Over the past few decades, researchers have answered the mysteries of where the human race came from, and how we managed to spread across the entire globe. Interestingly, geneticists such as Spencer Wells and others have used DNA tracing to confirm earlier theories.
Humans came out of Africa only about 160,000 years ago, and spread across the face of the world in the manner shown in the map at the top of this post. DNA tracing has confirmed the “branching” shown in the map (for more detail, read Wells’ excellent book The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey).
With our typical human arrogance, when we first began to research human origins we called ourselves Homo sapiens, or Wise Men, to distinguish modern man from ancestors such as Homo erectus (Upright Man), whom we replaced.
Human history has shown that we’re really not that wise at all.
We all originated in Africa, but just as soon as different branches of humans began to develop external differences in response to their new environments (dark skin turning pale in colder climates to ensure we could absorb enough Vitamin D from the weaker sunlight, for instance), we began to seize on these as “racial differences”, and use them as excuses for conquest, conflict and persecution.
We began to view those with a different “environmental adaptations” to our own as inferior. Later, we added cultural and religious criteria to our categories of discrimination.
It’s a human tendency which has been well exploited by power-seekers, and the process is seen at its starkest in the genocidal measures instigated by Nazi Germany in the years leading up to and including the Second World War.
First, begin a campaign to stir up feelings against an identifiable group with visible “racial differences” (Jews, most notably). Gradually step up the racist hate campaign until you can get your target audience to accept the notion that a particular racial group is somehow “sub-human”. Once you have done that, you can treat them in the same horrible ways you treat animals. (a whole other topic…)
From that point on, as the Nazis proved, genocide is a simple matter of logistics – IBM punch cards, brutal “herders”, railway timetables, and mercilessly efficient slaughterhouses for humans.
It’s easy to point the finger at Nazi Germany. But the British settlers who landed on the island of Tasmania off Australia in the 18th Century were no better; they embarked on a successful campaign to exterminate the native Tasmanians, who were still living in the Stone Age (called The Black Wars).
The “we’re superior – they’re inferior!” rationale was used to build the British Empire, by Japan to enslave Korea and Manchuria, and so on – the list of examples is both exhaustive and depressing, down through the millenia and including both Ancient Greece and (especially )Rome.
The lamentable history of black slavery and discrimination in many different parts of the world (including the USA, of course) is another stark example.
Racial discrimination is still going on in many parts of the world today.
I know this is a simplistic step – and it can’t possibly make racism and racism persecution go away by itself – but don’t you think it would be at least making a start to get rid of the term, Homo sapiens, and replace it with Homo Africanus?