HOW do you feel about people of a skin color or ethnic group different from your own? Do you view them as equals? Sadly, many view certain races as inferior. “Racism,” according to one reference, is “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.”
This belief has resulted in much harm. Feelings of racial superiority have “provided justification for colonial treatment and slavery of other groups of people,” wrote Professor Wen-Shing Tseng in his Handbook of Cultural Psychiatry. He added that race has been used “to justify social, economic, and political inequalities.” Even today, racism exists in many parts of the world. But is this hurtful belief based on truth? What do science and the Bible say?
What Does Science Say?
Discoveries in genetics have confirmed the fallacy of racism. Researchers studying people from different continents have found that the differences in DNA between any two randomly chosen individuals from virtually anywhere in the world amounted to about 0.5 percent.* And 86 to 90 percent of those differences occurred within any one racial group. Therefore, just 14 percent or less of the 0.5 percent variation occurred between racial groups.
Because “humans are genetically homogeneous,” says the journal Nature, “genetics can and should be an important tool in helping to both illuminate and defuse the race issue.”
“Humans are genetically homogeneous,” or essentially the same
Such thinking is not new. Beginning in 1950 the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization published a series of statements intended to combat racism. The statements were authored by anthropologists, geneticists, and sociologists. Yet, racism persists. Clearly, an awareness of the facts is not enough. The heart, or the inner person, must also be reached. “Out of the heart come wicked reasonings,” said Jesus Christ.
The Bible’s Viewpoint
The Bible was written to appeal to the heart. For example, in addition to stating the scientific truth that “[God] made out of one man every nation of men, to dwell upon the entire surface of the earth,” the Bible also says: “God is not partial, but in every nation the man that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.” (Acts 10:34, 35; 17:26) Does that not warm your heart toward God?
Jehovah God wants us to show that we love him by becoming like him. “Become imitators of God, as beloved children, and go on walking in love,” says Ephesians 5:1, 2. “Walking in love” includes loving people as God does, regardless of their skin color or ethnicity.
God will not accept as his servants those whose hearts are filled with badness, including hatred and racial prejudice. (1 John 3:15) In fact, the time is fast approaching when God will wipe all wicked people off the face of the earth. Only those who imitate his qualities will remain. Then mankind will truly be just one family
The relatively few genetic differences between humans may, however, be significant medically, for some diseases appear to have a genetic link.