Are Caublinasians Genetically Superior?

by Steve Sailer
National Post


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At Pebble Beach last Monday, Tiger Woods showed why he's the heir to Michael Jordan's title of World's Most Glamorous Athlete. Tiger roared back from seven shots behind with seven holes to play to win his sixth straight golf tournament, the first time any man's done that since Ben Hogan in 1948.

When Woods became a superstar to even the nongolfing world by winning the 1997 Masters tournament by 12 strokes, the media -- which obsessively envisions all racial issues as merely black and white -- wanted to define him as the first "black" to win a major championship. And Nike wanted to do with him what it does best -- market him as another black superjock. But Tiger refused to sell out his family's multiracial roots. He joked that he thought of himself as "Caublinasian." That's his boyish shorthand for the fact that he is one eighth Caucasian, one quarter black, one eighth American Indian, and one half East Asian (a quarter Thai and a quarter Chinese).

Although golf doesn't require aerobic endurance, it does demand an unusual mixture of power and delicacy. Further, pro golfers need so much control over their emotions that few fulfill their potenial before their thirties. Thus, golf's great champions -- men like Bobby Jones, Hogan, Arnold Palmer, and Jack Nicklaus -- have tended to be formidable gentlemen, on and off the links. At only 24, Woods has a long way to go to rank with these greats, but he already radiates a palpable sense that he's not just the best athlete to ever play professional golf, but that he's also one of these superior individuals.

And thus it's time to confront the question that's been whispered about ever since this Mozart-like prodigy first appeared on television as a three year old playing golf with Bob Hope: Are multiracial people like Tiger genetically better than the rest of us? Until recent decades, that query was unthinkable: "miscegenation" was assumed to be the royal road to racial ruin. But, now we have enough scientific evidence to answer with a resounding "Maybe."

The opposite of Tiger's famously outbred family tree are the inbred genealogies found notoriously often among hillbillies and aristocrats. Psychometrician Arthur Jensen, the leading researcher on intelligence, reports that inbreeding reduces "birth weight, height, head circumference, chest girth, and resistance to infectious diseases," because the inbred are more likely to inherit two copies of deleterious recessive genes. Incest is so genetically disastrous that humans have evolved a defense against it: children brought-up together before the age of six almost never grow up to be sexually attracted to each other. For example, many an Israeli kibbutz tried raising toddlers in mixed-sex dormitories, only to find later that none of its young people wanted to marry each other.

But milder forms of inbreeding are also detrimental. Marriages between first cousins, so common among the crowned heads of Europe, tend to reduce IQ by 7 or 8 points. (As Shakespeare possibly should have said, "Empty lies the head that wears the crown.") Since there are no hard and fast boundaries between extended families, clans, tribes, ethnic groups, or races, a tendency to inbreed can eventually sap towns and even peoples. For example, economist Thomas Sowell suggests that one reason why first generation Italian immigrants were so much shorter than their descendents was because the mountainous terrain of Southern Italy made going courting outside one's own home village too exhausting. Fortunately, the inbred sins of the fathers don't have to be visited upon the children. Simply marrying somebody from the next valley over will eliminate most of this "inbreeding depression" in your kids. Over the last 150 years, the invention of trains, bicycles, cars, and planes has given our genes a healthy airing out.

In sports, inbreeding hurts horseracing, because all thoroughbreds are required to be descended from just three Arabian stallions and 20 English mares. Thus, despite enormous sums invested in eugenic breeding, no recent thoroughbred has challenged the times set by Secretariat way back in 1973. In contrast, mongrel quarter horses continue to get faster.

On the other hand, while inbreeding depression clearly hurts, the evidence for "hybrid vigor" among multiracial individuals is less clear, since the returns from outbreeding diminish fairly rapidly the farther out you marry from your own nuclear family. Still, a careful study of biracial white-Japanese children in Hawaii did find that their IQ's were two points higher than those of their monoracial peers of the same socio-economic status.

It's also possible that multiracial individuals are more likely to inherit unusual combinations of traits. For example, Tiger Woods seems to combine the muscularity and masculine charisma of an African-American superstar with the self-discipline and focus of the finest Asian-American athlete.

In summary, inter-racial marriage, long the object of fear and loathing, may turn out to be one route to enriching the human race.

Steve Sailer ( is the president of the Human Biodiversity Institute.



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