Just Thinking About Christianity Makes People More Racist

pure white

Yikes, according to a study in Social Psychological and Personality Science:

Participants subliminally primed with Christian words displayed more covert racial prejudice against African-Americans (Study 1) and more general negative affect toward African-Americans (Study 2) than did persons primed with neutral words. The effects of priming on racial prejudice remained even when statistically controlling for pre-existing levels of religiousness and spirituality. Possible mechanisms for the observed effect of Christian religion on racial prejudice are discussed.

Barking Up the Wrong Tree: Does thinking about Christianity make people more racist?

The link only has the abstract, so I’m not sure about the methodology, but that’s a kind of scary result considering all the religious propaganda in the States.


Trevor Blake provided a link to a PDF of the full study, and that sheds some light on the subject. Of particular note is the “Caveats” section (emphasis mine):

It should be noted that, in both experiments, the baseline level of covert racial prejudice was in the neutral range. Furthermore, the magnitude of effects in this study was small. Priming Christian concepts did not cause a large increase in racial prejudice, but it did lead to a small, significant increase. As such, we cannot conclude that priming Christian concepts causes racism per se; our data do not support this conclusion. However, we did find that priming Christian concepts causes a negative shift in existing racial attitudes and that the direction of the shift represents a slight but significant increase in racial prejudice.

The sample sizes of the two studies were quite small. Only 73 in the first experiment and 43 in the second. Participants were mostly white and Christian, but other ethnicities and religions were represented.

The second experiment replicated the results of the first, but further replications by other researchers are needed – preferably with larger sample sizes – before any conclusions can be drawn.

Also, the section “Christian Concepts, Racial Prejudice, and Possible Mediators Between the Two,” which covers the paradoxes of current religious priming research, is worth reading.

Racism? In My Tea Party? It’s More Likely Than You Think

Tea Party: We Need a Christian President

The NAACP has released a report on racism in the Tea Party movement. From a press release:

Based on exhaustive research, a new report “Tea Party Nationalism: A Critical Examination of the Tea Party Movement and the Size Scope and Focus of it National Factions,” demonstrates that despite Tea Party claims that its solely concerned with budget deficits, taxes and the power of the federal government, Tea Party membership and actions are permeated with radical views about race, national identity and other so-called social issues.

What’s in it:

*The report’s website, teapartynationalism.com identifies and maps Tea Party membership, provides an interactive map, and breaks down membership of different factions state-by-state, town-by-town;
*Analyzing the work of the party factions, demonstrating how racism, bigotry and the dismantling the birthright citizenship provision of the 14th amendment dominate their agendas, far outweighing fiscal policy concerns. (can we move this up)
*Demonstrating the lack of influence of the widely-quoted and fiscally-oriented FreedomWorks faction, which is run by Dick Armey and has the second-smallest membership of the groups.
*Listing all Congressional members who are part of the Tea Party caucus, as well as those in support sponsoring of a law aimed at birthright citizenship that aims to would challenge the 14th amendment;
*Documents the long history of connections and interactions among various Tea Party factions and their connections to right-wing fringe groups such as Stormfront, David Duke and others, which are essential to understand the character of this movement;
*Showing leaders of five of the six factions subscribe to the “birther” theory that President Obama is not a natural born American

Tea Party Nationalism

I haven’t had time to read the report yet, only the press release, so I can’t speak to how convincing the data is. But they make some very interesting claims that surprise even me.

Interracial couple denied marriage license in Louisiana

Civil rights and civil liberties groups are calling for a Louisiana justice of the peace to resign after he refused to sign a marriage license for an interracial couple in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana.

Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace for the eighth ward of Tangipahoa Parish, declined to issue a license to Beth Humphrey, 30, and her boyfriend Terence McKay, 32, both of Hammond. Bardwell justified his decicion on the grounds of concern for the welfare of their children. Humphrey is white, McKay black.

Bardwell was quoted in news reports as saying that neither blacks nor whites truly accept the offspring of interracial marriages, and that such marriages usually do not last long.

Huliq: Interracial couple denied marriage license in Louisiana

(via The Agitator)

The Heretical Two

If a website is hosted in the United States but authored in another country, which country’s laws should apply to the content of that website? If a web site in favor of independence for Tibet were hosted in the United States but authored in China, which country’s laws should apply to the content of that website? What about a website in favor of women’s rights were hosted in the United States but authored in Iran? Most people I know would say that the free speech laws of the United States should trump the non-free speech laws of other countries. Most people I know would say that these websites should be allowed to continue to exist and that their authors should not be subject to criminal charges, either in the United States or in any other country. But when the free speech in question is in error or insulting then there are differences of opinion among those I know. Some laugh, some scowl and move on, some call for the free speech to be censored, some call for those practicing free speech to be punished.

England has laws that make ‘race hate’ literature illegal. The United States does not have such laws. Simon Sheppard [Wikipedia] of England publishes the website heretical.com out of Torrance, California. On Friday July 14, 2008 Sheppard was found guilty of eleven counts of ‘race hate’ relating to heretical.com. According to heretical.com the website was subject to British and not USA law because it was ‘available in England and Wales.’ What other websites originating in the USA are subject to British law because they are available in England and Wales? Perhaps my own, ovo127.com? Am I endangering my chances of visiting England again with this post?

OVO: The Heretical Two

I do not think that people should be jailed for hate speech. However, I believe a correction or clarification may be in order: Trevor quotes the claim that heretical.com is “‘irony, satire and parody of political correctness, intended in good humour and for the stimulation of debate.” Perhaps this is the case – hence their reprinting of Crumb’s clearly ironic comics. However, based on the general contents of the site, and Simon Sheppard’s background, it’s difficult to reach that conclusion. Which raises another issue – how does one differentiate between legitimate and ironic racist literature?

The plight of Roma in Europe

The latest spate of racist attacks on over 100 Romanian people in Northern Ireland is part of a growing trend of discrimination against Roma people across Europe, Amnesty International has said.

Around 20 families of Roma people from Romania were forced to flee their homes in Belfast after coming under sustained attack for a number of nights. A crowd is reported to have gathered outside their homes shouting racist slogans, smashing windows and kicking in doors.

The Roma initially sought refuge in the City Church in South Belfast on Tuesday. They have subsequently been transferred by Northern Ireland authorities to temporary accommodation in a leisure centre elsewhere in the city.

Amnesty International has investigated and responded to similar attacks on the Roma in Europe, including in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Serbia and Slovakia, in the past year.

Amnesty International: Belfast Roma attacks highlight European racism issue

An institutionalised crime against the Roma people is taking place in eastern Europe. A forthcoming report from Human Rights Watch documents an ongoing scandal at Mitrovica, in northern Kosovo, which began 10 years ago in the wake of the looting and burning to the ground of the entire settlement known as the Roma Mahalla.

This was once a vibrant home to some 8,000 people, most of them Muslims. But the inhabitants fled, fearing attacks by ethnic Albanians who saw the Roma as “collaborators” with the Serbs, with whom they share a language. Some 6,500 of these Mitrovica Roma have never returned – indeed, only about a tenth of a prewar population of 200,000 Kosovan Roma remain. The Nato-led Kosovo Force did not intervene at the time in the blighting of the Mahalla, but the UN High Commissioner for Refugees was quick to help the newly homeless, organising food and, over some months, places to live until their settlement could be restored.

However, these makeshift camps – with the exception of one installed in an old Yugoslav army barracks 30 miles (48km) away – are situated by the dams of an old lead mine, beside a three-storey-high “black mountain”, or toxic slag heap, “at the epicentre of contamination”, according to Wanda Troszczynska Van Genderen, a researcher with Human Rights Watch (HRW) and author of the report. The defunct Trepca mine complex constitutes an entire region long known for its toxicity and therefore being unsuitable even for temporary use, let alone a decade of inactivity and neglect.

The Guardian: Abused, driven out and poisoned: the scandal of the Kosovo Roma

One hundred years since the death of Friedrich Nietzsche: a review of his ideas and influence

World Socialist Web Site’s Nietzsche retrospective from 2000:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

(Thanks Nick Hate)

A very good set of essays, if unfair to Nietzsche’s work as a whole. The third part is the weakest. Steinberg obviously has an axe to grind with the post-structuralists et al. and that’s fine. But it’s perfectly reasonable to agree with some things a philosopher wrote and disagree with others. Nietzsche was clearly a reactionary, but does he offer nothing of worth?

Apologists for Nietzsche seek to distance him from the policy and activities of the Nazis. But is Nietzsche’s position here so remote from Adolph Hitler’s entreaty, in an internal NSDAP memo of 1922, for the: “most uncompromising and brutal determination to destroy and liquidate Marxism”? Adolph Hitler was certainly no philosopher, just as Nietzsche was not merely a political ideologue. But who can reasonably doubt that the former had little difficulty in seamlessly incorporating the latter’s thoroughly backward-looking programme of biological racism, hatred of socialism and the concept of social equality—together with his advocacy of militarism and war—into the eclectic baggage of ideas which constituted the programme of National Socialism?

Here Steinberg is correct: there’s no reason to put lipstick on a pig. Nietzsche held some reprehensible views and to pretend otherwise is either dishonest or naive.

I’m reminded of the conversation we had about H.P. Lovecraft’s racism: some racists get a pass, others don’t. I caught some flak about posting the complete text of Might is Right here, but I doubt I would have heard a peep if I’d posted the complete text of On the Genealogy of Morals.

Unspeakable horror of HP Lovecraft

Missed this, it was originally posted on Lovecraft’s birthday:

“Race prejudice is a gift of nature, intended to preserve in purity the various divisions of mankind which the ages have evolved.”
– H. P. Lovecraft, Letters

“Now the trickiest catch in the Negro problem is the fact that it is really twofold. The Black is vastly inferior. There can be no question of this among contemporary and unsentimental biologists… But, it is also a fact that there would be a very grave and very legitimate problem even if the Negro were the White man’s equal.”
– H. P. Lovecraft, Letters

“Of course they can’t let Niggers use the beach at a Southern resort – can you imagine sensitive persons bathing near a pack of greasy chimpanzees? The only thing that makes life endurable where Blacks abound is the Jim Crow principle, and I wish they’d apply it in New York both to Niggers and to the more Asiatic types of puffy, rat-faced Jews!”
– H. P. Lovecraft, Letters


None of these texts are unpublished, or difficult to find, or unclear. H. P. Lovecraft was a racist. But his fame and influence is unaffected by his bigotry. This suggests that when someone is accused of bigotry this accusation may be an attack on that person, not on their ideas or behavior. Because others are given a free ride while being just as racist. Some are chosen to be branded a racist and are never forgiven. Others are forgiven. Amnesty doesn’t seem to be based on the actual ideas or behavior of the accused.

Full Story: OVO

There are several more instances at the link.

See also: What is the best HP Lovecraft collection?

Racist Rejection Letter Stirs Controversy in SF Community

In the aftermath of the Violet Blue episode and in the midst of the PZ Myers controversy, racism reared it’s ugly head in the SF community. Aspiring SF writer Luke Jackson published a rejection letter written by an editor for Helix, William Sanders, in which was said :

“I’m impressed by your knowledge of the Q’uran and Islamic traditions. (Having spent a couple of years in the Middle East, I know something about these things.) You did a good job of exploring the worm-brained mentality of those people – at the end we still don’t really understand it, but then no one from the civilized world ever can – and I was pleased to see that you didn’t engage in the typical error of trying to make this evil bastard sympathetic, or give him human qualities. {…] the narrator seems to be saying that it was this incident which caused him to take up the jihad, but he’s being mendacious (like all his kind, he’s incapable of honesty). […] most of the SF magazines are very leery of publishing anything that might offend the sheet heads’

Unfortunately the letter was deleted in fear of a lawsuit threatened by Sanders. Putting the ethics about publicly posting a rejection letter aside, this is one that needed to be seen. Author Tobias Buckell has a great post on his blog summing it up. In an interesting development writer Yoon Ha Lee got a taste of Helix editor Sanders professionalism after asking to remove her story:

“Sanders flounced off in a huff, stating that the story ‘never did make any sense’ and that he only accepted it to ‘please those who admire your work’-what altruism!-‘and also because (notorious bigot that I am) I was trying to get more work by non-Caucasian writers.’ If I were a writer currently submitting to Helix, I would kind of worry about that bit-all things considered, if a story really does suck, I’d rather have it rejected so I can fix it.

He then played psychic and claimed that I only asked for the story to be withdrawn ‘because, let’s get real here, you feel the need to distance yourself from someone who is in disfavor with the kind of babbling PC waterheads whose good opinion is so important to you, and whom you seem to be trying to impress with this little grandstand play.’ He closed with: ‘There was a suggestion I was going to make, but it is probably not physically practicable.’

After that he pulled the story and replaced it with these professional words: “Story deleted at author’s pantiwadulous request.”

Sanders is now demanding anyone who wants their stories removed from Helix to pay forty bucks!

(See also: Tobias Buckell: “Asimov’s Forum Ickiness”, Buckell: “Keeps Digging”, K. Tempest Bradford: “William Sanders, Senior Bigot, Helix”)

R.U. Sirius: don’t let the religious right monopolize “intelligent design”

From R.U.’s blog:

The dark age forces continue their triumphant march, or their spirited crawl, or whatever. It is interesting and peculiar how anti-evolutionary religious reactionary are using the concept of ?Intelligent Design? to force their anti-scientific, 15th Century agenda on American children. Darwinian evolution, of course, is the broadly scientifically validated fact (certainly details are arguable) and ?Intelligent Design? is a belief or theory. If there is intelligent design, Darwinian evolution is a manifestation of it.

I happen to be transcribing an interview I did recently for NeoFiles with Howard Bloom about his book ?Global Brain”. Bloom?s book makes a convincing argument that all of life is a single intelligent system (Intelligent? not random) that operates according to a particular set of rules. It has been iterating and gaining complexity since the big bang. Intuitively, this seems almost obvious to me.

There obviously is a Third Way (there are an infinite number of ways) besided Darwinian chance and creationist nonsense. We should maybe try to keep the religious reactionaries from monopolizing the idea of ?intelligent design.?

Glad to see someone else thinking along these lines. Everything is true.

Over at his place, William Gibson recalls the *real* reason that conservatives reject evolution.

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