Thursday, May 24, 2007

Mother Nature likes race-mixing

White racialist types tend to be hung up on race-mixing… or what the extreme ones still call “mongrelization.”

The way I see it, if God or Nature didn’t want the races to mix, then God or Nature would punish the offspring of mixed-raced unions. With, you know, diseases and stuff.

But that doesn’t happen. Actually, Nature punishes populations who keep their gene pool too un-mixed.

I’ve long been aware that Ashkenazi Jews have a high incidence of Tay-Sachs disease, which causes mental retardation and early death. I also had a vague notion that this disease took hold among Eastern European Jews because of centuries of “endogamy” – that is, marrying within the “tribe,” within the group.

So I wondered: What about other populations that’ve practiced strict endogamy for generations upon generations, like the Japanese? Are they, too, more prone to genetic diseases than the rest of us?

What about the Icelanders, out there on that island for a thousand years with their unpolluted pool of Viking genes? Any booby traps in their DNA?

Or the Afrikaners, isolated not by geography but by ideology and will. No group of white people outside of Iceland has kept its gene pool as pure as the Boers. Does such “purity” come at a cost – a cost of disease, deformity, pain and death?

My guess was “yes.” And sure enough, I’m right.

Among Afrikaners, a variety of genetic disorders of the blood, skin and bones – such as sclerosteosis and lipoid proteinosis – occurs with high frequency. Afrikaners, at a rate five times higher than Americans, have a genetic abnormality which causes familial hypercholesterolemia (“FH” for short), a disease characterized by high cholesterol and severe hardening of the arteries. People with FH can have heart attacks as early as their 30s.

Other “endogamous” groups have a high rate of FH: Ashkenazi Jews, Lebanese Christians, French Canadians, and Finns.

Speaking of Finns, some 35 rare genetic diseases occur frequently in Finland. This is known as the “Finnish disease heritage,” and it’s attributed to a lack of “genetic diversity” among the Finns. One such disease is cartilage-hair hypoplasia (or “CHH”), a type of dwarfism that brings with it increased cancer risks and a flawed immune system.

One out of every 76 Finns carries the defective gene responsible for CHH. The only ethnic group in which CHH is more common is the Amish. (One out of every 19 is a carrier).

The more I studied, the more obvious it became: Nature punishes this sort of genetic exclusivism… this rigid rule of marrying-within-the-group.

Let’s look at the Acadians – better known as “Cajuns” – who arrived in Louisiana 240 years ago. The Cajun people pride themselves on their “group cohesiveness.” This is reflected in their long-term practice of marrying only other Cajuns… even if it meant marrying their own cousins.

The result? High incidences of Usher syndrome (a genetic defect leading to deafness and blindness) and Friedreich’s ataxia (a degenerative nerve disorder). There is a “Center for Acadiana Genetics” in Louisiana to study these diseases, as well as the higher rates of diabetes, cancer and heart disease among the Cajuns.

There’s another proud group of white Americans who are living the dream of racial purity and uni-culturalism. I speak of the Amish. Particularly the most conservative among them, known as the “Old Order Amish.”

We’re talking strict endogamy, of course; they only marry their own, no outside genes allowed. Matter of fact, the Old Order Amish are all descended from the same small groups of German settlers who arrived in the United States in the 1700s.

Genetic damage? You betcha.

Another rare type of dwarfism, Ellis-van Creveld syndrome (or “EvC syndrome”) is more prevalent in Lancaster Country, Pennsylvania, than anywhere else on Earth. Why? Because of a recessive gene that’s actually been traced back to one Amish couple – Samuel King and his wife, who immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1744.

All 50 of the Amish babies who’ve been born with Ellis-van Creveld syndrome are descendants of Samuel King.

(Oddly enough, in a different Old Order Amish community – this one in Holmes County, Ohio – there is no EvC syndrome, but there’s a high incidence of another rare genetic disorder, hemophilia B.)

At its furthest extreme, this kind of “reproductive isolation” can cause a gene pool to collapse on itself. That’s what seems to be happening to the Onges, an aboriginal tribe on one island in the Bay of Bengal.

There were about 700 Onges a century ago; today, only 98 are left. Why? Their strict endogamy led not only to a prevalence of genetic diseases, but to Y chromosome damage and consequent male infertility.

Meanwhile, on a neighboring island you’ll find the Nicobarese, a tribe that’s presumed to be a mix of Burmese, Malay, Mon and Shan bloodlines. Guess what? They’re thriving.

Everywhere you look, same story. In Iceland, a very high incidence of Parkinson’s disease, genetically linked. In Japan, the prevalence of a specific type of muscular dystrophy called Fukuyama-type congenital muscular dystrophy (or “FCMD”).

In Newfoundland, with its remarkably homogenous white population and very little genetic diversity, there are DNA mutations aplenty. On that island of half a million souls, you’ll find a variety of hereditary cancers, eye ailments and heart diseases rarely seen elsewhere. On top of that, 10 percent of the population has the heartbreak of psoriasis.

Then there’s Bardet-Biedl syndrome (or “BBS”), a rare and sometimes fatal genetic disease that occurs in Newfoundland at 10 times the rate of the rest of the world, according to Canadian science writer William Illsey Atkinson. “BBS patients often have extra fingers and toes at birth,” Atkinson wrote in 2000. “In childhood, they grow obese; in adolescence, blind. Death by kidney failure may follow in early adulthood.”

Wow. That makes “mongrelization” sound downright healthy, don’t it?


Anonymous said...

The best argument for race-mixing is Halle Berry. No further research needed!

SJ said...

Great post. I myself have noticed that mixed-race people look rather attractive.

I am Pakistani and there is a rather disturbing trend among certain groups to marry their own first-cousins a lot...I have myself attended a first-cousin marriage, and needless to say the creepy vibe made sure that I didn't enjoy the ceremony at all.

Here's an article by BBC which highlights the problems among Pakistanis:

"It is estimated that at least 55% of British Pakistanis are married to first cousins and the tradition is also common among some other South Asian communities and in some Middle Eastern countries.

...British Pakistanis are 13 times more likely to have children with genetic disorders than the general population - they account for just over 3% of all births but have just under a third of all British children with such illnesses.

Indeed, Birmingham Primary Care Trust estimates that one in ten of all children born to first cousins in the city either dies in infancy or goes on to develop serious disability as a result of a recessive genetic disorder. "

SJ said...

Hmm Blogger seems to have a problem with longer URLs, so here's the tinyurl link for the BBC article above:

Undercover Black Man said...

SJ: Whoa, that's news to me about the Pakistanis. Fascinating. I wonder what that trend is about?

Doug: I would rather have Jordin Sparks thigh-scissor my head. But I never said I was normal.

You go, Jordin!

Undercover Black Man said...

And thanks for the tinyurl link, SJ.

Anonymous said...

So the prognosis for a healthy life for and her future children are fairly good for my daughter. I'm a mutt and so's my wife. Thanks for the info Mr. UBM.

Undercover Black Man said...

You're welcome, Bumpster. Thanks for the comment.

Anonymous said...

Those recessive genes can be a bitch if you let em.

And I guess the deal with the British Pakistanis is the fact that they are muslims and many muslim communities practice first-cousin marriage because they wish to follow the example of Mohammed, who took in one of his cousins as one of his wives.

Anonymous said...

These examples are all sad, but I have to say the bit about Newfoundland choked me up the most. They've historically been one of the most economically depressed and politically isolated provinces and in recent decades they've had issues with the kids leaving "The Rock" in droves for better opportunities on the mainland.

What they need is some kind of sponsorship program to get new blood onto the island - and new money. Or something on Craig's List: Small Island Province, fun-loving, rich in history, scenic, seeks adventurous young people looking for family and busines opportuities. Must love salt air and fiddle music.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ I can solve that problem with one word: Guatemalans.

Anonymous said...

Nobody is ever as pure as they think they are. Remember reading an article a long time ago that the average Afrikaner had somewhere b/n 5 to 10 percent nonwhite ancestry. It had to do with that the first settlers on the Cape where mostly male and they intermarried with Africans and later on Malays.

As to Icelandic folk, that Viking stock ain't too pure either. Seafarers that they were the Vikings often had took wives from whatever place they happened to conquer. You can still see the inluences all over coastal western Europe like parts of Northern France and Ireland.


Anonymous said...

Yes, genetic diversity is rewarded by nature. So too is intellectual/cultural diversity. Peoples in Africa have a surprisingly deep and diverse gene pool HOWEVER the "white mind" sees one "race" because all it sees is color of skin. So let's stop looking at Benneton ads and start looking at science---ancient and modern.

Anonymous said...

Nobody is ever as pure as they think they are. Remember reading an article a long time ago that the average Afrikaner had somewhere b/n 5 to 10 percent nonwhite ancestry.

You recall correctly. In "Africa: A Biography of the Continent," John Readers writes that the average descendant of the Boertrekkers, a.k.a., the Afrikaners was approximately 7% Black for the reasons you described. This made the kind of interest in genealogy that is common in the USA verboten in Apartheid-era South Africa.

As a Puerto Rican, the kind of mixing UBM writes about is par for the course. A family picture ranges from "dirty blond" hair with blue eyes to folks who look like, well, UBM. (Puerto Ricans are descended from at least 95 nationalities plus, of course, Africans and Tainos.)

Perhaps not coincidentally, Puerto Ricans, like other Latinos, have longer life expectancies than North Americans.

James C. Collier said...

It can be a little more complicated than 'bad stuff' or 'good stuff'. The greater scientific community has long suspected that Ashkenazic diseases like Tay-Sachs, must confer some advantage, which would be required to explain why carriers of the trait have maintained positive reproductive standing within their communities over extended periods. As a group, European American Jews display measured intelligence that is, on average, 10-15 points above that of the average European American. Even with the controversy that it brings, researchers are attempting to discern whether the advantage that offsets the occurrence of Tay-Sachs, and other similar sphingolipid disorders, is heightened intelligence, with all its obvious benefits. The postulation, similar to the balanced polymorphic dynamic characterizing Sickle-cell anemia and malaria, is one where the mutation affords a significant benefit, even when its associated disease is deadly. In the case of mutations of sphingolipid, it is further postulated that these disorders promote the growth and interconnection of brain cells. A second explanation involves the mutation of DNA repair genes that promote the growth of neurons in the brain. These explanations describe a scenario where for nearly 1,100 years, Jews of Europe, by way of discrimination, were limited to occupations of managerial commerce that were cognitively demanding. Those who were more successful left more offspring, considering that during most of this time marriage was restricted to similar Jews as well, by law and religion. In support of their theories, researchers further note that Americans, of Ashkenazi heritage have claimed 27% of Nobel prizes while comprising only 3% of the population. Also, while the average boost to intelligence is relatively small at the statistical mean, the results further to the right of the mean shows genius-level intelligence in Ashkenazi’s at more than five times the average European.

Tim Ogden said...

To clarify another error in the post: Bardet Biedl is not a "fatal" genetic syndrome and its prevalence is largely unknown.

This is because relatively little is known about the syndrome and doctors/scientists acknowledge that until recently the only people diagnosed were those with the more extreme forms of the syndrome. It's only within the last two years that scientists have uncovered a plausible theory that explains what's happening in the syndrome -- the core issue is a defect in cilia formation that inhibits molecular level message passing between cells. We still don't know why that defect results in all of the symptoms identified.

Additionally, there are 12 identified genes associated with Bardet Biedl syndrome, and doctors suspect that there are probably 3 or 4 more that they haven't found yet. The Newfoundland variant is related to one of these genes, but that gene, known as BBS1, is just one among many that can cause the syndrome.

While some people with Bardet Biedl syndrome do develop end-stage renal failure, the best population studies suggest that this occurs in less than 20% of patients.

Undercover Black Man said...

Thanks for the clarification, Tim. I've adjusted my post accordingly.

JMC said...

ubm, long time lurker, first time poster, and great admirer of your blog. I am compelled to rise out of lurkdom in order to quote the wise Mr. Bulworth:

White people, black people, brown people, yellow people, get rid of 'em all/ All we need is a voluntary, free spirited, open-ended program of procreative racial deconstruction/ Everybody just gotta keep fuckin' everybody til they're all the same color

I'm doing my part with the wife (peruvian and cyprian), hows about the rest of youze all? :)

Anonymous said...

Speaking of in-breeding and its various problems, Saudi Arabia is one of the world's champs.

My personal favorite weird inbreeding story is that of the blue hillbillies.

Anonymous said...

Still don't support interracial couples.

Anonymous said...

Blue people! Fascinating!

James C. Collier said...

Great post David, and like I always say, 'we are all Africans under the skin'.

Anonymous said...

"Still don't support interracial couples." No one asked.

Undercover Black Man said...

Interghost: Great links!

M.Chavez: Thanks for de-lurking. Horny devils like Warren Beatty prove a key point of history... dicks don't have politics.

Mr. Collier: Thanks for the comments. As for the upside of the Tay Sachs gene... I think they're trying to make lemons out of lemonade. If endogamy was enough to explain high Jewish intelligence, then wouldn't the Amish and the Cajuns be just as smart? Or does it take a millenium for the genius to surface?

Undercover Black Man said...

^ I meant "make lemonade out of lemons."

James C. Collier said...

D: I think researchers are talking about sexual selection within a group, driven by intelligence and it's benefits, juxtaposed with related deadly diseases. The Amish and Cajuns never 'gamed' their genetics for improved stature, vis-a-vis the outside world, as far as I know.

E. Normus Johnson said...


It may not be "genius" at all, at least, not in the sense of Nobel winners. It could be musical/artistic genius, or being superior craftsmen or having longer and more detailed memories or even simply a lower incidence of rank stupidity.

Hell, it could be more powerful orgasms or bigger penises.


E. Normus Johnson said...

Come to think of it-- ever listen to zydeco?


sherifffruitfly said...

I had a girlfriend who was a geneticist, and did her Master's thesis on the Amish. The upshot: their DNA is so freakish it's almost inhuman.

A larger population like the Japanese might be able to maintain their genetic isolation without catching Amish-freak-itis - but only for awhile.

Every biologist knows full well that evolution loves me boinking white women even more than *I* do.

Clutch the pearls.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ You funny, man.

Anonymous said...

Many would argue that some of the most beautiful women to be found are Brazilian, and there's no shortage of racial mixing down there.
Ever seen a black person with blond hair?
A white person with African features?
Those are the outliers of course.

By and large, the Brazilians are a very handsome "race" with their misgenation.
The day is getting closer when the world will all look alike.
Maybe then we can do away with war and wickedness.
WE can hope anyway.:-)

Anonymous said...

Wonderfullll!!! post.

First time I'm here and I love it :-)

btw, I'm a molecular biologist.

See you soon!

Anonymous said...

By and large, the Brazilians are a very handsome "race" with their misgenation.
The day is getting closer when the world will all look alike.
Maybe then we can do away with war and wickedness.
WE can hope anyway.:-)

I hate to piss on anyone's gushy-eyed utopian parade, but let's face it, Brazil is hardly a prime example of a successful society, is it?

A sky-high murder rate, endemic corruption, enormous poverty and practically unequalled social inequality mean that Brazil is not exactly what most (sane) people would see as a model for the United States.

Undercover Black Man said...

Gess, thanks so much for the comment. I'm glad you found me.

Anonymous said...

On the issue of intelligence, it's worth keeping in mind that Jews in the U.S. actually did pretty poorly on IQ tests in the first half of the 20th century and didn't start improving to get to the above-average scores they have now until much more recently. It's slightly possible to explain that in terms of genes that go along with Tay-Sachs somehow contributing to intelligence and taking that long to occur frequently enough to have an effect. What's more likely is that the genetic potential for intelligence is present in many who do not display that intelligence due to social factors of various sorts, and the social conditions for American Jews to develop their intelligence had arrived by the time they started doing better on intelligence tests. This sort of phenomenon happens quite frequently with groups that are somewhat marginalized who become more mainstreamed, as has happened with blacks since Jim Crow was ended.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the main point of this post. Overall, mixing is better genetically than genetic isolation. But I think it's worth acknowledging that there are occasional genetic problems that come from two parents whose DNA are pretty far removed from each other. Some healthy traits require combinations of genes, and if the parents are far enough apart genetically that will be harder to achieve. I suspect this effect is much less than the ones where mixing allows for the diminishing of bad traits, but it's possible nonetheless.

Theseus said...

We don't want to have sex with you. Go away. Also, stop raping us.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Thanks for the link on Cool Kids Rebel, Theseus.

John Doheny said...

Hah! You are of course aware that the photo you're using is of Laura Locoul-Gore, of Laura Plantation fame. My wife and I were just up there about a month ago.

BTW the consensus is that she was of mixed caucasian and Mic-Mac Indian lineage (her family was originally from Quebec) although she did have a black slave half brother.

I've been harping on the advantages of race mixing since reading Ashleigh Montague's "Man's Most Dangerous Myth: the Fallacy of Race" back in the 70s. More recently, Gwendolyn Midlow Hall (author of Africans in Colonial Louisiana) points out that of 'white' families with a long history in Louisiana (ie pre-civil-war) only about 30% are actually 'white' by the standards of reconstruction, meaning one drop of black blood makes you a Negro.

Clearly, race is a social construction.

Undercover Black Man said...

John: I knew she was a "Creole," that's about it. Whatever she was, she was cute! I'll have to read more about her...

Thanks for commenting.

Anonymous said...

Mixed-race people are just human beings, not possessed of "hybrid vigor." There's just less chance of them having genetic diseases.

The majority of African Americans are mixed-race. Right? The average African-American has 18 to 22% European ancestry and 8 to 11% Native American ancestry.

One-third of all "white" Americans have detectable African ancestry that can be traced to the descendants of enslaved Africans.

As for Brazil, please people, stop with the myth of Brazil as some kind of mixed-race paradise. It's just isn't so. Brazil is as racist as the U.S. but in different ways.
However, the standard of beauty in Brazil is still based on "white" European standards.

Anonymous said...

Re. Iceland: The Nazi myth of an "unpolluted pool of Viking genes" just seems to live on and on and on.

The ethnic composition in Iceland (at the age of settlement) was roughly thus: Menfolk 80% Nordic and 20% Celtic (basically Ireland & the British Isles). There was more Celtic blood in the womanfolk (60% I seem to remember) and about 6% of our foremothers stemmed from places farther away, Slavic, Mediterranean etc. etc.

Icelanders are a nation, not an ethnic group.

Sure, the population was always very small and the country was pretty isolated but I don't think that conditions, economic or otherwise, were particularly conductive to inbreeding.

There were never any ethnic or religions groups socially isolated from the population at large (which is a kind of situation which would be conductive to inbreeding, I think).

And small populations rarely if ener lived in geographical pockets (like villages) generation after generation after generation. Iceland never had that kind of feudal system.

(Iceland didn't even have villages)

Compared to Europe the populace was always very mobile (owing to the fluctuations of the fishing seasons, among other things). People moved around a lot. The (primitive) economic system demanded it.

Then there was the marriage laws. People were forbidden to marry their nieces or nephews or their first cousins OR second cousins. This only changed in the 19th C.


Anonymous said...

The day is getting closer when the world will all look alike.

I know it's not exactly what you mean, la raza! :-D

Anonymous said...

Icalanders (and all Vikings in general) tended to go shopping for wifes during their office hours (ie. pillagingand conquering other lands) ;-) And that kept their gene pool quite fresh for those inhabitants of an isolated island

__air said...

Your logic is slightly flawed. Inbreeding does not produce Chromosome Damage in the Amish (as far as I know). What it does is provide recessive genes the opportunity to be expressed. This can be a mixed blessing. As you have noted autosomal diseases can be expressed. As can desirable traits. The Amish are so blind in their ways that they will continue to produce children until God finally smites them. *In addition they do not get enough vitamins living on corn fed cows milk.

Recessive genes are likely to be expressed when the population is very small. This may help organisms survive. In addition, heartier dominate genes can pull recessive genes through hard times where the more delicate recessive white man might not be able to toil in the fields for such long hours.

Breeding of plants and animals is something we have been doing for sometime now and concider ourselves quite good at it.

Why do we breed plants and animals? Because there are certain traits that we want expressed that are not bestiality, thick-neck, rapacious, heathenous, barbaric, whoring, weeds. Doing so, we can breed out unwanted qualities like disease and sloth and ugliness.

In the case of humans (or animals for that matter), breeding first cousins does make a copy more like the common ancestors than does cross-breeding. This presupposes that the original had fair and aristocratic. If not your just going to wind up with the same assholes you started with.

Cross-breeding, say Asian and Caucasian and then into either race can add some versatility that was not present before. Some offspring will retain this and others will not. Which is chosen for further breeding is leads to selection of traits that are similar to evolution or what Darwin described as organisms fitting into niches.

In the white population some selection has occurred and different populations have developed different traits. These populations, when cross-bred lead to offspring with both traits and some averaging and this is in general considered aesthetically soothing, comforting. Except when the two populations are at odds. Then each identifies traits of the opposition in the offspring and it is shunned.

Jews hard-inbreed whatever they got with out regard. This leads to a mixed bag and organisms are complex and do not bode well with this invariable variability. In the extreme case the basic functions can start to degrad -- functions that maintain the Chromosomes and this can lead to radical damage and general bad health.

So as you can see being genetically nimble and spry has it's advantages. It's a little more complicated then just mixin' tho.

Anonymous said...

I have a friend that is descended from Vikings. Her grandmother is from Norway. She has a kidney disease that apparently only Vikings have. I agree, that race mixing may be a good thing. Let's let our family trees fork, people!