Racism: Can we cancel it?

What is Racism?

We all think we know what racism is right? Well it’s actually a hotly debated subject right now. Some people consider “racism” to mean any prejudice, or differential treatment, of an individual or group, based on their race or ethnicity alone. To other people it means the ongoing oppression of “people of colour” by “white people”, over many generations, leading to an unfair system that disadvantages “people of colour”, from birth until death. In my opinion, the definition of racism is the former definition, and the latter is actually “systemic racism” specifically, previously known as “colonialism”. Everyone has their own understanding, as with any other word, and personal experience will play its part. In fact “people of colour” are only disadvantaged systemically in certain parts of the world, primarily those dominated by people of European heritage (including Eastern Europe and Russia, with Russia being the most racist “white country” on Earth). I personally find the terms “white people” and “black people” distasteful and polarising. “People of colour” is not much better, in truth, and “Caucasian” is very problematic, as it was coined as a term by a group of people who are thought to be “white supremacists”, and refers to the Caucus region of Europe, which is actually a very small area. It is a controversial term, despite being in common usage in the United States of America. (We love Wikipedia!)

Is referencing the appearance of an individual, in describing their entire being, that necessary in general? Is it only useful when attempting to document differential treatment of individuals, based on their ethnicity? We are seeing terms like “reverse racism” and “positive discrimination” crop up, to both describe mistreatment of “white people” by “people of colour”, and occasions where advantages are being given to “people of colour” by “white people” in power, respectively. We are also seeing the term “white privilege”, which describes the natural advantage that “white people” appear to enjoy, in comparison to “people of colour”, in countries where “white people” are in the majority. In India, their archaic “Caste system” is still felt to this day, although not initially based solely on skin colour, those with darker skin are still treated very badly in their society, and India is statistically the most colourist/racist country in the world. (Is that some more Wikipedia?)

In my opinion, the term “racism” is no longer very useful, in fact it is harmful. In Biology, there is no such thing as “race”. There are actually only seven taxonomic ranks, these being kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species. We are all human, and we are all the same species from the point of view of Biology. Ethnicity belongs more in the field of Anthropology, which is closely related to Geography, History and Sociology. There are many ethnicities of Europeans, Africans, Americans or Asians, and there are new ones being discovered all the time. The human genome project, and other endeavours such as 23andMe, have isolated thousands of distinct Ethnic groupings. We all have very minor differences in our DNA, some produce differences of appearance, and some mean we can or can’t drink milk or alcohol. Some differences give us major strengths, such as surviving high altitude conditions without succumbing to altitude sickness. Some people even have a gene that makes them run faster for longer, and this has been found in many professional athletes, from various ethnic backgrounds. Mutation is what causes these genetic differences, so we are all mutants. Some of our ancestors mutated lighter skin, some of them became shorter on average, or comparatively taller. Some of us are more prone to adipose development, some to muscle development. Some of us are near sighted, some of us are far sighted, and some even have perfect 20:20 vision. Curly or straight hair, blonde, brunette, black coloured hair, and of course gingers, who could forget the noble gingers, with their hair colour anywhere from strawberry blond to auburn.

Is Ginger a race?

Okay, lets pick on gingers for a moment, only because it is still safe to do so politically, and I actually count many redheads in my family and friends! Only around two percent of the world population is ginger, a true minority ethnic group, however in Ireland it is as high as ten percent. Most people with red hair are also fair skinned, and many of them have freckles. Gingers don’t go grey, they go blonder, they can go bald however! Ginger-haired and fair-skinned people are also usually very UV sensitive, burning easily in the sun, but they also produce a lot more vitamin D with little exposure to sunlight. In order to be a ginger, your parents both have to be carriers of the genetic mutation, as being ginger is a recessive trait. Most gingers will have brown eyes, then in order of mathematical likelihood, hazel, green, and rarest of all is blue eyes (ginger hair and blue eyes is the worlds rarest hair/eye colour combination), as being blue eyed is also a recessive trait. Ginger haired people have been treated badly throughout history, being buried alive by the Egyptians as a sacrifice to Osiris, being hated and feared by the ancient Greeks as vampires, being murdered en masse across Europe for practising black magic (from 1400-1700AD), and more recently, being banned from marrying each other by Hitler, he believed that they were demonic and wanted to prevent their demon infested offspring from being produced. (Oh look, a another Wikipedia link!)

These days, we know that redheads don’t really come from hell, they are not soulless beasts of Satan, we know that they are from somewhere in central Europe, probably near Hungary. They were known as Celts, or Picts by the Romans, and they mass migrated as a tribe from central Europe to Scotland and Ireland. There is a great deal of academic controversy around their origins, as, pre-agrarian peoples, being largely nomadic, they are difficult to trace.

The appearance of having red hair is mentioned in Ancient Greece, Ancient Egypt and even Mongolia. (Wait a minute, that’s not Wikipedia!?!)

It is therefore very difficult to pin down what period of history that the mutation occurred, and the characteristics of having red hair, fair skin, and freckles, producing more vitamin D, more likelihood of being left handed, and not going grey, appeared, either all at once, or gradually over a period of thousands of years. The Celts also developed a language that has survived until this day and is spoken in Scotland and Ireland as Gaelic (although there are differences between Irish and Scottish versions of this language that have occurred over the past six thousand years). They have a rich culture, with music, art and dance, and cuisine that is kept alive to this day, and has been shared with all people who have come to settle on their lands. They were one of the first peoples to settle on the British Isles, and have strongly influenced the culture of Britain and Ireland.

Okay, that’s enough about gingers, what does this have to do with racism? Well, gingers were historically marginalised, and still are to this day. They have been historically prejudiced, have suffered genocide, eugenics, have been despised, hated, feared, and mistreated. They still are mistreated, and suffer from prejudice, and they have done nothing to deserve this.

Is gingerism as bad as racism?

Although being redheaded is still not considered a race, or ethnicity by standards used to determine Racism. They demonstrate the fundamental issue behind the majority of prejudice, the cause of it, and maybe even the best way to deal with it. Before you continue to read this article, take a moment to remember that this is all my own opinion, and is in fact only that, if you disagree, that is completely okay by me. Please feel free to leave a well thought out and argued comment.

Okay, let us continue in good faith. All prejudice is a form of tribalism, a desire to belong to part of a whole, a larger organisational structure than just ourselves and our family. It originates within the family, and the extended family, and extends to the neighbouring families. We like being part of something, being included, and being one with our community. The other side of that shiny coin, is the dull, unpolished side, the fear and hatred of the “other”. We fear, and come to despise those who do not resemble us or our kin, if they are not our kind, we are not kind to them. We can even be cruel to them, and kill or enslave them, without the same moral repugnance of doing so to someone with a similar outward appearance to ourselves. This is natural, and instinctive. It has been normal for millions of years and it has kept us all very much alive, and also in separate tribes. If it was not for this compulsion and drive, we would not have spread across the globe, and evolved to be so different from each other in the first place.

Prejudice was incredibly powerful as a force for migration, and also as a tool to create a closer and tighter community, united in fear of the “other”. We learned cooperation, and coordination as a result, and as an evolutionary driving force, there is no other single instinct that has driven the development of civilization further than hatred of the “other”. One may argue that the technologies and inventions of man have been turned into weapons of war after the fact, but the drive to invent useful tools has always been to give us an advantage over the “other”, be that large predators of other species, or competing tribes of humans. Farming was developed to feed our community from the territory we hold, as we can’t enter the territory of the “other”, the hated, feared and despised “other”. This is just one example, and I could probably hypothesise how every invention that improves quality of life, or reduces labour, actually was driven by the need to compete with the “other”.

In the modern age, this is now a defunct and unnecessary throwback, and is regressive and repressive to our collective development as a species. We now need to work together on a larger scale than the small tribes we evolved to live in, we need to work together as a species, on a planet wide scale. We need to learn a new trait: “tolerance”. We have been learning this new skill for less than a century, only three generations. Some people are already getting really good at it, and I would like to include myself amongst them, and some people are still pretty bad at it. Overcoming our basic instincts, through education and training, is possible. The overwhelming majority of “haters”, or “people of hatred”, were just not reached in time, they were already exposed to positive re-enforcement of their hate, and maybe even negative feedback in reaction to their tolerance. They were taught not to play with those children when they were young, and heard them referred to with a hateful tone of voice, and slurs. Over the past three generations, the terms we use to describe different races have changed rapidly, and despite this article being one of historical information, I am not going to mention the terms or slurs that are no longer politically correct, and are now considered offensive. If you are truly interested in finding that information, it is available on other websites, and can be found easily. In my lifetime, the terms that are acceptable in polite conversations have changed at least twice, I am only in my mid-thirties and I struggle to use only the correct terms. I fully empathise with those who are older, of my parent’s or grandparent’s generation, and older, who simply can’t remember which of the many terms they have used is now the correct one. In fact, you could argue that to expect older people to use the currently politically correct term, and to think and behave like the society of the day, is ageism. I will probably write more about this in another article.

I feel like the term “reverse racism” that is currently being used by some “white people” to describe their poor treatment by “black people” is incorrect. I don’t doubt that after years of suffering from oppression from “white people”, some “people of colour” may still consider all “white people” to be their oppressors, despite not participating in the oppression directly, simply benefiting from their “white privilege” and having “white guilt” and treat them with disdain. This is still racism. Racism is not a word that is singularly describing “white to black” mistreatment or ill will. “Black people” can be racist towards “White people”, or even “mixed race” individuals. Genuine “reverse racism” is when an individual or organisation would treat “Black people” and “White people” the same, despite there being a good and valid reason not to. A great example of this is actually healthcare. Minor variations of genetics have given us minor variances of our physiology. I am not simply talking about height, weight and shoe sizes, there are genetic diseases, and weaknesses, that modern medicine often does not take into account when diagnosing illness, or treating it. Gender is also largely ignored, and the same treatments that are prescribed to men are often prescribed to women, despite their obviously different physiologies. That would be “reverse sexism”. More on that story in my piece about gender, sex, and everything in between your legs. There are differences in insulin levels, average blood glucose levels and even blood pressure between various ethnicities. Body temperatures are different between ethnicities, and certain medicines are more or less effective or harmful based on ethnicity. Ginger people require more anaesthetic to put them under for surgery, and yet less morphine to reduce pain from injury. The fact that western medicine does not always take this all into account, or even commission studies to find out more about it is an example of “reverse racism”. The idea that studying the differences between ethnicities is racist or eugenics is not new, it will usually eventually be compared to the work done by German scientists under the Nazi regime. In order to not be “racist”, medical science has become “reverse racist”, treating all ethnicities the same with medical treatment, often to the detriment of the patients.

A more relatable example of “reverse racism” is that most “European white people” don’t eat food that is quite as spicy as those on other continents, and to accommodate for this, when they order food from a restaurant in Asia for example, they may be asked if they want it local style or more mild? This is to make sure that they can actually eat it and enjoy it. This is “positive discrimination” in a way. They may even offer European or European American patrons a fork, knowing that they could struggle to eat with chopsticks. In less touristic areas, a white European or European American visitor could be served food that they can’t comfortably eat, with utensils they can’t use, and left hungry and in pain! This is of course based on real cultural phenomena, yet the basis is apparent ethnicity or race. We are trying to “cancel” racism, remove it entirely from our global culture, yet it is deep seated, and woven into it. It is difficult to extract something that is such as fabric of our reality, but we are still trying to pull it, kicking and screaming, from our world, and it is a painful process. I suggest, humbly, that instead of this painful excise of “ethnic prejudice”, we try to focus on teaching the next generation tolerance. Tolerance is the skill that is lacking in the world, and it comes naturally with understanding. We need to spread understanding, help people understand that they are actually more similar than different, that they have nothing to fear from each other, that if we cooperate fully, we will prosper together.


It’s Not The End Of The World!

(I began writing this article in February 2020)

Maybe it is though? You know, the apocalypse? I see more and more natural disasters, getting more and more extreme in nature. There are fires, floods, earthquakes, droughts, diseases, and war, constant war, constantly on the increase, escalating, and we can seemingly do nothing about it. Well apparently, we can give up air travel and stop eating meat. I tried this, I stopped flying for about 3 years, and instead got the ferry to see my parents who live in Ireland. This takes a total of 16 hours, instead of the 3 hour bus and the half an hour flight. I calculated the fuel used, and the carbon output, and the flight is better for the environment, so I started flying again.

I stopped eating meat for about a month. I also stopped eating cheese, butter, milk, and eggs, or to better describe it, I went what is known as vegan. It was not fun. I was mainly doing it for the environment, and not for the welfare of animals, but it was worthy of a personal experiment. It was difficult, and not as enjoyable as other vegans made out. I also became exposed to the issue of palm oil, which is used in every product ever that used to contain butter or other forms of vegetable oil, because it is cheaper. It is cheaper because it is produced in developing countries on land that was once part of the natural habitat of many endangered species such as orangutans. I now simply eat less animal products than I used to, extreme solutions are not easy, and don’t even have an impact on those around me enough to save the world.

There is always Mars right? Well in a few decades, we will have established a “colony” of sorts on Mars. The people there will be suffering worse than vegans on Earth. First of all, they will be vegan, straight away, we need to establish that there will be no cows on Mars, probably never. Nutritional yeast will be the closest to meat that any Martian settler will taste until we have lived there for a few generations. The air will be pretty clean though, because it will be cleaned regularly, by filters, and re-oxygenated by plants or algae…

(I have continued writing this article again in November 2020 as I have suddenly found the willpower to discuss the theoretical apocalypse while living through a very real one!)

Okay, Now it’s the end-times!

Forget Mars, we are too late! The VIRUS! It was a plague after all! So I kind of suspected that Coronavirus, or as it is now know COVID19 would spread. Especially since nobody did very much to stop it, well apart from China and South Korea, who by now have it under control. It spread throughout Europe, is now global and it looks like it is here to stay until we can find a vaccine. Will it end humanity? Well no, but it will radically change the way we live. We were already using the Internet to shop for bargains, now we do it to shop for milk, bread and eggs (unless they have run out of eggs that is!). Everyone is now working from home a lot more, and this is actually a bonus prize from the point of view of an environmentalist, as the carbon footprint of commuting has been drastically reduced. However, the majority of carbon produced is for the production of domestic electricity, and having just taken a meter reading, I can definitely attest to the fact that domestic energy consumption has sky-rocketed!

So when do we go back to life as normal, the way things used to be? Will we be wearing masks everywhere for decades to come? Well we don’t have definitive answers to those questions, but there is always a theory, and my theory is that this is yet another pivotal point in human history. Just like when we landed on the Moon, or when penicillin was discovered, we will not be going back to how things were before. People will probably still keep shopping online for the basic groceries, going to the grocery store to buy food will seem like too much of a chore to do regularly, and may even be seen as a fun day out for some! Travelling to work will definitely seem a lot less appealing than it ever was before, even for people who carried on commuting throughout the pandemic. Not having to battle with so much traffic, or other passengers on public transport, will have been a welcome change that they will sorely miss if it goes away again. The time spent commuting has already been spent by most people, they have extra time in bed, or with loved ones, maybe even taking up a new hobby. People are going to miss having their own kitchens to prepare their lunch, and not having to worry about colleagues stealing their sandwiches. Office workers are going to miss wearing pyjamas all day, and their business wear will feel more restrictive and uncomfortable than before. Men will have to get used to wearing a tie (and shaving) again, and women will have to get used to wearing a bra (and shaving) again.

I theorise that employees will want to keep working from home, for the most part. Some will be glad to get back into the office and away from their spouse/kids/neighbours/pets so that they can concentrate on their work! These will be in the minority however, and if they are, they may not even get the chance to go back to the office. What do we do with all of these unnecessary offices then? What about all those office chairs and ergonomic keyboards? Well the offices could be used to grow food, or even be converted into apartments, and the equipment will probably be re-purposed somehow. I truly hope that it doesn’t all end up in landfill to become some future archaeologist’s pet project. Schools will evolve, not everything can be taught online with video conferencing, art for example will require resources and materials, so will science, not everyone will have beakers, conical flasks and a Bunsen burner at home. So the way we educate children may change forever, kids were already able to access everything they could learn at school on the Internet anyway, this is just a push towards decentralised learning. There are people already discussing this in relation to Agenda 21 and even calling it The Great Reset.

So apocalypse means the end of how things are, then we are definitively in an apocalypse, and despite all the people dying from a deadly virus, things aren’t that bad. Well obviously I haven’t mentioned the race war happening in the (less and less) United States of America, that may or may not lead to a full blown civil war. There is actually too much to discuss both matters in one article, so I will leave it up to interested readers to pursue this on another article, hopefully published before it actually happens, unlike this one!


Forget About Global Warming!

Wait, what is global warming?

Global warming, or man made climate change might be the greatest disaster to ever befall humanity, it could wipe us all out and cause human extinction completely. However, it could all be a complete misinterpretation of the facts, according to some people, and blown out of proportion. Okay then, let’s forget Global warming and ignore all the climate scientists. What about the health implications of using fossil fuels? Well we know that a lot of the particulates from burning fossil fuels are unpleasant to breathe in, and there have been numerous studies that link the emissions from petroleum and coal burning to cancer, and other respiratory diseases. All of these studies are relatively conclusive, however, there is a difficulty in isolating people who do not breathe in the exhaust gasses from the burning of fossil fuels altogether as a control. Almost every human on Earth has either been exposed, or is part of an uncontacted tribe and therefore unavailable for sampling, so let’s completely disregard any health implications from the burning of fossil fuels. What about the detrimental effect on the natural environments we acquire our fuel from? Oil spills, deforestation, chemical pollution and of course, acidification of the seas, all pretty nasty stuff and very well documented. We could investigate this further, but let’s put that to one side for now, and imagine that it is all a drop in the proverbial and literal ocean.

How about the economic impact? Capitalism is currently a model of perpetual or even exponential growth, fuelled primarily by a resource that is finite, and actually scarce. Fossil fuels are not in great supply, they are buried in the ground, and there is a fixed amount of them. Then we burn them and they are gone forever. There will come a time when we have gotten every last whiff of gas, drop of oil and lump of coal from the subterranean deposits, and those under the ocean. When this time comes, we will either be completely powerless, in the most literal sense, or we will be unconcerned because we have already developed a robust infrastructure of alternative power sources. With an economy built on a power source that will inevitably exhaust, surely there will come a point of hyper-inflation, when the price of everything will be based on the rising price of the fuel required to produce it and move it. We have experienced this already, when the production costs of oil were inexpensive, the price of everything we consume was very low and the world economy grew steadily. Then when supplies run lower, the price of oil goes up and so does the price of everything else. Consumers become more hesitant to spend, the global economy fluctuates wildly, and people lose their jobs as whole industries crash, all because we can’t find enough oil.

Of course there is always a war, but wars over oil have a global impact. The majority of oil comes from a region of the world where the most armed conflict takes place. Countries unite against countries, cultures turn against cultures, and people even fight in the street over a few gallons of fuel. Humans have always had battles over resources, but the scale we are currently experiencing such conflict is massive. The past forty years of human history have been marred by conflict over oil, from the Falklands, Gulf War 1 and Gulf War 2, to the current civil unrest in Venezuela. Nobody is being killed to build solar panels, or forced to flee an area being used to erect windmills. There are however hydro-power refugees, as unfortunately whole regions have been flooded to create hydro-electric dams in China. Recently the Chinese government has improved the compensation packages to such “Hydromigrants”, so that they can start new lives, often in much better circumstances than they had before.

When the last lump of coal burns to create electricity, either the lights go out, or we have already switched to renewable methods for generating this power. If the companies and conglomerates that currently make their fortunes digging energy out of the ground, all started developing alternatives now, they will continue to compete in the new renewable economy, however different it may be. If they choose to ride their current wave of success into the ground, then we, the people who need this power, will suffer the consequences. Power, however, is only one part of the problem.

Forget Microplastic Pollution!

Plastic is not just a problem in terms of it polluting the ocean, we also use it for lots of applications where it is almost irreplaceable. We have invented millions of items, and devices, that need to be made out of plastic in order for them to work. Almost all of the plastic used today to make the things we need, comes from the petrochemical and fossil fuel industry. It is a by-product of the refinement of crude oil, into petroleum and diesel fuels and natural gas processing. Materials science has some ideas on how to replace plastic, as recycling only means we will have a slightly longer period between running out of oil, and running out of plastic. Silicon and carbon are two of the most abundant elements in the universe, and also two of the most useful when it comes to developing alternatives to plastics. Organic polymers are being developed that are biodegradable, however one of the most useful applications of plastic is as a food packaging, which means that biodegradable packaging is not so useful if it could react with the food it is in contact with, or biodegrade before we get a chance to eat its contents. The alternative to plastic packaging could actually be no packaging. In fact a number of supermarkets are trialling “fill your own” stations where customers pay for their product by weight and simply fill their own containers. The downside of this is of course the need to bring an empty container to the store when purchasing your goods, and of course clearing up spillages when customers inevitably make a mess of getting their goods into the container.

Whatever the solution to the ever reducing supply of plastic, we have already created a massive problem of plastic in the ocean which will need to be dealt with. There is research being done on microbes that can eat it, chemicals that can break it down, or skimmers that will literally sweep it all up. Until then, it is breaking down into tiny pieces, being eaten by fish and other sea creatures, and then being eaten by us. There is no telling what kind of health effects this is having on humans, we are consuming micro-plastics, but they are often staying inside us. If archaeologists of the future dig us up, they will see all of these pieces of plastic and refer to our time period as the “Plastic Age”. Alternatively we will effectively eradicate all evidence of the harm we have done to the environment, and the future historians will have no physical evidence of our existence at all.

Hopefully we will develop alternatives to plastic before we run out of it, and the same with oil, coal, and natural gas. We need alternatives, not just because of the negative environmental impact of using these resources, not just for our health, but because they are, very soon, going to deplete. Well, there is always a theory…

Hypothesis Ideology Lost Cause Opinion Theory

Hello world!

What’s This All About?

Welcome to There is Always a Theory, a project still very much under development, and underdeveloped by Michael Wharton (MikeSynonymous). What began several years ago as a personal web blog, has evolved into a journal of sorts, where lots of people (hopefully), are free to express their thoughts, theories, opinions and ideas about how the world works, or how it should work. Contributors are either friends, relatives, or even people I have never met, who have submitted an article through the website. I do not fully agree with all the thoughts, theories, hypotheses, opinions or ideas expressed on this website, but I do wholeheartedly enjoy reading them, and commenting on them! We welcome all kinds of theory, from political, to scientific, or socio-economic, academic, or even your personal ideas on how Harry Potter should have ended.

We have no organisation just yet, and there may be a good deal of sorting out and archiving to do once we have a lot of articles to read, I’m sure as our readers, you would like to read a lot of similar articles, or even to read articles that are contemporary to each other chronologically. In fact, as I write this, there are no articles, contributors or authors but myself. This is hopefully the first of many posts, and for now, while we are limited in budget, we are using WordPress (am I really still using the royal we when I just told you that it is still just me?).

What’s With The Name?

So There is Always a Theory, or is there? Well for as long as information exists, there are ways to interpret that information, and the Universe contains intelligent life capable of interpreting the information into hypotheses and theories.

Therefore; there is always a theory only as long as there are people. People form theories all the time. When you cross the street, you see the moving cars, you take in the data and you analyse if it is safe to cross or not. You form a hypothesis and you decide that it is safe hypothetically, then you test your hypothesis in an experiment and form your overall theory of when it is safe to cross the road. Your theory may differ from that of others, you may only cross at a pedestrian crossing, only when the green man is showing you that it is safe, you may weave in between the cars like you are Neo in the Matrix dodging bullets, but everyone forms theories, all the time.

Do you think there is always a theory? Why not write an article, propose your theory, opinion, hypothesis, analysis, or maybe you have written a review of a movie, or a political diatribe, well submit it anyway, we are more than likely to publish it if it is well written, and maybe even if it isn’t! We can’t pay you any money, but you can impress your friends with your credentials as a published writer! We want people to read your article as much as you do, so we will promote it, link to it, tweet it, and comment on it.

There Is Always A Theory does not endorse hate speech, we promote critical thinking, juxtaposition, debate, discussion, argument, disagreement, retort, Myth-busting, rational thought, irrational thought, criticism, and general banter, but without hate, insult, flaming, defamation, condescension, bigotry, prejudice, ignorance or general nastiness. We also like to try and keep an open mind.