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Let's Think About 'Race'

Start talking about "race" and immediately our boldly proud ignorance on the topic surfaces. Everyone knows exactly what they mean, but they have, in 99% of the cases, never questioned the construct. And if you just said, "what does he mean by "construct," then you just proved my point. "Race" is that term that is often-used but never defined. Therefore in most discussions, it means whatever I think it means and the other party in the discussion feels exactly the same way. Now imagine the discussion from those two different views of "race." It's the proverbial conundrum of two blind men each touching a different part of an elephant and one arguing that it is like a firehose and the other arguing it is more like a tree. Except in the case with "race," people's lives and well-beings are at stake. So rather than spending more time explaining this illusory concept that provides no benefit. let's get rid of it As we say, "erase" it.

"Race" is asked on school, medical, and government forms, applications for participation in activities and events and sometimes it is asked for reasons we've never ever questioned. Today, when people speak about "race," they are probably referring to skin color and at the same time, to something more than skin color; e.g. culture, ethnicity and arbitrary population groups.

Samuel Morton is known as the inventor of scientific racism because he promulgated the idea in the early 19th century, through his exceedingly flawed research based on skull size, that all people could be divided into five distinct "races" and that these five "racial" categories all came from separate acts of creation.

You can imagine how this "scientist" was received in the pre-civil war south. Morton went on to identify what he believed was the pre-determined hierarchy of the "races," with sarcastically surprising enough, his "race," Caucasian, being the most intelligent and gifted, followed by Mongolians or Southeast Asians. The Malays from which we get the Malaysians were followed by Native Americans and then finally Africans were placed at the bottom of the hierarchy.

From Adolph Hitler to Rwanda, to supremacist beliefs in all forms around the world, many of the most atrocious crimes of humanity against humanity can be traced to this idea created and fostered by Morton that some "races" are inferior to others. I heard a quote that said,

"when America wanted to be first to the moon, we used German scientists and when Germans wanted to exterminate Jews, they used American scientists." That's Morton's legacy along with many other "race" scientists of that day. Their bad science wouldn't be such a bad thing were it simply a historical treatise on how we have arrived where we are today, but sadly, to an uncomfortable degree we continue to perpetuate Morton’s legacy even today. "Racial" distinctions continue to shape our economics, our politics, our neighborhoods, and our sense of self.

Today I want to challenge you to think differently. The paradigm that says "race" is valid for drawing distinctions between groups of people has been proven biologically and scientifically untenable and wrong. We must shout this to the top of our lungs. Most Americans as well as many around the world, have not paused to think about this fundamental and extremely flawed concept. Therefore it moves unchallenged through every aspect of our society; at least it did until now.

Bill Nye, the science guy and Ken Ham, Answers in Genesis, are as polar opposites as you could imagine for viewpoints on an issue; one representing science and the other representing religion, and they both agree and have both emphatically stated that we are all one race.

While you may agree with that notion, ask yourself, does your life reflect that belief? When you check the box on the form for "race" do you think about what you are doing? When someone taunts you because of your "race" do you accept their ignorance or reject it? And when you hear "race" verbiage on the news, do you understand that our society is mired in a concept that was created for division and hate? Americans, as well as those around the world who suffer from the effects of this concept, need to think about whether or not they want to continue down the road of "race." Do we want to continue to believe that some physical characteristics place some people on a higher level than others in our society?

More than trying to simply Make American Great Again, I believe that we would be better off Making America Think Again. Surely if we did that, we would do away with "race" and all it has created.

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