I am sure most people are familiar with the typical definitions of ‘cuckoldry’ in which a woman is unfaithful to her unknowing male partner. Genetically speaking, the most severe form of cuckoldry occurs when the woman’s unfaithful behavior results in being impregnated by the “other man” — with the unknowing male partner being tricked to raise the other man’s offspring as if it were his own. This extreme example of maladaptive behavior is similar to the phenomenon of brood parasitism as practiced by several species, including the cuckoo bird, from which the term “cuckoldry” is derived. Humans or birds – the cuckolded organism suffers a drastic loss of biological fitness by raising as offspring young not their own.
As Dr. Frank Salter indicates in his ground breaking work on genetic interests, these interests – which are ultimate interests to all evolved organisms – can exist at higher levels than mere individual and family. Genetic interests also exist at the level of population groups (“ethnies”). Thus, if cuckoldry occurs at the individual/family level and damages genetic interests, can it not also occur at the level of ethnicity and race, with even wider spread damage done to genetic interests? Can Racial Cuckoldry exist, in which people are misled into thinking that the genetically alien is actually a co-ethnic, and so invest in people with whom they share relatively little distinctive genetic information?
Note by “racial” in this context I mean pertaining to the “ethny” — which can beany genetically defined population (ethnic group, sub-race, race, etc.). Note also that Racial Cuckoldry — defined as the maladaptive investment in genetically alien ethnies and/or alien individuals who are mistakenly considered as belonging to your ethny — is linked to mimicry, that is, Racial Mimicry. Racial Mimicry is fairly straightforward — a member of one ethny mimics the outward characteristics of another ethny and, therefore, may be mistaken for a member of that other ethny.
An example of the racial cuckoldry paradigm is the case of the Kalash, as indicated by this post and comments thread at American Renaissance. The Kalash are an Asian Caucasian group that are, in general, fairer complexioned that the surrounding Pakistani population. Some fraction of the Kalash population, particularly children, are fair even by European standards (i.e., light-haired and light-eyed), and an even smaller percentage of the population may resemble some Europeans in facial features (although most Kalash are, clearly, phenotypically distinct from Europeans).
The different faces of Kalash children
However, cherry-picked pictures of fair Kalash children prompt some hysterical commentators to assert that the Kalash are “Aryans,” racially similar to Europeans and thus racially “White” in the European sense of that word. Of course, this is complete nonsense; large scale genetic analyses clearly show that the Kalash are completely distinct from Europeans, a different race; indeed, the Kalash instead cluster with other Central/South Asian populations.
Faced with the irrefutable evidence that the Kalash are, from a European perspective, a racially alien people, the “hey, they look to me like White Aryans” commentators completely ignore the evidence and essentially repeat the assertions that “if you know anything about race, the Kalash are just like White Europeans.” Except — they are not. The data clearly show that the Kalash are in no way, shape, or form the “ethnoracial kin” of Europeans any more than are other Central/South Asian peoples. Individuals of European descent who are tricked by the superficial phenotypic mimicry of some Kalash for Europeans are victimized by racial cuckoldry. They are identifying the Kalash as part of their (kin) “ingroup” to an extent not supported by the actual genetic evidence. These deluded individuals may maladaptively invest in a genetically alien people who are being mistakenly perceived as being close ethnoracial kin. Is this any different from a bird raising an alien cuckoo in the nest? Is it different from a man unknowingly raising another man’s child, thinking it is his own? In its very essence, the cuckoldry is the same — investment in the genetically alien in place of more proper investment in those genetically closer.
At the ethnic level, this of course occurs with ethnic groups other than the Kalash. The same types of people who become breathless over pictures of Kalash phenotypic outliers also become equally excited by the occasional fair Iranian or upper caste Brahmin Indian. The same hysteria about “Aryans” takes place, completely ignoring genetic data that shows these groups as distinct from Europeans. Probably the non-European groups genetically closest to Europeans are the Ashkenazim, some (and only some minority of) Turks, and unmixed Berbers. The Ashkenazim are likely a Middle-Eastern-European hybrid people and the European component allows for some limited similarity to Europeans, although selection and drift makes the Ashkenazi highly distinct from both Middle Easterners and Europeans. (See also here.) Turks are a mixed bag, some minority may be close to Europeans genetically and phenotypically; however, most others however are Near Eastern and/or Central Asian in biological type. As a whole, the Turkish people are genetically distinct from Europeans, although closer to Europeans than are, say, South Asians (“high caste” or otherwise). Berbers relatively unmixed with Arabs or Negroes are likely closer to Europeans than are Asian Caucasians, having, most probably, split from Europeans after the split with the Asian Caucasians. However, genetic differences exist between all these groups; the point being made here is ofrelative similarity. The major point is that, excitement over a few pictures of fair Kalash children aside, it is highly unlikely that the Kalash are closer to Europeans than are Ashkenazim, Turks, or Berbers.
Racial cuckoldry can exist at the individual level as well. Let us take for an example actor Mark-Paul Gosselaar, who is pictured below. Knowing nothing of Mr. Gosselaar’s ancestry, I am sure that the “Kalash look like White Europeans” enthusiasts would say that Gosselaar looks White and European. Indeed, they may assert that he looks like a typical Northwest European and, judging by his surname, is a perfect example of an unmixed Dutchman.
Unfortunately, they would be wrong, as Gosselaar’s mother is of Indonesian ancestry, making him a Eurasian hybrid. Now, insofar as I know, Mr. Gosselaar may be a fine human being, an honorable man, and an excellent actor, and none of this should be construed as disrespect to him as a person. Nonetheless, his ancestry makes him genetically distinct and alien to Europeans, physical appearance notwithstanding. A person of (unmixed) European ancestry who would invest in Gosselaar as a member of their ingroup would be making — all else being equal — a maladaptive choice. If such a person is misled by Gosselaar’s appearance, then this is an example of racial cuckoldry due to racial mimicry.
Now, racial cuckoldry can occur for reasons other than phenotypic (physical appearance) overlap. Mimicry in speech, culture, clothes, mannerisms and other such factors can mislead, resulting in racial cuckoldry as well. However, the Kalash problem is a perfect example of biological phenotypic mimicry leading to racial cuckoldry
Indeed, this is one way of thinking about cultural influence by Jews: Although they are genetically distinct, Jews are often regarded as Whites — despite the fact that they have different genetic interests and despite the fact that they have a very distinctive profile in the construction of culture: They are the main force behind the construction of the culture of critique. Nevertheless, from the Hollywood left to the neoconservatives, the Jewish identity and Jewish interests of prominent figures in the media and in politics are rarely mentioned, at least partly because mentioning Jewish identity is vigorously policed by Jewish activist organizations that are loathe to allow discussion about, say, Jewish influence in Hollywood. Moreover, it has been common for Jews, especially Jews involved in communism or other leftist movements, to change their names so that they didn’t appear Jewish. This deception was made easier because, as noted above, there is some genetic admixture between Jews and Europeans, so that many Jews look European. The result is that Jewish intellectual and political activists are simply categorized by most Americans as Whites.
The Daily Show‘s Jon Stewart: Jewish, but European-Looking
Genetic testing can identify and expose racial mimicry by objectively determining ethny group membership via autosomal genetic analyses. The power of autosomal analysis is an excellent argument for genetic testing and an excellent argument against relying solely on phenotype, culture, etc. for the identification of co-ethnic kin.
This does not imply that phenotype and culture are unimportant; on the contrary, they are very important. But they are secondary and supportive superstructures built upon a foundation of autosomal genetic data. A primary reliance on these secondary racial identifiers leads one open to racial cuckoldry through racial mimicry, and one may see precious resources expended on the mimic rather than on actual co-ethnics. Or one may be open to cultural influences from genetically distinct peoples masquerading as ethnic kin. Testing and more testing — autosomal genetic analyses — is the key to avoiding racial cuckoldry.
Now, on a practical level, for ethnic groups, this is usually not a problem. There is already a set of reasonably sound population genetic studies for many ethnic groups, including the Kalash. Rational individuals can look at the genetic data and understand that several pictures of unusual Kalash children cannot alter the racial profile of that entire group. The Kalash are a unique people that should be preserved, and I wish them well in their struggle for survival. But, they are not European. In the last analysis, the Kalash are part of the broader genetic interests of Central/South Asians; Europeans have their own survival to worry about and need to let the Asians sort out their ethnic relations for themselves.
What about on a more individualized level? Unfortunately, it is not (currently) practical to have autosomal genetic testing be as routine for large numbers of people as is, say, fingerprinting. But, it is not difficult to identify the ethnic ancestries of most people. Surely, Gosselaar’s ancestry is known, and it is possible to realize that, physical appearance aside, his mixed Eurasian background makes him genetically alien to Europeans. All else being equal, investing in Gosselaar based on his appearance would be a maladaptive choice for Europeans, and would be an example of racial cuckoldry. Once one knows the ethnic ancestry about an individual, particularly if population genetics data exist for that individual’s constituent ethnic ancestry group or groups, one can estimate how genetically similar or dissimilar that individual is to you or to anyone else. You would simply use ethnic genetic data as a proxy for that person; for example, if the individual in question is German, population genetics data for Germans as a whole can be used to estimate the probable genetic profile of that individual. In most cases, it is not necessary for the person to be directly tested, although that option would be optimal. And, if that person believes that the ethnic proxy is not a good representation of his/her own genetic background, and that use of the proxy would be an unfair imposition of an imprecise genetic identity, then this individual can be tested with available autosomal genetic analyses. Individualized testing should always be an option, but if it is not possible, then the ethnic proxy represents a reasonable substitute.
The main point is to avoid racial cuckoldry if at all possible. It would be beneficial if people would actually think through the consequences of a “they look White to me” attitude if the genetic data are reasonably definite that “they” are in no way similar to Europeans. Science can help us in understanding our genetic interests, but this help is useful only if it is accepted. A Luddite rejection of genetic science can lead to maladaptive choices. A bird feeding an alien cuckoo has no choice in the matter; there, instinct is exploited to promote cuckoldry. Thinking humans always have a choice; make that choice an adaptive one.
After all, what is the difference for a man between cuckoldry and adoption? The former consists of a man being deceived into raising genetically alien offspring because he thinks it is his own; the latter consists of a man choosing to raise a genetic alien even though he knows it is not his own. We may debate the wisdom of adoption — and for the specific case of people who cannot have their own children, adopting co-ethnics may indeed be adaptive — but at least the adoption decision is made with the knowledge that the child in question is the offspring of others. No ignorance or deception is involved. Now, if people want to “adopt” the Kalash or Gosselaar into the family of Europeans, then let that choice be an informed one, with the genetic consequences, derived from genetic assays, clear and out in the open.
Refusing to accept the available data is a poor method for decision making. Fully formed rational people should embrace the knowledge that is out there, not mindlessly reject it.
After all, it is your adaptive fitness that is at stake.
Ted Sallis (email him) writes on scientific issues.