I have made the point before that the concept of race is indeed a myth in two blogs ‘I’m related to Charlemagne, how about you’ and ‘Time to abolish tribal privilege’. This is taken up in an article by Dr Muriel Newman “Reflecting on our Past”.
Defining people by race has always been dangerous. The atrocities of the Nazi extermination programmes during World War Two should leave no-one in any doubt about that.
In fact, that experience led the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to invite leading international anthropologists and sociologists to investigate the issue of ‘race’ and in 1950 they issued a declaration, which included the following statement:
“The biological fact of race and the myth of ‘race’ should be distinguished. For all practical social purposes ‘race’ is not so much a biological phenomenon as a social myth. The myth ‘race’ has created an enormous amount of human and social damage. In recent years it has taken a heavy toll in human lives and caused untold suffering. It still prevents the normal development of millions of human beings and deprives civilization of the effective co-operation of productive minds. The biological differences between ethnic groups should be disregarded from the standpoint of social acceptance and social action. The unity of mankind from both the biological and social viewpoints is the main thing. To recognize this and to act accordingly is the first requirement of modern man.”
With no scientific foundation for defining people by ‘race’, but a recognition of the destructive societal consequences of racial profiling, many countries are now moving towards the elimination of the concept from their constitutional arrangements. Austria has rejected the idea of separate races, as have Finland and Hungary. Similar moves are being considered in both France and Germany. In Fiji, all laws and conventions based on race - including separate electoral rolls and reserved seats in Parliament - have been abolished.
At a time when New Zealand is becoming a melting pot of many cultures and identities such outdated concepts as ‘race’ need to be removed from all legislation.
Being mired in racial division is not the way of the future. We need to follow those enlightened nations around the world that are abolishing the concept of race from their statute books. And it needs to be done now, before the likes of Labour and the Greens, who are pandering to those who claim that the Maori did not cede sovereignty, ever get their hands on the levers of power.