The reality of race
by Diego on September 11, 2016 - 9:13pm
I have to admit I was very worried coming into this class. Just the name of the course didn't really appeal to me. But now, after a few classes of theory and discussions, I have to say, my concerns were indeed justified... I was very shocked on the first day when I heard what other people really thought about the concept of race. I quickly realised that, what should have been an easy concept, was turned into something very complicated and for only one reason; political correctness. The reading of Jared Diamond's ''Race Without Color'' only confirmed my observation; when it comes to human classification, people choose to reject it because they're afraid to offend. Well I choose the easy way and I don't feel the need to be politically correct. That's why I believe in the concept of race.
The only thing that I learned in class is that there are many biological factors that can determine race. Jared Diamond states that '' there are many different, equally valid procedures for defining race'' (Diamond, 1994, para.4) and honestly, I can't really argue with this argument. But the text goes one with the concepts of natural and sexual selection, comparing us with animals. I find all of this irrelevent; it doesn't have to be that complicated. If there are many valid factors and none is the best, it means we can choose our own. That's what I've decided to do. But which classification factor is the easiest? The most obvious and visible physical trait: skin color. Not ethnicity or eye color or enzyme lactase. Skin color is the easiest factor to determine race, other aspects are too complicated. It is simple, objective, yes objective, and non-biased. Therefore, if we consider only skin color, there are only 3 races on earth: black, brown, white. Some might argue that it is a racist classification, but in reality it's just a physical trait that can be useful to describe a person's physicality. A very important argument from Diamond is that; ''Racial classification didn't come from science but from the body's signals for differentiating attractive from unattractive sex partners, and for differentiating friend from foe'' (Diamond, 1994, para.27) when it comes to race, I can agree that it doesn't really come from science and historically speaking, it was indeed used for oppression but I don't think it has to be scientifically based. Diamond is assuming that race can only be used as a racist concept. I simply think it can be used as a physical trait, nothing more.
People are so afraid of the word race because of its past, race is a dirty and controversial word, but it's still a word, and it still exists. I choose to accept this word and use it. Because I was born in Peru, some might say that my race is Latino, but in reality my race is white because that's my color of skin. Latino is my ethnicity. Race is a complicated concept only because we make it complicated for the sake of political correctness. Race can also be a racist concept if we make it racist. I choose to believe in the concept of race not because I'm racist or biased but simply because I accept that human beings have different skin colors, and there's nothing wrong with that.