Date: June 12, 2019 12:29PM
Thanks for resurrecting these comments that, probably due to the “Bemis effect” on the Board, were given short shrift in the other thread. In any event, let me make it easier (or harder) to refute such comments, but elaborating a bit on “race” as a social construct and as science.
As indicated, innocent ideas of “race” arising in human society are the natural result of human beings observing their environment and noticing that people have different physical traits that seem to be associated with different areas of the world, or different geographical ancestral histories. With this information, they abstract imperfect racial categories, and incorporate such categories into their language and everyday discourse. There is absolutely nothing offensive about these simple, bare observations, and the associated categorizations. But, it is all just a social construct.
What happens is that individuals expand these rather innocent racial categories into racial stereotypes involving traits that are not represented in the bare physical observations, and are based on inferences of character and behavior made from their own subjective experience, as complicated by their own unique histories. This results in personal prejudices that find their way back into the social network and distort the otherwise innocent categories generated by mere observations of physical traits. As such, the legitimate concept of “race” degenerates into a new concept of “racism.”
Bringing science into the picture, note that science can look at the social construct of “race” and attempt to identify the observable physical traits that underlie such constructs, and try to find correlations in the genome that match these physical traits. It should not be surprising that physical traits as observed as part of the social construct of race are linked to genetic components. Moreover, it should come as no surprise that such traits are associated with genetic populations. This, of course, is exactly what happens. No harm, no foul.
“Racism science” is quite different, however. In that endeavor, it is not the bare physical traits that one seeks to identify with a genome; it is the racist inferences that are drawn from subjective human experience that seek justification through science. In this case, science has no role to play. For example, there is nothing in the genome that isolates the negative character traits associated with racism. You cannot isolate a gene for any such traits, but at best only perhaps extremely vague "dispositions." So the program should stop in its tracks. So, why and how does it continue?
First, racism science conflates what can be legitimately isolated from what cannot be. So, they point to science’s legitimate validation of physical racial characteristics, and then attempt to piggy-back their illegitimate inferences on such racial categories. In other words, they argue that since science validates racial categories (in the sense of observable traits) it also validates racism. One way they do this is to misuse the social sciences by applying questionable “statistics” of human behavior, as racially categorized, and then point to legitimate racial categories as the underlying justifications for their racial conclusions. The unsuspecting reader is taken in by this fallacious nonsense.
(By the way you see this very equivocation in virtually all “racism science” including the following as linked by “anybody” above: (I did not read the underlying reviewed book, but I will point out that some deniers of racism science attack it for the wrong reasons, often providing fuel to the racist arguments by making the argument about "race" instead of about "racism"!)https://quillette.com/2019/06/05/superior-the-return-of-race-science-a-review/
So, the bottom line is that “race” is a legitimate, harmless, and quite useful social category, which is supported to some extent by genetics. “Racism” is a subterfuge of race, and makes racist inferences and draws racist conclusions based upon a fallacious appeal to the limited contribution of genetics to the categories of race generated as social constructs.