Incendiary Monday: Nationalistic Purity is a (bad) Myth

“Nationalism is an infantile thing. It is the measles of mankind.”
― Albert Einstein

This tweet and whole story enraged me. When we are speaking of the human race, there is no such thing as “someone else’s babies.” This is shameful, racist nonsense.

 photo someone elses babies_zpswoggqxo8.jpg

I fundamentally don’t understand the notion that some people seem to hold that there was once a time where every nation on earth (a concept in and of itself only a couple centuries old) had its own pure ethnic, nationalistic, and presumably racial identity. Nope. Lies in almost every case. We humans have been trading, travelling, mixing languages, creating and abolishing religions, warring, peacemaking, marrying, and swapping science globally for all of recorded history. The only things that have changed in the last thousand years is the rapidity with which we do it, the distances we are able to cross to do so, and the scale of our exchange.

But if I can point out evidence of Africans in Britain in the Roman period, the vast reach of the medieval Chinese navy and their explorations across the Pacific, Vikings in the Americas in the 10th century, a millennia of trade along the Silk Road, ancient African trade routes spanning the continent, and Pan-European Celtic road systems dating to before written language…you don’t get to be surprised that people of a different skin color or religion now live next door to you.

The last time we were a “pure” species was in coming out of Africa–and apparently we still  eventually managed to hook up with Neanderthals at some point. Notions of national purity, always an Us And Them narrative, have only ever served to divide and–in modern history–usually to attempt to conquer.

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One thought on “Incendiary Monday: Nationalistic Purity is a (bad) Myth”

  1. One of the most meaningful pleasures in life is connecting with people. When I try to step back and objectively analyze the possible motivations of those who try to push exclusionary agendas, I just can’t get past the fact that they are shooting themselves in the foot to save their shoes. The notion that we can become better people by isolating ourselves, by circling the wagons and focusing all of our attention inwards is painfully ridiculous to me. We don’t grow, and live, and love by shutting “them” out.

    I know I’m not the only one that feels this way, but it’s wonderful to cross paths with someone who is able to articulate these frustrations as succinctly as you just have. Thank you.

    It is also a refreshing breath of fresh air to find another blogger who is committed to sharing smart, meaningful, and witty material. Will be a treat to include your blog in my daily WordPress Reader routine.

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