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John Carmack a racist?


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#1 A Brain in a Vat   Members   -  Reputation: 313

Posted 17 May 2012 - 07:01 PM

Hard to believe, he's a person I've held in high regard for a long time. But see for yourself:
https://twitter.com/#!/brennen/status/202756417977978880

The article they're talking about is:
http://takimag.com/article/the_talk_nonblack_version_john_derbyshire#axzz1vAztA2sT

Some quotes, which can't be construed as anything but racism:
"Before voting for a black politician, scrutinize his/her character much more carefully than you would a white."
"Do not settle in a district or municipality run by black politicians."
"Do not act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress, e.g., on the highway."

Think what you will about the arguments regarding statistics when it comes to large groups of black people. Completely ignore the socio-economic and historical factors if you want. But to suggest not living somewhere that's run by a black politician is plain, blatant racism. To counsel your kids to not help a black person in distress is sick.

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#2 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4684

Posted 17 May 2012 - 07:10 PM

When living in a bubble, everything around you may look like a needle.

Seems that someone attributed the wrong article to John, so I completely retract my earlier statement.
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#3 ApochPiQ   Moderators   -  Reputation: 14345

Posted 17 May 2012 - 07:16 PM

He said he didn't find the article "that offensive", not that he condones all of the points therein. Nitpicky, I know, but let's not race to judge someone's character from some out-of-context quote. After all, isn't snap judgment of human character precisely what you'd be vilifying Carmack for?


For the record, I don't find racism very offensive personally. Stupid, regrettable, and totally worth extinguishing, but not offensive per se. Sort of like how I feel about spiders.

#4 A Brain in a Vat   Members   -  Reputation: 313

Posted 17 May 2012 - 07:22 PM

Sure, the question mark in the subject is purposeful. I'm not saying he's racist, I'm wondering if he is.

Saying he doesn't find it "that offensive", without any sort of qualification (of the sort you just made) makes you wonder, though. I'd like to hear him speak more to the topic, if for no other reason than that I've considered applying to work at id and wouldn't want to end up in an environment where racism is acceptable.

#5 ApochPiQ   Moderators   -  Reputation: 14345

Posted 17 May 2012 - 07:27 PM

Fair enough.


From my perspective, though, it'd hardly be the first time that people drew wildly inaccurate conclusions about someone's views based on a tweet. It's hardly an excellent medium for discussing... well, anything ;-)

#6 A Brain in a Vat   Members   -  Reputation: 313

Posted 17 May 2012 - 07:32 PM

Agreed. Frankly, my hope is that this thread draws enough attention that Carmack notices and says "Whoa, you took it wrong. What I meant is this." And then I can go back to my lazy hero-worship :)

#7 alnite   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2056

Posted 17 May 2012 - 09:26 PM

He said he didn't find the article "that offensive", not that he condones all of the points therein.


You can't find anything offensive if it's not picking on you. Well, Carmack is white, and article is clearly attacking black. Is it offensive to call gays queers and fags? Kids do it all the time on the intertube, but the ones who get to say if it's offensive or not are the gays.

#8 taby   Members   -  Reputation: 335

Posted 17 May 2012 - 11:12 PM

Oh yeah, I remember this coming down the pipe on the ultra-conservative blogosphere a little while back. Basically it was some guy trying to justify the Trayvon Martin shooting, and wrapped it all up in two pages of "discourse".

Is John Carmack a racist for relaying a link? I agree that there is insufficient evidence to come to a firm conclusion either way. Should he clarify what he meant, because there are probably a bajillion kids who look up to him? Yeah. Maybe he can start by clarifying it all for his own kids.

My major hint was the point 10. The author throws a lot of statistics into it all, to make it look all fancy and adult, but do realize that the final target of the content of this article are kids. Kids are prone to over-generalize things by default because they don't realize how gray the world really is. If you say something to a kid, their imagination often runs wild, and they have next to no real life experience to temper the negative ideas that could result from it. It's basically like conscripting your child into a race war. I kind of have a problem with child soldiers, and I think that sowing the seeds of racism in kids is a racist act. Do realize that what this guy is suggesting that we tell our kids (who often adore us, and look up to us, and look to us for guidance far more than they look to video games or movies for guidance, even if they're loathe to admit it) is already over-generalized as it is. Now magnify that over-generalization by 100x and you basically have kids with heads full of highly distorted images of violent, evil, frothing at the mouth, gun wielding maniacs. That kind of psychological manipulation should be illegal. I certainly don't automatically get that kind of image in my head when I think of the one (or more?) non-Caucasians that I know full-well have written a reply in this specific thread.

I mean, if you often told your own female kid that females are generally stupid (because they score just a bit below the average in terms of math and science exams), then they're likely not really going to give a care about statistics and likely just focus on how much of a piece of s**t they are. Nice parenting skills, preying on your pre-teen / teen's lack of self-esteem. Surely Carmack doesn't teach his kids these things, given that his wife is the co-founder of Armadillo Aeroscape, amongst a bajillion other awesome things, so I have hope for him. I certainly don't tell my kids that they're idiots, and I certainly don't tell them that other races are generally just lying in wait on the beach to shoot them in the head. Yes indeed, "the talk" still goes both ways, and the more of these talks that occur, the more that racism and reverse racism will occur. It's just lunacy. Fortunately this fad has largely died where I'm from, and multicultural cooperation has flourished because of it.

Someone clearly a lot smarter than anyone here once said that 'the world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it'. If you see someone being blatantly racist and you don't have an interest in saying anything against it (keeping in mind that silence due to fear is not the same as a lack of interest), then you're flirting dangerously with being just as guilty as the racist. If you're witnessing your own kids being racists, and you don't say anything to correct them, then I feel so sorry for those kids because you're simply a horrible parent / human being. For those people, I sincerely hope that some day you end up lying on the sidewalk with full-blown heart attack going on, and you're met with the same level of apathy, as you draw your last breath and vainly pray for a Good Samaritan to come to your assistance while everyone just steps over / around you. That would be absolutely epic! Yeah, same goes for people who think that being gay means you have HIV / think that HIV is as contagious as the black plague, and same goes for people who do nothing to prevent anti-gay stereotypes from being propagated in broad daylight. You may not think that words can kill, but they certainly can. So yeah, I actively pray for your lonely death, and I giggle with delight over the non-zero probability of it occurring. Hopefully that doesn't bother you whatsoever, because there's a whole lot more people who are thinking exactly what I'm thinking but simply aren't "evil" enough to say it out loud, and it sure would be a bit of a drag to be bothered by the fact that many people are secretly wishing your lonely death, don't you think? LOL. Epic.

Edited by taby, 18 May 2012 - 12:09 AM.


#9 szecs   Members   -  Reputation: 2099

Posted 18 May 2012 - 12:13 AM

Nice article! - I had my utter bullshit reading for the day.

#10 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 18 May 2012 - 07:29 AM

Honestly, the author is just using a set of unfortunate and troubling statistics to lay out a set of rules that should benefit their children's well being going forward pending the statistics remain the same.

There is a very fine line between being racist and being aware of the current statistical truths. There are a lot of socioeconomic reasons that put African Americans in unfavorable positions more frequently than white Americans, but being aware of the cause does not change the effect. Labeling awareness as prejudice is shortsighted. Burying your head in the sand is not the way forward and solves nothing.

#11 szecs   Members   -  Reputation: 2099

Posted 18 May 2012 - 08:09 AM

The article is about being aware of only blacks. Which is bullshit and even dangerous for the kids. Many of the situations listed there where you have to be cautious applies to people from any race who live in the same conditions (poverty, or just poorness). It's just happens to be that blacks are poorer in average. Living in a different race's neighbourhood for example can be the same between any combination of races. You always have to be cautious.

Okay, I'm not an American, but in Hungary the ""gypsy problem"" is similar, if not a bigger issue. I live inside the biggest gypsy community inside the city and I still don't think "gypsy problem or "gypsy criminality" exists. "Poverty criminality" exists. Hungarians in poverty are just the same as the gypsies, we aren't any better, I'm cautious (afraid) here of Hungarians just like gypsies. I guess the same applies to blacks too.

Well, I guess that doesn't make much sense, my English is failing me today

Edited by szecs, 18 May 2012 - 08:15 AM.


#12 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 18 May 2012 - 09:25 AM

The article is about being aware of only blacks. Which is bullshit and even dangerous for the kids. Many of the situations listed there where you have to be cautious applies to people from any race who live in the same conditions (poverty, or just poorness). It's just happens to be that blacks are poorer in average. Living in a different race's neighbourhood for example can be the same between any combination of races. You always have to be cautious.

That's not entirely accurate. Poverty is only part of the equation for the statistical spike. Mixed neighborhoods below the poverty line have much lower crime rates than non-mixed neighborhoods. Black people are statistically more likely to live in poverty, and impoverished black people are more likely to live in non-mixed neighborhoods than other races.

Again, it's tragic that black people are more likely to be put into situations where they are more likely to be violent than other races, but that doesn't change the fact that overwhelmingly statistics show that odds are any given black person is more likely to be violent than a given person of another race. The article in question doesn't say anything about the capabilities of a black person or black people in general being able to change the current statistics. It's just a cautionary tale of the statistics the way they currently are.

Does blaming racism for the picture the statistics paint solve anything? Does adding 3 levels of obfuscation in the cause and effect chain change the start and end of the chain?

A non racially charged example would be that rich people are more likely to steal candy from babies. The logical reason being that the traits that would make a person likely to steal candy from a baby makes them more likely to be rich. If we were to play a game where you had to ensure a baby kept their candy and you were aware of the income of every person your baby could interact with, it wouldn't be classist to avoid the rich people, even though there exist people who exhibit the traits that make them likely to steal candy or not steal candy regardless of income.

#13 szecs   Members   -  Reputation: 2099

Posted 18 May 2012 - 09:40 AM

Well, I'm not good at connecting the dots and I may be wrong.
I'm saying that this selective cautiousness is BS anyway, especially as an ""advice"" to a kid. Maybe black people are more violent by nature, that doesn't change the fact that any concentrations for unknown purpose of strangers from a poor group is better to avoid, just to take out one example.
Or "Before voting for a black politician, scrutinize his/her character much more carefully than you would a white". BS.

Edited by szecs, 18 May 2012 - 09:41 AM.


#14 Michael Tanczos   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 5149

Posted 18 May 2012 - 10:16 AM

In this day an age on the Internet it's easy to become jaded towards most anything. I'm sure you've had circumstances where other people are deeply offended by something that you didn't mind that much. So I guess what I'm saying is, who cares if Carmack made the comment. It doesn't mean he's a racist.. some people are just oversensitive about racial issues.

You'd get exhausted if this is your reaction to everything bad on the Internet:


#15 L. Spiro   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 12399

Posted 18 May 2012 - 10:41 AM

The author of that article correctly covered his ass by saying that statistics dictated everything beyond point #10 (from 10a on).
Mathematically speaking, I can’t be racist by not being offended by what he said, and I, like Carmack, am a mathematical being. So I can fully understand why he was not offended. Making a post about it on Twitter simply means he forgot that not everyone works in id Software and understands his sense of humor.

As pointed out by ApochPiQ, don’t read too deeply into a Twitter post. Instead of understanding that he is racist, you should understand that he seems to think everyone on Twitter knows him as well as his real-life friends and that they will get the joke. That is what he botched.


I personally feel that a lot of people can’t separate realism from what is taught to mean racism, and act strangely for fear of being called racist based on the definitions of racism they have been taught.

Instead of 2 old grey-haired white guys, Obama runs for president.
“Hmm, never seen this before. He has a pretty honest face, so what are his ideals? Promote technology, science, and the advancement of America? And he enjoys Blackberries? Nice!”

The fact that no black person had run for presidency before caused me to pay attention. You could use the word “scrutinize” if you wanted. Does that make me racist?
Racism would be hating him for being black. I paid attention to the fact that no black person had run for presidency, which was a landmark. Dismissing that just for fear of being characterized as “extra scrutinization just because he black” is what would have left me either ignorant or racist.
Ignorant because it is the fear of being called racist that makes people react abnormally towards racial minorities.


I think szecs is falling into this type of trap.
Admitting that you raise a brow when a political candidate is black causes shame? Guess what: The whole world raised a brow when Obama ran for presidency. The whole world paid more attention. Which is essentially the definition of scrutinizing.
Scrutinization simply means “to examine thoroughly”. Do you realize that we can examine things more closely just out of curiosity?


I openly admit that I scrutinized Obama more than I had any previous president. And I know fully well it was out of curiosity, not racism.
Yes, he was black. But he was a black who ran to be president. This is new. This has never happened before! When I listened more to his speeches and ideals, I favored him far more than any president I had ever. I registered to vote from overseas just to vote for him and I still support him now despite his decline in popularity.

But I am racist just because I was curious enough to look at him closer?

A black politician is probably a rare thing. Just as a Japanese politician is (at least outside of Japan).
But I moved to Japan for a reason, and it certainly is not because I hate Japanese or in any way think down upon them.
Seeing anyone besides a fat grey-haired white man about to kick the bucket become a politician in America piques my curiosity, and it has nothing to do with any specific race.


I am just using this one quote as an example, but in truth it covers so many areas. People are afraid to behave differently towards people of other races out of fear of being mistaken for racism. Even afraid to admit a little extra scrutinization because so many people can’t understand the difference.


Settle down and think logically. I am not offended by the article—statistically he is correct, but he is also a racist because he takes joy in manipulating the audience (by starting off completely reasonably such that any idiot would agree with what he says, then going into more racist tones gradually as the less-intelligent audience members are unaware that they have been dragged into prejudism) and specifically enabling himself to make targeted racial statements.
I am picking on the politician section because it is the most obvious and easily exploitable example of his targeted racism, but it generally goes downhill from point 10 on.

He is basically playing on peoples’ inability to distinguish between why they feel certain ways or do certain things, or their lack of confidence that others can properly judge them based off such, and twisting it in such a way that he himself can’t be judged for stating it.


Carmack is an idiot for thinking everyone on Twitter knows his sense of humor.
The article author is a manipulative racist who exposes his racist side only if he feels comfortable that no one will actually detect his racism.

Simple as that.


L. Spiro
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#16 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 18 May 2012 - 11:18 AM

The fact that no black person had run for presidency before caused me to pay attention.

Posted Image

I didn't know this before just checking, but Shirley Crisholm was a black woman who ran for president in the 1970s and she won 28 delegates :D

#17 L. Spiro   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 12399

Posted 18 May 2012 - 12:33 PM

I didn't know this before just checking, but Shirley Crisholm was a black woman who ran for president in the 1970s and she won 28 delegates Posted Image

Had I been alive and mature enough to realize that it was not a common occurrence, I would have paid more attention back then, specifically for the same reasons.


It really would not matter though. I might have discovered a black woman who had ideals apposed to my own (which are the advancement of science and technology and the digression of religion (and hopefully total elimination in the future)) or inlined. The skin color may draw my attention but nothing else. Wow, someone black ran for presidency. Niftypuff. Now what are the ideals/goals of said person?

Anyone who simplifies the “scrutinize black political people more” into a simplified interpretation that implies racism is am idiot, and is ultimately playing off people’s insecurities.

Obama was new to me and I turned my head where I would not otherwise have.
I am not going to feel guilty for that just because some prick thinks he can pull on the strings of the insecurities of the masses. That might tug on the strings of some people, but I know exactly what I felt and why, and I can only wish that more people were the same. Stop questioning yourselves. Your are not as evil as they wish you were, and 99% of what you feel is valid and fine, just misinterpreted by both you and the masses.


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#18 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4684

Posted 18 May 2012 - 01:06 PM

Well just to be accurate, Obama was the first black man to successfully run for President. Others have tried but didn't make it past the convention, if at all.

And honestly, it's great to say that statistics show this and show that. But does anyone really think this author or any non-black parent is quoting statistics while warning their kids to avoid black people? Yeah, he/she quoted statistics in the article on the Internet. But only to do exactly what L. Spiro said, CYA.
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#19 ID_AA_Carmack   Members   -  Reputation: 102

Posted 18 May 2012 - 02:05 PM

I’m not sure if it makes it better or worse, but the OP is referring to the wrong article…

John Carmack@ID_AA_Carmack
Reading Derbyshire's "We are Doomed"; I agree with most of his points, yet I remain a clear headed optimist.

brennen@brennen
@ID_AA_Carmack Can I ask your feelings on his recent "hey guys so actually I'm totally a white supremacist" bit?

<I google and find that he is referring to this: http://www.vdare.com...dissident-right, which I read and respond with >

John Carmack@ID_AA_Carmack
@brennen I just read the article that is getting the “Double-plus-un-good-thought-crime!” revulsion, and I don’t find it that offensive.


As a general rule, I don’t think very highly of people that go out of their way to take grievous offense in other people’s names. The comments sections in the meta-articles about the actual article are filled with a great many people whose company I would not enjoy.

I am a little bit tempted to try to write a thoughtful position statement, but I know that anything that strayed from orthodox political correctness would generate lots of little tempests in a teapot, and I am too busy working to argue.

John Carmack

#20 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 18 May 2012 - 02:26 PM

Posted Image

edit: I'm going to be honest, I don't know how to make this image smaller... :(

Edited by way2lazy2care, 18 May 2012 - 02:28 PM.





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