Monday, April 16, 2018

The myth of race

During the 17th and 18th centuries, white "masters" owned African slaves and their descendants and exploited them for cheap and plentiful labor. Even after the abolition of slavery, racism and segregation were legalized and institutionalized by government policies based on race and ethnicity.

In 2003, the Human Genome Project, which aimed to map and understand all 6 billion letters in a complete set of human DNA, concluded after 13 years of study that all humans share the same genes. Not even a single allele -- an alternative form of a gene -- is unique to a particular race. It is a widely accepted fact in the scientific community that race is a social construct with no true or absolute biological basis.

The idea that Black people are less intelligent than white people is not a novel argument -- it is an ancient prejudice echoed by many. The argument that its proponents make is not only wrong, it is also disingenuous. Those who peddle this pseudoscience-based argument attribute IQ differences, at least in part, to alleged genetic differences between races, while largely ignoring environmental factors that may affect measured IQ.

Years of social conditioning have turned a constructed concept into a powerful distinguishing factor between people with different physical traits. Today, race is one of the largest factors influencing what schools we attend, where we work and how the police treat us, mainly because of stereotypes and perceptions based on race. By categorizing people loosely based on how they look, we have set up historical institutions like slavery as well as modern-day ones like federal housing policies that have resulted in whites being treated more favorably than people of color. 

It is time to educate ourselves on the fabrication of race and why it is dangerous to wrongly attribute the results of prejudice and discrimination to science. To educate ourselves we look to history.

Full article here

No comments: