The Race Myth: Why We Pretend Race Exists in America

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In the work, "The Race Myth: Why We Pretend Race Exists in America", Professor Graves shows conclusively that there is no such thing as racial subdivisions among Homo sapiens. He shows that the use of the term "race" was introduced by Europeans in order to denigrate non-Europeans. Continuing the use of the term "race" and its related derivations legitimizes and plays directly into the hand of that tactic. We must develop new language to explore the nature and origin of our prejudice. Differing human physical characteristics are associated with geographical location. There is no such thing as race among humans.

I am of mixed ancestry: European, Jewish, Native American and possibly others. I am referred to as "white", though my skin color is closer to reddish beige. I have never seen a person with white skin and though I have traveled around the world to many countries, including Africa and India, I have never seen a person with white or black skin. I have seen people with very dark brown skin, olive skin,, tan, light brown, but not black or white. Even the darkest skin color I have ever seen, in person or in photographs, was not black. The lightest skin I have ever seen, in person or in photographs, also was not white by any stretch of the imagination. The imprecision of our terminology does not serve us well in the quest for understanding and social intellectual/emotional growth.

The science based work by Professor Joseph Graves is an eye opener. Everyone should read it. If it is taken seriously, people will stop using these inaccurate terms to discuss our prejudice. Then, real progress can be made.

McJP's picture
McJP
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Jun. 15, 2015 9:50 am

Comments

Geneticists have long known there no significant differences within the human genome and only very very small pieces account for any outward looks or physical characteristics.

So your point is what?

rs allen
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Mar. 15, 2012 4:55 pm

The concept of "race" is indefensible scientifically. Unfortunately the social reality is not in alignment with ultimate reality. Long as people's skin color has any impact on how they are treated, in America or anywhere else, I am not comfortable dismissing race as a "myth".

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Aliceinwonderland
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Mar. 10, 2011 9:42 am

I agree wholeheartedly that the term "race" is only an economic and political designation, usually designed to suppress or denigrate one group or another and to reinforce social segregation. Why is President Obama always described as "black," when he clearly has one parent of European ancestry and one of African ancestry? Underlying this description is the hidden belief that having African ancestry taints a person in a significant way, and it has led to unfortunate terms such as "mulatto" and "octaroon." My solution would be to ban the use of the word "race" and replace it with something like "heritage." OK, dare to dream.

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DrJ
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Nov. 4, 2013 10:58 am

"High Yellow" is another label. I've heard of "mulatto" but not "octaroon".

Here's an interesting Time article from last year on Race and Genetics.

It says that after genomes from people all over the world have been studied...they have found that there is a biological basis for race. Of course, there have been "official statements to the contrary from leading social science organizations." Sometimes, I guess, some branches of "science?", who haven't really studied the actual, hard data, themselves, like geneticists have, have to bend to political pressures in order to keep from pissing off some people. It looks like social science has to be PC... so, they will make "feel good" statements so as to not tick too many people off. If there were no basis of biological reality, then geneticists wouldn't be able to trace along a person's genome and know that it matches with an ancestor back in Europe or Africa. But, they can! And they have!

All humans share the same common genes but vary in alternative forms as expressed in the alleles. The difference in races appear to be caused by the numbers and frequencies of alleles that are expressed. Our genes determine nearly everything about us. But, it seems, that Charles Darwin (Survival of the fittest), who learned much from Thomas Malthus (Malthusian Trap), and an economic historian, Gregory Clark, all seem to be concluding that there is a kind of cyclical nature to advantage and disadvantage and that those who have been pressed to struggle, who make the right decisions, and who strive to implement an advantage will effect, over the long term of evolutionary change, an advantage over others that didn't undergo such transformations. ie: generations of parents pressuring their children to work hard and acheive a successful education. Genetic changes can be brought about and passed along to one's genetic beneficiaries...their offspring... over successive generations ... as a result of continued genetic pressure to act in certain ways.

The article gives an example of Ashkenazi Jews who tend to have higher IQs, on average than non-Ashkenazi Jews. And, they have a history of doing very well for themselves. Their success ticked off the non-Jews and led to the holocaust. But that's what happens when a group is far outnumbered by jealous people, I guess. It is generally conceded now that Jews and Asians usually out-perform others in academic acheivements. If you look at their cultures, you will see that they both pressure their young to achieve. They will most likely never have to ask for welfare, equal opportunity employment, or section 8 housing.

The article said that one reason why that group of high IQ Ashkenazi Jews were so smart was partially because of a political/religious pressure on the common Jews by the power elite Jews of the Synagogs, the high priest Joshua ben Gamla in 63 or 65 AD, for all Jews to send their children to school. Education was very expensive then and since most of the Jews were poor farmers and couldn't afford obeying the dictates of the Rabbis, many were ripe for conversion to Christianity that didn't require they send their children to expensive schools. So, over the years, those who had been forced to educate their children became smarter... and those who didn't became dumber(?)... and this was found to be expressed in the genes.

Let's face it, there are parents who are not concerned with how well their children are educated, they may have little incentive to better themselves because they may be getting a relatively "free pass" and don't feel pressured to pressure their children to do better for themselves either. And today, you don't even need to go to a school to get a good education, to flex those brain cells, let alone an ivy league school. The problem is that, with many kids and parents, they'd rather spend time bitching about the system and thinking they are being treated unfairly and feeling sorry for themselves to do anything about their condition. And, it will ripple down the line. They'd rather steal for a living and do drugs and do drive by shootings and join a gang that encourages their stupidity. It is more of a "hunter-gatherer", "instant gratification" model that often shortens the life of many of these people, if not by gang violence then by escallation of a situation with a cop that goes viral.

Psychologist Walter Mischel tested young children with marshmellows... the Marshmellow Test. He told the children that he could give the kids a marshmellow now... or... if they waited 10 minutes he'd give them two marshmellows. The ones who wanted immediate gratification took the one marshmellow but had to watch the other children, who waited, get two marshmellows. Years later, they tested the children who took the one marshmellow against those that waited for the larger reward and they found that the ones who were smart enough to wait had higher Sat scores and social competence later in life."

They also equated this to those who were hunter-gatherer societies and those who were agrarian societies. The hunter-gatherers were the ones predisoposed to immediate gratification and the agrarians were the ones who are more disciplined and had to plan and toil in the fields hoping for a reward on their investment. The agrarian lineages were better able to hold down jobs but the hunter gatherer lineages were not so able to hold down jobs. Disciplined behaviors evolved in various societies through the ages... some things based on belief systems...others... perhaps... was just written in their genes.

http://time.com/91081/what-science-says-about-race-and-genetics/
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Just 2.5% of DNA turns mice into men

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn2352-just-25-of-dna-turns-mice-int...

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

I stated my point very clearly.

We must develop accurate and appropriate language if progress is to made in understanding and improving equality. Using the loaded language with which we are now burdened prevents that progress, a fact that I believe is demonstrated by your response to my post.

Please read the work by Dr. Graves, an African American schoolar and scientist and see if you more clearly understand my point.

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McJP
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Jun. 15, 2015 9:50 am

My exact point is that "social reality is not in alignment with ultimate reality", though I would substitute the word "actual" or "scientific" for the word "ultimate". Until we, the human race, stop using the terminology that has trapped us in a prison of prejudice we will not make significant progress toward equality.

My post suggests that people read the article by the distinguished African American scholar. I would be glad to discuss this issue further with anyone who actually reads the article and can address its content point by point.

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McJP
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Jun. 15, 2015 9:50 am

It is more than obvious that evolution cannot stop. That is not a point of dispute among scientists.

I read the article and found no information that supports the author's conclusion that there are division of race among humans. His arguments on this point are social, not scientific. They are also undisciplined, scattered and are not shown, in the article, to be related to his erroneous point.

I find it a bit frustrating that there are several responses to my post by people who have clearly not read the article I referenced.

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McJP
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Jun. 15, 2015 9:50 am
Quote McJP:I find it a bit frustrating that there are several responses to my post by people who have clearly not read the article I referenced.
You didn't refence an article. You'd possibly save yourself some frustration in the future if you linked to the source material that you are discussing so others would have a chance to possibly read what you are referring to. That said, it isn't the words used that cause the divide-- the divide precedes the words that are then assigned to the differnces between us and "others" . At one time human survival probably hinged on not trusting the other "other".

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stwo
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

I like the idea but don't think it could work. Nothing will happen until justice is achieved, people are not going to start thinking this way until they can relax. As long as people are worried about getting killed, they are not going to be relaxed. That's just nature. Who cares about framing, words and identity when you're dodging bullets? Let's put the fire out first.

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Rebkeh
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Jan. 1, 2015 1:16 pm

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