Culture Genetics

Is “race” a dying concept?

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From David Reich at New York Times: One hopes so.

In 1942, the anthropologist Ashley Montagu published “Man’s Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race,” an influential book that argued that race is a social concept with no genetic basis. A classic example often cited is the inconsistent definition of “black.” In the United States, historically, a person is “black” if he has any sub-Saharan African ancestry; in Brazil, a person is not “black” if he is known to have any European ancestry. If “black” refers to different people in different contexts, how can there be any genetic basis to it?

Beginning in 1972, genetic findings began to be incorporated into this argument. That year, the geneticist Richard Lewontin published an important study of variation in protein types in blood. He grouped the human populations he analyzed into seven “races” — West Eurasians, Africans, East Asians, South Asians, Native Americans, Oceanians and Australians — and found that around 85 percent of variation in the protein types could be accounted for by variation within populations and “races,” and only 15 percent by variation across them. To the extent that there was variation among humans, he concluded, most of it was because of “differences between individuals.”

In this way, a consensus was established that among human populations there are no differences large enough to support the concept of “biological race.”More.

Yes, of course. But the people making a living off the concept today claim to be fighting it. When was the last time you heard from the local Kleagle?

The last one I ever even heard about lost an election so badly somewhere in the southern United States that his efforts could not be distinguished from a statistical rounding error.

Aren’t the people who keep the concept alive “diversity” officers and so forth? If the issue is racial disparities in school performance, trust me, the problem is the overwhelming level of corruption in public schooling, which disproportionately affects members of minority groups.

And the diversity officers’ job is to keep that issue from being front and centre, as it ought to be, by emphasizing something – or anything – else.

Time someone opened a window on all this stuff. If you ask me (O’Leary for News),

See also: Steven Pinker insists that scientific racism was, conveniently, mere “pseudoscience”

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