Sunday, May 31, 2009

Anna May Wong: Celestial Star of Piccadilly, BBC R4

I asked one of my favorite bloggers Madam Miaow, to contribute to my blog a post about her heroine Anna May Wong. Her profile says, "Poet, writer, broadcaster and all round trouble-maker. Madam Miaow casts a sharp eye over the political and cultural landscape and takes a scalpel and a shotgun to the guilty parties.

“Just imagine, the whole place being upset by one little Chinese girl in the scullery.” (Piccadilly, 1929)

Anna Chen aka Madam Miaow writes and presents A Celestial Star In Piccadilly, a half-hour profile of Hollywood's first Chinese movie star for BBC Radio 4.
Broadcast 11:30am, Tuesday 13th January 2009.
Pick of the Day in Guardian Guide, Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday.


While I was growing up in Hackney, there were few east asian women in the culture reflecting anything like my appearance. Those that did slip through were not necessarily an inspiration. Yoko Ono was unfairly reviled in the media as a hate figure, although – far from breaking up the Beatles –she was a respected Fluxus artist in her own right and famous among the avant-garde cognoscenti way before John Lennon was anything more than a pop star. The twin horrors of my childhood, Suzy Wong and Juicy Lucy – happy hookers who migrated from popular literature onto the screen – were always there to define me in the eyes of a society without any other reference points. There were powerful women, too, but they came in the shape of Jiang Qing (Madam Mao), the kleptocratic Imelda Marcos and, in fiction, the evil daughter of Fu Manchu. Her I quite liked.

I wondered who the young Anna May Wong had to look up to. She grew up as third-generation Chinese born in a youthful America when Native Americans were safely out of the way on their reservations and former slaves were consigned to ghettos and plantations. Chinese-Americans were about as low as you could get; depicted as so much of a danger to working men and decent citizens that the US government introduced legislation specifically designed to curb the ambitions of the Yellow Peril within. Their ambitions may have been humble — earning an honest dollar for one's labour, living in safety and security, bringing up families of their own — but the owners of capital tolerated them only as cheap labour, while much of the labour movement in both the Britain and the USA (Wobblies excluded) saw the Chinese as more of a threat than as fellow workers.

Various schools of thought say that Asiatic humans first walked over the Beriing Straits 10,000 years ago and populated the Americas down to their southernmost tip. Others contend that Imperial Chinese ships arrived in the 15th century, predating Columbus by decades; or that they initially landed in California on Portuguese ships carrying silver from mines in the Philippines.

What we do know is that in the mid-19th century, the discovery of gold at Sutters Mill in 1848 drew first a trickle and then a flood of Chinese who joined in the Gold Rush, populating the west coast and working the mines in the Sierra Nevada mountains. The next wave of immigration was brought in as cheap coolie labour by Charles Crocker in the 1860s to build his Central Pacific railroad which would link Sacramento with the East and bring the West into the Union during the Civil War. Conditions were harsh and they were paid less than their white counterparts.

But not all Chinese would submit and conform to the role of coolie; there was one major strike with thousands laying down tools as they busted through granite mountains and worked in 20-foot snowdrifts. It was a strike that had the potential to unite all workers, and ever since I found out about it in the early 1990s while working with Sinophile author Martin Booth on his film script The Celestial Cowboys in 1993, it has inspired me, especially as there are those who insist that Chinese are genetically bourgeois and incapable of working-class consciousness. The strikers were eventually starved back to work with a few concessions but they had shown they they weren’t all pushovers.

Many miners and railworkers settled in the US and formed America’s first Chinese communities. These were Anna May Wong’s roots.

In a world bereft of role models, Anna May carved out an acting career in the early days of the Hollywood film industry. She started young, as an extra on the streets of Los Angeles, learning her craft and gaining proper roles in defiance of her traditionalist father, who wanted her at home in the family laundry.

By 17, she was starring in Hollywood’s first technicolour movie, The Toll of the Sea, as the Madame Butterfly character, “marrying” an American who promptly dumps her when he returns to his homeland and a white wife. She dies tragically at the climax, beginning a pattern that would endure for most of her career.

Trapped in Dragon Lady or Lotus Blossom roles, she grew tired of being demeaned, insulted and limited. Anti-miscegenation laws meant she wasn’t allowed to kiss a romantic lead if he was white, even if he was a white actor playing a Chinese. Your sexuality got you killed, at least symbolically.

In the late 1920s she came to Britain, where she was already a huge star and made the black and white silent feature film Piccadilly for the German director E A Dupont. This was perhaps her greatest starring role, but she still had to die at the end. Death was the fate she had to endure for the crime of being attractive. I take a closer look at this movie in the programme as there’s a plethora of prejudice leaking at the edges, some of it hilarious, much of it still extant today.

Anna May was the toast of Europe: mates with Paul Robeson, Josephine Baker, Marlene Dietrich and, strangely, Leni Riefenstahl. Such was the contrast in Europe with what she’d experienced back home that she once stated there was no racism in Germany. And that was in the Thirties, which gives you some idea how bad it must have been if you were a minority in the Land of the Free.

She starred with Marlene Dietrich in Shanghai Express, acted with a greenhorn Laurence Olivier on the London stage. Philosopher Walter Benjamin had a major crush on her. She dined with royalty and was adored by her fans. Eric Maschwitz wrote the classic song “These Foolish Things” about her.

Yet Hollywood still refused to lower the drawbridge and give her the starring roles she deserved. Those still went to white actresses in Yellowface. Myrna Loy as evil Daughter of Fu Manchu? Loy, Katherine Hepburn, Luise Rainer and Tilli Losch were all considered better at being Chinese than Anna May Wong.

These things take their toll and she died in 1961, at the unnervingly early age of 56.

But isn’t everything different today? Nope, it’s still with us. The form has mutated but the content lives on. A Celestial Star in Piccadilly is one case study in how minorities are rendered invisible in the culture and as producers of culture, while the fruits of their labour are appropriated by those who sit at High Table.

And the danger of that is it’s the sleep of reason where monsters are born.

Hmmm, sounds familiar and rather too close to home ...

Interviewees include:
Graham Russell Gao Hodges, Anna May Wong's biographer, Laundryman's Daughter
Diana Yeh, historian
Alice Lee, writer and actress who performed her one woman show about Anna May Wong, Daughter of the Dragon
Elaine Mae Woo, director of Frosted Yellow Willows about Anna May
Ed Manwell, film producer, Frosted Yellow Willows
Neil Brand, composer of the new score for the BFI Southbank rerelease of Piccadilly on DVD
Jasper Sharp, east Asian film expert
Kevin Brownlow, legendary film historian and filmmaker
Margie Tai and Connie Ho, who remember Anna May Wong visiting their Limehouse neighbourhood when they were kids

Produced by Chris Eldon Lee for Culture Wise Productions
Many thanks to Mukti Jain Campion of Culture Wise for giving me latitude and for her wonderful feedback

Thanks to Socialist Unity for carrying this post here

Harpy Marx has reviewed it here.

Anna on Anna May Wong and Chinese in Hollywood. The Good Earth review.

Anna started writing her novel, Coolie, on the Transcontinental strike by Chinese workers since 1994, taking longer than construction of the railroad itself



tony said...

Racism Can Be Subtle on the surface sometimes.Her's seems not to be Obvious at first glance.But Real none the less.I Dont know much about Her yet.......I have more reading to Do.......!

Nevin said...

I concur with tony.

This is the first time I have heard of her but then again, I am not much of a hollywood star follower.

Racism runs deep at every society. Chinese have their racist stereo types, just like any other society on this globe. It is a terrible diseases that infects every one unfortunately. I would love to live in a world where we do not identify ourselves with ethnicity, religion, color, borders, flags, national anthems or such non sense..... I am aware, it is a distant dream...

Perhaps, being inclusive is not in the nature of the collective human psyche. I do not know...!

The Sentinel said...

"It is a terrible diseases {...} Perhaps, being inclusive is not in the nature of the collective human psyche"

You seem to have answered your own question.

Is it really a 'disease'? Or is it a political manifestation? Or is it maybe just nature?

The term 'racist' only has a recent etymology - 1920's at latest - so it would be quite a new 'disease.'

Frank Partisan said...

Tony: Check out Madam Miaow's blog. She has several posts about Anna May Wong.

Nevin: Racism is the main tool used by capitalists, to divide workers. It may sound cliche, but the numbers bear it out.

Being inclusiveness is more natural, than not. Humanity doesn't allow babies to fend for themselves, like wild animals.

Race was never part of natural selection. Early African humanity, probably never saw another race.

Sentinel: The term racist might be new, racism isn't new. Eugenics comes before the 1920s.

The Sentinel said...

If racism is, as you claim "the main tool used by capitalists" then why is it that media - owned by capitalists - consistantly fail to report accurately on the very real problems of immigration or on the true demographics of crime? Why are there draconian laws in European countries - pretty much all of which still have massive interests in capitalism - that prohibit the freedom of speech in this area? In the UK you can get up to 7 years in prison for speaking out on such matters and in true Orwellian style, the truth is not accepted as a defence in a court of law.

Most of what is wrongly perceived as 'racism' in these countries is purely the natural result of not being asked if they wanted such vast and all pervading changes thrust upon them in their own countries, combined with their governments indifference to their concerns and in many cases their own governments sanction of legal discrimination towards them in areas such as employment, along with the suppression of basic freedoms. There has never been any referendum for these changes, and there has never been any mandate whatsoever for it.

Being 'inclusive' is most certainly not a human trait; underneath all of the superficial sophistry, humans are just pack animals and behave as such instinctively:

"You should judge someone not by the color of his skin, civil-rights leader Martin Luther King declared 43 years ago, but by the content of his character.

Yet new research suggests that to achieve this ideal, you may have unlearn years’ worth of mental habits—a daunting number of years. Such as your current age, minus three months.

That’s because new studies have found that by this age—three months—many babies start to prefer faces of people from their own race to those of another race. This early favoritism may represent the first glimmers of racial prejudice, psychologists say."

And this is hardly limited to whites, nor for any conceivable 'capitalist' reason or 'capitalist' influence:

"British Asians are five times less likely to marry outside their race than the white population, according to a BBC survey"

And I am really not sure why you think that humans are unique in looking after their young over wild animals; in the wild it is the exception that it is not the case that the young are nurtured rather then the rule. Even crocodiles look after their young, and for year up to a year after they hatch too.

And yes, the term 'racist' is new, but do you know where it was coined and by whom?

I really cannot understand how you think that 'capitalists' are the puppet masters of racism.

The Sentinel said...

And on the question of "race was never part of natural selection" - that erroneous assumption is based upon the faulty foundation that each human is 99.99% genetically similar which in turn appeared to prove the 'race as a social construct' nonsense.

It has since been proved that there is in fact at least 12% CNV between the races and subseqently that they have developed very separately and very distinctly:

"12 % of the DNA Differs Amongst Human Races and Populations: Till now, humans of different races were thought almost identical

The Human Genome Project found all humans to have a 99.9 % similar genetic content and identity, but this is challenged by a new more detailed research suggesting a higher genetic diversity, with further medical and evolutionary implications..."

"The genetic makeup of the human race is much more varied than previously believed, new research shows.
Scientists say that surprisingly many large chunks of human DNA differ among individuals and ethnic groups..."

The Sentinel said...

And the evidence for quite vast variances keeps piling up:

"Geneticists are uncovering another level of human ethnic diversity: It may not be which genes we have so much as the way they behave that accounts for our differences. Using the International HapMap Project, which catalogs human gene variants across populations, University of Pennsylvania researchers Vivian Cheung and Richard Spielman first collected the gene sequences of a particular white blood cell from 82 Asians and 60 people of European descent. Then, using microarray chips, they measured expression levels of those genes.

What they found was surprising: Although which genes were present didn’t differ dramatically between the Asians and the Europeans, their expression did. And that expression was governed by single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)—one-letter changes in DNA­—in nearby regulator regions that determine how much of a gene’s product is made. Overall, 25 percent of the genes seem to show different levels of expression in Asians versus Europeans, and SNPs in regulatory regions probably account for much of the difference. In the case of one gene, researchers found that Caucasians expressed it at 22 times the strength that Asians did."

"Researchers last week described a new drug, called BiDil, that sharply reduces death from heart disease among African-Americans. …But not everyone is cheering unreservedly. Many people, including some African-Americans, have long been uneasy with the concept of race-based medicine, in part from fear that it may legitimize less benign ideas about race.
…The emergence of BiDil, described last week in The New England Journal of Medicine, is a sharp reality test for an academic debate about race and medicine that has long occupied the pages of medical journals. Is there a biological basis for race? If there is not, as many social scientists and others argue, how can a drug like BiDil work so well in one race?

…This month, in a special issue on race published by the journal Nature Genetics, several geneticists wrote that people can generally be assigned to their continent of origin on the basis of their DNA, and that these broad geographical regions correspond to self-identified racial categories, such as African, East Asian, European and Native American. Race, in other words, does have a genetic basis, in their view.

…Some African-Americans fear that if doctors start to make diagnoses by race, then some in the public may see that as a basis for imputing behavioral traits as well. ”If you think in terms of taxonomies of race, you will make the dangerous conclusion that race will explain violence,” says Dr. Troy Duster, a sociologist at New York University."

Frank Partisan said...

I think it's off topic, to get into a discussion of race and genetics in the abstract.

I thought more people would have heard of Anna May Wong.

See this. It tells a more sensible story, about ther black heart disease drug, you talk about.

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Madam Miaow said...

Great, so a piece on Hollywood's first Chinese film star and the obstacles she had to face in the form of man-made laws and cultural practice is an excuse for a racist diatribe.

What a sad love-free zone you inhabit, Sentinel.

Ducky's here said...

I don't think you'll find much awareness of Wong with younger fans, ren but they aren't all that interested in film history to begin with.

Several of her films are readily available in reasonably good prints. There is a fan base out there.

The Sentinel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Sentinel said...

Renegade Eye,

"I think it's off topic, to get into a discussion of race and genetics in the abstract"

Fair enough; it was just a valid response to a couple of other comments.

Madam Miaow,

"an excuse for a racist diatribe"

And exactly what makes it a 'racist diatribe'? Are you saying that have evidence that counters these findings mentioned, or is it just that you disagree with it politically and so that makes it both 'racist' and a 'diatribe' in your mind?

"What a sad love-free zone you inhabit, Sentinel."

And what exactly makes you think have the right to throw around baseless personal insults on what is clearly a political disagreement? Is that how you react to all things in life that you do not like?

The Sentinel said...


"See this. It tells a more sensible story, about ther black heart disease drug, you talk about."

Renegade Eye,

That is an article which has been taken from an overtly politically biased medium rather then a neutral one, and is certainly more opinion then fact.

The truth is that The Association of Black Cardiologists have resoundly approved that drug and if financial impropriety is involved in that decision then it is yet to be flagged by someone other then a blogger.

But if you do trust Margaret Kimberly as an authoritative source then you may be interested in her last blog post entitled: Israel Spies on America (Again)

Ducky's here said...

Why all this freaking out about a "black heart drug".

The drug may be especially effective for black patients due to a number of pathologies like diet or occupation or pollution.

You're reaching Sentinel. Why not e-mail the "story" to Pat Buchanan and let him take care of it?

Madam Miaow said...

I'm not trying to insult you, Sentinel. I feel sorry for you. It can't be much fun seeking out things that you think divide us instead of celebrating what unites us in our humanity.

We all walked out of Africa 70,000 years ago. That's amazing.

The Sentinel said...

Ducky's here,

That was just one example. I think you might have overlooked the most obvious one about 12% CNV difference between the races.

But obviously if you really think that a racial targeted drug is actually works by way of a "diet or occupation or pollution" that is somehow unique to black people - then good God!!!

It is rubbish like that that makes real research and breakthroughs very difficult. The BloodBook, an independent medical (non-political) organisation spells out the differences that are PROVEN in differing races blood and what prevents proper research into this:

"There are racial and ethnic differences in Blood type and composition...

Publishing the ethnic differences in Blood type and the racial differences in Blood type is not, in the present-day world, considered to be politically correct. We compile and maintain this database through often times confidential sources. Every Blood gathering entity in the world must gather this information to stay in business, but almost every one of them is afraid to publish the racial and ethnic differences in Blood type, given the emotionally charged political climate."

And as for Pat Buchanan, I have heard the name but do not know who he is, so what the hell does he have to do with anything, let alone me?

Madam Miaow,

Of course you were trying to insult me and you still are.

It is the typical argumentum ad hominem that is employed by many - especially around the far-left - in place of substance. You haven't answered the question about which part is a "racist diatribe" and why; and you haven't addressed any of the contentions at all - you have simply reduced it all to a few glib comments about me personally, even though you don't know me from a bar of soap and couldn't possibly know what you are talking about in reality.

Pure argumentum ad hominem.

As for we "walked out of Africa 70,000 years ago" that is just the latest in pure hypothesis of the origin of man based upon evolution (that still has a missing link) and the belief that the bones found in Africa are indeed the oldest on the planet! Considering the size of the planet (and the rate of discoveries) that is some belief.

In fact that is why it is called the "Out of Africa" theory.

Much prior to that belief, the Peking man belief contented that "Indochina" Asians evolved separately from the rest of the races, most likely in China.

There are many opposing theories to ROA theory but the most notable is the multiregional evolution theory.

But again, they are just theories.

Frank Partisan said...

Sentinel: Pat Buchanon's politics are closer to yours, than any other well known US politician. He started as a speechwriter for NIxon. For some reason he left the Republicans. Real close to you on Israel and immigration.

I think if Madam Miaow wanted to insult you, there would be no debate. Ad-hominem attacks come from the right more often. When you go in the direction that different races have different blood types, you are traveling in racist diatribe territory.

I have no reason not to believe the Alternet post about the heart drug. The implications that the drug was approved, is an amazing act of antiscience by the FDA. The same FDA that approved Ephedra etc.

I agree with Ducky. I agree with Madam Miaow that we all walked out of Africa.

The Sentinel said...

Renegade Eye,

Again it is all prejudice, faith and no substance that leads you to believe some things that have been proven, and others that haven't.

I now know who Pat Buchanon is, but still he has nothing to do with me at all.

Madam Miaow most definitely insulted me, and gratuitously so, but couldn't seem to be honest about it; and judging by your comment "if Madam Miaow wanted to insult you, there would be no debate" she has clearly personally insulted people on at least one occasion before and to a remarkable degree.

And my personal experience is that argumentum ad hominem is far more prevalent on the left, but then it would be; just as your perception would be that it is far more prevalent on the right; I tend to comment very little on sites that I am in agreement with because I see no constructive point in affirmation; I much prefer opposing debate - engaging debate with freedom of speech, evidence, logic and reason as the only basis, but that is very hard to find. I only comment on sites I am in general agreement with if I can add something to the debate.

You say that mentioning different races have different blood properties is "travelling in racist diatribe territory" but the BloodBook reference was made after two of Madam Miaows personal insults and after her claim that I was guilty of a "racist diatribe" - so it doesn't really make sense; certainly she was not able to answer why it was a 'racist diatribe.'

And how could it be a 'racist diatribe' in all reality when I am not the one to expound on the differences in racial blood properties but medical experts are? I am not the one to expound on the 12% CNV between racial groups but eminent scientists are?

Are you saying that even facts themselves are capable of being racist? Or are you saying the citing facts that you would politically wish were not so is an act of racism? That the truth is no defence against any accusation of racism?

Because, make no mistake (and if you are honest you will know it to be true) but the my only "crime" here was to answer a comment about racism using facts that the left do not like: I dared to mention race, its reality and its differences.

And for that crime these days - the PC cardinal sin - it is tantamount to being a witch; any level of insult, scorn, derision, dehumanisation and attack is warranted because whoever dares to raise the subject of race and it differences is a modern witch / pariah, not really a human but a hateful foaming evil beast who needs to be suppressed by any means; normal standards of behaviour and etiquette do not apply to such an animal. And if they quote facts, it is irrelevant because the truth is irrelevant when it comes from a foaming, hateful animal.

That is the current climate and is aptly and succinctly described by the medical experts on BloodBook:

"Publishing the ethnic differences in Blood type and the racial differences in Blood type is not, in the present-day world, considered to be politically correct. We compile and maintain this database through often times confidential sources. Every Blood gathering entity in the world must gather this information to stay in business, but almost every one of them is afraid to publish the racial and ethnic differences in Blood type, given the emotionally charged political climate."

They are afraid.

The Sentinel said...

They are scared to speak the truth because of so-called political correctness. Because of people like you, Madam Miaow and Ducky's here, and the many others who use the word 'racist' in an instant.

People that are scared to speak the truth because of political constraints that will result in serious consequences live in a tyranny.

Doctors and scientists that are scared to release research or even to do any research at all because of the justified fear of political attack and serious consequences live in a tyranny.

That is the truth.

You say that you have no reason not to believe the Alternet post about the heart drug, but then again you have no reason to believe it either, expect for the fact that you want to. And like I said if you accept Margaret Kimberly's word on this subject then you must trust her as authoritative source and you should have a look at her other essay's, including the latest one entitled: Israel Spies on America (Again) and tell me if you agree with her assessment on that too.

And finally, it is of course your absolute right to believe in the ROA theory; but it is just a belief and all beliefs are subjective. After all, hundreds of millions of people still believe some supernatural God made woman from the rib of a man; given that the ROA theory seems much more sane.

But tell me, what would happen to the theory if some older bones were found somewhere else? Say North America, Europe or even the under Antarctic?

Larry Gambone said...

Sentinel, ROA is not a belief, it is a theory. Theories are based upon scientific evidence. This evidence consists of bones and tools. Some hominid bones date back 3 million years or more. The oldest outside of Africa are 1.2 million. Until such time as older evidence is found elsewhere, the ROA theory stands. All the rest is pure speculation , ie., belief.

The Sentinel said...

I already went to some length to say it was a theory; and the comment above merely reflects that Renegade Eye has a belief in that theory.

But a theory is not a fact.

Yes, of course theories use some sort of evidence or otherwise it would just be an idea rather then a theory, but that applies to every theory past and present.

The flat earth theory used evidence to support it too:

"...there are rivers that flow for hundreds of miles towards the level of the sea without falling more than a few feet — notably, the Nile, which, in a thousand miles, falls but a foot. A level expanse of this extent is quite incompatible with the idea of the Earth's 'convexity'"; and that an aeronaut at the highest possible altitude will see what appears to be a concave surface "this being exactly what is to be expected of a surface that is truly level, since it is the nature of level surfaces to appear to rise to a level with the eye of the observer"

William Carpenter (1830-1896) in his published "A hundred proofs the Earth is not a Globe"

Just one of thousands of examples. All of them later proved wrong.

Indeed some people still believe in the flat earth theory despite the evidence against it.

The ROA is just another theory with some evidence. Amongst many.

The most notable precedent and still most popular opposing theory is - as previously mentioned - the multiregional evolution theory, and that theory too is also backed up with some evidence.

The chances that we have accidentally stumbled across most the most defiantly and most conclusively oldest bones and tools to be found anywhere on this vast planet - much of which remains unexplored - is extremely unlikely, and therefore requires quite an incredible leap of faith by any standard.

But in any case, until such time as further evidence is found elsewhere, the ROA stands as just another theory amongst many, and one that requires a large element of faith.

Madam Miaow said...

For anyone who missed it, the wonderful Incredible Human Journey is still online at the BBC.

Very interesting for me was the second programme dealing with Asia. I was horrified to see chauvinism at work from some scientists in China who say we are of different origins (Homo Erectus vs Homo Sapiens) but, thanks to extensive genetic research done by another scientist, that's been proven to be a crock and we are all from the same group that came out 70-80 thousand years ago.

The Sentinel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Sentinel said...

"I was horrified to see chauvinism at work from some scientists in China who say we are of different origins"

And pretty much, that there says it all.

You are clearly motivated purely by political dogma even in areas of science; in fact you find any form of dissension from the theory you have chosen to believe in to be horrific.

You believe in this theory unconditionally purely because it suits your political outlook, and look only for confirmation and affirmation of its correctness; that is further evidenced by this:

"thanks to extensive genetic research done by another scientist, that's been proven to be a crock"

You were 'affirmed' by just one scientist on just one TV show, despite being told by 'some scientists' on that same TV show that it was not the case.

One scientist on one TV show who has single handily proved, beyond any shadow of a doubt, one of the greatest mysteries of our universe: Mankind's origins - now that's amazing!

Are you even aware of the multiregional evolution theory, and the substantial evidence that it too boasts? Or would it horrify you?

And by the way, unfortunately nobody outside the UK will not be able to watch your link, not having paid the license fee.

Frank Partisan said...

Sentinel: What do you want us to say? ROA is accepted only for political reasons? ROA is politically correct?

In science when something is called a theory, that means more than it's just one theory of many. Like evolution is called a theory, but only a religious fanatic will dispute it.

Larry is not a newcomer to this subject. he has been studying it for years.

Madam Miaow made a good point. Now BBC is controlled by the left or biased to it? I listen to BBC Int'l Radio every night. I can tell you, it's not biased to the left.

I think ROA is a theory, amongst others. It's the one with the most genetic proof and scientific acceptance.

SecondComingOfBast said...

Who cares? We all descended from the same species of ape regardless as to whether we all came out of Africa or whether the races evolved separately on separate continents. It doesn't matter. Neither theory proves or disproves the matter of differences between the races-which an ordinarily discerning person can tell with nothing but their eyes. However much other difference there is aside from that is probably minimal, but there are some differences.

Unless of course someone wants to deny the impact of sickle cell anemia, which affects the black race almost exclusively, I don't see what the argument is.

Oh yeah, I guess I do, we're all the same, and any pointing out of difference is somehow racist because it's some kind of proof we're not the same.

Which we should be the same.

Unless of course it becomes convenient to "celebrate our cultural diversity". Then of course we're different, until it becomes more politically convenient to "celebrate those things that unite us instead of separating us."

Sentinel, do you see how and why you'll never "win" this argument?

Larry Gambone said...

Sentinal, the only solid evidence is for the ROA theory. Scientifically, and rationally, we must therefore accept it as what we know about human origins. There is no solid evidence for any other theory, hence they remain in the realm of speculation only. The day we find older hominid bones somewhere other than Africa, is the day, I will change my position on this. Paleontology is a science that is in flux. New evidence comes in daily. Thing of Homo Florienis - only a meter tall, think of the 1.2 million hominid found in the Caucasus - all recent discoveries that have broadened our understanding and shown how complex human origins are. But in spite of these discoveries, African bones are still twice as old as any where else.

The Sentinel said...

"What do you want us to say? ROA is accepted only for political reasons? ROA is politically correct?"

Well, clearly that is the underlying motivation of the belief of Madam Miaow from her own words and clearly that is the motivation of most on this site and of your political persuasion.

I have already demonstrated how medical experts (and scientists in general) are afraid to release or even research anything that even obliquely touches on racial differences, and given a sample response of horror from your own site of any dissension from the now media moulded ROA view, it is not immensely difficult to imagine there are not too many career minded scientist queuing around the block to dissent from such a strangely affirming concurrent view to 'political correctness.'

It is a fact that the historical Out of Africa movement started well before the scientific ROA theory and as a result it was indeed even being taught in schools and universities that Socrates and Cleopatra were of African descent, and that Greek philosophy had actually been stolen from Egypt - all completely unchallenged despite it baselessness.

One eminent Professor Mary R. Lefkowitz , in fact a Professor Emerita of Classical Studies explains the processes involved and why:


The Sentinel said...

"...Ordinarily, if someone has a theory which involves a radical departure from what the experts have professed, he is expected to defend his position by providing evidence in its support. But no one seemed to think it was appropriate to ask for evidence from the instructors who claimed that the Greeks stole their philosophy from Egypt...

Normally, if one has a question about a text that another instructor is using, one simply asks why he or she is using that book. But since this conventional line of inquiry was closed to me, I had to wait till I could raise my questions in a more public context. That opportunity came in February 1993, when Dr. Yosef A. A. ben-Jochannan was invited to give Wellesley's Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial lecture. Posters described Dr. ben-Jochannan as a "distinguished Egyptologist," and indeed that is how he was introduced by the then President of Wellesley College. But I knew from my research in Afrocentric literature that he was not what scholars would ordinarily describe as an Egyptologist, that is a scholar of Egyptian language and civilization. Rather, he was an extreme Afrocentrist, author of many books describing how Greek civilization was stolen from Africa, how Aristotle robbed the library of Alexandria, and how the true Jews are Africans like himself...
After Dr. ben-Jochannan made these same assertions once again in his lecture, I asked him during the question period why he said that Aristotle had come to Egypt with Alexander, and had stolen his philosophy from the Library at Alexandria, when that Library had only been built after his death. Dr. ben-Jochannan was unable to answer the question, and said that he resented the tone of the inquiry. Several students came up to me after the lecture and accused me of racism, suggesting that I had been brainwashed by white historians. But others stayed to hear me out, and I assured Dr. ben-Jochannan that I simply wanted to know what his evidence was: so far as I knew, and I had studied the subject, Aristotle never went to Egypt, and while the date of the Library of Alexandria is not known precisely, it was certainly only built some years after the city was founded, which was after both Aristotle's and Alexander's deaths.

A lecture at which serious questions could not be asked, and in fact were greeted with hostility -- the occasion seemed more like a political rally than an academic event. As if that were not disturbing enough in itself, there was also the strange silence on the part of many of my faculty colleagues. Several of these were well aware that what Dr. ben-Jochannan was saying was factually wrong. One of them said later that she found the lecture so "hopeless" that she decided to say nothing. Were they afraid of being called racists? If so, their behavior was understandable, but not entirely responsible. Didn't we as educators owe it to our students, all our students, to see that they got the best education they could possibly get? And that clearly was what they were not getting in a lecture where they were being told myths disguised as history, and where discussion and analysis had apparently been forbidden.

Good as the myths they were hearing may have made these students feel, so long as they never left the Afrocentric environment in which they were being nurtured and sheltered, they were being systematically deprived of the most important features of a university education. They were not learning how to question themselves and others, they were not learning to distinguish facts from fiction, nor in fact were they learning how to think for themselves. Their instructors had forgotten, while the rest of us sat by and did nothing about it, that students do not come to universities to be indoctrinated --at least in a free society."


The Sentinel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Sentinel said...

This distinguished Professor Emerita of Classical Studies then goes on through her book to entirely demolish every premise of the historical Out of Africa theorists.

But again, it was political fear of the consequences that prevented so many from speaking the truth and political fear of the consequences that allowed baseless indoctrination to take over.

And again, the fear of political backlash resulting in serious consequences for merely speaking the truth means that we live in a tyranny.

And so by that token, there is just as much evidence to support the multiregional evolution theory as there is ROA but it is nowhere near as popular in the mainstream media; nor is ROA challenged as robustly as it should be, considering the flimsy premise it is built upon.

As for Larry studying anthropology and ROA for years, I have no doubt he has; indeed in the last very bizarre encounter I had with him he certainly mentioned his credentials in this regard but the fact remains that he is an amateur; a layman who by his own account works as a hospital cleaner and so can hardly be considered as a professional or authoritative voice in the matter.

And lastly - besides the point Madam Miaow made being analysed in detail above - as for the BBC being "controlled by the left or biased to it" - it is common knowledge that it is in the UK and in fact, not even the BBC deny it.

"BBC accused of 'institutional trendy left wing bias'...

The BBC is out of touch with large swathes of the public and is guity of self-censoring subjects that the corporation finds unpalatable, an official report has claimed.
As part of the report's research the BBC's own controller of editorial policy admitted that people felt that the corporation was guilty of a "bias of omission" by not covering their views.

Authors of the report called on the corporation to be more "open-minded" in the views it reflects and warned against "bias of elimination" which it branded "offensive".

The report noted that the BBC had "come late" to several important stories in recent years, including Euroscepticism and immigration , which as it happens, were "off limits" in terms of a liberal-minded comfort zone".

Research for the 80-page report showed that viewers were "frustrated" by political correctness at the BBC and feel the corporation is dominated by a London-centric bias, reflected in its programmes, presenters and coverage...

Roger Mosey, former head of television news at the BBC, now head of sport, is also quoted as saying the corporation displays "fairly overt support" for multiculturalism...

He also admitting having some sympathy with claims of a "liberal/pinko" agenda at times.

He recalled a news item about ethnic communities becoming the majority in parts of east London, where a reporter had told him that they had "worked really hard" to find a white resident who was happy with the situation.

Research in the review also found that even ethnic minorities felt that political correctness had gone to far and others said it was diluting comedy and entertainment at the broadcaster and complained of a "restrictive mind-set"..."

Larry Gambone said...

Sentinal, Afro-centric ideology has nothing to do with paleontology, which is a serious science. There are simply no bones older than those found in Africa, period. When older bones are found outside Africa, paleontologists will change their mind on the issue, and I will too.

As for being a hospital cleaner so what? A lot of Canadian university graduates work at "menial" jobs. The system produced more graduates in the humanities than it could absorb. As for being an amateur, I have a degree in sociology and shy 5 credits for a second degree in anthropology. I have also returned to university on several occasions to take courses that interest me, so all totaled I have spent the equivalent of 6 years in university.

When I began my higher education (1963) a degree in anthropology or sociology qualified one for a job in those fields. When I graduated (1970) the competition was so great you had to have an MA to get an entry-level job in those fields. I could not afford to continue my education, so worked for several years as a social service "grant rat" until the government cut those programs. After that I joined the regular work force. But at no time did I stop studying.

The Sentinel said...


Well, this is a bit of digression, but I didn't say there was anything wrong with being a hospital cleaner, and I also said that I have no doubt that you have studied palaeontology and anthropology for years.

What I said was that you were not a professional palaeontologist or anthropologist; and clearly you are not because a professional works in their field full time and occupationally you are a hospital cleaner, which makes you an amateur palaeontologist and anthropologist.

A degree in sociology is pretty far removed from palaeontology and anthropology, and 5 credits shy of an anthropology degree still means no anthropology degree.

You are clearly an amateur with an above average interest and knowledge in the subject. It is not meant as a slight or an insult but just to establish a fact.

For instance, I have studied history for over 20 years and IT for only 10, and although I would never consider myself to be a historian, and nor would anyone eles, I am considered to be an IT professional, not so much because of my certifications but because I work at a high level full time in the industry.

That is the semantics of it.

But anyhow, as I have said a few times now, the multiregional evolution theory boasts a substantial amount of evidence from eminent scientists, some evidence of which directly contradicts the ROA theory. But the ROA is more of a PC friendly theory and gets much more media coverage.

But the bottom line is all of them are just theories.

And the ROA has a very flimsy base.

ROA rests on the evolution theory - which as probable and possible as it may be, has still never been conclusively proven - it also rests on DNA evidence when DNA science is still really in its infancy - we still don't know what 97% of DNA actually does (so, amazingly, some refer to it as junk!) and also experts have even warned that whilst DNA evidence in criminal cases is a powerful tool, it is not infallible - and yet we are expected to believe that with absolute certainty our ancestral mother has been tracked down over the millennia!

And ROA rests on the fact that the oldest bones in the world are indeed the ones that are being worked on by ROA scientists; as I have said, highly unlikely given the vastness of the planet and the percentage still left unexplored.

So all in all, a lot of faith is required to bridge those gaps, and I have no doubt that as time and technology move on, so will the theories about our origins.

Pagan Temple,

You made some very insightful and clever points there.

Frank Partisan said...

I've said everything I want to. It's getting circular.

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babeuf said...

Renegade Eye, you have a very good blog here, and it was a fine gesture to give a shout out to Madam Miaow and her work on Anna May Wong. Unfortunately, by letting a racist troll take over the comments, that fine gesture seems to have been undone.

Deleting comments on a blog does not have the remotely the same political significance as censorship by the state. Right-wing race theorists have plenty of access to the print media, airwaves and internet. So why is this one allowed free rein here when you originally wanted to do a favour to your fellow blogger and socialist, Madam Miaow?

Think it over, please.

The Sentinel said...


Pure argumentum ad hominem - pure baseless rubbish.

Eminent scientist and medical experts provided the linked evidence here and so it is science and facts that you have the problem with and want to suppress, along with debate.

As always with this type of hysterical claim you present no evidence nor contribute anything to the debate whatsoever other then personal insults and calls for censorship to cover over evidence and debate that is clearly beyond your scope and that you don't like.


Think it over, please.

Anonymous said...

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babeuf has it down on the racist

The Sentinel said...

hoffman-gill, why not just use your real ID? You very strange little man...

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