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The Race Myth: Why We Pretend Race Exists in Americaby Joseph L. Graves
Synopses & Reviews
A leading scientist proves once and for all that race does not exist and provides solutions to end racism.
While the public debate over the existence of race, racism, and affirmative action continues to rage, preeminent evolutionary biologist Joseph Graves will forever change how we think about race. According to his provocative argument, science cannot account for the racial categories used to classify people. He goes a step further to describe racism as an unintended consequence of evolution and offers creative, innovative ways to bring true equality to America.
The Race Myth debunks the ancient fallacies still held as fact and perpetuated in everything from damaging medical profiling to misconceptions about sports. Through accessible and compelling language, Graves reveals the impossibility that any group of humans now in existence has a separate genetic line of descent. The Race Myth also explains why defining a race according to skin tones or eye shape is woefully inaccurate and why applying these false categories to assumptions about IQ, behavior, or predisposition to disease has devastating effects.
Demonstrating that racial distinctions are social inventions, not biological truths, The Race Myth brings much-needed, sound science to one of America's most emotionally charged debates.
"A former professor of biology and African American studies summarizes the history and science of race from its early identity as a 'scientific fact' to its current status as a social construction in this unevenly argued book. Graves is adept at simplifying complex ideas — such as natural selection, sexual selection and genetic distance — so they can easily be understood by readers with only a passing familiarity with the basics of biology. And his first chapter, in which he uses evidence from the human genome project to prove that there is only one race of human beings and explains why physical differences are not an accurate reflection of genetic difference, is particularly fascinating. When it comes to discussing race as a contemporary cultural and political phenomenon, however, Graves rarely rises beyond half-hearted analysis, and he concludes almost exclusively with statements about white social domination. For example, when discussing the O.J. Simpson trial, he declares that 'if they white people had Simpson at hand, they would have taught him ? that as a black man, he would never get away with violating a white female's innocence.' Elsewhere, his diatribe against the mistreatment of minorities in academia is vitriolic enough to sound conspiratorial. ('Promotion and tenure for nonwhites,' he says, 'often boils down ? to how palatable ? they are deemed by those who maintain white social domination within that university.') Unfortunately, such broad generalizations pervade much of the book and suggest that it is less interested in provoking intelligent debate than it is on replacing one set of stereotypes with another. Fans of Stephen J. Gould may recognize many of this book's better arguments from his seminal volume The Mismeasure of Man, which presented them in much more thoughtful detail.." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Squelching bad science, evolutionary biologist Graves explains how race is a social construct without basis in biological understanding....Neatly removes the genetic explanation for racism from the equation, taking science out of the racist's arsenal." Kirkus Reviews
"Professor Graves insightfully demonstrates that race classification cannot be biologically justified. His book is eminently readable and engrossing." Francisco J. Ayalla, professor of Biological Science, University of California at Irvine
Book News Annotation:
The traditional concept of race as a biological fact is a myth, says evolutionary biologist Graves (Fairleigh Dickinson U.), and he sets out to demonstrate that nearly everything people, even non-racists, think about race is a social construct. Sex, of course, must be the first facet of the myth to be addressed; then in turn health, sports, and intelligence.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
A leading scientist proves once and for all that race does not exist and provides solutions to end racism. Through accessible and compelling language, Graves reveals the impossibility that any group of humans now in existence has a separate genetic line of descent.
Preeminent evolutionary biologist Joseph Graves proves once and for all that it doesn’t. Through accessible and compelling language, he makes the provocative argument that science cannot account for the radical categories used to classify people, and debunks ancient race-related fallacies that are still held as fact, from damaging medical profiles to misconceptions about sports. He explains why defining race according to skin tone or eye shape is woefully inaccurate, and how making assumptions based on these false categories regarding IQ, behavior, or predisposition to disease has devastating effects.
Demonstrating that racial distinctions are in fact social inventions, not biological truths, The Race Myth brings much-needed, sound science to one of America’s most emotionally charged debates.
About the Author
One of the world's leading evolutionary biologists, Joseph L. Graves, Jr. was a professor of Biology and African American Studies in the Arizona State University system. He has appeared in six documentaries about race and his opinions have appeared in major publications such as The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. He is also the author of The Emperor's New Clothes.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. How Biology Refutes Our Racial Myths 1
Chapter 2. "Great Is Our Sin": A Brief History of Racism 19
Chapter 3. Sexual Selection, Reproduction, and Social Dominance 40
Chapter 4. Jungle Fever: Race, Sexuality, and Marriage 61
Chapter 5. America is Enough to Make You Sick: Differential Health and Mortality for Racial Minorities. 103
Chapter 6. Europeans, Not West Africans, Dominate the NBA: The Social Construction of Race and Sports 137
Chapter 7. On Whose Nature Nurture Never Could Stick: Race, Genetics and Intelligence in the New Millennium 166
Conclusion: Two Paths...Choosing up Sides
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