Emmanuel Mashandudze

Business Intelligence, Tools and Process Specialist, Witwatersrand University

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The idea of classifying people according to race, Is it really necessary? Will racial transparency ever exist?

We have been through the battles of feminism, and enough has been said to make them the figures they are in society today. Equality is a challenge but this battle has shown some illumination into the probabilities. Can we have such transformations to the races. The world seems to never accept the differences. Universities, churches, government bodies most importantly the job market and so on, always want to find out how many black, white, coloured, asian etc people there are. But why? What does it change, Knowing the race benefits us with what? Is it not just going to create more differences than a balance? What do you all think?

  • Dec 13 2011: In and out grouping seems to be a natural psycological method for our species, and while we have plenty of abstract grouping methods, such as religion, polotics, regionalism, etc... seemingly superficial surface differences provide a simple and obvious, some might contend instinctive, motive for otherizing, and thus alienating different races and genders.

    A frightening series of experiments in physiological psycology addressed this early in the last decade. It seems that if you show uninducted individuals a series of photos while measuring thier neural activity, the more visibly different the individual depicted, the more activity in the amygdala, which is deeply connected to fear and stress. Ytou might call it fight/flight central.

    This inspired some serious, and almost fearful questioning. had a biological basis for racism been found? And if this gruesome charachteristic was rooted in our biology, how could we fight it with our society?

    Furthe examinations inspired by these results revealed something interesting. if you knew something about the individual in the photo witth which to contextualize them into a known factor, i.e. : this is Jeff the janitor, Saieed thesecurity guard, Lee the lawyer, etc.. the amygdalic, ( is that a word? ) response was greatly reduced. In fact, the more known the object group the less intinctive fear wes generatred. So rather than a race reflex, the study seems to have indicatd a "stranger stress", the stranger the person in the picture, the more stress was generated in the viewer.

    the common sense solution to racism, genderism, etc.. would then seem to be exposure. The more we know of a group, the less threatened we instinctively feel towards them. So raise your kids in a multicultural environment, expose them to alternate foods, religions, gender traditions and lifestyles in an educational context, and hope they build the right kind of brain.

    best regards.
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    Dec 4 2011: Yes, it's necessary. However, we could use just one classification: The 'human' race.
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      Dec 4 2011: I think such a classification will return the present classifications which I really do not see their purpose.
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    Dec 14 2011: Dear Emmanuel
    If genetists have it right I believe we all came out of Africa some 70 to 60 thousand years ago. Every person who now lives on the face of the earth can trace his roots back to the plains of Southern Africa. So we all come from one race if this is true. we are all black by virtue of our geneology. I would prefer to use the term Human because all the racial terms Black, White, Asian and so forth are so derisive and divisive .We are all part of the human family.The use of these terms in todays society has no place and never has. It determines nothing of a person ,It is only useful to those in society who would use it as a tool to divide and conquer, through ignorance and fear. We have plenty of other things of ignorance to help divide us as humans. Religion ,Culture ,Greed and so on. Perhaps one day we will all see the dream of Martin Luther King when he envisioned a time when all Gods children ,Black ,White , Jew and Gentile ,Catholic and Protestant (The Entire Human Race) would be free atlast ,free atlast. Thank God almighty Free atlast.
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    Dec 4 2011: It's ok to know how many purple guys there are, how many green, how many 30, how many married... etc. for the sake of knowing statistical information.
    It's not ok to believe that a human being is less amazing than another one based on x/y/z irrelevant factors.
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      Dec 5 2011: For statistical purposes, I totally agree. It makes sense to know that you have so much people like this etc, but when you are applying for a job what is the relevancy because my skills are not determined but skin colour.
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        Dec 5 2011: An employer should be looking for skillful people, no matter their color. If an employer refuses to hire a skillful person because of his/her skin color, then it's the employer's loss.
  • Dec 4 2011: When you still have those who are prejudice and nothing can change their minds, due in part to the way they were brought up, then you will still have classifying of folks. Is it right? No! But at this point in time it is what it is.