Friday, 1 June 2012

Blip: The truth about the 'Race' issue

Race is a contentious topic for those with small minds and spare time.

People who occupy their time dicussing the varying merits and follies that are indiscriminately assigned to the races all too often base their opinions and arguments on hearsay, conjecture and lethargy of mental faculties.

It would be fair to measure certain traits across the races and ascertain common and rare trends in them, enough at least to be able to say which races are more and less likely to have higher or lower amounts of people with a given attribute; it would be unfair to make predictions based on this that could apply to individuals within the groups but that wouldn't be the aim of such an experiment.

The astute among you may have noticed that I used a conditional construction there, this is because it sounds like a perfectly reasonable idea until you consider the glaring problem with race issues as a whole: 'Race' is so ill-defined it is impossible to ever properly tell which race someone belongs to.

Some say that race is akin to nationality (which itself can be awkward; when someone is born in one country, raised in another, shares ancestry with two more and has a passport of none of the above, nationality can't really be discerned) however this is not the case: English is not a race and neither is American, for some reason, though,  "white" is a race; "black" is a race; "Asian" is a race. That's two vague colours and a continent already. Then we come to "hispanic", which is a rough grouping of some of the countries that tend to speak spanish as a main language, although not all of those countries nor all of their people.

As multi-culturalism increases, the races become even more ill-defined because they interbreed; people who have links to many countries and have distinctive physical characteristics of many races are on the increase.

What about people who aren't "mixed-race" and have their birth, their growth, their education, their family and genetic ties all in one place? Well let's take me as an example:

-I was born in England
-I was raised and educated in England
-I have only ever had an English passport
-English has always been my first language
-My parents are both English, as are their parents and their grandparents before them
-My features are predominantly from the race known as "white", I have even been singled out and treated discriminately due to my presumed race (based on physical attributes.)

Most, then, would say that I am English and white and many would have no problem with that but I do:

-All English people, if you go far back enough, have links to France and Germany and yet I am not considering to be related to either
-English itself is greatly related to French and German, both derived themselves from Greek and Latin
- My family in particular, a long way back, has ties to Romans and Vikings due to various invasions and conquests England has suffered over the years.

And yet, despite these links, I am thought of as English and white and nothing more. There is no universal standard for determining when an amount of other nationalities or races in your family affects your own race. You may think it obvious to tell the race of some or even most people, but there will always be people outside of all classification; I would argue that this applies to everyone but even for those skeptical in what I'm saying, there are some people who clearly are outside the lines of all races.

These people are counted in the statistics that come from race; official guidelines, nowadays, mix race and nationality into a blurred mess to fill in the logical gaps, this only makes the problem worse.

The true contentious issue here, the one that should be discussed at length (with the same urgency that all discussions of race should be cast aside, ignored or given to the dim people to keep them busy) is that of racism itself. Racism is the very act of making the distinctions between races (just as ageism is drawing lines between ages and sexism is forcing a classification divide between the sexes) and it is this distinction that is wrong, not the reasoning that derives from it.

It's like putting bans on axes to remove murder rather than attempt to subvert the violent nature of man or like banning computer games to remove violence in children rather than allowing them to express themselves, although tempered, and learn their social place. If we made no such distinctions, there would be no platform from which to grow idiotic and harmful over-simplifications about other people.

The truth, that is difficult for some to deal with, is that people shouldn't be grouped together by any means and that, instead, we need to judge every single person by their individual merits. Notice the similarities between us all and the trends that run deep through us all but act on the understanding and judgement of each person.

Using blanket statements to filter out certain people and force traits onto them is the very useful tool of the lazy-minded, so as to not have to pay attention to people, only their most base and meaningless qualities.

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