Ethnicity: Unrecognized Fatal Disease Belayneh Abate
Ninety nine percent of the humans’ gene has counterpart in the rats’ gene. This fact demonstrates how strongly rats are genetically related to humans. More importantly, this genetic relationship heralds what a negligible gene difference exists among us.
Despite this strong genetic link, we slaughter rats in the laboratories and fields. We do not stop there: Every minute, we ethnically kill each other.
The ethnicity sword slaughtered several million Jewish Europeans, and nearly a million Rwandan Tutsis. As we speak, ethnicity- related killings are committed in Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria and many other African countries. Furthermore, because of ethnic conflicts, millions face natural disasters; and suffer from medical and metal diseases.
Therefore, ethnicity should be considered as a disease like, malaria, AIDs and cancer. Although no international disease classification code is assigned to it, ethnicity is one of the major causes of death. I presume ethnicity kills more lives than malaria, AIDS and cancer kill.
The question, however, is: can ethnicity get investigated like malaria, AIDS and cancer. Is it detectable by sense organs or laboratory tests? Ethnicity is usually linked with language, religion and tradition. Is ethnicity a reflection of language? Is it a religious or ritual practice like Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism?
Is ethnicity inherited like skin color and hair texture or acquired like language and religion? Does ethnicity posses a center in the brain like language or it connected to super natural power like religion? Can we hear it the way we hear spoken language? Can we practice it the way we practice religion and traditions? Is ethnicity limited in time and space or is it ever lasting and universal?
Suppose child” H” from Hutu, and child”T” from Tutsi were adapted since infancy; and they were raised in the United States. They practice no religion or tradition, but speak English. Suppose they return to live in Rwanda. Up on arrival, they find nothing in common with the Hutus and Tutsis except their physical appearance. Based on language, religion and tradition criteria, they could not qualify the definition of Hutu or Tutsi ethnicity. Should they take the ethnicity of their biological parents?
Biological parents bestow to their children traits such as skin color and hair texture. H’s and T’s skin color may not change significantly whether they live in USA or Rwanda. Similarly, their hair texture will remain the same irrespective of geographical location. These facts demonstrate that unlike language and tradition, phenotype (appearance) is relatively a permanent trait.
Therefore, should their physical appearance (phenotype) serve as criteria to categorize H and T as ethnic Hutu and Tutsi? Is not their phenotype the expression of their genetic makeup? Should we use their genes as tools to identify their ethnic group? Is there such thing as Hutu or Tutsi gene? Of course, there is no one!
In conclusion, ethnicity cannot be determined based on language, region, tradition, gene or a combination these traits. In fact, ethnicity cannot be determined because it does not exist: Ethnicity is just an illusion.
In order to explore the sources of this illusion, I have read Descartes, Aristotle, Locke, Hobbs, Hume and contemporary writers on this subject such as Anthony Appiah and Laurence Blume. No one has proved the existence of ethnicity.
Laurence Blume was right when he argued conquerors created racialized groups to impose social, political and economical costs up on them*. Colonizers fabricated ethnicity germs (like weapons) to pursue their divide and rule strategy. The conquerors spread these germs first to the susceptible members of f the conquered society. These susceptible members consist of traitors, tyrants and ethnocentric group leaders.
These traitors, tyrants and ethnocentric group leaders serve as ethnicity vectors (transmitters) for the ethnicity germs. As the malaria mosquitoes proliferate in the ponds of the earth, the ethnicity mosquitoes flourish in the ponds of colonialism. Similarly, as the malaria mosquitoes suck blood to disseminate the parasites; the ethnicity mosquitoes draw blood, language and religion lines to spread the ethnicity germs.
Ethnicity mosquitoes exist everywhere in the world, but they are densely populated in Africa. The prototype ethnicity mosquito in Africa was the late Ethiopia’s tyrant, aka Zenawi. He relentlessly propagated ethnicity germs; and sliced the never-conquered nation into the tiniest possible ethnic slices.
Ethnic slices are the sources of social conflicts, displacements, wars, and endless bloodshed. Therefore, ethnicity should be contained; and then eradicated. As health professionals target the ponds, the mosquitoes, the parasite and the victims to control malaria; wise people should aim at colonialism, ethnicity germs and vectors to contain ethnicity.
Unless people disrupt the network of colonialism, ethnicity germs, and ethnicity vectors; ethnicity will continue to devour innocent peoples’ lives. In order to save the lives of millions, we should clearly classify ethnicity as a fatal disease; and plan to invent treatment and prevention measures. Thank you.
*Racial zed Group, Laurence Blume http://www.academia.edu/5050202/Racialized_Groups_The_Sociohistorical_Consensus (accessed on 6/20/14)
The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org