REPLY To Discussion Boards 2, 3, 4 GLST -600


S Clayton 


Race has been known to be a touchy subject for many.  Discussing race seems to be synonymous with speaking while treading lightly.  Pondering on my understanding of different races led me to think, first, about what I believe race to be.  Race, to me, refers to the physical features of a person.  The first human feature that comes to mind when reflecting on race is skin color.  Other physical features are included, however, such as hair, and the shape of a person’s nose, lips, and face.  Ultimately, race considers color, and facial features.  Because of this, race can be thought of as part of one’s DNA.  Differences in the way people look can be attributed to their genetic makeup and so, race is a part of this makeup.  In my personal understanding of different races, identifying where a person is from can be easy because of the way they look.

After conducting research on this topic, I realized I was only partially correct in my thinking.  A person’s physical attributes is a result of their genetic code, but not in the way that I thought.  A Stanford study was conducted in 2002 [1], in which human diversity was examined.  The focus of this study was 4,000 and how they were distributed across the globe, breaking the world into seven geographical regions.  It was found that over 92% of alleles were found in two or more regions and almost half of the alleles studied were present in all seven major geographical regions [2].  In my previous idea of race, I identified the physical features with DNA and assumed they were one in the same.  This is not the case as alleles vary greatly from genetic code.  Alleles differ from genes in that, all humans have the same genes that code for hair, but the different alleles are why hair comes in all types of colors and textures. [2]

Elmer (2002) discusses the importance of understanding culture and strays from using the term, ‘race’.  God created differences [3] and seems to prefer it.  There are several cases in the Bible where the one that is chosen by God to fulfill a mission is the one person that is different.  The book of Matthew speaks of a woman that used expensive perfume on the head of Jesus. [4] This action was characteristically different from what was expected.  The Bible discusses race in terms of lineages from Jacob or other patriarchs.  In First Peter, we see that people from various nations are called by God and in this, we find another example of the inherent differences we see in the world.  The book of Ester, also, has very specific examples of race and how it can affect people’s behavior towards one another.

God’s word seems to side more with the scientific explanation of races, rather than my understanding of it.  While Deuteronomy 32:8 explains the separation of people by God, verses in Psalms, Romans, Colossians, among other books, express the fact that race is simply a way for humans to categorize themselves needlessly because God sees us as a human race where if we call on him, we will be blessed.


[1] Stanford study

[2] Chou, Vivian. Hoe Science and Genetics are Reshaping the Race Debate of the 21st Century, Harvard University, , 2017

[3] Elmer, Duane. Cross-Cultural Connections: Stepping Out and Fitting in Around the World. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2002.

[4] Unless otherwise noted, all scripture retrieved from Christian Standard Bible




E Beth

Position of Race-DB 2


Top of Form

I am persuaded that there is only genetically one race; the human race  However, the human construct of differences in race is born out of a need that humans have to classify in order to understand ourselves and the world and people around us. Hiebert states that “Social categories are built by establishing oppositions—by showing the differences between us and others. Each society and each age re-creates its Others in order to define itself.1  Over hundreds of years of recorded history I can see that different societies made some kind of distinction between self and others on the basis of religion, nation of origin, physical characteristics or a combination of all three things.  The idea of race based on physical characteristics was first described by anthropologists in the 1800s. 2


In our present age, race is largely defined a combination of skin color, distinguishing physical characteristics, and national origin.  However, in the case of my friend Elizabeth, identifying her broadly as Asian wouldn’t provide anyone with much insight into who she is or how to relate to her culturally.  She was born in Brazil in the 1970s to refugees from Taiwan and mainland China.  She grew up in a Christian home where her parents spoke a mixture of Portuguese, Mandarin, and Cantonese.  After arriving in the United States as an adult, she obtained citizenship and married an American from Wyoming and now lives in Arizona.  If someone tried to understand her as someone who grew up in China or Taiwan by considering the customs and traditions of those countries, her attitudes and behavior might be confusing.

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