I’ve wanted to touch on the subjects of ethnicity, nationality, heritage and race for awhile now so I should thank Nobel Prize winning DNA pioneer, James Watson, for the kick in the pants.
While no one would, could, or should, mistake me as a student of any scientific discipline (outside of figuring poker odds), I am still qualified enough to have my own opinion on his “learned” opinion: He’s a racist. After reading some of the quotes he gave in a recent interview, I am also rethinking my opinion on the Nobel Prize selection committee.
But back to the news surrounding this mad scientist. I don’t know, maybe its just me, but it seems his beliefs do not reflect those of any decent, sane, moderately educated human being.
After being quoted in The (London) Sunday Times saying that he was “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa” because “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really”, Dr Watson added that he hoped everyone was equal, but that “people who have to deal with black employees find this is not true”.
Anybody else feel like they need a shower after reading that? Yuck, gross. I’ve always had trouble wrapping my brain around most scientific concepts anyway, but forgive me if I hold my nose and keep this one at arm’s length like a dirty diaper.
Watson, in London to promote a new book, was subsequently forced to return to New York after his longtime employer, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Long Island, relieved him of his duties because of his apparent views.
Afterward he did engage in some damage control, a little backpedaling, with a dash of denial; you know those out-of-context mis-quotes.
I would like to think that foul viewpoints like his are going the way of the human bodies they occupy- eventually cremated or buried six feet under. However, even with the demise of those, “that’s-the-way-it’s-always-been” old-timers, there still seems to be more than enough racists to go around. Subcultures of myopic prejudice and “they don’t look/act/live like us” paranoia are prevalent enough to encounter almost every day.
As an unwilling spy in their midst, I have learned to maintain my composure while seething with protective anger or sighing with dumbfounded incredulity. I’ve had people who considered me a friend tell me things about their own belief systems that I detest. Apparently they think I am part of their “old boys network” and let their guard down.
But they need to get a clue. Before they spew the hate, they need to look at me and know that………. my ancestry is African. And then they should look in a mirror…….because so is their’s.