Rejecting Race Theory (with the help of direct experience & secular & religious ideas)

[The following is a blog post I first wrote & published in 2003, and since belief in race theory has not yet disappeared from this planet, I thought I would re-post the entry here, it may be useful for people who are thinking about ending their belief in race theory & the negative practices & views that arise from that belief]

Race Is A Lie
By Sujewa Ekanayake

For perhaps 10-20 years I contemplated two seemingly incompatible ideas that exist in my environment (society, the human world). These two ideas are: 1) all humans-more or less-are capable of the same level of high or low achievements, given the right effort (an idea that was planted in my brain by being raised as a Buddhist in Sri Lanka), and the counter idea is that 2) humans fall into a handful of categories, based on skin color and physical features, and the worth and the level of achievement an individual human is capable of depends on which group they belong to (for example: people w/ light skin or “white” people being capable of more things than people with dark skin or “black” people, an idea that has been popular in Europe, America and places that have been heavily affected by Europeans, also in India in a slightly different form and older origin).  After much contemplation, research, observation, including reflecting on the Sinhalese and Tamil ethnic violence in Sri Lanka, and analyzing knowledge gained from living among various people and interacting with various people, I have decided that idea 1 is correct and that idea 2 is not correct (this decision was made several years ago).

This means that how I view the world now and how I interact with it is drastically different than how many of the people in my immediate society (American) view and interact with the world. That is, I believe that the concept of race is a lie, a false view, brought into existence, refined, and kept alive for self-serving reasons by the creators of the idea and those who were able to benefit from the idea, and that at this point in time (2003 AD) many people simply accept race as a fact and organize their lives by it.  Many evil things have been made possible by belief in the idea of race or races of humans: including the Hindu caste system which treats millions of people as sub-humans, slavery, European colonialism or the taking control of lands through force by people who believed they were more human then the ones that they conquered, Manifest Destiny, and Nazi attempt to exterminate Jews in Europe. Less damaging perhaps numerically but perhaps just as devastating on an individual basis is that in modern-day America I see the population continuing to organize themselves based on the concept of race. The down side of this is that individual people are placing an artificial constraint on themselves, and along with this comes mental anguish, and of course in some unfortunate moments, physical violence. The plus side for the person who believes in race is that they have a group to belong to. But, all in all I believe that the negative effects of believing in race are greater to everyone then the positive effects. And I believe that it is counter productive to the American experiment of creating a great nation consisting of people from the hundred corners of the world (also counter to the aims of any modern country that wants to reduce friction & conflict between various groups of people).  And I believe that race is dangerous and destructive to the world in general because it causes people to sympathize more with, and in many cases at the expense of, some populations over others.  So, as a productive and well-meaning member of American society (& of Earth in general) and a moral human being who wishes to do good (that which helps humans live well) I am sharing my views through this public forum, this web page. I invite people to post their views and responses to my writing as I share and fine tune, through regular journal entries, my theories and observations and ideas for creating a world without race.

This journal entry is step #1 on this side project.  Parting thoughts: in ancient Christian thinking the concept of deception perpetuated by evil (or The Devil) exists, and in ancient Buddhist thinking there is a concept called maya, or illusion, created by a being called Mara or The Evil One. Race would fall neatly under those categories. Race (and its’ child racism) is an evil illusion because it causes human misery and it is a dangerous lie that has hypnotized the human population. Let me know what you think about this idea. Should we create a world without race or should we let the idea and belief of race exist in the world?


Copyright 2003 Sujewa Ekanayake


    • Great article (at the Secular Sri Lanka site, link above). I like that quotes by Seneca the younger:

      “Religion is regarded by the common people as true; by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful” – Seneca the Younger (4 B.C.E.-65 C.E.) ”

      Could also be applied to the concept of race.

      – S

  1. Yes some forms of labeling can be very dangerous indeed. It is like a spectrum. A scale if you will, you have benign forms (relatively) of groups of people identifying themselves with a common banner like schools cricket and foot ball teams/clubs (not so benign perhaps!) and on the not so benign end you have religions and race. Now a large majority of people would agree that killing a bunch of people over something “trivial” such as a lost football or cricket match would be downright silly and disgusting. However we don’t apply the same reasoning when it comes to race or religion. For some reason people tend to believe that it is OK to kill people or hurt them “in the name of” religion or race. Sure we condemn such killings but the point I’m trying to make is that people don’t understand that race and religion are just definitions and concepts that we have come up with! they cannot be allowed to define how we act.

    I’ve never identified with my own “race” anyway. Growing up on a healthy does of sci fi I always thought of everyone as just “humans” on “planet earth”. Some people may call this childhood naiveté. It was just a result of watching too much Star Trek, reading Clarke and Asimov and reading a lot on science, physics and biology. I became more and more surprised when I found out that most do not share my view and was disappointed that I won’t be able to see “a start trek” like society where all humans were just that – humans, and problems were (mostly) resolved through diplomacy. Maybe I was just expecting my fellow human beings to be a little bit more sentient? maybe it’s just too much to ask for? Should we not demand that people grow up and leave these infantile concepts behind us? I think we should! and embrace a grander vision of a more sentient “human race”

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