Re: What Are the Race Deniers Denying?

26 Oct 1996 02:04:16 GMT

In article <>,
Toby Cockcroft <> wrote:
>In article <54ls56$>, (Gerold Firl) wrote:
>>Our recent global mixing has
>>blurred the outlines of the different branches on the family tree, but
>>not so much that the overall structure is lost.
>Gerold, I think that you are oversimplifying the situation. 'Mixing'
>isn't a modern phenomenon but has been an ongoing process. These branches
>of which you speak have been and shall remain blurred.
>> By the normal
>>standards of biological taxonomy, our species does have geographical
>>subspecies. You may not like the fact, yet fact it remains.
>tries to create difference where none exist. What model do you propose:
>the three strains of humans, the four, the eight, or how about the twelve
>or the hundred or the thousand.

All right. How many CULTURES are there on this planet? By your reasoning,
there is just one and probably has been only one for a very long time.
Those who think so are called "world system theorists." There's an e-mail
list, run by a Siberian history professor on a computer in Canada (!),
that discusses these matters. Some world-system people say the world
became ONE culture around 1500 AD. Others push it back to when the
Egyptians and Bablyonians started fighting each other. (The story from the
standpoint of the hapless Hebrews caught in the middle is basically what
the Bible is all about.) Opposed to the world-systems people are the
civilizationists, and they have their separate lists also. Many cultural
anthropologists will count cultures by the hundreds or thousands.

Can you define where one species begins
>and where the other ends?

You meant "subspecies," not "species." The mistake was, I am sure,
careless, but it goes some way to show that you are unconsciously
answering the question about whether there are races or subspecies in man
by thinking about whether man is one species or not.

I doubt it. Classification falls back on
>abstract and subjective archetypes that bear no relation to the 'real'
>world. Within all of us we contain the genetic material needed to express
>every 'subspecies'.

Is this true of just man? Or rather, where does man fall along the

How this set of genetic is expressed in you or I is
>dependant on our heredity and to a lesser extent today geography the FACT
>remains that genetically we are the same no matter where we come from.
>The division into subspecies/race or what have you is irrelivant.
>>Facts are funny that way.
>We aren't talking about 'facts' here we are talking about western
>scientific discourse and the discourse of racism.
>You put a faith in the notion that scientific ideas and discourse are
>value neutral. That the ideas that you hold and the words that come out
>of your mouth/keyboard have no political implications or political
>origins. It is time to drop the veil of ignorance and see where the
>words come from and how they are being used.

The same goes for those who loudly proclaim that there are no races among
humans, who have no clear idea of what "race" means. Hence the title of
this thread, "WHAT Are the Race Deniers Denying?"

Anyhow, objectivity is a matter of degree.

>Linneaus, who is credited with the development of the modern taxonomic
>model, wasn't only interested with classification for scientific reasons.
>As Europeans encountered more and more people especially in the new world
>that wern't accounted for by religious dogma there was a need to fix
>everything in its place. God at the top the angels next follwed by humans
>and so on down the great chain of being.

The Great Chain of Being was NOT developed in response to encountering
other peoples and long antedated it.

Linneaus refined this model
>categorising not only the animals but humans as well. White people at the
>top followed by asians and then blacks etc etc.

Can you actually cite Linneaus on this point? I have not read the gent,
either in Latin nor in English translation myself.

This sort of model,
>arbitrary and political in origin, has passed into scientific discourse
>where 'scientists' and I use the term sparingly helped to "refine" the
>model. Refine what you may ask. A model which has no basis in biology
>but ideology.

What about the *denial* of races?

Perhaps several hundred years ago the model had its uses
>but it no longer applies and infact it is detrimental to our global

"Global health" sounds like an ideological construct.

Many a person carries this Linnean model in their mind as
>implicit knowledge, common sense if you will. You will run around talking
>about interbreeding populations and inherited characteristics without ever
>considering the origins of the idea and the cultural baggage that you
>bring along.

Of course, we should try to understand the history of our ideas. But ideas
are not necessarily false because they have a history.

We are all the same, one species Homo sapiens: thinking man
>(although it is evident that some do less than others).

But again: the issue is subspecies, not species. Is Gerald really the only
person around here who will attempt to answer the actual question I asked?