Racehorse Theory and a President
This was not what I wanted to write. I wanted to rant and rave about books and superheroes and radioactive doughnuts. I wanted to honor my word to my readers that my blogs would be posted every Monday and Friday. After all, what is the measure of a man, if not by his word? And I've tried to do so. Tried to keep my word. For the past two weeks, I've tried to put the dozens of thoughts and ideas and topics into the next post and the post after that. If you could see my notebook, the pages of partial starts and scribbles and half pages. And yet, instead of Batman and Doctor Who. Instead of sci-fi and fantasy. Instead of animation and anime. Instead of flights of fancy, I've been grounded in reality.
Now, let me make clear a few things. First, I'm not a "never-Trumper" I don't hate President Trump. I don't know him personally to hate him. His policies and style of governing, however. That's a different story. And a story for another post at another time. Second, I am neither Democrat nor Republican. I'm the "country over party" type. Always have been, always will be. I vote for the candidate, not the affiliation. Last, I believe in second chances. That a person can change. Evolve and become better. I give a person the benefit of the doubt. In my eyes, you are innocent until found guilty. I don't fall into the hype or hyperbole or the buzzword of the day. It's important that you know those things about me.
What is "racehorse theory"? Definitively speaking, it's a theory (or theories) used by thoroughbred horse breeders in an attempt to predict successful mating of racehorses to produce progeny successful in horse racing. It stems from the belief that careful analysis of bloodlines can lend predictability to breeding outcomes. Some breeding theories are qualitative, relying on the best judgment. Quantitative breeding theories usually focus on a statistical analysis of the sire and broodmare sires in particular. Bloodstock experts also rely on theories when purchasing young horses or breeding stock.
Now I could go on and on in explaining racehorse theory as it pertains to equines. But I think the above paragraph gives you the basics. So why am I mentioning a theory about breeding in racing culture and the President of the United States? Follow me for a bit.
The term isn't just relegated to animal breeding. It's also used in certain circles as a euphemism for a word seldom mentioned in the modern-day era but was bandied about during (and post) World War 2. Eugenics.
Eugenics is a movement aimed at improving the genetic composition of the human race. Today we have technologies that make it possible to more directly alter the genetic composition of an individual. The most significant difference between modern genetic technologies that some view as eugenics and the historical use of eugenics is consent. Today, individuals pursue genetic testing by choice. After all, if you could be healthier, remove diseased tissue, look better, why not. And that would fall under modern use of the term, because consent is given.
But there was a time when certain people didn't have a choice. There was a time when eugenics was a way to accomplish two goals. Improve the lot of one particular race, while diminishing the quality of all others. One goal sought to be accomplished by encouraging the ablest and healthiest people to have more children. This school of thought was eagerly adopted by the Nazis, and later by Aryan Nation and Neo-nazis. Anyone who did not fit this mold of racial perfection, which included most immigrants, Blacks, Indigenous people, poor whites, and people with disabilities, became targets of eugenics programs.
Again, what does this have to do with President Donald J Trump?
“You have good genes, you know that, right? You have good genes. A lot of it is about genes, isn’t it, don’t you believe?” the president said. “It’s the racehorse theory. You think we’re so different? You have good genes in Minnesota.” - Pres. Donald J. Trump, Minnesota Rally, September 19, 2020.
The bottom line is this. Racehorse theory is an associated term with selective breeding. The “racehorse theory” of genetics holds that some human beings are born genetically superior to others. Trump has in numerous interviews attributed his success to his genes. A biographer of the president claimed in 2016 that the then-candidate believed he himself had first-class genes and that he subscribed to eugenicist ideas of genetics that those with superior genes should procreate.
Now, with regards to the quote at the Minnesota rally, this was said to a mostly white audience. Maybe those in attendance that day didn't know the meaning of the "racehorse theory" term. Like I said, the benefit of the doubt. But as a Black man, for me to hear that - to hear those words come from the mouth of a sitting president in the video I included...it's not only disconcerting, it's downright disturbing. Because those of us that are familiar with the term know it's a dog whistle. That it's not about horses, but it is about thoroughbreds. About purity. About which race is superior.