The color of the skin does not matter (at least not as we think) and that is why racism does not make sense

The color of the skin does not matter (at least not as we think) and that is why racism does not make sense

In the wake of the protests over the death of George Floyd, many questions can be asked. The first: if we all tend to racism (or rather to classism, since we become inferior to any group by choosing a certain random trait, such as height, beauty, accent, etc.)

The second and easier to answer is if there really are biological differences between people beyond the obvious: the color of the skin . The truth is that all the differences that we can find between blacks and whites, for example, are cultural differences, but not genetic.

Skin pigmentation

Basically, the genes that confer pigmentation to the skin are very few, and they do not determine a specific genome. Looking at the color of the skin is like getting caught up in the color of the eyes or the shape of the nose. Phenotypic traits (the appearance of the cake) that have little or nothing to do with the genome (the ingredients and the recipe to make the cake).

In fact, if we are to look at genetic diversity, there is more among Africans themselves than between Africans and Europeans , for example, as I explain in That was not in my genetics book:

There are fewer genetic similarities between a Namibian and a Nigerian than between the two and a blue-eyed Swede, despite the fact that the skin of the Namibian and Nigerian is black. Even a particular version of the alpha-actinin-3 gene, which is associated with fast-twitch muscle fiber, while present in black runners who have achieved extraordinary marks, has also been found in other people, not just blacks. Perhaps there are environmental / genetic pressures that influence this statistical oddity, but we are not yet able to identify them clearly, and we do not know if we are dealing with a simple correlation instead of a causality.

Considering the black race is as imprecise as considering individuals who process oxygen better at high altitude , since in this group there are some African blacks, also some Tibetans …, but the majority of African and Tibetan blacks do not have that capacity. Furthermore, although the skin tone of the inhabitants of Central Africa and the Andaman Islands is similar, they were acquired through different historical and biological routes.

Searching for significant genetic differences between ethnic groups and geographic areas is quite unsuccessful, because we are much more mixed than we think, as Charles Darwin reminded us in his book The Origin of Man , of 1871: «I doubt that a single character can be cited that be distinctive of a race and be constant. ‘

Everything is mixed, like a set of cards that never stops being shuffled by the dealer, and the similarities or differences that we establish based on appearances or very specific features are essentially spurious. Not to mention that we are all deeply related, because we are all descendants of approximately 14,000 sub-Saharan Africans.