End Racialist Labels, and Build a Culture of Life

graphic from: Alex Zemek

This fourth of July marked the 244th birthday for our nation, and I am reminded of the de facto motto of the United States since its early founding — E Pluribus unum. While I never took Latin, I know it translates to “Out of many, One.” However, it seems everywhere I turn efforts persist to divide us — as a nation, and even more foundationally, as humans. I might be an idealist, but I endeavor to do what I can to have society that is unified in our humanity and in turn respects all life as we strive to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Are we again falling in the trap of perpetuating division?

I recently took the 2020 decennial census for my family, and the bulk of the questions were “racial” questions, specifically asking, “What is this person’s race?” followed by 15 different checkbox options. I had a similar experience two weeks ago when I filled out a bank form to refinance my mortgage, and again this week as I took a school district survey related to post-COVID-19 return to school. Certainly, over the last month, the “Black Lives Matter” moniker seems ubiquitous on media coverage, corporate websites, and of course signs and chants of demonstrators around the country. As a student of history, I think I understand the likely intentions of and historical background for some of these “race-based” questions, as unfortunately discriminatory practices have long endured. And following the tragic death of George Floyd at the hands and forceful knees of Minneapolis Police officers, I recognize as well the desire to continue to ensure that our law enforcement and criminal justice systems are fair for all. Yet, I think it is worth exploring, if we are solving the fundamental issues or are we perhaps inadvertently bolstering artificial labels that divide us.

Don’t you know you have a greater identity than a human-devised categorization?

graphic from: ncDNAday.org

So whether it is the 15 categories on the current government census form or the five categories proposed by German anthropologist Johann Friedrich Blumenbach more than 200 years ago, it is important to realize that these are human-devised labeling. For all the talk the last decade about listening to science; science actually supports my alternative, counter-cultural perspective. The fact is, biologically, there is one race — the human race. Additionally, recent efforts to map the human genome revealed the DNA of any two human beings are 99.9 percent identical. Any variance in colors of human epidermis (i.e., skin) is merely due to melanin pigment. The concept of “race” is social, not scientific.

graphic royalty-free from: dreamstime.com

Truthfully, what I find even more important is what scripture has long-proclaimed — we are each wonderfully made in the image of our Creator. So let us move beyond these divisive “race” labels. Let us celebrate the amazingness of our creation and how we are each unique and similar at the same time. When our identity is in this higher-power, we can become one, out of many. Which I think brings us back to America and our nation’s other motto — In God We Trust.

How can we respect one another, if society doesn’t hold sacred life itself?

Additionally, as affirmed in our Declaration of Independence, this Creator endowed us with an absolute right to life. However, our society generally seems to devalue life and has gone so far as to institutionalize murder. People are told it is ok to choose to kill an unwanted baby. It can be as simple as taking a pill. You can get your health insurance to cover it or go to one of the government-funded abortion facilities operated by Planned Parenthood. The World Health Organization estimated that globally more than 40,000,000 induced abortions take place in a year. While I cannot speak for the individual situations that leads women to conclude that killing their baby is the right and appropriate action, I sincerely believe these acts cheapen the overall value of life in our society, which in turn has far reaching repercussions. If the injustice of abortion is tolerated and in fact celebrated by many in society and major political groups, haven’t we built a culture that enables one to falsely conclude that is within their authority, and not God’s, to take a life?

graphic from: Getty Images

So while politicians talk about new programs they would put in place to help this [insert label] community or that [insert label] community, I think our efforts would be best focused on solving the fundamental issues of viewing all lives as equal without color qualifiers/labels and building a society that considers all human life sacrosanct.

The author lives in McLean, VA, works for a large law enforcement organization, and seeks to be better at loving his neighbor as himself.

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Alex Zemek

Alex Zemek

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