Growing up Human
by Thormaclennan on September 12, 2016 - 1:11pm
Growing up I was exposed to many cultures and ethnicities from a young age. I grew up in Banff, Alberta. Alberta is traditionally thought to be very white and euro-centric. Banff, however, has a very large Japanese population. When I was younger my friends and half of my classmates were Japanese, the other half being white or first nations. In addition to that, my mother is from New Zealand and of Maori descent. My father, however, is half Icelandic and half Danish. So I’m a mix of Scandinavian and Polynesian, hence the name and pale appearance. Interacting with other “races” was always encouraged in my household so I never grew up with any prejudices against people with different skin tones or of other ethnicities.
Race was never a big deal to me or my family. I never really noticed it and wasn’t fully aware of the realities people from other “races” are faced with on a daily basis. I did, however, follow the notion of what Jarod Diamond was saying on the terms of his common sense view of race. In this, all native Scandinavians differ from native Nigerians and could never be confused based on the vast differences in their appearance with features such as: skin tones, very pale versus very dark; hair colour, blond or light brown versus black; hair texture, straight versus tightly coiled; and finally eye colour, blue or grey versus black (Diamond, 2). He goes on to continue how other European ethnic groups are much more similar to the Swedes than to the Nigerians, which in turn gives way to the racial classification of Europeans and sub-Saharan Africans into two groups based mainly on skin colour, Europeans being whites and Africans being blacks (3).
This being said, from my previous sociology class I already knew that the concept of race was a societal concept and that there was only one human race. The in-class activities ingrained the arbitrariness of racial classification and how the biological variability within humans is great but has nothing to do with the respective “races” that we are from. As stated before, growing up not paying any attention to the “races” of people, it is puzzling to me and makes me question, why this idea of “race” is such a big deal to people and I also find it quite comical when we hear of “racial superiority” when we are all just one big race, the human “race."
Diamond, J. (2016, Winter). Race Without Color. In A. Nouvet (Ed.), Anthropology 381-204-LA: The Myth of Rae and the Reality of Racism. Saint-Lambert, QC: Champlain.