Lineage a powerful influence on one’s future, hope remains


Determinism and free will have been bouncing consistently around my head for quite some time now.

Determinism takes the shape of a small person holding a large sign with the words “NO CHOICE” printed in large, bold, Arial letters.

Meanwhile, free will holds a similar sized sign with the words “YOUR CHOICE” scribbled haphazardly across it.

They constantly fight each other, each one on a mission to defeat the other and become the ruler of my confused mind.

However, after reading the article “Your Ancestors, Your Fate” by Gregory Clark, my already small, human-shaped free will, is rapidly shrinking until it is the size of a tiny peanut.

In his article, Clark reports on the class differences from various parts of the world. Astonishingly, his findings show that class difference according to last name has barely seen any changes, even after several centuries.

It may come as a surprise, especially due to the popular belief that your past does not define you, much less your ancestors past.

In the United States, if your ancestors are anything but light-skinned or of European descent, you are more likely to hear racial slurs aimed at you every day.

If your ancestors are from Latin America, you stand a bigger chance of being stopped in the streets of Arizona for illegal residence, even if you were born here.

If your ancestors are of African descent, you are more likely to die at the hands of a law enforcement employee than if your ancestors are from the south of France.

Most of the things you will encounter at some point in your life will be based on the way other people see you, and even if you do not want it to be so, people will not see your personality first; they will see the color of your skin and the texture of your hair. Things passed on to you by your ancestors.

It may seem sad and unfair, and that is because it is.

Although I do believe that the opportunities you hold are much less than those of the people around you and the problems you will face in life are many more, based solely on your ancestry, you still have the opportunity to work hard and excel in this developing world.

Every day, more and more people join the fight for equality all over the world. They fight to have the same wages as their genetically lucky counterparts and to end racism and the tragedies it brings with it.

If we want to challenge the system we have to try, no matter the color of our skin or the last name that we carry. We must walk as if nothing has been determined and everything is up to us.