Posted by Sappho on June 6th, 2014 filed in Race

“That hypothesis is the brainchild of Kevin MacDonald, an evolutionary psychologist and director of the racist American Freedom Party (formerly “American Third Position”), which he founded with lawyer William D. Johnson, who has proposed repealing the 14th and 15th Amendments, replacing them with a Constitutional amendment which reads:

No person shall be a citizen of the United States unless he is a non-Hispanic white of the European race, in whom there is no ascertainable trace of Negro blood, nor more than one-eighth Mongolian, Asian, Asia Minor, Middle Eastern, Semitic, Near Eastern, American Indian, Malay or other non-European or non-white blood, provided that Hispanic whites, defined as anyone with an Hispanic ancestor, may be citizens if, in addition to meeting the aforesaid ascertainable trace and percentage tests, they are in appearance indistinguishable from Americans whose ancestral home is in the British Isles or Northwestern Europe. Only citizens shall have the right and privilege to reside permanently in the United States.”

Jon Phillips at the Southern Poverty Law Center Hatewatch blog

“In 2002, NYC DJ Chuck Nice, who is African American, said: “Italians are niggaz with short memories” (Guglielmo & Salerno 1). The Italian American claim of “whiteness” has been a contentious issue in the United States, going far back before DJ Nice’s comment. It began back in Europe with sayings like, “Europe ends at Naples. Calabria, Sicily, and all the rest belong to Africa.””

La Christa Greco, in a blog post, Italian-Americans and Whiteness

Jon Phillips’ post, “Troublesome Sources: Nicholas Wade’s Embrace of Scientific Racism,” makes the argument that Nicholas Wade sees bias readily in critics of racialism, but is oblivious to bias in his own sources, that he sees Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Lewontin, and Franz Boas as all grinding a political axe, while paying no heed to the white supremacist activity of Richard Lynn and the strident anti-immigrant views of Henry Harpending. And I’ll get back to that point later, when I write about my own impressions on browsing Wade’s book. First, though, my attention is caught, not by the more mainstrean, crossover racialist, Nicholas Wade, but by the weirder, more fringe figure, William D. Johnson. I remember that I think I’ve seen this definition of whiteness before.

Clicking through to the SPLC’s profile of William Daniel Johnson, I confirm that I’m right. This is, in fact, the guy who, in June 2008, ran in a primary election for Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge.

Down ballot elections can be tricky. We all have long ballots to vote on. In California usually, though not this in this year’s primary, the election includes a long list of propositions, which need to be researched carefully, as sometimes one will be a Trojan horse designed to defeat another one by stealing the votes of the people who want such-and-such a change (and, if they vote for the Trojan horse, will get rather less of that change), and other times a proposition that sounds good in principle will simply be badly written. At any rate, a down ballot race is a place where a fanatic can try to fly under the radar. Lyndon LaRouche’s followers tried it, when I was young, running for Democratic Party positions in hopes of controlling the local party (because, even if practically no one agreed with them, who knew anything of people running for those seats, beyond their names and job titles on the ballot?). And William Daniel Johnson, who had trailed in earlier election runs in Arizona with, respectively, 1% of the vote and 2.9% of the vote, may have hoped to win this one. After all, he had an endorsement from Ron Paul (who, we may reasonably assume, doesn’t scrutinize judge candidates all that closely either, and who would have known Johnson more from the $2000 a plate fund raiser for Paul that he had hosted than from Johnson’s actual views). It’s a sign of how little attention people pay to judge elections that even after Johnson’s support for the above quoted Pace Amendment was revealed and publicized, and Ron Paul’s endorsement retracted, Johnson still managed, in defeat, to get 26% of the vote. That would be a ten times larger portion of the vote than he ever got in an election where he was advertising, and people were paying attention to, his racial views.

So, though I have no fear that I’ll ever be deported under this Pace Amendment, I’m glad that somebody is watching this weird fringe, ready to expose them if they try to sneak in.

My whiteness is, though, an oddly contentious issue, by the definition in the Pace Amendment.

My great-grandmother, Glykeria Kapitsoglou, was born and raised in Constantinople, capital city of the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires, and now, as Istanbul, a part of Turkey. The city was founded as a Greek colony in the 7th century BC, and became the new capital of the Roman Empire when Constantine I transferred the capital from Rome in 330 AD. Its long history is deeply intertwined with European history in general (yes, including its history as capital of the Ottoman Empire, remember those old history lessons about the Ottoman Empire’s days as “the sick man of Europe”?). And it also sits right on the border between Europe and Asia Minor, and is part of a country that now occupies rather more of Asia Minor than of Europe. So, depending on what ruling the hypothetical enforcers of the Pace Amendment might make on exactly where Asia Minor starts, I could either be overwhelmingly European, or have one eighth Asia Minor ancestry right from the start, with not a single European ancestor to spare if I’m to be allowed to stay here.

The rest of my ancestry prove likewise a little contentious. Glykeria Kapistoglou married Constantinos Veniamin. The religion listed on the family’s documents, their Christian names, and the baptismal certificate of my grandmother’s younger brother (I’ve been unable to find my grandmother’s own baptismal certificate) place this family as an Eastern Orthodox family. But they’re a Christian family with the usually Jewish name of Benjamin, living in a city, Thessaloniki, that had, at the time, so large a Jewish population that it was known as the “Jerusalem of the Balkans.” Does our hypothetical Pace Amendment enforcer believe that the Veniamins have any Jewish ancestry? If so, and if he or she has assigned the Kapitsoglou family to Asia Minor, I’m out.

Besides, there’s the possibly legendary Mary “Little Dove” Hyanno, and the trace of Native American DNA, small enough possibly to be noise in admixture software, but consistent over multiple family members and, for me, over multiple admixture programs. If I start with an eighth of Asia Minor ancestry, and don’t have a European ancestor left to spare, Mary “Little Dove” Hyanno is enough to deport me (an odd result, since she was here way before Johnson’s ancestors).

Finally, there’s that “no ascertainable trace of Negro blood.” Does that include people who have less than 0.5% Sub-Saharan DNA in admixture software, a level small enough that it could be an artifact of the software, but still potentially an “ascertainable trace”? If so, it’s back to Africa for me, and, judging both from what I see in my DNA cousins and what Bryan Sykes reports finding, in his book DNA USA, also back to Africa for a huge portion of the Southern white population. The South could be largely depopulated if this amendment passed and were taken seriously.

In fact, I question whether there are enough people left in the US who are white by this definition that it could be applied and still keep whiteness a going concern. Perhaps you could bar Jews from whiteness and still have a white majority, since Jews are a small fraction of the population anyway, but if you’re barring Jews and many Greeks and many Southern whites, is there really a white majority left? Exactly who was supposed to raise money sufficient to buy out Steve Jobs and send him on his way?

Since I’m Greek-American, though, I’ll note particularly how this amendment would apply to Greeks. Greek presence in Asia Minor goes back to ancient times. Asia Minor was a vital part of the Byzantine Empire. And Greeks continued to be a large population in Asia Minor until the Catastrophe, a huge forced population exchange that uprooted Asia Minor Greeks and sent them to Greece, right after WWI. (Turks were also sent from Greece to Turkey at the same time.) About 40% of Greeks in Greece today have significant Asia Minor Greek ancestry, as do about 40% of diaspora Greeks.

That’s Asia Minor. I haven’t gotten to Egypt. Greece’s connection to Egypt is also ancient, as you can see in the founding legend of Argos, in which Danaus was said to be the twin brother of Aegyptus and son of Achiroe and Belus, a mythical king of Egypt. Alexandria, the second largest city in Egypt, was founded around 331 BC by Alexander the Great, and maintained a significant Greek population until the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, when most Greeks in Egypt left. Famous Greeks associated with Alexandria include Euclid, the father of geometry, and the modern Greek poet Constantine P. Cavafy.

Greeks can’t be, in William Daniel Johnson’s eyes, particularly solidly white.

Now, William Daniel Johnson’s eyes, in themselves, don’t matter all that much. After all, this guy has never been able to get as much as 3% of the vote in an election where his views were boldly on display. The reason I find him interesting is that it turns out that, though most in the HBDosphere will settle for keeping Mexicans out, and don’t aspire to deport any of the Greeks or Jews who are already here, Nordicism is surprisingly common among the racialist blogs devoted to what they call “human biodiversity” or HBD.

Last year, I wrote a series over at Alexandria, where I was then blogging, about race and IQ, in which I discussed Ron Unz’s argument about race and IQ. Ron Unz is author of a nifty rebuttal of Richard Lynn’s racial hierarchy of IQ, in which he shows that Lynn’s own data show so much shifting over time in the IQ of European groups that they hardly make a case for innate racial differences in IQ. He’s also the author of some much less well thought out arguments on race and crime, which I can ignore because they don’t relate to the topic of this post. Anyway, during the argument that erupted, two years ago when Unz wrote about IQ, between him and some in the HBDosphere, I got to see how Nordicist the HBDosphere could be. Richard Lynn himself spoke, and proved to be unconvinced that Italians could be all that smart. It turns out that Lynn, patron saint of the HBDosphere for his book that carries out in detail their favorite enterprise of ranking the IQ of every ethnic group you can think of, thinks Southern Italians are stupider than Northern Italians. So do others in the HBDosphere; for a while, after Unz’s posts, people were circulating, as a supposed check mate to Unz’s argument, some single study that, they said, proved, yes proved absolutely that Southern Italians were not only stupider than Northern Italians, but stupider because they just don’t have the genes it takes to be smart. Other arguments abound in the HBDosphere about who is innately better in what trait, and Northwestern Europe is routinely said to come out on top. The pseudonymous bloggers who post these arguments are, in some cases, not racist, not one bit, so they say, because they themselves are of some ethnicity other than Northwestern European (and in a couple of cases, they say, of some ethnicity other than purely white).

It’s an odd spectacle, because everywhere outside the HBDosphere, Nordicism, the belief in the natural superiority of Northern Europeans in particular, is spoken of only in the past tense. Look at Wikipedia, and you’ll find that Nordicism was popular in the late 19th and early 20th century. Do a little Googling of prejudice against Greeks and Italians, and you’ll find accounts of the prejudice we once faced in the early 20th century. These days, no one even polls any more for prejudice against Greeks and Italians; we figure only in polls of symbolic racism, as a question seeing whether racists agree that, hey, Italians and Jews pulled themselves up and overcame prejudice, so blacks should, too.

Not so in the HBDosphere, where Nordicism is common enough that there’s a whole blog devoted to defending Southern Italians and rebutting Nordicism and Afrocentrism.

It’s not that it’s particularly less rational to construct a racialism in which the master race excludes people like me than to construct one in which the master race excludes people like Andre Braugher. (In fact, if he’s to be excluded, maybe I’m better off in his company.) And it’s not that there’s any particular reason that I should be on one side, rather than the other, of the whiteness boundary. The boundaries between races are socially constructed, and vary from one time and place to another. It’s more that reading about the natural genetic superiority of Northwestern Europe makes me feel as if I’ve stepped into a time warp. When I suspect that the HBDosphere is a tiny fringe promoting ideas that no one much believes, their Nordicism is part of the reason why. If any substantial part of the population, even a significant minority, actually were still Nordicist, wouldn’t Greeks and Italians have a harder time in the job market than we do?

But, as Cosma Shalizi points out, “the people who are supposedly just too dumb for civilization are the ones on its periphery, even as that periphery keeps moving.” Check out this quote Shalizi unearthed from Ibn Khaldun, in 1377, explaining why the more civilized part of the world includes “the inhabitants of the Maghrib, of Syria, the two ‘Iraqs, Western India (as-Sind), and China, as well as of Spain; also the European Christians nearby, the Galicians, and all those who live together with these peoples or near them in the three temperate zones.”

So, anyone who wants to place Euclid, the father of geometry (yes, ancient Greeks looked much like modern ones, just look at ancient Greek art and coins) in the rolls of people who genetically just don’t have what it takes to be civilized is welcome to his or her opinion. I’ll just be amused.

3 Responses to “Danaus”

  1. Harry Sameshima Says:

    Johnson would probably approve of one of the covenants that turned up in the paperwork for my house. I don’t care about raising livestock on my land but I do care about:

    “Clause IV: Racial Occupancy

    “No lot nor portion thereof in this subdivision shall be sold, leased, nor rented to any person or persons not wholly of the white Caucasian Race.

    “No person or persons not wholly of the white Caucasian Race shall be given the possession or occupancy of any property in this subdivision, nor shall such persons, use, occupy, nor reside upon any property in this subdivision except when employed thereon in the capacity of servants or domestics in the household of a white Caucasian owner or tenent.”

    The document was dated June 28, 1949.

    As a post WWII Asian American I can laugh this off as one of the more glaring defects of what Tom Brokow keeps calling the “greatest generation.” If I were Black…..well I don’t think I could forgive so easily. It’s another indignity that still stings even after racial covenants were ruled unenforceable.

    Unfortunately, real estate law being what it is, the covenant needs to be passed along to each new buyer. It’d cost time and money to delete the document. I’m definitely not the only person who got surprised over the years….and I won’t be the last.

  2. Sappho Says:

    In the part of New York where I grew up, there were enough Jewish kids in my classes that their absence on Yom Kippur was quite noticeable. There was also, one of my Jewish friends told me, a quite recent history of restrictive covenants aimed at keeping Jews out. (I imagine some of those covenants are still in the paperwork, for the same reason yours is.)

    And I know what you mean about things like this being less easy to laugh off if you’re Black. It’s a lot easier for me, not facing any real ongoing disadvantage for being Greek, to be amused that anyone still exists who finds Southern Europeans inferior, than it would be to be amused at bigotry that’s more of a going concern, and has a more current cost.

  3. Wired Sisters Says:

    Back in the late 1960s, I heard a story from a friend of mine who hailed from Maryland, which at that time apparently had a law banning miscegenation, and defined it not only as marriage between American white and black people (plus Asians and Native Americans, I think) but also drew a line from east to west across the Old World and designated everybody from north of that line as “white” and everybody from south of it as “non-white.” My informant knew a couple from India who came from opposite sides of that line and therefore found out, much to their astonishment and distress, that they couldn’t marry each other in Maryland!!