Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Anatomy of Racism (Part 1 of 4)

If racism was taught, then who taught the first child to be racist?

Xenocrates

We have come a long way since the civil rights uproar in the 1960's. Up until then, white folks were not afraid of openly and publicly denouncing black people as genetically inferior humans. It's intriguing to consider then that since the 1960's, the only thing that has changed is how society perceives racism. It seriously questions the notion that racism is taught. In this post, I will attempt to demonstrate that the propensity for racism is intrinsic to human nature. That is why even after society has successfully demonized this behaviour, it will never truly go away.


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The Anatomy of Racism

So what is racism exactly? Most people have at best a pedantic understanding of what it is. For the sake of reference, let's use the dictionary definition. Racism is the inherent belief that race is the ultimate determinant of human characteristics that functionally determine matters of superiority and inferiority. A racist by extension is therefore one who exercises such beliefs.

Is it intrinsically evil to be racist? Well society thinks so — and I imagine some of you are even wondering why such a question needs to be asked in the first place. Well, I'll tell you. In a previous post, I examined the anatomy of evil, and waxed philosophical on the intrinsic value of the dichotomy between good and evil. In the outset, I made it abundantly clear that evil is relative, and that it is nothing more than a circumstance that has a negative outcome for the observer. However, every negative outcome has as positive value (even if it is hard to see).

Similarly, the whole idea that racism is evil is because of the divisions it causes in society. However, there are people who do benefit from being racist. They tend to be the ones who (even subconsciously) think they have something to protect from the target of the racist act. Racism occurs in humans because animals are wired to treat phenotypic differences seriously.

While it is fair to imagine that the early German anthropologists were probably the first people to consider humanity in terms of race (and thereby propagate the notion of racism), the propensity is as old as mankind. Many references to racist behaviour exit in history (albeit, without the word "racism" which is barely 80 years old) dating back to the dawn of civilization.

In the same post, I demonstrated that it is not hard to find evil in every single one of us. We are selfish by design, since the whole point of evolution is competition fostered by the survival of the fittest. Such competition automatically propagates evil (even if evil is, by nature, a part of the grand design). Therefore, it isn't hard to imagine that a world full of biological superiors and inferiors where racism becomes an inescapable by product of this dichotomy, just like dogs who chase cats who chase mice. This is a dynamic that is inextricably woven into biology.

By the same rule of logic, I can easily declare that there is a racist lurking in every single one of us. You may reel at that line at first, but what you probably don't realize is that you have probably been racist in the past and not even known it. You do these things without even thinking about it. It's an automatic reflex we might have whenever in a fight or flight situation.

I'll prove it to you:

You're probably racist (and don't know it)


If you are white and you saw a black man trying to break into a car, you are more likely to assume that it isn't his car. If you are black and playing hoops with your buddies, you might find yourself avoiding any passes to the white guy on the team, even if he is open. If you saw an Asian pull up next to you in the parking lot at the supermarket, you might find yourself reversing out of your lane and choosing a much farther row of lanes in which to park your car. 

If you are a black female and a white female started to date one of your black male friends, you may initially feel a risible sense of indignation. This is doubly true if you are a white male friend of the white female in question. You may have spoken slowly and loudly in a condescending tone to someone of South American origin (as if that would help if they didn't speak any English) or referred to them as "Mexican", when they were actually from Honduras.

How many of you have ever assumed that more black people use food stamps than white people? (It's not true). How many of you have ever pulled the corners of your eyes in either direction to mock the epicanthic folds of Asian eyes? How many of you have mocked the Asiatic languages by saying "ching chong" repeatedly? How many of you have ever referred to members of the opposite sex of any other phenotype other than your own as unattractive?

How many of you Asians have ever caught yourself staring incessantly at the black guy that moved next door? How many of you have gone shopping with your black friends and upon hearing the security check alarm go off as you exit the store, automatically assumed they stole something? In fact, if you've ever clutched your purse more tightly when a black guy walks into your elevator, or locked your doors when a young black male walks past your car (only to see him get into his own car and drive away), you're probably harbouring some racist propensities.

Like I said, there's a little racist in all of us. You can't help it because it's hard wired into your adult brain that phenotypic differences are somehow significant. Your brain tells you these things because it is a propensity that served us well during more primitive times when the difference between having darker or lighter skin had literally become a matter of life or death.

Allow me to explain:

The Causes of Racism


Racism is a function of three factors: Genetics, Tribalism and Fear. Genetics is rooted in our biology, as "race" is nothing more than a lay man's term for what scientists call a "phenotype". Where there are many similar occurrences of a phenotype, group identity emerges, thereby producing the tribal instincts that define the culture within that group. These tribal instincts create insecurities about other groups, inciting fear. If one group is genetically superior to another, then all three variables will come together to form the perfect storm we call "racism".

Let's explore them in greater detail:

1. Genetics



We are often told that all men were created equal.

If we were created equal, then we would be indistinguishable from each other. But we are not. Some of us are prettier, stronger or smarter than all others. Whenever a human being is born possessing all three of these characteristics, they tend to become the superstars of politics, sports, religion and entertainment. If all men really were created equal, either all of us or none of us would be superstars and the world as we know it would be quite a very different place.

Therefore the expression that "all men are created equal" is less about being truthful as much as it aims to discourage the genetically superior among us from using the variety provisioned in our biology as a means to oppress the genetically inferior among us. It also aims to pacify the insecurities of those among us for whom these disparities have since become a problem.

Racism only occurs where there is a disparity in genetic innovativeness between and among phenotypes. There would be no racism in the world if we were all genetically equal. However, life would quickly come to an end if we were all genetically equal. Genetic variety is critical to life. I talk about this absolute necessity at length in an older post entitled "Why life is not fair".

Racism is really a by-product of nature's need to constantly innovate itself to ensure that there is enough variation among us for the sake of survival. It's the only way the species would survive in the case of a mass extinction event (like a meteor strike or the outbreak of a particularly virulent pandemic disease). However, meteor strikes and pandemic disease are not every day occurrences. So whenever racism occurs, it remains a particularly huge problem.

Does racism exist because Black Africans, Aborigines, Chinese, the Inuit and others were ever thought to be inferior to each other? It's not so simple. Racism also exists within each group. There is even racism among Caucasian peoples. There is no better example of this than the attempted extermination of Jews during World War II because of Nazi Germany's perceived "Aryan Supremacy". Then again, the Sino War of 1937 occurred simply because the Japanese had considered themselves superior to their Chinese cousins. Racism exists in every culture.

There is racism among black people, where those who are fairer in complexion are somehow considered superior (and sometimes even alien) to those darker in complexion. There is racism in India where darker skinned Indians are caste lower than those who are fairer in complexion. The interesting thing is that people who live outside of these communities see every member of the community, irrespective of their many phenotypic variations to be no more significant one from another. It therefore goes to show that racism is intrinsically myopic.

How many times have you ever looked at an Asian and assumed they were Chinese? On that side of the world, they make a very concerted effort to differentiate Koreans from Chinese and Japanese. On our side of the world, we make a notable distinction between Black Americans, Caribbean Nationals and Africans. In the north, there's supposedly a difference between Canadians, Americans and Western Europeans. But once you are not from that geographic location, the individuals from its native human phenotype become relatively indistinguishable.

That is why we say insensitive things like "all Chinese look alike". But because we don't speak Chinese (well most of you don't), you wouldn't know that they're looking at us in the west and saying exactly the same thing (in Chinese) that "all white people look alike" or "all black people look alike". But this disparity between groups accentuates the second function behind racism:

2. Tribalism


Neanderthals (left) dominated the earth before Homo Sapiens (right) outlived them. Mixing between the species provided much of the impetus for the mutations among Homo Sapiens that later spawned the fairer skinned phenotypes such as Caucasians, Asians and other variations in between that now exist.

Most animals are social animals. This is because the ones that have survived this long learned a very important lesson very early on in the game of evolution: When the only rule in nature is the survival of the fittest, it is much easier to survive as a group than as an individual. This is why it is much harder for a lion to snatch one buffalo from a herd that sticks together. There is strength in numbers. Therefore, group dynamics are essential to the survival of any species.

That is a given.

With that said, if buffaloes had to compete with cows for the same fields, then the cows would have a problem. If lions and tigers were competing for the same wildebeest, then chances are they would both end up targeting each other. You can even see the same behaviour between species of ants on the grounds of the Amazon rainforest. In the animal kingdom, not only is there a disparity of survivability between species, but there exists one among species as well. Why is this important? Because that's how tribes are formed. It is the same among humans.

Some 370,000 years ago when Homo Sapiens first appeared on this planet as Black people, there were still other species of men roaming the earth, with Neanderthals numbering among them. Because Neanderthals were a different species of human, they were fiercely tribal about their groups and their territories. How could they tell who was Neanderthal and who was Homo Sapien? Well it was simple: They looked different — eye and skin colour were different.

So tribes mattered.

As the earth went through several climate changes, the Homo Sapiens ultimately outlived the Neanderthals, because we were more limber and could move more quickly. As Neanderthals died out, we eventually became the dominant species of man on the planet (even though some Neanderthal mixing took place). However, that genetic imprint that instinctively values tribalism was still there, even though Homo Sapiens was now on top of the global food chain.

There were no other species of humans to compete with for territory, to go to war with, or to hate. So eventually, we began to spread out over the world as one species. That's when various genetic mutations occurred among us (some of which was facilitated by intermixing with Neanderthals), creating the many distinct races we know today. Once again, tribes were formed around our phenotypic differences, as they did before when there were many species.

Fast forward 400 millennia, and that little bit of DNA that tells us to "stick to our own groups" still manifests itself in today's many mutations of Homo Sapiens. This is why many geneticists secretly know that racism isn't taught. But they won't bother to correct the politically correct, since that does more harm than good. So racism actually emerges from a primal instinct as old as humanity itself, to guard the essence and survivability of the "tribe" to which one identifies.

What we understand as "racism" is really the ultimate manifestation of cliquish behaviour — one that you can see in children as soon as they become teenagers. This is another reason why the argument that racism "is taught" is false. If all children start out as innocent minds treating each other equally, then why do they turn into teenagers that become cliquish and bully each other? Isn't racial oppression essentially tribal bullying? Who had taught children to sort themselves into groups? If racism was taught, then who taught the first child to be racist?

Before you kill any remaining brain cells on this chicken and the egg conundrum, I will spare you the needless cognition. Children appear to be devoid of any concept of race and group dynamics precisely because they are children. The innocence of children is nothing more than a manifestation of their primitive minds. As soon as the brain grows large enough, the need for group dynamics will kick in automatically. Therefore group identity isn't taught. It is instinctive.

Sooner than later, children, once thought to be innocent about that which makes them different, will sort themselves into cliques that share similar passions. Sooner than later, all the plastic girls will stick together. All the rich kids will stick together. All the geeks and the nerds will stick together. If there are enough of them, all the gay kids will stick together. All of the Asian kids will stick together (even if they are from different Asian countries). If there are enough black kids, they too, will stick together. Even the obnoxious kids will stick together.

In fact, I am so confident in this human propensity, that if we were discovered by a superior alien civilization, for better or worse, none of our many phenotypic differences would matter anymore. If they attacked our civilization, then the resistance movement would be made of humans from all races. In fact, our notion of "race" would instantly become annihilated, since we would now recognize ourselves as one race (as opposed to many). Why? Because now survival is no longer bound to Negroes, Caucasians or Asians, but to the entire human tribe.

Again, this is not taught. It is instinctive.

This is why, during the days following the abolition of slavery, all the black people stuck together. How can you blame them? They were subject to the racial bullying of white men for centuries. It is natural for them as a group to desire survival, and just like every other animal in the kingdom, humans of a certain phenotype will stick together, just as birds of a feather flock together. All this group separation produced the final, most potent ingredient for racism:

3. Fear


Variety breeds separation. Separation breeds fear. Fear breeds hate. Fear is the path to the dark side.

What do you think will happen when there are groups of animals that separate themselves from each other? Well the answer is simple: Competition. There are only so many resources available to this planet's population. When the world's population is split into groups of people, each of which have homogeneous characteristics, then every other group with their unique characteristics will seem foreign, alien and most of all, a threat to their very way of life. 

As groups of humans migrated out of Africa, the most common genetic properties in each group became the definition of that group's physical appearance. Thus when the populations in these groups grew substantial enough such that their meeting was inevitable, the tribalism inherent in each group meant that their fear of the unknown became justification for conflict and conquest, especially in situations where one phenotype is clearly technologically superior.

When human tribes superior in social development discover tribes that are comparatively inferior, it is perfectly natural that the superior group will either condescend to the inferior group, or exploit them (the latter being the preferred route). No other group knows this better than black people. The dark skin and rounded shape of the African skull convinced the fair skinned, blue eyed chiselled cheek boned Europeans that we were somehow inferior people.

It is not hard to imagine then that when African people were first discovered in the fairly unexplored dark continent at the time, they were first described as "sub humans" and "ghastly savages" who "did not have a soul". To be fair, our voodoo religion required blood sacrifice while the Europeans had long since migrated to Christianity and its many different flavours of "enlightened" religion. The African God "Bomba" was certainly no match for their "Jesus Christ".

The revulsion of seeing the dark, ashy skin, the short, inflexible, unruly hair, the chapped lips and statuesque poise of black men would have certainly driven the fear of god and monsters into the first intrepid Europeans. So when these African tribes were finally tamed and put to work on sugar farms in the Caribbean, and cotton farms in North America, Europeans had demonstrated their ability to tame the African savages. Even so, one question still remained:

Could they be civilized?

That is why, long after Africans had been freed from slavery, they were heavily segregated in societies for fear that their "inferior" DNA would sully the impeccable populations European immigrants had worked so hard to build in the Americas. In fact, that was the argument slave owners used to defend their rights to continue owning African slaves. Africans were too primitive in their view, to be fully integrated into white society without some serious thought.

I have always been told that the best way to manage your fear is to tame it—and that, my friends, is how fear becomes hate. Just as how bullies harass the geeks who will one day become their boss, white people enslaved the minds of freed black men because they feared their integration into society. So even if slavery was abolished, they could still keep them at the back of the bus, keep their toilets separate, keep them out of white schools and make it illegal for them to intermarry with whites. This is how the fear of corruption bred oppression.

This is why the Jim Crow laws were invented. This is why race mixing was once considered the same as "Communism". This is why the KKK (the Ku Klux Klan), also known as the White Christian Brotherhood was formed to keep the cliques separate. The story of racism is largely the same wherever humans can be found and is as old as humanity itself. If you are diligent enough, you will even find racial prejudice in the Bible. The rest as they would say, is history.

End of Part 1


In the next instalment, I discuss why it appears that black people are the most targeted by racism in world history. Black people are not only targeted by whites, but by Asians as well. What is it about being black that makes them so accessible to racists? There is a biological cause for this unpleasantness, and it might be a little difficult to swallow for some among us.


E-mail: accordingtoxen[at]gmail[dot]com

2 comments:

  1. Very good in the last paragraph of this article you stated:

    In the next installment, I discuss why it appears that black people are the most targeted by racism in world history. Black people are not only targeted by whites, but by Asians as well. What is it about being black that makes them so accessible to racists?


    This is exactly what I was trying to tell you on the Poisoning Of Black Diaspora article other races particularly Whites and Asians dislike Blacks by virtue of BEING Black. Think about it they show dislike for dark skinned people of their OWN race so how do you think they will treat Blacks Also in the case of Asians they have shown they worship Caucasians and White Skin so once you understand this it's easy to see why they treat Blacks much more horribly then Whites Remember it is believed widely in this world

    White = Good/Beautiful/Pretty/Superior and Black = Bad/Ugly/Inferior

    When you get the chance please watch this video by a brother on YouTube and why he doesn't want anything to do with Caucasians Asians Latinos or anybody else

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EyiMn3YKQI


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lY4eJPWij90


    NOW do you understand why Black People are starting to hate other races

    In the Poisoning Of The Black Dispora Article I remmeber you saying:

    "However, I have since noticed a particularly disturbing trend lately and it appears to be more of a remnant of black history that still infects the present attitudes of blacks, particularly those living in many North American and European states. It appears there is still a portion of the black populace that largely hates other races and some of them have been drawn to this space"


    I hope you now understand why Blacks hate other races I can pull thousands of articles/videos/tweets whatever of Blacks experiencing Racism from Whites and Asians


    Btw It's LoStranger

    ReplyDelete
  2. lovely post. I wrote about my personal experiences of racism here:

    http://davecollyjap.blogspot.jp/2012/01/my-experiences-of-racism-in-japan-more.html

    ReplyDelete