I grew up in Spartanburg, South Carolina. It's no teeming metropolis, mostly suburban but it's far from a rural community.My schools were always at least 50% African-American (in junior high it was 90%). I must say that I think I was lucky. I was an intelligent white boy in the poverty-stricken inner city...well as much as you can call Spartanburg a city, that is. I never in 12 years saw 2 people fight or not get along because of their race. Asian, whites, blacks, latinos-all had their friends of all "races". I never felt an affinity with people of my own race. I felt much closer to those in my year, who got along with me and laughed with me and caused trouble with me (I wasn't an angel sometimes in junior high haha).
So why do we still use "race" at all? We now know, from the decoding of our genetic code, that humans cannot be meaningfully subdivided into any group below the level of species. That means that race is an entirely social and cultural construct. I have recently started feeling very strongly about this because once we realize that race has no basis outside of our own minds, why should we keep the concept at all? People have used race in the past so often for bigotry, slaughter, slavery, division, and violation of the dignity our of HUMAN race. Once we stop labeling each other and ourselves with this false categorization, we remove our own capability to use it to divide us.
The fragility and inefficiency of this concept of race is so evident. Our president has a "white" mother and "black" father. But Obama is "black". Well he's just as much "white" and it makes no sense to pick one of those over the other. And what about Asians? Are people from India the same race as people from South Korean? They're both Asian after all. And the Middle East! They tend to be lighter than Indians and darker than Europeans, are they their own racial group? The Jews...are they are a race? What about latinos, who call themselves "blancos". Lots of Anglo-Americans don't say Latinos are "white", they say that they're "Hispanic". So is Latino/Hispanic a race or not? You get my point.
Now when I fill out forms that ask me to identify my "race", I have begun to refuse to put Caucasian. I either leave it blank or put "prefer not to say". The census doesn't ask me what color my eyes are, why should it ask me what my skin color is?
Feel free to comment. Am I being unreasonable in being so adamantly opposed to labeling myself and others with a race?
Well I can't say that I refuse to categorize myself in a race. I do in fact do that. My race is homo sapiens.