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!