Thursday, June 26, 2008

We are one

A few years ago I had the privilege to watch a documentary (I love them) entitled Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey this was carried on PBS. The host of this fascinating examination of man's genetic and geographic history was a man named Dr. Spencer Wells of Stanford University out in Cali. Dr. Wells clearly illustrated the genetic connection between all of us and at the same time refuting the myth of race.

The Stanford professor showed me that we are all one. We do not however have the same experiences, some of us have it better than others because of the false concept of race. The word race always conjured up images of alien beings in my head, like the ones we used to see on Lost in Space. Somehow within the concept of race we used the genetic/racial identity to explain behaviors/proclivities/beliefs. He or she can't help it they are black,white,red. That is how they be! The information below is from Wikipedia on the concept of Race.

The 19th century saw attempts to change race from a taxonomic to a biological concept. In the 19th century a number of natural scientists wrote on race: Georges Cuvier, Charles Darwin, Alfred Wallace, Francis Galton, James Cowles Pritchard, Louis Agassiz, Charles Pickering, and Johann Friedrich Blumenbach. As the science of anthropology took shape in the 19th century, European and American scientists increasingly sought explanations for the behavioral and cultural differences they attributed to groups (Stanton 1960).

For example, using anthropometrics, invented by Francis Galton and Alphonse Bertillon, they measured the shapes and sizes of skulls and related the results to group differences in intelligence or other attributes (Lieberman 2001). These scientists made three claims about race: first, that races are objective, naturally occurring divisions of humanity; second, that there is a strong relationship between biological races and other human phenomena (such as forms of activity and interpersonal relations and culture, and by extension the relative material success of cultures), thus biologizing the notion of "race", as Foucault demonstrated in his historical analysis; third, that race is therefore a valid scientific category that can be used to explain and predict individual and group behavior.

Races were distinguished by skin color, facial type, cranial profile and size, texture and color of hair. Moreover, races were almost universally considered to reflect group differences in moral character and intelligence. The eugenics movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, inspired by Arthur Gobineau's An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races (1853-1855) and Vacher de Lapouge's "anthroposociology", asserted as self-evident the biological inferiority of particular groups (Kevles 1985). In many parts of the world, the idea of race became a way of rigidly dividing groups by culture as well as by physical appearances (Hannaford 1996). Campaigns of oppression and genocide were often motivated by supposed racial differences (Horowitz 2001).

The documentary I made reference to destroys this concept. I am Nubian so are you no matter your color! Check out the video from the documentary below. brightmoments!

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