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Is Race a social construct?

By Staff 11 months ago

Progressive discourse often repeats the mantra that race is a “social construct.” This suggests that race only exists because society has said that it does, not unlike the concept of money. Without the widespread agreement that money has value, it’s just paper. As such, the thinking goes, race only exists in our minds and has no material basis in reality.

So where did this idea come from? And is it true?

In the 1990s, an era that took an optimistic attitude toward the idea of “color blindness,” the commonplace narrative was not that race is a “social construct” but that race is unimportant. Academics, in particular, who supported this argument were countering previous racial theories, many of which held that there were racial “essences”—or, that there were ways in which all white people, for instance, were different from all black people, and that these “essences” were inherited. This was largely based on stereotypes—many of which cast people of African descent, in particular, in a negative light—and so academics formed new narratives to counter this thinking.

In the past two decades or so, the tide has shifted once again. Color Blindness is no longer en vogue (and is often considered problematic). Instead, the need has arisen for a theory to explain why race is important: You can’t address oppression unless you acknowledge that race exists. The solution to this philosophical conundrum was the theory that race doesn’t exist on a material level but does exist as a social construct, particularly one that leads to individual bigotry as well as systemic oppression.

But what about genetics? Doesn’t the fact that DNA testing can predict someone’s race mean there is at least some biological underpinnings to the concept of race?

Well, yes. As Nicolas Wade, a former science editor for The New York Times and the author of A Troublesome Inheritance, wrote in 2014, “Analysis of genomes from around the world establishes that there is a biological basis for race, despite the official statements to the contrary of leading social science organizations. An illustration of the point is the fact that with mixed race populations, such as African Americans, geneticists can now track along an individual’s genome, and assign each segment to an African or European ancestor, an exercise that would be impossible if race did not have some basis in biological reality.”

The above box shows genetic differences, color coded by regions of descent, showing the substantial genetic differences between what we call “races”

What’s more, there are particular disorders that affect some populations (or races) more than others, including sickle cell disease, which impacts vastly more people of African descent than caucasians. The same is true of Tay-Sachs disease, which primarily affects Ashkenazi Jews. So not only does this demonstrate the existence of race, it demonstrates that race can be useful in adequately screening for—and treating—disease.

Even if they are wrong in claiming there is no biological basis for race, social constructions do get one thing right: The value we place on racial groups does matter. If we were truly able to live in a colorblind society, as the optimists of the ‘90s (and Martin Luther King, Jr.) desired, racism might actually disappear.

Is "Race" a social construct or genetic fact?

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18 comments

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0

We are nine times more individuals genetically than anything to do with "Race" Humans have simply not existed long enough for there to be different "races" of human. INHERENTLY If you believe in the made up theory of Human "races" from the pseudo science of eugenics then you are inherently a racist. The Genetics simply do not back you up. There are different "races" of Monkey because Monkeys have been around for a million years + Modern humans have only been around for 300,000 years. We killed off all the other races of humans like Neanderthals.

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WW2 vets of the Pacific war were not racist against the Japanese. I actually knew a few. The word racist is not accurate at all. Hate would be a much more accurate word, and it was a visceral hate that was at least an order of magnitude beyond any kind of generic racism like that against blacks.

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No biological trait can be deemed a social construct.

Are tall people just a social construct?

1

yet another question at which my only logical response is mocking and sarcastic laughter.

0

For the radical left race is useful as a religious/political exploit, it often follows the genetic linage but not always. Genetic race is easiest to identify and apply optimized resentment indoctrination via university grievance studies.

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It is the way life works. Each organism seeks its survival. We have developed the capacity to reason and should be able to overcome our instincts.

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Race is created by isolated families
Racism exist because awareness of different families
Race is dissolute by trade with mutually positive encounters and welcome/desire to be included fairly

Can anyone in America claim a race? I see that Only those not yet dissolved into the melting pot. Color of skin isn’t a race, it’s a stereotype usually or ancestry. My race is closest to “Oregonian American”

However genetics indicate ancestors, but race in a modern area of internationalism is more an idea of where humanity comes from. What is a white race? Does it involve a stereotype? A trope? Then it can be used like they are.

Islam is not a race, it is a practice. Judaism is a practice. Christianity is a practice. Nepalese is not a practice but a geographical marker.

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The issue of race is discussed in the following comment link:

[unz.com]

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Oh, boy! I get to use one of my pre-loaded articles for this reply! 🥳

1

I mean we're all human at the end of the day. It's culture & beliefs that cause issues, not genetics.
However there are noticeable genetic differences between most of the races.
No I'm not talking about race realism.
So ultimately I'd say a bit of both. Human races are more akin to breeds.
Genetic differences between the same animal found in different geological areas.

Right, Woody Allen and Mike Tyson are just human at the end of the day. It's all culture.

If Mike Tyson had been raised in a Jewish family, he would have turned out to be a high IQ comedian. And if Woody Allen had been raised in a black family, he would have a boxing champion.

Just culture.

@andaleyutro You mock, but it's possible.
Their environment & upbringing would have had an effect on their future.

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I also believe (objectively) that their goal is to rid the country of the white race through promoting interracial families by connecting white people with a non-white partner. There was an article on the homepage of Fox News a while back blasting some educators IN THE CLASSROOM who were putting white students on the spot asking them if they would ever date a black person... This was at the height of racial tensions which seems to be continuing to heighten by the day.

Online dating sites are a social engineering tool. I currently live in the whitest county in the country and they will have me believe that on Match.com there are a TOTAL of 47 white women (on their site) between the ages of 35-49 within a 20 mile radius of where I live. This can't possibly be true.

All of these sites either declared or made you 'agree' that you are using a platform that shows solidarity with 'Black Lives Matter' over this summer.

OK CUPID did a piece (for members on the app) right before the election suggesting that if you cannot find a date, it may be because of your political affiliation. I believe the number was only 9% of members identified as 'Republican.' Stats did show that white women in the suburbs (and Libertarians) cost Trump the election. So there may be some correlation there.

My point in saying this is that because everything has become politicized, your political affiliation has also been connected to your religion and the competing tribe who subscribes to the religion of Leftism very much replaces race with behavior which requires a subtext of your cross-breeding if not directly stated.

#OKCupid kicked off a lot of people. I got kicked off and they never told me why. Might have something to do with getting suspended from #Twitter. #BigSocialMedia is all interconnected. OKC took a hard left turn after they were purchased by Match.com. Before that it was the best dating site in the world, run by statisticians from Harvard.

They took down all their blog posts from that period. They used to post helpful information; now they just push #Leftist propaganda.
[gwern.net]

2

For many years I lived in Chicago, which has now become obnoxiously diverse. I had friends and acquaintances of all races and did not even think about it because I surrounded myself with people who all behaved the same way, generally.

Tucker had a great segment last night with a guy named Horace Cooper - (starting at 8:43 via the link below)
At 10:50, Tucker describes how 'we' generally were raised to TRY to assess people based on their behavior and not the way they look. This is no longer true.

My belief is that this is connected to 'religion' - Attacking the Bible is part of the religion of Leftism - climate change (racist) coronavirus (racist), etc. When the morally bankrupt Left starts talking about 'morals' you can bet that what they are doing is amoral. This goes back to tribalism during the days when tribes were running around raping and pillaging to take over other tribes.

#DiversityIsOurStrength

2

As long as we pretend that races or breeds do not exist, the longer we will continue to deal with discord and discontent. We will never address how to deal effectively with disparate outcomes in education, economics, etc if we do not accept that races are inherently unequal, with particular traits unique to each group. Look at Biden, for example. He's picking his cabinet based on characteristics that we are supposedly not to notice in our color blind, raceless new world, proving by example, that, indeed, race does matter - and is noticed.

4

Race is genetic, racism is a social construct... Here I fixed it 😀

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So what are medical examiners doing when they can determine the race of human remains? That is the premise of the idea of trying to find and excavate the mass grave of the alleged black victims of the Tulsa riot in 1921.

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Race is a biological "construct", if you choose to call it that, where humans can be broadly defined as belonging to one of 3 main racial groups: negroid, caucasoid and mongoloid. It is a based on genetics and as such cannot be a "construct" in the negative use of the word. It is a grouping based on facts. It is not a "social construct".
Racism however is a flawed ideology where race is used as a determinant of superiority or inferiority.
In today's world where the "mixing" of races is continually growing, the racial grouping of people becomes more difficult and more irrelevant.

5

Is race a social construct? No

1

There are obviously commonalities between people of the same race, and there are obviously exceptions too. What is important is that we shouldn't reduce a person to just being a "typical person of that race". It doesn't help society to reject the opportunity for a person of a race to break the mold. At the same time, generalizations should not be verboten, so long as they're qualified as being a generalization and don't preclude the possibility of an exception. This is really just about common sense and making the most of what all people have to offer, regardless of how they're categorized.

Some decisions should take race into account and others should not. Disregarding the reality of race is anti-intellectual, it will only hinder the progression of many fields of study, including health care fields.

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