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25517 Posts in 9753 Topics by 980 Members Latest Member: - Roots Dawta Most online today: 82 (July 03, 2005, 11:25:30 PM)
+  Africa Speaks Reasoning Forum
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| | |-+  'Race' as a social construct
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Author Topic: 'Race' as a social construct  (Read 1356 times)
Tyehimba
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« on: February 25, 2017, 08:53:42 PM »

In many books and literature i have come across the widely accepted idea that "race" is a social construct and not a biological reality.

What does this mean? Do you agree or disagree?



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Nakandi
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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2017, 07:18:33 PM »

I disagree.

I suspect that the negation of race has more of a social basis than absence of a biological one. If race means grouping human variations based on phenotype, then race has as much a biological basis as does cline and gene cluster. I suspect that the desire to erase its biological reality in the sciences is an attempt to emphasise that it does not have the same biological/clinical significance as it does socially.

Phenotype is determined by genotype, epigenes and environmental factors. That by definition gives race a biological basis. This does not mean that race is a biological classification making human populations completely biologically/genetically distinctive. That would be a species hence, human species. Race does not negate this: our common origin.

Race might be seen by some as genetically arbitrary, but the field of genomics is relatively young. Concluding that there is no biological basis based on the complexity of the genome is scientifically careless. It would also imply that phenotype is random. This would mean that two white people of Scandinavian origin with no recent African ancestry on both sides could give birth to a phenotypically black person. 

There are a number of genetic studies using different technical terms (such as cline, morphism, allele cluster, etc.) that show groupings within the human species, aka race.
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Tyehimba
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« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2017, 02:25:35 PM »

I came across this link, which outlines different aspects of the issue.

Extract from article:

"The debate about race is not a debate about whether differences exist between human populations. Jon Entine, a staunch defender of the idea of race, defines race as ‘human biodiversity’. That is meaningless. No one, on either side of the debate, would deny that there are a myriad of differences between different human populations.

The real debate about race is not whether there are any differences between populations, but about the significance of such differences. The fact that a BMW saloon is of a different colour to a Boeing 747 is of little significance to most people. The fact that one has an internal combustion engine and the other a jet engine is of immense consequence if you want to travel from London to New York. But if you are a Yanomamo Indian living in the Amazon forest, even this difference may not be of that great an import, since it is quite possible that you will be unable – or will not need – to use either form of transport. If we want to understand the significance of any set of differences, in other words, we have to ask ourselves two questions: Significant for what? And in what context? One of the problems of the contemporary debate about race is that these two questions get too rarely asked."

https://kenanmalik.wordpress.com/2012/03/04/why-both-sides-are-wrong-in-the-race-debate/
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