The Truth Behind the American Dream

Race is a modern idea.

Ancient societies did not segment people based on physical differences, people were divided based upon their religion, status and sometimes language. In fact, the English language didn't even contain the word race until 1508. Race is a modern construction and was invented to justify social hierarchy and the enslavement of certain groups of people. 

Race has no genetic basis.

There is not one gene, trait or characteristic that is unique to specific races. Genes and genetics have absolutely no influence on a person's race. 

Skin color really is only skin deep.

According to biology, scientific findings and the workings of genetics, most of our genes and traits are inherited independently of one another. The genes that influence skin color have no affect on the genes that determine hair texture, eye shape, athletic ability etc. This means that identifying a person by their race does not mean that others who look similarl to them have traits and characteristics that correspond with the color of their skin.

Slavery predates race.

Throughout our world's history, the enslavement of people, usually as a result of war, conquest, or debt, has been commonplace. Conversely, colonial and American slavery was a product of the physical differences among people, not of war or territorial conquest. Our nation's early economy was largely based on production fueled by slaves. Without the work of slaves, American plantations would not have been able to produce the goods that earned them a profit. To justify this wrongful enslavement, and provide reasoning for why some people were denied rights and others were not, people were "raced" and then treated accordingly. 

Race justifies social inequalities as natural.

As the idea of race and racial classification became more popular, white superiority became natural and "common sense." A hierarchical system of race justified not only slavery, but also the extermination of American Indians, exclusion of Asian immigrants and conquest of Mexican lands. Once the idea of race became natural and thus, inevitable, racial practices became customary in our laws, governments and societies. 

Race isn't biological, but racism is still real.

Race is a social construction that gives people varied access to opportunities and resources based on the color of their skin. The political, social and governmental systems in the United States have organized around this advantageous system that race has created, which has resulted discrepancies of wealth, power and status among different groups of people. These systems affect everyone in our culture, whether the are directly or in-directly impacted by them, or even realize their impact at all. 

Colorblindness will not end racism.

Pretending race doesn't exist does not result in obtaining e
quality. Racism, stereotypes and the concept of race involves more than just discrimination, a hierarchy of social classes and justification of the mistreatment of people. To put a stop to racism, our culture needs to identify and find solutions to the social policies and structures that favor specific groups of people.  

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