In an article published in The Atlantic a couple days ago, writer Sarah Zhang discusses how genetics research is making everybody racist, implying like John Horgen did in Scientific American a few years ago, that perhaps scientific inquiry should be banned if it contradicts antiracist dogma.
This latest pronouncement from one who feeds from the trough of the hegemonic antiracist paradigm, droning on and on from their privileged, hegemonic echo chamber about the ‘essential sameness’ of human races, makes the same error that the likes of Hitler did by failing to acknowledge that diversity exists both within and between races. The reality is that the races are as much the same as they are different. This is going to be the final answer to this racial cold war.
An African man may be more closely related to an Asian than to another African.”
This is an extremely cherry-picked, rhetorical factoid. Data analysis can pick up anything like this, but it’s extremely misleading. While I don’t dispute the contours of human diversity, I would reckon that such an African man would be located at the horn of Africa who shares more genetic material with a Yemenite across the Gulf of Aden than he does with a Zulu thousands of kilometers south.
The trouble with the way we talk about race is that our biological differences are by degree rather by category. The borders of a country or continent are not magical lines that demarcate one genetically distinct population from another. “There are no firm and clear boundaries if you sample every grid on Earth,” [says] Tishkoff.
Nobody in 2017 is making this claim. Just as a racial discriminator passes quick judgment based on skin color, you are pigeonholing an immensely diverse reaction against the hegemonic ‘humans are all the same blank slates’ antiracist paradigm by pretending that we’re all espousing the pre-Boasian concept of ‘race’. Rather than examine the ‘book of nature’ that Galileo extolled as the foundation of scientific inquiry, you are talking about nothing other than the ghosts of a bygone white supremacist era. In reality–this reality which exists outside of our heads–the races are the same, and they are also different. The cup is half full, and it is half empty.
But because we lack a common vocabulary to talk about these differences between people by degree, we draw boundaries with our words and categorize them: Korean, Mongol, Asian.
Yes, and I would argue in response that race-denialists who claim that white racism–and white racism alone–is the cause of racial disparities–youare the ones who lack the necessary vocabulary to be sensitive to degrees of difference. Meaningful variaton DOES exist in relative trait frequencies between the fuzzy population sets we colloquially refer to as ‘race’.
A study might find, for example, African Americans have higher rates of diabetes, prompting headlines about racial disparities and even more research into the genetics of African Americans with diabetes. But the focus on genes in African Americans elides the fact that such differences might predominantly come from a disproportionate number of them living in poverty.
I could just as quickly say that the focus on African-Americans living in poverty eludes the fact that there are also genetic differences which could explain not only diabetes in African-American communties, but also why African-Americans are in poverty in the first place. I’m not saying that anti-black racial bias is not real or that it isn’t a problm; I’m simply saying that the causality could be perceived to swing both ways, and that your analysis is tragicaly, fractally biased. You could furthermore explain much of this ant-black racial bias as a consequence of the cognitive faculty of inductive logic, which is evolved out of the finitude of the mind and which causes us to associate behavioral traits with outward characteristics like skin color or face shape.
BTW, “elides” is a typo.
You harp on people who ‘succumb to the temptation of racism’ at the drop of a pin by suggesting that they are seeing the races as ‘essentially’ different. Again (I feel it is important to be repeating myself here), the hegemonic antiracist paradigm, within which you are clearly steeped and benefitting from, is biased equally and oppositely, thinking that the races are ‘essentially’ the same. Realisticaly, public policy and media propaganda needs to be agnostic on this issue, and let people think for themselves. The races are different enough to not presuppose the collective guilt of white people as the scourge of racial inequality; they are the same enough in order to aggressively pursue equal rights and mutual respect for all peoples. In 2017, whites are denied equal civil rights, and there is an aggressive institutional and cultural campaign to denigrate them, discriminate against them, and intimidate them. As Gandhi once said, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
It’s sad how heartless race-deniers are, eagerly hurtling the world toward massive conflict and suffering. The banality of evil in 2017 is found in those conformists and careerists who latch unthinkingly onto antiracism simply because it’s the path of least resistance. The only way to avert massive conflict is to begin listening to radically sober voices like my own.