Equal Rights for Neanderthals

Critical Race Theory is explained in Wikipedia:  “Roy L. Brooks defined critical race theory in 1994 as “a collection of critical stances against the existing legal order from a race-based point of view”. While there are not many (probably none) full-blooded Neanderthals in my neighborhood, the genetic evidence implies that many of my neighbors are part Neanderthal.  The fossil evidence is that the full-blood Neanderthals have been gone for about 30,000 years.  Still a 23 and Me blog  says

“Most people have Neanderthal DNA, on average about 2.5 percent. But there are outliers, who have much more. What it means to have a higher percentage of Neanderthal DNA – whether you’re hairier, or brutish or short, for instance – isn’t known.

There are some theories, however, of how Neanderthals contributed to modern humans. One is that interbreeding gave us some sort of “hybrid vigor,” according to Peter Parham, a geneticist at Stanford University School of Medicine. At the very least research appears to support the theory that at some point during the tens of thousands of years Neanderthals and modern humans lived side by side, a few of them may have shacked up. Or as Elizabeth Kolbert deftly phrased it in the New Yorker: “Before modern humans ‘replaced’ the Neanderthals, they had sex with them.” Provocative to say the least, but it’s actually an idea that’s floated around for some time.”

23 and Me

When you define species as Homo sapiens sapiens and Homo sapiens neanderthalensis, and describe on as “modern” humans, the loss of pure-blood Neanderthals is not surprising.  It is a race-based point of view.  My 2 ½ percent Neanderthal DNA converts to 1 in 40 – there are Cherokee tribal members with as little as 1/1024 Cherokee heritage.  If you can be a Cherokee with that level of blood quantum (Neither I nor Elizabeth Warren could make it) consistency suggests that folks who are 1/40th Neanderthal need to have their racial heritage respected.  From a race-based perspective, the pure Homo sapiens sapiens have been discriminating for millenia.  A journalist named James Fellows tested out at 5% Neanderthal.  There’s a story that a German guy tested at over 9% Neanderthal.  There’s a guy in Canada claiming to be a pureblood Neanderthal . . . not that I believe it – but heck, he identifies as Neanderthal.  As you glance at the picture – I’ve seen folks who look like that on the streets of Kalispell (not, of course, on the more highly evolved streets of Eureka).

I could go on – there is a strong temptation to go into detail of a high school classmate pointing the discrete Neanderthal bun on the back of my skull.  An experience so traumatic that I have avoided the butch, crew cuts and a shaved head for over 50 years.  My victimhood in that single, friendly observation has affected my haircuts for over half a century!

There may be something to this Critical Race Theory.  If race is socially defined, those of us who are part Neanderthal have a claim on victimhood if we use the theory.  Matter of fact, I think that if fractional Neanderthals aren’t allowed under the umbrella of Critical Race Theory, the theory is flawed. 

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