Category Archives: Senegal

“The ‘Negro Problem’ Re-evaluated,” by Phil

In the New World and Pre-Colonies alike, efforts were made by Europeans to try to advance Blacks to a European level, which was to be achieved though granting new opportunities in Black  societies or instruction via missionaries. Needless to say, overall the results were very much wanting in light of the expectations of the Blacks’ patrons.

Some may claim hindsight bias or that this was to be expected, but it should be remembered this was during a time when, though on occasion challenged up to the early 20th century, racial science was fairly well accepted in regard to innate distinctions (or at least more thoroughly defended during Galton’s age). However there is a perspective that suggests that advancement is indeed possible, though it deviates from traditional projects.

Before I reveal what that might be, we must understand what went wrong with the initial civilization attempts.

Culture:

Much of the efforts put into “civilizing” Blacks by Christian missionaries were based on literary schooling and the building the consciousness of a God from afar that will punish your sins in the future. For the most part however, most of the natives weren’t very compelled to change their behavior by this fear, and even with the customs Blacks did adopt, they were not applied with the same “spirit” as Europeans did.

A very peculiar and important trait of the Negroes, heretofore entirely overlooked, but repeatedly observed by Ellis, is that they do not concern themselves about any god that is exalted to a very great distance above them. Among the Negroes of the Sudan the gods that are far off are not worshiped at all while those near at hand, and ever ready to inflict immediate punishment command the most respect and obedience. The Christian God is represented as being too far away; and since the punishment which he inflicts will not be visited upon the Negroes until after their death, they do not think much of the consequences of their conduct. They have not the necessary foresight for such remote calculations.

The native religion has the merit of furnishing deities that are believed in, understood and feared, and they act so powerfully upon the Negroes that they seldom violate their own moral code. Now, it is very evident that if faith in their native religion is destroyed and another religion substituted which they do not comprehend and which they interpret to be mere conformity to ceremony and routine, their moral character will not only fail to develop to a higher plane but sink to a much lower one. And that is precisely the result of much missionary preaching.

The Negro Races: A Sociological Study, Volume 1 p. 427-428.

At first it might seem that social diffusion would render it impossible to advance Blacks, but that’s not quite the case, as we shall see below.

The reason of the success of Mohammedanism among the blacks is that it does not effect a radical modification of native institutions. The Mussulman does not, as the Christian missionary, attempt, as the first thing to antagonize old doctrines and infuse new ones, but he begins by living among the natives working and trading among them. He is unobtrusive and tolerant and thus the natives convert themselves by imitation. Whatever other objections may be raised against Mohammedanism the truth of Sevin’s statement cannot be questioned to wit that it is certainly a step towards civilization.

The Negro Races: A Sociological Study, Volume 1, p. 452.

Now for the differences in Black behavior between the two major religions, Islam and Christianity, the evidence is bountiful, with this passage possibly being one of the earliest:

“The Negroes possess some admirable qualities. They are seldom unjust, and have a greater abhorrence of injustice than any other people. Their sultan shows no mercy to anyone who is guilty of the least act of it. There is complete security in their country. Neither traveler nor inhabitant in it has anything to fear from robbers or men of violence. They do not confiscate the property of any white man who dies in their country, even if it be uncounted wealth. On the contrary, they give it into the charge of some trustworthy person among the whites, until the rightful heir takes possession of it. They are careful to observe the hours of prayer, and assiduous in attending them in congregations, and in bringing up their children to them.

On Fridays, if a man does not go early to the mosque, he cannot find a corner to pray in, on account of the crowd. It is a custom of theirs to send each man his boy [to the mosque] with his prayer-mat; the boy spreads it out for his master in a place befitting him [and remains on it] until he comes to the mosque. Their prayer-mats are made of the leaves of a tree resembling a date-palm, but without fruit.

Another of their good qualities is their habit of wearing clean white garments on Fridays. Even if a man has nothing but an old worn shirt, he washes it and cleans it, and wears it to the Friday service. Yet another is their zeal for learning the Koran by heart. They put their children in chains if they show any backwardness in memorizing it, and they are not set free until they have it by heart. I visited the qadi in his house on the day of the festival. His children were chained up, so I said to him, ‘Will you not let them loose?’ He replied, ‘I shall not do so until they learn the Koran by heart’.”

Ibn Battuta: Travels in Asia and Africa 1325-1354.

And more:

“Judging by the conduct of those Negroes who were the most regular attendants at the Methodist chapel, I am unwillingly driven to the belief that the Methodist missions have done little for the cause of true religion, and have rather helped to foster dangerous delusion. The Methodists I fear have done harm for they have diffused a general feeling among the Negro population that abstaining from dancing, from drinking (a vice by the way which Negroes are rarely prone to), and a certain phraseology, which is mere form on their part, is Christianity.

Now it would be much better if the Negroes were taught that lying, stealing, cruelty to each other, or the brute creation, slander, and disobedience were sins in the sight of God, rather than level their anathemas against dancing-the favorite, and let me say, the innocent, recreation of the negroes; unless when it trenches as it sometimes does upon the sacredness of the Sabbath.

Domestic Manners and Social Condition of the Population of the West Indies , by Mrs. Carmichael.

However, it must be acknowledged that Islam is, well, Islam. This was noted by G. T. Basden:

….Or again compare the statements of another student many years experience in Northern Nigeria who says in his notes upon the Nupe kingdom and the effects its adoption of Islam.

Mohammedanism has introduced no new manufactures, has drenched the country with blood, has destroyed numberless towns and villages, and has as far as one can learn, distinctly lowered the morals of the people. True it has introduced a better idea of justice by creating the office judge as distinct from that of a king, and we must also place to the credit of Islam the beginnings of the idea of education.

It is also a distinct gain to the people that they have been taught the idea of a life beyond the grave, and of rewards and punishments after this life is over. On the other side must be placed the degradation of womanhood that has followed the introduction of Islam. The average pagan Negro has his own ideas as to the of women, but there is nothing to prevent woman from rising by her industry or ability to high positions. But Mohammedanism changes all this and has a distinctly lower position in a Mohammedan than she occupies among pagans.

Among the Ibos of Nigeria by George Thomas Basden

Genetics:

Something that I think will challenge many peoples’ views of Blacks is the idea that Blacks are not monolithic in behavior. Indeed, with actual slaves who were imported to the West, different tribes were noted to have different attributes.

Of character among the Negro tribes.

The Eboe is crafty artful disputative driving a bargain and suspicious of over reached by those with whom he deals, but withal patient industrious saving tractable. The Coromantee is on the fierce violent and revengeful injury and provocation but hardy laborious and manageable under mild and just treatment. This tribe has generally been at head of all insurrections and was the parent stock of the Maroons. The Congo, Papaw, Chamba, Mandingo &c are of more mild and peaceable disposition than Coromantee, but less industrious and than the Eboe.

The Literary Gazette and Journal of Belles Lettres, Arts, Sciences p. 551

But we still have to deal with the problem of the consistency of some of these descriptions, in part due to regions being confused with or substituted for tribal names. Thus “Eboe” can refer to either Biafran slaves, people from anywhere in SE Nigeria, or a tribe of slaves from the Bight of Benin. Another factor in this confusion was variation within tribes, even with the Mandingo, which was a more consistent tribal name.

As for the rest, virtues vary according to the districts occupy. In Bambuk they are warlike, the Upper Senegal they are more peaceful, but deceiving and thievish, on the Manza and Gambia they are swaggering foul.

The Standard Natural History, Volume 6 edited by John Sterling Kingsley and Elliott Coues p.329

In order, these would correspond to East Senegal/ Mali, North Senegal, and the coastal regions/ Gambia. This makes sense because the desert is harsh and would support violent nomadic lifestyles. This shows that how interior of Senegal, being a more even woodland/ savannah area, and the Gambia being part savannah and swamp-like, would affect natural selection in these groups.

A second factor could be Eurasian ancestry, but that’s most relevant to pastoralists – Chadic expansionists like the Fulani, who average 8-15% Eurasian (varies by region). The Wolof and similar tribes have been found to have only 2-3%  Eurasian admixture, possibly derived from the Bafour people, who were described as “Fulani-like.” Razib Khan found that in the Mandinka, the Eurasian intervals were between 0-5%.

Other genetic sources in US Blacks could be from Southeast Bantu, Cushitic, Semitic, and South Asian components, and though each varies by tribe, none of these groups are very significant in African-Americans as a whole. One exception was the Mota Study, but its results were dubious due to errors in calculating the spread.

This post addresses the study’s inconsistencies as well as other admixture results.

Now, it does beg the question of why aren’t the personality disparities as evident as they were in the past? Well, one factor could be that even in the Carolinas and Georgia where Senegambian slaves were preferred, the highest single ethnicity by DNA is West Central Nigerian, at least maternally. And overall, West Central DNA also dominates.

That’s not automatically bad in terms of genetic attributes, though this means that the best groups work with would be the Mandingos of the Upper Senegal or the Kru of Coastal Liberia, though inland they were more disposed to violence, hence the recent coup de etat).

Application:

One notion we should dismiss would be Blacks becoming in any sense “White” outside of contributions due to White admixture. This wouldn’t be likely even with the best “stock” such as the Krus. Regarding the Krus, you can look them up in any book, and they were held among most industrious, intelligent, and moral Blacks, who also lacked any significant non-Black admixture, if their features are to speak for them.

The flat nose, the high cheekbones, the yellow eyes, the chalky teeth pointed like the shark’s, the Erotruded like that of a dog monkey combine to form an unusual amount of ugliness.

Their features are distinctly African without a mixture of Arab; the conjunctiva is brown yellow or tarnished a Hamitic peculiarity, and some paint white goggle-like ovals round the orbits, producing the effect of a loop. This is sometimes done for sickness, and individuals are rubbed over with various light and dark colored powders. The skin is very dark, often lamp black others are of a deep rich brown or bronze tint, but a light complexioned man is generally called Tom Coffee.

The back of the cranium is often remarkably flat, and I have seen many heads of the pyramidal shape rising narrow and ported high to the apex.

The Uncivilized Races of Men in All Countries of the World, Volume 1, p. 545

In other words, a flat nose, prognathism, and dark skin. However, what should be noted here is that their heads were flatter than the average as opposed to the more typical elongation of the skull. Brachycephalic heads are indicative of Guineanid Blacks, better known as “Paleo-Negroids”.

But back to the tribe. They’ve been noted to succeed fairly well in adopting European customs, that is until they rejoined others from their homeland.

Very interesting is the fact that these Kroo negroes who, at a distance from their home, seem fully capable of civilization, sink back into their former barbarism on their return to their native land. While they readily acquire foreign languages, and at times give proof of a real attachment and devotion to Europeans in foreign countries on returning home. They take the greatest pains to forget their acquirements as soon as possible, and woe to the European that ventures into their country. However well they may have been treated, they nearly always, after a few years, quit the service of the whites in order to return to their barbarous condition in their native place. So little attraction has our much vaunted civilization for these children of nature!

Africa by Keith Johnston p. 131

With that said though, as a culture, the Krus were comparatively advanced among SSA populations. They partook in some savage practices related to paganism, though they weren’t the typical image of crude savagery, hence the term barbarism. In a true anthropological sense, it’s used to describe societies that bear semblance to fully developed civilization but have the cruder or more primitives aspects accentuated.

What I’m getting at is that, unless in the unlikely event that Whites want groups of Black living next to them so the Whites can influence them, preparations should be made by blacks to generate an culture of reasonably adaptable standards that will at the same time gradually select for preferred skills to improve the society.

Education, for example, should at least partially focus on life skills in morale similar to the religious teachings of Malian Blacks described by Battuta.

From what my father told me, Black education prior to the scholastic focus of integrated schools taught “life” to Black students. Cultural norms and trades were focused on more than actual “book learning”.

In addition, policies that enforce “compulsion” should be laid out. Commenter Sam describes how crucial this is here.

In order to get Blacks to improve their station in life, a focus should be on active practitioners of Christianity, as they already lead a lifestyle that has led to positive results.

Regionally speaking, Blacks in the South seem to have less animosity and to be more developed in a positive sense. That’s not saying that Black pathology doesn’t exist there, but rather that the South has a stronger Black Christian culture than other regions, which is aided by the less crowded rural setting. The murder and incarceration rates in the South as compared to other areas seem to reflect this improved culture. What is interesting about this is that relative to the rest of the country, not only does the region contain more Blacks, but also the Blacks there are significantly blacker than elsewhere as well.

So if such a a better Black culture and social organization could be developed, it along with a selection against individuals less prone to compulsion may improve the standard of Black living by tackling the roots of Black pathologies from a sociological perspective.

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Filed under Africa, Blacks, Christianity, Crime, Culture, Education, Europe, Guest Posts, Islam, Nigeria, North Africa, Race/Ethnicity, Regional, Religion, Senegal, Sociology, South, Sudan, USA, West Africa, Whites

“West Africa’s Mean IQ: Let’s Talk about the Numbers,” by Afrosapiens

Hello folks, I would like to welcome a new author to the site, Afrosapiens, formerly the commenter Anti-Hereditarian. I am very proud to have him on here. It is true that he is anti-HBD, but I think I ought to provide both viewpoints here as this is not a settled question at all in science as there is no consensus one way or the other. Really most anyone on the Left can write here, but most Lefties don’t because they consider the site toxic.

guineapics

As a freshly disembarked anti-racist commenter (and now author) taking part in conversations about West Africa and her diaspora, I thought it would be interesting that we discuss the figures at the heart of the controversy: West Africa’s average IQ scores.

For us to have an objective debate, I decided to use Wicherts et al.’s literature review of studies reporting African cognitive testing scores.

All existing studies

Number of studies : 14

Countries : Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone

Number of test-takers : 5226

Average year of the studies : 1970 (unweighted average : 1973)

Average measured IQ : 83.5 (unweighted average : 84.1)

Average actualized IQ (UK norms + Flynn effect) : 78.2 (unweighted average : 79.8)

As a whole, 14 studies involving cognitive testing have been performed on West African subjects and included a total of 5,226 persons from Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone, 5 countries which are home to around two-thirds of West Africa’s population. The oldest of these studies dates to 1935, whereas the most recent was published in 2002. The average year of reporting was 1970 if we account for the size of the samples or 1973 unweighted.

As measured by the studies’ authors, the West African subjects had an average IQ of 83.5 or 84.1 if each study is given the same weight. When corrected for the Flynn Effect and adapted to British norms for international comparison, the scores were lowered to 78.2 or 79.8 if unweighted.

In my opinion though, correcting for the Flynn effect in an attempt to present studies dating to 1970 on average as chronologically representative of today’s mean cognitive performance of a population appears fallacious. Instead of applying a quite arbitrary corrective in order to give a current day meaning to multiple decades-old studies, I would simply conclude that studies performed since 1935 have have found an average IQ of 83.5 in 5226 West African test-takers.

Since most of these studies were realized for medical or educational purposes, only a few included subjects who were mostly healthy representatives of their respective country’s population. To make national or regional IQ estimates, the interested scholars had to make their own selections using different methods that later came to be criticized and debated. In the following, I will show and discuss the results from studies selected by Lynn & Vanhanen and Wicherts et al. who are the main partakers in the academic dispute.

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Studies selected by Lynn & Vanhanen

Number of studies: 2

Countries: Ghana, Guinea

Number of test-takers: 275

Average year of the studies: 1973 (unweighted average:1958)

Average measured IQ: 78.7 (unweighted average: 72.5)

Average actualized IQ (UK norms + Flynn effect): 73.4 (unweighted : 69.35)

Average actualized IQ Lynn and Vanhanen : 76.9 (unweighted : 71.5)

Only two studies met Lynn & Vanhanen’s undisclosed selection criteria. Later research has suggested that the highest predictor of inclusion in Lynn & Vanhanen’s review was a lower IQ score.

The first study dates from 1935 and samples 50 unschooled children from Guinea who are probably dead or very old today. These children were found to have a 63 mean IQ . The second sample is from Ghana and was reported in a 1981 study as composed of 225 representative adults from Accra, Ghana who scored 82. Lynn & Vanhanen’s averaging methodology does not take the samples’ sizes into account and delivers unweighted results, on this basis the regional IQ of West Africa is 71.5.

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Studies selected in Wicherts et al.

Number of studies: 4

Countries: Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone

Number of test-takers: 1,379

Average year of the studies: 1969 (unweighted average: 1972)

Average measured IQ: 83.7 (unweighted average: 85.5)

Average actualized IQ (UK norms + Flynn effect): 76.3 (unweighted average: 79.1)

Using rigorous systematic selection methods described here, Wicherts et al. used 4 studies totaling 1,379 West African subjects from Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone. 559 Senegalese school children were tested with a 77.9 average IQ in 1960; a mix 393 upper-class and lower-class Nigerian children scored 87.2 in 1972; 202 Sierra Leonese children in an experimental school had a 94.8 mean IQ in 1973; the 225 representative adults from Accra used in Lynn & Vanhanen were considered by Wicherts et al., their mean measured IQ in 1981 was 82.

Following Wicherts et al’s method of correcting for the Flynn effect, translating to UK norms and weighting the average, West Africa’s mean IQ was 76.3.

To summarize :

Weighted average measured IQ: all studies, 83.5 ; Lynn & Vanhanen 78.7; Wicherts et al. 83.7

Unweighted average measured IQ : all studies,  84.1; Lynn & Vanhanen 72.5; Wicherts et al. 85.5

Weighted average actualized IQ : all studies,  76.2; Lynn & Vanhanen 76,9; Wicherts et al. 76.3

Unweighted average actualized IQ : all studies, 78.8 ; Lynn & Vanhanen 71.5; Wicherts et al. 79.1

In my opinion, the most meaningful figure is the weighted measured average of the studies selected according to the rigorous systematic methodology of Wicherts et al. thus giving a mean IQ of 83.7 IQ for the 1,379 West Africans tested between 1960 and 1981. As I said at the beginning of the post, I protest actualization. The numbers that must be considered are those that were found relevant in the context of the study: the numbers were measured and used for a practical purpose. Giving a 2015 value to a 1935 study makes no sense at all in my opinion.

However, Lynn & Vanhanen would most likely have based their regional estimate on the unweighted average of the two samples from 1935 and 1981 totaling 275 subjects. With this method, West Africa is found with a 71.5 IQ though the test-takers were measured with a weighted average IQ of 78.7.

Using Lynn & Vanhanen’s national IQ predictions based on international standardized tests of scholastic achievement, scores from Nigeria predicted a national IQ of 89.5 in 2006 and 87.1 in 2007 (average 88.3) while scores from Ghana gave a predicted IQ of 68.8 in 2003 and 71.8 in 2007 (average 70.3). Based on these figures, the West African Average was 79.3 between 2003 and 2007. However, if we give importance to the fact that Nigeria’s total population in 2015 is 182 million, while Ghana’s is only 27 million, the weighted average predicted IQ is 86 for West Africa.

In order to remain partial with respect to the inclusion rules used by by both sides of the controversy, I chose to make my estimate with the weighted average measured IQ’s in the studies used by Lynn & Vanhanen and Wicherts & al in addition to the IQ’s predicted from scholastic achievement tests.With this methodology, the estimated mean IQ of West Africa has been 82.8 since the beginning of cognitive testing in this region.

Wicherts et al. however would have taken weighted averages corrected for the Flynn effect and changed to UK norms plus the unweighted average of Ghana and Nigeria’s performances on scholastic achievement tests resulting in a 77.8 IQ estimate for West Africa.

For you to make your own judgement on whose estimate is the most biased, take a look at the differentials shown under.

Afrosapiens : 82,8 (difference with Wicherts et al : +5 ; difference with Lynn & Vanhanen : +11,3)

Wicherts et al : 77,8 (difference with Afrosapiens : -5 ; difference with Lynn & Vanhanen : +6,3)

Lynn & Vanhanen : 71,5 (difference with Afrosapiens : -11,3 ; difference with Wicherts et al : -6,3)

 See the original data here

To have a better understanding of the different IQ estimates and their actual meaning, my upcoming post will examine the interactions  between crystallized intelligence, fluid intelligence and the concept of heritability. But first, let’s talk about the numbers.

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Filed under Africa, Blacks, Education, Flynn Effect, Guest Posts, Intelligence, Nigeria, Psychology, Race/Ethnicity, Regional, Science, Senegal, West Africa

Setting the Record Straight on Blacks and Testosterone

Broadly speaking, lifetime exposure to testosterone is reflected in the incidence of prostate cancer, with the world’s highest incidences being among African-American men (Brawley & Kramer, 1996). It was once thought that lower incidences prevail among Black West Indians and sub-Saharan Africans, but this apparent exception is now ascribed to underreporting (Glover et al., 1998; Ogunbiyi & Shittu, 1999; Osegbe, 1997).

This picture has been confirmed by a recent American study:

From the 1970s to the current statistical analysis of the National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program African-American men have continued to have a significant higher incidence and mortality rate than European-American men. Autopsy studies show a similar prevalence of early small subclinical prostate cancers but a higher prevalence of high grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia.

Clinical studies show a similarity in prostate cancer outcome when pathological stage is organ confined but a worse outcome when disease is locally advanced and metastatic in African-American vs European-American men. There is increasing genetic evidence that suggest that prostate cancer in African-American vs European-American men may be more aggressive, especially in young men.

It was also confirmed by a recent British study (prostate cancer rates are somewhat lower in Black British men because a higher proportion of them have one White parent).:

Black men in the United Kingdom have substantially greater risk of developing prostate cancer compared with White men, although this risk is lower than that of Black men in the United States. The similar rates in Black Caribbean and Black African men suggest a common genetic aetiology, although migration may be associated with an increased risk attributable to a gene–environment interaction” (Ben-Shlomo et al 2008).

We are only just beginning to identify the actual genes that account for the White/Black difference in prostate cancer risk. The most recent study was Benson 2014.

With respect to the Black/White difference in testosterone level, African Americans have a clear testosterone advantage over Euro-Americans only from puberty to about 24 years of age. This advantage then shrinks and eventually disappears at some point during the 30s. The pattern then seems to reverse at older ages (Ellis & Nyborg 1992; Gapstur et al. 2002; Nyborg 1994, pp. 111-113; Ross et al. 1986; Ross et al. 1992; Tsai et al. 2006; Winters et al. 2001).

Critics say that more recent studies done since the early 2000’s have shown no differences between Black and White testosterone levels. Perhaps they are referring to recent studies that show lower testosterone levels in adult Blacks than in adult Whites. This was the conclusion of one recent study (Alvergne et al. 2009) which found lower T levels in Senegalese men than in Western men. But these Senegalese men were 38.3 years old on average.

These critics may also be referring to various studies by Sabine Rohrmann which show no significance difference in T levels between Black and White Americans. Age is poorly controlled for in her studies.

More seriously however, she used serum samples that the National Center for Health Statistics had earlier collected as part of its Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III). Only 1,479 samples were still available out of an initial total of 1,998, i.e., one quarter were missing. An earlier study had used the same serum bank for research on a sexually transmitted disease: Herpes Simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2).

That study found that more than 25% of the samples for adults between 30 and 39 years were positive for HSV-2. It is likely that those positive samples had been set aside, thus depleting the serum bank of male donors who were not only more polygamous but also more likely to have high T levels. This sample bias was probably worse for African American participants than for Euro-American participants.

References

Alvergne, A., C. Faurie, and M. Raymond. 2009. Variation in Testosterone Levels and Male Reproductive Effort: Insight from a Polygynous Human Population. Hormones and Behavior 56: 491-497.Ben-Shlomo, Y. S. Evans, F. Ibrahim, B. Patel, K. Anson, F. Chinegwundoh, C. Corbishley, D. Dorling, B. Thomas and D. Gillatt. 2008. The Risk of Prostate Cancer amongst Black Men in the United Kingdom: The PROCESS Cohort Study. European Urology 53:99-105.

Bensen, J. T., Z. Xu, P. M. McKeigue, G. J. Smith, E. T. H. Fontham, J. L. Mohler, and J. A. Taylor. 2014. Admixture Mapping of Prostate Cancer in African Americans Participating in the North Carolina-Louisiana Prostate Cancer Project (PcaP). The Prostate 74: 1–9.

Brawley, O. W. & Kramer B. S. 1996. Epidemiology of Prostate Cancer. In Volgelsang, N. J., Scardino, P. T., Shipley, W. U., & Coffey, D. S. (eds). Comprehensive Textbook of Genitourinary Oncology. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins.

Ellis, L. and H. Nyborg. 1992. Racial/Ethnic Variations in Male Testosterone Levels: A Probable Contributor to Group Differences in Health. Steroids 57: 72-75.

Gapstur, S. M., P. H. Gann, P. Kopp, L. Colangelo, C. Longcope, and K. Liu. 2002. Serum Androgen Concentrations in Young Men: A Longitudinal Analysis of Associations with Age, Obesity, and Race. The Cardia Male Hormone Study. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers &  Prevention 11:1041-1047.

Glover, F. E. Jr., Coffey, D. S., Douglas, L. L., Cadogan, M., Russell, H., Tulloch, T., Baker, T. D., Wan, R. L. & Walsh, P. C. 1998. The Epidemiology of Prostate Cancer in Jamaica. Journal of Urology 159:1984-1986.

Nettle, D. 2005. An Evolutionary Approach to the Extraversion Continuum: Evolution and Human Behaviour. Evolution and Human Behavior 26: 363-373.

Nyborg, H. 1994. Hormones, Sex, and Society. The Science of Physiology. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger.

Ogunbiyi, J. & Shittu, O. 1999. Increased Incidence of Prostate Cancer in Nigerians. Journal of the National Medical Association 3:159-164.

Osegbe, D. N. 1997. Prostate Cancer in Nigerians: Facts and Non-Facts. Journal of Urology 157:1340-1343.

Powell, I. J. 2007. Epidemiology and Pathophysiology of Prostate Cancer in African-American Men. Journal of Urology 177:444–449.

Rohrmann, S., Nelson, W.G., Rifai, N., Brown, T. R., Dobs, A., Kanarek, N., Yager, J. D., Platz, E. A. (2007). Serum Estrogen, But Not Testosterone Levels Differ Between Black and White Men in a Nationally Representative Sample of Americans. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 92:2519-2525.

Ross, R. K., L. Bernstein, R. A. Lobo, H. Shimizu, F. Z. Stanczyk, M. C. Pike, and B. E. Henderson. 1992. 5-Apha-Reductase Activity and Risk of Prostate Cancer among Japanese and US White and Black Males. Lancet 339:887-889.

Ross, R., L. Bernstein, H. Judd, R. Hanisch, M. Pike, and B. Henderson. 1986. Serum Testosterone Levels in Healthy Young Black and White Men. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 76:45-48.

Tsai, C. J., B.A. Cohn, P. M. Cirillo, D. Feldman, F. Z. Stanczyk, A. S. Whittemore. 2006. Sex Steroid Hormones in Young Manhood and the Risk of Subsequent Prostate Cancer: A Longitudinal Study in African-Americans and Caucasians (United States). Cancer Causes Control 17:1237–1244.

Winters, S. J., A. Brufsky, J. Weissfeld, D. L. Trump, M. A. Dyky, and V. Hadeed. 2001. Testosterone, Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin, and Body Composition in Young Adult African American and Caucasian Men. Metabolism 50:1242-1247.

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Map of the Romance Speaking World

Here is a very nice map of the parts of the world that speak a Romance language, in whole or in part. The main languages covered here are Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian and Romanian.

Nice map of the Romance languages of the world. Click to enlarge.

The heavy Spanish speaking zone is Spain, Rio Muni, New Mexico and Latin America except for Brazil, the Guyanas, Haiti and some Caribbean islands that speak French. To a lesser extent, it is spoken Spanish Sahara and Belize. To a much lesser extent, it is spoken in  parts of the US and in the Philippines where it is a dying colonial language.

The heavy Portuguese speaking zone is Brazil, Portugal, Angola, Mozambique, other parts of Africa and East Timor. In the latter countries, it is a lingua franca.

French is heavily spoken in France, Quebec, French Guyana, French Polynesia, Belgium and Switzerland, less heavily in much of Africa, especially Congo, the Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Gabon, Central African Republic, Chad, Niger, Mali, Togo, Cote d’Ivorie, Burkino Faso, Senegal, West Africa, Central Africa, Djibouti and Madagascar, less in the rest of Canada, and even less in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Louisiana, where it is a dying colonial language overtaken by national languages in Southeast Asia, Arabic in Northwest Africa and English in Louisiana

Italian is spoken heavily in Italy and less so in Libya and Albania.

Romanian is spoken heavily in Romania, Moldova and Serbia.

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African Immigrants in Europe – Is The Camp Of The Saints Coming True?

In the comments section, the brilliant James Schipper notes:

Some white countries are not very attractive, but whites can create attractive places, while so far we have not seen one black-dominated country that even remotely resembles Switzerland. This means that, it there is freedom of movement between black-dominated and white-dominated countries, there will be a massive flow from the former to the latter.

Europe has now around 700 million people and low fertility while black Africa has around 800 million and high fertility. Already there is constant illegal immigration from Africa into Europe. If nothing is done to stop this, Europe may eventually become a mainly black continent. I think that the white nationalists are quite right to warn about that.

James’ comment is absolutely right-on. This is exactly what is occurring in Southern Europe as we speak. He’s also correct that only the WN’s and the Right seem to be raising a fuss about it.

The entire European Left has gone insane on this question, and the Far Left, such as Italian Maoists who regularly send me communiques, are the most deranged of all. The Italian Maoists’ main issue seems to be to let all of the African illegal immigrants stay in Italy and get legalized. They’re obviously pro-Open Borders as the whole Western Far Left is. So they’re basically advocating a mass invasion of Italy by Black Africa, at which point Italy will become unrecognizable and will transition to a Black country. I can’t put into words what a terrible idea this is.

To which tulio responded that most Africans want to stay in Africa, and there are probably more Whites in Africa than Africans in Europe. Sure, but the Whites in Africa are not a problem and if anything, probably help the place out. Mass movement of poor, uneducated Africans into Europe is another matter altogether.

So the fact the flow goes in both directions is sort of irrelevant as it’s good in one direction for the hosts and bad in the other.

Clearly, not all Africans in Europe are bad news. A friend of mine is from Togo. He is one of the most brilliant people I have ever known, and he is Black as the night. He went to Morocco, got a degree there (and had a great time as a Catholic in a Muslim country) then went to France since he spoke French. He went to more college classes in France and graduated with honors. He was instantly snapped up by an IT firm.

This guy is so smart that he regularly works with MIT graduate students in computer science on IT stuff that is so cutting edge that I can’t make heads or tails of it. He now has a nice job in Brittany, France, and he is usually in a corporate meeting of some sort. He’s also been very popular with the White girls in France, but that’s another matter. He managed to get his sister into France too. Guys like Coco are great for France, but most Africans in Europe are not like this guy.

It’s true that most Blacks are staying in Africa, but African (Black African, not North African) immigration mostly to Southern Europe is seriously out of control. It’s kind of sad in a way because a lot of them are coming on boats, and they have to turn them back. The boats are coming to Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Malta, etc. Malta at this point is so overrun it’s almost a disaster zone. Black Africans are all over Ibiza, filling up the Internet cafes with Nigerian scammers. Almost all of the Black Africans in these cafes are Nigerian criminals.

The Black African population in Italy in Greece is a huge problem like the illegal Hispanics in the US. The countries are dominated by liberal fuckheads so they don’t want to kick them out, but the Africans can’t really live there legally. Everyone knows they are illegals, but no one really does anything about it. Kind of like this stupid-ass country! A lot of the Africans are just squatters and whatnot. Many of the Nigerians have formed criminal gangs in Italy, where the Mafia is now whacking them off as competition.

The Europeans are too nice for their own good, kind of like us.

Mass camps of immigrants are in the north of France trying to make it to the UK, where the welfare pickings are a lot better. They periodically make mad rushes for the boats to the UK. Police come in and tear down the illegal camps, but they set them right back up again. Black Africans in France are already a serious problem, and they are committing tons of crime, especially rape, including gang rape (the Black and Muslim specialty crime).

It’s sad and pitiful that these boats are heading to Europe but they really need to be turned back. Have you heard of the book The Camp of the Saints? It really is something like that, and it’s happening as I write this.

In West African nations like Senegal, boats regularly leave for Spain and Portugal.

As an aside, White nationalists like to ridicule Africans by saying that they were too stupid to even figure out how to get to Madagascar, but this is apparently not true. They did get to Madagascar a long time ago, but then I guess they forgot how to build boats to go there anymore.

That is, there was an ancient hunter gatherer population of Blacks (Mikea) who could only have gotten there by boats when the Indonesians landed, but the more modern agricultural Blacks in Africa at the time did not have the maritime knowledge to figure out how to get there.

At any rate, my point is these historical arguments are sort of stupid. Who the F cares how backwards East Africans were 1,700 years ago?

My point is that nowadays anyway, even totally backwards West African Blacks are capable of building and steering boats that take them all the way from Senegal to Spain. Not bad. The take home point is that pre-contact Africans may have been backwards, but post-contact Blacks are much more advanced. That they are more advanced due to contact with other cultures or even White cultures is not that relevant. Cultural diffusion happens!

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Bad Place to Visit, Wouldn’t Want To Live There

Repost from the old site. This article has produced a tremendous amount of controversy, angry comments, and even, oddly enough, virulent hate mail. I guess I hit some raw nerves. I stand by my comments that these cities are some of the worst in the world, and, in doing further research on the Net, have found only further support for my thesis.

Some of these cities, such as BogotĂĄ, for instance, have large wealthy districts that are apparently quite pleasant. If one is rich, one can make a nice life just about anywhere on the globe. But this is not important – what is important is how the majority live.

The title is a play on the line, “Nice place to visit, wouldn’t want to live there”, said about many less-than-desirable tourist locales. This post is about the worst places on Earth to visit, and probably to live too. The ratings were based on research done on the Internet in various places, including here and here.

I’m going to focus on the places that are dirty, smelly, crime-ridden, trashy, rip-off havens, unsanitary and dangerous (Third World), and avoid places that are merely depressing, unsightly, rude, etc. (First World). Why? Because I live in the US, and those Third World qualities are going to be the most disturbing to me. I’m also avoiding active war zones because everyone knows they are horrible.

To be fair to the “Third Worldists” out there, I noted that many people slammed various places in France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Finland, South Korea, Ireland Italy, the US, Great Britain and Australia for various reasons, mostly because they are said to be unfriendly, depressing, tacky, cheesy, boring, etc.

Detroit seemed to top the list as worst US city, along with Newark (though it had one fan), East St. Louis and New Haven (though some liked New Haven) were runners-up. Various small towns in the Rockies (especially Idaho) and Texas also were listed. For some reason, a lot of people hate Vancouver, BC in Canada.

To my thinking, many of the horrible cities below point out the catastrophe of Latin American, Indian, Indonesian and Philippine capitalism. In much of Africa, capitalism doesn’t seem to working very well.

For all its faults, impoverished Cuba certainly does not resemble any of these Latin American hellholes in any way, shape or form. I don’t think that capitalism in the First World is failing, but looking at many of the cities below, it’s hard to argue that capitalism is doing anything but failing in those places.

Some of the winners in the Loser Destination Contest:

Colon, Panama: A dirty, crime-ridden disaster of a city. The most dangerous city in Latin America, full of residents who seem like they would just as soon knife you as say hello. Other than the free trade zone, the entire city seems to be sprawling slum. Colon has no redeeming qualities. This city topped many worst lists.

Guayaquil and Quito, Ecuador: Guayaquil is horrible. A stinking, steaming, downright dangerous heap of a city with miles of slums. With armies of glowering gang members, this place is dangerous even in mid-day. There are garbage dumps everywhere with corpses laying out in plain sight and guns going off all the time. Quito is similar. Guayaquil topped many worst city lists.

Johannesburg, South Africa: How sad that this country now has one of the worst violent crime rates on Earth. Although popular with tourists, this city is downright dangerous. This city also topped many worst lists. This blog supports the Mandela government, but the problems of this tragic nation seem insurmountable.

*****
Lagos, Nigeria, or the whole country: This city, and even the whole country, seems to top everyone’s list. Garbage is everywhere, the city stinks, the poverty is horrible, animals are slaughtered on the streets, and it seems that at least half the population wakes up every morning thinking, “Who can I rip off today?” Up to 90% of the economy may be “underground”, off the books, or crime-related in some way or another.

Nigeria has what must be the worst government on Earth and the country is rated the second most corrupt on Earth. The national airlines are dangerous and not recommended. The ripoff attempts often start as soon as you land at the airport and won’t let up until you leave.

It’s best to assume that most, if not all, Nigerians you meet in Lagos are out to rip you off in some way or another and then proceed from there. The city is full of impostors, and you really do not know if anyone is really who they say they are. The police and Customs officials are all crooks and so is 99% of the government.

Most bank and post office employees are also crooked. Imagine waiting in line at the post office, and a group of swaggering gangsters with fake ID’s strut in to pick up their stolen goods reshipped from overseas. They go straight to the front of the line ahead of everyone else, pick up their stolen property, and walk away laughing, having paid off the Post Office clerks. Welcome to Nigeria.

There are Internet cafes all over the city, where 150,000 full-time Internet scammers ply their trade in plain view of anyone to see, and the government doesn’t bat an eye or lift one finger to stop them. In many cafes, 80% or more of the patrons are Internet scammers. Nigeria is now world-famous for Internet scams. Even out-of-work TV newscasters scam away in the cafes, trying to steal from Americans.

The scammers started out with the famous 419 email scams but have now branched out into lottery, romance, auction, roommate, orphanage and check-cashing scams. The scams are continuously evolving, and Nigerian con artists are widely acknowledged to be some of the best in the world, as they have been practicing the art for decades now.

On highways outside of Lagos, you can see numerous vehicles wrecked on the side of the road, or even in the middle of the road, some with dead bodies still in them or beside them. Thieves pick through the wreckage and rifle the corpses looking for stuff to steal. All of the roads are dangerous, as armed robbers often set up roadblocks to shake down travelers.

Nigeria is now a world center for counterfeit pharmaceuticals, credit card fraud and drug dealing, and a district of Lagos, Oluwole, is now a world center for top-notch forgery.

The FBI and the US Merchant Risk Council recently came to Nigeria and inspected 40 packages coming into the country from the US to check for stolen goods. 39 of the 40 packages contained stolen property.

When the agents arrived at a Lagos neighborhood and tried to arrest an 18-year-old boy for reshipping scams that targeted US merchants, much of the neighborhood – up to 100 people – rushed out of their homes to defend the local punk from Big Bad Whitey.

Although the country is awash in oil, the power goes out all the time because the government power company is so crooked. The power company has either stolen all of its own budget money or the power comes in, but the crooked company resells it on the side.

As with elsewhere in Africa, Whitey is blamed for all the troubles here. Hatred of Whitey is higher in Nigeria than in much of the rest of Black Africa and the White visitor will definitely feel it.

The degeneration of Nigerian society is complete, and the culture appears near collapse. Mobs lynch thieves in the street and kill them in public for as meager a crime as stealing a cellphone, yet crime rages on anyway. Anyone can just up and say they own your house, put it on the market and sell it and you are out a house. Law enforcement, courts and anything resembling government seem to be nonexistent.
******

******
Lima, Peru: When they tell you to visit Peru, they don’t mean the nightmarish capital. There are teeming slums as far as the eye can see, horrible crime (although not a lot of violent crime), pickpockets everywhere, and on top of all that, the sun never comes out. The fog mixes with the smog and the filthy streets to make a toxic brew. Lima made many worst lists.

But it has its fans, and the upscale Miraflores district is said to be nice. The execrable Shining Path took up their nihilistic, deranged war in this country for a reason – because Peru is a rotten heap of a country.
******

******
Medan (Sumatra), Jakarta, Surabaya, Indonesia: Jakarta is a reeking city with terrible pollution, open sewers and wrenching poverty.

Medan seemed to top many lists for worst city on Earth, though it has a few fans. It’s hot, dirty and polluted, with factories, thieves and leering, menacing men everywhere. There is also nowhere to stay, not that you would want to stay anyway. Besides Medan, the rest of Sumatra is much better.

The river running through Surabaya is so polluted you might vomit walking across the bridge. As you suppress your gag reflex, you will look down and notice that people are actually washing their clothes in this river.
*****

*****
Mumbai, Patna (Bihar), Calcutta, all large Indian cities, India: Indian cities are very dirty and teeming with some of the most miserably poor and wretched people you will ever see, but at least there is not a lot of crime. The Hindu religion keeps crime down because believers fear they will be punished by returning in the next life as something terrible, like one of the huge rats you see scurrying about.

Mumbai has pollution that is so bad that people actually get lung cancer from breathing the air. Mumbai, a stinking and sometimes dangerous city, made many worst city lists.

Patna is the sorry capital of Bihar, the poorest state in India. It’s dirty and miserable, and it’s almost impossible to even get a taxi to get you out of town, which means it’s hard to leave the place.

Calcutta is generally agreed to be one of the worst cities in India.
*****

Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shenyang, China: Deadly pollution, mostly from coal.

Bucharest, all of Romania: Stalinist pollution covers the whole country and everyone seems depressed.

Bali (in particular Kuta Beach), Indonesia: Hopes so high, reality so low. It seems everyone is out to rip you off. Surly locals hungry for money. Dangerous roads, nightmarish traffic, rude, leering men. When it rains, the sewers flood into the streets. Very high crime rate, hustlers everywhere. Most of the rest of Indonesia is pretty nice. Kuta is a tourist trap gone to Hell.

****
Manila, Philippines: A crime-ridden hellhole. There are armed guards everywhere, especially in front of banks due to constant bank robberies. Their nemeses, criminal gangs armed to the teeth, roam streets filled with prostitutes and transvestites.

It’s a town where everyone seems like they are out to rip you off in one way or other, and the hotel workers and cab drivers are all crooked. The latest advice is to have your Filipino friend meet you at the airport and head straight to their place, thereby avoiding all the ripoffs and con artists that seem to descend on every tourist. Traffic is horrible, and pollution is so bad it kills people. But some people don’t mind it.
****

Gdansk, Poland: Combine a high crime rate and daylight robberies with totally crooked, thieving officials, and you get this Polish city. However, a number of others said it’s just fine.

****
Mexico City, Villahermosa, Mexico: Mexico City is a dirty, polluted city suffering an insane, surreal epidemic of street crime, especially violent crime. Add 20 million people, stir well, bring to a boil, cover with a lid of otherworldly smog, and simmer.

Reportedly, tons of human waste are blown into the air every day, and much of the population has constant respiratory infections. The sewer system is reportedly above ground and more or less runs through lots of neighborhoods where many people are residing.

Villahermosa is a Mad Max-style, violent, crime-ridden disgrace of a city. There are stabbings and shootings galore here, even with a 10 PM curfew in place.
*****

Tangier, Morocco: This is a dangerous place with lots of street crime. That’s unusual for a North African country, but Tangier is so close to Europe that it is almost a part of Europe.

*****
Cairo, Egypt: Cairo has horrible pollution, smells terrible, there is trash everywhere, nothing works, there are armies of miserably poor people and it boasts some outrageously awful traffic. In the souks there are huge rats and wild, mangy scavenging dogs running about in plain sight. There seems no escape from aggressive, pestering hawkers. On top of all that, all the Customs officials are criminals.

The crime rate is fairly low, though. Thank President Hosni Mubarak. 25 years ago, Cairo was one of the great world cities.
*****

Bangkok, Thailand: This gigantic city has pollution so bad you need to wear a mask over your face. However, some folks like this city and say it has many positive attributes.

*****
Brindisi, Naples, Italy: No one seems to like Brindisi. It’s a sad, dirty, polluted and ugly city, with hostile, brawling, drunken locals, hungry stray dogs, belligerent drivers, horrible traffic, and miles of soul-killing tenements.

You would think that despite all of that, being genuine Italians, they could still manage to make a decent pizza. Forget it: even the pizza is terrible. Brindisi topped many worst lists, although it has a couple of fans.

I had never even heard of Brindisi and had to look it up on a map. It’s located in southern Italy on the East Coast, southeast of Naples. Naples has a great deal of crime, and many think this city is overrated as a tourist destination, although others say that, despite the drawbacks, it has its joys. All of southern Italy has a lot of crime, but it’s mostly property crime.
*****

*****
Athens, Piraeus, or the whole country, Greece: Greece, especially Athens, gets mixed reviews. A lot of people really hate Athens; others don’t. The detractors say the city is dirty, ugly, depressing, polluted, and covered with garbage and traffic. I was surprised that Athens made the list, as I had always thought it was a wonderful city.

The port city of Piraeus is a nasty place. The whole city smells like a giant sewage treatment plant, and the ocean offshore has a sickening color to it.
*****

****
Suburbs of Paris, France: These tragic towns, full of hostile Arab immigrants angrily refusing to assimilate to French culture or join French society, are a sign that the French model is not working well, at least for some folks.

There is a terribly high crime rate here, and cops and firemen often won’t go there because they get attacked as soon as they show up. These mournful towns are packed with angry, unemployed young Arab men who like to seriously riot every year or so, or even more often if the mood strikes them. Lately, they have been staging mini-riots every night. If only 100 cars are burned, that’s a good night.

Otherwise, Paris, of course, is one of the world’s great cities. But that doesn’t mean you might not walk into a subway station reeking of urine and see junkies shooting up in plain sight. But still, Paris is a must on any serious travelers’ list.
******

Brussels, Belgium: As with Paris, the districts with many Arab immigrants are quite dangerous and unpleasant, but the rest of the city is as nice as any big city.

Abidjan, Ivory Coast: With one of the worst crime rates in Africa (although it has plenty of competition), this city topped many worst lists.

*****
Bangui, Central African Republic: One of the worst cities in Africa, as bad as Lagos. The crime rate is totally insane. The locals will try to steal everything you own and even a contingent of armed guards will not be enough to protect you.

Your hotel room will feel like a war zone. This fiendish city made a number of worst city lists. Lonely Planet’s guidebook more or less tells you to avoid this city altogether. Here is a harrowing report of a visit to Bangui.
*****

Bamako, Mali: Mali has one of the worst governments in Africa, admittedly a race with a lot of competition. Bamako is a sick joke of a town, where the tourist surcharge is rigorously enforced, and the ridiculous, potholed streets are undriveable by any vehicle.

Guatemala City, Guatemala: A totally dangerous, dirty, polluted, terminal patient of a city, full of scary, heavily armed teenage soldiers. The soldiers are there to keep the teeming, crime-ridden slums that stretch as far as the eye can see, from overrunning the place. But this city has a few fans.

Belize City, Belize: This sweltering, miserable, impoverished, crime-ridden, very dangerous city is built on a swamp, with a jungle for a backyard. The beggars are aggressive and even menacing, and shady characters shadow you on the streets as you walk about. Cops are nowhere to be seen. This is one of the worst cities in the Americas. But the rest of the country is a great place to vacation.

*****
Sao Paolo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Sao Paulo is the industrial engine of Brazil. This major city is full of garbage and very dangerous. There are hustlers as far as the eye can see, chaotic streets that render maps useless, not enough cops and Godawful traffic.

Rio de Janeiro, the popular tourist destination with the killer skyline perfect for any postcard, is a deceptive place. It’s a very dangerous city with lots of violent crime. Street gangs armed to the teeth regularly shoot it out in military-style wars with the cops.

Death squads of off-duty cops funded by local businessmen roam the streets at night, murdering homeless, drug-addicted street kids and petty criminals with impunity in a sickening “social cleanup” campaign.

There are pickpockets and muggers all about, often in menacing, youthful gangs (especially on the famous beach) and they frequently operate in broad daylight. A dystopian horrorshow of a city.
******

Nairobi, Kenya: Unfortunately, this city is seriously crime-ridden. Even locals admit that violent crime has reached catastrophic proportions.

Caracas, Barquisimeto, or the whole country, Venezuela: The crime is very bad here, sadly, and there is garbage everywhere you look. This blog supports Hugo Chavez, but crime in Venezuela is a tragic, long-standing problem with no quick fixes.

Guinea-Bissau: There is no water, no electricity, no place to stay, and the only hotel is half-demolished.

San‘a’, Yemen: In a Dickensenian touch, children are actually chained up here in order to beg!

Moynaq and Nukus, Uzbekistan: These two cities broiling in a merciless desert have been ruined and turned into ecological dead zones by Stalinist pollution.

*****
San Pedro Sulu, Honduras: This sad town has a horrible amount of crime. Swarms of locals will attack you on the bus, trying to steal your luggage. You will have to fight them off if you wish to retain your suitcase.

Like the rest of this wreck of a country, it’s full of US gang members gone home to Honduras. People here are very poor and desperate. If you can make it to the nice part of town and afford to stay there, though, you can be quite safe.
*****

*****
Dakar, Senegal: According to some, this large West African city has horrible street crime – it is very dangerous. They say if you don’t have armed guards with you, don’t even go outside your hotel room.

However, others report that they spent a week there and found it to be safe, in fact safer than many American cities. Violent crime is reportedly rare, and the country is one of the most stable in Africa, and has been that way since independence.
*****

Port Au Prince, Haiti: This filthy, degraded, extremely dangerous and desperately poor mess of a city is best avoided at all costs. It sports open sewers, enslaved children, riots, killings and lots of other fun things. This blog did support President Aristide’s efforts to improve the tragedy of a nation called Haiti.

Lome, Togo: Criminals are as common as mosquitoes here, walking around fearlessly in broad daylight in this terrible city full of miserable people and crooked taxi drivers.

*****
Istanbul, Turkey: The 200% tourist markup is fully in force in this dirty, ugly city full of harassing, hawking, hostile locals and crumbling buildings, and you can scarcely find a merchant who does not enforce it. There is also a lot of crime here, including some violent crime, unusual for a Muslim city. The weather is lousy, but there are some pretty mosques to visit. However, Istanbul does have a fan or two.

The rest of the country is a great place to visit, has many fans and is one of the world’s top tourist destinations. Best bet for Turkey is just to head to the tourist spots and blow off Istanbul altogether.
*****

Phnom Penh, Kampuchea: This city has become a very dangerous, crime-ridden place. The gangs of little girl prostitutes add a particularly poignant touch.

*****
BogotĂĄ, Colombia or really the whole country: BogotĂĄ is one of the most dangerous places in the Americas but there seems to be agreement that Colon, Lima and Guayaquil are worse. Really, all of Colombia is dangerous as Hell, to be honest.

This comment about BogotĂĄ was recently rebutted by a BogotĂĄn blogger, with more comments here. His post aggressively taking issue with this entry is in Spanish, but my Spanish is good enough to get the gist of it. Also I am getting a lot of comments coming in from BogotĂĄns on the Internet aggressively objecting to the content.

The sole issue that these Defenders of BogotĂĄ are taking issue with is my contention that the city is a very dangerous place. To be honest, BogotĂĄ used to have a truly horrible reputation for crime, but in recent years, there has been a huge effort put into cracking down on street crime. For some more agreement that Bogota is dangerous, see here, here, here and here.

I will now attempt to prove that. There are twice as many murders in Colombia as in the US, and the US has seven times as many people. That means that the murder rate in Colombia is an outrageous 14 times that of the US, and the US is considered to have a high murder rate for the developed world.

Colombia has the highest murder rate on Earth, with Washington, DC and Johannesburg not far behind, but in the case of Colombia, we are talking about a whole country, not some festering city. Out of every 100,000 people, 60-70 will be killed every year. Defenders may try to argue that this is due to a simmering civil war, but 75% of the 25,000 homicides are merely of the criminal variety.

On an average day in Colombia, there are 2 bank robberies, 8 highway robberies, 72 murders and 204 assaults or muggings. You have a greater chance of being murdered in Colombia than you do of dying of cancer! Death squads made up of soldiers and off-duty cops roam the streets, murdering drug-addicted, petty criminal street kids, transvestites, homosexuals and prostitutes.

In fact, probably more prostitutes and homosexuals are murdered per capita in Colombia than even in the most barbarian parts of the Muslim World. Want to fly a plane in Colombia? Don’t. There have been 138 plane crashes since World War 2, with 2,745 deaths.

One of the most popular things in BogotĂĄ is scopolamine. This drug is used by crooks to disable their victims so they can rip them off. It is sprayed in the face, dumped in your drink or spiked into a cigarette. BogotĂĄ hospitals receive an incredible 2,000 scopolamine victims every month, or an astounding 66 a day. The drug knocks you out and can cause medical problems.

Colombia has one of the world’s worst road systems. Many roads are not even marked. Drivers are reckless and many cars don’t have headlights at night. Cows have a tendency to wander into the road.

Taxis are totally dangerous and are best avoided, if possible. Women are advised to avoid all taxis at night. Anyone is advised to avoid any taxi that already has someone in it.

In many cases, this is a criminal accomplice of the thuggish driver. In addition to getting scopolamine sprayed in your face, another popular scam is the “jump-start”: you are told that the taxi has stalled and asked to get out and help push. As you do so, the taxi driver leaves with your luggage.

Buses are also best avoided. Thieves haunt the buses, waiting for you to fall asleep, at which point, they rip you off. Certain bus lines are frequented by thieves offering drugged gum, sweets, food and cigarettes. After the drug knocks you out, they rob you blind. In addition to theft and druggings, kidnapping and extortion are also rife on buses.

In view of all of the above, it is nothing short of amazing that all of these Colombians are angrily protesting my characterization of their country as dangerous. Or perhaps they doth protest too much?
*****

Managua, Nicaragua: This dirty, crime-ridden, dangerous disaster of a city has a bombed-out look about it. This blog supports Daniel Ortega and his Sandinista Party and prays that they can ameliorate this mess.

*****
San Salvador, El Salvador: See Managua. Full of dangerous former LA gang members. Death squads roam the streets, slaughtering gangsters by the dozen, but for every one you kill, it seems five more pop up in his place.

This blog supports the FMLN’s efforts to reform this ruined land, but the crime here has become so terrible, one wonders if anything short of an act of God could make things better. In fact, I used to make contributions too the FMLN’s weapons fund via an FMLN agent in Los Angeles during the 1980’s.
*****

*****
Detroit, New Haven, Newark, Gary (Indiana), Hammond (Indiana), USA: Detroit topped all lists as the worst city in the US. An ugly, dangerous, depressing and filthy city with a downtown that looks like a war zone – a despairing district surrounded by miles of crumbling, abandoned industrial buildings, torn-down fences and rusting cars.

Newark is similar, with few to no redeeming qualities. It’s a frightening, polluted city with a postwar look of miles of weedy, trash-strewn vacant lots where crumbling apartment buildings have been torn down. It’s also a dangerous city with a high crime rate.

New Haven, despite the presence of Yale University, is similar. There are legions of homeless, begging drug users clogging the streets, and the crime rate is very high due to hordes of crack-dealing gangs shooting it out on the streets. Congress and Columbus Avenues are notorious for drive-by shootings, drug dealing and muggings.

It is reportedly the HIV capital of the East Coast due to IV drug use. A lot of the more respectable people have been moving out for some time now. Although much of the city is quite ugly, New Haven does have its bright spots, thanks to Yale. There are nice parts of town, parks, trees, etc.

Gary is yet another postindustrial Rust Belt train wreck of a town. A grimy town full of abandoned factories, overgrown lots, rusting fences, graffiti, barred windows and vomit. Go downtown and see tall buildings all boarded up, with no vehicles in sight and unhinged stoplights swaying in the wind – for all practical purposes, a ghost town. This was once a vibrant, working-class city, and now it looks like Road Warrior.

Hammond is similar, a suicidally depressing city lined with shuttered factories on the shores of Lake Michigan. Yet another Rust Belt post-industrial ruin.
*****

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic: A collapsing, dirty, crime-ridden hellhole.

Osaka, Japan: I never would have thought that this city would make the list but according to my friend Tumerica, she says it is the worst city she has ever lived in. I tagged her with the title of this story. In blogging, tagging mean you are supposed to write on the topic – kind of like, “Tag, you’re it.” I will let her explain why Osaka is such a crappy place in her post here.

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