Dividing, Alienating and Classifying; the Racial Dissection of Homo Sapiens Sapiens.
by Brand.Stark on September 12, 2016 - 8:34pm
Throughout the course of history, the differentiation and classification of the Homo sapiens species has played a crucial role in the success and achievement of those who have written it. Alas, for we all know, history is written by the winners, but what if almost half of the contestants that ever tried their chance at that glory were merely disqualified based on eye color or length of one’s fingers? Would we not scream for injustice, demand equality or even retribution on the behalf of all those unfairly condemned? It would seem fairly unethical and immoral to do such a thing based off a singular, unimportant trait would it not? Then why don’t we with skin color? We’ve attributed such a grandiose significance to it; that it’s “racially qualifying” characteristics still linger in today’s modern society. Jump 500 years ago or so through slavery, segregation and socioeconomic injustice into a modern setting; and we find ourselves fostering the same unconscious differentiations that justify the very political and socioeconomic discriminations we protest (Diamond, 1994, para. 5).
In ways unbeknownst to me, a classmate of mine, a friend, is classified by his skin tone and is judged as being better or worse than me in specific, unrelated tasks based on a criteria established by stereotypes and prejudice. If we’re going to organize and classify my fellow peers based on such an arbitrary trait; why not use something as equally pointless to us human beings such as hair color, voice and habitat preference (Diamond, 1994, para. 7)? Furthermore, growing up in a predominantly white suburb with me, the difference in his skin color always made him the first pick for our grade school basketball team, even though he showed no will or love for the sport itself…Even worse, whenever we would go out at night to grab snacks at the corner store, the clerks would always eyeball my friend with every step he took, expecting for the worse while I was the one snatching packets of gum and candy. Throughout the modern setting, this reinforced stereotypical belief is now a determinant for whether some children decide if their even good enough to follow through middle school, or whether or not their good enough to join the basketball team or even allowed to be a part of a certain group or think a certain way without being alienated by their peers.
In my own life, I have never experienced racism in any shape or form; only in the way people equate me to being like “every other white kid” and presuming that I am ignorant and oblivious to the social injustice currently going on. As much as I can’t relate to what it’s like being a part of a minority group; I can assure anyone reading this that I speak for many by saying that being a part of the majority group doesn’t make me or anyone else less understanding or willing to join up in the battle against ignorance. Skin tone, aside from being overwhelmingly important in our social prejudices (Diamond, 1997, para. 33), is the categorical factor that is at the heart of institutionalized racism throughout history, dividing us into separate races to easily oppress and discriminate against the people who we saw fit to lose.
Conclusively, for the second half of contestants to get their rightful share at writing a glorious and successful part in history, we have to abolish the falsely established criteria that divides us, and unite to help our fellow men and women reclaim their innate rights to equity, respect and opportunity! For shall we not forget, our duty is to be the voice of all those who we’re suppressed, and still are oppressed…
Diamond, J. (2016, Fall). Race Without Color. In A. Nouvet (Ed.), Anthropology 381-101-LA: The Myth of Race and the Reality of Racism. Saint-Lambert, QC: Champlain.