24 March 2011

What Does Race Mean?

The Daily Mirror tells us about 'The Rainbow Family: Three children with different skin colours born to the same parents' explaining that,
"A couple have called their kids the Rainbow Children... because one is white, one is mixed race and the other is black.

White mum Carla Nurse, 27, and her mixed-race husband Cornel, 31, were not surprised when their first child Jermaine was born with a brown complexion.

But they were stunned when daughter Tanisha arrived with an Afro-Caribbean appearance and second son Jayden was born with white skin and blonde hair. Carla, a part-time model from Lowestoft, Suffolk, said: "It looks strange when I walk around with my rainbow children.""
When the children grow up, they will most probably be confronted with race monitoring forms where they have to tick a box that best describes their race. So, what race are they?

Quite sensibly we might say that they're mixed race; after all, their parents are different races. But what does the law say?

" racial" is not a term of art, either legal or, I surmise, scientific. I apprehend that anthropologists would dispute how far the word " race " is biologically at all relevant to the species amusingly called homo sapiens.
in Ealing London Borough Council v Race Relations Board.

Further consideration of the question leads me to the conclusion that, unless someone is being discriminated against, the question is irrelevant. The word does not bear any meaning except in discrimination law: a close reading of the Race Relations Act 1976 takes us to some definitions in section 3 which says,
In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires ...
(my emphasis) so, without this Act, the word does not bear a meaning; it isn't a term of art either in law or science.
And here are a couple of chaps who are illustrating that race is nothing but a social construction. Go on, make up a name for the ones who are white on the left because they are superior aren't they? They should own all the property, do no work and exploit the ones who are white on the right. Everybody knows that don't they?


  1. Amazingly, even this article feels the need to break their children into different categories, as if they were born of different people: one is mixed race, one is white, one is black. They are all mixed race... period.

  2. "They are all mixed race... period."

    Agreed. I would go even further and say that we are all mixed race.

  3. it's not that easy. society doesn't really accept a black looking person saying "i'm half white" or a white person (white blonde blue eyed) saying Oh, I'm half black. whatever, Earth....
    I do find mixed race people beautiful, especially half asian half caucasian.

    1. which of course is why Obama is only ever described as black even tho he's half white, half black!! And is really brown ;) Its so ridiculous, we are all mixed, in fact we are actually all one race.