The content discussed in this entry is pulled from two diagrams within Race: Are We So Different, by Alan Goodman, Yolanda Moses, and Joseph Jones: 10.1 and 10.2.

All three Venn diagrams in figure 10.1 represent genetic diversity between Africans, Europeans, and Asians.  For figure 10.1a, this represents what a typological view of the different racial traits.  10.1b represents what the average person thinks of the genetic differences between races is.  10.1c shows the results of Lewontan’s experiments with Mendelian traits — that there is actually much more overlap than people tend to expect.

As described by question three, the biggest difference between 10.1a and the other two is that A characterizes typological traits — so, visual traits could be seen as one, or even assumed biological traits (the book was not clear to me what exact racial typology was in use, but I made the assumption that like B these are not necessarily based on anything besides cultural assumptions).  The center shows that the core of each race is not like the others, with very little overlap.  B and C are different from each other by B focusing on social/cultural expectations of genetic variation between races, while C is based on actual research of Mandelian traits.

So, for question 3’s answer, I believe that is half the answer.  Given the text in the book, I don’t think it’s necessarily visual traits entirely, but traits that we associate with each race that we believe don’t extend to other races.  Monolids for Asians, sickle-cell for Africans: untested beliefs that can form the basis for a typology of race.  Meanwhile, C is, of course, the actual researched biological differences.  Given the past modules we’ve done, we’ve come to understand that there is no meaningful typology for race; it is inherently subjective and flawed (different people will have different rules for any given typology surrounding race).

Figure 10.2 describes mostly the same thing as 10.1c: genetic diversity of each race.  This one, however, is pulled from data presented by Yu and his colleagues and has more complete data than Lewontin’s data.  Lewontin’s diagram is correct for the data he used (blood group polymorphisms), but Yu et al. used actual DNA for their own.

The stories of these are different in that 10.1c shows that each racial category has its own chunk of difference, but they all overlap in some way.  This rather implies that each race has developed traits independently of each other, but are mostly intertwined with one or more other race.  10.2, however, shows that except for a slight sliver of Asian and European genes, African gene diversity has the most.  The other two fall within African diversity, showing that they likely came from within Africa to begin with.  It also shows that Africans are likely to be more different from other Africans than they are from Europeans or Asians.

Which, of course, knocks out most typical perceptions of race.  In previous modules, I’ve had the chance to look at several articles published online that have comment sections.  In those sections, I have seen a wide variety of public opinion concerning race, and whether or not the human species consists of subspecies (race).  I think that, were people to be shown some of this data, it might give them cause to think about their positions and (hopefully) what those positions are actually based on.  I think that this sort of data is what’s necessary to knock out individual misconceptions regarding race being tied to biology, and races being distinct biological categories.  Information, as they say, is power.


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