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The Root of Racism

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Journal of a brown boy:

It happened again today! So, there was this really pretty girl in class and she was staring at me, so I smiled and waved at her! After class she walked up to me! And my palms started to sweat, and my heart started to beat faster almost out of my chest, until it fell when she spoke! All she wanted to know was my race. “I hate being wrong, and you’re such a puzzle” those were her words to me, so apparently, I’m a puzzle, and my purpose on this earth is to provide amusement for simple people who would rather take guesses at my race then concentr …

The compulsive need for mankind to categorize, fear, ignorance, poor upbringings, the work of the devil or the most common reason, hatred. Theories about the root of racism and the supposed solutions to eradicate this scourge could potentially outnumber the strands of coiled hair on my head. However, though our truths about the roots of racism may vary, one thing remains constant, that is, ‘racism’ has been the root of countless wars and immense suffering. Therefore, finding it’s definite root and subsequently the resolution to this abysmal construct is integral.

As a country have made great progress at felling the tree of racism with the abolishment of apartheid and the restorative measures we have put in place, but in doing so we are merely hacking at branches while the root stays intact. “Most interventions do not address the cause of racism and how these causes are reproduced in current times.” Residual racism is still prevalent in today’s society and as latent animosity and tension between race groups intensify, it could ultimately initiate another colossal race centred war, if we don’t act fast.

Despite the nay-sayers, I am positively optimistic that the ideal society free from racism is attainable. In my opinion the achievement of this idyllic society is quite simple. I hold that there are many factors that contribute to racism in society, which may include ignorance, fear or hatred, but personally I believe, there is one element that is most responsible for this dreadful ideology, namely: race itself. I also assert that colourism, though subliminally, plays a major role in the creation of the racist mindset.

According to the oxford dictionary the term colourism is defined as follows, “prejudice or discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or race group.” Even though colourism takes place within racial groups, this global phenomenon, that is inbred from childhood, consequently adds to the bigger problem. Since people are more partial toward individuals with fairer skin, people with darker skin are perceived as inferior or subordinate to their lighter coloured counter paths. Therefore most things related to “black or darker skin” is associated with being undesirable. Since way back when, the concept of beauty has been closely coupled with being pale or white, leaving humanity constantly aspiring to attain a lighter complexion. While mankind’s quest in pursuit of lighter skin may mean millions in profit for companies selling bleaching/skin lightening products, it unfortunately has a detrimental effect on societal views and attitudes. Colourism affects people in almost all facets of life, from family relations to the workplace. The findings of research conducted by Matthew S. Harrison on the influence of colourism in the job selection process of a black applicant suggests that skin tone plays a substantial role. “Results indicate that skin color is so salient, that it is regarded more highly than ones educational background and prior work experience…” . This dreadful ideal then bleeds out into the universal community and pollutes that waters that feeds the tree of racism. The idea of “lighter is better” now takes place on a global scale, with the creation of a racial spectrum, with race groups with a majority population of persons with darker skin being on the inferior end of the spectrum while those of lighter skin enjoy the benefits of the superior end.

Now while I do agree that hatred is one of the main causes of racism. Race, itself is both literally and figuratively the root of racism. Let’s say, hypothetically, that we all lived on Pangea, one super continent with no countries and no borders, one would expect that the notion of xenophobia would be non-existent. Similarly if the concept of “race” was to be removed from the equation, will this not therefore result in the abolition of racism?

We proudly proclaim our freedom, but are we truly free if we are still bound by race? Race was created by racists for racist. So why does race still have a place in democratic South Africa? It has no purpose, it has no scientific premise! In June 2000 the results of first genome sequencing were announced, pioneer of DNA sequencing, Craig Venter, observed that “The concept of race has no genetic or scientific basis.” It only purpose is to serve as pretext for some of the most heinous crimes against humanity. “These ad hoc taxonomies were seized upon, however, as “scientific” justification for slavery and other forms of social, political, and economic oppression.” The so called “science” of race was based purely on the deluded assumption of Samuel Norton, which suggests that the volume of one’s braincase is directly proportionate to their intellectual capabilities. Placing white people on the very top of the cerebral hierarchy and black people on the very bottom. Modern day science however has proved quite the contrary, some people just happen to have bigger heads than others. Scientists propose that the entire human population shares approximately 99.9% of the same DNA, with the other 0.1% accounted for as slight mutations of genes that manifest as the physical differences in our phenotype. Mutations that help us adapt to our environment and is passed down to future generations because of its beneficial nature. Which explains why people around the equator are darker than those to the north of it. Their bodies produce more melanin to act as a shield against the suns harmful UV rays. If our DNA, the very code of life itself, indicates that at our core we are exactly the same, why do we need to classify our self because our colours differ. Our differences are only skin deep. Take it from me.

…ate on the lesson being taught. Why does she need to know my race? Race isn’t even a thing!!! I, as racially ambiguous person have experienced first-hand, how race as a social construct is so insignificant. Let me give you a little run down. So, according to the world I’m Indian-South African, both my parents are Indian-South African. But my body decided otherwise. I don’t look like my “race”. I have golden skin and curly hair. So I don’t quite fit the mould. I had to fight teachers during race surveys, because they thought I was being insulant by raising my hand for the wrong race, if I don’t get asked, “what race are you?” people automatically assume that I’m mixed or Brazilian or Puerto Rican or one of the 57 000 other things I so happen to look like. People always try to guess my race and insist on telling me what I am. But what I am it proof that race is hogwash! What I am, is divine justice, to all the worlds racists. God’s way of showing us we are all the same. Whether you’re black or white, Red is the only colour that matters because, because it’s the colour that courses through the veins of every single individual breathing in God’s fresh air. I physically resound the claim that race isn’t real. “I’m Human”

So one can safely say that only actual “race” that exists is the human race. Which is why I strongly believe that to uproot racism, we need to obliterate “RACE”. So that we can secure a future in which we are actually free, Free from race and racism.

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