So often people are concerned with race. In America, it is a most volatile subject, one that causes hate crimes, murders, hatred, bigotry, prejudice, discrimination and many other horrible consequences. To be concerned with race does not necessarily make one a “racist” per se. However, a person’s mere preoccupation with race, whether a Caucasian, African-American, Asian, Hispanic or otherwise, can be a sign of latent if not overt racism.

The races have always been seen as “different” from one another. African-Americans typically have darker skin than Caucasians. Caucasians typically have lighter eyes than Asians. Asians typically have shorter statures than most Hispanic people. There are differences between the races. For one to say that differences do not exist is simply untrue. However, the question is how different are we? Are we REALLY all that different, or are our differences simply superficial and minute? As for “race”, does it even exist outside of our own perceptions? The fact is that we are all one race, the Human Race. Homo-sapians. The idea of “race” in humanity has been created by us, not by genetics or evolution. When we see someone who looks like we do, we feel “safe”. When we see someone who looks different than we do, we may feel “unsafe”. These feelings are not innate, but are merely learned. Upon birth, we are essentially a clean slate and we are malleable and can be shaped into whatever our environment and genetics dictate. Racism is a learned way of thinking.

Creationists, whom often also believe that the races were created and not meant to mix as “according to the Bible”, often frown on the idea of evolution. It’s not as if evolution is questionable for plant species or animals or any other organism to anyone who actually accepts science as reality. For example, most Creationists will accept that the sky is blue and the grass is green. They may also accept that the sky is blue because of the combination of oxygen and nitrogen and Rayleigh scattering in the atmosphere or that grass is green due to chlorophyll. They may accept that when you drop something, it falls to the ground due to gravity or that when ice melts its molecular makeup alters and becomes water. However, when confronted with the exact same science that dictates physics and chemistry they may accept, in regards to evolution, they deny the science. They instead choose to believe in a book written over 2000 years ago when the writers still believed in a flat Earth and did not even know about the existence of the Americas.

This same adamant belief that the races were “created” and human beings were “created” as they exist today, and walked along side dinosaurs, is one of the catalysts for racism in America today. For if they understood and accepted the science behind the evolution of the races, they would understand that the races are indeed only .001% genetically different. That difference accounts only for superficial visible differences such as skin color, hair type, eye color, height, bone density, etc.

So, where did that .001% difference evolve and why? It all started in Africa about 150,000 – 200,000 years ago. Bands of humans began migrating out of Africa only about 70,000 years ago. As we spread across the globe, populations continually bumped into one another and mixed their mates and genes.

Africans have darker skin because they have more melanin – the closer people were to the equator, the darker their skin to protect them from the sun.

Europeans developed different hair to contend with the wet environment and lighter eye color due to living in dark caves in the colder climates for centuries before the ice melted and created the lush landscape.

Asians developed their eye folds and cheekbones to protect them from the harsh climates and reflection of the sun on the snow, from where they originated. They migrated to present day Japan/China/Mongolia, etc. only a few thousand years ago and so they retain this characteristic.

According to the Genographic Project, a non-profit research group which has traced back close to half a million participants’ DNA to the same two African ancestors; the proof is in the science.

Many volunteers are finding results that they never expected. Many African Americans are learning that their ancestors trace back to Europe while many Europeans are finding their lineage trace back to Africa, yet all of the participants trace their initial ancestor back to Africa.

The science behind this is sound and has been published in numerous respected scientific journals.

So, if we accept science as being proof of something, and science has proven that we all originated from the same place, then that means race only exists in each of our own perceptions.

I am living proof of this. Although my mother is of German decent and my father is of African decent, I was born with blond hair and blue eyes and very pale skin. As a matter of fact, both sides of the family thought I wasn’t my father’s child, that it wasn’t possible that I could be his child. They stuck to the beliefs until I got older and saw that I was indeed my father’s son.

As I got older, my eyes turned hazel green, my hair medium brown and my skin olive. Even with these changes, as I went through my teen years and 20’s and now, I am almost always perceived as something other than what I am. Typically, Hispanic or Middle Eastern. So people come up to me speaking Spanish and I have no idea what they are saying or people will assume I am from the Middle East and will look at me suspiciously as I board a plane. Even though my family has been American before there was an America, since 1704 in Virginia.

These perceptions are incorrect, and are an illusion because the reality is that I am 1/2 White and 1/2 Black, no matter what I look like. But my reality is altered because of how others perceive my race in their own minds.

Race only exists in our perception, it does not exist otherwise as we are all exactly the same and come from the same place but with different shells.

That is not to say that cultural differences do not exist. They do. People often conflate culture with race when in reality they can and often are disparate.

An African-American who grows up in the culture of a predominately African-American neighborhood and is possibly surrounded by other African-Americans, and does not go to college, will identify much differently with their “race” than an African-American who grows up in the culture of Beverly Hills in a mansion with predominately Caucasian acquaintances and friends, goes to Harvard. One is not inherently better than the other, but they are undoubtedly different. It’s only one example of how culture affects the perception people carry about “race” when in reality it’s really culture that people are often looking at.

To discriminate against others because of “race” is as ridiculous as discriminating against your own sibling or parent because they have a different hair color than you.

Race exists only in our minds and perception of other people. If it’s in our minds, then that means it’s not this thing that is beyond people’s control. It’s simply about changing how we see the world – our perception. It’s really very simple. Don’t see race when you meet someone, see them for who they are otherwise. At least then you won’t be a victim of the illusion of race and you can finally say, with certainty that you are indeed, not a racist.

And if you are a racist, hating people for something that doesn’t really exist, then you’re an idiot.

8 COMMENTS

  1. I have to share a funny story about 'perception and race'. A few weeks ago, my husband and I overheard a conversation between my 6 year old bi-racial daughter Asian/Caucasian) and her friend. My daughter loves to pretend she is Beyonce and she was singing and dancing and announced to her friend that she is pretending to be "African American". Her friend, quickly pointed out to my daughter is not brown, therefore not African American. My daughter said to her / us that you don't have look brown to be African American. (her BFF is blond, super curly-hair, blue-eyed girl doesn't look AA at all, but she is most definitely African American). I was so proud of my daughter. I agree that race exists in our minds and how we want to interpret them. Discrimination of any form is awful and we as a community need to start early with young kids in explaining the complexity/sensitivity of race in America. I am certain there are racist parents out there even in very liberal areas. If their parents are hopelessly uniformed, their kids are the ones we (as citizens) must begin the conversation of race if we want to make progress in humanity.

    • Thanks for sharing Amily! That's an excellent example of what the article was speaking about in terms of perception and race.

      I think that most people have preconceived notions about it, and ultimately, it just really doesn't matter.

      When I was in my early 20's I looked much more caucasian than I do now and I had been dating a guy for about 6 months and he and his friends were talking with me there beside him and they told an "n-word" joke and they were all roaring with laughter. I was mortified!

      I told him that I didn't find that amusing (but not so nicely). He asked what my problem was and I told him because I am bi-racial and I didn't know he was racist in that way. He was shocked, he had no idea I was 1/2 black and 1/2 white – he thought I was was white. After that, he broke up with me. When I asked him why, he told me it was because I was 1/2 black and he couldn't date "one".

      This man was gay and incredibly racist. It's amazing how people allow something that really is only in our minds to determine that even though we really like or love someone, we can't be with them because of their skin color.

      Stupidity never ceases to amaze me.

      Thanks for sharing

  2. I have to share a funny story about 'perception and race'. A few weeks ago, my husband and I overheard a conversation between my 6 year old bi-racial daughter Asian/Caucasian) and her friend. My daughter loves to pretend she is Beyonce and she was singing and dancing and announced to her friend that she is pretending to be "African American". Her friend, quickly pointed out to my daughter is not brown, therefore not African American. My daughter said to her / us that you don't have look brown to be African American. (her BFF is blond, super curly-hair, blue-eyed girl doesn't look AA at all, but she is most definitely African American). I was so proud of my daughter. I agree that race exists in our minds and how we want to interpret them. Discrimination of any form is awful and we as a community need to start early with young kids in explaining the complexity/sensitivity of race in America. I am certain there are racist parents out there even in very liberal areas. If their parents are hopelessly uniformed, their kids are the ones we (as citizens) must begin the conversation of race if we want to make progress in humanity.

    • Thanks for sharing Amily! That's an excellent example of what the article was speaking about in terms of perception and race.

      I think that most people have preconceived notions about it, and ultimately, it just really doesn't matter.

      When I was in my early 20's I looked much more caucasian than I do now and I had been dating a guy for about 6 months and he and his friends were talking with me there beside him and they told an "n-word" joke and they were all roaring with laughter. I was mortified!

      I told him that I didn't find that amusing (but not so nicely). He asked what my problem was and I told him because I am bi-racial and I didn't know he was racist in that way. He was shocked, he had no idea I was 1/2 black and 1/2 white – he thought I was was white. After that, he broke up with me. When I asked him why, he told me it was because I was 1/2 black and he couldn't date "one".

      This man was gay and incredibly racist. It's amazing how people allow something that really is only in our minds to determine that even though we really like or love someone, we can't be with them because of their skin color.

      Stupidity never ceases to amaze me.

      Thanks for sharing

  3. I wish more people could be open about race. I am white and grew up in a mostly white area, but now I live in a more diverse town. Sometimes white people think it's safe to say racist things around me, but then they find out they're wrong. I have never been racist and never understood it as a kid (or adult), and now I have black and bi-racial people in my family, so trying to overcome other people's ignorance is an even bigger part of my life. Sometimes I'm not sure what to say, though. My six-year old niece has a white mother and black father. The other day she showed me her pale legs and told me she was turning into a white person! I told her that because of her parents' skin colors, her color is something in between. And I like to point out to her that the President has a white mom and black dad just like she does. But the other day she was comparing her little brother to my son; both are the same age. She said she wasn't sure which baby she liked best, and for some reason pointed out that one baby was "mixed" and one was white. I told her it didn't matter what color they were. I asked her if any kids at school ever say mean things about other people because of what color they are and she said no, but I'm not sure that's true, even though she's only in first grade. All I can do right now is tell her that no one should ever say mean things about another person because of color. There are certain things she doesn't know yet as far as history goes, and I don't know how that should even be brought up. Since I'm not her parent I haven't said or done things that I might have said if I were her mom, or even if I lived with her (which I did for 2 years), but I do want to be available if she ever needs anyone to talk to.

    I really love the last line of this article!

  4. I wish more people could be open about race. I am white and grew up in a mostly white area, but now I live in a more diverse town. Sometimes white people think it's safe to say racist things around me, but then they find out they're wrong. I have never been racist and never understood it as a kid (or adult), and now I have black and bi-racial people in my family, so trying to overcome other people's ignorance is an even bigger part of my life. Sometimes I'm not sure what to say, though. My six-year old niece has a white mother and black father. The other day she showed me her pale legs and told me she was turning into a white person! I told her that because of her parents' skin colors, her color is something in between. And I like to point out to her that the President has a white mom and black dad just like she does. But the other day she was comparing her little brother to my son; both are the same age. She said she wasn't sure which baby she liked best, and for some reason pointed out that one baby was "mixed" and one was white. I told her it didn't matter what color they were. I asked her if any kids at school ever say mean things about other people because of what color they are and she said no, but I'm not sure that's true, even though she's only in first grade. All I can do right now is tell her that no one should ever say mean things about another person because of color. There are certain things she doesn't know yet as far as history goes, and I don't know how that should even be brought up. Since I'm not her parent I haven't said or done things that I might have said if I were her mom, or even if I lived with her (which I did for 2 years), but I do want to be available if she ever needs anyone to talk to.

    I really love the last line of this article!

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