Posted first at NowPublic.Com.
Since the arrest of Harvard Professor John Lewis Gates, Jr., and the discussion of the arrest by President Barack Obama, the entire nation has been discussing matters of skin color. The assumptions that I bring to all discussions about skin color in America are these:
- "Race" does not exist as a matter of biology and it never did. The concept was invented at a time when DNA had not even been discovered, much less understood. Now, the Federal Government's mapping of the entire human genome under the auspices of the Human Genome Project has shown that:
"DNA studies do not indicate that separate classifiable subspecies (races) exist within modern humans. While different genes for physical traits such as skin and hair color can be identified between individuals, no consistent patterns of genes across the human genome exist to distinguish one race from another. There also is no genetic basis for divisions of human ethnicity. People who have lived in the same geographic region for many generations may have some alleles in common, but no allele will be found in all members of one population and in no members of any other."Human Genome Project
In other words, the Human Genome Project has proven that, as a matter of scientific fact, that which we call "race" does not exist as a matter of biology, and so all references to "race" are references to a fallacy. American Journal of Color Arousal.
- Anyone who continues to make references to "race", "racial", "racism" and "racist" is stuck in a mindset that was formed before empirical science could be brought to bear on the topic of skin color, because empirical science has recently proven beyond all shadow of a doubt that, as a matter of biology, "race" does not exist and it never did.
- The belief that people with white skin and people with brown skin are from different "races" is one of the fundamental building blocks of our color-aroused attitudes.
- The belief that our skin color makes us fundamentally different, biologically and otherwise, perpetuates and reinforces the arguments, debates and ideological differences between us, if only because the belief in the biological existence of "race" creates an "us" and "them" mentality.
- We will never, ever get beyond issues of "race" for so long as we believe that our difference in skin color make us fundamentally different, biologically and otherwise.
- The belief that "race" exists long after science has proved that it does not is a delusional belief, and people who believe in and act upon delusional beliefs, particularly in making important decisions, are to some degree mentally disordered. There are many examples of this mentally disordered delusional belief system being so strong in individuals that they murder others and then commit suicide. Hitler is an example of someone who believed,or at least disseminated the belief, that separate races existed and that they were fundamentally different. Doug Williams, who killed several of his white and brown-skinned co-workers because he opposed "race mixing" is another example.
- Many people in the United States of America and in many other countries, regardless of skin color, have ideation, emotion and behavior that is aroused by skin color. While this does not always rise to the level of a mental disorder, some people who have have extreme color-aroused thoughts, emotions and behavior suffer from a mental illness called Extreme Color-Aroused Disorder that is defined as "color-aroused ideation, emotions and behavior so extreme that they make a person unable to function in one or more areas of life. Read about Doug Williams (mentioned above) and see if he does not meet this definition. Can you think of other examples of people within your own experience whose color aroused ideation, emotion and behavior has been so extreme as to separate them from family members, co-workers, supervisors, employment, social interaction, business opportunities. For example, do you know of parents who have broken off relationships with their children because their children chose to marry people whose skin color was darker or lighter?
- Although there are many examples of people who have gotten in trouble with the law because of their color-aroused ideation, emotion and behavior (hate crimes, illegally denying others access to a swimming pool based on skin color), there are very few psychiatrists and psychologists who recognize the harm that color-aroused ideation, emotion and behavior can cause to individuals and their families. As a result, many people with color-aroused illness as severe as that of Doug Williams never receive the treatment they need, and so they suffer needlessly as a result.
- As the American Psychiatric Association has observed, "Most studies and other scholarly discourse on the topics of racism, racial intolerance, and xenophobia have focused on the victim, with particular attention given to the impact acts of racial aggression have had on their lives. Contemporaryscholarship in this area has increasinglyfocused on the strengths, growth, and healing of the survivor. The study of perpetrators as individuals or groups who engage in these forms of aggressive experiences have received less, though significant, attention in the literature. Considerably less attention has been devoted to studying the immediate and extended families of the victim, particularly the emotional, psychological and sometimes physiological aftermath that now challenges their lives."
Resolution on Racism and Racial Discrimination:
A Policy Statement in Support of the goals of
The World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination,
Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.
- When we recognize that even the American Psychiatric Association continues to use the words "race", "racism" and "racial" even after their fellow scientists have proved that these terms are scientifically meaningless, we begin to understand the long road America and other nations will have to travel to overcome the misinformed or delusional belief in "race."
- Because we continue to use the word and concept of "race" ubiquitously even after science has proven that "race" does not exist, our very vocabulary representing our concepts for discussing and understanding issues of skin color poses a potentially insurmountable barrier to overcoming these issues.
- For psychologists and other mental health workers, a fundamental part of cognitive behavioral therapy is helping the client to identify distorted and unrealistic beliefs of the client, reality-checking them, and helping the client to adopt beliefs that are more in keeping with reality and more likely to lead to successful social, familial and professional interaction. The belief that "race" exists, which is evident in our constant use of the term, is one of the distorted and unrealistic beliefs that prevents us from overcoming acrimony associated with skin color.
- Believing that skin color equals "race" is an example of "overinterpreting" (exaggerating) the significance of what we perceive when we perceive the skin color of ourselves and others.