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Will racism ever be over?

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GE Morton
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Re: Will racism ever be over?

Post by GE Morton »

Pattern-chaser wrote: November 27th, 2022, 9:16 am
This isn't a topic I've looked into, but I don't think the idea is that there are no genetic differences.
Such a claim would be utter nonsense. The morphological differences are obvious; all of those differences have a genetic (DNA) basis.
I think the point is that the differences that do exist are not significant enough to support the concept of 'race'.
What "supports" (or in Lucky's terms, "justifies") the concept of "race" is its utility in describing and identifying persons (see above response to Lucky).
After all, there are 'genetic differences' between you and me, as there are between any two humans. And, according to mainstream media — that most reliable of news sources! 😉 — the (genetic) difference between humans and chimpanzees is only about 1%.
Actually, the difference is now thought to be about 4%:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16339373/

That 4% has some fairly dramatic consequences. Smaller differences can also have significant consequences.
GE Morton
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Re: Will racism ever be over?

Post by GE Morton »

Ecurb wrote: November 27th, 2022, 10:16 am
As I understand it (which is not very well) DNA analysis has invalidated the concept of 4 races because they are not accurate descriptions of human genetic diversity.
Racial classifications were never intended to be "accurate descriptions of genetic diversity." Indeed, they were recognized long before much of anything was known about genetics. They were based on observable morphological and geographical affinities. The differences have a genetic basis, of course, as do all heritable traits.
It turned out that many people formerly classified as "negroids" were actually far more closely related to many "caucasoids" than they were to some other negroids.
How an individual is classified depends upon who is doing the classifying and what criteria they're using. How closely they're related to one race or another also depends upon how "closeness" is defined and measured. Note that you can't claim Alfie is more closely related genetically to the Negroid lineage than to the Caucasoid lineage UINLESS those lineages are genetically distinct.
Ecurb
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Re: Will racism ever be over?

Post by Ecurb »

GE Morton wrote: November 27th, 2022, 1:48 pm
How an individual is classified depends upon who is doing the classifying and what criteria they're using. How closely they're related to one race or another also depends upon how "closeness" is defined and measured. Note that you can't claim Alfie is more closely related genetically to the Negroid lineage than to the Caucasoid lineage UINLESS those lineages are genetically distinct.
As I understand it, that's the problem. The Negroid and Caucasoid lineages are NOT genetically distinct. Lookng at genotype printouts, one often couldn't determine which race a person belongs to. That's why more sophisticated models for mapping human genetic diversity have been developed.
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Pattern-chaser
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Re: Will racism ever be over?

Post by Pattern-chaser »

Pattern-chaser wrote: November 27th, 2022, 9:16 am I think the point is that the differences that do exist are not significant enough to support the concept of 'race'.
GE Morton wrote: November 27th, 2022, 1:28 pm What "supports" (or in Lucky's terms, "justifies") the concept of "race" is its utility in describing and identifying persons (see above response to Lucky).
I think the 'utility' you refer to here is about skin-colour, not 'race'. 🤔🤔🤔 ... Just as it has utility to refer to hair colour, or height, to identify someone: "Yes, that man over there <points 👉> with the long hair."
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GE Morton
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Re: Will racism ever be over?

Post by GE Morton »

Pattern-chaser wrote: November 28th, 2022, 11:42 am
Pattern-chaser wrote: November 27th, 2022, 9:16 am I think the point is that the differences that do exist are not significant enough to support the concept of 'race'.
GE Morton wrote: November 27th, 2022, 1:28 pm What "supports" (or in Lucky's terms, "justifies") the concept of "race" is its utility in describing and identifying persons (see above response to Lucky).
I think the 'utility' you refer to here is about skin-colour, not 'race'. 🤔🤔🤔 ... Just as it has utility to refer to hair colour, or height, to identify someone: "Yes, that man over there <points 👉> with the long hair."
Oh, no; it is more than that. Many "blacks" have skin color no darker than many Indians or Arabs or even Italians. Each race has a cluster of features that yield the "family resemblance." An individual won't be consider "black" or "oriental" unless he/she has most of those features.

BTW, I learned from a friend yesterday that the term "oriental" is now disparaged also, in favor of "Asian." Which is uninformative, because it includes Indians, Pakistanis, even some Russians, who are not "oriental" (Mongoloid).
GE Morton
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Re: Will racism ever be over?

Post by GE Morton »

Ecurb wrote: November 27th, 2022, 3:34 pm
As I understand it, that's the problem. The Negroid and Caucasoid lineages are NOT genetically distinct. Lookng at genotype printouts, one often couldn't determine which race a person belongs to. That's why more sophisticated models for mapping human genetic diversity have been developed.
That is just not so. That may not be determinable in some cases, because some persons are "mixed race," and don't have ALL of the features characteristic of one of the races. But every one of those features has a specific genetic signature, and if most of them are present in a particular "printout" then you will know that person's race.

All animal morphological features have a specific genetic basis, though some can be modified by developmental or environmental influences.
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Re: Will racism ever be over?

Post by Ecurb »

GE Morton wrote: November 28th, 2022, 12:18 pm

That is just not so. That may not be determinable in some cases, because some persons are "mixed race," and don't have ALL of the features characteristic of one of the races. But every one of those features has a specific genetic signature, and if most of them are present in a particular "printout" then you will know that person's race.

All animal morphological features have a specific genetic basis, though some can be modified by developmental or environmental influences.
Here are a couple of linKs:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/23/opin ... -race.html

https://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2017 ... t-century/

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-51914782

Of course race can often be determined by DNA testing. So what? That doesn't suggest that the 4 (or 3 or 5) races are the best (or even an adequate) way of describing human genetic diversity.

Among the salient DNA findings: there is more gentic diversity in Africa than in the rest of the world put together. This being the case, why would any geneticist find "Negroid" to be one race, but Caucasoid, Mangoloid, Aborigine (etc) to be separate races? That makes no sense.

Obviously, phenotype and genotype are related. But the correlation is hardly universal. If a soldier has his legs blown off by a land mine, we can hardly accept the notion that he lacks legs because of his genes. This is one obvious example, but there are hundreds of others. Average height, for example, has increased dramatically in the last 1000 years. I doubt genes had much influence.
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Re: Will racism ever be over?

Post by LuckyR »

Ecurb wrote: November 28th, 2022, 7:44 pm
GE Morton wrote: November 28th, 2022, 12:18 pm

That is just not so. That may not be determinable in some cases, because some persons are "mixed race," and don't have ALL of the features characteristic of one of the races. But every one of those features has a specific genetic signature, and if most of them are present in a particular "printout" then you will know that person's race.

All animal morphological features have a specific genetic basis, though some can be modified by developmental or environmental influences.
Here are a couple of linKs:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/23/opin ... -race.html

https://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2017 ... t-century/

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-51914782

Of course race can often be determined by DNA testing. So what? That doesn't suggest that the 4 (or 3 or 5) races are the best (or even an adequate) way of describing human genetic diversity.

Among the salient DNA findings: there is more gentic diversity in Africa than in the rest of the world put together. This being the case, why would any geneticist find "Negroid" to be one race, but Caucasoid, Mangoloid, Aborigine (etc) to be separate races? That makes no sense.

Obviously, phenotype and genotype are related. But the correlation is hardly universal. If a soldier has his legs blown off by a land mine, we can hardly accept the notion that he lacks legs because of his genes. This is one obvious example, but there are hundreds of others. Average height, for example, has increased dramatically in the last 1000 years. I doubt genes had much influence.
It is entertaining listening to a genetic review on your part and a back of the envelope summary of view from across the room descriptions of "racial" characteristics from GEM.
"As usual... it depends."
GE Morton
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Re: Will racism ever be over?

Post by GE Morton »

Ecurb wrote: November 28th, 2022, 7:44 pm
Here are a couple of linKs:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/23/opin ... -race.html

https://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2017 ... t-century/

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-51914782

Of course race can often be determined by DNA testing.
Well, that contradicts what you said above: "Looking at genotype printouts, one often couldn't determine which race a person belongs to."
So what? That doesn't suggest that the 4 (or 3 or 5) races are the best (or even an adequate) way of describing human genetic diversity.
You keep missing the point: racial classifications were never intended to be "descriptions of genetic diversity," and did not have that communicative purpose. They refer only to a complex of physiological characteristics, most of them empirically evident, associated with particular geographic regions of the planet. Claims such as, "There are no such things as race," or, "Races don't exist," or, "Race is just a social construct," etc., are fatuous, post-modernist nonsense. Those differences do have a genetic basis, just as does the concept of sex, which PM-ers are also (ridiculously) trying to dismiss as a "social construct."
Among the salient DNA findings: there is more gentic diversity in Africa than in the rest of the world put together. This being the case, why would any geneticist find "Negroid" to be one race, but Caucasoid, Mangoloid, Aborigine (etc) to be separate races? That makes no sense.
Same answer --- because the extent of genetic diversity is not the criterion for descriptive racial classifications. A person is Negroid if he has most of the defining, empirical characteristics of that race, regardless of the diversity in other genes members of that group may have.

You seem not have read your own links. From the NYT piece:

"In this way, a consensus was established that among human populations there are no differences large enough to support the concept of 'biological race.' Instead, it was argued, race is a 'social construct,' a way of categorizing people that changes over time and across countries.

"It is true that race is a social construct.[*] It is also true, as Dr. Lewontin wrote, that human populations 'are remarkably similar to each other' from a genetic point of view.

"But over the years this consensus has morphed, seemingly without questioning, into an orthodoxy. The orthodoxy maintains that the average genetic differences among people grouped according to today’s racial terms are so trivial when it comes to any meaningful biological traits that those differences can be ignored.

"The orthodoxy goes further, holding that we should be anxious about any research into genetic differences among populations. The concern is that such research, no matter how well-intentioned, is located on a slippery slope that leads to the kinds of pseudoscientific arguments about biological difference that were used in the past to try to justify the slave trade, the eugenics movement and the Nazis’ murder of six million Jews.

"I have deep sympathy for the concern that genetic discoveries could be misused to justify racism. But as a geneticist I also know that it is simply no longer possible to ignore average genetic differences among 'races.' [Italics added]

"Groundbreaking advances in DNA sequencing technology have been made over the last two decades. These advances enable us to measure with exquisite accuracy what fraction of an individual’s genetic ancestry traces back to, say, West Africa 500 years ago — before the mixing in the Americas of the West African and European gene pools that were almost completely isolated for the last 70,000 years. With the help of these tools, we are learning that while race may be a social construct, differences in genetic ancestry that happen to correlate to many of today’s racial constructs are real.

"Recent genetic studies have demonstrated differences across populations not just in the genetic determinants of simple traits such as skin color, but also in more complex traits like bodily dimensions and susceptibility to diseases. For example, we now know that genetic factors help explain why northern Europeans are taller on average than southern Europeans, why multiple sclerosis is more common in European-Americans than in African-Americans, and why the reverse is true for end-stage kidney disease.

"I am worried that well-meaning people who deny the possibility of substantial biological differences among human populations are digging themselves into an indefensible position, one that will not survive the onslaught of science."

* In the trivial sense that all concepts expressible in language are "social constructs."
GE Morton
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Re: Will racism ever be over?

Post by GE Morton »

GE Morton wrote: November 29th, 2022, 12:05 pm
"The orthodoxy goes further, holding that we should be anxious about any research into genetic differences among populations. The concern is that such research, no matter how well-intentioned, is located on a slippery slope that leads to the kinds of pseudoscientific arguments about biological difference that were used in the past to try to justify the slave trade, the eugenics movement and the Nazis’ murder of six million Jews.

"I have deep sympathy for the concern that genetic discoveries could be misused to justify racism. But as a geneticist I also know that it is simply no longer possible to ignore average genetic differences among 'races.'"
And, of course, "anxiety" and "concerns" about how scientific facts might be misused has no bearing whatsoever on the reality of those facts, the evidence supporting them, or the practical utility of that knowledge. Political and ideological considerations have no place in scientific inquiries.
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Re: Will racism ever be over?

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You are correct that I didn't read my links carefully. I didn't need to. If there is more genetic difference within Africa than between other races, why would the ability to trace one's ancestry to West Africa 500 years ago (per the quoted article) imply a Negroid "genetic" heritage? It wouldn't. Of course there are "substantial biological differences among human populations." Nobody doubts that. The question is whether the 4 race theory is a reasonable or effective way of describing those differences. If Northern Europeans are taller than Southern, why shouldn't they be classified as separate races?

The biology is reasonably clear. Your approach to describing it is not. If North Africans (described as "white" or "caucasoid") are genetically more closely related to their southern ("Negroid") neighbors than to Europeans, isn't it reasonable to emphasize that relation, instead of the older "racial" categories? The notion that it is "fatuous, post-modern nonsense" to do so is absurd. The morphological categories on which the 4 races were based clearly exist; emphasizing them promotes racism, denies modern genetics, and contradicts common sense. By abandonning these old-fashioned catgegories we move toward a post-racial (and post-racist) culture. True: some people may regret the disappearance of White Privilege. Too bad.
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Re: Will racism ever be over?

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GE Morton wrote: November 28th, 2022, 12:09 pm BTW, I learned from a friend yesterday that the term "oriental" is now disparaged also, in favor of "Asian." Which is uninformative, because it includes Indians, Pakistanis, even some Russians, who are not "oriental" (Mongoloid).
I think "oriental" is a geographical term, and therefore has nothing to do with "Mongoloid".
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GE Morton
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Re: Will racism ever be over?

Post by GE Morton »

Pattern-chaser wrote: November 29th, 2022, 1:15 pm
GE Morton wrote: November 28th, 2022, 12:09 pm BTW, I learned from a friend yesterday that the term "oriental" is now disparaged also, in favor of "Asian." Which is uninformative, because it includes Indians, Pakistanis, even some Russians, who are not "oriental" (Mongoloid).
I think "oriental" is a geographical term, and therefore has nothing to do with "Mongoloid".
It is a geographical term, but geography has racial implications. I.e., "oriental" people are people inhabiting the Orient (place).

"Oriental (noun):

"1. (dated, usually offensive, see usage paragraph below) : ASIAN
especially : one who is a native of east Asia or is of east Asian descent."

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oriental

"Oriental (adjective):

"1. from or connected with eastern Asia, especially China and Japan"

https://www.macmillandictionary.com/dic ... oriental_1

Note the "dated, usually offensive" blurb. Political correctness, even in dictionaries. LOL.
GE Morton
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Re: Will racism ever be over?

Post by GE Morton »

Ecurb wrote: November 29th, 2022, 12:28 pm You are correct that I didn't read my links carefully. I didn't need to. If there is more genetic difference within Africa than between other races, why would the ability to trace one's ancestry to West Africa 500 years ago (per the quoted article) imply a Negroid "genetic" heritage?
Because all of those West African groups share (most of) a distinctive set of features not present (in significant numbers) in other racial groups, however diverse genetically they may be otherwise. BTW, implying a "Negroid heritage" just is implying a recent West African origin.
Of course there are "substantial biological differences among human populations." Nobody doubts that. The question is whether the 4 race theory is a reasonable or effective way of describing those differences.
Yes, it is, though it is not a complete description, and doesn't pretend to be.
If Northern Europeans are taller than Southern, why shouldn't they be classified as separate races?
Because a single trait, especially one highly variable in all groups, is not useful as a classification tool.
If North Africans (described as "white" or "caucasoid") are genetically more closely related to their southern ("Negroid") neighbors than to Europeans, isn't it reasonable to emphasize that relation, instead of the older "racial" categories?
Yes, it would be --- but they're not, either morphologically or genetically.
The morphological categories on which the 4 races were based clearly exist; emphasizing them promotes racism, denies modern genetics, and contradicts common sense.
Well, you've obviously bought into the PM nonsense. If they exist, then they exist. What "emphasizing" them "promotes" is completely irrelevant to the fact that they exist. If the terms are descriptively useful then we use them, no matter what someone thinks they "promote." Merely using them doesn't "emphasize" or "promote" anything, any more than if I describe a dog as a collie, I'm "emphasizing" or "promoting" that breed. And, of course, recognizing and mentioning races does not "deny modern genetics." The terms denote obvious morphological features and a correlated geographical locus; genetic details are not part of the definitions. The terms only offend the sensibilities of some (ideologically gullible) geneticists.
By abandoning these old-fashioned categories we move toward a post-racial (and post-racist) culture.
Dream on! As long as differences among people exist, whether race, sex, religion, ethnicity, language, etc., there will be X-ists who discriminate against and even hate anyone not their X. "Post-racial culture" is another Pollyanna fantasy.
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Re: Will racism ever be over?

Post by Consul »

GE Morton wrote: November 28th, 2022, 12:09 pmBTW, I learned from a friend yesterday that the term "oriental" is now disparaged also, in favor of "Asian." Which is uninformative, because it includes Indians, Pakistanis, even some Russians, who are not "oriental" (Mongoloid).
"Orient : regions or countries lying to the east of a specified or implied point : the eastern regions or countries of the world : east sense 2
—formerly understood to include regions (such as the Middle East) lying to the east and southeast of southern Europe but now usually understood to refer to regions and countries of eastern Asia."
Merriam Webster

I'm German, and in German it is not the case that "(the) Orient" is "now usually understood to refer to regions and countries of eastern Asia."
By "the Orient" I (and many others) mean Southwest Asia + North Africa.

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