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Thread: Is race merely a social concept?

  1. #1
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    Default Is race merely a social concept?

    Yes, according to Dr. Venter.

    "Race is a social concept, not a scientific one," said Dr. J. Craig Venter, head of the Celera Genomics Corporation in Rockville, Md. "We all evolved in the last 100,000 years from the same small number of tribes that migrated out of Africa and colonized the world."

    Dr. Venter and scientists at the National Institutes of Health recently announced that they had put together a draft of the entire sequence of the human genome, and the researchers had unanimously declared, there is only one race -- the human race.

    Dr. Venter and other researchers say that those traits most commonly used to distinguish one race from another, like skin and eye color, or the width of the nose, are traits controlled by a relatively few number of genes, and thus have been able to change rapidly in response to extreme environmental pressures during the short course of Homo sapiens history.

    And so equatorial populations evolved dark skin, presumably to protect against ultraviolet radiation, while people in northern latitudes evolved pale skin, the better to produce vitamin D from pale sunlight.

    "If you ask what percentage of your genes is reflected in your external appearance, the basis by which we talk about race, the answer seems to be in the range of .01 percent," said Dr. Harold P. Freeman, the chief executive, president and director of surgery at North General Hospital in Manhattan, who has studied the issue of biology and race. "This is a very, very minimal reflection of your genetic makeup."
    http://www.cartage.org.lb/en/themes/...acesDiffer.htm
    Aslan 11/1/90 - 6/15/10 Stormy 1/22/95 -8/23/10
    “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church,
    but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”
    Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

    “It takes a very long time to become young.” Pablo Picasso

  2. #2
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    Default Does an employer have the right to ask me my race?

    If you accept the premise that race is a social concept, not a scientific one (see post above), then does a prospective employer have the right to ask you what your race is on a job application?

    In some jobs, stating your race might have negative consequences, especially if you are nonwhite. In other jobs, such as the US government, stating your race might have positive consequences if you are nonwhite due to their diversity programs. The bottom line is, should race ever be an issue? And if race is simply social concept and not a scientific one, should the use of racial descriptors even be lawful, especially in the area of employment, but also in the areas of insurance, loan applications, college entrance, driver's licenses, etc?
    Last edited by aslan; July 23rd, 2008 at 05:19 AM.
    Aslan 11/1/90 - 6/15/10 Stormy 1/22/95 -8/23/10
    “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church,
    but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”
    Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

    “It takes a very long time to become young.” Pablo Picasso

  3. #3
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    Well, I don't buy the Darwinian theory of evolution, so I don't accept the premise leading to race being a merely "social concept". I think people look differently because God made different races.

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    I personally believe in the human race. I try to live my life with no prejudices. I say I try because I know it is impossible to 100% non prejudices it's simply human nature but I do make and effort to recognize when I am being prejudice and try to actively correct the behavior.

    I also believe that any profiling based on race even if beneficial is extremely raciest and should not have a place in any human society.


    Quote Originally Posted by aslan View Post
    If you accept the premise that race is a social concept, not a scientific one (see post above), then does a prospective employer have the right to ask you what your race is on a job application?

    In some jobs, stating your race might have negative consequences, especially if you are nonwhite. In other jobs, such as the US government, stating your race might have positive consequences if you are nonwhite due to their diversity programs. The bottom line is, should race ever be an issue? And if race is simply social concept and not a scientific one, should the use of racial descriptors even be lawful, especially in the area of employment, but also in the areas of insurance, loan applications, college entrance, driver's licenses, etc?

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    Quote Originally Posted by moo321 View Post
    Well, I don't buy the Darwinian theory of evolution, so I don't accept the premise leading to race being a merely "social concept". I think people look differently because God made different races.
    If racial looks (pigmentation, facial features, hair type, etc.) accounts for only 0.01% of a person's genes, and if these characteristics can be easily acquired in mere hundreds of years (see article), not millions as would be the usual Darwinian thought, then I'm not so sure that it was God who created races, nor that you even need a theory of evolution to explain it. At any rate, God didn't put much stock in it, 0.01%, and the fact that it can change quickly over time, somewhat even within our lifetimes.

    I was watching a show on black America on CNN and what impressed me was that the entire audience was so called black, yet 95% were clearly light skinned, tan. Lol In another hundred years you won't know black from white. I'm not preaching racial intermarriage, just making a simple observation.

    A preacher once said that the races was proof of God's sense of humor. Apparently, mankind didn't get the joke, or maybe, that is the joke.
    Aslan 11/1/90 - 6/15/10 Stormy 1/22/95 -8/23/10
    “There are not one hundred people in the United States who hate The Catholic Church,
    but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive the Catholic Church to be.”
    Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

    “It takes a very long time to become young.” Pablo Picasso

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by moo321 View Post
    Well, I don't buy the Darwinian theory of evolution, so I don't accept the premise leading to race being a merely "social concept". I think people look differently because God made different races.
    If you accept a literal interpretation of the Judeo-Christian-Muslim account of creation, then race is entirely a social concept, as God only created one race and languages and people groups were only split after the Tower of Babel incident.

    Edit: Also note that the concept of evolution mentioned in the article is "microevolution" (as you would probably phrase it) not "macroevolution" (again, your probable terminology), as it is evolution within a species, which not even the most ardent anti-evolutionists deny occurs.
    Last edited by callipygian; July 23rd, 2008 at 12:01 PM.

  7. #7
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    I wouldn't say that race is a social concept as much as an arbitrary one. We pick a set of physical characteristics and declare that these characteristics determine your "race."

    To an anthropologist, your race is determined by your bones, because that's usually all that's left of you by the time an anthropologist gets a hold of you. Even your earwax can be used as a racial characteristic.

    It only gets controversial when characteristics that are important become associated with race. Skin color isn't important, but let's say we lived in a country where being a good runner was very important. On the average, blacks are better runners than whites so in this respect whites could be considered, by some, to be an inferior race. Shape of the leg is a racial characteristic just like skin color. At the same time, the shoulder blade of the Caucasian is more suited to throwing which is why the best quarterbacks and pitchers are white. IQ may be a racial characteristic just like skin color or skeletal characteristics and as long as intelligence is considered important to us, the lower average IQ of the Negroid may, sadly, cast him in an inferior position for perpetuity.

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