The meaning of the concept of ‘Race’ appears to be self-evident and ‘obvious’. From the mid-19th Century to date, its association with Skin Colour, Socio-Economic and Political status has created a particular conception of the term which renders it both ‘real’ and ‘immutable’ to the mind…However, has this always been the case, and what are the implications for us today?
The Invention Of ‘Race’
The age of European Enlightenment provided the backdrop for eighteenth century European theories about human difference. Exploration of Africa, Asia and the Americas brought Europeans in contact with people whom they found quite different.
The first efforts by Europeans to document human variation began with French Physician Francois Bernier’s ‘A New Division of the Earth, According to the Different Species or Races of Men Who Inhabit It’.
This was followed by Carolus Linnaeus’ system of biological classifications in ‘Systemae Naturae’, published in 1735. Linnaean taxonomy is the system of scientific classification of plants and animals now widely used in the biological sciences.
He formalized the distinction among the continental populations of the world and his work helped characterize the concept of race. In the tenth edition of ‘Systemae Naturae’, which was published in 1758, Linnaeus proposed four subcategories of Homo sapiens: Americanus; Asiaticus; Africanus; and Europeanus.
Skin Colour Concept of Race
Credit for our dominant Skin Colour based Race Paradigm goes to German Professor Johan Blumenbach following his expansion on the work of Carolus Linnaeus when he produced the work ‘On the Natural Variety of Mankind’.
Blumenbach changed his original geographically based four-race arrangement to a five-group one that emphasized physical morphology (the study of the form of an organism). Blumenbach’s five categories were: Caucasian, the white race; Mongolian, the yellow race; Malayan, the brown race; Ethiopian, the black race; and American, the red race. Although he retained geographical names for his categories, the change marked a shift from geography to physical appearance.
The world has since organised itself, and we have related to each other on the basis of the ‘Blumenbach model’.
Race as a Non-Biological Fiction: Implications
From the above, it should be clear that Race is not based on Genetics, and for this reason, is neither ‘Real’ or ‘Immutable’…It is a fiction used to confer ‘Superior’ or ‘Inferior’ status based on Skin Colour in accordance with a particular agenda. No human being is inherently ‘inferior’ or ‘superior’ to another…Status according to skin Colour is designated purely in accordance with the Agenda of the Ruling Oligarchs.
We can all either be ‘Inferior’ or ‘Superior’ at a given point in time depending on what suits the Agenda of the Ruling Power…The decline of Middle America following the 2008 recession is a clear indicator of the fragility of ‘White Power’ or any other concept of Skin colour coded ‘Race’ identification.
Its now clear that even ‘Whites’ can lose their privileged position, depending on what suits the Agenda of Ruling Oligarchs…The Oligarchs’ loyalties are not based on Skin colour, but on Wealth, Power and Control.
This has created disillusionment, and cognitive dissonance amongst ‘Whites’ as movements like ‘Occupy Wall Street’ subconsciously attempt to restore Suburbia and thus ‘White Power’ together with the privileges and identity associated with it.
This would also explain Donald Trump’s election as a response to the need to re-establish ‘White Power’ in America. This ‘need’ is not to be understood purely in terms of the overt violence of Charlottesville, but it is more sinister in that it appeals to the subconscious Archetypes of what it means to be ‘White’ in America, and perhaps even worldwide…The loss of a lifestyle is equated with a loss of ‘Whiteness’, hence the frenetic need to restore the ‘lifestyle’ which in reality is a substitute for ‘Identity’.
An analysis of this sort also helps us to understand the reaction of African Whites to their loss of privilege in Post-Colonial Africa…When White Privilege is understood as a synonym for ‘White’ Identity at the most Archetypical subconscious level, any loss of White Privilege is understandably met with resistance because in reality, such resistance is a misguided means of re-asserting ‘White’ Identity.
Going forward, it would in my view be helpful for all of us to shed the idea of ‘Race’ as inherent because it is ultimately a tool for Social division and control by Oligarchs.
Its purpose is to sustain a system in which privileges are selectively conferred in order to divide and prop up a broader Matrix of Control in which ALL are ultimately oppressed by the Oligarchs.
As the veneer continues to peel off with the decline of the Middle class, this presents an opportunity for us to re-examine and re-define anachronistic concepts like ‘Race’ in order that we may ultimately forge a new Paradigm that propels us towards more equitable Socio-Political and Economic Organisation.
Peep the links below for more, including a Noam Chomsky Interview in which he explains the rise of the ‘Occupy’ Movement in terms of class struggle following the decline of Middle America.
Our YouTube Channel’s ‘History & Politics’ Playlist also has the documentaries ‘Out of the Darkness Into The Light’ and ‘The End Of The American Dream: The Suburbs’ which are illuminating.
Links & Credits
Noam Chomsky Interview: http://www.alternet.org/story/155116/noam_chomsky_on_america%27s_declining_empire%2C_occupy_and_the_arab_spring