With a poll title like the one the UCT newspaper used, this is how the options should have appeared. Scientific consensus is that "among humans, race has no taxonomic significance: all living humans belong to the same species, Homo sapiens and subspecies, Homo sapiens sapiens."

Why we look different is not because of different “races”, but almost entirely a result of thousands of years of natural selection triggered by geography, climate, weather, food, and so on. For example, humans living around the equator (where the sun’s rays are harsher) are more likely to be darker-skinned than humans living in northern Europe (where the sun’s rays are weaker).

There is nothing wrong in celebrating (and even poking fun at) our cultural and skin colour differences, but the phrase “race”, these days, tends to be used in an unscientific and ignorant kind of way that perpetuates outdated political propaganda.

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© the artist | Apr 08, 2013