Thursday, 18 October 2007

Pseudo-Scientific Racism Rears its Ugly Head....Again

Watson and Crick became household names for their Nobel Prize-winning breakthrough in the 1950's that revealed the structure of DNA as a double helix of its base pairs. This has been cited as paving the way for the rapid advancement of genetic research and indeed the Human Genome Project, which sought to map the DNA sequence (genome) of human beings. It is therefore terribly disconcerting that James Watson had the audacity to unashamedly and unjustifiably claim that Westerners are intellectually superior to people of African origin, as published in The Independent newspaper (17 th October 2007).

It is apalling that a scientist globally held in such high regard, propagates eugenics theory which unsurprisingly bears no evidence, when empirical evidence is the foundation for any scientific declaration. Unequivocally, Watson is exhibiting his personal prejudices and disguising them as scientific fact. Unfortunately it is farcical fodder like this that further propagates baseless racist ideology. The concept of race is a superficial social construct, with no scientific basis. These unjustified theories were historically used to fuel racist ideology and were ludicrously applied to justify colonialisation and the horrific and inhumane acts, of which trading Africans as commodites in the Slave Trade and the atrocities of Nazi Germany are perhaps the most widely recognised.

Let us come back to the basics -- are we not just one species - Homo Sapiens? Admittedly there is diversity in our species and pluralism in our individual identities. However, how this can be categorically used to create baseless hierachies misquoting genetics, more so by the supposed intellectuals in society beggars belief. Well, there you have it - even Nobel Laureates can get it so wrong.

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