DNA and Race

PLoS ONE, an open source way of publishing science and medicine studies and research, has an interesting article about the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of people on the Melanesian Islands.

It may not be all that good news for Young Earth Creationists though, as this study looks at the islands which were settled 40,000 years ago – more than thirty thousand years before God created the Earth. Also, it may help to undermine the concept of significant racial differences between people from different continents. It appears this group of people are among the most genetically diverse in the world, with variations being based on the size of their home island and the language they speak. This is from the abstract:

Melanesian populations are known for their diversity, but it has been hard to grasp the pattern of the variation or its underlying dynamic. Using 1,223 mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences from hypervariable regions 1 and 2 (HVR1 and HVR2) from 32 populations, we found the among-group variation is structured by island, island size, and also by language affiliation. The more isolated inland Papuan-speaking groups on the largest islands have the greatest distinctions, while shore dwelling populations are considerably less diverse (at the same time, within-group haplotype diversity is less in the most isolated groups). (Friedlaender JS et al. (2007) Melanesian mtDNA Complexity. PLoS ONE 2(2): e248. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000248)

As the differences from one island to the next are quite large here, it seems somewhat trivial to try and identify differences between one continent and the next as being significant. Eat that Jade Goody.

Great anti-Celebrity Big Brother invective

Apparently having become obsessed with the Celebrity Big Brother racism (Help me, please, quickly), in common with the rest of the country, I have been really impressed by the capacity of bloggers to express creative rage.

Here are a couple of quotes from blogs that I enjoyed for the viciousness of their invective.

Seriously though, a ‘Lord of the Flies’-style gang of filthy dimwitted scrubbers, jealously attacking a successful and beautiful Indian woman over her ‘filthy’ eating habits (i.e. eating with her fingers), calling her ‘the Indian’ and telling her to “get back to the slums”, to “fuck off home” on the grounds that “she can’t even speak English properly” : THIS is something that a national television channel is airing, and defending as NOT being racist? (from http://godfreylazarus.blogspot.com/2007/01/more-big-bitch-nonsense.html)

I want to expand on this point, since this year the cruelty behind reality television has been clearly demonstrated by the racist remarks directed at Shilpa Shetty, a Bollywood actress whose main crimes appear to be “being a bit snooty” (no surprise, she’s the only person left in who’s actually famous somewhere in the world), “eating with her fingers” (apparently the complainants have never eaten a burger in their life), “talking in a funny voice” (according to a Scouser and Jade Goody) and being a “Paki bitch” (in the charming words of Goody’s boyfriend Jack Whohe? There has been some debate over whether he actually said “Paki”, incidentally – the first word was bleeped out. Channel 4 somewhat unconvincingly maintain the bleeped word was “cunt” (http://parma-violets.livejournal.com/192564.html) The rest of this blog article is dead funny and true.

There were lots of other good rants, mostly by people who don’t actually watch Big Brother, but that category must include most of the non-medicated population between the ages of 18 and 85.

Jade out-voted. Wahay.

Hopefully, the last word on the Celebrity Big Brother garbage. I see from the BBC site that the unpleasant Jade Goody has been voted off. Well that’s one good thing. (I had imagined hordes of racist morons voting for her.)

Is it too late to say that scapegoating someone like her doesn’t actually address the fact of endemic racism?

Casual racism exposed

The uproar over Celebrity Brother is fascinating in itself. It’s obviously succeeded in dragging back attention to a tv show that can yield several degress of watchability to the test card.

THere was a great blog from TW here about the Big Brother fiasco.  (http://www.whydontyou.org.uk/blog/2007/01/17/racism-on-big-brother/) It says it all but I still feel like adding my proverbial tuppenorth.

I have actually watched one of these programmes. It does indeed reek of casual mindless racism. I  also watched a very old Celebrity Big Brother series (both in someone else’s house, I insist on adding, for the salke of my self-respect) in which  Chris Eubank, a black boxer,  was subjected to the same sort of behaviour, from people who were at least less blatantly moronic as these appalling women, no apparent outcry. Chris eubank was the first person ever to  to be evicted from CBB.

Ironically, in both cases the contestants who were subjected to this racially based exclusion behaved with an almost incredible degree of  forbearance. Chris Eubank seemed the only person in his house with any idea of a separation between a stage persona and a therapy session. He was calm and witty at all times. He wore silly outfits as a public-pleasing act. It didn’t work. He was obviously too sane for the house and must have struck a nerve with the largely moronic sector of the public who actually spend money on voting for these things.

These bitchy “celeb” women are not just morons. They were clearly threatened by a woman who is naturally beautiful,  seems normally intelligent. and appears to have done something (acting) to become a “celeb.”  The attackers have no claim on being known other than to have  copped off with a footballer to win a beauty contest or to have exhibit ed their awe-inspiring stupidity on national television.

However, their attitudes are not unique. Jade Goody’s boyfriend was  casually racist enough for a dozen wags in the bit that i had the misfortune to watch.  He didn’t even have the excuse of being a comically outclassed female.

I take issue with any approach that involves pretending that this casual racism is unique to these people and that hiding it will make it go away. If anything, this trash tv has done a service by showing the truly repulsive inature of British racism, which is unfortunately not confined to the people at the back of the queue when the mental and spititual gifts were being given out.

The very media that are now pillorying  a few backward  girls for giving the game away are the ones that are creating a climate of division. A trawl through the BBC’s own blog site about a woman wearing a burkha left me stunned with shock at the casually racist content of almost all the posts. 

Clearly our anti-racism strategies aren’t working. With apologies for pontificating, I’ll take this up in the next blog.

Racism on Big Brother

Loathe though I am to say anything about Big Brother, and I certainly don’t watch it, it has managed to force it’s way onto the nightly news as the “headline” item.

The crux as I see it, is that three or four of the morons Celebrity housemates have been racially abusing the Indian housemate. The news on now is talking about record number of complaints, questions asked at parlimentary question time and apparent outrage in India. (Read more on the BBC site)


This is undiluted madness. Yes, some of the retards in the house are racist. The clip the news has shown is (famous for little more than having an IQ on a par with a rotting tomato) hurling some abuse at Shilpa Shetty. Now, I am sure there are some people who live under a rock and I am sorry to have spoilt their impressions of the world, but there are racist people around. Most of them (sadly, not all) are the under-educated, low IQ denizens of high density housing estates. She fits this category perfectly and the only reason this embarrassment for the human race has ever come close to being a celebrity is because she has willingly demonstrated her idiocy on national television in the past.

One of the comments on the BBC amused me:

Housemates Jade Goody, Danielle Lloyd and Jo O’Meara have been seen making fun of Shetty’s accent.

Now anyone who has heard any of those three talk would be able to see the pure, unadulterated, irony in that alone.

Now this upset about racism, in itself, is not madness. If the programme offends you then don’t watch it. I doubt any one who is not already racist will be tempted to follow Ms Goody down that path because of the shining example she sets children. If anything from the bits the news has shown, the way Ms Shetty has handled the abuse is far more likely to work wonders in combating racism. The news clips have shown Ms Shetty in a very positive manner, she appears to always be calm, collected and rational – not to mention head and shoulders above her opponents in the intelligence stakes.

But, as with all things today, politicians are in on the act. As a result, common sense takes a little holiday and people start calling for madness. Throw in some Indian subcontinent rabble rousing and you get pictures of Indian protesters burning effigies (no idea what they are supposed to be of – they were all on fire).

The things which interest me are the demands that Channel 4 should have edited out the racism. Why? If Ms Shetty has to suffer it, why should her honourable behaviour be hidden from the audience? This would also have had the effect of masking the racist idiocy displayed by her detractors, meaning when it comes to the vote, the public would not be aware of how truly scum-like they are. Imagine the impact and opinion on Ms Shetty if, upon her release, she realised that this abuse had been hidden and one of her detractors was the winner! This is the problem with “reality TV” – it is sometimes too much reality for people. I suspect they only want the reality to be heavily sanitised where they only get the results of specially selected “zany” characters. Shame on the viewers.

More worrying are the politicians comments. Take this from the redoubtable Gordon Brown (as reported on the BBC site):

Mr Brown said that the issue had been raised repeatedly during his trip to the country, adding: “I want Britain to be seen as a country of fairness and tolerance. Anything detracting from this I condemn.”

I am concerned about this. It is not just Mr Brown who talks like this but pretty much all of them on both sides of the house. The emphasis always seems to be the country should be seen as one which is fair and tolerant. This heads back to the cries for censoring the outbursts. This strikes me as just trying to sweep the problem under the carpet. Let people admit that there are racist idiots in the UK and we can investigate how to deal with them and educate them. If we hide it and keep up the pretence that Britain is all nice and fluffy the problem will never go away.

On a similar vein, there are calls to boycott Carphone Warehouse (sponsors) and the program and the channel etc. All this is because people are suddenly ashamed to have to admit to the scum in their midst. I say dont boycott Carphone Warhouse (I mean, it’s not as if they chose the contestants) but certainly exercise your right to choice when it comes to the failed celebrities. If anything, say thank you C4 / Endemol / Big Brother / Carphone Warehouse for making “us” aware that these three failures were as racist as they are.