White Ethnocentrism: Can Americans Really Be Brainwashed?

One of the great intellectual
divides is the venerable

nature/nurture
dichotomy.


Conservatives
tend to be on the side of

nature
:

Race exists as a
biological reality; there are race differences in

socially important traits like IQ
; people`s brains
are wired to prefer
people like themselves
; they are more likely to
contribute to public goods like health care and
education if the

beneficiaries are of the same ethnic group
; people
trust others more if they live in
homogeneous societies
.

The left takes the opposite tack:

Race
doesn`t
exist;
the idea that it does exist is a fantasy of

moral reprobates.
To the extent that differences in
traits like IQ are interesting at all, they are the
result of

capitalism
, discrimination, or general

evil
. If it weren`t for white people behaving badly,
we could easily build a strong, racially diverse
multicultural society where all people can live happily
ever after.

I am not going to try to convince
you of the merits of either side of this debate. Over
the years, VDARE.COM has certainly published some of the
premier writers on the nature side.

But if you pick up the

New York
Times
, you`ll get a very different version of
these issues. It`s a version which, sad to say, has a
lot more influence.

So what makes culture so powerful
and how does it work at the psychological level?

Psychologists have shown that there
are two different types of processing systems—the
implicit and the explicit.

Implicit
processing
is the way the ancient parts of our brain
operate—automatically and unconsciously.

Say you are talking to a

salesman
about a used car. Without any conscious
effort on your part, your brain is processing an
enormous amount of information. Some parts of your brain
are processing the colors and shapes of the furniture,
while others are responsible for recognizing the face of
the salesman and picking up on his emotional
expressions. Your brain is also assessing how similar
this salesman is to yourself, and, without any conscious
awareness on your part, it is making you trust him more
if he is more like yourself. Furthermore, if he is from
a

different race or ethnic group
, it is flagging that
fact and it is coloring your interactions with
stereotypes—whether negative or positive—that your
unconscious mind associates with that race or ethnic
group.

These implicit mechanisms –
psychologists call them
“modules”
are like zombies or robots. They go about their business
without any conscious effort, and quite a few of them
are beyond our control.

A good example is the face
recognition module. If I am looking at someone I know, I
can`t help but recognize him. I can`t simply turn off
the module. The module takes in the information from the
environment and simply does its thing in a preprogrammed
way.

Importantly, the implicit brain
includes mechanisms related to ethnocentrism. There are
several

different evolved mechanisms
that make us prefer people like
ourselves and be wary of people in outgroups.

Phil Rushton`s Genetic Similarity
Theory [PDF]
is a good example.   Birds
of a feather do indeed flock together. People tend to
make friends and marry people who are like themselves on
a wide range of traits, from
IQ and personality
, to ethnic group and even wrist
size.

Research in Genetic Similarity
Theory finds a biological basis to this flocking
tendency. Each system of genes wants to reporoduce
itself, and has the best chance of doing so if it
chooses to mate with a system of genes which has some
overlap.

But some aspects of ethnocentrism
may be learned as well. The human mind is prone to
rapidly learning
negative stereotypes about outgroups.
And even if
these stereotypes are learned, they act just like the
biological ones—they are triggered automatically via
implicit processing.

The point is that in either case
people tend to have negative stereotypes of other races
and they prefer people from their own race. But, of
course, that`s not the end of the story—only the
beginning.   

The other part of the brain is the
more recently evolved part—the part responsible for
explicit
processing
. Explicit processing involves language
and thought.

The implicit brain processes
information in a zombie-like reflexive way, but explicit
processing is effortful and controlled. It`s the kind of
processing that we use when we are solving a problem in
math class, where we have to make a plan to solve the
problem.

And it`s the part of the brain that
takes in cultural information. When a person reads the
New York Times,
there a lot of explicit messages—immigration
is good
; people who

oppose immigration
are

uneducated
racist Neanderthals; there are no

genetic differences between the races
, yada, yada.

It`s easy to see that there can be
conflicts between implicit processing of our ancient
brain and the explicit messages one gets from the New York Times.
The implicit part of the brain makes you more
comfortable socializing with people like yourself. In
fact, the implicit part of the brain leads white people
to seek out implicit white communities —
 communities like

NASCAR
,

country music
, and certain kinds of rock music (like
AC/DC
) where the faces are pretty much all white.

White flight is one of the most salient phenomena of the
late 20th century. And where are these

white people fleeing to?
To the

suburbs where there are lots of other white people

and where their children go to schools with other white
children. 

As sociologist

Kevin Kruse
notes in his book White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism,
race is never part of the explicit rhetoric of white
flight. Instead, white flight tends to be expressed as
opposition to the federal government, the welfare state,
taxation, and perceived moral dangers like abortion and

homosexuality
. But at the implicit level, the desire
for white communities and the aversion to contributing
to
public goods for nonwhites
are the overriding
motivations.

Each of these identities allows white people to associate
with other whites without any explicit acknowledgement
that race plays a role.

Indeed, the granddaddy of implicit white communities is the
Republican Party. In the recent election, the
Republicans received at least 90% of their votes from
white people. The delegates

to the Republican convention
in August were 93%
white, 5% Latino, and 2% black. If these were all rich
white oligarchs at the Republican convention, as Jon
Stewart`s Daily
Show


would have it
, that would be one thing.

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But most Republicans are
not rich white oligarchs.
The fact is that the
Republican base is really about the

Sarah Palin phenomenon
—white Christians—many with
small town roots in the South and West—who yearn for the
America they are rapidly losing: a white America.

But all of that is down deep in their brains, at the
implicit level. In the upper reaches of their prefrontal
cortex, they would never dream of saying explicitly that
they are a

party
of white Americans.

That would be
"racist."

The same goes for their spokesmen—although calling these
people spokesmen for the Republican base is being a bit
generous.
“Conservative”
commentators like Sean Hannity, Rush
Limbaugh and Bill O`Reilly studiously avoid saying
anything that could be construed as
"racist". Nor
do they dare to oppose the massive

legal immigration
that will make the
Republican
base a permanent electoral minority
even if we
stopped illegal immigration immediately. That`s because
the explicit processing system is in charge, at least at
the conscious level.

Here`s how it works. Implicit attitudes on race are
assessed by tests like the

Implicit Association Test.
(You can take the test

here
.)
Subjects are presented with photos of blacks and whites
in succession and asked to pair positive or negative
words (e.g.,
"intelligent,"

"law-abiding,"
"poor,"
"success") with the photos.

Eighty percent of whites take longer to associate positive
words with blacks than with whites. This is interpreted
as indicating that whites have implicit negative
stereotypes of blacks.

The interesting thing is that there is a gap between
whites` explicitly positive attitudes about blacks and
their implicitly negative attitudes. Even white liberals
show implicit negative attitudes toward blacks, although
their implicit attitudes are less negative than those of
conservatives.

In fact, white liberals are more hypocritical about race
than conservatives: There is a larger gap between
implicit attitudes and explicit attitudes toward blacks
among white liberals than among white conservatives.

What`s happening is that the conscious, explicit brain is
thinking positive thoughts about blacks because

it reads the New
York Times
.
And it is suppressing the negative
thoughts that are deep below the surface in the implicit
part of the brain. 

In one study, subjects were shown photos of blacks and
whites while hooked up to an fMRI machine that takes
pictures of the brain in action. When the photos were
shown for very brief periods—too short to be explicitly
processed, the fMRI showed that whites had a negative
response to the photos of blacks. This procedure
therefore measures implicit negative attitudes toward
blacks.

However, the photos of blacks were presented for a much
longer period, so that they were processed by the
explicit part of the brain. The difference in negative
reaction to black and white faces decreased.

This happened because the prefrontal cortex and explicit
processing were activated. In other words, people who
are consciously aware that they are seeing photos of
blacks are able to suppress the

negative automatic responses
produced by their
ancient brain. The explicit part of the brain suppresses
the implicit part.

So implicitly processed feelings and perceptions are
suppressed out of conscious awareness. But that doesn`t
mean they have no influence. Besides affecting responses
on the Implicit Association Test, the implicit brain is
seeking out white communities like the Republican Party,
and it has negative gut feelings about massive non-white
immigration.

This disconnect between the implicit and the explicit brain
produces some interesting phenomena. Young children tend
to have unabashedly explicit bias in favor of their own
race. Explicit race bias emerges early, as young as age
three or four, peaks in middle childhood, and then
undergoes a gradual decline through adolescence, and
disappears in adulthood. Quite a bit of this decline is
doubtless due to

active campaigns
to instill the
official racial ideology of the Left
in schools.
Multicultural propaganda

permeates
education, from kindergarten through
college,

pushed by groups
of

cultural Marxists
such as the
National Association
for Multicultural Education
:
"NAME
celebrates cultural and ethnic diversity as a national
strength that enriches a society and rejects the view
that diversity threatens the fabric of a society."

However, there is no such decline in implicit racial
preferences, which remain strong into adulthood. Indeed,
there is also a decline in cross-racial friends and
companions as children get older. White schoolchildren
are much more likely to have white friends than chance
expectation would account for, and this trend increases
as they get older.

This means that at the same time that explicit racial
preference in white children is declining, children are
becoming less and less likely to actually interact with
and form friendships with children from other races. In
effect, schools undergo a process of self-segregation.
And among adults, whites are significantly less likely
than other racial groups to report interracial
friendships and contacts.

The bottom line, then, is that as children get older they
become increasingly aware of the
official explicit racial ideology,
and they conform
to it. The explicit processing centers are becoming
stronger, so that they are better able to suppress
positive attitudes about their own race in order to

conform to the demands of their teachers.
At the
explicit level, they are free from any negative
attitudes toward nonwhite groups and may even be
politically liberal or radical.

At the same time, however, they are
"voting with their
feet"
by
choosing

friends and companions of the same race.

And their parents are doing the same thing. I have noted
that liberals show a greater gap between explicit
attitudes and implicit attitudes and behavior than do
conservatives. Indeed, while highly educated white
parents tend to have liberal explicit attitudes on
racial issues, a

recent study
shows that these same highly
educated whites

seek out schools
that are

racially segregated
and are more likely to live in
racially segregated neighborhoods. In other words, there
is a positive correlation between the average education
of white parents and the likelihood that parents will
remove their children from public schools as the

percentage of black students
increases.


Michael Emerson,
an author of the study, is quite
aware of the gap between explicit attitudes and
behavior. He

writes
:

 "I
do believe that white people are being sincere when they
claim that racial inequality is not a good thing and
that they`d like to see it eliminated. However…their
liberal attitudes about race aren`t reflected in their
behavior."

The explicit parts of their brains have been

programmed to say and believe the right things
. But
the implicit parts of their brain are

controlling their behavior
.

This might be cause for hope for those of us whose explicit
brain is more in tune with their implicit brain.

But the fact is that if explicit messages on race are
repeated often enough, they start to become automatic
and implicit. People can be brainwashed. This is the
great hope of the cultural Marxists—that constant
repetition and propaganda actually could produce what
the
Frankfurt School
— the
fons et origo
of cultural Marxism in the West —

called
a
"genuine liberal"
: someone who in his heart of
hearts really has the gut instincts of a cultural
Marxist; a

white person
who

prefers non-whites
on an Implicit Association Test.

They have a ways to go on that. But the election of Barack
Obama will probably aid the

cultural Marxist onslaught
on the educational
system. I can`t see any principles of human psychology
that would prevent them from getting there eventually.
(Of course the collapse of the Soviet Union indicates
that religion and national identity are harder to
eradicate than Stalin thought they were, and he
tried
very hard.
) It would probably take a

1984
-like
police state to do it. But quite obviously that is not
seen as a drawback by its proponents.

My conclusion:
The New York Times
is important because it and media like it control
the explicit messages on vital issues like race and
immigration. The

culture of critique
has become the explicit culture
of the West, endlessly repeated in media messages but
packaged differently for people of different levels of
intelligence and education.

The message here is that by
programming the higher areas of the brain, this explicit
culture is able to control the implicit ethnocentric
tendencies of white people.

The explicit culture may not be
able to prevent white people from moving to white
neighborhoods, and it may not prevent them from going to
a NASCAR race. But it does make them supine in the face
of a massive invasion of other peoples and cultures. It
prevents the Republican Party from

saying explicitly that they are a party of
European-Americans
intent on ending immigration and
retaining their political majority and their cultural
dominance.  And it
makes them cringe in horror when someone calls them a
“racist”.

In attempting to find a way out of
this morass, therefore, changing the explicit culture is
critical. That`s why media like VDARE.COM and my own

The
Occidental Observer
are so important. To
paraphrase Bill Clinton`s presidential campaign slogan,
it`s the explicit culture, stupid.

Changing the explicit culture won`t
be easy. I suggest that the first step is a
psychological one: Proud and confident explicit
assertions of ethnic identity and interests among white
people, and the creation of communities where such
explicit assertions are considered normal and natural
rather than a reason for ostracism.

The fact that such assertions
appeal to our implicit psychology is certainly an asset.
It`s always easier to go with a natural tendency than to
oppose it.

And in this case, our natural
preference for people like ourselves is

intellectually defensible
: That is, it can withstand
the probing rationality of the explicit processing
system.

It`s the ideology of
New York Times
and the cultural Marxists that can`t withstand
intellectual scrutiny.

[Vdare.com note:
This article is
partly based on MacDonald, K. (2008).


Effortful Control, Explicit Processing and the
Regulation of Human Evolved Predispositions.

Psychological Review,
115(4), 1012–1031. (pdf
on request
)]

Kevin MacDonald [email
him] is Professor of Psychology at California State
University-Long Beach. For his website, click

here.