Silver-level articleRacialism

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Race is not an accurate or productive way to describe human biological variation.
Edgar & Hunley (2009)

Racialism is the pseudo-scientific notion that it is possible to divide humanity into clear, well-defined groups based on a haphazard variety of traits, most commonly in terms of physical characteristics having to do with skin, or that human populations are substantially different from each other in some measure to support biological classification below the species level. Most racialists maintain there is also a racial hierarchy.

While people have and continue to ascribe assumptions about mental aptitude and moral characteristics onto individuals based on their racialized identity, the main biological difference between darker-skinned humans and lighter-skinned humans is that the latter will be more prone to sunburn but will be able to more quickly produce usable vitamin D from sunlight.

Early attempts at race classification drew largely on Carl Linnaeus' Systema Naturae (1735), in which he posited five races: the Europeanus, the Africanus, the Americanus, the Asiaticus, and the Monstrosus (made up of mythical creatures).[1] Racialism was virtually unchallenged until the 1960s–70s, when it was shown to be erroneous by genetics:

The rejection of the race concept by most anthropologists beginning most recently in the 1960s, was based on the genetic evidence... Conformity to political correctness was not the cause of these changes.[2]

People who today identify as "racial realists" (e.g. David Duke, Jared Taylor[wp] and Metapedia) should be a big clue as to the far-right politics behind 21st century racialism.


[edit] Alternate names

Very few racialists call themselves "racialist". Instead, because straight-up racism isn't hip anymore, the euphemism treadmill rolls at full speed (just like it does in creationism intelligent design and alternative integrative medicine):

  • Scientific racism: While scientific racists do have to admit their racism, they also get the joy of slapping the "approval" of SCIENCE on it.
  • Racial realism or race realism: Racial realists get a two-pronged advantage: First, they can deny their racism by saying, "I'm not a racist, I'm a realist!". Second, they can paint non-racialists as "race deniers" or "racial difference deniers", which suggests denial of the obvious facts -- when in fact, science opposes racialism.
  • Human biodiversity or HBD: By being just one "bio" away from supporting "diversity" and by failing to mention race, human biodiversity is the most innocuous form of racialism, because it allows one to deny any racism -- because it's recognizing biodiversity, not being racist! Coined by Steve Sailer (a political blogger) of VDARE.
  • Human phenotypes and human varieties: Same as HBD, but newer and even more evolution-y. Promoted by Human Phenotypes (which attempts to revive centuries-old race typology) and the far-right blog, Human Varieties.

[edit] Hereditarianism vs. non-hereditarianism

Hereditarian racialism is a school within racialism (mostly linked to the Pioneer Fund and Mankind Quarterly, e.g. Richard Lynn, J. P. Rushton and Roger Pearson) which argues there are significant heritable mental differences between races, and that there is a racial hierarchy in intelligence. Most, but not all, racialists are hereditarians.

Since the majority of racialist hereditarians are white supremacists, this usually puts the Caucasian, or "Aryan",[3] race firmly at the top. (When called on this, some recent racialists note Jews or Northeast Asians measure higher on IQ therefore they are totally not being racist except for everything else they say.)

Non-hereditarianism racialism argues that there are no heritable mental differences between races, although there is still significant genetic or phenotypic variation between races (such as in cranial form). This view is uncommon, but exists among 'race realists' that are trying to present themselves as more credible and claim to be non-racist.

[edit] Identification of "races"

The ancient Egyptians (4) saw themselves as differing both from Caucasians (1, 3) and Nubians (2).

Well into the twentieth century, it was common to think of "the French race" or "the German race." Nowadays, these identities are more likely to be thought of as manifestations of ethnicity or ethnic group. This isn't just the same concept disguised with political correctness. The idea of ethnicity takes into account cultural identification, language, and religious beliefs — you can, in principle, belong to multiple ethnic groups — whereas an individual's race is thought to be essential based on physical difference.[4] Ethnicity is still as arbitrary and useless as a system of classification as "race," but used in context it doesn't really pretend not to be.

The races as we know them are products of relatively recent history. When the intellectual center of Europe was located in Greece and the eastern Mediterranean, it was generally perceived that skin colors formed a continuum. The ancient Egyptians placed themselves between Nubians and Greeks in skin color, and noted that they had features that did not appear in either. Aristotle observed that "(t)he nations inhabiting the cold places and those of Europe are full of spirit but somewhat deficient in intelligence and skill, so that they continue comparatively free, but lacking in political organization and capacity to rule their neighbors."[5] Pliny the Elder tells of an African, the boxer Nicaeus, who married a white Greek woman; their children appeared white, but darker skins appeared in the second generation.[6] Race as we know it is a post-classical and western European phenomenon. It owes its existence in part to the fact that a vast, sparsely inhabited desert fills inland western Africa, and that during the rise of Western Europe as a global power, the western African coast was populated by hostile Muslims. The dark Africans of the equatorial regions of west Africa were seen as vastly different.

As Western Europeans began to exert power around the globe, they directly encountered people of a variety of different appearances. At that time, geographical origins were a more likely way for Europeans to classify people than was "race." As European colonization and the trans-Atlantic slave trade began to define global relationships in the modern world, Europeans began to rely on the idea of "biologically distinct races," including such constructions as "Negroids," "Caucasoid," and "Mongoloids," a classification system which was developed by Blumenbach based on his studies of skull morphology.

This simple classification system failed in one significant area, however. Darker-skinned Europeans from southern Italy and southern Spain, Indians, and significantly Dravidic Indians clearly were not "Caucasian" but they were also not "Negroid." To the "American," these peoples, who increasingly emigrated to the United States in the early 20th century, were clearly "not like us," but were also "more like us than primitive blacks." Depending on the needs of the day, they would be tossed in with the "Negroid," or tossed in with "Caucasian." Jews, Arabs and Indians (from India, not Native Americans - they were just "savages"... unless they happened to be Algonquin, in which case they were "white" because the most powerful families from Plymouth had intermarried with the natives) fell into this strange place of not belonging to any "race." The US Supreme Court even ruled in U.S. v. Bhagat Singh Thind (1923) that Caucasian Indians were not "white" within the meaning immigration law, as, despite anthropologists classifying them with "white" Europeans, they were not considered that in the view of the "common man" which is apparently what counted. Seriously.

This not only led to Caucasian Indians now being ineligible for naturalized citizenship, but denaturalization of some immigrants already made citizens. Congress did not lift this restriction until 1946, when India was on the verge of becoming an independent country.[7]

[edit] Race as defined by racialists

Modern racialists reject the standard taxonomic definition of race as a "geographically circumscribed, sharply [genetic] differentiated population".[8] This is because by such a definition, no human races (subspecies) exist. Rather than accept this reality, racialists invent new race concepts. A typical example is John Fuerst, who has published a recent work in a pseudojournal called The Nature of Race (2015). Fuerst invents a new biological theory about race, and re-defines race to mean something it never originally meant.

Glasgow (2003) cautions:

Thus, while some minimal revision to the meaning of 'race' (as for all definitions, of course) is allowable in the search for biological backing for race, we must stay fairly close to the vest, or we risk not talking about race at all.

The main problem is that new concepts of race used by racialists are watered down to the extent they are trivialised:

The problem with weak versions of racial naturalism is that they do not contrast with anti-realism about biological race. When race naturalists weaken their position they end up agreeing with their opponents about human biology, and defending a trivialised definition of race.[9]

Hochman (2013) rejects these new concepts and re-definitions on the grounds "the criteria applied to humans are not consistent with those used to define subspecies in nonhuman animals, and no rationale has been given for this differential treatment".[10] (emphasis added)

Another problem with re-defining race is: "To avoid making 'race' the equivalent of a local population, minimal thresholds of differentiation are imposed".[11] Modern racialists however argue there is no threshold which runs into the problem of any population being a race: "There are undoubtedly no two genetically identical populations in the world; this has nothing to do directly with the validity of race as a taxonomic device. Unless we have defined exactly what we mean by this… differences between populations are population differences, nothing more."[12] Another objection is a "mismatch argument", where local breeding populations not ordinarily conceived as races (e.g. Amish, or Kalash people[wp]), become races: "a mismatch occurs between the concept and its typical referent. Thus, the concept of race must be eliminated due to its logical incoherence."[13]

Most modern racialists redefine race as a "genetic cluster" by continent which captures a fairly small amount of variation (<10%) between groups of populations. Molecular anthropologists such as Jonathan Marks are confused by this re-definition because it is so far removed from biological taxonomy, and the traditional meaning of race:

What is unclear is what this has to do with 'race' as that term has been used through much in the twentieth century - the mere fact that we can find groups to be different and can reliably allot people to them is trivial. Again, the point of the theory of race was to discover large clusters of people that are principally homogeneous within and heterogeneous between, contrasting groups.[14]

The geographical pattern to human interpopulation variation, matches an almost continuous gradient/isolation-by-distance model[15][16][17][18] as little as 1.53% of this variation is unexplained by geographic distance, and can be captured by clustering.[19][20] However much of this discontinuity is found within continents, not between them.[21][22][23]

[edit] Caucasoid, Mongoloid, Negroid

In the 19th and early 20th century, racialists argued that there were three continental races: "Negroid", "Mongoloid", and "Caucasoid" (or "Europoid"; not the same as Caucasian). Today, the terms are obsolete human racial taxon. These races were primarily based on phenotype such as skull shape, hair texture and skin color.

  • Caucasoid: The "Caucasoid" was said to include all native peoples from Europe, Northernmost Africa (Maghreb), West Asia, South Asia and Central Asia.[24] There was never agreement regarding the easternmost periphery of the "Caucasoid" geographical belt, i.e. the Indian subcontinent was disputed.
  • Mongoloid: The "Mongoloid" was said to include all native peoples from Southeast to Northeast Asia.
  • Negroid: The "Negroid" was said to include all native peoples from sub-Saharan Africa.

The classification inhabitants of Australia and the Americas was a subject of dispute.

Modern genetics has falsified the "-oid" concept of race, since ethnic groups and demes in Africa/East Asia/West Eurasia do not form a sharply discontinuous genetic (or phenotypic) cluster, nor are there substantial differences between populations in East Asia, compared to populations from other regions across the globe. Overall, genetic variation between continental human populations is fairly little (<10%) and does not support the concept of different human races. The terms, however, have continued into modern forensic literature to represent a combination of cranial traits (e.g. 'facial flatness', a medium-sized nasal aperture and a round skull [cranial index above 80] are "Mongoloid", while retreating zygomatics, a narrow nasal aperture and a medium skull [cranial index 75–80] are "Caucasoid").

Claimed features of different "oids"
Caucasoid Mongoloid Negroid
Nasal aperture width Narrow (Nasal Index: <47) Medium (Nasal Index: 47 — 51) Broad (Nasal Index: 51>)
Nasal sill Sharp Moderate Dull to absent
Skull shape (norma verticalis) Medium (Cranial Index: 75 — 80) Broad (Cranial Index: >80) Narrow (Cranial Index: <75)
Maxillary incisor tooth shape Blade Shovel Blade
Malar form Retreating zygomatics ('beaklike') Inferior zygomatic projection ('facial flatness') Intermediate zygomatics
Alveolar prognathism Absent to minimal Moderate Extreme

[edit] Gradients

It is claimed by racialists that these features, among others, are sufficient to identify someone, from their skeletal remains, as having ancestry from one continent or another, with an accuracy up to 90%. However this high accuracy percentage only applies to limited subsets of a sample; "Caucasoid" as a very broad continental grouping has no utility. For example:

Recently, physical anthropologists have noted that traits considered to be characteristic of the classical Mongoloid group were not derived from studies encompassing all of the populations that would be classified as Mongoloid.[25]

Similarly, the anthropologist Alan Goodman found: "the 85 percent to 90 percent results are based on the accuracy of the method when standards are developed on a subset of a sample and then 'tested' on the sample from which the subset derived."[26] There are many populations in Southeast Asia with a low frequency of "Mongoloid" traits, in fact Southern Chinese also tend to lack these features (see below for shoveling). This gradient or cline in East Asia, contradicts the idea of there being discrete racial boundaries:

At any rate, there is a sort of gradient beginning with... northeast Siberians (all very flat in the face and having the facial skeleton actually set more forward from the skull relative to other peoples) and sloping off in these and other ways into... Southeast Asians, and Indonesians. About mid-way on the scale are, by general appearance, Japanese, Koreans, and Chinese, all of whom in historical times have swelled into major populations.[27]
(Left) A forensic reconstruction of a male human skull considered "Mongoloid", in fact the ancestry of the man was from India (Right).[28]

Ling & Wong (2008) note: "It could be said that the Southern Chinese shows a lesser degree of shoveling than the other Chinese population."[29]

The below table reproduces their data for maxillary lateral shovel-shaped incisor percentages (for females):

East Asian Population Shoveling %
Japanese 74%
Northern Chinese 69%
Southern Chinese 27%

According to Wu Rukang and Wu Xinzhi (1997): "The cephalic, facial, and nasal indices, plus stature, show clinal variation. From north to south [China], the cephalic index and the stature are seen to decrease, while the facial and nasal indices increase."[30]

[edit] Changing features

Funnily enough, the cranial order was once asserted to be Caucasoid > Mongoloid > Negroid; clearly, whites are the bestest. Nowadays, as raciallists have become fond of Asians, the order has shifted to Mongoloid > Caucasoid > Negroid. Or perhaps an entire continent of people have simply upgraded their skulls?[31]

[edit] Mongoloid idiot

The terms Mongoloid idiot and Mongoloid imbecility were also the common terms to describe what is now known as Down syndrome[wp], and medical literature referred to the affected people as Mongoloid idiots or Mongoloid imbeciles. John Langdon Down, the doctor who first described the syndrome in the 1880s (although doctors did not identify the underlying cause, trisomy 21, until 1959), thought these patients resembled the Mongoloid race purely in physical appearance. His descriptions of them were not intended as derogatory—to the contrary, he was one of the first physicians to even treat Down syndrome patients as people in the first place—and people did not see them as such at the time, but as the concept of races became discredited it became increasingly problematic.[32] Although people had begun to use the term Down syndrome as early as the 1950s, the WHO finally got around to officially removing the Mongolism from their diagnoses and making Down syndrome the official name in 1965, when in a moment of sanity the WHO delegation from the communist government of Mongolia lodged an official complaint that the term Mongolism was degrading.[33]

[edit] Human biological variation, and clines

Modern genetic[34][35][36][37][38][39] and craniometric[40] data has demonstrated the vast majority of variation >85% is found within populations, rather than between them <15%. Of the latter, 10%, or less, is found between large continental groups of ethnic groups/demes (e.g. "Caucasoid", "Negroid", and "Mongoloid" of outdated anthropology). Interpopulation variation is mostly continuous, and the arbitrary categorization of humans into races is therefore neither useful nor an accurate method in analyzing biological variation. Instead modern biologists and physical anthropologists tend to study clines.

Neutral genetic/phenotypic markers
Data Reference Within populations % Between ethnic groups % Between "races" %
17 classical polymorphisms[41] Lewontin (1972) 85.4% 8.3% 6.3%
18 classical polymorphisms[42] Latter (1980) 85.5% 5.5% 9.0%
25 classical polymorphisms[43] Ryman et al. (1983) 86.0% 2.8% 11.2%
57 landmarks and dimensions of the skull Relethford (1994, 2002) 78.8% 6.7% 14.6%
109 atDNA microsatellite loci Barbujani et al. (1997) 84.4% 4.7% 10.8%
79 RFLP's[44] and 30 atDNA microsatellite loci Jorde et al. (2000) 84.8% 1.6% 13.6%
21 Alu insertions Romualdi et al. (2002) 82.9% 8.2% 8.9%
377 atDNA microsatellite loci Rosenberg et al. (2002) 94.1% 2.4% 3.6%
100 Alu insertions Watkins et al. (2003) 88.6% 1.9% 9.6%
17 X chromosome markers Ramachandran et al. (2004) 90.4% 4.6% 4.9%
40 atDNA insertions/deletions Bastos-Rodrigues et al. (2006) 85.7% 2.3% 12.1%
642,690 atDNA SNP's[45] Li et al. (2008) 89.9% 2.1% 9.0%
783 atDNA microsatellite loci Rosenberg (2011) 93.9% 2.4% 3.8%
27 landmarks and dimensions of the pelvis Betti et al. (2013) 91.5% 5.6% 3.0%
The boundaries in global variation are not abrupt and do not fit a strict view of the race concept... races and the cutoffs used to define them are arbitrary.
—Biological anthropologist John Relethford
There are no races, there are only clines.
Frank B. Livingstone

Lieberman & Rice (1996) in their work Race or Clines? discuss several facts that "laid low the concept of race", including the rise of the cline concept.

The word "cline" derives from the Greek word for slope and the smooth gradient or continuity of a given trait across geographic space is known as a clinal distribution:

The influence of clines

Strong genetic influence weakening the race concept is also seen growing out of the concept of clines and supporting data. Clines referred to gradations of genotypes or phenotypes over a geographic area, and were distributed within and across racial and national boundaries. In 1938 HUXLEY proposed the concept of clines, but clarified that it was not a taxonomic entity, otherwise it might be confused with race. At about the same time HUXLEY and HADDON’S [1936] book, We Europeans, presented one of the early maps of a cline showing gradations in the B blood type starting at a low frequency in Spain and increasing towards Moscow [...] The concept of cline began to enter anthropological awareness in the 1950s when LIVINGSTONE [1958] published data indicating that the clinal distribution of the sickle-cell allele (Hbs) corresponded to the distribution of malaria throughout West Africa, the Mediterranean, and South Asia, demonstrating that Hbs is not confined to one so-called race and that alleged boundarylines between so-called races are really continuous gradations, not merely transitions between one race and another. In the early 1960s LIVINGSTONE [1962] participated in the debate over the validity of race and declared that 'there are no races, there are only clines' (p. 279).[46]

Clines replaced the race concept from the 1960s.[47] Although Stephen Molnar in his book Human Variation points out "the clinal approach has its strength, but only when used in conjunction with the actual basis for trait distribution — the population". He defines a local breeding population (gamodeme) as a "the most narrowly restricted group of individuals that interbreed a majority of the time".[48]

[edit] "Race-based medicine" and geographic ancestry

A topic that has been controversial (for both social and scientific reasons) is so-called "race-based medicine." Currently, some doctors may use racial profiling as a proxy for determining the geographic origins of the patient's lineage to diagnose and treat certain diseases.[49] However, this is not the same thing as "race." The researchers at the Human Genome Project sum it up:

DNA studies do not indicate that separate classifiable subspecies (races) exist within modern humans. While different genes for physical traits such as skin and hair color can be identified between individuals, no consistent patterns of genes across the human genome exist to distinguish one race from another. There also is no genetic basis for divisions of human ethnicity. People who have lived in the same geographic region for many generations may have some alleles in common, but no allele will be found in all members of one population and in no members of any other.[50]

The word cline[wp] is sometimes used to describe this. To put it more succinctly, as the leader of the Human Genome Project, Francis Collins does:

'Race' and 'ethnicity' are poorly defined terms that serve as flawed surrogates for multiple environmental and genetic factors in disease causation, including ancestral geographic origins, socioeconomic status, education and access to health care.[51]

Sickle-cell anemia is a famous example of how "race" can mislead. It was originally classified as a "negro disease" due to its high incidence in blacks. However, it was later found that sickle-cell anemia, being an adaptation to the risk of malaria, was also more common in central and western Africans (but not southern Africans) as well as Mediterraneans (Turks, Greeks, etc.) and Indians. Thus, the disease was not an indication of "race," but of geographic ancestry (in this case, areas where malaria was more common).[52]

It should be noted that all human classifications used in medicine are considered probabilistic heuristics and not perfectly deterministic. While research has shown that many people are extremely effective at classifying themselves based on ethnic origin[53] and so researchers may find "race" to be a convenient label, it fails as a source of attribution: "[R]ace as a social construct may result in differences in treatment that affect health outcomes, but such descriptive use does not imply that "race" can be used as a proxy for biological difference."[54]

"Race" will continue to exist as a cultural phenomenon; while great care should be taken in using this construct in medicine, it would be counter-productive to discard potentially useful information, such as the way in which racial identity shapes social, legal and economic outcomes. Unfortunately, the knotty history of "race" makes even the language used into a potential source of error - "race realists" often point to a news headline or study that uses "race" sloppily and declare it to be "evidence" of the truth of "race," mastering sufficient jargon to talk about the reality of "genetic clines" and missing the fundamental mismatch between "race" as culture and "race" as genetic destiny.

[edit] Modern issues

[edit] "Lewontin's fallacy"

Racialists argue that while overall genetic variation between continental population divisions is <10%, this rather little human population structure still supports race classification (contra Lewontin, 1972). They quote Edwards (2003) who found by looking at how gene loci are correlated: "probability of misclassification falls off as the number of gene loci increases". It is notable Edwards in his paper does not dispute Lewontin’s statistical data on various blood polymorphisms, writing: "There is nothing wrong with Lewontin’s statistical analysis of variation, only with the belief that it is relevant to classification".

As Marks (2010) explains, there is then no "Lewontin fallacy":

Geographical correlations are far weaker hypotheses than genetically discrete races, and they obviously exist in the human species (whether studied somatically or genetically).[55]

What Lewontin (or Marks) and Edwards are discussing are two completely different things. Of course genetic correlations exist which can pinpoint someone's geographical ancestry, but as Marks asks: "What is unclear is what this has to do with race", and concludes: "Lewontin's analysis shows that such groups [races] do not exist in the human species, and Edwards's critique does not contradict that interpretation" (emphasis added). What this means is that Edwards is re-defining the race concept to a far weaker hypothesis, which is not how race is commonly understood in biological taxonomy:

...if one wants to measure the meaningfulness of differences between groups with different geographic ancestries, one needs to use a “proportion of variation” approach. This approach compares genetic variation among individuals within groups to the genetic variation between these groups. Ironically, Edwards’s (2003) reported findings confirm Lewontin’s (1972).[56]

What is the significance of the "proportion of variation" (Fst) approach? It measures phylogenetic 'treeness' via genetic differentiation[57] i.e. whether populations reflect a common evolutionary history or intraspecific distinctive lineage, which is taxonomically meaningful. Human populations however "have such little structure that ‘treeness’ is not demonstrated and phylogenetic models are invalid".[58]

The taxonomic division of the human species into races places a completely disproportionate emphasis on a very small fraction of the total of human diversity. That scientists as well as nonscientists nevertheless continue to emphasize these genetically minor differences and find new “scientific” justifications for doing so is an indication of the power of socioeconomically based ideology over the supposed objectivity of knowledge.
— Richard Lewontin, The Genetic Basis of Evolutionary Change (1974)

[edit] Fst

Wright (1978) calculated Fst values under 5% indicate little genetic differentiation between populations, 5% to 15%, moderate genetic differentiation, 15% to 25%, great genetic differentiation, and above 25%, very great differentiation which is the threshold for subspecies (races).[59] Human continental population divisions fall at the lower end of moderate genetic differentiation (<10%), while demes and ethnic groups under 5%: "Hence, as judged by the criterion in the nonhuman literature, the human Fst value is too small to have taxonomic significance under the traditional [definition of] subspecies".[60]

[edit] Forensic anthropology

Racialists quote forensic anthropologists who are said to be able to estimate ancestry of skeletal remains by continent ("race") with an accuracy of up to 90%. However this high accuracy figure only matches limited subsets of a sample in each broad continental grouping: "in cases where independent samples are used to test the methods, allocation accuracies decrease to levels that undermine the applicability of the methods in actual cases."[61][62] For example, Birkby (1966) found a high allocation accuracy for "Native Americans" (>90%) based on an archaeological sample from Knoll, Kentucky. When however indigenous remains were sampled from many other locations, the accuracy for the "Native American" racial category diminished: "the methods performed poorly on the respective American Indian samples (accuracies ranged from 14 to 30%), and confirmed Birkby’s conclusion that the Indian Knoll sample cannot be considered a proxy for the pattern of variation in numerous populations that are included in the group American Indian". The high accuracy rate claim for racial determination methods is also questionable since different methods have a tendency to produce different results:

We have shown that even with 20 non-fragmented sets of skeletal remains none could be consistently placed into a single racial category. Individual variability may have played a significant role leading to inconsistency of the results found in this study, which further confirms the ideas of Brace and Ryan (1980), Henneberg (2010) and Lewontin (1976); that most human variation occurs between individuals of the same population rather than being attributable to geographic distribution.[63]

Sauer (1992) notes that "to estimate, with varying degrees of specificity, a person’s place of ancestry from their physical features" is "not a vindication of the [biological] race concept".

C. Loring Brace makes the same point that "region, does not mean race".[64] More recently terms such as "geographical ancestry", or "ancestral population" have replaced race in forensic literature.

[edit] Medicine

Classification of race (e.g. "Caucasian", "Black") is still sometimes considered to be useful by doctors. This however has been criticized on the grounds studies on disease rarely control environmental factors and so a genetic etiology is assumed without testing. That said, no doctor denies that some diseases are heritable and found at high frequency in some populations, low in others. While information about ethnicity may be informative for biomedical research: "it is imperative to move away from describing populations according to racial classifications such as 'black', 'white' or 'Asian'... there can be considerable genetic heterogeneity within a region, it is most useful to be as specific as possible about geographic origins, ethnicity or tribal affiliation" (Tishkoff & Kidd, 2004). Those diseases that show considerable inter-group difference, are only confined to local breeding populations, that are often more inbred (e.g. ethno-religious sects such as the Samaritans) rather than large regions, or continents.

Dr. Jurgen K. Naggert, a geneticist at the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, has noted:

These big groups that we characterize as races are too heterogeneous to lump together in a scientific way. If you're doing a DNA study to look for markers for a particular disease, you can't use 'Caucasians' as a group. They're too diverse.[65]

[edit] Race and IQ

One obsolete theory attempted to link cranial capacity (cc) to intelligence. While cranial capacity is an accurate measure of brain size, the fallacy was in assuming that a larger cranial capacity (and brain) correlates with higher intelligence. The size of the brain itself is not a measure of intelligence. If this idea were taken to its logical conclusion, the world would likely be ruled by elephants, or sperm whales. It is only when a person has an extremely small brain, as with abnormal conditions such as microcephaly[wp], that absolute brain size has any negative impact on cognitive functions. Furthermore, having a very large amount of brain tissue, referred to as megalencephaly, is recognized as being pathological and is strongly correlated with several neurological disorders, especially severe epilepsy and autism. What is much more important than absolute brain size includes factors such as cortical folding, neuronal organization, dendritic and synaptic connections, etc.[66]

A handful of 21st century racialists including figures such as J. Philippe Rushton and Arthur Jensen have continued to argue that certain races are just inherently dumb. While they still like their skull and brain size measurements, their arguments hinge more on pointing to differences in races' average IQ scores and claiming this is the work of genetics. These claims rest on several big assumptions: firstly, that IQ is a measure of some kind of objective intelligence, rather than a measure of the skills needed to excel in 21st century Western society (a controversial claim); secondly, that there are genetic differences between "races" big enough to explain the IQ difference (as previously discussed in this article, there are none currently known to us); and thirdly, that IQ is dependent entirely on genes and not on environment. Increasingly, evidence has been suggesting that environment plays a large role in IQ. This started with the discovery of the Flynn effect - the realization that national average IQ scores were increasing over time at a rate much faster than could be explained by genetics (and, interestingly, ethnic minorities were often making the biggest leaps).[67][68] Relevant to this discussion also is Eric Turkheimer's study of twins separated at birth and raised in different socioeconomic environments. The study found that environment mattered more to the development of IQ in the poor kids than it did in the rich kids. Essentially, some degree of genetically-determined IQ exists, but the degree to which it develops is dependent on how intellectually-stimulating their environment as children is.[69] Other explanations, such as the stereotype threat, racial discrimination in the education system, lack of funding for schools in poor areas, more talented teachers avoiding teaching at schools in poor areas, and even differences in diet have been offered. Jensen and friends hold that these studies have not yet explained away the difference in scores. True as this may be, they have still provided more sound evidence than the genetic determinists. On top of no actual evidence that there are significant genetic differences between "races" or that these differences include "intelligence genes", they are yet to explain why humans in some areas would evolve to be smarter than others, as this would imply that being dumb was evolutionarily advantageous for some people.

Although these IQ-based arguments for racialism are often used by white supremacists, taken to their logical conclusion, they would better support Asian or Jewish supremacy than white supremacy. Rushton actually agrees that Asians, not whites, are the intellectual master race, leading anthropologist Jonathan Marks to remark:

First we must admire the apparent cranial expansion of Asians over the last half-century, when [earlier] researchers consistently reported their having smaller brains than whites. Obviously this implies the possibility of a comparable expansion in blacks. More likely, it implies the possibility of scientists finding just what they expect when the social and political stakes are high.[70]

[edit] Adaptation doesn't work like that

Adaptation to environments, including social environments, through natural and sexual selection of random mutations is the linchpin of evolution. Remembering this means knowing why scientific racism is ridiculous. To argue that races or ethnic groups differ innately in intelligence, however defined, is exactly equal to an assertion that intelligence has proven less adaptive for some people than for others. This at minimum requires an explanation, a specifically evolutionary explanation, beyond mere statistical assertion; without that it can be assumed to be cultural bias or noise. Since most human intelligence is in fact social intelligence — the main thing the human mind is built for is networking in human societies — this would require this social evolutionary arms race to have somehow stopped.

One such explanation could be that within a certain population the random mutations needed for certain intelligence boosts never occurred. The genetics related to brain development are not uniform among the genetically diverse and geographically distant populations of Earth (the microcephalin allelles being an example of brain-related gene complexes that are not geographically uniform) [71].

They report that with microcephalin, a new allele arose about 37,000 years ago, although it could have appeared as early as 60,000 or as late as 14,000 years ago. Some 70 percent or more of people in most European and East Asian populations carry this allele of the gene, as do 100 percent of those in three South American Indian populations, but the allele is much rarer in most sub-Saharan Africans. With the other gene, ASPM, a new allele emerged some time between 14,100 and 500 years ago, the researchers favoring a mid-way date of 5,800 years. The allele has attained a frequency of about 50 percent in populations of the Middle East and Europe, is less common in East Asia, and found at low frequency in some sub-Saharan Africa peoples..[72]

To argue otherwise is to argue that all required mutations magically appear in all social living beings as soon as they develop social intelligence.

Genetic differences between people from different locations are pretty much entirely genetic drift (which itself can lead to the appearance of genes that are not expressed anywhere else). Amount of melanin does vary with distance from the equator, and there's recent actual evolution such as Lactase persistence in adults.[73]

[edit] Race and sporting ability

He only hates certain races. Like the marathons! Or, black people.

There are several common beliefs about how different races have different sporting abilities. Clichés include:

  • Blacks are good at track and field (especially sprinting[74]) and heavyweight boxing (hence the phrase "The Great White Hope"[75]).
  • Blacks can't swim.[76]
  • East Africans are good at long-distance running.[77]
  • East Asians are athletically weaker, at least at some sports.[78][79]
  • Whites are better at tennis[80] (except the Williams sisters).
  • Whites can't jump (basketball).[81]

On the other hand, why has Norway (pop. 5 million) won 118 golds in Winter Olympics and Vietnam and India none?[82] Are Asians intrinsically terrible at skiing compared to tall Nordic types? Or does Norway have more ski slopes and better ice rinks and just care more and spend more money on it?

It appears that some factors implicated in sporting success are heritable (e.g. height), and therefore will be more or less common in groups with common ancestors. However, in many cases, these do not correlate closely to race (the Dutch are the tallest nationality[83], despite stereotypes about black basketballers). As the section on genetic variation makes clear, there is not a simple pot of genes that corresponds to each race, so you can't assume a member of a race will have a given gene. And there are few clear cases where genes define sporting success: even factors like height are affected by nutrition, medical facilities, etc, and distributed across races.

One well-known genetic factor is the gene ACTN3 associated with fast twitch muscle[wp] fibres, which are greatly beneficial to sprinters and basketball players amongst others, and such genes are particularly common in west Africa.[84] The frequency of the optimum (RR) genotype is 0.25 in Asians, 0.36 in European whites, 0.60 in African-Americans, but 0.81 in African Bantu.[85] This is perhaps the clearest and best known example of sporting behaviour where genetic variation is connected to race, although even then it relates to a particular population rather than an entire race in the old-fashioned concept. The relative frequency of the gene in whites and Africans does not fully explain the fact that 77% of NBA players are black, and blacks have 83% of NBA court time.[85]

It is also important not to confuse genetic heritage with nationality, cultural factors, or social status. There are many non-biological reasons why people of a certain race, ethnicity, or nationality may choose to play specific sports, or excel at them. These include:

  • economic factors (which may affect everything from nutrition and health, to ability to afford equipment and tuition, and time to train)
  • discrimination (from racist sports clubs restricting membership, to expectations of coaches)
  • environment and climate (where you live may affect what sports you do, along with factors such as heat or cold tolerance or lung capacity developed from living at high altitude)
  • religions or cultural factors (e.g. requirements that women keep their bodies covered, or stay in the home)
  • cultural beliefs about the importance of specific sports or sport in general (anecdotally some cultures celebrate sport as a means to success, while others favour academic achievement at school)
  • Cultural ties of a sport to a certain ethnic group. For instance within South Africa Rugby Union was long considered the sport of white Afrikaans speaking people while Cricket was considered the sport of white people of English descent with soccer the sport of everybody else. This has only begun to change since Apartheid ended

Sport science academic Ben Oakley attributes the success of east African long-distance runners partly to their experience at high altitude and partly to the cultural factors that encourage running in east Africa more than in high regions of Latin America. According to Oakley there is no specific genetic factor, but their tendency to light, lean bodies probably helps. None of these are unique to the region, but they combine to produce a greater effect.[77]

[edit] Notable racialists

A racist 1860 American political cartoon, depicting with contempt an African-American as the "next Republican candidate." In the cartoonist's view, such a possibility is ridiculous because of the biologically determined positions of the races.
  • Benjamin Rush: Rush was, rather interestingly, one of the Founding Fathers and an abolitionist. He believed that blacks suffered from a disease called "negritude," supposedly a form of leprosy, that could be "cured" and would result in turning their skin white. This led to his attempts to develop quack "cures" for "negritude."
  • Samuel Cartwright: Expanding on Rush's work, Cartwright argued that drapetomania also a physical illness that could be diagnosed through the appearance of lesions on the skin. No doubt this had nothing to do with the backbreaking manual labor and frequent whippings and beatings slaves endured.[86] Cartwright coined two pseudo-psychological diagnoses that rationalized and justified slavery. The first he called "drapetomania," which was allegedly an illness causing slaves to run away from their masters. Conveniently for the slave masters, much of the "treatment" for this "illness" consisted of whipping. The second "diagnosis" was "dysaethesia aethiopica," or laziness.
  • J. Philippe Rushton: Advocate of "Life History Theory" that proposes that all socially desirable personality and intellectual traits are concentrated in the white and Asian races, whereas all the antisocial and undesirable traits are concentrated in black people. Repeatedly criticised in academia for sloppy scholarship including using questionable sources of information including the Penthouse Forum.[87]
  • Richard Lynn: Eugenics advocate who recently wrote a paper claiming that black people have longer penises than whites, who in turn are better endowed than Asians.[88] This was based on Rushton's "Goldilocks" theory of race: "Orientals have big brains but small genitalia, Africans have small brains but big genitalia, but Europeans Are Just Right[™]."[89] One of the key sources of data used in this paper was the World Penis Size Site,[90] an anonymously compiled source that includes a lot of made-up data and bogus references.[91][92] Lynn has also stated that "incompetent cultures" need "phasing out."[93] Just to clear up any doubt about which cultures he thinks need "phasing out" he writes: "Who can doubt that the Caucasoids and the Mongoloids are the only two races that have made any significant contributions to civilization?"[94]
  • Donald Templer: Authored a book on penises used as an additional reference by Richard Lynn even though Templer has no qualifications in urology. Advocates the voluntary sterilization of welfare recipients on eugenics grounds.[95]
  • Lothrop Stoddard: American racist, eugenicist, and anti-immigration campaigner, author of many books including The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy. He was enormously influential in early 20th century America, and is satirised by F. Scott Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby, but a lengthy and enthusiastic visit to Nazi Germany in 1939-40 caused his reputation to fall after America entered World War Two.[96]

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] Sources

  • Albanese, J., Saunders, S. R. (2006). "Is It Possible to Escape Racial Typology in Forensic Identification?". In: Schmitt, A., Pinheiro, J. (eds.). Forensic Anthropology and Medicine. Humana. [9]
  • Barbujani, G., Magagni, A., Minch, E., Cavalli-Sforza, L. L. (1997). "An Apportionment of Human DNA Diversity". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 94(9): 4516-4519. [10]
  • Barbujani, G. (2005). "Human Races: Classifying People vs. Understanding Diversity". Current Genomics. 6(4): 215-226. [11]
  • Brace, C. L. (1995). "Region Does Not Mean Race: Reality Versus Convention in Forensic Anthropology". Journal of Forensic Sciences. 40(2): 171-175.
  • Brown, R. A., Armelagos, G. J. (2001). "Apportionment of Racial Diversity: a Review". Evolutionary Anthropology. 10(1): 34-40. [12]
  • Caspari, R. (2010). "Deconstructing Race". In: Larsen, C. (ed.). A Companion to Biological Anthropology. Wiley Blackwell.
  • Feldman, M. W., Lewontin, R. (2008). "Race, Ancestry, and Medicine". In: Koenig, B. A. (ed.). Revisiting Race in a Genomic Age. Rutgers University Press. [13]
  • Fujimura, J. H., Bolnick, D. A., Rajagopalan, R., Kaufman, J. S., Lewontin, R. C. (2014). "Clines Without Classes How to Make Sense of Human Variation". Sociological Theory. 32(3): 208-227. [14]
  • Glasgow, J. M. (2003). "On the New Biology of Race". The Journal of Philosophy. 100(9): 456-474.
  • Handley, L. Manica, A., Goudet, J., Balloux, F. (2007). "Going the Distance: Human Population Genetics in a Clinal World". Trends in Genetics. 23(9): 432-439. [15]
  • Hochman, A. (2013). "Against the New Racial Naturalism". The Journal of Philosophy. 110(6): 331-351.
  • Lewontin, R. (1972). "The Apportionment of Human Diversity". Evolutionary Biology. 6: 381–398. [16]
  • Lieberman, L., Rice, P. C. (1996). Race or Clines?. Arlington, VA: American Anthropological Association.
  • Lieberman, L., Kirk, R. C., Corcoran, M. (2003). "The Decline of Race in American Physical Anthropology". Anthropological Review. 66: 3-21. [17]
  • Madrigal, L., Barbujani, G. (2007). "Partitioning of Genetic Variation in Human Populations and the Concept of Race". In: Crawford, M. (ed.). Anthropological Genetics. Cambridge University Press.
  • Molnar, S. (1975). Human Variation: Races, Types, and Ethnic groups. Prentice Hall.
  • Relethford, J. H. (2002). "Apportionment of Global Human Genetic Diversity Based on Craniometrics and Skin Color". American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 118(4): 393-398. [18]
  • Sauer, N. J. (1992). "Forensic Anthropology and the Concept of Race". Social Science & Medicine. 34(2): 107-111. [19]
  • Sierp, I., Henneberg, M. (2015). "Can Ancestry be Consistently Determined From the Skeleton?". Anthropological Review. 78(1): 21-31.
  • Smay, D., Armelagos, G. (2000). "Galileo Wept: a Critical Assessment of the Use of Race in Forensic Anthropology". Transforming Anthropology. 9(2): 19-29. [20]
  • Templeton, A. R. (1998). "Human Races: a Genetic and Evolutionary Perspective". American Anthropologist. 100(3): 632-650. [21]

[edit] Footnotes

  1. Systema Naturae
  2. Lieberman et al. 2003.
  3. Or, in Metapedia's case, "White race".
  4. Which is why people of mixed racial background are so unsettling to the system.
  5. Aristotle, Politics, book 7.
  6. Pliny the Elder, Natural History, book VII.
  7. Not All Caucasians Are White: The Supreme Court Rejects Citizenship for Asian Indians
  8. Templeton, 1998.
  9. Hochman, 2014.
  10. Hochman, 2013.
  11. Templeton, 1998.
  12. Hiernaux, 1963 (comments).
  13. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (race)
  14. Marks, 2010.
  15. Serre and Pääbo, 2004.
  16. Relethford, 2004.
  17. Fujimura et al. 2014.
  18. "Specifically, between human populations, including smaller groupings, genetic differences may be detected. These differences tend to increase with geographic distance, but the basic genetic variation between populations is much less prominent. This means that human genetic diversity is only gradual and presents no major discontinuity between populations." (Statement on Race, UNESCO [1])
  19. Rosenberg, et al. 2005.
  20. Handley et al. 2007.
  21. "Zones of discontinuity in human gene frequency distributions are present, but the local gradients are so small that they can be identified only by simultaneously studying many loci using complex statistical techniques. In addition, such regions of relatively sharp genetic change do not surround large clusters of populations, on a continental or nearly continental scale. On the contrary, they occur irregularly, within continents and even within single countries." (Barbujani et al. 1997)
  22. "Zones of sudden genetic variation exist, often in correspondence with barriers to gene flow, both physical and cultural, but they almost never completely surround a region. Over much of the planet, clinal variation is the rule, with genetic characteristics of the various regions changing gradually into one another." (Barbujani & Benedetto, 2001)
  23. "The genetic exchanges occurred in the course of the frequent contacts have resulted in a smooth, continuous variation of many genetic parameters. As a consequence, zones of sharp genetic change are not the rule, but the exception; most human populations are not surrounded by clear genetic boundaries." (Barbujani & Colonna, 2011)
  24. Coon, Carleton Stevens (1939). The Races of New York: The Macmillan Company. 400-401
  25. Heard, A. N. (2008). "Non-Metric Assessment of Southeast and Northeast Asian Ancestry in the Forensic Context". M.Sc. Thesis. Michigan State University.
  26. Smay, D., Armelagos, G. (2000). "Galileo Wept: a Critical Assessment of the Use of Race in Forensic Anthropology". Transforming Anthropology. 9(2): 19-29. [2]
  27. Howells, W. W. (1983). "Origins of the Chinese People: Interpretations of the Recent Evidence". In: Keightley, D. N. (ed.). The Origins of Chinese Civilization. University of California Press.
  28. Prag, J., Neave, R. (1997). Making Faces: Using Forensic and Archaeological Evidence. Trustees of the British Museum. p. 34.
  29. Ling, J. Y. K., Wong, R. W. K. (2008). "Incisal Morphology of Southern Chinese". The Open Anthropology Journal. 1: 19-25. [3]
  30. "China". In: Spencer, F. (ed.). History of Physical Anthropology (vol. 1). New York: Garland.
  31. Lieberman, L. (2001). "How Caucasoids got such big crania and why they shrank: from Morton to Rushton". Current Anthropology. 42(1): 69-95.
  34. Barbujani et al. 1997.
  35. Brown & Armelagos, 2001.
  36. Barbujani, 2005.
  37. Madrigal & Barbujani, 2007.
  38. Feldman & Lewontin, 2008.
  39. Barbujani & Colonna, 2011.
  40. Relethford, 2002.
  41. 17 blood groups.
  42. 10 blood groups, 3 serum proteins and 5 red blood cell enzymes.
  43. 14 serum proteins, 9 blood groups and 2 leukocyte antigens.
  44. Restriction fragment length polymorphisms.
  45. Single nucleotide polymorphisms.
  46. Lieberman et al. 2003.
  47. "Promoted by Livingstone (1962), the study of clines, the distribution of individual morphological and genetic traits, came to replace race as a focus of analysis for many workers." (Caspari, 2010)
  48. Molnar, 1975: 109.
  49. Race-Based Medicine: A Recipe for Controversy, Scientific American
  50. Genetic Anthropology, Ancestry, and Ancient Human Migration (Human Genome Project Information Archive)
  51. Francis S. Collins. What We Do and Don't Know About 'Race', 'Ethnicity', Genetics, and Health at the Dawn of the Genome Era. Nature Genetics Supplement, vol. 36, no. 11, Nov. 2004
  52. Race and Gene Studies: What Difference Makes a Difference? by Larry Adelman
  53. "Genetic Structure, Self-Identified Race/Ethnicity, and Confounding in Case-Control Association Studies", American Journal of Human Genetics. Hua Tang, Tom Quertermous, et al. 2005.
  54. "Defining Human Differences in Biomedicine", PLoS Medicine. Brown M. 2007. 4 (9): e228.
  55. Marks, 2010.
  56. Fujimura et al. 2014.
  57. "Classical population-genetics theory and empirical data show that large genetic differences among groups develop if reproductive barriers separate these groups. In the presence of reproductive barriers, that is, under isolation, genetic drift, affecting independently each group, will reduce the group’s internal variation (because the alleles that are lost are not reintroduced by gene flow) and will lead groups to diverge from each other (because different alleles are lost in each group and different mutations occur in each group); divergence will generate genetic discontinuities... between groups." (Barbujani, 2005)
  58. Caspari, 2010.
  59. "The standard criterion for subspecies division is an FST estimate of or over 0.25." (Hochman, 2013)
  60. Templeton, 1998.
  61. Albanese & Saunders, 2006.
  62. Smay & Armelagos, 2000.
  63. Sierp & Henneberg, 2015.
  64. Brace, 1995.
  65. Angier, 2000.
  66. Sukel, 2009.
  67. Flynn Effect page at Indiana University. See also "None of the Above" by Malcolm Gladwell and The Flynn Effect and IQ Disparities Among Races, Ethnicities, and Nations by Scott Barry Kaufman.
  68. James R. Flynn. Searching for Justice: The Discovery of IQ Gains Over Time. American Psychologist, vol. 54, no. 1, Jan. 1999, pp. 5-20
  69. "Socioeconomic status modifies heritability of IQ in young children" by Turkheimer, et al. at Psychology Today
  70. Quoted in: Leonard Lieberman. How "Caucasoids" Got Such Big Crania and Why They Shrank. Current Anthropology. Volume 42, Number 1, February 2001
  73. Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato, the genetics of lactase persistence see also: image
  74. Is it wrong to note 100m winners are always black?, BBC, 2011
  75. A True Champion Vs. The 'Great White Hope', NPR, 2010
  76. Why don't black Americans swim?, BBC, 2010
  77. 77.0 77.1 Kenyan siblings in pursuit of 2012 gold, Ben Oakley, BBC, 2010
  78. Why Chinese Men Stink At Soccer, Forbes, 2010
  79. Why Aren't Asian-Americans Getting Their 'One Shining Moment'?, NPR, 2014
  80. Tennis: Why So Few Blacks?, Eugene Register-Guard, 1973
  81. White Man Can't Jump: The Science Behind Stereotypes, Medical Daily, 2012
  82. See the Wikipedia article on All-time Olympic Games medal table.
  83. Scientists try to answer why Dutch people are so tall, The Guardian, 2015
  84. See the Wikipedia article on Race and sports.
  85. 85.0 85.1 Race, genes, and sports, Slate, 2008
  86. Vanessa Jackson, In Our Own Voices: African American Stories of Oppression, Survival and Recovery in the Mental Health System, pp 1-36, p. 4-8.
  87. Weizmann, F., Wiener, N. I., Wiesenthal, D. L., &Ziegler, M. (1991). Eggs, eggplants and eggheads: a rejoinder to Rushton. Canadian Psychology, 32 (1), 43-50 DOI: 10.1037/h0078958
  88. Lynn, R. (2012). Rushton’s r–K life history theory of race differences in penis length and circumference examined in 113 populations. Personality and Individual Differences, in press. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2012.02.016 [4]
  89. The Penile Economics of Ethnicity, Ethnic Muse. Perhaps "Goldicocks" would be even more apt.
  90. World Penis Average Size Studies Database
  91. WorldPenisSize: analysis of listed sources [5]
  92. How much does size really matter?, Psychology Today [6]
  93. Racism Resurgent: How Media Let The Bell Curve's Pseudo-Science Define the Agenda on Race, Fairness in Accuracy and Reporting, January/February 1995
  94. Richard Lynn (1991) "Race Differences in Intelligence: A Global Perspective," Mankind Quarterly, 31(3), p255 [7]
  95. 'AmRen Conference Held in Tennessee' American Renaissance[8]
  96. Lothrop Stoddard[wp]
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