14-0 Individuality and Type: Race

Submitted by Tom Last on Fri, 07/08/2011 - 4:18pm.

The peoples of the world today appear to possess equal biological potential for assimilating any human culture. Racist political doctrines find no foundation in scientific knowledge concerning modern or past human populations.



Commentary Blog

Chapter 14
Individuality And Type

POF 14-0
[1] THE view that the human being is capable of becoming an independent, free individuality seems to be contradicted by the fact that he appears as a part within a natural whole (race, tribe, folk, family, gender), and acts from within a social whole (state, church, etc.). He carries the general characteristics of the group to which he belongs, and gives a content to his actions that is determined by the position he holds within the larger group.

[2] Given all this, is individuality possible at all? Can we consider a human being as a whole in himself, if he grows out of a natural whole and integrates himself into another?

Self-determination is opposed by various other competing determinants that compel group conformity such as race, tribe, folk, family, gender, state, and church. Lets look at race first. Science says that our race is not an important determining factor of our character, yet racial discrimination still continues on.

Origin of Human Race
Scientists have estimated that humans branched off from their common ancestor with chimpanzees about 5–7 million years ago. Several species and subspecies of Homo evolved and are now extinct. The dominant view among scientists concerning the origin of anatomically modern humans is the hypothesis known as "Out of Africa", which argues that Homo sapiens arose in Africa and migrated out of the continent around 50,000 to 100,000 years ago, replacing populations of Homo erectus in Asia and Neanderthals in Europe.

Human DNA is 98.4 percent identical to the DNA of chimps. It in that other 1.6 percent that makes us different from them. Research has found that the areas of the brain that grow larger and more complex in humans as compared to other primates are the areas linked to advanced mental functions such as language and reasoning.

The last thing achieved in evolution is the development of thinking. (3-11) It is rational thinking that fundamentally distinguishes human beings from all other organic beings (1-8). We are all members of one human race that can think. This opens the possibility for the further development of individuals that can "freely" think for themselves and express their own thoughts in free action.

Racial Determinism?

Our special human mental capacities need to be applied if we are to understand ourselves rather than relying on past beliefs and traditions. Contemporary scholars agree that the common understanding of "race" is an invention originating in folk traditions. It gained support from 19th and early 20th century scientific formulations basing racial categories on externally visible traits, primarily skin color, features of the face, and the shape and size of the head and body, and the underlying skeleton.

These racial categories often included non-biological attributes, such as social characteristics. It was presumed that visible traits can predict all other traits in an individual or a population. This outdated view has been used to support racist doctrines.

In their statement on Biological Aspects of Race the American Association of Physical Anthropologists present today’s scientific view.

  • We all belong to a single species: Homo Sapien
  • There are no pure races.
  • Races are not made up of typical representatives.
  • There is no inferior or superior race.
  • No biological justification exists for restricting intermarriage.
  • Racist political doctrines find no foundation in scientific knowledge.

The peoples of the world today appear to possess equal biological potential for assimilating any human culture. Racist political doctrines find no foundation in scientific knowledge concerning modern or past human populations.

What follows are some concerns expressed about racism in the USA, Iran, and Israel.

Racial Discrimination in the USA
The United States is known as the great melting pot, because of its assimilation of immigrants. Because of this the expectations are high. The American Civil Liberties Union joined a coalition of civil and human rights groups in sending a letter today to the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, asking the committee to urge the United States government to comply with its obligations under international human rights laws and treaties regarding racial discrimination.

According to the letter, "People of African descent in the United States continue to face intentional, structural, and de facto forms of discrimination which manifest in unequal access to quality education, housing, health services, employment, electoral disfranchisement and discrimination in the criminal justice system, among many other issues."

Interracial Marriage In USA
Interracial marriage has become increasingly accepted in the United States since the Civil Rights movement and up to the present day. The most notable American of mixed race is the current President of the United States, Barack Obama, who is the product of a "mixed" marriage between a black father and white mother.

Racial Discrimination in the  Islamic Republic of Iran
A United Nations panel says Arabs, Kurds and other minorities in Iran face discrimination because of their ethnicity. The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination says minorities in the Islamic republic don’t enjoy the same rights to free expression, health and housing as other ethnic groups.

Interracial Marriage In Iran
An Iranian man is free to marry who ever he wants. An Iranian woman must marry a Muslim man. The man only needs to sign a document to declare himself a Muslim in order to marry a Muslim woman.

Racial Discrimination in Israel

In 1975 the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 3379, which said that "Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination".

It wasn't until 1991 the resolution was repealed with UN General Assembly Resolution 46/86, after Israel declared that it would only participate in the Madrid Conference of 1991 if the resolution were revoked.

At the 2001 UN conference on racism, which took place in Durban, South Africa, Zionism was once again accused of being a Racist movement which caused the United States and Israel to walk away from the conference as a response. The final text of the conference did not connect Zionism with racism.

A human rights forum arranged in connection with the conference, on the other hand, did equate Zionism with racism and censured Israel for what it called "racist crimes, including acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing".

Interracial Marriage In Israel
In Israel, all marriages must be approved by religious celebrants, while civil marriages are legally recognized if performed abroad. Rules governing marriage are based on strict religious guidelines.

The Rabbinate prohibits marriage in Israel of halakhic Jews (i.e. people born to a Jewish mother or Jewish by conversion), whether they are Orthodox Jews or not, to partners who are non-Jewish or who are of Jewish descent that runs through the paternal line (i.e. not Jewish according to halakha). As a result, in the state of Israel, people of differing religious traditions cannot legally marry someone in another religion and multi-faith couples must leave the country to get married.

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