Rick Knight (rknight@platinum.com)
Mon, 04 Aug 97 00:47:39 CST

John K. Clark wrote (I'm compelled to reprise this as a gesture of how
compelling it was for me and to make sure it's not missed in the large
bundle of weekend posts):

Racism exists because most animals probably have a gene(s) that makes
them feel that their mate should not look very different from the
average. It's not a totally bad idea because those who look very
different are often ill, so this improves the odds that their mate is
healthy and that means more children are produced who also have the
gene. Like any simple rule of thumb it can sometimes make horrible
mistakes and become downright ridicules, particularly when you put it
into a different and much more complex environment like the modern
world. Such caned programmed responses are best for an animal with a
brain the size of a squirrel, but Humans are smarter than squirrels
and can do better, unfortunately they still have that dumb gene.

If you're wondering why so many Extropians have such a low tolerance
for anything that has the slightest hint of a racist smell, it's
because racism has never made one thing of value and in fact, with the
exception of religion, no meme has ever produced more misery in the

Rick responds:

Very eloquent in your last paragraph and I'm quite intrigued by the
genetic origin of racism. It makes immediate sense to me that of
course, it would trigger some sort of primitive concern in our make up
that it would be risking the integrity of the tribe/species because of
the visual information the primitive minds received to make such
judgments. If it looks different, it is suspect. This rings so true
for me and I'd like to ongoing discuss its ramifications and
(hopefully) get away from this banter about "gene" and "meme"
"supremacy". Paging down through it was making my finger sore. <G>

Rick "lacking adequate filtering mechanism" Knight