We Are All African

We Are All African

by Susan Rosenthal

Compare any two people in the world and you will find that 99.8 percent of their genetic material is identical and only 0.2 percent is different.

People are so similar because our species has one origin, Africa. From a genetic perspective, all human beings are Africans.

As people migrated from the Mother Land, isolated groups developed minor physical variations. Skin and eye color, the shape of eyes, nose and mouth, and the color, texture and distribution of hair are biological variations that vary from region to region, but they do so independently, not in packaged sets.

Most people who live in Asia have skin folds on their eyelids, as do the Bushmen of southern Africa. Both Blacks and Whites can have kinky hair and poker-straight hair. There are Black people with thin lips and narrow noses, and White people with full lips and broad noses. As people migrate through the world, even these regional variations are disappearing.

The Human Genome Project discovered that so-called racial differences make up only 0.01 percent of the body’s genes. These differences are so superficial that someone who looks very different from you and lives on the other side of the world could be a better organ donor for you than someone who resembles you and lives on your street.

Divide and rule

While the concept of race has no scientific basis, it has an important political function – to divide people by minimizing their similarities and maximizing their differences. For example, the designations “Black” and “White” exaggerate differences in skin color.

White people are not really white, they are various shades of beige. This can be demonstrated by holding a sheet of white paper against the skin. Similarly, Black people are not really black, they are various shades of brown, including beige. It would be more color-accurate to use the labels “Brown” and “Beige.” Using the terms, “Black” and “White” implies polar opposites, when all human beings are actually shades of the same color.

How “natural” is the tendency to classify people by skin color?

A clever two-part experiment set out to answer this question. In the first part of the experiment, volunteers were shown photographs of individuals that were matched with specific sentences. Then the sentences were shown out of order and the volunteers had to reunite each sentence with the photograph of the person it was originally paired with. The volunteers tended to connect sentences with individuals based on their skin color.

In the second part of the experiment, individuals and their matching sentences were grouped in two color-coded teams, one wearing grey shirts and one wearing yellow shirts. Both teams contained Black and White members. This time, volunteers matched the sentences to their owners by shirt color more than by skin color. The researchers noted that “less than four minutes of exposure to an alternate social world was enough to deflate the tendency to categorize by race.”

Racial categories are so arbitrary and artificial that they must be constantly reinforced to keep us divided.

In reality, there is only one race, the human race, and we are all African.

Human Language Origins Traced to Africa

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