Monday, October 24, 2011

There's Only One "Race"

It's the human race. That's all we've got. Humanity's genetic diversity is so low* that if we were dogs, we'd all have to compete as just one breed. And there's only one standard I'm gonna judge people by: how they behave.

Now, I can't change whatever damfool set of notions you've got -- and wouldn't want to, if the only way was by main force -- I'm not all that persuasive. But anybody preachin' race war or that some folks aren't okay 'cos of the color of their skin, the faith they profess (or lack thereof) or the language they grew up speaking isn't welcome at my blog.

Are there elements in Western culture that are pure-dee bad? Yes. Most of 'em involve violations of the zero aggression principle: they happen when people initiate force against their fellowman. It'd be a right streamlined world if we could just look at those around us and know, straightaway, who was gonna do that -- but we can't. Nobody's got a lock on it.

I'm all for condemning malefactors but if you don't mind, I'm not gonna do it wholesale and I'll withhold judgement on individuals until they have shown themselves maleficent. The good guy very rarely gets to throw out the first punch and you can't tell the good guys from the bad guys by the color of their hats -- or of their skins.

You've got to take people as individuals. Try it any other way and you're stokin' that nasty train that inevitably rumbles off to death camps and the killing fields. Do that and you're not my pal and I'm not yours -- you are, in fact, endorsing the unprovoked use of force against others.

I dunno why this keeps comin' round but it does. Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao, Pinochet --you really wanna hang with that lot? We won WW II as quickly as we did 'cos people fled from prejudiced, repressive regimes to the West and many all the way to the United States. Go eat your peanut butter sammich, then tell me the man who thunk it up wasn't nearly so gifted as you.
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* Depending on personal belief and inclination, see the Old Testament (or similar texts), The Skin Of Our Teeth, and/or your local genetics researchers.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's a good basic explanation of a reasonable way for a society like ours to get along; but if I tell you there are parts of Bakersfield where it's a bad idea to go bicycle riding, or where having your car break down is cause for extra worry, and parts where I think you'll be safer, it might not mean I'm a bad person.

Mike James

Carteach0 said...

Agreed

Roberta X said...

Anon, there are plenty of places like that -- and they're not all monochromatic. Some neighborhoods are dangerous; some individuals make them dangerous. Is everyone who lives in a bad neighborhood dangerous? Is everyone who "looks like they belong in that neighborhood" dangerous? No.

People who can't understand that simple fact have doomed themselves to live in a place more dangerous than the real world -- and deserve to.

warlocketx said...

That's been the underlying philosophy of all stripes of egalitarianism for two centuries now. Trouble is, it is neither explanatory nor predictive of the events which actually occur.

One of the problems with it is that, if extended, it ends at the Moonbat Fallacy: that everybody on the planet would have the aspirations and behavior set of a Harvard adjunct professor of Fuzzy Studies if only the Man wasn't keeping them down.

Regards,
Ric

Tam said...

"Explanatory" and "predictive"? It's something I wouldn't mind discussing if it weren't so often used as a fancy way to science up saying "I can tell that man's shiftless and lazy just lookin' at him because he's a buck blue gum..."

(WV, so help me Shiva, is "nation".)

Roberta X said...

Warlock: reading comprehension fail, I see. Colorblinded?

og said...

Having spent well over half my life living in hotels meeting a new set of folks at least every week or often every couple of days, I can firmly recommend being polite, professional, and cordial to everyone you meet, and disliking and distrusting them all equally, until they prove themselves otherwise worthy. To dislike or distrust a certain group of people is just silly. They all probably deserve your opprobrium and scorn. I used to give people the "benefit of the doubt". I was wrong to do so, and I have the scars to prove it.

Nathan said...

I can't help but recall the exchange between Joshua Lawrence Chamberlin and Buster Kilrain in Gettysburg.

--------

Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: Tell me something, Buster... What do you think of Negroes?

Sergeant 'Buster' Kilrain: Well, if you mean the race, I don't really know. This is not a thing to be ashamed of. The thing is, you cannot judge a race. Any man who judges by the group is a pea-wit. You take men one at a time.

--------

Ayup.

wv: catop. Like a spec-op, but done by my cat.

docjim505 said...

An excellent post. Well said (as it were...)!

Stuart the Viking said...

Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet.

Agreed, race has noting to do with it.

s

Bubblehead Les. said...

You'd think we'd get past the point where what Genetics one inherited would not matter much anymore. Damn those Ancestors of mine for not Time Traveling to the Future and correcting my DNA! Oh, well, thank Crom Col. Colt made all people equal.

karrde said...

I do wonder what brought this up...

I also find it sad that when filling out government forms, it is rare to find a form with an Other category for race.

I used to make a habit of checking Other and writing Human in the blank on surveys that requested Race data.

The Gov't likes something specific, so they rarely give me an opportunity to do this.

Earl said...

I am for the "HUMAN" race label. But afraid someone will try to genetically improve the breed, oh, they have been trying that haven't they?

Remembering that whoever gets the form will mark it with what they think is your race or ethnicity. Can't leave anything blank.

Drang said...

Back in the late '70s I was at a con, it may have been in South Bend or Ann Arbor, where some grad student (who's name I forgot, but I recognized so she must have been a published writer, as well) was taking a poll for her grad studies in Anthropolgy: "How many races are there?" Most were saying two, or three, a few were saying one. She would then ask you to name them. I said "Two, male and female."
I was maybe half serious; she didn't bat an eye, just wrote it down and moved on. No idea how she recorded it. ("And one wise-guy..."?)

RobertSlaughter said...

"Humanity's genetic diversity is so low* that if we were dogs, we'd all have to compete as just one breed."

Ms. RX, I've heard the 'one breed' before, but with a difference -- that we are among the most genetically diverse single species on the planet. The 'issue' is that those variances are extremely well-distributed across the population, so that no group -- no matter if you slice by color or geography or blood-type or whatever -- has any lock on anything in particular. It's like at some point our ancestors were quite --- indiscriminate --- about who they shared genetic materials with.

Jennifer said...

Amen to all of that. I'm sick and tired of people of all hues deciding who a person is due to their melanin ratio.

TBeck said...

It's bizarre watching the Left resurrect the "one-drop rule" for a guy who is just as white as he is black. What's next; high-yaller and octoroon? Gimme a break.

Roberta X said...

Any more, it seems as if we get it from both sides.

I'm with Og -- a lot of people, of all sorts, will give you perfectly acceptable reasons to loathe them personally and individually. It's only sportin' to give every person the same chance -- and the treat 'em with the same wariness.

Roberta X said...

Roberta S.: Have a look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_and_genetics#Race_and_population_genetic_structure We're not a very diverse species. There's at least one very narrow bottleneck in our past.

RobertSlaughter said...

It's Robert; you're Roberta ;) And thanks for the reply. We ARE agreed that separating ourselves from one another based on ultimately meaningless differences is beyond silly.

Yes, my main source was this: "His results were that the majority of genetic differences between humans, 85.4%, were found within a population, 8.3% of genetic differences were found between populations". Looking over that article and related ones, the update from when I was taught about the study in Anthro is based on that '85.4%' -- while a high comparison to inter-populations, its 'real' value appears to be between 0.4% and 0.5% of actual genes.

Something I couldn't find easily -- how much variance is typical of non-hominid, non-domesticated species? For example, if humans have 0.5% diversity, but mice have 0.01%, then we are a relatively diverse species; if mice are 2.0% variant, then we are a narrowly-diverse one.

(humor)And yeah, that sinking-of-Atlantis thing is still biting us. Damn Lemurians...(/humor)

Anonymous said...

Sorry, my fingers naturally type "Roberta." My blushes!

Derfel Cadarn said...

I am worn out by hyphenated Americans,Italian,African,Greek ad infinitum this only allows groups to believe that they are better than others. Our president is well versed in this type of demagoguery. Bobbi is correct in that we are all human,I am not hyphenated American I am an Earthling. Down with the Martians Scr@w them little green bastards

Stretch said...

Bureaucracies have a difficult time with "Human"
First college I went to refused to process my application due to "Human." Fortunately Dad's check cleared and I was let in.
Local ComCol registrar was NOT amused at "Human" so I checked OTHER and wrote Celt. That seemed to placate her.

danontherock said...

Smart lady

regards
Dan

Sabra said...

I also find it sad that when filling out government forms, it is rare to find a form with an Other category for race.

This last time around, when filling out school forms for my kids, I amused myself by checking other & writing in "mostly white."

I'm mixed ethnicity, and in the interesting position of having people assume I am whatever they are. So I've gotten anti-Mexican comments from whites and anti-white comments from Mexicans assuming I'm Mexican. I had a woman mistake me for Jewish once, without knowing my name (which is typically Israeli these days); she was herself & said I looked like I was. I can pretty much vouch for the fact that racism is distributed throughout society, for all that in school they told me it was only white people who could be.

t's bizarre watching the Left resurrect the "one-drop rule" for a guy who is just as white as he is black.

It would amuse me greatly if his daughters, as adults, embraced their white ancestry.