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March 20, 2003

Love & Cousin Marriage

Brown person Zack Ajmal is working on a series on marriage in the Muslim world. See here, here and here.

Good complement to the ParaPundit post titled Consanguinity prevents Middle Eastern political development (all related articles here). Add to this a recent Ann Marlowe piece on the importance of the circle-of-cousins in Afghan culture. She indicates quite clearly that it acts on a block to the development of what we in the West would view was a fully-fleshed civil society and government.

Guns, strong familial circles of support and a history of decentralization, yet Afghanistan is not a libertarian paradise. Clearly, liberty as we understand it requires some preconditions. Yes, I'm sure clear to all you sage readers, but if I had told myself that 4 years ago, I would have shot back with a whole flood of inferences from a few axioms rooted in Natural Rights.

Update: Steve Sailer had a good article on this too that was printed in The American Conservative, I don't recall it ever being linked to on his blog but I just found it online. -JM

Posted by razib at 04:35 PM

I am brown?

Posted by: Zack Ajmal at March 20, 2003 04:38 PM

brown is a state of mind....

Posted by: razib at March 20, 2003 04:40 PM

I have been making the point about some of Afghanistan's problems resulting from libertarian ideas for quite some time now. A friend of mine who thinks guns are the ultimate guarantor of freedom could not believe that they could cause so much trouble in places like Afganistan. This was 3 years ago when people didn't know where Afghanistan was.

Posted by: Zack Ajmal at March 20, 2003 04:42 PM

Nah, Pathan is a state of mind.

Also I have an instant allergic reaction to "brother". I have 2 siblings and if my parents wanted someone to call me brother, they would have produced more kids.

Posted by: Zack Ajmal at March 20, 2003 04:44 PM

"Brown is a state of mind" Ok, 2 questions Razib. Am I brown? Are you brown?

Posted by: duende at March 21, 2003 06:59 AM


change your name :) i heard of an irish guy, dark irish, being told by a norwegian friend that the latter did not consider the former "white." the irish guy was not amused. i also had a friend who was half-arab half scotch-irish who was told by a swarthy(er) italian american friend that he wasn't white either. if half of syrians gave themselves an italian or greek name, they would be white. during the bosnia conflict, everyone asked me if i was bosnian, as they were clearly under the impression that bosnians were non-white (they are muslim quite often see-so they must be non-white, you know that it is racist to be prejudiced against muslims in europe, right???).

zack, from the pictures certainly has light skin, but his last name marks him as "brown" in much of america. i've known of half-brown people that go from being considered white to brown once people know their name is "akil" or "sanu."

Posted by: razib at March 21, 2003 09:31 AM

Could I not be "mocha" or "fawn-colored"? I guess this explains why subcontinental guys are always macking on me at the clubs.

Posted by: duende at March 21, 2003 11:14 AM

So is this the definition?

Brown: Anyone who is not considered white but is not dark enough to be black, excepting Northeast Asians.

Posted by: Zack Ajmal at March 22, 2003 01:23 AM

there isn't a axiomatic definition, but your parameters are OK, though hispanic muddles the issue (with who browns are often confused). brown a catchall phrase for "Other." in other words, there is no racial reason that turks are non-white and greeks are white. if zack's last name was italian or greek, he would be white (from the pictures). but since he is "exotic," the american norm is to throw him into the "Other" category, ergo, brown. granted, some people want to expand the perview of "white," beyond even the census definition that includes all middle easterners, but this isn't going to happen because non-whites get affirmative action (one reason asian indians wanted to be put with asian & pacific islander, there were clear affirmative action benefits).

Posted by: razib at March 22, 2003 04:04 PM

What if I have some middle eastern & central asian ancestors? Or is there a one drop of brown blood rule?

I am always mystified by the term "Asian" in the US. Most people mean northeast Asians by it, but most other Asians are also included in the definition by the cansus bureau.

Posted by: Zack Ajmal at March 22, 2003 05:40 PM