The BBC reports that evolutionary theorist Oliver Curry of the London School of Economics predicts that in the future, humanity will split into a “genetic upper class and a dim-witted underclass.” According to Curry:
The human race would peak in the year 3000—before a decline due to dependence on technology. People would become choosier about their sexual partners, causing humanity to divide into sub-species. The descendants of the genetic upper class would be tall, slim, healthy, attractive, intelligent, and creative and a far cry from the ‘underclass’ humans who would have evolved into dim-witted, ugly, squat goblin-like creatures.”
I’ve got news for you, Dr. Curry! That split has already begun! Have you been to a Wal-Mart lately? Just kidding, of course! But seriously, everything he predicts is already happening in terms of class, at least in the US. Poor people—regardless of “race”—are getting lower-quality education, health care, housing, and food. Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other chronic illnesses tend to predominate in low-income communities where the environment tends to be more polluted. What’s worse, this has been happening for ages. Why do you think factories were packed into London’s East End? Because rich Londoners didn’t want the wind blowing smoke and pollution into their West End homes.
Furthermore, like in every modern society, people are attracted to money, so rich people always get the best picks when it comes to spouses. Because our economic systems are so closely intertwined with our political systems, and because both systems privilege men over women, we end up with rich old men being able to—because of their power and/or wealth—get attractive younger women. The late Anna Nicole Smith and her late husband are but one well-known example. But long before Anna Nicole, there were Diana and Charles, which never made sense to me because, as I understood, the Spencer family had some wealth of its own.
Ultimately, I’m always worried when anyone uses the word “race” because I don’t believe there is such a thing as biological race. Racists think of “race” in the human population the way everyone think of breeds of dogs or cats. In reality, as long as we can reproduce with people who look physically different—and I’ll go on record here as being strongly in favor of “race-mixing”—we are just one race. Having said that, I’d be curious as to whether two real “species” of humans will emerge, as predicted by Dr. Curry. By this I mean, will members of one group be unable to reproduce with members of another. And by “reproduce,” I don’t mean simply have sex. Will such unions bear viable offspring who are fully functional and capable of bearing offspring of their own? If these two distinct groups will indeed be able to “cross-breed,” we shouldn’t think of them as two species or even two races. They will merely be two groups of people who have different physical characteristics.
If Dr. Curry’s predictions do come to pass, I’m afraid we’re already setting the stage for a continuation of the racist thought that so dominates our society today. Dr. Curry is projecting modern racism thousands of years into the future, already talking about genetic upper and lower classes. You don’t have to be German to find such talk deeply troubling. A good friend once told me that as humans, we can realize only the future we imagine. If we’re already imagining an unequal future split between good-looking, intelligent humans and “dim-witted, ugly, squat, goblin-like creatures,” the future looks very bleak indeed for humankind.
Just to be safe, I should probably start hitting the gym, the tanning salon, and the library. I certainly don’t want my descendants ending up in the genetic underclass.