I’ve been reading a few items on genetics recently and have also run across some assorted blog articles on the topic at Gene Expression. I must admit it’s caused much thoughtful daydreaming on my part: enough, perhaps, for several articles. For now I’ll settle on one item.
Race simply doesn’t matter much any more and is becoming less and less of an issue as each generation goes by. The US Census showed interracial marriage accelerated drastically in the last decade in America; and I have it on the best of anecdotal data from fellow editor Perry de Havilland the same is true in London.
I think I know why.
Let’s look at the generations of the last century. In a personal sense I can “reach back” to 1910 when my grandparents were born. From there I can follow the evolution of attitudes over 20 year generational intervals.
1910-1930: This generation grew up with racism as a philosophically backed reality of every day life. The underpinnings of the Nazi Aryan hypothesis were everywhere and were not just a Nazi invention. Adolph the Paper-Hanger didn’t really invent much. He just dipped into the turn of the century philosophy and ripped the arse out of it. This is not to say the Western World was Nazi or that my grandparents were; only that all existed within the same philosophical milieu.
1930-1950.: This generation was taught racism from the cradle, but grew up with World War II. They saw the horrors of the previous generation’s ideas taken to their most utterly extreme conclusion and had no choice but to reject them. Thereafter they were like church goers who have no faith but attend because mommy and daddy did, and continue to live the values they were taught because it is what they know. Ideas in motion tend to stay in motion.
1950-1970: The generation of Woodstock. They were given a very watered down version of racism from their parents and easily rejected it because there was nothing behind it. Their parents racism was a hollow sham. Even their parents were losing faith as they grew older. The only thing holding back interracial marriage was an unwillingness to face the family nightmare that would ensue from grandparents and parents. This shows up in songs: Janis Ian’s hit “Society’s Child” and the later song by the Stories, “Brother Louie” come easily to mind.
1970-1990: Their parents had lusted after members of other races but didn’t do anything much about it. What little racism they recieved from mom and dad was a pass through of deference to the grandparents. When they came of age in the 90’s they started miscenegating like rabbits – thus the Census results.
We can expect this trend to simply accelerate until there are no “races” in the US, UK, Canada and many other Western nations.
I accept that my generation limits are arbitrary, but almost any cohort blocking you chose will still grow up with the above period-piece home environments. Some regions will be time-shifted one way or the other, so not everyone will “be here now”. I’m discussing trends, not particulars.
Race as a basis for pretty much anything is a dead issue in 2002. The Tranzis’ just won’t let us bury the corpse.