“Whenever Colin Powell is on the news, white people give him the same compliments: ‘How do you feel about Colin Powell?’, ‘He speaks so well! He’s so well spoken. I mean he really speaks so well!’ Like that’s a compliment. ‘He speaks so well’ is not a compliment, okay? ‘He speaks so well’ is some shit you say about retarded people that can talk. What do you mean he speaks so well? He’s a fucking educated man! How the fuck did you expect him to sound, you dirty motherfucker? ‘He speaks so well.’ What are you talking about? What voice were you expecting to come out of his mouth? ‘Imma drop me a bomb today’, ‘I be Pwez-o-dent!’.” – Chris Rock
The general consensus among the world’s leading genetics researchers is that race is more of a social construct than a genetically unique biological classification. Physical attributes such as skin tone, facial features and hair develop according to adaptations most advantageous for survival within the geographical area in which a group originally settled. In other words, if an ancient group of people originating in mainland China had decided to journey across a hemisphere and put down roots in the heart of the African continent, the modern-day descendants of those original Chinese settlers would be what we call black. Had they instead set up camp in the region that now constitutes Europe, their modern-day descendants would be what we call white. The only way for them to have retained the attributes of what we variously call Asian, Oriental or Mongoloid would have been for them to stay put.
So what does this mean? It means that the racial boundaries we so routinely draw around segments of the population don’t have any real significance. It means that ideas like white supremacy have no scientific or even logical basis since the cosmetic differences between “the races” are not related to differences in intellect or ability. It means that I don’t give a flying fuck what Rachel Dolezal’s Ancestry.com results might yield and neither should she.
According to Svante Pääbo, a biologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology: “What the study of complete genomes from different parts of the world has shown is that even between Africa and Europe, for example, there is not a single absolute genetic difference, meaning no single variant where all Africans have one variant and all Europeans another one, even when recent migration is disregarded. It is all a question of differences in how frequent different variants are on different continents and in different regions.” There you have it. This basis upon which we continue to judge, hate, persecute, subjugate and kill one another is simply a matter of the migratory itinerary of one’s ancestors.
That being said, I must now return to the world of ignorantly delineated racial battle lines and plead with those who share my general skin tone to SHUT THE FUCK UP. Obviously, the facts I just summarized above have done nothing to sway people to drop their precious identities that only seem significant in contrast to those whose appearance make us erroneously assume they are of a virtually different species. Listen: every single one of us has some small amount of ingrained racism, but in its original instinctual form (before being strengthened by social and cultural myths), it is no more significant than the survival-based wariness that a brown bear might have upon encountering a black bear. It is a part of animal instinct – “oh, here comes a thing that doesn’t look like me. I don’t know what it is. I better bare my teeth.” But this instinct should be well on its way to evolving out of our species since its usefulness to survival is long past. Why isn’t it on the decline, then? Why is racism still such a prominent force in our social and political institutions? Because we keep feeding that ancient and obsolete survival instinct with false information. Why do we do this? Because for the better part of the last thousand years, this game has skewed heavily in favor of those with lighter complexions and is therefore still very advantageous for the descendants of Europeans to keep alive for their own greedy and undeserved privilege and benefit.
Neo-Nazis and Klan enthusiasts make very clear with their rhetoric that they are not open to discussing anything that may challenge their view of themselves as superior. As such, the only way to deal with them is to publicly marginalize their “cause” and keep them in check – physically, if necessary – until they recede into obscurity. But what about those racists who don’t think of themselves as such? You know the kind, and they are generally to be found among the more senior members of the populace. My mom is one of them. She does not belong to any white supremacy groups, doesn’t use racial slurs, and has never advocated for any sort of racial segregation. But she does say things like this: “Oh, this new family started coming to our church. They’re black – but very, very nice!” or “I used to work with a black woman, but she was very smart!” The operative word exposing my mother’s true feelings is “but”. The implication of its inclusion in her statements is that if a black person is nice or smart, it is despite their skin color and therefore more admirable in its rarity than your run-of-the-mill nice and smart person.
People who harbor such “innocent” racism in their hearts also seem to be the first ones to cry foul at what they consider instances of “reverse racism”. I need to set the record straight for those who feel this way: there is no such thing. If a person decries the racially-motivated actions of his persecutors, this is not racism, it’s self-defense. If a person is tired of being treated like a second-class citizen and getting hassled by cops purely on the basis of his skin color, this is not racism, it’s a basic desire for dignity and equality. To every fair-skinned individual whining about being on the receiving end of racial hatred, I ask you to really think about why you feel this way. Who convinced you that you’re being treated unfairly? Was it Donald Trump? Sean Hannity? Your Uncle Pat? Whoever it was forgot to remind you that you and your ancestors have never had to put up with public lynching, police harassment and brutality, slavery, gentrification, ghettoization, lack of opportunities and general suspicion owing to nothing more than your appearance. If and when you and several generations of your kin start to experience such things firsthand, get back to me and we’ll talk. But until such time – and until our species finally overcomes its self-defeating habit of eating its own – I must reiterate to those who base their sociopolitical views on the ridiculous notion of reverse racism: SHUT THE FUCK UP. To quote my mother once again, you might just get what you wish for, idiots.