Neil Tyson with a more complete version of the quote that was autotuned for the awesome Symphony of Science video, We are All Connected… Enjoy.
One of the ugliest traits shown by all too many of our species is ethnic and racial intolerance, and while distrust and dislike of genetic out-groups may have served a competitive survival function during our early history as a species, and even before we were human, it serves us today only as a means of instigating bigotry, ‘ethnic cleansing,’ and even today in some places, slavery is alive and well.
While it is trivially true that “illegal immigrant” is not a race, much of the furor and discrimination against illegal immigrants in the ‘States is ethnically motivated, and directed specifically at those of Hispanic/Latino descent, particularly immigrants from South and Central America.
Nor is “Muslim” a race, though there is a great deal of bigotry toward those of African and Middle-Eastern descent, those ethnicities commonly and traditionally associated in the U.S. with Islamic religious affiliation.
After all, this is the 21st century, and “Muslim” is in vogue as a veiled racial epithet, for the N-word is currently unfashionable, and would much too obviously peg the one using it for what they are.
There are some pseudosciences where racism is evident, as in pseudo-history doctrines that claim that our non-Caucasian predecessors, like the Maya, Egyptians, Inca, and the great sub-Saharan African civilizations were too stupid and backward to build their own monuments and otherwise achieve greatness on their own, but just HAD to have the help of alien space-gods, Atlanteans, or Atlantean space-gods (often from the Pleiades, no less!) to help them out.
Sometimes, it works the other way as well, when directed against those of European descent by those not so melanin-challenged.
To this on all sides I say, ‘utter nonsense’: our ancestors, ALL of them, were brilliant and fully capable of figuring things out on their own, or we wouldn’t be here today, building upon that foundation of their previous accomplishments.
This is, needless to say, just ugly, regardless of the skin-tones of those making the claims, for our global civilization rests upon the foundation of all those who came came before, whether those before were white, black or brown, and as interconnected as today’s world is, as a species, we stand or fall together.
Genius has existed in all eras, and knows no skin-tones.
Racism is even found in some claims of differences in intelligence between genetic sub-groups of humanity, and recently, with an enormous furor, fully justified in my view, about absurd claims that some racial groups are, and I quote, “less objectively attractive” than others.
WTF?? That’s ridiculous.
Frankly, I find those ladies of other ethnic groups to be generally more attractive than my own, but I’m under no illusion, or delusion, that the attractiveness or unattractiveness of any individual is at all objective, just a matter of taste and personal preference on my part.
Yes, if you must know, I support interracial marriage, because in my opinion, mixing the gene-pool tends to produce good-looking offspring.
There’s some evidence that the ethnic-religious-racial tribalism that leads to this sort of often dangerous nonsense is part of our innate psychological makeup, a carry-over from our ancient history as roving hominin bands on the plains of Africa for millions of years, but it’s something that we can, and I think should, outgrow, unlearn, and dispense with as hazardous psychological baggage, not something that is in any way unavoidable or necessary.
That’s my view at any rate.
* * *
Carl correctly notes in his response that Racism and Bigotry are not synonymous. But taking the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th paragraphs in context with the 1st, as I intended the entire post to be considered as a whole, it clearly denotes ethnic bigotry as something that racism leads to, not as one and the same thing. I am quite aware that there are forms of bigotry besides just the racial/ethnic, but those are not the subject of this post.
Also, he quite accurately notes that Hispanic/Latino ethnicity is quite varied from locale to locale, and although considered as a “race” on many application forms, and thought of in racial/ethnic terms by many, there is no such thing as a single, ethnically unified “Hispanic” population, as each region in Latin America has it’s own mix of indigenous and European-descended populations, that do not necessarily regard those of other locales as a ‘band of brothers.’ I did not intend to imply that they did, though I did not make this clear in the post above. My Bad.