Enough is enough is enough! The persecution and discrimination that some humans inflict on others based on the pigment in their skin is utter BULLSHIT. There is no acceptable reason and no longer any excuse of ignorance for people to perpetuate any notion of racial superiority. It’s really time for people everywhere to embrace the educated knowledge that the notion of “race” among humans is fiction. The concept that there are anthropological divisions between humans is a construct developed by mistaken scientists.
Historically, people have been regarded as sharing recognizable physical characteristics, beginning with the Latin word genus and Hippocrates. The word race, used to indicate an identifiable group of people who share common ancestry, was introduced into English in the 16th century, but as far back as the 3rd century in what is now modern China, it was blonde haired people with green eyes who were considered barbarians descended from monkeys.
Lacking the technology to examine DNA, all early attempts to separate humans into classifications were based on appearances and geographical areas. A German scientist purported in the 17th century that there were five scientific classifications of race based on the shapes of human skulls: Caucasian, Mongolian, Aethiopian, American, and Malayan. I was taught in elementary school that there were three: Mongoloid, Negroid, and Caucasoid, but some scientists included Congoid and Australoid. It was basically a free for all, and there were many additional theories, such as the classical one purported by the Talmud, that all humans descended from Noah’s sons, and because Ham was sinful his descendants were dark skinned. And this ridiculous story had not a shred of evidence, but perpetuated racism among religious people for generations.
But in years since geneticists have been able to identify and study human DNA, ALL of these theories of racial disparity have been rejected. The fact is that ALL human life originated on the African continent, and phenotypes, or physical characteristics (NOT races), evolved depending on geographical influences as humans migrated. And given that all present humans have billions of ancestors, there is NO pedigree that is superior to another.
So it was the arrogant and ignorant Europeans who decided that the lighter color of their skin made them better than everyone else. But the truth is, it was mathematically theorized and then genetically proven that all Europeans share the same incredibly vast melting pot of Nordic, Asian, and North African ancestry, and much more. The ruler Charlemagne the Great of the 8th century is known for many reasons as the Father of Europe, having united a vast kingdom and been named as the first Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Leo III. He also had 18 children to 4 wives and numerous illegitimate children to his concubines. And it is recognized that in this man, the lineage of the continent coalesced, so every European is related to every other European. All Euro-babies are descendants of Charlemagne. I imagine we could all be referred to as “Charlies.”
I remember when I was young the choices for “race” on forms included Caucasian and Negro, not white and black. I completely recognize that the term Negro is a false concept, and that people with darker skin may wish to identify with a term they claim, that being Black, and it’s as much about heritage and descent as color. And conversely, the concept of Caucasian is mistaken, but I was never comfortable with the replacement choice of white. I’m not white. I’ve never been white. Because of the cruel history of white supremacy and the idiotic people who still claim that whiteness is a sign of superiority, it offends me to be identified as white. I prefer the term”pallid,” meaning pale or lacking color due to a lack of sunshine (or some kind of emotional distress, which is probably true as well).
Regardless of my marginalized ordeals as queer and an obese person, I can’t begin to claim I understand the kind of persecution and suffering the Indigenous, Black, Asian, and Latin peoples have endured in this country. I know that I’ll never fully comprehend the entitlement I’ve had merely as a white man. I know that. So I don’t ever mean to imply that if I reject my “whiteness” I diminish another person’s cultural experience. Black, indigenous, and other people of color have a right to claim their race as the distinguishing phenotype for which they’ve suffered and overcome persecution with pride, the same way I claim my sexuality. But I don’t know of an instance where being white is something to be proud of, because in the name of whiteness despicable actions against humanity have been committed.
I’m no Martin Luther King Jr, no Susan B. Anthony, no Harvey Milk. But I can be one more person who is relentless in their belief that equality is right and fair. I won’t shut up.
Grey Forge LeFey