Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Ethnicity – us and them

When you consider that Kenya is located at the equator of our Earth and that the latest (5th) Ice Age started some 2.5 years ago (see June 22 blog), it actually makes sense that evidence of the earliest human species was found in an area closest to the Sun (see April 26 blog). Where else could humans have existed during the glacial (colder) periods of the latest Ice Age?

The Out of Africa theory (see April 26 blog) assumes at least 3 massive departures from the African continent. These emigration waves vary a lot in time which makes it safe to assume that they took place during the various interglacial (warmer) periods (see June 22 blog). In general, the Out of Africa theory assumes that the human hunters followed the animals going north. The first continent to arrive at was Asia and the last one was Europe. The climatological conditions (e.g., altitude, cold/heat and (ultraviolet) sunlight) were – and are – very different between Africa, Asia and Europe.

A recent study (see May 5 blog) showed that the people now living in Europe came from Asia and experienced several gene mutations some 5,000 years ago which resulted in a white skin to cope with less sunlight. The other main gene mutation (i.e., adult lactose tolerance) may well explain differences in physical composure compared to Asians. Similar gene mutations are like to have happened for Africans migrating to Asia to cope with high altitudes, lower temps and lesser sunlight.

Today, these gene mutations are responsible for our ethnic/racial distinction between Africans, Asians/Mongoloids and Caucasians, although some include Australoids as a 4th.

“There are no genetic characteristics possessed by all Blacks but not by non-Blacks; similarly, there is no gene or cluster of genes common to all Whites but not to non-Whites. One’s race is not determined by a single gene or gene cluster, as is, for example, sickle cell anemia. Nor are races marked by important differences in gene frequencies, the rates of appearance of certain gene types. The data compiled by various scientists demonstrates, contrary to popular opinion, that intra-group differences exceed inter-group differences. That is, greater genetic variation exists within the populations typically labeled Black and White than between these populations. This finding refutes the supposition that racial divisions reflect fundamental genetic differences”. (source)

Nowadays, we tend to see other ethnic groups as (very) different from ourselves, sometimes even as different species, depending on our political beliefs. We used science to evidence these differences but the results were opposite to our beliefs. Science has taught us that we are similar human beings. 

Children learn at a young age that it is better to belong to a group than be an outlier/outsider. Groups provide shelter, safety and security against attacks, whether verbal or physical. The same goes for animals or even prisoners. The fastest way to form a human group is by using exterior characteristics as it takes a lot of time to create groups along interior lines. Most likely this is the reason why the concept of ethnic groups will remain in existence. Yet within those ethnic groups internal differences may be greater than with other external ethnic groups.

The saddest part of the human race is we’re obsessed with this idea of ‘us and them’, which is really a no-win situation, whether it’s racial, cultural, religious or political. (Dave Matthews)


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