Saturday, February 17, 2007

Race doesn't exist

Racism copy Race is an artificial human construct This may be a bit shocking especially to those of us who live in America where racism has shaped so many of our affairs, but scientifically one's race cannot be defined. There's no gene for race and if you trace anyone's genealogy back far enough we all come from a common ancestor.

First the difference between ethnicity, race and nationality. Ethnicity is a person's cultural identity while nationality is the country of one's birth and/or any additional nations a person chooses to pledge allegiance to. Race, by traditional standards, is simply a way to describe skin color. So, Tony Danza's ethnicity is Italian, his nationality is American and his race is Caucasian. You can alter nationality but not ethnicity or race.

Racists have tried to overcome this problem of nebulousness which always ends in incoherence. Take the example of South Africa's National Party during Apartheid. They wanted to split the country into Blacks, Indians and Whites. The way they determined which were which was through appearance alone. When this failed to fully encompass the population of Indians, who were thought to be a racial mix, an individual's parents were considered. If a person who was white in appearance had one "coloured parent" then they would be categorized as an Indian. Because the wording of the law was based on a person's physical characteristics often what became the deciding factor was whether or not a comb could pass through one's hair or an examination of the flatness of one's nose.

This goes to show how governments have played upon racism to divide a population against each other. Much like religion, I believe our government is currently fanning racial flames to create social rifts. Instead of a centralized opposition to established corruption we're bickering amongst ourselves over a superficial concept.

Where I Drown
Socialist Standard

1 comment:

ajohnstone said...

Glad you found the socialist standard a good read ...i may be biased but each month carries at least one interesting article