“Race” Is Not Real

Here is a quote from a great piece in yesterday’s San Francisco Chronicle:

The debate over what to call Obama – and the growing recognition of mixed-race Americans – is also a reminder that there’s no such thing as racial purity and, indeed, that “biologically, race is a fiction,” said sociologist Jorge Chapa, the director of the Center on Democracy in a Multiracial Society at the University of Illinois.

As you may know, I have long said that the first thing all of us need to do is get past the usage of the term “race.” I really think it is the root of our problem. “Race” gives the impression that what separates us is biological and beyond superficial things like skin color, hair texture, etc. We do represent different cultures and ethnicities, but that difference is not seen as as big a divide as the belief that we altogether are different species as the concept of race would have us believe. I propose instead of bi-racial or multi-racial, we say bi-ethnic or bi-cultural, or multi-ethnic and multi-cultural. Or even mixed.

It is far more accurate and in time I believe will make the barrier to getting beyond “race” seem a lot less formidable.

Here is a link to that San Francisco Chronicle article on the prominence of bi-cultural people. Unfortunately as good as the piece is, the author does use the term “mixed-race.” Oh well. progress comes in small steps sometimes.

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