Thursday, 11 February 2010

The "Race" Word and the War of the Races

The Root says,
Haiti's 'Orphans' and the Transracial Adoption Dilemma

Bring up race and adoption, and watch people squirm. But the reality remains that African-American children remain on the bottom rung of the adoption ladder.
I'm not even going to read the article because it would only make me angry to see the anachronistic word "race" used so many times by an article author who thinks he trying to help Blacks while instead he just stigmatizes us (and himself).

First of all:
According to the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, Office of Biological and Environmental Research, Human Genome Program,

"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. U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, Office of Biological and Environmental Research, Human Genome Program.

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.

That's what I copied from the US Goverment's Genome Information Project page and pasted in the sidebar of the American Journal of Color Arousal. Most people don't seem to have gotten the memo yet that:

And so they continue to use and propagate a word and an underlying belief system that stigmatizes Black people and Asians daily and everyone else who is not "white" daily.

What would happen if you did a telephone "push-pole" and asked Americans two questions:
  1. Would you adopt a child if you knew his/her skin color was different from your own?
  2. Would you adopt a child if you knew his/her "race" was different from your own?
I would have to answer the above questions with a "yes" and "no" respectively. A child's skin color would not necessarily prevent me from adopting him or her. After all, problems of skin color are only ideationally, emotionally, and behaviorally deep, and they only become so because people have been socialized to believe that "race" exists as a matter of biology and sociology. If I taught the child that we had different skin color and were all part of the same species, I think that might make our challenges easier.

However, when you ask me to adopt a child from a different "race," which is synonymous with "species," I think you might be asking me to adopt ET. Is there any way I could know that you're not asking me to adopt E.T.? Doesn't the mere fact that you have used the word "race" require me to ask additional questions in order to assure myself that the proposed adoptee is human and not from a different species? If I accept a child from a different "race," you might show up with a monkey, an orangutan, or a boa-constrictor, or an other-wordly creature from "War of the Worlds." You might well be asking me to adopt a chicken or a chicken-eating wolf.

If all I know is that the child is from a "different race" irgo "species" and, therefore, might be,for example, the poisonous child of a poisonous snake, what person in his right mind could make that decision without more information? However, many people can make the decision in the affirmative if the question is merely referring to skin color and superficial morphological facial and hair differences, potentially.

The word "race" stigmatizes everyone who is not white and from Northern Europe by insinuating that there is something fundamentally different about us that people must know more about before they can take the risk of hiring us, adopting us, befriending us, lending to us, selling a house to us in a neighborhood where one's neighbors will now have to live with us, or permitting their daughter or son to marry us . . .

The word "race" takes the term "skin-color" and multiplies its importance ten or fifty-fold. In fact, one of the primary reasons that we can't "bridge the gap between the races" is that the word "race" itself contains within its very definition that premise that we are radically different from one another, even between people of different colors who get along perfectly well.

You don't have to be a genius to know that if you tell a group of even thirty white children that they consist of two groups--the red shirts and the blue shirts--that are radically different from one another in significant ways, then they will begin to treat one another differently, not because their shirts are different, which occurs in all classrooms, but because you have asserted to these children that the difference in shirt colors is a marker for profound other differences. The children will predictably gather into groups by shirt color and treat one another differently on that basis.

How do I know? Ask Dr. Charles Bell this question, and I am sure that he will provide you with numerous studies affirming the above. Dr. Bell is President/CEO of the Community Mental Health Council in Chicagoand Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the University of Illinois School of Medicine. He might not agree with me that about "Why the 'Race' Word is Wrong," but he will surely cite numerous studies in people who are told that they are fundamentally different from each proceed to treat each other in fundamentally different ways.

That's why I'm not going to read the article above. The premise that, between people with brown skin and people with pink skin, skin color and superficial facial and hair morphology can and should be used to distinguish the "white species" from the "brown species" is a premise to laughable that I believe it was the subject of an old Star Trek episode.

This may be a problem that will only be resolved over several generations. Just as there were arguments over whether Blacks should be called African American, there are arguments going on now as to whether Blacks constitute a biologically different "race". As the Human Genome Project (cited above) has proved, there is no reason to believe that Blacks (or Chinese people) constitute a different species as a matter of biology. We are capable of successfully reproducing with each other and all of our bodily organs are interchangeable as long as medically significant criteria such as blood type (which cannot be predicted by skin color) are respected.

Since the article above is clearly perpetuates a biological premise that has no basis in biology, I'm not going to bother to read it. However, if any of my readers do look at the article and discover that it does not perpetuate the belief in "race", please inform me in the comments.

When it comes to perpetuating the use of and premises of the "race" word, our friends are unfortunately hurting us as much as our enemies.

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