Thursday, February 4
Genesis 1:26 “God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness…’”
The four letters of the genetic code —A, C, G, and T—are projected onto Ryan Lingarmillar, a Ugandan. DNA reveals what skin color obscures: We all have African ancestors. Photo courtesy Robin Hammond, National Geographic
What if we believe what were taught at the expense of what we actual observe? In Race, Monogamy, and Other Lies They Told You: Busting Myths about Human Nature, Princeton primatologist and biological anthropologist Agustín Fuentes, eviscerates the myth of biological races. “[W]e find more genetic variation between a population of deer from northern North Carolina compared with one from Florida than we do between human populations from Central America, central Asia, and central Africa. Even more to the point, if you compare any two people from anywhere on the planet and then any two chimpanzees, the chimpanzees would have 75 percent more differences with each other than would the people. None of the examined variations map onto the traditional race categories. There were no genetic patterns that identify and lump whites versus blacks versus Asians; these patterns were looked for extensively and found not to be present.”
Fuentes is not ignorant of the power race plays in American life, on the contrary he argues that the myth that race describes genetically separate, mappable, groups distinguishable from one another results from erroneous assumptions, historic forces, and pseudoscience, which hinder our examinations of the real causes of disparities in health and wealth in America.
Action step: today, with brutal honesty observe your internalized understandings of “race markers” identifying how you are programmed to identify both race and gender through the interpretation of visual cues. Choose to see beyond these pretextual and subtextual assumptions in search of our shared divinity. Then bravely apply that to someone from whom you feel isolated or estranged, begin to see our sameness one person at a time.
Prayer: I Need Courage by Howard Thurman
The concern I lay bare before God today is my need for courage:
I need courage to be honest:
honest in my use of words;
honest in accepting responsibility;
honest in dealing with myself;
honest in dealing with (others);
honest in my relations with God.
I need courage to face the problems of my own life
the problems of personal values:
they are confused; they are often unreal;
they are too exacting for comfort.
I need courage to face the problems of my work.
Sometimes it seems I am working at cross-purposes with my own desires and ambitions…
Sometimes I am arrogant instead of simply taking pride in doing my work well.
Sometimes I’m doing what I’m doing just to prove a point that is not worth proving after all.
Here in the quietness I lay before God my need for courage, for the strength to be honest, for the guidance to deal effectively with the problems of my own life.
From For The Inward Journey; The Writings of Howard Thurman