Dolezal delusion: Scientists challenge claim there’s no biological basis to racial differences

, | | June 30, 2015
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

The saga of Rachel Dolezal, who recently resigned as president of the Spokane, Wash., chapter of the NAACP after it was revealed that she was dishonest about her racial identity, sparked yet another national debate on issues of race in America, until it was eclipsed by events in Charleston.

Though Dolezal’s antics have garnered her few supporters, those sympathetic with her — primarily those on the left side of the political spectrum — insist that race is “just a social construct.” However, that is biologically incorrect.

The idea that race is either biological or sociological is a false dichotomy; it is manifestly both a biological and social construct. The relevant question, therefore, is: “To what extent does the biological factor matter?” Different geneticists give different answers. Some, such as Michael White and Alan Templeton at Washington University in St. Louis, say it doesn’t matter at all and that race is not a biologically justifiable concept.

Others, however, argue that genetics still matters quite a bit. Genetic diseases tend to cluster among certain races and ethnicities. For instance, sickle cell anemia is found primarily among blacks, cystic fibrosis among whites of European descent, and Tay-Sachs disease among Ashkenazi Jews.

This is a reflection of the fact that human populations exhibit significant structure, which is a record of our history as a species.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Dolezal’s delusion

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