Monday

Gobineau

Did you know that the human body is 2/3 water? It is, trust me. I'm a biologist, ain't I? That's what I studied, before I got involved in linguistics and poetry writing. Moreover,
When you were born, your skeleton had around 350 bones. By the time you become an adult, you will only have around 206 bones. This is because, as you grow, some of the bones join together to form one bone.
_ Skull and upper jaw 21 bones
_ 3 tiny bones in each ear
_ Lower jaw (mandible)
_ Front neck bone (hyoid)
_ Backbone or spine (26 separate bones or vertebrae)
_ Ribs (12 pairs - same number for men and women)
_ Breastbone
_ Each upper limb has 32 bones: 2 in shoulder, 3 in arm, 8 in wrist, 19 in hand and fingers.
_ Each lower limb has 31 bones: 1 in hip (one side of pelvis), 4 in leg, 7 in ankle, 19 in foot and toes.
Total = 206 bones. (From About.com)
That's the folks in China, the West Indies, Swaziland and Norway. I have often heard the "we're different" argument. Utter kaka. I do not want you to get me wrong. I'm a Mosotho from Lesotho from Africa. And I'm infinitely happy with that. Don't go getting ideas. The fact remains, however, that we're all the same and the "we're different" argument is utter kaka. You and I and the next person are homo sapiens.

The species to which you and all other living human beings on this planet belong is Homo sapiens. Anatomically, modern humans can generally be characterized by the lighter build of their skeletons compared to earlier humans. Modern humans also have very large brains, which vary in size from population to population and between males and females, but the average is around 1300 cc. Housing this enlarged brain has involved the reorganization of the skull into what is thought of as the "modern" appearance -- a high vaulted cranium with a flat and near vertical forehead. The supraorbital torus is lost in most modern humans, and ridging above the orbits in general is very reduced. The widest part of the skull is high on the skull, as opposed to earlier Homo erectus and H. ergaster. The back of the skull lacks the transverse torus of H. erectus and the occipital bun of H. neanderthalensis (From mnh.si.edu)
Neanderthals, now those guys were different, and the "we're different" argument would have been perfectly appropriate as far as they were concerned. We were so different from those guys that we could not reproduce with them. In other words, we were incompatible at the genetic level! And when you know that horses and donkeys, which are so clearly different from one another, are able to mate and produce offspring, and therefore aren't as dissimilar as they seem, then you really start wondering about that good, old, stale argument: "We're different." But why would anybody want us to be different, and insist on our being different? Let's just pretend it were true that you and I were inherently different. The question still remains: so? I can't find the link to this, but I once heard Quincy Jones saying that Marlon Brando said if we were all the same colour and had the same religion and wore the same clothes, then right handed people would start butchering left handed people.

Gobineau is one of the earlier thinkers who started the mess we're in, because
The foundation of modern "scientific" racism was Gobineau's (1853-5) Essay on the Inequality of Human Races. Arthur de Gobineau (1816-1882) was a one-time diplomat who held that humanity is divided into three races, white, yellow and black. He considered that his reasoning established that the black race had an "animal character, that appears in the shape of the pelvis"; has a crude yet powerful energy; and dull mental faculties but has an "intensity of desire". The yellow race has little physical energy; feeble desires; mediocrity; a respect for order; and "does not dream or theorise". The whites have an energetic intelligence, perseverance, instinct for order, love of liberty, and sense of honour; they can be cruel, but when they are "they are conscious of their cruelty; it is very, doubtful whether such a consciousness exists in the negro". (From austarnet.com)
Way to go, Gobby! Before the publication of Frenchman Joseph Arthur de Gobineau's "The Inequality of Human Races," in 1915, nobody had, I bet, ever put the words "utter" and "bunkum" together in the same expression with as much unfathomable intensity as I'm doing as I type these words.