What’s 'race' got to do with it?

Well its not like the Jeremy Kyle show but did you know that none of us are “racially pure”. We’ve all got a pick ‘n’ mix of different ethnicities within us.

For the braniacs amongst you, DNA has traditionally been used to trace one’s roots or identify a genetic medical condition/disorder. But there’s also a smart use of this technology to counter racist and sectarian ideas.

With the powers of DNA testing we can now use science to show people that supremacist ideas just don’t hold any water. So to put it bluntly I am not 100% white and Irfan isn’t 100% brown.

Most mainstream scientists agree that Africa was the cradle of civilisation, so we all originated as a species from Africa and spread all over the globe.

Can’t delete this!

This information is locked into our genes and our bodies carry this evidence, which will be passed onto our kids. You can’t erase the story of our origins. You can’t deny it, just like your thumb print. Pretty cool right?!

With a DNA test we have shown racists and supremacists that their ancestors came from all around the world. So a woman from Huddersfield could have DNA from a nomad tribe in the Saharan desert and a teacher from Nairobi could have DNA from a chef in Eastern Europe.

When I demonstrate these tests in front of school kids or community groups it has a very profound effect. It becomes impossible to take a supremacist seriously when you’ve just revealed they’re a tenth Middle Eastern or Latin American.

So, what does your DNA say about you?

We are united in our difference

On the other hand, Irfan’s views on racism come from a scholarly Islamic perspective.

An important part of being a Muslim is to strive for clear understanding, therefore scientific explanations are deeply respected and appreciated as they help to have a greater understanding of Allah. After all He is the greatest architect of all. The Holy Qur’an has an account of the beginning of Creation which is close to Dave’s modern scientific theory on DNA and why race is a social construct.

My religious view on why ‘race’ is insignificant is based on a verse in the Holy Quran that I like to call the ‘Community Cohesion Verse.’ Chapter 49, Verse 13 states that

“God made you into nations and tribes so that (me &) you could get to know each other.”

There is further an Islamic tradition (tafseer, commentary) of the Quran that explains that God created the body of Adam from a collective mass of earth gathered from all over the world. This explanation helped me to further appreciate and reconcile the “genetic” theory that Dave is so passionate about.

The ultimate point of convergence is that whether you look at it from a religious point of view of creationism or a scientific, genetic perspective – difference just doesn’t matter!!

This was Dave and I’s first conversation and in fact it lead to the start of the Me and You project. We created a conversation and believe passionately that through the conversation we can overcome the hatred and bigotry that leads to extremism and potential terrorism.