What's it based on?
by Haleyduncan98 on September 14, 2016 - 2:52am
It’s simple, isn’t it? We can see the things that make humans different from each other. Hair texture and color, body proportions, and skin tone. These differences are so obvious and easy, how can they be wrong? Well, they can be wrong because ‘races’ are not as black and white as people may think. By just using traits that are convenient to our eye, we create categories that are very subjective and not at all concrete. Since the traits we like to use are not consistent, the lines between ‘races’ become very blurred. To me, this is not a reliable means of separating humans nor is separating humans an advisable thing to do if it is so inconsistent.
In his article, Jared Diamond argues that there is no ‘race’ gene. Although we can, for the most part, differentiate ‘races’ by sight, when it gets down to specific and consistent categories, humans should not be sub-categorized further than being a collective species. Diamond says only some species can be successfully sub-categorized. His example is the yellow-rumped warbler, whose variation in throat color, voice and preference in habitat are all concordant. Which is to say that no matter which of these three traits you chose- throat color, voice or habitat -you will end up with the same categories, because populations of birds with a different voice also have a different habitat and throat color.
In class, we did an exercise where we separated into four categories and this showed just how subjective the criteria for categories could be (length of hair: very short, short, long or very long. But what counts as long?). That really brought to light how blurry the lines between ‘races’ can be and made me question why we use them at all. I suppose we like to simplify everything, even the individuality we have as humans.