I am using the New York Times book review about A Troublesome Inheritance, by Nicholas Wade. Wade’s book, like Laroi’s paper, suggest that genetic code supports the idea of race as a biological fact, but goes a step further, by suggesting that each race’s sequencing directly effect’s their social behavior, and thus society formation. He says that, “‘the three major races’ are genetically distinct races that diverge much as subspecies do, and they their genetic difference underlie “the rise of the West.” He goes on to say that ‘genetic selection gives different human populations distinct behaviors.” Needless to say, this goes on down the road of back-patting European ‘productive social behavior’, and stereotypical East-Asians inclined toward discipline and accepting of authoritarianism. Of course, sub Saharan Africans are more inclined to be ‘tribal’. It smells of early 20th century eugenics and east coast elites justifying their position of power.
When I was reading the Krieger critique of the Laroi piece, I was struggling to understand how her views on discrimination from social and political institutions adversely affect the health of those being discriminated against ties in with a geneticist referencing gene sequencing. This review of Wade’s book has helped put it in more blunt terms; Krieger sees the ‘genes as proof of race, and thus proof of superiority’ from far off. It also puts into perspective how desperately people continue to hang on in the hope that race exists, as a way of justifying centuries of subjugation and disenfranchisement. I suppose, it speaks to the issue of enlightenment/equity/individualism that has been raised multiple times in class; if we hold these values so dearly, how can we justify our subjugation of so many? To lay it at the feet of nature, to take it out of our hands and give God credit for our ‘distinctions’ is a powerful opportunity to wash our father’s clean of their sin and make our current inequality justifiable.
There is a strong desire across all cultures to find a reason why they are special, religion was once a key factor, and for 200 years, race was looked to for the answer; surprisingly, people still looking under that rock for the answer.