Many things can be, and are, said about America. However, one thing is undeniably true; we are a nation of many different types of people. Different not only personality, social standing, or religion, but in ethnic background as well. In few other countries can one find an eclectic array of individuals having ancestors from opposite ends of the earth. Academia and the media often squabble over whether to call this country a salad bowl or a melting pot; I wouldn’t want to paint with a broad brush in either direction. However, I am certain that the United States offers a view of the world from a perspective unlike any other; sort of akin to standing on a mountaintop watching the cities and towns bustling below.
To appreciate fully the liberties afforded to us all as citizens or legal residents, it’s probably best to take a good look at your own family lineage and the history associated with it. You might discover wonderfully pleasant or shockingly embarrassing facts; certainly, variations of both are sure to surface. In any case, you will gain a profound sense of personal knowledge which can be built on to avoid the mistakes of ancestors as well as to grow on their successes. The past can serve as a key to unlock many doors that we struggle to open in the present. Learning about it can only bring a wealth of new opportunities; many of which we may not have even known existed.
Focusing too much on your race or ethnicity, though, can present serious problems. When one develops an attitude of tribalism, inevitably leading to the point of placing group identity above individual merit, terrible things are sure to follow. This is why I treat my own heritage in a strictly relativistic manner; what my forefathers experienced was exactly that, and it does not give me the excuse to take up qualms in the present day. I believe that if more were to share my stance, society would avoid needless and destructive conflicts. Imagining a world where a person can be judged on the basis of character as opposed to skin pallor or ancestral origin is only too serene a dream of mine.
Very often, I wonder why a greater number of people do not share my dream. What is so attractive about one’s heritage, which can also come in religious form, trumping one’s capacity for reason? How can it be that, almost instinctively, those of a certain appearance gravitate toward those of a like or similar one? The same can also be said for theistic belief, though this is readily explainable on the basis of common ideals. Race or ethnicity, however, engender some sort of truly unexplainable bond for far too many.
Since ethnoracial bigotry is anchored in the notion that genetics, rather than socialization and education, determine the content of one’s mind, it’s no surprise that it is widespread among the culturally, scientifically, and technologically deficient. Of course, genes do provide us with innate predispositions, such as being artistically or scientifically oriented, but these are reactionary in nature. Our genetics offer us no form of instantaneous knowledge, something that would be quite necessary for ethnoracism to make even an iota of sense. How, then, can there be a superior race or ethnicity when neither has any bearing on human intelligence in the first place?
A rational argument against ethnoracism leads inevitably to the conclusion that there are intellectuals and idiots in every human group. However, ethnoracists are thoroughly uninterested in facts, so this is sure to fall on deaf ears. Oh, well. Still, every time I hear someone pontificating about being proud of his or her race, or about ethnic supremacy, I can’t help but grimace. If only humankind could see the forest through the trees and come to the realization that each of us are individuals, unique in our own respective ways, and deserving of being treated as such. The failure to recognize this easily observable fact is found in humans of every race and ethnicity, though slowly but surely, progress is being made in rectifying this.
In the end, we are all united in a single race: the human race; ethnicity matters not a whit. It is amazing how many can either forget this or simply neglect to take notice of it.