Sailer: Ethnic Nepotism–Where Dawkins Fears to Tread

Where Dawkins Fears To Tread: Ethnic Nepotism And The Reality Of Race
By Steve Sailer
October 03, 2004

The Iraqis’ fierce resistance to foreigners (us) occupying their country was predictable on any number of grounds. But perhaps the most interesting is the most fundamental: the theory of “ethnic nepotism.” This explains the tendency of humans to favor members of their own racial groups and dislike outsiders by postulating that all animals evolve toward being more altruistic toward kin in order to propagate more copies of their common genes.

Which doesn’t mean that kin groups always cooperate — they also compete among themselves, in a sort of sibling rivalry writ large. But nepotistic solidarity still matters in the real world. Even the notoriously fractious Afghan Pashtuns think in terms of: “I against my brother. My brother and I against my cousin. My cousin and we against the world.” (By maintaining a smaller footprint in Afghanistan and largely letting the Afghans go back to being Afghans, we’ve provoked much less nationalist backlash there than in Iraq.)

Mr. Sailer again fails to realize that “races” have often been defined in ways that make one repudiate close kin in order to meet a standard of “racial purity.” Examples: hypodescent in the U.S. – the idea that one should only claim the lowest status ancestry, no matter how small, and the “Aryan” and “non-Aryan” races of Nazi Germany. Weren’t the German Jews “kin” to other Germans? They were far closer kin (biologically and culturally) than they were to Semites. Anatole Broyard was European American in both culture and phenotype, yet American blacks insist that he was only kin to them.

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