Isn't it about time to get rid of race?

Published August 9, 2018

By Joe Mavretic

by Joe Mavretic, former House Speaker and NC SPIN panelist, August 8, 2018

The term "race" is the twenty-first century’s equivalent to the fifteenth century’s "the world is flat." The earth was never flat and there has never been a race of humans.

 Race was the nineteenth century’s excuse to justify the continuation of a system of human bondage that had been practiced world-wide for at least ten thousand years.

There is no scientific basis for racial identity. Black, Red, White and Yellow are colors not races. There never has been a genetic basis for racial identity. There is no proof that there is a celestially ordained hierarchy of Caucasians, Mongolians, Southeast Asians, Native Americans or Ethiopians. Much that Americans accept about race is the result of one man’s imagination used to support his vision of divine creation. DNA has reduced Dr. Samuel Morton’s Crania Americana to a laughable absurdity.

 Race is a fantasy perpetuated by custom, habit, ignorance and law. Race is a convenient crutch for prejudice, emotions and crippled minds. Race is divisive and dismissive. Isn’t it about time to be done with it?

 If we want to move from separation toward inclusion, a good starting point is the the conflict between monogeny and polygeny. Did our ancestors have one or several places of origin?                    Today, most science points to monogeny in southern Africa. If you have your DNA tested there will probably be an indicator of African ancestry. Variance between individuals/groups seem to be based more on geography (latitude) and duration of stay than anything else. The prevalent anthropological science at the beginning of the 21st century is that modern humans (homo sapiens) emerged in Africa, migrated and populated around the globe and adapted to the environments in which they settled.

On the 27th of February, 1869, the United States’ Fortieth Congress introduced the word "race" into our Constitution. That word had never been used in our constitution. That word has persisted to this day-in fact, it will be continued in the decennial census of 2020. An inflammatory word with no scientific basis is perpetuated in our legislative bills, our statutes, our regulations and our conversations. Isn’t it about time to be done with it?

 I no longer talk about "race" or "racial issues." I prefer to discuss the "epidermis evolution among groups and its effects on emotional attitudes." That descriptor usually deflects the conversation to some other relevant subject. Occasionally, I come across someone who just has to argue about race so this is my preferred tactic. I ask if they know what the epidermis is? After we agree that it is the skins’ outer layer and that it is only a few cells thick, I ask what any person would look like if their epidermis was removed? Usually, a few moments pass as their minds conjure a totally blood-red human exterior. I don’t know if this is what we would look like but it makes the point. We quickly move on to another topic.

 UNESCO, in 1952, released a paper on THE RACE CONCEPT and now, sixty-six years later, as forecast, we are even more troubled by racial issues. However, there is an emerging spotlight on the issue. The science surrounding the construct of race is beginning to acknowledge the analytical results of DNA. Who we are is about the migrations of our ancestors and not about our pigmentation.

 Homo Sapiens means "Wise Man." Shouldn’t we begin to act like it and get rid of race?

August 9, 2018 at 5:52 pm
Richard Bunce says:

Exactly Joe... Federal Government Guidelines on Race defines race as a social construct based on self identification and is the guideline for the US Census race question answers. There is no correct answer. The person asked can give a different answer each time. That is no basis for courts redrawing election districts or the Federal government handing out billions of dollars each year. Some Municipal Council is going to wise up next year and ask all their residents to answer the race question on the Census in a way that will get them the biggest haul of Federal funds. Some political party like the Republican Party is going to wise up next year and ask their members to answer the race question on the Census so that they can use the Voting Rights Act rulings to gerrymander election districts.