Re: Racism and ancient history

Robert Snower (
Fri, 03 Jan 1997 22:29:08 GMT

At 06:40 PM 1/3/97 +0000, Clyde A. Winters wrote:
>I agree racism can not always be defined by color. During world war II
>for instance the Germans, who looked down on the Serb "race" alledgedly
>killed over 12 million Russians, and 6 million Jews.
> In Bosnia today we find that both groups on a color basis are the
>same:white, but because they see each other as belonging to different races
>and religions, the Serbs began a policy of "Ethnic cleansing".

> Again, I must compliment you on an astute observation that color and
>racism are not always the total explanation for racist behavior.

Discrimination based on biological difference did not have its origin
in differences of color. It did not have its origin in differences at
the race level. Racism did not start with racism! Racism started
with discrimination based on kinship. We find that kind of
biologically based discrimination universally among the earliest
mammals, the more social, the more discriminatory. In early hominid
societies, where perhaps we find the first society we can truly call a
culture, kinship becomes "fictive," i.e, based on totemic
identification, and kinship classificatory systems. Discrimination
then becomes not only based on biologically based kinship, but also
its metaphors.

Best wishes and thanks. rs