Off with the races!


Does race exist?  If races are defined as genetically discrete groups, no. So say the scientists.  But yet the concept of race still persists.  Not only does it still persist, the concept is propagated – even by government.  Take a look at this recent census form.

2010 Census question on race.
2010 Census: Question on Race

 

A sound argument based on genetics hasn’t convinced the masses, or the government, to abandon the concept, even though an argument based on genetics might be the most persuasive.

Let’s try some common sense.

A person with parents from two distinct races is a person with “Some other race.”  A person of “Some other race” can only have offspring of “Some other race” and so on into perpetuity.

There are at least two effects:

  1. A system for categorization that needs an “other” category for everything that doesn’t fit in a category has failed to categorize.  If  A+B=C, but you don’t know what C is, then you don’t really know A and B either.
  2. An ever growing population of  “Others” eventually makes categorization meaningless, perhaps impossible.

Genetics aside, race fails to describe observable reality.  As long as Others breed, and breed outside of Others, eventually only Others will exist – at which point categorization by race would be completely nonsensical.

For a long time, I responded to such questions with “Asian/Pacific Islander” and ignored the fact that my mother is in the category “White.”  At some point, I got relief when the category “Other” was added.  All my children, and my children’s children will be “Other.”

Where do we fit?   In the current system, the answer might as well be “nowhere.”  But that can’t be: we’re here.

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