Race is a touchy subject.
It’s definitely real: a real problem, a real barrier, a real discriminator.
It’s real because it exists, but it’s also fake.
It’s fake because it was made up.
It doesn’t exist in the real world.
It exists, but only in our minds.
And it didn’t even exist there until it was invented as a concept.
But how can that happen?
How can something that doesn’t exist become a fact that can’t be questioned?
The furthest we can trace it back is the ancient Greeks.
They discriminated against people who didn’t look like them, people they considered inferior.
The Greeks divided other people into Ethiopians (who were too dark) Persians (who were too pale and weak) Celts (who were barbarians) and Scythians or Asians.
In mediaeval times, we know the Bible was used as proof of different races.
Noah’s three sons were Sham, Ham, and Japheth.
Sham’s descendants were called Semitic (Asiatic), Ham’s were Hamitic (black), and Japheth’s were Japhetic (European).
However, the origin of the modern concept of race can be traced to a book written in 1453 called ‘The Chronicles of Destiny’.
Until that time, slaves had mainly come from eastern Europe (hence the word slaves – Slavs) but Prince Henry the Navigator found big business in the enslavement of Africans.
His biographer, Gomes de Zurara, justified this by arguing that all blacks lived in squalor and Prince Henry would bring them to a good Christian environment.
Fast forward to 1684, when Francois Bernier wrote “A New Division of Earth (by the Different Species That Inhabit It)”.
He decided on four races: Europeans, Far-Eastern, Negroes, and Lapps.
He was followed a hundred years later, in 1793, by Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, who studied sixty human skulls and founded craniometrics.
Based on his studies, he divided humans into five races: Caucasian, Mongolian, Ethiopian, American, and Malayan.
In America, in the 1940s, this was formalised and taught in schools as three races: Mongoloid, Caucasoid, and Negroid.
Which is pretty much where we find ourselves today.
Science tells us that there is no more difference between so-called races than there is between individuals inside these particular groups, i.e.: 0.01%.
We made it up and it became a fact, even though it doesn’t exist.
But race is still a box that has to be ticked on government forms, it’s still considered a physical fact like: sex, age, weight, height.
My wife gets confused, she has to choose between: Asian, Chinese, or Oriental (her nationality is Singaporean.)
Actually, she’s more English than I am – she speaks better English than I do, her manners are more English than mine are, she sounds more English than I do.
But we are classified simply by what we look like.
Because, although she’s more English than I am, I look more English than she does.
People often can’t understand my cockney accent at immigration, I’ll have to get Cathy to explain it to them in proper English they can understand.
But because of something someone made up hundreds of years ago, the official forms still divide us along purely visual lines.
It’s a strange, powerful, illogical thing the mind, but we have to study it because that’s our media.