In An Introduction to Anthropology, author Michael Park explains the reasons race is not a scientific classification for the variations in humans (192-198). Race is instead the unscientific creation of categories, often involving skin color. The true categorizing of sub species can only be scientifically claimed when each individual subspecies has a distinct geographical difference (Park 197). Seeing as America is the melting pot of the world and the society we live in is ever globalizing, race is an unnecessary categorization of people. Race is a label used to feed stereotypes.
Here in the States we do often descend into stereotypical assumptions often centered on skin color. At the high school I attended I could be considered the minority. I did not notice it. It seemed to me there was no majority. We had all kinds of students, ranging from African American, Hawaiian, Chinese, Polish, Puerto Rican, Dominican, South African, Middle Eastern and more. It was an exemplary melting pot. Some of my extended family, who live in small towns and can easily be considered back woods hillbilly on occasion, thought it abominable that I would attend a public school that was so diverse. Some of the more ignorant even asked my parents if I hung out with black kids and if my parents were scared for me. I could not, even as a young child, believe their ignorance.
There were gangs that some of the kids were connected with but no distinct “race” was more or less involved. Often it was more about where the kid called home than what color the skin was that determined his or her criminal record. The same was true regarding the so called “rich kids” who could not be classified as a specific race/ That is unless ‘rich’ is a race. Our human need to label people is an attempt to explain the differences we question rather than understand each difference between us. As I mentioned above, involvement in gangs or coming from wealthy parents is no more enough of a difference to separate humans into subspecies than the color of one’s skin.
Race is a label created to feed stereotypes. I attended a Girls and Boys Club when I was a little girl. It happened to be predominantly African American but I did not notice. I was not taught to notice. One day I was swinging on the swings alongside a friend when a woman walked by with her children complaining. I still do not know what she was mad about but I remember the angry look she gave me as she walked by. I can also still hear her disgusted tone as she yelled about “white b*tches” having all the other playgrounds and why did they have to take up space at this one. That day I remember looking around to see who the “white b*tch” was. That day I realized I was the only “white” girl there. I was only 7 or 8 at the time but that’s when I realized racism was not something that only existed in the 60s. I realized it was still alive and venomous as ever, not to mention it happens daily to many people of many colors, cultures and creeds.
I do not believe it to be stupid people who are racist. Some of the smartest people can be uninformed and victim to stereotypical beliefs. It is ignorance and the belief that humans can be segregated into subspecies in the first place that breeds racism.