Class Warfare Blog

December 27, 2019

Race to the Bottom?

Filed under: Culture,Race,Reason,Science — Steve Ruis @ 10:16 am
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Today in The Guardian there was a lovely article that explained why we believe in racial stereotypes based upon the work of Angela Saini “How I Changed My Mind About the Biology of Race” by Philip Ball <subtitle> Angela Saini’s book Superior showed me our misconceptions about race and science arise from a habit of the mind.

Here is an excerpt:

“Saini shows that what we have understood by race encodes the belief that literally superficial aspects of our appearance act as markers for innate differences we can’t see. And here’s the problem: it does so for good reason. In times past, and sometimes still today, the strong correlation between your appearance and your culture meant that visual differences really could act as proxies for certain differences in attitudes, traditions and beliefs.

“Our brains are exquisitely adapted to pick up on such correlations – and, unfortunately in this case, to conclude that they are causative. We instinctively assume that differences in behaviour that are in fact due to culture must be linked to – even caused by – characteristics of appearance. That is what the traditional notion of race is all about. But genetics has found no such innate origins of behavioural differences between “races” – and it is highly unlikely, given what we know about genetic variation, that it would.”

This makes a lot of sense, based upon how we behaved when “others” were automatically labeled dangerous.

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