Race in America—The Illusion that is Real


The simple definition of the word illusion is something that looks or seems different from what it is: something that is false or not real but that seems to be true or real: an incorrect idea: an idea that is based on something that is not true.

When it comes to talking about people in general the word race is used to describe groups of people based upon what makes them different from each other. When it comes to talking about people in the United States of America the word race is used to describe “white” people as a group and “black” people as a group based solely on skin color. However, in the U.S. and wherever one group of people seeks to dominate another group of people the understanding of what race means goes deeper than that.

In the U.S. it means that white people are the only real people and that black people are not people at all because of the great biological and scientific differences between them. But there’s a problem here. The biology and the science that has been used to “prove” the differences are illusions. They are not real. Race is not real. Race is an illusion. Race is an idea used as the basis for distributing rights and freedoms to one group of people and denying them to another group of people.

But be absolutely clear about this-race is an illusion that is real. It’s an illusion because it’s based upon a lie. A basic understanding of genetics shows that all people of every skin color are made of the same mental and physical stuff and have the same capacities. It’s real because there is nothing more powerful than an idea.

The false idea of race in America-the idea that some people are not people at all was used to justify slavery and every form of racial discrimination up to the present day. It’s a lie that has been told for longer than our country is old. It’s a lie that has shaped everything from the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence to Reconstruction to Jim Crow laws to housing discrimination by the government against blacks. It’s a lie that white people and black people have believed and believe today. It’s a lie that says that the poor condition of blacks all over America today is proof of the lie. It’s a lie that says if black people are not people at all they could not possibly have played a vital role in creating the most successful country in the world in modern history. White people did it all.

What to do with this lie? Expose it. Tell the truth. One truth is that the first 12 generations of Americans of African descent are the indispensable factor in the United States of America becoming the most successful nation in modern history. That truth alone will go a long way toward helping to heal race relations.