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Don Corrigal

Owner - Designer & Consultant, Gumption Inc

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Is the concept of “race" a notion that has no scientific basis and should be removed from the lexicon?

Does the human genome project suggest that there is only one genus of “Homo”, species “homo sapiens and subspecies “sapiens sapiens”?

The notion of race based on further genetic clustering and characteristics does not hold up to scientific scrutiny. Races were once considered human subspecies, but genetic research shows that inherited differences do not accurately match common racial divisions.

For example, since non-Africans are descended from a small population that emigrated from Africa about 100,000 years ago, non-Africans (even those representing difference races) are more closely related to each other than Africans are to each other.

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  • Feb 8 2012: Is there a difference between us categorizing races of humans and us categorizing breeds of animals? Would calling it "breeds" be more accurate? The analogy (if it isn't the identical thing) seems to fit perfectly, as there are often barely, if any, biological difference between breeds and some breeds are more 'purebred' than others. Horses come to mind for this.

    This is all speculation, but I'm curious what the difference would be, if there is one at all.

    I have never bothered to look into if different races of people are different beyond having different shaped noses, lips, skin color, hair and other superficial aspects. Would removing 'race' from the lexicon really have any effect at all, considering there are already countless other stereotypes out there? People would simply jump to the next means of categorizing anyone unlike themselves.

    I see nothing wrong with categorizing people, as we do the same to every other animal species. The only time an issue is presented is when bigots step in, and even if we removed all words from every language, it wouldn't stop them from being bigots. The cause is not the word, it is the assumption. There are just as many people who hate black dogs because they remind them of black people. Logic has no place in the minds of such people, race or not.
    • Feb 9 2012: All human being indees have to realize our mystery of mind.
      We are all connected , and how do we have to differentiate ourselves, for scientific reason or for our ignorance.

      In my opinion , Racism is a result of our ingnorance. " Fear of unknown "
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      Feb 9 2012: I am uncomfortable with equating human genetics with the breeding of animals. This smacks of “eugenics” and that is a very slippery moral & ethical slope. As a breeder of both dogs & horses, I have found that there is indeed a significant difference.

      The question is "are the differentiation of a couple of dozen genes around the amount of melanin in hair, eyes & skin, and the diverging bone structure, from a possible 35k - 50k genes in the human genome significant?” If it is, then do we take that further and categorize humans based on blood type, etc

      In terms of the use of “race” in lexicon, it connotes an idea that far exceeds the root definition of the word. By removing it from the lexicon, it removes the baggage associated with the word. The word tends to assume a hierarchy or class structure. This is an artificial construct that is not supportable in the post-modern 21st century society.
      • Feb 9 2012: "I am uncomfortable with equating human genetics with the breeding of animals."

        My apologies, as I was under the impression this was going to be a rational discussion, not one based on warm fuzzies. I see no benefit in having, or possible conclusions of, debates based around warm fuzzy feelings. You will never reach consensus because the entire basis is subjective.

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        For those who wish to rationally consider the idea:

        "This smacks of “eugenics” and that is a very slippery moral & ethical slope."

        People already base breeding decisions on genetics. To think humans are somehow exempted from such consideration smacks of hypocrisy and, frankly, shortsightedness.

        "As a breeder of both dogs & horses, I have found that there is indeed a significant difference."

        Indeed, a person who already practices such a technique should be keenly aware of the disadvantages of focusing on 'purity' in breeding. The argument is already there against breeding based on purity in general, but is also there _for_ breeding based on specific traits, such as immunity, physical and mental traits. To think the exact same concept cannot benefit the human species is silly and purely based on emotion.

        "In terms of the use of “race” in lexicon, it connotes an idea that far exceeds the root definition of the word. By removing it from the lexicon, it removes the baggage associated with the word."

        Speaking of slippery slopes.. where does one end the removal of words? Should all words with more than one meaning be removed? Should all words which make you feel 'uncomfortable' be removed?

        "The word tends to assume a hierarchy or class structure."

        Are you against the entire evolutionary tree or simply anything which relates to humans? Or would you allow only scientists to categorize humans? Would these people need a license to do so?

        "a couple of dozen genes .. in the human genome significant?"

        Should we also ban the use of 'blonde' or 'blue eyes' too, as these are even more specific?
    • Feb 12 2012: I agree with you Edward, well put. I don't think eliminating terms such as "race" is the problem. It's both important for the human race to recognize our sameness and oneness with each other, but also to recognize and celebrate our differences. The answer isn't to simply "assimilate" all differences so that there is no difference and diversity anymore. Then we'd simply be like the BORG (a star trek reference). Rather, we should aim to become a "United Federation of Planets" (another star trek reference). Basically, we can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand, in purpose and goals. I am a believer in the philosophy of integration rather than assimilation.

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