Saturday, March 21, 2015

Race for dummies


The topic of this essay is race, which some people believe is a group of people who all have similar biological qualities, including facial features and the texture of their hair.  This concept is a myth, as I showed, step-by-step, in an essay I published more than two years ago called The End of Racism.

I can prove that the concept of race is a myth.  I did it once in the other essay, but some of the words that were used were difficult to understand, so in this essay, I will use the same proof process with different words.


The group identity

This is the basic concept that some people believe.  Because they believe it, they take certain actions that are based on this belief.

They believe that there are common characteristics of people whose ancestors come from the same part of the world.  There is some biological truth to this idea.  If two dogs produce puppies, and both of the parent dogs are beagles, then the puppies cannot be born looking like cocker spaniels.

However, the people who believe in the concept of race say that each of the limited number of races in the world has common characteristics that none of the other races shares.  These people, because of this belief, want to take actions that preserve the "racial purity" of each race.  This is impossible.


A hypothetical set of races

The racial groups that other people talk about are often labeled with colors.  During my lifetime, I have heard people mention five colors: white, black, brown, yellow, and red.  Some people, who believe in this mythical concept of race, use geography to identify these groups, but both sets of people are talking about the same mythical races.

Let's make an assumption that there are five races of people.  I don't believe it, but the concept of race is much easier to be proven to be a myth if I do make this assumption, so let's make that (false) assumption.


A hypothetical mixed-race couple

Imagine a hypothetical set of two people.  A white woman and a black man.  They meet, they find that they like each other, they have sex with each other, and the woman finds out later that she is pregnant.  She gives birth to a baby boy who has a white mother and a black father.

Which of these two races is the child?

By the way, if you believe in the concept of race, and if you believe that white women do have children with black men, producing a mixed-race child, then this is the exact situation that the President of the United States is in.  He has a white mother and a black father (if you believe in the concept of separate races of people).

The President's mother,
Ann Dunham


The Dominant Race Rule

This rule is followed by many of the people who believe in the mythical concept of race.  They say, sometimes very loudly, that one race dominates all the others.  They say, very specifically, that any child that has one black parent is a black child.  The only possible alternative to this rule would be to create a brand new, sixth race just for that child and for all of the other children of mixed-race couples.

That's the only possible alternative if you still believe in the mythical concept of race.

The people who do still believe in this myth apply the Dominant Race Rule to the President of the United States.  Even though his mother was white (if you believe in the myth of race), Barak Obama is black just because his father was black.  Barak married a woman named Michelle, and they have two daughters, Malia and Sasha.


Let's re-write history

If you can make the assumption that separate races of people exist, then I can make the assumption that Barak married someone else besides Michelle.

Okay, I've made that hypothetical assumption, and I'm going to apply the same Dominant Race Rule to this new hypothetical family, so that I can see what happens.

Instead of marrying Michelle, Barak married Susan, pictured here on the right.

Barak and Susan met, fell in love, married, and now have two daughters.

Their names are Sasha and Mary.

When dogs from two different breeds have puppies, the puppies look a little like the father dog and a little like the mother dog.

Sasha and Mary look a little like Barak and a little like Susan.  This is basic biology.  You can't change it and you can't wish it didn't happen.

However, I'm going to (temporarily) apply the Dominant Race Rule.  Sasha and Mary are both black in this hypothetical family, just because Barak is black.  Remember, I had to apply the Dominant Race Rule to him, too.  Look again at the photos of his real mother.


Sasha and Mary grow up

Both of these hypothetical girls are loved by their parents, who have a happy marriage that lasts for decades.  The girls go to school, they dream about boys, and when they're old enough, they go on dates with boys.

This is Sasha, the older daughter, and her date, Jason.  They went to college together, and that's how they met.

Jason is the one wearing the R.O.T.C. t-shirt.
Jason doesn't look much like Barak Obama, Sasha's father.

Too bad, because Sasha fell in love with him during their first date, and now, she's already dreaming about her wedding day.

Two years later, they got married, and a few months after that, she found out that she was pregnant.  She delivered a healthy baby boy in a hospital delivery room (Jason waited nearby), and now, Sasha, Jason, and the boy, named Stephen, are a very happy family.

The laws of biology will apply just as much to Stephen as they did to Sasha and Mary.  He will look a little like his mother Sasha and a little like his father Jason.  That means that the color of his skin, due to the amount of pigment in it, will be lighter than the color of Sasha's skin but darker than the color of Jason's skin.

The Dominant Race Rule applies to him, also.  Just because his mother is black, he's also black.  That's the rule, and I'm going to follow it all through this hypothetical list of descendants of President Barak Obama.

All that doesn't matter to Sasha and Jason.  They love their new baby boy very much.


Stephen grows up

Like his mother, he also lives in a home with two parents that feed him, take care of him, and educate him.  While he's in high school, he meets a young woman and they go out on a few dates.  They fall in love, and they get married.  Barak Obama and his wife Susan both have a lot of gray hair now, but they both love his grandson Stephen, so he and Susan both attend the wedding and dance at the reception.

Don't they look like a happy couple?


Guess what?  This couple also has children!

Yes, it keeps happening.  Every time one of his descendants grows up, he or she keeps getting married.

Remember, the Dominant Race Rule says that any child of a black parent will be a black child, so even though the groom pictured in the photo above doesn't look black, he is still a black man, according to the rule.

The laws of biology still apply to all of this couple's children.  Each and every one of them will look a little bit like their mother and a little bit like their father.


One of these children doesn't like his parents

It's true (in this hypothetical bloodline).  Even though this couple loves all their children, one of the sons, named Michael, doesn't like being the grandson of Barak Obama, and he doesn't want to be known as Barak's grandson, so when Michael grows up, he moves to a different part of the country, changes his last name, and doesn't speak to his parents any more.

This doesn't change the laws of biology, of course.  Michael still looks a little bit like his mother and a little bit like his father.   Unfortunately for all of the people who believe in the concept of race, he doesn't look much like Barak, even though he's a direct descendant of him.  He has two parents, four grandparents, and eight great-grandparents, but only one of these people was a "purebred" black person, so after he moves to a new city, he calls himself a white man, he registers with the U.S. Census as a white man, and none of the people who look at him will disagree with him.

Oops.  Something bad just happened.  One of the two laws that I've been applying to this hypothetical bloodline has been proven to be false.  Let's see how long it will take you to answer the following not-so-hypothetical questions that are based on this hypothetical bloodline.
  1. Is this young man white or black?
  2. If he's white, as his friends and neighbors will tell you, and as the U.S. Census records will state, which pair of parents with one black parent produced a white child?
  3. If he's black, as the Dominant Race Rule will demand, why does he look so much like a white person?
  4. If he really is black, how much biological difference can there be between him and a "purebred" white person?  He's had a lot of white ancestors.  Barak's father was the only black one.
  5. Did I break the rules of biology?  Did any of these parents produce a child that looked much more like one parent than the other?  Ask a biologist whether that's possible.

The only way to resolve these not-so-hypothetical questions is to throw away the Dominant Race Rule.  It's not compatible with the laws of biology and when it's applied to real human beings, it can hurt them.


This is the only real answer

The laws of biology haven't changed in thousands of years.  Any two parents, whether they're people or dogs, will produce offspring that look a little like both of their parents.  That means that no matter how many races you think the world has, as soon as people start marrying and having children, those children will start making it impossible to classify any one person into any of these races.

You could start with five races: white, black, brown, yellow, and red, but in a very short time, you will have people from all five of these races producing children that aren't "purebred" and aren't really a member of any of those races.

The Dominant Race Rule has been proven to be a failure.  Now it's time for the concept of race itself to disappear.  It's a myth.  There is no definition of the word that can maintain itself once interracial marriages occur, producing children.

The concept of race has no real meaning.  It's a myth, and so, for decades, I have not used colors or other words based on geography to apply to real people.

Barak Obama is not a black man, he's just a man.

His father was not a black man, either.  He, also, was just a man.

Barak's mother was not a white woman, she was just a woman.


A piece of American history

Our third president was named Thomas Jefferson.  He was the main author of one of our most important documents, the Declaration of Independence.  He lived on a plantation called Monticello.  Link to his biography on the Monticello website.

Thomas owned some slaves, including this young woman named Sally Hemmings.

One day, these two people had sex with each other.  She became pregnant, and at the appropriate time, she delivered a baby.

The history I wrote earlier in this essay came true for this couple, in a very literal sense.  Their child grew up and had children of his own, who also grew up and children of their own.

The following paragraphs were copied from the story of Thomas and Sally, also on the Monticello website. The link in the first paragraph was on their web page.
In September 1802, political journalist James T. Callender, a disaffected former ally of Jefferson, wrote in a Richmond newspaper that Jefferson had for many years "kept, as his concubine, one of his own slaves." "Her name is Sally," Callender continued, adding that Jefferson had "several children" by her.

Although there had been rumors of a sexual relationship between Jefferson and an enslaved woman before 1802, Callender's article spread the story widely. It was taken up by Jefferson's Federalist opponents and was published in many newspapers during the remainder of Jefferson's presidency.

Today,  almost two centuries after this couple became parents, there are thousands of people who are direct descendants of Sally the Slave who don't look much like her, but there are also thousands of direct descendants of Thomas Jefferson who don't look much like him.  The laws of biology, as I said, still haven't changed in thousands of years.  What you look like depends very much on what your parents look like and less on what your grandparents looked like.

And the concept of race is still a meaningless concept, a worthless myth that I threw away decades ago.

I will not describe anyone using colors or any of the other words, based on geography, that are used to try to name the races.  The bloodline story I told in this essay was purely hypothetical.  I borrowed the concepts and the terminology of some people in order to show how little truth there is in them.

There is no such thing as a black man, a white man, a brown man, a yellow man, or a red man.  The people who live and die on this planet are simply human beings.

Race is a meaningless concept.