Everything You Thought You Knew about Races Is Probably Wrong

Ok, I don’t mean to belittle or denigrate the knowledge or opinions of professional biologists, geneticists, etc. They know that the concept of race may only be useful in identifying a few genetic traits appearing in certain groups of people and not others. We share 96% of our DNA with chimpanzees (see https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/08/chimps-humans-96-percent-the-same-gene-study-finds/) and 99.9% of our DNA is common across all races ( see http://www.genomenewsnetwork.org/resources/whats_a_genome/Chp4_1.shtml).

It makes about as much sense to apply racial classifications based on skin color as it does to create racial classifications based on brown-eyed, blue-eyed, red-haired, blonde-haired, or brown-haired people.

Now, if you’ve followed me up to this point, let’s take a look at the physics of colors. The different colors most humans can see are due to the red-, blue-, and green-sensitive color receptors (cones) in our retinas. In combination, those three cone types allow us to see red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, and certain transitional colors between them. These colors are derived from the different wavelengths in ambient light. White is the sum of all color wavelengths and black is the absense of any color wavelengths.

The way colors mix in physical light is different than the way they mix in pigments of paint, so don’t be confused by the two different media.

What we see with our physical eyes are the light waves reflected off the objects around us. Physical properties of those objects (people, animals, plants, things, etc), cause different wavelengths of light to be absorbed by those objects. An object that is actually green would be seen as the sum of the rest of the colors that are not green; in other words, a mixture of blue-red. A red object would be seen as blue-green. A blue object would be seen as red-green. The cones in our retinas pass a color negative up our optic nerves to our brains , just like color-sensitive photo paper that has been immersed in developer fluid.

Some of you are probably beginning to see where I’m going with this.

Not yet?

The people we call blacks, whom we see as black or dark brown are actually white or light tan, or any other color besides black or dark brown. The people we see as white, pink, or light tan are actually black, dark brown, or dark blue-green.

Anybody who has put up a sign saying “whites only” would be advised to take down those signs before there is a misunderstanding as to intent.

I’m jus’ sayin’.


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5 responses to “Everything You Thought You Knew about Races Is Probably Wrong

  1. G

    Clever chromatic or electromagnetic inversions notwithstanding, I fear that for those luddites for whom concepts of race and colour are significant points of difference (and unjustifiable aversion), the power of your intellect and insight is lost. Thankyou for your observations on the *actual* physics of pigment and colour, regardless that those who might most benefit from the facts may remain both unreachable and unwilling to learn.

    You have highlighted another domain of knowledge (and inversely – ignorance) in which the value asserted to a perceived, false and insubstantive difference indicates the conceptual and ideological poverty in which so many live and into which the rest of us can only ever aspire to shine the light of knowledge. Perhaps we might one day disentangle the confusion of unwarranted fear and hatred to bring the lost and ignorant out of their treasured epistemological darkness to see the true colours and beautiful, diverse spectrum of truth.

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