The concept of race was developed in the Western world during the 17th Century as an attempt to justify the terrible crimes that were being committed against Africans. The nominally Christian West needed a way to ease their conscience for forcibly taking human captives from Africa, putting them through the torturous Middle Passage of the Atlantic, and holding them and their descendants in life-long bondage and forced labor.
The African characteristics of a dark complexion and kinky hair were said to make them a different and inferior race than the Europeans. East Asians were also defined as another race because of their eye slant and skin tone.
The truth is, however, the only race is the human race. Skin color means no more than eye color. Do my blue eyes make me a different race than you brown eyed folks?
We are still stuck on the myth of race in our time. Every time we fill out a form we are asked to continue this myth by writing down our race. Personally I check the “other” category or write in “human” for my race.
Our news reporters constantly refer to people by the shade of their skin. But this is a very slanted approach. I have never heard a reporter say: ”A blue eyed man robbed a convenience store last night.” Why not?
Our society still uses the myth of race to define, separate, and marginalize people. Like the Pharisee in Jesus’ parable, the concept of race allows us to look down on people and say (or think); “Thank God I’m not like them.”
In reality, however, we all bleed red. Isn’t it time we erase the myth of race and embrace our shared humanity?