Comment: Here is an interesting letter to the editor by Turku University professor of genetics, Petter Portin, who states that one myth that has been constructed by Europeans is the concept of “race.” Genetic research has shown that so-called racial differences between people are very small. The only differences that separate us are geographic.
Even so, classifying people into different races has served many purposes throughout history. One of these has been to dominate groups and to justify their exploitation.
One of the first to classify people into different races was Carl von Linné (1707-1778), who argued that there were four: white, red, yellow and black.
“The best matter would be to give up classifying people altogether,” Portin writes. “Using terms (to classify different groups) is a way to control them.”
The term ethnic group is used more in Europe than in the United States, where groups like blacks refer to themselves as a “race.” Mexican Americans, for example, call themselves “la raza,” or the race. Europeans that immigrated to the United States and who were “white” were seen belonging to ethnic as opposed to racial groups.