Might it actually be our most deplorable prejudices that make us human? The chart above is a network visualization of the survivors of every major zombie apocalypse since 1980 for which a complete list is available on IMDB. Under these dire circumstances—that is, no less than the repeated, periodic utter destruction of the world—this data set is the closest functional equivalent of a census survey as we’re likely to find, at least until civilization can be meaningfully rebuilt.
When the results are analyzed at a macro level, we begin to see emerging patterns which are arguably even more alarming than the ongoing mass extinction of humanity. Specifically, the survivors of the zombie apocalypses thus far have been overwhelmingly Caucasian. Why might this be? We already knew that zombies are murderous reanimated heaps of putrid rotting flesh; worse yet, it appears they are also racist.
But if they can hate, doesn’t that mean they can also feel? These are still very human preferences, even if most of us find them as repugnant as a decaying face. Perhaps it’s time to fully revisit our conception of the undead hellspawn as brain-dead, unfeeling brutes. Rather, they may instead be brain-dead brutes with feelings.
No matter how many of your loved ones have been horrifically torn to pieces before your eyes—believe me, we’ve all been there—we should seriously reconsider the ethical ramifications of attempting to exterminate a population that demonstrates an understanding of the subtleties of human relations, even if they only use that information to unfairly discriminate when choosing who to attack. After all, some humans do that too, and genocide has traditionally been frowned upon as a solution. At the very least, we should critically evaluate the long-standing and widespread policy of intentionally inflicting catastrophic brain injuries at every opportunity.
This brings us to Michael Jackson. His exact skin color would actually become a matter of some debate in his later years, and it’s unclear whether he remained a monster permanently after the infamous graveyard incident chronicled in the award-winning 1983 documentary Thriller, in which the central figures were all people of color. But if zombies are categorically racist, as our ad-hoc survivor survey seems to indicate, are minority zombies racist too? The findings of Thriller suggest that they may not be, and a major behavioral schism in zombie behavior based on the victim’s ethnicity points to a heretofore unacknowledged social motivations among the zombie population. That in turn opens up the possibility of consciousness, souls, and intelligence. The latter has long eluded even some humans, so perhaps we should take care to treat these creatures at least as well as we might a dolphin or a dog, lest we end up acting like monsters ourselves.
Either way, despite the questionable methodology, this trend seems to be more than just a reporting bias. Amidst its many far-flung locales, World War Z curiously reported the nearly complete survival of North Korea, brilliantly enabled by the dramatic forcible removal of teeth from the entire population to prevent the spread of infection through bites, but somehow depicted very few actual Koreans. In 2009, a group of Norwegian vacationers near Øksfjord, Norway had a deadly encounter with a small group of zombies who had previously been actual Nazi soldiers, but since everybody on both sides of that scenario was once again Caucasian, we still have no idea whether the zombies were any more unreasonable then other white supremacists in their view of minorities.
In fairness, these very same patterns might also be construed as a preference for minorities instead of against them. Consider that the zombie’s bite typically converts otherwise healthy humans into fellow creatures of the night, effectively bringing them into the social fold. Could it be, then, that zombies actually prefer to assimilate people of color? This is the polar opposite of discriminatory xenophobia, and might even be interpreted as a sort of affirmative action which is delivered via a violent bite to the neck.
All this said, the most obvious explanation may be that Caucasians simply taste bad, due perhaps to diet or inherent genetic qualities. Humanity has lost a tremendous amount of irreplaceable culture in this unending string of apocalyptic catastrophes, but at the moment this seems to be the most likely option, in light of what little our few surviving anthropologists have reconstructed from the scant remaining literature about the long and underwhelming history of white people and their taste.