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Thu Jul 23, 2020, 02:30 AM

Bill Nye Uses Science to Explain Why Racism Doesn't Make Sense - NowThis



Bill Nye is at it again this time, with a TikTok explaining the science behind skin color.

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Reply Bill Nye Uses Science to Explain Why Racism Doesn't Make Sense - NowThis (Original post)
Rhiannon12866 Jul 2020 OP
brush Jul 2020 #1
Rhiannon12866 Jul 2020 #2
mr_lebowski Jul 2020 #3
JonLP24 Jul 2020 #5
mr_lebowski Jul 2020 #6
wnylib Jul 2020 #9
mr_lebowski Jul 2020 #10
wnylib Jul 2020 #13
wnylib Jul 2020 #14
mr_lebowski Jul 2020 #15
CatLady78 Jul 2020 #4
ProfessorGAC Jul 2020 #11
CatLady78 Jul 2020 #12
handmade34 Jul 2020 #7
KT2000 Jul 2020 #8

Response to Rhiannon12866 (Original post)

Thu Jul 23, 2020, 03:00 AM

1. Humankind originates in Africa so in a way, we're all Africans.

Last edited Thu Jul 23, 2020, 11:32 AM - Edit history (1)

Way to break it down, Bill Nye. White supremacists of course don't agree with the science.

Sorta like trump doesn't agree with Dr. Fauci on covid, which is why we're where we are now with the out of control infection rate.

What was that about white supremacists being smarter/better than everyone else?

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Response to brush (Reply #1)

Thu Jul 23, 2020, 03:20 AM

2. This new offering resonated with me as well since I've never gotten it, either

I grew up in a fairly diverse community and there were all shades of skin colors in school with me, but nobody ever mentioned it, not my parents or my teachers or the other kids, so it never dawned on me. Where's the dividing line since everybody's different? My Sunday School teacher was black, a really nice lady who was friendly with my mother since my teacher's little boy was in my mother's class, she taught the littlest kids and my teacher's son didn't like being left so they tried to think of ways to make him more comfortable.

I'm not saying that some of the kids I knew didn't experience prejudice back then, but I never saw it among the kids. My best friend's mother came from Japan and I never thought about it, my grandmother came from Poland, I figured that everybody had something. At this point in our history we have more in common than we have differences. And the differences that I see now are those who single others out and spread hate, those are the ones to fear and avoid. The rest of us are all in this together.

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Original post)

Thu Jul 23, 2020, 03:39 AM

3. I have to kinda disagree ... I think the tendency toward racism is built into our DNA ...

I think NOT being racist/xenophobic is actually an evolutionary advancement from a more basic/primitive animal impulse towards these feelings.

I don't buy the whole 'racism is totally a taught thing' position that people take. Sorry. It's too widespread and common to the species.

I think the large majority of racism is genetics based. Which is not to provide an excuse, as it were. I think most could overcome it if they really wanted to, at least to the point of not ACTING on their racism.

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Response to mr_lebowski (Reply #3)

Thu Jul 23, 2020, 03:58 AM

5. I have to disagree

I grew up the 90s. A lot of kids were Michael Jordan fan I choose Reggie Miller & The Pacers to be different. I also rooted for the Suns out of the Western Conference of course. I was taught about Hitler & the civil rights movement but I assumed racism was in the past or in the dark corners in society. Then I had an interracial relationship and it opened my eyes to the racism. Then when Obama ran it was even more obvious. Around the same time I started seeing more open racism & online and by online I mean YouTube comments not some right wing board.

I agree with Bill Nye. His Bill Nye the Science guy videos were shown in classrooms in the 90s.

Actually Fox News especially with Bill O'Reilly was an openly racist network before that time. I actually couldn't believe the racism from a cable "news" outlet at the time.

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Response to JonLP24 (Reply #5)

Thu Jul 23, 2020, 04:19 AM

6. I may be arguing with a different point than the one he's making ...

And I certainly wasn't meaning to imply I didn't think racism was very real, and very widespread.

I think it's existence totally 'makes scientific sense' when looked at from the standpoint of evolution and looking at human history. We all may not REALLY be all that different ... but ... just 'seeming different' is enough to trigger an animal instinct for a lot of people.

Hell, ants that look 100% identical fight each other to the death just because they smell slightly different.

I think the tendency towards it is built into human DNA. How widespread it actually is ... just goes to further that point.

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Response to mr_lebowski (Reply #3)

Thu Jul 23, 2020, 08:06 AM

9. I think you are confusing

Last edited Fri Jul 24, 2020, 04:40 AM - Edit history (1)

tribalism with racism. Tribalism is based on shared group identity due to common language, customs, and shared territory. That group identity tendency is built into human beings because we are mammals, who are social beings, even though some are more social than others. In the past, the cooperative social nature of membership in a clan or tribe was necessary for survival, so it is genetically inbuilt.

Loyalty to one's social identity group means distrust of the stranger who might be out to harm us. So for survival, some caution and wariness are built into human beings. But so is curiosity and the need for social interaction. For survival, humans learned long ago to develop means of observing and checking out the stranger, who might have something to offer, e.g. food and resources for trade. Systems and customs developed between strangers of different tribes or clans to communicate and trade. This expansion of cooperation beyond the tribe is just as much a part of human nature as mistrust and wariness.

Ancient writings, including the Bible, are full of rules of conduct with strangers. Same is true in oral codes of conduct among people without writing.

Conflict is also a human trait, so wars over territories, trade routes, resources, etc. also occur.

Tribalism is not based on race. People of the SAME race war with each other and develop mutual hatreds everywhere on earth. White French against white English. White Swedes against white Norwegians. Native American Iroquois against Native American Algonquian tribes. Mutual mistrust and hatred among African tribes in Africa. Same in Asia.

Racism discounts others based on both physical appearance and cultural traits, without the usual human practice of checking out the stranger for possible commonalities of sharing, trade, and social interaction.

In America, overt racism is often the result of physical and /or psychological abuse in childhood. The person grows up seeking self esteem by having scapegoats to bully. Systemic racism is founded in exclusivity attitudes and enforced by social rules. It is like class snobbishness turned into the more simplistic use of race as an exclusionary measure.

Social hierarchies based on merit are naturally ingrained in human beings as a means of survival. Even herd animals have their leaders. But when a society upholds a structure that strictly excludes ability and social acceptance based on race, ethnicity, or social class, it sows the seeds of self destruction and revolution from within. The French and Russians learned that lesson in violent revolutions that slaughtered the ruling classes.

Americans should know better than to impose systemic racism on our society. That's the kind of exclusionary, inheritance-based society that made the colonies overthrow British rule.





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Response to wnylib (Reply #9)

Thu Jul 23, 2020, 02:51 PM

10. Well said, thanks for the thoughtful post, and I do understand the distinction being made ...

I just think that these two 'tendencies', if you will, arise out of the same basic ancient, inherited genes our species has. It's an ingrained wariness towards everything that the animal perceives 'that which is OTHER, which may be a threat'.

Tribalism is a more recent (evolution-wise) tendency, pertaining to a more sophisticated type of grouping that humans engage in, but animals rarely do. Their groups tend to be family-based. They don't really barter and trade (outside their own group), etc.

When something is as common worldwide as racism (and classism, as you mentioned) I have a hard time believing it's just a completely 'learned' thing, like it's just something that hundreds of millions if not billions ... of abused kids just learned, but is not part of our genetic tendencies.

Quite frankly it's much the same reason I don't believe homosexuality is 'learned'. It's just too common for that explanation to make sense.

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Response to mr_lebowski (Reply #10)

Sat Jul 25, 2020, 02:10 AM

13. I agree that both tribalism and racism stem from

a genetically inherent wariness of "the other" or the unknown. But there are variations around the world in how people react to the feeling of wariness. Racism is not the default reaction everywhere to encounters with "the other." Tribes adopt outsiders. Ancient evolutionary human variants intermated - Neanderthals, Denisovans, and early Homo sapiens. I'm betting that those matings were not learned behaviors taught in classroom lessons on the equality of hominid sub species.

Even animals will adopt, nurse, and raise the young of other species when the nurturing instinct is stronger than fear, dislike, or mistrust of the other. Without being taught, the mother recognizes and responds to the same neediness outside of her species as within it. True, an infant is not as threatening as an adult. But racism refuses to acknowledge similarities, even in the young. A cat can nurse an orphaned puppy, but in racist America, adults don't want children of different races to attend school together. Racism is an extreme reaction to "the other" that overrides other natural instincts like curiosity, desire for friendship, romantic attraction, etc.

Initial fear and mistrust of the other is instinctive, but I do not believe that prolonged hatred and systemitized dehumanization is instictive. It is a deliberately preserved exaggeration of the initial fear or mistrust reaction.


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Response to mr_lebowski (Reply #10)

Sat Jul 25, 2020, 03:19 AM

14. Re: tribalism as a more recent, sophisticated development

in human evolution. Based on the complexity of behaviors and social organization of our 2 closest animal relatives, I don't agree that tribalism is recent.

Chimps, bonobos, and humans descend from a common ancestor millions of years ago for all 3 of us, and therefore we have some overlapping traits, including tribalistic social behaviors.

Chimp "tribes," or communities, are called troops. They consist of 100 to 150 individuals beyond immediate family, which share a territory but also have smaller sub groups of more closely related members within the troop. Besides common behavioral traits from one troop to another, there are also localized behaviors, or "cultures," within a troop that differ from other troops.

Chimps are very territorial. An outsider entering a troop's territory risks being chased out, beaten up, and possibly killed. A troop of chimps will sometimes go into all out war with another troop over territory and resources. And yet, Jane Goodall was able as an outsider from a different (though related) species was able to gain their trust by observing and using their body language to communicate. Their curiosity overcame their mistrust.

We know from studies (thanks to Jane Goodall) that there is also cooperation between troops because sometimes customs or tool technology (chimps do make tools) will pass from one troop to another, and even spread throughout a region of several different troops. A troop will also accept outsiders sometimes, especially female outsiders, just as members of human tribes will often go outside a tribe to find a mate.

Chimps and bonobos have complex social structures and systems of communication and social rules among themselves. Duties of alpha male chimps include maintaining order in the troop, resolving problems, and leading in defense of the troop. (War chief prototype?)

Bonobos look a lot like small chimps, but are a separate species. They tend to be a gentler, less aggressive species, using negotiations to resolve differences, whereas chimps use fights. Female bonobos are included in troop leadership roles like negotiations, but chimp leadership is solely male. So, in some areas of behavior, chimps and bonobos seem to be mirror opposites. Humans show traits that both chimps and bonobos have.

So the gentler, more accepting nature of bonobos is just as much a part of our genetic makeup from out ancient common ancestor as the more aggressive and mistrustful nature of chimps.


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Response to wnylib (Reply #14)

Sat Jul 25, 2020, 03:56 AM

15. Good stuff, and I agree. I know a lot about Bonobo's actually, they fascinate me ...

I kinda think us liberals are in a general sense (other than the Pedo part) closer to our bonobo cousins, and the conservatives closer to the chimpanzees. I've probably even posted that here on DU before, I forget offhand. Bonobos are VERY female centric ... the adult females pretty much run their society. Very different from chimps.

But you do have to get pretty far along the evolutionary line (like, the very closest animals to us) to find actions as sophisticated as 'trade' between 'tribes'. I didn't say it's completely absent in animals ... and a couple million years is 'recent' in the context of evolution

I read your other post as well, and we don't generally disagree in our thinking on this subject.

The extreme of outright racism, esp the systemic kind ... could well be to some degree a 'learned' response at least in some people who exhibit it ... a conscious decision to attempt to maintain a higher status in terms of resources and wealth and power by keeping down 'competitors'. I just think it's painfully easy to lead human beings to perceive that their primary competitors ... are those that 'look different', even when it's not necessarily true. And the reason it's so easy to do that ... is because that tendency is instinctual in a lot of people.

Tribalism is a very similar thing at it's heart. Bonding together with those we, for whatever reason, perceive as being 'of ourselves', and rejecting that which is not. It's just the criteria of choosing 'who is your tribe' is more nebulous, and based on more sophisticated criteria, than is the case with racism.

Lastly, I could be wrong but I don't think we really know all that well why do chimps let in outsiders sometimes (let them in the troop), but kill others as interlopers. Maybe it's based on how they look, and we just don't know it?

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Original post)

Thu Jul 23, 2020, 03:43 AM

4. Love Bill Nye.nt

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Response to CatLady78 (Reply #4)

Thu Jul 23, 2020, 03:31 PM

11. I Know Bill

Haven't spoken to him for a long time.
We sat across the aisle from each other on a flight from Atlanta to Chicago. We already knew one another at that time.
He's a very down to earth, pleasant guy.

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Response to ProfessorGAC (Reply #11)

Fri Jul 24, 2020, 09:41 AM

12. Very cool

Yeah that is how he comes across...

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Original post)

Thu Jul 23, 2020, 04:57 AM

7. K&R n/t

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Original post)

Thu Jul 23, 2020, 05:31 AM

8. Buckminster Fuller

included this in one of his books years ago. So glad Bill Nye is getting this out there.

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