Today is Holocaust Memorial Day.
Another dangerous topic: race, nationhood, discrimination and all associated woes.
A moving personal piece here from Michael Rosen to mark the day.
I’ve just listened to all five parts of a lecture (below; confusingly, parts 2 and 5 seem to be swapped): a fascinating rebuttal to the recent rise of big business genetic determinism. (I particularly like that we share 30% of our genes with cabbages – something Terry Pratchett might approve.)
We need to see ourselves are first HUMAN, then part of whatever sub-group – family, work, religion, country – we chose. Note: we choose.
“We live at the interface of multiple determinants.
We are the products of our genetics and our evolutionary processes.
If we want to look at the cause of the Iraq war it’s no good looking at the levels of serotonin in George W Bush’s brain – we need to look at politics.”
Let’s teach people not to look at skin colour, gender, disability or place of origin as a lazy means to discriminate.
Meanwhile, I love it when men I know support women’s rights; “white”* people support “black”* rights and those of us who are fit stand up (that means metaphorically) for those with disabilities. If your campaign against discrimination will not allow your “enemy” to join, how are you different from them?
(*I was searching for a genetics book I read a while ago on just how similar races are – more variation within African populations than bewteen any non-African populations – but I can’t recall the author so struggling for citation, sorry)
An interesting debate regarding this South African inter-racial embrace poster also caught my eye. Back to politics again?
I usually feel a greater linkage with dogs than humans. But with six billion people we need various divisions etc upon which to base our ancient tribalism, resourve competition and mutual hate.
Easy way to narrow the field and save intelectual or social effort, indeed.
When I hate people it’s an individual thing, what they do, what they profess, not what group they belong to, unless of course it’s a hate group, the identification of which sadly is left to each of us to determine. While I do try and include everyone possible into my “circle”, I avoid those people whose talking points are delivered in the shrapnel of a bomb or on the tip of a poison pen.
Hard to tell who those are all too often, Ron.
I’m very grateful to be directed to these important lectures. We are an unusual animal. The thing I keep needing to remind myself of is the fact that we are, indeed, an animal. Regardless of how loftily we paint ourselves and imagine ourselves and so forth, we often behave in similar fashion to the way other animals behave. Using genetics to divide people up and categorize them is an insidious way of establishing a human hierarchy, much the way chimps do only we do it more intellectually.
Thank you! Apologies for the tardy reply; have been away and been snowed in by work on return. Yes, we justify our decisions – cognitive dissonance in action.