In the wake of the sequencing of the human genome in the early 2000s, genome pioneers and social scientists alike called for an end to the use of race as a variable in genetic research. Unfortunately, by some measures, the use of race as a biological category has increased in the postgenomic age. Although inconsistent definition and use has been a chief problem with the race concept, it has historically been used as a taxonomic categorization based on common hereditary traits (such as skin color) to elucidate the relationship between our ancestry and our genes. We believe the use of biological concepts of race in human genetic research—so disputed and so mired in confusion—is problematic at best and harmful at worst. It is time for biologists to find a better way. - An editorial in Science exploring the conundrum facing genomic researchers where race is both fundamentally flawed as a scientific model and violently dangerous but still the only consistent lens through which study participants understand the information they have about their own connection to human diversity [more inside]
In 1976, the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics ran a household survey that marked a crucial departure from other census exercises. The Pesquisa Nacional por Amostra de Domicílios (PNAD) did not ask Brazilians to choose a race category among pre-determined choices; instead, researchers went out and asked people to describe the colour they thought they were.
The Tribes of Darkest Austria - or: if Africans ruled Anthropology. (slyt)
Two examinations of the Tanna island prophet known as John Frum. Both with very unusual points of view. God is American parts 1, 2, 3, & 4, and Nate DiMeo's Memory Palace podcast. [more inside]
Beyond the Pale: In a wide-reaching book review and with nods to James Baldwin's 1984 essay On Being White ... and Other Lies, Kelefa Sanneh makes a modern argument that white identity is founded on a series of negations: "to be white in America is to be not nonwhite, which is why it was possible, in 1961, for a white woman from Kansas living in Hawaii to give birth to a black baby." [more inside]
Are you a young middle-class creative type (probably white) who has chosen to live in an urban neighborhood that your parents would have shunned? Have the families that formerly lived in your neighborhood (probably not white) been pushed out by soaring rents and real-estate prices to the city fringes or suburbs? The New Republic on demographic inversion.
A new look at race through three lenses: History, human variation and lived experience. Be sure to check out some of the quizzes, notably White Men Can't Jump and other assumptions about sports and race. [via SpoFi] A product of the American Anthropological Association.
The Inequality Taboo - Charles Murray defends his ideas, published in the controversial book The Bell Curve.