Convictions on Race
The topic of race is something of a taboo for most people given the amount of discrimination, hate, and societal suffering the concept of race has caused for most people. You can say it is a universal oppressor of people and groups. But this very concept of race is also something that is not well understood due to the massive amount of social stigmatism it has even to the point that some assert that race itself does not exist. Others form theories or concepts on racial discrimination and its hidden occurrence within our current society. Some go as far as to associate mundane objects or non-racial concepts as hinting at racial discrimination. Therefore, I will be attempting to analyze the concept of race to find the truth about race and why people think it is not real.
Foundations of Life
Every single entity that exists within this Universe has two compositional aspects. These aspects are the constitution of the said entity and the quantitative representation of said constitution. Rocks, water, forms of energy, and especially living things have both the said constitutive and quantitative composition which defines their very existence. Within these two composing aspects of life, there is one aspect, which is the constitutive part of an animal, that can't be changed while the other quantitative aspect of said animal can be changed.
The unchanged constitution of an animal of course is due to its DNA which is existing DNA that was copied and passed down from a progenitor living thing or organism which is the parent of said animal. The DNA itself holds all the information needed to compose an organism but not all organisms are genetically identical on a quantitative, and not a constitutive, level. These aforementioned quantitative differences are known as variations.
Even though these truths are blatantly obvious; these very truths are espoused within the so-called Theory of Evolution which states that animals can adapt to certain environmental and ecological conditions through a process called natural selection which selects certain variations of animals that are adaptable to said environments and conditions resulting in that particular variation of animal to be able to pass these variations or “new” traits on to their offspring, when their DNA is copied through reproduction, thereby creating a “new” species of animal. The same process also applies to plants through the same process along with another similar process called artificial selection which is a process where certain variations of plants are selected by humans who farm them to extract the most edible parts of said plants for human consumption.
This same process is also applicable to humans as well and considering that humans are spread out in nearly every corner of the globe a large amount of variation is expected among the human world population. But this is where the definition of race among humans becomes complicated and disputed. I mentioned earlier how there is an assertion that the human race doesn't truly exist and so I will elaborate further on what this actually means.
Is Race a Social Construct?
As humans have developed many variations among themselves as they spread throughout the world; a large part of the human world population has lived next to each other in multiple connected countries for centuries except in The Americas until a few hundred years ago. This interconnected state of living meant that human populations within neighboring nations would often mingle with each other resulting in a mix of variations among most of the human world population. These human variations will form in certain biomes or environments around the world and when humans migrated and conquered each other throughout human history; human variations, therefore, exist in more of a wide range of spectrums than as clear division. In fact, all variations exist in a spectrum from the most vestigial traits to the most functional trait that is due to yet again quantitative differences.
It was for this reason that the idea of a race of humans was an unheard concept among the various human populations of the world until Europeans arrived and categorized all these spectrums of various human groups into races. This was done for Europeans to justify their hierarchical position over said people when Europeans began colonizing and controlling large parts of the world. The fact that human variations exist in a spectrum is the main assertion that is given to show that human races don't really exist which makes sense given the historic and current state of humanity.
However, the fact that human variations exist in a spectrum does not necessarily mean that there aren't any variations that are highly distinctive, in a quantitative manner, within the said spectrum. It is also worth noting that population density around the world isn't the same as some areas can hold as many as billions of people, like India or China, while others can hold up to only a few hundred thousand humans, like Scandinavia or the Baltic States, so human intermingling between people is not as frequently in certain areas while it is widespread in other areas. So human variations within a spectrum only exist in an area of frequent intermingling between people while variations of a more distinctive nature exist in less populated areas with little human contact. So is race entirely a social construct?
The distinctive variations that are found within the spectrum of human variation can be classed into certain quantitative categories. The best example of this would be the cephalic index which is the ratio of the axial length of the head, from front to back, and the width of the head from side to side. If the axial length of the head is longer than the width of the head then someone can be classified as dolichocephalic or long-headed. But if the width of a head is longer than the axial length of the head then that person can be classed as brachiocephalic or short-headed and if the axial length and width of the head are equal then they will be classed as mesocephalic or medium-headed. The cephalic index was created by a 19th-Century Swedish professor named Anders Retzius as shown below.
This example and many like it show that a variation is considered highly distinctive when there is a great difference in a quantitative representation such as the aforementioned long and short heads. Another example of distinctive variations would be the difference between tall or short people or the difference between people with a protruding or a vertically flat upper jaw. So any quantitative differences that are great in number will be grounds for distinction among humans which is how the human races, which were created by European anthropologists and anatomists, came about.
But is this basis of human difference scientifically valid? We need to consider that the process of natural selection which creates “new” species of animals is a process that chooses quantitative differences of a distinct character because for an animal to adapt and survive in a certain biome or environment; there needs to be a quantitative distinction because the norm of variation among a group of animals is not able to adapt to an environment and any variations similar to the aforementioned variations will also not be able to adapt as well.
So a distinctive variation, that is not quantitatively close to the previous variation, which can enhance an existing trait or enable a vestigial function in an animal can offer a “new” trait that is capable of adapting to a new environment and given that environments and biomes are themselves are quite distinct, such as deserts, forests, and mountains, having distinctive variations to adapt to these environments makes sense.
So when humans with distinctive varieties are classified as races; it mirrors the distinction that is made between species of animals for adaptation. Therefore, human races themselves are obviously the result of a group of humans who are successfully adapted to certain environments around the world. So ultimately human races, despite the spectral nature of human variation, do exist in certain parts of the world since time immemorial.
When human races were being classified by European anthropologists and anatomists, the original intention of such classification was for scientific purposes only. But there was an element to this classification that unintentionally brought the field of human racial classification under ridicule and opposition. This element uses human racial differences to justify racial supremacy.
While most human variations are just quantitative differences that arose as a result of adaptation; there were some quantitative differences, such as cranium size, brain size, and depth of convolutions within a brain which were concluded to show that certain human races were mentally undeveloped or inferior, almost to the level of an animal, which was used to prove that European imperialism over certain people, with said variations, was a necessary and blissful gift that would uplift them to their level of civilization so long as they remained under imperial control. The struggles that the Europeans apparently had with said people in giving them their idea of civilization is what the Europeans would call “The White Man’s Burden”.
This sense of mental inferiority for certain people by Europeans is also what was used to keep said people within a segregated state away from Europeans as well as not providing them with any political or social rights that would bring said people to the level of Europeans within their societies. This claim of inferiority among certain human races is quite hard to explain. We know that highly distinctive human variations result in human races and some of these distinctive varieties can occur anywhere within the human body, including the brain.
In fact, the explanation given by racial supremacists for the differences between the brain size of certain human races is that humans were entered into environments that were not abundant in food and freshwater and adapted to these environments by growing larger brains that would help them come up with ways to survive without any physical advantage like an animal while those humans who lived in areas with access to plenty to food and water didn't need such large brains as a result.
This explanation, while it makes sense, is something that is a misused fact about human variations and races. While some humans may not have large brains or high cranial capacity because of natural variations and environmental adaptation; this does not necessarily mean that they are doomed to their seemingly inferior status because human variations can always change throughout generations within the right environment that would select larger brain variations as a result.
But it is worth noting that because variation exists in s spectrum through widespread human intermingling; human brain size varies by quite a lot and this high amount of variation means that a wide range of mental functions can exist among most humans so one can properly divide human brain sizes into a large superior brain or a small inferior brain. So while there is a degree of so-called racial supremacy in a mental sense due to brain and cranial variations; such differences that mark this supremacy are not permanent or even solidly existent which makes this idea of racial supremacy an unscientific claim.
An Exception to the Rule
Now that we know that human variations encompass all of humanity and sometimes differentiate them into distinctive groups that are classed as races; it is evident then that all variations of humans are constitutionally or genetically the same and so when it comes to these quantitative differences among humans; we can conclude with certainty that all humans with various traits all came from a common progenitor or ancestor.
But then you have humans with unusual traits that exist somewhere in the north who have a kind of coloration that is different from the coloration of most people. This difference incorporation isn't found within the skin, as skin color difference is a variation, but within the eyes and hair. The existence of this different hair and skin color does not make much sense because humans have brown hair and eyes as well as skin that is adaptable to any kind of environment from scorching deserts to cold forests. In fact, there are humans with light brown hair and very light skin that live in predominantly cold areas such as Iceland and Norway who have adapted to their cold environment through these lighter variations of hair, eyes, and skin. So then why do people with blue eyes and light yellow hair exist?
Many have attributed these traits as just being the result of living in cold dark parts of the world but if this were true then these traits wouldn't exist because why does someone need light yellow hair to survive when you can survive with light brown hair and why does someone need blue eyes to survive the cold when you can survive it with light brown eyes that can adjust to degrees of sunlight?
The answer to these very questions is that the traits of blue eyes and light-yellow hair are not variations of usual human coloration. Normal human coloration is black or brown because within the hair, eyes, and skin thee are specialized cells called melanocytes that create organelles called melanosomes which deposit themselves into neighboring cells, through the dendrites of melanocytes, where the amount and concentration of melanosomes within the cells determine the degree of brown coloration for a person. When these melanocytes are absent from skin and hair cells; it turns the skin and hair into a white translucent color while the eyes are bright red due to the presence of blood vessels within the eye. Here is a diagram of dark pigmentation for reference.
But when it comes to the mechanism of coloration for blue eyes; the following excerpt by the Journal of Physical Chemistry. ”The most characteristic and most readily observed properties of the so-called 'Tyndall blues^^ (of third media) are 1. Minute particles, <0.6m, of different refractive indexes from the surrounding medium. 2. Scattered light is blue; transmitted light is yellowish. 3. Scattered light is more or less polarized; vibration in-plane normal to the direction of the incident beam. Other properties, such as changes in swelling, permeation, pressure, etc. are applicable only when the particles are pores or cavities. The aim of this investigation was to demonstrate either that a blue pigment was present, or that the blue was of the typical Tyndall type, analogous to the blue of the sky, smoke, skimmed milk, blue feathers, etc. Human material was not available but the same methods may be applied to it as were employed in this study.
Mr. Irvine H. Page kindly furnished us with specimens and aided in the dissection. Several eyes of two weeks old kittens were studied. These were of a clear blue, rather better than the blue eyes of most people. (It should be mentioned that very few blue eyes are really better than a blue-gray. The blues do not compare in brilliance or purity with those of the other blue media mentioned above). The material was examined within four hours of death, was not treated with any preservative, and physiological saline solution was used as a mounting medium.
Observations with transmitted light were carried out with daylight, while the scattered light was observed with a dark-field illuminator, and also by sending a horizontal beam of light through the preparation in the field of the microscope, a concentrated-filament lamp and bulls-eye condenser being employed. Polarization was observed by placing a cap Nicol prism over the ocular of the microscope and revolving this to the position of the minimum intensity of the light scattered by the preparation. A selenite plate ("1st. order red'’) gives a red to green color change when placed below the Nicol in the above system.
The horizontal beam across the field of the microscope was employed for this observation. Care was taken to distinguish between effects due to the irregularities of the external surface and those due to the polarizing action within the tissue itself. The iris was separated into the stroma layer, and the black pigment layer (uvea). The stroma, by transmitted light, was turbid yellow—of the same hue as that of other turbid media; the color was not localized <l in pigment granules. Against a dark ground, the stroma scatters whitish-blue light and with a 3 mm objective, a haze of tiny points of blue light was observed. The scattered light was partially polarized, and the vibrations were in the plane normal to the direction of the illuminating beam. No evidence of a blue pigment was noted; the yellow appearance by
transmitted light would preclude the possibility of such a pigment being present...
The pigment of the uvea is not purple but dark brownish-black (melanin) and serves as a background for the turbid stroma. In like manner, the choroid serves as a dark background for the sclera though the latter is frequently so thick and so opaque that the dark background is really not necessary and the sclera appears almost white.
The retina presents a bluish-gray appearance, and shows the properties of a Tyndall blue medium, though to a less degree than the stroma or sclera. This is no doubt due to the scattering of light by the various minute structures of the retinal nerve endings. The ‘‘visual purple” is another thing. It is a true pigment, has been isolated and studied chemically, and it fades rapidly in the light...It would also be interesting if someone with an abundance of exf>erimental material would compare different shades of blue eyes and blu<e eyes of persons of different ages, to establish a more definite relationship between the size and number of the particles of the turbid layers and the color of the eye, A study of the increase in whiteness and opacity of the sclera with age might also be interesting.
This structural basis of the blue of eyes fits the observed fact that the blues g<uu‘rally IxTome lighter and grayer with age, for a slight increase in the size of the tiny particles would accomplish this. The development of a yellow to brown pigment in the turbid stroma would of course give shades ranging from green to hazel or brown.
The conclusion of this paper confirms those of Bancroft s article- and is as follow’^s:
1. In blue eyes there is no pigment in front of the uvea, which is brownish-black (melanin).
2. The blue color is the color of turbid media (Tyndall blue) and is localized in the stroma.
3. The uvea serves as a dark background and permits the maximum appearance of blue from the turbid stroma.
4. Pigmentation in the stroma may combine with blue to give green, hazel, or brown eyes.
5. Increase in the size of the particles of the turbid layer would account for the lessened clearness of the blue with age.
6. The sclera consists of a thick layer of dense whitish Tjmdall blue, backed by the black choroid”. (Mason, C. W. (1924). Blue Eyes. American Journal of Physical Chemistry, 28, 500-501. https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.229329/page/n5/mode/2up)
So blue eyes are colored by the presence of a turbid media which is a heterogeneous medium that contains particles in fine suspension within the medium that each collectively reflects back blue light as light is transmitted through the eye as a transmitted yellow color which gets absorbed by the uvea or the pigmented back layer of the iris which actually makes the brightness of the reflected blue light more apparent. If there is an excess of collagen in the iris the color from the light reflection will produce a blue-gray or gray eye color as well.
So blue & gray eyes are really light-reflective eyes and not pigmented eyes although pigment can mix with these kinds of eyes to create an eye color like green, hazel, and semi-bright brown color, which is based on the reflection of blue light and strong brown pigment. This mechanism of eye color is therefore certainly not due to the production and deposit of melanosomes by melanocytes within the iris, which produces dark brown eyes, making blue eyes a non-variable trait of eye coloration. But what about yellow hair? Brown and yellow hair are pigments that are produced and distributed by melanocytes into neighboring cells.
However, brown hair is produced from an amino acid called tyrosine while yellow, which also comes from tyrosine, is produced when it is combined with a different amino acid called cysteine. Here is a diagram of melanin synthesis of black/brown and yellow pigment.
The amino acid tyrosine is composed of the elements Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen, and Hydrogen as indicated by the diagram. However, the amino acid cysteine is composed of all these previous elements plus one more element called Sulfur as also indicated by the diagram. Sulfur is an element that is bright yellow in its solid pure form which is the reason why cysteine, when combined with the gaseous and colorless elements of Nitrogen, Oxygen, Carbon, and Hydrogen forms bright yellow hair. Brown/black hair meanwhile goes through a process of melanin synthesis without cysteine which makes black/brown pigment. So black and yellow hair have fundamentally different chemical compositions when they are produced which makes the difference between black and yellow a non-variable one as well.
So ultimately, these non-black forms of coloration are a genetic exception to the highly various human world population and because these traits are non-variable; mixing these non-black color traits with black color traits will result in both forms of coloration being present within the DNA of someone and expressed in various ways such as someone having brown hair and blue eyes or someone having light yellowish-black hair and green eyes and when these traits mix together the black coloration traits are always dominant because the black color, which is a heavily dark pigment and a light absorber, always overtakes the non-black coloration traits in general. Ultimately, non-black forms of coloration among humans in a non-variable trait that is the exception from the same kind of black pigmentation and genetic constitution that most humans have all over the world.
Race in General
So we now know that humans more or less exist within a quantitive setting while being genetically the same in constitution except for those with non-black forms of coloration as well as those who are mixed with both forms of coloration. But despite all of these differences among humans; non of these variational differences that make up humanity make one kind of human better than the other and vice versa. All humans have the same capacity for intelligence and the same capacity for physical strength despite the existence of these adaptation variations.
So there are really only three kinds of human races that exist which are the Black (Pigmented) Race, The Colorful (Light Reflection & Sulfur-Based Non-Black Pigmentation) Race, and a Mixed Race (A combination of Black and Non-Black Coloration from the other two races. The Black Pigmented Race is the most genetically dominant and the most common of the three races which numerous variations of people who form distinctive appearances such as the Caucasoid, Mongoloid, and Negroid varieties.
The second most common race is the Mixed Race which only inhabits most of Europe, The Americas, Oceania, and parts of Asia and Africa and is mainly of the Caucasoid variety with some people being of the Mongoloid & Negrtoid variety as well. This race is genetically mixed with both kinds of coloration which may not always be genetically expressed, especially when it comes to the genetic expression of the non-black forms of coloration.
Lastly, the least common race of the three is the colorful race which is only of the Caucasoid and other similar variety of humans that only inhabits the northwestern parts of Europe and is the most genetically weak in its expression of coloration when compared with the more dominant Black-coloration races. The reason behind this is the potency and strength of Black coloration which, when mixed with non-black coloration, tends to blacken the more lightly colored yellow hair and reduces the brightness and color of blue eyes when there is a lot of black pigment in the eye which creates an overall appearance of someone having dark eyes with minimal or no brightness of light from the iris.
However, human differences in variation and constitution are no grounds for valuing one human over another because human variations themselves can always change and differences in human coloration are just differences in coloration which provide their own advantages to whoever has them. So one kind of person who is really smart or strong can become less intelligent and physically weak over time by living in certain environments while less intelligent and weak people can become strong through certain environments as well.
Mason, C. W. (1924). Blue Eyes. American Journal of Physical Chemistry, 28, 500-501. https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.229329/page/n5/mode/2up)