The interesting thing about the race myth is that the once dominant myth has become the counter myth, but a version of that original myth is now the dominant myth.
Let me explain: I’m racist, right? – But don’t want to be.
I didn’t start out racist but I became that way because society wants me to be, so I have the racism of society.
I remember when I was a child and I continually came up against the concept of race but I couldn’t understand it. I was in effect ‘colourblind’. Don’t worry, society got that out of me quick enough!
Society itself wasn’t always racist either, but it became that way in order to advance the interests of some people. Society then dumped overt racism for a seemingly more benign form that discards the part about superiority, whilst keeping the race talk.
Imagine if scientists discovered that there is no scientific basis for the concept of race. – Well guess what? They already have!
Yet funnily enough even the mainstream media acts as if race a distinct reality behind it.
Consider for example if you got bitten by a dog and there was the question of whether it was a black coloured dog or a white coloured dog that bit you. That wouldn’t seem relevant. It would be like “who cares?” Whereas with humans people think they are going to be able to get some kind of social information out of such a fact.
Infact there are no races but everyone wants to keep on thinking that there are.
“There are races – but they are equal” Is the official myth, whereas the hated counter myth is that there are races, and they aren’t equal! (Notice the subtle difference?)
The thing about the existence of the official myth is that it guarantees the existence of the old myth (now counter myth) of the superiority of your own race.
Think about it in terms of self serving bias as a scientific fact. So, if you identify as being a member of one group, you’re automatically going to see that group as being superior (at least by virtue of your own membership).
You’re going to be automatically sensitive to things that make your own group seem superior and others seem inferior because that’s human nature.
It’s human nature to be racist, once you believe that there are races – Shit, it’s just rooting for your own team! Therefore, since I culturally have that belief, then I am racist.
Don’t worry, you’re probably racist too!
Anyway, even if you manage to defeat your own self serving bias on this issue, and if it was true that there are races but they are equal, then because of some other things we believe, it would only be accidentally true.
Say for instance, if you took a group of ‘green’ people and a group of ‘blue’ people, and you gave them some ability testing and determined:
‘That although there is some natural variation between the members of the members of the respective groups, the overall result is that the each group was the same.’
So you have the two races but equal situation all proved and sorted out.
Say if you even had that!
Then you got the highest ability half of people in the green group and you killed them and the lowest ability half of people from the blue group and killed them. Then what you did was you kept the two groups separate and waited for have kids, then you tested the kids.
In that case if there was any genetic influence on the ability levels of the two groups, then it would have to be the case that the green race was ‘superior’ to the blue race.
It would just have to be!
So if there are races but they are equal, then the truth of racism is only a Pol Pot style ethnic cleansing away.
However, if you don’t believe in races then none of that means a damn thing – all you did was kill a bunch of people. (Which is what everyone’s dying to do of course)
Actually, the identified ‘races’ are an arbitrary distinction made on the basis of irrelevant criterion; For instance skin colour. So your ancestors might be from Africa, Southern India or Australia and have absolutely nothing to do with each other at all.
A person from Northern China might be equally ‘white’ in skin colour as one from Europe.
So in that case there’s other parts of the face which people use such as eye shape or nose shape. But did you know that there’s actually more genetic variation within Africa than the whole rest of the world combined? So in other words if you had to categorise three races based on genetics then they would be three African groups, with all Europeans and Asians as an appendage of one of those groups.
Get your head round that!
Of course you could use skin colour and facial features as a kind of rude determiner of cultural origin, although that is becoming less and less relevant with the intermingling of various peoples.
People’s cultural origin is important in terms of how they act. For instance whether they came out of an agrarian or hunter gatherer society will determine how much emphasis is placed on delayed gratification.
What it all might come down to is: Are you predisposed to delay gratification or not?
The reason for this is that people in an agrarian society have to think a year ahead.
If there was any genetic influence upon gratification delay then this it could have quite an effect on perceived differences between ‘races’.
There’s a couple of other considerations: Firstly, if your ancestors were civilization based, then you might be physically less developed than people from other backgrounds and vice-versa .
Whether civilization increases intelligence is debatable, but it certainly allows myth builders to flourish – For instance if you can convince people of a myth they will feed you, as in the case of priests and moral philosophers.
The race myth was debunked many years ago but still persists: