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The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on March 21. On that day, in 1960, police opened fire and killed 69 people (mostly children) at a peaceful demonstration in Sharpeville. Proclaiming that day in 1966, the General Assembly called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.

Let us use the opportunity provided to us by March 21 to remind ourselves that race has no scientific basis. Meaning there really is no scientific basis for a statement like, White people, Brown people, Yellow people, Red people or Black people. For example, it has been proven that Africans and Europeans are genetically linked; therefore, scientifically we are the same people. What happens after we come into this world, as the same people, is what changes us and leads to the blight we call racial discrimination.

What we do know is that Race is a sociological term that refers to cultural and geographical origin. As countries and elites have vied for power and privilege, race became an easy and emotional identifier to justify the domination and sometimes slaughter of some cultures and races. Although the great racist atrocities of history, like the Atlantic Slave Trade and the Holocaust, are unmatched in their systematic destruction of a people justified by race, the horror of genocide, and war continues in today’s world, although we seem to be more sophisticated, and diplomatic in our use of the word “race”.