The size of an African’s brain

The size of an African’s brain


Whenever I do a 3Talk TV interview on racism I seem to act as a magnet for white supremacists who email to regale me of the innate inferiority of black people. They seem to forget that I am a Jew which means I’m likely to be “miserly” with my support for the race-based pseudoscience used to justify the murder of six million of my tribe.

Here is the real science: any non-physical differences are almost certainly cultural, but there are far bigger differences within racial groups than there are between them. You don’t need science to prove that. Just look around you and you’ll see that you can have more in common with a person from another race than a person from your own. That certainly was true for Barack Obama’s parents.

Yes, blacks may be over-represented in the performing arts and whites may be overrepresented in mathematics but there are many great white performing artists and many great black mathematicians, proving that these differences are not racially bound. Just look around you and you’ll see that evil, stupidity and racism have no color. Genius, ability and virtue have no color. Actually there really is only one race – the human race.

In my personal development novel, Quest, Inc. Dr. Carter King puts it like this:

“Frank, do you really believe that God made a terrible mistake when he brought an entire group of people into the world?”

I too have suffered from that mental disability called racism. It’s easy to mistake colour for something more. Growing up in segregated South Africa I remember a teacher telling us that the single biggest difference between people was their race. I believed her. I’ll let my book, Quest, Inc. express what I finally realized when I attended an integrated university.

If anyone had told Frank he was about to go into a room full of black people and, within a short time, he would forget that they were black, he would have thought them a liar. Yet that was exactly what happened. The color of Marvin’s skin became about as interesting as the color of his socks. What really grabbed Frank’s attention was not what he looked like, but what he said, not what he was, but who he was. Up until that moment, it had never occurred to Frank that he might have more in common with one black man than he did with many white men.

Perhaps we are evolutionarily programed to seek a group identity, to exalt in “Us” and diminish or at least be suspicious of “Them”. But can we really draw pride in a group identity that we didn’t choose? I am a white, male, heterosexual, Jewish, South African. That’s what I was born. Nothing in that list was earned. The difference we make is not in our tribal affiliation but in how we make the world a better place. Judge me on my actions and I’ll be sure to do the same for you.

What’s your quest?


“Justin delivered a powerful message that will have a long lasting effect on our people. We are experiencing early returns on our investment with a clear increase in sales numbers.”



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Comments (6)

  1. Justin Cohen :

    Thank you for your email. It does sound that given you your unique
    circumstances you have a lot to deal with. While there is a lot of racism
    and plain stupidity in the world there is also kindness, respect and
    virtue. While you may have encountered much of the opposite I would urge
    you to look out for the goodness too. It may not seem like it but
    historically the world has become far less blatantly racist and bigoted,
    partly because we’re better educated and racism fortunately in mainstream
    society is taboo, where once it was perfectly acceptable to make racist
    comments public it is no longer. Yes, many people still harbor those
    thoughts privately but the more they are shunted out the public realm the
    more that will influence private discourse.

    I would urge you to share your story, to help people understand what you
    go through and how racism comes from both sides. I believe you could
    really help more people to become less racist – as long as you don’t give
    up on the possibility of improvement. We are all capable of being more and
    you could help us. Don’t give up on us! 🙂

  2. Lwazi :

    I think a very short answer to your statement Melissa if it were a question is as human beings we ultimately “cannot rely upon anything external to us, to create our power for us of who we can & must & will become” so maybe our goal as leaders is to focus on where we’re going- & I by no means disregard the emotions that you’ve experienced because of racism I’ve also experienced very traumatising racial events as a black african & I know that we need to start thinking beyond what IS & merge it with where we’re going

  3. Melissa :

    Justin I’m a coloured girl with incredibley dark skin. It’s not easy to fit in with the blackside of my mom’s family as I’m somewhat of an enigma. I can’t fit in with my father’s light skin side of the family because..well I’m a “darkie.”

    I have an English surname. So you can imagine the different and at times rude reactions I get for that. Either “I’m a traitor trying to be white. Who the hell do I think I am!!” Or the white reaction which is “Are you normal? You must have forged documents!!”

    South Africa stinks of racism. Foreigners sense it so thick in the air and it’s so uncomfortable to relax under!! It baffles me to this day how a white person can be so angry that a fellow human being “unfairly” got the chance to live a decent life. How dare a black person speak well. eat healthy food, laugh and BE FREE!!

    It’s so bad to the point that the entire nation suffers from serious post-traumatic stress disorder! Are people really that oblivious to how TRAUMATIC it is to live like a dog and be told you’re a worthless piece of waste. And then as you try to put together somekind of life after gaining freedom how daunting that can be!

    If mankind had no eyesight, we’d still be prejudiced towards each other over the tone of our vocies or accents.

    Mankind is just self destructive. Humanity has this incessant need to hate. And at the bottom of this vicious food chain are ethnic women and children; Asian and African.

    Like you said Justin the result of prejudice and lack of showing common decency towards another being can bring haunting devastation! The Holocaust! The Genocide in Rwanda! Misogyny! Pedophilia! Sexual Crime! War! Racism! Tribalism! Xenophobia! Physical and Emotional Abuse! Religious Warfare! The list goes on!

    I’m in my twenties and I’m just becoming more and more disillusioned by mankind. I still can’t believe how much pain and cruelty mankind is so hungry to inflict. Are we just getting started? Who knows.

  4. Justin :

    I appreciate your positive feedback Khanya.

  5. Khanya :

    what a great and interesting topic! Thanks Justin.

    South Africa would have been far if we all shared this mentality!.

  6. Sue :