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e-book Race and Reality: What Everyone Should Know About Our Biological Diversity

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Race and Reality

To include a comma in your tag, surround the tag with double quotes. Skip to content Skip to search. Home This edition , English, Book edition: Check copyright status Cite this Title Race and reality: Author Harrison, Guy P. Summary The concept of race has had a powerful impact on history and continues to shape the world today in profound ways.

Most people derive their attitudes about race from their family, culture, and education. Very few, however, are aware that there are vast differences between the popular notions of race and the scientific view of human diversity. Even among scientists, who understand the current evidence, there is great controversy regarding the definition of the term race or even the usefulness of thinking in terms of race at all. Drawing on research from diverse sources and interviews with key scientists, award-winning journalist Guy P. Harrison surveys the current state of a volatile, important, and confusing subject.

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Harrison's thorough approach explores all sides of the issue. After reading this book you will never think about race in the same way again. Contents Biological races are not real We are all Africans Smarter or just lucky? Very few, however, are aware that there are vast differences between the popular notions of race and the scientific view of human diversity. Yet even among scientists, who understand the current evidence, there is great controversy regarding the definition of the term race or even the usefulness of thinking in terms of race at all.

Drawing on research from diverse sources and interviews with key scientists, award-winning journalist Guy P. Additionally, the book is longer than it needs to be, with the last chapter in particular being a textbook example of journalistic excess. And, as a small aside, the author's not-so-subtle boasting about his 'string of relationships with beautiful multiracial women' in the chapter on interracial love had me scratching my head.

Regardless, the book does have its merits which prevent it from being a complete washout. I learnt the following: No self-respecting scientist would be caught dead insisting that 'race' is a valid biological category. The human family is one big heterogeneous blob that cannot be cut up conveniently into make-believe categories. What is considered 'white' now Italians, Irish were not considered 'white' then ; and what is considered 'black' in one place African-Americans would not be considered 'black' in another in Brazil, for instance 3 We all come from Africa.

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The superficial physical differences between us stem from the fact that we split up and went to different parts of the globe after we migrated out of Africa ; different groups of people evolved different physical features in response to their environment. I probably have more in common with a Korean man than I have with members of my own 'race'. It is environment and culture more than anything else that make up for the supposed differences between races in intelligence-tests. A black child born with lack of nutritional choices, plethora of stereotypes saying that, as a black child, he is condemned to be either a thug or a basketball player, a lack of education and role models ; will undoubtedly do worse in life than a white child who has all of these privileges in plenty.

In conclusion, though I feel the book could have been written and edited, I did learn quite a bit from it ; and it definitely helped in clearing up any unconscious racism I may have possessed.


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I would have liked this more if it were not so verbose and repetitive. Jan 18, Steven rated it really liked it Shelves: A perfect analogy was given early in this book about the problem of trying to categorize people along perceived biological race lines: There has always been a moral basis to disregard the notion of separate human races, and progress has been made toward that, but still so few people ever talk about the scientific basis to disregard it. When I was young I heard some people say that A perfect analogy was given early in this book about the problem of trying to categorize people along perceived biological race lines: They said it allowed them to treat everyone with equal dignity.


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I read this on my e-reader, and several times I would anticipate the ending of a chapter which then kept on going for a while. The information is not structured in a way that necessarily builds off of earlier information, or leads the reader to anticipate additional information except in small segments. The most interesting and colorful segments are from Guy P. One of the most surprising and best things I got out of this book was how different people around the world perceive race in different ways.

Race and reality : what everyone should know about our biological diversity by Guy P. Harrison

One of the most illuminating examples was how the genocide in Rwanda was race-based. And that is exactly the problem with the idea of races - In the way that people in the US are unable to perceive any racial divides in Rwanda, other people around the world are unable to perceive any racial divides in the US.

Furthermore, one person's established racial identity in one country would oftentimes not be recognized in another country. Those kinds of examples throughout this book vividly illustrated how race is a fluid cultural construct. For the most part I got what I hoped for out of this book.

Race and Reality: What Everyone Should Know about Our Biological Diversity

And much of it came from people who I thought were otherwise decent, smart people. Harrison ends on a note that racism has almost always arisen among otherwise decent people.

I think it will though. I don't even think I made it past the first chapter of this one. From the title and description, I was expecting something a lot more rigorous and logical. The author's point is that race is a scientifically invalid concept. Great, explain that science to me please. You'd rather just ramble for pages about how racism is bad? I mean, don't get me wrong, I tend to agree.

But that doesn't mean I'm interested in reading pages of your smug supe I don't even think I made it past the first chapter of this one. But that doesn't mean I'm interested in reading pages of your smug superiority about how not racist you are. He then goes on to reassure us that just because race isn't biological doesn't mean it doesn't exist. It firmly exists as a social concept that has real world effects. You are going to rail against all the bigoted sheeple who firmly believe race exists, because they don't have a nuanced understanding of WHY it exists?

There was one passage in the first chapter that I found absolutely fascinating Gill's claim is that biological race is a complex subject. Elements of human blood factor analysis exist along a gradient across the human population, with no clear divisions. However, bone structure differences tend to follow geographical patterns pretty closely, suggesting they may have been shaped by natural climatic forces. Therefore a serologist one who studies bodily fluid, had to look that one up myself will see races as nonsense whereas a skeletal biologist can argue quite convincingly for their existance.