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The Fallacy of Race; Born of Ignorance

Difference is Skin Deep


It is perhaps our society’s most pervasive fallacies, and indeed for most societies; that of race. Born several centuries ago with the European discovery of Amerindian peoples of both North and South America, and of course African peoples whose eagerness to sell rival disparate tribes’ people into slavery is quite astonishing in retrospect; perhaps Europeans can be forgiven for their delusion that these African people were somehow savage and inferior.

From a European perspective, they were a fractured and uncivilized with little in the way of advanced social organisation, common in Europe at the time. Interestingly, many Europeans are still, for some reason, failing to recognise that African nations are no longer as uncivilised as they were, many believing still that that the whole of Africa remains to this time; in a state of social disharmony and anarchy. This is not a phenomenon that is exclusive to ethnic and international relations, however.

I would like to discuss this form of ethnic discrimination in the context of how Humans view many complex systems. Humans are in general, very slow to perceive changes, whether beneficial or detrimental, in any complex system, like a society. I call this Perceptive Latency. In my observations, I have noticed that many people lack the cognitive objectivity required to make judgments regarding improvements and disimprovements of large or complex systems. They observe the changes, but lack the skill or indeed the ability to integrate and make comparisons between these systems beyond certain parameters, of perhaps sheer magnitude or component/species/entity populations. This can be stated simply; they become overwhelmed by small details and thus lose sight of the “big picture”. For example, they get caught in a differential analysis of ethnicity and soon find differences where none exist in reality.

The problem with differential analysis is; it delimits components of particular systems or behaviours within those systems as being somehow separate from those systems. This leads me to conclude that differential analysis is unproductive for it does not allow us to understand these systems, but merely disintegrates them. The system I refer to in particular is that of ethnicity.

In light of this new understanding of our neuro-psychological inclination toward differential analysis; we may begin to explain prejudice as ethnological expression of human biology.

It seems then; we are biologically predisposed to discriminate, whether by ethnic differences or other environmental parameters. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as it clearly protects us from harmful environmental and social conditions. However, motivated by primal fear and ignorance, this biological survival mechanism becomes counterproductive. When this ignorance is shattered, then we will see a fundamental shift in our perception of that fallacy that is “race”.

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