rev`rend shouted his congregation`s ire, The consultant plotteth Will Horton ads The undiverse fleeeth to the exurbs All this divided White and Black Divided in their dire division,But then Barack Sr. and Stanley Ann The true succeeders of each racial house, By God`s fair ordinance conjoin together! And let their heir, God, if thy will be so. Enrich the time to come with smooth-faced peace, With smiling plenty and fair prosperous days! Abate the edge of racists, gracious Lord, That would demand both parties make borders secure, And make America less inclusive Let them not live to taste this land`s increase That would with insensitivity wound this fair land`s peace! Now civil wounds are stopp`d, peace lives again: That she may long live here, God say amen!
A new but characteristically confused debate over whether race is a biological reality reminds me of the value of having a simple definition of "race" in mind.
Left-leaning British-Indian science journalist Kenan Malik`s latest book, Strange Fruit: Why Both Sides are Wrong in the Race Debate, has so far only gone on sale in the U.K. But he argues online: "Race is not a real biological entity."
"Malik knows these facts about our genetics, but wants to insist that, unless `race` corresponds to absolute boundaries, it is a useless and damaging concept. But to deny what everybody knows and to swap the word race for something less politically charged like ‘group’ is just an act of self-denial and certainly no more accurate than the dreaded ‘r’ word. It is also patronising—I would like to think we are all grown up enough to accept the facts and ready ourselves for the deluge to come. I say deluge because the more we measure, the more genetic differences we find among populations …"
Unfortunately, Pagel doesn`t deliver a knockout punch because he lacks a definition of race. Like Supreme Court justice Potter Stewart wrote in his famous opinion in a pornography case, Pagel can`t define race, but he knows it when he sees it.
Malik responded in Prospect by noting, with some justice, "The debate over race has moved on. To judge from his review of my book, Mark Pagel hasn`t noticed."
To illustrate the state of the art thinking among the race realists he opposes, Malik writes:
"In the 19th and early 20th centuries, races were viewed as fixed groups, each with its own distinct behaviour patterns and physical characteristics. They could be ranked on an evolutionary hierarchy, with whites at the top and blacks at the bottom. Today, with a few exceptions, race realists reject the idea that there are essential, unbridgeable differences between human populations, or that differences signify inferiority or superiority. So how do they define a race? Usually as `an extended family that is inbred to some degree` in the words of Steve Sailer of the Human Biodiversity Institute. ... But once everything from the British royal family to the entire human population can be considered a race (because each is an "extended family inbred to some degree"), then the category has little value."