Tuesday, June 23, 2015

42178:: Random Thoughts About "Race"

"Ask a geneticist to define race and they will probably stare at you in confusion. Race is a cultural construct that evolved in our country as a way to justify and sustain slavery. It is not much inherited as imposed.
A recent genetic study demonstrated an interesting fact about racial identity in the US. Across the southern states, between one in seven (South Carolina) and one in ten (Georgia) of each state’s white populations carry enough black ancestry to have qualified as black under those states’ Jim Crow laws."
-Hip Hop Republican

Recently, someone I have known for most of my life, someone whose opinion I respect on most other topics, offhandedly made the remark in reference to a news report of a black husband who had killed his white wife and their children, "that's what happens when you marry outside your race."

I was stunned. And silent. While I realize that the gentleman to whom I was speaking is a product of his environment, it still surprised me to hear him speak such an ignorant sentiment aloud.

For the past three federal censuses, I have listed myself as "Other: Human" when the race question comes up. I do this for no other reason than this: I truly believe if we are every going to get rid of these artificial ideas of race, we need to see other humans as God see us: We.Are.The.Same.Race. We are not horses, we are not chickens, we are not Martians, we are humans. Why else would Revelations 7:9 describe the people of Earth as: "every nation...all tribes and peoples and languages..."? 

Is this splitting hairs to differentiate between the term "race" and the terms "tribes...peoples...languages"? I don't think so. Tribes (or clans, as some call them) are groups of people related by heritage: Scottish and Irish call themselves 'clans', Indigenous groups often identify as 'tribes', languages is an easy concept to wrap your brain around, and different people sharing the same genetic ancestry can easily speak dozens of different languages (take the Jewish people as an example.) Other Bible translations say "tribes, tongues, and nations", again - "nations" is an easy term to understand. But, throughout history we can see people in one locale losing their national identity as conquerors move through and upset the reigning tribe.

An amazing time-lapse video of Europe from 1100 to today can be quite an eye-opener to someone who boasts of German, Italian, or Polish ancestry. Spend a little time living in almost any country on the continent of Africa and you will soon be made aware that not all "Africans" are treated equal. There is just as much "racism" between blacks and blacks as there are between any other tribe competing for land, resources and power on any scrap of ground on this planet.

My point being, we need to see past this "artificial construct" that we call "race" and see our interpersonal relationship problems for what they really are: fear, lust and greed could easily top any list. 

Until we see ourselves and each other in the way that we were created, we are doomed to this way of destructive thinking. 

Food for further thought:
Social Definition of Race

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