Say it ain’t so!

I was listening to an interview on public radio the other day with a young woman with Somali-American heritage. The topic was race. In the course of the interview, she remarked, rather casually, that most Americans believe racial categories reflect biological differences between people of various skin colors. Differences in ability, intelligence, and physical skills. I was driving at the time and almost ran off the road when I heard what she said. For some time now, I have convinced myself that only a minority of people still cling to the idea that there are inherent physical and mental differences among what society calls “the races.” I assumed “those people” were the descendants of people who never relinquished their often religiously endorsed understanding that people of color are less capable and certainly less intelligent than white folks. To hear a young woman of color cast “most” of us in with those bigots saddens me beyond expression. I want to believe most of us have evolved beyond the rank racism that permeated society, especially in the Western world, for millenia. Can the young woman be right? Are most of us still blind to the truth about human beings? Please, somebody, say it ain’t so!


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