Color Ñ Racial Hypocrisy
The state of Louisiana, which can lay claim to racism without subterfuges, had a simple dividing line, stating that 1 in 32 parts black ancestry was the cutoff. In the ignorant, old racist milieu, it may have been a method of gradation, but with our current modern knowledge of genetics and biology, we know that race is an artificial construct. The centuries of admixture of genes caused by indiscriminate cross breeding to use scientific terms has definitely made an African-American person a varying sample of genetic heterogeneity to be used as a homogeneous group for scientific epidemiology of a reliable nature. The few genes responsible for skin color, hair and similar physiognomy constitute less than a dozen of the 30000 genes and are known to vary independently of other genes causing high blood pressure, coronary heart disease etc. Environmental, dietary, lifestyle and socio-economic factors are major contributors to the prevalence and outcome of many diseases.
Any respectable, honest and knowledgeable editor of a veterinary journal would ridicule the merit of a study of diseases in a single breed of horses, dogs, which have a different coat color and yet medical journals quote statistics of varied diseases in blacks with brazen shamelessness and pretended erudition. There are indeed genetic differences between members of a given species (defined as capable of mating heterosexually to produce viable and fertile offspring) and gene frequencies and types can differ markedly in geographically isolated populations, but unless we know the precise locations and linkages of the few genes that give Africans their phenotype and study populations geographically and environmentally distinct, which also have equal access to adequate healthcare and other matched controls, these flawed pontifications reveal only the one truth, viz., our racist bias.
It is historically significant that the Indo-European tribes which came to India nearly 4000 years ago, chose the word varna or color for the caste system and spoke contemptuously of the nose-less (snub-nosed) indigenous folks, who were phallus worshippers. They also gave precious gold the name suvarna (good color) and thus the pathological obsession with the golden tan! Even today the matrimonial advertisements relentlessly reiterate the desire for fair skinned brides. The genius product of a one night stand between an old and lascivious sage (Parashar) and an accommodating nubile young fisherwoman (Satyavati or Matsyagandha), wrote Mahabharata, the soap opera extraordinaire, in which he made his namesake Krishna (black) the hero and a god and himself the biological, per via naturalis sperm donating patriarch of Hindu royalty. The universal fear of dark and black denoting danger and unknown, as opposed to bright and sunny giving security and life, changed the color of Krishna to blue. The bias is evident in the division of the month on the basis of the growing and fading moon as Shuklapaksha and Krishnapaksha. Shukla is a surname reserved for Brahmins.
What we need is some unsophisticated, observant and honest, innocent young person to fearlessly proclaim to the blind, fearful or sycophantic general American and Indian population, that these kings have no clothes and are shamefully naked to those who refuse to accept their garments of pretence and pretentiousness.
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Gaurang Bhatt, MD
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