Saturday, December 9, 2017

Homo Sapiens Agree...

There Is Only One Race - the Human Race

Ostensibly on the U.S. Left or among liberals, people respect science.  Even centrists respect science to some extent.  So-called 'controversial discoveries' like the sun at the center of the solar system, evoluation and global warming are true, based on observation and scientific method.  So why is it that the U.S. government, the corporate and liberal media, the bought and sold academics, the capitalist political parties and politicians, some 'public intellectuals,' - the whole broad swath of ideological capitalist purveyors - believe that there are different 'races?'  Or at least talk like they do?

Scientifically, there is only one race - the human race.  This is the dominant perspective among biologists and anthropologists, and has been for many years.  Only extreme right-wing (fascist) scientists believe in a theory of 'different human races,' each which has a significant biological basis.  Yet we get constant chatter about the 'races' - plural - from nearly everyone.  Even so-called identity 'leftists.'  I can only conclude that this idea is yet another symptom of racism, held over from the criminal past of the U.S. and world colonialism - a past which is still present.

British Scientist Ashley Montagu

In 1942 British anthropologist Ashley Montagu claimed that 'there are no races, there are only clines.'  He referred to the fact that skin color and other small physical differences were originally related to climate and geography.  In 1950 UNESCO said that the idea of different 'races' was a myth.  This was a summary of the findings of an international panel of anthropologists, geneticists, sociologists, and psychologists at that time.  In the 1960s, Montagu later challenged the race concept when used by those who claimed that IQ tests showed differences among 'races.'  The American Anthropological Association and the American Association of Physical Anthropologists later passed resolutions to the effect that this is only one race.  Even Rosa Parks pointed out that there was one race, saying this in the 1960s.  No one listened to her then either. The DNA of human beings is 99.9% identical.  There are greater genetic variations among different human populations than between human populations.  Human evolution cannot be tracked like 'branches' of a tree.  it is one root.

In 2014, Harvard professor Robert Sussman published the book, "The Myth of Race: The Troubling Persistence of an Unscientific Idea," which had to take this issue to task, 75 years after Ashley Montagu.  The U.S. government to this day asks citizens in the Census or Applications for Citizenship to mark what 'race' they belong to.  They've had 'problems' because Latinos were marking 'white.'  So they added some ethnic categories.  They have also had to allow people to mark more than one 'race' or ethnicity, as mixed ethnicities are common.  I use the term 'ethnicity' as the best description at this point, but different 'cultures' might be even more appropriate. 

"Race" is a social concept used by colonialism and capitalism to separate people, not unite them. That is it's racist meaning.  The terms 'interracial' or 'multi-racial' or 'bi-racial' are follies. The lazy use of these terms only feeds into the discourse about 'the Other.'  Even saying 'women of color' without using 'women without color' or 'colorless women' implies that 'white' people actually don't have a bit of brown, as if all 'white' people were albinos...  But at least it is a bit more specific and narrow, as it only relates to skin color.  What do we do?  Well, stop using terms or phrases that imply there are different races.  And call people on it.

Books by Ashley Montagu:  "Man's Most Dangerous Myth:  The Fallacy of Race" (1942) and "Statement on Race" and  "The Concept of Race." (1964)

Red Frog
December  9, 2017

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