The False Concept of Race
by Rosemarie on September 13, 2016 - 10:44am
The concept of race is something that we all think to know fairly well; in a given species, there are different populations because of their different features and this is what we call race. According to this simple definition, we, humans, tend to group each other as such: Whites, Blacks, Asians, Latinos, and so forth. However, the thing that most people do not know is that we cannot apply the concept of race to humans. In his article “Race Without Color”, Jared Diamond fully explains why humans should not and cannot be divided into races.
His main point is that skin color is not a valid characteristic to define race, as “there are many different, equally valid procedures for defining races” (Diamond, 2016, para. 5). According to Diamond, people could also be classified according to if they have the sickle-gene or not (Diamond, 2016, para. 16), or if they are lactose intolerant or not (Diamond, 2016, para. 18). Those two traits, along with many others, are as valuable as skin color, so why put people in a same category according to just this one trait?
This idea really struck me because I had never thought about this; I did not even know that race was not a thing among humans…Maybe because I had never been personally affected by this concept? For me, race was just about the same as ethnicity; I thought we could use those two terms equally, but having read all the evidence as to why we cannot classify humans into races really made me change the way I see our society now. I realized that the media put so much emphasis on skin color and that they think it is more important to state what “race” this person is instead of actually giving their name.
For instance, let’s look at this title of a news article about the Olympics: “African-American Women Make Olympic History by Winning Gold in Swimming, Gymnastics & Shot Put” (Democracy Now, 2016). Why is it so important to state that Simone Manuel, Simone Biles and Michelle Carter are African-American, before even mentioning their names? By reading the article, you might say that it is because they all beat Olympics records in their “race”. But then again, why is this relevant? People think it is relevant because they believe the concept of race, but these women beat personal and world records, is that not enough to mention? This example just shows how the media dedicate their energy into talking about race and that they continue to spread this false concept.
In sum, Diamond’s article made me realize that so much effort is put into talking about people’s race and skin color when in fact, it is not even a thing. If only more people knew about this, many social problems could probably be avoided.
Democracy Now. (2016). African-American Women Make Olympic History by Winning Gold in Swimming, Gymnastics & Shot Put. Author. Retrieved from http://www.democracynow.org/2016/8/15/african_american_women_make_olympi...
Diamond, J. (2016, Winter). Race Without Color. In A. Nouvet (Ed.), Anthropology 381-101-LA: The Myth of Race and the Reality of Racism. Saint-Lambert, QC: Champlain. http://discovermagazine.com/1994/nov/racewithoutcolor444