Re: Identifying Race

Ralph L Holloway (rlh2@COLUMBIA.EDU)
Wed, 21 Aug 1996 13:06:36 -0400

I don't want to enter into a useless harangue with Mr. Goodman on the
matter of "race". My main objection (aside from matters of subspecies,
etc) was to his statement regarding the triviality of most phenotypic
characters used to delimit breeding groups, demes, or whatever. I don't
kbnow wha is trivial and what isn't. I would have thought PSA's levels in
the blood would be "trivial" but it turns out that if you use "white"
standards you may not detect alarming and dangerous levels of these
antigens from "black" prostate glands, the implication being that "blacks"
are at an increased risk. I gather the same sort of applies to levels of
the "new" "Bad" cholesterol that appears to be about twice as high in
blacks than whites.
It was my impression that Mr. Goodman was advocating the rejection of
"trivial" phenotypic characteristics, indeed, anything biological, as a
basis for studying human variation. If I got it wrong, my apologies.
Ralph Holloway