HUMAN RACE: Are we really Family?
The news that we are all one race should be earth shaking. I for one found myself asking, then why do we look so different if we are from the same parents. Geneticist Spencer Wells whose focus is on human diversity had this to say about population genetics: humans moved to survive” around the last ice age, which was about 70 000 years ago, as Africa was drying up. It being the most tropical, it was turning into a dessert. Research suggests that the human population crashed to fewer than 2000 individuals, we nearly went extinct” This is the time humans had to expand out of Africa. The presence of Melanin was mainly an adaptation and evolution according to levels of radiation present.
Human Skin Pigmentation:
As humans started occupying other parts of the world, they either got lighter (whiter) in complexion or dark. With our skin being the largest organ we have, we literally live in them. Growing up I remember thinking something was off with being labelled “black” I remember thinking that if anything ,my skin tone was more chocolate than black. After ticking a few “black” boxes on all the legal documents, I stopped resisting it. It has since been refreshing to see Angelica Dass’ masterpiece (Humanae: a work in progress), I love how she has come up with a way to more accurately categorise skin tones rather than the untrue labels of white, red, black and yellow that are associated with race.
Living in South Africa most of us know that in our collective psyche past pains. It’s been about 25 years since apartheid was repealed. South Africa has a history rich in racial segregation, to such an extent that it was legalised and institutionalized. This came with the “all white party” in 1948.
Practice makes perfect:
Author Malcolm Gladwell explains how 1000 hours of practicing something can make you an expert in that particular field in his book “1000 hour rule”. From the year 1948 where hatred for another based on the tone of their skin was legalised till 1991, it has been 43years of conditioning. As South Africans we have become experts 376 times over. The problem is that after 1000 hours, 70% of the action becomes subconsciously rooted. This means that we don’t even have to think in order for us to do, it becomes automatic. We need to start practicing something else. We can focus our efforts on growing and on becoming the best versions of our selves and then help those that might be in need of our help regardless of how different you are to them.
Black woman are loud, black men are irresponsible, white men are misers, taxi drivers are dangerous, politicians are dishonest and white women are walk overs, Indian men are loud, their women talk a lot, coloured people are rough. These are a few biases that we should let go of, as we progress to global citizens. “We should recognise our biases and then walk towards them and not away” Verna Myers. We cannot keep avoiding the discussion about race, but we can approach it with honesty and understanding. How do we do that? Make friends
Melody Hobson in her famous talk color blind or color brave?, informs us that we cannot afford to be colour blind. We do not have the luxury of acting as if we do not see our skin tones. Lets use our differences for good. Let humanity benefit from our diversities. Scott Paige at the University of Michigan is the first to have come up with a mathematical equation for diversity. He says that if one is attempting to solve a really hard problem then they need to get a really diverse group of people to team up with, and this should include diversities in intellect too. Scott uses the “small pox cure” as an example, in the early stages of development it was a dairy farmer that brought to the awareness that the milk maids were not getting small pox.
We might be challenged to step out of our comfort zone, moving our country forward is not dependant on the next person. We all have to play our part; we all have to speak up. When gran-ma says something racially inclined at the big table these holidays we need to be able to tell her that such is not in line with forward movement, this is ever so important these holidays because apart of Granma at the table the kids are there too. They learn.
“Make friends with and invite people into your life who don’t look, act, think, talk like you, who don’t come from where you come from, and you might find that they challenge your assumptions and they help you grow as a person and you might even get powerful new insights from these individuals” interesting insights from an investment expert and president of Ariel investments.
Mother Teresa “I will never attend an anti-war rally , if you have a peace rally invite me"