Throughout time, wars have been waged and people singled out due to their race, an inherit problem experienced to this day. Southampton has recently enjoyed a plethora of cultural festivities, including experiencing Black History Month and Mexico Week, making the divide caused by discrimination all the more alarming.

International - We Are No Race' by Rebecca Hopkinson

International – We Are No Race’ by Rebecca Hopkinson

In 1972 Richard Lewontin, an avid critic of certain neo-Darwinism elements, produced and published his paper ‘The Apportionment of Human Diversity’ whereby he explores and researches the neoteric notion that there is more diversity within a race than there is between races. Using a hierarchical structure for his paper, Lewontin divided populations into eight categories based on geographical properties and considering 17 different polymorphic loci: Africans, Amerindians, Australian Aborigines, East Asians (Mongoloids), South Asians, Indians, Oceanians and Caucasians. Scientists have already revealed that humans are 99.5 percent genetically identical through genome mapping, illustrating that genetic diversity exists within a local population, rather than between it. This study attempts to establish that ‘85.7 percent of the allelic diversity occurs within populations’ and that there is no genetic basis for the categorisation of race.

The campaign, led by Brazilian Professor Sérgio Pena, operates by offering free DNA tests in order to prove that only one race exists – the human race. They attended the London 2012 Olympics games and gave participants a code for their website where they could access results of their genetic lineage. Their research in London confirmed the validity of Lewontin’s theory of 85.4 percent diversity, as after analysing their data from volunteers in London, they received an 83.9 percent genetic variability results within a population category. This illustrates that human genetic variation occurs between people from the same population rather than people from different countries or ‘races’.

The so-called “races” are skin deep. The difference between a White and a Black person is equivalent to that between a blue and a red car of the same make and model.

Professor Sérgio Pena
WE R NO RACE Co-ordinator

‘WE R NO RACE’ intends to perform DNA tests on all the footballers performing in the 2014 World Cup, as well as the possibility of testing Olympian athletes in 2016, an important reference as the football world has been stormed recently with racial problems. The campaign has received political support in Brazil, who are facing large-scale problems with social inequality relating to skin colour, although the project is set to open debate around the globe. The project clearly defines its objections and details the insufficient relation between ones colour and their ancestry, leading to the thought; how have we let racial segregation affect our history so much?

Within British society, we have adapted to readily accept stereotypes based on racial profiles, something that is taken for comedic effect but highlights underlying social thought patterns. These thoughts will never defuse over night, however it is imperative to educate and provide information to allow individuals to arrive to their own conclusions, in order to try combat a systemic community influence on an individual’s socialisation.

At the University of Southampton there is a great sense of cultural diversity although it is still possible observe a slight cultural divide, with international students often banding together and not diversifying, which has employed its own stereotype represented by the ‘Southampton Uni Meme’ page on Facebook. It is understandable that moving far away from home would be scary and cause people to instinctively attract together with who/what they know – however this causes an instantaneous void that develops and becomes wider over time regardless of the great efforts made to support diverse events by SUSU.

We fervently believe that this scientific fact should be absorbed by our societies and incorporated into their moral convictions, establishing a position antagonist to discrimination in any form.

WE R NO RACE

Cultures, societies and communities are complex social structures that contain bonds which hold us all together. As a human race, I find it imperative that we focus on the more impending problems we are soon to face, like sustainable energy, food and resources and work towards saving our planet. It is despairing to read and consider that a society (or group of like-minded individuals) can use cognition to explain racist and narrow-minded views. With the struggles we have faced with equality I can only hope that in times to come we, as one unified species, can live together without articles like this needed to be made.

For more information please go to: www.wearenorace.com

3 Comments »

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  • Pharrell
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    Food for thought.

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/colorblind/201112/colorblind-ideology-is-form-racism

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    Jack Kanani
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    Very interesting – thanks for the link and for reading the article!

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  • Biology Lecturer
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    This is a good example of trying to “prove” a political position by quoting scientific numbers, without real explanation of where they come from or what they actually represent.

    Ignoring the occasionally broken English and the common misunderstanding of the difference between race and species, the most questionable section is:”The results of his research proved that 85.4 percent of allelic diversity happened within a population category which also testifies to the fact that the world is 99.5 percent genetically identical.”

    At no point is it explained exactly what is meant by allelic diversity or how you would turn that into a percentage.

    Secondly, whatever that percentage is, it doesn’t “testify to the fact that the world is 99.5 percent genetically identical” as they are unrelated, almost opposite measures, at different scales of comparison. How frequently a single nucleotide in a single position differs between individuals tells you nothing about the genome as a whole – in fact since it is chosen specifically because it’s already known to be very variable, it actually tells you far less about the typical patterns than a randomly chosen section of gene or genome would.

    Finally, does the 99.5% identity refer to the whole genome, just the genes, or a “typical gene”? This is important because it’s a percentage so the actual size of the difference can be hidden (like with the anorexia figures). For a whole human genome of 3.2×109 bp, an apparently tiny 0.5% difference corresponds to 16 million point mutations. Given that a single point mutation can have huge effects (including death) and that the lung cancer genome had 23,000 point mutations, suggesting 16 million differences is “proof” we’re all the same is extremely dubious.

    If it was only to do with genes then 0.5% of ~25,000 genes could be interpreted to mean ~125 genes are different. Also, since we haven’t identified all the genes in the human genome any percentages based on genes have to be a least partly guesswork.

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