Re: What Are the Race Deniers Denying?

Greg Clark (
Wed, 18 Dec 1996 16:07:55 -0500

On 13 Dec 1996, Ron Kephart wrote:

> () wrote:
> > Not until the initial question is answered. Specifically, what is a
> > "biologically meaningful concept"?
> A "biologically meaningful concept" would be blood type. I am "white"
> and I have type O blood. Let's say I am injured, and I need blood.
> The following two people are available as donors:

Of course, blood type is a biologically meaningful concept, and thank you
for the example. But what I was after was a *definition* of "biologically
meaningful." You make the claim that race is *not* "biologically
meaningful." But, ever since Darwin, biologists have tried , as best as
they can with the evidence at hand, to base their taxonomies on
evolutionary descent. Blood types, certainly not by themselves, cannot be
used for this purpose in man. But this hardly rules out the notion of
racial subgroupings based upon other markers.

Your claim is that racial subgrouping in man *cannot* be done in a
"biologically meaningful" way. I just don't understand what it is that you
are claiming. Once you clarify that, then we can look at the evidence.

> (1) A "white" with type A blood
> (2) a "black" with type O blood.
> Although, from the North American perspective, I belong to the same
> "race" as numer 1, a blood transfusion from numer 1 will kill me. Of
> these, only number 2, who (supposedly) belongs to a different "race"
> can safely donate blood to me. This is about as biologically
> meaningful as you can get. The North American folk taxonomy of
> "black", "white", etc., on the other hand, is not; it is a cultural
> fantasy, or as both I and someone on this newsgroup expressed it, a
> "pigment of the imagination."

Unfortunately, you and several others, are simply repeating these claims
without specifying what it is that you are claiming. I am very puzzled by
this repitition.

Maybe you can answer the obverse question: if there were "biologically
meaningful" races in man, how would what we observe about human variation
be different?