‘Race is in our heads’ say scientists

Height is more important than race – at least genetically.

This surprising fact was one of the many things Media Academy junior Lester Finney learned when he went to a high school journalism conference on Feb. 27 at San Francisco State University.

The first session Finney attended was one that focused on the media and sterotypes. It was directed by Jon Funabiki, a journalism professor at SFSU. Funabiki showed the high school students a 1997 KRON-TV program that explored race.

The video started with a tall white male, a medium-sized white male, a medium-sized black male, and a short white male – all students at San Francisco State University.

The KRON reporters discovered by interviewing a geneticist that the white medium-sized male and the black medium-sized male were the most similar genetically.

Also, the tall and short white males were the least similar genetically of the four. In other words, height matters more than race in genetics.

“While each cell in the human body has 100,000 genes, only six genes control skin color six out of a dozen,” Pam Moore explained.

The video also explained that every person in the world shares those same six genes, which produce pure melanin, so every person has the ability to produce skin as dark as an African native.

“If you expect that there exist pure races, that is totally absurd,” said Professor Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza of Stanford University.

Finney returned to Media Academy after the conference and decided to show Fremont students of different races that they have more in common than they think. First, he showed students in his newspaper class the video and then he worked with other reporters to recreate the scene.

I was one of four gentlemen chosen to illustrate this topic by having my photograph taken by the Green & Gold with someone my own height but a different race and then two other African Americans who weren’t my height.

I was amazed that I have more in common with my friend Ronay Kong, a Cambodian, than with the other African American gentlemen.

Finney said he learned a lot from his experience.

“It was good because now I know that people of the same [race are not necessarily] alike just because they look like each other,” said Finney.

So who is most alike genetically of the boys pictured in the photograph above?

Leo Jerald, an African American,and Ronay Kong, a Cambodian.