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And your RACE is?

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I was having a discussion with a female friend (subject A) this morning over the ignorance and narrow-mindedness some people display via their BBm status updates. In this case, another friend of mine (subject B) was wondering aloud that “White people are so weird and strange“. I was explaining to subject A that it’s impossible for humans to make progress when we still lump people together based on their ethnicity and actions. Suddenly, subject A gets riled up. About what you may ask? She was peeved by my use of the word ethnicity instead of race. She was highly irritated that I would suggest that being “White” is not a race, but rather an ethnicity and that we should stop “extending these socially constructed social contracts.” I tried to explain that over time, in addition to what my professors taught me in college and what I’ve experienced, I had come to see race as a social construct. I view humanity as the human race consisting of people from various ethnicities, not various races. My friend wanted us to “re-construct” my comment, but I was not in the mood. It was too early for such a discussion. Yet, I obliged. I explained further that the notion of the “White race”, “Black race”, or “purple race” has been used as a divisive tool amongst humans for centuries. We don’t have to look any further than the example of slavery, both past and present, albeit in different forms. As a result, it is not shocking to find supremacists who view the “White race” as being superior or the “Black race” being destined to be poor, lazy, violent and over-religious, which is one reason why I refuse to use the word race in categorizing people.

Rather than my friend calmly expressing her opposition, she proceeds with the following rant. And I quote: “You of all people know better…so because your professors are dumb doesn’t mean you should also act dumb…and if you want to pretend that we are one human race and we are all happy go lucky, then please rethink why you want to read law.” For a split second, I was about to go all “Omarosa” up on her tush, but the calming spirit of the Lord warned me otherwise. So I jejely told her that I stand by my comment and that I did not need to rethink why I wanted to study law. For one, me “viewing race as a social construct” is not correlational to my desire to study law, which entails: developing proficiency in writing and speaking, reading, analyzing, thinking logically, doing research, and redressing wrongs in a just and fair manner, all the while being aware of the complexities of the legal principle. In spite of my ideologies, I am not one of those people who disregards the fact that “given the bias of cultural presumption, we tend to see in the law a reflection of ourselves that only serves to confirm the image we have of ourselves as a diverse people” (www.people.brandeis.edu/~teuber/law.intro.html). It would be foolish of me to think that we still don’t live in a divided world.

Yet I couldn’t help but wonder what gives people the audacity to think they know what your profession should be because they disagree with a comment you make? Granted there are people who when you listen to their beliefs, your heart bleeds that they could possibly end up in a position of leadership. With such people, the most I would tell them is to think critically and go read. I would never assume that I know what their career should be. Just because people don’t agree with your philosophies, does not mean you have to belittle them. I’m just having a hard time understanding what my friend’s problem is. For crying out loud, even some of the numerous government, exam, and job application forms here in the U.S have a section for people to fill in their ETHNICITY or ethnic origin. So what’s the issue?

My Jaguda people, can you help me out here? Do you believe that the notion of  replacing the term race with ethnicity and viewing race as a social construct is foolhardy, naïve and delusional? Or you disagree? What say ye?

Photo credits: http://www.drsharma.ca/tag/ethnicity


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http://shadenonconformist.blogspot.com/

Naija music groupie, obsessed with Nigeria and making a difference, interested in politics, foodie, health nut, relevant entertainment junkie, God freak and lover of new hobbies.

Comments

Comments
  • Bonnibelle October 23, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    I do not believe it’s foolhardy, naïve and/or delusional. Last time I checked, it’s 2010, yet I see people doing things or see things happening that remind me of something I read in a US History book from the 1960s.

    “Black” and “White” are Crayola colors and should not be used to describe people as their are more fitting terms. Technically, I’m light brown anyway lol.

  • My 2 cents October 23, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    I don’t understand the point of this article. Is it meant to be a rant, to express what you could not communicate to your friend or are you really that concerned with race vs ethnicity or are you concerned about those that belittle others for having their own opinion?

    • shadenonconformist October 23, 2010 at 5:00 pm

      It was a mixture of a rant and a desire to understand people's perception of the terms race and ethnicity. Sorry if that was unclear. I wrote this while i was really mad.

  • Gino October 24, 2010 at 4:57 am

    We really are one. Know mater the colour, race or ethnicity.

    http://getnigeriajobs.blogspot.com/

    • ShadeNoncon October 25, 2010 at 6:44 pm

      Yup Gino. I do agree. But that's in theory though because the reality is we're still striving to become one. We'll surely get there.

  • Ngo November 2, 2010 at 11:38 am

    On the part of being belittled by your "friend" because you don't see eye to eye…that baffles me.

    I have learned, through the years, that it's okay to not agree with my opinion. But then again, I'm also an aspiring "Lawyer." It is annoying, however, when I encounter people who are just too loud and obnoxious about my OWN beliefs. I just wanna slap them sometimes and simply tell them to (like someone said) go jump off a bridge!

    Even if (s)he had a good argument coming, they messed it up with spewing ignorance along with facts.

    • ShadeNoncon November 3, 2010 at 6:57 am

      Ditto your sentiments Ngo. It is very annoying when people are loud about others personal beliefs. Haha. No i think telling them to (like some people say) go play in rush hour traffic or go hug a live electric pole is much more suited to their ignorance:)

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