Re: Racism and ancient history

Gerold Firl (
31 Dec 1996 20:09:57 GMT

In article <5a69l4$>, (Robert Snower) writes:

|> (Gerold Firl) wrote:

|> >In article <59i3bu$>, Kihn) writes:

|> >|> Racism is really a philosophy. It was first used by the Portugese,
|> >|> Spanish, and Dutch to justify to their home populations the "new"
|> >|> institution of slavery.

|> >Lets enlarge our perspective a little here. The incidence of racism is
|> >directly related to the range and scope of intercultural communication
|> >and intercourse; a culture which has no knowledge of the world
|> >outside the immediate environment will not generally come into contact
|> >with other races, and hence will not have the concept of racism.

|> Let's enlarge our perspective a little more. Racism is a part of
|> hominid culture right from the beginning, and of the societies of
|> animals before that. All cultures have "knowledge of the world
|> outside the immediate environment:" us vs. the other.

Not quite. Throughout most of human/hominid history footborne hunter-
gatherers only encountered members of their own race. They never saw
other races, never knew of their existance. Exceptions could be cited
from the times when hominid species coexisted; neandertal/sapiens in
eurasia, erectus/archaic sapiens/modern sapiens in S.E. Asia, or way
back when habilus and erectus overlapped with australopithicus
species, but those are unusual cases.

Knowledge of the difference between us and them is, of course,
fundamental to any social species. Racism is a subset of
discrimination between us and them, which can be based on any group
marker; my point was simply that most people throughout our past never
had contact or knowledge of other races.

|> "Color" is not definitive of "racism," of course. Any marker will do,
|> e.g., smell, geography, religion, totem, moiety, section, political
|> opinion. "Racism" is the counterpoint of "kinship," in the broadest
|> sense: ethnocentric favoritism as against egocentric favoritism.
|> Unless you confine your meaning of "racism" to the FRAUDULENT
|> attribution of differences--group differences which do not really
|> exist. Then "racism" becomes simply a "sub-species" of the general
|> phenomenon.

Yes, but discrimination based on smell, religion, politics etc is
distinct from discrimination based on race. As you mention, they are
all subsets of us-ism.

Disclaimer claims dat de claims claimed in dis are de claims of meself,
me, and me alone, so sue us god. I won't tell Bill & Dave if you won't.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=---- Gerold Firl @ ..hplabs!hp-sdd!geroldf