Black Guy Hitting on Girls (BGHG)
A simple heuristic for going through life
When I think about what has led to my current understanding of humanity, and general philosophy of life, I can of course point to books, articles, and intellectual inspirations, but, as with most people, personal experiences have played a large role. Robin Hanson has recently written about how strange it is that academic papers rest on the assumption that the only source of knowledge in the universe is to be found in other academic papers. Yet I think we all know that we go through life picking up ideas and information from all kinds of places, including to a large extent from the conversations and interactions we have with other people.
Overcoming anxiety for me was a result of learning from both evolutionary psychology and the experiences of myself and others. I’ve also had two sort of “eureka” moments that I find myself continually coming back to. They arrived after two completely ordinary events that came to take on special meaning in my mind, although no observer could’ve predicted this based on what actually happened.
Once, I was walking by some younger relatives and their friends playing in a room. I was maybe 18, or 20, or 25, I really have no clue when this happened at this point, though I’m confident that it was a real event. People tell me I have a pretty terrible memory with regards to many of the events of my life, though I suspect it’s possible that everyone is just as bad, but I just acknowledge it because I’m aware of cognitive biases and admit when there’s uncertainty. Anyway, while walking by this room, I tried to make some kind of joke. No, I don’t know what that joke was, but all I remember is that it was really, really stupid, and came out wrong. The substance of what I said is lost to time, while the awareness that it was very cringe has stayed with me. But I didn’t feel a hint of discomfort or embarrassment. I simply chuckled at how stupid it was and kept walking. This led me to reflect on how little I cared, while if the same thing had happened in front of people I wanted to impress, it would’ve felt like a calamity.
A second story comes from when I was working at a gas station, again in my late teens or early twenties. There was this pretty brunette who would occasionally come in. She was naturally above average looking, though you could tell that she put a lot of effort into her appearance too. At the same time, she had a sort of nervous personality; standoffish, not in the way where she thinks she’s better than other people, but rather deeply anxious. I felt like she always had to be looksmaxxing because life would be too unbearable if she did anything else. There was also this black guy who was a regular customer. He was very tall, and more noticeable for being muscular than fat, and always in workout clothes, either because he was always going to the gym when I saw him or that was just the way he dressed. He was laid back and jovial and I enjoyed talking to him.
One day their paths crossed. The brunette was walking towards the door to leave, and the big black guy was just coming in. He looked down at her and was like “Oh, hey…” like he was Barry White, as he slightly tripped over something. She looked up at him with fear in her eyes, a deer in the headlights, he laughed, and the girl quickly walked out right past him. Our black friend didn’t give it a second thought and then proceeded to greet me like he had every other time I ever saw him.
Most men are afraid of approaching women, likely for reasons that are evolutionarily rational but lead to maladaptive behavior in modern life. It’s easy to catastrophize, come up with sensible reasons why you shouldn’t try to talk to this particular woman at this particular moment, and to do the same thing next time, ad infinitum, until you go to your grave as a Darwinian dead end. And although no one will ever accuse me of being an Ibram Kendi, or even a Chatterton, I understand that black men hitting on white women might have extra reasons to be nervous, out of fears of social rejection and the potential for unusual levels of awkwardness alone even if the threat of interracial violence has gone down.
But my black friend didn’t care about any of that. Years later, I saw a clip of Alex Jones where he was encouraging his listeners to go hard fighting the globalists or whichever enemy he was fixated on that day, and said something along the lines of “You gotta be like a black guy hitting on girls, man. You’ve ever seen them? On to the next one, next one, next one.” I knew exactly what he was talking about, as would anyone who has lived around a large city in the midwest or south. Sometimes people accuse me of being anti-black because I’ll talk about crime statistics or whatever, but I’ve liked the vast majority of black people I’ve met, and found much to admire in their carefree attitude towards life. I grew up on gangsta rap, seeing it as a manifestation of some of the best attributes of black culture. My feelings about the art form became more nuanced as I grew older, but I still have the sense that most people in modern societies are pathologically risk averse and soft, and men in particular have a lot to learn from what has been one of the last repositories of older ideals of masculinity. I think mainstream American society would be better off learning from the ghetto than it would be learning from China, with its masked kindergartners and adults going through their lonely lives with crippling anxiety. One reason BLM offends me so much is that it maintains the more dysfunctional attitudes of the gangsta rap era — sympathy for criminals, oppositional and resentful attitudes towards white society, tribal simplicity — while doing away with its virtues, making black social consciousness more feminine and gay.
These two incidents helped me develop the ways in which I think about social anxiety, confidence, and why some people are happier than others. The most salient aspects of this worldview rely on facts that everyone understands, but you rarely see people appreciate the degree to which they should guide how we live.