Re: race & anthro and history of both

Edward Green (
8 Dec 1996 19:18:49 -0500

<> wrote:

>Franz Boas's semi-serious suggestion that governments encourage
>"miscegenation" in any way possible as the one way to eliminate the
>idiocies of racism seems all the more prescient today. He thought that
>the distinctions were arbitrary and unreal yet harmful, so he suggested
>rewards for intermarriange between supposed races, adding that if the
>biological folks were right, this could only result in greater genetic
>"hybrid vigor," and if not it might at least shut up some of the racists
>running loose if all their kin were getting social encouragement and tax
>breaks for "intermarriage"!

This sir is a brilliant suggestion. I foresee the usual problems,
however -- once we make a government entitlement program out of it,
people will be applying based on the fact that their wife's great aunt
was a Filapina. Still, perhaps a small price to pay.

I share your distaste for R-word idiocy, and just posted to this
effect, to which I have received no comment. I wonder if this is

(A) The sensible people are sick to the gills with hearing about it,

(B) The unsensible people had no idea what I was saying, so didn't
even bother flaming me, or

(C) My editor ate a word in the first line, so I looked like an

Probably all of the above. I can understand "sick to the gills with
hearing about it"; the problem is, when all people capable of
greater subtlety of thought than a goldfish adopt this attitude the
flow of public debate is dominated by people who lack this
qualification. This eventually has bad consequences. When
the media was engaging in an absolute orgy of r-word multiplication
in the last few decades it would have been nice to see a few brave
souls in a position to command a hearing remind the public that:

(1) While the r-word may have a certain academic utility in
describing lumpiness in the genome variation in the human population,

(2) the habitual division of the population of the large democratic
nation roughly trisected by the Mississippi River and the Rocky
Mountains by two r-words characterized by extreme values on a
color chart betrays a sloppiness of thought that would shame a nematode.

Ok, they could have put it a little nicer.

It's as if the Institute of Physics had remained silent while public
debate considered *where* we were going to build the National
Perpetual Motion Machine, and when we were going to start. Silence
breeds idiocy.