Homo sapiens dispersal routes. CREDIT: Creative Commons
During my lifetime, I lived in North and South America and East Asia and visited Europe and Africa. I found great variety in the natural appearance and culture of inhabitants within each continent.
Natural appearance was less varied within regions the further back in time we go, and certainly in the early Holocene. The immobility was not characteristic of mankind, but the means to move en mass was limited.
Starting with the age of empires five millennia ago, the enslavement and movement of conquered people provided a new source of diversity. Large numbers of conquered people were moved to the conqueror’s homeland as slaves. Those left behind in their conquered homeland were exploited by the conquerors in a less onerous form of slavery: taxation. Such exploitation was limited by the means of transportation.
The enormous increase in mobility and weaponry over the past five centuries accelerated the enslavement of previously isolated people groups. Advanced shipbuilding opened up the entire world to colonization and the inherent demotion of indigenous into exploitation.
Now, what I’ve written above might seem to be a geopolitical screed but it’s not. The age of colonization has passed. Most colonies have gained independence and many have sweet trading relationships with their former masters. But there is an issue that needs addressing.
Many formerly enslaved (“colonized” for the more sensitive among us) remain within the homeland of their former overlords. But, the more recent the dissolution of the empire, the more homeland natives will retain their superior attitude towards those recognizable subjects living among them.
Where previous subjects have similar appearance, their acceptance will mostly depend upon their language skills and education.
However, where previous subjects have markedly different appearance, they will continue to be discriminated against until sufficient generations of those indigenous to the homeland have lost their attitude. Such changes can easily take over a century.
So, let’s look at the physical differences. Most of us don’t have a clue about the genetic sources of our differences in appearance. So, this week, I’m going to confront the factual bases for these differences, which now are being stripped of excuses under the spotlight of DNA.
Before I do this, I want to make clear that I am no more immune to the false ideas of the past that any of you. But this will be useful.
Here are the scientific answers to the issues:
- Anatomically Modern Human
- Human Skin Color
- Human Hair Color
- Human Eye Color
Wonder how deep the Strait of Gibraltar is, to know why there wasn’t a crossing there when Sea Level was 400 feet lower in the last Ice Age?
Pluralistic, mostly recent slave owning and/or colonial societies are currently wrestling with these issues. But, race-based cultures are not.
Don’t obsess over what I’ve written here—I only have one absolutely certain answer to the issue, and I quote:
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
“God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.'” Genesis 1:26-28, New International Version.
Thanks for visiting,
R. E. J. Burke