We are all the same
© by Barbara Anderson

The Salem News
Thursday, April 9, 2015


“Race. A competition between runners, horses, vehicles, boats, etc., to see which is the fastest in covering a set course.

— “Sasha Won the Race”

Much as I’ve tried to avoid the subject because it’s one of the few things that bore me to tears, I think it’s time to confront something that has become an annoying yet vital part of the national discourse since Obama ran to become “the first black president.” So I went to “race, definition” in my search engine, and what showed up was the above. Hurray for Sasha!

Then I went to my personal dictionary, a grade-school gift from my parents. It says “race., n. a rapid course, as of an animal or river; contest of speed.” Then, eventually, “descent or lineage.” Finally.

So while I’m mentally back in grade school, I can tell you without looking what I learned back then, that stayed with me: There are four races of men (now called humankind). They are Caucasian, Negroid, Mongoloid/Asian, Pacific Islander. The last one seems to have evolved to include Australian aborigine, but it has little to do with any discussion today.

Today’s discussion has come because during Holy Week I was startled by a Globe story about the Rev. William Rich of the Trinity Church, who noted that Jesus was a “person of color.” What?

I’m not going to search for a definition of “people of color,” because the phrase is meaningless. Almost everyone I know has some color; mine is sort of olive green that turns reddish brown in the summer; I think it comes from my dad’s Slavic-Croatian descent, which is Caucasian no matter how “tan” I get. Mother was freckled “white,” being half-German, half-Irish — both Caucasian.

I traced her background through the National Geographic genetic program from the time our female ancestors left East Africa along with much of humanity in general, carrying Negroid physical traits that had made survival in Africa easier. They made their way through the area that is now Israel, up into the Caucasus, on to Germany, where the cold winters apparently encouraged the evolution of Caucasian traits like paler skin, often blue eyes, or green eyes like my mother’s. My dad’s maternal lineage ended up in Slavic Croatia. His eyes were brown.

Some humans stopped and stayed in the Middle East, where Jesus was born. They didn’t become blondes, but they acquired other “Caucasian traits like skin color that ranges greatly from pale, reddish-white, olive, through to dark brown tones.”


National Geographic Genographic Project

Yes, now I’m double-checking my own retained knowledge with Wikipedia. “Conceived as one of the great races, alongside Mongoloid and Negroid, (Caucasian) was taken to consist of a number of “subraces.” The Caucasoid peoples were usually divided in three groups on linguistic grounds, termed Aryan (Indo-European), Semitic (Semitic languages), and Hamitic (Hamitic languages i.e. Berber-Cushitic-Egyptian).”

So, there’s Jesus: Caucasian, speaking Aramaic, one of the Semitic languages. Probably had more skin color than my mother, but it was clearly absurd to hear Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called a racist because he doesn’t play well with Palestinians who share the Israeli/Semitic background with Israelis. They are all Caucasian, like me.

Same silliness occurs when some Croatian/Irish/German and other Americans are called “racist” when we object to illegal immigration. When as an exchange student I lived with a Mexican family, it never occurred to me to consider it anything but Caucasian like me. Dr. John Silber, when he was running for governor, was disparaged by some opponents for arguing that Hispanic is a language, not a race. He was right. Most Latin Americans are descendants of European settlers, primarily brown-eyed Spanish and Portugese Caucasians.

I did have some Mexican friends with distinctly Mayan or Aztec features, which means they may have carried some genes from the Mongoloid race group that crossed the Bering Strait or perhaps arrived by boat from Asia; genetic studies show that our “native American” population has Asian genes. But I haven’t gotten the impression that anyone is dividing illegal Hispanic immigrants into descendants of the Spanish or the Asians; that’s not what is meant when we are called “racist” for objecting to illegal immigration.

It’s generally understood that Indo-European, which most readers here speak as a first language, is a characteristic of Caucasians; it includes Romance languages like Spanish and Germanic languages, which include English, Balto-Slavic, Indo-Iranian and Celtic. It’s also the United States’ language, so earlier immigrants from Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Islands now speak Indo-European. That’s the point of a melting pot. Now we have to continue encouraging all legal immigrants to speak English, so we can all communicate easily, and be Americans.

As for race, it doesn’t matter. Most of the worst battles throughout human history have taken place between humans who were genetically close: the Semitic people, including today’s, the habitants of the Greek Peloponnese, Caesar’s conquests, British internal wars, WWI and II in Europe, the invasion of China by Japan, the two sides of various civil wars, including ours.

The savagery taking place in Africa today is among various members of the Negroid race. After the Caucasian armies left, Southeast Asians killed other Southeast Asians. Caucasians are presently slaughtering each other in Syria. Narrow tribal, religious and/or political differences — not race — have almost always been the determinants of hatred and slaughter.

White settlers did conquer native Americans, not because they were another race but because they were occupying the territory the newcomers wanted. Slavery here began with black Africans selling other black Africans to white traders; American slavery ended a century and a half ago and we should have finally gotten over it when our country elected a mixed-race President, which is even more transcendental than a “black president.”

Yet trouble-makers often look for an easy way to argue “us” vs. “them” for political power advantage. These racists, regardless of color, are all “them” to me; I am sick of it. They should keep Jesus out of their silly attempts to arbitrarily divide the human race that God created, in Africa, when we were all the same.

Barbara Anderson of Marblehead is president of Citizens for Limited Taxation and a Salem News columnist.

The comments made and opinions expressed in her columns are those of Barbara Anderson
and do not necessarily reflect those of Citizens for Limited Taxation.

More of Barbara's Columns

Citizens for Limited Taxation    PO Box 1147    Marblehead, MA 01945    508-915-3665