QUOTES ON RACE
Even if it were proved
- which it is not - that the incidence of men of potentially superior brain
power is greater among the members of certain races than among the members
of others, it would still tell us nothing about any given individual and
it would be irrelevent to one's judgment of him. A genius is still a genius,
regardless of the number of morons who belong to the same race.
If races exist, then one
must be supreme. Much of the Race Does Not Exist cant stems from the following
logic (if you can call it logic): "If there really are different racial
groups, then one must be The Master Race, which means - oh my God - that
Hitler Was Right! Therefore, we must promote whatever ideas most confuse
the public about race. Otherwise, they will learn the horrible truth and
they'll all vote Nazi."
# RACIAL DIFFERENCES
Are indigenous peoples
merely not inferior? In truth, on their own turf many ethnic groups appear
to be somewhat genetically superior to outsiders. Many people appear to
confuse the concepts of genetic superiorities (plural) and genetic supremacy
(singular). The former are circumstance-specific. For example, a slim,
heat-shedding Somalian-style body is inferior to a typically stocky, heat-conserving
Eskimo physique in Nome, but it's superior in Mogadishu.
More than 70% of western
Europeans by descent can drink milk as adults, compared with less than
30% of people from parts of Africa, eastern and south-eastern Asia and
Oceania. Biologists have found evidence that the people with the highest
frequency of milk-digestion ability were the ones with a history of pastoralism.
The Tutsi of central Africa, the Bedouin of the desert, the Irish, Czech
and Spanish people - this list of people has almost nothing in common except
that they all have a history of herding sheep, goats or cattle. They are
the champion milk digesters of the human race.
Even at its fastest, genetic
change is extremely slow. One of the fasest major genetic changes is the
increase in the number of people able to use lactose, the sugar present
in milk. The highest peak registered is 90 percent, in Scandinavia. This
level may have been reached over a period of around ten thousand years,
starting from an initial incidence of 1 to 2 percent, or maybe lower. The
same time lapse may apply to lightening of skin color and generally to
the Scandinavian's virtual loss of skin, eye, and hair pigmentation, starting
from original colorings that were perhaps similar to the Lebanese of today.
In contrast, genetic
supremacy is the dangerous fantasy that one group is best at everything.
Before the European explosion began in the 15th Century, it seemed apparent
that no race could be supreme. Even the arrogant Chinese were periodically
overrun by less-cultured barbarians. The recent European supremacy in both
the arts of war and of peace was partly an optical illusion masking the
usual tradeoffs in talents within Europe (e.g., Italian admirals were as
inept as English cooks). Still, the rise and reign of Europe remains the
biggest event in world history. Yet, the era when Europeans could plausibly
claim supremacy over all other races has been dead for at least the 60
years since Hitler, of all people, allied with Japan.
- Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza,
"The Great Human Diasporas"
So is there any logic
at all to genetic disease? Scientists are discovering in nature a kind
of cold-hearted logic, a calculus of life and death. UCLA Medical School
Professor Jared Diamond says genetic diseases may persist, because while
they condemn some people to death, they confer life on others. Take the
gene for sickle cell anemia. The gene tends to be confined to specific
racial and ethnic groups, namely blacks from equatorial Africa and their
descendants, certain Mediterranean and Arabic populations, and people in
India. What these diverse groups have in common, besides a propensity for
sickle cell anemia, is that they or their ancestors inhabited tropical
parts of the old world. The sickle cell gene turns out to afford protection
against the tropical disease, malaria.
History followed different
courses for different peoples because of differences among people's environments,
not because of biological differences among people themselves.
The more powerful the
environmental diversity, the more natural selection would adapt people
to local conditions.
In the last four Olympics
all 32 finalists in the men’s 100 meters, the race to decide The Fastest
Man on Earth, have been black men of West African descent. Since people
of West African origin make up roughly 8% of the world’s population, the
chance of this happening purely by luck is 0.0000000000000000000000000000000001%.
As the Olympic running races have become a more equal opportunity competition,
the results have become more segregated.
Sports nuts, cannot
turn on the TV without being confronted by lean East Africans outdistancing
the world's runners, massive Samoans flattening quarterbacks, lithe Chinese
diving and tumbling for gold medals, or muscular athletes of West African
descent out-sprinting, out-jumping, and out-hitting all comers.
"The blatant lies that
went on, I was insulted to my face. The project was called unethical when
it was an attempt to put the research on an ethical basis. To study differences
is not racist. Racists don't need to study differences, they are doing
just fine as they are."
- Professor Kevin Kidd of Yale University, on opposition to the Human Genome
Perhaps the commonest
motive for genocide arises when a militarily stronger people attempt to
occupy the land of a weaker people, who resist. Among the innumerable straightforward
cases of this sort are not only the killing of Tasmanians and Australian
Aborigines by white Australians, but also the killings of American Indians
by white Americans, of Araucanian Indians by Argentineans, and of Bushmen
and Hottentots by the Boer settlers of South Africa. Another common motive
involves a lengthy power struggle within a pluralistic society [Rwanda/Burundi;
"Burundi is disfigured
by a form of apartheid which keeps eighty-five per cent of the population
- the shorter Hutu, like the Bantu with their flat noses - under the thumb
of the often astonishingly tall, thin-nosed Tutsi, descendants of Ethiopian
cattlemen. The massacres [of August and September, 1988, involving some
2,000 Tutsi and perhaps 23,000 Hutu deaths] started after months of army
manoeuvres aimed at checking Hutu smuggling of coffee. ....[I saw] Pascal
Baukuri, aged two-and-a-half. Her left arm was amputated at the shoulder
after a bullet wound became infected with gangrene. Her father explained
that her mother and two other children had been killed. When I took Pascal's
photograph, she was frightened by the flash and started to scream. I went
outside and wept uncontrollably at the horror. The horror of it all."
At the opposite extreme
are scapegoat killings of a helpless minority blamed for frustrations of
their killers. Jews were killed by fourteenth-century Christians as scapegoats
for the bubonic plague, by early twentieth-century Russians as scapegoats
for Russia's political problems, by Ukrainians after the First World War
as scapegoats for the Bolshevist threat, any by the Nazis during the Second
World War as scapegoats for Germany's defeat in the First World War. Racial
and religious persecutions have served as the remaining class of motives.
- John Sweeney, "The
When we consider early
literate civilizations, written records testify to the frequency of genocide.
The wars of the Greeks and the Trojans, or Rome and Carthage, and of the
Asyrrians and Babylonians and Persians proceeded to a common end: the slaughter
of the defeated irrespective of sex, or else the killing of the men and
enslavement of the women. We all know the biblical account of how the walls
of Jericho came tumbling down at the sound of Joshua's trumpets. Less often
quoted is the sequel, Joshua obeyed the Lord's command to slaughter the
inhabitants of Jerihco as well as Ai, Makkedeh, Libnah, Hebron, Debir and
many other cities.
- Jared Diamond, "The
Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee"
"No reason exists to believe
that modern, western, even Christian man is incapable of holding notions
which devalue human life, which call for its extinction, notions similar
to those held by peoples of many religious, cultural and political dispensations
throughout history, including the crusaders and the inquisitors, to name
but two relevant examples from twentieth-century Christian Europe's forebears.
Who doubts that the
Argentine or Chilean murderers of people who opposed the recent authoritarian
regimes thought that their victims deserved to die. Who doubts that the
Tutsis in Rwanda, that the Lebanese militia which slaughtered the civilian
supporters of another, that the Serbs who have killed Croats or Bosnian
Muslims, did so out of conviction in the justice of their actions. Why
do we not believe the same for the German perpetrators [of the Holocaust]?"
- D.J. Goldhagen,
"Hitler's Willing Executioners"
# ESCAPE CLAUSE
What genocidal acts
can we expect from Homo Sapiens in the future? A hopeful sign is that modern
travel, television and photography enable us to see other people living
10,000 miles away as human, like us. Much as we damn 20th century technology,
it is blurring the distinction between 'us' and 'them' that makes genocide
possible. The modern spread of international culture and knowledge of distant
peoples have been making it increasingly harder to justify.
When I try to think
of reasons why nuclear weapons will not inexorably combine with our genocidal
tendencies to break the records we have already set for genocide in the
first half of the 20th century, our accelerating cultural homogenization
is one of the chief grounds for hope that I can identify. Loss of cultural
diversity may be the price that we have to pay for survival.
- Jared Diamond, "The
Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee"
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