On “Race”

Until the late 19th century, race was typically based on language and nationality. Following Darwin’s published research, however, humans began to look at themselves as they would other animals. This sparked a new argument of “race” as heredity. The fundamental results were a classification of their fellow humans as “lower” and “higher” races. These ideas were proposed by Caucasian males who argued that those with Nordic traits (blue eyes, blonde hair, and fair skin) sat atop the human totem pole. They claimed that these humans were largely responsible for order, civilization, and social progress. This inherently categorized those with dark skin and dark hair as the “lower” races.

Are we supposed to believe that Caucasians with Nordic traits are genetically superior? If so, I don’t buy it. I am convinced that social history has played out the way it has by chance. Some groups have been exposed to ideas, tools, and conditions that have perpetuated the expansion of “modern” civilization. Whether or not modern civilization has been progressive (especially in terms of its ethical implications) is debatable. We are where we are today because of environmental factors that have given certain groups an advantage in exploiting their environment and other humans.

I understand this is a hot-button issue, and I am merely trying to get my tumultuous thoughts out in the open. My opinion is that hereditary superiority is a fallacy. One’s cultural environment is the sole determining factor (withholding genetic disorders) of their ability to adapt to the world. A person’s genetic traits are beneficial, or not, based on the current trends of social constructs. Unfortunately, the roots of racial bias run so deeply in the United States, that I am unsure if we will ever resolve the issue. This nation was founded by an aristocracy that exploited other human beings. It seems as if social equality was doomed from the start.

Does this mean that I have lost hope? No. I have faith that I will witness legitimate social equality in my lifetime. We have come so far since the founding of our nation, but we certainly have a long way to go. Racial, economic, and gender inequality are still rampant. Until the institutions in place undergo drastic changes, or are overthrown, systematic inequality will remain a factor for all Americans. I am not preaching anarchy or violent revolution, but changes must be made, and they must be made quickly. We are at a critical juncture in the life of our young country. We are teetering between social progress and social regression. It will be a difficult road to navigate, but I am convinced that Americans will come together to create the changes that need to be made.

The color of our skin, hair, and eyes should be a non-factor. We are all earthlings. We are all riding on the same organic spaceship, and we are (so far as we know) the only intelligent beings capable of maintaining a peaceful and ecologically sound existence on this planet. We must continue to work towards social and economic equality, clean and renewable energy, and the conservation of our natural world. We must return to living in harmony with Mother Earth and each other, or we will surely be the authors of our own demise. Be kind. Spread love. Preach peace. Together, we will make it through these hard times.

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