Saturday, February 12, 2011

Race is Immortal

The elimination of race is impossible. In order to fully eliminate race, one must erase hundreds and thousands of years of history. In a perfect world, this might be possible to do, but in a world with billions and billions of individuals with their own independent thoughts, it is impossible to get everyone from thinking a certain way. Unlike the example of witchcraft that was used in class, race is a social construct that cannot be hidden nor can a person be falsely accused of being a certain race. One thing that those who wish to eliminate race do not understand, is that the elimination of race means the elimination of historical time periods where race played an important roll in events that occurred. For example, in order to eliminate race at this point in time, one would have to completely forget the times of slavery and the Civil Rights movement in the United States alone. That is a history that a lot of people, for generations to come, will never want to forget.

One thing that is important to remember is that there is a difference between wanting to eliminate race and actually being able to do so. There are a lot of people who believe that they have successfully transcended race and no longer make any assumptions about a person based upon the color of their skin. I would argue that unless that person has been living under a rock for the entirety of their life, it is impossible for them to not make a assumption about a person (no matter their skin color). I have plenty of friends who claim that they no longer view people as being different colors, but in the same day will make a joke to me based on the color of my skin. Although this isn’t done to be malicious, but rather just funny, the point is still made: it is completely impossible for us to ignore race.

I would venture a guess to say that if we had the choice, most people wish they could eliminate our ability to acknowledge race without necessarily getting rid of the history of race, but unfortunately race is something that goes hand and hand with its history. The best that we can hope for right now is that years down the road, as more interracial mixing occurs, the history will still exist, but everyone will be mixed to the point that it will be hard to tell what racial background a person is from.


  1. Jarrett, you raise very interesting points. Personally, I disagree with the eliminativist perspective. Like you said, one can not eliminate race without eliminating history, which is simply impossible. Although there is no scientific basis for race, the social construct should not be eliminated because the consequences of race are real and enduring. In addition, one can positively identify with his or her race. Like Kimberly mentioned in class, we must also focus on the cultural benefits of race, such as a sense of pride and tradition. WIth that said, the distinction between race and racism must be made; one should "conserve" race and "eliminate" racism.

  2. Very interesting. I think that eliminativist point of view is very interesting because it assumes that being racially different is a negative connotation which I can completely understand because of the results of social status and perceptions in society however, i think it fails to acknowledge racial heritage and pride. There are many groups of people who acknowledge and embrace their racial difference without belittling other races. This is a very functional approach in my opinion. Bell Hooks once said that the more we recognize or differences and embrace and respect them... the closer we will be to unity.


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