I did a show on race a while back and also wrote an article on my thoughts on race. I’m posting it here for your reading pleasure. It explains why there IS no race other than in our own perceptions. Feel free to post your comments below!
The Truth About Race
So often people are concerned with race. In America, it is a most volatile subject, one that causes hate crimes, murders, hatred, bigotry, prejudice, discrimination and many other horrible consequences. To be concerned with race does not necessarily make one a “racist” per se. However, a person’s mere preoccupation with race, whether a Caucasian, African-American, Asian, Hispanic or otherwise, can be a sign of latent if not overt racism.
The races have always been seen as “different” from one another. African-Americans typically have darker skin than Caucasians. Caucasians typically have lighter eyes than Asians. Asians typically have shorter statures than most Hispanic people. There are differences between the races. For one to say that differences do not exist is simply untrue. However, the question is how different are we? Are we REALLY all that different, or are our differences simply superficial and minute? As for “race”, does it even exist outside of our own perceptions? The fact is that we are all one race, the Human Race. Homo-sapians. The idea of “race” in humanity has been created by us, not by genetics or evolution. When we see someone who looks like we do, we feel “safe”. When we see someone who looks different than we do, we may feel “unsafe”. These feelings are not innate, but are merely learned. Upon birth, we are essentially a clean slate and we are malleable and can be shaped into whatever our environment and genetics dictate. Racism is a learned way of thinking.
Creationists, whom often also believe that the races were created and not meant to mix as “according to the Bible”, often frown on the idea of evolution. It’s not as if evolution is questionable for plant species or animals or any other organism to anyone who actually accepts science as reality. For example, most Creationists will accept that the sky is blue and the grass is green. They may also accept that the sky is blue because of the combination of oxygen and nitrogen and Rayleigh scattering in the atmosphere or that grass is green due to chlorophyll. They may accept that when you drop something, it falls to the ground due to gravity or that when ice melts its molecular makeup alters and becomes water. However, when confronted with the exact same science that dictates physics and chemistry they may accept, in regards to evolution, they deny the science. They instead choose to believe in a book written over 2000 years ago when the writers still believed in a flat Earth and did not even know about the existence of the Americas.
This same adamant belief that the races were “created” and human beings were “created” as they exist today, and walked along side dinosaurs, is one of the catalysts for racism in America today. For if they understood and accepted the science behind the evolution of the races, they would understand that the races are indeed only .001% genetically different. That difference accounts only for superficial visible differences such as skin color, hair type, eye color, height, bone density, etc.
So, where did that .001% difference evolve and why? It all started in Africa about 150,000 – 200,000 years ago. Bands of humans began migrating out of Africa only about 70,000 years ago. As we spread across the globe, populations continually bumped into one another and mixed their mates and genes.
Africans have darker skin because they have more melanin – the closer people were to the equator, the darker their skin to protect them from the sun.
Europeans developed different hair to contend with the wet environment and lighter eye color due to living in dark caves in the colder climates for centuries before the ice melted and created the lush landscape.
Asians developed their eye folds and cheekbones to protect them from the harsh climates and reflection of the sun on the snow, from where they originated. They migrated to present day Japan/China/Mongolia, etc. only a few thousand years ago and so they retain this characteristic.
According to the Genographic Project, a non-profit research group which has traced back close to half a million participants’ DNA to the same two African ancestors; the proof is in the science.
Many volunteers are finding results that they never expected. Many African Americans are learning that their ancestors trace back to Europe while many Europeans are finding their lineage trace back to Africa, yet all of the participants trace their initial ancestor back to Africa.
The science behind this is sound and has been published in numerous respected scientific journals.
So, if we accept science as being proof of something, and science has proven that we all originated from the same place, then that means race only exists in each of our own perceptions.
I am living proof of this. Although my mother is of German decent and my father is of African decent, I was born with blond hair and blue eyes and very pale skin. As a matter of fact, both sides of the family thought I wasn’t my father’s child, that it wasn’t possible that I could be his child. They stuck to the beliefs until I got older and saw that I was indeed my father’s son.
As I got older, my eyes turned hazel green, my hair medium brown and my skin olive. Even with these changes, as I went through my teen years and 20’s and now, I am almost always perceived as something other than what I am. Typically, Hispanic or Middle Eastern. So people come up to me speaking Spanish and I have no idea what they are saying or people will assume I am from the Middle East and will look at me suspiciously as I board a plane. Even though my family has been American before there was an America, since 1704 in Virginia.
These perceptions are incorrect, and are an illusion because the reality is that I am 1/2 White and 1/2 Black, no matter what I look like. But my reality is altered because of how others perceive my race in their own minds.
Race only exists in our perception, it does not exist otherwise as we are all exactly the same and come from the same place but with different shells.
That is not to say that cultural differences do not exist. They do. People often conflate culture with race when in reality they can and often are disparate.
An African-American who grows up in the culture of a predominately African-American neighborhood and is possibly surrounded by other African-Americans, and does not go to college, will identify much differently with their “race” than an African-American who grows up in the culture of Beverly Hills in a mansion with predominately Caucasian acquaintances and friends, goes to Harvard. One is not inherently better than the other, but they are undoubtedly different. It’s only one example of how culture affects the perception people carry about “race” when in reality it’s really culture that people are often looking at.
To discriminate against others because of “race” is as ridiculous as discriminating against your own sibling or parent because they have a different hair color than you.
Race exists only in our minds and perception of other people. If it’s in our minds, then that means it’s not this thing that is beyond people’s control. It’s simply about changing how we see the world – our perception. It’s really very simple. Don’t see race when you meet someone, see them for who they are otherwise. At least then you won’t be a victim of the illusion of race and you can finally say, with certainty that you are indeed, not a racist.
And if you are a racist, hating people for something that doesn’t really exist, then you’re an idiot.