Whites favor meritocracy when meritocracy favors whites

This one’s going to be interesting without Antinous.


Meritocracies sound like a good idea until you realize that most systems on the planet already are meritocracies… it’s just that everyone has a different idea as to what constitutes “merit”.


As conflator basically points out, white attitudes and actions matter more. And that’s because the U.S. remains a white-dominated, de facto white-supremacist society.

I think the job there is more yours than the other side’s. Why don’t you provide details of why Social Darwinism is supposedly “right”?

Psssst! The world outside the Dark East cant type.

Read… r.e.a.d.

I do not understand your meaning, or how it relates to the prior posts. Is that some kind of “Little Black Sambo” type caricature that I am intended to recognise as an encoded shibboleth? If so, I am afraid you’ve pointed it at the wrong person, I’m not that savvy.

Sorry, I don’t play the pseudo-academic “cite your source/standards of proof” game with randos on the internet, because it’s a lot of work and I have little trust that my interlocutor is acting in good faith.

But maybe this will help, since I’m guessing (hoping) you don’t actually know what social darwinism means:
“The term social Darwinism is often used to describe the use of concepts of struggle for existence and survival of the fittest to justify social policies which make no distinction between those able to support themselves and those unable to support themselves. Many such views stress competition between individuals in laissez-faire capitalism; but similar concepts have motivated ideas of eugenics, racism, imperialism,[4] fascism, Nazism and struggle between national or racial groups.”

Whatever the flavor, social darwinism is generally used as a philosophical justification for the current distribution of power: The people with power and privilege in society have it because they are “more fit”, while the powerless and oppressed suffer their lot because of an inherent inferiority. It implies that if someone was fit, they would gain power and privilege; therefore their failure to do so is both evidence of their inferiority, and a justification for their oppression. It is a post-hoc rationalization, and therefore not science.

It’s a softer (and actually more subtle) version of this:

To say that basketball is a meritocracy that favors blacks is to say that as a racial group, blacks are genetically prone to better basketball playing, and to overlook as well the contextual/societal factors that instead account for a high percentage of black basketball players.

OK, I see. Except I did not say any of those things. You are saying them. You’ve conflated my statement with things that exist in your head - for example, I would never characterize “blacks as a racial group” - that’s racist, in my eyes, because the concept of “race” as I understand it does not accurately characterize the group that I hear people calling “black” in the context of basketball. I choose to reject extreme white supremacist definitions of race that ignore biology, culture and ethnicity as sources of racial and/or cultural identity.

The way that black basketball players demonstrate merit within the meritocracy of professional sports does not preclude contextual/societal factors creating either merit or opportunity to demonstrate merit and I made no statements to indicate that they did. You added that as well.

Furthermore, it might very well be that some group of people who also have dark skin do have a genetic superiority within the artificial framework of the rules of basketball. Are you going to tell me you’ve proven otherwise before you say it would be racist to suggest such a thing? Surely you are aware that people have different physical and mental capacities, and many of those capacities are just as heritable as skin color. Nonetheless, I said no such thing, you said it. I would want to study the matter before I would make such a statement.

You took one word and interpreted it in a highly personal context, apparently based on racism that exists in your mind or racism that you imagine exists in my own. Why did you do that? Do you think anyone else saw this the same way you did? Is there something wrong with the idea that meritocracies might actually exist, in areas where merit has a fairly measurable meaning, such as professional sports?

Wasn’t your one word, “Basketball,” a reply to this question?

Would somebody please post an example of a system/process/institution where meritocracy favors blacks or other minorities? If there is no such thing, then there aren’t two sides to this argument.

If so, then for starters, you did characterize blacks as a racial group, with your one-word answer to a racially specific question about blacks (and, okay, "other minorities").

The poster I replied to did not use the term “racial group” nor did I. You supplied it. I was referring to skin color, which is not a racial group, and I assumed the same of the original poster although perhaps my assumption was incorrect. I don’t consider dark-skinned Dravidians to be in the same racial group as Blackfellas or Tutsis, but they are all metaphorically “black” in American terms, and I’m American. Blacks dominate the NBA which is (within its own framework) a meritocracy.

I’m trolling you a little, because you are leaping to unwarranted conclusions about me, when all I did was post an observation that isn’t particularly controversial. It’s like you have a chip on your shoulder and are trying to find people who’ll knock it off so you can castigate them.

I’ll repeat my questions: You took one word and interpreted it in a highly personal context, apparently based on racism that exists in your mind or racism that you imagine exists in my own. Why did you do that? Do you think anyone else saw this the same way you did? Is there something wrong with the idea that meritocracies might actually exist, in areas where merit has a fairly measurable meaning, such as professional sports?

What’s “highly personal” about saying that something someone said is racist? It’s not about you, it’s about what you said.Even the most goodhearted, well-meaning, “I have a LOT of black friends!” people sometimes say things that are racist.

Because your response to a specific question is racist. I’ve already explained why, and as for why I personally did that, I think it’s important to call out racism when I see it. And nothing you’ve written afterward debunks my explanation.

Needs more periods.

Here’s the problem with that. Your categorization of my remark is implicitly racist - far more so than my remark itself.

In 1992 the Olympic Games rules were revised* to allow professionals to compete. The United States fielded a team that was, and still is, widely regarded by experts as composed of the finest basketball players in the world at that time. This is not controversial, and does not rely on my own opinions.

To state that team was principally composed of persons to whom @groonkame’s phrase “blacks or other minorities” applies is clearly appropriate, based on visible attributes such as skin color (I have no idea what the notional racial identities of these men are). Do you dispute this? There were four relatively pale-skinned members on a fifteen man team.

When you look at the actual performance of these men in the games - a pretty clear indicator of “merit” in the specific domain of basketball - you will find that the pattern continues. Although the pale men are superb athletes by any standard, it seems to me (looking at the Wikipedia statistics for the 1992 games) that the dark-skinned athletes tend to outperform them using the accepted measures of merit within the sport such as points scored, etc. I invite mathematicians and basketball experts to provide correction and explanation if I am misinterpreting these figures.

Based on the results of the so-called “Dream Team” competing at a global event, it is reasonable to believe that the NBA is where the best basketball players in the world are found. Even the most cursory examination of the sport today tends to support the idea that this is still true, and was true before 1992 as well, for purely economic reasons. Based on the NBA’s organization and practices it would be absurd to suppose that players succeed regardless of individual merit - within the artificial structure of basketball’s rules, raw basketball playing ability is the principal source of individual success. The NBA is paying to find the world’s best players, and they have created what groonkame specifically asked for - a meritocracy that (today) “favors blacks or other minorities”.

The things I am saying are based on data and real-world observation. They presuppose nothing concerning how merit is acquired, or how persons come to choose where they will focus their drive to succeed or develop merit. To say that basketball is a meritocracy that favors dark-skinned males is no more racist than to say that basketball is a meritocracy that favors tall people - the shortest man on the 1992 US Olympic Team was six-one. If I recognize this fact, am I bigoted against short people? What about if I say it out loud in response to a question? If you’d asked me who excels at basketball, I’d almost certainly have answered “tall people”, despite Spud Webb. But that wasn’t the question.

You need to face the reality that you may have unexamined racial prejudices, that are visible to others in the things you write. Maybe I do too, but you haven’t demonstrated this so far - all you’ve done is object to uncontroversial statements of fact that offend against your ideas about race and merit. And to reject actual facts in favor of your ideology of race is racist.

I have to deal with this all the time, as a member of a multiracial family with widely varying skin tones. It is not racism to speak of the world as it exists with neither condemnation nor approval. For example, it is not racist to tell a dark skinned child she is more likely to be struck by a car on a unlighted street while wearing dark clothes than a light skinned child would be. Insensitive, perhaps, if the subject’s not discussed in an appropriate context or setting, but not racist. People have to be allowed to convey real information regardless of your ideology of race, and frankly it’s wrong for you to shout racism at them for merely reporting facts as they see them.

*I disagree with the decision to allow professional athletes in the Games and personally consider it dishonorable.

When playing basketball, being tall is of merit. Being ‘black’ isn’t.

I thought the arguments about the advantages of ‘black’ physiology (fast twitch nerves etc) had been debunked - am I mistaken?

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Being tall is a quality shared by most basketball players of extreme merit. Spud Webb is five-seven which is short.

Having dark skin is a quality shared by most basketball players of extreme merit. Stated baldly, this makes no claim that dark skin is the cause or is even inextricably linked to player merit. It is a statement that describes the current state of the meritocracy that is basketball. Note that the rules are explicitly an artificial framework, not a natural environment, and merit in that framework may confer no real-world advantages in any other sphere.

Merit is ability to play a winning game. The causes of this merit are not themselves synonyms for merit.

I don’t know of any arguments regarding ‘black’ physiology in basketball, but when I was a kid a school coach used to claim that African-American musculature was more suited to fast running than European or African musculature. I have no idea if this was based on any real information or just prejudice, but he wasn’t notably bigoted.

Hey, I googled the above phrase which I cut from your post, and found much fascinating reading (note I have google’s “personal preference tracking” explicitly disabled - if you don’t, you won’t see the same results). It’ll take hours I don’t have right now to read all this stuff and check the references &etc. But I am grateful for the trigger, thanks! I have the elephant child’s curiosity.

This one from 1997 seems very informative for example. It gives the names of the principal authors of various studies so it should be easy to find out if they’ve been superseded, and is incidentally also very readable.

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It has been superseded, and its implications debunked. If studies that seriously consider and even espouse racial essentialism seem appealing and “very informative” to you, I hope you add studies like this one to your readings –


I shall certainly read the PDF and thank you for bringing it to my attention.

I doubt the words “appealing” and “essentialism” apply to my interest in the way you mean. I have sought out and read the writings of racists ever since they spray-painted death threats and swastikas on the sidewalk behind my home; I am what they call a “race traitor” so it behooves me to understand their ideas and methods in order to protect my children. I am also interested in human physiology and genetics - phylogeny in particular, but also DNA structure and organization - so I find scholarly investigations of human capacities quite fascinating in those contexts.

You sound like you’re opposed to any study that seriously considers things you don’t want to be true… peronsally, I like such things, but maybe that’s just because so far they’ve usually proved my ideas to be right. Except in cosmology - it looks like I was totally wrong about black holes, dammit.