Today’s Question, Number 1: Is Joe Biden a Racist?
A few days ago the President of the United States derided several governors as "neanderthals" because they decided to relax the restrictions on social life that had been imposed in a panic-response to COVID. What has he got against that extinct race of human beings?
Neanderthal men, so far as I have been able to gather over the years, were a crude lot but capable of speech and, from the guesses I have read, endowed with an IQ range in the 70's and 80's. Since they interbred with members of Homo sapiens, it may be unfair to refer to them as a species. They should be regarded, instead as a subspecies--if such distinctions mean anything any more. Wolves, dogs, and coyotes not only share many common traits, but they also interbreed freely. I am not sure what the numerical taxonomy boys would say about either canines or hominids, but some would probably pooh-pooh the whole idea of rigid species classification.
Can we be frank? There are lots of people in the USSA who have IQ's in the 70's and 80's--and they are not all in Congress or working for government. If, as it now seems, the IQ norm is about 90--not the 100, which is the European norm--there are racial and ethnic groups where the norm is closer to 80 or below. Are we to treat those people as subhuman, simply because they cannot learn Classical Greek or work out calculus problems? Such a position would rightly be condemned not only as racist but as downright unAmerican.
Joe Biden--or rather one of his speechwriters--would undoubtedly respond that the President meant no disrespect to Neanderthals or other human groups with underperforming IQ test results. That's like saying that some athlete who uses the N-word meant no disrespect to black Americans but was merely using conventional language for comic effect.
If the latest scientific researches are correct, then I too must have some taint of Neanderthal blood, probably through a great grandfather who was Norwegian Sea captain. On behalf of my people, abused, exploited, and genocidally exterminated, I demand from the President an immediate and abject apology for his offensive racist outburst.