Race has always been my concern for the past few years. I started studying abroad when I was 15(now I’m 20), and I came to America from a heavy mono-ethnicity country, China. Coming from a place where everyone has the exactly same skin color, hair color, eye color and many physical appearances, I was shocked by how diverse America are. I never even thought of race or ethnicity before I came to America. As I begun to understand more about ethnicity, race and physical appearance, I understood that there are a lot of cultural and historical reasons behind that. A part of the AAA’s professional race report helped me to understand the reasons behind further.
Race, and people classifying, was employed under the purpose of better control the slaves by our ancestors. In AAA’s report, they mentioned that “In the latter part of the 19th century it was employed by Europeans to rank one another and to justify social, economic, and political inequalities among their peoples.” Later in the history, Nazis under Adolf Hitler expanded the idea of race and people classification, and made it an excuse for war and genocide towards the “inferior races”. Today, we can still see a lot of debate going on about “race”, and much of those debates are really from the conflicts of left over historical issues.
Biologically, there are no such thing as “race”. The third position posts of AAPA, demonstrated the fact that there isn’t any evidence, ever, to show the existence of race. However, this AAPA post brought up the fact that we are not only physically, but also genetically diverse. There were more explanation in the video of why our appearances are different- environment, mutation and genetic drift were a part of the factor. If I were going to explaining to someone who with no biological background why there aren’t any biological boundaries, I will probably explain that our genetic variation with our DNA isn’t enough to biologically distinguish race between human beings. The reason why Asians have dark hair color, Caucasians have green eyes, Africans have dark skins, is because the environment shaped our physically features during the long history of evolution. I would bring up Allen’s Rule as an example, where bunnies in the dessert have longer ears and tails to help radiating the extra heat, and bunnies in higher latitude tend to have shorter limbs. They may still be the same species and successfully reproduce an offspring with a mixture features, biologically we may still say that there isn’t a biological race boundary between them because they share a common descent. As human beings, just like what AAPA stated in the race statement, we all belong to a single species, homo-sapiens, and we share a same descent.
Honestly, I think this week’s lecture made me more confident about our ethnicity and race conflicts. Globalization speeds up with the development of technology, mating choice will be more globalized instead of “local only”. As a result, our offspring are eventually going to share those special “environmental feature” left over from ancestors (such as Africans have darker skin as a protection from exceeded sunshine near equator). As our appearance gets closer in the future, I hope human can reduce all the conflicts between races and create a more peaceful world!