The Story of Race

Thank you once again to our guest Blogger Starlett McNeill for her careful look into the social construct known as race. 
Origoinally Posted by ⋅ June 19, 2012
“Race is so deeply imbedded in our lives it appears to be the natural order of things. We must challenge that notion with all of the power of our science and society.”

~Yolanda Moses, Anthropologist

Once upon a time, there were no human races.How we talk about race is important to me.  Unfortunately, the stories that I hear about race sound much like what’s left after playing the childhood game telephone.  What was whispered in the ears of our ancestors hundreds of years ago is now a muddled message mixed with biblical, biological and cultural rationales for the belief in and the necessity of human separation according to races.  We really don’t know what we believe about race and we don’t really know how the story goes.

RACE: Are We So Different?, a project of the American Anthropological Association (AAA), answers the question: ”How did the idea of race begin in America?”  The American Anthropological Association (AAA) tells The Story of Race and provides a timeline that traces the the concept of race and the development of the idea through the influences of science, government and culture.  It can never be told enough as there are multiple and competing stories as to the origin of humanity, its cultures and their differences.

Telling and retelling the story of race humanizes it and strips it of its divine appearance.  It reminds us that this “social construct” is a part of us, formed with our minds and passed from generation to generation not because of a “genetic inheritance” (also known as eugencis) but because we have made it a part of how we talk about the human family.  It is my hope and my goal to change this character’s role and the means by which we talk about how race came to be.  So, repeat after me: “Once upon a time, there were no human races.”

Additional Resources

Art Munin, White Privilege 101 Timeline, an Annotated bibliography

Race: The Power of an Illusion, Race Timeline,

Dr. Shelly Tochluk, Witnessing Whiteness: The Need To Talk About Race and How To Do It (2010).


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