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Possible racism gene ?

  1. Jan 30, 2004 #1
    Im taking a class on Minority history, and the subject at hand was how historically Whites had/have [iraq was brought up as a modern day white conquest] a tendancy to opress other races, while other races usually would'nt opress but would rather mix than fight. The discussion was mostly about opression of African/Af-americans and Hispanics. Around a hour into the class [after the halocaust was studied] one of the students raised the question if it was possible that there may be a 'racism' gene in whites that is exclusive to that race, and if it is could it be passed down similar to how other genes exist exclusively in other races [not counting mixed race people] like Sickle cell anemia.

    Now im curious if its possible at all, the truth is that we have conquered tons of people all over the world and often denied them the same rights, unlike other peoples who would atleast assimilate, so im not sure it is impossible. Afterall there is still some debate over whether or not a 'gay' gene exists, so im curious if any of you biology majors thinks its a possibility.


    /edit, I want to expland on this abit - If it is a possibility, is this something that genetic engineering could fix ?
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2004
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  3. Jan 30, 2004 #2

    selfAdjoint

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    Well, other "races" have conquered and oppressed too. The Han of China, for example have a long hisotry of conquering and oppressing non-Han peoples, like Southeast Asian peoples. The Mongols notoriously brought death and destruction to the whole Eurasian continent. The Bantu people of Africa expanded out of their homeland region is historic times, conquering and enslaving the more primitive tribes they came across. Do they teach you that slavery existed in the Bantu kingdoms of Africa long before any whites ever came there?

    If I may say so, I think your class' characterising whites as all bad, all the time is bad history and bad science. It is racist in itself since it proposes that one group, whites, is evil and the others aren't.
     
  4. Jan 30, 2004 #3
    Thats a good point, slavery existing before white arrival was never brought up before, and im not sure why since iirc it led to white-black slavery.

    Hard to believe how some of the finer points can get left out at times, Ill bring that up on my next class and see what happens.
     
  5. Jan 31, 2004 #4

    Monique

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    It is historical where people living in the north, and thus whites, were able to develop a more stable social-economic system. Don't ask me why, maybe just as simple as the fact that the land is easier to use for agriculture.

    These people then had more leasure time and decided to explore the world and found other cultures, which they decided to take advantage of.

    In my opinion it could've very well been the other way around, if people from around the equator had sailed out first they would have been the colonizing population.
     
  6. Jan 31, 2004 #5
    I am not going into this discussion too deep, b/c you do not have to go very deep to realize the truth. As it is very simple.

    "natural selection"

    Nautica
     
  7. Jan 31, 2004 #6

    Monique

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    Natural selection of what?
     
  8. Feb 1, 2004 #7
    I am too tired to go into this (and had a couple of drinks, sooooo..), but. Spp (notice how I used the plural,lol) or actually individual organism have the desire to pass on their genes, if they can not pass on their genes, they want genes as similar to theirs as possible to be passed, in contrast, the more different the genes, the more the desire for that gene, NOT to be passed on.

    The more different a gene the less an organism wants that to be passed. Caucasians want caucasians to continue, just like negaroids want negeroids to contiue. Just like monkeys want monkeys to contiue and apes want apes to continue. Right or wrong that is just the way it is.

    My hopes is that one day we can celebrate our differences. B/c that is what enabled us (as a spp) to survive in different climates and conditions through 1000's of years. One day races will be irrelivant and one will not be able to tell the difference, but until then we will have to deal with it.

    Nautica
     
  9. Feb 1, 2004 #8

    Another God

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    I am reading 'Nature via Nurture' right now (by Matt Ridley, great writer) and it goes over all of the sorts of things which go into creating people. Everything from your sexuality, to your brain size, to your language, vision etc. And to speak of a gene for homosexuality, or a gene for racism is always misleading. Not only is it almost NEVER a single gene that determines such a thing but instead a collection of many interacting genes, the fact is that genes work by environmental cues.

    Genes dictate the recipe of a body, which is cooked in the oven (environment) of the womb, followed by the family/public life. There is quite possibly a gene or list of genes which regulate how our brain identifies 'like' from 'unlike', and possibly even genes which regulate how our brains determines 'friend' from 'foe', and possibly even genes which determine how our brain regulates our reactions to friends vs foes or those who are like or unlike us. But all of these genes would be affected by previous environmental factors such as whether we grew up with a large variety of different race people around us. I mean, if we recognise black, white and yellow skinned people as something that is normal, than it is hard to nominate anyone of them as different, and if they are not different, then it is highly unlikely that they would be identified as foe.

    So in other words, I am sure there are many genes which are involved in determining just how xenophobic someone is, but it is all still a result of their environmental experiences. there is no gene for 'black vs white'.
     
  10. Feb 1, 2004 #9
    Studies have shown, that in cases of Alturism, the Alturistic behavior is almost always directed to thoses who possess the most similar genes.

    In cases of siblicide, studies have shown that in time of need the birds will first throw the nonrelated birds out of the nest and before moveing on to the actual siblings (yes the nonrelated were transplanted for the purpose of experimentation)

    With this being said, what is the easiest way for humans to determine whether or not another possesses similar genes??? RACE

    This is a survival mechanism for all spp, which has been in place for millions of years and will not go away over night. And no a gene will not have to be modified for us to change, we must first realize why we feel this way and then celebrate the fact that this is one of the many mechanism which has ensured our survival. Then maybe one day, it will not matter.

    Nautica
     
  11. Feb 1, 2004 #10

    Monique

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    I have to agree in some sense, where I believe it was birds who were brought up in a sterile environment by a mock mother (a wooden figure with a movable beak for handing food to the youngsters) who had an instinctal fear for a certain shape moved in a certain direction.

    Basically the shape was the following:
    --|-
    moved to the right the chicks took cover, moved to the left the chicks weren't afraid. Think about the difference in appearance of a swan or a hawk.. the swan has a long neck the hawk a long tail.

    The same happened with monkeys who had an instinctal fear for snakes, but not other foreign animals never encountered by them.


    That doesn't mean though it is right to say that whites carry a racism gene, that is a far to broad an statement. Especially to say that this is why whites commited slavery.

    As I said, it is an intrinsic urge for your own community to live well. The fact that whites dominated in slave trade is simply because they sailed out first. Every population has shown invasive and colonistic behaviour.
     
  12. Feb 4, 2004 #11
    No there is no gene for racism.

    No there is no gene for intelligence.

    No there is no gene for stupidity.

    there are combinations of gene variants that can under certain conditions give the owner certain predispositions to do certain things or show certain characteristics.

    Hope that this is clear in any way..
     
  13. Feb 4, 2004 #12

    selfAdjoint

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    Sure. And even eye color isn't truly Mendelian. Your point is?
     
  14. Feb 4, 2004 #13
    There is no gene for racism, which is the answer to the question of the original post.

    Seems like a fair point to make in this thread.
     
  15. Feb 4, 2004 #14

    Monique

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    There isn't A racism gene, there still can be genes that give us certain behavioural traits which would predispose someone to racism. But environmental conditions are so diverse, it would be hard to distinguish its effects.
     
  16. Feb 4, 2004 #15
    "predipose someone to racism"

    If you look at behavior purely from a Darwanian approach, we are all racist. It is just that some of us are beyond that point (in the evolutionary chain), while others are too ignorant to understand it.

    Nautica
     
  17. Feb 4, 2004 #16

    Monique

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    I agree
     
  18. Feb 5, 2004 #17
    But it would be nonsense to say that 'whites' possess the racist gene as was done in the first post.

    It is basically a paradox. If whites possess a racist gene this would mean that there would be different races within the human species. Since 'whites' are then apparently special. A population biologist will tell you otherwise.

    It is all nonsense anyway. I would have accepted it if the original poster would have said there might be some kind of predisposition that makes people wary of strangers.

    But to postulate that the 'white' race (there are no human races according to population biology standards) have a racism gene (which is just a basic human predisposition against strangers) is all pure racism to start with.

    It is all based on racist assumptions.
     
  19. Feb 5, 2004 #18

    Monique

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    I made that point in two previous posts :)
     
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