Breaking the Chain. From Religion to Race.

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AlphaLogica157's picture
Breaking the Chain. From Religion to Race.

There is no value in maintaining delusions of the past. It can be argued that the act of clinging to the past has been the greatest obstacle to progress in any society. This is been a constant element in human nature. The most common expression is the ideology of Conservatism (any political philosophy that favors tradition, in the sense of various religious, cultural, or nationally-defined beliefs and customs ,in the face of external forces for change) and since it is so insidious and innate it has been granted entirely too much credibility by humanity as a whole.

An obvious example of maintaining a delusion of the past is religion. And religion has certainly been a great ball and chain bound to the legs of progress. From scientific progress on our understanding of the cosmos to philosophical progress on our place within it. Religion has even stood in its own way far too often, with the burning by Christians of those among the flock who dared to translate the Bible into English (William Tyndale) to the end of the Islamic Golden age with the rise of the anti-philosophical Ash’arism school among Sunni Muslims. Not even the Jews can claim to be free of allowing religion to stand in its own way. As Maimonides described in "The Guide for the Perplexed", God wills every single atomic event and God’s will is not bound up with reason. One need not strain themselves to hard to come up with ways that this line of 'reasoning' might have detrimental effects on a society at large.

The point I am trying to make is that by clinging to delusions of the past, we inevitably stand in our own way where progress is concerned. And one expression of this tendency to combat progress can be found in the Ideology of Racial Diversity, which has its roots in the Abrahamic Religion's, and is the foundation of the Ideology of Racial Identity.

A brief history on the Ideology of Racial Diversity/Identity.

Within the Abrahamic Religions, but not limited to them (see Plato, Aristotle) is the concept of The Great Chain of Being (a strict, religious hierarchical structure of all matter and life, believed to have been decreed by God). This was the basis for:

The predominant colonial theory of race was the Great Chain of Being, the idea that human races could be lined up from most superior to most inferior. That is, God, white people, and then an arrangement of non-white people, with blacks at the bottom. -Lisa Wade, Phd Sociology at Occidental College.

This can even be found in the Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1911) "measurements of their skulls and bones show that they (black people) are closer to apes than to white people." But this particular delusion of the past is not limited to the west, the idea that those of lighter skin were better suited to tasks of an intellectual nature while those of darker skin were better suited to more physical tasks was a product of the Arab Slave trade.

Historical research has shown that the idea of "race" has always carried more meanings than mere physical differences; indeed, physical variations in the human species have no meaning except the social ones that humans put on them. Today scholars in many fields argue that "race" as it is understood in the United States of America was a social mechanism invented during the 18th century to refer to those populations brought together in colonial America: the English and other European settlers, the conquered Indian peoples, and those peoples of Africa brought in to provide slave labor.

According to the American Anthropological Association:

"Race" thus evolved as a worldview, a body of prejudgments that distorts our ideas about human differences and group behavior. Racial beliefs constitute myths about the diversity in the human species and about the abilities and behavior of people homogenized into "racial" categories. The myths fused behavior and physical features together in the public mind, impeding our comprehension of both biological variations and cultural behavior, implying that both are genetically determined.

From its inception, this modern concept of "race" was modeled after an ancient theorem of the Great Chain of Being, which posited natural categories on a hierarchy established by God or nature. Thus "race" was a mode of classification linked specifically to peoples in the colonial situation. It subsumed a growing ideology of inequality devised to rationalize European attitudes and treatment of the conquered and enslaved peoples. Proponents of slavery in particular during the 19th century used "race" to justify the retention of slavery. The ideology magnified the differences among Europeans, Africans, and Indians, established a rigid hierarchy of socially exclusive categories underscored and bolstered unequal rank and status differences, and provided the rationalization that the inequality was natural or God-given. The different physical traits of African-Americans and Indians became markers or symbols of their status differences.

I could easily go into greater detail, but for the sake of not writing a novel I will bring this to a close so...

In conclusion. The Ideology of Racial Identity is nothing more than a continuation and glorification of a delusion of the past, with the advent of not only biology but genetics as well, has produced evidence that most physical variation, about 94%, lies within so-called racial groups. Conventional geographic "racial" groupings differ from one another only in about 6% of their genes. This means that there is greater variation within "racial" groups than between them. The reality that humankind is one species and racial diversity does not exist means that any such attempt at holding a racial identity is a practice of self deception. The cultural significance of such a deception is no defense of holding to it, no matter how strongly a person may believe in their racial identity, or to what extent it provides comfort or social cohesion, it is at its core factually incorrect. Racial identity is a chain that binds us as a species to a time when humans simply did not know any better. One must accept the facts of reality, and break this chain as we would with religious belief. Because another tendency of human nature is to not only accept the chains that bind us, but to convince ourselves that we are better off to love them.

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chimp3's picture
Race is a social construct.

Race is a social construct. However, when attempting to debunk the racial fallacy we are confronted with individual human beings and their personal histories. We can point out the genetic kinship we share but we can not discount the way humans have treated each other over long perilods of time. The fact that racism exists is not a fallacy. How does a white American begin to persuade a black American that race is a fallacious concept?

AlphaLogica157's picture
True, but the exact same

True, but the exact same could be said about a persons religion. Because it's not just an old book and some ridiculous doctrines, religion is communal, and a persons religious conviction is fueled by this, that not only because they believe but their parents and grandparents and brothers and sisters believe as well. For example:

Religion is a social construct. However, when attempting to debunk the religious fallacy we are confronted with individual human beings and their personal histories.We can point out the errors within their holy text but we cannot discount the way humans have treated each other over long periods of time. The fact that antisemitism exists is not a fallacy. How does an Atheist convince a Jew that their religion is a fallacious concept?

See my point? That individuals have faced persecution does not add a single element of truth to their religious or racial affiliation. Reality simply does not care, because it does not have this capacity. So to continue the practice of categorizing individuals based on a lie does not help them or us. Because it is factually incorrect. A person need not be 'white' or 'black', an atheist or a Jew to know the truth, and see the errors of the past for what they are.

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