Race Is Real. What Does that Mean for Society?

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Race is real, Nicholas Wade’s A Troublesome Inheritance argues, but what does that mean for society?, Robert VerBruggen wonders:

Certainly, it is illogical to draw conclusions about an individual from the racial group he belongs to, even if every last one of Wade’s theories is true. Remember, evolution worked on human populations mainly by subtly shifting gene frequencies — every race has individuals with all sorts of attributes, even if the averages turn out to be a little different. But not everyone has a solid grasp on these kinds of statistical concepts. For many, there is no difference between “genes that increase X are slightly more common in this racial group” and “members of this racial group are inherently high in X.” When X is, for example, intelligence or propensity to violence, this perception can lead to serious societal problems.

Perhaps the solution is to do a better job of teaching this distinction to the public, but thus far the media and academy have been no help whatsoever. As Wade points out, instead of explaining that race is real but racism is wrong, they are presenting the assertion that race is imaginary as a reason that racism is wrong, and branding as a racist anyone who suggests that evolution might happen to humans too. Since human evolution has indeed been “recent, copious and regional,” we are seeing that what we’ve been taught is “racist” is actually just true.


  1. Anon says:

    I would phrase it, “racism is real but bigotry is wrong”. The facts are racist, so if you want to believe what is true, you will be a racist, but you don’t have to be a bigot.

  2. Bill says:

    Take a look at Eric X. Li’s talk about China’s government in this TED talk.

    Note how often he asserts that China’s form of government cannot be exported to other countries; he all but states that congruence with China’s thousands of years of human history (evolution?) is what makes China’s style of government work. He also repeatedly states that no “meta-narratives” that make universal pronouncements about what government is best for all peoples.

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