15 Comments

Be like the panda!

I commented on another blogger’s post olbigjim on hatred, racism and bigotry. This writer was lamenting about the issue of bigotry and hatred which are by and large a forerunner of racism. Inspired by these thoughts, I decided to take on this debate further, but adding a different twist to it by asking myself and also putting it forth to my readers: Does race exist or humans created race (ism)? Identity is a complicated mixture of who you are, where you grew up, and what you find about yourself. Similarly, we can say the same with race. Well, as a matter of fact race does exist but its existence transcends beyond a biological existence.  Some say that race is not a biological category but a social construct. It is a socio-political existence. Is it possible then for example, to be a white skin deep individual (race) but identifies yourself as an Arab because of what values they have and vice versa? These thoughts are not naturally given but drawn according to particular interests.

Furthermore, race then becomes a system rather than a biological given. Hence if an individual or groups of individuals begin to ask another individual where you are located in respect to the system, they are not asking just as a passing but to know which race you belong to. So it follows that race(ism) is constructed in this way. For instance, if your neighbor does not belong to the same race as you are then he/she is considered inferior; He/she does not belong to the “system”.Growing up as a student in the UK, I noticed a very sharp contrast in levels of interactions between Asians, whites and blacks. In our student accommodation for instance, Asians were more likely to form study groups consisting of only their race and kept more to themselves, blacks tried to mingle but were not always accepted in all circles of social and academic activities. Whites were in the majority. In effect, there was a “social” demarcation all under the auspices of an academic environment. However, when I went to the Netherlands to continue with my studies, I was surprised by the non-existence of the social reality of race. This was in spite of the fact that students came from over a hundred and fifty different nationalities.  We all interacted with each other very well putting differences (racism, sexism etc) aside.  Part of that, I believe was the social forces that operate in that country. It didn’t matter whether you were from the global south or north. My focus here I must state is on the racial system and not racism.  That is not to say that all people in the UK are racist neither is it the case that people I met in the Netherlands were not racist. That is not the point that I am drawing here. My claim here then, due to the first hand experiences of two different environments comes to support the fact that race doesn’t exist, but only exist when it does happen.  It is a social construct that brings about stereotypes. The racial system is more important and varies from one country to another making a person to assume a different race when in a different country. In effect then, what I would teach my children is to see race more as biological than as a social entity. We are all the same created by one Creator. We should be like the panda. It is white, it is black, and it is Asian!

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15 comments on “Be like the panda!

  1. Thanks for the link to my blog in this post. Your ideas about race and racism are very interesting and refreshing. I may have to revisit this subject at some point in the future and I’m quite certain I’ll need to quote some of your words. Yes, very, very interesting indeed!

  2. […] Be like the panda! (sevdery.wordpress.com) […]

  3. Hi, Thanks for the ping back. I feel obliged to comment about the University scenario. I also studied in the UK for my undergrad ( 4 years) and postgrad (2 years) degrees. What I noticed was pretty much the same pattern as you describe. Asians hanged around in packs, most white people (and blacks born in the UK) also hanged around in packs. International students also had their own fraternity, that sometimes overlapped with Asian, Arab, Black, Chinese and middle eastern packs. In my experience, I found myself more at home by hanging around international students and we mixed quite well as everyone was open and friendly. It was much harder to get along with some of the UK white groups, although there were good alliances made with whites in disciplinary settings, especially whites from outside the UK (in particular South African, Cypriot, Germans and Americans). So, many of my white friends were also studying the same course that I was studying. Also, I found that mature students – those who were over ~26 years when they began their studies were a lot more easier to build friendships with than those who were 17 – 19 years, as I was then. Finally, the halls of residence system enabled friendships to be made, although even here “class structures” emerged. By far the most exclusive group were the Chinese and Far Eastern – Japanese, Korean, Malaysian, who had very tightly knit circles, and were often unwilling to let others in, probably because of the language, although what’s funny is I did have some “colleagues” (they were not friends) who were (i) older (ii) doing the same discipline, or a similar discipline (iii) Foreign – example Venezuela, from Chinese and far eastern groups.
    The funny thing is when I went to do my postgrad (in London), none of this clustering existed. I found myself, at 25 years, in the middle of a big family, where everyone accepted everyone, and nobody cared an inch where the flip you came from.

    • You got it spot on! Many are molded by the world they live in and have a closed “world view”.The change in behaviour and attitude should begin with our generation.

    • You got it spot on! Many are molded by the world they live in and have a closed “world view”.The change in behaviour and attitude should begin with our generation. Thanks once again for your comments 🙂

  4. we human beings are diverse, and more or less equal. no matter how hard i try i wont be able to say Mother Teresa was equal to (absolutely like) Hitler 😦 the naughty imp in my heart will say Hitler was a monster and Mother Teresa was truly the saint she is crowned as now.

    • Biologically all humans are equal, but the socially we might be different (dislikes). Our responsibility is to free ourselves from this “cage” and accept everyone as the same kind of species (human race).

      • i absolutely agree with you in this regard- we all belong to an equal race- humanity. no one is better or worse in that regard.

        btw, did you tried to change your incorrect blog URL? I have left the directions in my blog, let me share again-

        in your dashboard click users
        then my profile
        scroll almost to the bottom of the page, you will see an option “Links”
        from the boxes supplied under it remove the wrong URL and add the one you are using now.

        let me know if you were able to do it.

      • I did it can you verify if it is correct now at your ends? Thank you very much for the help 🙂

  5. Very well expressed, thanks for sharing

  6. I am really impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one today..

  7. Definitely, what a great site and enlightening posts, I definitely will bookmark your blog.Have an awsome day!

  8. Reblogged this on thelisteningvoice and commented:

    I recently blogged about the issue of race, bigotry and hatred. I chanced on a brilliant piece that relates to this phenomenon which I would like to share with you. It brings to question if racism is born or thought? What is your answer to this question? Did you just answer yes to it? If so please watch this short 1 minute video to learn more.
    http://www.upworthy.com/is-racism-born-or-taught-if-you-answered-born-you-havent-seen-this-video?g=2&c=cme

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