Portney’s Complaint

Portneys Complaint

Portney’s Complaint

Devon Portney

On Sunday I had the amazing experience of visiting the Body Worlds 2 exhibit at the Museum of Science. In the September 11th issue of The Mass Media, there is an excellent spread about the exhibit, but you must experience it for yourself to truly appreciate it. In different representations, Dr. Gunther von Hagens shows the fascinating intricacies that are the human body. It is breathtaking.

Very few of the plastinates (bodies preserved by plastination) have outer skin showing, but those that do appear to have been white. With every other human body exhibited, there is absolutely no way of knowing what ethnicity the person was. They could have been African, Asian, Indian, or Arab, Jewish, Catholic, Hindu, or Muslim. The point is, its only skin. What exists under our bodies is all the same.

At the dawn of mankind, upright walking mammals ventured out of Africa into Europe. All humans were born out of Africa. When they migrated into Europe, their skin lightened due to less sun and warmth. Skin color differences are merely a factor of science.

There is no further race than a human race. One race that encompasses all human beings, since they are all built the same. All respiratory and reproductive systems operate in the same manner, all muscular structures are built the same way, and all hearts beat for the same reason. When there are so many similarities among all of us, why do we waste our time concentrating on the differences?

I believe the issue of racism stems from its true origin: classism. The stereotypes which perpetuate racism in America are usually born out of poverty or lack of education. Think about the issues with racism in this country. Even while Africans were slaves in the South after being forced to come here (the definitive form of racism), the poorest immigrants were Italians and especially Irish. They experienced daily discrimination and were regarded as the scum of the earth, second only to slaves. The Irish were the same skin color as the British, but were poor and were therefore judged as a group.

Once slaves became free they were perhaps worse off, having no way of obtaining a job, food, or shelter. Former slaves with no assistance became the ultimate poor class. Without money for education, or integrated schools, this cycle would continue through the years.

In America, you need money in order to experience life above racism. It is the life of the poor in this country to bear the brunt of social discrimination, and when those poor are of a different ethnicity, that is the difference concentrated upon. Perhaps that is why racism seems so ludicrous.

The differences among humans physical appearance is nothing more than the science of climate and location. The social differences among humans are nothing more than a problem with the distribution of money and resources. It is unfortunate that the world is determined to perpetuate our differences, never our similarities.

E-mail Devon Portney at [email protected]