A December 29 New York Times article on Senator Barack Obama refers to him as a biracial candidate. When it comes to discussing race, the word biracial encapsulates what may be racism’s primary fuel; it reflects our continued insistence that there is more than one race. That is where we are wrong and, while it will not happen in my lifetime and is unlikely to happen in the lifetime of any who read this, it is time we learn there is only one race: the human race, and change our vocabularies accordingly.
It is not a stretch to say that in many ways the belief that there is more than one race has essentially morphed into the notion that different races are in fact different species. Tragedy is this mindset’s only offspring; it is what led to slavery in my country, it is what drove the Nazi’s attempt to exterminate the Jews; it is what guided the hands of some of our Southern brethren when they turned dogs and fire hoses loose on black Americans, many of them children; it is what drove the Apartheid regime of South Africa and it is what kept Nelson Mandela in jail for more than a quarter century; it is what drove the hatred in the hearts of those who planted a bomb that killed four little black girls in the 16th Street Baptist Church on September 15, 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama.
The list is worldwide and tragically long.
There are no different races. There is the human race, period. Yes, the human race is wonderfully rich with variety. Different color hair and eyes and skin, various belief systems and taste in music, sports, art and politics. But all generated by members of one race, the human race.
Perhaps members of the media, along with local, state, and federal leaders not to mention world leaders might began to change their rhetoric a bit. After all, what exactly would be the downside to realizing that every person walking the earth is the same race you are? What is the harm in recognizing we are all members of the human family? Just imagine, were this to take hold, perhaps it would be harder to inflict harm on one another. I find that, comforting and reassuring.