got to the first part of this two-part series on Dr James Watson’s comment that the Blacks are less intelligent than the Whites,” Alibi begins. “I received over a hundred phone calls commending me for speaking the mind of the average African man who is genuinely concerned about the way we are.”

This is not the sort of feedback Mr. Alibi expected. “I was waiting for a storm of very angry reactions from pseudo-intellectuals, and ‘patriotic’ black men who are usually very touchy when they think the dignity and pride of the black race have been assaulted.”

He expected to be called “a sell-out or a self-hater.” After all, he says, “[w]e are not a people given to deep introspection.”

Bizarrely, Idang Alibi believes that acknowledging “our inferiority” is the first step toward solving Africa’s problems.

“[E]very revolution begins first in the minds of a people long before the actual revolution comes to take place,” Alibi declares.

“The fact that we who ought to have regarded Watson’s testimony about our inferiority as an insult on the basis of pure emotion are saying that what he is saying is a painful truth gives me confidence that our mindset is changing for good.”

But it’s hard to imagine what such a change of mindset can lead to, given Alibi’s grim assessment of the African throughout history:

“We are not pathfinders of any route to anywhere. We are not pacesetters in anything. We are not discoverers of any hidden truths. We are not inventors of any useful tools. We hardly make insightful statements. Our leaders cannot lead. They cannot follow. They do not learn from recent or past history. ...”

It is a confusing, soul-hurting irony that James D. Watson has resigned his job in disgrace for saying things about Africans that some Africans deeply believe to be true.


SJ said...

Wow that is surprising.

But are we still abiding to the idea that blacks are "genetically inferior" or is it a social thing? Because race is a social construct (as one of my black friends put it).

Perhaps it's more of a cultural thing. India is fast becoming a leader in IT no doubt, but a vast percentage of the population still lives in deep poverty, in dirty, dirty urban areas where corruption runs wild along with other crimes. It's too simplistic a view to just point out one highlight in a society while you are magnifying problems in the other.

Michael Fisher said...

Well, think about it.

Either black folks are inherently genetically stupid or there is some pretty heavy behavior modification going on.

Logically here can only be one or the other.

Dragon Horse said...

I will make this a two part post

First: My thoughts on the IQ thing. I have given my thoughts on IQ research in regard to blacks here:

The response to the research is a separate issue from Watson's statements and black responses to that.

I wish so badly that a black intellectual who is versed in IQ research would have sat down and debated Watson on a forum like C-Span in front of a panel of reporters. If Watson refused, debate one of his defenders like, Murray (of Bell Curve notoriety).

To me that would have been amazing and if it was held in DC in an academic forum I would have attended.

My belief, and it does not make me happy to say this is, black people (as more than one editorial at All Africa has stated) are not that confident, intellectually mature, or rational when it comes to these issues.

Blacks know how to Mau Mau. Blacks, it seems still do not understand the use of power and the degree of response necessary for a given situation, or how to humiliate your enemies without screaming at them. Sometimes water is stronger than a rock, in fact, it usually is.

I remember when the Bell Curve came out. I was a undergrad freshman. Charles Murray came to my university to debate a black guy…in 1995.

The black guy (whose name I don’t' remember) basically kept interrupting and insulting Murray. He had no real sound argument and appeared not to be well versed in the research that was given in the Bell Curve.

Despite this, every time he spoke the blacks audience (and more than a few liberal whites) jumped up and cheered. They often booed Watson.

It was sick.

It was embarrassing.

Regardless of what you think of Murray, I personally have seen him speak twice and have viewed him on You Tube, he came in good faith to debate someone on his very well researched book (although you can disagree with his conclusions, not many disagreed with the actual data compiled or the research method he used).

By the end, Murray was furious, he turned blood red. You could tell he was fighting mad, but he never lost his cool. No matter who yelled out “Nazi”, “Racist”, “Hitler”, even “white devil” etc. Even some white liberal outside were holding signs saying something about “Nazis not wanting here”…

I left there as an 18 year old quite embarrassed and distraught at how "my people" acted. I drove back with a sista I knew at the time named, Kizzi (like Kunta’s daughter), bright girl, bio major and ROTC student.

She was all hyped…”we showed that racist..blah blah blah…" I tried to explain that we just proved his points in the book, that we are less intelligent and unable to control our impulses. She looked dumbfounded, she couldn’t understand although I tried to explain twice.

That is where black people are at in 2007 intellectually…12 years later. This is not a good thing at all. I actively observed black blogs, I have been to several dozen. There are only a handful that get any real comments. Then I also observe "predominately white ones".

I find that the black blogs have comments that are less informed and often over the top in emotion, usually not backed up with facts/data. Rarely, if ever, cited. Almost no black blog is moderated worth a damn. Even a site called "black professor" is embarrassing. I'm 100% sure no white professors would form a site and allow that rabble in the comment section go unchallenged. The level of intellectual ability is slightly higher than what you will find in front of a liquor store on Saturday night in the hood.

Why? Well, black people have about half the college educated population per capita as whites, less high school grads, and just less people on the internet. Group think is high in the black community and black people are not used to being challenged, and unlike whites feel no need to put on a pretense that they are "intellectual" (the way even a lot of cognitively "dull" whites do). We have a long way to go and we are the most educated and wealthy black population on the planet.

We need time, a lot of time.

Dragon Horse said...

As far as Africa specifically. Africa has a lot of issues.

Behavior modification is one of them but not in the way Fisher means.

I will try to make this short.

I am educated to the Master's level in development and I work in the field.

I actually deal with SE Asia, but I have a few books on Africa and keep up with the news, a contemporary of some great 20th century African leaders made some comments in his biographies that I agree with so I will repost.

Lee Kuan Yew stated, in “From Third World to First: The Singapore Story: 1965-2000“, that Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and Tanzania (especially the last one) possessed some highly intelligent leaders, at least, when engaged on a personal levels. He noted though, that during the 1960’s as he toured all these formers colonies (which less than 10 years previously he was part of the same empire as) had some of the same problems:

1) They did not allocate resources well. Lee gave an example of how Ghana had a young minister who shown outstanding academic performance at Oxford, earning a degree in Latin and Greek classics. Lee said he was impressed but wondered, “what good is that in a country mostly agricultural?” Why not major in business, engineering, or biology? Why would the government sponsor someone to major in Greek in Africa? Good question, at that time, Singapore focused on training engineers, doctors, lawyers, and bankers.

2) Tribalism and the resulting corruption. He remarked that he had issues dealing with Indians/Malay/Chinese in Singapore let alone 50 or 100 different tribes as in Nigeria.

3) He said that most African states (unlike India, Malay, Sri Lanka) were never well trained in administration in the “British way”, which is personally admired greatly, and these nations had larger percentages as uneducated people.

4) He said that throughout the 60’s and the 70’s, at almost every Commonwealth Conference, Africans were extremely emotional over South Africa and Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) and only used the conferences to alienate themselves from the British, as well as promote the nonaligned movement, which was really a lot of socialist who did not want to ally with Soviet Union outright but were anti-Western as well (citing neocolonialism).

Lee said that while Singapore focused on pragmatic non-idealogical politics, free market solutions to poverty, education, and infrastructure it seems that most of the African leaders were trying to “Out African” each other and guilt trip the British, and to make it worse they were egged on by various Australia and Canada administrations (guilty white liberals).

I bring these things up because a lot of this has not changed significantly at the top government levels in Africa until quite recently (only took 40 years). Most of these countries were colonized only 80-90 years or so.

Lee said he realized the destiny of Singapore and Africa were not intertwined and never went back after the late 1960’s. He focused on business ties with the Indian Subcontinent, Britain, America, Southeast Asia, South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and later on, China. He felt the future was in extensive contact and trade with these places and not to alienate Singapore from the West, but to use the West to Singapore’s advantage. A good example are the military ties he created with Britain, Australia, America, and New Zealand, being his nation is quite small but surrounded by over 150 million Muslims who have a historic animosity with Chinese people (Singapore being about 80% Chinese).

5) I will add that SubSahara Africa was far behind in technology at the time Europeans colonized.


Guns, Germs, and Steel, by Diamond but this paper by reinforce the idea and Easterly is not quack.

Reality is we are in America because Africa was weak. If Africans had the technology to defend themselves and the political organization they would not be here.

I will give an example of something.

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to make trade contact with Japan. They immediately started converting people to Christianity and eventually started enslaving Japanese people along the coast outside of Nagasaki (where the Shogun mandated they be).

Japan, was politically unified at the time, it was no longer divided into city-states, clans, and fiefdoms. He kicked the white people out and crucified the almost all the Christians in Nagasaki.

The Portuguese went to Formosa (Taiwan) and tried to do the same thing. Once again they were routed.

Europeans gained a foothold in China but could never fully colonized the entire nation, only certain areas of port cities, and they took Hong Kong.


Here is my theory.

Eurasia was very violent. Much more than Africa.

Europe was constantly invaded and so was China and Korea (Japan had strong ties with both).

This forced the people to develop strong political organizations and consolidate. It made them develop new technologies for warfare. Also , even today, China is not the most fertile land on earth and a lot of Europe is not. Working the land was hard and they had a shorter growing season than in the tropics. They had to develop technology to do this and complex systems.

If you ever notice writing was not invented by many people independently, maybe it was only invented 4 or 5 times in history.

However it spread to people who had complex political systems.

It is pretty hard to keep track of monies, populations, taxes, grain stores, do complex math, innovate off of existing technology if you don't have a writing system.

Most of Africa did not although Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia were literate very early. Most of Africa was not literate even in the 1600's and those areas of the SubSahara that were had contact with Muslims.

Africa, until Arab/Berber Muslim penetration from the North (and East Coast) never faced serious invasion on most of the continent but where? The North East.

By the time the Europeans invaded it was too late the technological gap was too much.

In East Asia, China, Korea, and Japan all closed their borders believing they could learn nothing from barbarians and they fell behind in technology where they were at a greater level previous.

Although they were behind and were inferior to Europeans in technology China still had very complex political structures. They introduced standardized test to the French and had an admired bureaucracy.

In Japan by the 1600's they had more guns than the UK. It was under order of the Shogun that guns were banned and destroyed in Japan until the 1800's.

So although the Japanese were behind, they were not so behind they could not manufacture firearms when introduced to the technology.

Japan opened up in the 1850's, were forced by the U.S. By 1900 they had a military that defeated the Russian Empire (the first nonwhite power in modern times to beat a major European power). By 1939 they had the 3rd largest Navy in the world and a well trained army that rivaled German, in fact they were initially trained by Prussians in the late 1800's.

The point is there was a gap but it was not so great because the Japanese lived in Eurasia and had access to China, which had access to the Middle East and Europe, through the Silk Road. There was knowledge transfers back and forth as people passed knowledge by writing and translation.

In fact this is how Buddhism spread to China and SE Asia from India a little after the time of Jesus of Nazareth. Writing.

So, in any case, this large gap...where most of Africa was somewhere around the same level of development of the Aztecs and Inca or less all the way up till the 1800's explains a lot in itself.

If you have a society that is tribal or clannish and you have never united into a "state" as we know it, all you have are loose empires of one clan or tribe dominating will not have a cultural tradition that is conducive to the political organization necessary. If you don't have writing you can not have complex math and science or innovate off of others ideas unless you can talk to them face to face. You can't share knowledge across the continent in the written word.

In any case Africa needs to fix the issues above that are still present on the continent and then do this:

But they need to do it with specific characteristics that are Africa or regional specific. They can't just copy, the Japanese did not just copy, the Taiwanese did not just copy. That does not work. They need cultural modification to make these institutions work, but also they need adapt the institutions to fit traditions that can not easily be changed. It is a duplex process.

Anymore questions specifically on African development you can come to my site I have a lot of info from various scholars and international organizations.

Undercover Black Man said...

Dragon Horse, welcome here and thanks so much for sharing your thoughts... all of them intriguing.

Dragon Horse said...

I want to add one more short thing. I know a Native American woman, a real one, not a Dog the Bounty Hunter wanna be.

She is so proud of her people although her tribe never got much beyond the Paleolithic (Late Stone Age), far less developed on contact with Europeans than were most people in West Africa. It doesn't matter.

It doesn't matter where we come from as much as where we are going. Germans were inferior to Romans, Irish to the English, Japanese to Chinese.

Now the Irish are importing labor from the UK, the Germans (and offshoots in Scandinavia, the Dutch, the English)live at a much higher standard than Italians.

Japan is far superior to China in technology, wealth, etc.

I won't be answer any nonsense from Afrocentrics as to my post because all this is common knowledge for a "read" individual. Most of "those folks" have low self esteem and particularly an inferiority complex to whites. They make up history, conspiracy theories, and everything else because they don't own the experience of being black, they respond to it, react to it. It owns them.

Japan did not surpass China by worrying about "keeping up with China" it didn't matter their level of technology. They saw and still do see themselves as "special" and they worried about excelling to their maximum, not to China's level.

I don't worry much about whites, because Anglo-Saxons or WASP are not top dog in metrics. Jews and East Asians out preform them in almost every standardized testing in America and in East Asia routinely and this has been true since the 1980's. Japanese people are wealthier than most Europeans and the second largest economy. Even somewhat backward China is about to surpass Germany in output and will be the #3 economy. Hong Kong and Singapore long ago surpassed the UK in living standard (their former colonizer).

If I compare myself to anyone I compare myself to the best and it is not good enough to be "as good" I was not raised to be 'as good', I was raised to be "the best".

If more black people thought like that and stopped obsessing over white people we would be better off and Africa (at least some countries) could count themselves among the ranks of the developed nations.

Right now there are no Latin American, African, or Middle Eastern Developed nations. Think about that for a minute.


Today, according to the UN, IMF, and World Bank there are 5 developed East/Southeast Asian nations.

In the next 15 years, there will likely be 7-8.

How many African nations will we have in that time. Likely none.

We do need some "behavior modification" not just here but especially in Africa and the Carribean.

Not one black nation is wealthy due to technological development/manufacturing. NOT ONE The remotely middle income countries with blacks are wealthy due to mining (where they don't control the chain of production to make finished value added goods) or tourism. That's it.

Take that away and they have nothing but some fruit and vegetables. There is where blacks are at in 2007.

Where do you want to be in 2107?

Michael Fisher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Fisher said...

Dragon Horse. That's lot's a lot's a. However, the current African leadership can read write, drive cars, and shoot rifles.

Most Africans here in the US couldn't read and write 100 years ago. Now they can. But they ain't behaving too intelligently either.

So, either, black folks are inherently too stupid to behave in a rational fashion, or they are not.

What it be?

Undercover Black Man said...

Michael, if I may take the chance of appearing inhospitable (though I would never be as rude to you in my house as you were to me in yours), I must say this:

From what I've seen of your site over the past month, it seems entirely devoted -- as you yourself seem entirely devoted, intellectually and emotionally -- to blaming other people for black folks' problems.

Whites brainwashed blacks! Why? Because whites have a culture of death! How'd they do it? By inventing gangsta rap!

It seems to me an enormous waste, a circle-jerk among your crew of nationalists, and oddly removed from the practical reality of life on earth.

Instead of trying to get Dragon Horse to proclaim that blacks are born intellectually inferior... please get your head around the fact that two columnists at a major Nigerian newspaper have come right out and said just that... and appear to be getting support from their readers.

Comb & Razor said...

hmmm... well, you've certainly put forward a lot of stuff to think about, Dragon Horse.

i think i generally do agree with your thesis that black populations perhaps do not have cultural values conducive to free-market capitalism (though i'd probably have to think a bit about where exactly those cultural deficiencies lie).

reading the rest of Kperogi's piece, though, i find it hard to take her too seriously... she gets a lot of stuff wrong (eg her misunderstanding of the racial makeup of the Dominican Republic) and she just uses Watson as a springboard to lament how bad black folks around the world have it.

more than anything, it seems she's issuing a challenge for us to improve ourselves, but i wish she had done it in a different manner.

yeah... like i said, this kind of thinking is not at all uncommon in Africa, and it's depressing as hell.

odocoileus said...

Great post, DH.

Interesting to see you in this neck of the woods. (Maybe AD will pop in too. [snark])

I wonder which is more painful, taking the risk to change, and perhaps fail, or remaining in a backwards condition, and blaming everyone else for your problems.

I'm not one for master race arguments, but if I had to pick one, it would be between the Japanese and the Chinese. It's routine here in Calif for Americans of East Asian decent to outcompete whites academically, resulting in white flight from upscale neighborhoods. They don't want their kids to be seen as the dumb kids or as discipline problems, so they move someplace where their kids can be on top.

East Asians in Asia appear to be convinced that you have to have blond hair and blue eyes in order to teach English. So perfectly fluent Asian Americans with Ivy League degrees get passed over in favor of German kids who speak English as a second language.

It's our folly that unites us all.

Michael Fisher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Fisher said...

"please get your head around the fact that two columnists at a major Nigerian newspaper have come right out and said just that..."

Of course they would. It is the only logical conclusion one can come to if one takes the position that black people are not victims of a System of Racism/White Supremacy.

If the system doesn't exist and black people have not been able to make a go of it in half a century all around the globe, clearly something must be wrong with them. Now DH can blame it on the long past and say that black folks had no need to develop high level social organizations and did not do is (which is historically patently false) and therefore even today have no psychological skills to develop an effective social organism. But we are in the NOW. Besides, the British whom this Nigerian guy so lovingly cites, never developed a writing system of their own. Neither did the Germanics or the other northern whites.

Ergo, absent an outside retarding influence it must be a problem of genetic inferiority.

Which means as you are an undercover black man you should check your sperm and get a vasectomy else you infect the rest of humanity with the "stupid" gene we black folks have.

Of course, then the question becomes of what the heck is "black" in the first place? 'Cause a "black" David Mills in America is a "white" David Mills in Brazil. Which means that once you cross the equator your stupid gene disappears and you can go have kids again.

So maybe it is them "black Nigerians" only. But they don't really look like the "black" Xhosa and Zulu of South Africa who are making such a mess of it down there. Or the "black" folks in Compton, or the ones in Baltimore.

So what is it?

What is the common denominator?

memomachine said...


1. Color me shocked. Plenty of Asian countries are not nuclear powers but I don't think you'd find anyone there who'd make these kinds of pronouncements.

2. Using India as an example shows the terrible difference between how colony independence was handled. In the case of African countries they were handed their independence quickly and with a very short transition period.

India on the other hand enjoyed a long process towards independence where natives had the time to garner the necessary experience when taking over managerial positions within the new Indian government.

3. Again with respect to India another major difference was that India went from a largely tribal/provincial existence into a national Indian identity because both of the lengthy occupation *and* the intentional process undertaken by the British.

I.e. there is a nation called India, instead of a continent populated by squabbling minor provincial countries, because the British decided that was what they wanted and then took the effort to break the local power groups.


Frankly I still don't buy into the whole "less intelligent" thing. IMO the five single things that help continue the problems that Africa has are:

1. Tribalism.

2. Lack of actual competence at management in management positions.

3. Corruption at all levels.

4. Domestic farm subsidies (American & European) that destroy any hope of foreign markets for African agricultural products. Of which a successful agriculture is the absolute minimum underpinning of a successful society.

Without successful agriculture you cannot have a successful society because the agriculture not only feeds the society, it also provides the essential yeoman basis for it. A successful agriculture reinforces the basic requirements for a successful society in that such agriculture requires:

A. Respect for property rights.
B. Stability in the political structure.
C. Stability and **predictability** in law.
D. Stability in the infrastructure for both acquisitions of materials needed and for the distribution of provender.

5. Foreign aid which both underpins extremely corrupt governments and destroys local agriculture because it's simply impossible for a farmer to compete with free food.

IMO it is the glut of free food that has done more to destroy Africa and African hopes than any other thing.

memomachine said...


Here's another indicator of economic freedom. The cost of starting a business in any particular country.

The idea here is that the lower the minimum requirements both in time and starting capital to start a business will result in more small businesses that start. Sounds pretty much like a "duh!" situation but take a look at the numbers.

Takes 6 procedures over 6 days and costs 0.7% of the average per capita annual income to start the business and requires 0% capital, of the average per capita annual income, as a minimum in order to get the business license.

Takes 9 procedures over 34 days and costs 56.6% of the average per capita annual income to start the business and requires 0% capital, of the average per capita annual income, as a minimum in order to get the business license.

Takes 2 procedures over 2 days and costs 0.8% of the average per capita annual income to start the business and requires 0% capital, of the average per capita annual income, as a minimum in order to get the business license..

South Africa:
Takes 8 procedures over 31 days and costs 7.1% of the average per capita annual income to start the business and requires 0.0% capital, of the average per capita annual income, as a minimum in order to get the business license..

Takes 10 procedures over 96 days and costs 21.3% of the average per capita annual income to start the business and requires 54.6% capital, of the average per capita annual income, as a minimum in order to get the business license.


Basically it's acknowledged that the primary engine of economic prosperity are small businesses, even here in the USA. The more procedures that are required to start a business, the more days required to complete the paperwork necessary, the most official costs that must be met and the higher initial capital requirements, this will result in far fewer small businesses.

Now one side result of such official policies is that many small business will start but "underground" rather than overt. But doing so requires paying off corrupt officials which then is transferred to the customers of such businesses. I.e. it's a vicious cycle.

Officials put in such requirements in order to generate corrupt profits for themselves, and in so doing cripple their nation's economy.

John Thomas said...

If we're going to debate about Africa, I feel my history major blood rising. First of all, West Africa, Ethiopia, and East Africa have incredibly complex and vibrant and literate civilizations and throughout the middle ages when Europe was a dump that everyone with half a brain avoided (not that Middle Ages European history isn't cool, it's just that Europe was backwards compared to the rest of the world until about the 13th century) they were a good deal superior in civilization to Europe. That actually gives most of Africa a few centuries of being advanced over Europe, which bests the maybe one and a half centuries of Europe being ahead of Africa. But as to Africa's current condition, it can be attributed to a lot of factors, from Cold War rivalries, to the fact that colonial governments didn't give a shit about educating their charges, and then there were African leaders who did terrible, awful things. Some were ignorant, some were greedy, but many were intellectual and they often were the worst of all. In fact, perhaps the greatest burden Africa has had to bear is the very advanced and intellectual burdens of ideologies such as Communism and Nationalism.

memomachine said...


Now that's *Africa*. About what ails people here in the USA I can only point to :

Affirmative Action and liberal policies that promote it.

*shrug* I'm a conservative. I don't believe that being a specific race or color makes you deserve anything and that any successes should depend on the efforts of the specific individual.

IMO Affirmative Action was about giving qualified people the opportunities that they were being denied. What Affirmative Action IS however isn't that bold standard. In actuality what it's become is a process of giving unqualified people opportunities for which they are simply not competent.

Consider Dragon Horse's comment about a black professor. Consider a black professor for Duke University caught up in the Duke Rape case scandal who refers to himself as a "thugniggaintellectual".


Seriously. This guy is an Ivy League professor.


Consider the requirements to get into higher education. Originally the SAT was created specifically to ensure that colleges could select those individuals who would succeed in college education. But with Affirmative Action, and now "Diversity", that has fallen by the wayside and now many colleges are driven by a "holistic" approach where the preferences of the college administration really guides who gets in and who stays out.

Consider Berkeley in California. or rather this specific study, as an example of many:


PDF of report

Consider what is in the report. Consider also that the requirements for Asian students for this school have been greatly heightened since then and now it takes no less than a combined 1,400+ SAT for an Asian student to get into Berkeley. But the minimum SAT for a black student is far below 1,000.

I mention this because I find it hard to credit that anybody, of any race whatsoever, could have an easy time of it in an Ivy League school with an SAT under 1,000. Also consider that, to me at least, it seems the only really important statistic is that of how many minority freshmen are admitted. Not how many actually accomplish their educations and graduate.

Consider another aspect of Diversity or Affirmative Action where higher level colleges and universities try to fulfill their own minority student requirements by admitting students that are not actually qualified to conduct studies at those levels. What this does is it has a cascade effect where students who would succeed well at a 2nd tier school is now struggling at a 1st tier school. So now the 2nd tier school, due to Diversity, is admitting students that would do better in a 3rd tier school, but who are now struggling in the 2nd tier school.

What results is a greater amount of failure amongst minority students who would otherwise have succeeded had they simply been left alone. What also results is the deliberate simplification of education in higher tier colleges and universities in order to ensure that some practical minimum of black students will actually graduate.

C.f. Black studies, African American Studies, etc etc etc and other "cultural" academic studies programs. Which frankly certainly won't result in engineers or scientists.


Also consider the impact of Affirmative Action on education. Why do you think so many inner city schools are badly run, administered and taught?

IMO if there should be any such program it should be entirely based on low income, not race.

PS no doubt I mucked some part of this up. If I offended anyone I apologize in advance. I'm trying to shoehorn in a comment prior to lunch and, as anyone who knows me can attest, an impending lunch overrides any intellect I can lay claim to. :)

Undercover Black Man said...

John Thomas, welcome and thanks for commenting.

But I don't need a history degree to point out that the advanced "literate" African civilizations of centuries ago were Muslim civilizations, not indigenous African civilizations. They were writing Arabic.

John Thomas said...

Not necessarily, Ethiopia was a predominantly Christian civilization with an amazing culture and literate tradition.

memomachine said...


1. Ethiopia was definitely a good example of an advanced African nation.

What's so remarkable is how singular it is/was.

2. I'm not entirely certain I buy into the whole meme that Africa was predestined to fail simply because it didn't have the very best draft animals, crops or whatever.

*shrug* consider the Mayans and Aztecs. They didn't have good draft animals either. Or the Incas. For these people the most common draft animal were people.

3. IMO I suppose my opinions on Africa can be distilled down to "killing with kindness". All of the things done for Africa, and in the name of Africa, is meant well, but the results often go terribly awry.

Consider malaria and other insect borne diseases. These ravage Africa like an automated reaper harvesting souls like corn. Yet malaria was almost completely eradicated at one point until liberals decided that DDT was too harmful to use, because of it's supposed negative effects on the environment, and so was banned.

Only problem is that DDT was and is the very best method of combatting malaria and other insect borne diseases.

So the liberals decided the kindest thing to do for Africa, and other equatorial nations, was to ban DDT's use and institute other far less effective treatments. The result has been the death of some 70+ million Africans since then, mostly children, to malaria and other insect borne diseases.


Or you can use the example of the explosion of bed bug infestations in NYC. Something else that could be easily dealt with using DDT.

odocoileus said...


the Sahel civilizations certainly were native African, governed and sustained by Africans. Arab influences, certainly. No competent scholar of Africa claims the Sahel empires were anything other than native African.

In the popular mind, there's a division of Africa into "caucasoid" Saharan Africa, and black sub Saharan Africa. Modern genetics and lingusitics tell a different story. There has been constant migration, interbreeding, along with cultural and economic transmission throughout what is now the Sahara.

The "caucasoid" North Africans like the Berbers, Tuaregs, and ancient Egyptians have a common linguistic and genetic ancestry with the modern day peoples of Ethiopia, Somalia, and parts of Kenya. All these peoples are "mixed", and all of them, including the ancient Egyptians, are indigenous Africans.

Of course, if we're going to toss out Middle Eastern influences, we also have to discount most of what Europeans have achieved as well.

Undercover Black Man said...

Your point is appreciated, Odocoileus.

I never said that sub-Saharan Africans never developed civilizations... I'm saying they didn't develop indigenous writing systems which could've lead to higher levels of civilizational development.

Since you bring up the Sahelian kingdoms... if you wanna learn about the past glories of the Kingdom of Ghana from the Soninke people themselves, you're gonna have to find a griot to perform its key historical epic for you orally.

Michael Fisher said...

And what indigenous writing systems did the British develop?

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Define "the British."

Michael Fisher said...

The inhabitants of the British iles whether the be the Celts, the Anglo-Saxons, or the Normans. If you desire to make a reference to Celtic writing system called Ogham, that system was based on the Roman system we presently use and was in use only during the period from the 4th to the 8th century.

memomachine said...


Of course, if we're going to toss out Middle Eastern influences, we also have to discount most of what Europeans have achieved as well.

In what way? Most of what the Islamic world did was either act as a conduit between the far east and Europe -or- act as an intellectual bag man for European achievements.

memomachine said...


The inhabitants of the British iles whether the be the Celts, the Anglo-Saxons, or the Normans.

The only problem is that *none* of the above peoples were at all "indigenous".

I.e. they all migrated into the British Isles from somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

While you are examining the details of what was written, take a step back. Do you really think an African wrote this? Does anyone know Idang Alibi is a real person. This sounds like a middle-aged white man with an agenda. Don’t be fooled and don’t believe everything you read!

Undercover Black Man said...

Click those links, anon. Real Nigerian newspaper, real Nigerian writer... Alibi's been a Daily Trust columnist for years. Google his name.

Anonymous said...

There are factors other than IQ which affect the development of a nation. This is an essay from this guy named Fred from the website
I am sure Africa and the Carribean have a lot of these problems

"Half-Assed in Haggledom

Economic Laws for the Real World

June 9, 2007

Why are Third-World countries poor, while those in the First World aren’t? (The phrase “third world” is a tad shaky, embracing as it seems to Taiwan, Thailand, and Mexico, and also Haiti and Zaire. We will use it for convenience.)

The standard explanation in the Third World is that the West, chiefly the United States, exploits them, buying their raw materials and selling them manufactured goods. Everything is someone else’s fault. The reasons I think are otherwise. The advanced nations will exploit anyone they can, but this hasn’t kept Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Argentina, and many other countries from prospering.

Start with corruption. In many poor countries, virtually everything is for sale. You can bribe the cops to get out of a ticket or bribe them to beat up an enemy, bribe a general in the army to overlook illegal logging, bribe anybody to do anything. The result is that really the country barely has laws, which means that you can never be sure of your legal ground. Businesses need predictability.

Corruption exists in advanced countries, but there is less of it, and it tends to take organized form, as in campaign contributions, affirmative action, and seats of boards of directors after leaving office.

Suspected Economic Law: The easier it is to bribe a working-stiff cop, the poorer the country.

Sheer governmental inefficiency has much to do with it. When I was in Taiwan many years ago, when the country was first developing, I talked to an American businessman about Asia. Taiwan, he said, had Enterprise Zones, fenced regions with buildings and utilities in place. You signed one document, brought in your machinery, hired workers, and started production.

In Thailand, he said (it may no longer be true) you had to negotiate for months with the Interior Ministry to get land, then months with the Labor Ministry, then months, then months, meanwhile bribing everybody right and left. I’ve got the names of the ministries wrong, but you get the point.

Suspected Economic Law: Prosperity varies inversely with the time between beginning negotiations to open a factory and getting first product.

While inefficient government retards economic progress, it doesn’t follow that countries with inefficient governments will always be poor. Industry in the United States has been so productive that, although the government is worse than useless, the country can withstand it.

A serious obstacle to prosperity is Half-Assedness, a quality not widely recognized in econometrics but well known to experienced travelers. Half-Assedness is a curious mixture of just not giving a damn, lack of ambition, little interest in academics, and sometimes something that looks like lethargy.

You go into houses and never see books. A man will start a garage to repair cars for a living. He won’t think of expanding and owning a chain of garages. His family has enough to eat, so why do more? The young, though they could pursue school beyond some pre-high school level, don’t. They marry early instead of establishing themselves first. People can't drive well. They live in the present, whereas people in rich countries have one foot in the future. An American thinks college, grad school, career. He is going somewhere, or trying to. He may not adhere to his plan, but he has one.

An element of Half-Assedness is a slack attitude toward maintenance. People who could easily afford nineteen cents for a brake-light bulb don’t. They throw trash in the streets. Potholes go unprepared for years.

Suspected Economic Law: National income is inversely proportional to the amount of trash in the streets.

Another aspect of Half-Assedness is an incapacity to attach importance to time. This comes in two flavors, wholesale and retail. At the wholesale level, an American thinks, “Oh my god, I’m thirty and haven't made partner.” A Third-Worlder lacks any sense of urgency. He sees existence as a period through which one passes instead of an interval in which one does things.

At time’s retail level, Third-Worlder’s think that four o’clock means anywhere from five-thirty to not at all. It isn’t rudeness or inconsideration. If you do it to them, they won’t be offended. By contrast, an American reporter, say, knows that if his nine-o’clock interview happens at nine, the one at eleven will be possible, and the business lunch will come off on time, so that he can hit the computer by three and file at five. It works. Americans show up ten minutes early and wait. In the Third World, writing the same story would take three days instead of one.

Suspected Economic law: Per capita income correlates with the average number of minutes by which people miss appointments.

In the Third World there is a different attitude to commerce. An American businessman is likely to give a new client a good price, or at least the going price, in hopes of acquiring him as a regular customer. If in the Third World a European gets a haircut without asking the price, he will be charged eight dollars when the correct price is four dollars. He will never come back.

This is normal third-world economics—gouge the customer to the max without thought of the future. The practice is encouraged by the reliance on haggling in poor countries. I have sometimes wondered whether this doesn’t make tricking the customer more important than having a good product.

Suspected Economic Law: Countries that bargain have less money than those that don’t.

The what-me-care attitude can be, to an American, incomprehensible. You want a roof job that would cost several thousand dollars, a lot of money in many countries. The workmen promise to come the next day to give you an estimate. They don’t show. You call, and they say, well, my car broke. Next day, same thing. They got to your town but couldn’t find the house. And so on. So you go to Wal-Mart or Home Depot or some similar First-World enterprise and get the job done.

Another element of Half-Assedness is, depending on your politics, cultural or inherent, but unmistakable. Some populations just aren’t very bright, or at any rate don’t seem to be. Sub-Saharan Africa, though rich in resources, is pea-turkey poor and not improving. Arab countries, even when awash in oil money, do not establish First World societies that could survive without oil. In South America the white countries, such as Chile and Argentina, could be in Europe. The highly Indian countries, as for example Bolivia and Peru, would be basket cases if they could afford the basket.

Suspected Economic Law: The more European or East Asian blood, the more money.

That’s Fred on economics. Lynch mobs may take a number. "