Look around you and you can see that there is a vast difference in human skin tones. Now, if we were to categorize these differences we end up with the concept of “race”, but are these differences really significant enough to divide human beings into separate categories?
Today upon asking my parents, who were raised for the majority of their lives in a communist country, if they believed in the concept of race, they responded by saying “of course”. I then proceeded to ask my brother, who was born in the United States and is now 12 years of age, and he too shared the same idea as my parents. I asked him to define race which he described as a difference in skin color. Then, I gave him a situation where if I, a Caucasian male, were to tan to the point where I appeared brown, was I still considered Caucasian although I resembled a Hispanic? He responded by saying that I still should be considered white.
Race, with multiple non-coherent definitions on the web, always seems to be a topic that people elude and define very vaguely, the majority saying that the definition of race varies across cultures (what we consider as “white” is not considered “white” in Africa for example) and overtime while others state it simply as the color of a person’s skin. This in return brings up the question, Does ‘race’ really exist?
Although race is a form of identity for people and it instills them with a form of pride, the negative effects of race seem to overlap the positive ones. Look at Social Darwinism. This concept was used to promote the thought that the white European race was superior to others, and therefore, destined to rule over them. Racism even in 2010 is not over. I mean it can’t end as long as we are allowed to believe and think what we do about race. Look at this site for example which states that “African-Americans are directly targeted and punished in a much more aggressive way than white people”. Is it surprising for you to learn that the police stop blacks and Latinos at rates that are much higher than whites?—about 80% of the NYPD stops were of blacks and Latinos—From these negative effects I get a feeling that race is just an excuse for people to disagree and fight.
Humans are said to be 99% identical to each other genetically. What this implies is that we are all born with a similar layout–arms, legs, ears, a brain, a heart–yet when it comes to filling out an application for a job or other occasion we are always posed a question to identify our race in order to define our demographics. Yes, it is true that we all come from different backgrounds–African-American, European, Japanese, Indian, Taiwanese, Chinese, Filipino, Mexican and Vietnamese to name a few—but in the end we are all linked to the same ancestor. So now ask yourself “What race am I?” Some of you might say Caucasian others Asian, but why do we have this misunderstanding of Race?
Look at it from a biological/scientific standpoint. The variation in skin color as a scientist might explain it is an adaptation by the human population mainly due to two major factors, physical barriers such as mountains and oceans and secondly climate. These foresaid barriers restrict interbreeding among people who have different genes, think about it, an Asian couple will mate and produce an Asian offspring, a Caucasian male mating with an African-American women however can produce either a Caucasian or African-American offspring. Climate on the other hand influences skin tone through exposure to sunlight. When the sun’s ultraviolet rays come in contact with your body, they begin to break down the DNA in your skin. In response, special cells called melanocytes release a pigment called melanin. The melanin turns your skin darker in an attempt to shield your skin from the sun’s rays and protect it from further harm.
As you can see “race” is just variations among humans (not genetically) and as a result we can’t justify the separation of “races”. Why believe in race when scientifically and biologically, which through facts and evidence such as the ones stated above, prove it doesn’t exist. I would understand if the concept of race improved our society but in my eyes it hasn’t, there is racism occurring in all parts of the world, people are dying as a result of this “difference” we see in people when in reality it’s just a belief rather than the truth.
Imagine a world without race, where people aren’t hypercritical of each other just because of the color of their skin, it almost sounds too good to be true. I believe that we must not be afraid to talk and teach about racism and one way to help change attitudes about race and defeat racism is to educate children about the historical problems that racism has caused, and let them know that the only way to stop racism is by changing their own attitude.
Although “race” is widely accepted all over the world I believe it’s only because scientists have failed to teach the public of the true concept and biology of “race”, but once the public becomes more informed I believe that a world without race can become a reality.
Why do people judge each other based on the color of their skin? Does your skin color determine your intellectual ability? Can you identify the skin color of a person from their genes? What do you think a world without race would be like? Are you surprised by the following video?