Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Blue eyed devils on the wane

I remember years ago while reading the Autobiography of Malcolm X, how the Nation of Islam preachers would constantly refer to "blue-eyed devils." It was alarming to me, first, because I have blue eyes, but secondly, I found it curious that they would single out a fairly rare aspect of (mostly) white folks. Surely, I thought, this particularly extreme group held grievances against all whites, not just those with blue eyes.

A recent article in the Associated Press shed some light on this. Apparently blue eyes are much rarer than they used to be. While nearly half the country (USA) peered through blue-tinged orbs at the beginnning of the Twentieth Century, only 10% of Americans do so today. So, back in the formative years of the Nation of Islam, the 1940's and 50's, blue eyes were much more common than they are now, hence the applicability of the "blue-eyed devils" comment. Otherwise, why would they single out only a sixth of the "white race," their stated enemy?

Thus it appears that my children and I are in a rapidly disappearing cohort. According to a study in Human Genetics the appearance of blue eyes in the human race began between 6,000-10,000 years ago via a genetic mutation in one single human being near the Black Sea. This characteristic was passed down through the generations, appearing mostly in Northern Europe, but also in a few areas in Africa and Asia as well. And now it is on the wane. Steadily disappearing in North America and Northern Europe, where inter-marriage and inter-cultural exchange has allowed the dominant brown eye color to slowly filter out the recessive blue.

While we blue-eyed individuals have been alternately favored and vilified, it appears that we can state, as a group, to the Nation of Islam, that soon, in the words of Richard Nixon, "you won't have us to kick around anymore!" And while I adore many brown-eyed individuals (my wife included) I would sorely miss the bright blue eyes of my children, as they dance and shimmer in the morning light. Alas, soon there will be no more debate about which are more beautiful, genetics will settle that score forever, as the succeeding generations of humanity slowly evolve into billions of copies of Tiger Woods (hopefully without the philandering!)

2 comments:

pavlov said...

Why would Muslims harbor ill will against those with blue eyes? I live in a Muslim commumity and I can assure you this is not the case. In fact, many Muslims have blue eyes. I don't understand.

PatricktheRogue said...

Pavlov,
The Nation of Islam is an offshoot of Islam and is by no means a mainstream Muslim group. Unlike mainstream Islam which denounces racism, the NOI is a hybrid of American "Black Nationalism" with Islamic trappings.
In Malcolm X's autobiography, he describes how shocked he was when he encountered the real Islam during his pilmigrage to Mecca. He discovered that there was no racial component to it, whereas the Nation of Islam teaches that Caucasians were created by a mad scientist 6000 years ago and characterizes whites as "devils," traditional Islam holds that all human beings were created by Allah (God) and are equal before him.