There’s No Such Thing as Objective Science

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2019-06-11 00:43Z by Steven

There’s No Such Thing as Objective Science

Bitch Media
2019-05-20

Abaki Beck


Illustration of Saartjie Baartman (Wikimedia Commons)

Scientific racism led to the Holocaust and to the forced sterilization of hundreds of women of color in the United States in the 20th century. And yet it’s still overwhelmingly considered neutral, nonpartisan, and, for all intents and purposes, fact. Though these aforementioned horrors are now considered outliers that have been confronted and fixed, science journalist Angela Saini’s third book, Superior: The Return of Race Science, makes the compelling case that scientific racism is as prevalent as it has ever been, and explores the way such backward beliefs have continued to evolve and persist. And it couldn’t be more timely: The book comes out as white nationalism surges across Europe and America deals with a president who routinely makes racist remarks, including referring to Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries as “shitholes.”

While researching the book, Saini traveled the world examining how concepts of race developed everywhere from human zoos in Paris to the horrors of the Nazi regime to contemporary American researchers in search of a “Black gene.” What she concludes is depressingly simple: Science intentionally created, and continues to recreate, race. “There are plenty of ignorant racists, but the problem is not just ignorance,” she writes. “The problem is that, even when people know the facts, not everyone actually wants an end to racial inequality. And this means that those committed to the biological reality of race won’t back down if the data prove them wrong.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Biologically, We Are All Far More Alike Than Different

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Interviews, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy on 2019-06-06 14:59Z by Steven

Biologically, We Are All Far More Alike Than Different

Beacon Broadside: A Project of Beacon Press
Boston, Massachusetts
2019-06-04

Christian Coleman, Associate Digital Marketing Manager

A Q&A with Angela Saini

Why are we seeing a resurgence of race science in the twenty-first century? Weren’t we supposed to be over this after World War II? The notion of “race” has been debunked in the world of science and is understood to be a social construct, but the idea of research-based racial differences is still with us—and has been with us since The Enlightenment. Science journalist Angela Saini tells this disturbing history in Superior: The Return of Race Science. Our blog editor Christian Coleman caught up with her to ask her about her book, the inspiration for it, and how to recognize the subtle signs of race science today.

Christian Coleman: Tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind writing Superior.

Angela Saini: For me, this is a book that has been bubbling since I was a child. I became a journalist in the first place because I became involved in antiracism movements at university while studying Engineering. But the time for this book was now, with the rise of the far-right and ethnic nationalism around the world. I wanted to put the rise of intellectual racism in historical and scientific context…

CC: What are some subtle examples of how we buy into the belief of biological racial differences today?

AS: I think it happens most clearly in medicine and DNA ancestry testing. When doctors tell us that certain groups are more susceptible to certain illnesses, without making clear that this may sometimes just be for cultural or socioeconomic reasons, it suggests we are biologically different. When firms say they can tell us where we are from by analysing our spit, without explaining how they do this or what it actually means, they also reinforce the idea of biological race…

Read the entire interview here.

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How Public Policy Impacts Racial Inequality

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Communications/Media Studies, Economics, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, Social Science, United States on 2019-06-01 22:29Z by Steven

How Public Policy Impacts Racial Inequality

Louisiana State University Press
May 2019
208 pages
5.50 x 8.50 inches
12 graphs
Paperback ISBN: 9780807170700

Edited by:

Josh Grimm, Associate Professor; Associate Dean of Research and Strategic Initiatives
Manship School of Mass Communication, Louisiana State University

Jaime Loke, Assistant Professor
Bob Schieffer College of Communication, Texas Christian University

How Public Policy Impacts Racial Inequality, edited by Josh Grimm and Jaime Loke, brings together scholars of political science, sociology, and mass communication to provide an in-depth analysis of race in the United States through the lens of public policy. This vital collection outlines how racial issues such as profiling, wealth inequality, and housing segregation relate to policy decisions at both the local and national levels. Each chapter explores the inherent conflict between policy enactment, perception, and enforcement.

Contributors present original research focused on specific areas where public policy displays racial bias. Josh Grimm places Donald Trump’s immigration policies—planned and implemented—in historical perspective, identifying trends and patterns in common between earlier legislation and contemporary debates. Shaun L. Gabbidon considers the role of the American justice system in creating and magnifying racial and ethnic disparities, with particular attention to profiling, police killings, and reform efforts. Jackelyn Hwang, Elizabeth Roberto, and Jacob S. Rugh illustrate the continued presence of residential segregation as a major fixture defining the American racial landscape. As a route to considering digital citizenship and racial justice, Srividya Ramasubramanian examines how race shapes media-related policy in ways that perpetuate inequalities in media access, ownership, and representation. Focusing on lead poisoning, tobacco, and access to healthy foods, Holley A. Wilkin discusses solutions for improving overall health equity. In a study of legal precedents, Mary E. Campbell and Sylvia M. Emmanuel detail the extent to which measures aimed at addressing inequality often neglect multiracial individuals and groups. By examining specific policies that created wealth inequality along racial lines, Lori Latrice Martin shows how current efforts perpetuate asset poverty for many African Americans. Shifting focus to media reception, Ismail K. White, Chryl N. Laird, Ernest B. McGowen III, and Jared K. Clemons analyze political opinion formation stemming from mainstream information sources versus those specifically targeting African American audiences.

Presenting nuanced case studies of key topics, How Public Policy Impacts Racial Inequality offers a timely and wide- ranging collection on major social and political issues unfolding in twenty-first century America.

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The Disturbing Resilience of Scientific Racism

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy on 2019-05-21 16:03Z by Steven

The Disturbing Resilience of Scientific Racism

Smithsonian.com
2019-05-20

Ramin Skibba


Nazi officials use calipers to measure an ethnic German’s nose on January 1, 1941. The Nazis developed a pseudoscientific system of facial measurement that was supposedly a way of determining racial descent. (Hulton-Deutsch Collection / CORBIS / Corbis via Getty Images)

A new book explores how racist biases continue to maintain a foothold in research today

Scientists, including those who study race, like to see themselves as objectively exploring the world, above the political fray. But such views of scientific neutrality are naive, as study findings, inevitably, are influenced by the biases of the people conducting the work.

The American sociologist W. E. B. Du Bois once wrote, “The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line.” His words were borne out, in part, by science. It was the century when the scientifically backed enterprise of eugenics—improving the genetic quality of white, European races by removing people deemed inferior—gained massive popularity, with advocates on both sides of the Atlantic. It would take the Holocaust to show the world the logical endpoint of such horrific ideology, discrediting much race-based science and forcing eugenics’ most hardline adherents into the shadows.

The post-war era saw scientists on the right-wing fringe find ways to cloak their racist views in more palatable language and concepts. And as Angela Saini convincingly argues in her new book, Superior: The Return of Race Science, published May 21 by Beacon Press, the “problem of the color line” still survives today in 21st-century science.

In her thoroughly researched book, Saini, a London-based science journalist, provides clear explanations of racist concepts while diving into the history of race science, from archaeology and anthropology to biology and genetics. Her work involved poring through technical papers, reports and books, and interviewing numerous scientists across various fields, sometimes asking uncomfortable questions about their research…

Read the entire article here.

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Superior: The Return of Race Science

Posted in Books, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Justice on 2019-05-21 15:17Z by Steven

Superior: The Return of Race Science

Beacon Press
2019-05-21
272 pages
Size:6 x 9 Inches
Cloth ISBN: 978-080707691-0

Angela Saini

Superior tells the disturbing story of the persistent thread of belief in biological racial differences in the world of science.

After the horrors of the Nazi regime in World War II, the mainstream scientific world turned its back on eugenics and the study of racial difference. But a worldwide network of intellectual racists and segregationists quietly founded journals and funded research, providing the kind of shoddy studies that were ultimately cited in Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray’s 1994 title The Bell Curve, which purported to show differences in intelligence among races.

If the vast majority of scientists and scholars disavowed these ideas and considered race a social construct, it was an idea that still managed to somehow survive in the way scientists thought about human variation and genetics. Dissecting the statements and work of contemporary scientists studying human biodiversity, most of whom claim to be just following the data, Angela Saini shows us how, again and again, even mainstream scientists cling to the idea that race is biologically real. As our understanding of complex traits like intelligence, and the effects of environmental and cultural influences on human beings, from the molecular level on up, grows, the hope of finding simple genetic differences between “races”—to explain differing rates of disease, to explain poverty or test scores, or to justify cultural assumptions—stubbornly persists.

At a time when racialized nationalisms are a resurgent threat throughout the world, Superior is a rigorous, much-needed examination of the insidious and destructive nature of race science—and a powerful reminder that, biologically, we are all far more alike than different.

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ASHG Denounces Attempts to Link Genetics and Racial Supremacy

Posted in Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Statements on 2019-05-15 21:20Z by Steven

ASHG Denounces Attempts to Link Genetics and Racial Supremacy

AJHG (American Journal of Human Genetics)
ASHG Perspective
Volume 103, Issue 5, P636
2018-10-19
DOI: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2018.10.011

The American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) is alarmed to see a societal resurgence of groups rejecting the value of genetic diversity and using discredited or distorted genetic concepts to bolster bogus claims of white supremacy. ASHG denounces this misuse of genetics to feed racist ideologies. In public dialog, our research community should be clear about genetic knowledge related to ancestry and genomic diversity. To that end, ASHG affirms the following:…

Read the entire statement in PDF or HTML format.

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The Concept of “Race” Is a Lie

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, Social Science on 2019-05-15 21:02Z by Steven

The Concept of “Race” Is a Lie

Scientific American
2019-05-14

Peter G. Prontzos, Faculty Emeritus
Langara College, Vancouver, British Columbia

The Concept of "Race" Is a Lie
Credit: Getty Images

Even the Ancient Greeks knew it

The plague of racism has, in many ways, been increasing in the last few years. Whether one looks at Hungary, Germany, Myanmar, India or Brazil, racists are becoming more visible and getting elected to public office.

Then there were the horrors of the slaughters in New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

In the United States, the president has denounced Mexicans as drug dealers and rapists, described some poor nations as, “shithole countries,” and failed to reject an endorsement from a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan. He even went so far as to call at least some neo-Nazis, “very fine people.” One might be forgiven for thinking that what his campaign slogan really meant was “Make America White Again.”…

In combating this increase in racism, there are two primary aspects to consider…

Read the entire article here.

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The Intersection of Race and Blood

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States on 2019-05-14 22:53Z by Steven

The Intersection of Race and Blood

The New York Times
2019-05-14

Rose George


Keith Negley

Blood can be racially or ethnically specific, so having more blood donors in certain groups can be crucial for saving the lives of patients who share their backgrounds.

“We need black blood.”

I didn’t know what to say to this, not least because it had been said by the head of donor services at England’s National Health Service Blood and Transplant. The interview was for a book I was writing on blood, a topic I knew a little about by then, but the baldness of his statement still shocked me. Surely we’re all the same under the skin?

I knew the history of race and blood was an ugly one. America’s earliest blood bank, founded in 1937 at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, noted race on donor forms and other blood banks followed suit. During World War II, African-American blood was labeled N for Negro (and some centers refused African-American donors outright) and given only to African-American soldiers. Writing to Eleanor Roosevelt, the chairman of the American Red Cross, Norman H. Davis, admitted that segregating blood was “a matter of tradition and sentiment rather than of science,” but didn’t stop doing it until 1950. Louisiana banned the segregation of blood only in 1972.

But the Red Cross was wrong: While no one is suggesting forced segregation of blood bags, it’s now scientifically established that blood can be racially or ethnically specific…

Read the entire article here.

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Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code

Posted in Books, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, Social Justice, Social Science on 2019-05-01 22:10Z by Steven

Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code

Polity
May 2019
172 pages
138 x 216 mm / 5 x 9 in
Hardback ISBN: 9781509526390
Paperback ISBN: 9781509526406
Open eBook ISBN: 9781509526437

Ruha Benjamin, Associate Professor of African American Studies
Princeton University

From everyday apps to complex algorithms, Ruha Benjamin cuts through tech-industry hype to understand how emerging technologies can reinforce white supremacy and deepen social inequity.

Far from a sinister story of racist programmers scheming on the dark web, Benjamin argues that automation has the potential to hide, speed, and even deepen discrimination, while appearing neutral and even benevolent when compared to racism of a previous era. Presenting the concept of the “New Jim Code,” she shows how a range of discriminatory designs encode inequity: by explicitly amplifying racial hierarchies, by ignoring but thereby replicating social divisions, or by aiming to fix racial bias but ultimately doing quite the opposite. Moreover, she makes a compelling case for race itself as a kind of tool – a technology designed to stratify and sanctify social injustice that is part of the architecture of everyday life.

This illuminating guide into the world of biased bots, altruistic algorithms, and their many entanglements provides conceptual tools to decode tech promises with sociologically informed skepticism. In doing so, it challenges us to question not only the technologies we are sold, but also the ones we manufacture ourselves.

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Bodies complexioned: Human variation and racism in early modern English culture, c. 1600–1750

Posted in Books, Health/Medicine/Genetics, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Religion, United Kingdom on 2019-05-01 22:09Z by Steven

Bodies complexioned: Human variation and racism in early modern English culture, c. 1600–1750

Manchester University Press
May 2019
304 pages
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-5261-3448-6
eBook ISBN: 978-1-5261-3450-9

Mark S. Dawson, Lecturer in Early Modern History
Australian National University, Canberra

Bodies complexioned

  • Challenges received wisdom regarding early modern conceptions of human physiology and their implications for social stratification
  • Demonstrates how assumptions concerning the causes of bodily diversity influenced English perceptions of non-Anglophone peoples
  • Uses diverse sources, both manuscript (letters, journals, commonplace books) and print (almanacs, newspapers, playbooks, sermons)
  • Makes a significant contribution to the history of embodiment and social inequality

Bodily contrasts – from the colour of hair, eyes and skin to the shape of faces and skeletons – allowed the English of the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries to discriminate systematically among themselves and against non-Anglophone groups. Making use of an array of sources, this book examines how early modern English people understood bodily difference. It demonstrates that individuals’ distinctive features were considered innate, even as discrete populations were believed to have characteristics in common, and challenges the idea that the humoral theory of bodily composition was incompatible with visceral inequality or racism. While ‘race’ had not assumed its modern valence, and ‘racial’ ideologies were still to come, such typecasting nonetheless had mundane, lasting consequences. Grounded in humoral physiology, and Christian universalism notwithstanding, bodily prejudices inflected social stratification, domestic politics, sectarian division and international relations.

Contents

  • Introduction
  • 1 Contemplating Christian temperaments
  • 2 Nativities established
  • 3 Bodies emblazoned
  • 4 Identifying the differently humoured
  • 5 Distempered skin and the English abroad
  • 6 National identities, foreign physiognomies, and the advent of whiteness
  • Conclusion
  • Index
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