respond to the following replies with 200 words each
Race is a very controversial subject. It’s something that many have a problem with because older scientists were very biased. Everything that contributed to distinguishing race was based solely on phenotypic traits (skin color, eye color, hair color, etc.) This becomes a problem because of how people are categorized. I’m chapter 13: Race and Human Variation in our book, the author explains how there are no races, just clines. A cline is a graduation in one or more characteristics within a species, especially between different populations. This would explain our skin color. Where we are located has a lot to do with what color our skin will be. When you live in a hotter environment your skin is more likely to be darker than someone that lives somewhere that is in an area that is in a colder area. This is because of the high amounts of UV radiation. So categorizing humans based on skin color is very biased because skin color is more based on clinial distribution.
In the documentary, “The Difference Between Us: Race- the power of an illusion” we see these groups of students that are all very different from each other. They all compare their mitochondrial DNA. They expect to all have similar results to those of the same race as them. When they receive their results they are surprised to see that they are more alike to others that aren’t exactly the same race as them. This shows that biologically we aren’t that different from each other. This film also emphasizes athleticism in different races. They explained that some people believe that African Americans are more athletic than any other culture because of something I’m their genes. This is a very big problem because this discredits any accomplishment of any African American athlete. This would mean that African American athletes are good because they were born like this and not because of their hard work. However, we now know that this is not true, and nothing has been found in our DNA that can prove that African Americans are any different than any other race.
Lastly, in Clarence Gravelee’s article “How Race Becomes Biology: Embodiment of Social Inequality” he emphasizes on how race is more based on social construct. He gives the example of race and health. He explains health inequalities in different races. This is something that we see a lot in the United States. The lack of health insurance in low income neighborhoods is very common. Gravelee explains that evidence shows that in the United States there are racial inequalities in morbidity and mortality, especially within the African American community. However a lot of research done doesn’t take into account these differences. They only base it on the color of their skin and don’t take into account racial inequalities. For example, if everyone had the same access to health care then it is most likely that results would be different. Luckily, scientists have evolved their way of thinking so I’m sure this is something that is being worked on and social inequalities are all being taken into consideration when it comes to research.
Race is the categorization of humans based on observable traits. These traits usually include skin color, hair type, size, facial features, and behavior. While these traits make us unique from one another in personality and looks, it does not match different biological markers in human DNA. Basically, these superficial markers do not point to a difference in our genetic makeup or physiology. It just makes us identifiable as an individual on the outside.
Categorizing humans by race is not biologically sound. According to Chapter 13 of the Explorations book, all humans are about 99.9% genetically the same. This is the highest percentage of every other animal or species on earth. Humans have variation, but traits like skin color have continuous variation. This means that the variation happens between individuals, not groups of people, making it impossible to categorize people by them. Human variation is a spectrum. You may see different people in distinct parts of that spectrum in a small population. However, the more people you add and the larger your sampling population is, the less distance between human variation exits. The spectrum gets crowded, and two distinct people from one group may match closer to two people from another group. According to the textbook, Explorations, genetic diversity is more significant within a group of people rather than between groups of people. This means there is more diversity amongst your closest relatives as compared to you and someone from another part of the world. This would explain why two people may have more in common from another area than from their immediate population.
Race is a social construct. Our idea of race has no foundation in biology. This is pointed out in “Race: The Power of an Illusion, Ep. 1: The Difference Between Us.” The documentary points out that race is not universally defined. What is considered black in America is not the same as in Brazil or in other countries in Africa. How can we say race is biologically determined when we cannot come up with universal or concrete markers that define what each race is? For example, if we are to use skin color for race, where do we draw the lines between each color? Human variation shows that humans are born in a spectrum of colors. Siblings may have lighter or darker skin than each other and still have the exact same parents and ancestors. Moreover, a person can become lighter or darker in their lifetime due to a number of contributing factors. Does this mean they change race? Without a concrete definition supported by data, no true marker separates the races.
Race may not have a foundation in biology, but it has affected our view of and handling of biology. According to the article “How Race Becomes Biology: Embodiment of Social Inequality” by Clarence C. Gravlee, we cannot “reduce biology to genetics and minimize or ignore the causal influence of external, environmental factors on human biology” (p. 51). In other words, it is not accurate to talk about how biology defines race, but we cannot dismiss the impact race has played on biology. Take pollution, for example. African-Americans and other minorities have been disproportionately exposed to pollution. It has been argued that the genetics of race makes these groups of people genetically unhealthy or inferior. This is just not correct. What makes them sicker is how race as a social construct has led to their biology being tampered with. Basically, their poor health is due to their race, but not because of biology. It is due to society’s treatment of them instead.