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View Diary: Am I Racist? w/poll (87 comments)

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  •  The problem I have with blaming evolution (5+ / 0-)

    is that all those distinctions have to be taught.  While there are some biological differences that are associated with race, they're not easily identified.

    For example, it's recently been discovered that an African American whose grandfather arrived in North America as a slave served his community as a public servant for over forty years (1768 - 1817) and had eleven children whose descendants are all over the country.  Some remain in the original community and, not being familiar with their ancestry and going by their appearance considered themselves white.  And then a few discovered themselves to be afflicted with cycle cell anemia, a pretty good indicator of more recent African heritage than other populations.

    There is only one human species.  What makes that possible is that each individual is unique.  We are one in our diversity.  Also, we don't need to speciate to adapt to the environment because we've learned how to adapt the environment to our needs.

    How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

    by hannah on Sat Dec 27, 2008 at 05:07:47 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  I think this is more aspirational than rational (5+ / 0-)

      No, we don't seem to be born with the ability to detect "our own," although some studies suggest that infants recognize their mothers' voices in the first few hours or days of life.  Even that is arguably "learned," in that the baby heard the mother's voice in the womb.  Beyond that, we humans use a network of behaviors to differentiate "our own" from "outsiders."

      But that doesn't disprove the evolutionary basis for protecting "our own."  It simply means that as the human population grew and diversified, we continued to find ways to distinguish "our own" from "others."  We found ways to do that because evolution in social species relies on the social group protecting "their own" against "others."

      See my reply to BC below for more.  I'm not blaming evolution, any more than I'd blame the evolutionary trait of disposable thumbs - without which the act would not be possible - for someone loading and then using a handgun to murder someone else.  The impulse to protect "our own" is a biological trait that belongs in the same box with opposable thumbs: it exists, but its existence in biology does not excuse our moral responsibility for whether, when, and how we use it.

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