Practically every Caucasian, it seems, has about two percent of the Neanderthal genome. Current theory has it that Homo Sapiens, having invaded Northern Europe from Africa, interbred with the much less numerous species until, about 30,000 years ago, individuals clearly identifiable as Neanderthal disappeared.
Now, some of us go beyond the two percent. I’m certain that I do. No, I don’t have red hair, or a receding chin, or an aquiline nose… but I do have deep-set and fairly large eye sockets, I comfortably possess all of my wisdom teeth, my bones are exceptionally dense, and my hands are strangely broad with short fingers. I’ve decided on this evidence to bump my Neanderthal percentage up to three or four.
“Why would you want to do that, and in public?” you may ask. “You’re admitting that you’re a knuckle-dragging caveman—you’re making yourself an object of derision!” Ah, dear reader, you are making my case for me! Discrimination! Vile slander! I have been the victim of it throughout my life… and I haven’t even understood the basis of it, nor have my persecutors. None of us fully realized what separated me from them. It wasn’t my distant, distracted manner; at most, that was a consequence of being viewed as “different”. The difference was never clarified in any quarter—not until now—but it was perceived subconsciously from every quarter.
And sometimes the contempt leaked out in a conscious, if unexamined, sneer. Knuckle-dragging, indeed! Why do we have the mainstream image of the Neanderthal as a simian, stooped-over ruffian who hadn’t enough sense to climb back into his tree? That particular calumny arose from the misidentification of an arthritic spinal column as belonging to a healthy adult. Neanderthals walked quite as erectly as the most upright H.S. Their cranial capacity actually exceeded that of the typical Homo Sapiens.
But you H.S.’s, with your genetically encoded scorn of other species, naturally projected a pejorative interpretation upon the evidence. And your “Neanderthal sensors” were constantly deployed in their wicked subconscious scan of your environment for any intruder with a more-than-two-percent genome. You have endless laughs at the expense of redheads or “gingers”. You deride the gloomy or the daydreaming (tendencies which Swift bestowed upon his ape-like Yahoos). You crack obscene jokes about people who lack your long, slender fingers.
White racism is vile enough (and we’ve all learned that only Caucasians can be racist, so “white racism” is a redundancy). But to bully, belittle, and ultimately breed out of existence a species upon whose territory you trespassed uninvited—and trespassed when you left Africa, by the way (just saying…)—falls nothing short of genocidal. You loathsome people! You have destroyed, not my life alone, but the lives of all in my tribe. Oh, you possess a few of our genes… a very few, which you commandeered by raping our maidens after murdering their families. It was our genetic inheritance that made you resistant to northern contagions; and for this, our thanks is eternally to be the butt of your off-color jokes!
I’m owed reparations—generous reparations. I have already been somewhat compensated, to be sure, by the geneticist’s gift of explaining to me everything that has ever turned out less than perfect in my life. It was all the result of persecution! I no longer have to look back and question if my best-laid schemes were perpetually sabotaged by a character flaw that I couldn’t correct. But those years of self-doubt were torturous, and simply to be absolved of their swirling accusations is too small an indemnity. I need something more material. I’ll take a check.
And even after I deposit the payoff, I’ll ride this nag until she falters and faints beneath me. Then I’ll skin her hide and hang it on a stick, and I’ll ride that stick around about the wide world. Universities must have programs in Neanderthal Studies. Politicians must busy themselves courting the Neanderthal vote. The calendar must have a Neanderthal Culture day… but schoolchildren must not knit frowns into their smooth brows or wear pads to broaden their shoulders as if to “ape the ape” in solidarity. Such displays of cultural appropriation hurt our feelings. The whole “caveman” thing
leaves very painful scars. I can sense a lawsuit against Geico looming.
Membership in an oppressed minority turns out to to be the Sutter’s Mill or the Klondike of our time: it’s a gold strike. One has to dig, sometimes quite deeply… but there’s gold in them thar genes!