Straight talk: ‘Race, Reason for Racism’

Editorial by

Dr. Ed Enriquez

I start today a series of editorials about one of the things that many are afraid to talk about, but it is consuming the fiber of America, dividing people into compartments and creating resentment among the citizens of our country. My hope is that by telling you my perspective about this issue and my own story we can start a path to real integration. Yes, I said integration because today in America we have acceptance, but no integration. Integration can be achieved, if we agree one hundred percent that race does not exit, that people with different looks are not a race, they have different phenotypes (the way that we look).  The American Anthropological Association Specially states  that race as compartmental different groups does not exist. “In the United States both scholars and the general public have been conditioned to view human races as natural and separate divisions within the humans based on visible physical differences. With the vast expansion of scientific knowledge in this century, however, it has become clear that human populations are not unambiguous, clearly demarcated, biologically distinct groups. Evidence from the analysis of genetics (e.g., DNA) indicates that most physical variation, about 94%, lies within so-called racial groups. Conventional geographic “racial” groupings differ from one another only in about 6% of their genes. This means that there is greater variation within “racial” groups than between them. In neighboring populations there is much overlapping of genes and their phenotypic (physical) expressions. Throughout history whenever different groups have come into contact, they have interbred. The continued sharing of genetic materials has maintained all of humankind as a single species.

Historical research has shown that the idea of “race” has always carried more meanings than mere physical differences; indeed, physical variations in the human species have no meaning except the social ones that humans put on them.   “From its inception, this modern concept of “race” was modeled after an ancient theorem of the Great Chain of Being, which posited natural categories on a hierarchy established by God or nature. Thus “race” was a mode of classification linked specifically to people in the colonial situation. It subsumed a growing ideology of inequality devised to rationalize European attitudes and treatment of the conquered and enslaved peoples. Proponents of slavery in particular during the 19th century used “race” to justify the retention of slavery. The ideology magnified the differences among Europeans, Africans, and Indians, established a rigid hierarchy of socially exclusive categories which underscored and bolstered unequal rank and status differences, and provided the rationalization that the inequality was natural or God-given. The different physical traits of African-Americans and Indians became markers or symbols of their status differences. AAS”. Well we are not in the 19 century any more, so what is the explanation to continued remarking on the existence of races? That demarcation not only coming from European descendants, but also African descendants affirms the affiliation to a race. The result is a continued animosity toward one another and a lack of trust in one another. Both sides of the aisle need to start looking to each other as equals with different phenotypes . You know something? Although in school I opened many cadavers due to the nature of my profession, I never found anything different but the color of their skin. To be continued………

 

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