BLOG 3: Race

It was interesting for me to put into perspective the concept that races don’t actually exist. I’ve previously learned from other anthropology courses that race was practically just a way to categorize the population, but after reading the statements on race from the American Anthropological Association (AAA) and the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (AAPA) it really hit me. The lectures on human variability and population biology put everything into perspective for me as well. It was surprising for me to read from the statements on race from the American Anthropological Association that evidence from DNA indicates that most physical variation, about 94%, lies within so-called racial groups and that conventional geographic “racial” groupings differ from one another only in about 6% of their genes. As I thought about this statement it brought me to my previous thoughts about how racial groups are too broad and can’t accurately indicate a person’s ancestry. For example, Black/African American is practically the proclaimed race for anyone of color. This means that those individual’s ancestry comes from Africa, but what if it doesn’t. How will you know? Is it not possible for those who aren’t of color to have to an origin of ancestry from Africa? And those who are of color to not have an origin of ancestry from Africa. Also, scientific evidence suggests that Africa was the continent in which human life began. So, this would suggest that all individuals are African American, right? If I were to have this conversation with someone outside of this course and needed to explain the non-existence of biological I would do so by first explaining that the continued sharing of genetic materials has maintained all of humankind as a single species. I would also explain that physical variations in any given trait tend to occur gradually rather than abruptly over geographic areas. And because physical traits are inherited independently of one another, knowing the range of one trait does not predict the presence of others (as mentioned by the AAA). Unfortunately, along with the belief in the reality of biologically based human races, racism still abounds in the United States and Western Europe. It seems that the belief in human races, carrying along with it the prejudice and hatred of “racism,” is so embedded in our culture and has been an integral part of our worldview for so long that many of us assume that it just must be true. I am guilty of this myself before taking anthropology courses. For the past 500 years, people have been taught how to interpret and understand racism. We have been told that there are very specific things that relate to race, such as intelligence, sexual behavior, birth rates, infant care, work ethics and abilities, personal restraint, lifespan, law-abidingness, aggression, altruism, economic and business practices, family cohesion, and even brain size. I think that it is very important that anthropologists educate people about race. Race does not matter, although it is a real cultural, political and economic concept in society.

5 thoughts on “BLOG 3: Race

  1. I completely agree with you that anthropologists need to educate people about race. I find racism to be one of the biggest flaws of humanity. I never understood the justification of one group of humans over another, it always leads to some kind of destructive outcome like war, slavery, violence, famine, and genocide. Is their really justification in dividing people into black, white, red, or yellow? Never really understood why their was a distinction in groups, what was the objective? Was it simply to discriminate against a specific group of people and make them feel inferior, compared to the stronger group? The concept of race has directly affected millions of people. I think if racism could be eliminated from this world, and we can remove that wedge between people, the better off the world would be.

  2. Great post! I was definitely as surprised as you were to find out that 94% of genetic variation lies within racial groups. It does make sense, though, since a lot of definitions of race are kind of arbitrary and include large groups of different people. I also completely agree with you about how race is seen in the United States and even abroad. I think it is an important concept because a lot of people connect heavily with their race and use it in expressions of themselves but it is also important to keep it separate in terms of judgements of groups of people.

  3. Great points! After reading the American Anthropological Association that evidence from DNA indicates that most physical variation, about 94%, lies within so-called racial groups and that conventional geographic “racial” groupings differ from one another only in about 6% of their genes. I made me also think maybe we generalize this race this too broad. For example I am African American but what if my specific ancestor didn’t come from Africa, what if it was Jamaica? Am I now Jamaican American because I’m black, even though I don’t know of any family thats Jamaican but just ancestry? It definitely is something to put thought into and question why exactly this word to separate people was created, especially if its technically not accurate by each person.

  4. I really like you the way you mention about the competition is not exist. In the human race competition, population size plays a decisive role. But I think the main theme of the competition is the race of human society. A race through fair competition, access to more resources relative to other races, they are bound by hatred and suppression. The United States is also now go down this road. And in front of those countries it is different, if the United States fails to compete in the race, losing more than just employment and education resources, but to the entire country will be the United States dollar since the collapse and disintegration. Thank you for the mention about race competition can give me a huge thought.

  5. I agree with you completely, your post is a lot like mine. How you would explain the genetics also by explaining how humans have had to evolve as our surrounding have changed. This is the same reason why African cultures have sickle cell traits and then some don’t. Race is just a social concept that we have come up with to try to separate different colored people in our society. I also like how you put some numbers it makes your blog post a lot more understanding from the other classmates that I have read. I think you are correct with the question of how would we know if someone has come from Africa if they have color. There are plenty of different countries that aren’t in Africa who have darker colored skin so this can be biased.

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