Having the characteristics of iron
November 12, 2013 1:05 AM   Subscribe

Craig Cobb is a white supremacist notorious for his plan to create a Whites-only enclave in Leith, North Dakota. Cobb's DNA was analysed for his appearance on The Trisha Goddard Show, with hilarious results. The episode will air on November 18th, but you can read more about it at the Daily Mail.
posted by Joe in Australia (89 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Not surprised at the DNA results. Ashamed that white supremacists still exist. Upset that white supremacists are being given free publicity.
posted by Quilford at 1:19 AM on November 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


What an idiot. Anyone pick up on his bizarre use of the term "handmaidens"? It's like he thinks The Handmaid's Tale is utopian fiction.
posted by topynate at 1:30 AM on November 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


Seems potentially too good to be true. I can't tell whether or not this was real.
posted by Edgewise at 1:30 AM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


HOMELAND HANDMAIDENS could be a reasonably successful reality show on TLC.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:32 AM on November 12, 2013 [11 favorites]


Well, let's not dwell to hard on the Daily Mail mocking people with Nazi sympathies.

I think there is an inalienable truth of white supremacists - that their extremism is in inverse proportion to their actual physical, intellectual or moral claims of superiority over other races.

It's nice to see this cranky, lunatic, unwell old man doesn't challenge that truth. He's gone 60 or so years of a life largely unremarkable except for personal tragedy. Now he's found a little town where he can turn his meagre savings and inheritance into an investment that makes national news, and which supports an ideology that absolves him of his faults by blaming the ills of the world on a bunch of people he's never met.
posted by MuffinMan at 1:40 AM on November 12, 2013 [14 favorites]


This does more harm by appearing to validate the false idea that "race" maps reliably to DNA than the good it does by embarrassing a white supremacist. "Sub-saharan Africa" includes populations that are much more genetically diverse from each other than they are from northern European populations — that this is a category in that test is odd.

What would be more relevant in this American white-supremacist's case would be genetic markers associated with one or more of the western African ethnicities that formed the bulk of slaves brought to North America.

Population genetics is interesting and it's valuable to be able to localize migrations and quantify intermarriage rates between (relatively) distinct populations. But it's sadly ironic that this test is used and understood in a way that implies the validity of this bigot's beliefs about genetics and race. It doesn't prove that he's 86% "white" and 14% "black" because those terms don't have meanings that support those kinds of distinctions and quantifications.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:56 AM on November 12, 2013 [68 favorites]


Yeah, but he's a white supremacist who thinks they do, so it's embarrassing for him.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:05 AM on November 12, 2013 [13 favorites]


I don't really find "lol ur black" to be so much of a coup. It basically reinforces white supremacy itself; it plays along by deploying a racist ad hominem, and failing to engage the fact that white supremacy as an ideology is utter bullshit.
posted by threeants at 2:17 AM on November 12, 2013 [16 favorites]


Mapping race to DNA doesn't really work because cultures draw the boundaries in ways that don't correspond to descent, but DNA to race is a little easier. Not much doubt that he would consider roughly 14% of his ancestors from a few thousand years ago to be black if he laid eyes on them, although how many had descendants that came to America as slaves as opposed to immigrating to the Iberian peninsula in the distant past is another matter.
posted by topynate at 2:21 AM on November 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


but you can read more about it at the Daily Mail.

Sorry, but you lost me right there.
posted by el io at 3:02 AM on November 12, 2013 [11 favorites]


Y'all can argue the statistical analysis or the provenance of the Daily Mail, but as a resident of the state that this pencil-dick asshole is trying to pollute with his nonsense, this is still cause to cartwheel and laugh out loud.
posted by Ber at 3:06 AM on November 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ber: Vile asshole racists inhabit every state of the union. Many of them are delusional in many ways (thinking they can leave the union, for example). The difference is this asshat is quite public about his asshatery, and the media knows it'll get clicks (ie: make money from him).

Sure it's fun to see the asshole racist get humiliated on TV, just like it was in the 80's, when the shtick was first created/perfected (we'll miss you Morton Downy Jr)...

But I'm still not giving the Daily Mail my clicks.
posted by el io at 3:13 AM on November 12, 2013


Obligatory alternate non-Daily Mail link: SFGate blog
posted by KatlaDragon at 3:20 AM on November 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hitler Jewish? Even so, his genetic makeup didn't restrain him very much.
posted by cenoxo at 3:35 AM on November 12, 2013


> What an idiot. Anyone pick up on his bizarre use of the term "handmaidens"? It's like he thinks The Handmaid's Tale is utopian fiction.

This is what you should expect of a wannabe despot if he reads a novel about life under totalitarian despotism.
posted by ardgedee at 3:35 AM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


No clicks should be given to anyone. The headline provides all the story one needs. Except for the potential DNA vs race discussion that might briefly be had, this is a LOLasshole post that shouldn't even warrant a click on MeFi.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:39 AM on November 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


The lady laughing next to him is pretty great.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:40 AM on November 12, 2013 [12 favorites]


86% "white" and 14% "black"
That's one way of perceiving it, and I think you're correct that some people will interpret this only as
"lol ur black"
but it also works to undermine the ideological basis of his racial categorisation system in a very personal way.
posted by compound eye at 3:40 AM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I expected it to be awkward, but the presenter was clearly having such a good time with it, it was kind of contagious. Multiple fist-bump evasion!
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 3:55 AM on November 12, 2013


I laughed when I read about John Safran doing the same thing to Richard Barrett.
posted by flabdablet at 3:56 AM on November 12, 2013


Of course the "86% white, 14% black" is oversimplistic, culturally irrelevant hogwash, but the juicy irony is that the bigot cannot easily argue that it's hogwash without compromising his core racist ideas. If he admits that racial purity is artificial or irrelevant, then he's just lost the argument in a different way.
posted by cotterpin at 3:58 AM on November 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


A look down Main Street in Leith, N.D. Many of its 16 residents had never even heard of white supremacy until its proponents tried to take over their town.

300m people in America and what happens in a town with a population of 16 is interesting?

It's a bit like the annual May Day parades here were the 20 or so remaining Communists march for whatever Communists march for, surrounded by a phalanx of police protecting them from the 20 or so fascists giving both groups of idiots way more media attention than their numbers merit.

This isn't news; it's sensationalist rubbish. America: 0,000005% white Supremacist. SOMETHING MUST BE DONE!
posted by three blind mice at 4:13 AM on November 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sometimes there is only one guy on the internet who says something and a lot of people respond to it. There are billions of people on the internet, why should this one guy garner the responses?! It is ridiculous!
posted by ardgedee at 4:18 AM on November 12, 2013


Sticherbeast: "The lady laughing next to him is pretty great."

I could listen to her laugh all day.

Couple of years ago, some genetic testing was done on groups of folks living in rural TN who identified themselves as Melungeon, the descendants of Portuguese immigrants or possibly Native American.

Historians scratched their heads over that for years, since no sizable population of Portuguese immigrants could be found in the right places or at the right times, so the DNA testing was done and you can probably guess what the results were.
posted by jquinby at 4:18 AM on November 12, 2013 [6 favorites]


I used to think the knee jerk hardeehar response to homophobes being actually secretly gay was usually as ridiculous as claiming that racists were secretly black. Society has jumped the shark.
posted by ian1977 at 4:21 AM on November 12, 2013


Really, this just shows how useless a biological definition of race is. It's unfortunate that there are folks who will give credence to something as ludicrous as being 14% anything. That's not how it works.
posted by anansi at 4:30 AM on November 12, 2013


an ideology that absolves him of his faults by blaming the ills of the world on a bunch of people he's never met.

This guy is clearly an asshole, but come on: aren't we all looking for an ideology that blames the world' s ills on strangers? That's basically how we're built, with "Blame THEM" in the source code.
posted by anotherpanacea at 4:41 AM on November 12, 2013


> I used to think the knee jerk hardeehar response to homophobes being actually secretly gay was usually as ridiculous as claiming that racists were secretly black

It is because in both cases it reveals people who are either stupid and ignorant, or hypocritical.

Since racism is used as a means to oppress people, and homophobia is a dogwhistle tool for manipulative politics that casually sacrifices the safety and wellbeing of others, it is entirely fair game to out racists as being part African-American, just as it is to out closted people who would use discrimination for personal and ideological gains.

The goal is making plain the flaws and hypocrisy of the racists on the rhetorical terrain the racists themselves use, and use that as a tool to undercut and defeat their effors. As great as it would be to instead calmly make the argument instead about scientific rationalism and the meaningless of race as a biological construct, that's not bringing the fight to the public space in the way this sort of pointing and shaming can. Maybe that can be the second step: "Okay, now that you've found out you're secretly Black, let's work on making that not matter at all."
posted by ardgedee at 4:45 AM on November 12, 2013 [7 favorites]


Historians scratched their heads over that for years, since no sizable population of Portuguese immigrants could be found in the right places or at the right times, so the DNA testing was done and you can probably guess what the results were.

It's sad that their collective memory of their own genealogy could be so thoroughly expunged that they literally had no historical record of their family tree. In my father's research into our family history, he (along with the help of a friend who was good at searching old county birth and marriage records) found where his Native American great-grandmother was listed in the records as step-mother & that the white wife her husband had later married after her death was listed as the birth mother, but it was common knowledge amongst my granny & her many siblings that the opposite was true and the records had been falsified out of political expediency.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:55 AM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]



This guy is clearly an asshole, but come on: aren't we all looking for an ideology that blames the world' s ills on strangers? That's basically how we're built, with "Blame THEM" in the source code.

No. No, all of us are not.
posted by tabubilgirl at 4:55 AM on November 12, 2013 [14 favorites]


Devils Rancher: "...but it was common knowledge amongst my granny & her many siblings that the opposite was true and the records had been falsified out of political expediency."

The historians found similar stories in the Melungeon history - court cases involving property coming to mixed-race people were settled favorably if one could claim to be Portuguese or Spanish. You'd apparently be less likely to be harassed, etc. In any case, the story stuck, and it stuck in a lot of places.
posted by jquinby at 5:01 AM on November 12, 2013


aren't we all looking for an ideology that blames the world' s ills on strangers? That's basically how we're built, with "Blame THEM" in the source code.

Sure, but I don't think it's hard-wired - it's more of a bad (and understandable) cultural habit. But we know it happens, and we have more than one alternative view. I think we're in the process of growing out of that bad habit.
posted by sneebler at 5:05 AM on November 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


The lady laughing next to him is pretty great

she is the best! I love that she does the math and starts cracking up well before the host even gets to announcing what the other 14% is.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 5:06 AM on November 12, 2013


It's sad that their collective memory of their own genealogy could be so thoroughly expunged that they literally had no historical record of their family tree.

I have a friend whose grandfather was African-American and passed as white. This was absolutely never mentioned in the family--for it to succeed, the grandfather had to basically disappear his childhood. My friend's father knew something unusual was going on because his father never mentioned anything about his early life or his relatives. They did one of these DNA tests and, lo and behold, they had significant African ancestry and the rest of the pieces fell into place (his dad had pretty much figured it out, but wasn't sure).
posted by hoyland at 5:07 AM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


. . . And so the Chief
Shed some sunshine on Leith,
I'll thank him for his work
And my mirth -- you jerk.
posted by Herodios at 5:14 AM on November 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm surprised that neither the HuffPo nor Daily Mail article are pointing out that he's literally 100 percent Sub-Saharan African if you go back a little further.
posted by Greg Nog at 5:20 AM on November 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Well, let's not dwell to hard on the Daily Mail mocking people with Nazi sympathies.

Okay. I'll keep it brief by quoting a single headline: "Hurrah for the Blackshirts!"
posted by Sys Rq at 5:21 AM on November 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's a lovely bind for the racial supremicists. Normally, if there's something that provides an inconvenient truth, you try to get it banned, call it a moral outrage or otherwise agitate to make it taboo.

You know the drill.

But if your entire shtick is purity of bloodline, then you absolutely can't reject the only thing that can demonstrate that.

Backed the wrong horse there, chums.
posted by Devonian at 5:30 AM on November 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


But I'm still not giving the Daily Mail my clicks.

I give them enough for twenty of you. I just have to read about Kate Middleton's hair for whatever reason.
posted by discopolo at 5:31 AM on November 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


The 14% meets the threshhold to make this particularly funny - it makes him an octaroon.

(for those who aren't learned or who didn't look it up when they heard the insult on Deadwood, that makes him more than 1/8--12.5%--black. THat was the threshhold above which Jim Crow laws and other such nastiness began to apply.)
posted by notsnot at 5:40 AM on November 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


It doesn't prove that he's 86% "white" and 14% "black" because those terms don't have meanings that support those kinds of distinctions and quantifications.

I believe this is to some extent untrue
posted by crayz at 5:42 AM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ashamed that white supremacists still exist.

Do you have feelings about other groups that claim some form of identity superiority based on the idea of "race"?
posted by rough ashlar at 5:45 AM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]




I love that Melungeon story because I've been collecting instances of people with obvious African ancestry passing themselves as Portuguese in the US - apparently PT's were supposed to be dark skinned but still belong to the "white" race as they were also Europeans. I think it may come from the early English travel writers describing swarthy people as dark.
posted by Marauding Ennui at 5:57 AM on November 12, 2013


HOMELAND HANDMAIDENS could be a reasonably successful reality show on TLC.

Band name.
posted by Foosnark at 6:13 AM on November 12, 2013


People prefer to blame unrelated people not because it's genetic, but because it's cheap and easy.
posted by LogicalDash at 6:18 AM on November 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am once again reminded of one of my favorite Firesign Theatre bits:'

"Where you from, boy?"

"Nairobi, ma'am, isn't everybody?"
posted by hippybear at 6:30 AM on November 12, 2013 [8 favorites]


On a more serious note, I've taken, every time someone uses the term "religious liberty" to claim they have to right to discriminate against GLBT people, to pointing out that the Klan, white supremacists, and the Third Reich all used religion to some extent to back up their arguments for discriminating against their loathed underclasses.

I invite all you to join me in doing the same.
posted by hippybear at 6:34 AM on November 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


have a friend whose grandfather was African-American and passed as white.

As someone who is both "white" and "African" (by descent) I'm pretty sure it's time we start tapering off the use of these types of things as classification. They cause more problems than they solve.

As a side note, because of my African, Caribbean, Dutch, Scotch, and English ancestry... I've always just told people that since I'm 12% everything I'm 100% American. I think more people should realize the importance of both sides of that equation.
posted by Blue_Villain at 6:53 AM on November 12, 2013 [3 favorites]




Ashamed that white supremacists still exist.

Do you have feelings about other groups that claim some form of identity superiority based on the idea of "race"?


Is this comment supporting the existence of white supremacy by saying that "other groups" also claim "identity superiority"?
posted by sweetkid at 7:00 AM on November 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


I can totally see how this stuff happens. My mother was outright angry at my brother for applying for a minority scholarship. Our dad grew up in Mexico and moved north during elementary school. But they'd divorced, we look white enough and she clearly felt ashamed of any indication we were otherwise. She also put us down as non-Hispanic white on any forms she ever filled out until we figured it out and started correcting them. I did at one point overhear her telling someone that the other side of our family was "Spanish". A couple generations of that and you've got no idea where you came from.
posted by Sequence at 7:03 AM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think that this guys reaction was that humorous. It was barely even awkward, and it seems he was even prepared for the "statistical anomaly" to occur.

It barely elicited a chuckle from me, and will probably only serve to strengthen this man's hatred and bigotry of blacks. I'm sure that he'll find a way to work this into some African Conspiracy against him, and further cement his reasoning behind needing a segregated township.



she is the best! I love that she does the math and starts cracking up well before the host even gets to announcing what the other 14% is.

Why, does it surprise you that a black woman can do math?


I Kid. I kid.... and it was totally her reaction that made the video clip worthwhile.
posted by Debaser626 at 7:10 AM on November 12, 2013


If he admits that racial purity is artificial or irrelevant, then he's just lost the argument in a different way.

The problem is that while this effectively ridicule's this particular person's bigotry, it doesn't do much to combat his type of bigotry in general. Arguably it even reinforces it. I can't see very many racists looking at this and thinking, "Gee, maybe racism doesn't make sense." More likely they'd think, "That bastard was just pretending to be one of us!"

Seems like it would be much better if they took the tack of, "Every so-called white person is actually of African descent" and showed him similar DNA evidence for every "white" person in the room.
posted by straight at 7:15 AM on November 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is this comment supporting the existence of white supremacy by saying that "other groups" also claim "identity superiority"?

Yeah, but, "reverse racism" so it's all ok!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:21 AM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I keep replaying the clip to hear her laughing. It's that awesome.
posted by jquinby at 7:36 AM on November 12, 2013


Is this comment supporting the existence of white supremacy by saying that "other groups" also claim "identity superiority"?

Not at all. But thanks for playing.

There are groups at the "low end" of "power" based on who/where the ancestors came from all the way to groups based on ancestry that have "enough power" to have Nuclear weapons. If stormfront is the leading white supremest website, my memory about 2006 traffic numbers had it pulling in less than 100K unique visitors a month. Not a whole lot of "power in numbers" there.

If ya don't feel white supremacists are kosher, do you have the same reaction when you hear someone talk about 1st peoples, the new black panthers, Aztlan, et al?

If you want the topic to be "identity superiority" - that opens the discussion up even farther. How about 'the blue wall of silence'? Or the 'us VS them' playing out with the CIA/NSA/(pick a topic)? How about data showing prisons and the military in the US of A become places where things like White Supremacy are able to be concentrated and 'radicalization' of new members happen? How about 'identity superiority of the monied interests' expressed as austerity VS the Greek people and the resulting New Dawn party gaining traction?

The same level of outrage applied to white supremacy should be applied to other similar injustices and bullshit no?
posted by rough ashlar at 7:38 AM on November 12, 2013


Isn't South Africa "sub-Saharan?" Shit, all of Europe is sub-Saharan if you go far enough around the bottom and back over again.

As ever, it's the hypocrisy, stupid.
posted by nevercalm at 7:38 AM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Do you have feelings about other groups that claim some form of identity superiority based on the idea of "race"?

There's a pretty significant difference between (1) when a group of people who are lumped together by racist outsiders and discriminated against rallies together to assert their rights, value, and human dignity in response to racists who claim they have none and (2) when people like this guy select themselves and gather together on their own initiative to assert their superiority and their right to discriminate against anyone who is different.
posted by straight at 7:54 AM on November 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


If ya don't feel white supremacists are kosher, do you have the same reaction when you hear someone talk about 1st peoples, the new black panthers, Aztlan, et al?

Yes.

The same level of outrage applied to white supremacy should be applied to other similar injustices and bullshit no?

Sure.

What's your point? If they'd had a black liberationist/seperatist on and had his DNA show up as largely european would that garner the same reaction? Probably not, particularly because he might have a plausible argument that as an opressed minority his ancestors were subject to sexual oppression as well. This guy doesn't get the luxury of saying his grandma was raped because that accepts that he's the product of miscegenation.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 8:02 AM on November 12, 2013


when a group of people who are lumped together by racist outsiders and discriminated against rallies together to assert their rights, value, and human dignity in response to racists who claim they have none

What if it is not race, but class, education level, or willingness to use/not use certain tools or technologies that are the difference?

when people ... select themselves and gather together on their own initiative to assert their superiority and their right to discriminate against anyone who is different.

Edited to remove the particular man at issue.

What amount of land, money and use of force should be a concern then?
posted by rough ashlar at 8:03 AM on November 12, 2013


Mod note: Folks, this is turning into "interrogate one user" Please take that stuff to MeMail and drop it here. Thanks.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:04 AM on November 12, 2013


Everybody's nice to each other regardless of their skin! Reverse racism rules!
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:04 AM on November 12, 2013


Everybody's nice to each other

How about we shoot for that neigh impossible target? Or is shooting at a target an expression of not-nice and therefore also falls short?
posted by rough ashlar at 8:09 AM on November 12, 2013


Neigh!

*whinnies*

* Paws ground idly, flicks tail *
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 8:12 AM on November 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


I can't see very many racists looking at this and thinking, "Gee, maybe racism doesn't make sense." More likely they'd think, "That bastard was just pretending to be one of us!"

Well, yeah, but eventually that's going to backfire as well. My girlfriend just did her genetic test, and discovered both Native American ancestry (unsurprising, but less than she thought, which is also unsurprising, as many Americans overestimate the amount of Native American ancestry they can claim) but also East Asian, which she had no idea about. (She's also part Croat, which is not only news to her, but she doesn't known anything about the Croats.)

I'm doing the test right now. I've always been told I am half-Irish and half-English, which my non-identifying adoption information confirms. But it's statistically likely there is other stuff mixed in there, and I am excited to learn what it is. And as these tests become increasingly sophisticated, and as they become increasingly common, a whole lot of Americans are going to realize that their racial identity is a lot more complex than they expected. Moreover, thanks to the genealogical aspect of it, even if their genetics come back as made up only of ethnicities that have been identified as white (some do), they're going to discover second cousins, third cousins, fourth cousins that are black, or Asian, or Latino, or any range of race and ethnicity.

There was a point to Harvey Milk's campaign to get people out of the closet, which is that it is much harder to be a homophobe when you know the actual people you are supposed to hate -- when they are your teachers, your doctors, and especially your family. I think this sort of genetic testing is going to have a similar effect, as racism is rooted in an outdated notion of racial purity that just cannot stand up against genetics. We will soon discover that we are all multiracial, or, at the very least, are all members of a multiracial family.

And, sure, these white supremacists are on the fringe -- they're basically Civil War reenactors who are reenacting the racial ideas of the war and not the battles of it. But they are the vanguard of some very dated notions that are still with us, and it's nice to see science throw those notions in their face. Racism is still institutionalized. We are still stratified. It is still possible to be white in America and not have anybody close to you who is not white, and therefore to ignore or passively support institutions of racism. It's a lot harder when you discover that you're 14 percent sub-Saharan African or you meet a close cousin you adore who is self-evidently black.

I have hopes for this sort of thing. We're seeing the freakshow side of it now, but we might be at the start of a seismic shift.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:36 AM on November 12, 2013 [5 favorites]


Far too much overthinking. You cannot out-argue these people, they are immune to logic. The very best weapon against these dickheads is to laugh at them, it takes their power away and they they fucking hate that.

Anything that leaves a studio audience (and a broadcast audience) in head back, open mouthed laughter and leaves a white supremacist stammering and backpedaling ("but, but, but oil and water don't mix!?") is a win each and every way you measure it. The rest is just beans.
posted by fingerbang at 8:50 AM on November 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh man, apparently Mr. Rosso had a rough time after Freaks and Geeks didn't get renewed.
posted by FatherDagon at 9:29 AM on November 12, 2013


I wonder if Trisha will go into her own race 'n' DNA history on the show when it airs - a few years ago she took a test herself (just for kicks IIRC) and the results revealed that her white dad couldn't possibly be her biological father.

Also, she's on American telly now?! That's sort of neat - back in the '90s Trisha was the first proper US-style talk show in the UK complete with DNA testing, lie detectors, laughing at the underclass, &c..

The 14% meets the threshhold to make this particularly funny - it makes him an octaroon.

I'm a blue-eyed, blond-haired, moon-pale octoroon. Casually mentioning this while arguing with racists can be pretty fucking hilarious (the depressing kind of hilarious, but still).
posted by jack_mo at 9:50 AM on November 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


Bad science "journalism", possibly bad science (test is done by DNA Diagnostics Center which seems to focus on paternity tests and do a lot of that for talk shows, though that's better than another DNA Diagnostics that has genetic proof of Bigfoot), and bad history/sociology as whatever admixture they may be measuring may very well have happened before Black/White people were invented a few hundred years ago. I mean come on, you really don't need bullshit to argue against these types.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 9:58 AM on November 12, 2013


The very best weapon against these dickheads is to laugh at them, it takes their power away and they they fucking hate that.

But they absolutely love attention, and being on TV is the ultimate affirmation that his views somehow matter. I wish people like this were not given forums, whether they're being poked fun at or not. Also, it's really easy to see this guy as the face of racism. Who could possibly identify with him, except for a very small lunatic fringe? In "othering" him, which is so damn easy, the "non-racists" get off the hook for the fact that 46% of African American children live in poverty and that African Americans are incarcerated at six times the rate of whites.
posted by Wordwoman at 10:01 AM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


a whole lot of Americans are going to realize that their racial identity is a lot more complex than they expected.

Not necessarily. This guy was 100% White beforehand, he's still 100% White now. Racists have been aware of this stuff for some time. The other day I was reading a quote from some Southern 19th century legislator acknowledging exactly this phenomenon, and even arguing that some small admixture was necessary to give a bit of earthy vigor to the refined white race.

I don't even see him coming off that poorly here. "Short science". Congratulations talk show host, you have the White Supremacist a chance to be right about something.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 10:10 AM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


a bit of earthy vigor

my ears are burning
posted by Greg Nog at 10:12 AM on November 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I not gonna get tired of that guy getting laughed in the face anytime soon. I know that's not very sporting of me, but...
posted by Space Kitty at 10:30 AM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


a bit of earthy vigor

Worst Bioshock Infinite ability ever. Mostly just blows up in your face.
posted by achrise at 10:30 AM on November 12, 2013


I don't even see him coming off that poorly here.

I suppose that depends on your definition of poorly. But my comments weren't about convincing the hardcore racists. It's possible to be delusional enough to be Jewish and a member of the American Nazi Party and a recruiter for the KKK.

Outside of the lunatic fringe, however, this may have influence.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:31 AM on November 12, 2013


Tangent: Is that Sophie Turner in the audience?
posted by The Tensor at 10:43 AM on November 12, 2013


As someone who is both "white" and "African" (by descent) I'm pretty sure it's time we start tapering off the use of these types of things as classification. They cause more problems than they solve.

If you mean the use of "African American," it has never meant "an American from Africa" or "an American descended from people from Africa." It means, and has always meant, black Americans, where "black" is used in the US sense of "people that American racists call niggers," and so excluding darker-skinned people not descended from subsaharan Africans.

And, except for people who are so new to the US or American culture that they can credibly claim to not yet speak American English very well yet, this is not something one can be reasonably confused about.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:47 AM on November 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


There's a pretty significant difference between (1) when a group of people who are lumped together by racist outsiders and discriminated against rallies together to assert their rights, value, and human dignity in response to racists who claim they have none and (2) when people like this guy select themselves and gather together on their own initiative to assert their superiority and their right to discriminate against anyone who is different.

I think it's actually really important, if in fact there is a significant difference, that we as a people collectively explain that significant difference a lot better. Because it's important to remember that white supremacists believe they are discriminated against, that they are asserting their "rights, value, and human dignity". They are wrong, wrong, wrong! But they certainly believe it. If we say "Well, but you guys are just wrong", then they get even more 'evidence' that they are discriminated against, because everyone else gets to have "Racial pride" but they don't. (Because again, that's what they say it is.) And if there isn't one, then maybe we need to look inward at ourselves and consider whether or not, by promoting pride in ancestry, we ourselves, in trying to do the opposite, are furthering and entrenching the problem.
posted by corb at 10:49 AM on November 12, 2013


And if there isn't one, then maybe we need to look inward at ourselves and consider whether or not, by promoting pride in ancestry, we ourselves, in trying to do the opposite, are furthering and entrenching the problem.

Or maybe we don't need to do this, because there is nothing analogous to the white supremcist movement for any other race. No other racial group is trying to create a race-exclusive enclave. No other racial group shuns miscegenation to the extent that white supremacists do. And, importantly, to the extent that any racial pride movements have existed for other racial groups, they were all punching up, not punching down.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:15 AM on November 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


Fourteen percent Sub-Saharan African (SSA) DNA doesn't necessarily mean 14% of his ancestors came from there, but let's suppose it does. It's more than 1/8th, the amount he would have had if a great-grandparent was his only SSA ancestor. From what I understand about the social construct of race in America, people tend to describe others as African-American if one or more grandparents identified themselves that way. In other words, he very likely has African-American relatives and knows about them.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:34 PM on November 12, 2013


But they certainly believe it. If we say "Well, but you guys are just wrong", then they get even more 'evidence' that they are discriminated against, because everyone else gets to have "Racial pride" but they don't. (Because again, that's what they say it is.) And if there isn't one, then maybe we need to look inward at ourselves and consider whether or not, by promoting pride in ancestry, we ourselves, in trying to do the opposite, are furthering and entrenching the problem.

There's all kinds of *w*hite pride that is just fine. There are parades and cultural centers and holidays and community organizations for the preservation and celebration and Irish culture, Scottish culture, Croatian culture, Hungarian culture, French culture, American culture, British culture, etc etc ad nauseum. It's only *W*hite pride that is massively problematic.
posted by Salamandrous at 4:39 PM on November 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


The 14% meets the threshhold to make this particularly funny - it makes him an octaroon.

Very nearly a heptaroon!

His children would be tetrakaidekaroons.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:45 PM on November 12, 2013 [4 favorites]


Embarrassing also to see the good name of Leith dragged into the shite by this walloper. The Scottish Leith is an artistic and multicultural beacon - perhaps we could airlift a few folk over to sort this situation out.
posted by sgt.serenity at 7:14 PM on November 12, 2013


Joe in Australia: "His children would be tetrakaidekaroons. "

Hexaflexagons?
posted by notsnot at 7:22 PM on November 12, 2013


I do wish I could get one of these types of DNA tests, as I am intellectually aware that a large amount of what my family has told me about my biological heritage is utter horseshit. I am not aware of to what extent.
posted by scottymac at 1:43 AM on November 13, 2013


Well, there's something like 23andMe (and competitors), previously discussed here and especially in Ask.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:01 AM on November 13, 2013


> ...there is nothing analogous to the white supremcist movement for any other race. No other racial group is trying to create a race-exclusive enclave. No other racial group shuns miscegenation to the extent that white supremacists do. And, importantly, to the extent that any racial pride movements have existed for other racial groups, they were all punching up, not punching down.

Japan has at times attempted to variously subjugate, enslave and exterminate pretty much everybody around them using the racial purity of the Yamato as a rationale and the main Japanese islands as their enclave. There were times where, at best, other races were only tolerated as guests under escort or kept as slaves. This is the most literal example possible of what you describe. It continued for centuries with varying degrees of success, and on a rather large scale.
posted by ardgedee at 4:27 AM on November 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sad to hear the hip guidance counselor Mr. Rosso grew into a white supremacist.
posted by craven_morhead at 7:50 AM on November 13, 2013




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