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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 12, 2014 at 6:02 AM

NBA owner’s remarks: Race is superficial

The stir about racist comments by former Clippers owner Don Sterling highlights the faulty thinking of people, generally, about that topic [“Attorney: 3rd party leaked recording of Sterling,” NBA, May 1].

The central error is the initial assumption that the word “race” refers to some specific, significant human characteristic or set of characteristics that endure over time. As genetic discoveries over the past 60 years have confirmed, there are no such specific characteristics that would separate one group from another.

What we now know is that all of the approximately 7 billion humans inhabiting the Earth have a common, basic nature and that their ancestors all had a relatively recent, African origin, rather than separate origins in Africa, Europe and Asia. Superficial differences in skin color, hair texture, facial features, etc., merely reflect adaptations over time.

If I start with the idea that there actually are separate races, why would I be surprised if others respond to me on a racial basis? In contrast, if I start with the idea that there are simply human beings, there is no apparent reason that I ever would need to go beyond that concept in my interactions with others.

We need to recognize ourselves in each other.

Lilia Torres, Clinton

Comments | More in Race | Topics: Don Sterling, genetics, Lilia Torres

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