On the way to work earlier this week, I was listening to a local radio station. KIRO (FM) morning show is hosted by Dave Ross. Ross is a pretty famous local radio host, he’s been around here for about as long as I can remember. He leans liberal; he ran for Congress several years ago as a Democrat.
I looked all over the KIRO website to see if I could find a recording of that particular morning show and was unable to find it. I can’t provide a link. I wish I could. On the show, that morning, Dave Ross and I believe it was Rachel Belle, were discussing a rather unusual (I assume unusual anyway) situation.
Since I can’t find a recording, I’m going by memory. I’ll try to be as accurate as my memory will allow.
The topic of the segment was about two couples having children. The children, in both cases, were conceived through in vitro fertilization. I believe in one case, one of the parents was a biological parent, in the other, neither of the parents was a biological parent of the child. In both cases, both parents were white. In both cases, one or more of the biological parents were not white. This was the point of the segment: What race is the child?
My understanding of race (such as it is) I believe is fairly common and straightforward: A set of genetic characteristics that are handed down from parent to child which for the most part determine appearance (I’m aware that in a few cases there are some minor biological differences, but they are trivial overall).
In the radio show segment, the answer to the question “What race is the child?” was…..”It depends.” Depends on what? How the white parents choose to raise the child. How the child chooses to identify. And finally, wait for it, “How the child looks.” I do believe they said the quiet part out loud.
Are they saying that if your parents choose to raise you as a certain race, that is your race? You can be “raised as” a race?
Are they saying you can “identify as” a race and therefore become that race? My ancestors were Norse and Celt – I’m about as white as anyone can be. Are they saying that if I “identify” as Asian, then I’m Asian? Can I apply to a college or a job as “black” because I “identify” as black?
And finally “How the child looks”; well at least we are getting a little closer to science and what race is. Can we think of anything more superficial and less meaningful? I’m not aware of any science supporting a person’s appearance as a predictor of intelligence or behavior. There are plenty of other predictors; education, poverty, etc. but not appearance. Is there some study out there that finds a difference in potential between people with brown hair and brown eyes, and people with blond hair and blue eyes? Are tall people intrinsically smarter than short people (before you answer, define “tall” and “short” in quantifiable terms)?
We are reliably informed by our friends in the progressive-postmodernist-critical-theory camp that gender is simply a social construct. Never mind that if they intend to perpetuate the species they might run face-first into the science of gender, also known as biology. Their argument is that gender is merely a socially imposed framework of thought and prejudice and therefore isn’t “real.”
It is much easier to make the case that race is a social construct, and not “real.” If one person has blond hair and blue eyes, and another has brown hair and brown eyes, are they two different races? There are very dark-skinned people in north Africa and India that are not considered “black” – why? The skin color of Norwegians and Japanese is not very different, why are they different races? Is it not “just” skin color? Have I oversimplified? Then what? It is skin color, the shape of the face, the shape of the eyes, and stature? Really? Well, that doesn’t leave much out – that means every individual is a different race – which means there is no such thing as race (the notion becomes completely irrelevant).
And if race is nothing but a social construct, what are we to make of BLM and the rest that constantly scream “racist”? If race is nothing more than a socially imposed framework of thought and prejudice, who is it exactly that is imposing that framework here and now in the 21st century?