One Human Race
SURELY there is a variety of peoples on earth, with strikingly different physical features. Do you view them all as belonging to one human race, as persons to be accepted on their individual merit?
We should. It is the way that our Creator wants us to view people. How do we know? Because he inspired one of his servants, the Christian apostle Paul, to say: “The God that made the world and all the things in it . . . gives to all persons life and breath and all things. And he made out of one man every nation of men, to dwell upon the entire surface of the earth.”—Acts 17:24-26.
But are not some races of men more precious in God’s eyes than others? This is what many have believed. Yet, after being given a demonstration of God’s impartiality, the Christian apostle Peter was moved to exclaim: “For a certainty I perceive that God is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.”—Acts 10:34, 35.
Do you believe this? Not all people do.
Really One Family?
Some people even distort the Bible, and try to show that it teaches “that the Negro, the lower apes and the quadrupeds, all belong to ‘one kind of flesh,’ the ‘flesh of beasts.”’ Professor Charles Carroll made this assertion in his book “The Negro a Beast” or “in the Image of God,” which received wide distribution in the early twentieth century. On the other hand, some evolutionists say that blacks are ‘a lower race of the human species.’
But some blacks argue in an altogether different way. The book Black Nationalism—A Search for an Identity in America says: “The Caucasians were not the original inhabitants of this earth, but were ‘grafted’ from the black people. . . . Contrasted with the Original Man (the so-called Negroes), the white is inferior physically and mentally. He is also weak because he was grafted from the black. He is the real ‘colored’ man, i.e., the deviant from the black color norm.”
What do the facts show? Are we really one human family? Is there any truth to the claims that we are not?
The Differences Superficial
Consider the flesh and blood. Some argue that it is different in blacks and whites. Yet The World Book Encyclopedia says: “Scientists state that cells which make up the human body are the same for all people. . . In the same way, a biologist can tell human blood from that of lower animals. But all the many types of human blood can be found among all the stocks and races of mankind.”
Much has been written about the differences in body structure of blacks and whites. But what are the facts? Anthropologist Ashley Montagu writes: “A close anatomical study seems to show that the physical differences are confined to quite superficial characters. I may best emphasize this by saying that if the body of a Negro were to be deprived of all superficial features such as skin, hair, nose and lips, I do not think that any anatomist could say for certain, in an isolated case, whether he was dealing with the body of a Negro or a European.”
Brain size is also pointed to as evidence of a basic difference between whites and blacks. It is claimed that, on the average, the brains of blacks are slightly smaller than those of whites. Yet, even if this were true, normal variations in brain size evidently do not affect intelligence. If they did, whites would be less intelligent than Eskimos and American Indians who, on the average, have larger brains.
To emphasize that the races are fundamentally alike, Professor Bentley Glass, in his book Genes and the Man, writes: “In all, it is unlikely that there are many more than six pairs of genes in which the white race differs characteristically, in the lay sense, from the black. Whites or blacks, however, unquestionably often differ among themselves by a larger number than this, a fact which reveals our racial prejudices as biologically absurd. . . . The chasm between human races and peoples, where it exists, is psychological and sociological; it is not genetic!”
Noteworthily, the recent book Heredity and Humans, by science writer Amram Scheinfeld, says: “Science now corroborates what most great religions have long been preaching: Human beings of all races are . . . descended from the same first man.”
Since this is true, then what accounts for observable racial differences, such as skin color and texture of hair?
Why Racial Differences
The first human pair had within their genetic makeup the multiple factors for all the racial differences that we see today. Possibly they themselves were neither white nor black, but mulattoes, or a combination of the colors now found in the various races. An early historical report about humankind says: “They are all a single people with a single language!” (Gen. 11:6, in The Jerusalem Bible) But this abruptly changed.
A large segment of the human family, at that early time in history, desired to remain in one location for religio-political purposes. To thwart this, the Creator suddenly caused these men to speak different languages so that they could not understand one another. Picture what must have taken place.
Unable to communicate as one people, little groups, now isolated by the barrier of language, moved off on their own. As they spread farther afield, distance added another barrier to communication. Isolated by location and by language, the descendants of each group multiplied, and further developed over a period of time the distinct features of their “race.” But these physical features that were passed along from parent to child did not, in any way, make one race superior or inferior to another.—Gen. 11:7-10.
The fact is, these racial differences are actually not very great, as Hampton L. Carson writes in Heredity and Human Life: “The paradox which faces us is that each group of humans appears to be externally different yet underneath these differences there is fundamental similarity.”
Why, then, if humans are all really one family, do terrible racial problems exist?
What Is Responsible
Although God created our first human parents, Adam and Eve, perfect, they gave their offspring a bad start. How? They willfully rebelled against God, breaking away from his rule. Cut off from God, Adam and Eve thus became imperfect, defective. As a result, they passed this imperfection—this tendency toward bad—on to their descendants.—Rom. 5:12.
So from birth up all humans are defective. They are prone to selfishness and pride. Furthermore, when the first humans broke away from God’s dominion, they came under the rule of a wicked spirit creature that the Bible calls Satan or the Devil. (Rev. 12:9; 2 Cor. 4:4) It is these circumstances that have been at the root of the prejudice-plagued history of the human family right up to the present time.
To put it pointedly: Selfish, imperfect humans, under the control of Satan, have spread all the false teachings about race that have been responsible for the terrible racial problems.
What Will You Do?
You can permit yourself to be influenced by the false propaganda of this world and hold an improper view of peoples of other races. Or you can mold your thinking in accord with the truth—the truth found particularly in God’s Word, the Bible—and have a wholesome, proper view of people of other races.
Admittedly, it may not be easy to correct long-held prejudices, for they can be deep-seated. But if we are to please our Creator, Jehovah God, it is essential that we work on gaining and maintaining a proper view of our fellow humans. We need to keep in mind God’s view, namely, that “in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.”—Acts 10:35.
The time is not far off when God will fulfill his promise to render judgment. He will cleanse the earth of all its defiling elements, including all those of the entire world of humankind, whatever the race, who are out of harmony with his will. Only those who work righteousness and are acceptable to him will be preserved alive. (1 John 2:17) The Bible assures us that these will include “a great crowd . . . out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues.” (Rev. 7:9) These will, all together, dwell in peace and unity as one united human family of brothers and sisters.
But what about those who have had racial prejudices deeply engrained in them? How can they correct their thinking?
[Blurb on page 22]
“All the many types of human blood can be found among all the stocks and races of mankind.”
[Blurb on page 22]
“Science now corroborates what most great religions have long been preaching: Human beings of all races are . . . descended from the same first man.”
[Blurb on page 23]
The Bible says: “In every nation the man that fears [God] and works righteousness is acceptable to him.”
[Picture on page 21]
‘If a man were deprived of all superficial features such as skin, hair, nose and lips, an anatomist could not say for certain whether he was dealing with the body of a Negro or a European.’