Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Myth of "Race" and Remedies for Past Harm--Part II.

The New York Times published the complete "Sunday Dialogue" yesterday online and today in print, titled "The Meaning of 'Race'" (link). This consists of my initial letter (also posted here July 16), five responses from readers, and my response to the readers.

My response is reprinted here:

The Writer Responds
Most responders would seem to agree with Mr. Rumbaut: “ ‘Race’ is a social status, not a zoological one.” But, as Mr. Bennett suggests, rational arguments are not enough to change our societal reality.
That reality is not changed by a “full mixture of genetic pools,” as Mr. Bennett proposes, because that mixture already exists. The idea of “race” prevents us from seeing it. As Dr. Monac points out, people we identify by a “race” are mixed with other “races.” Anyone who observes people riding the Manhattan subways sees a broad range of mixtures.
When we cannot tell what “racial” category a person fits into, we say the person is “mixed race.” But when you mix two myths, you get a third myth. The mixing of people we now identify as of different “races” is as old as the migrations of Homo sapiens out of Africa tens of thousands of years ago.
“Race” is a mental construct, not a physical reality. It is false construct that should be abandoned, not redefined. But while discussing the construct like academics, we have avoided discussing how to remedy the harm it has caused.

Boston, July 19, 2013

I address remedying the harm racism has caused in Chapter 5 of my book, How We Are Our Enemy--And How to Stop, in the section titled "Go Beyond Affirmative Action to Eliminate the Effects of Past Discrimination--and Poverty."

No comments:

Post a Comment