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Paper Topic:

Why is race as a biological concept flawed? What is race, and do all cultures see race the same way?

Race as a biological concept

The term race ' varies in definitions , but in common and medical usage , the term race , in biology , refers to subspecies (i .e . sub population that are sufficiently different in genetic term to be on the verge of speciation , or splitting in to entirely new species , this include the division of Homo sapiens into race toxons which started in the 18th century (Von Linne C (1956 , Bendyshe T , ed . 1 ,2 These disciplines have shown that the human race taxonomy has no scientific basis . Race categories are concepts

created from prevailing social perceptions without scientific evidence .1 Race as a biological concept is flawed because the distinct biological races ' that can be study are found to be inferior ' or superior ' is itself a misnomer . And it is highly impossible to prove the notion of scientific racial differences . For example , 68 of human genes are identical between all human and have no polymorphic variation whatsoever . Thus , the degree at which any two individual differ from one another , the differences are by definition , limit to approximately one-third of gene where the differences is even possible and the remaining 32 of the genes that could contain differences have been studied in 1982 andit is found that the net codon differences between human racial group are smaller then the differences between two randomly selected genomes from within a particular group (Tim Wise ) 3

With the entire modern proof , that race is arbitrary biological fiction racial taxons are still used widely in medical teaching , practice , and research and in medical schools , human diversity is inconsistently taught and erratically presented in medical texts . Race taxons have been "medicalized by their use in medical literature and practice as acceptable descriptive labels that are integral to the proper diagnosis and treatment of disease in humans . Unless one can show that minicule variation provided in a particular data is sufficient to produce variations in intelligence , crime rate , fertility , etc then the argument for scientific superiority and inferiority along racial is automatically baseless (Witzig R (Ann Intern Med . 1996 Oct 15 ) 4

Assumptions about disease that are made because a race has been assigned can result in negative consequences for individual patients and inaccurate genetic inferences for populations . In other words , ethnicity incorporates social , religious , linguistic , dietary , and other variables to identify individual persons and populations . Ethnicity may be able to impart clinical clues to diagnosis if the clinician taking the history is well informed and open-minded . Ethnic boundaries are dynamic and imprecise , and a strict methodical approach to ethnicity that is equal to the approach required for the study of other variables is necessary if the concept of ethnicity is to be clinically useful

It dose necessarily mean that individuals are genetically indistinguishable from each other , or even that small population groups cannot be genetically differentiated . However , differentiation is a function of separation , usually geographic , and occurs in gradations rather than across fractures . The notion that humankind can be divided along White , Black , and Yellow lines reveals the social rather than the scientific origin of race and the idea that there exist three races , and that these races are "Caucasoid "Negroid " and "Mongoloid " is rooted in the European imagination of the Middle Ages , which encompassed only Europe , Africa , and the Near East . Nevertheless , some leading intellectuals had recognized that even using the word "race "was virtually a confession of ignorance or evil intent " The genetic studies of the last few decades have only added more nails to the coffin of biological race (Rensberger B (1990 , Hall T .S (1951 ) 5 ,6 Evidence shows that those features usually coded to race , for example , stature skin color , hair texture , and facial structure , do not correlate strongly with genetic variation . The rejection of race in science is now almost complete . In the end , we should embrace historian Barbara Fields 's succinct conclusion with respect to the plausibility of biological races "Anyone who continues to believe in race as a physical attribute of individuals , despite the now commonplace disclaimers of biologists and geneticists , might as well also believe that Santa Claus the Easter Bunny and the tooth fairy are real , and that the earth stands still while the sun moves (Ian F . Haney Lopez (Winter , 1994 ) 7

Race can be defined as a group of people loosly bound together by historically contingent , socially significant elements of their morphology and /or ancestry . I argue that race must be understood as a sui generis social phenomenon in which contested systems of meaning serve as the connections between physical features , races , and personal characteristics (i .e . social meanings connect our faces to our souls Race is neither ' an essence nor an illusion , but rather an ongoing contradictory , self-reinforcing process subject to the macro forces of social and political struggle and the micro effects of daily decisions

Considering the fact that racism still exist in many cultural settings although it is not actually the same in all culture but there is discrimination among different culture in a community where some culture are considered superior over other . In the sense that people from some cultures , succeed more frequently than people from others . Mean while they work hard , perform well in school and if they migrate to a more successful country and they are still poor , their children will be successful , unless some thing strong is holding them back . And people from some other cultural groups sink to the bottom . Sowell concludes that all cultures are not "equal . Some are "better " than others . And the entire culture does not have to be rated as a unit

Geographical factor also creates profound differences among peoples . It is not simply that such natural wealth as oil and gold are very unequally distributed around the world . More fundamentally , people themselves are different because of different levels of access to other peoples and cultures . Isolated peoples have always lagged behind those with greater access to a wider world , whether isolation has been the result of mountains , jungles , widely scattered islands or other geographic barriers . And cities have been in the vanguard of cultural technological and economic progress in virtually every civilization . But the geographic settings in which cities flourish are by no means equally distributed around the globe . Urbanization has been correspondingly unequally developed in different geographic regions--most prevalent among the networks of navigable waterways in Western Europe and least prevalent where such waterways are most lacking in tropical Africa (Thomas Sowell (1994 )8

Nothing has been more common in human history than discrimination against different groups , which more fierce against some group than other and more pervasive at some period of history than the other whether different by race , religion , caste or in innumerable other ways If there were not so many other powerful factors creating disparities in income and wealth , it might be possible to measure the degree of discrimination by the degree of differences in economic outcomes . Even so , the temptation to do so is seductive , especially as a means of reducing the complexities of life to the simplicities of politics

In American education , we rightly condemn a history of gross racial discrimination , but when we make that the causal explanation of educational differences , we go beyond what the facts will support Everyone is aware of times and places when the amount of money spent educating a black child was a fraction of what was spent educating a white child , when the two groups were educated in separate systems hermetically sealed off from one another , and when worn-out textbooks from the white schools were then sent over to the black schools to be used , while new and more up-to-date textbooks were bought for the white children . The number of days in a school year sometimes differed so much that a black child with 9 years of schooling would have been in class the same number of days as a white child with only 6 years of schooling . It seems so obvious that such things would account for disparities in test scores , for example

Knowing fully well that racism is wrong morally and factually , but we should not also give in to the myth that certain facts about a society are evidence of present racism , nor should we give in to the myth that it is racist to make critical judgments about cultural phenomena that happen to be associated with one race or another

References

Von Linne C (1956 . Systema Naturae : A Photographic Facsimile , of the First Volume of the 10th Edition . London : British Museum of Natural History

Bendyshe T , ed . The Anthropological Treatises of Johann Friedrich Blumenbach . London : Anthropological Society

Tim Wise , Sloppy Statistics , Bogus Science and the Assault on Racial Equity http /www .zmag .org /RaceWatch /loadfoot .htm 03 /03 /2007

Witzig R (1996 . The medicalization of race : scientific legitimization of a flawed social construct . Ann Intern Med . 1996 Oct 15

Rensberger B (1990 . Racial odyssey . In : Whitten

, Hunter DE , eds Anthropology : Contemporary Perspectives . Boston : Little , Brown

Hall TS (1951 . A Source Book in Animal Biology . New York McGraw-Hill

Ian F . Haney Lopez (Winter , 1994 ) The Social Construction of Race : Some Observations on Illusion , Fabrication , and Choice , 29 Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review 1-62 , 6-7 , 11-17

Thomas Sowell (1994 ) Race and Culture (the Hoover Institution at Stanford University , Basic Books (HarperCollins . 331p

Michael Albert and Justin Podur (2003 ) Revolutionizing Culture HYPERLINK "http /www .zmag .org /content /showarticle .cfm ?ItemID 3914 http /www .zmag .org /content /showarticle .cfm ?ItemID 3914 03 /03 /2007 Why is race as a biological concept flawed ? What is race , and do all cultures see race the same way

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