All these examples of Guardian stupidity are from my new favourite tweeter @so.much.guardian.
All these examples of Guardian stupidity are from my new favourite tweeter @so.much.guardian.
It says ‘Plainclothes Police Officers are Operating in this Area’ in Romanian. Half of the pickpockets caught on the London underground network this year were from Romania, apparently, and they particularly like to pick pockets around Covent Garden. So, obviously, there needs to be signs advising would-be Romanian pickpockets about the presence of Plainclothes Police Officers.
So, here’s the obvious question: what is it about Romanians and pickpocketing that they, and they alone (apparently) amongst the immigrants of London need to be implicitly warned against pickpocketing? Is there a pickpocketing gene that never made it across the border into Hungary or Serbia?
It’s pretty obvious, I think, that we’re not really talking about Romanians here, like poet Marin Sorescu or mathematician Alexandru Ghika. We’re almost certainly talking about a different kind of ‘Romanian’…
With your prejudice hat on (a perfectly reasonable hat to wear) you’d probably conclude that the pickpockets are Roma gypsies since gypsies stereotypically do pickpocketing. And given that Romania has the population with the highest proportion of Roma peoples in Europe and is second only to Spain in total number of Roma (accoring to Wikipedia) it’s probably fine to confound ‘Roma’ and ‘Romanian’ for now. Though I think upstanding Romanians should be annoyed about it.
So assuming the Roma can read the Romanian sign (it’s not in their Romane language), is there any reason to think Roma gypsies are pickpockets (I mean, other than it being sort of assumed common knowledge)?
How about this: according to HBD chick Roma are very much an inbreeding sort of people:
“The hamlet Roma preferred to marry Roma of their own subgroup, generally Roma to whom they were already related. Although most Roma told us that it was bad to marry too close, first- and second-cousin marriages were common, both between cross and parallel cousins (vero/verisoara). These were regarded as true Roma (Roma cace), people one knows and can trust because they already belong to one’s kin network and speak Romanes properly.”
Perhaps the thing about inbreeding sorts of people is that they tend also to be strongly us-verses-them sorts of people. On in-groups and out-groups:
“The set of innate human behavioral traits we associate with morality did not evolve in order to eventually promote and uphold ideological utopias. However, they did evolve to promote a dual system of moral behavior, in which one set of rules applies to the ingroup and another to the outgroup. Murder, for example, which is usually severely punished if the victim belongs to the ingroup, has on occasion been treated with indifference and even encouraged if he belongs to an outgroup.
It’s the most obvious statement I could possibly make but… the Roma aren’t pickpocketing each other. Because that would be immoral. Pickpocketing out-group people on the other hand? That’s a perfectly fine and traditional bit of Roma culture.
1. There was an interesting story a couple of months ago about Roma in Italy:
“Italian politicians have expressed outrage over a mayor’s attempt to create separate transportation for Roma people, describing it as a South African apartheid-era move.
The mayor of the northern town of Borgaro Torinese, Claudio Gambino, said this week that he wanted separate buses for Roma people in order to guarantee the security of other citizens, Italian media reported on Friday.
The mayor has argued that the Roma people who live in a camp of around 600 inhabitants on the outskirts of the town pose a threat to other travelers as they engage in theft and petty violence.
A Mayor tries to solve a problem – a disproportionately criminal and violent sub-group preying on other citizens – with a perfectly logical solution – seperate buses. He’s then criticised with… what? Logical arguments? Reasoned discussion? Scientific proofs? No, of course not. His criticism comes in the form of ‘outrage’. Because, as we all know, ‘outrage’ is as good as maths when it comes to testing right from wrong.
Apartheid worked pretty well in District 9, would probably work fine on Italian buses too:
Apartheid: works until people kick up a fuss about it
2. Culturally, Roma appear to have a thievery-based founding myth. This is from Policemag.com:
Their world revolves around one thing – the family business: The “con.”
A Gypsy child is raised being told the tale of the young Gypsy boy who saved the life of Jesus. The tale (with some variation) tells of four nails made to be used in the crucifixion: one each for the hands of Jesus, one for his feet and the fourth, a nail of gold, for his heart. Late at night the Gypsy boy stole the golden nail, so when the crucifixion took place the next day, only three nails remained. God appears to the young Gypsy boy telling the child his act of thievery saved Jesus from having the nail plunged through his heart. In payment for the boy’s deed, God allowed the Gypsies the right to steal with no moral consequences … forever and ever.
Gypsies choose a lifestyle of thievery, one that is as natural to them as eating and sleeping. This organized crime family, masters of fraud and false identification, does not associate with normal society and speaks a language rarely mastered outside the culture. Seldom caught, rarely prosecuted and almost never jailed, Gypsies even have their own court, known as a “kris” where all grievances (marriage, territory, debts, etc.) are resolved. They look upon the rest of society simply as their “prey.”
Jesus must have been chuffed that he got to hang on that cross for six hours. Why the Romans would use a golden nail to execute their criminals I don’t know.
This little story popped-up last week:
Millwall’s historical notoriety is barbarically being used as part of an A-level sociology course, with a college offering students the opportunity to learn about working class habits and racism at Friday’s game against Brighton.
The sociology students would go on a trip to a Millwall game and there they would see ‘working class culture’ with all its racism, sexism and homophobia. What a fascinating and enlightening experience for them. Apparently, the students would learn all about ‘issues around racism, homophobia and sexism’. In my opinion, if you want to learn about these things the place to go is not a Millwall game. The place to go is a lecture series by a Nobel Prize winning geneticist or population demographer.
Let’s go through these three fascinating subjects and see what these budding scholars might learn. Though I’m still not clear how they’ll learn these things at a Millwall game…
Racism – I suppose they’ll learn about racial differences. I.e the obvious fact that two groups isolated from one another for 50,000 years will evolve along different lines – depending on natural selection, sexual selection and genetic drift, that these differences do not only apply to superficialities such as skin colour and hair type, but also include vulnerabilities to different diseases and medical conditions, and differences in behaviour and intelligence. I guess they could, in theory, get a glimpse of such differences by observing the different athletic abilities of different footballers but that wouldn’t really work given that this whole topic depends on the law of big numbers – and 22 isn’t big enough a number.
Perhaps they’ll learn about various genetic markers – the MAOA gene and its variants for example:
“In 2006, Lea reported that MAOA-3R — one of the low-activity risky variants — was more common in Maori males than in white males. According to Lea, the 3R version was associated with a lineup of undesirable personality traits: risk-taking, violence, aggression, gambling, addiction and criminal behavior. Suddenly, it seemed genetics could possibly explain the Maori/white ethnic divide in achievement and social outcomes.
“MAOA-3R — the “original warrior gene” — was the first gene linked with antisocial characteristics. But Maori were not the only ethnic group with a high frequency of this variant. It turned out that while 3R was found in 56% of Maori males, it occurred in 58% of African American males and 34% of European males
“MAOA — an enzyme that degrades neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine in the brain — is coded for by the MAOA gene. Neurotransmitters play a pivotal role in mood, arousal, and emotions, even affecting impulse control.
“Beaver’s team has focused only on the 2R variant rather than the low-expression variants combined. He and his colleagues have discovered that African American males carrying 2R were more likely to be involved in extreme violence — shooting and stabbing — than African American men with other MAOA variants. The relationship between the rare MAOA version and antisocial behaviors has raised eyebrows because, quite simply, this gene is not distributed equally across ethnic groups. In the Add Health database, 5.5% of African American men, 0.9% of Caucasian men, and 0.00067% of Asian men have 2R. (No information is currently available on the frequency of 2R in males of African black descent outside the United States.) Since the rare MAOA variant is virtually non-existent in whites, all of the males in Beaver’s study were black Americans.
That should get them started on their lessons in racism. Next…
Homophobia – Again, I have no idea what the students will learn about homophobia at a Millwall game in particular but I guess if they bump into the Millwall-Supporters/Geneticists crowd they might discuss a couple ideas, such as genes determining homophobia:
“Previous research has shown that many heterosexuals hold negative attitudes toward homosexuals and homosexuality (homophobia). Although a great deal of research has focused on the profile of homophobic individuals, this research provides little theoretical insight into the aetiology of homophobia. To examine genetic and environmental influences on variation in attitudes toward homophobia, we analysed data from 4,688 twins who completed a questionnaire concerning sexual behaviour and attitudes, including attitudes toward homosexuality. Results show that, in accordance with literature, males have significantly more negative attitudes toward homosexuality than females and non-heterosexuals are less homophobic than heterosexuals. In contrast with some earlier findings, age had no significant effect on the homophobia scores in this study. Genetic modelling showed that variation in homophobia scores could be explained by additive genetic (36%), shared environmental (18%) and unique environmental factors (46%). However, corrections based on previous findings show that the shared environmental estimate may be almost entirely accounted for as extra additive genetic variance arising from assortative mating for homophobic attitudes. The results suggest that variation in attitudes toward homosexuality is substantially inherited, and that social environmental influences are relatively minor.
Jayman on the irony of genetic homophobia:
“Irony comes in because (obligate homosexual men, who most are concerned with) were not “born that way” at all, since male homosexuality almost certainly is the result of a childhood infection.
Worse still, homophobia (or homoaversion, as it should properly be called, according to Greg Cochran) is itself heritable, at least 54% so. Yes, homophobes were much more “born that way” than homosexuals themselves!
It doesn’t get much more ironic than that.
But the “born that way” meme does speak towards the prevailing attitude towards genetics. Nothing undesirable can be much heritable, for if it is so, it is seen as (not exactly accurately) being immutable. Hence, this is why sexual orientation can be inborn, but IQ, sex, or racial differences cannot.
Perhaps, having discussed the genetic foundation for homophobia they can then consider Gregory Cochran’s germ theory of homosexuality, mentioned above. It ain’t established science as far as I know but it is interesting nontheless.
Sexism – And finally, on their little trip to see Millwall the budding scholars can learn all about sexism. Perhaps this lesson will cover sexual dimorphism in humans, given that different attitudes to men and woman are very likely based on men and women actually being different:
In both human and animal examples, behavioral differences are based on the details of the underlying neural circuitry. Accordingly, neurobiologists have long looked for differences between the brains of females and males that might explain sexually dimorphic behaviors and… have found many examples. These differences in the nervous system, like the behavioral differences they give rise to, are also referred to as sexually dimorphic.
To ignore or deny obvious differences between men and women would, of course, be something only a total fool (read feminist) would do.
What an enlightening time the students must have had at the Millwall game! Personnally, I never knew Millwall FC was such a hotbed of genetic and behavioural research… so I learned something too!
East London Genetic Research Centre, Yesterday
If you’ve been wondering how to fix the incompetence, negligence and uselessness of the NHS – how to prevent such cases as the Stafford Hospital Scandal in which more than a thousand people needlessly died – you’ll be glad to know that they’ve come up with an answer…
That’s right! In response to the Stafford Scandal (and other scandals) Health Education England has come up with a Values Based Recruitment Strategy which will prevent any such disasters from occuring ever again. How will this strategy do that? Very simply – have a look at this easy to understand diagram I’ve drawn to illustrate:
And what if it doesn’t work? Well, that means there wasn’t enough Equality Promotion…
We in the UK are excited to see just how efficient, competent, life-saving and exceptional the NHS will become… just as soon as everyone involved has devoted the necessary amount of time to promoting equality.
Say buh-bye to needless deaths.
Migrants living rough near the port of Calais in France have turned down free food hand-outs, claiming the food on offer was not spicy enough for their tastes in an incident branded “very disappointing” by charity workers. A small group of the migrants prevented others from taking the food, leading to the food on offer having to be scrapped, the Local has reported.
The food was being handed out by aid charity ‘Salam’. Jean-Claude Lenoir, a worker with the charity described the scene: “The leaders staged a small coup, and prevented the others from coming to eat.”
The food was “a lot less salty and not very spicy” compared with the fare usually on offer, but, Lenoir said, “personally, I think that spices are very expensive, and I find that they’re a bit too pampered by now.
He told the migrants gathered that “many people in France don’t even have an evening meal,” adding that the charity was happy to provide food to them, but “there are limits with regards to what we can propose.”
Meanwhile, poor Cosette starves and Jean Valjean is forced to steal bread for his family.
Miserable in France