Sunday, April 15, 2007

Racism: An Acid Test

The Don Imus firings is just our nation's latest dealing with the vestigial notion of 'race'. Today's Meet the Press had a spirited panel discussion on the media's coverage and hypocrisy associated with the firings (transcript (starts at bottom of page) and panelist Gwen Ifill's personal take on Imus). But even this revealing conversation did not delve into the heart of the matter: that the notion of 'race' is ultimately a byproduct of one's personal psychology.

An 'acid test' to determine one's proclivity to perpetuate the misnotion of 'race' can be derived from The Unhyphenated American's Core Principles:

Science and history is revealing that 'race' is a man-made concept. As the American Anthropological Association states (emphasis added):

...Historical research has shown that the idea of "race" has always carried more meanings than mere physical differences; indeed, physical variations in the human species have no meaning except the social ones that humans put on them...

The differences some perceive as 'race' are just in our minds; an unfortunate consequence of the evolutionary skills humans developed to sort, categorize and distinguish. Like many things in life, this innate (mis)categorization skill has turned out to be a two-edged sword; collectively getting us this far in our biological evolution, but a ball-and-chain with regards to our social evolution. (For a scholarly analysis see the excellent essay by Naomi Zack entitled American Mixed Race: The U.S. 2000 Census and Related Issues; in particular, Part II. Contemporary Science and Race)

With that evidence in mind (pun intended), the acid test to determine if 'racism' exists within one's own heart and mind can be developed. It is a question that will reveal 'racism' at its core and can be used, at a minimum, by journalists in self-awareness and as a motive-revealing investigative tool:

Considering that one of the most, if not the most, personal decision we make as humans is the selection of a spouse and mate, do the physical variations associated with the man-made notion of 'race' factor into your decision?

An individual completely devoid of 'racism' will have no problem passing the Racism Acid Test.


Post a Comment

<< Home