Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Race and violence

  1. Oct 16, 2004 #1
    I'm wondering about race and violent behavior.From my experience whites are most violent people on the other hand asians are least violent of all races( of course there are exceptions).How come?
    I'm sure you guys also heard stories from Japan about tourists who lost wallet full of cash returned to the owner the next day AMAZING! and IMPOSSBLE! here in America! :bugeye:
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 17, 2004 #2
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2017
  4. Oct 17, 2004 #3
    Blacks make up 13% of the US population but account for 54% of murders, 42% of forcible rapes, 59% of robberies, 38% of aggravated assaults"

    http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/_anchdn-voice.htm [Broken]

    East Asians have the lowest crime rates of the above mentioned compared to any other racial group.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  5. Oct 17, 2004 #4
    To be fair, tumor was correct about the Asian comment. At least when referring to East Asians. Violent behavior is strongly linked to testosterone level. Reason why most murders, rape, assault are committed by men rather than women. There are slight differences in testosterone level between the races however. With Blacks having the highest and East Asians having the lowest. The book "Race, Evolution, and Behavior" by Professor J Rushton will go into depth on this subject.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2017
  6. Oct 17, 2004 #5
    In the mid to late 1980's, when I was a very young man, I regularly went to Greece as "tramper tourist" for holidays (=this word is my own invention, think of it as a backpacker). I went to the Greek Islands which were then widely unspoilt from mass tourism and inhabitants still lived a traditional rural life. Most were poor in a material sense but I never saw anybody begging, or starving for that matter.

    I slept on the beach with a sleeping bag, not even in a tent. There were many other backpackers with probably 80% sleeping in tents and the rest like me. I never had anything stolen and neither did I ever hear of any trouble (and I literally met hundreds if not thousands others). As an extreme example, I remember one incidence where I left my wallet beside the sleeping back on the beach in bright daylight all day long. It was still there when I came back.
    I also never heard of any violence of any sort.

    Times and behavior patterns have changed. It is still pretty secure but incidents do happen now. Widely unspoilt beaches with a few bars and handmade straw hut discos playing Bob Marley and the Doors have been replaced by large hotels and 1200 Watt loudspeaker night clubs playing aggressive music.

    I give you another sad example. The British are the most aggressive people in Europe. Anybody who has ever worked in or lived around tourist resorts will confirm that.
    Do I believe that it is in their genes? Certainly not! The explanation lies mostly in the class system and the messed up social environment that it has created. I learned about the British class system and some of its effects in school but never realized what it really means until I lived there for almost 10 years.

    On one hand, you have many upper class twits who think that they are better by birth than "that common laborer" and on the other hand you have many unskilled, manual workers who show 'inverted snobbishness' by being proud of their ignorance.

    Violence and honesty is widely determined by the social environment that people live in and not by genes.

    You know, if so many people have to build large walls and security systems around their properties then, to use the famous words, "There is something rotten in the States of America".

    Last edited: Oct 17, 2004
  7. Oct 17, 2004 #6

    Clearly blacks are the most violent. I really have no idea why you could have thought that whites were more violent than blacks. Even a quick look at the white and black cultures should prove this. You seem like a racist.
  8. Oct 17, 2004 #7
    Are not the Japanese, the Chinese, the Koreans and the Mongols East Asians?

    There may well be differences between races in violence, but research and claims must be careful. Differences may be due to SES. Or to IQ which is already shown to correlate with violence. Regarding testosterone, the evidence is not clear-cut:
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2017
  9. Oct 17, 2004 #8
    Are you trying to say that genes have no influence on behavior? That the reason why 90% of homicides are committed by men is due to "social environment" factors? This seems like quite a reach. Equivalent to trying to state that a pit bull and a poodle have differences in violent behavior due to environmental factors and not by genes.
  10. Oct 17, 2004 #9
    Yes and they are less violent than other groups. Large armies forcibly formed by dictatorship is not proof that the people are violent.

    It's very clear cut. Testosterone is an aggression hormone.
  11. Oct 17, 2004 #10
    I'm not racist,I just forgot about them,in any case blacks and whites both are viscious.Whites more so.
  12. Oct 17, 2004 #11
    I don't doubt that testosterone has a role in aggression, but is there evidence that it is of primary importance in differences in aggressive behavior? Especially when looking at small differences in physiological levels and not those found in body-builders?


    Last edited: Oct 17, 2004
  13. Oct 17, 2004 #12
    There is no reason to believe that any race has more aggression or less aggression than any other. This notion is simply useless and nothing but potentially harmful. Regarding sexes, I also believe that men are more aggressive. However, before I am fully convinced, has anybody ever made a study in a society where the women are leading and are expected to go to war first? (… and I am aware that this argument can be turned round).

    Don't get me wrong, there are lots of differences between men and women and I am quite happy about it. :wink:

    You want to seriously compare pit bulls and poodles to humans? Dogs were deliberately bred to be different. In a way, our domestic animals are genetically engineered beings. It took several thousand years, but they were still engineered by deliberate selection. This has never occurred to any extent in human history. Nice thing is, the few times people tried, Love (and lust) between individuals always interfered and the centurion ended up having a child with the slave from another country.

    In our times more than ever, races are increasingly mixing: a fact which makes those studies even more pointless.

  14. Oct 17, 2004 #13


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Attributing the gene - pool directly to behavioral aspects ... would suggest trying environmental and cultures aspects first... because those are what you're discussing above. The fact that different genders produce differing results does not really affect this, it can be blamed on the sub-culture as much as anything.
  15. Oct 17, 2004 #14
    The very supraphysiological levels of testosterone used by weight-lifters have been linked to increased aggression. But those weight-lifters taking steroids may have been more aggressive before starting to use steroids.

  16. Oct 17, 2004 #15
    Internal consistency in theorization

    So, a premise in operation here might be at least either that races do not differ genetically or that sexes do not differ genetically. For if both sexes and races differ genetically, and behavior is observed to differ in one, then would not that indeed constitute a reason to believe that behavior might differ in the other as well?

    So, a premise in operation here might be at least either that dog breeds do not differ genetically or that human races do not differ genetically. For if both human races and dog breeds differ genetically, and behavior is observed to differ in one, then would not that indeed constitute a reason to believe that behavior might differ in the other as well?
  17. Oct 18, 2004 #16
    Your 'premises approach' is far too easy. It also has flaws but I don't want to go into this here: It will ultimately end up in a belief question.

    I give you an example and hope that it makes the point clearer.

    You organize 30 independent hobby co kart races in various towns around the US. You come to the conclusion that the most important characteristics for winning the race was the technical sophistication of the co kart. The experience and skill of the driver was only secondary or tertiary etc.

    You conclude: The 'hardware', here the co kart, is the reason why people win in races, the driver is less important and the social environment has totally negligible effects.

    You then use the premise that the real reason why people win races and are better is the superiority of the hardware.

    With this premise you then look at Formula 1 races, the 'highest developed objects' of the study. You probably find that over the last 80 years the best car at the time won the most titles. Hence, finally you have proven that it is the hardware which is the reason for winning.

    I would come up with a counter study to prove that the best drivers were the reason why those cars won and in a more sophisticated way then simply:
    good car + best driver = most wins.
    What you would find is that these best drivers actually helped to develop the best cars.

    You cannot tell anymore whether the drivers or the cars are responsible for winning. One major reason is that the cars are so close in their performance that good drivers can slightly improve a car within a short time and then the new combination of car and driver wins. However, this best driver also needs the support and finances from the car maker. It becomes senseless to ever say that there is one brand of car that is better than another, since the best drivers can turn any of them into winners (provided the car maker can give enough support). Even if 'your study' shows that Ferrari (I really do not know whether it is Ferrari or not) has won the most prices, it certainly does not prove that Ferrari cars are therefore 'inherently' better in winning races than other cars.

    How does this relate to your questions?

    Use dog genes = hobby co karts; co kart + co kart driver= individual dog; human genes = Formula 1 cars; car + Formula 1 driver = individual human; drivers = environment; social environment = society; Formula 1 car brands = human races; and winning = aggression.

    Dogs have not developed cognitive insight in the way humans have. They are mostly driven by instincts whereas human beings have a choice to override that instinct at any given time. Training in overriding and controlling that instinct is the key to whether or not people are more aggressive than others. This training is provided by the social environment. Even if there were a difference in an average 'aggression gene' between races, its contribution to the behavior of the phenotypes is so small that it becomes negligible.

    The difference in the mentally-related, average characteristics of the phenotypes between human races is so small that there is no way that you can measure it exactly enough to attribute it to genes. The 'nature - nurture uncertainty principle' in human upbringing beats you to it. Furthermore, this study does not help anybody and creates prejudice and discrimination.

    PS: Regarding sexes, this is comparing Formula 1 cars and Prototype racing cars in my example above. They are both the top of the development as racing cars, but still differ. … and don't ask me who is who or how their babies look like. :biggrin:
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2004
  18. Oct 24, 2004 #17
    Your opinion here is not a fact. Europeans, and others, are inherently aggressive. The British are no more so than the others:
    Romans - attacked every civilization they encountered and ruled much of Europe for 800 years. They did this by aggression, not by discussion.
    French - attempted to take over most of Europe (remember Napoleon?)
    Germans - Their participation in the onset and destruction of two world wars cannot be ignored. Was the Holocaust an act of aggression?
    Spain - attempted to rule all of the New World by attacking natives and giving them a choice between slavery (as converted Xtians) or death.
    Russia - Stalin remains second only to Mao in the number of his citizens murdered (is this aggression?). The countries of Eastern Europe were not taken into the Soviet Union by application.

    Security in the US is present because it is available. Security is equally desirable in many parts of the world. In Africa, it sometimes consists of walls built out of thorn bushes. Would security be useful in Israel? Chechnya? Ireland? Congo? Afghanistan? Russia?
  19. Oct 24, 2004 #18


    User Avatar


    Do you not think that much of these assertions due to "race" might be due to culture and environmental factors?
  20. Oct 24, 2004 #19


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    I do indeed. Consider the bottom class English (I don't mean immigrants, but native "Anglo-Saxons"). They are violent and crime-ridden too. Likewise the low-caste Japanese, the "night soil collectors" have these attributes. In both cases we're talking same race as the majority, but a culture of crime, drugs, and violence associated with poverty and prejudice.. It's just a historical condition that in many cities the lowest income groups are Black, so the incorrect imputation of race is brought up.
  21. Oct 25, 2004 #20
    I am talking of now, not history. The fact that all these other nations have also been aggressive in their history and are not as much now as they were only 70 to 100 years ago proves the point:
    Aggression has nothing to do with genes but with social environment. Unfortunately for the British, the social environment in Britain is behind the rest of Europe in terms of creating more peaceful (=in the sense of less aggressive) individuals.

    Regarding my point about the USA, you do not get it at all.

Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook