Fwd: [permaculture] RE: Major histocompatibility complex (MHC)

Bob Howard rmhoward at omninet.net.au
Tue Mar 18 10:56:51 EST 2003

Marimike6 at cs.com wrote:

> First let me mention that it was I and not Eugene F Monaco who wrote
> that the white man was a good example of a hardy weed. I may have
> caused some sensitivities to bristle here by my unthinking usage of
> the term. I did not mean to imply that there was something in our
> pigmentation that controlled whether or not we adapted readily to
> other environments and tended to displace other races due to their
> differing pigmentation.
> I intended to focus on the qualities that create a weed-- that is, a
> species that thrives in disturbed ground and that tends to outcompete
> native species when introduced into a new area. A more accurate
> definition would be "Western man", who by his aggressive and
> acquisitive spirit, as well as by his advanced technology, tended to
> exploit niches not exploited before he got there, and to prevail
> economically over local populations unable to compete with him. In
> this he is very like the common purple loosestrife.
> The Chinese in the Pacific Rim and Latin America, the Indians in East
> Africa and the Greeks and Syrian-Lebanese all over the world are other
> examples of weeds that readily transplant and thrive. This is due to
> their cultural, not gross racial, characteristics. They tend to
> dominate economically.

whether the stereotype is racial or ethnic it still begs the question.
Unless you can identify something beyond the skin tyhen you are merely
ebign racist.

> Likewise, my use of the words "man" and "he", above, should not
> connote sexism  In common usage I believe such words as "mankind" are
> still preferred over "peoplekind". I mean no disrespect toward women.
> My intent was simply to shed some light on MHC, and by extension on
> all genetic, cultural and behavioral pathways that confer superior
> adaptibility to environmental competition and limits to growth.

...and sexist the word you need is 'humanity'

> In that light I would offer measles, or influenza, as good examples of
> weeds. Having existed worldwide for a long period of history, they
> have co-adapted with mankind and are impressive public health foes,
> difficult to dislodge, impossible to eradicate. By contrast
> hemorrhagic fevers, such as Lassa or Marburg, are rare exotics, that
> tend to die out quickly and reoccur in sporadic outbursts. They have
> not adapted to coexistence with the rest of the biologic web, in the
> world at large, but for the most part remain confined to small areas
> of the African tropical forest.

this makes no sense on the one hand your saying that weeds are invasives
in new areas where they 'rdily transplant and thrive' on the other your
saying that measles and influenza are weeds because they 'have coadapted
with mankind[sic]"

> In my area the most successful invasive is kudzu. Its adaptations
> include growing from a broken piece of rhizome, in the way violets do,
> and sending rootstocks deep underground so that no matter how deep you
> dig, you've left a little piece behind. It grows a foot a day, and can
> smother century-old trees in a decade, so that entire forests have
> been swallowed up. It is virtually impervious to herbicides, and
> thrives on such poisonous crap as RoundUp and Black Leaf. In fact,
> after a temporary setback it seems invigorated by them. It is truly a
> noble adversary

unfortunately you are stuck in a patriarchal world view that
characterizes nature as an 'adversary'. i'd suggest reading SDusan
Griffin's "Woman and Nature - the roaring inside her' as an antidote.

Bob howard

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