Valarie Anderson

Valarie Anderson

I am writing in response to an article that appeared in The Bulletin on March 7 titled, “Lawmakers mull bill to put race on voter registration.”

I’m distressed that racial thinking continues to divide this nation and that our legislators continue to fan the flames of racism. I’m appalled that the very legislators who were outraged at former President Donald Trump because he ignored science regarding COVID-19 are now considering asking people to indicate their race, ethnicity, and language preference on their voter registration form. Are they unaware of the scientific evidence that there is no such thing as race or are they using this concept to further their own agendas?

Racist thinking has caused my countrymen to act like Nazis by banning books and attempting to blot out our history. We should instead use these books and our history as opportunities to teach our children the truth based upon science and reality without whitewashing it with ethnocentric bias. We need to teach and embrace the fact that there is no such thing as race.

“Understanding Physical Anthropology and Archaeology” by Lewis, et. al., demonstrates that race is not a valid concept because genetic variations within groups of people from the same geographical region exceeds that of the differences between groups from other locales. The Human Genome Project in 2003 proved that people are 99.9% genetically the same. The 0.01 % difference relates to variations in blood pressure and the propensity for certain diseases, not skin color or kinky hair or thin lips and straight noses.

The concept of race morphed out man’s need to organize and categorize complex phenomena. In the 1500s, the term “race” defined species, the human race vs. the canine race. By the 1600s, the term was used to describe culturally similar groups of people based upon their nationality or religious identity, e. g., the English race, the Japanese race, the Jewish race, etc.

In the 20th century, it was generally accepted that humans’ observable difference only roughly corresponded to geographical locations because genes exhibit a continuous range of expressions. Twenty-first century science proved that is impossible to draw a line between populations because human variation studies are based on genetics. Google it.

Try lining up people in a continuum of color and see if you can find a dividing line. Is a blond-haired, green-eyed, dark-skinned Costa Rican white or brown? Is a white-skinned, kinky-haired Bohemian white or Black because of hair type? How about a red-haired, fair-skinned Aboriginal from Australia — Black, white or brown? Where would you fall in this lineup?

I’m supposed to be white, but I tan so dark, a tourist in Texas once complemented me on my English because she thought I was Hispanic. I’d be in to the brown tones in the lineup yet my ancestors are northern European.

If we are citizens of this country, we are Americans, not Blacks, whites, and browns. It is our responsibility to adapt, follow the rules, and learn the language. And it is our right to vote if we want to implement change.

We have no right to force our mistaken opinions on others. We should not feel guilty or hampered, or disadvantaged because of the color of our skin.

If each of us would let go of 16th -century culturally taught concepts of race and accept people for who they are, rather than what they look like, we’d go a long way in eliminating strife.

Our elected representatives should stop ignoring science by categorizing people into meaningless statistics. They could start to heal our divided nation by taking the question about race and ethnicity off government forms. It is meaningless, ignores science, and encourages racist thinking.

Personally, I will check the race/ethnicity box marked “Other” on those ill-informed forms, and write in “none,” for that is the truth based on science. Maybe, just maybe, that will ignite the paradigm shift that will result in parity for all.

— Valarie Anderson is an author, avocational archaeologist and historian living in Sisters.

Her blog is the Footfalls of History

at valarieanderson.com

(6) comments

Richard/s

Hey Buck, did you meet your quota of putting the required amount of folks in the proper boxes? Pathetic.

BuckeyeDuck

Aw R/s, so good to hear from you. Skit and you are two peas in a pod though he seems to be more eloquent. Still believing in trump's big lie. Wouldn't be surprised it you were in DC on 1/6. I wouldn't be surprised if we read about your trial for sedition, of course we don't know you're real name. Have a good weekend.

Skittish

What makes us who we are? Well, the list is very long and people are extremely complex iterations of all the possibilities. To put so much emphasis on skin tone is gross oversimplification. So why do people do something so gross and simplistic? Because they benefit from it. To be able to weaponize the victim role is quite powerful. What we are hearing has nothing to do with Diversity, Inclusion, Equity (D.I.E.). It has to do with prejudice, discrimination, and power by people throughout the skin tone spectrum.

This whole movement is very clever. For example, why can't white people see the "systemic racism"? The answer is because they are white. This is an "answer" that doesn't really answer the question and is circular. It is quite an effective cognitive trap. Those that give this answer should then have to be able to explain how it is that light toned people can't see what is racist. Then their answer is that the "racism" is based on their experience. But again, this is a circular cognitive trap. They are essentially stating that racism exists because they see it themselves and no one else can. Well then, if racism is so objectively true, why is the "evidence" completely subjective? They are capitalizing on the compassion and empathy of many and using a bit of guilt.

To be anti-racist is actually, racist, because discrimination based on race is the antidote to perceive systemic racism that doesn't in fact exist. To not have "White Fragility" is to be fragile and white if you actually play out what is being said. To be an "ally" is to be an self flagellating, admitted racist.

So what are some of the ways that people differ and make us who we are? Well there is genetics, where we are born, when we are born, our families, friends, intelligence, education, experience, moral makeup, personality profile, etc. Skin tone itself doesn't have anything to do with who we are. I may have light skin tone, but I am not a "white person". You may have more melanin in your skin, but you aren't a BIPoC. You are who you are and we are all Americans, not African American, Asian American or Euro-American. As the author points out, race isn't real, it's just a poorly conceived proxy of what makes us who we are. Do you want to combat racism? Then stop putting it on a pedestal and worshipping it.

BuckeyeDuck

Another "blivet" of information from you on race Skittish. Lots of twists and turns in your commentary showing you still have no understanding of what's been going on for centuries. You'd do well at the right hand of those such as Goebbles, Stephen Miller, Carlton.

Skittish

So do go ahead and explain it to me, or can you? You know what race hustling is correct?

Also, do you denounce racism in all its forms, specifically black racism, prejudice and BLM?

BuckeyeDuck

Oh Skittish, you have the RepubliQan lexicon down don’t you. Race hustling, Black Racism, I’m sure you are a big fan of Fake News and Alternative Facts also. “All Lives Matter”, while true, is probably a biggie of yours as it is with folks who have forgotten who’s been on the wrong end of the stick for centuries now. My faves of yours lately, “self flagellating whites” and the best “Thanks Antifa”. (That was your reason for the purchase of a firearm and a case of ammo which leads me to believe you don’t reside in our pretty peaceful bubble called Bend. I’m sorry you live in so much fear.)

As to renouncing all racism? It isn’t right in any form. I was raised that all were created equal and have tried to live by that credo. Pretty pie in the sky, but it’s kept my eyes and mind open. Working in medicine for 40 years helped cement that. Underneath the skin, everyone has the same color blood. What I see in your commentary is your lack of understanding of our country’s history, particularly with regards to race. Denounce BLM? You appear to confuse it with racism. It’s a movement, and a predominately peaceful one, predicated on centuries of mistreatment. You’re taking offense to it and using such terms as Black Racism, etc shows your true colors (or maybe just a single one that would easily get you into enclaves up in Northern Idaho).

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