So many discussions about people focus on ‘race’, which is a misnomer. Why? Because we’re all the same race: Human.
What do we do, then, if we’re going to separate and stick humans in little boxes? Differentiate humans by what we are-culture, ethnicity. To expand and explain, I’ll use myself as an example. What race am I? I’m Human. What culture am I? I’m a Middle-American. What ethnicity am I? I’m Caucasian. You could focus on DNA as well, I’m Northern European, Scandinavian, Irish, Iberian Peninsulan and a smattering of others. You could further differentiate by skin tone, which is how people are divided, erroneously by, today, btw, I’m ‘white’, which is different than Culture.
So much is made of ‘Culture’ in the United States and mostly gets the term and definition wrong. Culture is more than a skin tone, it’s more what you eat, who you listen to, what music makes your soul sing and how you speak. Culture is such a broad term, anyway. What should be discussed by Culture is where do you live? How do you live your life? Again, I’m white-I grew up in the middle of the U.S., I lived a broadly white upper lower class existence. I ate typically ‘white’ food, listened to ‘white’ music, wore ‘white’ clothes and spoke ‘white’ colloquialisms. So much of who we are comes from what region, state or neighborhood we grew up in. This shapes our mind, how we filter the outside world and yes, how we divide people and put then into little boxes.
Now, ethnicity is more skin tone, DNA class and items you have no control over, again, broadly speaking. Overall, I’m Caucasian, meaning, coming from the Caucus Mountain region of Southern Europe. Way back when down in Africa, there were these unusual babies being born with lighter tone skin, meaning less melanin in their dna. Since this was new, they, or we, were banished north and east to the Caucus Mountain regions. As we procreated, we moved east and north to populate the world. We settled down in regions of the world which became France, Germany, Scandinavia and Ireland, to use my background as an example.
How does this matter in discussions of ‘race’, culture, ethnicity? You can use broad definitions and explanations, such as Northern Europeans can’t take the sun like other ethnicities, we don’t like as spicy foods, we’re more judgmental, we tend to be more conservative, overall. These are more ingrained in our DNA, as I explained earlier. We also tend to be lighter skin and hair toned, we tend to have more blue and green eyes. You could break further down by region or country where our ancestors are from.
Race has become such a lightning rod for divisive purposes, which is sad to see. So next time you hear ‘discussions on Race’, ask yourself what is really being discussed? Culture? Ethnicity? DNA?