Monday, January 15, 2007

Racy thoughts

So why so much on the issue of race & gender? All people are a product of their geography, if you're to believe my oversimplified summary of Jared Diamond's book. Well, while at a macro-level Diamond's book is very well argued, I'm not sure what to make of it if we try to extrapolate or bend. For example, I perceive that while over time geographic factors might have been the most regulatory, as Diamond seems to argue, I find it difficult to believe that all groups of men will have evolved the same way in identical conditions - kind of a corollary to Diamond's thesis. However, that's a thought-experiment I cannot conduct.

Besides, that question cannot be raised. Simply because there were no different groups of men. There are men who have been differentiated because of their environments. So currently there are societies that are differentiated from other societies not because of their intrinsic intelligence but that's just as important as the fact that these differences exist. While Diamond's book shows a case for how societies came to be the way they are, it certainly does not say that all societies/people are, by any means, equal in the present day world.

But somewhere along the line, I seem to feel that we live or try to live in denial of this simple fact. The egalitarian approach is merely a noble approach; it does not reflect reality. In fact, the egalitarian approach is actually in conflict with the innate human desire to categorize & classify.

Using race, ethnicity or gender to classify & categorize may just be full of biases & prejudices, & it can be ugly when it receives political or wide societal sanction - but it is terribly foolish to negate these influences altogether from all that is of any importance. Our biological identity - where we are all equal - is not our strongest sense of identity after all.

All men are created equal. Nope. All men were created equal.

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