In fact, the idea that all of humanity can be divided into four or five (or however many) racial groups is relatively new. Ancient Greeks, for example, never thought of themselves as “white.”

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-05-15 21:38Z by Steven

In fact, the idea that all of humanity can be divided into four or five (or however many) racial groups is relatively new. Ancient Greeks, for example, never thought of themselves as “white.” As Tim Whitmarsh noted in Aeon in 2018, “Greeks simply didn’t think of the world as starkly divided along racial lines into black and white: that’s a strange aberration of the modern, Western world, a product of many different historical forces, but in particular the transatlantic slave trade and the cruder aspects of 19th-century racial theory.”

Peter G. Prontzos, “The Concept of “Race” Is a Lie,” Scientific American, May 14, 2019.

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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

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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For Independence Day, a Look at Thomas Jefferson’s Egregious Hypocrisy

Posted in Articles, Biography, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United States, Virginia on 2016-07-02 18:35Z by Steven

For Independence Day, a Look at Thomas Jefferson’s Egregious Hypocrisy

The Scientific American

John Horgan

“While many of his contemporaries, including George Washington, freed their slaves during and after the revolution—inspired, perhaps, by the words of the DeclarationJefferson did not,” historian Paul Finkelman writes. “Jefferson also “dodged opportunities to undermine slavery or promote racial equality.” Presidential portrait of Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale, 1800, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

To celebrate the 4th of July, when Americans commemorate their country’s birth, I’d like to offer a few comments on Thomas Jefferson.

No one is more closely associated with Independence Day than Jefferson. He was the principle author of the Declaration of Independence, which the American Congress formally adopted July 4, 1776. Jefferson, judged by his rhetoric, was a true man of the Enlightenment, who embraced reason, science and democracy and rejected superstition, tradition and tyranny.

I once admired Jefferson, seeing him as an essentially good, no, great man with one tragic flaw: The writer of the inspiring words “all men are created equal” owned slaves. Now, I see Jefferson as an egregious hypocrite, who willfully betrayed the ideals he espoused…

*DNA testing and other evidence have convinced most historians that Jefferson fathered six children with a slave, Sally Hemings. Hemings is believed to have been the daughter of Jefferson’s father-in-law, John Wayles, and one of his slaves. That means Hemings was the half-sister of Jefferson’s wife, Martha, who died in 1782.

*Some writers, grotesquely, have romanticized the relationship between Jefferson and Hemings. As our Monticello guide pointed out, a relationship between a master and slave cannot be consensual, let alone romantic. The relationship might have begun as early as 1787, when Jefferson took Hemings to Paris for two years. He was 43, she 14. She gave birth to the first of their six children in 1795. Jefferson never freed Hemings. After his death in 1826, Jefferson’s daughter Martha allowed Hemings to leave Monticello and live out her days in nearby Charlottesville.

*The Monticello website notes that “in the few scattered references to Sally Hemings in Thomas Jefferson’s records and correspondence, there is nothing to distinguish her from other members of her family.” Perhaps Jefferson viewed Sally Hemings merely as valuable livestock, or “capital.” He wrote this about female slaves in 1820: “I consider a woman who brings a child every two years as more profitable than the best man of the farm… What she produces is an addition to the capital, while his labors disappear in mere consumption.”…

Read the entire article here.

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When should medicine talk about race?

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive on 2013-01-19 00:39Z by Steven

When should medicine talk about race?

Scientific American
Unofficial Prognosis: Perceptions and prescriptions of a medical student

Ilana Yurkiewicz
Harvard Medical School

Race is everywhere in medicine. Most health statistics are broken down by race. We routinely characterize diseases by which populations they affect more and less and medications by which ethnicities respond better or worse.
It’s so ubiquitous that it’s easy to take for granted as justified. But the use of race in medicine is a subject that is vigorously debated. Whenever a new study comes out stratifying results by race, there are inevitably supporters and critics.
The question under debate: is there a place for race in medicine?

There’s a growing number who say we should toss this way of thinking entirely. Many scholars now contend that race is closer to a social construct than a biological category, and there’s the legitimate fear that pointing out differences between races sends the message that the difference is biological. Even if there are certain genetic differences among populations, we know that self-reported race is at best a crude proxy for indicating them. Moreover, studies often do not adjust for all other variables besides genetics, such as socioeconomic status, culture, and discrimination – meaning if differences are shown, the knee-jerk tendency to think biology might overshadow important environmental disparities that deserve our attention. There are social concerns too, in that historically ethnicity in research has been abused by pseudoscientists with racist agendas of demonstrating the superiority of certain people over others. In light of that history, profound sensitivity toward using race as a variable in medicine is understandable and warranted…

…When comparing groups, we can draw the lines wherever we want. Telling of this point is that many studies that talk about race still only compare blacks to whites, ignoring all other groups along with cases of mixed ancestry…

Read the entire article here.

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Race in a Bottle

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2012-10-29 17:35Z by Steven

Race in a Bottle

Scientific American
Volume 297 (January 1, 2007)
pages 40-45

Jonathan D. Kahn, Professor of Law
Hamline University, Saint Paul, Minnesota

Drugmakers are eager to develop medicines targeted at ethnic groups, but so far they have made poor choices based on unsound science. This article focuses on the drug, BiDil – a drug that combats congestive heart failure by dilating the arteries and veins of African American patients. The author expounds that there is no solid evidence that the drug should targeted towards only one ethnic group. The author includes the history of BiDil including its inception and then its reappearance with a race-based focus.

Read the entire article here.

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