Abstractness of Racism

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“The United States of America – the piping hot, effervescing “melting pot of the world”. This term was coined in the late 1880’s due to mass European emigration for various reasons. Instead of refusing these fleeing souls, the idea of acceptance, regardless of race, was universally preached.

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The melting pot was used to symbolize the creation of a cohesive, new American culture and identity. This, in some ways did occur. However, this preconception is more than wrong. Our society is a salad bowl; an uneven mixture of different ingredients mixed randomly that all come together to represent a salad yet still hold fast to their own, respective identities. This “salad” has had and still has many problems.

Throughout history and in recent times, Racial tensions have proliferated greatly and have become more profound and frequent, raising questions about the future of our nation, due to our inability to resolve these domestic issues. As complicated as these issues are, they are based on the abstract concept that is Race. Race is not real. Race is merely a social category we choose and are influenced to abide by, not something that is scientifically backed nor is it genetically driven. Through the examination of societal implicit biases, the true science behind human identity and appearance and decades of research, the overbearing blanket perspective that Race is hereditary will sanguinely dissolve or change.

Conceptual Abstraction: Is Math Racist?

To challenge a generalized and accepted notion, one must attack directly. Race is not a biological nor genetic attribute. Race, similar to concepts like Arithmetic, are abstract – “existing in thought or as an idea but not having a physical or concrete existence” and defined as ‘insufficiently factual”, “difficult to understand” and “dissociated from any specific instance by Merriam Webster. All of these definitions ring true for the topic of race. Adam Rutherford, British geneticist and author of A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived, states that he is “unaware of any group of people that can be defined by their DNA in a scientifically satisfactory way” and proceeds to states that in terms of science and “as far as genetics are concerned, race does not exist” (Rutherford 218-219). With this, Rutherford also states that genetic sciences are founded on the “studies of racial inequalities of a racist”.

To solidify this argument, that race is abstract we compare it to the previous mentioned abstract concept, mathematics. Francis Galton, the Victorian scientist and half cousin of Charles Darwin, measured the biometrics of different people of different ethnic backgrounds and categorized them, mathematically, through statistics. Galton utilizes this quantitative data to validate He labels Chinese as “materialistic”, “Negroes” as vastly inferior, “Hindoos” as lacking in “strength and business habits” and that the “Arab[s]…” are merely “eaters …of other men’s produce… a destroyer” (Rutherford 227).

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