For my activity post, I’ve chosen to highlight the news article below…
The premise behind the article involves racial categories are weakening proxies for genetic diversity and need to be phased out. The article references American Sociologist W.E.B. Du Boi, when more than 100 years ago, he was concerned that race was being used as a biological explanation for what he understood to be social and cultural differences between different populations of people. He spoke out against the idea of “white” and “black” as discrete groups, claiming that these distinctions ignored the scope of human diversity.
Today science would heroize Du Bois and the mainstream belief among scientists is that race is a social construct without biological meaning. Yet, you might still open a study on genetics in a major scientific journal and find categories like “white” and “black” being used as biological variables.
One example that demonstrated genetic differences were not fixed along racial lines, found reading the website was the full genomes of James Watson and Craig Venter, two famous American scientists of European ancestry, were compared to that of a Korean scientist. Scientific community after and Venter shared fewer variations in their genetic sequences than they each shared with Kim.
Also introduced was Paablo, a geographer, who said the geography might be a better substitute in regions such as Europe to define “populations” from a genetic perspective. He also added that, in North America, where the majority of the population has come from different parts of the world during the past 300 years, distinctions like “African Americans” or “European Americans” might still work as a proxy to suggest where a person’s major ancestry originated.