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  • Yes. Blood. Yours.

    Apparently we figured out a while back that – when someone needs blood, because of some accident or whatever – we cannot just chuck in anyone's blood. No. We killed a lot of people before we realised that different people need different blood. Funny thing is, that sometimes it worked and sometimes it was very far away from working. That is what slowed down our understanding.

    We got better. Then understood. Now we know. We do. We really do.

    There are four major blood groups – there are subsets of each of these but I will not bore you with them. The four groups are named – unimaginatively - “A”, “B”. “AB” and “O”.

    You, Dear Reader, are in one of those four groups. Yes you are. Cannot be other.

    Each of these blood groups has particular characteristics. Not meaning how you look, talk, walk, dress, eat or in any other way you currently view people that – you think – are different from you.
    No. Not that. See, if you need blood (hopefully never), it is your blood group that DICTATES which of the other blood groups will keep you alive.

    For the purposes of this writing, let us assume that you need blood. Right now.

    Now, if you are “A” then you can take “A”, “AB” or “O”. If they give you “B” then you are dead.
    If you are “B” then you can take “B”, “AB” or “O”. If they give you “A” then you are dead.
    If you are “AB”, well, anything will do.
    If you are “O”, only “O” will fix it. Everything else will kill you.

    The blood group “AB” is termed a universal recipient. Meaning that those people with that blood group can take anyone's blood sooner than look at it. They can take “A”, “B” “AB” and “O”.
    Lucky folks, eh?

    The blood group “O” is termed a universal donor. Meaning that anyone – no matter what their own blood group is - can take “O” blood and like it. This is why Emergency Trauma Units in Hospitals use “O” blood. They do not have time to figure out/test your blood group – they are too busy trying to keep you alive. Yet, you are losing blood. So what do they give you? “O” is what they give you.

    Where do they get it from?

    Blood donors.

    Yes, I am a blood donor. Yes, I am “O”.
    That does not really matter – except that, if I ever need blood, it will have to be “O” - else I am dead. So, stands to reason that I should donate my “O” blood, I might need it.

    All blood groups are needed. A person having a kidney transplant, a heart operation or whatever other surgical procedure that you care to name, will need blood. From their own group is better.
    So go and give blood. Tomorrow, and for the rest of your life. Oh, you can only do it once every couple of months. Your body needs some time to replace the blood that you have donated.

    Anyway, this is where it gets interesting and to be honest, is the point of this writing.

    Everything I have written above is true. Yes it is. Lives are being saved RIGHT NOW all around the world because of our knowledge of Blood Groups and because of blood donors.

    However, this is what I did not tell you;

    It matters not what the “ethnicity” of the blood donor is compared to the “ethnicity” of the recipient.
    Nope. Does not matter one jot. So, for example, a Chinese woman can donate blood that saves the life of an Indian bloke or an Aborigine can live for some more years because she received my blood (A Northern European).

    No matter how you slice the cake, meaning that you, yes you, can define a “race” any way you would like, the frequency of these blood groups is identical. I would ask for a statistically significant sample, mind. So, no, not just you and your brother.

    If you collect, say, three thousand people together and tested their blood group then you would arrive at the number of them that are “A”, the number who are “B”, the number who are “AB” and the number who are “O”. Add those four numbers together and you get your three thousand.

    Now go find three thousand other people. Try and “fix” the result. Like, just choose Inuits, or just pick on the French, or maybe those Bolivians or, what the hell, one thousand of each eh?

    See, it does not matter. However you choose, your result will be the same as in your first experiment. The distribution of blood groups amongst Human Beings is a constant. It is.

    This is what persuaded my younger self that racism is bollocks. We are all the same race.

    It is just that it is so simple to point out physical/easily-seen differences between people from different areas of the world - like those very, very short Afro-American Professional basketball players and those extremely tall, muscular Chinese female gymnasts.

    It is much more difficult to point out the almost identical genes that each of us have.

    Under the skin we are all the same.
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