Racism is ridiculous for lots of reasons.
A big reason is that science finds no basis for concluding that physical differences between some members of our species, Homo sapiens, make those members inherently superior to other people.
In fact, there's no such thing as race, according to science.
More than 100 years ago, American sociologist W.E.B. Du Bois was concerned that race was being used as a biological explanation for what he understood to be social and cultural differences between different populations of people. He spoke out against the idea of "white" and "black" as discrete groups, claiming that these distinctions ignored the scope of human diversity.
Science would favor Du Bois. Today, the mainstream belief among scientists is that race is a social construct without biological meaning. And yet, you might still open a study on genetics in a major scientific journal and find categories like "white" and "black" being used as biological variables.
Unfortunately, racists who wrongly view White as being superior to Black rarely pay much attention to science. Too bad. Because an article in the February 18, 2023 issue of New Scientist would give them a lot to think about.
Here's excerpts from "Curly hair may have evolved to protect early humans from the sun." You can read the entire article via this PDF file if the New Scientist link doesn't work for you.
Download Curly hair may have evolved to protect early humans from the sun | New Scientist
Hair that is tightly coiled offers the best protection against the sun’s potentially damaging rays, which could explain why this trait evolved in early humans in Africa and straighter hair emerged as some humans moved into cooler areas.
It has long been suggested that the reason our body hair became so fine that it is sometimes barely visible, while our scalp hair remained thick, is to prevent our heads from overheating in the sun. In our bipedal ancestors, the beneficial shading effect of head hair may have outweighed its insulating effect.
Tina Lasisi at Penn State University wondered if the type of hair on a person’s head also makes a difference.
To learn more, Lasisi and her colleagues put three different wigs on a thermal manikin – a model of the human body with heaters and sensors that is used to measure the thermal effects of clothes.
All the wigs were made of human hair from people of Chinese descent. One wig was straight, one had moderate curls and one had tight curls. Lasisi says the tightly coiled wig was within the range of curl found in people of recent African ancestry.
In tests in a climate-controlled wind tunnel, the team found that the hair’s type made a big difference to how much heat the head of the manikin gained from simulated sunshine at 30°C (86°F).
The head with a straight wig gained less than half as much heat as a control head with no wig. The head wearing the moderately curled wig gained around a quarter as much heat and the head with the tightly curled wig gained less than a tenth as much as the no-wig control.
The researchers think that curls reduce how much heat reaches the skin by increasing the gap between it and the hair surface. Making straight hair longer doesn’t achieve this because it flops over and lies flat, says Lasisi.
What’s more, curlier hair appears to maximise the shielding effect from the sun while minimising an unwanted insulating effect. “It has this incredible way of bypassing this trade-off,” says Lasisi.
...“Any mechanism that could help cool the body, and at the same time save precious water, would definitely have been acted on strongly by natural selection,” says Joseph Graves at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University.
When some humans left Africa and moved into cooler climes, the selective pressure for tightly coiled hair would have been lost, says Lasisi, allowing variations to emerge from generation to generation by random chance, but the trait may have re-evolved in some peoples.
The study’s findings are important because they could help change some people’s prejudiced views, says Graves, who is the co-author of Racism, Not Race. Research into the physical traits of the first humans can help to erode racist ideas, he says.
The first humans would have had black skin and tightly curled hair, says Graves. It was only relatively recently that other skin colours and hair types appeared, he says. Biologists have begun to study the evolution of skin colour, but this is the first study to look at hair type in an evolutionary context.
Every school child should be taught the persuasive hypothesis expressed by Joseph Graves, which almost certainly is true: The first humans would have had black skin and tightly curled hair.
Of course, this doesn't mean that African-Americans are superior to people in the United States with lighter skin and straight hair. Evolution simply selected for certain physical characteristics as our species left Africa for other parts of the world.
But I do think it'd be wonderful if everybody in our country realized that when early humans were living in Africa, they looked like many African-Americans do today, because those physical features helped them to survive.
This means that racists should be thankful to Blacks, because without black skin and tightly curled hair, our species might have died out early on in the history of Homo sapiens.