High Testosterone Fuels Violent Black Crime?

Testosterone Fueled? 17-year-old Blaise Lewinson brutally hacked another 17 year old to death in 2016
Testosterone Fueled? 17-year-old Blaise Lewinson brutally hacked another 17 year old to death in 2016

Warrior Gene Recap
Before discussing testosterone, let’s recap a recent video I did on the so-called Warrior Gene. People with this gene are more likely to exhibit violent and aggressive behaviour but this is most strongly seen in situations where they are provoked. Studies have also shown that anti-social behaviour amongst adult men with this gene is more likely if they were mistreated or punished violently in childhood. Surveys have shown that African Americans are more likely to physically punish their children, and black people tend to live in inner city areas where provocation and threat is much more likely than in other areas. So, it’s not a surprise that African American with this gene were more likely to have been involved in violent crime involving guns and knives, because they are probably more likely to have been beaten as children, and to live in inner city areas.

Testosterone and Black Crime
A very similar picture can be seen with regard to testosterone. Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone which is necessary for a huge amount of basic physiological and psychological functions. But it also seems to correlate with violent and aggressive behaviour. So could it be that black men have higher levels of testosterone, and could this be a factor in the apparent higher levels of violent crime in black communities in the US and UK?

From the evidence that I’ve seen, black men don’t necessarily have a greater innate ability to generate testosterone compared to men of other groups. Over the years, a few studies have recorded higher testosterone levels in black men than men of other races.  But I think there are some behavioural and environmental factors which mean black men tend to have higher levels of testosterone. A number of studies have found that testosterone levels in men rise in anticipation of competition and contests. This has led several scholars to argue for something called The Challenge Hypothesis. Basically, the idea is that men who reside in socio-cultural contexts where there are regular threats to their well-being and social standing tend to produce higher testosterone levels in order to prime them for conflict. This idea is supported by a study which found that when comparing young white and black men with no education above high school level, the testosterone levels among black men was significantly higher than the white men. But among older men or better-educated men, race made little difference in hormone levels.

Testosterone + Ghetto Living + Warrior Gene
What we’re seeing is a vicious cycle. The overly violent environment stimulates elevated testosterone levels among young boys and men in these inner city areas, which in turn leads to more aggression and violence. Add to this mix the Warrior Gene and it’s even more grim. Black men are are more likely to carry the Warrior Gene which means they have less control over the neurotransmitters which trigger aggressive behaviour. Indeed, I’ve seen one study which found that high levels of testosterone only correlated with aggressive behavior in the men if they also carried the Warrior Gene.

Get Out of the Ghetto 
What would my policy recommendations be in response to all of this? Well, on an individual and family level, black people should do everything they can to keep their families intact so as to provide as strong a insulator against the negative impact of the inner city as possible. This includes refraining from having children until we are absolutely sure we can provide them with the support and love they need. Also on a micro level, I think black people should seriously consider pulling out all the stops to leave these inner city areas. More widely, black people need to wage a culture war against all of the negative crap that is spewing out in the music, on social media and elsewhere. The WorldStar effect needs to be counteracted and a new black identity needs to be built, one which is founded on family values, hard work, discipline, aspiration, etc.  And on the macro level, everyone needs to promote the kinds of local and national government policies that deal with the structural causes of inner city degradation.

A longer and fully referenced video will be made available to my Patreon supporters so head over there and join the club! https://www.patreon.com/aTalkingDude

 

The Cowardly Black Identity

Dig underneath the activisit buzzwords, "The Movement For Black Lives" is essentially just another black begging bowl
Dig underneath the activisit buzzwords, “The Movement For Black Lives” is essentially just another black begging bowl

The mainstream black identity in the US and UK focuses its attention on the idea that the moral deficiency of white people is causing black people to suffer. It builds on this by calling on white people to change their ways in order to allow black people to flourish. This identity refuses to make black people responsible for their own predicament, because this would require facing up to some harsh truths about the African experience in human history. For this reason, the mainstream black identity can be termed the Cowardly Black Identity.

Black Begging Bowls
Take a look, for example, at the Movement for Black Lives – the umbrella entity that Black Lives Matter is affiliated to. Look at their “Demands”. Who are they demanding this stuff from? They’re demanding this stuff, ultimately, from white people! They are calling for radical re distributive policies which will direct funds from the economically productive to the economically unproductive. Once you strip away all the empowered-sounding activist buzzwords, this is begging bowl messaging. It is based on white people seeing the error of their ways and having a change of heart about this whole oppression of black people thing.

The idea is that White Supremacy is this all-encompassing cultural, political, economic, ideological, psychological, genetic, environmental, oppression machine. But quite why this edifice of White Supremacy (or White Privilege or Racism or whatever it might be called) would decide to suddenly be nice to black people is beyond me. If this entity is indeed such a crushing and deep-seated and ancient system of oppression, there’s absolutely no reason to expect it to have a road to Damascus epiphany and stop with the badness.

Instead of pleading to this near-mythical edifice of white supremacy to treat us better, black people need to start asking ourselves some tough questions about our experience in recent and current human history. The basic power imbalance between Europeans and Africans goes back to those very early years of contact several hundred years ago. The fact is that the most advanced European peoples and states were able to out-compete the Africans, first economically and then militarily. One thing we should be asking ourselves is why did this happen? It’s not a disgrace to be at a lower level of development to another group.

Learning the lessons of Black History
Then we need to study history since the early contact to pinpoint how the imbalance between Europeans and Africans continued and deepened. We need to look at the strategies that Europeans used to dominate Africans? I feel like this side of the work is being done by academics. But the other side of the work is not being done because it’s a taboo. Basically, we need to ask ourselves why have we collectively not been able to close the gap? We should be looking at all aspects of human existence – from philosophy, economics, political science and law, to the STEM fields and all points in between. We need to understand where we are deficient and how we can improve.

Most black people seem to think that it’s enough to say “the reason we are doing badly is because White Supremacy has been oppressing us for 500 years.” But they don’t want to go past that and ask the logical next question: why is White Supremacy able to oppress us? Asking that question does something very powerful. It shifts the locus of control to black people. And as soon as that happens, we are no longer able to comfort ourselves by taking some kind of moral high ground. Instead, we need to start thinking critically about ourselves and most importantly, focusing on what we need to do for ourselves to sort ourselves out. On an individual level, this self-driven mindset is essential for any kind of success in life. All the more on a collective level.

Toward a New Black Identity
This is the paradigm I use when it comes to discussions around race. Unfortunately, this is not a popular perspective among black people. Black people really, really like the idea of pleading with white people (basically) to be nice to us. You can see this in our voting habits. In the US, black folks routinely vote for the Democrats, and in the UK, for the Labour Party. These parties portray themselves as being the friends of black folks. The key thing about these parties is that they think of themselves as custodians of the Welfare State. Black people see themselves primarily as victims, and they vote for parties who they see as their defenders against White Supremacy. But all this will do is keep us holding a begging bowl, because generational dependence on welfare is not a route to empowerment. It never has been, and it never will be.

The average black person in the UK and US who hears this will respond by saying that black people are not able to rise up because White Supremacy always pushes us back down. This is a cowardly mentality, because it refuses to face up to cold harsh truths. Again, it’s not a disgrace to lose. Throughout human history, people groups have been competing with each other. For some periods you’re up, some periods you’re down. It’s not a disgrace to lose. But for me, it is a disgrace to give up your sense of responsibility and accountability by believing that only other groups can save you.

Understanding how black people became underdeveloped requires investigation into every field of study
Understanding how black people became underdeveloped requires investigation into every field of study

My job with the videos that I put out is to counteract the cowardly black identity, and to promote a new black identity that’s based on honest, critical thinking about where we are going wrong as a collective, and how we can put things right.

I’d like to give a shout out to a YouTuber called Black Men Taking Our Community Back. I’ve been watching a bunch of his videos recently and he has been strongly putting out this kind of mindset. Seeing his channel output has re-assured me that not all black people have the victim mentality. I recommend you check out his channel.

Stormzy Talks Personal Responsibility and His Struggle with Depression

UK Grime artist Stormzy has just released an album which has shot straight to number 1 in the UK charts.

While grime isn’t really my cup of tea, I was very impressed to hear an interview that Stormzy recently did on Channel 4. In the interview, the South London emcee consistently pushed a gospel of personal responsibility and aspiration. At several stages, the interviewer tried to get him to talk about how the system is stacked against black men, and every time, Stormzy gave the exact kind of message that I give in my videos.

The System Can’t Save You
For decades, the black community in the UK as a while has been completely dominated by a paradigm that focuses on racism and injustice as the sole explanation for our relative underdevelopment. But Stormzy focuses on our personal ability to respond, aka responsibility. I know that many people hate to hear this because it puts the onus on us to do everything we can to shape our lives.

Storrmzy
Stormzy is right on top of his game right now, and he’s quite a deep thinking young man too!

During the interview, the interviewer asked Stormzy about the system and tries to get him to talk about how it is failing different parts of society. He gave a very interesting answer and basically said that the system isn’t really set up to serve everybody. I think he probably meant that in the sense that not everyone can succeed in this system. But again, he says the key is not to look to the system for your redemption, but rather to look into yourself, to develop your skills and abilities and aim to be excellent in whatever you can do.

He doesn’t elaborate on this, but the logical conclusion of this approach is quite radical. We all have unique gifts and talents, it’s up to us to do the best that we can do. This is a very motivational speaker type thing say. Motivational speakers often give the impression that every one can achieve whatever they want to achieve, but this is not the case. We can only achieve what we are capable of achieving. Not everyone can be a number selling musician like Stormzy, or Premier League baller like Sergio Aguero, or even a Prime Minister like Theresa May. Again, people don’t like to hear this because they think everyone should have the same. But this is not possible and never can be possible unless you level everybody down to a bare minimum and prevent anyone from rising above the others.

Struggle With Depression
The other standout thing in this interview for me was where Stormzy talks about his struggles with depression. He explains that during the making of the album, a whole bunch of events combined to push him into a depressive state. I find it refreshing that more and more black men with a high profile are opening up and talking about their experiences with depression and other forms of mental illness. Another example was the recent BBC documentary Being Black, Going Crazy?, hosted by Three Shots of Tequila‘s Keith Dube who himself struggles with depression.

The Song in question is called Lay Me Bare. A couple things standout for me in relation to mental illness. In a couple of lines he talks about how he smoked weed to try and take away the pain of the depression. I’ve made another video talking the connection between mental illness and weed smoking. I think this is a critical area that black men in particular need to discuss openly. For me, black men need to stay away from weed because it most likely exacerbates rather than reduces the impact of depression and other mental illnesses.

Another Fatherless Youth
The thing that jumps out of the song Lay Me Bare is where Stormzy opens up about his broken relationship with his father:

“Like bro I can’t believe I saw my dad
Still up in the ends, still driving cabs
He said “Yo son, I need a car”
I kissed my teeth and turned my back
Like “Nigga, you ain’t seen my face for years
Nigga, you ain’t seen my face for time
And the first thing you’re asking me for, is that?
F*ck you! That’s where I draw the line”
Should’ve dashed through a rack like “Keep the change”
And f*ck letting go, I’ll keep the pain
23 years I’m still the same
When you hear this I hope you feel ashamed
Cah’ we were broke like what the f*ck
Mum did well to hold us up
But yet she still forgave your arse
But mumsy’s cool, I’m cold as f*ck
F*ck that! I’m still not over this
F*ck that! No, I’m still not over this”

I bang on and on about how the majority of black children are being raised by single mothers. In this song, Stormzy is basically telling us how not having his father around has damaged him severely, even though he is full of respect for his mother. For every Stormzy whose talent has allowed him to overcome the hindrance of fatherlessness, there are thousands of other black boys who were not so lucky.

In summary, I’m so pleased to see Stormzy publicly discussing these tough subjects. I’m overjoyed to hear a young black man refusing to blame the system for the problems black people face and this will encourage more and more black folks to do likewise

Monoamine Oxidase-A: The Gene That Controls Violent Behaviour?

There has been much talk over the years about a gene called Monamine Oxidase-A (MAO-O for short). This gene helps to limit the activity of neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) such as dopamine, adrenaline and serotonin. It has been found that people with low levels of MAO-A are more suceptable to the effects of these neurotransmitters and are thus more prone to aggressive and depressive behaviour. The following well-written article from a blog called “The Unsilenced Science” includes the following useful discussion:

I couldn't find an image of the gene MAO-A, so here's a picture of an aggressive fist
I couldn’t find an image of the gene MAO-A, so here’s a picture of an aggressive fist

This gene produces an enzyme that breaks down the neurotransmitters that activate many of the brain’s circuits. Back in the 1990’s, scientists discovered a mutation of MAOA that completely turns it off. The result is called Brunner syndrome, which only 14 related men have been known to have (plus animal models). What makes this extremely rare mutation so important is that it proves that MAOA really is a violent delinquency gene. A man with Brunner syndrome is what expert psychiatrists refer to as “a bad guy.” Five of these men were arsonists. Some of the men were rapists or attempted killers. Inexplicably, four men with the mutation somehow escaped having the syndrome, but for men with the mutation, those are not good odds. Nevertheless, out of the approximately three-and-a-half-billion men in the world, 14 really are not that many. Trust me, your neighbor—the one with the motorcycle—is probably not one of them. In conclusion, out of sight, out of mind.

The MAOA gene has a portion with repeated segments of DNA. This section of the gene is called a promoter because having more repeats increases the amount of enzyme that the gene produces (with a rare, debatable exception). After a 2002 study found that having three repeats together with having suffered child abuse is somewhat associated with violent tendencies, a flood of follow-up research ensued, and MAOA was relabeled “the warrior gene.” This version of the gene and one with four repeats are the most common versions, or alleles. These studies always had a few people with neither the 3-repeat nor the 4-repeat allele. A small number only had 2-repeats. The scientists decided that having 2-repeats in the promoter is sort of like having 3-repeats, so they invented the term “MAOA-L.” (“L” stands for low. Pretty clever, huh?) However, a pair of studies in 2008 found that the 2-repeat allele is associated with twice the rate of violence without child abuse coming into the equation. This allele is less powerful than Brunner syndrome but far more common.

Two small studies gave hints that the especially dangerous 2-repeat allele might be more common among African Americans. One study wrote that 6% of their non-white (but probably mostly African-American) male subjects had this allele. The other had 5 of 37 (14%) African-American men possessing “rare MAOA alleles.” Those percentages are remarkable given that studies of white men have suggested that 1% or fewer have this gene. 

 

#BlackLivesMatter’s ambivalence toward straight Black Men

#BlackLivesMatter is a movement that continues to make the headlines, years after it first emerged following the killing of Trayvon Martin by the George Zimmerman in 2012. Looking closely at the official #BlackLivesMatter website, you find that its founders have a very distinct set of ideas regarding gender and sexuality which seek to push heterosexual, ‘cis’ gendered males to the sidelines. Far from being concerned with all black lives, the #BlackLivesMatter originators appear to be mainly concerned with those Black lives which they feel have been marginalised by Black straight men.

The official Black Lives Matter crew has an ambivalent attitude toward straight black men
The official Black Lives Matter crew has an ambivalent attitude toward straight black men

The ‘About’ section of the official website of #BlackLivesMatter says the following:

“It goes beyond the narrow nationalism that can be prevalent within Black communities, which merely call on Black people to love Black, live Black and buy Black, keeping straight cis Black men in the front of the movement while our sisters, queer and trans and disabled folk take up roles in the background or not at all.
Black Lives Matter affirms the lives of Black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, black-undocumented folks, folks with records, women and all Black lives along the gender spectrum. It centers those that have been marginalized within Black liberation movements. It is a tactic to (re)build the Black liberation movement.” 

The ironic thing is that the issues which have brought #BlackLivesMatter movement to public attention are issues which overwhelmingly impact Black males. Straight Black males at that. For example, when it comes to extra-judicial killings by the police in the US, men (and especially Black men) are by far the biggest victims.

On their website, BLM also draws attention to the issue of people being locked up in prisons. They have the following two claims:

2.8 million Black people are locked in cages in this country is state violence.”

1 million Black people are locked in cages in this country–one half of all people in prisons or jails–is an act of state violence.”

The inconsistency in the figures is a common facet of campaign advocacy of this kind. Putting that aside, the naked fact is that black men are much much more likely to be imprisoned than black women. In fact, white men are more likely to end up in jail than black women! The #BlackLivesMatter website actually hides the clear gender dynamic here because they are ideologically committed to pushing male heterosexuals to the sidelines.

The overwhelming majority of black prisoners are male.
The overwhelming majority of black prisoners are male.

Now it seems that the #BlackLivesMatter movement has transcended the vision of its original founders, a fact which they rail against on their website. With this in mind, it is only right to point out that perhaps the majority of activists who mobilise under the #BlackLivesMatter banner (and who share memes on social media using the hashtag) probably understand it to be about Black lives generally. But if the movement were to stay true to the ideology of its founders, it should probably be called BlackFemaleQueerTransLivesMatter. Obviously that would never have caught on!

Sources:
http://blacklivesmatter.com/
http://blacklivesmatter.com/about/
https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/police-shootings/
http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/Race_and_Prison
http://www.sentencingproject.org/template/page.cfm?id=122

Why Criminals are Less Intelligent (Satoshi Kanazawa)

In a 2010 article for Psychology Today, Satoshi Kanazawa gives a suggestion as to why low IQs and criminality seem to go hand in hand:

“Criminologists have long known that criminals on average have lower intelligence than the general population, but they do not know why.  The Hypothesis may be able to shed new light on this question.

Controversial evolutionary biologist Satoshi Kanazwa
Controversial evolutionary biologist Satoshi Kanazwa

From the perspective of the Hypothesis, there are two important points to note.  First, much of what we call interpersonal crime today, such as murder, assault, robbery, and theft, were probably routine means of intrasexual male competition in the ancestral environment.  This is how men likely competed for resources and mating opportunities for much of human evolutionary history.  They beat up and killed each other, and they stole from each other if they could get away with it.

We may infer this from the fact that behavior that would be classified as criminal if engaged in by humans, like murder, rape, assault, and theft, are quite common among other species.  The criminologist Lee Ellis documented many instances of these “criminal behavior” among different species with photographs in 1998.  The primatologist Frans de Waal and his colleagues have documented brutal murders, assaults, and other interpersonal violence among chimpanzees, bonobos, and capuchin monkeys.

Second, the technologies and institutions that control, detect, and punish criminal behavior in society today – CCTV cameras, DNA fingerprinting, the police, the courts, the prisons – are all evolutionarily novel.  There was very little formal third-party enforcement of norms in the ancestral environment, only second-party enforcement (retaliation from vigilance by victims and their kin and allies) or informal third-party enforcement (ostracism).

It therefore makes sense from the perspective of the Hypothesis that men with low intelligence may be more likely to resort to evolutionarily familiar means of competition for resources (theft rather than full-time employment) and mating opportunities (rape rather than computer dating), and not to comprehend fully the consequences of criminal behavior imposed by evolutionarily novel entities of law enforcement.

Men with lower intelligence are less likely truly to comprehend evolutionarily novel entities.  Some of these evolutionarily novel entities are alternative means to resource acquisition and accumulation they could pursue instead of evolutionarily familiar means which are now classified as criminal in civilized societies.  Other evolutionarily novel entities they are less likely truly to comprehend are means that law enforcement agencies employ to detect and capture criminals.  The Hypothesis therefore offers one possible explanation for the negative association between intelligence and criminality.

At the same time, the Hypothesis also offers a novel hypothesis with regard to intelligence and criminality.  As I mention above, while formal third-party enforcement of norms is evolutionarily novel, second-party enforcement and informal third-party enforcement are evolutionarily familiar.  Thus the Hypothesis would predict that the difference in intelligence between criminals and noncriminals will disappear in situations where formal third-party enforcement of norms is weak or absent, and criminal behavior is controlled largely via second-party enforcement, such as situations of prolonged anarchy and statelessness, in fact, any situation that resembles the ancestral environment.  Paradoxically, the Hypothesis would predict that less intelligent men will commit fewer crimes if the police disappeared, although more intelligent men may commit more crimes then.”