The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Saturday, August 06, 2011

On racial purity.

Several years ago, a (then) friend of mine, who is no longer one, remarked, with a strangely gleeful face, that: “Your children are not racially pure…my daughter is.”

I thought this a most bizarre and inexplicable remark coming from a man whose first marriage had been to a fellow Caucasian – but whose second marriage (and two children by it) was to a Malay woman!

He seemed to have forgotten that two out of three of his own children were as mixed as mine were.

Anyway, his remark got me thinking. Does it matter that my children are racially mixed? Does it make any difference to me, in any negative sense – as my former friend implied it should? Clearly, the answer is no, it does not matter. The reason for this should be clear to anyone with the least understanding of genetics: my children by my Malay wife, contain exactly the same number of my genes as any theoretical child I could have had by a fellow Irish woman. My children are just as much my children, in a mixed race marriage, as they would be in a “pure blood” marriage. The situations, from the genetic point of view of what fatherhood means, are exactly equivalent.

I realize that my former friend was expressing a view, held by some, that there is something wrong with “impure” crosses. They see something wrong in mixed race children. I cannot agree with this view. Mixed race children are, by simple observation, frequently more attractive than either parent – so, they certainly do not lose out there. They are likely to be healthier than a “pure blood” child, since they are unlikely to have genetic diseases which require two defective genes, one from either parent. This is obviously so, since different races will have different preponderances of various defective genes: a mixed race cross is unlikely, therefore, to bestow a genetic disorder on a child. Thus, mixed race children can be expected to be healthy and good looking. They are also, don’t forget, just as much their parents’ children, as they would have been in a “pure blood” cross. So, I don’t see any disadvantage here, indeed there are certain advantages.

I have one qualification to this, though. I do think it would be a bad idea if ALL relationships were mixed race crosses. You see this would extinguish the individual races and their individual mix of abilities and disabilities, advantages and disadvantages and create blends between them that might not be as suited to particular environments as the uncrossed pure bloods would have been. So, some mixing is fine and, in fact, to be desired in some ways – but it is important, I think, that the full panoply and variety of human races (and mixes) is maintained – for in that variety, Humanity has a certain strength against changed circumstance and a range of challenging environments.

The Caucasian is in decline in the world. Caucasians are having fewer and fewer children. I, for one, would regret the passing of the Caucasian, should they decline to extinction (though I am not likely to live long enough to see it). Yet, that does not mean that mixed race marriages and biracial children should not be. Such children and such marriages contribute to the world’s diversity, and this can only be a good thing. It is my hope that all races and all racial combinations, persist for the long term – for in each such combination, I think there is something of lasting human interest to be found.

As for my former friend’s remark about my children not being “pure blooded”, I admit, I was surprised that he should not only say such a thing, but think it. He seemed to take pleasure in the fact that my children were “mixed” and “not pure bloods” – as if they were somehow inferior to his daughter, thereby. In the end, I understood that he needed to think such things to defend himself against an unavoidable fact: my children are a lot brighter than his. He was looking for a way to reason that his child was superior to mine. He chose “racial purity”. It was jarring to hear such thoughts, in a post-Nazi world. I would have thought that the ideals of racial purity would have been muted, by the events of the nineteen-forties. However, he did not seem to have this historical awareness, despite his father’s wartime service against the Nazis.

My own view is that all races and mixes between races, have their utility and special place. All should be respected and valued – and all should be preserved. You never know when a particular race, or racial combination, might prove vital to the interests of Humanity – so it seems wisest to preserve them all, against future need.

In case you are curious, it is not my former friend’s remark about my children not being pure blooded that ended our friendship – but something else that he did (a deception). Ultimately, I would rather he was more concerned with purity of heart (his own), than purity of race. Then, probably, we would still be friends.

Posted by Valentine Cawley

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 10:42 AM 


Blogger tearsunderstars said...

Hi Mr Cawley,

Your (then) friend made a very insensitive comment. Nevertheless I always thought otherwise. I personally prefer mixed race than just one race. The reasons are just as you listed, and also the law of nature applies, that is more genetic variability will lead to better survivability and other features. In fact people whom I knew which were of mixed race are just very good-looking (and smart too), which leaves me rather envious. Not to mention all of us share a common ancestry, the only difference is how far away the "branches" are. Therefore I never really like to compare how inferior or superior one race is to another or mixed race for that matter.


8:54 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes, Tearsunderstars, mixed race children are usually quite blessed, in a range of ways. Don't be jealous of them, however, for if only one gene of yours were changed, you would not be you. You could not be 'mixed race' without not being whom you have become. Be happy with whom you are: that is blessing enough.

Yes, we are all one, in time. Humanity is a shared attribute and ancestry - though with all the world's wars and divisions, you would think people didn't know this. Maybe they don't.

Certain races or combinations of races are likely to be better, in general at particular tasks - and other races or combinations, better at other tasks, I would say. There is no need to get into judgements of superiority or inferiority however - since that depends on what attributes you value: intelligence, strength,speed, health, longevity, etc.

I hope you are well, Tearsunderstars. Good luck with your final year of studies.

9:16 PM  

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