• Stefanosis

The Reality and Futility of Race

Welcome to the 11th key, which is undeniably inspired by current events. In a perfect world, a discussion or blog on this topic wouldn't be necessary, but we humans attach ourselves so strongly to our identities and cultural nuances that it cannot be ignored. Aside from this, until humanity learns to observe universal Truth, we will continue to see and feel the ugly injustices that create the shadow aspects of this topic. So why is race so ingrained within us ? Literally, genetic influence. While this term may raise some eyebrows, bear with me as I explain.

Every human being - regardless of race - is influenced by the traits and aspects of ancestral genetics. It's found on a chemical level, a social level, and even a subconscious level. Just as planets also influence human activity, our genes are no different. The important thing to remember here is that an influence is just that - the capacity to have an effect, but still not the determination. In other words, your race, any race, will have an inclination. Among other things, esoteric Judaism teaches that every human being has a good and evil inclination. Traditional Judaism teaches that every human also evolved from the three sons of Noah - namely Shem, Ham and Japheth - after a global catastrophe took place. Each son migrated and procreated in his region of the world, resulting in various nations of descendents. Naturally, this is a theory that brings much controversy with it, and there's no substantial evidence to support it, although it does seem to highlight genetic influence among humans.

Scientifically, the only factor determining our various skin tones seems to be the amount of melanin within our skin as determined by our parents, through genetics. A prime example of this would be the very dark skin tones of people from Asia - particularly parts of India - and the aboriginal people of Australia. The dark skin trait is not exclusive to Africans. Even within the countries of Africa and India, there's a wide variation of skin tones resulting from regions and ancestry. People in the warmer climates of southern India tend to be darker, and Africans from Sudan are darker than Africans from Libya or Ethiopia. At this point, it almost seems that we can make the declaration that race is futile. Since we are one human race, separated only by melanin and slight, genetic differences, we should all be locked arm in arm singing "We shall overcome" together... this is where the reality of race sets in.

The first reality of race is that we humans attach it to cultural norms and social biases as a means of survival and identity. Everybody does this, whether our background is Asian, Caucasian, Latino, Semitic or African ancestry. It's a way to relate better to each other, establish communities and a sense of belonging. In ancient times, it protected the integrity and lineage of certain tribes and dynasties. The second reality of race is that it's encoded into our genetics, and the ancestral trauma - or lack of it - is also within this code. Again, just like the planets, our surroundings, culture and environment, we are influenced by all of it. Race influences us as individuals, and manifests in our communities. Acknowledging the realities of race is the first step in understanding, dialogue, and hopefully empathy among us. Basically, it comes down to "although I am not you, I can understand you." Reality should not paint a bleak picture.

Another beautiful factor of race is that it creates syncretism - the amalgamation or attempted amalgamation of different religions, cultures, or schools of thought. We see this syncretism worldwide in many civilizations, such as the mughal influence which combined Persian and east Indian cultures, or the mestizaje, which combined European and indigenous cultures in the Americas. As a result, new forms of art and music flourish in these new societies. I believe some of the best music has resulted from syncretism. As it is said, "the world is getting smaller" - not physically speaking, but through the interaction and bonding of humans at a global level. What we call 'mixed marriages' were not acknowledged or even imagined a couple centuries ago. Collectively, humans are demonstrating just how futile race actually is when we see the bigger picture. The notion of a 'pure race' is now laughable.

In summary, race matters. We are born into it, we perpetuate it and too often, we exaggerate it. On the other hand, what would our race matter if we suddenly found ourselves in a completely foreign environment ? For example, if you were somehow magically transported to the middle of Baghdad Iraq by a cosmic mishap, would any of your racial biases and cultural norms even matter ? Would you still worry about how your friends see you on social media ? What clothes to wear or music to listen to ? Probably not. You would be more concerned with finding a way to communicate, obtain food and water or finding the nearest embassy ! You would strive to connect with other humans there as soon as possible. You would want to learn Arabic overnight. While race does influence us at some level, ultimately we decide to what degree and for what purpose. Beyond the skin and genetic characteristics, we are all carbon-based humans from common ancestors.


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