The reality of race

by Diego on September 11, 2016 - 9:13pm

Diego Ayllon

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.

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After having read this, I have realized that you have an interesting point of view although saying that there are only 3 races on earth: Black, Brown and White by only considering skin color is a fallacy. It is ignorance and lacks justification, not everyone is necessarily black, brown or white. This is how we categorise people in today's society. Therefore, if we only consider skin color we can say that the “human skin color ranges in variety from the darkest brown to the lightest hues”. This doesn't only show ignorance but you're also proving one thing, concluding another saying that ''there are only 3 races on earth: Black, Brown and White'' and then concluding by saying ''I accept that human beings have different skin colours'' are two different things.

Saying that there are 3 races on earth and then saying that human beings have different skin colors is the same thing. I accept that people's skin color varies between white, brown and black. It's not really ignorance it's common sense. When I look at people I see black, brown or white, yes there are different shades of each color but ultimately, it's the same color. You have lighter and darker types of brown, but it's still brown. Like I said before, race is a complicated concept only if we make it complicated. Yes everyone is either black, brown or white. If you can find someone who isn't black, brown or white then send me a picture and I'll be proven wrong. Otherwise my point of view stands.

Although I respect your views on what race is, I cannot say that I agree with your standpoint. I agree that there is way too much thought put into race. I also agree that people are afraid of the word "race" and people are also scared to be thought of as racist. However I cannot bring myself to agree that race should only be thought of as the color of your skin, and that there are only three. If anything, I believe that the color of a person's skin should not even be considered when discussing a persons race. The definition of race is as follows: "a group of people sharing the same culture, history, language, etc.; an ethnic group." I STRONGLY agree with the recorded definition of what race is, and whats what it should be. Race is much more than the color of a persons skin. The color of a persons skin is not even mentioned in the definition. Society put "color" into the definition of race. A person's race should be embraced, because it is a part of who they are. I believe that race should be decided by the persons ancestry, culture, beliefs, and their way of life and race should be viewed as such and not by physical attributes.

I find your point of view very confusing, you seem to be contradicting yourself. First you tell me that too much thought is given into race, but then you find the most complicated definition of race I've ever seen. You're doing exactly what you say you're against. Ancestry, culture, beliefs, way of life, etc. If we use your definition, we would have to create hundreds of races. Sorry but I'll stick to my 3 simple and objective categories. Whether color of skin is valid or not is a simple matter of opinion. There is no official definition of race and there are many valid factors, which mean we can choose our own. If you want to use your overcomplicated definition then sure go ahead, but I have the right to use my own. I won't deny that the concept of skin color as a race is a social construct but it doesn't really matter. We use many social constructs in life to divide each other, skin color is another one.

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