When we observe dogs, or horses, we percieve obvious differences between various races of these domesticated animals humanity has selectively breeded for thousands of years. A dog is a dog, it is within the distinct species type, wether a chihuahua, or a great dane.
Are humans any different? No. We are biological entities as much as our pets and beasts of burden. There seems to be these distinct differences between human races alike as there are for example between different breeds of cows. Some are bigger, some have darker skin colouring than the other and so on and these are easily recognizable features.
Or are they? We have stereotypes of racial human features, but even though a vast majority of people may fall under those types, at least in some outside features, what is the actual difference? What about all the people who do not fall under this or that stereotype? Whose stereotypes should we abide to and why? These stereotypes are very much the product of our subjective and sometimes collective minds. The expectations loaded to these stereotypes are also often very unfair towards any individual at all and filled with tribal selfrighteousness, by assuming the features shared by the person holding a specific stereotype are seen as virtues by themselves and any differences as symbols of some sort of defincency. In addition the idea is so muddled, that the cultural aspects of our heritage get confused with what is genetical all the time. Further more, these cultural constructs are equally confused with not just percieved races, but to genders age groups and indeed social groups as well.
Studies of varying social groups and selecting correlative information from those to the ethnic heritage of some groups tells us absolutely nothing about race in reality, but it is often enough used to confirm biases of the existing stereotypes. However correlation does not mean causation.
Realistically speaking, race stereotypes assume all sorts of evolutionary (or unnaturally created) differences between stereotypically nominated groups of people, that can not be demonstrated by any scientific methodology. There exists this ridiculous missunderstanding about evolution, that it causes all things change towards some specific goal and at an equal speed at that. So, that if hereditary groups of people have varying skin colours, their intellects should vary somewhat equally and if these groups are found to have a difference in their economical situation or how often these groups of people living nominally within the same culture end up in prison, that would somehow indicate some genetic causation to the group ending up in criminal careers (or at least being caught at doing the thing against the social norm of a society). In reality, we do know that powerty and social segragation based on an imaginary stereotype of race or an imaginary stereotype of the poor people do cause crime, while we have absolutely no show that any specific genetics of people with certain kind of perplexion was any cause at all to criminal behaviour. Evolution pushes for change by the simple logic of positive mutation to be more likely to survive long enough to produce the next generation. Nothing more. When a species spreads to new environment for wich it was previously adapted it picks up some mutations that benefits that goal. Perplexion may change over generations according to how much sunlight is awailable to better adapt the new environment, wether the skin needs to protect itself from overt sunshine, or alternatively does it need to let more of sun radiation through from a very limited amount of the sun light awailable in the environment. Human brains have had no such dire demands from varying environments. It seems quite obvious that the brain, is our most adaptive organ as it is, without any major change. There is no soul, we are our brain and it is the same regardless from wich population group on the planet we are descended, since it evolved to be as it is today within a very small group of people who were the ancestors of all of us on the planet today who call ourselves human.
I write this as a “white”, middle aged, male and having lived my entire life in the rich western world. I am painfully aware of my priviledge to even be able to write about this and other issues in my blog, that could be deadly dangerous to other people elswhere.
Realistically speaking race is an issue in societies with history of abuse of people with different perplexion from the ones who held power. Or a cultural norm used when ignorant people get scared of different looking people who come from outside of their very limited cultural experience world.
I find it annoying how loosely the term of race is weilded about in western and especially in American culture even today. For example, in science fiction the imaginary intelligent species originating from various different planets are referred to as “races”. Even if these characters were played by actors wearing mere green rubber mask to make them different enough from humans of planet earth, they most certainly would not be just of different “race”. The products of a completely different ecology and evolutionary trail, separated by the void, would not share none what so ever genetical similarity to us humans and should not be called a “race” under any pretence. This may seem harmless fiction of the most imaginative and farthest from the reality we do live in, but the stories deal often enough with very human problems and they are watched because the audiences can relate to the stories however fancy they are. Hence, implying that there are races and that race differences are an issue may be harmfull. Sure, it may also be a beneficial way for the film makers to remind us about how artifical the entire concept of race is. Yet, when “white”captain Kirk kissed his “black” crewmate in the sixties TV-series Star Trek, it was both a brave step forward by the film crew and a sad show of the racial prejudices of the surrounding society as Kirk had allready kissed green alien “women” and it had been seen as OK, as long as the actor was a “white” woman.
Even today the stereotypes of race are there hidden in plain daylight. When the issue of race comes up, it is about the people of colour or in other words of people of different race, than some race normative people, that is the so called “white” people. More seriously, than in popular culture, though not necessarily any more effectively, these ideas are everyday confused in politics. I just read about two lady candidates in some election in California where it seemed to be an issue that for the first time there were two women candidates and that they were “people of colour”. One had Indian heritage and the other Latin heritage. Neither looked anything but “white” to my eyes, even though I come from Finland where on average there are more of us blue eyed blondes, than in most other countries.
It would be ideal, if it was not an issue at all, that these candidates were “people of colour” or that they were women. However, it remains an issue for as long as such a pervaisive amount of racial and gender stereotypes affect the thinking of the people. It seems the stereotypes need first to be turned, before they can be erased.