Re: What Are the Race Deniers Denying?

Tue, 12 Nov 96 15:47:55 GMT

In article <563euk$> "Ron
Kephart" writes:

> Suppose you found a significant difference in the attribute "height"
> between two "races". Does that mean that height can be considered a
> "racial" attribute for these two groups? Not if you discover that
> one of the groups, as it happens the one with the lower mean height,
> has on average lower income, and therefore poorer nutrition, medical
> care, etc., than the "taller race". In this (hypothetical) case the
> difference in mean height between the two groups is explained by
> sociocultural factors.

Sensitivity analysis (i.e. varying one parameter at a time) is
routinely applied to statistics in order to identify control variables.
Nutrition would be readily identified and accounted for.

> Actually, it's not that hypothetical. Franz Boaz published a study on
> European immigrants and their children living in New York way back
> about 1911, I think, in which he showed that the children born in New
> York of immigrants born in Europe changed "races" due to different
> diets, etc. I can't recall the exact title right now, and the ref is
> in my office, but it shouldn't be too hard to find.
> The sad thing is that Boaz knew this in 1911, but we are still mired
> in trying to get the message out to people who apparently cannot
> live without the folk taxonomy. Sort of like the creation-evolution
> debate, isn't it?

Race is assigned to GROUPS on the basis of MULTIPLE attributes. Those
who either accept or reject race on the basis of a SINGLE attribute are called
IDIOTS. They are found in all races, but are overly represented in certain

D. MacMillan