Re: Definition of Race

Chloe McCracken (100430.2001@CompuServe.COM)
4 Feb 1995 19:38:54 GMT

Calvin Bruce Ostrum writes:
>This book is primarilly a book about social and political concerns.
>However, the text on evolutionary biology <snip> seems to have
>answered my question satisfactorily, by saying that race is
>scientificalyy more or less irrelevant and not worth defining or
>even talking about much, (in the "scientific" sense, that is).

I would like to agree with pretty much everything Calvin says and
add to this a definition of race from a dictionary of anthropology:
"The common use of the world in English is to refer to a group of
"persons who share common physical characteristics and form a
"discrete and separable population unit, has no scientific
"validity, since evolutionary theory and physical anthropology have
"long since demonstrated that there are no fixed or discrete racial
"groups in human populations. Instead, human groups constantly
"change and interact, to such an extent that modern population
"genetics focuses on clines or patterns of the distribution of
"specific genes rather than on artificially created racial
"categories. However as a folk concept in Western and non-Western
"societies the concept of race is a powerful and important one,
"which is employed in order to classify and systematically exclude
"members of given groups from full participation in the social
"system controlled by the dominant group."
There's a bit more but my reader limits me to 25 lines.