I definitely appreciated what both the statements from the American Anthropological Association (AAA) and the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (AAPA) were addressing. Even when I think about race I notice there are a lot of arbitrary groupings and associations I come up with, and reading these statements really highlighted that idea. I liked how the AAA Statement addressed a lot of the history of where the idea of “race” came from and the fact that it really started through arbitrary beliefs about peoples and a cultural standard of how certain people should be. I also liked the AAPA Statement, especially the parts where the statement addressed gene flow and expansion. I think a lot of the points they made were similar, with respect to history and the result of years of human movement, but some of the specifics were a little different.
I think it is interesting that the AAPA Statement pointed out that there seems to be no evidence of pure races in the present or the past. In thinking about evolution and to the beginnings of the human race, it is generally scientifically accepted that the “human race” first originated in what is now Africa. If you follow through with this concept, it is only logical that there was no “pure” race, seeing as we have all evolved from the same original group of “people”. Further, the entire history of the human population is composed of the migration of peoples, expansion and colonization. This means that for millennia, groups of humans have interacted and mixed with each other resulting in gene flow, as the AAPA Statement addressed. For this reason, there really is no real way that a group of people could have stayed “pure” for so many centuries.
In trying to explain the non-existence of a biological race to a person who was unfamiliar with the topic, I would point out how both statements also addressed how any given trait is inherited independently from others. We learned about this earlier in the course with meiosis and the independent assortment of genes. This means, again, that no two traits will technically ever have to be in the same group of people. I think this is definitely why there is so much complexities with race and how we see it. If a group of people all had exactly the same physical traits, it would be much easier to categorize them as a specific race. However, since there are so many slight variations, in terms of height or skin color or hair or eye color, there is no possible way to link a group of people with just one trait. Even with skin color, there are so many different shades that it is impossible to identify just one group of people. If we do try to, either the groups are so big that they include a fourth of the entire world, or the groups are so small that it does not make sense to have that many “races”.
Either way, I think that “race” is truly a very arbitrary and pretty useless concept to use. There are so many other ways that people choose to group themselves, like nationality or ethnicity, that there really is no reason to keep using “race”. Also, with the incredible technology and easier ways to travel and interact with new people, I think that our definition of race will definitely have to change to reflect the highly interconnected world we live in today.