They sit there on most formal forms, little boxes asking people to place themselves into small, political, cultural, and biological boxes labeled 'race'. In the period after various legal battles and social corrections these were helpful to equalize and make fair opportunities to groups who had been marginalized for generations. 

Now, however, with growing numbers of people unable to select simply one box - is the labeling still appropriate?

The American Association of Anthropologists in a statement from 1998 said: ""Race" thus evolved as a worldview, a body of prejudgments that distorts our ideas about human differences and group behavior."

Modern studies in genetics, DNA, and other biological factos have shown we are all more alike than different and that once hard held 'racial' traits are as likely to be found in diverse populations and other 'races'. 

An example is the recent DNA discovery that many of a group termed Melungeon derive from  a mating of a Black sub-Saharan male and European white woman challenge the frail house we call "Race."  Maybe it is a clue we should help blow down the structure once and for all and embrace the fact we are all more than we think we are. 

This group of people - which includes often stories of "Indian princesses", Gypsy, Portuguese, or "Black Dutch" to explain a tendency to dark hair, olive toned skin and dark eyes.  These people, it is believed, kept apart in order to avoid being placed in slavery or denied rights.  Although the initial DNA results indicate only the Sub-Saharan connection, it is unclear how wide the testing was and if other results, supporting the Native American or Portuguese claims, might still be made. 

It still does not diminish the question: should race be eliminated on forms and diminished as  major element in social or personal identity?
Is race actually a shackle that keeps all of society tied to a 16th century idea of human value and an outdated social-political structure of colonialism and hierarchy?

Is skin color, hair type, shape of a nose, or a length of leg really the things we should be using as guides to understanding human existence?

We are shaped more by culture than race and once the culture begins to recognize and accept diversity, celebrate children born of two people instead of two races, and have enough self understanding to known that personal self worth is not based on making someone else feel bad, conquered, menial, or inhuman.

I celebrate anyone who is proud of their ancestral heritages, their cultural roots, and their own God crafted uniqueness. I sorrow with those who have been made to be ashamed of their identity, their looks, their social position, their skin color, or other factors used by manipulators to make themselves feel better by marginalizing others.

It is time, I think, to stop focusing on the differences and begin to celebrate the human species who reside precariously on a small blue island planet in the great cosmic ocean. To begin to understand that simply because one is white, black, brown or any other tone they are not special or minimized. To recognize that racial calls to power, privilege, or prominance are about as sensible as granting all redheads the right to vote but not blondes. It simply makes no sense and is indefensible.

Something to think about....the next time you see those little boxes on those official little forms. Does it really matter? Or, can we all siimply join the HUMAN race and be done with it?

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