Race is not a biological reality. It is an adaptation of humans living in different parts of the world – and society’s way of dividing people up.
What is referred to as “race” is in actuality a product of social context – as there is only one biological race in the human species: Homo sapiens sapiens.
Back in 1950, an international panel of geneticists, sociologists, anthropologists, and psychologists issued a statement through the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) affirming that all humans belong to the same species.
But, according to Psychology Today, there are some societies, like the U.S. that create racial classifications, not based on biology, but as a means of grouping together people with varying ethnic, linguistic, historic, and religious backgrounds.
These groupings are not fixed, though, and they can change over time with societal developments and social and political alterations. For instance, the Irish, at one point in the U.S. were not considered “white.”
Furthermore, in countries around the world you can find race defined in an array of diverse ways – many of which contradict the racial categories commonly used in the U.S.
Blacks, whites, Latinos, or Asians do not have a genetic sequence that is unique to them. In fact, because these classes do not reflect any biological grouping, you can actually find more genetic variation in the diverse populations on the African continent than in all other populations around the world, combined.
And as there are no specific racial genes, no particular racial grouping is more susceptible to a certain illness or disease because of the genes they carry.
Psychology Today notes that there is no neurological patterning that differentiates races – just as there’s no pattern in one’s muscle structure and development, hand-eye coordination, digestive tracts and other such applicable measures.
Furthermore, how dark or light a person’s skin color is simply reveals to us that person’s “amount of ancestry relative to the equator.”
Biologically, there is not one single element that is unique to any one group – be it black, white, Asians, Latinos etc. As a matter of fact, in science, racial categories have never been able to be justified on a biological level.
If one takes a DNA test, it can tell you what your ethnic makeup is, but it cannot tell you what “race” you are.
Unfortunately, not many people are aware of the lack of a biological difference between racial groupings – as was the case for acclaimed journalist, Guy Harrison, who wrote about his revelation in 2010.
“One day in the 1980s, I sat in the front row in my first undergraduate anthropology class, eager to learn more about this bizarre and fascinating species I was born into. But I got more than I expected that day as I heard for the first time that biological races are not real,” he noted.
“After hearing several perfectly sensible reasons why vast biological categories don’t work very well, I started to feel betrayed by my society. “Why am I just hearing this now?… Why didn’t somebody tell me this in elementary school?”… I never should have made it through twelve years of schooling before entering a university, without ever hearing the important news that most anthropologists reject the concept of biological races.”
Harrison’s realization was not concerning something that is construed as common knowledge even to today. And although there’s no scientific evidence that supports biological variations between the groupings of a “race”, racism still remains abound in the United States as well as a number of countries in Europe.
But, as Bill Nye puts it – “We obsess about whether our dog is a pug-Jack Russell terrier mix with corgi overtones and an oaky finish. ‘An approachable little dog,’ whatever. They’re all dogs, okay? And so the idea of a purebred is just a human construct. There’s no such thing – in a sense there’s no such thing as a purebred dog.”
And the same can be said about humans and the construct of race.
“If a Papua New Guinean hooks up with a Swedish person all you get is a human. There’s no new thing you’re going to get. You just get a human. Japanese woman jumping the African guy, all you get is a human. They’re all humans. So this is a lesson to be learned. There really is, for humankind there’s really no such thing as race. There’s different tribes but not different races. We’re all one species.”