Beware of People Trying to End Race and Not Racism
We can’t fix the problem with the wrong diagnosis
By now, you’re probably aware that race is a social construct, and racism is the byproduct. The “American plantation system,” using faux scientific claims about European superiority, took root during the Age of Enlightenment. How ironic that a time known for scientific advancement also led to baseless discrimination.
Some scientists believed that Black skin came from “the power of maternal imagination or from darkened sperm,” while others claimed “darkened humors stained the skin.” Ultimately, White people of the era believed they were the standard for human excellence and that any deviation from that was pathological. There’s a bit of a chicken and the egg complex going on here; which came first, the creation of race or racism?
A study showed that 3-month-year-old babies prefer faces of their own racial group, showing that people naturally recognize differences, even before naming these distinctions. Race does not have any biological markers; it describes physical differences. And it’s unfortunate that the “there’s only one race, the human family” group seems to miss the forest for the trees — the boogeyman is not race, it’s racism. White people seeing Black people, recognizing their darker complexions is not in itself malicious. It’s what comes after that’s problematic.
White people thinking they are superior has led to systems like slavery, Jim Crow, and the systemic racism America can’t seem to shake in the 21st century. “Race” is like Gizmo at the beginning of the movie Gremlins. He won’t turn into a dangerous monster as long as you don’t feed him after midnight. In the same way, it’s not the existence of various racial groups that are causing the problem; it’s the hatred and animosity keeping us up at night.
After George Floyd’s death, social media communities fixated on the problem of anti-Black racism, and some looked to Jane Elliot, a White woman well-known as an anti-racism scholar. Elliot believes “people who are racist aren’t stupid, they’re ignorant. And the answer to ignorance is education.” However, there seems to be something missing in her description. Was it ignorance that led them to hang Black people…