Let’s Use “Ethnic” Instead Of “Racial,” Shall We?

Let's use "ethnic" instead of "racial," shall we? Racial should be used when speaking about the entire human race

I’ve been told that if I confess my errors to other people, and pray for other people, then I will be healed.  I’m feeling a desire to confess an error of my country, and to request your prayers and good intentions for its progress.

Condoleezza Rice called the institution of slavery “America’s birth defect.” Even after slavery was ended by the Civil War of 1861-1865, a system of institutional second-class citizenship for the slaves and their descendants emerged in America.  It took another hundred years for that system to be confronted and dismantled by the work of many individuals, most notably Martin Luther King, Jr.  One aspect of this system were laws banning marriage between citizens of certain ethnicities.

I am pleased to report that my home state of Minnesota never had such a law.  I am also told that in Minnesota’s past, a marriage between a person of Swedish ancestry and a person of Norwegian ancestry was considered a scandalous mixed marriage.

All state laws banning marriage between citizens of different ethnicities were declared unConstitutional by the Supreme Court in the case Loving v. Virginia in 1967.  Since then, the number of marriages described by the term “interracial marriages” has consistently increased.  I consider this a wholesome trend.  There are others who, for whatever reason, do not.  Tamera Mowry comments here on those who have bitterly criticized her interracial marriage:

Let’s use “ethnic” instead of racial, shall we?

I hereby declare my desire for the words “race,” “racial,” etc. to only be used in the context of the entire human species, the entire human family.  The way the word “race” is currently used is a historical artifact of a more ignorant time.  People once believed that other people of certain different ethnicities, were actually members of different species.  This has been demonstrated and documented as a false belief.  The words “ethnic” and “ethnicity” come from the Greek word which is translated in the New Testament as “nations,” “Gentiles” or “peoples.” Ethnicity is a perfectly good word to describe what people mistakenly use the word race to describe.  Therefore, I consider Tamera Mowry’s marriage to Adam Housley to be an “interethnic marriage.”

Someone is reading this and thinking “Douglas, what you are proposing will never happen.”  I realize this might take a while. The word “miscegenation” was once commonly used to describe certain interethnic marriages, but has dropped out of public discourse.  I’m putting in my request for the change I want to see in the world.

Someone is reading this and thinking “But Douglas, by the definition you have just proposed, there are vast numbers of interethnic marriages.  It takes the drama out of the whole deal.”  Truth has a way of doing that, doesn’t it?

Someone else is reading this and thinking “But Douglas, what about the haters?”  Just as some people have a certain attachment to their country, other people have a certain attachment to their ethnicity.  Some people have undue ethnic pride, others have undue ethnic self-loathing.  But in the unified world I dream of and work toward, ethnic prejudice is a long-renounced insanity, as unacceptable as, say, not wearing clothes in public is today. I invite the people who disapprove of the marriage of Tamara Mowry and Adam Housley to have a conversation in the secret chamber of their hearts, examining the ethnic attachment which is the root of all ethnic prejudice.

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