Lie — Racism is caused by the existence of race

The Story

The world's people are divided into many different races. This is the natural order of things and is usually not a problem.

People aren't naturally racist, but modern transportation and communications technology has caused far more interracial contact, resulting in the conflict and racism we see today.


Us versus Them

There is something in human nature that makes us want to identify with and to belong to groups of other human beings. We can see this grouping into us and them everywhere.

Children separate themselves into girls and boys; high-school students separate into cliques of jocks, nerds, and preppies; adults separate into Masons, or Rotarians, or Kiwanis; sports lovers separate into Mets fans or Yankees fans; and so on.

Two individuals can have extremely different backgrounds and interests, but if they meet as strangers and each is wearing a Yankees cap, they experience something that links them. There is no objective reason for this; unless they have bet money on the outcome of a game it really makes no difference to those individuals, much less the rest of the world, whether their team wins. But to them it is important; if the team wins they somehow feel that they personally have won, that they are personally better than they would have been had the team lost.

This phenomenon happens at all levels. Many people are proud of their city, their state, or their country for no reason other than that they are part of those groups. If you think about it, it really doesn't make sense, but it is a fundamental part of what most humans are. (If Texas really were objectively better than Oklahoma, everyone would abandon the one state and move to the other. Texans might say that the reason this doesn't happen is because all Oklahomans are too stupid to see the truth, thereby further illustrating the us versus them phenomenon.)

From a survival perspective, this attitude has had great benefits throughout history. If someone identifies more with you than with the person beside you, they are going to kill that person before they kill you. If you are in trouble, someone that identifies with you is much more likely to help you, even if only because they might hope the same of you someday. Having other people view the world in terms of us and them increases your chance of survival.


The earliest, most basic grouping was by family. We tend to look very much like our parents, our siblings, and our children, and we feel safest in their company. If we identify ourselves by that criterion, we will also have a slight tendency to identify with other people that look like us. We will naturally be more likely to work with, to be friends with, and to marry people that look like our family.

Isolated groups will develop an ideal image of what they look like, and over time members of that group will come to look more and more like that ideal. Children whose appearance is outside the norm will be picked on, and as adults they will be outcasts. These funny-looking or ugly people will be far less likely to survive or to find mates, and over generations the genes that make them look different will be eliminated from the community.

In a world of geographically isolated settlements, after dozens of generations, the inbreeding will greatly reduce each group's genetic variability. Each group will of course have its own unique selection of genes, different from that of all other groups. Where there is contact between groups, the us versus them nature will exaggerate those differences even more. It will be easy to see which members of the us community have them characteristics, and any such children will become outcasts.


Over the centuries, this us versus them inspired inbreeding is what has created what we now call race. Racism isn't the natural consequence of the existence of race. The causal relationship is actually the exact opposite. Race is the inevitable outcome of human nature's us versus them mentality.


If people aren't willing to admit that their identification with a sports team is arbitrary and meaningless, they certainly aren't going to admit that their race is just as meaningless.

Western society talks about equality of the races, says that race shouldn't be a factor in many aspects of our lives, and offers many other platitudes that generate warm fuzzy feelings. But tell any individual of a race different from yours that their race isn't important, that they shouldn't care about it, that there is no need for racial role models, or that their racial pride is unjustified: you will almost certainly be accused of racism. The fact is, everything you said was actually anti-racist, but people's natural us versus them mentality prevents them from thinking rationally.