Re: Race, Science, & Political Correctness

Bob Whitaker (
Mon, 25 Nov 1996 14:10:06 -0500

Ron Kephart wrote:
> Bob Whitaker <> wrote:
> > Anybody your age who doesn't know what Political Correctness is
> > is beyond redemption. Maybe you have so totally accepted it you
> > don't know what it is. I doubt you've ever heard anything else.
> The rejection of 18th century taxonomies of humans "races" has nothing
> to do with "political correctness." It is a result of the refinement
> of our knowledge about how life forms, human and otherwise, change thru
> time and also vary over geographical space. This is what science is
> supposed to do for us: help us refine our analytic models of the
> universe.
> For the record, the phrase "political correctness" is tossed around
> mostly by right-wingers who use it defelect attention away from the
> discussion of important issues, such as "race", ethnicity, gender,
> sexual preference, and the like. Anything that upsets their world
> view is labeled "politically correct." This is very unfortunate,
> because it gets in the way of our work, part of which is to educate
> people about these issues from an anthropological perspective.
> It seems too bad that there appear to be so many people out there
> whose lives only have meaning when they are defined in terms of
> "us (whites)" versus "them (blacks, etc.)". Well, unfortunately for
> all of you, these categories, while socially and culturally "real" and
> important, are not biologically "real". This is what science has
> taught us over the last century or so. It's time to get over it, and
> move on to the really important task, which is understanding why and
> how these sociocultural categories are so important to us, anyway,
> and then helping our society figure out what to do about it.
> Ron Kephart
> University of North Florida

As I keep repeating, you are saying that the fact that Scientific
Antropoly at any moment is ALWAYS politically correct just happens to be
one of the great happy perfect coincidences of human history. I think
that's absurd.
As I keep repeating, Franz Boas went from a bit a joke to
anthropologists in 1939 to The Only True Anthropologist in 1945. By a
happy coincidence, there was a war in that period, which made the Boas
conclusion de rigeur if Scientific Anthropology was to reamin
Politically Correct.
By a wild coincidence, that was the VERY period when Science marched on
and made Boas scientific Truth.
What utter crap.
Anthropology gives the side it's paid to give.