Mixing It Up

Observations and ideas about race, ethnicity and mixing.

Author: Lauren

Apprenticeship: Another Name for Slavery

“Where are you from? We have been here for 200 years. Our blood, our sweat is in this land, and we will not allow you to take it from us…Who sent you here? The white man. You came here to destroy us…We will defend [this land] with our very lives” (Guiana 1838). This powerful quote from the film Guiana 1838, The Arrival encompasses the enragement felt by the emancipated Africans at the arrival of the Indian indentured laborers. This enragement was towards the white man, and the Indians, and stems from the fears and doubts that were felt after emancipation. From the second that the African slaves found out that they were “free,” there were uncertainties.
emancipated African  Indian indentured laborer
Many believed that this was too good to be true; after centuries of abusing slaves, why then would Britain turn against slavery? One possible reason was the arising sense of social humanitarianism due to religious beliefs. A growing middle class that felt it had an obligation to right past wrongs, and there was also a sense by the English population that plantation owners were flaunting their wealth, which was brought to them by the forced labor and torture of humans.

Of course, the actual enactment of abolition of slavery was not as righteous as it should have been. Under the terms of abolition, the British government paid the British slave owners 20 million pounds as compensation for putting an end to slavery. The slaves received no compensation, but instead were forced back into the fields with the new title “apprentices,” and faced the same treatments, but this time around, with low wages.

Works Cited
Jagessar, Rohit. Guiana 1838, The Arrival . RBC Radio, 2004.

The “Genetic Basis” of Race

It’s a reasonably obvious concept that offspring resemble their parents. The question that scientists had been trying to answer for centuries was: how? In his work on pea plants, ‘Father of Genetics,’ Gregor Mendel observed that there are environmental factors which influence the expression of certain traits (Saraswathy and Ramalingam 14). This was an important discovery because prior to Mendel’s work on pea plants, it was widely believed and accepted by scientists that inheritance was described by blending.


The relationship between race and genetics is relevant regarding the multi-century long controversy which concerns race classification. In the PBS TV Series Race: The Power of an Illusion, race is interpreted as “a concept that was invented to categorize the perceived biological, social, and cultural differences between human groups” (Episode 1). To sum this up, race is a human invention. However, as a concept, race does categorize biological differences. For example, there is a mother and father, both of mixed race, and they have twins that visibly appear to be different races. However, as dizygotic sororal twins, they share 50% of their DNA. Nonetheless, they would be categorized as “white” and “black” due to their appearance.  The problem with the relationship between race and genetics is that the concept of race being manipulated as a form of categorization is inherently fallacious. This manipulation is advanced by bigotry and social structures which served as the basis of scientific understanding of race.

Works Cited

Pounder, C C. H, Larry Adelman, Jean Cheng, Christine Herbes-Sommers, Tracy H. Strain, Llewellyn Smith, and Claudio Ragazzi. Race: The Power of an Illusion, Episode 1: The Differences Between Us. San Francisco, Calif: California Newsreel, 2003.

Saraswathy, N. and Ramalingam, P.  Concepts and Techniques in Genomics and Proteomics. Woodhead, 2016.

Wade, Lisa. “”Black and White Twins” and the Social Construction of Race.” Sociological Images, The Society Pages, 1 Aug. 2014, thesocietypages.org/socimages/2014/08/01/black-and-white-twins/.

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