“This Idea of Race”
Last night I watched the live eulogy, speech and sermon of President Obama on television, for the funeral of Rev. Clementa Pickney in Charleston, South Carolina. In this beautiful, poignant and moving speech he said very clearly when talking about the Confederate Flag “That this is a reminder of oppression and racial subjugation” and that to remove this flag would be the right thing to do because what it represents is wrong. I agree but I want to take it further; it is the Idea that races exists that there is such a thing amongst our species that goes to the very root of the problem. That young man that walked into that church and killed those people, believed in the false concept of race, that he was of one race and the victims of another, that false idea of such division within our species is the root cause of this evil and needs to be uprooted. The annihilation of this fallacy is long overdue. More than 25 years ago I sat in a lecture room in college taking an Anthropology class on “Race and Racism” which explained that race does not exist amongst our species yet racism was endemic amongst our species.
So I shall begin by giving a very brief explanation of this subject, the Idea or may I say, the Fallacy of Race. What is Anthropology? It is the study of man, and the word itself means, the “Study of Man”. Historically and at the infancy of this field, physical anthropologists set about trying to create the sub categories of race within our species of human beings. They even tried packing dried beans into skulls as one mad method of so called scientific exploration and of course there were other primitive methods used which were just as ridiculous and on their scientific journey as science developed and matured; they found that they could not determine such a thing as race, whatever categories they created did not hold up to scientific scrutiny. Alas all that they were left with was that if there was such a thing as race there would be as many races as there are people. This has been their conclusion for many years now with absolutely no new scientific evidence to conclude otherwise.
However, what scientists did discover is our origins, when DNA was discovered. Within the DNA they also found the Mitochondrial DNA which was passed down from mother to child, this maternal DNA has scientifically led us back in time to the original mother 200,000 years ago, which scientist named Eve although this is still being debated by physical anthropologists and palaeontologists, because it conflicts with the findings of fossilised bones that indicate much later dates and much earlier migration, yet the Mitochondrial DNA evidence is credible and the fossil evidence is sketchy. Yet all sides of the scientific debatebelieve and agree that the first Homo sapiens were from Africa and it was migration that caused the world to be populated with humans. This is a brief and simplification of human evolution and physical anthropology, which no professor in this field would thank me for, yet for the sake of this blog and the points I am to make I have kept it simple. Therefore it was concluded that there is no races within the species and one origin of the species. So we are one people of one origin.
The myth prevails in politics, literature, law and society the world over. We keep using this “Race” word that means nothing in science and does not exist according to scientific conclusion. This word RACE, is divisive to our species and used to commit great evil upon each other. We have used this word “Race” as a reason and justification to segregate, oppress, exploit, violate, dominate, subjugate, persecute and murder our fellow man. The reason and justification of evil through this word Race a word that does not exist within our species and yet it continues to create such evil within us that we as a species commit against each other. Something that is not real is continually dividing us as a species and is the cause of otherisation which leads to and enables the aforementioned crimes which we commit against ourselves; the one species of one origin. It is time for this word to be seen for what it is “An Idea” that was just plain wrong, just as wrong as the idea that the planet was flat turned out to be. Race is a fallacy and should be seen the same as the flat planet explanation is now; as we look back and say to ourselves “Were we really that stupid that we thought the earth was flat and we could fall off it?” I hope that one day we shall say “We were really that stupid we thought there was such a thing as races, and we used that, to do such evil to each other?” I can’t wait for that day to come when it is looked back upon and laughed at that we could be so blatantly ignorant. So let us archive this word Race as a part of our dark history when we were so naive and no longer allow it to be used to divide us; the one species of one origin. If our children had been taught this at school throughout the world more than twenty years ago; as I was in College, this young man Dylan Storm Roof who killed those innocent men and women of that prayer group may not have committed this act of racial murder because he would not have grown up to be a racist if he had been educated in the knowledge that race does not exist. The Jim Crow laws were founded on the idea of races amongst our species without this mythical and unfounded idea racial crimes against our fellow man could not have been legalised or socially acceptable. So race is no more but until people become educated as to that fact racism shall be endemic amongst our species.
Samantha Flower, Co-author of “The Persecution Of Others”