MathJax example

On racism...

"All the negroes were friends of ours, and with those of our own age we were in effect comrades. I say in effect, using the phrase as a modification. We were comrades, and yet not comrades; color and condition interposed a subtle line which both parties were conscious of, and which rendered complete fusion impossible. We had a faithful and affectionate good friend, ally and adviser in ‘Uncle Dan’l,’ a middle-aged slave whose head was the best one in the negro-quarter, whose sympathies were wide and warm, and whose heart was honest and simple and knew no guile. He has served me well, these many, many years. I have not seen him for more than half a century, and yet spiritually I have had his welcome company a good part of that time, and have staged him in books under his own name and as ‘Jim,’ and carted him all around — to Hannibal, down the Mississippi on a raft, and even across the Desert of Sahara in a balloon — and he has endured it all with the patience and friendliness and loyalty which were his birthright. It was on the farm that I got my strong liking for his race and my appreciation of certain of its fine qualities. This feeling and this estimate have stood the test of sixty years and more and have suffered no impairment. The black face is as welcome to me now as it was then.

In my schoolboy days I had no aversion to slavery. I was not aware that there was anything wrong about it. No one arraigned it in my hearing; the local papers said nothing against it; the local pulpit taught us that God approved it, that it was a holy thing, and that the doubter need only look in the Bible if he wished to settle his mind — and then the texts were read aloud to us to make the matter sure; if the slaves themselves had an aversion to slavery they were wise and said nothing.”
- Mark Twain

Let's boil this problem down. Is it fair to say that, either this problem is innate or, it is experienced and learnt. Its either one or the other. I would defer from considering children here for a while because it is suffice to say children know no racism. I don't know of a single case. Adults exhibit racism. No need for beispiel. Then why are some adults racist, some are not. For adults, I want to know when they exhibit racism, is it an instinctive tendency (thus biological) or was it the lump sum of exposure/teaching, direct/indirect, throughout childhood and adulthood?

But before moving on, one might say, Aha!, if it were to be innate/instinctive, why wouldn't a child be racist? For that, I stick to the fact that a child has limited experience and knows no effort for survival or sustenance.

Now it can be pointed out that, "you would try to protect/befriend/serve the different-raced stranger who wants to give you a meal a day more than you would protect/befriend/serve the same-raced stranger who wants to take from you your meal". A child has no selfish interest (for survival or sustenance), an adult does.

But let me point this out. Selfish interest is what one would do to guard his/her selfish interests, that ensures his/her survival, that would ensure that his/her genes gets passed on. So as a theory, one would always act in a way to guard ones own selfish interests innately/biologically. So it is rather circumstantial what ones selfish interests are at the time. It is always there though, in our genes, to act to guard ones selfish interests. So, I'm not saying that evolution has made us racist, but rather, racism stems out of our innate tendency to guard our selfish interests under given circumstances.

And out of that tendency, it once came and stayed. Humans use culture and memes to guarantee their reproductive success, using racism to cut out competition. If a large-scale meme was created that countered the genealogical tendency to exclude outsiders, and it was successful, racism would no longer be a strong mechanism to guarantee gene replication. Instead, the tendency for it would lessen because it is no longer desirable or convincing.

Then, to sum up, racism is a meme that can survive due to in group out group tendencies. We have a predisposition to notice all differences in each other and to protect people we are common with. The racist meme takes advantage of that and encourages people to see the color difference as significant and to believe that that difference is highly dangerous. Even though, if left to our own nature, we conclude it's not and notice instead if they like the same baseball team, etc.