I read. Widely, or rather obsessively. If there’s printed words, there’s a fair chance I’ve read them or attempted to read them (the vision isn’t so good these days, so the really small print goes unread). I don’t dare keep books in the loo because if I did I’d never leave and I’d have a permanent imprint of the toilet seat on my butt.
Yeah, one of those readers.
Which means that on my intermittent trawls through the internet, I can encounter some real doozies. One of which I ran into today. I’m not linking to it or anything else, because the unfortunate soul responsible probably hasn’t done worse than believe someone’s bull – judging by the quality of what passes for reasoning in the post, this person is not capable of distinguishing between fact, wish-fulfilment, and bigotry masquerading as some kind of enablement.
This fellow’s little tirade effectively claims that persons of pallor are aliens who arrived on the planet some 6500 years ago and proceeded to steal everything they could from the native persons of darkitude. And that this happened in Europe, of all places. Oh, and all of Europe’s wealth came from stealing from and killing the original (black) inhabitants.
Best I can tell, humans of all shades enthusiastically tried to kill each other off for many, many thousands of years. And the last I heard, homo sapiens neanderthalensis (if my spelling is right) got it on with homo sapiens sapiens all through Europe to produce the modern European look. More or less.
Of course, this kind of “people of X are evil and tried to destroy my people” nonsense leaves out a lot of ugly truths. Things like slavery and slaughter being the norm for a long, long time. Things like Europe’s combination of just enough broken up terrain to allow decently large tribes to stake a claim and beat off the rivals plus just enough ease of travel particularly east-west (meaning that plants and animals suited to the region didn’t change that much over distance – allowing innovations to spread far and fast) giving said tribes enough of a combination of protection and trade to avoid being annihilated by the neighbors, while making it difficult for any one group to take over the whole mess.
It also ignores that in every region with less interesting terrain, there was a lot more of the strongest group taking over and building a much larger monoculture (China comes to mind, what with the place having been an empire for hundreds of years). That or the nature of the land didn’t make it easy to either host enough people for that (Australia) or was so interesting that travel and trade was too challenging (New Guinea mountains).
Accident, in other words. As for the idea that Europe’s original inhabitants were people of darkitude, the less said about that one, the better. Not only have there been numerous verifiable settlements complete with burial artifacts, remains and so on going back to the flipping ice ages, there’s been so many migrations that nobody really knows who came from where originally.
Of course, this crazy conspiracy of the eeeebil people of pallor mysteriously showing up a few thousand years back and slaughtering their way to prosperity (seriously? I thought that was how it was supposed to work) would make a fun kind of alternate history married to conspiracy theory. You could theorize entire lines of pre-historical cosmetics to disguise the tell-tale darkitude of your protagonists as they struggle against the eeebil people of pallor and try to build the ancient paradise of harmony and love that certain folk seem to think must have existed (I don’t believe in such things. Nature can be breathtakingly beautiful, but life without a lot of technology tends to be nasty, brutish, and short).
Maybe I shouldn’t read quite so much. Apparently stupid on Quora (on a question about the accuracy of high school history texts, no less) is enough to send me off on a rant.