Facing Facts: Racial Realities

MX Rienzi

Genetic studies can provide much knowledge, and some of the newer technologies are quite powerful and useful. However, some of the older and more basic studies are quite interesting as well, and some shed important light on racial and species differences. I'd like to talk about two here.

The more important of the two is Deka et al., Am. J. Human Genetics 56, pgs. 461-474, 1995. This study looks at some genetic markers and compares the genetic distances of eight human populations (Samoans, North Amerindians, South Amerindians, New Guineans, Kachari [Mongolids], Germans, more generalized Caucasians, and Sokoto Negroes from Nigeria [Nigerian sub-Saharan African Negroes]) to each other and to chimpanzees. The data were analyzed two ways - with Nei's standard genetic distance, and with modified Cavalli-Sforza distance.

Which group was genetically closest to chimpanzees? The answer for both methods was the Nigerian Negro group. Using Nei's method, the Nigerian-chimp distance was 1.334 +/- 0.375, by far the closest value (second closest was the Kachari value of 1.527 +/- 0.493). To be fair, and show we are not knee-jerk "Eurocentrics" hiding data, the group farthest from the chimps was the South Amerindians (1.901 +/- 0.529); however the Germans (1.865 +/- 0.506) and the more general Caucasians (1.860 +/- 0.497) were right behind them (and given the +/- values, virtually overlapping). Looking at the Cavalli-Sforza method, the Sokoto Nigerians were again the closest to chimps (0.539) by a large margin. The farthest were again the South Amerindians (0.712), with the Germans (0.680) and general Caucasians (0.667) being a very close third and fourth behind the South Amerindians as well as Samoans (0.711) and North Amerindians (0.697). So, while the two methods give slightly different orders, in both cases the Nigerians are by far the closest group to the chimps. Once again, given the first method, these sub-Saharan Africans were at 1.334 while all the other groups ranged from 1.527-1.901, and given the second method they were at 0.539 while the other groups ranged from 0.643 (Kachari again) to 0.712. Thus, based on these data, the sub-Saharan African group is genetically closest to chimps. The authors state the following about "neighbor-joining trees" based on these data, using the chimps as the "outgroup":

"...the SO [Sokoto Nigerian - my note] population is the furthest from all the other human populations."

Indeed, these genetic data are consistent with the work of J. Irish, reviewed here, demonstrating that sub-Saharan Africans are dentally more similar to extinct and extant apes, and to extinct hominids and australopithecines, than are any other human population. The genetic data and the dental phenotypic data match perfectly.

Some may find it unfortunate that all these data seem to correlate with certain racial stereotypes. However, we must view facts - however harsh - with honesty. And if that includes recognition that certain groups may be slightly more distant from chimps than are Whites, so be it. Of course, White groups have "on their side" the verdict of history as to their accomplishments compared to other groups; the European extended phenotype is second to none. However, we can imagine that other less accomplished groups may find these data very unsettling. That is unfortunate; nonetheless, it does not change the facts.

The data can be looked at in other ways as well. One can compare the relative genetic distance between two human groups to that between those human groups and chimps, and thus calculate the former as a percentage of the latter. According to the Nei method, the German-Nigerian distance (0.238) is a full 12.8% of the German-chimp difference, while using the Cavalli-Sforza method the German-Nigerian distance (0.168) is a full 24.7% of the German-chimp distance! And for Caucasians-Nigerians vs. Caucasians-chimps the numbers using these two methods are 13.9% and 24.9%, respectively!

These data - however you crunch the numbers, and however liberals may cry that it is all being "misinterpreted" - are quite fascinating and shed important light on questions of racial differences, racial realities, and the consequences of racial miscegenation. It also points out that determining sub-Saharan African admixture (as well as other admixture) via established technology (here, and here) is of significant importance to us.

The other paper that I would like to mention (briefly) is that of Kimmel et al., Genetics 143, pgs. 549-555, 1996. Here eight human populations - including Caucasians, Mongolids, and sub-Saharan Africans- were studied to determine their relative genetic distances. The only real surprise here (not a surprise is that Germans and Nigerians are again very distant, and that various Caucasian groups, including the Germans, are close together) is the (relatively large) genetic distance between the Chinese and Japanese, which some uninformed folks may view as virtually "identical." . The distance between those two East Asian groups (using relative measurements different than that of the Deka et al. work) was 0.029. That is a full 72.5% of the distance (0.040) between Germans and the Bhramins (Asian Indians) of Uttar Pradesh, and is even 8.5% of the German-Nigerian distance (0.342). Not all East Asians are identical, although other data (e.g., Nei and Roychoudhury's classic 1993 paper) do show a relatively close Japanese-Korean relationship. Different areas of China may show different distances to other Asian groups as well, of course. In any case, the stated intention of future ABD tests to distinguish between Chinese and Japanese origins may indeed be possible, given the Kimmel et al. data.

In summary, racial differences are quite real, and the implications of these differences must be considered, regardless of how startling these implications may be.


Addendum I

The following is a list of the [human] chromosome 13q (that which was studied in the Deka et al. paper) alleles which are found in both Nigerians and chimps and NOT found in any of the other population groups studied:

FLT1 - 156 and 176
D13S118 - 184
D13S121 - 160 and 180
D13S193 - 127 and 137
D13S124 - 179

And that is all from just a study of 13q alone!
One must carefully consider these data, indeed.