Guest post: A community is born

Guest post by Jon Gallant

Our increasingly woke life in the arts and sciences and in the groves of academe includes sanctification of membership (or claimed membership) in certain favored sub-populations.  In New Zealand, for one example, the Aukland artist Peter Robinson has built his career half-seriously as a Maori artist—out of a Maori inheritance of 3.125%, a single great-great-great-grandparent.  At the University of Saskatchewan, Prof. Carrie Bourassa (who sometimes presented herself as “Morning Star Bear”) has become an influential figure in “indigenous” Canada, based on a Metis grandfather who had, it turns out, as much reality as the tooth fairy, Santa Claus, and Buraq, Mohammed’s flying horse.  I propose to follow a similar path, but one a little more realistic than that used by Professor Morning Star Bear.             

Most European members of the Homo sapiens species, which includes me, have in their genomes between 1.5% and 3.5% sequences that come from the sub-species of Homo neanderthalensis.  This is roughly comparable to Peter Robinson’s Maori inheritance, and much more than the 0.00% Metis ancestry enjoyed by Professor Bear.   

Therefore, I hereby identify myself a member of the Neanderthal Community. We have been oppressed and “othered” by the dominant group for too long!  Henceforth, I expect at all times to be addressed by the Neanderthal personal pronouns ᚼᛅᛚᛚᚬ and ᛘᛁᛏᚴᛅᚱ, and I will complain to the HR Office about any failure to do so. I will lodge complaints in the DEI Office about every use of “Neanderthal” as noun or adjective to mean backward: this flagrant microaggression marginalizes the Neanderthal part of my genome, and makes it feel unsafe.  

Needless to say, we need the formation of a Neanderthal “affinity group” at the university, where that part of our genomes can get together to compare grievances and micro-grievances.  I look forward to the insertion of Neanderthal wisdom into every academic curriculum, especially in STEM fields where the Neanderthal Way of Knowing is most urgently needed.  Since Neanderthal sequences constitute only a fraction of its bearers’ genomes, our abbreviation is ΦN and should be thus abbreviated in the relevant acronyms, such as BIPOC ΦN  and  LGBTQIX+ ΦN.  

Finally, I will petition my own University to establish a program in Neanderthal Studies.  Or rather, a full department, a Center, and a scholarly journal for research in Critical Neanderthal Studies.  An ample budget for the department and the Center and the journal will be required, but we can be sure the university administration will find the cash.    Yours in  ᛗᛁᛞᚷᚨᚱᛞ,  Jon Gallant (at least 3.125% Neanderthal)

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