It wasn’t God who created race. People did.

It wasn’t God who created race. People did. In 2000, scientists finally proved that race is a social construct, never a scientific or biological one. J. Craig Venter, the American biotechnologist who led the research team at Celera Genomics Corporation, reported, “We all evolved in the last 100,000 years from the same small number of tribes that migrated out of Africa and colonized the world.” As human beings, we share 99.9 percent of our DNA. “The differences that we see in skin color do not translate into widespread biological differences that are unique to groups,” explained Aravinda Chakravarti, a geneticist at Case Western University in Cleveland. 

Black authors, Indigenous authors, and other authors of Color have contributed – and are contributing – numerous works on history, impact, intricacies, and complexities of race and racism. We start there, always. It is difficult for those of us who have constructed societies based on a hierarchy of race and value, and who have perpetuated that racism, to perceive racism as clearly as those who have lived with it, have been forced to “dance” with it, and have been at its mercy. 

In Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates powerfully points out that race did not create racism. Rather, racism gave birth to race. “Americans believe in the reality of ‘race” as a defined, indubitable feature of the natural world,” he writes. “Racism – the need to ascribe bone-deep features to people and then humiliate, reduce, and destroy them – inevitably falls from this inalterable condition. But race is the child of racism, not the father. And the process of naming ‘the people’ has never been a matter of genealogy and physiognomy so much as one of hierarchy.”

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, Isabel Wilkerson’s extensive research into the infrastructure of racism, brings more clarity. “Caste is the infrastructure of our divisions,” Wilkerson writes. “It is the architecture of human hierarchy, the subconscious code of instructions for maintaining, in our case, a four-hundred-year-old social order.” 

From “Recovering Racists: Dismantling White Supremacy and Reclaiming Our Humanity” by Idelette McVicker