The issue of race has dominated much of certain media lately. The loud voice of nuanced bigotry, xenophobia clouded in diplomacy and outright fascism all get to speak in a democratic society. Statues may rise and fall just as historical narratives may be revisited and given a contemporary look under modern day microscope. To some, these now divisive issues matter greatly so much, that they are prepared to die or even kill others for such positions.
Human history must surely cause the gods to smile, not out of wanton sadism, but out of a sure certainty that we soon return to the median norm…eventually.
With all this fighting and jarring disputes over national history, who is different to whom and who should be accepted or rejected, I do wonder sometimes how much more compassionate and even-keeled our views of others would be, IF we appreciated that we are more similar than we actually think we are.
Imagine a white supremacist finding out that he is actually 20-30% black, or a Chinese man with a long held disdain for his neighbour across the East China Sea finding out that just a generation back, his family were largely Japanese merchants who emigrated to China and so on. Might this make our world slightly less visceral? Well, I came across a few articles and videos to illustrate these thoughts.
The first is by a brilliant organisation called LetsOpenOurWorld. You may have seen some of their videos on Youtube. Below is one which blew me away:
Another interesting read is an article in the Scientific American, with the headline “White Nationalists Are Flocking to Genetic Ancestry Tests–with Surprising Results.” It follows on “Sometimes they find they are not as “white” as they’d hoped”
My study of history in recent years has been part of an exploration of my African ancestry both direct and indirect. Learning about the Kushite Kingdom and its people’s migration across Africa, the constant migration of peoples across the earth in ancient times through especially North Africa, the interplay of this part of the world with Europeans and Arabs either through war, trade or sharing of knowledge, I can’t help but wonder how we are genetically closer to one another than we think. Indeed, some geneticists’ findings suggest that there is only about 0.1% genetic difference between all human beings though this minuscule genetic difference is enough to make us unique.
So the next time you see a human being, make sure you see someone who is more similar to you than you might think. The world is that much better with the variety that 0.1% creates.