People are idiots.

A little over a year ago, I wrote a post about being scared of black people. The point of the post was that an irrational fear doesn’t have to control your life and you can and perhaps even should, overcome it. Good, right?

It got three kinds of responses. The first was support, that my point was valid and understood. The second was disgust, how dare I be such a racist. The third was mostly unmentionable and deleted by me. But the latest one in the last group I allowed and want to expound on. Here’s the comment, in its entirety.

Blacks are a different species and you have every right to be scared. They are a less intelligent violent species. Never relax around blacks. Avoid the groid.

I’ll be honest, I don’t know what a groid is, so I don’t know if I want to avoid it, but the rest of this comment is foul. It’s clear the writer either didn’t read my post or didn’t care. It’s 2013, do people really still think like this?

As it turns out, there are a good number of people who think like this, and the even scarier notion is that they might be right.

I’m not a geneticist, hopefully someone out there will be and can explain it further, but new studies are showing larger genetic differences between blacks and non-blacks. Are they enough to be considered species differentiation? That’s debatable, but it turns out that there are some pretty unique differences in DNA.

Africans were a highly isolated people 50,000 years ago. There was little interaction between people in east Africa and South Africa at the time, and had been for generations uncounted. Each group was evolving completely independent of the other. At the same time, Homo sapiens had left Africa altogether and settled in Europe by then, forming yet another independent and separate gene pool.

About 40,000 years ago, with the advent of the earliest of the Stone Age, eastern and southern Africans started to intermingle again. The result was a wiping out the evolutionary difference and reuniting the species in Africa. But those that had already moved on didn’t have the contact or the chance to reunite for another 35,000 years.

Now it’s obvious that after that contact was reestablished, interbreeding has wiped out much of whatever difference there may have been. And obviously there isn’t enough differentiation to prevent interbreeding. It really seems to be more an interesting thought puzzle for geneticist than anything we need to deal with politically. And yet, people with more verbal skills than my commenter are seizing on these new discoveries as justification for racism.

That’s what makes people idiots. Grasping at genetic straws to validate your irrational hate and fear of others instead of working to overcome and accept them.