By Ric Yeboah
Apr 20, 2016
Since the dawn of mankind, human beings have always used various forms of identification to distinguish themselves from their counterparts. In the contemporary world, social identity has been shaped by notions such as a person’s religious beliefs, cultural attitudes, sexual orientation, or their disposition towards a particular gender group. However, it is the categorisation of ‘race’ that serves as the fundamental component of our identity today, structuring civilisation into a complex intermixture based on the colour of our skin. This structure has repeatedly produced adverse implications on the cohesion of humanity, both on a local and global scale.
Unlike other forms of identification, the modern international system of capitalism was built upon the conception of ‘race,’ emanating from the exploits of slavery and colonialism. Indeed, in order to rationalise the seizure of human beings, territory and resources, European explorers categorised people across the world according to their pigmentation, building a meticulous framework that not only emphasised their superiority, but demonised and subordinated the ‘alien’ populations they encountered. Supported by the scientific revolution of the early modern period, and the bastardisation of Christian beliefs by proponents of the church, Europeans were able to justify the fabricated damnation of people considered ‘black,’ and the hierarchical aggregation of other ‘coloured’ peoples.
Despite the abolition of slavery, the decolonisation of large parts of the world, and the global fight for civil rights against racial segregation and discrimination, the differences in our skin colour remains an impediment against social justice, and contributes to the existing divisions already present in the world today. ‘Race’ continues to hold a transcendent influence on the provision of wealth and economic opportunity, health, education, friendly and intimate relationships, civil obedience, and on other areas of the domestic and international arena, often to the detriment of those formerly subjugated by the racial categories built by imperalists centuries ago. Moreover, while this article refuses to divulge into the common stereotypes associated with different ‘racial’ groups, we all recognise (whether consciously or subconsciously) that they serve as a caveat in the minds of every thinking individual on this planet, ultimately contributing to the maintenance of the unjust racial status-quo.
But why must humanity remain confined to such illusionary ‘racial’ conceptions? The globalised nature of the 21st century has only reinforced the fallacy of the long-standing ‘racial truths’. Thus we, as humans being, must now avoid confining our identities to such preposterous beliefs, which were originally created in order to purposely propagate our separation. ‘Race’ is a social construct, a construct developed by the holders of power to prevent the societal conditions necessary to produce equality. As such, ‘race’ should be considered as menial as the colour of our eyes, the hairs on our heads, or the lines on our hands in order to end the dictative influence of the tendentious racial ideas.
How can social cohesion ever be achieved if I preserve my identity as a ‘black’ man, reigniting the suffering of peoples that share the same shade of skin, while another preserves their ‘whiteness’ and their ‘ideological superiority’ over the rest of the world? Humanity must agree that our race has no colour, and is not a stimulus for societal domination or subjection. With the elimination of ‘race’, we naturally eliminate the ancestral relationship between the oppressed and the oppressor, the slave and the slave owner, the conquered and the conqueror.
Social differences exist, and they always have, but ‘race’ is not a condition that should lead to our disunity. Humanity is built upon the physical differences between man and woman, the ideological and theological dissimilarities regarding the proof our existence, and the cultural and linguistic distinctions as a result of our individual geographical origins. However, the importance of our skin colour should only have a bearing on our identity if we consider the hierarchy of different racial groups to be intrinsic to our nature – which in my view, is completely baseless.
In reflection, it is time the world re-evaluated the role of ‘race’ in our societies, and its significance in the wider context of our post-imperalist global environment. If my view appears utopian, then unfortunately you are controlled by the deep-rooted psychological manipulation of European expansionism. Wake up.