Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Whitest Show On Earth

I'm not in it, but I've made a cameo. My ancestors on both sides of the family come from near Ground Zero of the Blonde Map of Europe. Don't ask me why I tan so well.

I guess I better warn you right now that I'm going to use the "n" word later in a joke. I'm also going use the "j" word as well. If I remember to, I might even use the "r " word too. Hopefully, it will be a not too harmful usage, as it is meant to be a joke, but I'm sure some will be offended regardless. This is a preemptive apology, but we'll see how it turns out.

Anyways, I recently read an article on the US census about how, at least in America, the category of "white" is fairly flexible and amorphous, and increasingly inclusive over time. I'm sure a fictional and revisionist account would go something like "Well, at one time only the Anglo-Saxons were considered white, but then as more and more people immigrated from Europe and insinuated themselves into our society, the category was stretched to include Germans, French, Irish, Poles, Spaniards, Italians (I guess), etc." In other words, it looks like we have to include the non-blonde-haired, non-blue-eyed, light-to-swarthy complected people into the club.

I doubt this occurred in Europe, where pretty much everyone is white, but I suppose if you view white as a class, you might get away with this type of account here in America. 

My own thoughts on the matter? There is the Nation of Islam account about how 6,600 years ago, a mad scientist named Yakub, of the tribe of Shabazz, created the white devil race by sequestering 59,999 black people on the island of Patmos, and slowly breeding the black elements out of them. 

Interestingly, the mutations for light complected eyes and hair are about that old, dating to around 7,000 year ago. I suppose before then, there were no white people. Do I believe that (the Nation of Islam account)? No. I just note the coincidence - with no small amount of irony. 

In any case, it is interesting how such an unscientific term as whiteness can be treated as so real. Well, social constructs are like that. There might be a pseudo-scientific rational behind it, through the use of genetics. I mentioned in a prior entry, how once I participated in the Genographic Project. Turns out my family belongs to haplogroup I1, typically considered the Northern Barbarians.  If you want to talk  about belonging to a fake category of whites, I don't see how you really can get any whiter. If I ever wished to form some dipshit white supremacist club, I could say to pretty much every dipshit white supremacist who wanted to join "Nope, sorry. Not white enough for me".

Anyways, there was some speculation in our family as to whether we were Jewish. It turns out that the name Kurman is, according to all of our Jewish friends, "Jewish as hell". Well, yes, if you happen to be a Kurman from southern Germany, Switzerland, or Austria, then chances are very good you are Jewish.

But we are from the Mecklenberg region of Germany. Up on the Baltic Sea coast north of Berlin, right next to Denmark and Poland. There are Kurmans in Denmark, and in the West Pommeranian district of Poland. In fact, Kurman can be an Iranian name, or a Turkic name, or a Mongolian name. I very much doubt there is a family connection there. 

So, here comes the science to set up the joke. There is, as far as I am concerned, absolutely no doubt that every single one of us humans can trace our ancestry back to Africa, some 60,000 years ago. And there is good evidence that the majority of Ashkenazi Jews have Y-chromosome (male ancestry) that traces back to the Middle East pretty rapidly (3,000 years give or take). One of the genographic tests I took was the Y-chromosome test (male lineage) which showed we were in Northern Europe for the past 20,000 years.

When I got the results back, I told the family: 

"I got good news and bad news". 
"What's the good news?"
"We're not Jews."
"What's the bad news?"
"We're niggers."

Well, it's not exactly a thigh slapper, but it is intended to recognize, in a weird and twisted way, my solidarity with the rest of humanity, a shared origin, regardless of false distinctions. 

Take it as you will, my cousins.

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