Thanks to The Pilot for reprinting “Gerrymandering Impacts Race, Representation.” The piece sent me to the online New Oxford American Dictionary and the word “race:”

“Although ideas of race are centuries old, it was not until the 19th century that attempts to systematize racial divisions were made. Ideas of supposed racial superiority and social Darwinism reached their culmination in Nazi ideology of the 1930s and gave pseudoscientific justification to the policies and attitudes of discrimination, exploitation, slavery, and extermination.”

Four hundred years ago, the first kidnapped Africans were unloaded in America, and about 160 years later the United States was born with the birth defect of slavery. Discrimination, exploitation, slavery and extermination did not begin with the Nazis.  

“Theories of race asserting a link between racial type and intelligence,” according to the Dictionary, “are now discredited. Scientifically it is accepted as obvious that there are subdivisions of the human species, but it is also clear that genetic variation between individuals of the same race can be as great as that between members of different races.”

This 400th anniversary year would be a good time to face up to our painful history and to welcome the opportunity to embrace our rich diversity so that all of us can be free at last from the sins of our racist past. 

Eric Christenson, Southern Pines

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