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DeWitz

The Riddle of Race

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Posted (edited)

In his jeremiad against racism, nationalism, militarism and a host of other "isms," Canadian singer-songwriter wrote "There's no such thing as a pure racial strain" ("Put Our Hearts Together," 1983). Back then I was reminded of noted biologist (the late) Stephen Jay Gould's book The Mismeasure of Man (1981: New York; W.W. Norton & Co.). This was the work which convinced me that:

"Race" is a reflection of social, political, economic, religious and colonial forces in history; it is not a scientific construct based on legitimate biological and genetic observation.

Some may view this idea as idealistically naive, and perhaps others will consider it a breath of fresh air. What say ye?

A brief introduction to Gould's thinking on the matter: http//www.learntoquestion.com/resources/database/Stephen Jay Gould/the-geometer-of-race

(original article in "Discover" magazine, 11/1/1994)

Edited by szentgyorgy

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Posted (edited)

(I inadvertently omitted the name of the singer in the OP: Bruce Cockburn.)

Thanks, redhen, for the link. I reviewed it, and the discussion seemed to focus on inheritable traits and ethnic differences.

My concern in the OP above is whether or not people know, when they post about race, racial issues and racism that the category of race is unscientific at best. Tossing "race" about in this period of history impedes communication and understanding.

Yes, it's a reminder of a concept many people believe in categorically, even religiously, and base their thoughts, feelings and actions on it as an actuality in the physical world.

I'm not looking for lots of response, but hundreds of posts in other forums invoke race, some posters doing so repeatedly. My intention is to urge people to think about what they mean when they write or say "race," and share it here.

Edited by szentgyorgy

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