The term “Anthropocene” was first used 20 years ago to describe a new epoch of geological time, coinciding with the start of the Industrial Revolution around 1750. It indicates a transition out of the Holocene into a new age – the age of human impact. This term has incited great debate amongst the scientific community as, in order for a new new geologic epoch to be accepted, we need to demonstrate our impact on the rock strata around and beneath us. This was achieved in 2019.
People often say that we are not born racist, however the truth is actually more complicated: new-born infants exhibit no preference for faces of various ethnic groups, however from the age of 3 months, infants begin to take longer to scan faces – indicating that they are thinking more about appearances – and exhibit a preference for faces of their parents’ (and own) ethnic group(s). These findings imply that while we may not be born racist, our perceptions of ethnic differences are learned during early development as a result of exposure to own- versus other-race faces. In this reflective piece, Catriona Nguyen-Robertson considers the neuroscience of racism as presented to the Society by Dr Larry Sherman, drawing parallels to her own experience as an Australian with a mixed heritage of Vietnamese and Scottish parentage.