Human Race- Diversity is our strength
Life experience on discussion of human race, color and ethnicity.
This is one memorable personal experience in a small town of USA where there were few people of color. Just to establish background, am resident American of Asian Indian ethnicity. At this time of incident we both were in our 20’s. And the location is in a supermarket.
After shopping at the supermarket, initiated conversation with checkout lady who was on a smoke break. She was a white American and expressed curiosity about my ethnicity and brown color, possibly due to the limited exposure to world diversity. I explained in detail about my roots in India and that we are naturally brown skinned.
She briefed me that she was honors in school and she was certain that there are only whites and blacks only, brown shades of skin evolved due to interracial sex between African blacks and whites. Then she asked about my parents and grandparents that if one of them were white and other was black. I patiently explained that we, Asian Indians are naturally brown due to the latitude of the earth where we grow up.
As per science, the UV rays of sun varies by latitude of the earth which causes shades of our skin color being darkest near equator and lightest near poles of Arctic/Antarctic.
Then she again reiterated that may be few generations ago there might have been an interracial couple of black and white that might have made us brown skinned.
Did laugh to myself with no expression but at the same time not to offend her confidence here, just said to her that it might be possible as I had no idea what happened generations ago. And did mention that science is still evolving which may lead to change in our understanding about human race in the future. Then said good night and left.
My personal take on this experience:
I was surprised of such an non-scientific understanding about skin color of Humans. What human science is being taught in schools? My assumption was that Charles Darwin theory of human evolution is universal and being taught in every school.
Before Darwin theory there were many theories related to human race, skin color, ethnicity. Even after Darwin’s theory there are many other unproven theories along with supporting research studies. When it comes to our ancestors, we really do not know how we evolved.
Current science states that we humans originated in Africa and migrated elsewhere on this planet which makes us all Africans. Still there are many unanswered questions about origin of life on Earth, DNA differences, and most are still theories. So Science is also just a belief to certain extent.
Though we should agree with established scientific facts that exists as of today, we should also be open minded for more possibilities and further explorations.
Race/ Ethnicity, Racism?:
When I shared this experience with my friends their first reaction was that she was racist. I never considered this episode as racism for many reasons. She neither attacked me nor disrespected me so it is not racism. One can always measure the intention in an in-person conversation. It was just a healthy discussion of various perspectives and thoughts.
Possible ignorance or lack of knowledge here but certainly not racism.
As a civilized educated human being. We need to have such open discussions often among people of different races, color, sexuality, ethnicity to combat racism and for better humanity.
It is always good to know different perspectives of others as long as there is no harm intended.
Currently we alienate ourselves with our superficial tags of race/ ethnicity/ sexuality/ gender etc. Moreover our focus on political correctness and choice of words limits our knowledge about other people who are different than us. Then there is fear of accusations that leads to more assumptions which only leads to more hatred and racism.
Bit of optimism, open-mindedness and positive attitude goes a long way in enhancing our knowledge and understand our differences, also leads to peace and harmony all over.
Dealing with petty people:
Strategy — React positively with alternate positive interpretation and pride. Sarcasm and political correctness.
Diversity is our Strength:
Just as in food cuisines, there are different colors, flavors, tastes, varieties but all food is processed into energy that fuels our body. We humans got different color, ethnicity, culture, traditions, lifestyle but we all are one human race to fuel humanity and thrive.
Just as we enjoy different cuisines with enthusiasm and excitement, we should enjoy our human diversity as spices and flavors of life.
Try having the same bland food for a week or so, one would be bored and loose interest in having a meal. Similarly, if everyone of us looked the same and acted the same with no diversity, we would be bored to death. It is the differences among us act as elements of surprise that makes our life interesting and adventurous.
So let us stop complaining about the differences, instead celebrate the human diversity and enjoy life.
Our uniqueness is our strength!