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Dis-Inventing Race

© 1998 Steve Brant, Trimtab Management Systems
(we encourage you to browse Steve's Web site as well)

In reporting on President Clinton's initiative on race ("A Renewed Sense of Purpose For Clinton's Panel on Race," Jan. 14th), [The New York times] quotes Judith Winston, the initiative's executive director, as saying "There are very few people who can articulate confidently what they think it takes to make it succeed." Ms. Winston need only have read The New York Times on January 10th to know what it ultimately will take: the recognition that since society invented the concept of separate races, it can "dis-invent" it. On January 10th, Ethan Bronner reported that the concept of separate races is sociological, not biological, in origin ("Inventing the Notion of Race," Arts & Ideas, January 10th).

Since we made it up, we can get rid of it. We can recognize that (a) it is a "false truth," (b) that it no longer serves society for us to live out of that truth, and (c) that we will benefit if we retrain ourselves to live out of the "new truth" that there is only one "race" on Earth, the "human race." The President's panel's motivation for advancing this objective would be the expanded economic opportunity that comes about when people stop fighting over "false differences" and start working with (and buying from) each other. Learning new truths is a common practice in the business world, where innovation is a function of one's ability to "unlearn" what is no longer true, so as to (apologies to Gene Roddenberry) boldly take one's business where it's never gone before.

With the Cold War over, the opportunity finally exists for all of humanity be a success. Acknowledging that we are all members of the "human race" is a key to making this "impossible dream" possible.

Steve Brant, President
Trimtab Management Systems
Brooklyn, NY

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