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How Large of a Role Did Jews Play in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade?

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The role of the Jews in the slave trade—and in the civil war—has garnered a great amount of scholarly attention. Over the past few years since the rise of the alt-right, claims have been levied that Jews were disproportionately slave owners AND slave transporters. Of course, it would be ridiculous to claim that they had no role in the trade, just as Christians, Muslims, and other African tribes had their own role to play. The claim of a large, disproportionate role of Jews in the slave trade came from the discredited book The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews, published by the Nation of Islam (NoI). The book is nothing more than a masterclass in quote-mining. Nevertheless, the role of Jews—overall—in the slave trade other than in the Second Phase is extremely minuscule, as I will show.

Jews and the slave trade

Slave labor from Africa has been occurring since the 14th century starting with the Portuguese—Europeans justified it by stating that they were going to convert them to Christianity—while it was officially barred by the British 1808. The practice of slavery by and on Africans was done long before Europeans arrived on the continent, but the European need for slaves was so great that they searched inland for slaves. Estimates widely vary, but it is said that between 12 and 28 million Africans were enslaved during this time period. Though between 1450 and 1850, 12 million Africans rode the Middle Passage, which was the forced voyage of Africans across the Atlantic Ocean. In 1619, the first twenty slaves arrived at Jamestown (being taken from a Portuguese slave ship), signifying the beginning of slavery in what would soon become America. In 1654, one African indentured servant took what would become the first legal slave in America, John Casor. But what would become America got comparatively fewer slaves than other places—some 427,000 slaves came to America while some 4 million slaves went to Brazil.

Nevertheless, what was the role of Jews in this system? How much of a hand did they have to play in it and which parts?

It was claimed by an Afrocentrist that “Everyone knows rich Jews helped finance the slave trade.” Sephardic Jews in Spain and Portugal had decent numbers, but they were soon forced to either convert to Christianity or flee the country. Those who did not flee Portugal became known as New Christians once they were baptized, though they apparently still practiced Judaism in secret. They are also known as marranos. It is this group of Jews that had the largest role in the slave trade, and it is in the 2nd phase that they had the most influence; only in Brazil and the Caribbean could the Jews be said to have had more than a miniscule role in the trade. (Drescher, 2010). Jews also has a presence as slavers in Jamaica (Mirvis, 2020).

The economic, social, legal, and racial pattern of the Atlantic Slave trade was in place before Jews made their way back to the Atlantic ports of northwestern Europe, to the coasts and islands of Africa, or to European colonies in the Americas. They were marginal collective actors in most places and during most periods of the Atlantic system: its political and legal foundations; its capital formation; its maritime organization; and its distribution of coerced migrants from Europe and Africa. Only in the Americas—momentarily in Brazil, more durably in the Caribbean—can the role of Jewish traders be described as significant. If we consider the whole complex of major class actors in the transatlantic slave trade, the share of Jews in this vast network is extremely modest. (Drescher, 2010)

Jews had helped the Dutch as a middleman in Brazil controlling about 17 percent of the trade for the Dutch, during the 1640s when the Dutch had become the largest suppliers of slaves to the New World. Indeed, Drescher (1993) notes that when it comes to the Dutch slave trade “Jews can be said to have had tangible significance, but even here their involvement was relatively marginal” and that “little direct involvement can be identified.”

It was at the first western margin of the Dutch transatlantic trade that Jews played their largest role. Around 1640, the Dutch briefly became Europe’s principal slave traders. They welcomed Jews as colonizers and as onshore middlemen in newly conquered Brazil. During the eight years between 1637 and 1644, Jewish merchants accounted for between 8 and 63 percent of first onshore purchasers of the twenty-five thousand slaves landed by the West India Company in Dutch-held Brazil. Perhaps a third of these captives must have reached planters through Jewish traders. (Drescher, 2010)

While it’s not an anti-Semitic attitude to talk about the (marginal) role of Jews in the slave trade, when one begins to talk about a mythical disproportionate role by the Jews in the slave trade, that’s when it does become anti-Semitic, as noted by Davis in the NYRB:

Much of the historical evidence regarding alleged Jewish or New Christian involvement in the slave system was biased by deliberate Spanish efforts to blame Jewish refugees for fostering Dutch commercial expansion at the expense of Spain. Given this long history of conspiratorial fantasy and collective scapegoating, a selective search for Jewish slave traders becomes inherently anti-Semitic unless one keeps in view the larger context and the very marginal place of Jews in the history of the overall system. It is easy enough to point to a few Jewish slave traders in Amsterdam, Bordeaux, or Newport, Rhode Island. But far from suggesting that Jews constituted a major force behind the exploitation of Africa, closer investigation shows that these were highly exceptional merchants, far outnumbered by thousands of Catholics and Protestants who flocked to share in the great bonanza.

In the first phase of the Middle Passage (1500-1640), about 800,000 Africans took the voyage. In the second phase of the Middle Passage (1640-1700) (the phase where it could be said that Jews had more than a miniscule involvement), about 817,000 Africans took the voyage. And in the third and final phase (1700 to 1807, when Britain passed the Slave Trade Act of 1807, barring the sale of slaves in Britain), 6,686,000 slaves took the voyage (Drescher, 2010). Nevertheless, even a 1975 article by historian Virginia Platt states that out of over 200 trade voyages between 1760 and 1776, merchant Aaron Lopez only sent a mere 14 ships to Africa for the procurement of slaves (Platt, 1975). (Note that it is claimed in the media that blacks have higher rates of hypertension than whites today because the slaves that were on the ships had genes that made salt retention possible, which then cause higher rates of hypertension today. But it’s a mere just-so story.)


It is clear that Jews played no more than a small, miniscule role—they were never dominant in the slave trade. Historians do wonder, though, why they played such a small role in the trade when they played large roles in other trades. While we don’t know the answer, we do definitively know that they did not play a large part in the trade:

Considering the number of African captives who passed into and through the hands of captors and dealers from capture in Africa until sale in America, it is unlikely that more than a fraction of 1 percent of the twelve million enslaved and relayed Africans were purchased or sold by Jewish merchants even once. If one expands the classes of participants to include all those in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas who produced goods for the trade or who processed goods produced by the slaves, and all those who ultimately produced goods with slave labor and consumed slave-produced commodities, the conclusion remains the same. At no point along the continuum of the slave trade were Jews numerous enough, rich enough, and powerful enough to affect significantly the structure and flow of the slave trade or to diminish the suffering of its African victims. (Drescher, 2010)

Such exhaustive research puts to bed anti-Semitic claims from people like the NoI’s Louis Farrakhan (who was involved in the publication of The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews, and neo-Nazis like David Duke and Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving. Jews did own slaves in America, like in North Carolina. About 99.9 percent of the “big plantation owners” in the South were non-Jews.

Such fantastic claims of a disproportionate role in the slave trade by Jews, I think—at least for the NoI and similar parties—has to do with the claim that “Blacks are the real Jews” and that the Jews—in particular Ashkenazi Jews—are “fake Jews” and “Khazar” by a group that calls themselves “black Hebrew Israelites.” They claim that the real 12 Tribes of Israel are blacks, and that the white Jews are imposters, merely masquerading as Jews and this is one of the reasons why Jews played their disproportionate role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. (I’ve had a few run-in with them before in Manhattan.)

Nevertheless, the claims pushed by these anti-Semitic groups are clearly false. Jews had a miniscule role in the slave trade.


The Case for Reparations for Black Americans

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“Reparations” refers to the act or process of righting a historical wrong. Should we give reparations to black Americans, being that they are the descendants of slaves and thusly the reparations that would have been owed to them would be owed to their descendants? Also note that the slaves worked for free for hundreds of years, so untold amounts of money were stolen from them, so should we pay reparations to their descendants? Note that in most cases “should” claims and questions are moral claims and questions. Thus, this issue is one of morality. There is also the issue of Jim Crow laws and segregation. In this article I will argue that since the US government has given reparations to other groups it has wronged in the past, so too should black Americans receive reparations from the US government. Though I will not state exactly what or how much they should receive, I will cite some literature that speaks about it. I will merely argue that they should receive reparations. I will discuss one pro-argument and one anti-argument for reparations, and then give my own.

Reparations given to other groups in the past

Throughout the history of the United States, many heinous acts have been performed. Over the last 500+ years since colonialism, these people have been massacred and have had their identities almost erased systematically. In 1946, a commission was formed to hear grievances from Native Americans. The US government set aside 1.3 billion dollars for 173 tribes in 1946, but of course has been dodgy on payments. There is even a more recent push for reparations for Native Americans in California.

In WW2, about 127,000 Japanese were placed in internment camps, since it was worried that they would have been spying on America for Japan. (Most of these camps were near the west coast.) This was part of the anti-Asian sentiment of the time. In 1944 in Korematsu v. United States, SCOTUS upheld keeping Japanese Americans in these camps (a 6-3 decision). In 1988, the Regan administration gave $20,000 to each surviving internment camp prisoner, which is about $51,000 today. But the National Archives state:

The Japanese American Evacuation Claims Act of July 2, 1948, provided compensation to Japanese American citizens removed from the West Coast during World War II (WWII) for losses of real and personal property. Approximately 26,550 claims totaling $142,000 were filed. The program was administered by the Justice Department, which set a $100,000,000 limit on the total claims. Over $36,974,240 was awarded.

In the 1900s, America was under the spell of eugenic ideas. (Eugenic ideas go back centuries, to ancient Greece.) Eugenics wasn’t a theoretical or even mathematical idea, it was purely a social/political idea in that only the fit should breed (positive eugenics) and the unfit should not (negative eugenics). This then led to the forced sterilization, with “IQ” tests used as a vehicle for forced sterilization. The most famous case perhaps being that of Carry Buck, where a physician stated that her sterilization would be for the “good of society” since she scored low on an IQ test (the Binet)—Carrie had a mental age of 9 years while her mother Emma had a mental age of 7 years and 11 months, although Carrie’s daughter was actually quite a normal girl (Gould, 1984). Carrie was the first sterilization carried out in 1927 under a new law which states that epileptics and those who are feebleminded were to be sterilized. All in all, about 64,000 people were sterilized between 1907 and 1963, and the American Eugenics Society had sought to sterilize 1/10th of the US population (Farber, 2008). Some were even sterilized without their knowledge during the present day, showing gross misconduct on women’s bodily autonomy. Starting in 2022, the state of California paid out reparations to people who were sterilized during the eugenics movement and more recently people who were sterilized in their prison systems.

When it comes to reparations for black Americans, 77 percent of blacks agreed that descendants of enslaved people should receive reparations, while only 18 percent of whites agreed. About 3 in 10 US adults think that some form of reparations should be given to descendants of slavery, while about 68 percent believe that slavery descendants should not be paid, per Pew. It is estimated that it would take $10-12 trillion or $800,000 per black household to eliminate the black-white wealth gap. It has also been estimated that since the start of slavery, racism has cost blacks something along the lines of $70 trillion. Craemer et al (2020) argue that reparations should be something along the lines of $12-13 trillion. (Craemer estimates $20.3 trillion.) It has even been noted that wealth gaps between whites and blacks are associated with longevity differences between them, so reparations would close the gap some (Himmelstein et al, 2022). (Systemic racism also has a say in longevity differences, along with conscious or unconscious bias by physicians.) Nevertheless many white Americans reject the case for reparations due to, among other reasons, denying that there are lasting effects of slavery. , I won’t argue about how much reparations black Americans should receive, I will argue only if black Americans should receive reparations—and since other groups that were historically harmed in the US have received reparations, then it follows that black Americans should receive reparations.

As we can see from the above, the US government has given reparations to groups it has wronged in the past. But there is a good amount of philosophy on the morality of reparations and whether or not black Americans should receive reparations (which then becomes a moral argument). I will look at two of them—Bernard Boxill’s (2003) A Lockean Argument for Black Reparations (a pro-reparations argument) and Stephen Kershnar’s (2003) The inheritance-based claim for reparations (an anti-reparations argument). After I describe both arguments, I will then provide my own argument which I don’t think has been made in the literature that argues in favor of reparations for black Americans (though I won’t make any claims as to how much; I merely cited what some scholars have argued above.)

A pro-argument

Boxill developed two arguments in his paper—an inheritance argument and a counterfactual argument. Boxill (2003: 73) writes:

This reparation was never paid. Instead each white generation passed on its entire assets to the next white generation. I am not speaking of those few who inherited specific parcels of land or property from the supporters of slavery. I am speaking of whole generations. The whole of each generation of whites passed on its assets to the whole of the next white generation because each generation of whites specified that only whites of the succeeding generation were permitted to own or compete for the assets it was leaving behind. But as I have already shown, the slaves had titles to reparation against these assets. And we can assume that the present generation of African Americans are the slaves’ heirs. Hence the present generation of African Americans have inherited titles to a portion of the assets held by the present white population, with the qualification that they cannot insist on these titles if doing so would put the present white population in danger of perishing.

So this is how Boxill gets around a possible objection to the argument—many white Americans have inherited things from slave owners or who were complicit in slavery. This argument can be put in form like this:

(1) Slavery owners passed on assets to successive generations, with each generation passing on assets gained from slavery.

(2) Present-day black Americans are heirs to those who were enslaved.

(C) Therefore, the present white population owes reparations to the present black population in America since present white Americans are the heirs to assets that were gained through slavery of the descendants of present black Americans.

Danielson (2004) states the same, writing:

Some legal scholars suggest that the government should directly address the issue of reparations for slaves because America profited from slave labor for over two centuries, so America should compensate slaves for their labor. Slaves were deprived of fair wages for almost three hundred years and their descendents were therefore deprived of economic inheritance. The slave masters, ergo their descendents through inheritance, benefited from the withheld wages that rightfully belonged to their slaves.

So if a group of people that benefitted long ago from an action(s) still benefit today from said action(s), and the result of those actions was an untold amount of free and therefore stolen wages, it then follows that the group that benefitted from the action needs to pay reparations to the descendants of the group that was historically wronged.

An anti-argument

While Kershnar (1999) seems to provide a pro-argument for reparations based on inheritance, it seems that Kershnar (2002) has walked back on the claim and argues that inheritance-based claims for reparations fail. Kershnar (2002) argues that since slavery brought about the existence of black Americans, then without slavery there would be no black Americans and hence there would be no conversation about reparations. I don’t see how this matters—because the historical injustice DID happen, and so due to the moneys lost from free labor for hundreds of years, therefore, the case can be made that blacks are owed reparations.

He also argued that the US did not cause slavery, but it did permit it. This is true. However, it took a war to end slavery when the South attempted to secede from the US in order to continue the practice of slavery. It took the North winning the Civil War to abolish slavery. Though, the US government was implicit in slavery since its inception by allowing it to occur.

I will now provide and defense an argument that since other groups in the US were wronged in the past and have received reparations from the US government, so too should black Americans.

The case for reparations for black Americans argument

Here is my argument:

(P1) The US government has a history of giving reparations to people who have suffered injustices (like the Japanese and Natives).
(P2) Black Americans have suffered injustices (slavery, Jim Crow, segregation).
(C) So black Americans deserve reparations from the US government.

This argument uses modus ponens, so it is valid. P1 was argued for in the first section. P2 is common knowledge. So C would then follow—black Americans deserve reparations from the US government due to their ancestors being enslaved and the recent injustices they received in the 1900s during and after Reconstruction, leading up to the Civil Rights Movement of 1964. I don’t see how anyone could reject a premise and falsify the argument.


The legacy of slavery still continues today (most Americans today believe that the legacy of slavery still affects blacks today), and it’s partly reflected in low birth weights of black Americans (Jasienska, 2009). The untold negative effects of slavery have combined to further depress black Americans.

There is even a new bill in the works discussing what reparations for black Americans would look like, which will create a task force to study reparations for black Americans. One time has even argued that giving black Americans reparations would decrease COVID-19 transmission in black Americans (Richardson et al, 2021). One city—Evanston, Illinois—even enacted a plan to give reparations to black Americans and California has also stated that the legacy of slavery requires reparations too; they are now considering the next steps for reparations. Further, there is also a public health case for reparations. Seeing as the US Congress apologized for the enslavement of black Americans and segregation only in 2008, there is a better way to right these wrongs—not mere lip service—and that is to pay reparations to black Americans.

Slavery was a moral wrongdoing, and along with how blacks were treated after they were emancipated from the racist South (Jim Crow laws, segregation), this combines to create a powerful argument for the moral case for reparations for black Americans, since other groups in the country that were wronged received reparations, like victims of sterilization in the 1900s and new millennium, Japanese Americans during WW2, and Native Americans. Thus, it follows that black Americans, too, should receive reparations.

On Asian Immigration to the United States, Hyper-Selectivity, and Hereditarian Musings on Asian Academic Success

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Hereditarians champion Asians (specifically East Asians) as proof of their gene-centric worldview—that their genetic constitution allows their stellar performance in educational and life outcomes. However, scholars have noted for decades that Asians are a specially selected group—using what is known as “hyper-selectivity” or “educational selectivity.” Immigrants that are more likely to have a college degree compared to those in their native country and their host nation; they bring over different kinds of class tools that then help their progeny in the next generation. This selectivity gives the children of immigrants—whether it be 1.5 generation (children that emigrated during adolescence) or second generation children—a better “starting point”, and, along with the cultural tools, allows them to succeed in America. In this article, I will describe the process of immigration of certain Asian groups to America, and then I will argue that what explains their success today is not genes as hereditarians try to argue, but the selectivity of the population in question and then I will argue against the hereditarian position.

Although they seem dissimilar, educational and hyper-selectivity share some common ground. Immigrant selectivity describes the fact that those who emigrate are not a random sample of the population from which they derive, but they have better educational accolades than those that stayed behind (Borjas, 1987; Borjas, Kauppinen, and Poutvaara, 2018; Sporlein and Kristen, 2019). There is then the concept of negative selection, too (contrasted with positive selection, which is what educational and hyper-selectivity are). There is both a positive and negative selection occurring, and immigrants are indeed a self-selected group with selection also occurring for unobserved traits (Aydemir, 2003). Indeed, migrants to less equal countries like the US are positively selected (Parry et al, 2017) and those that do migrate are more skilled, ambitious, and motivated (Cattaneo, 2007). Immigrants are in general more educated than those who do not migrate, but this differs depending on country of origin (Feliciano, 2005) while economic migrants are favorably self-selected (Chiswick, 1999).

From immigrant yellow peril to model minority

Asian immigration to the United States has been occurring in large numbers since the 1860s. During that time, Chinese immigrants wanted to escape the horrid situation in China and try their luck in the California gold rush and they had aspirations to return to China after they had made some money. They mostly came from the Guangdong province in China (Jorae, 2009). This was the first wave of Asian immigration to America. Between 1882 and 1943 the US government severely restricted the immigration of the Chinese into America since they were emigrating to work on the transcontinental railroad, and they passed the legislation so native-born Americans could get the jobs (Zellar, 2003; Gates, 2017). (It’s also worth noting that immigrant labor between 1880s and 1920s was a necessary condition for the industrial revolution; Hirschman and Mogford, 2009.) The first exclusionary act was the act of May, 6 1882, and it had lasting negative effects until at least the 1940s (Long et al, 2022). Chinese immigrants then began a “revolving door system” where young workers replaced older workers (Chew, Leach, and Liu, 2018). In 1885, the first Chinese-only school was opened. So in 1892 the second piece of legislation—the Geary Act—was passed, which was a further exclusionary tactic. Porteus and Babcock (1926: 37) noted how by 1888 that the Chinese in Hawaii “had infiltrated every trade and occupation in the islands.” It was then in 1942 where FDR repealed these two legislations on the Chinese.

But perceptions on the Chinese began to change. From being known as “the yellow peril” in the late 19th to early 20th century, a Gallup poll in 1942 stated that the Chinese were “hardworking, honest, brave, religious, intelligent, and practical” while in that same poll, the Japanese were described as “treacherous, sly, cruel, and warlike.” This of course speaks to the xenophobic attitudes of Americans at the time, and further speaks to the kind of “villain of the week” mentality.

The second wave of Asian immigration was the Japanese and the became the new source of cheap labor after the Chinese in the early 20th century. They were treated as the Chinese were treated previously, and due to a “gentleman’s agreement” between Japan in America in 1908, Japan limited migration of Japanese to America to non-laborers (Hirschman and Wong, 1987: 6). But the immigration act of 1924—the Johnson Reed Act—even barred Asian immigration from countries from which it previously allowed. Nevertheless, previous attitudes on the Chinese and Japanese show one important thing—that racist ideals toward a group of people can and do change over the years.

When it comes to the Taiwanese, they had already secured a spot in America by having a large amount of Taiwanese immigrants that who had college degrees before 1965. After the Hart-Cellar act was passed they stayed in the country and then sponsored their highly educated family members to America, and so this is an explanation for why there is hyper-selectivity (Model, 2017).

From a “peril” and “treacherous and warlike” to “hardworking, honest and intelligent” in mere decades. Americans in the early 20th century, in fact, looked at Asians back then as blacks are looked at today, with similar claims made about genital and brain size to Asians back then.

Asians are said to be “model minorities” today, due to their educational attainment and higher incomes. Lee and Zhou (2015: 31-32) state three things about “model minority” status:

(1) It overlooks the fact that Asians aren’t a monolith and comprise many different ethnic groups that don’t have the same model outcomes.

(2) It has been used to claim that “race doesn’t matter” in America since Asians can apparently make it in America despite non-white status.

(3) It pits Asian Americans against other minorities.

It has been said that the model minority stereotype “masks a history of discrimination“, “holds Asian Americans back at work” and that it “hurts us all.” I will explain higher educational attainment below, but when it comes to higher incomes, Asian families are more likely to live in extended (auxiliary) families which contribute to the income of the household (Reyes, 2019). Asian American families have an average of 3.5 people, which makes them larger than the average US family. As Jennifer Lee notes:

High household incomes among Asian Americans can also be explained by “the fact that some live in multi-generational homes with more than one person earning an income,” said Jennifer Lee, a sociology professor at the University of California at Irvine, and co-author of the book “The Asian-American Achievement Paradox.” “You have parents, grandparents, an aunt, some children.”

Nevertheless, the history of Asians in America—whether it’s when they first arrived and the racism they faced or today being seen as “model minorities”, is suggestive as to why they are so successful in America today. They are so successful because it’s not merely any kind of people of the country in question that emigrate, it’s a specific kind of people with specific outlooks and qualifications. This, in effect, then explains the how and why of Asian academic achievement.

Hyper-selectivity and the Asian American experience

Hyper-selectivity refers to the “higher percentage of college graduates among immigrants compared to non-migrants from their country of origin, and a higher percentage of college graduates compared to the host country” (Lee and Zhou, 2015: 15). This selective process began in the 1960s, and the federal policies themselves select a particular kind of entrant into the country (Juun, 2007; Ho, 2017; Model, 2017). Asians in America can be said to be a “middleman minority” (Hirschman and Wong, 1987), where a “middleman minority” refers to “minority entrepreneurs who mediate between the dominant and subordinate group” (Douglas and Saenz, 2008; see also Bonacich, 1973). It is an occupational pattern rather than a status (Lou, 1988). Lee and Rong (1988) seek explanations of Asian educational success in terms of family structure, along with middleman and niche theories of migration.

Some would uphold a culturalist thesis—that what explains exceptional educational outcomes for Asians would be their culture. For example, Asian Americans study about one hour more per day than whites (Tang, 2021), though one 2011 analysis found that Asians spent more time studying and doing homework—Asians spent 13 hours per week studying while whites only studies for 5. Asian Americans spend significantly more time studying than other racial groups (Ramey and Shao, 2017). When it comes to homework, black students spent 36 minutes on homework, “Hispanic” students spent 50 minutes, white students spent 56 minutes, and Asians spent 2 hours and 14 minutes doing homework, while they also spent more time on other supplementary educational tasks (Dunachik and Park, 2022). Asian American parents were also more likely to spend 20 minutes with their children helping with their homework (Garcia, 2013).

Some would state that this is due to an “Asian culture”, but reality tells a different story. The hyper-selectivity of Asians explains this, and their successes cannot be reduced to their culture. Lee and Zhou (2017) state that “Asian immigrants to the United States are hyper-selected, which results in the transmission and recreation of middle-class specific cultural frames, institutions, and practices, including a strict success frame as well as an ethnic system of supplementary education to support the success frame for the second generation.Yiu (2013) notes that Chinese in Spain have much lower educational attainment and ambitions in comparison to other ethnies in Spain. Merely twenty percent of Chinese youth were enrolled in post-secondary school, while 40 percent of all youths and 30 percent of all immigrants were (Yiu, 2013).

Context matters. And the ambitions of a group of people would then depend on national context. This is what Noam (2014) found for the Chinese in the Netherlands—where Chinese Americans accept the cultural values of high educational attainment, Chinese Dutch oppose them:

In the United States and
the Netherlands the second-generation Chinese approach their ethnocultural values regarding education in dissimilar ways—either accepting or opposing them—yet they both adjust them to their national context.

What is termed the “immigrant paradox” is stronger in Asian and African than other immigrants (Crosnoe and Turley, 2017). Tran et al (2018) note how likely a certain immigrant group would be to have a higher degree in comparison to those in their country of origin:

Among the population age twenty-five and older, first-generation immigrants reported significantly higher percentages of having a bachelor’s degree or higher than their nonmigrant counterparts in respective home countries. This achievement gap is most striking between Chinese nonmigrants and Chinese immigrants in the United States, but also substantial for the other three groups. Only 3.6 percent of nonmigrant Chinese reported having a college education, but 52.7 percent of immigrant Chinese held a bachelor’s degree. This hyper-selectivity ratio of 17:1 between immigrant and nonmigrant means that Chinese immigrants were disproportionately well educated relative to non-migrants. This ratio is about 8:1 for Asian Indians. This gap is also quite stark among Nigerians. Immigrant Nigerians (63.8 percent) were six times more likely than their nonmigrant counterparts to report having a bachelor’s degree or more (11.5 percent). Their hyper-selectivity ratio is about 6:1. Similarly, 23.5 percent of immigrant Cubans reported having a college degree relative to only 14.2 percent of nonmigrant Cubans, a gap of 9 percent. Among Armenians, the corresponding gap is about 10 percent.

Genetic and cultural hypotheses have been contrasted in an attempt to explain why Asian Americans excel over and above whites. Sue and Okazaki (1990) take a structuralist interpretation—they argue that Asians believe that education is paramount for social mobility. Lynn (1991) rejects Sue and Okazaki’s relative functionalism hypothesis, though it should be noted that hereditarian beliefs about genes and IQ are highly suspect and, frankly, do not work. There is also the fact that, as Sue and Okazaki (1990: 48), note that “Lynn failed to take into account the fact that the Japanese samples tended to have higher socioeconomic standing and a higher representation of urban than rural children than did the American samples from which the norms were constructed.” (Also see Sautman, 1994 and Yee, 1992: 111.) Sue and Okazaki showed that Asians differed from white Americans on one question—they were more likely than white Americans to believe that success in life was related to school success, and this is consistent with the Lee and Zhou account.

In Lynn’s (1991) reply to Sue and Okazaki, he notes that their relative functionalism hypothesis has to be dismissed, but he did not discount the role of motivation, staying longer in school and doing more homework. He then—in typical Lynn style—claims that these traits have high heritability and so a genetic hypothesis should not be discounted. Sue and Okazaki (1991) responded, discussing Lynn’s views on CWT, Asian adoptees, and what he says about their relative functionalism hypothesis. In any case, Lynn’s reply is in no way satisfactory, since his belief that genes contribute to IQ scores (that IQ is genetically mediated) is false. Nevertheless, Flynn showed that when IQ is held constant, that when compared with whites, that “Asian’s achievements exceed those of Whites by a huge amount.”

PumpkinPerson claims, using the Coleman report (Coleman, 1966) that “the incredible scores of Oriental Americans is not at all explained by selective immigration” and that he “decided to compare them in the first grade before environment has had much time to cause differences.” I will take both if these claims in turn.

(1) This is false. While selection wasn’t really a thing for Chinese immigrants, it has been noted that the children of Chinese immigrants during the Exclusion period had “greater human capital than those of unrestricted immigrants, despite restricted immigrants having lower skill” which “suggests particularly strong intergenerational transmission of skill among Chinese immigrants of the exclusion era” (Chen, 2015). It is a truism that the Chinese of this time period were not selected in the nature that Asian immigrants are today, but discrimination did lead to their assimilation (Chen and Xie, 2020). Indeed, second-generation Chinese Americans attending American schools had good schooling (Djang, 1935: 101). And for Japanese Americans, Hirschman and Wong (1986: 9) point out:

Another important feature of Asian immigration was the educational selectivity of different streams of immigrants. While the educational composition of recent Asian immigrants has been extraordinary (Chen 1977; North 1974; Pernia 1976), this was not always the case. Most of the early Asian immigrants to the United States, like their counterparts from Europe, arrived with only minimal educational qualifications. The important exception was early Japanese immigrants. Data from the 1960 Census show that Japanese immigrants, above age 65 in 1960, had a median eight years of schooling-comparable to the figure for the white population of the same age (U.S. Bureau of the Census 1963a, 1963c). This finding is corroborated by earlier studies which report a very selective pattern of Japanese immigration to the United States, particularly to the mainland (Ichihashi 1932; Kitano 1976; Petersen 1971; Strong [1934] 1970).

(2) The home environment before first-grade does have a large effect on outcomes (e.g., Brooks-Gunn et al, 1996). Of course exposure to different kinds of things in the household would explain certain outcomes later in life, such as test scores.

In the book Temperament and Race, Porteus and Babcock (1926: 119-120) discussed the racial rankings of grades by one researcher, with the following chart, showing similar findings to Coleman:

They also discussed the Thorndike Examination of High School Graduates in Hawaii from 1922-1923, that the Chinese and Japanese scored below whites but this could be seen as them not having full English proficiency. Chun (1940: 35) showed that “Anglo Saxons” has Binet IQs of 100, and IQs of 87 and 85 for the Chinese and Japanese respectively, and this is similar to what Porteus and Babcock (1926) showed for Chinese and Japanese too. This also could be due to low English proficiency. Chun (1940) also shows that there were a large amount of schools for the Chinese as well. Coupled with the fact that immigrants aren’t a random sample of the population from which they derive, selection therefore explains these values. It’s quite clear that the Chinese had good education since the 1880s with the introduction of Chinese schools on the mainland and in Hawaii, and along with the fact that Japanese immigrants had education on par with whites at the time, of course the selectivity of the population along with the education they got clearly mattered.

When it comes to Asian immigration post-1965, “The new preference system allowed highly skilled professionals, primarily doctors, nurses, and engineers from Asian countries, to immigrate and eventually to sponsor their families” (Hirschman 2015), while the Act resulted in a majority of nurses that came from Asia (Rockett et al, 1989; Masselink and Jones, 2015). Erika Lee notes in The Making of Asian America (2017: 287):

As in the past, Asian immigrants are highly regulated by immigration laws, but the emphasis of U. S. Laws in admitting family-sponsored immigrants and professional, highly skilled individuals has meant that the majority of New arrivals from to join family already here and bring a different set of educational and professional skills than earlier immigrants.”

Hsin and Xie (2014) showed that, rather than “cognitive ability” and sociodemographics, higher academic effort explains the Asian-White achievement gap. They argue that beliefs in academic effort along with immigrant status explains the relationship. Teachers have higher, more positive expectations for Asian students, and that such positive stereotypes will further influence their excelling, which is a pygmalion effect (Hsin and Xie, 2014). And so, the Asian-White achievement gap can be explained by higher academic effort, not IQ or SES, it’s driven by the Asian-White difference in academic effort. I don’t see an issue using teacher ratings, since teacher ratings have shown an even higher correlation between the accuracy of teacher’s assessments and IQ, at .65 as one study notes (Hoge and Coladarci, 1989) while a newer analysis showed a correlation of .80 (Kaufmann, 2019). Lee (2014) described why Asians have higher academic effort in comparison to Americans:

differences in the cultural frame and the resources used to support it help to explain why the children of some Asian immigrant groups get ahead, despite their socioeconomic disadvantage.

However, Hsin and Xie (2014) do note a suite of negative effects:

Studies show that Asian-American youth are less psychologically adjusted (32) and socially engaged (33) in school than their white peers. They may experience more conflict in relationships with parents because of the high educational expectations their parents place on them (32). Asian-American youth are under pressure to meet extraordinarily high standards because they consider other high achieving coethnics, rather than native-born whites, to be their reference group (7).

Even low-SES Asians have a high drive to succeed in academics, having work ethic similar to the white and Asian middle-class, and one attempted explanation is due to Confucian values (Liu, and Xie, 2016). Though Lee and Zhou (2020) have successfully argued against this claim, stating that second generation Chinese in Spain do not have such high educational attainment in Spain (Yiu, 2013), refuting the reduction of educational attainment to Confucian beliefs of Asians, since other Asian immigrants that do not share such Confucian beliefs are also hyper-selected. And while Asian American parents do hold higher educational expectations for their children in comparison to white American parents (Kao, 1995), this too is consistent with the Lee and Zhou account.

In a series of papers, Sakamoto (2017) and Sakamoto and Wang (2020) try to argue against the hyper-selectivity thesis. Sakamoto and Wang, I think, underestimate the importance of hyper-selectivity in explaining Asian educational achievements. They argue that cultural factors explain Asian American success, while Zhou and Lee (2017) argue that it’s due to selective migration patters that favor highly-able immigrants. Sakamoto and Wang claim that cultural factors explain the most about Asian achievement, but Zhou and Lee state that cultural factors alone cannot account for their achievement—cultural factors like Confucianism. While individual effort does play a role, as Hsin and Xie (2014) argue, of course cultural and structural factors also play a role, the argument given by Sakamoto and Wang can be refuted by the following argument:

(1) If selective migration is a significant factor in explaining the success of Asian Americans, then class background can’t be the sole explanation of their success. (2) Selective migration is a significant factor that explains the success of Asian Americans. (3) But Sakamoto and Wang claim that class background is basically the only reason for higher Asian American achievement. Since (3) contradicts (2) and (2) is true, then we can reject (3). Thus, the argument in Sakamoto and Wang does not refute the argument in Zhou and Lee.

Further, not all Asian immigrants enjoy the same level of success, since other Asian immigrants (like South Asians) are less likely to have selective migratory patterns than East Asians. Therefore, this shows that selective migration, and not culture, is paramount in explaining Asian American academic achievement. Hyper-selectivity on its own does not set the stage for Asian American achievement, but it does set the stage for the remaking of cultural practices which then forster educational success. Culture does matter, but not in the way that most conceptualize it. Sakamoto and Wang do not refute Zhou and Lee, since Zhou and Lee (2017: 8) provide evidence that “culture has structural roots and that cultural patterns emerge from structural circumstances of contemporary immigration.”

Hereditarian explanations of Asian educational achievement

For decades, hereditarians have argued that Asian educational achievements in contrast to whites’ are due to their “cognitive ability” (“IQ”), which is genetically mediated, on the basis of heritability estimates. For instance, hereditarians use data from transracial adoptees to try to argue that genetic differences cause differences in IQ between Asians and whites and then whites and blacks. However, this can be explained by adoptions’ beneficial effects for IQ and the Flynn effect (Thomas, 2017).

Hereditarians claim that since they argue for East Asian superiority, that they therefore are not racists. Sautman (1994: 80) noted how since hereditarians claim that they since they speak of East Asians being superior to whites, they therefore show a lack of bias in their assessment of racial differences:

In clustering East Asians and whites as genetically-favored and Africans, Southeast Asians and others as disfavored, Western race theorists use East Asians as a “racial wedge” against other non-whites. They argue that highlighting East Asian, not white, superiority shows an absence of bias. Thus, a criminologist who legs putatively higher crime rates of US blacks to r-strategy reproduction, underscores that he is “not a member of the least criminal racial group” (i.e. East Asians). A professor of management writes that whites will feel more comfortable in recognizing black inferiority if they know that East Asians outscore whites on IQ tests. a British journalist has queried “If they [East Asians] can be cleverer than we are, why can’t we be cleverer than some other group?”

This is just as Hilliard (2012: 86) remarks:

[Herrnstein, Murray and Rushton] used this representation of whites as more cognitively advanced than blacks but less than Asians to silence those critics who insisted that the race researchers’ findings were ethnically self-serving. Rushton thus posed the question, “If my work was motivated by racism, why would I want Asians to have bigger brains than whites?” … it became useful to tout the Asians’ cognitive superiority but only so long as whites remained above blacks in the cognitive hierarchy.

The phrase “Mongoloid idiot” was coined, due to supposed similarities between Asians and people with Down syndrome. Along with being a sexual danger to white women, this then corresponded with how they were perceived—race scientists concluded that they had smaller brains than whites. This is noted in Lieberman’s (2001) Table 1 on the ever-changing skull size differences between the races.

The hierarchy changed right as East Asia began to modernize and have an economic boom (Lieberman, 2001). So we go from racism against East Asians, naming syndromes after them, saying they have small brains and large penises, to model minorities, high IQ, larger brains, lower sexual drive and booming economies. This speaks to the contextual-dependence of such claims, and that attitudes toward certain groups do indeed change over time.

To attempt to explain IQ and other differences between races, Lynn proposed that the harshness of cold winters shaped the cognitive skills of Europeans and East Asians over millenia, and that this explains why Asians score higher than whites and whites over blacks (Lynn, 1991, 2006a: 135-136, 2019; Rushton, 1997: 228-230, 2012). Many issues with these just-so stories and evolutionary theories (r/K theory) have been levied, showing that they merely “explain” observations, with no novel predictions, nevermind the anthropological misunderstandings from Lynn, Rushton, Jensen, and Kanazawa. Lynn (1991) attempted to show that children from Hong Kong showed higher reaction times and had higher IQs than British children, which he interpreted as having a neurological basis. Though, due to omissions and misinterpretations of data, we cannot accept Lynn’s conclusions (Thomas, 2011).

Lynn (2006b) repeats the same claims he has since he started to collate studies on national “IQs” (see Richardson, 2004). Beginning in 2002, Lynn and Vanhanen attempted to collate a mass of IQ studies around the world and then show the “intelligence of nations” (Lynn and Vanhanen, 2002; Lynn and Becker, 2019). Though, ignoring the fact that Lynn cherry-picked Chinese IQ studies that fit his a priori beliefs, “‘National IQ’ datasets do not provide accurate, unbiased or comparable measures of cognitive ability worldwide” (Sear, 2022; also see Moreale and Levendis, 2012; Ebbeson, 2020).

On that same note, the Chinese are notorious for cheating on standardized tests, they are cheating on the SAT, GRE, and other examinations, and they pay up to $6000 to have people take tests for them. There was, also, a large UCLA cheating ring which was recently busted. There is also the fact that the OECD allows China to administer the PISA in select regions, so the claim cannot be made that PISA results are representative of China. There is also the fact that the Chinese have what is called a “hukuo system” which is a tool for controlling migration from rural to urban areas. And so, even though some children may for example attend school in Shanghai, when it comes to for hukuo, they must return to their province of origin. It’s clear that the Chinese game standardized tests. They are cheating the PISA system by being selective on the students they administer the test to in Shanghai by doing hukuo.

Lynn (2010) argued that it was unnecessary to contribute the success of East Asians to Confucian values (this is true), and that IQ explains East Asian success in math and science. Though, what does explain their success is their selectivity, not their IQ. Lynn (2006a: 89) claimed that “The Chinese and Japanese who emigrated to the United States in the second half of the nineteenth century were largely peasants who came to do unskilled work on the construction of the railways and other building work.” While this is true to a point, it’s irrelevant and skirts around the fact that, as Hirschman and Wong noted, Japanese immigrants had educational parity with whites before the 1960s and the fact that Chinese laborers were indeed selected and this also affected their children in a positive manner.

In a now-retracted paper, Rushton (1992) opined that one “theoretical possibility” to explain why Asians have more “K” traits compared to “r” traits (see Anderson, 1991 for critique), is that evolution is progressive and that Asians are “more “advanced”” than are other groups. But the fact of the matter is, evolution isn’t progressive. Nevertheless, Rushton (1995) attempted to defend his arguments from Yee (1992) by saying the same old, bringing up Lynn’s study on reaction time and IQ (refuted by Thomas) along with Jensen’s (refuted by Sautman). He brings up the “evidence” from transracial adoption studies (see Thomas, 2017). Rushton then brings up brain size, talking about the larger brains of Asians (see above from Lieberman on how this seems to change with the times). Rushton then discusses “other variables”, like his crime data (refuted by Cernovsky and Littman, 2019), testosterone, and twinning (see Allen et al, 1992). This is all beside the point that Gorey and Cryns (1995) showed that any behavioral differences between Rushton’s three races can be explained by environment while Peregrine, Ember, and Ember (2003) showed no cross-cultural statistical support for Rushton’s theory.

To the hereditarian, Asians are upheld to say that they are not racists, since why would a racist state that Asians are “better” than whites? This, though, gives hereditarians cover. Nevertheless, the arguments used by hereditarians for Asian academic achievement and IQ fail, since they rely on numerous false assumptions and arguments.


Immigration in the past was mixed between positive and negative selection, but today is largely positive (Abramitzky and Boustan, 2017). In recent years, Asian immigrants were more highly selected than non-Asian immigrants (Huang, 2022). Asians have been the largest percentage of immigrants since 2009 (National Academy of Science, 2018). Lynn (2006a: 97) claims that “environmentalists do not offer any explanation for the consistently high IQ of East Asians, and it is doubtful whether any credible environmental explanation can be found.” But this claim fails since hyper-selectivity explains Asian educational achievements over whites.

The study of race differences, then, is completely political (Jackson, 2006). Since science is a social activity, then one’s political leanings and values would influence the science they seek out to do (Barnes, Zieff, and Anderson, 1999). This is wonderfully illustrated by the claims of hereditarians about Asians who are just using them as a cover to peddle racist inferiority tropes about blacks.

I have described how Asians have come in waves to America over the past 150 years. I have also shown how most immigrants today, and specifically Asians, are positively selected. I have further described a process of selection in certain Asians during the early 1900s. The hyper-selectivity thesis explains Asian American achievement, due to what hyper-selectivity is and the processes that they go through. I then explained how hereditarians attempt to use Asians as a cover for their racism, but their arguments are invalid and rely on numerous false assumptions. Having said all of that, here are the arguments:

The hyper-selectivity thesis does not ignore challenges faced by working class and lower-income Asians, it merely highlights unique characters of the Asian American experience which allow them to overcome economic barriers and then achieve high levels of academic and economic success. It also does not ignore the role of racism and discrimination, but it suggests that even in the face of this, they have unique characteristics due to their selectivity that still enable them to highly achieve. And it is supported by a large body of empirical and theoretical evidence which shows the robustness of the phenomenon across different contexts and time periods. Thus, the thesis is of value to understanding the Asian American experience in the United States. Furthermore, we can reject the genetic hypothesis of Lynn, as Sue and Okazaki have successfully argued. Having said all that, I have formalized the arguments made in this article.

P1: If the unique cultural and socioeconomic resources of Asian American immigrants have allowed them to achieve high levels of success, then hyper-selectivity is true.

P2: Empirical evidence shows that Asian immigrants and their children have achieved high levels of success, outperforming other racial and ethnic groups in the US in education and income.

C: Thus, the hyper-selectivity thesis is true.

P1: If Asian American immigrants possess unique cultural and socioeconomic resources which allow them to receive high levels of success, then hyper-selectivity is true.

P2: If Asian American immigrants have achieved high levels of success in the US, then they possess unique cultural and socioeconomic resources.

C: Thus, if Asian American immigrants have high levels of success in the US, then hyper-selectivity is true.

Now let me connect these two arguments:

P1: If hyper-selectivity is true, then the academic achievements of Asian Americans is not due solely to socioeconomic Status.

P2: If the academic achievements of Asian Americans isn’t solely due to socioeconomic status, then the achievement gap between groups cannot be fully explained by socioeconomic status (but it can be explained by effort, not cognitive ability).

P3: Hyper-selectivity is true (see arguments above).

C: Thus the achievement gap between Asians and other races cannot be fully explained by socioeconomic status (1, 2, and 3)

P4: (Using addition) Overwhelming evidence shows that Asian Americans outperform other races in America, regardless of socioeconomic status.

C2: So hyper-selectivity remains the best explanation of Asian American academic success, despite critics who state it’s solely due to socioeconomic status (2, 3, and 4 using addition).

Does the G-Spot Exist?

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Many people believe that a thing called “the G-spot”—Grafenberg spot—exists. The g-spot has been referred to as the female prostate (Puppo, 2014) and it also has been theorized that it is an extension of the clitoris (O’Connell et al, 2005). Recent debates in the urology literature are raging, with one side saying that the g-spot exists while the other side says it does not.

In the 1660s, anatomist and physiologist Regnier de Graaf studied male testicles. In 1668, he made a drawing of dissected male testicles, theorizing that the tubule of the epididymus was necessary for sperm to ejaculate into the vagina, since they knew at the time that the testes was necessary for what was later to be called spermatoza. Now we know that he was right (Turner, 2015). He also correctly theorized that the genesis of life is within the fertilized egg, so he “was the first researcher to solve the mystery of reproduction” (Thiery, 2009). It is possible that de Graaf had knowledge of the erogenous zone inside of the vagina that caused immense sexual pleasure when enough pressure was put on it, but it was the German gynecologist Ernst Grafenberg who identified what would today be known as “the g-spot” in the anterior wall of the vagina (Rabinerson et al, 2007; Edwards, 2022). But recently there have been many papers that attempt to show that it is either reality or a myth. Does it exist?

In 1981, Perry and Whipple taught kegel exercises to women to help their stress urinary incontinence. Women who had lost fluid through their urethra had strong pelvic floor muscles while women who had stress urinary incontinence had weak pelvic floor muscles. Women with strong pelvic floor muscles reported that they lost fluid from their urethra during sexual stimulation and some reported it even during orgasm. So they then found that women who had stronger pelvic floor muscles experience were more likely to experience female ejaculation compared to women with weak pelvic floor muscles. They reported feeling it in the anterior wall of the vagina, and they found that when their anterior wall of their vagina was stimulated with two fingers using a “come here motion”, swelled when stimulated. They then called it the “Grafenberg spot”, or g-spot (Whipple, 2015).

Whether or not the g-spot exists has implications for whether or not there is a distinction between clitoral and vaginal orgasms. If the spot is real, then vaginal orgasms are possible. But if the spot is not real, then vaginal orgasms are impossible and all orgasms are clitoral orgasms. Puppo et al (2015) claim that the so-called vaginal orgasms that women report are “always caused by the surrounding erectile organs (triggers of female orgasm).” What Puppo (2014) calls “the female penis; female erectile organs” “are believed to be responsible for female orgasm.” (also see Whipple, 2015). The g-spot is said to be located below the front of the vagina. Schubach (2002) claims there is identity between the female prostate, g-spot, and Skene’s gland, while also stating that the g-spot is not really a “spot” but more of an area. Using histology, Thabet et al (2009) showed that about 18 percent of their sample of Egyptian women didn’t have a g-spot.

The g-spot is basically said to be a vaginal erogenous zone that, when sufficiently stimulated, can produce a vaginal orgasm independent of clitoral stimulation. But Mollaioli et al (2021) reviewed the history of the vagina in reproductive anatomy, stating that it was once thought that the vagina was an inert organ only for delivering babies. They conclude:

that the G-spot surely exists and is present, developed, and active on a tremendously individual basis. However, it is not a spot, and to reduce the risks of misinterpretations and vacuous discussions, it cannot be called G anymore. It is indeed a functional, hormone-dependent area, which may trigger VAOs and in some cases also FEs, well defined as CUV.

There is also what is termed the “A-spot”, which is the anterior fornix erogenous zone, and is said to be 2 inches above the g-spot, the “U-spot”, which is above the urethral opening, and the “C-spot” (clitourethrovaginal complex) (Jannini et al, 2014; Vieira-Baptista, 2021). While it is generally accepted that the anterior vaginal wall is the most sensitive part of the vagina, there seems to be no clear-cut anatomic thing—despite claims to the contrary—that can be termed a “g-spot” in the vagina. Now, this doesn’t mean that vaginal orgasms aren’t a thing, as many women can attest to.

The g-spot is defined as a physiological response, but it has no apparent anatomic correlate and if there is a physiologic response, then there must be an anatomic correlate that allows the physiologic response according to Ostrzenski (2019). Using a cadaver, Ostrzenski (2012) observed that it does indeed have an anatomic structure, near the upper part of the urethral meanus. He observed that it “appeared as a well-delineated sac“, which has anatomic similarities to erectile tissue. But he has some financial conflicts of interest here, since he, as a gynecologist, runs a “g-spot fat augmentation and g-spot surgical augmentation”, offering a plastic surgery intervention (Herold et al, 2015; Ostrzenski, 2018; Triana, 2019).

Reviews of the “spot” agree that there is no single anatomic area in the vagina that we can call “the g-spot” (Jannini at al, 2014; Vieira-Baptista, 2021). But Maratos et al (2015) showed that there is evidence for an “in vivo morphological correlate” of the g-spot and that it’s visibility in MRI can be enhanced using certain techniques (also see Wylie, 2016). Hoag et al (2017) argue that there is no discrete anatomic entity that can be putatively termed as a “g-spot”, but Ostrzenski (2018) claims that the “spot” is observable in their Hoag et al’s figure 4A. In a study of 309 Turkish women, about half of the sample (n=151) stated that the g-spot does exist, and those that had a belief in it had better scores in genital perception and sexual functioning (Kaya and Caliskan, 2018). Buisson et al (2010) used an ultrasound on a volunteer couple to ascertain the existence of the g-spot. They observed the penis inflating the vagina, which then led to a stretched clitoral root that “has consequently a very close relationship with the anterior vaginal wall. This could explain the pleasurable sensitivity of this anterior vaginal area called the G-spot.” This shows the importance of what one thinks about the g-spot and their sexual satisfaction. However, Sivaslioglu et al (2021) studied live tissue (not tissue from a cadaver) and concluded that there is no g-spot on the anterior vaginal wall.

In an ultrasonographic study, Gravina et al (2008) observed a correlation of .863 between the thickness of the distal urethrovaginal segment and vaginal orgasm and a .884 correlation between vaginal wall thickness and the likelihood of experiencing a vaginal orgasm. They also found that women with a thinner vaginal wall were less likely to report having a vaginal orgasm. This could be explained by more nerve endings in women who have thicker vaginal walls.

It is claimed that women who prefer longer penises are more likely to achieve a vaginal orgasm (Costa, Miller, and Brody, 2012; evo-psycho Geoffrey Miller is also an author on this paper. There is a just-so story there saying that the female orgasm could be an adaptation or byproduct (see Puts, Dawood and Welling, 2012 and Wheatley and Puts, 2015). However, adaptationist hypotheses are nothing more than just-so stories, and this is another example of panglossian thinking. In any case, 95 percent of women report clitoral orgasm, 65 percent of women report vaginal orgasm and 35 percent of women report an orgasm due to stimulation of the cervix (Jannini at al, 2019).

Other researchers reject the claim that there is one spot that causes a vaginal orgasm, and that the vagina is not passive, but is dynamically active in causing pleasure to the woman. Due to the anatomic and dynamic relationships between the clitoris, urethra, and anterior vaginal walls (where the spot is hypothesized to be located), this “led to the concept of a clitourethrovaginal (CUV) complex, defining a variable, multifaceted morphofunctional area that, when properly stimulated during penetration, could induce orgasmic responses” (Jannini et al, 2014).


The debate on the existence of the g-spot and vaginal orgasms continues with no clear-cut answer in the literature. It is such a vexing question, and there are many people with many different views on its structure and physiology. I think that the CUV complex is a better candidate than an actual localized “spot” or “button” in the vagina, as it speaks to the dynamicness of the vagina. Pfaus et al (2016) conclude:

The distinction between different orgasms, then, is not between sensations of the external clitoris and internal vagina, but between levels of what a woman understands a ‘whole’ orgasm to consist of. This depends on the experience with direct stimulation of the external clitoris, internal clitoris, and/or cervix, but also with knowledge of the arousing and erotic cues that predict orgasm, knowledge of her own pattern of movements that lead to it, and experience with stimulation of multiple external and internal genital and extra-genital sites (e.g. lips, nipples, ears, neck, fingers, and toes) that can be associated with it. Orgasms do not have to come from one site, nor from all sites; and they do not have to be the same for every woman, nor for every sexual experience even in the same woman, to be whole and valid. And it is likely that such knowledge changes across the lifespan, as women experience different kinds of orgasms from different types of sensations in different contexts and/or with different partners. Thus, what constitutes a ‘whole’ orgasm depends on how a woman sums the parts and the individual manner in which she scales them along flexible dimensions of arousal, desire, and pleasure. The erotic body map a woman possesses is not etched in stone, but rather is an ongoing process of experience, discovery, and construction which depends on her brain’s ability to create optimality between the habits of what she expects and an openness to new experiences.

While for a negative view, Kilchevsky et al (2012) conclude:

The distal part of the anterior vaginal wall appears to be the most sensitive region of the vagina, yet the existence of an anatomical “G-spot” on the anterior wall remains to be demonstrated. Objective investigative measures, either not available or not applied when Hines first published his review article over a decade ago, still fail to provide irrefutable evidence for the G-spot’s existence. This may be, in part, because of the extreme variability of the female genitalia on an individual level or, more likely, that this mythical location does not exist.

I think there is something to the anterior vaginal wall that would lead to full-body orgasms, but Hoch (1986) states that “the entire anterior vaginal wall” was “found to be erotically sensitive in most of the women examined.” It is indeed accepted that the anterior vaginal wall is the most sensitive part of the vagina, but that doesn’t mean that the g-spot is a thing (Pan et al, 2015). Ling et al (2014) showed that the proximal and distal third of the anterior vaginal wall were had more innervations (nerve endings) and better vascularization, which implies that the vagina may have a sex-sensitive function just like the clitoris. Song et al, 2015 also showed that the distal part of the anterior vaginal wall had more innervations in “seven fresh Korean cadavers.” But such studies of vaginal innervation were noted in one review to be contradictory (Vieira-Baptista et al, 2021).

The experiences of women who claim to have had a vaginal orgasm should not be discarded, but it is possible that as a paper cited noted above, that it’s merely a clitoral orgasm too. Nevertheless, I don’t see this debate settled anytime soon, and both sides have good arguments. What I think would be best is to just accept the C-spot, clitourethrovaginal complex, and this is a larger erogenous zone—not a spot—comprised of the urethra, vaginal wall, paraurethral glands, and the root of the clitoris, since most of the clitoral components are under the skin (Pauls, 2015). Though Puppo (2015) claims that the entire clitoris “is an external organ.” However, there seem to be “clitoral bulbs” in between the cura and vaginal wall (O’Connell et al, 2005).

The Sexualization of Steatopygia and Adaptationist Claims of Sex Organs

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Steatopygia is an extreme accumulatation of large amounts of fat on the buttocks, and is also known as obesity in the coccyx (Wallner et al, 2022). “Steato” means “fat” and “pygia” means “buttocks” in Greek. This body type is claimed to be “common in women of the Khoi tribe or ‘Hottentots’ and is considered an aspect of beauty” (Todd, 2010). Steve Sabol, writing for The Genetic Literacy Project, opines that steatopygia could be “the ancestral state of the human lineage.” Steatopygia in the Khoisan has been written about since around the 1600s. This trait has been linked with primitiveness, since it was first noted in the Khoisan (Hudson et al, 2008; Fox, 2020: 16) and has also been observed in the San, the pygmies of Central Africa and the Ong of the Andaman Islands (Shepherd, 2017). Shattock (1909) also notes steatopygous artworks throughout antiquity. Francis Galton noted that while he was too ashamed to ask a Khoisan woman to measure her, he stood back with a pocket ruler and calculated the width and breadth of her buttocks (Hudson, 2004: 326) A few hypotheses have been proposed to explain why Khoisan women are more likely to have this condition, which will be reviewed below.

Perhaps the most famous woman to be afflicted with this condition is Sarah Baartman. Though the date of her birth is contested, she was probably born between the 1770s and 1789. She lived on a farm which belonged to South African colonialist David Fourie, who had settled the land that Baartman’s family lived on. Then, after his death, her clan was broken up and sold to various different people. One free black man took possession of Sarah, and due to his massive debt, began showing off Sarah’s enlarged buttocks which was due to steatopygia, showing her off to British soldiers. She was an exotic dancer for soldiers who were in the infirmary, while men would be able to touch her and even have sex with her if they paid. Then in 1810 she set sail for England with the freed black that bought her and a Scottish physician who thought that she would be better off than being a sideshow for mere soldiers on their deathbed. Racial theories at the time linked fatness to blackness and thinness to whiteness. In fact, fatness as pertains to black bodies had not been seen as anything bad until the Enlightenment, since fatter bodies used to be seen as beautiful to Europeans of that time. This then changed when fatness was linked to racial inferiority. Fatness was a negative racial trait first, before it was medically linked with negative outcomes (Lyons and Lyons, 2004: 31-33; Strings, 2019: 86-87, 94; Stahl, 2018; Nanda, 2019; see Carlan, 2020, Jennings, 2020, Sturgis, 2020, and Davis, 2021 for reviews). After Baartman’s death, her body was kept on display at the French Natural History Museum before being repatriated back to her home of South Africa in 2002. Indeed, Khoisan skeletal remains were seen as valuable due to their steatopygia (Botha and Steyn, 2016).

Strings states in an interview:

fat phobia is not based on health concerns. What I found in my research is that in the West, it’s actually rooted in the trans-Atlantic slave trade and Protestantism. In the trans-Atlantic slave trade, colonists and race scientists suggested that black people were sensuous and thus prone to sexual and oral excesses. Protestantism encouraged temperance in all pleasures, including those of the palate. By the early 19th century, particularly in the U.S., fatness was deemed evidence of immorality and racial inferiority.

De Villiers (1961) states that the Bushman’s lumbar curve is flatter than other races, and that since they have lower levels of subcutaneous fat, their steatopygia is more pronounced. She notes a small correlation between “butterfly labia” and steatopygia, with an r of .3223. She also states that there is no evidence that the large labia in Khoi women are artificial (I take this to mean that they weren’t stretched), but we now know this is not the case. She ascertained the degree of steatopygia by measuring “the horizontal distance between the apex of the lumbar curvature and a vertical plane touching the most posteriorly projecting point of the buttocks” (de Villiers, 1961: 226) So she noted a 3 to 4.5 inch distance in adults before middle age.

Steatopygia is claimed to be adaptive in warmer climates, or as an adaptation to food stress (Tobias, 1961 and also see Tobias’ discussion with Boyd and Richerson, 1996; see Hudson et al, 2008 for work on steatopygia figurines from the Jomon period in Japan, and they argue that it was adaptive due to food shortages, just like Tobias). Tobias (1961) notes that steatopygia has been observed in Bushwomen throughout Africa, though it can’t be seen as an adaptation to water storage but it could have been an adaptation for fat and protein storage. It has even been claimed—on the basis of one picture of an Andamanese woman with steatopygia—that it was helped them carry their children and that the fat reserves allowed women to carry more body fat for times of famine. This is how ridiculous adaptationist claims are. Tobias (1971: 147) proposed that steatopygia was due to the effects of cultural and natural selection:

The stronger the cultural pressures, the more drastic would be the cultural selection of certain qualities deemed desirable.

But there is no evidence for this hypothesis (Montagu, 1966) (nevermind novel evidence). Froment (2001) states that steatopygia could be a genetic adaptation to food storage.

Even as early as 1919 it was stated that:

Evidence is not presented to show that peoples in which steatopygia is common (it appears to be nowhere universal) are any more able than others to withstand famine, or that among the Hottentots the women on the whole suffer less than the men during scarcity of food. On the other hand it is well known that races in which this character does not occur have accustomed themselves to unfavorable food conditions. (Miller, 1919: 201)

Montagu (1966) proposed his own adaptive explanation:

steatopygia is principally an adaptation to the unique habitat in which the Bushman has evolved, a habitat of great heat and aridity necessitating an adaptive reduction in general body fat in order to permit rapid heat loss, while maintaining a sufficient amount of fat for normal metabolic purposes, especially in an environment which may grow very cold at night. Hence, the reduction of general body fat and its relegation to an unobtrusive part of the body, where it serves as a depot for general utilization by the body.

The claim that steatopygia is adaptive could be seen as basically what is known as the “thrifty gene hypothesis”. The hypothesis states that fat storage was positively selected for in hunter-gatherer populations (Sugden et al, 2018)—this is also similar to the nutritional reserve hypothesis (Low, 1987). Even John Baker in his book Race (Baker, 1971:318) states that it is improbable that the large buttocks of these women is due to a kind of storage for famine, since they most likely did not evolve in the area.

An entailment of the hypothesis could be that men found steatopygous women attractive, and since the fat stores conferred a survival advantage, and since men liked it, then it continued to be passed on. The observations of the hump of a camel and excess fat in the ass of a desert sheep is said to be analogous to steatopygia in Khoisan women (Findlay, 1959). But Tobias (1961: 34) explicitly rejects this notion, stating that it’s an adaptation due to a hunter-gatherer economy, and that the fat stores are for fats and protein, also claiming that sexual and cultural selection worked with natural selection to enhance these features. Krut and Singer (1963: 181) also state that “there is no preference on the part of the males for steatopygous women.”

Basically the hypothesis is that fat storage is a vertebrate adaptation in response to times of famine and low food storage and so, since it was an adaptive trait and seen as beautiful, it continued to be preserved in certain lineages. It is even estimated that H. erectus had 66% higher daily energy needs than austrolopithecene with it being almost 100% higher in lactating erectus compared to austrolopithecene. Then the higher demand for energy could have led to higher fat storages, which could then explain the incidence of steatopygia in Khoisan women (Kuipers et al, 2012).

In Race Differences in Intelligence, Lynn (2006: 50) also repeats the famine hypothesis, while also stating:

The genitalia of the Bushmen are unique among the human races. Bushmen have penises that stick out horizontally, while Bushwomen have prominent minor labia that descend about 3 inches below the vagina. The adaptive advantages of these characteristics are unknown.

“Penises that stick out horizontally” may mean “semi-erect penises”, but I cannot find any reliable source of information for this claim. While there was an older comparison between bonobos, apes, and Bushmen comparing their “semi-erect penises” (Gordon, 1998: 41), this seems to me to be nothing more than a racist conjecture in an attempt to paint Africans as “closer to apes”, so of course Lynn repeated it. It was also claimed that as a Bushman become more admixed, they would then begin to have a “droopier penis”, and so one could ascertain a Bushman’s admixture on the basis of his “droopier penis” (Gordon, 1998: 38). Nevermind this panglossian claim from Lynn that the “adaptive advantages” for the traits are unknown, as if every trait needs to have an adaptive reason that it still exists today. The semi-erect penis claim, it seems, is merely an old, repeated claim with no evidentiary basis.

Sounds like just-so stories all the way down (Gould and Lewontin, 1979).

There is also the “Hottentot apron” (also known as the tablier; de Villiers, 1961) which is an elongation of the labia. This was noted in medical textbooks, but describing Khoi women was removed in subsequent editions (Hayes and Temple-Smith, 2022). The black body has clearly been fetishized (Villani, 2022). In any case, the labia minora is stretched by some African people, and has been seen to be stretched up to 20cm, with this being known as type 4 genital mutilation (Puppo, 2010; also see Koster and Price, 2008). It has even been argued that “contemporary cosmetic labiaplasty is highly invested in a colonial sexual imaginary, by which the aesthetic valuation of the labia is linked to the construction and maintenance of racial hierarchies” (Nurka, 2018; James, 2021).

The racist hyper-sexualization of the black body began around the time of slavery (Loft, 2020), while it continues to this day on the basis of myths of racial differences in penis size (Hilliard, 2012; Lynn, 2013) Though it’s nothing but pseudoscience. In any case, the sexualization of black men and women has been noted for years by many authors.

So paranoid and yet fascinated were many white males with the notion of the stallion-like sexual performance of black males that at the turn of the twentieth century, it was not uncommon for those white southerners who lynched black males to mutilate their poor victims’ genitals and castrate them as well. David M. Friedman, in A Mind of Its Own: A Cultural History of the Penis, documents not merely the Western obsession with the black man’s penis but also the macabre lengths to which such fear and envy can go. He identified ritual castration as the final act of the lynch mob, explaining: “To really kill a black man, you first had to kill his penis.”6 Friedman devoted an entire chapter in his book to the ways in which white fears of sexual competition with black males had translated into a strange but enduring fetishism about the black male organ. (Hilliard, 2012: 72)

The racist hyper-sexualization of black women and men has its roots in colonialism (Holmes, 2016), and black women are dehumanized and hyper-sexualized more than white women, being compared more to objects and animals (Anderson et al, 2018). Basically, black women are objectified more than white women are.


Claims that any trait T are adaptive are merely just-so stories. That is, they are merely ad hoc hypotheses and no novel evidence can be provided in support for the hypothesis that would raise the probability of the trait being an adaptation. It is not confirmation of a hypothesis that a trait merely exists, since the hypothesis attempts to explain why the trait exists in the first place. Gould and Lewontin (1979) warned about assuming that traits are adaptations, and even said that once one adaptive story has been shown to be false that they would then erect another story in an attempt to show that the trait is an adaptation without ever contemplating that the trait is not an adaptation.

So Lynn’s wondering of the adaptive reasons of Khoisan steatopygia, “horizontal penises”, and enlarged labia are merely nothing more than the thoughts of a panglossian. “The trait exists so it MUST have an adaptive function.” And while there are a few different adaptive hypotheses for steatopygia, there is no way to distinguish it from being an adaptation or a byproduct. That is, a byproduct hypothesis would be just as valid as an adaptation hypothesis, due to the linkage of traits. But we need independent evidence in order to be justified in believing that T is an adaptation. That is, we need a novel fact of the matter that was unknown before the formation of the hypothesis. And if there is no novel fact, then the hypothesis is a just-so story. It’s merely circular reasoning. In fact, Lynn’s and Rushton’s obsession with penis size is merely due to their obsession with proving—whether they deny it or not—racial superiority and inferiority.

PumpkinPerson, using his long-outdated belief that evolution is progressive using evolutionary trees, claims—using a Y-chromosome tree—that the Bushman are at the bottom of the tree and “are believed to have absolutely colossal sexual characteristics” which is “consistent with Rushton’s theory that less advanced populations are more r selected.” “Rushton’s theory” meaning the long-dead Differential-K theory also known as r/K selection theory. PP here is just repeating the claim that these traits are “primitive”, since they are “older” and the traits are presumably not seen in “younger” populations, and is like the claim cited above from Sabol where he states that steatopygia is an ancestral state of the human lineage. The claim is, of course, ridiculous.

The fact of the matter is, there is no good evidence (by “good evidence” I mean independent evidence) that steatopygia is an adaptation, along with the other supposed adaptationist claims from the last 100 or so years. One can think of a multitude of different stories that explain the evolution of one single trait, but that isn’t good enough, as can be seen. Independent, novek evidence, is needed to raise the probability of the state of affairs being true, and I’m at a loss of thinking of any kind of novek facts generated from any of the steatopygia-as-adaptation hypothesis. These hypotheses were formulated due to the sexualization of Africans, which has of course continued to today with the claims of Rushton, Lynn, Kanazawa, Hart, and Templer. However, their just-so stories—along with the ones about sexual characteristics having an adaptive function—hold no water.