Racial Identity

Rachel Dolezal’s claim that she is black has sparked wide controversy. But, is there really such a thing as ‘Racial Identity’? Ten comments about race and identity, draw from a trawl of the internet and other sources, indicates that it is a false assumption. The main problem is that we don’t have a satisfactory definition of ‘Identity.’


Racial identity is based on the superficial. But, how deep are real human divisions?
Race is based on what we see. But, how deep are human divisions?
  1. While people continue to question the motivations behind former NAACP official Rachel Dolezal’s claiming she is black, scientists say identity, even racial identity, doesn’t arise from any single place in the brain – click here
  2. Ray Sprigle (Pulitzer-winning writer from Pittsburgh, who in 1948 shaved his head, acquired a deep tan and “passed” for a black man across the segregated American south for a month) came to the conclusion that there is no scientific or empirical basis for “race” here
  3. Race and ethnicity are social constructions and not based in biological fact .
  4. “… we often classify humans on appearances, which can be deceptive. A case in point is skin colour. Over long periods of time certain genes were turned on in the peoples who wandered inland and north across upper latitudes; others turned off. Pigments disappeared in those who travelled farthest from the sun and selection forces tended to grade our hue according to distance from the equator.” (Raymond Keogh Shelter & Shadows (due for publication in 2016)
  5. “… our colour may have more to say about where our ancestors lived over the past 10,000-20,000 years than about their genetic diversity over the previous 60,000 years.” (Oppenheimer, S. 2004. Out of Eden. Robinson. London; p. 199.)
  6. “… while we are still recovering from the last ice-age cycle and previous bottlenecks, our total genetic diversity remains relatively low. Our lack of diversity as a species lays us open to new pandemics of infection in crowded, interacting communities. (Oppenheimer, S. 2004. Out of Eden. Robinson. London; p. 357.) [At the same time, however, racial mixing would appear to be a positive biological trend for our species]
  7. [Perceived racial divisions continues to fragment mankind with unfortunate consequences] Racism can have a lot of effects on a victim. Victims can become angry, bitter or violent. It can destroy a person’s self esteem. It can destroy communities and creates divisions within society. … racial discrimination erodes mental health here
  8. … adolescence is the time when many struggle the hardest with identity issues … especially people of color here
  9. [An extreme consequence of perceived racial identity and inferiority is self-hatred] It’s a very peculiar self-hatred that causes you to be dissatisfied with the very skin in which your body is housed see here
  10. The only true path in life is not only to accept your origins; it is to revel in them here

When we try to define partitions in humanity in terms of ‘Racial Identity’, the divisions are shown to be illusive. On the other hand, we lack a satisfactory universal definition of human identity that underpins our unity. The goal of The Gerald Keogh Identity Series is to derive a new and objective definition of the term.