The Yellow Virtues

This yellow river came by accident to bring forth a nation identified by its yellow skin pigment. What is more, this people talk about their first ancestor as the Yellow Emperor. Today every fifth person on the surface of the Earth is a descendant of the Yellow Emperor. (Su, 1991, p. 9)

How do we explain the continued existence of racist belief systems across large parts of the globe? A common explanation – proposed, for example, by the popular historian Nial Ferguson – is that racial classifications are so widespread because they are real. Adducing new research findings on human genetics, he claims this, the “common sense” model, that human behaviour is programmed to protect one’s own kind and oppose those who belong to another race: like attracts like. Another, equally popular, explanation dismisses science as pure myth creation and instead shows that global racism marks the ideologies and structures of global capitalism. Accord...

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