Re: What Are the Race Deniers Denying?

4 Oct 1996 22:47:21 GMT

In article <52ral1$>, Susan <> wrote:
>If I get the time, I will reply to some of the other comments here. But
>in the moment that I have, I just want to point out what looks like a
>basic misunderstanding here. "Race" as it is generally used by
>anthropologists is a biological term, which refers to physical
>differences between groups. It is often also used colloquially to refer
>to sociologically defined differences, but there is a significant
>difference between the two.

I do hope you get the time! I am not sure just how biologists use the term
myself. Do they all use it to mean a subspecies? I do know that there are
splitters and lumpers among biologists, and I have read that the number of
human races varies from three to about ninety, depending on who is doing
the classifying. However, it should not surprise anyone that the layman's
ideas on race differ from the expert's. I don't know of any field in which
this is not true.

Developing programs and setting legislation
>on the basis of sociological differences is often called "raced based",
>but is in fact a recognition of the sociological differences between
>people (for example, many of the beneficiaries of Head Start are African
>American, but the deficiencies which the program makes up for have to do
>with economics and access to adequate schooling, not to the simple fact
>of being African American).

Off topic, but the evidence that there *are* beneficiaries of Head Start
is not very compelling.

>So it is not contradictory to state, on the one hand, that some groups
>are disadvantaged and need help to rectify that disadvantage, while also
>maintaining that the BIOLOGICAL concept of race is not particular valid
>or useful in dealing with human populations.

I am not sure what you are maintaining. Later, I will be postig some
e-mail between myself and Ronald Kephart (with his permission) that will
get closer to answering my question of what the race deniers are denying.

>And as a side note, the sloppy usage of the term "race" is part of the
>problem with the whole concept!

Race is hardly unusual in this respect!