There is only one race, the human race

There are many interesting discussions at Orkut again. These discussions help me a lot to work out my thougths and arguments about racism, so I will post part of these discussions here. Below is a post from an Australian Orkuter about racism, and my reaction to it. To analyse the phenomenon of racism is a fundamental issue for my dissertation. Levinas often makes a distinction between to consider a human being as free and equal to all other humans, and to consider some humans as superior to others. The difference between freedom for individuals and to be imprisoned in category that someone else has put you in. It's the freedom of being a guest in God's land as opposed to the imprisonment of calling a person inferior based on a race he belongs to, something he cannot change. This way of thinking is what Levinas criticizes Heidegger for. For reducing and individual to his race. If you do that it can finally lead to support for the killing of 6 million Jews. That's something I should explain in more detail in my dissertation. Here is first the Orkut discussion.

Orkuter says:
I'd like to say something about racism. But first I'd like to define "race". I have a point of view, although others may disagree. That's part of the beauty of this world. Lightening seems like some sort of disagreement.
I believe we're an animal like any other. If there is any "racism" at all, it's us against other animals.

Racism:The prejudice that members of one race are intrinsically superior to members of other races. Discriminatory or abusive behaviour towards members of another race. So: the human race vs the horse race vs the rat race etc etc etc etc
My belief is that there is no "racism" problem, as we're one race like any other race of animals. We're the human race.

So for me the question would be, if not racism, what is it, breedism? But what is this, breedism? If we could work that out, maybe we'd get a lot closer to where people want to be i.e. "living the truth", whatever "the truth" may be.

Esther says:
We are all the human race indeed. It would be great if we would considered all of us as being equal as humans, because of that.But the reality is often different. Racism always has to do with an idea of superiority against inferiority. Discrimination which isn't based on the colour of ones skin can already be bad. Some "categories" of people are considered by another "category" to be inferior, because of e.g. their religion, culture or class. Sometimes people talk about people in a particular category as if it's a different race, as if all the people in that category are the same and as if it is part of their common genes, so unchangeable by definition. I don't know which word should be given when it isn't discrimination based on race, so that you can't really call it racism. For instance when a Dutch person discriminates / hates Germans, it's not a different race that he or she hates. In principle it doesn't matter much if the hate / generalisations / prejudices / discrimination is directed against a different race or not, it is always wrong.Only when the colour of ones skin is involved, the racism goes deeper and will hurt more. The colour of ones skin is very visible, it can't be hidden (only with an extreme burqa). When people are discriminated because of being gay, for instance, they can decide not to talk about it, to keep it hidden. When you are black you can't keep it hidden. For phenomena like xenofobia, a fear of strangeness, the fear will be bigger for someone who looks completely different. And some correlations are clearly visible: you look at Africa and you see the combination of black skin and poverty. You look at Europe and you see the combination of white skin and wealth. You would almost think that the colour of the skin causes the wealth. If you could choose before you were born which skin colour you want to have (and in which continent you like to be born), it is more clever to choose for white and Europe.
The risk of racism is bigger with different colours of skin because it's so visible. When people start to associate being black with being poor, a racist might start to think that black people are poor because they are black, that they would be less clever as a race and therefore earn less money. This is not the case, there are many reasons why Africa is a poor continent and Europe rich (with one of the reasons the colonialism and slavery that Europe did to Africa), but it's for sure not that one race would be less clever than another one.We should try to forget that we have different skin colours, we should remind ourselves all the time that we are completely equal as human beings. We shouldn't be prejudiced towards certain skin colours, cultures or religions, we should treat every person we meet as an individual, not as someone who represents a "category" that we don't like. It's not easy, this not-necessarily-related-to race form of racism for which another word should be invented, is a widespread phenomenon and often people think and act like that unconsciously.
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