Bill Nye “The Science Guy” explained that racism shouldn’t actually exist – at least, according to science.
The popular scientist appeared Monday on “The Nightly Show,” where Larry Wilmore hosted Nye to discuss the science of racism with comedians Mike Yard and Ricky Velez.
Wilmore asked if racism was unique to humans or if other animals displayed racial prejudice.
“Tribalism exists in the animal kingdom, and this is what I think is at the base of this,” Nye said.
He said skin color, which forms the basis of human racial identity, was based on exposure to ultraviolet light, vitamin D production, and the breakdown of folic acid.
Nye then sketched out a broad history of human migration from their origins in East Africa, across the Bering Strait into Alaska – which he identified as Sarah Palin’s future home.
“I feel like racism is about to start pretty soon,” Wilmore said, hoping to spur Nye to a quicker conclusion.
“It started because you’ve got these tribes, and you’ve got different skin color as a result of ultraviolet light,” Nye said.
But he said the differences were purely superficial.
“If a guy from Norway – one of my people – has an interaction – can we say interaction on television? – with a woman from Zimbabwe, all you’re going to get is a human,” Nye said. “You’re not going to get some other new thing. We’re all the same, from a scientific standpoint. There’s no such thing as race -- but there is such a thing as tribalism.”
Wilmore looked at the two comedians to see if they had been following the explanation.
“You guys get this, right?” Wilmore said. “If a guy from Norway has sex with an African woman, racism is over.”
Nye said he actually wasn’t too far off the mark.
“If I can split the meaning, the semantic of race versus tribe, if you’ll give me that – then, yeah,” Nye said.
Watch the entire segment posted online by Comedy Central: