I got a telephone call one morning (figures, it was on a Saturday…when I don’t usually get out of bed until after noon at least), and I decided what the hell, the guy on the phone seemed friendly enough.
So he started asking me all kinds of questions – starting with my age, my sex, my zip code. Then the questions turn to what radio stations in my local area I’d listened to in the previous seven days, what local TV stations I’d watched, what local papers I’d read, etc.
Then he asked me “And can you tell me what race you are?”
Without hesitation, I responded, “Human.”
Ever hear a speechless telemarketer? He laughed and said that was the best response he’d ever had to that question. Of course, he told me that he needed to know – Caucasian, African-American, Hispanic, etc. – for purposes of his survey, so I said “Caucasian” and he laughed and said, “Well, I’m going to note both of your responses…because I like the one you said first better anyway!”
Which brings me to this: Why was that such an unusual response? I mean, WHY do people feel the need to classify us by skin color/race/nationality? What do my ancestors really have to do with who I am, other than the knowledge they’d passed down through the generations or the genetic things I’d inherited from them (my blue eyes, for example)?
I love responding to questions like that, especially when they still use the term “race” on applications, surveys, etc. Unless the question asks for “ethnicity,” I have never once filled in “white” or “Caucasian” – always “Human.” It’s really too bad that more people didn’t do that. Maybe if we could get everyone to realize that we ALL belong to the SAME “race,” that it’s only a matter of genetics and probably evolution that we’re not all grey, maybe we could do away with some of the shit people have to go through every day. It’s too bad that a “racial slur” wasn’t something like “hey, dude, you’ve got a huge schnozz for a human.”
Think about it. Whites are [fill in the blank]. Blacks are [fill in the blank]. Asians are [fill in the blank]. Arabs are [fill in the blank]. But if we could get everyone to acknowledge that we’re all part of the same race, what would the question be then? “Humans are [fill in the blank].” Imagine how hard it would be to stereotype the whole race… It’s too bad that isn’t the way things are. If it were, there might actually be a chance for peace in the world…well…there would always be religion to fight about, I suppose, but that’s another rant, isn’t it? ;)