People began distinguishing themselves from others in different ways. By doing so, groups of people labeled themselves as superior bunch and called others inferior. There have been many ways people did this. Religion, skin color, language, and culture were all used in alienation. Like Orin Starn stated, there is still an inclination to see indigenous people as ‘the others’.
According to the lecture, people often misunderstand race as that of biological and inherited. Rather, race is something that is culturally established. Undoubtedly, people with a supposedly same race might not have similar biological characteristics. These physical characteristics were results of environment and genetic drift over the course of time. Thus, some genetics that are not as apparent as skin color are hard to distinguish and may vary from people to people within the same ‘race’. Thus, to classify people by the misunderstood concept of race is rather unfair. Still, race was most commonly used throughout history as difference between us and them.
Culture played a big factor and is closely associated with differentiating between people. Culture embraces a rather large definition because it can refer to what languages people speak, what kinds of customs do they adopt and how they behave in different situations, and what they eat. Often, clashes between cultures led to struggles such as war and violence. Religion is a big part of a culture. They are often associated with each other. For example, Judaism and Israelite, Islam and Middle Eastern, and Christianity and Western are all closely tied together as bundles to define culture.
Then, what are some of the methods that people used to define race and culture? Science has always been utilized to define race. In “Race: Power of Illusion”, black people were measured for their physical characteristics when doing so is not a scientifically accurate. People have always used different methods to legitimize their difference, which has a few benefits for those that do. Politically, minority races were prosecuted to achieve certain agendas. There are many instances throughout history where regimes used racism to meet certain goals. Ethnic cleansing such as the Holocaust and the Rwanda genocide are all political racism. This goes same with religion as well. People with different religions waged wars for as long as human history was first recorded. Crusades and Jihads are examples in which people established difference through religion in gaining superiority and profits over others.
It is nearly impossible to overlook differences between people. However, classifying these differences is when danger of conflicts arise. Categorizing is helpful if it has a pure scientific purpose. But often it is used as a basis for alienating each other and creating quarrel. Will it be possible to educate the global population that everybody is different regardless of culture and race? Is teaching people to be more tolerant a way to go? I think it is important to educate people the differences and the awareness of it, but these differences do not owe it to race or other factors. Rather, it is innate in every human being.