Re: What are race promoters promoting?

Susan S. Chin (
Thu, 28 Nov 1996 16:37:48 GMT wrote:
: What are these sub-species? Name them.

This will hopefully be my last post on this topic. It is evident that the
two sides will never agree, perhaps because of fundamental differences in
our backgrounds and approaches to Anthropology, political ideology, or
whatever. It hardly matters. Some things I'd like to clear up are the

Race as a biological concept does exist, however:
1. It doesn't mean there are finite categories of races. By insisting
that there must be for races to be "real," those who reject race as a
biological reality because there are "no universal criteria" in which to
group people into races in any meaningful way are the REAL typologists.
How can races exist if we can't find a biological way to group people
into them, seems to be the argument of the race deniers. Maybe if we
stopped using the term "race" with its socio-political baggage and came
up with a new term altogether, that might be more useful, and less
emotionally charged. Race here is used to describe and interpret the
biological differences we see (phenotype) between people and to account
for those differences. There is nothing discrete about human variation,
but there is a pattern to it. This pattern is due to the evolutionary
origins of each population geographically.

Also in my original post, reference to 3 major racial groups only meant
what it said "racial groupings" by geography: Africa, Asia and Europe. If
there are more, fine. It doesn't negate the race concept at all if there
are. In no way did it imply that there were only 3 "races" of people. Big
difference there! And no way would I agree to that one.

2. When Physical Anthropologists say that "no satisfactory" way to group
people by races, do they really mean that therefore, race is meaningless,
because we can't group them, or just that we can't find criteria for
grouping them? There is a difference.

3. Also, I never said that genetic relatedness was not important in the race
concept, just that the geographical and evolutionary history of a population
is more significant. Race is determined largely by adaptations of the
ancestral populations through time (vast amounts of time, upwards of 10K
yrs) The current populations we see today, may not exhibit the
characteristics we would expect of people in that environment, or they
may differ from others in that same environment. But this is the case
because one of the other group did not always live in that habitat during
which time they adapted biologically to the said environment. It's not
always as simple as this obviously, but that is my general idea of why
races exist and human variation differs in a significant patterned way.

4. If races didn't exist biologically, why are some people still
resistant to "Inter-racial" marriages? What are they opposed to then,
especially if culturally as in the United States, there isn't a huge
difference for many assimilated groups?

5. Race as a biological concept in no way negates cultural adapatations
significance. However, as stated earlier, racial differences had already
established itself by the time cultural adaptations and "inter-marriages"
occurred. Why else would they be called that?

6. Race as biological reality does not require typological thinking
either. It is merely a way to describe significant biological, phenotypic
differences between individuals which are heritable. Some phenotypic
characteristics are not genetic. However, many are. How else would those
who feel race isn't biologically significant to account for differences
in phenotypic differences in facial, body, and physiological differences
between people?

: What were those races again, and where are they?
: --Greg Keyes

As I said earlier, this discussion isn't going anywhere. We have two
different views, there you go.

Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it today!