Thursday, August 29, 2013


Over the past several days of celebration of the Martin Luther King’s call for equality among races in the form of his “I Have A Dream Speech, the question has come up in various forms, “Why has it taken so long?”. People who follow this blog spot; I know there are some even though they do not click the “follower” tab, should know that I believe that racism is in our genes in the form of xenophobia. However, to infer that we cannot change because it is in our genes is wrong.

As with all phobias, people focus on racism with various in intensities. Some people fear many things that are different while others are fearful of only a few. Most of us cannot know what people feel until they turn their fears into action or rhetoric. Others among us can detect micro expressions and actions. Psychologist can go one-step further and use various devices to detect emotions when confronted with different people or situations—galvanic skin response, for example.  

The point is some of us do not even know we have these phobias. They are internal, buried in our genes, or buried in our subconscious. There is no racial gene; it is a synergistic play of many genes. In our natural history, adaptive selection imparted a survival advantage to fear of things or it would not be genetic. Therefore, before we realize anything, there is some form of incitement to action to things that we perceive as being different—xenophobia—cause us to react in some way.

Xenophobia is a universally shared trait in the broadest sense of the word ‘universal’ covering man and beast. The focus of our fears change with circumstances can be exemplified by fear of strangers; the only thing that is different it that we have not seen them before. The fact that some of us react differently than others of a different race is highly significant because it show we can modify xenophobia by learning. However, if we can learn something in seconds, why is it taking since the beginning of time for us to learn that people are just people?

We know racism is xenophobia, xenophobia is genetic, and we know it is variable in expression, we should be able to select against that particular focus of the xenophobic trait. We can recognize the trait in others perhaps not with a high degree of certainty but we can recognize it generally. Which means, to put it crudely we, like cattle breeders, should be able to select marriage partners that do not have that trait. Of course, we do not do such things but we do select marriage partners that we get along with, ones that we agree with. The problem of racism will remain with humankind but will continue to diminish. Extrapolating from experiments dealing with other species, my estimate is that it will take 30 generations. If we can believe the writings of our founding fathers, not her actions but their writings, we have been working on the problem at least since the founding of our country which if taken as 1713 until now 2013, it has been 300 years.  If one generation were taken as 20 years, 30 generations would be 600 years; we are halfway there.

The work of +Peter Hatemi, a political scientist suggests genetically held political beliefs can influence mate selection. In studies of physicals sensitivities to threats, those who were less sensitive were more likely to support foreign aid, liberal immigration policies, and gun control. In contrast, people who were more sensitive to challenge favored defense spending, capital punishment, patriotism and war. The suggestion I am making is that people who see race as a threat fall on the conservative side of the political spectrum as indicated by the issues. Our population is becoming more and more liberal. By increasing the social pressure, as has happened especially over the past several days, mate selection will continue to intensify and racism will become less and less of a politically powerful tool. To know the truth, compare the intensity of racism within the Dixiecrat politically faction of just 50 years ago, verses the racism of the conservative party of today.  Racism is on the way out—it will just take more time to fulfill Dr. King’s dream. As a caveat, those who are fighting for racial equality must never give up because things are getting better. Genetics has a way of reverting things to what they were when the fight started. 
URL: Comments Invited and not moderated

No comments:

Post a Comment