Monday, July 27, 2009

A Case for Racial Diversity

I recently shaved my head because it is summer after all and it feels so cool when the sweat evaporates off my scalp under my helmet whilst traveling down the freeway at 140 mph.

However, I do look a bit like a skin head. Skinheads as we know are stereotypically associated with the white supremacists. I am not a white supremacists, if anything, I'm a closet "me" supremacist. That is, I think I'm better than everyone else, but that's a simple human flaw that I hope Jesus will iron out. It's completely different than thinking I'm better because of my skin color.

Race as many of you know is a touchy subject in this country, and has been since a long time ago. At this point, I hope that at least superficially the issue is as much muted as possible, however, some undercurrents still exist.

To be perfectly clear, I'm white. My parents were white, their parents were white, and their parents were white. On my father's side, my family is English and Swedish of which the Swedish is the most pure. My mother's side is English and "Black" German which is to say dark-haired, dark-eyed. I have light brown hair and green eyes. I sunburn fairly easily but not like my good buddy JSW.

I was raised in a white environment and didn't really meet my first black person until some time around 4th grade. They just weren't around in Southern Oregon. To be perfectly honest, I'm still not used to seeing so many black people around here in Arkansas, and especially in Little Rock. And I do look at them funny, but not because I'm thinking something bad about them, but for the same reason you go somewhere to see something you don't usually see. I look at them simply because I'm not used to seeing them. It's like "hey, a black person!" It's really weird I know, but it's true. It's like I'm standing there looking at a guy going "dang, he's got big lips," not because it's some big racial issue, but because I'm not used to seeing people with that big of lips. There's no racial animosity at all, it's like going to an air museum and seeing an airplane you've never seen before. The same goes for other races. Their facial features are foreign to me and as such, they are interesting to look at.

But I am white. And if you are black, you are black, I don't like the term "African American" because I'm not Swedish American or English American. If you or your parents literally came from Africa, than you can be African American, otherwise, I'm white and you're black. It's a colloquialism. Live with it. I'm colored too, kind of a pink or tan.

I also love some racial stereotypes and some racially based jokes. There wouldn't be stereotypes if they weren't somewhat true. Asians are good at math, blacks like chicken, whites are timid. Indians have an accent. Whooptiedoo. I was talking to one of my pastors yesterday morning and he was commenting on my shaved head, so I commented on his Jewishness (he's half or something.) Jews are good with money. Deep down we all believe these things, it's how we were raised. That's just what I see. We are all to a great extent a sum of our environmental shaping forces. If you are raised by racist parents, you are likely to be racist. If your family likes chicken, you probably like chicken too.

It's the negative stereotypes that really do the damage. Anecdotally, most people who cut me off or slow me down in traffic on my motorcycle are Asians or women. But if you tell any kid from a young age that he is stupid and won't amount to anything, he will probably believe it and become a self fulfilling prophecy. The problem is, there are some groups that receive that kind of stimulus more than others and that's how we get much of the racial disparity we see today.

When Hitler tried to create his master race, he forgot one crucial element. When you breed animals too closely related, it's like dropping a deuce in the gene pool. In nature, the more unrelated the parents are, the healthier the offspring will be and there are plenty of examples. Pure bred dogs especially of certain varieties are extremely susceptible to cancer and other diseases like arthritis. On the other hand, mutts are often quite long lived and useful dogs. The same goes for humans. It was likely the inbreeding of the English royals that resulted in the much famed hemophilia that the previous family was known for.

So if Hitler wanted to create a master race, he should have done it differently. He should have tried to breed elements from all races together. He could have used Tibetans for their lung capacity, Africans for their strength, Swedes for their beauty or any other number of combinations, I'm just being facetious here.

Instead, in his ignorance he was going for extra fingers, tiny testicles, and genetic disorders.

Scientifically, racial diversity is the best idea. Plus, racism does not pass the "love your neighbor" test.


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