Race: The Powerstick of Segregation

Within our modern world there is little consideration of race being a human construction, a classification spawned to base people on their appearance instead of bloodline or individual attributes. We need be conscious to avoid confusing ethnicity and race. Ethnicity is one’s ancestry, language and culture, race is a concept created to easily categorize a group of people; or as Viktor Frankl put it “There are only two races of man, the decent and indecent”. Over the course of history, those wanting to enforce their superiority over “inferior races” have instigated acts of imperialism, war and genocide, systematically slashing the foundations of a community.

Race has been the power stick of segregation. Leaders have utilized the notion to discredit the humaneness of ethnically diverse groups, condoning serve exploitation with the biopolitical rationale of ”The expenditure of these people is for the safety and benefit of our own”. This concept has promoted prejudice and divided communities, however, by recognizing previous faults healing can draw the human race closer together.

Coalesced With Bigotry

Humans have always been intrigued by new discoveries, yet, when encountering foreigners interest has often shifted to animosity. The notion of one race being superior to another has repeatedly caused catastrophe, nearly all wars throughout history have centred around one population wishing to prove their saliency over another.

Although many ancient civilizations had precocious knowledge of other societies, it didn’t stop their sense of supremacy; prolonged hostilities engendered major wars, dismembering communities with inhabitants slain and shackled. During this period it was about a community or civilization prevailing; as colonialism swept the globe the state became dominant, segregation vivid and imperialism a game the wealthy wanted to play. 

The concept of race was used previously to denote the speakers of a particular language, however, as ethnic diversity spread globally, the connotation was attached to physical attributes rather than an individual’s genuine ancestry. ‘Races’ perceived as inferior have recurrently been pawns for another’s benefit; recent lucid examples being Jim Crow and Apartheid, here the world saw how nations profit off the pain of subordinates. Coalesced with bigotry, societies were convinced to allow atrocious acts of intolerance, creating a cavernous divide between inhabitants still conspicuous today. As advanced as humans have become the past illustrates our capacity to abuse poorer groups for personal gain, as Yuval wrote “Given he proven human propensity for misusing power, it seems naive to believe the more clout people have, the happier they will be”.

Culture: A True Gem of Humanity

Throughout the public, a common view of Pit Bulls leaves the connotation of an aggressive and hostile creature, bred for combat and destruction. Although in some instances the animal has displayed these tendencies, there is no evidence to support they be any more aggressive than other dogs; in fact, in a loving home, Pit bulls become a gentle and loyal family member. Analogous to the Pit bull’s brand of a violent bred, one’s ethnicity does not depict their personality; a combination of hereditary and cultural traits constructs the frame whilst experience and morality builds the interior.

Albeit different cultures have developed distinctive characteristics it does not mean humans are so dissimilar, conversely, it exhibits how humans have evolved through diverse means in varied landscapes. There is a multitude of factors creating culture and anthropology allows investigation into the assorted causes and provides a better understanding of civilization’s development. Culture is a true gem of humanity, yet, it becomes toxic when a particular culture perceives themselves superior to others.

People often neglect that groups inherit different practices and beliefs according to the patch of dirt they are born on, what is normal for some will be obscure to others. We should not only celebrate our culture but also hold respect for the many variations, by ignoring impartiality bigotry inevitably brews as animosities mount. One may not agree with a society’s traditions, however, in being cognizant of how they arose people will be willing to have open dialogue about them.  Culture offers insight into the various paths of humanity’s evolution, race denotes the attempt to categorize and separate humans.

As civilization progresses deeper into the 21st century and the world becomes immensely connected, archaic means of segregation need reassessment and removal. For a healthy globalized society the idea of race needs casting aside for culture to be celebrated as an exhibition of human diversity. By focusing on differences rather than similarities history highlights the inevitability of confrontation. Different should not be seen fearfully but with wonder and curiosity, we’re all fundamentally the same just born to different circumstances.

Image source: The human faces of Asia. First edition (1876–1899) of Nordisk familjebok

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